Monday, 26 March 2007

Chapter 31: Autopsy Number Two

For the second time in a matter of hours I was leaning over a dead body, only this time it was someone I knew. The naked body of Officer Myers lay on the operating table in front of me. His skin was pale. Most of his blood had soaked into the carpet on Doctor Forrest’s landing.

Only a few hours earlier, he had been a high-achieving officer who could have been my next partner. Now the only way he could help me was for his body to give us a clue to aid us in the search for Doctor Owen and his captors.

Doctor Schreiber was closely examining the wound in his neck and Agent Simpson was watching with a concerned look on her face. It crossed my mind that she probably hadn’t told me everything she knew about this case and I started to question whether she was purposely hiding something from me.

‘Well you’re certainly keeping me busy today, Tom,’ said Doctor Schreiber in his perpetually upbeat tone, ‘This is very interesting. It looks like this wound was caused by an animal bite.’

‘An animal bite? That’s not possible, Doc. There were no animals in the house,’ I said.

‘I’m only telling it like I see it, Detective. I’ve seen a wound like this before.’

‘When?’ asked Agent Simpson.

‘Two years ago, when a young man fell into the lion pen at the zoo. Poor guy.’

‘You’re saying he was bitten by a lion?’ I asked.

Doctor Schreiber shrugged his shoulders. ‘It’s the only time I’ve ever seen a wound like this and even then, it was a much bigger bite mark than this. I’ve found something else weird as well.’ He picked up a petri dish containing small silver pellets. ‘These are the bullets I pulled out of his back.’

I picked one up with a pair of metal tongs and held it up in the light. It was very shiny and felt heavier than a regular bullet. ‘What are they made of? Platinum? Silver?’

‘Something like that. Your shooter’s obviously not short of a few pennies. Like I said: very weird. I believe it was the gunshots that killed him, not the wound to the neck. Obviously he would have eventually died from blood loss but it was the gunshots that sent him on his way. At least you’ve made visual contact with the killers.’

‘Great. All I’ve got to do is find them, stop them blowing my brains out, arrest them and bring back the doctor. Simple as that, eh?’ Not a hint of sarcasm in my voice as I rolled my eyes.

I turned to Agent Simpson. ‘Why are you so interested in all of this? Shouldn’t you be back at Mantek helping to tidy up?’

She fired a look at me that told me I was over-stepping the mark.

‘Sorry,’ I conceded, ‘it’s been a long day. I should have been at home tucked up in bed today. Instead, here we are.’

‘Forget it,’ she said, ‘This isn’t exactly my idea of a good time either but the reason I’m here is the same reason you’re here. The whole case depends on us finding Doctor Owen. You have to find him to solve the murder. I have to find him to allow him to continue his work.’

Doctor Schreiber piped up. ‘Look, I’ve still got some work to do here so why don’t you go and wait outside?’

This was our best lead and we had to just sit outside and wait for Doctor Schreiber to finish cutting him up. My face must have betrayed my feelings because the doctor commented immediately after looking me in the eye.

‘Okay Detective, if you want to stay here and help, be my guest but like you say, it’s been a long day. I think you can be forgiven for taking a few minutes off. I promise to tell you as soon as I find out anything at all.’

He’s got a point
, I thought.

‘Sounds good to me,’ I said, relaxing slightly and turned to Agent Simpson, realising how long it had been since I’d eaten. ‘Can I buy you dinner?’

She nodded with a smile.

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