Delilah's Shadow

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Chapter 17

The small town of Paradise Falls was filled with soldiers covered in chemical agent gear, essentially walking body bags with air filters. The C.D.C was in white and the military was in camouflage. The streets were lined with bodies in multiple rows. The soldiers continued to bring bodies out from buildings and alleyways, all over town. Doctor Isabel Alejandro, representing the C.D.C., was the lead doctor in the investigation of the deaths in and around the town. She was a chemical agent specialist in search of the suspected cross-species contagion. She was at a loss for what could kill man and beast alike without discrimination. Even insects were not exempt from the eradication in the small town of Paradise Falls. Doctor Alejandro examined each creature, human, animal, and insect, and yet, the causes of death were connected, but incredibly not. Commonality, all dead. All brain function ceased, involuntary functions of the bodies also ceased, causing death. Why? How? By what means? Autopsies were all the same. Other than natural ailments, the deaths were all the same cause, instant inexplicable death. Of course, the insects were beyond Doctor Alejandro’s abilities. She would need an entomologist to help with that, but all dead is still all dead. The scope of death ranged in a five-mile radius. Every living creature within that circumference dropped dead within minutes of each other. Doctor Alejandro came out of the local coroner’s office, after her fourteenth autopsy. A military vehicle pulled up, trailed by a flatbed with a state patrol vehicle on it. They stopped directly in front of her. Colonel Randolph Scott hopped down from the first vehicle.

“Evening, Doctor, we got two more bodies and that vehicle there.” He pointed at the state patrol vehicle, “These two, we found twelve miles out. Got a little push back from the locals, but all in all, it went our way.” His voice sounded robotic, through the speaker of the biohazard suit’s hood.

“Bring’em in Colonel, let’s see what we got.” Doctor Alejandro turned back to the coroner’s office, not expecting any difference between the newly arrived dead and the ones she already processed.

“Alright, let’s move like we got a purpose, gentlemen,” Colonel Scott ordered his men into action. He was hardly audible covered from head to toe in his bio-hazard suit. They brought the bodies in first. Then cleared the bodies Doctor Alejandro had already examined. Colonel Scott went to watch Doctor Alejandro examine the bodies. She was slow in her process. It was difficult to examine the bodies quickly in a bio-hazard suit. Doctor Alejandro was methodical and meticulous in her examination. Watching was like pulling teeth to Colonel Scott. Doctor Alejandro removed and examined every single piece of clothing, thoroughly, before moving on to the next piece. It took a long time just to get to the body. It could never be said that she missed something, that was for sure. The two bodies had very different causes of death than the others found in town. She was relatively sure that these two had nothing to do with the deaths in town, not by way of how they died. One, a male, died from a gunshot wound via the mouth, the other, a female, had her throat cut. One was a state trooper. The other had no I.D., She fingerprinted both and sent the prints off to another team for identification. By the time she wrapped up with both bodies, it was eleven p.m. Doctor Alejandro pulled out of town with several others who were scheduled to rotate out and scrub their suits. Doctor Alejandro could see lights everywhere. The town was lit up as bright as day. Soldiers moved from home to home processing every inch of the town, gathering all the bodies into the streets. It was overwhelming to look at. Doctor Alejandro was frightened, wondering what could possibly have done such a thing? When they reached the staging area, they scrubbed their suits prior to a painstakingly careful removal process to ensure no spread of infection of any potential biological agent.

“Doctor Alejandro,” Colonel Scott followed her to the chow tent, where they were serving food around the clock for the rotating shifts in and out of Paradise Falls. They served breakfast, lunch, and dinner, at all times, “What do you make of those last two bodies.” Doctor Alejandro kept walking. She was starving, it took another hour for her to move through the decontamination process. Normally, she would stop and speak with him in-depth, but in the field, she learned early on in her career, that no sleep and no food made everyone a little rough around the edges. So, she opted to be rough around the edges when in the field and take care of herself first and foremost. Right then, it meant eating, then sleeping. It would be a short night before she was at it again.

“I’ve made my report, Colonel, it’s already online if you want to read it.” Doctor Alejandro picked up a tray, then a plate and silverware, and made her way to the buffet.

“Come on, Doctor. Are you really gonna make me walk back to my tent, log on, then try to find that report when you’re standing right here?” Colonel Scott also picked up a tray and utensils, getting in line behind Doctor Alejandro. He waited for her to speak as they both walked through the line picking food up and putting it on their plates. Doctor Alejandro continued through the line, saying nothing, then sat down at a table. Colonel Scott sat down across from her. He dug into his meal immediately.

“You gonna follow me around like a puppy til I talk?” Doctor Alejandro asked as she began eating.

“I said my peace, now I’m eating.” He shoved more food in his mouth, “And listening, if you wanna respond to my humble request.” He added after he swallowed.

“Those two bodies you brought in from outside the kill zone were not affected like those inside the five-mile radius.” She continued to eat.

“So, what do you make of them?” He asked. She gave him a glance that said, listen, don’t talk. He put his hands up and returned to shoving food in his mouth.

“Like the castrated Sheriff, I think those two are not why we are here and should be turned over to the locals for investigation once we leave. That was a double homicide murder, possible murder-suicide.”

“We’re still processing the scene, when we’ve finished, we’ll turn it over to the locals, per your recommendation. Provided we deem it prudent to do so.” Colonel Scott nodded to Doctor Alejandro.

“Very good, Mister Scott, any other questions, or can I eat in peace?” Doctor Alejandro resumed eating.

“Ma’am, I don’t wear this uniform as a fashion statement. If I were out of uniform, you could call me Randolph, but since I am in uniform, I would appreciate it if you called me Colonel Scott.” Colonel Scott smiled.

“Randolph?” Doctor Alejandro snickered, “When I look at you, I don’t see a Randolph, I see more like, a Nick, or, a Phil, shit even a Tony but, Randolph?” She chuckled shaking her head.

“I’m glad my name amuses you, Doctor.” Colonel Scott remained smiling, unaffected by her attempt at humor. “Get some rest, Doctor, we have eight streets of bodies to process yet.” Colonel Scott stood, taking his tray with him and left Doctor Alejandro in peace.

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