The room was one chaotic scene. Not only there was paint all over the walls, but also two bodies were lying on the floor, faces down and covered with white blankets, that seemed really out of place for some reason. They weren’t a strange sight as that room had been the scene of a violent crime. The people from the police had been working there for a whole day now. As they ate something or had a smoke, two detectives had decided to enter the premises and begin the investigation formally.
Of course, the stench of the massacre had not cleared the room yet. All the doors had been opened but not the windows, as a gust of wind could disturb the scene or bring in foreign components. They wanted everything to be as it had been for the week or so since the murders had occurred. It was a shame for the police to only now realize what had happened in that poor neighborhood, which so often appeared in the news being portrayed as some kind of doorway to the flames of hell.
However, every comparison to the reign of Satan was very accurate at the moment. The scene was hellish and there was no surprise when Detective Keaton couldn’t hold his breakfast after looking at the room once. Klein, on the other side, was made of a stronger material. He had seen so many gruesome scenes like this one; it just didn’t do anything for him. He could even eat in front of an open body, a fact that had always shocked all of his peers, even the coroners.
As Keaton was tended by some of the men that had been eating outside, Klein decided to put on some plastic slippers and just have a tour of the room. It was actually a one-bedroom apartment. On one end, there was the door he had entered through. On the opposite side, another door was open, revealing a very dirty shower. The bathroom appeared no to have been the most taken care of place in that building. In the main room, there was a bed on the corner and the bodies were lying next to it.
The blood, as said before, was all over the place: on the bed, the walls, the bathroom floor, the alarm clock on the only table in the premises and also on the sole electric heater, which would have been used to cook food with the help of the only wall socket in the room. It was really a dreary scene. Klein bent his knees next to the bodies and lifted one of the white blankets. Beneath it, he saw what he had always hated to see in the job: the body of a young human being. It made him mad and hopeless. Next to it was a woman, possibly the mother. Both covered in blood.
Keaton was on the door, covering his nose with a handkerchief. It was very like him to have such an item that only older people use at the time. He was younger than Klein but somehow he felt like a grandfather of sorts. He had apparently recuperated from watching the scene and was now trying to focus his attention on Klein. He told him that the coroner had sent for the bodies and that the ambulances would be there in a short time. Klein nodded but said nothing, still looking at the scene.
They had been partners for quite a long time, so Keaton knew exactly which face meant what. Right then, it was clear to him that Klein was thinking hard about the facts of the incident and it was best not to interrupt him as he hated people to do that. It was him who stopped the silence and asked his companion if he had asked the people from the police department about all the details of the scene, every object they had found and anything related to the corpses, as well as the apartment.
Keaton handed his partner a folder where it said, quite clearly, that the woman and the child were not the owners of the apartment. Furthermore, none of them had any type of contract with the owner to live there. At least, no official contract had been recorded. So the first visit they had to make was to the owner. They could have gone to some family member of the victims but heir names had not been found yet. No identity cards, no data at all. It was as if they had been forgotten by the world.
Minutes later, they were hopping in the car, rushing through the streets towards a more quiet, peaceful suburb. It had a lot of similar houses, like in the movies. Getting to the house that they were looking for was very tricky as most of the streets ended on a roundabout, with four or five houses sitting around. They saw children laughing, people playing with their dogs and couples holding hands. It was always awkward to see that after witnessing the scene of a murder.
Life suddenly seemed meaningless for some reason. If someone could eliminate people in that fashion, it was clear that humans have the awful capacity to exterminate themselves. And what policemen do is to defend some humans against the rest. People always say good always wins but it was sometimes difficult to believe such a claim when, several times a week, you see proof that mankind is just made out of slightly evolved animals. But animals anyway. Keaton and Klein finally found the house, walked to the door and rang.
A little girl opened the door. Her face was covered in chocolate and she just laughed. The two men were petrified right on the spot by this action. They had been taken by surprise by the sheer happiness of a child who is innocent and has not had a way of knowing how the world really works. The mother came in running, also laughing for some reason. She asked for their business and they asked for her husband. She offered them entrance but they refused, preferring to stay by the door.
The man was called several times until he descended the stairs. It was clearly a day off for him as he was wearing boxers and a t-shirt tainted with grease and few mustard stains. They asked if he was named Victor Gould and he said yes. They asked if he owned an apartment building in the city and he said yes. Apparently, it had belonged to his father for years but he had received the place as a gift when the man had died some years ago. He confesses soon he rarely visited the place.
The detectives promptly explained the reason for their visit. The man was appalled by what he heard and his wife, who had been listening close by, ran to her children and tried to keep them busy, away from the awful conversation. The man told them he had no idea a family had been living in that apartment. He had a man to go and collect rent but he kept papers on the building, which he showed to the police. He had no way of knowing a mother and her child had been living there illegally.
That’s when Keaton realized what was going on. They rushed to the morgue, on the basement of the police department. There, the coroner explained to them that there was indeed no way of telling who the victims were but he could tell them that they had suffered for days before actually dying. They had been starving for a while, maybe even up to a month. They had little inside of them when he checked the stomachs. He concluded the kid was dead when it had been stabbed. But not the mother.
Someone knew they were there. Someone had let them in and was possibly blackmailing them, threatening to call the deportation office and get them sent back to wherever they had come from. That same someone possibly stabbed them for some crazy reason.
When he entered his own tiny apartment that night, Klein went straight for the bottle of scotch he kept in the kitchen. Booze was the only thing that could help him sleep when the realization of how much a dump the world was came to his mind. It happened very often, judging by the number of empty bottles crammed in a box.