TWELVE - Crusty Semen Inspectors

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Ten in the morning, Angelina in yet another cafe. She'd guessed becoming a detective's assistant would involve hanging around, but honestly, she might buy a Kindle. At least she could catch up on her reading.

Not to mention, another gadget would help her fit in against this particular eatery. It was a chain she'd never heard of near Canary Wharf, among a cluster of shining buildings resembling mirrors. All the sandwiches were paninis, the coffees had Italian names, punters looked like cartoons of bankers. She'd dressed up, worn a suit jacket and her most expensive black skirt, but still felt like a pleb.

She ignored them, stared at her coffee, updated Twitter and fiddled with the black radio box in her hand. It connected to her ears and the microphone clipped to her shirt.

"Hobson? Testing, testing, testing? You in there yet?"

Her boss' voice was a low bass rumble making her skull shake. "Calm it down, Choi. This lift wants to take its own sweet fuckin' time while I check out the shiny walls."

"Okay okay, sure."

She glanced across the tables to see how many people were staring at her: only three so far. Good start. Even though it wouldn't stop them looking, she started talking again to take her mind off it.

"Why are we using this microphone thing, anyway? You can get apps for this on smartphones if you'd just buy one. Seriously, like an old-fashioned walkie-talkie app, where you hold down a button and speak, that sort of thing. It's awesome, kinda retro-cool, y'know?"

"Choi, please stop trying to sell me mobile phones, it's just embarrassing."

"Fine."

"Good. Now, get ready to have useful feedback. We're here."

And through her earpiece, Angelina heard the lift doors sweep open.

*****

There wasn't much blood in the lift, Hobson noted. It looked like the serial killer and their dog managed to keep things clean, rather than leave a spattering of gore for him wallow in.

As he stepped back out into the bright, tasteful hall, the door to Lyne's flat already open, he readied himself for crimson spill. To his surprise, not a drop here either. Nothing in the doorway, or anywhere else, not even any spilt at the lift exit while trying to escape. The lock was unbroken, no cops examining it.

"Not much blood in the hallway, Choi," he said into the mike, "looks like they've finally taught the pooch some manners."

"You think they're getting careful?" she murmured back.

"Either that or they left Lyne's flat by abseiling out the fuckin' window, or parachuting, or they're still hiding in the..."

A sharp cough stopped Hobson mid-hypothesis. It was Ellie, leaning out from the flat doorway and already looking weary. "John, I thought I said leave the kid at home."

She glanced around the hallway. Hobson smiled and tapped his ear. "The kid's taking part remotely, Ellie. You got your wish."

"Yes, John, but I didn't mean..." She shook her head. "Fine. Well done, you win. Come in, please."

They entered Lyne's flat and, at long last, the redness started. Still not as much as he'd expected, though. The other dog-murder crime scenes resembled an explosion at a blood bank. This one was just Lyne's body, mangled halfway off one of the leather chairs he'd so enjoyed, red mess limited to the pool around it.

"Um, still not much spatter, Choi. Going to look at the body now."

Ignoring Ellie, he went over to the chairs and sat down in the one Lyne wasn't using. His body was exactly where Hobson had last seen him: head and shoulders still sitting on the chair, legs hanging towards the ground. Those parts were unscathed, but between them was a bloody whirl of tearing. As if someone stuck a blender into his stomach, or held a dog's head tightly while it chewed and ripped at a single point.

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