We walk alongside a long strip of cars, trucks and vans. One larger RV styled truck, a FBI command center. Whatever this is has some major play, which once again leads me to ask…
“Why is the spook squad on this?”
They don’t do missing persons or high profile cases of any kind, their main function is to get in, solve, suppress and get out. The U.S. government has no desire to let the populace know that there truly are things that go bump in the night. Things they nor modern day science can explain. We work to keep the secret safe, there are monsters in the dark, and we humans are sorely outmatched because of that ignorance.
A large tent is set up near the edge of the woods, tables, a water cooler, people congregated under it. I finally spot someone I know. Special Agent Manuel Hernandez, Manny for short, young, handsome and charismatic. Mexican descent, black hair that tends to curl no matter how short he cuts it, warm brown eyes filled with devilment. IQ off the charts yet he requested to spend his career on a violent gang task force out in California. He did a lot of undercover work, molding assets.
One day his office caught a case, dead end. That’s usually when SS is called in, when no other options exist and the murders are just that bloody.
The killing was ritualistic in nature, the bodies drained of blood and cut into tiny bits arranged in a cross, no one wanted to take it on. Prime suspect a Mexican-American gang that called themselves the ‘Sanguinario Marías’, the Bloody Marys. The bodies were drained of blood because they’d drank it.
The Spook Squad was called in and through the course of the investigation we won Special Agent Manuel Hernandez over, we joke that he’s our stray puppy, one day we fed him and now we can’t get rid of him. Truth is he’s a true asset and one of the few FBI Agents I actually like.
“Des,” He waves me over walking away from the tent, over to a tree.
I break off from being Agent Smith’s little orphan fortuneteller and go to meet Manny at the tree smiling. I hold out my hand to shake his.
“How goes it?” I nod my head over to the tent.
Agent Smith, last name Smith first name Agent, is talking to someone.
“It’ a cluster-fuck.”
Manny has a flair for overstating things, but the sheer amount of Agents out here may be an indication of it truly being a cluster-fuck.
“Why is the Spook Squad here?”
Manny doesn’t answer, I turn to look at him. But still he says nothing. Classified means classified.
I roll my eyes.
“Orders from the top.”
“Who’s the SAC?” I wonder who the Special Agent in Charge of bringing the SS in is.
“Dawson,” I sigh already knowing who it is.
Dawson feels like the SS is an angry boil on the ass of the Bureau. Old school FBI, I’m talking when female Agents were only secretaries and had nicknames like split tails, oh yeah the glory days.
After the Bureau’s FUBAR of 9/11 the Bureau tried to push a lot of the KMA’s out. So old and set in their ways they were gods among themselves, and often said Kiss My Ass to any sort of policy changes or orders from anyone up top. That same attitude of uncooperative doctrine is a chief reason to why three thousand people lost their lives that day.
Somehow Dawson held on to his post, I think he sent a memo stating they’d have to claw his badge from his cold dead hands.
Dawson doesn’t like ‘my kind’, people he can’t figure out or pressure. People that don’t fit neatly into a box, funny I don’t like him because he’s so damn… predictable.
“So why send the stiff to get me.” I nod my head towards Smith.
“You missed me?” Manny teases, he’s usually my ‘chauffer’.
“He volunteered.” Manny shrugs.
That takes me back for a moment, what the fuck as all his attitude about then?
“Who is he?”
“Transferred in, Carlson took one look at his file, said okay.”
That’s funny, Carlson doesn’t take just anyone. You’d think the Spook Squad would be full of FBI rejects. But that’s not the case at all, she only wants the best.
“What’s in his file?”
He hums nodding, “Most of it.”
“Spook?” He can’t be CIA.
“Why’d he want to get assigned with the SS?”
Manny shrugs. “Whatever it is, we were all gently warned to not ask too many questions or dig too deep. One meeting with Carlson and he was in.”
Well hell, now I have to know. I’m attracted to secrets like bees to honey.
“Thompson!” I turn spotting Carlson waving me over from the road.
“Catch up with you Manny.” I say heading to Carlson.
Special Agent Veronica Carlson, mid-forties, brown hair always in a neat and tidy bun at her nape. She’s tall for a woman, almost six-feet. Blue eyes always too serious, full of the things she seen and can never talk about. SS is the only division not allowed to share their experiences with the FBI shrink. We have… had, each other. Now I’m not one of them.
She’s wearing a black pants suit, powder blue shirt beneath, she has to be sweltering.
“Walk with me.” She says in greeting turning to head further down the road.
“What’s going on?”
“We have to move fast MacKaye got the restraining order. Says the girl is being put in harm’s way by being here.” She looks around.
“I need you to do what you do and quickly.” She whispers.
“Why is the Spook Squad on this?”
“We aren’t, not officially. I’m pretty sure Dawson is itching to kick us out of here. But I’m friends with the mother, Catharine. Cathy and I grew up together, she made it clear, I’m here or she goes to the papers. Dawson wants to keep this quiet.”
“Because of the perp?”
“We don’t have a suspect.”
“Then why is everyone saying its top secret?”
She sighs, “Dawson is hiding the fact that he can’t find a clue. A car was found about a mile from here, slid off the road into a gully. DNA shows the children were in the car.”
She nods. “Can’t trace the car to a suspect, it was stolen. Neither the DNA nor fingerprints are on file with any criminal database, so he’s never been locked up… ever. Dogs tracked them until the river… he must’ve traveled with the children in the water for some distance. We pick up only Sarah’s scent on this side of the river, but it zig zags back and forth, confusing the dogs.”
She guides me towards a parked black SUV.
“Sarah says the bad man hurt his leg, that’s how she got away but he held on to Simon. I have reason to believe they are in these woods still… somewhere, and we are running out of time.”
The doors are open on the SUV I smile gently at the scared shitless family.
The little girl, Sarah, stares up at me big eyes wide, her thumb in her mouth, a stuffed bear tucked under arm.
The father standing away a little, looking out into the woods, wondering how he failed his family. I can read the tension in his broad shoulders.
The mother is sitting in the back seat, clutching little Sarah’s hand. Holding on for dear life.
A nameless FBI agent stands with them.
“That’s all,” Carlson orders him away.
“This is Desmona Thompson she’s going to help.”