-Mary Wood '21
There is something shocking about dead people. Well, there are really several things I suppose, but after working for twenty - seven years in a morgue you grow numb to the shock. But I feel this one.
Possibly because lying on the table is my first murder victim. This is the quiet part of the city and the few we get went to the senior pathologist, who retired last month. So here I am, with a murdered woman, who the file says is Carol Lacey, on my desk.
The shock is the blood. There is just so much of it. It has soaked through the woman’s shirt and is pooling on the plastic sheet that covers the table. Her body was brought into the ER two hours ago in an ambulance. She was pronounced dead one hour ago after failed attempts to stop the blood. She was delivered here, still covered in blood, five minutes ago. Her file, brought in by a nurse, was sparse. Just a name, Carol Lacey, an age, 53, medical history: asthma but nothing else, and a story: stabbed in the stomach in the alley between a pharmacy and a laundromat. Murder: unknown. Motive: unknown. And that's about it.
Cause of death is simple enough to deduce: blood loss from the gaping wound in her stomach. Probably a stab wound. It looks almost like a steak knife, something small, sharpedend only on one side, that had to be twisted to create the larger wound. I circle the body as I think. A shadow flicks across the shade, maybe a bird. The woman’s knees are skinned, possibly the sign of a struggle. Her right hand is cut a little on the palm. But that isn’t what I need to know.
I need to know the murderer. Where they were when it happened. The position of the knife. I grab the box of gloves and head to the skink for the unpleasant part, the examining of the wound. I turn on the water and let it run for a minute until it warms up; the water in this part of the building is always cold. If the water hadn't been running, maybe I would have heard the creak of the window opening, or the sound of boots hitting the floor. But it was only as I was lathering the soap on my hand that I noticed the person behind me and the pain in my back. I was right about the knife, I think as my knees hit the floor and I look at the tip protruding right above my navel.
Thirty minutes ago there were no dead bodies in the room. 10 minutes ago there was one dead body in the room. And now, there are two dead bodies in the room.