Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fancypants (Part 2): Rattlesnakin'!

This part 2 in a series. Jump to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Sylvia noted a small piercing in the toe that Doctor Chesterfield seemed to have missed in his autopsy. Upon further inspection, she saw that the puncture oozed a strange amber liquid. Not blood - it was something else.

She reached over the corpse for a syringe lying on the side trolley, when there was an odd humming noise somewhere behind her. Slowly, she placed the syringe back on the trolley and turned to look. There was nothing there - only the quadratic arrangement of freezer doors staring back at her. Four chambers on each unit, and they had two. It wasn't something you'd see advertised on the mortuary building sign, but everyone in forensics was mighty proud that Jesup could hold up to eight bodies at a time these days.

"What in sam hill..." said Sylvia, to herself. She cocked her head to one side, trying to define the noise. It was almost intermittent - the humming blended with the freezers' buzz, and only occasionally pitched a little higher, or lower, which was when she could hear it.

She looked briefly back at the corpse, and, satisfied that it didn't look keen on exercise at any near time, crept slowly to the freezers. Putting her ear to the doors one by one, Sylvia listened for the strange hum. Finally, at chamber number five, she stopped. There was definitely something humming in there. Sylvia stood at the freezers, her ear to the door of number five, listening. Occasionally, she turned back to check on the corpse.

It blended with the hum of the freezers, but again - once in a while - she would catch a slight change in pitch. It almost sounded ... human. Like a man's voice. Finally, rolling her sleeves up, and with a cry of "Lord help me", she grabbed the door handle and pulled it open. Frosty mist uncurled in her face.

"Why, best of the evenin' to you, Miss Plath" said Jackson genially from the freezer chamber.

Sylvia, having recoiled with a shriek, put her hand on her breast and screamed into the freezer. "Jackson! God darn it, Jackson. Not again."

"Whatever is the hassle, Miss Plath?" asked Jackson. He was crouched up in the chamber, his legs crossed in an awkward way, and hands folded as though in prayer.

"Jackson, the director has been over this with you plenty now. How did you get in here?"

"Why, I merely gave Jeremiah the evenin' off so he can get dressed up to take Mary Lou to the county Ball tonight" said Jackson.

"Jeremiah's taking Mary Lou?" said Sylvia. Then, shaking her head, she said, "Whatever, whatever. Now, you get out of there Jackson".

"Honestly, a grown man sitting himself down in a morgue freezer," said Sylvia, taking Jackson by the arm and pulling him out. "I might have thought you were six years old."

"Now don't be angry with me, Miss Plath," said Jackson, climbing down tenderly. "I was sitting on that chair over there, taking care of the place, when she asked me in for the pleasure of my banter."

Sylvia sighed. "Who asked you in, Jackson?"

"Why, my lady friend, of course. She lives in there. Said she was feelin' a little sleepy this afternoon, and asked if I'd tell her a story to set her into bed."

"Jackson," said Sylvia, "She's gone. She's not in there anymore."

"Come on now Miss. Plath," said Jackson, smiling, and reaching into the freezer. "If she's gone, then whose hand might you say this would be?"

"That's old Dame Grimsby, Jackson. She had a coronary earlier this mornin'. Come on now, Jackson," she said, taking his hand.

"Dame Grimbsy?" said Jackson.

"Yes," said Sylvia, "now, come on now. Yep, let go off poor lady Grimsby's hand, yep, now, come on."


"What was that humming noise I heard in there, anyway?" asked Sylvia, as she led Jackson out of the mortuary.

"Well, my lady friend - "

"Dame Grimsby" interjected Sylvia.

"Uh," said Jackson, looking a little confused, "Dame Grimbsy, she fell asleep in the middle of my story."


"Well, so I set myself down to do some tantric yoga, meditatin' on her pretty face" said Jackson, smiling widely now.

This part 2 in a series. Jump to Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

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