Manslaughter (March 2019, Week 3, Day 5)

Sirens blared and filled the space around Tal with their angry noise. She was frozen, staring at the body at her feet, at the pool of blood growing from beneath it, at her bare feet covered in spatter. 

“Kelly – cover her up before the vultures get here. Cook – get that tape up. Johnson – how far out is the M.E.?”

Tal remembered that she was naked when she felt a blanket draped over her shoulders. It was heavy and scratchy. She was aware of the weight of it and the weight of the hands that stayed on her shoulders, holding the ends of the blanket together. She kept her eyes on the body. It had hands and feet and a face. It looked like a man, though it had felt like a monster.

“Chief, she needs to sit down.”

Tal heard the soft voice and understood that it was connected to the hands on her shoulders. The softness of it felt safe and in complete contrast to the rest of her feelings. She leaned into those hands and let them hold her. The body on the ground was hard and mean. Still. Even after all the blood.

“She needs to stay where she is, Kelly. It’s not like she’s asking to leave. The M.E. comes first, then comfort.”

The rest of the room started to come into Tal’s sphere of awareness. The body on the ground, the gun off to the right. The gun shouldn’t have been so far away. It should have been in her hand. It had been in her hand. And the body had been on her. Both were away, now, out of reach.

“Finally! What the hell took you so long? Do your stuff so we can get her into an ambulance. I want her away BEFORE the vultures come.”

Tal watched as a man with a donut of greying hair bent over the body. She knew the goal wasn’t to save him, and she was glad. He didn’t deserve saving. He did deserve to be laying there, his pants around his ankles and his eyes staring blankly at the ceiling. She shivered, and the hands on her shoulders tightened.”

“Doc, can you clear her first?”

The soft voice was looking out for her. The soft voice cared. Tal wanted to thank the voice, but that would have required more than she had to give. 

“Right – living first, living first. I always forget that step.”

The donut man laughed, and Tal found a small smile growing on her lips. The smile unlocked her voice and the first sound her body chose to make was a gasp, followed by a high-pitched scream that was loud enough to win over the sirens. The hands on her shoulder stayed through the scream. They didn’t flinch or pull away. Their presence let Tal finish her scream, seing it all the way out of her body until her breath ran out.

“Gracious, lungs are fine, huh? Shock will do that sometimes. I need to make some pictures, then you can take her.”

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