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A wide-faced white watch ticking away for a woman who would never again need to know the time

His partner patted him on his shoulder. “Take your time.” 
“No, let's get this over with.” Michael led the way into the building where the county medical examiner met them at the door. 
They flashed and pocketed their badges in sync with each other. Jeff—the senior agent—dispensed with introductions. Michael only caught snatches of the conversation. The sharp ringing in his ears blocked out any other sound. The coroner's grim expression and somber tone told the whole story. 
“I haven’t performed the autopsy yet. I was waiting for y’all to come by and see the body. From my initial examination, it looks like this might be another victim of the serial killer you’re after. I can tell you for sure she put up one helluva fight.” 
Jeff shot a quick glance at Michael, who shook his head and wet his lips. He shuffled forward following the examiner into the cold morgue, his heart pounding and his breath quickening. He leaned against the wall as the examiner pulled out the drawer and peeled off the crisp white sheet covering the body. The dead woman’s left hand slipped off the tray showing a wide-faced white watch ticking away for a woman who would never again need to know the time.  
Michael let out a huff of relief as he bent at the waist. 
Fresh air. I need fresh air. 
He bolted.

Excerpt from Summer of '78
By K.M. Hodge
Included in Love Under Fire


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