“Are you the medical examiner here?” That was the first question the big fat man asked as soon as he stepped into the small closet room that Laura called an office, eliciting an unfavourable response from the slim blonde woman sitting across the desk.
Why does everyone keep asking me that all day? she thought angrily to herself, swiping her hair forcefully aside to show it, the sign on her door clearly read, Laura Wall, M.E., didn’t it?
“I am,” she replied anyway, trying to sound as sweet as she could under such circumstance.
“Good,” the man continued, oblivious to Laura’s reaction. “A body just arrived at the morgue, a young lad like you, and there’s no one available to examine it. Now, please, endeavour do a good job and don’t make me regret the hefty salary I’m paying you, okay?”
Laura nodded affirmative and rushed out immediately to check the body.
It wasn’t that she was afraid of the big fat man; he could never scare her even if he tried. But she was at her patience’s end with him and wouldn’t have been able to stop the special choice words looming at the tip of her tongue from spilling out and at him like he deserved had she not left in that moment.
How could he have downgraded me like that? She huffed as she marched down the corridor. True, she was relatively new working for the big fat man, Ted Grayson, Chief Medical Director of Grayson Medicals, but that was only because her previous boss at New York General had recommended her to him as one of the best and brightest in his employ despite her young age of twenty four.
She was- and still is- his saving grace. Just 2 months in and she had already managed to save his sub-par establishment from being shut down; courtesy of his “lovely” employees who never seemed to be able to do a job right, or at least manage to come to work regularly during the week whom he appeared to have a problem with then but was just fine now; and he had the guts to tell her to do a good job and complain that her price was hefty.
Block-headed as her boss was, Laura had to admit that he was pretty spot on when he said was very young. Laying on the slab and although with a face cold and pale from death, she could still tell that the black-haired male in front of her was no more than twenty seven; thirty or thirty one if he happened to be older than he looked. So, a young lad, like Ted had said.
Now, the proper thing would have been for Laura to be taken aback seeing such a young person not so much older than herself laying cold and stiff. But her face barely changed expression from the cool serious set it had assumed since she saw him.
Thing is, ever since Laura entered medical school, her motto had been simple. “Life’s short. People die everyday. Don’t waste your energy fretting about what you can’t change.” And those were the same words going through her head at that very moment.
“So, let’s meet you,” she said.
Preliminary report stated that the stiff was a John Doe; no ID was found on him. Primary cause of death was hit-and-run. He suffered three broken ribs and a possible punctured lung which finally killed him.
But that was where things got weird; or rather, interesting.
Thing is, John Doe showed no signs of anything the preliminary report had stated. No broken ribs, no bruising to suggest blood loss, no blue lips to suggest asphyxiation; absolutely nothing. The guy looked completely okay. In fact, a little too okay for a dead body in Laura’s point of view.
“Those bumbling idiots must have gotten the reports mixed up again,” she said to herself, although that still didn’t explain how a dead guy could still look as lively as he did. “Anyway,” she continued without giving it much thought, “let’s find out what really happened to you, now shall we?”
But just as she took the scalpel and was about to make an incision, the dead guy’s hand suddenly up and clasped over hers.
Laura was so stunned that she didn’t know what to do. Neither shouting nor running nor anything that a normal person would do seemed open to her; and then, he opened his vivid blue eyes and stared right into her black ones.
Oh my God, Laura, he’s alive! It suddenly seemed to dawn on her and she made to scream but his free hand immediately grabbed her by the throat, choking off the sound a split second before it could actually escape. She struggled against him but it was to no avail; he was surprisingly very strong for a guy who was supposed to be dead.
With one swift move, he pulled her down and bit down hard on her neck, so much so that a whimper escaped her lips. She knew that the proper thing to do at that moment would be to scream and kick and fight and make sure that this wasn’t the way she would bow.
But she didn’t, something seemed to have taken that will away and replace it with one she was all too familiar with. Life’s short. People die everyday. Don’t waste your energy fretting about what you can’t change.
Just as suddenly as before, Laura felt herself released from the hold on her. She looked up but everything was blurry. She took a step forward- at least she thought it was forward- and suddenly herself collide with something cold and hard.
She breathed once, then twice, and then everything descended into darkness.