[This story will be posted in full after the Challenge for those of us that like to read everything in one complete telling,]
BLOOD – Tuesday Afternoon
Beautiful beaches have two facades. One under an azure sky invites tourists and recreation. The other wild and electrifying like the storm.
Was that when the victims were both tossed up here? The sea was turbulent over the weekend, and waves battered the shoreline. In local harbours numerous boats were damaged, and a few were sunk.
Eyes closed, I see our beach, the beach where we met. Heart pounds. Blood races. Our beach – where we first challenged biased beliefs. Ffyc prejudice.
Focus. The case calls. Two victims need resolution.
The injuries are violent. But were the two men washed overboard from a ship or attacked on the beach. There was no blood visible at the scene. Washed away? Waves and rocks might have done more damage if the victims had been swept in by the storm.
Steady steps along the shoreline, thinking and looking. Do forensics have everything? Ring them.
“What do we know so far, Liam? I’m at the beach now.”
“Still early, DC Anwyl. Too many cases – and we are constantly short-staffed. All we know is that the bodies and clothes were wet from salt water. But we don’t know how the injuries occurred.”
My tattoos tingle. Something is missing. We can’t wait. I need answers.
“The bodies can’t have been in the water for too long in that storm or they would’ve drowned. Agree?”
“That’s likely, especially since the medical report doesn’t show any signs such as hypothermia. But they had been in contact with seawater and the weatherproof gear that we took was saturated.”
W for Weather. B for Blood. S for Seawater.
“What sort of gear?”
“Fishing or sailing clothes. So, the men could’ve been swept off a pier somewhere, although our evidence doesn’t support them being in the sea long.”
Unidentified and not reported missing – yet. Or whoever attacked them was attempting to keep their identities hidden. But without killing them. To gain time for something? Or robbery?
“You left some clothes – jeans and a T-shirt. Why? I detected some dark substance. Tar?”
“We removed the weatherproof gear covering the men and we took fabric samples from their other clothes. Including that substance. Possibly bitumen or some derivative. I’ll let you know. Is that all, detective?”
I let him go and continue my slow pacing along the shoreline. Does the tar mean that the second man was a mechanic or road worker? Or is it from somewhere else? Is it even relevant?
I failed to check the other man’s clothes. Slipping. My throat constricts. Why did I miss that? Who will know? A serious oversight I can rectify.
A family is playing cricket on the beach. I stop and watch. My motorcycling leathers are out of place against their summer seaside attire. Out of place alongside most of my colleagues who dress more formally – except Kama in her Indo-Western pant suits. But her Tamil heritage is an excuse.
“Unusual to see a biker here.” The father smiles at me. “And female ones are even rarer. Do you play cricket?”
“I’m Welsh so I know rugby. But I spend more time in the water.”
“Oh, so you’re a sailor. We try not to miss the local regatta in August. Do you sail in that one?”
I’ve forgotten the Aberdaron Regatta next week. A clue? Like the weatherproof gear our two victims were wearing?
“More of a wild water swimmer. But I might give the regatta some thought.”
W for Wild and Weather. S for Swimming and Sailing. A for Aberdaron. L for Llŷn.
The Llŷn Peninsula has some unique boats that may well use tar or pitch.
C for Clinker-built Craft. C for Caulking,
CLAWS. Like the strange injuries?
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And now for something completely different.
“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”
William Congreve – The Mourning Bride