Cause Of Death, Part V


Scene Title Cause of Death, Part V
Synopsis Epilogue.
Date February 15, 2020

Red Hook Morgue
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

February 15th
6:37 am

The buzz of a fluorescent light is the only sound in the Safe Zone morgue at this hour of morning.

Beneath the pallid glow of hanging lights, the tile floor and off-white walls look particularly uninviting. Rows of aluminum locker doors cover one wall, while three metal tables are unoccupied save for clear arrays of tools. A fourth table, however, contains a recently arrived deceased; pallid white flesh, dark red blotches of dried blood, and pinkish burns on the hands, face, and neck that looks like an intense sunburn.

The door to the morgue opens and the coroner enters with a quiet and mechanical precision. He retrieves a recorder from his pocket and sets it down beside the mortuary slab, then turns it on with a sigh. It doesn't get any easier, looking at this body. "William Sadler," the coroner says to the air, "forty-five years old. Caucasian, uh, appears albino. Male." The coroner retrieves a pair of rubber gloves and pulls them on, then begins examining Sadler's arms.

"Numerous perforations along the forearms and hands, embedded glass…" The coroner says as he examines the body, picking up tweezers to one by one remove the glass shards from Sadler's left hand to place into a metal dish. Each shard clinks and plinks audibly. "Deceased has a puncture wound two inches to the right of his sternum between the…" he presses his fingers down to the flesh of Sadler's midsection, "fourth and fifth ribs. Wound appears to have punctured the heart but… we'll have to wait for dissection to confirm."

Slowly, the coroner moves to Sadler's feet. "More glass embedded in both feet, looks— actually some of it is ceramic. Glassware. Consistent with initial police report." He circles around to the other side, lifting up Sadler's right arm. "Right hand also has— Jesus Christ!"

The coroner jerks back and drops Sadler's arm with a thud to the slab. It takes him a second to catch his breath. "The— ah— the deceased has…" Rather than use his hands, the coroner grabs a pair of forceps and applies them to Sadler's hand, turning it over to reveal the circular mouth in his palm and the rows of human teeth ringing it. "God," he whispers into his shoulder.

"Deceased has a… deformity? I'm not— there is a— a circular mouth-like orifice in the heel of his palm, verticallty aligned. It…" He steps in closer, picking up a thin metal implement to pry the mouth open. "There's what appears to be an esophageal tract in… in his arm. Jesus Christ. I'm— I've never seen anything like this." He switches out that tool for a pair of tweezers.

"There's… some sort of loose tendons inside the arm." The coroner says, tugging out a barbed sinuous tendril of muscle fiber. "I… it looks like some kind of tongue or, or the cilia of a sea anemone. I'm— " The coroner stops himself, leaning in closer to look at the mouth.


New York City Coroner's Office
Lower Manhattan

Bright Timeline

"Deceased shows no signs of external injuries…"

Standing beside the mortuary slab, the coroner shakes his head. "The deceased's partner explained that the deceased was in mid conversation when they collapsed and were unresponsive. EMTs present on site did not detect a heartbeat and she was rushed to New York Presbyterian in Lower Manhattan."

The coroner shakes his head, circling the pale woman laying out on the table, her eyes focused up at the ceiling unblinking. "Doctors called time of death at 5:17 am, actual time of death probably some time around 3:30 to 4:00am. Deceased's partner indicated lights flickering in the apartment shortly before the deceased collapsed."

Sighing, the coroner looks over the body and shakes his head. "Toxicology report on the blood should be back tomorrow. NYPD suggested possible Evolved activity, but that's going to be hard to pin down. Coroner's office will be calling in Doctor Zachery Miller in the evening to perform a full analysis with his ability, check for signs of a stroke." It wouldn't normally happen, save for this was a high-profile and rather inexplicable death.


The coroner reaches for his tablet, tapping pause on the audio memo app. He didn't know Robyn Quinn, but most people in New York had heard her music. He'd been there in the crowd on the November 8th memorial concert she and her partner held in Midtown.

The coroner sighs, then hits record again.

"Cause of death, currently unknown."


Red Hook Morgue
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone

Prime Timeline

Leaning in to get a closer look at the inhuman mouth in Sadler's arm, the coroner notices something. "There appears to be an obstruction in the passageway. Might be…" he tries reaching for it with the tweezers, then notices a bulge in Sadler's arm move. "Oh Jesus," he exclaims, dropping his tools with a noisy clatter. The coroner is not quick enough though, watching in horror as a human eye slides out of the mouth and scurries up the sleeve of his jacket on spindly spider-like legs.

The coroner screams, staggering backwards enough to trip over his own feet. He falls backwards, smacking his head against the floor with a resounding clack of his teeth. The horrific eye and its spidery legs scurries up across his shoulder, over his neck, and then crawls up the side of his face. At first it's a muffled sound of confusion as he sees the pale blue eye staring back at him.

Then, it is just a scream.

A horrified, howling scream.



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