He found the corpse under a blanket. The blanket was purpling with dandelion print and fading fringes, it lay brooding over the dull Berlin pavement, passive beneath a beaten-up Volkswagen. Soon the other’s joined him there in the misty shadows thrown out by streetlamps. They noted the colour of hair and eyes with a rusting pencil edge in a shredding notebook, heads occasionally rising and falling to check the tide of pedestrians. None passed. Any that had would have not turned their heads. Gradually the moon rose in a slow lament for this dull shape, tracing along the lines that skirted across the forehead. An alley cat sauntered by in search of dustbin groceries, tail conducting the night’s activity. One of them brandished themselves after it, an overgrown weapon. The cat shrieked feverishly and scaled the wall, darting into the blackness that flowed readily from above.
They finished noting. The corpse was stuffed unceremoniously into a rustling sack. It gave no challenge. Navigating the porous labyrinth with haste, for soon the watch would arrive, they crumpled out of sight upon the main road, cardboard shapes folding flat, undetectable. Into the vehicle, one, two, three. Four was left to conclude. The rustling sack was sandwiched between various incriminating objects; knives, candles, rope, suspicious manuals. Boot clicked closed firmly, muffling the silence. Number four lunged into the backseat, our driver accelerated out of the rising and falling panorama of towers and garages, skidding and squealing, eyes widening in the mirrors as hands clutched ever-tighter and veins strained out of his papery skin.
Sun arose over this bleary panorama, tracing all the filth the moon had kindly evaded. Rotting skins of carrot and other root vegetables masqueraded the decaying pavements, cracked ravines and potholes that could break your tooth. All around lay the stench of the impoverished, that stain of despondency that can’t be wiped away or tacked over with a waxed billboard. It was ingrained into the bricks and windows, ran like blood through the city’s pulsing organs.
At around noon the car was discovered. Its mangled shell twisted a despairing elegy, stretched around the lamp-post at awkward angles. Shattered glass glittered on the pavement like a thousand diamond teardrops. 5 dead. Suspicious circumstances. Suspected murder. Body found in blanket. Purple with dandelion print. The blanket not the body. All the hawks buzzed around this scene, swiping for details from a greying, evasive DC. He threw up his hands and squawked defences back at them as they circled. Later the headlines all rang with the detective inefficiencies, bemoaned social security and demanded secure, ‘corrective’ institutions.
As the sun sauntered its way back down to the folds of the earth, a solitary figure mounted the crest of higher ground overlooking the city. The fiery light dropped down like a dramatic curtain in a climactic overture. The figure stood there for some time, quarter of an hour or so, contemplating this decaying panorama from the safety of natural seclusion. It would not have been surprising if wings had risen from behind in the glowing light and carried this figure in a neo-Blakean trance across the scrapers. Instead, the figure smiled. A dry smile, threatening to shatter the porcelain.