Colonel Scott marched into the meeting hall and everyone snapped to attention, standing from their seats. A loud scraping sound immediately filled the room as the chairs slid back in unison.
“At ease,” Colonel Scott barked without stopping his march straight to the front of the room to the first row of tables in front of a large screen. The first row was two long tables with three chairs at each. To the left of the aisle, one table, and to the right, the other. Doctor Alejandro was to his right standing at the middle chair. The chair on the aisle was empty. Colonel Scott chose the one on the aisle next to Doctor Alejandro, “Afternoon, Doctor.” He greeted her as he sat.
“Colonel Scott.” She nodded taking her seat again.
“Don’t tell me you stood to salute me too?” He smirked.
“I did not, but I also did not want to show any disrespect for your rank and remain seated, Randolph, so I stood with the others.” She smirked, positioning her notepad and pen in front of her. The room was a buzz with anticipation of the coming presentation.
“How considerate of you, and, uh, the salute is the show a respect for the rank” Colonel Scott turned his attention to the Forensics’ Sergeant who prepped a computer for the coming presentation, “Are we ready, Sergeant?”
“Sir, just two seconds.” The Sergeant responded without looking at Colonel Scott.
“Let’s get some quiet in here.” Colonel Scott barked, “I know we’re all interested to see this, but I want all non-essential personnel out. You’ll be briefed soon enough.” There were a few awws and then a bustle of people leaving the meeting hall. The Forensics’ Sergeant stood to the side of the screen then nodded to Colonel Scott.
“Can we get the lights please?” The Sergeant asked a soldier who manned the front of the command tent. The Sergeant hit the remote control in his hand and a picture appeared on the screen, paused. “We have analyzed all video from cell phones and relevant security cameras. We have strung together what we believe to be the focus of the event. The video will play out in several sequences giving us the best view, still following the timeline as the event occurred. The poorest quality is the security cameras, and the higher resolutions come from the cell phone video we retrieved surrounding the actual event. To our benefit, the actual event is covered completely by cell phone video, bouncing back to the security cameras at the end of the event.” The Sergeant pressed his remote and aimed it at the computer to the side of the screen, “As we can see here, from the edge of town, on this security camera inside a local Seven Eleven,” The Sergeant put his hand up to the top edge of the screen, “This person outside the window, here, enters town walking in the middle of the street.” The Sergeant walked along the screen, trailing the barely visible person outside the window. “A few seconds later, there is a car accident at this intersection to the left of the screen, here.” The screen changed to a sidewalk view of the accident and a girl in a dirty skirt, walking in the middle of the street. The screen split into eight smaller images, all a different angle of a dirty, half-naked girl. “And this is when all the cell phone videos start recording and the town begins to converge on this young woman, here.” All the videos followed the girl to the center of town, some following behind her, the people recording could be heard giggling and laughing, some in front of her telling her to move her hair out of the way so they can get a shot at them titties. She struggled to walk the whole way. Until a young man comes up to her and tries to brush her hair over her shoulder to expose her breasts. Then, like lightning, she slashed him with a little knife and began turning in a circle lashing out at the crowd. After a minute, a woman pushed her way through the crowd and tried to calm the girl. The young girl was talking to herself and jerking her head from side to side. “This goes on for several minutes, if you’ll watch closely, this woman never stops talking the whole way into town and even here. She is having a conversation with what seems to be several other people, each she speaks for in very distinct voices. We’ve isolated her voice here. Listen close,” The video on the screen looped back to the very start of the cell phone footage and the audio is turned up with only her voice audible. “Now, here, Sheriff Robert Hayden Curtis arrives to take control of the situation ending in the event.” The video showed the interactions of Hummingbird and Sheriff Curtis. Her accusations could be heard loud and clear through the video compilation. Her display of vulgarity did not go unnoticed as well, they seemed to be the highlight for the cell phone owners to capture. “She seems to be accusing the Sheriff of raping a woman called Rachel Harris, in a very, uh, uh, let’s just say, a rather descriptive display.” The video continued to play until the young woman froze, staring at Sherriff Curtis. Cell phones hit the floor and only screams could be heard. “Again, we have isolated the voice of the young woman through the nearest cell phone, unfortunately we have no more video at this point.” The audio played on, only the gruesome imagination of what happened to the Sheriff could be heard, and how the young woman talked to him. Video started again, “This footage here is from the only traffic camera in town, heading out to the interstate. As you can see, she is the only one leaving.”
“That appears to be the same young woman from the second scene.” Colonel Scott announced.
“Yes sir, but that’s not all.” The Sergeant added with a smile.
“Enlighten me, Sergeant.” Colonel Scott nodded.
“Well, sir, she mentioned that she was Rachel Harris, her momma. Again, she mentioned her to the sheriff. That didn’t make too much sense at first, and why would she want to kill the Sheriff? Here’s what we came up with. Some twenty-two years ago, young Sheriff Robert Hayden Curtis here, was accused, along with two other young men, of raping a Rachel Harris, killing her husband and only child in the attack. They were found innocent of the crime, despite Rachel Harris’s eyewitness account. The rape kit disappeared and with no other proof of the boy’s involvement, other than her word. The locals dropped it.”
“That sounds like a good reason for retribution alright.” Colonel Scott commented.
“We found Rachel Harris last night, when we extended our perimeter search. We found her at the epicenter of what appears to be another event that in fact, predates the one in Paradise Falls.”
“So, this woman, came down the mountain after an event, to kill Sheriff Curtis?” Colonel Scott asked, “How did Rachel Harris die?”
“It would appear she died in a similar fashion to the spectators in town. Doctor Alejandro?” The Sergeant asked. Doctor Alejandro stood and walked to the head of the room to address the group.
“The deaths all seem to be related to a complete cerebral shutdown, causing all voluntary, and involuntary motion to simply cease. To speak plainly their brains were shut off. Barring the castration of Sheriff Curtis, of course.” She said and pointed to the screen where two brain scans were displayed. The screen started to cycle through each brain scan. “The three dead at the eighteen-hour mark, after the event, were different. The State trooper died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The female at the scene bled out, due to a cut of her carotid artery, and the third, a male, overdosed on horse tranquilizer, also self-inflicted, like the State Patrolmen.”
“Can we see the patrol car video again?” Colonel Scott asked.
“Yes sir.” The Sergeant went to the computer as Doctor Alejandro took her seat. The video played out again. The whole room watched one time through. It was still disturbing.
“Can we play that back please?” Doctor Alejandro asked. The video replayed, “Pause it, please.” Doctor Alejandro stood and walked to the screen. “Both she and the trooper are talking to someone, here.” She pointed in front of a tree.
“Behind the brush and the tree?” Colonel Scott asked.
“No, look at the angle,” She grabbed a post-it then stuck it on the screen, “Here. Play through, please.” Doctor Alejandro watched the young woman and the state trooper. “Whatever they’re looking at comes closer, and watch here, after he shoots himself. Look at her. Who’s holding her up? She’s being assisted into the passenger side, and look at her. She keeps looking up at someone, here.” She pointed again to the side of the woman on the screen. “Now watch this, suddenly, she stands up like she is not even the same person. She’s calm, acting like she just put someone in the car. Then, she calmly drags the officer out of frame, behind the tree where they were first looking. She walks back to the patrol car, now freeze it.” The screen froze as the woman spotted, and looked directly into the dashcam. “Cold as ice. Look at those eyes. That is not the same girl screaming and crying from that gunshot moments ago.”
“What have we got here, Doc? A ghost and psychic?” Colonel Scott stood up and walked around the table joining her at the screen. “Anybody?” He asked looking around the room at the other investigators.
“Split personality disorder?” The Sergeant spoke up, “Since we are looking at her behavior, look at this.” He replayed an earlier video, “She is struggling to walk when she gets to the center of town, like she is crippled, but here,” he fast forwarded the video, “When she’s leaving town, she walks normally.”
“I want everything that girl says on a transcript, everything.” Colonel Scott looked at the Sergeant.
“Yes, sir.” The Sergeant replied, “We identified all the victims at event three. Perry Tucker, get this, he’s a suspected serial killer, the Michelangelo Killer. The girl, identified as Lisa Taylor and the patrolmen were found staged in his signature pose. We assume she was another victim that he was there to dispose of, when both he and the patrolman came upon our unknown woman.”
“You gotta be shittin me!” Colonel Scott smiled, “That’s some fucking karma right there, gentlemen.” He turned and looked at the rest of the room, “Let’s release her picture and set the locals on her, get ’em after that car. They already have the plate number, have them do a bolo. We need to locate her as soon as possible. Make sure they know surveillance only, do not engage. We don’t know exactly what this girl is capable of yet, I don’t wanna be processing every town in these United States of America from here to the coast. Lieutenant Crosby, do a face to face, make sure they get you.”
“Yes, Sir.” Lieutenant Crosby said and gathered her things. She was the liaison between the military and the civilians, coordinating their efforts to keep civilian interference at a minimum.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have D.N.A., we have finger prints, we even got hair fibers. We know where she came from. I wanna know who she is and where she is going? Let’s move like we got a purpose.” He clapped his hands together and the room immediately jumped into action.
“Colonel, I’d like to examine the video more extensively.” Doctor Alejandro asked standing next to Colonel Scott.
“Absolutely, doctor, you aren’t here cuz ya pretty. Well, not solely.” He smiled. She ignored his comment and walked around the table to the screen. She started talking to the sergeant who handled the video data.