Thursday, March 7, 2013

Controversy - Author Bell - Part 3

Controversy - Bell

Official Journal: File #---16. Part 3

   While the sun had vanished behind the clouds, the rain refused to fall to the ground, giving the air a most, cool sensation all around. Ivan reached down to the A/C knob and carefully adjusted it to give the car a slight burst of warm air. In the back, Coraline Reading sat quietly, awaiting for me to drive us to our arrival. At the sandwich shop, we all had discussed how Coraline could help us with the heist to infultrate Stanton's party. She had already planned on attending the party for news coverage, but she promised to sneak us in with her film crew if she got an exclusive scoop with us. It was an offer that we could not refuse.

   "If you don't mind me asking-" she started to squeak out in our van, but Ivan's seemingly faceless gaze towards her caused the speech emanating from her mouth to stumble. She shrank into the back seat, intimidated by Ivan, but bravely continued after she regained composure. "Um, where are we headed to? I know you said we were going someplace important to your work..."

   "We're heading to the coroner's building." Ivan stated simply without removing his gaze from Coraline. Ivan definitely did not fully trust her yet, and his steady gaze penetrated her skull and was looking for dark secrets hidden inside of her. Coraline shifted her legs and shoulders, uncomfortable with the current situation. I eyed Ivan out of the corner of my eyesight to tell him to back off, and he eventually complied. "So, why work for the news?" I asked. We wanted her to ride with us so that we knew who we were working with. These questions popped on and off, and she normally answered them with ease.

   "I grew up in the heights of outer Deinsport, and I've always been amazed with how uninformed the people are. That's why I became a reporter: to spread truth and news to inform people."

   "What do you mean, 'uninformed'?" Ivan asked suspiciously.

   "Most of the people around here believe in ghost stories over hard facts. I'm not a superstitious person, but the more I've encountered stories in the city, the more complex these stories become. That's why I'm so interested in what you're doing. You're getting down to the hard facts instead of crazy supernatural theories!"

   Ivan shifted his hat. This usually meant that he found humor in something. Admittingly, I did find her statement humorous. She wanted to use us to help advance her stories, yet our work had a focus completely different from hers. We settled spirits and solved crimes through factual and ghostly ways. She had not realized this yet, but that would change soon enough.

   I had only jumped out of the parked car when the reporter's news van pulled up behind us. She had a driver that pulled some security while she was shooting a report, and the actual camera man was a tall figure who had surprising strength. Coraline seemed less than impressed with the exterior of the run down coroner office, but she started to plot where she wanted which shot and how the camera man should place himself. "You keep doing that, and we're going to go ahead and go on in to receive the report." She nodded and continued to mark out her shots.

   Ivan and I walked into the building, letting the door creak as it slowly shut. A man walked into the room with a long white doctor's jacket that had several pink stains splattered over it. "WWEEEELLLLCome!!" he greeted us with too much enthusiasm. I choked down a laugh and shook his hand, while Ivan hesitantly gave his hand a single, hard shake. "I'm Dr. Coupe! How may I be of service to you wonderful gentlemen?" He gave us a giant grin that seemed to exaggerate itself with his bushy beard and mustache. Ivan gave his head a slight shake as to recalibrate a respond to the human standing before him. "Ah... yes. We're here for Stanton."

   "OH, YES! You must be the detectives from across town! I believe I've seen your faces in the shamble of a report the police have published to me." He pointed at me. "I knew your face rang a bell. Get it? You're Bell!" He began giggling manically, and I chuckled along to tame the weirdness stemming from his personality. It only became worse. "You know... I have a very luscious fascination over bells..."

   "Sir," Ivan blurted. "Please take us to the body now before we-"

   "Oh, well pardon me!" the coroner flung his arms upward with palms forward. "I was just trying to be friendly! Follow me!" The doctor hunched and stormed behind a door. We had to practically run to keep up with him. I shot a glace at Ivan, and he eyed me back, twirling his finger in a circle next to his head as to say "crazy". I nodded in agreement. The man was off rocker, but most men who have some mental instability seem to be brilliant men that I enjoy working with.

   Coupe swept his key card on the door and opened it. When he stepped inside, he slammed the door shut with us standing outside. Ivan tried the door, but it had already locked. We waited a few seconds, yet the doctor did not come back. When Ivan tried to knock, Coupe opened the door, knocking Ivan back, and yelled "Well don't just wait out here! C'mon in!" We carefully stepped into the room, and the table in the center presumably held the victim under a sheet.

   "And this-" Coupe jumped towards the table, grabbed the sheet between his fingers, and ripped it away, leaving the body completely exposed. "-this is Barbara Stanton! Oh... you poor sweet!" Coupe kissed the cold, grey skin of Stanton's forehead. I'm cringed, and I thought I heard Ivan gag for a moment, yet I checked over my shoulder, and he stood with unmoving composure. If it hadn't been confirmed before, it was obvious now that Coupe was indeed crazy.

   "So... um," I started to stammer, at a loss of words with the show Coupe had been putting on. "Do you know the cause of death?"

   "Ah... yes..." Coupe replied, and he slipped on a pair of glasses that he had handing from his stained lab jacket. He then grabbed a laptop from a locked drawer, turned it on, and began typing and pulling up documents. "Judging from my tests, Barbara Stanton died an hour or two before you arrived at the scene with Harrow. Where is the lovely sweet, by the way?" Again, I began to stammer, now surprised by how normal Coupe sounded. It was possible that he was playing mind games with the two of us, but it was also possible that his work makes him very serious. 

   "Harrow is back with another colleague of ours making plans for next week." In actuality, Harrow had gone back to our office with Scout to start pulling up building plans to see where Scout could plug into security cameras and the like. "Back to the issue though, what caused the death?

   "That's the interesting part." Coupe got up and pulled out some plastic disks from a refrigerator. "There are samples that I extracted from the blood. It seems that the blood has changed to a malformed state where damages the blood vessels and veins while carrying no oxygen or sugars. It also seems to create some type of liquid while alive that spreads to other cells and infects them." Ivan twisted his head and picked up one of the disks with his gloved hand to inspect the doctor's work. "So, what is this chemical?"

   "That is the issue." Said Doctor Coupe in a very serious tone. "The chemical actually disintegrates before I can run any tests on it. I can't extract the chemical from the blood cells either. Any infected cells have disintegrated as well. I've been finding traces of it throughout the body, but I can't extract it without destroying it."

   I nodded my head. It was indeed strange, and I had strange vibe that we were either dealing with a master alchemist or some supernatural force. "So, was this unidentified chemical injected or ingested?"

   "I did not find any bruises or injection sites on the body. Plus, the esophagus and stomach have suffered severe damage.I would say it was ingested." The doctor nodded his head lightly and pushed his glasses up his face. He might be kind of crazy, but he was definitely a professional with his job. "So, that is all I have for you. I'm sorry there isn't more, but all of the evidence for whatever killed Mrs. Stanton has been obliterated."

   "That's fine doc." I said, smiling, yet somewhat disappointing that we were not able to find out more. "Keep us posted in case if you find anything."

   "Will do!" Coupe took off his glasses. "Would you like some cookies? I made them myself with some ingredients I found lying around!"

   Ivan put his hand up. "We're good, we just had lunch. Goodbye." And with that, we scuttled out of the building with haste. We opened the doors and spotted Coraline finding the perfect camera angle for her big news story. She led us to a spot and went over some basic questions that she would ask us. While she was talking, I heard two blips from my phone. I excused myself for a second and opened up my mailbox. The first message was from Scout. They had found a way into the security systems of Stanton's penthouse, and they had full access without any way for his security team to trace back to us. "We're in. Scout and Harrow have the security locked down for us." Coraline smiled, and Ivan stood idly, yet somehow, I felt he had approved of this achievement. I looked down and opened a text message that I had received moment after the email. It came from a private phone number, so it was probably spam. I decided to open it anyway just in case. All the message said was "THEY'RE WATCHING U". 

   Instinctively, I began scanning around the area without making it look like I was watching for someone. I turned to Ivan, and he was doing to same instinctively. Coraline stepped out of the back of the TV crew van with a microphone and motioned for us to stand where she had instructed. I kept my eye out, but my attention drew to the reporter when she started rolling. "I'm Coraline Reading, and this is a special report featuring the Deinsport Detective Service".

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