Click to read Chapter One
Click to read Chapter Two
Click to read Chapter Three
“Yes, yes, we’re together right now.” Pause. Nodding. Tapping the table to get attention and silently indicating it was time to go.
“We’re on our way.”
Hanging up the phone and throwing some bills on the table “We gotta get back, there’s been another tip about something over at the equestrian centre, might be nothing but still gotta check it out, and the bite reports been leaked. Calls from media coming into the station asking for corroboration, they know about the three sets of marks, and that one is likely a child. Damn it!”
While driving to the equestrian centre they speculated as to how the media got the bite report, there was no way the Doc would have leaked the information, maybe one of the lab technicians, or someone connected to the police investigation. Not their problem except that when information is made public it gives the perpetrator an opportunity to change their pattern, if they can. If this turned out to be a ritual scenario then it probably wouldn’t change.
“What a waste of time. What on earth made those two crackpots think a headless gnome is police business? Idiots!” Two hours later walking back into the station no further ahead than before.
They pushed through the front doors and strode past the waiting area, registering two women with blue coats sitting in the uncomfortable plastic chairs and exchanged a look as a uniformed officer jumped away from the front to desk to follow, moving back and forth behind them trying to catch their attention, while they intentionally ignored him.
“Baxter what!? What do you want, why are you hovering back there?” finally turning to face the rookie officer.
“Sorry sir, um, there’s a lady to see you, two ladies, women I mean, female civilians, but they aren’t together, I mean, they didn’t arrive together, I don’t think they know each other, not that they aren’t together like together together, unless….” rambling nervously.
“Baxter stop! Stop talking. Take a breath and tell me, tell us, one thing at a time. Who is here?” moving to the side of the corridor as another officer led an intoxicated older man towards the holding cells.
“Right, sorry,” taking a deep breath and adjusting his tie, then his jacket, “you had asked me to check local flower shops and greenhouses to see what I could find out about the fern seeds, spores, and one of the shops was closed so I left a note in the door. Sara Jenkins is the owner, she was at a plant show conference thing, in Vancouver, kinda odd don’t you think, a plant conference…sorry, sorry” seeing the looks of impatience being exchanged “she’s here, now, to see someone about the fern seeds, I mean spores, fern spores or maybe it was just about the ferns…anyway.” He trailed off and waved his hand in the direction of the waiting area “she’s there, in the blue jacket.”
“And who is the other woman, in the other blue jacket?” asked slowly and with emphasis on each word.
“Oh yeah, blue, they both have blue, not the same blue, one is more like a periwinkle which I guess is a blue, I was thinking more blue blue, a plain blue, you know….?” looking at them with a hopeful smile that slowly faded, “yeah okay, sorry…sorry…the plant lady is the one with the ponytail. The other lady is Mrs. Shade, she read something on the internet about the bite marks, I thought that stuff was a secret?” pausing for a response and quickly realizing his audience of two were restraining themselves from slapping the information out of him, “anyway, she read the story about the bites and says she has to tell us something, something important, she’s pretty upset. You might want to talk to her first,” the final line said with confidence now that he had delivered the information and could go back to his desk.
“Divide and conquer?”
“Sure, I’ll take the one in the blue jacket.”
“Funny, I’ll take the upset one, you can have the ponytail plant lady.”
They moved to the waiting area and after introducing themselves escorted each woman to an interview room.
“Mrs. Shade, I understand you have some information for us, about something you read on the internet? Is that correct?”
The woman had yet to make eye contact and at the question she bent her head, put her hands over her eyes and started to weep. Then taking a tissue from her purse with one hand she placed the other on her abdomen.
“Mrs. Shade? Do you need a glass of water?” the question was asked gently, quietly.
“No, thank you, it’s just hard, what I have to tell you is hard, I’m embarrassed and tired, so tired, I read the story about the bites but didn’t want it to be true, I knew it was but didn’t want it to be.”
She raised her head and looked past him at the dull grey wall, “my daughter, it was my daughter who did it, and the dog. She didn’t mean to, the dog doesn’t know, he’s a dog, but my daughter doesn’t really know either, she’s, um, she, she’s perfect, she really is.”
“I’m sure she is perfect but I’m sorry, I don’t understand, what did your daughter do to the dog?” mind buzzing…did this woman just tell him her daughter was the one cutting off hands and biting fingers? How old is this daughter, the woman couldn’t be more than 25, even if she had a baby at …15? the kid would only be 10 years old, could a child of that age commit this kind of savagery? Not without help. And did she kill a dog?
“She didn’t do anything to our dog, it was the dog, he found the finger first,” taking a deep breath and crumpling the tissue in her hand, knuckles turning white with the pressure, “we were walking, on the river paths in the valley, and Jessica and Watson, that’s the dogs name, Watson, were running back and forth, into the trees and playing in the snow. I didn’t see at first what they were doing, they had stopped up ahead and I thought Jessica was pretending to take a bite of a little stick then letting Watson have some.….” again she bent her head and made a little choking sound, a sob.
“Mrs. Shade are you saying your daughter had the finger and they were both biting it, her and the dog?” a slight nausea caused saliva to pool at the back of the throat, picturing the scene, a little girl bundled for the weather, sitting in the snow and sharing a human finger with her dog.
To be continued on Monday November 14. 2022.