Meet Tessa Sotoria Stark
It was my first day with Calgary Police Services when I first laid eyes on her. She was barely five feet tall with dark brown hair, pale skin, and piercing green eyes; her eyes carried more wisdom than anyone else I had ever seen. She was late to briefing and uttered an apology to the sergeant before sitting down at the front of the room. After briefing, she and her partner, Nathan Moore, left to conduct their patrol. I asked my FTO, Greg Anders, who she was.
He laughed, “That is Constable Tessa Stark; she’s a pretty one but she’s stronger than anyone else and she’s married. However, I admire your taste.” As the days passed I learned more and more about Constable Tessa Stark. Tessa was quiet and appeared to be everyone’s younger sister, but was a master in martial arts. She was in her mid-twenties and became an officer four years ago when she was nineteen years old. She loved sports and was a defenseman on her high school hockey team where they won several championships. She loved her job and volunteered for every available shift; due to all her expertise and time spent, she was a great officer. She was passionate about her job, but I did not realize how much until I saw it firsthand.
I had been an officer for two weeks and was slowly learning the ropes of the job. Greg was a great teacher and they were all great guys, but Tessa was special. I knew that even then. We received a 911 call stating her neighbor was screaming for help; both Greg and I and Tessa and Nathan responded. The other two got there first.
We arrived and entered the house cautiously and carefully. I had never been to a possible domestic violence before; but, I had heard plenty about them at the station. Nathan was in the living room placing a middle aged man in handcuffs. The room was a mess with broken glass, busted drawers, and pieces from a broken TV littering the floor. A scarlet liquid surrounded the glass found on the corner of the table. Blood, I realized.
“Where’s Tess?” I asked glancing at Nathan. He looked up and I found his grey eyes storming with emotions: anger, pain, and sorrow. He glanced back at the man and began leading him towards the door.
“Downstairs; she’s talking to the victim,” he answered before exiting the room.
“Shit, poor kid,” Greg uttered looking around the room. “Tess’ mom was abused by her stepfather when she was a kid; these calls are really hard on her.”
“Really?” I asked listening for the sound of her voice, hard like iron yet soft like a feather.
“That’s what I heard,” he answered with a nod as I walked down the stairs to join Tessa and the victim.
The victim was a female in her mid-thirties with dark hair and matching eyes. If she tried, she would have looked beautiful but tonight her long hair hung over her face in oily, unkempt ringlets while mascara ran down her face and smudged against her cheeks. She wore a pair of baggy sweatpants and a tank top that was pulled down revealing a black bra and a bruise the shape of a giant hand located on her shoulder. A series of bruises could be found all over her body. Dried blood stained her forehead from a laceration on the crown of her head. Just like the bruises, cuts littered her body.
Tessa sat next to the victim on a bed with a hand on the victim's back and the other writing notes in her notebook. Her face was contorted in a sad smile while she nodded in understanding and whispered soft words of encouragement. As I entered the room, she looked up at me; I expected her eyes to be glimmering with determination, but, instead, they were small and scared. Defeated. I had never imagined that emotion in her eyes.
“Do you need anything?” I asked feeling small, like I knew nothing. Tessa had that effect on me. She glanced at the victim and patted her back once again.
“Okay, Patty, I have all your information; let’s get you in the ambulance and get you taken care of, okay?” She said in a soft, smooth voice. The victim, Patty, gave a nod as more tears slid down her face creating clean lines through the blood and makeup. “Constable Parker will take you to the ambulance and accompany you to the hospital.” Patty nodded as I guided her to the ambulance.
I stayed with her at the hospital and got the medical reports. Greg met me at the hospital and later on, Tessa came by.
“How is she?” She asked crossing her arms looking at the medical records, copying them into her notebook. I shrugged my shoulders and handed her the records to be used as evidence in court.
“Broke her arm, several lacerations, concussion, black eye,” I sighed rolling my eyes, “You know the works.” I glanced at Tessa and found her scowling while her emerald eyes stormed like a hurricane. “Tess, you okay?”
She then released a string of curses that would make a sailor blush; something you wouldn’t expect from a soft-spoken girl like her. My eyes widened as I gave her a look; we- cops that is- might use some bad language but Tessa took the trophy with that.
“This is such fucking bullshit!” She growled fiercely as the hurricane in her eyes grew stronger and stronger. “No one should have to know what that is like. To be too afraid when their father or husband comes home! That shouldn’t happen.” Her closed fist crumpled her notebook but her eyes lost her fury and rage, just pain and fear remained.
“It shouldn’t,” I agreed with a nod, “but this world isn’t perfect; that’s why our job is guaranteed. It will happen again, maybe not with these people but that’s why we need officers like you.” I placed a hesitant hand on her shoulder half expecting her to smack it away or hit me in the jewels. Instead she glanced up at me and grinned sadly.
“You’re a good kid, Alex, naive but good,” she muttered taking few steps back into the hall. I watched until she was out of sight but heard a ghostly whisper, “but who will save me?”