The girl stood in the driveway with her dog staring up at the piece of crime scene tape fluttering in the wind. They were "nodding acquaintances" one of those things that seemed to happen in the suburbs. Odd almost friendships. The people you would see every morning when you were out walking your dog. Or out for your daily run. Run. When did we start calling it running? Remember when we jogged? Now you must run. And you need to know exactly how far you ran. You used to go jogging for an hour now you ran for 7 miles.
The girl was new to the neighborhood. She'd only seen her a handful of times. Always when she was on her morning run (5 miles every day) and the girl was out walking her dog. Ridiculous little mop of a dog who really looked as if it wished it was being carried instead of forced to walk around the neighborhood. Dogs like that had all of the dog bred out of them. Designer dogs must have come around about the same time we all started running instead of jogging.
She nodded at the girl as she ran past.
The next day it was the same thing. The girl and her dog standing at the end of the driveway staring up at the crime scene tape. Today would be the day she would ask. Sometimes they made it three or four days, but this girl didn't seem the patient type. She was right.
"Hey! Do you know what happened here?"
She slowed down and ran in place, "Hmm? Oh the tape?"
"Yeah, I've seen it every day when we walk past. Nobody seems to live there but the tape doesn't look old. Do you know what happened?"
This part was tricky. Just how curious was she? Was she going to be the type that would be satisfied with a simple answer or was she one that needed all of the little details. She thought she was dealing with a detail person.
"It's pretty gruesome. Are you sure you want to know?"
As she watched the girl's eyes light up she knew she had been right. This was a detail person. She would want everything. Eating up someone else's misfortune like candy. By the end she would be dying to get home and share it all on Facebook. "OMG! You guys will never guess what happened!" And then leave it for awhile. Make people beg her for the story. Drag it out for as long as possible.
She looked up and down the street then leaned in and whispered to her, "Do you want to see inside?"
"Can you get in?"
"The back door is unlocked. I chased some kids out of there a few weeks ago. But I was curious as well so..." She gave her best can you blame me smile.
The girl gave a conspiratorial giggle. "Sure, let's go peek."
They both took another exaggerated look around before heading up to the house. If anyone had been there to see them it would have been painfully obvious they were lousy sneaks.
There was another piece of broken crime scene tape on the back door. But other than that everything looked normal. Just your typical suburban back yard. Swing set, old basketball hoop, garden shed. The girl was looking around trying to take in every detail.
She let them both inside through the unlocked door.
The kitchen was empty. No furniture. No appliances. Everything had been cleared out. The whole house was like this. Completely empty.
When they stopped in the living room she pointed to the edge of the fireplace. "See that dark spot? That's where the first person died. Head smashed against the edge of the brick."
The girl leaned in to look closer and shivered. "How many people did he kill?"
She pointed out a faded spot high on the wall. "That's another spot. Blood spatter is what it's called. That's trickier because the person could have been thrown against the wall or possibly hit with something that caused the spray."
"Is that how he killed them all? Hitting them? No guns or anything?"
"Nope, no guns. No knives. Hit with something or against something. Maybe a baseball bat or golf club."
The girl looked around the empty living room and gave a small shiver, "Did it all happen in here?"
"No, it was spread out. Here, I'll show you."
They walked in to a bedroom and she motioned for the girl to move away from the doorway. Lifting the edge of carpet she pulled it back to reveal hard wood floors. Hard wood floors with a very dark stain. "I don't know how far in to the room this goes, but you can see here where someone bled. A lot."
The girl shivered again and her dog whined. She reached down and picked him up. "I know, Francis, it's spooky in here isn't it?"
"Francis Bacon. The surrealist painter. Not the aristocrat. I always thought Franky Bacon would be a good dog name. But he's definitely a Francis more than a Franky."
She nodded and smiled like this was a normal dog name. Maybe for a designer dog it was. Dog names like Spot and Rover were for people who still jogged.
She walked out of the bedroom and in to a small bathroom. Pointing at the shower she said, "You can see a stain in the grout there. No matter how much you scrub grout it never gets as white as when it was first put in. But here it's a lot darker. Someone bled as they leaned against the wall here. See?"
The girl stepped in to the shower stall and looked at the corner of the wall. "Yeah, you can totally tell it's a different color. I wonder if he surprised them in the shower or if they ran here."
They walked back out in to the hallway then back in to the kitchen. "See where the stove used to be? You can see a chipped spot of tile on the corner there. Somebody hit the counter hard enough to break that. And if you look closer you can still see a little discoloration on the floor. Or at least I think you can. Sometimes I think I am imagining it because I know what I am looking for."
The girl knelt down and peered at the floor, "I can see it too. I think you are right. They must have hit their head here, and then the floor here." Francis Bacon sniffed the area as well. The girl got up and tugged at his leash. "No, Francis, leave it."
They went back in to the living room and then down the hall to the master bedroom.
"Is this where number 6 died?"
"Yeah." She walked in to the bedroom and toward the large walk-in closet. The girl followed behind.
"How do you think it happened? You know, how did no one get away from him? How did he kill so many of them?"
"It's hard to say for sure. I would guess maybe curiosity and sexism got the best of them."
The girl gave a startled laugh, "What?"
She turned around then holding the baseball bat she had left in the closet earlier. High arcing swing connecting solidly with the girl's chin.
The girl was unconscious before she ever hit the floor. Francis whined.
"Curiosity and sexism, Bacon, every time."