Breathe….Breathe….Breathe….Oh God….Oh God….Breathe
My breath fogged up the thick glass in front of my face and tears blurred my vision. I had barely noticed the people around me since i saw the studio from the window that my head now rested on.
‘Dessy, You ready?’ The gentle voice of Agent Mark Russels cut in to my breakdown
i took a deep breath, drew myself up and nodded ‘Yea, lets get this over with’
Behind me, i heard one police officer whisper to another
‘who d’you reckon that is?’
‘Chief says she’s a heck of a profiler’
‘how? she don’t look a day more than 17’
Its true, i didn’t because i wasn’t. I’m Desiree, i’ve had too many last names to pick just one so i’m just Desiree and yea..i’m a criminal ‘profiler’ i work part time with the homicide department of the Oklahoma state PD after school. I know what you’re thinking, couldn’t they hire a professional to do this? naah, i’m as good as it gets. regular profilers analyse and look through crime scene evidence and whatnot, i on the other hand; see death.
I see it, i smell it, i live it. from the minute i enter a room with the faintest scent or memory of death, i can see,feel and re-live exactly what happened, why it happened, by whom and what could have stopped it. Sounds simple doesn’t it? well its not. i visited the 9/11 memorial once, i ended up in a coma for a week. Worst road trip ever.
I took another deep breath and stepped into what used to be a photography studio. first, i saw what everyone else could and i felt just fine then the memories that lingered in the room rushed at me all at once and it hurt, like it always did so to everyone else i just walked onto a crime scene, glanced around and assumed the foetal position while clutching my head. Some lady was murdered here in the late 90’s but thats not what i was looking for and the memory was faint so it passed quickly, the next one hit me like a cinder block and i physically fell over and then nothing…i was confused, thats not how it usually works. theres always something, the pain, the fear, the anger, the story but there was nothing.
i opened my eyes and screamed at what i saw
it was a field of blood, bones and rotting flesh, piles and piles of it. The air was thick with the smell of decay, there was no wind, no space free of the corpses. i called out, i screamed and shouted and cried. i wanted to move but i couldn’t, i didn’t want to look down at what held me in place because i’d had hands around my ankles before and i knew what they felt like.
‘No one can hear you, can’t you see they’re all dead?’ i stopped mid scream and from behind me came a man in a large grey hoodie and black pants. he walked over the bodies like they weren’t even there, the sneakers he wore slushed and squelched as he moved but he paid no mind to the stomach turning sound
‘who are you?’ i spoke through my tears
‘you don’t know me? i’m hurt. i’ve watched you watch me work hundreds of times before, even when you were a baby’ he said and smiled solemnly ‘my only companion’
‘answer me, who are you?’ i almost screamed it at him
‘ i am death’
the words hung heavy in the already limp air
‘am i going to die?’
the man raised an eyebrow in thought, held up a finger telling me to wait and leafed through at tiny notebook he fished from his pocket
‘hmm…no, not yet’
‘then why am i here?’
‘well, don’t ask me! i didn’t bring you here! you barged in yourself! without even knocking. the nerve of you mortals’ he answered with a note of irritation in his voice
‘but…i’ve never been here, i was just working, what is this? where are we?’ my voice shook
‘oh sweetling’ he came towards me and put his arms around me, holding me to himself like a fragile china cup ‘you’ve been wandering closer and closer to the borders of this place for about 2 years now, ever since you took up that wretched job’
‘i’m helping people!’ i said pushing him away
‘people who would still die’ he countered. ‘we are in the place to where all dead things come’
‘i want to go back’
‘oh, no one ever goes back…as you can see’ he replied gesturing to the corpses
‘how did i get here? do you know?’
‘you took the path they all did, only…i did not lead you. that is a good question! how did you get here on your own?’
‘it must be my gift’
‘gift? what you have is not a gift but a penance…its killing you, your name moves up the list faster than any mortal’s ever did and soon you will be like the rest of my guests’
My head was whirring, my mouth was dry…my stomach kept clenching like i was about to heave up every meal i ever had
‘i can’t stay, i have to go, i have to go, i’m hurting…i have to go’
‘come child, i’ll take you back’ he said holding out his hand ‘know this, dear one, the next time you see me, it will be at your end’ i took his hand
My eyes opened to the harsh glare of a hospital lamp over my head.
4 days after I called Mark and said i was ready to get back to work. The crime scene was in a car where a child had been raped and killed. forensics had combed the vehicle clean before i even got there so i opened the passenger door and got in.
‘hello’ a familiar voice said. i turned and saw death in the driver’s seat with his hand outstretched
‘hi, its nice to see you again’ i smiled as i took his hand and he started the car
In the field were poppies and orchids…but i’m allergic to flowers. Worst road trip ever.