Authors note: This is a work of fiction. It does not reflect any actual events, and all of the characters are fictional. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental.There is a real city of Oceanside, California. It’s San Diego County’s third largest city with a below-average crime rate.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is fictional, but during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were at least two similar resort hotels that did exist, primarily serving railroad passengers and tourists as described in this book.
— Tom Morrow
Somewhere around ten o’clock that night, the mummy was excavated from the work site, hopefully, unnoticed by any bystanders, and hauled to the Laura’s lab in Del’s dump truck. Surprisingly they were able remove the body in one piece onto the same metal sheet they had used in removing the bones in the hotel’s boiler.
Lieutenant Hastings was pleased to have been in on the action. His authority made sure patrolling police cars didn’t make any unnecessary stops by the site as this could have raised a red flag to the neighbors that something was in the wind. He also found it a pleasure to have met Sara for the first time. He was impressed with her and how she handled herself in the field. Then again, she wasn’t under strain from any haunting apparitions.
Out of curiosity, Joe got Sara off to the side and asked her if she had seen any orbs in her subconscious relating to this death. She said no and reiterated that once a murdered body had been discovered, there would be no orbs. She also told him she did not detect any more bodies meaning the place was clear of death. Joe related this to Lieutenant Hastings. He remained skeptical but was reminded of how this same phenomenon proved true at the hotel after the boiler bones were discovered and removed.
It would take several days for this mummy to be unraveled so a cause of death could be determined. It would also give them an opportunity to discover just who these bones belonged to. But, both came relatively quick. Joe and Danny were called to the lab.
“Did you ladies work overtime for us?” Joe asked Laura with a touch of humor. She laughed back.
“Well, mostly Sara. She knew you were under a lot of pressure. She’s the one who put in the hours. Thank her if you will.”
“Yes, we’ll do that. Where is she right now?”
“Working on another project. We got it last night.”
“So, what’ve you got for us?” Danny asked.
“Crushed skull. I won’t go into the details, but he was apparently hit from behind. The type of wound indicates it was a round object probably similar to a baseball bat. Whoever hit him hit him with a lot of force. Probably died within seconds; maybe minutes.”
“So you say it’s a he, huh?”
“Bone structure tells us that. He appears to be just under six feet tall.”
“Any ID by any remote chance?”
“Thought you’d never ask. We have another set of military dog tags, and we got a break. This one is legible. You can read everything: name, serial number, blood type, religion.” Laura walked over to a metal table and retrieved the tags and handed them over to Danny.
“James Custer Armstrong; serial number, blah, blah, blah; blood type O, Protestant. That’s good. At least we don’t have to have our lab guys figure it out.” Joe dropped his head and put his fingers over his eyes. He knew what Danny would say next.
“I know, I know. I’ll give her a call. But I’m not taking her to lunch!”
“Lisa?” Laura said.
“Yeah, how’d you know?”
“Sara told me.”
“She did, huh?”
“No secrets around here.”
“No, I imagine not.”
“Any idea how old this fellow was?” Danny asked Laura.