Parsec - June 1995
To whom it may concern - Michael Tonkin
(page 7/13)

To whom it may concern

To whom it may concern;

The person who finds this is kindly requested to contact the police. If this is found, chances are that I'm dead, or gone forever. All my belongings I have distributed in a will, which you will find in the top drawer of my desk. I ask that the people listed on the last page of the will be contacted and notified.

These are notes which relate to my activities the past three months. Please take them as they are, they are very rough, maybe inconsistent. They are vague notes and diary entries, and at time of writing I do not have time to complete them. I have re-read them once, and found one or two inconsistencies, which I will change if I find the time. I have also left a number of documents. These are to be given to the police as evidence, and then to the hospital for closer examination. I am afraid many of them belong to the hospital, but most are personal copies.

2nd October 1984 -extract from diary.

Today I had the most fascinating case. A young man, no older than thirty, white, and not unhandsome, dressed only in black, black tight leather trousers, a black t-shirt and a silk shirt, was admitted into the emergency ward, after having been picked up by police. The policemen literally dumped the man in the reception area, and gave a short circumstance report to Sister Lisa, on duty at the time. While I have yet to talk to Sister Lisa, what I gathered from the other personnel was that the man had assaulted a young prostitute, but had collapsed moments after. Whether due to exhaustion, or the mistress' performing aim, I cannot tell.

The man, when he was admitted, was in a terrible condition, a near comatose state, and with extremely low vital signs. His pulse was very dull, difficult to find and very sporadic. His skin was taught, stretched over his slim body. He reminded me of a comatose body. He was a mass of bones, kept together by sinewy muscles and dry, pale skin. Occasionally he was caught by a fit of convulsions, the only visible sign of life. The nurse who catered for him before my arrival took the necessary blood sample, and gave him a shot of adrenaline, as would have seemed fit.

When we left the room half an hour later, when his condition seemed to not be deteriorating. Nurse McCallahagh was set on the three room duty which included his, after putting him on monitors. The screening went on normally, but quarter of an hour later his pulse monitor went blank. Nurse McCallahagh gave him heart massage, but upon my arrival he was dead. Cause of death was thought to be drug abuse., but he was sent to the mortuary until we could get the results of the blood test. No death certificate can be written out without cause of death or autopsy. I accompanied the trolley down to level sub 1, where I had to sign a certificate for 'yet another' drink and drive victim. An hour later I was summoned. The corpse had been removed. I alerted security, and together we examined the closed-circuit videos. No-one had left the building that could have possibly carried a corpse. One person walking out could have been the man, but the person exiting was accounted for, and corpses do not walk. At this time I had already overworked my shift by 2 hours, so I left for home. I can see the note in my pigeonhole tomorrow, printed in heavy black on a credit-card sized piece of card; Dr. Joseph, please come see me as soon as possible. With regards, Head Dr. Emerson.

3rd October 1984. - extract from diary.

I was right about the note. There it was. I went to see Dr. Emerson as soon as I had checked in. He was furious! His usually pale face was purple with rage, and his bushy eyebrows knotted over his slightly rubbery nose. It was a scene to behold! He was a cartoon character sculpted in flesh. He gave me his usual shouting down on organisation, although the shouting-down for my previous offence of losing a birth certificate was a little less animated. He went on about values today and the usual 'one does simply not lose a corpse, Dr. Joseph' for about an hour, and then he suspended me until the board could discuss the matter. In the meantime I was advised to 'bloody help those policemen before the darned press find out.' Such an orator, Dr. Emerson.

As I left, I realised that I hadn't yet seen the blood test, so I walked down to the lab to get them. They were still there, and no-one was about, so they too disappeared. I felt sorry for the lab assistant who would get the earful from Dr. Emerson this time, but I had to know. I slipped the document under my coat and left.

Waiting outside my room were two policemen, who were very polite about asking some questions. I invited them into my office, and the next two hours were spent discussing the man, his appearance, his clothing, the circumstances of death, the lot. I advised them finally to go and see Nurse McCallahagh, which they did, leaving me finally alone with my reports.

The reports. What they tell me I cannot say. What the man had, no medicine could describe. His blood, if one could still call it that, was a cocktail of death. Yet there was no trace of drugs (known to us) at all. The report dated the blood as having been out-of body for 3 hours. Yet the report is dated half an hour after I sent the blood. It seemed the man's blood had been dying before the sample was taken. More surprising than this, the man seemed to have been suffering from leukaemia, but a completely form of it, and so advanced the man should not have been alive for weeks, by my most conservative estimate. It appeared to exhibit some of the properties of HIV. The doctor analysing the blood had noted corrupt red blood cells, which did not grow, but which seemed to attack the white blood cells. When analysed under an ultra-violet light, the red 'corrupt' cells withered within minutes. If I am to be any judge, this may well be a new disease, or a violent mutation of blood cancer.

Call me fatalist, but I believe that the corpse's disappearance is closely related to what this report has to say, that whoever stole the corpse knows of this new disease, but will not reveal it. Maybe a new biological weapon of some sort.

I put the report back into it's sheets, walked down to the staff room, took photocopies of the whole document and filed the original in my filing cabinet. My guess is that anyone who needs the corpse will also need the report. The copy I will keep safe. No-one but me knows of the blood test, but I think anyone desperate enough to steal a corpse will want to be sure there is no proof. If I know the doctors in the lab they are too absent-minded or too drunk to notice. I will keep it concealed, and spend some of my new free time to research a bit on my own. I believe this is no simple organ-snatching incident.

I pray to God that I am wrong.

4th October 1985. -excerpt from diary.

I went to the office again today, hours before what would have been my shift, to fetch some belongings, and more importantly to check on the document. Policemen outside had cordoned off the last three rooms of the wing, and were buzzing in and out of my office. The two inquisitors from yesterday were there, anxious for information on this new turn of events. Someone had, during the night, entered my room through the window (no difficult task from the roof two storeys above) and ransacked it. The only object missing; the blood sample report. Whoever did it obviously wanted the incident to look like a break-in, but all my important files and documents were left. The paintings, the computer and some other small items of value were all left. Dr. Emerson, God bless the soul, is furious again. I suspect he thinks I'm part of an organ-legging cartel or something like that. For now I keep my silence. I wish to find out more about the victim before I blurt the story out to the police. This is a very wise career move as much as anything else.

10th October 1985. -excerpt from diary.

The past days I have worked at my cause incessantly. I have had no time to note my past day's happenings, but I will attempt to remember them here in as much detail as I could.

The evening of the 4th I went to the hospital to speak to Sister Lisa. She was in such a state after the events of the other night, and the commotion at the hospital ever since, that it proved a very simple and fast task to get from her the report deposited by, and hence the names of, the policemen who had dumped the boy, Messrs Smith and Johnson. I called immediately at the police office, only to find out that the aforementioned would not be on patrol until the next evening.

I passed out into the chill night air, and drove down to the red light district. I walked there long, always hovering about the corner of Jefferson Close and Hill Street, looking out for anyone looking like the mistress the policemen had seen assaulted. They had left her street name, Rosie, apparently a well-known character, but it came as no surprise that all I got from the other ladies of the same vocation was at most a guarantee for a good time, 'if you'll step this way, love.' Late into the morning I stayed up looking for someone the police had vaguely described as 'wearing a blonde wig, fishnet tights, red dress, stiletto shoes.' Might as well look for a corpse in a graveyard I mused to myself.

The next evening I was sitting in the police department when Officer Smith arrived. I knew him straight away from the description Sister Lisa had given me, his thick, bristly moustache and slightly grey, yet somehow blue eyes being too distinctive features to not be noticed.

I showered him with a pile of questions which did not seem to interest him one bit, and he replied only briefly if he did at all. He seemed far more interested in a small paper aeroplane he was folding when we sat in a tiny, mank office at the back of the station, than any of my troubles. Finally I coaxed him into showing me who Rosie was, in return for my promise to not bother him any further. I guessed that his colleague would be no more happy to comply, so I contented myself with the little he did promise. I set out with them, and soon we were where I had been the night before, and within minuites a tall, slim woman, in her early forties stepped out of a doorway, a half-smoked cigarette poised in her left hand, and a snakeskin handbag in the other. The policeman I'd come to know as Jeff Smith pointed a fat finger in her direction, and said he'd filled his part of our 'contract,' so if I'd be so kind as to step out of the car, they'd go on with their real work.

When I approached Rosie, she broke into a big smile, her bright red lips going around in circles as she absentmindedly chewed her piece of gum, requisite on the occasion. I expected her to try to make me her bedfellow, but instead she simply stated, with no doubt, that I had been looking for her, and what my business was. She had figured out I was a doctor of some sort, but made it very clear that she was in no need of salvation. I questioned her, asking of the man (whom she remembered), and what had happened. She told me that the man was no stranger to these parts, that he was often to be seen around here, and gave me a rough sketch of the nights event's which ammounted, it would seem, to the young boy jumping out at her as she walked past a doorway. 'The poor boy' as she referred to him had collapsed at her feet, which, by the way she said it, seemed the far safer alternative.

She pointed into a dark alley and told me to ask for Pete. 'Pete knows everyone' she concluded, lit up another cigarette, and walked off, looking for more customers.

It was with great reluctance that I entered the alley, all my better instincts screaming for me to leave, or at least to get hold of a blunt object.

I passed a few boxes, each cradling it's proprietor, who in turn was usually cradling a bottle. They all seemed pretty harmless, each in their own little oblivion. I had not walked fifty feet in the murky gloom before I was up against a wall.

Michael Tonkin