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Authors: LS Sygnet

Tags: #mystery, #deception, #vendetta, #cold case, #psychiatric hospital, #attempted murder, #distrust

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BOOK: Forgotten Place
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"What's the ID say?"

I pulled it out for inspection.  "Dr.
Journey Ireland, PsyD.  Huh.  She's a clinical
psychologist."  I stared at the photo and frowned. 
"Ireland.  Wasn't that the name of that ADA from way back when
who was assassinated downtown?"

My eyes fell on pale and sober Detective
Williams.

"You don't miss much, Helen.  She's his
daughter."

"What're the odds... ?"

"You tell me," he said.

"I don't believe in coincidence.  From
the time I heard her initial scream, called 9-1-1 and made it over
here, this guy had plenty of time to snatch her purse and run."

"Then we're on the same page."

"Father gets shot in a parking garage, and
what, sixteen years later his daughter has her throat slashed in a
parking garage?  Not even the universe is that ironic."

"Helen, today is December 18th."

My mind scrabbled for details from a long
past conversation about ADA Ireland.  Briscoe... Orion... the
murder about a week before Christmas.  My eyes fluttered
shut.  "This wouldn't happen to be the anniversary of her
father's murder, would it?"

"Like I said, you don't miss much."

"This was Briscoe's perp, the guy who died
in Downey while he was being interrogated.  The one whose body
disappeared before Briscoe got the court order for expanded
toxicology."

"Orion, but yeah."

I didn't want to think about that.

"Tony won't be back on duty for another
week.  He and Crevan are picking up days next week and in the
meantime, he's spending some time with his kid down in
Phoenix."

"Shit."

"You want me to call Lou and see what she
thinks?"

"It's Downey's case, Ned.  You and
Captain Caveman caught it fair and square."

"Technically, it's yours too.  You were
first on scene, Helen."

"I'm not on active duty.  God only
knows when that troll of a physical therapy intern will release
me."

"All the same, if you're feeling up to it,
I'd appreciate it if you'd hang out and see if you can coax a
statement out of her, provided she survives this thing."

"I'll head downstairs.  Whatever you
and Shelly decide to do about other interested parties, I'll accept
it, but I'd rather not liaise between Downey and OSI."

Stupid gossips. 

Ned nodded curtly and stared at the
ground.  "Course, you could tell Darnell what's going on, lay
out your terms before anybody else finds out what happened
today."

"C'mon, Ned.  Use your detective
brain.  Chris doesn't control anything but the sound bites,
and I'm pretty sure that's history too."

"He has more influence that you realize,
Helen.  Wouldn't hurt to have him in your corner being the
voice of reason why this case needs to stay in our hands.  I
know Darnell fought it with Lowe but you proved yourself to
him.  He didn't balk about letting Downey keep that other
business with the meth and the cyanide in our house, even though it
was OSI's undercover who got killed."

I pulled out the phone and dialed another
number.

"Darnell."

"Chris, it's Helen Eriksson."

"Wow.  What a surprise.  What can
I do for you, Helen?"

Stop acting like I should
call you for coffee and the latest dirt in Darkwater for
starters. 
I tamped down the urge to
be sarcastic.  "This is a courtesy call.  It looks like
we've got an active case that might be linked to an old one from
Downey."

"Resolved?"

"Partially.  I witnessed what looked
like a simple mugging at MSUH about twenty minutes ago."

"All right..." 

I felt Darnell's patience growing thin and
cut to the chase.  "The victim was Journey Ireland,
Chris."

"Dammit," he hissed.  "Johnny needs to
know."

"We'd like this to stay in Downey's
hands."

"I know, and I understand why, but there is
no conceivable reason he'll accept for staying away from this case,
Helen.  If your objections relate to the job –"

"They do."

"And not whatever personal thing happened
between the two of you that has turned Johnny into Zombie Cop, I'll
strongly discourage his involvement."

"Darkwater Bay needs to believe in its
police department again, not see OSI running in to save the
day.  You know that.  We've talked about it before,
Chris.  I don't object to Finkelstein keeping him in the loop
of communication, just like she did on the Cox murder, but we
cannot lose control of this to OSI.  Not if people are really
serious about seeing change in this department."

"Do your thing, Helen.  I trust you to
get to the bottom of whatever happened this morning.  I'll do
my best to remind Johnny that Darkwater needs faith restored in its
own department.  I can't promise results."

"I appreciate it."

"Who caught the case?"

"Ned Williams and some new guy you and Orion
recruited."

"Devlin?"

"That sounds right."  My voice turned
crisp and cold.

"He's a good cop, Helen.  Give him a
chance to prove himself.  You won't be disappointed."

I spared the rehash of my first encounter
and disconnected.  My heart whipped against my ribs in fear
that Orion would appear from the mist at any second.  It
seemed like as good a time as any to check on the victim and see if
a conversation was possible.

"Go ahead," Ned agreed.  "There's not
much to process here, so let Dev know I'll be down in a bit."

Must I?  Still, in the spirit of
maturity I agreed.

Being of mostly sound mind, whenever I enter
an emergency department, I get a bad case of the
heebie-jeebies.  Given my history, who can blame me? 
Bits and pieces of my experience as a victim of attempted murder
had drifted back over the past couple of months, mostly in the form
of olfactory and auditory triggers.  The sounds and smells of
emergency medicine are not pleasant memories for me. 

The noise alone was enough to put me on the
verge of a fugue state.  The smell sent my alcohol abused and
nutritionally neglected stomach into a full case of revolt.  I
swallowed back the gag and tried to explain who I was and why I
needed beyond the secure doors into the department.

Fortunately (depending on perspective) the
triage nurse recognized me from my recent brush with death and
vouched that I am indeed with the Darkwater Bay police.  Tough
case to make without my badge.

In front of one of the trauma rooms, Devlin
Mackenzie stood out like a prickly thistle in a field of delicate
violets.  His arms were crossed over his chest, legs spread in
a sturdy-wide pose, eyes fixed on the activity through the pane
glass doors to the trauma room.  His presence was so jarring,
I didn't notice the pacing body roving in mauve scrubs past
him.  Not right away.

Cognitive dissonance is a strange
phenomenon.  Logic dictates that without this precise
emergency room, I would be dead.  Panic and disgust that they
saved my worthless life crowded into my existence at the same time
that recognition rippled through me.

"Amy..."

Whatever held me back, made me reluctant,
put my fear of an inevitable face-to-face with Johnny
evaporated.  I stepped forward and laid my hand on her
shoulder.  "Amy?  What are you doing here?"

She startled.  "Helen!  Oh my God,
you're bleeding!"

I noticed my bloody hands, now seasoned with
flour from the powder from inside the gloves I wore upstairs in the
parking garage.  "I'm fine.  What are you doing here,
Amy?"

She burst into tears.  At the same
moment, Mackenzie's tension slammed into me.  I tuned him out
of the picture and focused on my physical therapist.  Arms
wound around her.  "Hush now... it's all right, Amy. 
Tell me what's wrong."

"My friend," she sobbed, "my very best
friend was attacked a little while ago.  I came the second I
heard, but they won't tell me anything."

"There isn't anything to say yet,
honey.  Is your friend Journey Ireland?"

The blotchy red face tilted upward. 
"Oh... oh Helen.  Is that why you're covered in blood? 
Did you find her like that?  What happened to her?"

"I'm so sorry.  I tried to stop
him."

"Who?  It was that son of a bitch Jim,
wasn't it?  I knew there was a reason Journey wanted nothing
to do with him!  I knew it!"

"Who is Jim?"

"Some guy way too old for someone as young
as Journey.  They dated a few years ago.  She dumped
him.  He wouldn't let it go."

"What was Jim's last name?"

"Linder," she said.  "Promise me you'll
find him and arrest him, Helen."

"It's not that simple, Amy.  We have to
have evidence.  Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"I'm worried, not stupid.  Journey was
young and naïve.  I don't know the details of why they broke
up, but I can promise you, it had to be bad.  Journey isn't
the type of person to not stay friends with a guy after they stop
dating.  Trevor and Timothy can attest to that."

"I believe you.  Can you give me a
minute, Amy?  I need to go wash up, but I'll be right
back."  My bloody hands were drawing attention I didn't
want.  "In the meantime, you should talk to Detective
Mackenzie and tell him everything you know about the men in
Journey's life.  Will you do that for me?"

She nodded. 

I turned to Mackenzie who barely concealed
his rage that someone dare butt into his case.  I glared,
stepped closer and said, "Get the girl's statement.  She says
the victim is her best friend."

"Who the fuck are you to give me
orders?"

I thrust out a bloody hand, hoping he found
it as offensive as I did.  "Eriksson," I said. 
"Detective Helen Eriksson."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 4

 

Some of Captain Caveman's bravado shrank
when I introduced myself with bloody hands.  He towered over
me, like a lot of the men from Darkwater Bay, but kept the scowl in
check.  Still, he didn't shake the proffered limb.

"I'll get her statement," Mackenzie
said.  "Will you be back?"

My shoulder felt dislocated after catching
myself from his shove to the pavement.  Part of me has trouble
resisting throwing daggers at others, particularly when they're
well deserved.  I rubbed the bum joint ruefully. 
"Actually, I should probably trot up to x-ray and have a shot taken
of my shoulder.  I hit pretty hard when you were rendering
assistance to Dr. Ireland."

So fun to watch big men shrink.  But
Captain Caveman apparently didn't want to be known as the new guy
that brutalized the displaced new guy-cum-hero of Darkwater Bay
(me).  He snagged the arm of a nurse rushing past.  "I
think Detective Eriksson might've been injured when we brought in
Ms. Ireland.  Could you set her up for an x-ray of the
shoulder she had surgery on a couple of months ago?"

Here's another reason to
get the hell out of Darkwater Bay.  When my face became so
known that even a nurse in the emergency department of the local
hospital remembered me, recalled with absolute clarity the day I
was shot, it was time to get the hell out of Dodge.  Dad's
rules were never far from the tip of my tongue. 
Blend in.  Do your job well, but don't
become so high profile that the world notices
you.
  Uh-huh.  I'm precisely on
the grid, which is exactly where I don't want to
be. 

Still, Datello is here, and it's a lure that
I'm not sure I can resist, particularly not now. I'm fully aware
that the case that tiptoed close to whatever criminal activity he
was engaged in years ago might be heating up again.

I ignored the words firing at me with the
precision of an Uzi, let them bounce right off and indulged in a
moment of question.  Why would someone slit the throat of
David Ireland's daughter in a parking garage on the sixteenth
anniversary of his murder?  I snorted.  Assassins
typically don't send those kinds of messages.  And if Knife
Dude really wanted her dead and was worth the price of his cheap
mask, no amount of effort would've saved Journey Ireland's
life.

Then again, she wasn't out of the woods
yet.

"Detective Eriksson?"  A huge paw
cupped my chin.

"She does that, Mackenzie."  A familiar
voice joined the cacophony of unpleasant sounds.  "Eriksson
has a long history of zoning out in the middle of
conversations."

I turned and tried not to grin at the smart
ass approaching.  "Detective Conall, what brings you
here?"

"Finkelstein heard you became a magnet for
death and mayhem again and thought you might need a hand."

Good old Darnell followed through and sent
up the flare through Downey Division instead of OSI.  Though
Shelly's choice of aid left something to be desired, I was grateful
for a familiar face.  No doubt, Crevan had already called
Johnny.

He pulled me into a hug before peering down
at me.  "Jesus, Helen.  No offense, but you look like
shit."

"Thanks.  It's good to see you
too."

The nurse I'd already forgotten stood beside
me with a wheelchair.  "Detective Eriksson, we can shoot a
quick film of your shoulder now.  If you take a seat, I'll
have you up to x-ray in no time."

"X-ray, huh?  What'd you do, try to
chase the perp down before he could get away?"

I spared a sidelong glance at Detective
Mackenzie.  He stiffened with military precision, and I half
expected him to salute.  "It was my fault, sir.  I didn't
recognize Detective Eriksson at the scene and sort of... well, I
moved her out of the way so I could render aid to the victim."

Crevan's chameleon hazel eyes
twinkled.  "At ease, Mackenzie.  You don't have to call
me sir, we have the same rank."  Back at me, "You all right,
Helen?"

BOOK: Forgotten Place
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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