A shrill ring split the silence. Jezebel tottered over to the phone and yanked it off the cradle. She answered calls to the morgue with such delight, as if the foreboding of another body was a treat. In opposing fashion, Vivian tensed at the idea of another homicide being served up on the cold slab. Sometimes she wondered if the freezing air in the bay short-circuited Jezebel’s brain.
“All right then, I’ll let Vivian know. Yes, yes, I understand. It won’t happen again.” She slapped the phone back on the cradle. “Camilla just showed up in the lobby and she wants to see you immediately. She sounds pretty frantic.”
“Just now? Did she say anything else?”
“At this moment, she’s fighting to get past my receptionist, and if you don’t hurry, she’ll force her way down here. I’m not in the mood for any visitors tonight. Go on ahead. I’ll put his face back on,” Jezebel said, nodding at the victim’s features pulled over the skull.
“Try not to sound so happy about it, Frankenstein.” Vivian climbed the stairs out of the autopsy bay. A very flustered receptionist pointed to the exit. Vivian was perplexed. What was Camilla doing at the medical examiner’s office at 1 a.m.? Sure, she made a point of stopping by every now and then given her profession as an investigative journalist, but this went beyond the pale.
Vivian pushed through the exit and searched the street. She finally spotted a woman standing under the falling snow, illuminated like a ghost under a hazy street lamp.
The silhouette turned around. Camilla Vesely cut a slender figure in her cashmere jacket, leggings, and vermillion scarf. The snowflakes in her chestnut hair sparkled under the street lights. She looked as striking as ever. Yet her eyes, those green orbs of wonder, were gripped in fear.
“Vivian, I’m sorry I had to pull you out of there.”
“Well, I could use some fresh air—”
“Follow me. You have to see something.”
Vivian bristled and it had nothing to do with the icy wind. Usually, Camilla always had a friendly “hello” on her lips, not an order. This night was certainly off to a rocky start.
“What’s this about?”
“Just hurry and you’ll see.” Camilla set off at a brisk pace down the rime-covered street.
Along the way, Vivian thought she caught some of the words that tumbled out of Camilla’s mouth under her breath.
“I don’t even know how this is possible… Where did it come from?” Her tone made Vivian’s skin crawl. What in the hell was Camilla planning on showing her?