The story about a prolific serial killer had flittered in and out of the writer’s mind for months. Like all good suspense/thrillers, the story had been taking its sweet time to come together, to fester, as he liked to joke. It had been brewing in Seth’s “chamber of terrors”, his wife’s glib term his darker-than-gray grey matter, but he wanted it to feel more authentic. There were countless books on the market to baby-step a writer through the forensic side of a murder but they all felt so cold and impersonal. Seth believed in engaging his readers’ senses on every level: taste, touch, smell, not just visual or the occasional sound to set fear’s icy fingers crawling up the reader’s spine. It had to be genuine.
He’d almost scrapped the story altogether after clacking away at his keyboard all night for months with little to show for it. Bleary eyed and foul-tempered he shuffled to the kitchen for a cup of coffee. Inhaling the rich aroma of his magic elixir, the one that made him bearable to other humans and his four-legged friend, Seth unrolled his local newspaper for a mindless distraction. Hidden between thinly veiled attacks at the opposing political party and the latest armed robbery was the photograph of a lovely woman in a lab coat. Next to that picture was another grainy, black and white photo of someone in a lab coat leaning over a body. There was something in the woman’s kind smile that made Seth look closer. The article stated that MDI Kim Miller was to receive an award for outstanding service in the Gerald Rhymes case. Even a recluse like Seth, was well acquainted with the Rhymes murders. Unfamiliar with the abbreviation MDI, he stumbled over to his laptop and Googled the term. MDI stood for Medicolegal Death Investigator and suddenly his mind whirred with plots from crime scene investigation shows and movies about forensic examiners.
For the first time in months Seth felt something akin to creativity so he did a little more investigating. He’d become so fascinated by the multi-faceted role a Medicolegal Death Investigator played, he subconsciously ignored three incoming calls to his cell phone. When his landline phone’s shrill ring split through the room like a cat caught in a screen door, a barrage of profanities hissed through his teeth. Nearly ready to rip the receiver from the wall, he took a deep breath.
“I’m trying to work, Melanie. Can’t you get that?”
The ringing continued but rather than answer it Seth continued to scroll through the articles he’d unearthed. He didn’t stop until a familiar voice caught his attention.
“Seth? Are you there? Okay, I guess not…um, this is Ethan Rosewood. Remember me? Your agent. I tried to reach you on your cell but-”
“Ethan? Are you still there? Sorry about that, I was working on my next manuscript and I had the ringer off. Wait, they said what? No…no, I do not have writer’s block. Tell them I am on to something new and exciting. Can you do me a favor? If I send you an article from my local paper can you put me in touch with someone over there? I’d like to see if they can get me in to meet with the MDI on the Gerald Rhymes case. Do you know what an MDI is? Oh, well, aren’t you a know-it-all. Ha! Yeah, yeah, I have a serial killer story idea and I think an insider’s vantage point would really help me give it an authentic feel. Great! Call me when you hear something.”
For the first time in weeks, Seth was excited about his project. His agent had managed to get in touch with a forensic photographer named Angela. Angela often worked alongside the same Kim Miller from the newspaper article. She had graciously agreed to bring Seth along on her next call and he couldn’t wait to get started.