Chapter 8: Chapter 8

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 79

There was a lot of beauty in Ridgemont, but the Coroner’s building was considered a landmark. Its Spanish architecture boasted large square pillars and a central bell tower. Brightly glazed red tiles that ordained the space between the rounded windows contrasted with the majority of grey stone that surrounded the rest of the building. It drew students and tourists alike, but Alex hated it. Something that held such pain shouldn't be so beautiful. As she walked the hallway it felt longer and the air suddenly colder, but it was more the idea of where Alex was headed that had her more cognitive of every detailed inch of her surroundings.

“Alexis!”

At the sound of her name, Alex immediately felt her stomach tighten and constrict upward. Alex stopped dead in her tracks and slowly shifted around to face the woman walking towards her. She wore the same light blue scrubs that Alex had on with a white lab coat over them. A tight bun pulled back her thin black hair, while cat-eye glasses shielded her almond-shaped eyes. Though a distractive accessory, they couldn’t hide the red puffiness that gave away her true emotional state.

Of all the professionals that encircled Alex, Hazel Lee was the most passionate and outwardly emotional person she knew. Which she found interesting since she assumed everyone that was surrounded by so much death and tragedy would eventually become numb to it. By the time Alex was sixteen, she was already compartmentalizing and building her walls. A part of her envied Hazel’s openness.

As Hazel drew near she forcibly swallowed and choked out her question, “Is she alive?”

Alex’s head dropped. Hazel and Kate had been friends longer than she and Alex. The three women had become even closer after Kate’s husband died. The fact that Hazel was doing Tyler’s autopsy cut deeper and made everything that much more acute.

Alex drew in a breath before she could answer. “She is.”

“Thank God!” 

With the exclamation, Alex braced herself for what she knew was about to happen. Hazel reached forward and drew her into a hug. She immediately tensed as the smaller woman’s arms wrapped around her, but Alex knew she wouldn't get out of the embrace until she acknowledged it. She quickly patted Hazel’s back then shifted her weight back to give the hint she was over the contact.

Pushing back but not releasing Alex’s arms Hazel looked her over. “How are you? Are you okay? How’s the head?” 

“I’m fine, but I’m not really here to visit.”

“I know. I was coming back from getting some air. Every time I look at that sweet face I just- how did this happen?“ She barely finished her words before tears were streaming again and she dropped her head into her hands. 

Alex squeezed her shoulder for support and wanted to do more but there was nothing. The whole situation was an empty void and Hazel was a pure visual of how Alex was feeling inside, but could never actually allow herself to display. 

“Should you be the one examining him?” she asked.

Hazel looked up and straightened. “Should you be on the case?”

“Touche.” Alex tried to smile at the wit, but it was all too serious. “I have a feeling I won’t be, so I gotta do what I can now.”

“So we’re on the same page then.”

Alex forced a smile and then looked past Hazel. “I’m sorry, and I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but all I feel like I can do is find the person who did this. I need to know what you’ve found.”

“I’ve known you long enough, Alex.” She wiped her eyes and smiled slightly. “I get it. Maybe I need to learn to be more like you.”

“Please don’t. It’s me that needs to be more like you.”

Hazel reached out and squeezed Alex’s hand and with a short nod indicated for her to follow. They didn't speak. The only sound was the rhythm of their footfalls and swishing of their clothing as the women walked down the hall. Hazel’s demeanor changed the moment she pushed the double doors open. With her work mode kicking in she began to speak quickly. 

Alex listened. She already knew what she’d say, how he died, and the broken ribs from her performing CPR. She couldn't look away from the still form on the table. Her heart gripped in agony and her mind tried desperately to separate her emotional connection overwhelming her. New information had her tuning back in.

“There was some skin under his nail?” Alex asked for verification and turned to fully face Hazel. 

“I’m waiting on the tox screen too, though I don’t know what would be found. I’ll pass on the information as soon as I get it.”

“Can you send it to me first?” Alex realized she sounded like she was begging, but knowing her time being around the case was incredibly limited and with the revelation of Byron nosing around she needed to be at the top of the list for any information. The fact Byron showed up in person in a public area was a warning that she’s being watched closely. 

“Is there something else going on that I don’t know about?”

Alex tried to laugh off her concern. “Just me wanting to control it all, you know.”

Hazel studied her but didn’t respond.

Alex quickly changed the subject. “There was a detail the doctor said that’s been bothering me. Can I ask you a professional question?”

“Shoot.”

“What are the chances to stab someone six times in the abdomen and miss all vital organs and arteries?”

“Luck, but that’s some luck. I guess if he had medical knowledge and time to execute.”

“How much knowledge and time?”

“Depends, basic anatomy, but to know depths and factor in that Kate wouldn’t just sit still while he placed his knife perfectly-” Hazel stopped and her face twisted. “Wait, why are you asking me this?”

Alex didn’t want to make Hazel’s day worse than it was and shook her head. “Just covering all the bases.”

“But Tyler’s injury wasn’t precise. What are you thinking?” 

She knew Hazel wouldn’t let her off that easy, but she had to continue to try. She didn’t have any proof of anything, yet. Alex grabbed her hand but didn’t say. Hazel was intuitive and brilliant, and she’d put it together, but right then while it was all so fresh and exposed it would only make the pain more vibrant and cruel.

“Take care of him.”

“Alex, you can’t just leave like this.” Hazel gripped harder and pulled Alex’s hand back in an attempt to keep her from leaving and to reveal what she had deduced.

Alex pulled her arm free and moved away. The truth was inevitable, but the rate of pain she could at least control. Hopefully.

 

 

 

 

 


Submitted: September 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.

Chapters

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Mystery and Crime Books

Other Content by Kathrynmp

Book / Mystery and Crime

Book / Mystery and Crime

Short Story / Mystery and Crime