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EXCERPT
Seven Autopsies of Nora Hanneman

by Courtney E. Morgan

 

 

FROM “THE AUTOPSY”




CAUSE OF DEATH
She stood in the doorway, arms stretched over her skull. The light behind her lit the right border of her shape. Her hip. The seam of her leg. A curving breast, the round, broiled head of the nipple. Thin hairs caught in the sun. The smooth limits of female pelt. She was smiling. Laughing. Glass breaking under water. The skin curled into goosebumps. The room cooled.


MANNER OF DEATH
Homicide.


DIAGNOSES
She touched him. They sat by a pond. They sat on a bench. They sat on the grass. Her hand touched his arm. The temperature beneath her fingers rose. A moment. The hairs on his arm straightened, caught in the warmth. She laughed. His throat loosened. His Adam’s apple rose and fell. He laughed. Her hand was gone. His skin still warm.


ANATOMIC FINDINGS
1. Cutaneous bruising and abrasions. Fingernail abrasions to neck muscles.
2. Extensive bruising to sterna-nuclei muscles below mandible.
3. Fracture of hyoid bone, thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage.


OPINION
She looked at the tablecloth. It was red. She drew her nail against the edge. It snagged. She rubbed the nail against her leg. She looked at him. Her eyelids fluttered. She looked at the tablecloth. She was smiling. She looked at him. He shuddered.


CIRCUMSTANTIAL FINDINGS
Nora Elle Hanneman was a 28-year-old white female. The body was found in a basement, clothing removed. External evidence of asphyxia, likely by throttling, noted at the scene.


GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF
CLOTHING & PERSONAL EFFECTS
Shirt: blue. linen. long sleeved. seven buttons. third button torn, missing.
Pants: denim. dark rinse. skinny. size six.
Socks: white/green stripe. calf-length.
Shoes: boots. brown leather. Side-zipped. size eight.
Panties: black. cotton with lace edging.
Bra: black.
Jewelry: ring: silver. garnet stone, oval shaped. necklace: silver, onyx feather, received 28th birthday.


SIGNS OF DEATH
Her fingertips pressed into his. Her neck arched back. Tendons stretched against the thinning husk. Lips brushed lips. Heartbeat rose against the rib cage. Pushed at its shell. Quickened. Her fingers twisted into the hair at his nape. Her fingers traced his spine, slipped beneath the loops of his belt. She lifted her shirt. She lifted his shirt. Breast brushing breast. Flesh against flesh. Breath in his ear. His skin lifted to meet hers. Hands curled around hips. His fingers dug into the meat of her. Hands tore down her spine. He lifted.


CIRCUMSTANCES OF DEATH
The day was gray. The buildings gray in the rain. The road gray where he sat. There was rain. His forehead was wet. His skin. Nora wore a red coat. She stood in the rain. Her hand reached out. It wetted. She touched his hand. She touched his neck. His. Not mine, not me. She touched a man. Another man. His face drying beneath her fingers. The carapace I held her in cracking, her bones breaking open. She is becoming someone new. He grabbed her elbow in his hand. He pushed against the door. A glass door. They were inside. Heat began to dry their hair. She drying under his touch. I stood in the rain. I touched my forehead. Wet.


IDENTIFICATION OF THE DECEDENT
Ash-brown hair. Green eyes. Flecked with gold. Olive coloring, blue-tinted in the face. Green across the chest. 1/2 centimeter mole on left breast. It is her.