Size / / /

Sadly, it was about as botched a case

as possible, with so much mishandling

of evidence that no criminal was ever

likely to be brought up on charges.

The police chief held himself responsible.

Colleagues warned him not to hire the boy

to fill the forensic examiner position, but

the lad had graduated top of his class

from university and he'd already struggled

so mightily against adversity and the unfortunate

hand he'd been dealt at birth—helping his

nephew out thus seemed almost automatic,

the same way all along, when the boy

was growing up, he'd manifestly correct

people when they referred to him by that

awful name. "It's called Scheuermann's

kyphosis, my friends. Please update

your awareness."

All the same, he'd clearly made a mish-

mash out of his tyro case.

According to the boy's report, the

dead giant was something known

as a chimera, having radically different

patterns of DNA in various parts of his

lumbering frame. Identification, he

claimed, was therefore going to be

difficult, if not impossible.

Victim # 2, however, was a known American

and had almost certainly been shot to death.

The bullet, in fact, lay glistening on the metal tray

over by the window, etched in silver light

from the late rising moon; yet for some reason

his nephew wanted to waste an ungodly amount

of money having dog fibers sent to the capital

for "canine mitochondrial sequencing."

Even more incredible, he'd totally

misplaced the last of the murdered troika,

a member of the aristocracy from the

looks of the crime scene photos, wearing

such fine clothing he could have been a baron

or count. ("His paleness hints of some

hereditary coagulopathy," the report glossed.)

He claimed he'd put him in morgue drawer

#12, yet found it empty upon returning

to conduct follow-up analyses. Odder still,

there remained traces of the original

internment soil on the slab, along with

what looked to be bat droppings.

So much for giving the lad a chance:

such incompetence was intolerable.

The police chief had his own reputation

to protect; plus he would brook no charges

of nepotism. He therefore had little choice

but to crumple the report and toss it

into the wastebasket.

Such a shame, too. For someone so gnarled

and crooked of frame, Igor's handwriting

was a thing of intricate beauty.

Meanwhile, before the village woke up

and a mad rush for pitchforks broke out,

it was time to check the state registry

for mad scientists—then roust the usual


Robert Borski works for a consortium of elves repairing shoes in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. You can read more of his work in our archives.
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