Second excerpt of my novel.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

The Medical Examiner determined that the body, yet to be identified, felt little or no pain from the flames that instantly engulfed the entire body. The victim’s immediate reaction was to gasp a deep breath. The body’s normal auto reaction to the blast. The super heated oxygen starved air, seared the inside of George’s lungs before he could attempt a second breath. There was no other breaths. He was dead by the time his body crumpled to the floor with the timing device clinched in his fist.

After the fire was extinguished, George’s body was found half buried under the collapsed mezzanine. A heavy wooden support beam lay across his upper back and head area. If George hadn’t died immediately as a result of the explosion, he certainly could not have survived the crushing impact of the heavy wooden beam. The beam lay across George’s upper body and head area. After the body was discovered, Police declared the area a crime scene and taped off with yellow tape. The medical examiner and fire investigation team was called in.

As the sun peaked over the eastern horizon, the fire was declared out. It was now almost 7 am and overhaul operations had begun. Spot fires extinguished and the cargo containers in the warehouse were examined and moved out where necessary.

Facial recognition of the fire victim was going to be impossible as the victim’s head took the full impact of the weight of the collapsed beam from the mezzanine. Lifting the beam exposed a crushed cranium resembling a bowl of blood, bone and gray matter. As the beam was slowly raised, Pieces of the skull hung from the underside of the beam. Entrails of flesh stuck to the beam, dripping gray and red globs into the bowl of what remained of the cranium. Under the body in closed hand stiffened in a death grip was the ignition timer and a short piece of trailer. After the fire investigators and police had finished gathering evidence, taking photos, measurements, etc. George’s body was removed by the medical examiner and sent to the morgue for autopsy.

The amateur arsonist made a fatal but common mistake. This unplanned tragedy was about to complicate the subsequent investigation and lead to involve a high profile politician.

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