Derby didn’t know how to react to this. Should he say, ′ Ok, I’m coming ′ or should fret over it because it wasn’t a casual call. There was a corpse in his house for pete sake! Whose could it be and worse, what about Vista? She was alone there and was it possible that it was hers?
′ Did she kill herself or someone else killed her ?′
Just imagining about the scenario chilled his bone. What if she really commited suicide? As far as the option of, ′ she killed someone ′ was concerned, it was completely derisive. She wasn’t capable of killing someone and the major chances were that she was dead !
His mind went in numb trance just imagining that and he knew that monstrous guilt won’t let him live peacefully if Vista would have committed suicide.
" Mr. Derby, you there? ” inquisitive yet, authoritive voice chimed him.
" yes... Yes, officer! I’ll be there soon. ” Derby knew that it wasn’t the time to picturise things. He needed to go there. He hurled away the comforter with harshness startling Miranda from her sleep.
She was appalled to see Derby running desperately towards his closet to wear his clothes. Sleepness was still swimming in her eyes but weird behaviour of her boyfriend in middle of night made her question him, “what happened? ”
Derby, on the other hand, was too caught up in his anxious thoughts to listen to her. Miranda’s mood was already off since evening because Derby wasn’t answering her anything. Few sentences here and there regarding his conversation with Vista and now, he was about to go out in the middle night. She wanted to throw a fit and demand answers from him but refrained herself. She clutched the comforter tightly to subdue her anger. She hoped that in morning, Derby would clear everything and she trusted him.
Well, trust and Derby didn’t go hand by hand but she hoped for best. She looked at Derby with her squint eyes to find him fiddling with his car keys. At the same time, he looked towards Miranda, contemplating whether he should tell her about the call. He didn’t know how she would react to this horrific news because he, himself was shaking with fear. He wanted to speak so many things but couldn’t and at the end, he rushed out saying, ” I’ve to go, it’s urgent. ”
Miranda was left heart broken with this, no goodbye kisses, no hugs, Nothing! A plain sentence and he
was gone. Hoping for a better morning, she laid down on the bed trying to sleep but whom was she kidding? She knew that she won’t be able to sleep until and unless Derby tells her everything in detail.
Derby drove past through concrete roads in haste and after half an hour, he was back again into the woods. He pulled over outside his home and stepped out. Twice in a day, he was here but situations were completely different! Last time, house which was quiet apart from Vista’s cry was now buzzing with police sirens.
He took slow steps inside but all the while, his eyes were in desperate search of Vista but she was no where to be found. While driving, his mind illustrated two scenarios, either Vista would come running and hug her tightly in order to seek his comfort or she would be laying down, dead! Slowly and gradually, first scenario was bleeding out and probability of second one was growing. Nonetheless, he went inside his house but oddly, everything was calm on the ground floor but he heard few murmers and clicking sound upstairs.
His heart thumped with fear and anticipation because it was his and Vista’s bedroom on that floor. Before he could climb up, a strong pungent odour invaded his nostrils making it difficult for him to inhale. The smell was so gut wrenching that he was quick enough to pull out his scented handkerchief to cover his nose. He musterd up his courage and climbed the stairs but his face went pale when he saw yellow strips of ‘No Entry ’ outside.
He halted in his steps but his eyes could take in horrific vision dancing infront of him. Around four policemen had their noses covered with mask while they inspected the scene around them but the real horror was there on the bed.
There was a corpse which was being disinfected by two policemen. A corpse which was bloated, stiff and beyond horrendous. A corpse, whose face skin was half worn while other half was an odd combination of red and green. Derby’s mind was too shaken up to differentiate colors. Ugly insects were crawling up on the lifeless body. At few places, upper skin was half shred making bloated muscles visible. Mouth was ajar which was leaking blood and so was the nose of the corpse.
The white bed sheet was smothered in red blood which had dried out making the room stink.
Even police officers were not looking at it directly.
Derby fell down on the ground with a thud. He had never seen a dead body, let alone a one which was disgusting beyond words. He wanted to scream aloud but his body started hyperventilating and he couldn’t even speak. It caught attention of policemen and they rushed out.
" Mr. Morris? ” one called out his name but Derby was not in condition to reply.
A young police officer in his late twenties, who was still inspecting the room observed Derby with his calculating eyes. He looked back at the corpse whose condition was telling that death of the person happened around fifteen to twenty days before as it was in that decaying process. Since clothes were that of woman and raven hair was of good length, he went on to assume that corpse was of a girl.
He kept his small note diary in his pant pocket and came near fallen form of Derby. He excused both the policemen near him and squinted down his six feet plus followers on knees.
He held Derby’s hand and started rubbing it vigorously to provide him heat. After five minute or so, Derby’s numbness slowly and gradually webbed away. His body could feel sensations and he found a young man rubbing his hands. Before he could speak, the pungent odour made him flinch his nose. The young policeman noticed his actions and escorted him away from there.
Derby gulped in huge amount of fresh air when he came out in open air. He fell down on his eyes and palmed his eyes to unsee dreadful sight but alas! It was impossible! How destiny played it’s sick card?
Few hours back, his wife was begging him while trying to breathe and now, he was on his knees struggling to breathe.
He felt a tap on his shoulder and he looked up to find that young officer Looking at him indifferentaly. He removed his mask and introduced himself, ” I’m Brenton Wood from Florida police. I guess you saw the dead body. ”
Derby simply nodded at Brenton but he wasn’t interested in knowing his name. He gulped down his saliva before asking, ” Whose body was it? ”
Brenton didn’t reply to him, instead, stared at him with his intense brown eyes. He counter questioned him in a tone which was layered with crypticness, ” Where is Vista Morris? ”