The trip across town to the airport through the morning traffic took an hour. Paul watched the city go by wondering how he was going to handle identifying Josie’s body, and at the same time hoping it wasn’t her. The inspector spent most of the trip on his mobile talking to his officers at the scene.
As they approached the airport the inspector turned to Paul. ‘They’ve found your wife’s handbag. Her credit card and driver’s licence are still in her purse. So it looks like this will be a formality. My people are certain it’s her. I’m sorry.’
Constable Priest turned off the street into a dirt road leading to a wooded field on the western side of the airport. The car came to a halt next to a white van and two other police cars in a parking space near where a walking trail crossed the road and led into the trees. A passenger jet roared overhead and climbed into the sky, taking people off to their holidays or business meetings, as they got out of the car. A constable appeared from the trees and escorted them along the walking trail to a small clearing, cordoned off with blue and white crime scene tape, about twenty metres in from the road.
Just like you see on TV, thought Paul, as two figures dressed in blue plastic suits wheeled a stretcher with a green body bag on it towards them. They stopped when they reached the tape. The constable lifted the tape and they wheeled the stretcher onto the walking trail.
Inspector West made the required introduction. ‘Mr Ford, this is Dr Jonas, the police pathologist.’
‘I’m sorry, Mr Ford, if you’ll just step over here beside me.’
Paul stood next to Dr Jonas, who unzipped the top of the body bag to reveal Josie’s white face staring at him, her blond hair stained with dried blood on the left side of her head above the ear. He looked at the inspector, nodded his head and managed to say, ‘Yes, that’s her.’
The pathologist zipped up the bag. Inspector West led Paul back to the car. Paul sat in the car while the inspector spoke with the pathologist. He looked at his watch. It was 10.15. The day was only just starting but it felt like all days had ended. The sound of another jet taking off brought him back to the present. Life goes on. Nothing stops just because someone you love leaves the planet.
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