Sunday, May 27, 2012

Timed Writing: 5/27/2012



Time: 10 minutes
Prompt: "He noted a peculiarity to the skull..."
Source: 6 x 4 x 5 + 4 x 6 + 5 = 149 = Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami

Cyrus conducted the morning's autopsy with an efficiency proportionate to his experience. If he'd had as many years of experience as several of those near him, he might have finished the work in half the time. As it was, he'd been at it for almost an hour. This was the one-hundred-thirty-second case of his forensic pathology fellowship, and thus far, it had been boring.

The decedent was a young hispanic woman, as yet unidentified, found alone, in a car reported stolen several weeks before. The car was two hundred feet north of the highway, on the West Mesa, six miles west of Albuquerque. Highway patrol noticed her just after sunrise. No signs of trauma and no obvious cause of death. No drug paraphernalia at the scene. The windows of the vehicle were open though and temperatures had been well below freezing during the night. The scene investigator had said that there were ice crystals in the hairs of her nose when he found her.

Cyrus disliked the winter exposure cases. His fingers got cold handling the chilled organs. At least this one hadn't required the use of a hair dryer to thaw it before the morph techs could start cutting. Still, if given a choice -- which no one ever was -- Cyrus would have taken a winter exposure case over a summer one, no questions. Sun and dehydration played unholy havoc with dead bodies. Heat promoted autolysis such that by the time the pathologist took his sections for microscopic analysis he might as well have smeared dog shit on the slides.

"Hey Cy," said Jordan, one of the morph techs, "we're ready with the head. You wanna take a look or shall we just go for it?" Jordan held an oscillating saw in hand, poised to cut the top off the decedent's cranium. The scalp had already been neatly incised and peeled back to reveal slick bone, smooth and clean except for a few clinging threads of connective tissue and temporalis muscle.

Cyrus set down the knife and pick-ups with which he'd been dissecting the neck block and left his grossing station to examine the head. He ran fingertips over the exposed surface. He noted a peculiarity in the skull. It wasn't something that he saw, so much as something that he felt. An asymmetry or an unusual texture or contour? What was it? He couldn't quite identify the source of his impression, but skull seemed... wrong.  It was probably nothing. Surely he was imagining it. Still, he wanted more time to think and examine. He sent Jordan for the camera, then stepped back and folded his arms.


(about my timed writing exercises)


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