A Hard Way to Heaven

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Chapter 16

Syn took her time looking at the credentials in her hands. How the hell did the Feds, and Interpol catch wind of their little murder? She looked up at the tall blond, “How is Quinn? Haven’t heard from him in awhile.”

Raven grinned, laughing, “I wouldn’t know ma’am. I don’t know your old boss, since I’m new out of the Omaha office. Perhaps Scott can tell you, since they are old drinking buddies. At least that is what he tells me.”

Akir suppressed a laugh, watching Syn’s face closely. There was slight flinch to her eyebrows that indicated Raven had answered her question correctly. The little quirk was telling, and cute. The lady had some intelligence. Luckily, their information was up-to-date, and they could bluff her probe for irregularities. Syn turned, and Akir shifted, caught off guard by her piercing indigo eyes. Those eyes, he remembered those eyes of hers. There were several heartbeats before she spoke to him. Her scrutiny suggested she was trying to place his face. “Have we met before Mr. Beaton?” She offered back their credentials.

Akir shrugged his shoulders, suddenly unable to lie. He took back his wallet, “Perhaps in Europe. Ye tend to circulate in investigative services given your computer software, and your background Miss Macdonald.” Their fingers brushed each other’s, and a spark of raw lust shot up his arm, coiled in his gut.

“Perhaps. So tell me why is Interpol here?” She had seen eyes like that before, but where, Syn thought. He had to be at least four or five inches over six foot. His suit accentuated the breadth of his shoulders, and a powerful body. He carried himself like a former soldier, confident and understated ego. That any of his actions were governed by a higher code of ethics. Still there was this nagging itch that she had seen him before.

Akir noted that Syn was all game; a cold professional. But there were subtle hints that told him she might just be a little shocked. Her earlobes were slightly pink, and not from the sun. He rubbed his neck, “Got a flash that matched the description of a case we’ve been tracking for over a year Detective. I was in Washington on other business, and took this opportunity to come north.” His eyes lifted, spying movement by the tent. Men had lifted aside the flap, and were wheeling out the body bag.

Syn turned, watched Doc Swab, and his team remove the body. She sighed, “I can count on your discretion gentlemen?” Akir and Raven confirmed their compliance. She continued, “Not much to tell you yet, but she’s local. We are checking particulars. Whoever the perp was did a number on her, and I will tell you now,” She turned back, glaring at them, “I am going to find them and see they meet justice.” Her voice was hard, “And if you even think of taking jurisdiction on this, you will be in for a fight. And don’t expect me to play by your rules lads…this fucker is mine.”

Akir chuckled, “We willna step on your toes lass, for now.” The look she cast him was pure purple ice. He felt it deep in his spine, something that curled upward, something that was highly erotic and attractive. He wanted to know what it would be like to kiss her full lips, suck on the lower one, and hear her reaction. Raven’s words brought him back from the gutter zone.

Raven rolled his eyes, “Detective Macdonald our colleague here told me about his case, and its MO matches several killings in other states. If this killer has crossed state lines…”

Syn cut him off, “Right now gentlemen he is mine…get in line.”

“Detective!” Syn turned around at the shout. One of Peter’s officers was standing by the door to the warehouse. “I think we found something.”

Syn crossed to the other officer, pulling out another pair of surgical gloves from her pocket. She put out her hand, stopping the interlopers from progressing further. “Watch out, blood.” She turned, “Jenkins.” A young man by Doc Swab turned his head, “We got blood over here.” Syn tiptoed around the evidence as the officer used his baton to push aside the foliage. She crouched down, “Footprints and more blood.”

Jenkins was at her elbow, moving his eyes slowly over the spot, following the trail up, seeing something on the wall. “Fluids possibly. I’ll get my stuff.”

Syn frowned, turned and looked at the body, then back at the spot. “Why would he be that stupid?” Her eyes dropped to ground, saw small dark drop of blood. She followed the path, leading to the back door to the warehouse. Syn’s hand went to her sidearm, easing the gun from its holster, and tried the door. She looked at the others, saw them slip their respective guns free, and take up defensive positions.

Akir came up beside her, raised his hand, held Syn back, hand motioning that he would go first. They had a battle of wills for several seconds, and he was surprised she backed off, allowed him to go first. He ducked into the building, and brought his sidearm to bear, sweeping from left to right. Syn followed, pressed to his right shoulder, working from right to left, her mag lite illuminating the shadows of the corners. They heard the police behind them, the slight scuff of shoes on the ground as they entered the building.

The warehouse was littered with rubble, and smelled of decaying fish. As one, Akir and Syn moved forward as the others fanned out around behind them. Rubble, and broken glass crunched beneath Akir’s boot as he stepped around a knee high pile of stone, and he was sure, fish bones. The sound seemed overtly loud, disturbing a roost of pigeons, and scattering them about the space, cooing their displeasure. Akir felt the walls closing in, a rivulet of sweat, snaking down his temple. He squinted, his IVGs picking something up on the wall. He inched away from Syn as the men and women police officers called out the all clear. He whispered to his IVGs to change filters.

Syn’s mag light had lost the trail of blood at the door, but picked it up again at a pile of rocks to her right. As the room was made secure, she heard orders issued to move work lights into the building, illuminate the semi-dark space. The lights revealed thick cobwebs and layers of dust covering tables littered around the space, the rocks, and piles of wood. She navigated around one, and then another, not seeing anything of interest. She made an office, brought her gun up, and used her toe to ease open the door that was ajar. Syn swept the space with her flashlight, kicking aside old soda cans. She crouched down, looked over yellowed paper. The old type was too faded to read anything substantial. There was just nothing here.

She backtracked through the warehouse, back to the others. Akir was standing, focusing on a wall, and made his right shoulder. He was squinting up at a barren, chipped and peeling painted wall. “What?”

Akir didn’t speak at first, he saw the words through the black light filter employed on his IVGs. He backed up, grabbed Syn’s arm, tugging her back, “Not sure...”

But Syn squinted, noticing that there a disturbance to the grime on the walls. Someone had written something, “Black light paint, Jenkins we need black light…here, around the room”

Akir wanted to stop her, but couldn’t. She walked away, and he pinched his eyes closed, inwardly cursing. He turned, caught Raven staring at him, and crossed the room to his bràthair. He kept his back to the wall, waiting.

Syn turned called out to the techs, “Black light filters here too.”

Suddenly, the work lights flared to life, casting blue light onto the wall, uncovering the writing. Akir’s shoulders tightened, having already read the words through his IVGs. Élan was calling him out, calling out to play, and warning him that their next meeting would end in more bloodshed.

And into the abyss, I descend.
And you come with me, until the end.
And I am the Angel, gathering flowers
Walking the earth, hand in hand
With child, in God's eyes
And orchids litter the graves
Of our fathers and brothers.

"Sick bastard." Someone spoke at Syn’s left ear as another lamp blazed to life, and revealed more. Her eyes fixed on the opposing wall to a four-foot-tall, five-foot-wide symbol. She couldn’t breathe, her mind playing tricks with her. Her eyes darted around, haunted by images that rose up in her mind of an elderly woman on a couch covered in blood, her throat slit, and stabbed more than a dozen times. Grandpa on the floor in a wide pool of blood. Syn swirled around, her eyes reading the words. Goosebumps crawled up her limbs, and her stomach churned with fear.

Akir cursed under his breath. A cold chill crept up his back, and clenched his jaw, realizing that it was the same words, the same symbol that had been painted on the wall of his grandparent's living room so long ago. A skull belching out a Celtic Cross impaled through with a dagger, held in a serpent’s mouth. “The fucker.” It was a clear calling card, and something more. He whirled around, looking for Syn. “Syn…” He said without thinking, crossing the distance in three strides.

Syn’s eyes darted between the words, and the skull. The nightmare flickered like a strobe light in her mind, unfolded in full Technicolor clarity. The room seemed to morph, bow in and out, and she felt an overwhelming weakness. Her body lost all form, splitting into two, falling at the symbol, falling forward. Someone shouted her name, and more of the memory rushed back at her. She turned saw the familiar green eyes, the raven colored hair, and that adult male face transformed into an eleven-year-old boy. She was running, rushing towards him her six-year-old fingers reaching out for that safety, that security as the black void rose up, and swallowed her whole.

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