Part 3 - The Implant
It was morning by the time the mortician returned to his place of work, but when he did he was very surprised to see the two bounty hunters waiting for him outside their car. It looked like they had both been up all night and the one with the beard looked like he wanted to pick a fight. Rutherford gulped a dry throat as he neared the pair.
"Is everything alright?" Rutherford asked. Neither of the pair said anything but the younger man responded by flicking the remains of a half smoked cigarette into the road and approached Rutherford briskly.
"Doctor Rutherford" Paul enquired "we need to ask you about something with the body" Paul paused briefly "something not in her file".
Rutherford looked surprised, shocked and appalled at the implied accusation, but lead the men back into the mortuary, dismissing the custodian. Together the three approached the table with the now modestly covered body and Paul proceeded to peel back the covering cloth and expose the small surgical slice on her neck. Rutherford went pale.
"This is a surgical cut, isn't it?" Asked Paul "you did this didn't you?" Paul looked like he wanted to punch the mortician "you did it and you kept it out of your notes. Why?"
Rutherford's complexion went from pale to green before he finally replied "you have to believe me, I have never seen that before".
"What did you do?!" Paul demanded.
"Nothing!" Begged Rutherford, an air of desperation in his voice. "Look" Rutherford continued "I've seen that sort of thing before, it's the removal of a dermal implant" he paused "by the looks of the bruising..."
Rutherford paused, composed himself and his entire manner had changed, as if he realised whatever he feared was not an issue.
"This was done before he died" Rutherford continued "but only just, we are talking maybe minutes at most".
Paul nodded at the mortician before enquiring further "so the killer did it?"
Rutherford nodded "from the looks of the placement we are dealing with a cortex aid; something to help her calculate numbers or maybe assist with dyslexia".
Paul nodded, turned on the spot and began to walk out of the work room, Redd quickly following behind. He turned as they reached the door "thank you Doctor" Paul said "we'll let you know if you need anything else".
As they reached the street Redd opened his door to the Cobra before settling down in the drivers seat. Paul followed closely behind in the passengers. After the long night they had both were clearly released to be leaving the mortuary behind.
"So boss, what now?" Redd asked before yawning heavily.
"Let's get back to the store and get ourselves some rest. I'll page this in to head office, get the paperwork drawn up. Something tells me we have a case here, and it ain't just a mugging turned murder".
The ride back to 612 felt longer than on the journey there. The overhead lighting was growing in intensity creating the illusion of a sunrise and there was a tension in the air. Paul had often tried to explain this feeling to Redd before, how when they were on the verge of something big, it was as if the air itself knew it and would crackle in anticipation.
When the Cobra pulled up outside the Bounty Store there was something very surprising waiting for the bounty hunters; the homeless guy, James West, the father of the dead girl, he was sat upright in the chair he had been left in and he was awake reading what looked like a book but the front cover was far to crinkled for anyone to make it out.
Redd stayed in the car but quietly and carefully pulled his shotgun from it's holster as Paul exited the car and approached the man. There was something about James West that was different this time compared to the night before. Where as previously he had looked like a homeless person living off rats and mould, now he looked almost respectable and this unnerved Redd to no end.
Paul stepped carefully to wards West one hand resting on his side arm when West opened his mouth and quite eloquently began to speak.
"It's alright" West said reassuringly "I'm not here to cause any bother" West ran a hand through his greasy but tidied hair "I figured now that I slept the drink off I should come and see what you found" West stood up suddenly almost surprising Paul who took a slight step back "she was murdered wasn't she?"
Paul hesitated "we think so, but there's a few things we don't understand first"
"Of course" replied West "ask me anything".
Paul lead West back inside the store while Redd kept his shotgun close to hand, never once easing his vision away from the man. West looked like a business man who had been dragged through a sewer backwards, he was clearly the same man they had dealt with last night, but his manners were totally wrong.
West sat once again on the store's couch before Paul began the line of questioning.
"Where's your family from?" Paul began.
"Originally?" Asked West "two oh three".
"What are you doing here?"
"I was searching for my Carole".
"Why was she here?"
At that question West looked like his heart was ready to break when he replied.
"I don't... I don't know" West finally said after a pause. "She had a respectable well paid job at Villa and Klein's. You know? The accounting firm?" West paused again waiting for the pair of hunters to acknowledge the name, when they looked back at him with blank, un-recognising stares he continued "she had been working there for years, was doing really well, then one day she just up and leaves!"
Paul didn't ask any more questions, he thanked West, retrieved contact details and let the man out. One alone Paul turned to Redd a look of puzzlement on H's face.
"Accounting" Redd said to Paul with a smirk on his face "give me death over that Pee Oh Ess job any day!"
Paul smiled and nodded in agreement "but it explains the implant, she probably had it installed to help her perform better at her job".
"So where's it now?" Asked Redd rhetorically "and why was it removed in the first place? Fuck, maybe it was a mugging after all and they wanted the rich girl's implant?"
Paul shook his head still looking puzzled "no it can't be that" Paul replied. All dermo implants are configured for their user, it would have been useless to anyone else if it was stolen. But why was she here in the six hundreds anyway?"
Redd unbuckled his holster, dropped it on the floor and walked towards the door leading to the residential area of the Bounty Store before turning back to Paul.
"Maybe we should pay a visit to this accounting firm?" Redd asked "but first, I gotta get me some fucking sleep".
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley