A Hard Way to Heaven

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Chapter 14

Syn watched his eyes rove over her body one more time before he looked up, met hers. She gritted her teeth, hoping his eyes did not linger on her breasts. Syn had dressed modestly in jeans, white t-shirt and black short-waisted leather jacket. She fought not to cross her arms in defense, and shot to a chair, sitting. "You wanted to see me." Still silence hung in the air between them. "I am not playing any games or hashing out old arguments. If you called me here, you know why I have returned."

Peter did not raise his voice. "No, not really. When your Dad called and told me you were returning, I was surprised because, well, I thought you never liked this place."

"Do not go there. I do like it here, but I like where I am at, leave it at that, please."

His hands went naturally to his utility belt, and she heard the leather creak, his sigh, "Then why are you here really? To get back into the game, so you can gain back your shield. Oh, wait. You already have that back. You are not the only one with contacts Syn."

She wasn't surprised that he knew, "Then you already know that I took it back tentatively."

"Yes I do, but that still doesn't explain why you came home. I do not need you here. I do have the smarts to solve this on my own." She could see his animosity, hidden with that charming smile.

"Yes you do, but I...well..." Peter never understood her. Even with the façade they had projected for everyone else, they were really just friends. He never understood how her mind worked, or the strange dreams. Her gray matter was just wired differently, and he had the desire to see her controlled. He expected too much, and she felt stifled by his traditional ways. He had planned everything down to the last minute detail, and she hated that. She needed spontaneity.

"Well what? Finally come to your senses and see just how good we could be together? Or what?"

"I had a dream..."

Peter hung his head, shaking it, his hands clasping the table and shook his head. "God, not one of your dreams again. You know as well as I do..."

"Do not knock my dreams Peter, they have served me well over the years. It may not be facts but my wiring has always been different, and my gut is in agreement. You know I could always distance myself from their subjective nature. And you know I research before I jump off the bridge."

He snickered. "I am not too sure of that..."

That got her anger riled, but she quelled the urge to give him a good tongue lashing. "Why did you ask to see me?"

His hard stare, told Syn he hadn't changed. "You may think me dumb Syn, but I am not stupid. I wanted to bring you on board before you went off on your own. We are a small town and without resources. Sophisticated eyes with your training are an asset. Port Lewis has not had a murder in three years. I don't want things to get out of hand. I ran my own search and there are links to other murders around the country with the same MO. But they are old or solved. I just want to be thorough. A town this small, something like this could get out of hand. We have an older population and I don't want them dropping due to the fear. You can sit nice and tight back at headquarters and del..."

Delegate. Syn snorted, "I'm not the kind to sit behind a desk too long mate."

"We've been over this."

"Yes we have, and I'm here to work."

"Syn..." She hated that condescending look on his face.

She wouldn't burn her bridges before she even started, "Alright, I thought I would come back and nose around. I'll come on as a consultant. That is why I took back the shield. But leave any hope of us getting back together in the past or me behind a desk, nixed. It is not going to happen."

Peter reluctantly nodded a few seconds later, "Fine, here." He slid another shield towards Syn. "Use this here, so we have no confusion."

She picked up, looked at the gold shield of the Port Lewis Police Department. She picked it up, and slipped it into her bag, "Who is doing the forensics?

"Ole Doc Swab is on autopsy and we have Taite doing the field work, some analysis. Do you want to work out of city hall or float?"

"Float, all my technology is at home. I'll need some office space, but a broom closet will do."

"I'll get you set up, best tell Grampton over at the Courier to leave you alone..." Peter's shoulder mike crackled to life with a female voice. He answered, and the female voice told him to call her on a his cell. She cringed. "Right." Peter fished his cell out of his pocket and hit a number, send. He said hello, keeping his eyes to Syn. His eyes told her everything, another body had been found.

Moments later she was driving through town down to the waterfront. Syn felt as if her body was being pulled apart, turning to liquid mercury and slithering away. She felt faint with déjà vu and purposely put two hands on the wheel to find purchase in reality. She steeled herself for what was to come.

Murder was never pretty.

She had to stop at a red light before turning into the old warehouse district. She let Peter go, her instincts and training already kicking in. Observe, record and look again. She was at a three-way stop in the red light district, made the turn and pulled to a stop, blocked by various police and emergency vehicles. She got out and went to the back of the Highlander, opened the back drop door to the trunk.

Syn took a deep breath, looking at the steel cases that held her equipment. "What they say about bikes..." She retrieved gloves and booties and stashed them into her pockets. She pulled out her modified Nikon D9000 and several high-capacity cards. She closed the trunk as Peter stepped to the side. Their eyes locked over the distance, and he swaggered back to her SUV, "Doc Swab isn't here yet. I'll let you get on with it, just make doubles on everything for me." Syn nodded, looking up at the sky, smelling the air.

"Keep an eye on the weather, you might want to erect a tent over the body. I have one here in the trunk if you don't have one." She went back to the driver's side and grabbed her new ID, holster and slid her gun onto the waist band of her jeans. "Come get me if you need me. I am going to take some pictures of the crowd and work my way back. I'll use it to create a 3-d visualization of the scene when I get home."

Peter shook his head. "God, I am so out of it."

Syn grabbed his arm, and there was a moment of hesitation on both their parts. Peter looked down to where her hand touched his arm, then slowly back up to her eyes. She really had done a number on him, and that she regretted. "Do not think that way at all. Sometimes, the eyes and old training catch things that technology can't. Clear out that thought right now." He snatched his hand away, nodded and walked away. Syn took a deep breath, turned the other way, and walked back towards the intersection.

An officer came forward and handed Syn a cell phone, and she nodded her thanks. "Tell the Sheriff, I'm going to also try to gain a position on the rooftops overlooking the scene and the perimeter." The young man nodded and jogged back to Peter. Her new phone crackled, and Peter acknowledged her plan of attack. He told her to report in frequently. He had every right to be worried, sometimes killers got their kicks by returning to the scene. The battery was fully charged, and she flipped through the apps. It was too simplified, but had Bluetooth capabilities. She downloaded the information she needed to her own SMART phone and linked in to Peter's. His was not as archaic and had GPS locator ability. Syn called him up and told him to watch his screen. A detailed road map of the area and a purple dot appeared on both their screens representing her location. "There, now you can see where I am. If I don't move for a few minutes, worry."

He laughed. "Roger. You know, I really hate you."

It was her turn to laugh, knowing that old adage, I hate you, I love you. "I know."

"Alright get a move on, need you down here as soon as possible." She could hear the regret in his voice.

"That bad."


She swallowed. "Be with you shortly." It took her an hour and three high-capacity cards to obtain the shots and video she wanted. By that time, the temperature had risen and a larger crowd had congregated. She returned to her SUV and sat on the tailgate, watching the three person deep crowd that had assembled in the small park across the street. Grant Park skirted the dock area, and stretched down through city and out into the fringes of the countryside beyond the city limits. This portion was a haven for the unwashed, the homeless, the drug addicts, and a healthy prostitute population.

She had only been in the park once as a teenager; a dare by Peter and his friends to see if she had the guts to walk through it at night, without escort. She shivered at the memory, having taken up the challenge, and completed the dare without incident. Well, she couldn't say that. Her Father and Mother tore her a new one, when they found out about her jackass antics and grounded her for two months, without any privileges. Their punishment was mild compared to what her subconscious could dream up. The night was permanently burned into her grey matter. It wasn't the only scary personal movie that played during her dreams. Certain memories from childhood, and every call she had taken as a police officer in New York City was etched in her brain, could be called up in a moment's notice, and presented in their gory detail. Sometimes she wondered if she hadn't quit when she did, she would now be sitting in a 6 x 6 foot cell in some insane asylum. How she dealt with it, she was still trying to figure out.

She sat there, taking several deep breaths, playing with her camera, loading a new card, her eyes watching the display screen, using her fingers to zoom in and out about the crowd. She was looking for telltale signs of potential subjects of interest. Syn angled the zoom flipping up the view screen, and shot several more close-ups. She could not put off the inevitable any longer. She grabbed her forensics kit and slowly started the walk back to the major crime scene, recalling a poem she had read so long ago, and gave her some comfort.

Of all the wonders that I yet have heard
It seems to me most strange that men should fear
Seeing that death, a necessary end
Will come when it will come.

–William Shakespeare

She made her way slowly back the dead-end street to the docks. She marked, labeled and documented potential evidence, picking up several items and bagging the contents. She noted smells, feelings, emotions. Men and women of the PLPD lingered around, waiting, wondering what to do. As she got closer the strong sense of vomited drifted on the wind, and she could see fresh piles of it in a corner of a locked door way. She looked up at the dilapidated building, shielded her eyes from the sun, reflecting off the weather worn siding.

Cane Row or the Docks had not been used for forty years; a single stop along the busy shipping lanes of Lake Erie for all manner of lake traffic. It was a decaying waterfront of warehouses falling in on themselves. A black and white sign and derelict poster stuck to the door; their edges frayed and torn. The warehouses further north dated back to the Civil War. One section was under refurbishment, turned into high-end condos and commercial space called the Torpedo Factory. The building was called for its purpose during both World Wars, and now was a haven of an eclectic art and retail shops. Her father had said that a Thomas Bertulf was pouring money into the area. He had settled more than ten years ago into the area, and found a home. She would have to see the investment sooner or later. But here, no money was being poured into the area. The warehouse had gaps in the siding, large enough for a person to fit through, and she wondered if anyone was living in there.

She stepped to one of Peter's deputies, inquiring about the vomit, and the potential for witnesses. He explained that the vomit had been from several of their brethren and emergency services personnel. The later question, he would need to check. She looked up again and saw the lack of any CCTV equipment, and cursed silently. She made meticulous notes in a handheld digital recorder, and on a note pad. She continued on a path to the victim.

Peter had erected her tent, and she stopped before entering. She changed gloves and booties, putting them in an evidence baggie, handed them to one of the officers collecting evidence. He was clearly marking the plastic for chain of evidence. The smell of the dead body already lingered on the air. The subtle scent of raw meat left out in the sun too long, the strong smell of urine, human excrement, and sweat. And something else. She closed her eyes and breathed through her mouth, clasping her nose shut. She let go of her nose and inhaled. Her perfume; a soft and sweet fragrance that was pleasing to the nose. Syn turned her face down wind and took a deep breath, hung her head and prepared for the ugly. She sighed and reached for the tent flap.

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