Two of the penguins were turning brown as the blood dried. I carried them gingerly into the bathroom and laid them in the water. I pushed them under until they soaked up enough water to stay partially submerged, then I turned the water off. My hands were cleaner. The water wasn't. Blood trailed out of the two soft toys like water squeezed out of a sponge. If these two came clean, I could save them all.
I dried my hands on the blanket. No sense getting blood on anything else.
Sigmund, the penguin I occasionally slept with, was barely spattered. Just a few specks across his fuzzy white belly. Small blessings. I almost tucked him under my arm to hold while I gave a statement. Dolph probably wouldn't tell. I put Sigmund a little farther from the worst stains, as if that would help. Seeing the stupid toy tucked safely in a corner did make me feel better. Great.
Zerbrowski was peering at the aquarium. He glanced my way. "These are the biggest freaking angelfish I've ever seen. You could fry some of 'em up in a pan."
"Leave the fish alone, Zerbrowski," I said.
He grinned. "Sure, just a thought."
Back in the kitchen Dolph sat with his hands folded on the tabletop. His face unreadable. If he was upset that I'd almost cashed it in tonight, he didn't show it. But then Dolph didn't show much of anything, ever. The most emotion I'd ever seen him display was about this case. The killer zombie. Butchered civilians.
"You want some coffee?" I asked.
"Me, too," Zerbrowski said.
"Only if you say please."
He leaned against the wall just outside the kitchen. "Please." I got a bag of coffee out of the freezer.
"You keep the coffee in the freezer?" Zerbrowski said.
"Hasn't anyone ever fixed real coffee for you?" I asked.
"My idea of gourmet coffee is Taster's Choice."
I shook my head. "Barbarian."
"If you two are finished with clever repartee," Dolph said, "could we start the statement now?" His voice was softer than his words.
I smiled at him and at Zerbrowski. Damned if it wasn't nice to see both of them. I must have been hurt worse than I knew to be happy to see Zerbrowski.
"I was asleep minding my own business when I woke up to find a zombie standing over me." I measured beans and poured them into the little black coffee grinder that I'd bought because it matched the coffee maker.
"What woke you?" Dolph asked.
I pressed the button on the grinder and the rich smell of fresh ground coffee filled the kitchen. Ah, heaven.
"I smelled corpses," I said.
"I was dreaming, and I smelled rotting corpses. It didn't match the dream. It woke me."
"Then what?" He had his ever present notebook out. Pen poised.
I concentrated on each small step to making the coffee and told Dolph everything, including my suspicions about Señora Salvador. The coffee was beginning to perk and fill the apartment with that wonderful smell that coffee always has by the time I finished.
"So you think Dominga Salvador is our zombie raiser?" Dolph said.
He stared at me across the small table. His eyes were very serious. "Can you prove it?"
He took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a moment. "Great, just great."