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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 05/11/2010 : 11:22:13 AM
Tyler looked out the window. Lightning flashed, and where it had simply drizzled earlier, suddenly the sky opened to release torrents of water that slammed down upon the earth without mercy. The effect of the stormy weather was apocalyptic to his mood, and he had feelings of melancholy and paranoia. This type of weather made it even creepier to handle a dead body. Reluctantly, he went back to finish the preparations for moving it.
The dead man was still lying on the bed, but the covers were on the floor, and the body was naked. Tyler had felt there was no sense in leaving perfectly wearable clothes on a dead man, so he had taken them. After all, why would a dead man need clothes?
But the nakedness revealed how pale a body could be in death, once the heart stopped pumping blood through the system. The blood, no longer circulated by the heart, began to settle on the underside of the body, which created a purpling of the skin. The result was that the back, buttocks, and the underside of the legs became darkened because the body was on its back, and gravity pulled all the internal fluids downwards.
Tyler gazed into the dead man’s half-open eyes, noting that the corneas were cloudy. The dead man’s milky irises peeked from the half-closed lids as though every move was being watched. It made Tyler feel self-conscious and uneasy for a moment, but he tried to shrug it off.
He went back to the window. Looking up and down the street, he realized that the bad weather gave him privacy. Hardly anyone had ventured outside on this cold, rainy night, so perhaps the storm was a good omen after all; never mind that the thunder and lightning was making him feel superstitious.
Again, Tyler turned to the dead man on the bed. The body was hardening with rigor mortis, so it was difficult to maneuver. The process that had begun at the jawline was now moving down the body, stiffening the limbs and making them immobile.
Why hadn’t Tyler anticipated this? He realized he should have curled the body into a fetal position while he still could. But now, the body was rigid and the arms and legs were outstretched, splayed woodenly across the bed, and resistant to Tyler’s attempts to fold them.
But none of this had been premeditated, so Tyler was flying by the seat of his pants as to what to do next. He had thought he should wait until dark to dispose of the dead man, not realizing that time would mean the difference between a pliable body and a rigid one.
He needed the body to be small if it were to fit into the trunk of his car.
Should he cut it up? Maybe if the arms and legs wouldn’t move, he should simply saw them off. As long as he didn’t panic, he reasoned that he still had time to dismember the body. It was hours until daylight.
Tyler dragged the body off the bed. It slipped from his grip and fell to the floor with a solid thud upon the carpeting. He was surprised at how heavy the body was; so it must be true what people said about dead weight.
He tightened his grasp around the shoulders, through the armpits, and dragged the body towards the bathroom. The legs bumped across the carpeted floor; straight, not having any give. Tyler blinked at the bright light in the bathroom, and with one hand still gripping the body, he used his other hand to pull open the shower curtain, revealing a white, porcelain bathtub.
He strained to lift the body and to push it into the bathtub, face up. It tumbled stiffly but with the arms outspread, it wouldn’t fit into the tub, so it lay over it, with one arm and one leg dangling over the edge.
Frustrated, Tyler lifted his foot and tried to stamp the body into the tub but the body resisted. Then he steadied his foot onto the dead man’s stomach and put all his weight on his it, one hand holding onto the curtain rod for balance.
There was a cracking noise as the dead body reluctantly gave up some of its unyielding posture; not enough, but it would have to do. The saw would take care of the rest. At least now the blood could be confined to the inside of the tub if Tyler was careful.
Tyler left the bathroom to retrieve the saw. He opened the inside door leading to the garage and flipped the light switch, and looked at the empty spot on the shelf where the saw had been.
How could he have been so stupid? How could he have forgotten that he had lent the saw to his brother-in-law the previous week?
Tyler felt sweat bead on his forehead. He was making mistakes.
This was a situation where even the tiniest error could bring the whole thing down. He knew he had to keep himself on a level plane; he needed to continue with a calm and calculating detachment from any emotions.
So what to do now?
He would use a knife. It was not just any knife; he would use the Spyderco he had in his tool chest. Tyler knew that on the Spyderco knife, jimping was added to the blade’s spine for slip-resistant cutting control. And it was sharp as a scalpel, with the added benefit that part of the blade was serrated, perfect for sawing through bone if that became necessary.
Clutching the knife, Tyler closed the garage door and headed back to the brightly lit bathroom. When he entered the bathroom, he was hit with astonishment that there was a dead body in his bathtub, even though he knew it was there. It was real yet unreal at the same time. It was like a very weird space-time continuum that seemed to be happening to someone other than himself; he felt as though he was a third person, an impartial witness to the macabre scene in the bathtub.
But it soon became very real indeed as Tyler knelt on the floor, aiming his sharp knife towards the dead man in the tub.
Tyler knew that the chest cavity would be full of congealed and coagulated blood, so he wanted to avoid that area. Instead, he started at the left elbow. He made a slit in the skin, and was surprised when the cut did not spurt blood. Then he remembered that the stilled heart no longer pumped any blood through the veins of the dead man. The result was a pinkish-yellow underskin when the cut was widened, and some blood dripped, but none gushed.
He sawed through the fibrous ligaments of the elbow joint, annoyed at how resistant it proved to be, even with such a sharp knife. He rolled the joint open to cut the remaining tendon.
And then suddenly the lower arm was severed.
He held the arm aloft by its hand, and was disconcerted by how short the lower limb appeared. The stump at the elbow was ragged, torn….and dripping blood onto the bathroom floor.
He would have to really be careful how he cleaned this bathroom after he disposed of the body. He would have to be very thorough because he wanted no more mistakes on this night.
Suddenly Tyler heard a noise. Someone was knocking on his front door!
He froze for a moment, and then carefully placed the severed arm back into the bathtub, on top of its previous owner.
He glanced at his watch. The dial was covered in blood, and he used his other hand to wipe it away. The blood was thick and coagulated; it wasn’t thin like fresh blood would be. It left a smear when wiped, but Tyler could make out the time.
Eleven-ten PM. Who in the world would be knocking on his door at this late hour? And who would venture out on such a stormy night?
Certainly he couldn’t answer the door, not with blood up to his elbows. Should he ignore the knock, with the hopes that the unwanted visitor would think no one was home and go away?
But Tyler wanted to know who it was.
Grabbing a towel off the rack, Tyler wiped his hands the best he could. He threw the bloody towel on top of the closed toilet seat. He planned to disinfect the entire bathroom later, but a thought crossed his mind anyway: Maybe he should try to limit the blood evidence in this bathroom as much as possible. There was already blood that had dripped from the severed arm onto the floor. Maybe he should have thrown the towel into the bathtub on top of the dismembered dead man. Too late now.
He strode out of the bathroom and crossed the living room. He had no lights on in the living room, so he knew it would be okay to peek out a curtain. Slowly and carefully he pulled a corner of the curtain aside, and peered out the front window. Rain was running in rivulets down the windowpane, blurring the glass, so it was a moment before he comprehended what he saw outside the window.
Another eye was peering back in!
Startled at the face he saw in the window, Tyler stumbled backwards and sat down hard on the floor. Picking himself up, he realized that whoever was trying to look into his window had seen him, and knew he was inside. So, he had nothing to lose by confronting his unwelcome visitor with a question.
But he would not open the door.
“Who is it?” Tyler called through the closed door.
Oh my god! Tyler thought frantically. They know! They had found out. And they were coming for him. In fact, they had already come.
He made up his mind. No matter what, he wouldn’t go back to prison.
Feeling like a cornered animal, he knew what he had to do.
* * * * *
The next day, all of the television news cameras were aimed at the Chief of Police as he stood at the podium.
“Tell us about the shoot-out!” one of the reporters yelled.
“The perpetrator shot a nine millimeter caliber gun at one of our officers through the door of the residence,” the Chief told the press, “wounding the officer in the shoulder. Backup was called and swat was initiated. But before negotiations could proceed, the perpetrator exited from the back door. When the perpetrator began shooting his weapon at the swat team, they immediately returned fire. The perpetrator is deceased.”
“What did you find inside the residence?” another reporter shouted.
“We are withholding details at this time.”
“Why were the police at the perpetrator’s house in the first place?” called the first reporter.
The Chief of Police hesitated a moment, then apparently decided that this part of the events didn’t need to be held close to the vest. Appearing puzzled, he stated, “Well, now, that’s the thing. The officer was going to all of the residences on that street. He was giving warnings to all of the homeowners about an unrelated crime that had just occurred down the block. If the perpetrator had not panicked, he might have never given himself away. Apparently it was a mistake on his part.”
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