FREEZER

“He was a quiet man. Never bothered anyone. Always paid his rent on time.”

These are the words of a young man’s landlady, Gladys, after he has disappeared for several days. No family. No friends. No one to contact, so Gladys let herself into his apartment over her garage. “Just in case he’d fallen and hurt himself, you see.”

As she roamed his one room hovel— “Just to see if there might be a clue as to his whereabouts, of course. I simply can’t abide a nosy busy-body”—what she found in the freezer forced her to call the police.

 

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“Ears?” Maestro asked.

“Ears,” Detective Ricardo Gomez assured him.

“Well, sure.” Maestro surveyed the apartment. “Fits all the parameters of a serial killer. Although why he kept his trophies in the freezer—” He scoffed and met Ricardo’s eyes. “Why am I here?” Serial killers were below Maestro’s pay grade. His team took on the supernatural and the extraterrestrial. “You know I don’t handle human monsters.”

Ricardo held out a clear evidence bag containing a Ziploc baggie.

Even through two layers of plastic, the reason for Maestro’s presence was obvious.

It wasn’t a human ear. It had a pointed tip and the lobe was too long. And it didn’t have any ridges at all.

“Hundreds of them.” Ricardo shrugged. “All individually sealed in plastic baggies. I figured it was one of yours, though I’m not sure if it’s elves or Vulcans this time.”

Maestro snatched the item and examined it more closely. “Elves.” He met the detective’s gaze. “You do know Vulcans aren’t real?”

“What? No pointy eared aliens on your beat?”

Maestro held his tongue.

“They have pointy ears,” Ricardo declared, “I’m calling them Vulcans.”

Maestro squeezed the ear. Soft. Room temperature. Not cold.

Oh, hells. Ricardo should know better.

“This was kept in the freezer, you said?” Maestro raised an eyebrow.

“Yup. Hundreds of them.”

Maestro handed it over. “Have they all been allowed to thaw out?”

“What? Probably.” Ricardo turned the evidence in his hands. “They’re all down in—” His eyebrows met his receding hairline. “So maybe they were frozen for a reason?”

“All down in where?” Maestro asked, keeping the sarcasm from his voice.

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