The Mystery of Her
Inside the police station crooks sat cuffed to the hard uncomfortable metallic chairs that were screwed to the floor and walls of the cells they were confined within. Police officers worked to process the steady flow of petty thieves being brought into the station. Some would be given a warning and released while others would spend the night in a cell if no one bailed them out.
The same burly cop that had been at the beach earlier eyed the new police officer walk in with David carrying the still slumbering girl his jacket, still her only covering. Judgmental eyes were instantly upon the girl from both offenders as well as civilians and staff as well.
“Sandra, do you have spare clothes for that kid? We can’t have her being naked here in the station after all,” he questioned a police woman whose brown hair was tied into a neat bun her eyes cold and sharp as a knife.
“Can’t you see I’m busy?” She snapped at him, then sighed when she turned around to see who the clothes were for.
“The clothes are for her? Yeah... I’ll go get ’em right away,” she said after she saw the sleeping girl still only covered by the camo jacket.
“Your black ass owes me!” She toyed with the man.
“Sure, how does breakfast and coffee sound? Sunday, my place around ten?”
“You read my mind!” She steeled herself to say after making sure no one was eavesdropping on her flirting with the Captain.
“I didn’t realize that you are a Captain. It’s rare to see someone of your rank out in the world beyond these walls.” David said only now noting the man’s rank as he walked towards them. The Captain gave the escorting police officer a nod at which he stood and left to complete the required paperwork.
“I believe in being out there with the people since that’s where we’re needed after all. Not stuck behind a computer screen behind a desk!”
“In that case you’ve earned my respect sir!” David nodded his head slightly in respect for the officer.
“And you are in the Military?” The Police Captain asked noting David’s uniform. “Army isn’t it?”
“Yes sir, just got back from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Now I’m just spending some time with the wife and children before heading back. They’re, though, out shopping today said that it’s a surprise so they don’t want to see me peaking about the house which is why I was at the beach. I didn’t know it would be so crowded today though.”
The Captain stood at attention and saluted, giving David a warm smile. “Thank you for serving and protecting our country!” The captain said as David returned the man’s salute. He then led the way to his office and took a seat behind his desk. Sandra entering only a moment later with clothes.
Sandra glared at the two men. “Well are you two leaving or should I chase the two of ya out of here myself?” She snapped gesturing to them to exit the Captain’s office so she could get the girl dressed in private. The girl was peacefully slumbering on the couch on the right side of the room. David eyed the Captain as they stepped out and closed the door waiting for Sandra to get the girl dressed.
“My wife, despite me outranking her on the job, she still pulls the strings.” The two shared a silent understanding and waited to be allowed back into the office. A short time later the office door opened and Sandra gestured them back inside.
“I’ll go and get her some food, she certainly seems like she needs it! Poor thing is so skinny. We should also have a doctor examine her. When I was dressing her I noticed some scaring in her hairline, forehead and neck. Some bruising too.It seems like they are older injuries, but it doesn’t seem like they are healing as they should. And being naked…”
David seemed to grasp what the police woman was hinting at. “Why didn’t I think about that?” David scolded himself as the realization of what she was saying hit home.
“Don’t jump to conclusions.” The Captain said, holding the door for David as the two men headed back into his office. The Captain gazed at his wife, with eyes asking how sure she was. With a nod he sighed, ready to accept the worst scenario if it is the case.
“Get her something easy to digest,” he suggested as he watched his wife leave closing the door behind her.
“So, do you know anything at all about this girl?” The Captain queried curiously.
“No, nothing at all. At first she didn’t seem to understand what I was saying at all, but seemed to pick up on what I was saying really fast though. I did get one bit of information from her that might be useful. She said that the sea was her home, and that dolphins left her alone, for her to return to land. I rather think that she might have fallen from a boat that is named Dolphin.”
“Like a house boat or some other kind of a live aboard?”
“Yes, something like that.” David answered.
“I’ll have the Coast Guard check out the docks as well as boats at sea or those that have left port recently. The simple fact that she ended up here on the beach means that she couldn’t have fallen overboard too far out, since she’s alive that is.”
“That is if she didn’t jump rather than fall over board, but why she isn’t wearing any clothes…” David added with a glum look. His thoughts raced for answers for questions that perhaps would remain unanswered forever.
“I’d say she appears to be about sixteen or seventeen years old. Can’t be any younger than fifteen and no older than eighteen.” The Captain stated more to himself for the investigation than to David.
“We’ll get her to the hospital as soon as she has eaten something.” The Capitan said. “I can’t believe that when I first saw her I was ready to arrest her.” He turned and looked at David. “You though had more sense to try and help her. You shouldn’t be beating yourself up. You saved her life in more ways than anyone might ever know.” The Captain said staring at the girl who was slowly beginning to wake up. Moments later the office door opened and Sandra barged into the room with a large yellow and red Styrofoam cup and a white plastic spoon in her hands. A red outline of a rooster adorned the cup.
“Hey Sweetie, will you wake up for me?” Sandra coed as she took a spot next to where the girl was laying on the couch. Slowly the girl opened her eyes, blinking several times as her eyes adjusted to the light in the room. Moaning unintelligible words that most would pass as gibberish, she, rubbing her eyes and sat up. Not expecting to see anyone other than David’s, she was startled by Sandra’s presence right next to her! She immediately jumped up and up on the couch’s back cushion her hand and feet supporting her on the edge and her back against the wall as she hissed and snarled at them.
David stepped forward slowly and carefully, now frightened it took a while for the girl to recall her memories from the beach. “They’re only going to help you. I promise they won’t hurt you. This lady here’s name is Sandra and she has food for you.”
The girl tilted her head staring at the broth.
“Fu… Fu..d… Fish?” She asked connecting the dots for fish to be food.
“Yes like fish, but this is soup. Chicken soup to be exact.” Sandra answered the girls questioning eyes as she emptied the cups contents into a white ceramic bowl.
“No. Not fish, this soup tastes better than fish.” Sandra said afraid the girl might not want to eat it.
The girl stared for a moment and slid from the couch’s back and onto the seat leaning in forward sniffing the contents. Handing the bowl and a spoon to the girl they quickly noted that she had no idea how to use the spoon to eat the soup. Taking the bowl and spoon Sandra started feeding the girl, though she still eyed the soup with suspicion. After one taste of the chicken soup and the girl was reassured that soup was indeed food.
“What’s your name honey?” Sandra asked as she waited for the girl to open her mouth for another spoon full of the soup. Though she long since swallowed the warm liquid the girl was thoroughly preoccupied with her new surroundings. She became ever more curious of the furniture, the clothes she was now dressed in as well as the noise from the traffic outside in the streets and that just outside the Captain’s office.
“Ed, hand me a pen and paper I have an idea.”
Ed which was the Captains name did as his wife asked and handed her a pad of paper and a pen. Sandra quickly scribbled down the letters of the alphabet and showed it the girl. Taking the paper with the alphabet roughly written on it the girl traced each character slowly with her fingers, then eyed the pen that Sandra had used to write them with. Mimicking the few letters she thought were the prettiest she wrote with so much effort and it slowly came together for Sandra.
“Riva Meri Nixie.” Sandra read aloud.
“Na…me…” The girl said slowly as she worked to pronounce the word “name”.
“As smart as ever Sandra!” Ed complemented his wife for thinking about letting the girl write out her name. But she wasn’t done writing yet.
More words tainted the white page with the inky blackness of the pen, staining the girl’s hand as she continued to write.
“At least we know she’s left handed now. That will help us narrow down who she is.” Ed said as he waited for the girl to finish writing.
“Riva friend Meri sister Nixie mother I them dolphins” Sandra read as the girl beamed with joy at having been able to write what she did.
“This doesn’t make sense at all!” Sandra said defeated. “What does she mean by ‘I them dolphins?’”
“In a way it does make some sense, remember she said she’s from the sea. We think she might have either have fallen overboard or jumped from a boat named “Dolphin”. These names might be of other people that were on board the boat with her.” Ed explained to his wife while watching as the girl frantically shook her head; David could only guess that she was trying to suggest otherwise.
“I think she might be ma…” David wanted to say, but was stopped mid-sentence when he saw the blue-purple black bruising beneath her white salted dried hair. Remembering what Sandra had said after she had dressed the girl he. Holding her head still he took a closer look at the bruising.
“She has bruising on her neck and her scalp seems to have been torn slightly at some point… almost as though someone might have held her up by her hair.” Sandra said having some knowledge about those types of bruising since her job involved working exclusively on cases involving abused woman, children and men.
“But this looks like she was hit with something hard, and not just once…” David said, gently touching the still slightly open wound.
“If she was in water it could explain why it’s not healed yet. Skin heals slower when wet, even to the point of not at all. But it looks old, like I said previously and look at her fingers.” Sandra said taking a seat next to the girl, taking her hands and showing them palms up.
“Their wrinkled… so what does that mean?” Ed asked. “She’s been out of water for a few hours now. At least, what two, that I am aware of.” Ed asked looking at David, his nod confirmed it.
“Which makes me think she was at sea longer than what we originally thought.” Sandra stated plainly.
“Fud.” The girl said pointing to the soup ready to eat more of it.
The girl finished the soup and seemed to want more, taking the bowl and trying to eat it, biting the ceramic bowl and finding that it was too hard for her. Sandra of course couldn’t help but laugh at that. Ed was on the phone informing the hospital of the girl that they were bringing in while David had stepped outside for a smoke.
“Hey Margret, I won’t be home for a while,” he explained over the phone. “When I was on the beach today I came across a girl on the beach who I think might have been raped” David added. “And I’m going to go with her to the hospital. I just wanted to let you know so that you wouldn’t worry.”
“That’s horrible! I’ll join you, where are you at?” His wife asked concerned for the girls’ wellbeing. It showed just how very caring a woman his wife was.
“I’m at the police station, but will be heading to the hospital very soon,” he informed. “It hadn’t occurred to me at first and I didn’t even notice the bruises until the police officer showed them to me after getting her dressed. I can’t imagine what the girl must have gone through.” David added as he lifted the still unlit cigar to his lips. His phone in one hand and the lighter in the other.
“David Augustus don’t dare light that cigar!” His wife scolded when she heard the flip of the lighter being opened and closed in the back ground in spite of all the other background noises surrounding him.
“Don’t worry I won’t. I’ve got to be a good example for those two little angels of ours after all!” With that he flipped the lighter closed and took the cigar from his lips, throwing it and the pack away in a garbage bin near a street lamp pole.
“I’ll meet up with you at the hospital then. Do you think they will allow the girl to stay with us until they find out who she is?”
“It depends on her health and mental state I guess…” David said as he considered the possibility.
“And whether she’ll be safe staying with us and whether it is safe for us for her to stay…”
“Margret, please I’m not saying no, I’m saying maybe from the doctors and police’s point of view!” He interrupted his wife.
“Alright, I understand. How are you holding up?” She asked knowing full well that he was still getting used to being home again. Jumping at anything that sounded too loud or ‘out of place’. War was never easy coming home from.
“I’m doing well. Better than I thought I would, considering I just yesterday was jumping like a mad kangaroo at every passing car. I think my mind’s just too wrapped around the girl’s situation right now.” He answered half truthfully. A car passing by, backfiring, him closing his eyes and taking a deep breath, his fingers digging into the palms of his hands, before relaxing again.
“I’m fine, I promise!” He reassured his wife with a soothing tone.
Of course the girl would refuse to get in a car now that she was awake. Wrapped like a tied rope to a lighting pole she was fighting against Ed who was trying to get her to calm down and into the car. Even Sandra had tried but failed miserably. Deciding to use some reverse psychology Ed gave up on the car, telling her they would walk to the hospital. He then told her that there ware a lot of monsters between them and the hospital and that they might attack her! This only made her cling even more to the pole! Ed started walking towards the gates leading to the side street that ran past the police station.
“Ed I doubt anything will work. There’s no way she’s even going to consider leaving the station now, not even by foot.” Sandra stated. David exiting the building after another police officer had showed him the way.
“Why don’t you let me give it a try?” He said to the two officers as he waked over to the girl. “Do you trust me?” He said softly holding his hand for her to take. She stared at it for a moment then cautiously let go of the light pole and took his hand.
“I know it may seem scary, but you have to get in the car. They’re going to take you to people who can make this feel better.” He pointed to her head and she mimicked feeling the bruising half used to the sting now, but decided she didn’t like the sting and throbbing at all.
“I’ll be right behind you. You have to go with them, but I will be right there with you at the hospital,” he reassured her. She was coming to understand what they were saying better and better now, just like a person never forgets how to ride a bicycle. David thought. Still hesitant, she went to climb in the car next to Sandra who was sitting with her in the back.
“Promise?” She called to David just before Sandra could close the door.
“I Promise!” David said firmly. The girl got to her knees and turned to look out the window to see if David was following behind like he said he would. She was starting to whimper when she saw David at the steering wheel of a car two cars behind them.
“He’s following, right?” Sandra asked and got a nod as a reply.
“Then come on and sit down and let me fasten your seatbelt.” The girl looked confused at the term, but Sandra pointing to her own seatbelt brought understanding to the girl and she allowed Sandra to fasten her in.
Halfway to the hospital the girl unused to the cars motions became carsick. Sandra told her to just to close her eyes and try to relax as she opened the window to let in some fresh cool air.