Chapter 1: Violet Violence
Holly Price's heart always raced when she peered anxiously through the lens of her camera. Focusing her gaze on the most gruesome details of a murder victim's body was her job, but her love was capturing that last remaining essence in their eyes. The victim she was examining was increasingly interesting. A young woman had been found in her loft, poised delicately in an armchair. She was gazing out her window at the bay. The girl was noticed by a neighbor across the street who called the police as soon as he saw that his cute watcher was not moving. By the time Holly reached the scene police had already set up tape and started asking questions. She couldn't stand when people walked all over her crime scene. Detective Jerry Hudson was one of them she particularly despised walking anywhere. He had always been a fat thorn in her side at the unit; doughnut dust laden fingers always pointing out her faults. He was a self-proclaimed genius when it came to crime scene investigation, yet that was his biggest downfall. Holly strained not to point it out every moment she had the chance.
Holly tried to focus both her camera and her wits on the task at hand. She snapped a photo of the gashes on the girl's wrists, the bruising around her slender neck. She captured the serene sadness emanating from her faded blue eyes. The next picture would explain the obsessive psychosis of the killer. The girl had been dressed post-mortem. The killer had meticulously placed every vital part of the pose. Her body was wrapped in a breathtaking Victorian gown. Every button was fastened, every lace tied securely. The royal purple material gleamed in the sunlight floating through the soft curtains. The dress flowed around her body in a plum waterfall of silk. Holly took notice of the gentleness the killer took tying the curls in her hair back with a sweet violet ribbon.
Another memory was ingrained in Holly's roll of Kodak: the disparity between the dress and the girl's skin. Her skin was a remarkable contrast of milk white porcelain, drained of all life, and yet still retained a crimson set of lips and a flush on her cheeks. This killer was creepily focused on details. Her eyes were softly lined with black, her lashes curled neatly with mascara, yet her gaze was racked with broken blood vessels. Her eyes retold what the marks on her neck had shared; death by asphyxiation.
The girl's fingernails had even been painted with the same crimson from her lips. Her slender left ring finger was home to a fantastically extravagant diamond ring. Under her exquisite manicure was some residual dirt. Holly spotted it in a close up of the princess cut heart-shaped diamond. That would need to be gathered for evidence. Hopefully it had not been flushed away by the killer's thorough cleaning. Holly noticed something small and white in the girl's hand: a business card sized note. It was a creamy off white and on the front in flowing script read:
Freedom in Death
Holly shuddered at the haunting script as she flipped over the card. It was covered in a photo of poppies, flaming orange and raging red. She swallowed hard at the sight. She placed the card into an evidence bag, her mind careening. She needed to remember to stay grounded, so she returned to the victim's wounds, trying to determine which caused death. Holly was engrossed in her victim's wrists when Detective Hudson came crashing into her thought space.
"Price! Hey PRICE! Yo! Snap out of it!" boomed the burly man, snapping his fingers in Holly's face. Coming to, she jumped, startled at the screeching voice interrupting her contemplations.
"Was that really necessary, Hudson?" she questioned, one hand on her hip, one on her camera.
"Well you've been standing there starin' at your girlfriend for over thirty minutes now, and we kinda have a job to do! Hurry your little picture takin' up, would ya?"
Holly huffed at him with a sneer and spun back around to face her newest model. While she contemplated the beautiful yet unnerving corpse, she reeled about Hudson's 'picture takin' comment. He was such a brutally disgusting old man; he made her edgy. She started to lose focus when she noticed she had forgotten to take one last picture. It was always the most important to her: the feet. In this case, the shoes as well needed to be photographed.
A pair of sateen amethyst heels adorned the victim's angelic feet. Holly was ecstatic that the killer did not over look this part of the girl's body. She kept this morbid oddity to herself, as most would not understand how much can be told from the special belongings on a victim's body.
As her camera concluded the photo shoot with a resounding mechanical note, Holly was energized with thoughts of her next task. Developing the film was almost as exciting as taking the photos.