Framerates and Phantom grains of sand


At first the tiny hourglass in the corner of my mind spins in gleeful circles as if heeding the urgent call to "hurry our asses". And then the camera in my mind started taking snapshots of the world. We are suddenly standing at the steps of the police station. Motion lines trail behind us as if the shutter rate slowed down to increase exposure time.

An old man stands impatiently waiting for us. His face is carved with wrinkles. Wrinkles carved by sorrows, anger, and ghosts. There are other wrinkles too. They are smaller and harder to see. They play hide and seek near the corner of his mouth. These wrinkles were carved by closure. His name is Jason Kite and he is the head of this police department.

I used to hang on his every word but today the camera in my mind is only taking snapshots. His gestures are rigid and fractic. His lips move fast but no sound is recorded. And then we are suddenly sitting in a car in deeper silence. The world out side zooms past in blurs while we remain motionless. There is a siren in the distance. It is our siren screaming at the world. The world outside blurs faster and then it suddenly stops.

The doors open and suddenly the audio-video feed replaces the snapshot camera as white light engulfs our black prison. The sirens and lights of the other vehicles only register for a second before someone turns down the volume and increases the framerate. The tiny hourglass freezes and each grain of sand resounds in a slow echo that synchronizes with my own footsteps. There is a wide yellow tape in front of me and this is the only thing that I know is real.

The tape goes up and a friendly hand squeezes my shoulder. I blink a couple of times as the world comes back to me and time resumes its normal pace. Jason is standing by my side and whispering low in my ear. "Hey Leon. It's been a while hasn't it?"

"Yes it has", I reply in the same low whisper. And we both braced ourselves as we removed the veil from death's face.

Visage of Death


A young woman with lifeless eyes stares back at me. She smiles faintly at me with blood-red lips in her blood-red dress with her newly dyed blood-red hair. Her breath reeks of Bloody Mary and the hole in her back from a gunshot wound leaks blood-red blood. And as we gazed upon the newest face of death a strange thougth occured to me. Where is her blood-red purse?

"No ID, No hand bag." One of the officers said.

"Who found her?"

"Local Patrol."

I pulled my gaze away from the body and looked around. We were standing in an old abandoned parking just off the main road. There used to be a mini-mart here but got torn down through tough economic times. The lot had been left here for possible future development but it had already begun to lose the battle against cracks and weeds.

"What are you doing out here blood-red lady? You should be at a club or a party and the closest one is two miles away." She did not reply.

"What do you think Leon?" It was Jason again.

"Take a photo, edit out the blood and pass it around to the nearby party spots. She's a pretty girl. Maybe someone will remember her. Take the bullet to ballistics; see if it matches anything. Look for tire tracks and try to match them. They might be too distorted to work with though." I paused and Jason nodded to the other officers to confrim the commands.

I addressed the victim again. "Whoever did this to you wanted you to be found. They didn't hide you or bury you. They placed you in clear view of a well traveled road knowing that someone would report the crime. This means that your attacker is either very brazen, very stupid, or new at murder. Let's hope for the last option."

Behind me I heard Sarah whisper to Jason. "Is this a new thing? Talking to the deceased?"

"Old habbit."

I ignored both of them and asked again "What are you doing out here blood-red lady?" And again, she did not reply.