The 5 Stages of Grief

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Chapter 12, Lt. King

He watched the smoke rise thick and white then start to diffuse, dissipate into separate tendrils of grey and blue wafting out from the lamplight in cloud-wisps until nothing but the odor remained. He found it relaxing. When mixed with the proper scotch that is, he thought, swirling the amber liquid once again, the comforting clink of diminishing ice soothed his nerves, the frustrations of the day.

The room was pitch other than the reading lamp he’d switched on beside his overstuffed recliner. He hadn’t been around in days and didn’t want to clean or look at the mess – an easy solution, even the television remained off. The brief moment he’d turned it on, habit really, ruffled his nerves immediately and he’d turned it off a second later. Reports, books, magazine articles, nothing could shake his agitation, his mind homing to the same humbling question of its own volition, How could they overlook me? He swirled his glass again realizing there was no sound that he was out of ice. He glanced at the tumbler within his hand. No more scotch either.

He pondered through the next drink and the one after that. His cell rang, interrupting his plans.

“Sam, I think I’m onto something. It’s too early to say exactly what, but I know I’m on the right track. This is some fucked-up shit Lieutenant – really fucked-up.”

He listened without a word. The excited voice, almost out of breath, trying to get the words out lifted his spirits. How long has it been since I’ve heard Scott so passionate? He placed the empty glass on the table ashamed of his self-pity. “What is it Sergeant? What did you find?”

“I can’t be sure yet. The journals are too surreal. The clues wind and twist in and out of each other. It’s like I’m Alice in fucking Wonderland for Christ’s sakes.”

Sam was up, pacing. He grabbed the empty glass from the end table and carried it to the kitchen, turning on each light he passed along the way. “Where do we go from here, Sergeant? Tell me what you need,” he said, placing the clean glass back in the cupboard where it belonged, discarding the mood that had threatened to swallow him earlier, replacing it with urgency as he fed on Whitford’s excitement and enthusiasm – got back on the horse.

“I don’t quite know what we’ve got, not yet. So far, just some hunches. I need a couple of body’s to track down some leads. I’d do it myself but if you want it done quickly, I’m going to need some help. I think—”

“Right, right.” He cut him off. “How many do you need?”

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