None of the bodies without brains had any traces of blood.
September 1, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
“What did you think of the meeting, Dave?” Angus asked his detective friend when the four detectives went out for a post-meeting coffee break.
“Yeah, had you two guys heard anything about this revolting situation?” Skeeter was anxious for their feedback.
“Well we heard a rumor a couple of days ago. It’s grisly. It’s outer-space-y.”
“Unbelievable,” was all Justy said, for the moment.
Angus added. “We saw something about this in a scandal sheet about a month ago and thought it was all trumped up to sell more papers. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I went online to get as much information as I could about it. At first there was nothing. That is why I thought it was bogus. Then, more and more information started trickling in. You know how I am about this weird stuff.”
“Yeah, Angus, we know!” Dave jabbed.
“The reason we grabbed you two up for a coffee break is this: we are getting kind of fond of you guys…always have been.” Angus started to explain.
“Aw, shucks.” Dave’s face reddened a bit. Skeeter giggled.
Angus continued, “Well, what Sullivan just told us—what he emphasized about wearing the suits—please…”
“Yes, puh-leeze!” Skeeter butted in.
Angus kept on with his speech. “If you come across any type of body that has no blood coming out of it, no external injuries, don’t go anywhere near it without some kind of protection. There are many of these brainless bodies being scattered across North America.”
“Really?” Justy asked.
“Really. You don’t want to touch them, you don’t want to breathe in, or suck in any of the air around them, and you need to be careful of your eyes.”
“What in the world is it? Dave asked.
“No one knows yet. They are afraid of a collective panic—but worse, they are afraid of an epidemic like the AIDS crisis. Remember how long it took them to figure that out?”
“But,” Skeeter took the floor, “there is always the possibility it is being done on purpose, by someone. There is no pattern. So far it appears to be random.”
“Sort of like a terrorist activity?” Dave asked.
“Yeah, sort of. Actually no one knows anything. I think Austin could be getting a body any day now. We have to remember not to just run up to whatever bodies we run across. It will be hard, because we are programmed to do so. I am going to have a hard time, myself. I am not trying to be a know it all.” Skeeter giggled when Angus said this. “But….I have been watching this thing since it first started up, and I have called some medical examiners across Texas and across the USA and they are all drawing blanks.”
“Well, thanks, Angus. Yeah it is hard to not go investigate a body up close, to see if there is a spark of life, or if there is immediate evidence that will help a case. Let’s put our heads together now, and figure out what the best way to proceed—what would that be?” Dave commented.
“I think we should put a call into EMS immediately, even if we think the person is dead. They will be suiting-up on everything and already protected by the time they arrive. They will have more extensive gear on their trucks. None of the brainless bodies have shown blood or external injuries. If you see that, especially blood, you are probably good to go. But I would wear some protective gear, anyway.”
“We can’t be positive.” Skeeter added.
“Geeze!” Dave exclaimed. “We knew this was going to be a summer with complications. It started out too damn calm.”
“It was too calm to be believed.” Justy added.
* * *
“What now, Angus?” Skeeter posed the question.
“We’re supposed to do some cold cases. We can go check on some in a little bit. Nothing real time consuming, in case we get hit with a hammer in the middle of it. Now, I think we should try to get a hold of Branford Cooper. I want to double check that he is being extra careful. I am getting the heebie jeebies.”
“I think we should call up Laroux Dimitri.”
“Laroux Dimitri? What do you intend to ask her?”
“My main goal there is to see if she can pull ‘brainless bodies’ out of a hat, without our giving her too much information. Then we can go from there—see if she has any idea what person or group would be setting these innocent people up, and if she has any idea about the origin of the cause of the ‘condition.’”
“Great idea, Angus. Why didn’t I think of that?”
* * *
“How many times have you called Cooper, Angus?”
“Seventeen times. And I have left almost as many ‘call me’ messages.”
“What about Laroux?”
“No answer there. Are you finding anything light for us to work on, in case disaster strikes in the middle of it?”
“I’m working on in. Paper-cut city!”
“Something we can drop and go back to, if we have to.”
“I am finding something low fat, low carb, that doesn’t induce drowsiness. It will take awhile, but I will find it.”
Angus tried Laroux Dimitri’s number again. He let it ring twenty-five times. There was no answer.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.