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datatime: 2022-09-29 19:31:33 Author:brVuyLXg

You know of that case, Doctor?

Mrs. Dallbridge was in such a state of shock that she remained frozen as a statue, uncomprehending, while the spray slowly darkened her gown and her lovely bedspread and refilled the teacup on her tray with gray, chill water.

I sure hope so.

Negative, at least prelim, the SOC man answered. "There are other anomalies. Note the lack of the pugilistic effect-there's none of the contraction of the arm muscles one usually sees in such severe burn cases. Note also the heat fracturing in the bones of the extremities. Nearer the center of the body, the bones have actually been calcined. Do you have any idea how hot a fire would have to be to cause this kind of damage? Well over the combustion threshold. And yet there was no room flashover. In fact, from the look of things, the fire never evenapproached flashover. The heat was localized to the body, and the body only."

Spontaneous combustion?

The voice was cut off by the unbearably shrill sound of the fire alarm in the hall, followed by the even louder blare of the siren within her apartment. She dropped the phone, covering her ears. A moment later there was a snapping noise as the sprinklers went off, and suddenly the room was full of water, streaming everywhere.

The doctor shook his head. "No idea yet."

Negative, at least prelim, the SOC man answered. "There are other anomalies. Note the lack of the pugilistic effect-there's none of the contraction of the arm muscles one usually sees in such severe burn cases. Note also the heat fracturing in the bones of the extremities. Nearer the center of the body, the bones have actually been calcined. Do you have any idea how hot a fire would have to be to cause this kind of damage? Well over the combustion threshold. And yet there was no room flashover. In fact, from the look of things, the fire never evenapproached flashover. The heat was localized to the body, and the body only."

The voice was cut off by the unbearably shrill sound of the fire alarm in the hall, followed by the even louder blare of the siren within her apartment. She dropped the phone, covering her ears. A moment later there was a snapping noise as the sprinklers went off, and suddenly the room was full of water, streaming everywhere.

Mrs. Dallbridge was in such a state of shock that she remained frozen as a statue, uncomprehending, while the spray slowly darkened her gown and her lovely bedspread and refilled the teacup on her tray with gray, chill water.

He had seen a lot of unpleasant homicides in his day, but nothing could have prepared him for what lay on the floor beside the bed. It was a corpse, that much at least was clear: it had ruptured in a way he'd never seen before, the corpse unzipping itself from pubis to sternum, vomiting a shrunken tangle of burned and blackened organs. In an almost unconscious gesture, he reached up and touched the cross underneath his shirt, feeling its reassuring presence. If there was a devil, this was how he'd do it. This was definitely how he'd do it.

It's kind of a legend in medical school. A joke, really. I seem to recall the FBI handled it.

The doctor shook his head. "No idea yet."

The doctor gave a low, cynical laugh. "You FBI fellows and your acronyms. I don't believe you'll find 'SHC' in theMerck Manual , Mr. Pendergast."

What kind of heat was applied?

There was some confused talk in the background, then the voice came back on, a little breathless. "We're getting some alarms down here. It seems there may be a fire in the apartment above you, Mrs. Dallbridge. Listen carefully. Don't leave your apartment. If smoke begins to come under your front door, place a damp towel against it. Wait for instructions-"

The doctor shook his head. "No idea yet."

Yes From the apartment above

The doctor looked up sharply. "You mean, like Mary Reeser?"

The doctor looked up sharply. "You mean, like Mary Reeser?"

Yes. And if the case file can be believed, SHC-spontaneous human combustion, as it's referred to-is far from being a joke.

You know of that case, Doctor?

Yes. And if the case file can be believed, SHC-spontaneous human combustion, as it's referred to-is far from being a joke.

The doctor looked up sharply. "You mean, like Mary Reeser?"

I sure hope so.

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