Serious trigger warning for really squicky descriptions of violence against women and misogyny.
"Why do you do it?"
The woman, Minnie, blinked at the Detective a decade or more younger than she looked, not long promoted she guessed. Looking to make a name for himself.
"You don't actually know who that man was, do you?" She watched the Detective, as he straddled the chair on the far side of the table backwards, resisting the urge to roll her eyes. "Humor me. Ask the next of kin if you can have a look in his basement." She relaxed back in her chair, and lifted her shackled hands. "I'll wait."
"What is it you think I'll find in there?" He leaned forward across the table. Just then someone knocked on the one way glass. The Detective looked up, scowling. The door opened, and a younger, uniformed cop, his face pale, stood there.
"Detective Ryan, you have to come hear this!" The younger cop blurted the words.
"I'll wait." Minnie smiled.
Four hours later, Minnie sat in the same room, in the same position, the same serene look on her face. The Detective staggered in and dropped into the chair opposite her, sprawling, distress and exhaustion in every line and wrinkle of his face.
"How did you know?"
"How did I know what?" Minnie smiled. "How did I know that working girls have gone missing here for years and you've done nothing? How did I know that you wouldn't take it seriously unless an upstanding citizen died, but how many more whores would it take before that happened? What is it that you are surprised I know, Detective?"
"There were... heads. At first the nephew thought they were like, blow up doll heads. That's how they were posed, but, they were heads. Real ones." The Detective looked almost as if he were about to lose his lunch, dinner, and possibly the day before's breakfast.
"How many of those heads match missing person flyers?" Minnie leveled her gaze on him. "And how many fewer might there have been, had the police not looked the other way for the last seven years?" Her eyes went hard, tight. Chips of jet or obsidian in an ageless umber face.
"I can't just let you go." He rubbed his face.
"Yes, you can. And you will, like every other cop who's arrested me over the last many, many years." She held out her shackled wrists. "Trust me. I have never been wrong. Only the guilty pay, I promise you. I am very, very sure before I do what I do."
"What is it you do? The coroner still isn't sure how he died." The Detective looked lost, eyes wide, shocked. He found himself leaning forward with the key to unlock her shackles.
"You never did ask me what Minnie was short for." She rubbed her wrists as the shackles fell away. She stood, and the room smelled for a moment like hot, dry grasses and the musky tang of predator. He blinked, and for just the barest of moments, saw a lion's head superimposed over hers. "Good-bye, Detective." And she was gone, a few wisps of dry grass swirling where she had been standing.
Outside the impound lot, where her car had been towed after her arrest, Menhit whistled. A sleek, dark shape emerged from the shadows of the lot, scaled the fence, ignoring the electricity and razor wire, and jumped down alongside her. She reached out a beringed hand, and rested it on the lion's head, the two of them disappearing into shadows.