The Case of the Bullet Riddled Morgue

I remember the excitement with which my editor exclaimed “Zombies!” on assigning me this story. It was the unforced enthusiasm of a young man who has never seen a person die by violence… who has never been in fear for his own life.

The story, such as it began, was that of a mortician’s assistant who had unloaded a high-power revolver into several corpses before turning the gun on himself. The kind of scene which would have been at home in a short story by Edgar Allan Poe or Howard Philips Lovecraft. A charnal house with no witnesses, and a looming mystery.

I think both Wendy and I were a bit flustered. I don’t know if it was my editor’s cry of “zombies!” or the outright bizarre nature of the scene, but neither of us noticed a few basic clues when we first arrived at the scene. I would later realize what I’d missed… and researched the backgrounds of the bullet riddled corpses.

Instead, we went to see the family of the mortician’s assistant. They were bewildered, grieving. People with no clue what had happened to their lost loved one. They knew that the gun he’d fired wasn’t his; my partner Wendy checked the registration and found the actual owner.

The real owner was a male prostitute.

As it happens, the prostitute in question and the mortician’s assistant had taken to secret liaisons in the morgue. And this same prostitute was present at the incident.

It took a long time to find the young man. When we did, he was nearly unconscious from a gangrene infection, and terrified that he might be turning into one of the “walking dead”. It took a great deal of coaxing to convince him to let us take him to the hospital.

The man’s story was unbelievable: he said one corpse… “The drowned man” had risen, followed by four others. The young man, panicked, ran. His lover apparently fought to the death, using the weapon left behind.

I looked into this drowned man. His background was sealed by the US government. So was his military record. His death record was open, though. He had died on a fan boat tour of local swamps.

I also found out that he’d been accompanied by three friends.

Here is where I would be obliged to omit details.

But I don’t do that.

I broke into their hotel room. I found high tech equipment, and the identification of three other government agents:
Vera Vasquez
Martin Washington
and
Shaun Liliput

Those are their real names. Their pasts and military records are sealed, just like the man in the morgue: Kevin Vanderwerff. Their occupations were listed as “Contractors”.

All three of those “contractors” died. In the swamp. I saw two of them die, and I shot the third. Shaun Liliput. He did not die.

He is still alive, and he is infected with something.

The next day, the hotel room which housed four government agents was empty. There was no record of their ever having stayed there.

STAY AWAY from swamp boat tours for time being. I don’t know what’s out there, but it’s dangerous. STAY AWAY.

The Case of the Bullet Riddled Morgue

Parajournal.net ben_rae_5203