Skin

“We kissed, then I killed her.”
Silence swallowed the room. The air grew thick with the evil this animal had just breathed. Detective Houghton sat as still as I had ever seen. His eyes fixed on the monster in front of him. A wiry mess of blonde hair and a resolute stare – his eyes were such an insane hue of grey – mirrored my friend from across the interrogation table. Jake Markey: killer of Lucy Palmer and countless others. Behind the emotionless face of this man was a beast who had lured vulnerable women to his farm in the countryside in Hertfordshire and then proceeded to encaserate his victims for days, subjecting them to the most horrendous torture, before finally skinning them alive and leaving them to bleed to death.
Markey’s face split open into a deranged smile. I had to leave the room. His face had warped into a haunting shape which closely resembled that of a reflection in a novelty mirror at a fairground. There was something inhuman about this man. He seemed to project a dark intensity around the room which drained all energy from those closeby, as if his presence was a burden upon their soul.
I felt safe once I had retreated to the back room and began to observe the remainder of the interview from behind a thick sheet of two way glass. The window was situated on the wall behind Detective Houghton so I was able to watch, over the shoulders of the detective, Markey’s face for distinct facial responses or significant bodily gestures.
Houghton shuffled in his chair before reaching into one of the internal pockets of his jacket. He revealed a packet of cigarettes, opened it and summoned a solitary cigarette which a swift tap at the base of the packet with the palm of his hand. He raised the packet, clasped the butt between his lips before slowly withdrawing the rest of the cigarette from the pack. He turned in his chair towards a well-armed guard standing by the door and clicked his fingers at the tip of his cigarette, as if attempting to use an invisible lighter. The guard nodded subtly and, in one swift movement, flicked out a flame from his left hand and inspired a pulse of orange-gold infront of Houghton’s face. Tightly-coiled ribbons of grey dancing upwards as the detective inhaled deep, before exhaling a smokey darkness in the direction of Markey.
“Tell me about Lucy Palmer.” Houghton tapped off the dead pieces of his cigarette into a metallic ashtray that a guard had placed in front of him moments before. Houghton’s eyes locked onto Markey and his hand dived back into another jacket pocket. He retrieved about 15-17 polaroid photographs, placed them out onto the table infront of Markey and, in one swift slight of hand which would put any professional poker dealer to shame, spread the polaroids into an elegant line.
Mangled shapes of meat were depicted in these photographs. Lucy Palmer had been disfigured so badly that she was only identifiable after a dental examination. It was a Thursday in May – 29th May, to be exact – and the weather had been incredibly indecisive over the weeks prior to the discovery of Lucy’s body in a park a few miles from Markey’s home. Weeks of summer heat followed by intensely cold rainstorms and then the return of warm beautiful blue skies had caused an atypical decomposition cycle. The first bout of heat had accelerated the decomposition to cause the flesh to open up in numerous areas. The rainstorm then flooded to body cavities, accessing the internal areas via the tears in the dermis. The body would have become bloated by this and, from the coroner’s report, the body had bloated double it’s original size. The extreme cold which occured during the nights of calm after the storms had caused water to freeze within her body, causing terrible ruptures to blood vessels and many internal organs. The second heat wave in the week to follow was enough to thraw the body and kick up such a putrid stench that the local council received numerous complaints about a possible sewage rupture beneath the flower beds in Grundy Park. Lucy was found by a contractor hired to assess the elegded sewage issue behind a thick cluster of brambles aroubd the edge of the park. She had been covered – in quite a lazy attempt – by 5-6 inches of dirt. Excavation of the body was both easy and incredibly arduous. The shallow grave meant that forensics uncovered the body within no time, however the extensive decompostion of the body meant that the ‘gathering’ of her parts was terribly messy. Flesh fell from the bones like tender pulled pork and in many areas had taken on a gooey consistency.

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