Abigail Dawson's body was still on the bedroom floor, her glazed eyes staring blankly into space. Her parent's desperately wanted it moved, but the officers still hadn't done a post-mortem. Poor Samuel Richards was dragged in to carry it out, because although he specialised in bodies from the 11th to 17th century, he was the only pathologist they had. Besides, he was qualified enough to deal with the body of a slightly younger victim.
Richards grimaced as he checked the body for bruising and internal bleeding. He did not like the idea of a young girl being murdered. He knew the officers could tell what the injuries were; anybody could see that; but it was a question of the time frame they had been committed in. Richards had a gift for just looking at a body and knowing how the person in question had died, and when. This was something he had developed as a student studying archaeology. Five hundred-year-old injuries were a lot trickier to spot than ones brought about two days ago. This was positively easy compared to the monks. Richards discovered Abigail's head injury almost at once, as the purple-black bruise was not concealed by her fine white-blonde hair. The girl was very pretty, thought Richards. Of course, it was hard to tell what she would have been like when she was alive. He had noticed that death tended to thin out the face, and give it a blueish hue. Her lips were a pale purple, almost lilac. Abigail's eyes were sunken heavily into her head. Her eyes were blank and open. They were a very pale blue, as if she had chosen their colour to match the colour of her face.
But then the china doll image was spoilt when Richards inspected her torso and legs. The stab wound in her chest had stopped bleeding, but the congealed blood had spread and seeped through her jacket. There was a considerable amount of blood on the floor beside her too. Richards had to admire the hand that had stabbed this young girl. The cut to her chest was a clean even one, going straight to the heart. The blow to the head would have already knocked her out, so she would have felt no pain. The knife (and he was pretty sure it was a knife, one with a five inch blade at least) had severed the coronary artery, leaving Abigail to bleed to death, but quickly. There was no question about it-the person who did this knew exactly what they were doing. The thigh stabbing Richards assumed was just a formality. It seemed to have been executed a good five minutes after the initial attack. The killer's signature mark, perhaps? Richards paused for a minute. What if this was not done by anything of this world? The monks' curse had been on his mind lately. There was something familiar about its words, but he could not think what. It was right on the tip of his tongue. He was scared. He had never dealt with anything to do with the supernatural before, and frankly, it scared him. He formed a cross sign across his shoulders.
A few seconds later his train of thought was interrupted by Inspector Lawrence tapping him on the back. 'Why did you make the cross sign just now? You were thinking about the possibility of a murderous ghost or two, weren't you?'
Richards thought for a moment. He knew Lawrence did not believe for one second that this murder was caused by ghosts, but he needed a rational excuse for his actions. Finally, after quite a long time, he said, 'Oh no, sir. Not me, sir. It's just that usually I would be in church right now, so I made the cross sign to signify I was thinking about God, and I wanted to be in His house.'
Lawrence eyed him suspiciously, 'Are you sure, Richards? Because if I catch you dragging religion into this case again, I'll have you thrown out. If this were in an inner-city council estate, and the victim had been a drug addicted single mother, you wouldn't think twice about trying to unravel the story behind it. Just because we happened to find some dead monks before this killing, it doesn't mean it is anything to do with 'the wrath of God'. It that understood?'
'Yes, sir. Very much sir.'
'Speaking of those dratted monks, I'd better get back to St Sebastian's. Dr Hudson arrived yesterday, and I haven't had chance to speak to him. When I return, I expect this post-mortem to be wrapped up. Can you manage that, or will I have to do it myself?'
'No, sir. Definitely not, sir.'
'And stop calling me 'sir'. It's Inspector. I've had quite enough of 'sir' since I visited Our Lady Primary School to give a talk on life in the police force - excuse me, I've got to go. Hudson wants me, apparently...Honest to God, they sounded like sheep...' And with that final remark, Lawrence departed from the room, and set off for St Sebastian's.