by Alan Camrose
Why the hell would anyone murder a corpse?" barked Bachman. He pulled his trench coat tight in the chill of the mortuary as he and Santosa loomed over the shattered body.
Singh the pathologist padded with practised grace to avoid the blood spatter that had drenched his normally pristine slab and Rorschached the bone-coloured tiled floor and nearby wall.
Interior design by Hannibal Lecter.
"He had a fatal coronary this morning, and two shotgun blasts in here this afternoon. This guy's had a bad day," said Singh looking from one to the other. "How can I help you?"
Santosa peered at him through her thin rimless glasses, "Who was he?" Her long leather overcoat gleamed under the Arctic lights.
"No idea yet," Singh slowly stroked his fleshy chin. "No wallet. His head was obliterated by the first shot. Impossible to ID. Even the dental records will be a challenge.
From the tests so far, he was a perfect physical specimen," said Singh.
"Apart from the massive heart attack and the two shotgun blasts," said Bachman with a dark smile. "So healthy, it looks like he was killed twice."
"What a mess," said Santosa, edging up to the wrecked body and peering intently into the huge cavity. Her pale lips formed a rictus grin, "At least we know the cause of death the second time."
The other shotgun blast had nearly cut the body in half around the abdomen, the shredded hands caught in the firing line. No fingerprints.
"Why would anyone do this?" said Singh. "What was the point? What was to be gained?"
"A revenge message?" said Bachman. "That's my guess. It worked in The Godfather."
Singh stared at him. "This isn't funny. Ten minutes either side and this could have been me too."
"Sorry," said Bachman, "I thought you guys were cool about death."
Singh rubbed his tired eyes and retrieved his train of thought, "It might have been a message, but I do not think so. Who would receive it?" He paused.
Then his eyes opened wide, "But they were destroying a perfect specimen. What if it were intended to stop him donating his organs?"
Santosa exchanged glances with Bachman. "Interesting theory," she said to Singh, her face impassive. "It would all have been fine if he'd survived until he met us. The blue lights warned us off, but at least they were easy to follow back here."
"You had been about to meet him? How did you even know him? I do not understand: how could you have been assigned to this case before he died?"
"Ah, you think we're detectives, right?" Bachman grinned, "We're lots of things, but not detectives. We're pickpockets to grab his wallet, electricians to mess up the cameras here, cleaners to stop any transplants: that witness doesn't need them."
Santosa looked Singh up and down and sighed, "And to mop up any loose ends. Shame..." She pulled the short-barrelled shotgun from under her coat as Bachman watched the door.
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