“Where are they?”

He rushed down the flight of stairs to the ground floor, angered why his orders were not followed. There would be hell to pay for the lapses: an administrative sanction has to be meted out.

Brownie argued with the rest of the team, explaining to them what happened.

“You’re not talking sense,” Randy, one of the medical assistants, said. “I checked the heart beat, the pulse, nothing. That man was stone cold.”

“Man, he woke up!” Brownie argued. “He talked to us!”

“That’s impossible!” Teddy exclaimed. He and Randy were too experienced to make such a simple mistake of declaring a man dead if he wasn’t. “There were already traces of ongoing decomposition.”

“Where is the ambulance?” Detective Moreno asked, approaching the group. “Why aren’t you up there? I told Brownie to tell you to restart.”

“I don’t understand.” Randy said. “We did our job.”

“We went to the wrong apartment. It should be 23-D, not B.”

“Detective, we were at 23-D,” Teddy clarified. “I have the floor plan here, taken from the building owners.”

“Are you telling me I am imagining things?”

The three looked at one another while Brownie began to accept something went wrong up there.

“You don’t believe me? Ask Brownie.”

“Sir, we can go back up if that’s what you want,” Randy suggested. “If you are correct, Teddy and I would do as you say. Deal?”

 Detective Moreno called out to the policeman who found the body: he sat inside his patrol car.

“You turned off the sound, didn’t you?”

“The portable player was in the bathroom.”

“You saw the man moved?”

“Sorry, sir. I did not see it. I was already out the door, remember?”

“Sir?” Randy motioned to him if they should go or wait for the ambulance.

“We’re going back!”

Brownie did not move an inch. He decided to skip the re-entry.

Apartment 23-B and D faced each other with both doors identical. Teddy signaled them to wait while he entered first. Randy and the policeman were close behind.

The detective was lost in thought: he was confused if 23-D was on the left side or right when he walked toward the stairs.

The same music was playing: the lying body was visible from the opened door as was earlier.

Randy did not say a word nor did Teddy.

Detective Moreno was often quick to admit if he was wrong, which did not normally happen. At that instance, he was slow to apologize because he was not sure he committed a mistake.

“Where is the knife?” he asked, recalling the stages of the investigation.

“You said to leave it as it is,” Randy reminded him. “You’d bring it with you when you finished checking your angles.”

He felt his pockets, searching for the evidence if indeed he took custody of it. Nothing.

Again, he ordered the policeman to turn the music off. He hopefully expected that the man would rise up when the sound stopped. That could settle the misunderstanding.

Nope! The man did not move. Lifeless as Randy asserted.

“Look here!” Teddy pointed to the number on the door. “We’re at the right place.”

Once more, the detective walked toward the body and waited.

“Sir, the ambulance is here,” the policeman interrupted Det. Moreno’s thoughts.

“Take it to the morgue. I want all paperwork at my desk ASAP.”

The three excused themselves, leaving him standing alone beside the corpse.

“Did I imagine the whole thing? Brownie saw it, too.”

Ah! The fish! If it was still in the sink, then there’s a possibility he witnessed a part of reality.

It was not there.

(to be continued)



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