Deleted Scene 3

This deleted scene is really just in rough draft. Detective Eccheli is at the morgue and Dr. Hayes has had a vehicle accident which delayed the autopsy. Again, it may or may not be used in a future novel.

Truth to be told, Eccheli was more than a little nervous around Gideon Hayes.

The doctor bore scars on his knuckles from his weekend obsession, boxing. Though fat, he was quick and many had found themselves flat on the mat wondering who they’d gotten there. Rumore had it, hayes also was a star in the bare knuckles games, too, his fury often erupting into a blinding rage.

Most people in the know believed he was trying to exorcise demons from when he was in the army and sniper skinny.

Everyone avoided him and he seemed to prefer it that way. He’d even painted a line on the autopsy room floor, behind which the viewing police officers were to stand until beckoned forward to be shown something.

It was here that Eccheli patiently waited while Hayes spoke in a monotone into the ceiling-mounted recorder. His new assistant, the fourth of that year, quietly buzzed around him like a fly, fetching items called for by his elephantine boss.

Blaisdale’s body lay naked in the center of the room while Hayes prepared the neck wound for viewing, hampered by a cast on his right wrist.

The doctor paused in his monotone, glanced at Eccheli and said, “I’ve hung the photos of those cuts done by the Slayer for comparison, but first you may approach the table.” He sniffed.

Just like royalty. Eccheli ground his jaw together, and then moved to where indicated.

Hayes picked up a pointer with his good hand. “I will be speaking in layman’s terms, so you will understand. As you can see by comparing the wound with that of the Slayer, it exhibits a certain amount of similarity on the initial inspection. Note the initial angle, the halt and dip following, and the upward curve. They are the same in all these cases. This is the work of the Silver Slayer. However, this wound presents some interesting aspects which differ distinctly from those of the other killings.”

He moved the tip of the pointed back and forth over the cut. “The length, for one. By itself, this indicates a certainty within the killer. He wanted this man dead. Certainly this is in part from a natural progression from hesitant beginner to practiced killer. However, this is a radical step up from his last victim, the wound increasing exponentially in size from the last victim.”

He inserted the tip of the pointer straight down into the cut. “The depth is the telling point. You may come in for a closer look.”

Eccheli bit back the rising sarcasm and obediently leaned in.

The smell of death is unmistakable, no matter how the killing. Eccheli had learned this over many years on the force. It was like the unstopping of a bottle. That was the closest description he could give it. With the vital force gone, all that’s left is the decay. Blaisdale’s body was fresher than most, so the decay was at a minimum, still, the odor of absent-vital-force remained.

The lips of the wound were pulled back and he could see the tip of Hayes’s pointer resting against the back of the throat. The trailing end of the cut was also deep, shearing through white ribs of cartilage and thick cords of muscle. The sliced ends of veins hung free.

He nodded, unsure of what Hayes wanted him to say. “Deep.”

“The tip of the killer’s blade, in fact, cut into the front of the spine.”

Eccheli nodded again, as he knew he should, but for the life of him he couldn’t piece the puzzle together. It seemed it should be obvious to him.

Hayes said, “The depth and the length coupled together are seen in crimes of passion. Basically –”

“He cared about this one. It was personal.” A hot, red flash of excitement raced through Eccheli. This was how they were going to catch the Silver Slayer. Through this body. He knew it.

Hayes stared at him for a long moment, anger at the rude interruption clear on his face.

Eccheli’s excitement wouldn’t let him shut up, though he risked alienating the doctor even more. “We know from the video that he knew this man. But it was more than that. He felt he’d been done wrong by him.” He bobbed his head, lost in the trail of his thoughts. He turned to leave, without being told they were finished, and flipped his hand in a goodbye.

Then he remembered Hayes. Or more specifically, his station. He had to smooth this over or he was sunk for the forseeable future.

He turned back at the door to discover the medical examiner still standing where he’d left him, staring with ice cold eyes. He took a step back into the room. “I’m sorry for your accident. How’s the wrist? Will it be all right? Do you need anything?”

Hayes took his time responding. Then he said, “Thank you for your concern. It will mend.” He sniffed and returned to his work.

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