“Can you identify the body, Mr. Ulmer?” the soft-spoken doctor asked from behind the shelf pulled out of one of the compartments in the morgue.
Jason choked up, and for a moment, he searched the beautiful face for features he wouldn’t recognize. There was a beauty spot he couldn’t remember, and the skin around the eyes was completely smooth, no trace of wrinkles that would always appear on Tracy’s face with a smile. But he couldn’t lie to himself. He studied this face every day, kissed it every night, and there was no way he could be mistaken, even if the truth wanted him to rip out hearts and scream into the sky.
“It’s him,” Jason croaked.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” the doctor said. “Were you… family?” The hesitation was obvious and made some sense with Tracy being of Jamaican origin, and Jason being white with a German sounding last name.
Jason shook his head and raised his hand, longing to touch Tracy, but then his eyes darted at the doctor, unsure if it was safe. How was he to handle a cold, dead corpse of someone so important to him?
“Would you like some time alone?” The way the doctor said it made Jason feel a bit better. Like it was something other people did as well.
He nodded, clasping his hands behind his back. He didn’t want to get emotional with someone around, but details of what he’d been unofficially told made him want to crawl up the walls. Discarded like trash, Tracy had died alone, and Jason couldn’t stop thinking whether he had known he was dying as it was about to happen. He hoped not.
When he heard the door closing, he slowly hovered his palm above Tracy’s nose. He half expected there to be breath, just a bit of a warm puff would be enough, but there was nothing. Just a cool stillness.
Jason leaned forward and pressed his mouth to Tracy’s forehead. It was cold like a slab of meat straight from the fridge. This was just a body. The Tracy he knew was long gone, snatched by brutal hands that should have never even gotten near him. Why didn’t he say where he was going that night?
Grief grew in Jason’s chest until he couldn’t keep it in anymore and broke into a loud sob. There were no words to describe how he felt. His heart had been ripped apart by people he didn’t even know. He needed them dead. They would bleed and scream. And he would show them as much mercy as they had shown Tracy.
He would find them no matter how many bones he’d have to break or how many tendons he’d need to rip apart.