Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Silver Cross by Debra L Martin and David W Small Excerpt


Lacey glanced back in one of her mirrors and mentally sighed. Cole had appointed himself her personal bodyguard after she nearly died from one of her late-night sexual encounters that had gone badly. She didn’t like Cole following her, but she did appreciate him caring enough to keep doing it.
As she rode away from the motel, an alert came over the tactical headset she had custom built into her helmet. The headset was tied into the police radio secured on her bike, and allowed her to monitor traffic while racing around the streets of Boston at breakneck speeds. A brutally murdered body had been found, and the local PD was asking for the Fringe Division to come and investigate.
Lacey grimaced when she heard the location. The body was found along one of the back streets that paralleled Boylston Street near the Common. That was downtown, in Boston’s heart and soul, the middle of the bustling metropolis: alive with theaters, restaurants, bars, and clubs. It was Boston PD’s job to make sure nothing upset the ebb and flow of the district’s nightlife, which poured money into the city’s coffers. The local PD knew the mayor and the press would be all over them if it got out a dead body was found downtown, especially one that required Fringe to intervene, and they were more than happy to pass this off.
Of course, this was Fringe Division’s specialty – cleanup. The victim would be laid to rest, the cause of death recorded as a hit-an-run, and the murder hushed up. The scene would be cleaned up, and the perpetrator hunted down and brought to justice before anyone even knew what happened. This was how Fringe worked: quietly and behind the scenes.
At least she hoped this would remain quiet as she raced downtown toward the scene.
Lacey was a Lieutenant in the Fringe Division of Boston’s police department. The Division’s special call of duty was handling all the unusual, paranormal, brutal, savage, and outright weird cases that the local police department could not, or chose not to, handle. She was a tough, no-nonsense cop with blue blood running through her veins, the only woman on the force the other detectives called ‘hardcore.’ Her father had been a cop and his father before him – it ran in the family. Lacey always knew she would be a cop even before her father gave up on having a son to follow in his footsteps. After years of waiting for a son, he had settled with the two girls his wife of forty-two years had given him, hoping one of them would follow in the family tradition. Lacey had tried her entire life not to disappoint him. Throughout her childhood she was always the tomboy, trying to please her father by doing the same things the boys did. She was never a momma’s girl, and even hated her name as a youngster. Lacey was a name for a frilly, little girl, not the daughter that could hang with the boys and make her daddy proud. She insisted that everyone call her Lace until she graduated from the Boston Police Academy. That was when she finally saw the glimmer of approval in her father’s eyes. It was one of the happiest moments of her life.
She had not received the call to come to the scene, but she knew it was coming. She always got the hard calls and so, instead of waiting, she went directly to the location.
They would probably call me just as I got home anyway.
As she drove downtown, the blue lights flashing along a side street made it clear where the crime scene was. She parked her bike outside the yellow tape, took off her helmet, and smoothed down her hair. She hung the helmet and gloves on the handlebars, walked over to the nearest officer, and flashed her badge. “What have we got?”
It’s the body of a young woman. Her throat’s been torn open, slashed to bits. As soon as we saw her, we called it in to HQ and asked for the Fringe to come take over. We’ve secured the area, started a canvass and are talking to witnesses,” the officer explained.
Good. I’m Lieutenant Gardner with Fringe Division,” she told the officer for his report. “I’ll be taking the lead from here on.”
Wow, you got here fast. I just called in for your help.”
Yeah, I was in the neighborhood. What else can you tell me?”
The body is halfway up the alley, right outside the side entrance to the club.”
Who discovered her?”
One of the cleanup crew from the club,” he replied. “He found her when he took out the garbage, but he didn’t see anyone else. He’s over by the cruiser with my partner, waiting for us to let him go. He’s pretty shaken up. You’ll understand once you see the body.”
No other witnesses?”
Yeah, the club owner. He’s standing over there with my partner. He’s the one who actually called it in, but he’s as shaken up as the other one.”
You got their statements?”
Yes, Lieutenant. We took their statements and personal info.”
Okay, hold them here until I come back and tell you otherwise.”
Will do.”
Lacey nodded and walked into the alley. The side door to the club was open, spilling light on the gruesome scene before her.
Damn.” She spoke as she leaned over, inspecting the body. “Such a waste.”
She heard footsteps behind her, but smelled the cheap cigar smoke before she saw him. Captain Jack McMahan walked up the alley and silently looked down on the poor, dead girl. After a moment, he looked over to Lacey. He had not called any of the Fringe teams in yet and was surprised to see her here. “Are you okay?” he asked.
Yes, I’m fine,” she replied, a bit exasperated. “I don’t need you to mother-hen me every time we find a dead girl.”
Watch the attitude, Lieutenant,” Captain McMahan said, looking hard at her. He was in his mid-fifties, with salt and pepper hair and a ruddy complexion. He wasn’t much taller than Lacey and had a slight beer belly. “This isn’t just about you. How did you get here so fast anyway? I didn’t call you in on this yet.”
Lacey nodded contritely, acknowledging overstepping her boundaries with the Captain. She appreciated the Captain’s concern for her welfare, but it was all wearing a bit thin. “I was out and heard the call over the scanner requesting Fringe Division to come to the scene. I was close and figured I would save you a call later.”
Hmmm,” the captain said, thinking about her explanation. He wondered briefly why she was out so late, but her personal life was none of his business. “Just let me know if this hits too close to home."
Lacey knew why her captain was concerned. The grisly scene reminded her of Rebecca, her younger sister, and that night five years ago when she was taken from her. Lacey had not seen Rebecca again, but that night affected her in more ways than just the tragic loss of her sister. She had witnessed the dark side of life and was forever changed, both emotionally and physically.

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