Day 4: SK Hit - Once Upon A Mattress

Arthur ducked beneath yet another strand of yellow police tape, noting that he had all but lost his earlier reservations about breaking this particular law. With the recent string of murders and odd accidents occurring, he was just as eager to see the end of it as the next, and after seeing a few of the police reports, Ford seemed infinitely more qualified to investigate this latest one.

“How long do you think the police will be away?”

“Well,” Ford began. “If you start with the three pints each I just bought them, and then factor in the complimentary peanuts... they should be out for at least one more hour.”

Ford, eager to take in the latest crime scene first hand, had taken the entire investigative team out to the local pub for an early-morning drink. With all the work they had been forced to do over the past few days, the boys jumped at the opportunity to drop in for a quick one; especially a quick one they didn’t have to pay for.

“So, where has the body got to?” Arthur asked. “I thought we had dragged them off to the pub so we could get a good look at it before it was taken to the morgue.”

“It’s right here,” Ford said casually. “You’re sitting on it.”

“What??” Arthur screamed in a manner not entirely unlike, in both pitch and tone, the way a young woman might. “You mean this...”

“Yes, the mattress. Zem.”

“I think I’m going to be ill.”

As Arthur ran off to look for a bucket, Ford went over the scene before him once again. The victim, as it were, had apparently been asleep when it happened, and hadn’t awoken when the intruder came in. What happened next was nearly anyone’s guess, as it looked as though the mattress had been torn apart from the inside out. There were bits of fluff and padding everywhere.

“Do you notice anything odd?” Ford asked Arthur, who had come back from the lavatory looking rather green.

“You mean aside from the fact that there’s a dead mattress laying on the floor here?" Arthur shot back, dryly. "No, not particularly. Why?”

Ford reached down, and pointed to a torn bit of something that was sticking out from the seam of the mattress. “There should be a tag here.”

“You mean, the one that says not to remove under penalty of law?”

“Yes, that’s the one.” Ford said. “That’s probably what killed it, the rest looks to be post mortim.”

“Removing the tag killed it?”

“Yes, the law the tag refers to is murder, and the penalty is, well...”

Arthur seemed to be having a hard time wrapping his brain around that one, and Ford wasn’t surprised, since it was a particularly primitive brain. Still, there was something about the scene that bothered him. It didn’t feel like the others, as though this were a crime of necessity rather then an accident. The killer had wanted something, but what? Ford couldn’t say.

“Hey, I think there is something else missing,” Ford shouted, nearly causing Arthur to jump out of his skin.

“A set of designer sheets perhaps?”

“No, the padding.” Ford said, darkly. “There should be more of it.”