I don't know what I'd thought I'd feel, but it certainly wasn't this.
I want to turn away, but I can't. I'm mesmerized by the Jane Doe's eyes. Something about looking at the empty blue eyes, in a face that looks just like mine, has frozen me in place.
I can hear someone calling my name, but I don't respond. I just keep staring at her eyes. The emptiness of them seems to go on infinitely.
Something slashed through my vision, breaking the connection. I jerk back as it slashes through again.
I glance at Elliot who has his hand posed to wave it in front of my face again. He looks concerned.
"What?" I ask.
"You were staring to freak us out," Jeb answers instead. I look over at him. He's looking at the Jane Doe, closing her eyes. "We were saying your name, but you weren't answering." Jeb looks up at me. "You were getting really pale."
On impulse, I raise a hand to my face, but stop. It's incredibly pale. Alarmingly pale.
"Winter!" Elliot exclaims. He grabs my hand and immediately releases it. "Your hand is freezing!"
Tucking my hands under my folded arms, I shrug and try to play to off. "What did you expect? We're in an icebox."
"That kind of loss of color, usually indicates blood loss," Jeb puts in.
Looking at him, I narrow my eyes. "Not helping."
Jeb simply shrugs. He casually pulls the gloves off his hands. "I'm a medical examiner. It's my job to say those kinds of things."
Before I can respond, Elliot grabs my shoulders and spins me towards the doors. "How about we discuss this outside of the icebox?" He asks as he begins to push me forward.
I comply and continue to walk towards the door, as the chill of the room is starting to get to me. Pulling the sheet back over the Jane Doe, Jeb follows.
Outside the examination room, Jeb leads us to his desk. There's only one other chair at his desk besides his, and I sit in it. Elliot sits on the left arm of the chair and Jeb sits on the edge of his desk. Reaching back, he grabs the mug of coffee on his desk and hand it to me. I can see the steam rising from the top.
I shake my head. "I don't drink coffee."
"Neither do I," Jeb says as he tilts the mug towards me. "I just enjoy the smell. Take it, it's still warm, so it'll heat your hands up."
I nod my thanks and take the extended cup. Holding it between my hands, I savor the warmth. "What was the cause of death?" I ask.
"Well, all her injuries are postmortem, so she wasn't killed," Jeb states.
"She wasn't killed?" Elliot asks, sounding astounded. "But someone threw her out of a moving vehicle. If they hadn't killed her, why would they do that?"
Jeb shrugs. "I'm not a phycologist, don't ask me. Anyways, my examination came up with no heart failure, stroke, suffocation, drowning, cancer, disease, drug, or any kind of abnormal death." He ticks each off on a finger.
"So. . . ." I prod Jeb on.
"I don't know. I'd say natural causes, which in the case of a healthy person, which she was, would be old age. Surely you understand my hesitation to put that as the cause of death, as she looks no older than Winter."
All of us are silent. Jeb has nothing more to say. Elliot is probably trying to come up with a plan of action, as I am. To be truthful, I'm stumped.
We can't go to the scene of the crime. As of now, it's the front stairs of the Day Division headquarters, and there's nothing to look at there. The vehicle that dumped the Jane Doe is still unaccounted for, so that's a dead end. We'd follow leads, but all we have are eye-witness reports that all say the same thing- the vehicle drove by, dropping the body and disappearing. This leaves us with nothing. No clues, hints, trails, or leads.
I glance at the clock on the wall. It reads five fifty- five. Was it really almost six?
Standing up, I place the coffee mug on Jeb's desk. "Let's call it a day."
Elliot stands, going to protest. I hold up a hand to stop him. "We have nothing to go off of. We can leave the office at six, and it almost is six. So, we call it a day, go home, have a nice dinner, go to bed, and sleep on it. Come back tomorrow, awake and ready to go, and come up with a plan of action."
"As a doctor," Jeb states, "I say that is a wonderful plan."
Elliot looks a Jeb. "You're a medical examiner. You're a doctor for dead people. We're living."
Jeb smiles. "A doctorate is a doctorate, no matter the field."
Elliot doesn't respond. He turns and heads to the door. Chuckling, I follow.
When I finally get home after six thirty, my cat, Mushu, greats me at the door.
He meows impatiently as I close the door. I shush him. He meows again.
I walk to the dining room and dump my purse on the table. My black and white shadow jumps on the table and looks at me with blue eyes. He doesn't meow this time. He just sits there. I put my hands on my hips and give him a stern look. "You know you aren't allowed on the table Mushu."
Meowing, he jumps off the table and plods into the kitchen. His way of saying 'feed me'. The joys of living with a cat. Following him into the kitchen, I give him what he wants. I then proceed to raid the fridge, looking for something for me to eat. I settle for left over pizza.
I don't bother heating it up. I carry a slice to the living room and plop down of the couch. Taking I bite, I begin channel surfing the TV.
I've just settled on a channel when my phone goes off. Sighing, I rise from the sofa. Reaching the table, I set the remote down and dig in my purse form my phone. Finding it, I pull it out. Its Elliot calling.
"Y-ello?" I answer.
"Hey Winter. I hope you aren't busy."
"Not relatively. Why?" I take another bite of my cold pizza.
"A body was dumped by a black van outside the Copultin City Bank on Century and Cornerstone."
I freeze, mid bite. I have the feeling that I already know what Elliot is going to say next.
"It's another double. The case was sent to the chief, who sent it our way as it seems to be a copy of the crime in our case."
I'm on the move. Turning the TV off, I spin towards the kitchen. "Maybe someone saw something this time that will help in the investigation," I ponder aloud. I've only eaten about half the slice of pizza, and I could save it, but I'm rushing to leave, so I throw it in the trash. "I'll meet you there."
"Roger that," Elliot responds.
I hang up and shove my phone in my purse. As I rush by the kitchen, Mushu meows at me.
"Don't worry!" I call out to him as I unlock the front door. "I'll be back!"