The Coroner is well used to death; it is his job. He is surrounded by its reminders, tasked with deciphering its riddles. The Detective hunts down the culprits, the death-bringers, the ones who inflict pain unto others, but it is the Coroner who pieces together bodies torn apart and flesh rendered asunder, who finds the method to the madness. The hunter moon, the divining sun – that is how they have always been. Death and its machinations are no strangers to the two of them, not when they have been standing knee-deep in blood and bone for so long.
He forgets that death, as naturally as it comes to those in their profession, is anything but natural. Not when it’s a product of malice, malevolent intent burning through the air. Not when it’s meant as a gift, to induce suffering and pain, for the enjoyment of the broken. Not when it’s inflicted on a helpless soul, specific in its arbitrariness.
Not when it’s a present to one of their own, a man too young to face evil unparalleled.
He is well used to death, but the Rookie isn’t. Not to the kind of death he is used to. As he shuts the door to the Rookie trembling even in his fitful sleep, he thinks about the elderly lady with horror in her eyes, her head in a cardboard box, a present for the Rookie.
“When did we lose the capacity to feel?” he wonders aloud.
The Detective, leaning against the door to the room opposite, silently wonders the same.