4.16th Precinct, SVU Squad Room, a week or so later.
Pushing through the swing doors into the SVU squad room Zoe paused and swept the room with her eyes hoping to see someone she knew. It was early evening and she’d not long finished school for the day. To tell the truth she’d sort of been putting off going back to the SUV detectives; in one way she was frightened that they’d found out nothing about who’d raped and killed her mother and little sister, in another she was scared that they had. Catching sight of the back of Detective Benson’s head where she was working at her desk, Zoe walked hesitantly over to talk to the woman.
“Detective Benson?” Zoe asked; Olivia looked up at her and Zoe could tell the detective was having trouble remembering her name, she helped her out, “Zoe Kersey…”
“Oh, Zoe,” recognition dawned in the detectives eyes, “sit down,” Benson indicated the chair next to her desk, “I expect you’ve come to ask if we’ve made any progress on your mother’s and sister’s case?”
“Yes,” Zoe nodded as she sat down, “I’ve been away for a couple of weeks…”
“Yes that’s right,” Benson agreed sympathetically, “you said something about wanting to get out of the city for a while.”
“Yes, so…” Zoe took a deep breath, “…has there been any progress?”
For a moment Benson said nothing before smiling supportively.
“I’m afraid not, Zoe,” Benson reached out and took hold of Zoe’s hand.
“W-what…?” Zoe felt the tears start to burn in the corner of her eyes, quickly she dashed them away with the back of her hand; be calm, she told herself, and ask the detective why. “W-why not?”
Withdrawing her hand, Olivia opened a drawer and removed the case file before putting it on her desk and opening it, she read the top page quickly before turning back to face Zoe.
“I’m sorry but we simply didn’t have any leads…” Benson began but was interrupted by Zoe before she could explain.
“B-but you had fingerprints…!” Zoe fought to stop herself from shouting the words like an accusation.
“Yes we did,” Olivia agreed, “but they weren’t in any of the databases and we did search most thoroughly. There was no other forensics and no one saw anything plus the CCTV at the back of the building was put out of action….”
“Deliberately?” Zoe asked as it started to dawn on her that the police had stopped looking for her mother’s and sister’s killer.
“Yes, it looks that way,” Benson confirmed, “Zoe…” the detective at least had the decency to look embarrassed at her inability to catch the killer or killers, “…Zoe, what we think happened is this…”
Detective Benson went on to explain how they thought that the killer or killers (the cops weren’t even one-hundred percent sure whether they were looking for one killer or more than one), were from out of town and had probably left New York within twenty-four hours of committing the crime. It was also likely that however the killer or killers were they’d never been arrested before which would explain the absence of any fingerprints in any databases.
“What about that lighter you found?” Zoe asked grasping at straws.
“Sorry,” Benson shook her head slowly, “but we contacted the unit in question, all their personnel were accounted for and one soldier said she’d lost her lighter,” Benson sighed, “chances are the perp picked it up somewhere by chance.”
“All of them?” Zoe asked incredulasly, she didn’t know much about the army but surely there must be hundreds of men to check on, how could they be so sure none of them had done it?
“Yes,” Benson nodded, “the unit in question has less that three-hundred personnel and about a third of those are women, some where overseas at the time so it was fairly easy to check on the remainder’s locations for the night in question.”
“Oh,” Zoe looked down at her hands where they rested in her lap, it was clear the police had given up, “So there’s nothing you can do?”
“I’m sorry, Zoe,” Olivia said with professional compassion, “until we get some new evidence there’s not a lot we can do…” Zoe nodded her head slowly in agreement with Olivia’s words, “…but we never close a file, we always keep looking…”
“Yeah, okay,” Zoe got slowly to her feet, “thank-you Detective Benson, I…well I know you did your best.”
“Like I say,” Benson stood up and watched the young woman struggle to control her grief, “we never close a file…I can give you the names of some grief counsellors if you want…”
“No that’s okay, I’ll be fine, I have friends,” Zoe sniffed back her tears; she’d thought she’d be able to deal, she was a big, bad slayer after all, she should be able to deal with death and hurt and pain and…. Taking a deep breath, Zoe straightened her shoulders and looked up, “I better be going home now, I’ve moved out of our old place, got somewhere smaller,” and less full of the memories of her mother and sister, “I can be contacted through my attorney if you have any new information.”
“Of course…” Olivia Benson watched as Zoe walked out of the squad room shoulders straight and head held high, “poor kid,” Olivia muttered to herself before sitting down and getting back to her present case.0=0=0=0Several nights later.
Alone in the subway car, Zoe stared at her reflection in the window opposite without really seeing herself, it was almost like watching a stranger she felt so detached from the world. Her mother and sister were gone, buried in the cold, hard ground and the killer or killers would never be caught. Despite of all of Detective Benson’s kind words and reassurances to the contrary the police had given up.
With nothing better to do, Zoe had thrown herself into a tough round of training followed by patrols late into the night. It helped her forget her grief and gave her something to work out her frustrations on. Combining her new found interest in all things ‘slayer’ and a full day at school meant that when she got home and went to bed, she was so tired that she fell asleep immediately her head touched the pillow and she was too exhausted to dream.
Looking away from her reflection, Zoe noticed the train was coming into a station, glancing at the name, she realised she was still six stops away from home. Coming to a halt the train doors clunked open to admit one new passenger. Glancing up at the new arrival, Zoe checked him out in the hopes that he might be a vamp or something. A ‘slay’ now would ensure another night of dreamless sleep. Unfortunately Zoe didn’t get any ‘evil’ vibe off him, he was just a human. Disappointed she went back to studying her reflection as the train started to move again.
Swaying with the motion of the car and letting the noise of the wheels on the track numb her mind, Zoe let the motion and sound hypnotise her. Retreating to the far recesses of her mind back to happier times of herself and her mom and Carol at the beach, Zoe didn’t at first notice the young man come and stand in front of her, holding his knife loosely in his hand he grinned down at her and swayed in time with the car’s motion.
“…hey bitch!” the youth snapped angrily as he bent towards Zoe and presented his knife in front of her eyes, “ya deaf or somethin’?”
“W-what?” Zoe blinked and suddenly became aware that she was in danger.
“Hand it over, bitch!” the punk repeated himself.
“Hand…?” Zoe wasn’t really there, she wanted to stay at the beach with her mom with the sound of her sister’s laughter ringing in her ears as the surf crashed against the shore.
“The money bitch,” the punk reached for Zoe’s bag, “hand it ov…!”
Her hand becoming a blur, Zoe’s left hand shot up and grabbed the punk’s right wrist and started to squeeze. The punk cried out in shook and pain before dropping his knife. Feeling the bones in the mugger’s wrist start to shatter, Zoe looked into the thug’s eyes for maybe half a second. This guy was, no doubt, the kind of guy who’d unthinkingly rape and murder a woman for the few dollars in her purse, why should he live when her little sister was dead?
Her right hand came up, palm first and struck the youth on the end of his nose driving the bone and cartilage up into his brain. Wide eyed and completely surprised by his own sudden death the youth fell to the dirty floor of the car. For a moment he lay there twitching slightly as his ruined brain closed down and his body realised it was dead. Standing up and looking down at the body Zoe felt something she hadn’t felt for a long time, she felt free of grief. She felt that in some small way she’d struck a blow for her dead mother and sister, that somehow they’d rest more easily in their graves because of what she’d done.
Listening to the rhythms of the subway car, Zoe realised that there was still a little time before the train got to the next station. Time enough to add a little something to make this kill something special for whoever found the body. Picking up the mugger’s knife Zoe knelt down beside the body and got to work.0=0=0=0
Sensing the subway train starting to slow down, Zoe got to her feet having completed her gristly work. Slipping the bloody knife into her bag she checked her jeans and jacket for blood spots as she wiped her hands clean with the wet wipes she always carried. One of the things about slayers was they always carried stuff to clean themselves up with after slaying a demon. Feeling the car slow down and the lights of a station come into view, Zoe moved towards the exit at the end of the car, pulling her hood up as she did so. There would be CCTV cameras on the platform, if she kept her hood up and her head down she wouldn’t be recognised.
Jerking to one side as the train came to a halt, Zoe waited impatiently for the doors to open. After what felt like an eternity the doors rattled open and she stepped out onto the platform. Ignoring the terrified scream from the female passenger who’d stepped into the car and discovered the body, Zoe walked across the platform. As luck would have it a train arrived on the other line almost at the same time she did. Keeping her head down Zoe stepped onto the train and turned to watch as the doors closed behind her. The train pulled out of the station as she watched people rush to the screaming woman. The last thing she saw before the train entered the tunnel was a cop running over to see what was wrong.0=0=0=
Wiping his nose and wondering if he’d ever get rid of this cold, Detective Ochoa crossed the platform towards the stalled subway train. There were the usual crowd of ghouls looking on like you found at every crime scene. They were being held back behind the yellow police tape by three uniformed officers. Flashing his badge to the closest officer he ducked under the tape.
“The body?” Ochoa asked.
“In the car,” the officer jerked his head towards the train.
“CSU here yet?”
“On the way, Detective.”
“Who found the body?”
“Female passenger,” the officer explained, “got on at this station, she’s with the transport police.”
“Make sure she doesn’t go anywhere before I talk to her.”
“Sure thing,” the uniform nodded, “Officer Young is with the body now,” the cop continued, knowing what the detective would say next he added, “don’t worry she’d dealt with more than her share of crime scenes, she doesn’t mess up.”
“Thanks,” Ochoa paused and sneezed before stepping into the car.
Looking down the car he saw a female patrol officer, black, cute, about five-four and mid to late twenties. Ochoa started to think that if he wasn’t thirty years too old for her and if he wasn’t married with three kids (the oldest of whom was about this young woman’s age) he still wouldn’t make a move on her!
“Officer Young?” he asked as the uniformed officer turned towards him and he saw her very intense brown eyes, “Detective Ochoa, Homicide, you first on the scene?”
“Yes Deetective,” there was a trace of an accent in the woman’s words but Ochoa couldn’t put his finger on its origin, “I got here at eleven-oh-nine it looked like de body hadn’t been dead long, probably killed here; looks like a mugging gone wrong.”
“Victim wasn’t as helpless as…!” Ochoa got his first good look at the body, “Oh! Lord God almighty!” he gasped.
“Yeah,” Kendra couldn’t help but smile at the detective’s reaction, “‘whoever’ really did a job on the vic…” Kendra paused for a moment before pointing to the body and explaining, “…right wrist broken, he was probably holding his knife in dat hand. Then the perp drove his nose up into his brain. Musta killed him in seconds.”
“Looks like the perp knew what he was doing,” Ochoa squatted down next to the body and gestured to the man’s bloody crouch.
“Yep,” Kendra smiled again, “after killing him our perp tried out some major surgery…”
Ochoa shivered and felt his balls try to climb up inside his body as he realised what the perp had done.
“What’s that in his mouth?” Ochoa gestured to the victims head.
“Best guess…” Kendra smirked, “…his dick!”
“Great…” Ochoa sighed as he slowly stood up, “…and I really mean that,” he saw the puzzled look on the cute cop’s face and once again wished he was thirty years younger. “His junk in his mouth makes this a sex crime,” Ochoa explained, “we can walk away from this one and leave it to SVU.”
Disappointed, Officer Kendra Young turned away from the body and followed the Detective out of the car. When she’d arrived at the crime scene she’d had a few moments by herself to check the victim out; she’d told Ochoa that the victim’s wrist had been broken. It’d actually been crushed, she’d felt the splinters of bone move under her fingers. Then there was the strike to the nose; that was a deliberate ‘killing blow’, whoever did that had meant to kill their target.
While someone with unarmed combat training could do the nose strike it would take more than human strength to shatter all the bones in a man’s wrist. This meant it was probably something otherworldly or, heaven forbid, the victim had tried to mug a slayer. Perhaps he’d caught the girl unawares and she’d just lashed out; if that was the case it could be covered up as a justifiable homicide, manslaughter at worst. But cutting off the guy’s junk that made it something else. Of course it could all be the work of a demon but it didn’t feel like a monster to her. When she got home tonight she’d make some calls, if there was a rogue slayer on the loose then New York was going to see a lot more murders like this one.0=0=0=0