The telephone bell was ringing wildly, but without result, since there was no-one in the room but the corpse. –War in Heaven by Charles Williams
The writing readers prompt from last year was ‘take the first line of the above and begin.’ A refreshed version of my original waits to see if you like my take on it, a very different direction for me and my first stab at writing this year.
The telephone was ringing wildly but without result since there was no-one in the room … but the corpse. I fumbled for my passcard hands fidgeting in each pocket. Once located I waved it in front of the fob. The panel slid left to reveal an image collector, the incessant ring made my ears throb. I pressed my eye to the lens then a swish, the security glass door released. Ring, ring, ring, “Shut up” I shouted as it continued to break the silence. Before a console, I stopped, slid my fingers in the fixed knuckle duster like holder. I hear it ping and pull my fingers free; wipe them clean on the dispensed tissue. I grasped the handle; one twist and I was in.
” Whoever chose this green antique needs hanging.” I say to the room as I unbutton my coat tug at my scarf pushing them together on the hook, ‘ring ring, ring ring’ … “Shut the bugger up.” It rang on while I fastened a white coat; covered it with a rubber apron, pulled surgical gloves into place, once the mask at my neck was tied I was ready for action.
My journey to the wildly ringing beast took forever with polythene goloshes over my shoes. snatched the handset from the cradle as it stopped. An eerie peace fell over the room my heartbeat seemed to echo and bounce off the white walls.exasperated I went to the trolley, wrapped the mike around my ear and began.
“I am unzipping the shroud from the cadaver, still warm to the touch 12° Celsius, samples drawn, toxicological, biochemical and genetic testing is underway along with fluid samples. It is 0600 hours 23rd December 2050, twenty-eight hours since dispatch. X-ray’s, MRI and cat scans completed, copies have been sent by secure imaging to (SIS) and Downing Street.”
My mind focussed and the world shutout once in the flow, the zone I let nothing else penetrate. “External examination. The outer coating as seen has a prominent vein-like structure running just below the dermal membrane. The outer layer has an ashen tinge with some oedema present, on each of the four limbs and rear appendage. Three elongated digits on each limb at angles. Soft tissue is uncovered; no nail or nail bed present; professor Jacobs breaking off at 8.22.”
‘Click’ I pull the microphone from my ear and place it (still running) on the trolly, peel off my gloves and bin them; I rotate my shoulders and stretch my neck feeling a silent click release. In the office area, I open the fridge and retrieve some water. My backside hit the chair; my mind took over. This way of working was intense.
The situation was unbelievable, I still hadn’t got my head around any of it. A car came for me and the official secrets act was sworn and signed before a QC across the City, recalling the facts; seemed so surreal now. I shook my head and stood up stretching. With no time to waste, I set to, putting my mind to the task.
The external exam complete, I was ready to begin the cut. This part of the process was to be documented and observed by an external anatomical pathology scientist. On reaching for the phone it began to ring, I physically jumped, the sound echoed around me, once I was steady I picked up the receiver. “Professor Jacobs lab” three, four minutes passed with me repeating the greeting, I stared down the earpiece; willing a reply. I was squinting so hard my head hurt; it felt uncomfortable, I dropped the phone back on the cradle. My frown stayed when I dialled reception, I was massaging my temples with a free hand, ‘click’ … “Jacobs lab here, I got cut off? Please re-connect my caller.” … Silence ensued “Hello, hello.” There was dead air, no background noise, which would be normal in a busy reception. Once again the handset replaced and my face wore it’s now familiar frown. Throwing a pencil on my desk I said to the room “Sheila’s probably doing her nails… I’ll collect the observer myself while she calls the tech to fix the damn phone, who knows I may get a smart one ‘Huh,’ I logged out once more and walked to the lift. Once more the phone ‘rang and rang and rang, and rang’ but no one was in the room but the corpse.
What did you think was occurring? Let me know in the comments, I will get back quick smart…