Daphne Yatz was exhausted and wanted nothing more than for this clean up to be over. Her hair was a wild frizzy mess, she sniffed herself and she smelt awful. She had been at the crime scene for the last four hours and was frankly starving. Why did people always have to get murdered around teatime? It was ridiculously inconvenient; not only because it was a Friday night but the one night in months she had arranged a date. But perhaps most, it meant everyone worked whilst hangry, Daphne especially.
The crime scene seemed to be a classic ‘hit and run’, the only issue being it had been heavy on the ‘hitting’. It was a messy and gagging sight to behold. Upon entrance with blood sprayed across every surface; Daphne had pulled out her phone and texted her date she would not make it, not with this huge mess. Such an inconvenience. However, Daphne was secretly relieved. The blind date had been arranged by some of her friends who had assured her the other woman wouldn’t be a boring blob of middle-agedness. See, Daphne hadn’t gone on many dates in the past few years not since Simona. Simona had been the love of her life, until she wasn’t. Until she left and never came back. Daphne’s heart torn from her chest and strewn across the room, uncannily like this crime scene. Fair to say while time heals some wounds, she had never fully recovered from Simona’s abrupt departure from her life. The woman was the most incredible person she had ever met and shone with radiance in any room she was in. No-one had ever had this effect on her, and as her friends constantly reminded her it didn’t mean that no-one ever would again. To be honest Daphne wasn’t that concerned about meeting someone else, as far as she was interested, the love of her life had already been and gone. The only thing that gave her a slither of happiness anymore was her cat Teddy, who despite the name was not at all cuddly or friendly. She liked that though, that he could be his prickly self and it didn’t worry those around him.
The last room to inspect was the kitchen. Which hopefully was going to go by quickly as it seemed like the recently deceased had very kindly kept a tidy and clean kitchen. The forensic team was starting to set up when one of the young-boyish attendants asked if it was unprofessional to steal some snacks from the fridge or the cupboard.
“Depends on what you take,” Daphne replied slyly, scaring the young-boy who had not seen her behind him.
“Go on show me what you’d take.”
Daphne thoroughly enjoyed frightening these young employees, and maintaining her internal nickname of ‘The Witch’. She can’t very much be ‘The Witch’ if she didn’t give them a good spook every now and then.
The young-boy was not as easily deterred, it seemed like ‘The Witch’ had caught quite a cocky one today and he preceded to casually open the fridge door. Daphne stared at him from the other side of the kitchen while her head colleague in forensics, Timothy Pepero was not so subtlety-smirking. All of a sudden Timothy’s face turned into one of dread and annoyance. Daphne’s first thought was great. When the forensics look annoyed you know you’re going to be in for a really really really long night.
“So what have we got? Some three-day old pesto pasta. A pork pizza, perhaps?” smirked Daphne. The young-boy shakily closed the fridge door and looked right at her and said,
“No, we have an eye-less head.”
Daphne was impressed by his ability to not let his voice waver. She took one big breath, her therapist always told her to try and take three conscious breathes before reacting, today everyone was lucky she was even attempting one.
“Show us then,” sighed Daphne, walking over so she was opposite the fridge.
The young-boy opened the fridge and sure enough there was the head. A male head with the eyes gouged out of the eye sockets. The skin was grey and lifeless, to be expected if one has had their head brutally severed. This was turning from inconvenience to pure Friday night agony . Tim came over,
“Should we order a pizza first?”.
Daphne thought this was the best suggestion anyone had come up with since she had arrived.
It was early morning by the time Daphne made it to her small and a little run-down apartment on the outskirts of London. Teddy, as expected, was there to meet her, meowing with inquiry. Hungry no doubt. If he was any good at being a cat, he might’ve caught a mouse or a rat and feed himself, but he was quite the chunky boy. Teddy was originally Simona’s idea. She had wanted Daphne to have more company when she was travelling for work and after Teddy was taken in, secretly disclosed that she had always wanted a cat . Daphne could hardly ever say no with Simona. Anyway, time to feed the cat and get to bed. Before she could get to her front-door. Her incessantly irritating high-pitched neighbour Randy suddenly appeared over the fence.
“Good-morning Daphne. Busy night?”, with no intention of finding any answer to his question he continued. “I can see you haven’t yet had the time to trim that tree yet. This is the third time I have asked Daphne, and I would oh so hate to get the council involved. The fact is, it is just such a nuisance to sweep up all of the leaves every single day. And you know Maureen and I aren’t the type of people to complain.”
Daphne was having trouble consciously breathing because the fact of the matter was that Maureen and Randy were exactly the kind of people who would complain. Teddy’s meow snapped her out of the daydream she was having of doing quite unspeakable violent things to high-pitched Randy involving his eyeballs.
“Of-course Randy. Sorry to be an inconvenience, I will get to it now. You know busy week.” replied Daphne cheerily. She did not know how she did it sometimes. Her therapist would be proud, although slapping him across the face would’ve given her a lot more satisfaction.
It would be good for Daphne to spend a little time in the sun. Every time she went home her mother was always commenting on how pale and sickly she looked and how she should spend more time outdoors. Well here you go mum, I’ll prune the tree and get a tan, thought Daphne.
Daphne preceded to go inside and feed Teddy a quick breakfast and got changed into her gardening overalls and headed out.
Daphne’s mum had suggested that she put some more fertiliser and aerate the soil around the tree. Daphne was not the green-thumb, Simona had always been, and it was her who had actually planted this rich red Japanese maple. Daphne grabbed the pitchfork and started ‘tossing’ the soil or whatever her mother had showed her last time she was home. She didn’t know why she put up with it, but the poor old hag didn’t have that much time left and Daphne was her only daughter.
As Daphne was tossing the soil the pitchfork seemed to hit or puncture something. That seemed odd, thought Daphne. She used the fork to give it a bit of a dig and sure enough there seemed to be a small plastic box underneath the surface. Perhaps it was a part of that watering system Simona had implemented. It had broken years ago, and she’d never bothered to fix it. She supposed it was probably time to take it out.
The box was small, A5ish in size and made of clear plastic that had been stained with soil. It looked like it had been in there a while. Daphne was puzzled, was this too big for a watering system? She wouldn’t know. It did look like the box could be opened which is what Daphne preceded to do. She yanked the lid off the box and inside was a small black, leather bound journal. That was weird. It was entirely blank apart from a small polaroid stuck in the back, Daphne squinted to see a picture of a cat that looked a lot like Teddy and a gorgeous black-haired Latino woman with…
Daphne’s heart stopped. She looked back down at the box her whole body frozen. Underneath the journal there appeared to be multiple wads of cash in different currencies, EUROs, USDs, Pounds and some others she didn’t recognise. If she was to guess there was at least 20k in here. What was this and why was it in her garden?
If she wasn’t so deeply shocked she would’ve seen this odd discovery for what it really was, a safety net…