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By Virtue


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.


© 2016 Frank Atanacio

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