I do not own either BtVS or Cold Case. Second Season of Cold Case directly after Lilly kills George. All of Buffy. Two women wonder about the darkness in their souls. Chapter one ‘It was a dark and stormy night. . . .’
Lilly Rush thought to herself as she pulled the collar of her coat up a little higher. The wind was blowing the rain into her face as she struggled up the steep incline of the narrow street. Why her Boss decided her presence at a crime scene was needed at two o’clock in the morning was beyond her – but when her L.T. called -- she came.
She just hated the feeling of claustrophobia caused by walking down the old narrow streets of the supposedly renewed upscale shopping district of Centerstreet. The buildings seemed to hang over her like the silent ghosts of her past.
Growing up on in the “Badlands” of Philly taught her to fear places where she couldn’t find a quick escape route. When she was young the alleyways and vacant buildings of Kensington Ave became a maze she could lose any mugger or would be attacker in –except for that one – that one had been able to follow ten-year-old Lilly through even the abandoned buildings where a wrong step would send someone plummeting down into a basement. The one who was able to fit through the holes in the fences that no person should have able to fit.
She shook herself trying to free her mind of the thought that maybe George had been right? Maybe he knew her better than she wanted to admit? After all he had tricked her into killing him.
“Rush, homicide,” she said, her breath turning to fog, as Lilly flashed her shield at the rookie cop guarding the crime scene tape.
She ducked under the yellow tape and walked around the corner into another world. The bright halogen lamps from the crime scene unit spotlighted a tiny corner of the dark street causing horrible elongated shadows of the men gathering evidence.
She shook herself trying to banish the strange feelings gripping her. It was as if she knew her life was going to change tonight. ‘What nonsense!’
She thought as she pulled her fedora down over her forehead trying to keep the rain off her face but also trying to put on her mask. As the only woman in homicide she had to be tough, she could never let her emotions show or the men would lose their trust in her.
The odor of week old garbage hit her as she moved closer to the lights. The steam rising up off the lights was creating its own fog as the water continued to pour down.
“Hey Lil, sorry to bring you out on a night like this, but I thought you needed to see this scene.” Lt. Stillman said grimly, as Lilly came closer to the victim.
“Not a problem Boss,” Lilly answered her commanding officer and mentor.
John Stillman’s grimaced was all the warning Lilly had as he walked into the circle cast by the lamps and lifted the tarp covering the body.
Bile rose up in Lilly’s throat and she had to shut her eyes and breathe through her nose to regain control. She repeated her mantra, ‘it’s no longer a person it’s a piece of evidence.’
“I think it’s the Cannibal killer,” Stillman said quietly.
That caused Lilly to open her eyes and stare at her mentor in astonishment. The Cannibal Killer was an urban legend that every child growing up in Philadelphia had heard about. ‘Eat your greens or the Cannibal will come tonight, come in before the street lights turn on cause the Cannibal stalks the night.
“Huh?” Lilly asked, glancing down at the body. Now that she had prepared herself for the sight of the mutilated body. . . it made no difference. As hardened as Lilly thought she was to the death and pain the sight before her was gruesome.
“The Cannibal Killer,” Stillman repeated grimly. And Lilly noticed that he was no longer holding up the tarp but had pulled it aside. He was standing next to her, facing away from the body.
“I thought that was just a legend like the boogie man?” Lilly asked. She crouched down, examining the markings covering the upper torso. “What made these marking? They look almost like some kind of stylized pattern or maybe a language?” and then she nearly fell over when she realized they weren’t markings – they were designs made by peeling pieces of the skin off. Then she noticed the lack of blood, she looked around the body where the tarp had been protecting it from the rain.
“Where’s the blood?” She asked, “was this a dump?” Standing up as young uniform covered the body back up. She shivered as a tickle of rain made it pass her hat and dripped down her back. A gust of freezing wind blew the tarp off the body, allowing Lilly to see the vacant, staring eyes. ‘What happened to you? What kind of monster could slowly peel the skin off you. . . it’s more than just trying to make you naked to the world.’
Now that the cold had helped settle her stomach she examined the contorted face, the victim had died a hideous death. Lilly shivered again, but not because of the rain or the frigded wind, it was because she could almost feel an aura of evil still clinging to the corpse. ‘Get a grip, Rush!’
she thought to herself. She shook her head to clear it and stepped beyond the bright lights trying to orient herself to crime scene, to the placement of the body in the larger context of the street. Her eyes sweeping left and right; then she saw her, not ten feet away. She was standing in the shadows cast by the lights, dressed all in black, from her coat to the stocking cap that covered a hint of blonde hair, she was a silent watcher to what the police were doing, what they were saying.
She was so small that Lilly immediately thought she was a lost child until she turned her head and then Lilly knew she was no child. Their eyes met for less than a second and Lilly’s instincts screamed at her to run, she knew the woman before her was a predator. Then in a blink the woman’s eyes changed and Lilly saw raw pain mirrored in them.
“Lil could you . . .” She heard Stillman call to her and she glanced at him as she held up her hand to stop his words.
“Who are. . .” The question died on her lips because as she looked back to the woman Lilly realized that she was gone. The spot where the woman stood was empty.
“Lil, what’s wrong” Lilly felt the strong hand touch her shoulder and heard the fatherly concern in Stillman’s voice.
“Did you see. . .” Again she stopped a question. What was she going to ask? Did you a woman standing ten feet away from a crime scene where there were over thirty cops? Did you see a ghost?
“See what Lil?” She hated it when he used that tone of voice, the same tone he used after he witnessed her executing George. It was as if he was expecting to her to disappear at any second.
“Nothing Boss,” she forced a smile up at him and that seemed to appease his worry for the moment. “What’s up?”
He glanced at where the mysterious woman had been standing, then shrugged. “The coroner has found something interesting,” He said steering her back into the circle of light.