A week later and the media was in a frenzy.
Speculation ranged from the likelihood that the culprit was a large cat that had escaped from a traveling circus in the summer and was still on the loose, to that the urban myth about a cult of cannibals living in the mountains was true, and they had finally grown tired of hikers.
But where were the rest of the bodies? No clothing, no bones, no wallets, purses or keys had been found. Reports of missing persons hadn’t helped in identifying any of the victims.
Everyone involved in the investigation was instructed that all details were confidential, including that the bite-marks visible on the recently discovered finger were proving difficult to identify as either human or animal.
“Couldn’t be something unusual, had to be something that’s practically a weed and it’s the middle of freaking winter, they should be dead!“
“You can grow them indoors, my Grandma did” said quietly. “And it’s more than we had yesterday, it might be useful” a placating tone, an unspoken request for organized thinking, for calm.
A drawer slams shut and the scrape of a chair being pushed roughly back from the desk causes a moment of silence in the room.
“Okay. Okay.” A deep breath “We need to figure this out before… before…we need to figure this out! What’s happening with the list of possible suspects?”
“Three are back in prison. Two are missing, no one has seen them since they were released, neither of their parole officers have any idea how to find them and the last one, the woman, was interviewed but there’s nothing to suggest she’s involved ”.
“She ate her boyfriend, she dismembered him and made casseroles, meatloaf, sausage!” a barely restrained hiss, a failing effort to maintain control.
“I know, calm down. Let’s focus on getting those bite-marks identified. We don’t even know if they’re human, it’s step one ” picking up the phone and dialling from memory, “Doc, please please, tell me you know what made those marks”.
“Thanks Doc, yeah yeah, send it to my email.” Hanging up the receiver and turning away from the desk. “You won’t believe this.” Face pale, jaw tight, eyes clenched shut.
To be continued.