THE SEVENTH CROSS

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DEREK RECEIVES A PACKAGE

Every case Derek had ever worked on, cold case and otherwise, was ultimately broken when someone stepped forward, either in person or anonymously, with a tip. Usually it amounted to nothing. But eventually there would be something, something that had either been ignored by the investigators, or just hadn’t been credible enough to check out at the time. But with “new” eyes on the job, often the “unseen” became “seen” and what was once dead, was brought back to life.

It wasn’t hard to become cynical in this line of work. And there was never enough help or resources, and fresh cases that had a far better chance of being solved would always be the priority. Derek understood this well but it certainly didn’t make his job any easier. But on occasion, he’d catch a break. Like what was about to happen now.

“Hey Boss, there’s a package for you at the front desk.”

“For me?”

“If you’re the lead investigator on the Latino serial murder case, then yeah. That’s how it’s addressed.”

Now he was curious. Addressed in block letters:

Lead investigator

Latino Serial Killer Case

Seattle Division

He’d received parcels before, and all sorts of cryptic messages purporting to know this or that, and most turned out to be bogus. He dares not get his hopes up; not yet. He took the package back to his office and slipped on the spandex gloves so no further evidence might be destroyed. Who knows? “Anonymous” might just know a whole lot more that he was willing to reveal. Perhaps he had inadvertently left a finger print. It’s rather handy knowing who one’s dealing with.

He unwrapped the package ever so slowly. There were three prints of an individual. There was an article torn from a newspaper that had run a story on this particular case. And there was a name of the fellow in the photos. And in every photo the cross adorning the individual was circled in red.

And there was a note. “Giving this to you will expose me. I’m sure you are quite competent at your job. It’s paramount that we speak privately before you talk to this individual. Call me at (xxx) xxx xxxx.

He did. Immediately. She answered and they arranged to meet later that afternoon. Could this be the break? Finally?

She was younger than he had expected. And incredibly attractive, not that that made any difference. Just an observation. She found him to be much as she had expected, perhaps nicer than she was anticipating. She could only imagine what his eyes must see on a daily basis. But it was time to get down to business.

She told him everything she could remember. Right from first meeting him, about her “gut” feelings, and how she’d put it to rest as her Mom seemed perfectly happy. And yet, as she recalled, she had always felt that her Mom was hiding something from her. But when she saw the article about the case something had registered with her and she couldn’t figure out what it was. In fact, she barely remembered the article because that’s not the type of articles she usually read. And then when she took her trip down memory lane, something registered. It drove her nuts! She couldn’t figure out why. But then she remembered the article. She spared him no details.

“But this will kill my Mom. Promise me you’ll leave me out of this. I need you to promise.”

Here she was, so mature, and yet still a child. He promised her he wouldn’t tell her mommy. He didn’t actually say that but he did give her his word. And he was a man of his word. They exchanged numbers. He promised to keep her in the loop. She believed him and they went their separate ways. But, it wouldn’t be long until they were sharing coffee once again.

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