The Graduation

Read The Graduation for Free Online

Book: Read The Graduation for Free Online
Authors: Christopher Pike
Tags: Fiction, Crime, Young Adult, Final Friends
    “I wear gloves when I perform an autopsy.” The doctor smiled, “l have yet to be at a party or any social occasion and not have someone stare at my hands. Don’t be embarrassed, I am proud of what I do.”
    “You read minds?” Michael asked, shaken at his own transparency.
    “I read mysteries. The human body is the most mysterious of all God’s creations, and when it ceases to work, for whatever reason, it often leaves behind a puzzle more complex than anything you can find in a movie or a book.” He nodded toward the tape player Michael had brought. “That would be a fine opening for your piece. You might want to turn on your cassette machine.”
    On the spur of the moment, Michael decided to take a big chance. Perhaps the doctor’s obviously keen perception gave him the inspiration. “I lied,” he said. “I don’t work for a paper.”
    The doctor raised an eyebrow, not fazed. “I’m intrigued. What is your real name and why are you here?”
    “My name is Mike, and I wanted to question you about an autopsy you performed last fall on a friend of mine. Her name was Alice McCoy.” He added, “I realize I deserve to be kicked out, but I really would like to talk to you.”
    “This Alice—she was a close friend of yours?”
    Michael nodded. “Yes.”
    Dr. Kawati turned to the computer on his desk. “M—C—C—O—Y?”
    Kawati called up a file menu, then typed in the name. A moment later an autopsy report appeared on the screen. Michael recognized it; he had, after all, read it a dozen times. Kawati frowned. “I remembered the name McCoy when you said it. A most interesting case.”
    “Why?” Michael asked.
    “A minute, please,” the doctor said, taking several minutes to read the report from start to finish. When he was done, he looked over at Michael. “I believe you are a friend of hers, but why are you concerned about the results of her autopsy?”
    “I have serious doubts about the police’s investigation into her death.”
    “Please be more specific.”
    “I think Alice McCoy was murdered.”
    Michael hesitated. “I’ve read your report.”
    “Did the police show it to you?”
    “Not exactly.”
    The doctor smiled. “You are an intriguing young man. I won’t ask you how you managed that. I don’t believe I want to know.” He glanced at the screen, frowned again.
    Michael spoke quickly. “She didn’t break her nose falling to the floor after firing the gun. She was sitting when she was shot. None of us rolled her body over when we found it.”
    “You can’t be certain she was sitting,” Kawati said.
    “It is likely when you take into account where and at what angle the slug hit the wall. Also, she had the gun in her mouth, with her hand around it, when we found her. How could she fall and break her nose with that in the way?”
    “How could someone have gotten close enough to put the gun in her mouth, wrap her fingers around the handle, and then pull the trigger?”
    “Before I answer that, why did you remember the name? What was so interesting about the case?”
    “What you mentioned—the fracture to her nasal cartilage.”
    “Then you don’t think it was caused by a fall?”
    “I didn’t say that,” the doctor replied.
    “How else could she have broken her nose?”
    “Any number of ways. She could have been struck across the face, or rather, struck directly on the nose. There were no scratches on her cheeks, nor any other signs that she had been in a struggle.” Kawati paused, intent upon the details, apparently not minding the exchange. “You still have not answered my question.”
    “In your report you mentioned brain hemorrhage that appeared unconnected to the path of the bullet.”
    “It may have been unconnected. The bullet followed a twisted route before exiting the back of the skull. The brain was in extremely poor condition. What are you getting at?”
    “I have thought about this a great deal. I was there

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