Friday, January 4, 2013

Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 4

Title: Gate of Shadows
Chapter: Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 4
Author: Jon Harrison & Alanna Cormier
Copyright: 2012

If you missed part 3, read it here!

Maybe, it was the horrible fluorescent lighting, sterile environment, the eerily quiet hallways, or was there more than that? It’s one thing to see a dead body at a crime scene. Crime scenes are full of raw emotion that tell a story, but knowing there’s a collection of cadavers waiting to be cut open for unfeeling research and autopsies made Logan uncomfortable and antsy. He tried to avoid coming here, but the lack of details in this case plagued him, so he found himself anxiously pacing outside the autopsy room waiting for the coroner’s report. It can’t be a heart attack, he said to himself, they never look like that...maybe a slow poison or some obscure hard to detect toxin. Then he felt a wet slap against his neck. “What the..?” He turned to his partner. “Did you just throw a fuckin’ pickle at me? Seriously?”

“Yeah. Your pacing is obnoxious. Knock it off.”

“How can you be eating right now? It’s a little morbid don’t you think?”

“What? It’s my favorite burger. It’s not like they’re gonna mind.” Jackson gestured to the dead bodies behind the window.

“Whatever. Could you at least chew more quietly? You can start by closing your mouth, didn’t your mother teach you any damn manners?”

“Sure, could you give me my pickle back? It’s still sitting on your collar.”

Logan was handing the pickle back to his partner, when he noticed the coroner standing in front of them. “Logan?” she said surprised, “I would have faxed you the report like usual. I know you don’t like it here.”

Jackson jumped in before Logan could answer. “He knows Maggie, but his head will explode if he doesn’t get some answers.”

Logan shot him a look that said, shut-up and eat your burger then turned back to Maggie, “have you been able to establish cause of death?”

“ I’m sorry, but if it’s answers you want, I can’t give them to you. The tox screen came back negative and his organs are normal. I can definitely tell you that it wasn’t heart failure or brain hemorrhage. Your victim appears to have just dropped dead. Honestly, I would chalk this up to natural causes, but since there’s no evidence of that and that ghastly look on his face...”

“There had to be a cause. Do you mind if I take another look at the body?”

“What?...No, not at all,” she replied. Logan and Jackson followed her into the autopsy room and walked over to the body, which was exposed from the shoulders up. The examining light was still on and shining down on him. Jackson bumped the table as he came in to take a closer look knocking the victim’s hand off the edge. “Watch what you’re doin’ Jackson,” said Logan.


Logan moved to place the hand back on the table and hesitated. He just stood there staring at the hand, “What’s wrong,” asked Maggie.

“Umm...nothing. Nothing.” He shook his head as he gingerly placed the man’s arm back on the table. The hair on the back of his neck was standing straight up, he had that uneasy feeling again but still couldn’t place why. Jackson, what about the statement we collected from the bartender? Did he say anything that could help us determine the cause of death?”

“Nothing that jumped out at me. He didn’t really talk to him much, said he seemed no different than any other sad fellow drowning his sorrows except that he would just sit there and stare at a little black totem. Said it was a message or something, bartender just thought it was the scotch talking”

“Totem?” Maggie asked inquisitively.

“There was no totem found on his body,” replied an exasperated Logan. Then with a sigh said, “I’m going back to the precinct to review the data we’ve collected. There’s gotta be something we’ve missed. It’s also possible forensics has finished going over the victim’s office by now. Hopefully, some evidence will turn up there.”

“So you’re declaring this a homicide?” asked Maggie.

“Until we have evidence to the contrary...yes.”


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