Victim 1: 35 year old caucasian male. Third degree burns across the entirety of the torso, but not cause of death. Extreme heat melted the vitreous body, and there are small fractures on the inside of the orbit.
Mal paused, trying to find the best word to describe what she was looking at. The chest was splayed open, but there was not an excessive amount of trauma.
There is no indication of ripping or cutting. She furiously erased the sentence. The thoracic cavity was pulled open perimortem. There are holes, three fourths of an inch in diameter through the skin, muscle and into the costal cartilage of ribs 2, 3, 5, 7 and 9. The shape of the wound indicates a hook was used. The hook went through the cartilage and terminates into the posterior of the bone. The ribs are fractured but not broken.
If pulling their chests open without splintering the bone was their goal, this was a smart way to go about it.
The hearts are missing, but there is not any significant damage to the pleural cavity. No indication of any symbols or rituals.
Mal put down her clipboard and pulled on a pair of gloves, in preparation to start her examination of the abdominal cavity. But something made her stop, and she looked down at the body.
Why am I hesitating? It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, in the lab, doing an actual autopsy. Maybe that’s it? But, identifying what killed people is how I got into hunting in the first place, it should feel good, but it doesn’t. Why? Oh, that’s right, I have no soul.
She shook her head, in an attempt to stop her through process, and out of the corner of her eye she caught a glint of metal, lodged between the transverse colon and the stomach. Well, this must be the wire used to pull the chest apart. She thought. It looks thick enough. As she moved the intestine out of the way to access the stomach, she gasped as she noticed bite marks. But they were nothing like she had ever seen. The flesh was not ripped or torn, like she had seen on the victims of typical shifter attacks. It was almost as if the organ was impaled. The punctures were needle thin, on the medial ends of the stomach. Even just from looking at the distance between the bit marks she knew that whatever creature had attacked him, had the capability to dislocate their jaw. What the hell did this?
She removed the stomach with practiced ease, and placed it on a tray. She retrieved a digital camera from her bag, and started taking pictures from various angles. She wasn’t sure why, but something about it reminded her of a sea creature, but she wasn’t positive. Once she was done she sent a text to Chelsea.
Could you see if Empire has a marine biologist on staff? I’m going to forward you some files.
While she waited for a response she confirmed that there were the same bite marks on the internal organs of the other victims. The ones that were further away from the house did not have the damage to their eyes, and the the burns were less severe. She remembered something that Charles had said, about lights flickering near Stella, and she shivered. Her laptop pinged and she opened the email in her inbox.
I was really surprised to hear from you! From the photos you sent me I’d say that it looks like the bite of an anglerfish. But a land dwelling anglerfish big enough to attack humans? That’s like MST3K stuff. I hope that helps. Let me know what you find out!
A fish shifter? I never even realized that was possible. Someone must know. Mal scrolled through the contacts in her phone, before hitting dial, hoping that the number she had was still active. She sighed in relief when it clicked over to voicemail.
“Hey Ed, it’s Mal. Listen, I have a quick question. Have you ever heard of a shifter that could turn into a fish? Call me as soon as you get this, it’s important.”