Photo credit: clarita from morguefile.com
Silhouettes skittered over the pale mound that lay splayed open, shaded by a massive boulder from the intense mid-day sun. Bottle-green flies the size of nickels droned lazily in the lifeless Memphis air, reluctant to leave their prize.
“Did you say who found her?” The doctor crouched, falling on one knee to poke at the mess.
“One of the local kids,” The detective beside him said. "He said he heard commotion outside his house last night but was too scared to investigate until this morning." His phone rang on its clip on his belt and he stepped back from the scene, obviously relieved to have an excuse to escape for a moment.
“Wendy,” the doctor said, waving at a blanched intern in pigtails with a brand new Nikon, “Bring the camera over here.”
“My God,” Wendy said as she raised a convexed lens to record the actual damage. “Coyotes?” She asked, hopeful.
“Could be. There's definitely signs of a struggle. Minute amount of what appears to be charring.” He raised a specimen bag for a closer look. The body wasn't what could be called 'good' or even 'recognizable' condition. This female (identified by the exposed bones) had no entrails to speak of. The corpse was fresh, but nearly completely eaten. Her face was a mangled mess of features. No heart, just a gaping, glistening cavity.
“It wasn't a pack of animals,” the doctor said, pointing out a wicked set of bite marks in what was left of the woman's outer thighs. “Unless they all have the same crooked jawline. See these bites? Asymmetrical.”
“Maybe it was a bear,” the intern mumbled, brushing black fringe bangs out of her face. She was just a kid practically. The doctor glanced up at her and frowned. Her skirt was shorter than need be. It was distracting.
“Okay if we move the body?” A team stood by behind them; three men in pale green overalls, latex gloves and surgical masks. They had a gurney ready with an open and unused body bag on it.
The doctor examined the woman's teeth for further clues. Her incisors were filed to points. Her skin was steaming apparently from the heat. He frowned, and rose to his feet, slipping off his examination gloves. A detective nearby spoke to a witness. He shook his head. There wasn't much more that could be done. They couldn't identify the body.
“Yeah, go ahead and take the Jane.”
The sun was settling in the middle of the sky as the team worked the body into the black rubber bag. They lifted the thing onto the gurney and wheeled it out into direct sunlight.
The bag burst into flame.