“It’ll be hard to identify the body from what’s left.”
The inspector hunched his shoulders against the bracing wind. It was 4 a.m and the Moors were thick with mist and icy cold.
The burnt out car smoked silently on the desolate plain. In the creeping dawn, there was an eery beauty to it, but for the blackened corpse sitting in the drivers seat.
Eli Finch pulled his red woollen scarf higher up over his chin and shivered. He felt uncomfortable. As the village vicar, the subject of mortality fell into his domain, but being called out on such occasions was never pleasant.
“Do you think it’s someone from the village, Inspector?” He asked tentatively.
“I can’t say I’m afraid, until we get some I.D on the poor man.”
“Or woman,” interjected Eli.
“It was your friend who found the car?”
“Friend…well, a member of our congregation actually. A young girl.”
“Why isn’t she here?”
Eli blinked twice and squinted. “She has…some problems. She doesn’t cope very well with stress.”
“We’ll have to speak to her.”
“Of course.” Eli nodded. “I’ll give you her details.” He glanced at his watch. Time was passing and he had a sermon to prepare for later that morning.
He noticed a small cut on the back of his hand had opened up and was bleeding. He wiped it away and pulled out his black leather gloves.
“Am I alright to go? I have a long day.” He winced as the glove grazed across the open wound.
The inspector looked at him curiously, then nodded.
“Ah yes! Sunday. Busy day for the likes of you. Yes, we know where to find you if we need to get in touch.”
Eli Finch smiled a tight smile and buttoned up his coat. The inspector sniffed. The cold was making his nose run. Eli turned to leave.
“I’m not religious,” the inspector continued, stopping Eli in his tracks. “But if there is a God –” he said, nodding at the car, “- where the hell is he?”
The two men stared at the metal cage and its forsaken prisoner.
Eli Finch dug his hands in his coat pockets and pulled it closer round him.
“I think you’ll find that when you do catch the culprit, it will most likely be a mere mortal who’s to blame - not God,” he said curtly, before briskly turning and crunching back across the Moor and down towards the village.