I debated on which story line to continue telling for this chapter and ultimately it came down to the one that came out when I started writing it. It’s rough, so give me a break.
Jack and Doug were sitting closer to each other than either would have liked, but the coroner’s office more closely resembled a remodeled broom closet. Space and money were limited, so most of the latter was routinely spent on things that were considered mission critical, which meant lavish offices were out of the question.
As the two huddled around the computer screen, Swint pulled up that morning’s video and searched for the time he had opened the drawer. He began rolling the trackball under his thumb to find the precise moment that he had opened it. After several minutes, he finally found what he had been looking for and allowed the video to continue at normal speed.
“Here we go,” he said, as he eyeballed the deputy.
The video proceeded for a minute from the three feeds and just as Swint left the view of the drawer to retrieve the file the camera focused on the drawer feed began to fill with static.
“What the hell?” Swint said with surprise.
The body became indiscernible as the fuzz and lines filled the screen.
When the video became instantly clear, the body had vanished but it had never entered the other feeds meaning it never “left” the room.
“How is that possible?” Swint said mesmerized by the screen.
“How is it possible for the body to have vanished from the room, while I was in there and we have no evidence as to how it happened?”
“That’s a damn fine question you’ve got there,” Jack said as he scratched the stubble on his neck in bewilderment.
“What are you going to do about it?”
“Well, I guess I’m going to try to find out exactly who that guy in your drawer was to start with, but I do have a couple of questions for you before I go.”
“Nothing you should fret about,” Jack said.
“It’s just,” he paused. “How cold do those drawers get?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Well,” Jack said trailing off as he sat in the hard plastic chair in the coroner’s office.
“Is it possible he was still alive?”
Swint stared at Jack in disbelief. His eyes were locked on the deputy as his mouth fluttered but no sound escaped until he could no longer quell his fury and he erupted.
“Are you serious?” he stammered. “After watching the video, can you actually classify that as a legitimate question? Of course he was dead! Just how incompetent do you think I am?”
“Calm down, Doug,” Jack said raising his hands in defense.
“I’m not insinuating anything. Okay?”
The coroner was still visibly angry, but his normal sallow pallor was returning as the color that had so quickly flushed his face was abating with equal speed.
“Don’t take things so personally, Doug. I have to ask these things, because as it stands we have a missing body and no plausible explanation outside of the supernatural,” Jack said chuckling to try to further calm the angry coroner.
Swint’s eyes flashed wide with delight, as the possibilities flooded in his mind.
“That’s it! It has to be!
“You said it yourself.”
“What did I say?”
“The only explanation that makes any sense here has to be a supernatural one.”
“Okay, Doug,” Jack said looking at him in disbelief. “Clearly, I was joking.”
“No. Don’t you see? It’s the only thing that adds up. First, the body is here, which you can see on the video and then the video goes to crap for a second or so and then the body is gone.”
“I think you’re beginning to lose it, Doug.”
“How do you explain the other cameras?”
“The other cameras continued to stream when the one directly over the drawers fuzzed up.”
Jack sat there trying to rack his brain, but he knew it wasn’t going to do him any good.
“Shit. He might be right. I was so focused on the one above that damn drawer; I didn’t even look at the other two.”
“You know I’m right and it’s eating you up inside. Admit it.”
“I don’t know any such thing. I do know that I’m gonna take another look at that feed before I make up my mind on what I do next.”
Jack’s stomach was swimming and rolling as he thought about the possibilities of what this could mean. He had always gone to church and was a God fearing man, even if he did have a penchant for inebriation every now and again. He felt that the Lord had better things to do than to worry about how Jack Brown spent his evenings. He knew he could quit drinking anytime he wanted, but for now, he just didn’t want to quit. As his apprehension grew stronger, the nagging feeling in the back of his head told him.
“Man, I could use a drink right now.”
Swint was getting everything ready to playback the footage of the other two cameras, to approximate time the body decided to pull its disappearing act. Jack watched as the feed whipped passed at several times the normal rate trying desperately to catch a glimpse of anything that would make it all make sense, but the video was simply moving faster than Jack could process it. After what seemed like an eternity, Swint looked at Jack and pressed play.