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Then There Were Three (part 13)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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The five of them slowly moved to form a single line along one side of the autopsy table.

“Jesus H Christ.” Joe sighed.

On the table before them was a small corpse. In a quiet voice, Tukiko started to deliver a monologue similar to what she would record during an actual autopsy.

“Infant child, two to three years, difficult to be more accurate because of the extent of the damage to the body and the large maggot infestation.”

Joe and the Union patrolman turned away and moved to the far side of the room. Both men had seen death and corpses many times, but this was something different. Neither of them had ever come across a corpse that had been treated like this. Leaning with one hand against the wall, Joe took deep breaths to keep his stomach contents in place.

At the table, even the medicos were struggling. Doctor Troy turned to the pathology technician.

“See if you can find any menthol, would you?”

The technician went to the glass doored medical cupboard in the corner of the room and began to rummage. Tukiko returned to her task.

“The subject is female.” The young technician returned with an opened jar. All of them dipped their fingers into the white paste and smeared a generous amount below their nostrils. Tukiko blinked a few times. “Phew, that’s better, thank you.”

She cleared her throat as the strong menthol filled her nose and airways.

“Ahem. So, wow, where were we? No obvious signs of any sexual interference, but again, hard to be sure because of the general discoloration of the body.” She stopped to take a few breaths and to swipe at the flies that buzzed around her head.

“The body has been eviscerated. The lower organs removed, crudely, and placed around the body. An attempt has been made to saw through the sternum, presumably to gain better access to the lungs and heart. The body cavity is heavily infested with maggots, as is the mouth, the nose and the eye sockets.”

Tukiko trailed off. It was a mess.

Dr. Ducas cleared his throat.

“We, er… Thank you Doctor Troy. We, er, I need to get a team down here.” He looked around to where Joe and the patrolman were silently leaning against the far wall, determinedly not looking in their direction. Raising his voice slightly, Dr. Ducas continued. “Nobody touch anything. This is now a crime scene.”

Tukiko nudged the pathology tech’s arm and indicated for him to come away from the table. Then they went to join Joe and the patrolman while Dr. Ducas got busy on his radio.

The two patrolmen who had escorted the three orphans back to the tunnel entrance seemed in no hurry to get back inside. They took the opportunity, away from authority, to light up and all three men were soon talking about things that were of absolutely no interest to three preteen kids.

Finny was not liking being kept away. Shooed outside like some naughty child. She had an idea. She walked up to the patrolmen.

“Hey mister.” She said, not addressing any one of them in particular. “We’re gonna go and play, okay?”

They looked at her. Then laughed.

“Nice try kid.”

The first patrolman, the one who had been left behind, dropped his smoke and ground it under his boot.

“You three are staying right where I can see you.”

Finny thought a rude word. She changed tack.

“Okay, but I need a wee anyway. I’m not gonna do it where you all can watch an’ if you do I’ll tell Joe you were perving me up.”

The three men looked at each other. Did they really want to get on the bad side of the gangster? The other two looked at the first one. He crumbled.

“Okay fine, go take a piss. But don’t make me have to come looking for you.”

“Thanks mister.” She said. Suckers, she thought.

Finny skipped off, around the corner and out of sight. Then she started to run, straight to the hole in the wall. With years of practical experience of wiggling through tight spaces, Finny reversed into the hole and dropped down as quietly as she could onto the pile of bones. As quietly as she could still made a noise and Finny winced and held her breath for the sound of approaching adults.

“What do you think?” Joe asked Tukiko in a voice barely above a whisper. “Do you think Worms…” He nodded in the direction of the autopsy table. “Did that?”

Tukiko sighed.

“The mutilation? Yes, I’m almost sure he did. See the box on the other side of the table? He probably stood on that to be able to reach.”

Joe looked, and immediately pictured Worms doing just that.

“Sheeeet.”

Tuki distracted him with a touch to his arm.

“But I’m also pretty sure that the little girl was already dead.”

“How can you know that?”

“Look under the table, in front of the box? See that bundle of cloth?”

“Yes, so?”

“That looks like a shroud. Used to wrap a body in for burial.”

Joe didn’t look convinced.

“Looks like a pile of rags to me.”

“Maybe. I’ll go and get a better look. But I don’t think Worms has killed anyone. I think he may have dug up a recently buried corpse… At least I hope he has.”

Joe was left with his thoughts as Tukiko got down on her hands and knees under the autopsy table.

Even if Worms had just dug up a corpse, not that that wasn’t pretty fucking sick anyway, Joe mused. It still didn’t excuse what the creepy little fucker had done to the poor kid afterwards.

Dr. Ducas was taken away from his conversation with Inspector Crabbe from the NFPD when he spotted Hope Springs’ resident physician crawling about under the table.

“Doctor Troy! Please don’t touch anything.”

Finny let out the breath she had been holding. Phew, nobody coming. Placing her feet very carefully so as not to disturb the bones on the floor, Finny tip-toed in the direction the others must have gone after unfairly sending her and the others away.

The further away she got from the little bit of light coming in through the hole, the darker it was getting. She could make out the light of the hurricane lamp up ahead but, right now, she was edging her way along the wall using her hands to guide her. She reached the open doorway and tried to peer inside but her eyes were still adjusting and all she could see was the dim outlines of big bottles as the little bit of light available reflected off the glass surfaces.

She edged past the doorway and on towards the light. Now she could make out the corner and people by the wall and the voice of the Union doctor. She guessed from the one-sidedness of the conversation that he was talking into a radio. What had they found, she wondered? She was almost at the corner. Joe and the other two men still hadn’t seen her, they were watching something in the room. Her fingers found the corner edge.

“Doctor Troy! Please don’t touch anything.”



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