The first strange thing was Ransack himself. Even now, fully conscious of himself and his work, he still continued to break protocol by smoking and flicking ash around the crime scene. If anything, he seemed worse than ever, as if deliberately laying down a challenge to the photographer Mackintosh and anyone else who may be against such things.
“Here, get a personal of this!” boomed Ransack, flicking his latest half-smoked cigarette over towards the body. It landed a foot away from the mountain of flesh and sizzled out slowly in a pool of jellied blood. Mackintosh snapped the cigarette and then turned his camera onto Ransack, the flash lighting up an evil leer that had now corrupted the Detective Inspectors face. As the shot of intense brightness from the flash faded Ransack once again clutched his head and scrunched his face up in agony. He reeled back a little and seemed unsteady on his feet. Then, for the first time in this whole affair, he said, “My God , I've come over all queer... I'm really not feeling at all well!” Barely had the Detective Inspector finished than he stumbled back and only remained on his feet thanks to the open door and making a quick grab for the handle. Flash. Zmmmmm
Detective Davies, who up until then had remained pinned in horror to the back wall, now unstuck himself and rushed to the aid of his chief. He caught him around the back and under the armpits, dragged him a foot and then lifted him back into a respectable standing position.
“God, are you alright Sir?” he asked, righting him. “Shall I go get some help? There's a doctor in the kitchen.”
Ransack blinked the room back into focus and steadied himself with a hand on Davies shoulder. Mustering up the stubborn resolve of an invalid he pushed himself on, around his support and made his way over towards a distressed wooden dresser which sat in the opposing corner to the body. Ransack leant against it for support. “I'm not sure, Davies,” he said, “I've been feeling ill all afternoon but was trying to keep it under control, you know, hoping it was maybe just something I had eaten. But there, well, you saw it, I just nearly went arse over bollocks on that one... God! YOU SAW ME, didn't you? You both saw it!”
“Saw it, Sir?” said Davies, astonished, “Hells Bloody Bells I did! It was me who caught you, Sir... you'd definitely have gone for a burton if not. But you've been acting mighty weird all afternoon ... Jenkin's noticed too. He even noted it down. We thought it may have just been the case, the scene... especially as it seemed to happen just after you viewing it. But yes, I saw it.... you took a fair old wobble, Sir!”
“And you, Mackintosh... did you see what happened?” Ransack asked, now looking nothing but a little cunning. Mackintosh didn't reply. Not with words anyway. Instead he once again pointed his camera at Ransack and ever so deliberately took another full shot of him. It not only meant that he had seen it, but that he'd captured it on film too – the revered and celebrated Detective Inspector Ransack caught going bandy-legged because of something that a butcher's apprentice see's every day. Ransack gave Mackintosh a glare. It was full of hatred... and something else. Mackintosh smiled and turned away. Ransack lit another cigarette. He sucked and puffed it into good existence, so just for a moment his face was completely obscured in a mist of thick mysterious smoke.
It was Davies who broke the silence. He didn't really think it relevant anymore but he asked anyway. “Sir, will you be wanting the doctor? He's just next door and I need some fresh air myself.”
“No, no doctors,” replied Ransack, “we've only 25 minutes left, I'm sure I can make it through... Though I do feel awful strange, God... and these cigarettes are going straight to my head . But doctor, NO! The only thing I need right now is an ashtray! But look, if you need fresh air go and give Jenkins a call. Get him in here with me and you save your soul and take over the secondary scene. Now go on.”
As Ransack finished he eyed the dresser clumsily, like a drunk, and seeing a half used ashtray leaned across to use it. Just as Ransack tapped the head of ash from his cigarette he lost his footing and crashed right along the dresser knocking everything everywhere. This time not even Davies could save him. Ransack crashed right along and then slid off the side, down past the drawers, whacked his temple on one of the handles and landed, to a flash, flush level with the carpet. For a moment Ransack looked along the soft dirty beige pile he had landed on. His eyes came to rest on a pair of scuffed and beaten shoes, something like you'd find on a dosser. They belonged to Mackintosh. Ransack spat out a huge gob of blood and then rose to his knees. He swiped the back of his right hand under his nose taking a smear of bright red blood. Davies rushed in to help him but Ransack warned him away. “GET JENKINS,” he barked, “Get Jenkins in here now!”