Chapter IX: The SweatMature

Name: Unknown, Jane Doe

Sex: Female

Height: 5"3

Eyes: Brown

Hair: Black with blue streaks


The woman is Southeast Asian; DNA tests from the crime lab indicate Japanese ancestry. She was found, frozen in a pool of her own sweat and bodily fluids, in an alley. The body itself was wrung dry. We cannot disclose the location of the alley, for the sake of privacy rights. Toronto Police found the body Monday morning, after an anonymous civilian reported the woman's death with the use of their cell phone camera. The police promptly called a crime scene investigation unit and assigned a detective to the case. Investigation continues, and there will be a public Inquest to notify the community due to the bizarre circumstances of this unidentified woman's death.

-- Excerpt from the public Report of Coroner documentation for Jane Doe 02/25/2008


The metropolis awoke with a cold morning. The sunlight was scarce, though getting more common with each passing day. Cars began to frolic in the streets, and business went on as usual. However, there was a quietness that clung to the dark corners of the city. The alleys remained dark, shadowed from the morning light. Bitter, coldness lingered in their dirty corners.

A long, brown coat clung to a wide frame, the curved body of a large woman. Her face was bound tightly in a black scarf, and her eyes were hidden behind a frosted pair of dark glasses. Curls of brown hair fell from behind it, and below her wide-brimmed hat. The wind danced around, playing with the flaps of the trench coat and blowing against the woman's slacks.

A man in a blue jacket knelt before the woman, and the jacket indicated his position as a crime scene investigator for the Police Department of Toronto. He was not alone, his partner stood beside him. They were both African Canadians. One bore short dreads, and the other had cornrows. They were young, fresh out of university less than a year ago.

The woman in the coat had worked with them before, though she knew them not by name. She recalled the past, when they stood over their work chatting playfully to each other, to dull the horror. Now, they stood as sentinels before a storm. They were silent, wide-eyed and tense.

They were in an alley, cut off with police tape. Before the three of them, within a line of tape, was the naked corpse of a young woman. She lay frightfully in a pile of frozen sweat, and her body was a dry husk. The Caucasian woman in the brown trench coat observed calmly, She's like a piece of fruit, fallen from the branches after the ravages of an early winter.

"Why not fling her into the dumpster?" she asked, not expecting to get an answer from the busy investigators she was supervising. "They wanted us to find her."

Her eyes were open, looking up into the sky. The body was unblemished, only wizened by the cold and whatever had dried the life out of her body. And in the mysterious folds of her skin, just below her abs, a tattoo was visible: AZAMI

"Wait, what's this? There's a hole in her neck," said one of the investigators.

Sure enough, there was a tiny hole in the right side of her neck. Below it, frozen in the sweaty ice was a brown tinge of blood and a cold, silver dart.

"Hand me the flashlight, there's something written on this dart. I think I can read it, before we chisel it out and take it to the lab."

The symbols gleamed, in silver that was shinier than that of the rest of the dart. There were two of them, and nothing more. A round, horseshoe-like symbol. And then an 'A'.

"Amplitude times Ohms? Equals Voltage?" he speculated.

His partner turned behind them, "What do you think, Detective Wallace?"

Looking over his shoulder, the woman in the trench coat frowned. "Or it's biblical. Like, the Alpha and Omega. Except here they are backwards."

His dark, brown eyes gave her shaded specs a cold stare, "The End and the Beginning?"

The dried corpse of the woman known as Azami was entirely naked, frozen in melted snow and, strangely, her own fluids. Alexei's coat was gone. Her own sweater was gone. So was her purse. And so were her drugs. The police found none of it.




Before the sun came fully up, and melted it, they noticed the same symbols in a shoe print on the balcony of a house looking down on the alley. The footprints were on the edge of the balcony, not near the door to the inside. In this case, the horseshoe symbol was above, at the foot, and the 'A' was below, at the heel.

Meanwhile, the dart was confirmed to be empty. There was nothing inside its reservoir; and according to science, there never was. Furthermore, no toxin was found in the body or in the frozen bodily fluids. The woman's tox-screen came back negative. Her fingerprints were not found in any database. And nobody responded to any of the displays of her face on the news. It was as if she had no family, no friends, and no clientele. It was as if she had no name.




The Inquest disclosed the details to the public. The Report of Coroner had been insufficient, and the public had questions, mostly about the mysterious way in which the unknown woman died. However, a fair minority of the discussion revolved around the mysterious symbols. And through it all, nobody came forth to identify the body.

Detective Wallace was disappointed as she left the courtroom, No new leads, no new evidence, no witnesses, nothing –


And finally, something caught her attention in the corner of her vision. She turned, and there was nothing. An empty chair. Not a man or woman in sight. What had I seen?

No matter how many times she replayed the moment in her short-term memory, Detective Wallace could not figure out what it was. Sadly, she concluded, Perhaps I'm simply getting old...

As she walked outside, Detective Wallace clicked the button to unlock her car from a distance. It gave a light honk in response. And then, someone on the nearby street called out.

"Miss Hargrove!"

She turned, in hopes of getting a lead on the case, despite the unusual use of her maiden name. However, she saw nobody coming towards her.

Slam! A car door, close by.

Detective Wallace looked around, getting her bearings. She looked down the parking lot, and the other adjacent street, and saw nobody who might have called her name. Then, she opened her car door, got in, and drove away. As she drove out, she observed that she was the last car left in the parking lot.

Twenty minutes passed, and Mary Wallace stepped out of her tiny, eco-efficient automobile and onto the asphalt driveway of her sub-urban Toronto house. And as she did so, something caught her eye in the tinted glass of the car window. She turned, and saw nothing. Frowning, she walked to the door with her briefcase in hand. Her keys turned in the door, in hopes of being greeted by her husband and the smell of a warm meal. Sweat trickled down her brow in the cold, evening air.

The End

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