Today I'm gonna try something new and give you a tantalizing teaser. This one is for my most recent release - BloodFlow. I hope you enjoy it.
“I remember my first autopsy,” Vic said as she grabbed the folder she’d been searching for. “I threw up on a fellow student and then passed out. It was not a pretty picture.”
“You or the deceased?” Randi joked.
“It was a floater. She’d been in Chesapeake Bay for a week or more. Bloated and little nibbled. She was absolutely disgusting.” Vic laughed. “But there are worse things.”
Randi could only hope she wasn’t about to encounter one of them.
“What thirty thousand pounds of metal moving at eighty miles an hour can do to the human body…” The woman’s dramatic shudder hit Randi like an earthquake.
“I only received the report from the first responders, but from that, I could tell it was pretty nasty.”
“Needless to say, skipping the coffee and Danish was probably a good idea.”
The doctor didn’t know how right she was. The very concept of food combined with what she’d probably witness this morning had her insides churning. Swallowing hard, she tried to get a grip on her weak stomach.
Following Vic down the hall, they went through a set of steel doors. There the medical examiner donned her gear and helped Randi do the same. She started the voice recorder to document every step of the procedure. The morgue’s staff had already prepared the subject for the doctor and she strode directly to a body that had been laid out like a Halloween buffet.
Randi had to stifle her gag reflex when the corpse was unveiled. Lila Reynolds was hardly recognizable as a human being, let alone the smiling woman on the YouTube videos.
“Well, I can tell you one thing straight off,” Vic said as she bent over the table. “She was deceased before the accident occurred.” She pointed to damage along what had to have once been Lila’s face. “This is post-mortem.”
“So it was a heart attack?”
She tilted her head to one side. “You know better than that. I’m not paid to guess.” Randi mumbled an apology and changed her ‘baking cookies’ opinion to ‘headmistress at a school for wayward girls’. “I should be able to have some close approximation after I open her up.”
Inch by agonizing inch, the examiner inspected the exterior of what used to be a human being. Every few seconds, she stopped to note a particular cut or scrape. Every mole or old scar got its share of attention, too. When Vic reached the woman’s neck, she stopped. “Take a look at this for me, if you would.”
Not exactly something she wanted to do, but it was the job. The examiner used an instrument to hold back the deceased’s hair. In an instant, Randi knew what she was looking at. “She’s been chipped.”
“Sorry. Implanted. My superiors would prefer people not call it ‘getting chipped’.”
“No, I was asking ‘what are you talking about?’ not trying to correct you.”
“Oh. You haven’t heard about this yet?” Randi didn’t think it was possible, considering how often the news had been cheerleading for the project. Then again, Vic didn’t pay a lot of attention to the news. She claimed she saw enough tragedy at work without needing to see it at home. The woman’s tastes ran more toward The Food Network and BBC America.
“Project Hermes. It’s supposedly the latest and greatest answer to illegal immigration.”
“Tracking through electronic implant?”
“The chips are only supposed to be accessed in case of arrest and potential deportation. Basically, if you have one, you’re a citizen and get to stay. They’re very careful to point out that people can’t be tracked with these things.” Which, for Randi, meant they probably did exactly that.
“So they’re like the kind used for pets?”
A grin played under Randi’s surgical mask. She’d thought the same thing when she first heard about Project Hermes. Honey had been chipped by the rescue agency she’d adopted him from. “Exactly. They started the program a few weeks ago, but it’s all the rage with politicians and their families. Get chipped for your country or some such nonsense. It’s all supposed to be very patriotic.”
“I don’t like it.” Vic’s ideas mirrored her own.
“It’s not mandatory,” she added, suddenly feeling guilty. Her own employer said this program was essential to national security. “According to Secretary Dougherty, they’re implementing the plan as a precaution to protect citizens from being mistaken for immigrants.” The whole idea seemed unrealistic, but Homeland Security hadn’t put her on the list of people who got to voice their opinions.
“Doesn’t make much sense if you ask me.”
Of course, Vic wouldn’t be on that list either. In fact, Randi wasn’t sure who would be on any such fictitious list. The project was simply one of those things that politicians voted on while their constituents watched Wheel of Fortune.
“Although apparently, it made enough sense for someone to float the idea and then a whole bunch of someones to throw money at.” Vic looked from the minute scar to Randi and back again. “And they’re saying it’s perfectly safe?”
“That’s the idea.”
The doctor selected a scalpel from the tools on a nearby cart. One quick incision and she was holding the tiny device on the tip of her finger. “All the same, I’d like to run some tests on this little beauty. If someone wants to put one in the back of my head, I’d like to verify for myself it didn’t have anything to do with this poor woman’s death.”
If you're tantalized and want to read more, BloodFlow is available for purchase at Amazon (in every country where you can buy Kindle books) and at Createspace.