Both Jeannie and Robert experienced the same weird, spine-chilling, eerie, blood curdling feeling after stepping into a room where the bodies were stored and autopsies were performed. The entire room mirrored an old, black and white horror movie and reeked of a strong mixture of bleach, formaldehyde, and ammonia. It literally looked and felt like they were surrounded by death itself. They saw long, metal tables with saws and scary looking instruments strewn all over them. There were huge sinks with hoses attached to them, and a wall holding about six or seven stainless steel cabinets with four to a row. A covered body with its feet exposed and one of its big toes tagged laid on one of the tables. Underneath the tables not too far from the sinks was a huge, sunken drain with trails of blood all around it on the floor near the hoses.
Trying to mask the obvious fear and anxiety they were surely feeling, they tightly joined hands and followed Doc Brown to where the cabinets stood. Reaching for the one in the center, he turned to them and said, “Now I have to warn you two, this body was in very bad condition when it was brought in. I’m sorry to say that never in my forty-one years as a coroner, have I ever seen and autopsied a body that has been practically destroyed to the degree that this one has. His head is barely attached to his body and his face is practically unrecognizable, but if he’s your family, I’m sure you’ll be able to make a positive I.D. Okay, I’m going to pull his body out now. Are you sure you two are now ready for it?” Pulling Jeannie into a tight hug, Robert said, “As ready as we’re ever going to be for doing something like this here.”
Doc Brown solemnly nodded and reached for the handle. With a loud click, he pulled the body all the way out. Large spots of wet and dried blood stained and soaked through the sheet covering the body––especially around the head and chest area. Grabbing the sheet, he looked at Robert and pulled it away from the body down to the waist. Robert glanced for a couple of seconds before quickly turning away, but Jeannie just stood there, frozen in a trancelike stare for more than an entire minute, before letting out a loud and bloodcurdling scream.
“It’s him! Please cover him back up!” Stunned, Doc Brown quickly did what he was asked. Robert turned to Jeannie and asked, “Are you sure Sis? We really didn’t get a long look. I only glanced for a couple of seconds and I don’t think you looked for a full minute.”
“I’m positive it’s him! I saw that big birthmark on the left side of his neck, and that huge mole on the back of his right hand! Plus, he never removed that gold promise band on his left pinkie finger that Francine gave him! I don’t ever want to see my brother like this again, and we need to come up with a way to keep Mama and Billy from coming back here and viewing him like this! There’s no telling what something like this will do to the both of them! We can’t let them come back here!”
Clenching his fists in anger, Robert screamed loudly and pounded the wall repeatedly. Then he grabbed and threw a clipboard to the floor before kicking over one of the prep tables.
“Whoever’s responsible, those motherfuckers won’t get away with this! I swear to God they won’t! An eye for an eye and blood for blood. I’m more than willing to go to jail after I get my hands on everybody that had a hand in killing our brother!”
Now crying softly, Jeannie looked at her brother and said, “Please don’t do that, Robert, we all need you right now! Now we have to go back out there and try to be strong for Mama, Billy and the rest of the family when we get home. They’ll pay dearly someday for taking our brother away from us like this, but we’ll let God take care of them. They’ll definitely get theirs in the end, but right now we got to take care of our family. Now promise me you’re not going to go out there and do something crazy.”
“I guess you’re right, Sis. I promise I won’t try to retaliate or do anything to get some revenge for this.” Robert picked up the table and placed the instruments back on top. Then he picked up all of the forms that fell to the floor and neatly placed them back on the clipboard before rehanging it on the wall. Afterwards, he turned to Doc Brown and said, “I’m sorry for losing my cool like that.” Pretending not to be afraid of what he had just witnessed, as well as Robert’s size and temperament, Doc Brown replied with a trembling voice, “Aw, don’t worry about it, son. I’d probably have done much worse to this room it was me. I just need one of you to sign this form that gives us permission to release the body to the funeral home.”
Robert scribbled his signature, hugged his sister tightly, and grabbed her hand. “Come on, Sis, let’s get on out here and break this terrible news to Mama and Billy. I’d rather do anything in the world right now than have to go back into that lobby.”
“I would, too, but they need to know and I’d rather they hear it from us.”
After closing Johnny Lee’s body back into the cabinet, Doc Brown said, “Let me go back out there with you to tell your folks––it’s the least I can do. I’m sure they’ll have some questions for me. Again, I’m so very, very sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you, sir.”