A/N: Here we are; the final chapter, the last answers to your
The assistant peered over the edge of his glasses at the printouts he’d been handed moments before. “Blood tests came up with nothing, but what fingerprints we could recover were a partial match to a case over a decade ago—an entire family slaughtered, including the only child, first name, Inoue.”
“So you’re saying the child didn’t die?” The examiner took the paper from his aide and looked the report over silently before releasing a grim sigh. “Well, if he didn’t die then, he’s dead now,” he muttered, turning back and staring at the face that might have been appealing when filled with life.
Another sigh, the closing of a clipboard. “Fine. Burn the clothing, and stitch him back up. Goddamn cadaver looks like a freak-show puppet enough already with those scars everywhere…” He paused, recollecting the horror on both their faces as they found new, terrifying scars and blemishes in every place they looked—the slashed tongue had been the final straw before they put a halt to the exam. “Bury him under the child’s name.” His gaze halted at the solid metal cuffs and collar on the stainless steel table beside the body. It took an hour to remove them all. He recalled the extensive scarring that had been hidden beneath them, half of which had been caused by the restraints themselves, flesh made raw and worn away then healed over several times, from straining against them… trying to resist whatever horrors this man had seen and suffered through.
“In the town cemetery with his parents, or with the hospital’s other unclaimed graves?” the assistant asked quietly, his gaze washing over the battered body on the cold steel table.
“Give Inoue’s parents their little boy back,” the examiner breathed softly, pulling off his gloves and leaving the observatory.
He wanted to say something—to finalize the ceremony. But the men had come, set up and filled the grave, then left. Not even a priest, or cleric, or anything to see the man off to the afterlife.
The simple white headstone had the man’s first name carved into it, directly beside the two headstones for his parents.
Had anyone ever visited their graves, either?
The assistant crouched and placed a small tin before the headstone, filled with Inoue’s personal affects, and the numerous bullets they’d recovered from his body, a couple of them several months old, probably more. By all reasoning and judging by the wounds old and new the man had on his body before they recovered it, he should have been dead years before.
Briefly, he wondered what could have possibly kept the man going.
The thought was dismissed as rain began to fall, and the assistant hurried out of the graveyard and back to his car. Once in the driver’s seat, he looked up at the sky through the window, then back at the grave one last time, fresh and white.
It was going to be a cold winter this year.
All a lover meant was one more grave to visit. -Inoue