By Virtue

Updated on February 19, 2018

Room 522-224, the autopsy room is where Nathan Chambers was headed. There was a noxious smell that hit him as he stepped into the room. He tried to shake it, but it stuck to him like sweat on a hot August afternoon. He stopped by to wait for some critical evidence, but he knew sometimes it could be back logged for long periods.

A single autopsy could take less than an hour, it all depended on the complexity of the case and/or the extent of the wounds. Chambers watched the meat doctor return the internal organs to the chest cavity and watched her assistant replace the brain and skull top and closed the incisions. He didn't want anything to do with the internal organs. All he wanted were the blood samples, swabs, bullet fragments, nail clippings, the items he could make sense out of it. The real evidence that could make or break his case.

Chambers knew that every visit to the autopsy room reaffirmed a detective's need for a mental buffer between the living and the dead. The freezer held more than a dozen bodies just waiting for the dis-assembly line. The meat doctor looked up at the detective and waved. Chambers slowly stood and for one horrible second made a jerking motion as if he just saw a frozen corpse move.

The detective knew that the bodies accumulated in the freezer were results of auto accidents, drownings, burnings, suicides, overdoses, electrocutions and heart attacks, seizures, natural causes, but his only interest was in the homicides. Black, white, male or female old or young, it didn't matter. They were equally carved up here and they all had that Y stitched on their chests. Chambers was absolutely sure that their ghosts were watching. The way the meat doctors were working it appeared that they had no clue that spirits or ghosts were floating above as spectators.

The doctor put everything Chambers needed onto a metal tray and she just assumed that none of the evidence or findings were private and confidential.

Chambers nodded his approval as a few more bodies were tabled. That religious philosophy or prayer...Though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death... The detective wondered if the dead knew that the valley they were walking through had metal tables, chairs, freezer boxes and instruments used for cutting and splicing. Maybe the spirits could be free, but the bodies were going to be bagged and weighed. Then just dried wrinkled skin and bones were going to be boxed and buried after the donated organs are removed. And then after that you'll have to be certified that you're dead with a signed death certificate issued from a licensed physician.

Chambers didn't have to convince himself that it was even complicated to die.

The assistant moved the cadaver into an empty slot on the metal gurney and rolled it toward the freezer. The only words that entered the detective's mind while witnessing that was table for one.

The meat doctor stopped directly in front of the detective and removed her rubber gloves. “She was raped before they killed her.”

Chambers nodded slowly.

“I think we can close this case up,” she said. “All the evidence points to your suspect.”

Nathan Chambers looked at all the bodies getting ready to be processed. None of them arguing the order that they were placed in. He then realized that the morgue made him believe in God. Looking at all the corpses around and really considering them just meat. The souls have already left the building and he was sure they wanted nothing to do with the autopsy.

Then he looked at Joanne McEvoy's body. All the life was just gone and there was nothing left. She looked so empty and less of a rape and murder victim. He looked at her face and it was blank and empty. The man suspected of her killing her was going to pay.

He shook the doctor's hand and walked back to the door. He looked at the evidence chart and stopped briefly. Joanne McEvoy is dead and gone. Ben Peckson was going to jail for the rest of his natural life. He wouldn't have to worry about working, paying bills, or even medical insurance. The courts will find him guilty, but he will remain alive, McEvoy was dead. By virtue of that one undeniable fact, Peckson wins.

Questions & Answers

    © 2016 Frank Atanacio


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thanks for visiting manatita

      • manatita44 profile image


        2 years ago from london

        Great Flash, Frank. Pity Chambers wasn't allowed to be a vigilante, eh. Ha ha.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thank you so much Audrey :)

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 

        2 years ago from California

        Isn't there a saying about the devil in the details--a little or a lot of that in this write for me--well done Frank!

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        I agree Deb Hirt.. thanks for stopping by :)

      • profile image

        Deb Hirt 

        2 years ago

        You're so right, Frank. The killer aways wins by living, but not by the way that he continues life.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thank you pegcole17 and good to see you :)

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 

        2 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

        Your vivid recount of post mortem activities are Alfred Hitchcock worthy stories, Frank. Fascinating detail and a touch of justice at the end.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Shyron thank you so much for leaving footprints today on many of my hubs.. bless you

      • Shyron E Shenko profile image

        Shyron E Shenko 

        2 years ago from Texas

        Frank, this one is so sad with no one to mourn the poor girl on the butcher block almost as if she did not exist, with no emotions, no one to care.

        One of my friends worked in the morgue in Chicago and one night they brought a man in that had just been shot, and when the cadaver grabbed his arm and would not let go and the paramedics had to pry the dead man's hand loose, that was his last night on that job. Funny the things you think of when reading stories.

        Blessings my friend

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Thanks so much Nell for visiting my snipped virtue...:)

      • Nell Rose profile image

        Nell Rose 

        2 years ago from England

        Chilling but so true. it certainly makes you wonder how 'we' manage to move think and do throughout our lives. when that spark has gone all is left is, well, that! great story and makes you think.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thank you Peggy W for checking out my virtue :)

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        2 years ago from Houston, Texas

        I only had to dissect a cat in anatomy and physiology class and that formaldehyde odor surely does linger. You certainly get into the tiniest of details in your stories! I mean that as a compliment.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Diana Lee, Missy Smith and Flourish.. thank you for visiting my virtue.. and if your moms.. Happy Mothers Day..:) If you're not don't forget to call your mother :)

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        2 years ago from USA

        Your description of the meat doctor is so vivid. It makes me wonder what it would take to do that on a daily basis. I once toured a medical university where dissection were in process and it was fascinating, unforgettable. Seeing the nail polish on one cadaver's hands reminded me that these were someone's loved ones.

      • Missy Smith profile image

        Missy Smith 

        2 years ago from Florida

        Another good one, Frank. I am always amazed how perfectly detailed all your stories are. Really awesome work! :)

      • Diana Lee profile image

        Diana L Pierce 

        2 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

        Well done and another case solved with good detective work for sure. I am looking forward to your next masterpiece.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thank you for reading my Virtue.. Genna East, MsDora, Savvydating ( good to see you ) and winged.. always good seeing you my friend.. thank you all and bless you.. :)

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Thank you so much Billybuc, mckbirdbks... for stopping by :)

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        2 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Frank, I have just one word: Brilliant! This is truly one of your best.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        2 years ago from The Caribbean

        We now know, if we thought otherwise, that the officers who have to deal with the bodies are emotionally and spiritually affected. "The morgue made him believe in God." Another great story about human life and death.

      • savvydating profile image


        2 years ago

        Another great flash. No surprise there. This story really makes a person think about the death penalty. What if it were my son or daughter who had been brutally raped and murdered. Would a life in prison be justice enough? One has to wonder.

      • wingedcentaur profile image

        William Thomas 

        2 years ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

        Hi Frank! I agree with mckbirdks about the whole "icy tendrils of crime" thing. This time it is literally true, isn't it? I mean the perspective from the pathologist's office, the "freezer," as it were.


      • mckbirdbks profile image


        2 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

        Hello Frank - You continue to bring us the icy tendrils of crime.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        2 years ago from Olympia, WA

        Well written and a social commentary for a packed quite a bit into a very small space, buddy!

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        thanks Jodah will be over to return favor.. and I'm glad I was there for you Faith..LOL silly :)

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        2 years ago from southern USA

        You've cured me from going to the butcher for a bit now ...with the meat doctor reference.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        2 years ago from Queensland Australia

        Perfect, Frank, just perfect!

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Thank you Faith for letting me flash you...:) and Clive thank you too for checking out the flash..:)

      • clivewilliams profile image

        Clive Williams 

        2 years ago from Jamaica

        i once had to do some work in a morgue. Seeing how fragile a human is, yet we all act so proud and boastful. good work frank

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 

        2 years ago from southern USA

        Whoa, Frank,

        You really bring the autopsy details here to the forefront in this flash!

        I'm glad there are people out in this world who can perform autopsies ...and not me. I worked in claims for an insurance company back in the day and boy did we ever get a sick stomach when we opened an envelope containing autopsy photos.

        Well, I have faith that Nathan will get that coldblooded killer! Yes, thank goodness, our souls go on to not have to know what our physical bodies go through.

        I had a co-worker long ago whose daughter was going to be a heart surgeon, and in college, she had to purchase her own cadaver and fish it out of this huge tank every time she needed to learn how to cut on it to become a surgeon ...mercy!

        Excellent flash once again.

      • Frank Atanacio profile imageAUTHOR

        Frank Atanacio 

        2 years ago from Shelton

        Eric thank you my friend.. and Always ( Elvis ) LOL funny.. very funny..:)

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        2 years ago from Southern Illinois

        Yeah, only the killer wins if they send him to prison. I'm so glad all the spirits had left the building. ( Elvis ) Another horrific tale that only you can write. Ten thumbs up for each of the victims....

      • Ericdierker profile image

        Eric Dierker 

        2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

        Wow. I can still smell that smell. You really make me pause and think about once the life has left the body. Bodies really are just evidence of the past.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)