Alyssa bounced into the passenger seat and swiftly clicked her seatbelt. She turned addressing her partner in the driver’s seat and grinned.
“Ready to go!” She beamed, moving her shoulders eagerly as she spoke each word. Her partner, Amy, rolled her eyes. Starting the engine, they began on their way.
Alyssa had missed the call out whilst arranging her belongings in her new locker and had jumped at the chance to be out in the field. She adjusted her hat and wiped some lint from her shoulder.
“So, where we headed?”
“Old man hasn’t been heard from in a few days. Owes some rent money. Got to check up on him.” Amy’s abrupt replies were intended to make it clear to Alyssa she wouldn’t entertain her newbie enthusiasm.
“Ooh how exciting!”
They drove in silence for a minute or so as Amy navigated their route. Alyssa persisted to ask Amy questions, gaining all of one word answers. Amy had been in the job for over two years now and was well aware of the positive and negative aspects.
“So how we going to go about this? Get the keys from the landlord? Break down the door?” Alyssa listed the options with her fingers and looked to Amy intently.
“We’ll get the keys.” Amy replied flatly.
As the approached a large grey block of flats Amy parked. Alyssa made an excited squeal as she released the seatbelt. She marched towards the front door, and Amy followed.
“Might want to actually get those keys.” She stated sarcastically and gestured towards an old red car. There was a old grumpy looking man leaning against the side of it looking into the distance.
“Harry!” Amy beckoned him over and he hobbled with them towards the door.
“Oh that’s just shocking Harry. Of course we’ll get this sorted for you. Oh it’s not a problem for us at all!” Alyssa reassured as Harry grumped about his tenants and their payment issues.
The corridor to the flat was dimly lit and gloomy. Rows of black doors lined their path as they made their way towards the end.
“Mr Forsyth? Mr Forsyth?” Harry growled as he banged on the door. Alyssa stood there attentive but blissfully ignorant as to what her next direction should be. Amy gestured to Harry to unlock the door and it hit them.
The stench was overwhelming and sent the three of them stepping backwards into the hallway. Harry made a gagging noise and Alyssa stood frozen in her place, her face an ashy grey and her eyes wide. Amy, after the initial repulsion reaction, looked at her companions.
“Harry wait outside. We’ll be down to speak with you soon.” She forced eye contact with Alyssa and pointed inside. Alyssa followed her inside, posture still rigid.
The front lead to a hallway which had four doors leading off from it.
“Alyssa, you check those two. Remember don’t touch anything.” Alyssa, still in shock, was trying to cover her nose with the side of her index finger. She nodded in response and walked towards the first door to their right. Amy took the other two rooms and checked for Mr Forsyth.
Amy first entered the bathroom. The place was a busy with healthcare bottles and was evidently unclean. Unable to find Mr Forsyth, Amy moved to the next room.
She caught a glimpse of Alyssa in the hallway as she attempted a small brave smile. Amy scoffed to herself. Her hand was still on the door handle when she heard Alyssa.
“Amy”, her voice was shaking, “I found him.” Amy turned swiftly and barged into the living room. Alyssa was facing her and looked up from the chair in front of her, face grey. Amy walked around to see a lifeless Mr Forsyth.
His eyes were glazed and fixated downward. His body was stiff and pigmented green. The sweet stench that Mr Forsyth’s cadaver was emitting caused Alyssa to cough. Amy eyed her.
“Well what?” Alyssa spluttered, eyes wide.
“Call it in for god’s sake.”
Alyssa fumbled with her radio and took herself out of the room to make the call. Amy could hear her trying to describe the situation and already knew she’d be the one doing the paperwork on this one.
Morbid curiosity overtook Amy and she bent down to knee level to look at Mr Forsyth. His skin appeared to be stretched and bloated. His right arm lay on the arm rest and his body was slumped towards it. Amy tilted her head.
“What’re you doing?” Alyssa exclaimed.
Amy, still focused on Mr Forsyth, replied with a shrug and pressed the exposed skin of his arm. Immediately, the crevice of his elbow was exposed and the maggots that had been buried in there had been dislodged.
Alyssa shrieked and ran out of the apartment. Amy reluctantly followed and found her crouched next to some sick in the hallway. Alyssa looked up, embarrassed. Amy laughed and turned around back into the flat.
“Great first day, huh?”