Sara ends up meeting Archard again. Strange how fate works like that...
Sara Madison 11.37 Wednesday 08.20.03
Sara sat looking at the paperwork with a sigh, tears were threatening to flood the paper and she pushed it to one side. Life was one cruel blow after another to some people. It was harder when children were involved. They were unwise to the world, no one had taught them to protect themselves. Some of them never learned to walk away.
This young man, a care case had chosen to run away. He had been shot and found in an old warehouse. Workers had come in for a monthly check up and found him sat in the chair. They had immediately ruled out suicide, no gun and the angle of the gun shot wounds would have been impossible. The F.B.I had got involved when his description had matched one of a gang of suspected terrorists. She was now staring at a request to identify the body and sign release forms from the hospital side. She had never even seen a dead body in a morgue before and the prospect of one that could be in such a mess was making her stomach churn.
She left the office feeling a little numb after making the appointment to go and do what was necessary. There was little they could do to help the boy but she clung to the opinion that everything they noted and recorded might help someone else in this situation.
The office reception seemed quite a nice place as she stepped from the taxi and into the waiting room. The place was aired well and at a constant temperature. She had opted not to drive in case it was really that bad and her nerves couldn't take the prospect of controlling a car home as well. She scorned herself because she should have more faith in herself but she was not one to pass over a gut feeling.
There was a short waiting period, twelve minutes she timed it at but it felt like forever. It was the twelve minutes where she was figuring out how bad it could possibly be. What would she say or do? She was going to have to be brave here and it was going to be a difficult thing. The nerves, she thought, were most likely over doing the problem. After all she saw sick kids all the time, this was just the next stage.
She wasn't expecting the passing acquaintance from the mall to come walking out either. When Archard turned up in a white lab coat and his badge pinned to the top pocket she nearly gasped aloud. He wandered over to her and looked at her with such a professional eye that she wondered if he even remembered who she was. In the end she decided to try and meet him with the same collected air and treat it as it was, business.
"Mr. Vortigern." She smiled at him, not to overdo it she held back a beaming one and looked at the various stains that had not been caught by the apron that would have been present during an autopsy. She couldn't help but find grim images in her mind of what they were.
"It's Agent." He told her and held out his hand. "I am the presiding coroner on this case. The DC Crime lab has also been involved and I suspect the request for ID came from their office."
"Yes, yes it did." She said finding that the blunt air was a little off putting. "What do I need to do?"
"Look at the body and tell me if it matches your child." He said and wandered through to the sterile morgue. The cold air was a welcome relief to her system after she found herself heating up from him. He was an arrogant man and he could have been so much more sensitive than he was.
She watched as the draw labelled was opened. The first thing that shocked her was that he didn't look as 'dead' as she expected. The body had been washed and the sheet covered the worst of the wounds. Archard had pulled the sheet back without a word and let her look at the body. She thought he could have at least mentioned it to give her a fraction of time to prepare.
"This yours?" He asked her finally.
"It's him." She said closing her eyes and trying to avoid looking too close. She heard the slab sliding to be pushed back inside. She opened her eyes and the arm fell loose from the tray. The cold lifeless flesh touched hers and she bulked.
Archard moved faster than she would have expected and within seconds the arm was moved the tray pushed in and shut and he found a medical tray in case she was sick. Sara put her hand to her mouth and then he got a bit too close to her and the smell of something vile hit her nose.
"You going to be...?" He didn't finish asking before the waft of the body odours got to her and she vomited a mouthful of sick through her hand. Being sick made her feel even sicker and he shoved the dish under her chin just as she fell forward feeling faint. "I will take that as a no." He said abandoning the dish and supporting her with both arms to her shoulders.
"I am... so sorry." She gasped as more of her lunch filled his jacket and her knees completely crumbled. Archard picked her up and sat her on a newly cleaned table. When she finished being sick he passed her some tissues and moved her hair from her face.
"Never say sorry for something that could not be helped." He offered. It was the first sign he gave to her that he wasn't trying to be a bastard; he just wanted people to avoid asking him too many questions.