Doctor Leichmann looked at the body on the table.

“Female, Caucasian, 5.7 metres, red hair, late twenties,” he began his dictation.  “Preliminary examination indicates COD is a single gunshot wound to the chest.”

He measured the entry wound at the back, swabbed for gunshot-residue, and measured the exit wound at the front.  Why did they want him to do an autopsy?  Cause of death was excessively obvious.  Besides, these type of things were usually handled by the county medical examiner, not the Chief of Medicine at a research hospital.

“Making Y-incision.”

Not that it was strictly necessary.  A shotgun at close range opened you up pretty effectively, and by the looks of it pulverised just about everything you’re supposed to check during one of these.  He removed the internal organs, or what was left of them, one by one and measured, weighed, recorded and sampled for the lab.

Something was not right.  He carefully checked inside the chest cavity and studied the X-rays again.  That was really strange.  Even with a through-and-through you’d expect at least some of the pellets to remain, lodged in a rib or vertebra.  But there was not one.  Not a single one.

And what was that strange smell?  He was used to the metallic tang of blood, the sour smell of the stomach-contents and the methane stink of the guts.  But this was strangely sweet, almost like the apple scent you get with diabetics, but not quite the same.

As he contemplated the remains he thought he saw a movement under the skin by her left temple.  That was impossible.  He leaned closer to get a better look.

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok