When The Lantern Swings

Status: 2nd Draft

When The Lantern Swings

Status: 2nd Draft

When The Lantern Swings

Book by: smoothistfast

Details

Genre: Horror

Content Summary


This is from Chapter One Scene 2. Ed goes to the coroner's office for the autopsy.

 

 

Content Summary


This is from Chapter One Scene 2. Ed goes to the coroner's office for the autopsy.

Author Chapter Note


Looking for feedback on the relationship between the two characters and how the banter between them works.

Chapter Content - ver.5

Submitted: September 07, 2021

Comments: 2

In-Line Reviews: 2

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.5

Submitted: September 07, 2021

Comments: 2

In-Line Reviews: 2

A A A

A A A

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The Vinton County Coroner’s office sat on Harkins Chapel Road, tucked into a clearing in Zaleski State Forest, about ten miles east of McArthur. The white, two-story structure with its red shingled roof, looked as though it was once a church or school. Ed wondered why it wasn’t located in McArthur, which at least had a downtown. In the wintertime, he would have to put chains on his tires to negotiate snow-packed roads. Inside, Ed watched the coroner, Charlie Cook, as he examined the body. Cook moved in jerky fits and starts like the meth heads Ed used to arrest when he was a patrol officer. His lab coat flapped around his small frame like a child who had appropriated his parents’ clothing. Underneath the coat, he wore a white dress shirt as required by regulations but defeated any hint of professionalism with a green and yellow tie adorned with the image of Micky Mouse, black denim pants, and white, Chuck Taylor, tennis shoes. Ed stood in silence, allowing Cook to probe the body and record his findings on a small handheld digital recorder and clipboard.

Finally, Charlie looked up and removed his rectangle glasses. They hung by a bright red string around his neck. The coroner looked at Ed expectantly. “Well?”

“Well, what?” Ed held his hands out, palms up.

“I know what you’re going to ask me.”

Ed reached up and scratched his head. “I was going to ask you what killed her as it is kind of your job.”

“I know what my job is! I don’t need anyone to tell me what my job is!”

“So?”

“So, what, Ed?”

“So, what killed her? What’s the cause of death?”

“Oh, well.” Charlie reached for his clipboard, and Ed wondered why he needed it. He literally just got finished with the body and Ed thought he was stalling.  Charlie held the clipboard at arm's length, gave up, and put on his glasses.  He read from the sheet as if someone else had written it.  “Meghan Haynes was killed by an object of immense weight traveling at considerable speed. The weight was enough to pulverize her head, and well, you saw how far the matter was spread.”

“An object like a train,” Ed suggested. This comment seemed to hit Charlie like a bolt of electricity. His upper body convulsed, and he looked sharply at Ed.

“I didn’t say a train. Did you hear me say a train?” Charlie shoved the clipboard in Ed’s direction as if he’d asked for proof. Standing across the room, however, Ed couldn’t see what was written.

Ed pulled one of the metal stools away from the counter and sat down. “Charlie, what the hell?”

Charlie folded his arms. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Ed huffed a dry, humorless laugh and turned his head. “Alright, I’m just going to say it. The girl was run over by a train. I don’t know how she was run over by a train but you and I both know that’s what happened.”

“I don’t know shit,” Charlie said. He walked quickly to a slab numbered 7, pulled it open, and grabbed a bottle of whisky. “You can’t tell me what I know.”

Charlie yanked a Dixie Cup from a holder next to the sink, thought for a moment, pulled another one, and filled them both. He held a cup out to Ed.

“No, I’m not going to drink whiskey out of a damned Dixie Cup, Charlie. I thought we were friends. Why are you acting so weird?”

Charlie drained the first cup, then the second, and waved Ed off. “Think about what you’re saying, Ed. There’s no track down there. They were taken out years ago. How the fuck could there be a train there?”

“I don’t know,” Ed said, getting up and walking around. “I thought you were going to help me with that.”

“I can’t help you and you can’t go around talking about trains and shit.” Charlie started to pour another cup, threw it down, and turned up the bottle.

“Why?” Ed held out his arms. “I come here to get a cause of death and you go all psycho on me. Do you know what I have to do when I leave here? I have to go tell a couple that their little girl’s not coming home and all you’re going to give me is this blunt force trauma crap. Come on!”

“I’m sorry, that’s all you’re going to get from me,” Charlie said. He poked out his lower lip.

“You’re not even going to rule it a homicide?” Ed asked.

Charlie wagged his head. “What homicide?  You say she was run over by a train. Can you produce a train? You want to go around telling people their jobs, that’s your job.”

“Charlie what are you getting so hostile about, this isn’t like you? Well, it is like you, but not with me.”

Charlie started to turn up the bottle again, paused, put it down, and blew air through puffed-out cheeks. “Talk to Waddell.”

Ed shook his head. “And why am I talking to Waddell? He wouldn’t even meet with me when I took over.”

Charlie cocked his head. “Your predecessor is an asshole and a first-class bigot, but you need to talk to him.”

“Charlie.”

Charlie lowered his head, returned to slab 7, and put the hooch away. “I’m sorry, Ed, but that’s the way it is. You have to talk to Waddell.”

 


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