SHADOW

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CHAPTER 23

NEWS OF THE gory death of Thomas Geoffrey hit his neighbors and co-workers like a jolt of lightening. Everyone was stunned and petrified, and the police was at a loss for how to work the bizarre case.

There were no signs of physical violence in the house and no fingerprints anywhere. It was as though no one had been in the house beside the victim. No indication of forceful entry and no item in the house had been declared missing so far. There was even a fifteen hundred dollar gold ring in the pocket of the deceased at the time of his death. Clearly, from every angle, the murder reeked of something more sinister and diabolic, and that was what spooked everybody out.

“Someone’s pretty sick out there,” said one of the police officers who came to comb through the house in the hours following the discovery of the macabre murder.

Obviously, there were no suspects to questions, aside from the neighbors who all seemed dazed and clueless. No one said they heard any sounds or saw anyone suspicious in the premises or noticed anything out of the ordinary. There was no murder weapon and no clear motive why someone wanted Thomas Geoffrey murdered in such vile and sadistic fashion.

“Who could even carry out a murder like this?” said a police officer, frowning as though he was about to puke at any minute.

“And that’s what beats me,” said the medical examiner afterwards, when the officers were speaking with her during the autopsy. “It would be impossible for the vic to have suffered this much internal injuries to his bones without any skin breakage.”

“What do you mean, Doctor?” asked the officer.

“Well, all the bones are pretty much broken, Officer,” she answered.

“All?”

She nodded. “It appeared he went under a 15-ton trailer. His external skin tissue is intact, but every bone in his body is crushed – ribs, spinal columns, joints, even his skull got quite a beating. There was massive internal bleeding.”

The policeman squinted uneasily. “What do you think happened to him?”

“We have no idea what kind of weapon the assailant might have had,” replied the ME. “Most weapons would leave a print mark, in fact; a knife, a club, a hammer, a crowbar or even a cudgel. There would be something about the injuries that might tell us what weapon was used or the extent of force applied by the assailant. But not with this victim here; there’s totally no clue what did this to this poor fellow,” she said grimly, shrugging. “It’s almost as if his bones just exploded inside his body of their own accord.”

“That’s horse shit!” blurted another officer, looking deeply confounded.

The ME sighed, said nothing.

Samantha Prince stopped by at the hospital to check on Alan later that evening. He was still stable, at least. His vitals were normal and seemed to be improving, even though he had not come out of coma yet.

Jonathan was in the room when she got there, and they both sat frigidly at either side of the bed facing each other and watching their son’s soft breathing. It was an awkward moment for the couple, because they had not been in that close proximity with each other since after she left him. And they might never have been able to see eye to eye again, had not Alan been there in the hospital in a precarious condition.

There were occasional glances stolen however; their eyes locking every once in a while.

“Are you alright?” asked Jonathan finally, fixing her with an uncertain, curious stare. He noticed that she seemed distressed, and sensed that it wasn’t only for the sake of their son. “You seem rattled.”

She looked up uneasily, clenched her lips and then looked away with tear-stung eyes. “I’m fine,” she muttered unconvincingly.

“No, you’re not.”

She paused, bowed her head gravely. And tears began to stream down her cheeks.

“What happened?” he asked her kindly. “Is it your job?”

She shook her head slowly, sniffed and tried to compose herself. “It’s my boss, Thomas. He’s dead.”

“What! How?” asked Jonathan, genuinely surprised and concerned. “What happened?”

“It was last night, in his house,” Samantha answered quietly. “Someone murdered him in his own home.” She paused, wiped her face with a small towel and sighed in dismay.

“Has there been any arrest? What are the cops saying?” said Jonathan

She shrugged uncertainly, looking tensed. “No, not that I know of. They don’t even know where to start the investigation or who to arrest right now. They say there’s no clue what actually happened.”

He paused, shook his head slowly. “I’m sorry, Samantha.” Then, quietly, “I have no doubt that he must have been a good man.”

Samantha looked at him quietly. “Thanks, Jonathan.”

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