Just another Body

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Investigator Brian Williams accepts a new position that leads him into the dark side of the life insurance business. Murder sometimes has a motive, life insurance, as Brian soon finds out. Brian and Carol soon discover that life in Chicago is fast paced and full of surprises.
From a future novel "The Missing Floor".

Submitted: February 26, 2017

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Submitted: February 26, 2017

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Just another Body

Flash – Fiction 973 Words

Brian Williams arrived at the site of the burned vehicle a little before dark to investigate the insurance claim for his company. There were no tire tracks beyond the charred remains of the Ford Flex. Walking ahead on the overgrown dirt road, there were no tire tracks. Suddenly he heard a crash of a tree falling. Walking back to his car, he could see the only way out blocked. Brian check his cell phone, no signal!

Each death Brian read about seemed worse than the last, but this case bothered him. The victim burned beyond recognition when the car burst into flames along a country road. Unable to drive around the dead tree, he climbed over and started walking toward the paved road. Strange a dead tree would just fall with no wind and now! Did someone push it over? Brian thought as he walked checking for a mobile signal.

 

He had told Helen at the office that he would spend the day down state checking out a claim and would return by noon the next day. Now he began to wonder if he would make it.

The burned body had been discovered just a little too quickly by a friend of the victim. Just a little too convenient. The policy had been taken out only six months earlier by his wife for one hundred thousand. First question he would ask the friend of the victim would be, why did you look for your friend on this dirt road?

The smell of smoke caught his attention and he turn around to see smoke rising from the direction of the dirt road. Running back he found his car in flames as darkness fell. It was a moonless night and pitch black. My only flashlight is in the car! Brian hurriedly tried to build some kind of shelter with the light from the burning car. The Ford Flex would have to do, the back had plenty of room, as he gathered up sage brush for bedding and laid it in the Flex. Nothing to do now but wait for morning.

The hoot of an owl kept him company during the night, until it started to rain. He moved to the center of the car trying to keep away from the windows and stay dry. Daylight came around seven, still a light drizzle, Brian resumed his trek to the motel he had passed a few miles back on the main road. After getting cleaned up and he put on his damp clothes, walked across the road to a restaurant, where he called the auto insurance company, filed a report and requested a rental car be delivered. 

At the coroner’s office he asked, “Were any DNA samples taken?”

“We don’t normally spend the money for that unless someone ask for it and pays for the test.”

“I would like to have the test run and could I have test from the home?”

“Bring me a comb with some hair on it and we will run the test for you.”

Brian went to the home and met the grieving spouse. “Mam, I am with the insurance company, we will need a sample of your husband’s hair a comb will do. Brian watched as she found a pocket comb he carried. He spotted a pile of cigarette butts in an ashtray and when her back turned he place several of them in a plastic bag he carried in his pocket. When she returned with the comb, he examined the comb for hair, and noticed a red and black one. The wedding picture on the wall indicated the husband had light brown hair. “Could I also have your husband’s used toothbrush?”

“What for?”

“Our company requires at least two DNA tests to verify that the body is his when it is a burn victim.”

“Well, okay.”

At the police station, he obtained the name and address of the person who reported the accident. James Smith, a friend of the family. “How long after the accident did James discover the car?”

“The best we can tell it must have been about two days, the chassis had not cooled down when we got there.”

“Could you determine what started the fire?”

“It may have been from a broken gas line. There were a lot of falling logs in the road, we picked up several on the way to the car. No way to tell for sure, all the lines and rubber were gone.”

“Do you know James Smith? Does he have a police record?”

“Well, yes, he is a local boy and has been arrested twice on minor charges, once with Bob the victim for stealing a car. Joy riding in a neighbor’s car who left the keys in the trunk. The neighbor dropped the charges.”

“What about his wife Sue, does she have a record?”

“No, but she did lose her job at a restaurant recently, suspected of picking up another waitress’s tip from the table.”

“I noticed a fresh grave at the cemetery near the dirt road, can you tell me who died?”

“An elderly lady from the nursing home, don’t believe she had any family living.”

“Could I have the nursing home address? Thanks, you have been a big help.”

At the nursing home, Brian collected a hair brush used by the elderly lady.

Back at the coroner’s office he turned over all the samples, gave the coroner his card and asked for a call as soon as the results came back.

On the way back to Chicago, he got a call from the coroner, “I thought you would like to know, the body in the car turned out to be female, not male.”

“Thank you, that will cancel the policy, I assume you will turn the evidence over to the police.”

“You bet, looks like a murder case.”


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