November 21st, 2007

Extra-strength strangulation

Ok, I've looked through the memories here, which were very helpful, especially this post, and googled- "strangulation", "strangulation forensics", "strangulation autopsy", "strangulation injuries", "child strangulation", "chicken wringing". Ahem.

So setting is fantasy- there's magic and dragons and swords, but also modern technology such as guns/genetic engineering.

I have a normal character that's killed via strangulation by an enhanced soldier. There's a lot of leeway on how strong the attacker is, exactly, but he's canonically able to swing his giant 6+ ft. sword around without any trouble. The non-special characters don't use such ridiculously oversized weapons, so I'm assuming that they have your average Real Life abilities.

Victim (V) was initially leaning over attacker (A), (A) lunges up and throttles V without much trouble. A has slight build, short stature. V is heavier build, average height. Both males.

There's a cursory autopsy done later- somewhere between 2-6 hrs. What I'd like to know is how the people examining the body could tell that A was, in fact, one of these superhuman guys. I'm envisioning something like A crushing V's neck- something that a regular person wouldn't be able to do. So smushed trachea, hyoid bone, vertebrae (or just fractured transverse processes?), much more bruising, possibly less signs of struggling... What would be some good external signs?

Also, regarding bruising on the neck- how accurate are the handprints to A's hands? I've heard that victims sometimes have imprints detailed enough to show the texture of the rope used, but I'm not sure if this would be a similar case. Mostly, I want to know if the general size of A could be inferred from them.


Recovering alcoholic techniques

I'm writing a sitcom which features a recovering alcoholic quite prominently and I'd like to know if there are any techniques that they may employ day to day to keep their mind off alcohol.
I know many recovering addicts take up smoking but are there any other small habits that I could write into the screenplay to make him a little more believable?
Obviously it's a sitcom so absolute realism isn't necessary but without believable characters it just won't be funny.

I've heard of people playing with a rock or small ball when they get a craving but that's been with smokers-is there anything similar for alcoholics?

It's set in modern day England. I've googled things like "recovering alcoholics" "recovering alcoholic's techniques" "staying sober" and the like, but generally get links where I have to pay to access some article or 12 step program.
Some real life experience or anecdotal evidence would be useful. Thanks.
  • Current Mood: awake

Horse mouth injuries, carnivorous plants' digestion

Setting: (Modern day-ish) urban fantasy

Question 1:
My MC is being pursued for stealing a pair of slaves (with intent of freeing them); one of these slaves is a centaur/horse hybrid with a horse-like head. He's sentient but for Reasons he can't bring himself to walk forward past a certain point. My MC then takes her own horse's bridle and puts it on him, tying the reins to her saddle and basically making her mare drag him along. He'll be fighting this.
The bridle is a split-ear affair with no nose band or brow band, the bit is a showy-looking curb with long S-shaped shanks and no chain; she pads his poll with a bit of her cloak to make it sit somewhat right in his mouth as his head is shorter than her horse's. I can adjust the bit if I have to, as the goal of this, plot-wise, is to make sure he gets injured.

How will his mouth be hurt by this?
And do horses really calm down when you cover their eyes?

I've googled variations of bit, horse, injury, mouth, and combinations thereof, and all I could find was "this bit doesn't hurt your horse's mouth" or "this bridle is great for if your horse has a sore mouth" type things, not something that tells me exactly how a misused fairly severe bit will hurt a horse's mouth.

Question 2:
This is one of those "guess" questions. I've googled both human body decomposition/skeletonization, which didn't make me much wiser, and carnivorous plants, which I also can't make as much sense as I'd like out of. What I have is a creeper plant with shoots/thorns which inject some kind of fast-acting paralyzing poison, and then suck all the nutrition it can out of its victim. The plant is semi-sentient in that it notices when likely prey is close and will move to snare it so that it can get as many thorns in it as possible and prevent it from escaping. It will eat just about anything between the size of a guinea pig and a large horse, partially depending on how "hungry" it is.

I have a couple police officers looking for a missing child that turns out to have stumbled onto this stuff in someone's back yard. The child doesn't neccesarily need to be wholly skeletonized, but in the same tangle of creeper vines they spot several human skeletons; all that's left of the killer's victims. Any idea what kind of time frame I'm looking at here? Insects and bacteria can be available as neccesary.

I just need to know roughly what whoever is making a first assessment at the scene might say about how long they've been there, and I'm not good enough at interpreting these sites to even make a general guess.
And on that note, who would be making that assessment?