He sensed something very dangerous about the brainless bodies.
August 24, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
In a chilly private autopsy room at the Dallas morgue, two men adjusted the elastic bands at their ankles and wrists. Then, they did the same for the elastic bands at their necks where collars and hoods joined.
“What planet do we hail from, Bill?” Dr. LeBraun’s sense of humor was intact.
“Hmmm. We do look like we are from outer space—far regions. . .” Bill responded.
“I can’t emphasize how careful we must be, Bill. I knew we would have to deal with one of these situations soon. That is why I ordered a few of these latest-design hazmat suits and I requested express delivery. I want you to turn around slowly and I will check for leaks. Then you do the same for me, okay?” LeBraun had called up detective Angus Carlyle shortly after the initial and abbreviated CT scan. When the body of a thirty-eight-year-old, healthy, well-developed male was discovered in his home in Desoto, a Dallas suburb—a young man with nothing in his medical history to indicate a health problem, and no marks of violence or injury were found—a suspicious LeBraun had ordered the body triple-bagged at the scene, before transport. He had also suggested that the crew of the conveyance not go into the scene without hazmat suits.
LeBraun could do nothing about the police officers that were the first to arrive and had come into contact with the body. He explained the situation to their superiors, and emphasized the need for them to be quarantined from other people for maybe three weeks. This went over like a lead balloon. They were feeling fine. He then stressed that they needed to have their health monitored by examinations. LeBraun was not convinced they would comply. Maybe he would have to get a court order to require such, and speedily. He was doubtful of his own ability to obtain needed evidence to back up this request. He wasn’t even sure he could get any evidence that would suffice, but he was sure he was dealing with a deadly situation that could have far-reaching and horrific consequences if not handled properly. He did not wish for all of the information to be released. It could cause unnecessary and collective anxiety.
Working with the health department, he had made sure the young deceased man’s rent house was sealed. Bio-hazard warning signs were placed all over the property along with “no trespassing” and “do-not-enter signs.” Neighbors were not given much information. They were just told to stay off the property, and under no circumstances to let children get on the property. “Dangerous chemical residue” was all they were told. Dallas did not need a panic on its hands.
When the triple-bagged body arrived at the morgue, they scanned the head right through the bags without removing them. Sure enough, it was brainless. Dr. LeBraun was positive Angus would want to know, so he called him during a spare moment and informed of the unusual death and explained to him that he intended to use the hazmat suits.
They scanned the rest of the body then, through the bags and it appeared to have all of its necessary parts. Scanning was a huge expense for the morgue, but it could pay off to the tenth power later. LeBraun was trying to develop and document a safe protocol for handling these brainless bodies and he was convinced there was something very dangerous about them. The death of the victim did not end the danger.
“Yes, I have seen the movie ‘Scanners,’” LeBraun had admitted in his phone conversation with Angus, with a hearty chuckle. “At this point I do not think the danger is of an exploding nature.” To a tiny degree, Dr. LeBraun might have been wrong in this assumption.
The doctor spoke into his drop-down microphone as he used the electric saw to cut off the top of the skull of the deceased. Bill had locked the doors to the private autopsy room from the inside as a precaution.
“The brain case is totally devoid of any dura matter or brain tissue. There is no blood or other fluid in the brain case. The internal skull is sparkling white. I am now scraping the inside of the skull with surgical blades and dropping the blades into formalin-filled containers. There is no visible residue on the blades, but I will conduct careful microscopic inspection of these blades later.”
At that point he stopped. “Bill, would you get the rest of the body ready for autopsy? I have to check the audio on this playback to make sure this bulky hood is not interfering with the sound. I need to make sure we have good documentation of these procedures. If it is audible, we will finish the autopsy.”
* * *
“And that concludes the post mortem on Finley Blaine Davis, age thirty eight. We are triple-bagging the body once again and putting it in a cold storage drawer. The drawer will be sealed with commercial sealer, and the door to the private autopsy room locked. If family members come forward, I am recommending immediate cremation of the remains. I have preserved the required number of tissue specimens and x-rays, with more for good measure.”
“What now, Doc?” Bill asked.
“Well, you can close him up and re-bag him and then we will go through countless safety precautions in sealing the drawer, removing the suits, treating the suits. We have to hose down the suits, then, put them in an autoclave. Then we have to take numerous showers, ourselves—you know the drill. I will be re-reading some of the instructions with the new hazmat suits, just to double check.
Bill, though not formally medically trained, could sew a fine seam.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.