‘There’re his shoes. Where’s Simmonds?’ Constable Grant points at the lace-ups with his Biro.
The end’s chewed, suggesting he needs something to do with his mouth while he’s thinking. Never a good sign.
‘If you have more searing insights, be sure to tell me,’ says Butler.
Butler passes from the bedroom (scorched carpet, floorboards untouched; ash filled shoes) and into the kitchen. A sink of dirty crockery – a lot for one person – and an odour only a single man would live with: feet, stale cigarettes, badly aired clothes. It’s a smell Butler knows from his own flat.
‘Grant,’ he calls. ‘Check out the bathroom.’
Was he as clueless when he started? Too many TV coppers, that’s the problem. Too many Morses, too many Frosts.
There are more scorch marks along the kitchen counter and one on the wall above the hob, as if a flaming tennis ball as bounced along the surface …
‘What?’ he snaps. He needs the forensics. That’ll kick start his brain. And a double espresso.
‘Inspector Butler, you need to see this.’
Fear in Grant’s voice.
‘Alright, son, what marvels do you want to share with me?’
Butler walks into the bathroom. The smell of drains, of burnt flesh – sulphur. ‘Christ,’ he says, staring at the walls.
Written for Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Pureposeful Practioner. See the photo, use the sentence – this week it’s “There’s his shoes. So where is …” – and scribble away. See here for full Ts and then some Cs.