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Content Warning: Descriptions of gore.


Greenburg Manor

North Bay

Freedom City, NJ

Saturday, the 15th of August, 2020

8:32 PM


The Greenburgs of Freedom City were nouveau riche - their relative affluence dating back only three generations, rather than descending from founders of what would eventually become Freedom City. Their current matriarch, Jessica, had been one of the top physicians for the wealthy of Freedom City, before ascending to their ranks herself - no mean feat for a female doctor, especially in those days. Now, however, she lead the family with a firm but gentle hand to improve their fortunes and those of the rest of Freedom City - especially the impoverished minorities.


Unfortunately, not all was well in the Greenburg family, though this somewhat recent state of affairs had not yet been revealed to the public. Two hours ago, Jonathan Greenburg, one of Jessica's grandsons, arrived at the manor to pick his grandmother up for a family dinner. Upon his entry to the house proper, he discovered what looked like a scene from a charnel house - two rooms with butchered and defaced bodies. He called the police, and they swiftly set up a crime scene on their arrival.


After determining that this was, like an increasing number of murder cases in the city, opaque to their investigations, the police got in contact with one of the heroes they knew was most suited to the investigation. That was where Terrifica came in.

Edited by secondling
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Terrifica was one of the best investigators in all of Freedom, and a reservist with the Freedom League Auxiliary. Of course they called her. At least that’s what she was telling herself. Her confidence had been…less than stellar, lately. Not that she had let anyone notice. With that said, this was just the case to put her back into stride. Nothing like getting justice for a gruesome murder (double murder?) to get the juices flowing properly again. North Bay. Jessica Greenburg. Her manor, well…the detective had been short of specifics., which was how she knew it was a gruesome one. Veterans didn’t blink at ordinary murders after a point, and even somewhat nasty ones they could be mostly professional about. It was when things got truly repulsive that even the veterans would just “Just come. It’s bad.” Or the equivalent thereof.

So, Terrifica pulled up to the manor on her motorcycle. She got off, longcoat fluttering through the air, and didn’t waste a moment getting to the door. The officers guarding the scene had apparently been notified of her arrival, as they slid aside to let her pass. “Detective. Nice to see you again. What do we have?” As if this would be a team effort. Law enforcement always appreciated that little touch. And yes, truthfully superheroes didn’t have arrest powers. However, superheroes were the ones getting shot at and swung on by “villains” with more power than brains. And in cases like these, doing the actual work the police didn’t have the expertise to do. But she digressed.

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The detective offered Terrifica a weak smile, though his face was somewhat pale. "Gonna be honest, ma'am, it's like a butchery in there. From what we can tell, there've been two deaths here. Both, uh... well, very violent." His expression faltered into a dark frown. "It's likely that this is the same killer that's been striking for the past few months. M.O. is the same, anyways." He took a deep breath, before beckoning her to follow him down understatedly beautiful halls.


As they walked, the detective continued. "The first crime scene's in the kitchen. We've not moved too much around, but... well, see for yourself." He pushed a door open and gestured for her to enter. "Just watch your step. It's... slippery in there."


The kitchen, under normal circumstances, would have been a pretty enough room, with expensive-looking stone countertops, an advanced stove and oven, a lovely set of windows with plenty of natural light, and simple, but functional tiles on the floor. Anything else about how it might have once looked, however, was now gone. The white walls and tiled floors were spattered with blood at all angles, arterial spray at its worst. Atop one of the counters was the gruesome remains of part of what had once been a living, breathing person, while several other pieces were strewn elsewhere across the room. 


All of the body parts were thoroughly lacerated, and the stench of death was strong in the air. The detective stepped into the kitchen behind Terrifica with some trepidation. "My people aren't yet positive when this happened. Best guess right now is some time between noon and six." 

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  • 2 weeks later...



Terrifica felt the familiar ice closing around her thoughts. Her anger wasn’t a burning thing that drove away her reason. No, it was cold and clear. Her eyes catalogued recognizable bits of anatomy, and her hands pulled a visor from her utility belt. “Have you been able to identify either of them?” A cool, professional voice. One that projected both confidence and competence. She slipped the visor on. It was thermal vision, with a full visual analysis scanner. It didn’t have a name because she didn’t name them all. She didn’t name most of them, really.

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The room was relatively normal temperatures for what Terrifica would've expected from an indoor room in this weather. Any signs of body heat had fled the mess long before she'd arrived, but the visor's HUD did indicate that much of the blood had a higher concentration of alcohol than average - not enough to be charged with DUI, but enough to be slightly buzzed, if she was any judge.


Based on this and the rest of the information, she had to guess that he'd died at least two hours ago, but no more than three. Likely around 6 PM, though there was a margin for error of maybe ten minutes in either direction.


One thing did jump out at her, however - there were scorch marks beneath the blood in some locations. Following them with her gaze, she saw they led up to the ceiling, where they weren't obscured by blood. Instead, black stains charred the otherwise pretty ceiling in a single streak - not a natural pattern by any stretch of the imagination, especially with its neat edges.


"So far as we can tell, this was one Daniel Silva." The detective replied after a moment's consultation with his notes. "He was Jessica Greenburg's personal assistant, and apparently cooked for them both from time to time. From her grandson's statement, he's the only person that should've been in here today other than Mrs. Greenburg herself. We believe her to be the other victim - she's upstairs in her bedroom."

Edited by secondling
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Terrifica processed information faster than most supercomputers. “Hmm. When were they discovered?” She slid the visor off but kept it in hand. It was curious. If she didn’t know better, she’d have said he’d been torn apart by a heat blade, such as a laser sword or a power that could duplicate the effect. But that would have left the smell of cooked meat and there’d be noticeable burn marks, not lacerations. “And if you could show me to the bedroom now, please.” One thing as absolutely certain. This wasn’t an assassination. This was motivated by rage and/or hatred. Psychosis, perhaps. Cold and calculated, maybe. But all the same.

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The detective flipped through his notes. "The 911 call went out at 6:37 tonight. First responders arrived on the scene at around 6:40." He paused, his voice growing grave. "Mrs. Greenburg's poor grandkid found them when he came by to pick her up."


At her request, he nodded. "Alright, follow me." He lead her through well-appointed hallways, bypassing several doors before ascending a set of stairs. In the distance, Terrifica heard a few muted voices - presumably the grandson and the officers taking his statement, or just the family members. After a few more corridors, he paused, pushing open a door and gesturing her into it.


The scene was darker than the one in the kitchen - not metaphorically, but literally. Blood stained the single large window to such an extent that it blocked out the ambient light from the city, and the lights that shone overhead were dim, if not outright broken. There was much more obvious damage here - the bed was split in two as though by a giant axe, books in the bookcase had been rendered down to pieces of shredded paper, and there were shards of shrapnel of some sort in the walls.


The corpse itself was considerably less messy than the previous one, though it, too had been mutilated badly. The main part of the body was still intact, but it was missing part of one limb and a whole other one. 

The detective coughed, before speaking, his voice somewhat unsettled. "We're not sure what sort of struggle took place here, but it wasn't traditional by any means."

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Terrifica's analysis brought a whole host of new information to her. First off, from the evidence, she got the sense that this death occurred slightly after the one downstairs in the kitchen - probably not that long afterwards, but it definitely was the second one of the two.


There had clearly been a fight here, where the other crime scene looked more like a slaughter. Unfortunately, all the blood she analyzed was from the same source - presumably Jessica Greenburg, so despite the tremendous amount of damage done to the room, it looked like Jessica had not injured her attacker. The body itself had no signs of resistance either - no damage on the knuckles or under the fingernails that Terrifica would have expected from a physical struggle. It was harder to determine if the rest of her injuries came from fighting back, but it seemed unlikely.


Physically, the crime scene was equally intriguing. The shards of shrapnel in the wall were especially interesting, in that her visor quickly revealed to her that they were shards of diamond, and enough to be significantly valuable if they had all been in one piece. The bed looked like it had been cut, rather than simply smashed, indicating an enormous cutting tool, and one with incredible sharpness.


However, what was most fascinating was when she activated her magic-detecting equipment. The whole room positively glowed with magic residue, from parts of the blood splatter to the injuries on the corpse. The shards of diamond each were imbued with a different sort of magic than the injuries, the blood, and the bed. The victim's hands glowed with that same sort of magic as the diamond shards.


There was no register on the sorts of signs that Terrifica would expect from divine, psionic, or technological activities - well, other than the obvious for the last one, such as the lights and so on. Overall, the signs were pretty clear - this had been the site of a magical battle that wrought havoc upon the room.

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