Denny reached into the fridge and pulled out a beer. He appeared to be practicing how to cry. The sounds were there, but his face was dry.


Setting the bottle down next to his badge, the detective collapsed into his chair as a new bout of fake sobbing took hold of him.


***


6 months ago the first body was found. It was on the sidewalk, seemingly shot. The CSI teams weren’t amused. Why, they asked, would some make a flesh puppet?


Then they asked, why would someone skin their victim and place him on a frame. Then, when there was no frame – How did this person have all their organs removed so cleanly.


That case was still open.


The second victim was found 2 weeks later. This body was thrown off a building. Again, no blood. No organs.


The third was a week after that, sat in the bath, a razor blade dropped at the side, their wrists torn like old paper.


The police were stumped.


There were no marks, no possible way for the bodies to be empty. Especially not the suicides.


Yes. Plural. Many more were found.


Doctors sent patients for X-rays. When the plates came back blank, the patients dropped dead.


Surgeons sliced through flesh revealing hollow shells. None survived.


In fact, no living specimen had ever been found or studied.


***


Detective Denny Tutturo had stopped crying. He was calmer now.


Earlier today he had cut his finger. Just a paper cut. It was quite painful, but it hadn’t bled.┬áHe had come home soon after.


There he sliced his palm with a fruit knife. Just to make sure.


He hadn’t bled, but his skin stayed ragged, like dried paper.


He picked up his service revolver, placed it against the pillow wedged up against his temple and left another bloodless, empty corpse for the world to puzzle over.

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