It was already dark by the time Detective K returned to the office. A few long hours spent questioning neighbours and combing the nearby area had left her feeling deteriorated, and it was time to finish up for the day. The plant's remains had been quickly shipped out not long after she had arrived. She tried to stay focused, by the grisly imagery of leaves strewn about the bedroom floor would almost certainly keep her up at night.
There was only a light drizzle remaining as she entered HQ. Her hair, frizzy and unkempt, almost had security hold her up at the botany department door. The officers posted there let her through once they were certain she wasn’t an escaped mental patient having a convincing episode.
Once inside, she quickly realised that the majority of the department was empty. The fast clicking and clacking of a typewriter emanating from down the hall let her know that her office partner was still present, likely crunching out a new social media strategy. Mon made her way down the hallway and lingered at the door, observing her coworker. Off to the left, behind his desk, was Hayden Emerr, head of the one-man PR team hired by the police force. Employing the bare minimum of funding, Hayden was tossed into the only spare desk in the botany department, which just so happened to be in Mon’s office.
Tired out of her mind, Mon sauntered inside and dropped her duffel bag on the table, applying enough care not to damage any one of the fifteen plants on or around her desk. Hayden didn’t seem to notice her entry until she accidentally kicked a nearby watering can, spouting out a few choice curse words.
“Mon, please please please please tell me you got something on this guy!” he pleaded. “I’ve got three other blunders to take care of, I don’t want this lunatic holding fourth place for much longer.”
Mon sighed. “Nothing yet. I had the plant sent down to the morgue, maybe something might crop up?” She sank into her chair, legs sprawled out as her body slid forward, her head barely appearing over the desk top.
“Fuckin’ hell. This is almost as bad as the Arbourtown Chopper!”
“Don’t remind me, that case was a piece of work.” Images briefly flashed in her head, including one of a tree stump found next to a backyard shed, axed still buried in its center. That took a few months of therapy to get over. “What’s holding you back right now?”
“Ugh. You remember Officer Davis? The loony with the itchy trigger finger?”
“The guy that tear gassed the toddler with the water gun?”
“Yeah that guy. He got called back today after he tried to run over someone’s dog. Thought it was rabid, or some load of crock.”
Mon started rubbing her eyes. “Doesn’t sound too bad.” Hayden pulled a flask out from his jacket, taking a quick swig before pocketing it again.
“‘Cept that dog was sleeping on its owner's lap. Inside their living room.”
Mon paused and stared at the ceiling.
“How am I supposed to fuckin’ calm the public about the idea of an officer driving his vehicle halfway into your house, and then tasing your grandmother by accident when the dog he was chasing bolts out the kitchen door?” Hayden procured his flask again, seemingly emptying it. His bloodshot, baggy eyes made him appear ready to pass out, his neatly combed blond hair now draping down onto his face.
The force did employ its fair share of weirdos, that’s for certain. Though Mon wondered why they kept them on the payroll. Before Hayden could continue to vent, Mon’s desk phone began to ring. She clumsily flailed her arm about the table until she had the phone in hand, bringing it to her ear.
“Investigative Botany Department, Crimes Division. This is Detective K speaking.”
Doctor Brown’s familiar voice emerged from the ear piece. “Detective K, excellent, you’re still in house. Now might be a good time to meet me down in the morgue. We’ve had some, er, developments in the case.”
“Like what?” she inquired, sighing. “If it’s anything to do with that corpse, you’re chatting with the wrong department.”
“Oh no, no, no. This is to do with the plant we found.”
“Hold on, this soon? It only just got here!”
“Correct, though this wasn’t particularly difficult. And, well, plants, I should say.”
Mon paused, pushing herself back upright in her chair. “Plants? Multiple?”
“We started our initial testing only a few minutes ago, and… It’s strange. We identified the leaves as that of English Ivy, but the potted stem… well it was obviously different at first glance, but for it to be that of a sunflower is even stranger.”
A shiver ran down her spine. “Give me a minute, I’ll be right down!” she exclaimed, slamming down the phone.
Mon could tell Hayden had overheard the entire conversation, as his expression looked even more sullen.
“You know what this means, right?” asked Mon as she threw her damp coat over the chair’s back.
“There’s a second corpse out there that we haven’t found yet.”