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My three inch high heels dug into the wretched mud while brown water slipped in over the sides of my shoe moistening my stockings.  D.I.’s were walking ahead of me, their big feet sloshing through the mud like horses. No matter how hard I tried, I could not manage to dodge their pitfalls. Sergeant Cooper walked beside me as he talked about the latest victim we were now approaching. I could hear everything he was saying but all I could concentrate on were my father’s words. “You shouldn’t get a job, you should find a husband.”
I was clerical support at Scotland Yard, not some bloody detective. Yet, here I was walking through the mud with a notepad in my hand, my other clinging to my trench coat pulling it tighter around my body trying to fight off the frigid cold. I clenched my teeth together in hopes D.I. Ben Harper was not present. The man loved filling my desk with his paperwork and ordering me to fetch him some coffee. My jaw was aching by the time I reached the circle of detectives. They gathered around the poor girl like vultures. All of them with their hands deep inside their pockets. Hats covering their hair and coats flapping behind them. I pulled my coat tighter around me, almost dropping my notepad.
“Brilliant.” Said a familiar and irritating voice.
I smiled brightly, still shivering from the bitter cold but I tried not to let my teeth clatter. “D.I. Harper.”
“Do you need to borrow my pencil?” he handed me his pencil before I could answer.
I began to protest but he pointed to my broken pencil underneath my foot that was almost buried under the mud. My cheeks began to burn.
“I hope you brought a handkerchief as well.” He snorted. “This is no place for a lady.”
“I know that.” I snapped. “I was told I needed to be here since Lois is still out sick.”
He held his hands up in defense then walked away from me.
I glared at his back wishing I had something witty to say to him. He had served in the war and came back different. That was what everyone at Scotland Yard had said. I have only known him for six months. I wondered if had always been so very annoying and quick to point out mistakes. I knew he was laughing at me, I bit back the tears and swallowed down the lump building in my throat. I wanted to be sweet to him, only because of his serves to the Queen and country, but really I wanted to hurt him as much as I could. Going to war with the Germans did not give him a right to belittle me on a constant basis.
“Now, I want you to pay close attention to the victim’s throat.” The medical examiner said loudly. I walked around the left of the circle of D.I.’s. Though I did not want to see this poor girl up close I knew I was required to. I held my notepad tightly in my hands only to keep them from shaking. My knuckles were red from either the cold or my tight grip. I bit my bottom lip then stepped again closer to the body.
There in front of me was some poor girl, who looked no older than me. Her blonde hair stuck to the side of her face and forehead. No blood as far as I could see. Her eyes were wide open, as was her mouth. She looked straight up at the sky like she was looking for the sun hidden behind the clouds. Around her neck were little marks I could barely see but the examiner said he was sure they were caused by a small rope. Her hands were laid at her sides, palms facing down. Her legs were spread wide open, and her stockings gathered at her ankles.
My stomach began to lurch as my imagination began to run off. I could only imagine how scared this girl was. I turned on my heel afraid I was going to vomit, they air seemed to run away from me. I tried walking towards the nearest tree, only to save my dignity.
“Judy?”
It was D.I. Harper coming to haunt me at my most vulnerable. I didn’t turn around, I knew if I saw that poor girl again I was going to vomit. At least having her at my back helped.
“Are you alright?” he said, I could hear his sloshy footsteps coming closer to my side. “I saw you turn a bit green over there.”
“This is my first body,” I whispered. “I…” I broke off as an unexpected wave of emotion took over and I began to cry.

 

“Tis alright,” He said lighting a cigarette. “This is after all not a place for a lady.”

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