Phoenix

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Returning to the Scene

“Cassandra!! Cassie,” the disembodied cries from the family and friends of Cassandra rang out through the lake side.

“Mama, why did she come out here, again,” the soft, silvery voice of Celeste, Cassandra’s best friend of fifteen years.

“Grace told me that Cassie had told her that Jared was supposed to meet her out here. I haven’t heard back from him, yet either. Everyone down at the university says that he had class all day today. I don’t know why he would come up here if he had classes all day,” Genevieve held the arm of the girl she had known since her daughter introduced them at the pre-school graduation when they were little girls.

“Cassie!! Cassie,” the harmonious sound of Genevieve’s large family and half of the junior class bounced off the trees. Flashlights slowly danced across the sand.

“Mrs...uh...Quincy,” startled by the stumble over her ex husband’s last name, Genevieve jumped at the sound.

“Mrs. Quincy was my mother-in-law many years ago. Call me Genevieve or Genie, and who’s asking,” Genevieve turned in the direction of the mistake. Directly behind her was a woman of about twenty-five, lean in figure, wearing a sharply pressed dark blue blazer suit. Her lovely brunette hair was pinned back in a neat ponytail. The stark white button down shirt favored her perfectly olive skin. Her slender hand out stretched toward Genevieve, and her hazel eyes pierced through the evening, “My name is Detective Nadia Granger. I am the missing persons and homicide detective. It is my understanding that you daughter has gone missing.”

Genevieve shook the detectives hand, “yes, that appears to be correct. Are you new, I know just about all of the police force in the area.”

“Is that so,” questioned Detective Granger.

“Yes, it is. My father was a fireman and a public official for most of my life, and my nephew is an officer in town,” Genevieve said with an obviously proud smile.

“Ahh, yes, I have heard great things about your father and your mother. You have an impressive family. So, what can you tell me about your daughter and when she went missing?”

“Of course. I have a recent picture if that will help. We just got her school pictures back,” Genevieve pulled out a five by seven headshot of her daughter, and handed it to the detective. “ As far as when she went missing, I had just came home and tried to surprise her after being gone for a work conference,”

“How long was this conference you were at, ma’am,” a very visibly annoyed Detective Granger interjected.

Never being one to tolerate being treated disrespectfully interrupted, “excuse me, I was simply saying that she was supposed to meet me for lunch today, it never showed and didn’t answer my texts and calls. To answer your question, the conference had me away for three days. It was meant to go a full week, but we ended early.”

“Ok, so you were gone for the better part of this week, and came home to your daughter being gone. She probably went and stayed with a friend so she didn’t have to be alone,” a very agitated Granger speculated.

“No, this is one of her best friends,Celeste. She hasn’t heard from Cassandra for two days. Her other best friends Grace and Iris are just over there by the parking lot that goes to the park. Grace spoke with Cassandra this morning. Cassandra told her that Jared, my son, had messaged her and they were supposed to meet here. I think they were attempting to surprise me. My daughter doesn’t just take offfor a whole twenty-four hours without telling me,” Genevieve was getting increasingly more upset.

“Detective,” the very quiet until now, Celeste, piped up, “with all due respect, instead of implying that Cassandra or Genevieve have done something wrong, you should know that we found tire marks over by a decent size pile of cigarettes butts. They are the kind that Cass smokes.”

“Cass, the missing under aged girl that you insist hasn’t done anything wrong,” Detective Granger snarled.

“Yes,” Genevieve and Celeste simultaneously asserted their opinion.

“Alright then, show me,” the three ladies walked over to a set of trees. The cluster of cigarette butts scattered a short distance from the two trees where Cassandra’s car had sat prior to her being used to kidnap her.

“Yep, there are definitely tire marks here. Tight fit for a car to go in between these two, but I am going to start collecting a few things. Why don’t you two go with the others, maybe you will hear from her while I am over here. Very good detective work, Celeste. Have you ever thought about a career in police work after high school? A good career will be handy raising a baby,” Detective Granger gestured to Celeste’s hand on her baby bump.

With a coy smile, and rub of her stomach, Celeste turned with Genevieve and the two began walking over to the friends and family who turned out to help. Detective Granger began looking around more intently than before.

“Ok, Miss Quincy, what happened here. There’s a story behind this mess, I just need you to reveal it to me,” the once undevoted detective was abruptly feeling drawn and pulled toward finding the truth. She was connected to it, somehow. What was it that ensnared her so fully? Whether she wanted to be or not, she was diving in head first to unraveling every detail. As if being pulled by a magnet, Detective Granger inspected the tire marks again. Near the bas of the trees she noticed two divets in the mixture of mud and sand. Upon further inspection, she noticed large tears in the bark, revealing the sap covered inner bark and some black paint transfer caused by Cassandra’s car being pulled through too far and too fast.

Looking back at the tire marks one more time, she noticed the direction the car took off in. “I see you, Cassandra. The question is, did you go willingly when you left?”


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