Chapter 5Disclaimer: See previous chapters.
The reddish light of the setting sun created an eerie effect of light and shadow in the street, slightly altering the appearances of police officers and ER physicians into something else than human. Or maybe that was just Jo’s imagination – the smell of blood and flesh and the buzzing of flies were not exactly improved matters on the scene, either.
“That’s her?” Mac, meanwhile, seemed to be much more resilient to the grisly scene than his partner was. “Rachel Straw?”
“Yup, and the brunette in red that’s sobbing her eyes out is her, uh, partner,” Dan said, embar-rassed. “She had to identify the body, you know?”
“Same thing as with Ruth Limo, right?”
“Only more so. The entire head has been removed this time,” Dan pointed in the direction of the shrouded body... and the ruined car.
“What’s with the car?” Jo asked the obvious question.
“The door next to the driver’s seat had its window smashed open – smashed from the outside, unlike as with the museum’s window,” Dan elaborated. “Also, the metal was scratched, and scratched deeply.”
“Deeply?” Jo repeated, weakly.
“Deeply. More than half-way through. Whatever did this has a lot of strength,” Dan said, looking uncomfortable himself. “Now the chief is bringing Animal Control people into the case.”
“Good,” said Mac, clearly surprising the other man. “Can you tell me what time they will arrive? Our lab got a cast that we have to show them.”* * *
“So, Sid, what did you want to show us...?” Lindsay trailed off, as she and Danny were able to see the corpse of Ruth Limo in all of its gory glory for the first time. Sid’s autopsy did not help matters any, either.
“So... the C.O.D. is the obvious one, right?” Danny said, after it became obvious that Lindsay won’t be talking for a while. “Her head got ripped-off, right?”
“Let’s get back to ‘what’ later, right now let’s take about ‘how’,” Sid said, ignoring Danny’s question as he produced a model of the human’s head with certain areas of it outlined in red. “See this? The outlined areas are what have remained of Ms. Limo’s head, and in what shape.”
“Um, speaking of shapes, I can almost see the shape of the jaws that did it,” Danny said slowly, “almost.”
“Um, by ‘jaws’ you mean ‘jaws’ as in the ‘jaws of a trap’, don’t you?” Lindsay said weakly.
Danny took a deep breath and faced his partner. “Unfortunately not, Lindsay. You see, while you were interrogating the janitor and so on, we have found a certain footprint...”* * *
“Okay, so, if we’re to have a meditative séance, somebody ought to remain on guard,” Giles was saying, even as Kailey was setting things up, starting with the skull and the enchanted circle. “Just in case of, you know, outside interference?”
“We will be able to notice their approach from the astral plane,” Kailey grunted, “but if you want to remain and keep watch, go ahead.”
Giles’s eyes narrowed and he glared, only for the mystic to meet him glare for glare.
“Giles is just trying to be safe rather than sorry,” Courtney spoke up for the first time ever since she told the others about her cousin the policewoman, “and why exactly you are so confident?” she turned to Kailey.
“Because,” Kailey replied sharply, “I know my place. I’m nowhere important enough to attract the attention of those higher up the food chain.”
“You’re my friend,” Oz said quietly.
Kailey blushed – her already swarthy skin now was as red as a brick. “Yes, well,” she said sharply, “...thanks for hearing me out when I first came to you about this mess. But seriously though, my home is protected by charms and such. I may be just a lowly mystic, but I protect those of my own.”
Genevieve, who by now began to suspect that those of Kailey’s own consisted just of Kailey and maybe Oz, opened her mouth to point that, but caught Faith’s pointed glare and Courtney’s worried one and closed it without making any comment.
“Look, just trust me with it, please?” Kailey wisely ignored the failed exchange between the three Vampire Slayers. “I know what I am doing.”
Now everyone’s attention was on Giles, who looked somewhat uncomfortable. “Very well,” he said, but with a noticeable reluctance. “We’ll do it Kailey’s way. But she does realize that it makes this solely her responsibility.”
Kailey snorted. To everyone’s surprise (except for Oz), a tiny ring of smoke emerged from her nostrils and dissipated in the air.
“That’s a yes,” Faith said calmly. “All right, lady mystic, do you stuff!”
Once again, Kailey’s cheeks turned brick red, and she merely indicated to everyone to sit in a circle.
Feeling rather worried, Genevieve and Courtney shared a look with Faith, who just shrugged.* * *
“So, there was a monstrous footprint in the room?” Lindsay repeated, as she and Danny left Sid’s laboratory and were walking back to their own office. “Not a human one?”
“Absolutely not,” Danny admitted. “Neither a hand print nor a foot print. Too big for one thing and the wrong shape for the other – only four fingers there, I think.”
“Four that made an imprint,” Danny elaborated. “I mean, sure, there could’ve been five, but only four made an imprint...” he trailed away as Lindsay and he eyed a car door that was being carried into a lab by several of the technicians. “What is that?” he asked the obvious.
One of the technicians heard him and half-turned to face them. “More evidence,” the man said simply.
Danny and Lindsay exchanged glances. “That’s not good.”To be continued...