Sometimes, you walk up to the scene and your gut twists. You take in the menial details. The shattered front end of a hand-me-down blue sedan. The rural traffic lights swinging with the carefree breeze. The utter lack of traffic cameras on this godforsaken road.
Today, it’s not the smell of the oil and antifreeze from the wrecked car that gets to you. It’s not the gore of the victim’s skull on the shattered window covering the asphalt. It’s not even the fact that the victim was just out of high school, with her graduation tassel hanging in the windshield as a reminder that this girl was just too young.
As the medical examiner rattles off his findings – the buckshot sprinkled in with the brain matter, the rolled-down passenger-side window, the victim’s foot just to the side of the brake pedal – the twisting gets stronger. This girl was killed by a passerby, an opportunist who pulled up next to her at a red light. The girl didn’t know the shot was coming. Her arms are relaxed at her sides, with her left thumb forever grazing the bottom of the steering wheel.
You take this information and leave the scene. It’s time to find her next of kin. It’s only the second worst part of the job today. This is a visit you want to make in person, in an environment where the victim’s family has support. You begin to feel sick. You wonder how many more scenes like this you can take. How many more times you can approach a devastated family, knowing the killer will never be found.
Thank you for reading this utter bastardization of flash fiction. Critiques, suggestions, encouragement, and prompts are always welcome in the comments.