A Hard Way to Heaven

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Chapter 15

Syn lifted the tent flap and was assaulted by the meaty smell of dead flesh and sticky, dried pools of human blood. She ducked quickly inside and made sure the tent flap was closed to stop any insects from entering the enclosure. She had to turn her head, sniff her own skin, and her own clothes to stall the bile that rose in the back of her throat. She breathed through her mouth and shook her head.

Over the years, homicide detectives develop a scaly hard skin to such events, but sometimes, sometimes all the events gang up on you, and you feel all the pent-up emotions. You feel raw, exposed, vulnerable, angry and downright disgusted with humanity. She looked back over her shoulder, and this one was on the upper scale of nasty. She let out a sigh and slowly crossed to the victim, remembering the age-old question drummed into her from day one. Observe, observe, observe. What is there but more importantly, what isn’t.

Syn cleared her throat, “Id?”

Peter looked up, his face pale. “No. It’s pretty bad, why don’t you let the technicians handle it.”

She shook her head. “That is not why you asked me to be here.” Murder in all its form is a violation, some more brutal, violent than others. She looked and felt her training kick in. The young victim was covered from head to toe with a bloody sheet that did nothing to mask her features. The sheet must have soaked up the blood and fluids pooling around her body. Syn distanced herself, trying to remain detach until she had her information. She pulled out her digital recorder, tucking away her notebook, slipping her pen into her pocket. She nodded at the older gentlemen encased from head to booted toe in a protective suit.

He was blunt to the point, "Doc Swab, ready?"

Syn replied, hoping her voice didn't falter, "Yes."

Doc Swab pulled back the sheet exposing the head and shoulders. Syn began to record her observations with a critical eye; details were important, asking the right questions even more so. It was a young female, no more than twenty with dyed hair. Noting the darker roots, probably a brunette turned blond, with streaks of pink. She recorded the color of her skin, any blemishes, any birth marks, any scars. She felt the victim’s eyelids, opening them over the young girl's eyes, pushing against the eyeballs as Doc Swab told her about the timeline of discovery and death. Her digital recorder was voice activated, and she saw the meter still running, capturing his comments. She took out her pen as he continued to talk about the victim injuries and what he found with casual observations.

His words were animated by his hands, moving one way, another, "Obvious cause of death, for the moment, was a deep cut horizontal at an angle across her throat that severed her aortas. Death would have occurred in seconds, the cut clean and at a depth and angle that would suggest someone with dexterity and strength. The victim’s lack of tension against bone, cartilage and sinew would suggest almost decapitation. The killer cut from right to left, suggesting a left-handed person. It was a clean-cut and therefore, the knife-edge was clean and highly sharpened." He took a breath, sighing, “We could be looking at several different types of knives. Won’t know for sure until I get her back to the lab and do some work up. But that is not the only thing I’m concerned about. This guy did a number on her.” He held out a stack Polaroids of the body. “This is how we found her. As I tried to do a liver temp, to estimate time of death realized I had too much give. I peeled away her clothes more and this is what I found.”

Syn looked at the Polaroids, had to stop several times. She stood, walked away a bit and took several deep breaths as she continued to look at the pictures. Doc Swab cleared his voice, “Ready to see for yourself?” Syn closed her eyes, readied herself, returned, nodded and crouched down again. Swab pulled back the bloody sheet from the rest of the torso. And with more cold detachment Syn surveyed her injuries. The man they were searching for was a brutal killer.

Peter covered his mouth, “Poor thing, never had a chance.”

“No she didn’t. Do you want me to go with you to inform the parents?” Syn offered.

“You know her?” Peter frowned, crouching down looking sharply.

“Don’t you? She looks like Karin Ebersole, the girl we graduated with.”

Peter shook his head, “Karin, Jesus...She married Max Lassitar, has a daughter about eighteen ready for college.” He stood, frowned at Syn, “What you doing?”

“Facebook, see if she has an account, see if there are any pics.” Several seconds passed before Syn held up her SMART Phone, “Is this her?” Syn thought so, but wouldn’t say anything, needing independent confirmation.

Peter leaned in, squinting, “Right, yes, that is her. Damn.”

Doc Swab cut in, “Still need a positive ID. Get the parents down to my office, and follow procedures.”

Both Syn and Peter spoke at once, “Yes sir…”


The sun dipped low on the horizon as Akir and Raven made their way towards the crime scene. Dac had called them an hour ago with new developments, having found a back door into the Port Lewis Police Department. He gritted his teeth, knowing that another innocent had been lost to Élan’s lust for killing. They parked their black Audi a block from the police tape, and approached the Blues manning the tape. They approached a young man that was sweating profusely, and shifting nervously on his feet. The lack of ribbons, and other adornments indicated he was probably a probbie, wet behind the ears, straight out of the academy. Akir and Raven lifted up their fake Interpol, and FBI credentials respectively, and acted perturb when the young man screwed up his face, unsure. He called over his superior, pointing at them, “Sarg…he’s from the Feds, and he’s from Interpol.”

The two bràthairs towered over the senior officer as his dark brown eyes looked up at them, and Akir, Raven removed their Ray Bans. Raven flashed him a brilliant smile, and dropped his Scottish accent, “Lorton’s sir, we saw a flash in Washington of a previous incident as did our colleague here from Interpol.”

Akir cleared his throat, extending his hand, “Andrew Beaton Sargent. The particulars match a suspect we have been searching for, for over a year. Looks like he might have moved into your area. We were hoping to talk to the senior detective on scene.”

Sargent John Williams looked up into the faces of the two men. Interpol stood at least four inches taller than his counterpart from the Feds, and both were like night and day. Interpol had his dark hair cut to his collar in a definite European style, while the other had dark, with a streak of blond hair cut to military regulations. Both had piercing green eyes, as he took their credentials. He scanned them for over a minute, lifting his eyes from one man to the next. “Follow me, don’t touch anything.”

“Thank you Sargent Williams.” Raven said as Williams lifted the police tape. He exchanged looks with Akir, hoping that Dac had their asses covered, planting their covers in respective databases.

Williams led them down the road between the warehouses, and back to the old dock. He stopped twenty feet away, motioning for them to stay put. Williams approached a white tent, and ducked inside, disappearing from view. Akir pulled off his Ray Bans and slipped his IVGs onto his nose, speaking softly to start recording the area. Both of them watched the forensic team go through their usual routine of gathering evidence, in order to remove the body from under the canopy of a white tent. “Ye smell that.” Raven asked, stuffing his hands in his pockets, and sniffing the air.

Akir nodded, his sensitive sense of smell picking up the foul aroma of the copious amounts of exposed blood, probably drained from the victim. Definitely, Élan Louvella's calling card. A figure stepped from under the canopy, and Akir’s eyes narrowed. There was no mistaking, Syn Delwyn Macdonald. She looked taller than the description on the jacket they had composed on the family, and her thick, sable colored hair was drawn back in a tight ponytail. Her skin was lightly touched by the sun, and he wished she would turn to see her properly. The image in his mind was of six-year-old girl, not this woman.

He admired her profile, the long legs, the curve of her ass. Jeans hugged her hips, and a black leather jacket graced her shoulders. She pulled off surgical gloves and dropped them into an evidence bag. Williams interrupted her as he stepped out of the tent, and waved a hand in their direction. Syn lifted a hand to shield her eyes, and looked straight at them. She walked with an air of confidence as Akir's eyes tracked her, stepping carefully to the dock, staying off the grayish, pink and green planks. Smart since the dock looked like it would drop into the Lake at any moment. Akir shifted, walking around, trying to look interested in the scene, but he was anxious. No nervous. Would she remember him?

A breeze lifted several escaped tendrils of hair from her face, and Akir watched the subtle lift of her shoulders, and knew she was breathing deeply, clearing her head. She turned around, and walked back to where they stood. On cue, they both held up their credentials, her eyes darting from one face to another. “Detective Syn Macdonald gentlemen.”
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