In Warm Blood is currently available as a part of The Official Private Eye Handbook, first book in the CITY OF MAGICK series. Please, feel free to take a look here, though, and at subsequent chapters. Let me know how you feel about it. For those of you finding your way here relatively late, no problem. The start of the story is just a click away.
IN WARM BLOOD
Chapter 8I was almost starting to enjoy having been saddled with an entourage, probably because my escorts had become distinctively useful. Without them I would’ve had to bribe my way into the morgue or wait till Monday to check on Heather Morgan’s body. On top of that, I wouldn’t have to jump through hoops to get access to the medical examiner’s report and, if that ended up being inconclusive, any of the findings of the supplemental examinations that were determined to be warranted. How hard it would be to get the supplemental reports could depend on a lot of factors, from the weather to the time of the month or what kind of mood any of the examiners (psychic, alchemist, wizard) happened to be in that day. I probably wouldn’t even have to bribe the night morgue attendant, who I was pretty sure was one of the undead vampire minions of the medical examiner. It was almost refreshing to have the kiddie cops removing obstacles rather than being obstacles.
“Well, Heaven?” Overknight probed of the very pale, vaguely Asian woman. “Anything to report?”
“Please, we’ve just met,” the morgue attendant said, coldness in her voice and her dark eyes.
I didn’t usually find the pretense of such formality lurking under pink-striped hair. People in clerical positions using customer needs to squeeze extra respect out of a situation, though, that I found a lot. She wasn’t picking up a bribe for doing her job, so I figured it was no big deal to give in on the formality thing.
“Our apologies, Miss Lee,” I said. “We’re really trying to put some pieces of a case together.”
“I understand,” the morgue attendant said from behind her clipboard. “It’s really a simple concept: you have your job and I have mine. At this point, mine is to say that I can‘t help you.”
“We really need to view that body,” Overknight insisted.
“And I can’t help you with that,” Lee firmly told us again.
“What’s the problem?” I asked her. ’Is there some form we need to fill out or--?”
“I can’t show you the body because it’s not here,” she explained. “It never was. I have a Jack Morgan, but no Heather. I’m even out of Jane Does.”
“You’re sure she’s dead?” Lee asked. “Lotsa folks in this town aren’t as dead as some folks think they are.”
“True,” I conceded, “the body counts do get a little tricky from time to time, but I put this one down myself. She wasn’t moving again under her own power.”
“Anyone else you might want to see that you think could help?” Lee asked.
“You got a weasel-looking guy named Grayson?” I asked Miss Lee.
“Yeah, he’s full of holes,” Lee said.
“That’s the one,” I confirmed. “We don’t need to see him. Glad he’s here, though.”
“But not as glad as if we could see the other,” Overknight said.
“Well, they should’ve all come in together,” I explained.
“So you’re maintaining that her absence means either someone carried her off or magicked her off?” Overknight asked.
“Pretty much, yeah.,” I replied. “I do know how to put holes in people.”
“Great,” morgue girl said, “are we done playing cher chez la femme here?”
“Here, yes,” I answered. “Thanks for your time, Miss Lee.”
“You may call me ‘Heaven’,” she said, sliding a business card into my shirt pocket. “I saw you in the newspapers. It looked like you’re into some wild stuff. You should call me.”
I sighed. It was like being haunted by myself.
“I might have a lead,” Homer said, coming into the morgue’s examining room.
“Do tell,” Overknight said.
“I just got off the phone with a friend over at Central Records,” Homer said. “We were having an informative chat about…the other lead…your sniper.”
“Stark White. Great,” I said. “We should talk about that in the car.”