Updated date:

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


Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on June 02, 2016:

thanks for visiting manatita

manatita44 from london on May 30, 2016:

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

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on May 26, 2016:

thank you so much Audrey :)

Audrey Howitt from California on May 24, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 22, 2016:

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

Deb Hirt on May 22, 2016:

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

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on May 21, 2016:

thank you pegcole17 and good to see you :)

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on May 20, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 20, 2016:

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

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 19, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 19, 2016:

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

Nell Rose from England on May 17, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 16, 2016:

thank you Peggy W for checking out my virtue :)

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 14, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 08, 2016:

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 from USA on May 07, 2016:

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 from Florida on May 07, 2016:

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

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on May 07, 2016:

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

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on May 06, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 06, 2016:

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

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 06, 2016:

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

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 06, 2016:

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.

Yves on May 06, 2016:

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.

William Thomas from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things! on May 06, 2016:

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 from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 06, 2016:

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

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 06, 2016:

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

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on May 06, 2016:

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

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 05, 2016:

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

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 05, 2016:

Perfect, Frank, just perfect!

Frank Atanacio (author) from Shelton on May 05, 2016:

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

Clive Williams from Jamaica on May 05, 2016:

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 from southern USA on May 05, 2016:

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 (author) from Shelton on May 05, 2016:

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

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on May 05, 2016:

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....

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 05, 2016:

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.

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