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A Pool of Blood?

Rhea discovered the sailor’s body in “Believing is Seeing”, a short story in The Deadliest Deceptions. When she described the corpse to Miriam, she said, “Oh, I wish I’d never brought him that gruel this morning! Seeing him like that, lying on his back, cold and stiff, that ghastly pool of blood, his skull crushed, his face bloated with death, his eyes bulging, will haunt me forever.”

Yet when Miriam examined the body, she found quite a different corpse: “When I leveled his body, I saw that despite its stony stillness, his face was of a once-handsome man. His strong jawline, splendid forehead, and deeply sculpted cheeks were weakened by only the worry lines fanning his eyes…[and] only a ribbon of blood had trickled down from the gash to stain his chest, tunic, and bedding.

Can both reports be right?

No. Rhea was likely describing a death from pulsatile bleeding, the most serious type, usually caused when an artery is severed. Arterial blood shoots out with each heartbeat in a rhythmic pattern. But Miriam noticed a handsome face with only a blood stain from a drip, ooze, or trickle. In short, the blood clotted before moving far from the body, which meant that the sailor died quickly because at death, the heart stops, the blood ceases to circulate, and any bleeding stops.

Why such disparate descriptions? Even if Rhea killed the sailor, she would hardly lie about the very appearance of the body, especially when she called for the bearers to fetch Miriam immediately. That’s why Miriam needs your assistance. Never mind the dirty dishes in your sink. Click here now!


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