Runner Ch. 02byDaniellekitten©
I'm a glutton for punishement. This will be a short story, only a few chapters long, but I felt the need to write more of it. I hope you'll give it a chance. Thanks, Danielle.
* * *
The crackle of brush startled him. Detective Tyler "Trip" Grant looked up, spotting the coroner pushing through the brambles and bushes to get to the body.
"Rumor is we've got another one," the coroner, Dr. Wendy Merritt said to the tall, good looking detective.
"I think that's something you should be telling me," Trip said, smiling grimly. He rubbed his fingers over his mustache and down over the small beard he kept trimmed around his mouth. It was something he did when he was thinking, that and running his hands through his dark hair until it stood around his head, giving him a half crazed look.
Wendy knelt next to the sprawled, naked body, her canny eyes noting every detail. "Female, age somewhere between 17 and twenty-one. Left naked. Body was dumped, no staging apparent." She reached out with one gloved hand, lifting the girl's chin so she could see her throat. "Ugh, yeah, we've got another one. Throat was torn out and I'm almost positive cause of death will be exsanguinations."
"But it didn't happen here," Trip said, a statement not a question.
"Nope, no blood pool, only marks of disturbance on the body is from whoever dumped her. No identification?"
"Oh yeah," Trip joked. "It was in her front pocket."
"Smart ass," Wendy snorted. "I'll take her in and mark her special processing. That will hold her until I come back on shift tonight."
"You can't do the post before you leave?"
"Trip, it's Cale's birthday. If I don't leave on time, I'll never be able to wake up to make his favorite dinner. I know this is high priority, and if you'd rather have someone else do it so you can get it fast, so be it. I'll have Chang do her when he comes in."
"No, I want you on it." Trip ran his hands through his hair again, staring at the body. "It's just, this is number six and I have no clues, no ideas, no suspects. The only thing we know is that each of the past victims had been seeing Dr. Steeple before they disappeared. That smarmy bastard has air tight alibis for every murder."
Wendy stood, glancing around the scene. No one was paying attention to them. "You'll get him, Tyler. You know you will. It's just a matter of time." She laid her hand on his arm, feeling the lean muscles tense under her touch.
"It's been two weeks, Wendy. Can't you find a sitter for the kids and come to my place for a couple of hours this morning?" Trip asked, his voice pitched low. "I miss you." His hand stroked over her cheek before dropping back to his side, but the small gesture spoke volumes.
"They go with their father this weekend, Trip," she said as quietly. "Can't you and your libido wait until then?"
"Will you come and stay with me?" he asked, wishing he had the nerve to bend and kiss her sweet lips.
"I'm working Friday but if you can wait until Saturday..." she let her voice trail off. "I'll wear the pink outfit you like."
A mental image of Wendy, with her pert little breasts and her slender hips in the tiny pink bra and panties with matching garter belt and thigh high stockings had parts of him standing at attention. Of course, she noticed, laughing and patting the front of his pants. "I can see that's a yes."
"That's a definite yes," he grinned. "When are you going to move in with me so we don't have to sneak around anymore? You know your kids adore me and my place is twice the size of yours."
"We'll have this conversation this weekend," she hissed, waving her guys in so that they could pick up the body. She watched as the spread the tarp onto the ground next to her, lifting her nude form and turning her upright on the plastic. They bent to start to wrap her up, mummy like so that no evidence on the body would be lost but Wendy stopped them, stooping to unbend the dead girl's fingers and plucking something from her grip. She held her hand out to Trip, feeling him place an evidence bag in her hands.
"We've got hair," she said softly, looking up. "If there are tags attached, like I'm betting there are, we'll have the killer's DNA. Seems this one was a fighter and brought us a piece of her killer with her."
"Good girl," Trip said. He reached his hand out for the envelope, tucking it into his pocket. "I'll get this into the lab. Good eyes, Wendy."
"Thanks," she said, waiting until her guys had finished packaging up the body and placing it into the body bag before lifting up on her toes to kiss Trip's cheek. "Later," she whispered.
"Definitely." Trip watched as the crime scene unit scurried in like ants and began to work the scene. Then his eyes shifted to the jeans that Wendy was wearing and the way they fit her body, moving seductively as she walked away from him.
He'd been attracted to her from the very first moment he'd laid eyes on her in the morgue at the hospital. She'd looked like an angel, with her curly blonde hair framing her delicate features, her blue eyes shining up at him from thick, lush lashes. Her looks had been at such odds with the job she did, dealing with death every day in all its myriad of forms, some so gruesome it caused him to squirm a bit.
But not Wendy. She dealt with them all, treating each body as if that person were her friend. She gave them respect and dignity at a time when most of their dignity was gone. That alone had attracted him enough to want to take her to dinner. But it had taken him months before she'd go out with him and then weeks after that for her to see him as anything but a colleague.
Trip could still remember their first kiss and how she'd tasted. She was like sweet, hot honey when aroused and the little sounds she made when he caressed her breasts had driven him crazy. He'd been so eager for her, he'd almost taken her in the front seat of his car. Instead, he'd pulled open her jeans, exposing soft satin and even softer skin. His fingers had found her wet, hot, needy with her flesh throbbing.
He could feel himself hardening now as he thought of how he'd pleasured her, outside of her small apartment that was in the top floor of a two story house. She'd come on his fingers, he'd been able to feel her contractions even as his mouth found hers.
Afterward, he could remember how flushed she'd been and then the next day, her eyes had met his shyly as if he held a deep dark secret about her. She'd surprised him, coming to his apartment a few hours before he had shift.
Wendy had knocked on his door wearing a trench coat, heels and nothing else. When he opened the door, she'd pushed him back, fastening her mouth to his until he slammed the door behind them and pushed her against the wall. She'd been like a wild cat, ripping at his tee shirt, driving him to madness. Showing little care for her, he'd pushed aside everything he had on a side table, laid her on it and had driven his cock hard into her sopping pussy.
They'd ended up on the floor, him on his back, her riding him hard, making him come until he felt as if he'd been turned inside out.
Now every time was different and he was in love. Tyler thought of the ring he'd bought, the ring that sat in his night table waiting for the perfect moment. A rush of excitement filled him; maybe this weekend was the right moment.
The voice dragged him out of his reverie. "Yeah?" he answered, turning to see one of the techs waving him over. "Whatcha got?"
"Shoe print," she said, dragging the silver sided mold out of her case. She sat it carefully around the print, pulling out a can of hair spray and delicately sending short spurts of the stuff over the print to lock it in place. Then she grabbed a package of the quick drying plaster, hitting the bag with her fist to break open the water package inside so that she could mix the plaster in the bag. When it was poured, she stood up.
"I'd say he was a size eleven. This print was heading to the body. The heel impression is deep. I'd say he was carrying her. I'd like to find one of him leaving the scene to compare it to but this is a start."
"Great job," Trip said. "Let me know if you find anything else. I've got a psychiatrist I have to see."
* * *
Trip sat in his car, watching the doctor's downtown office. In his hands he held a file folder containing crime scene photos. There was one in particular that bothered him but he wasn't sure why. The picture showed the body, in the same position as the others, but her hair had blown back, showing two small puncture wounds at the base of her neck. The wounds were healed but they nagged at him
They almost looked like someone had taken a roasting fork and stuck her in the back of the neck with it. He made a note to have Wendy check those out better. Maybe it would be the clue that would wrap up this case.
He looked up in time to see a familiar figure slip into the shaded doorway of the doctor's office, unlocking it quickly and going inside. "About time, doc. I was beginning to think you're hiding from me." Tucking the pictures back into the file, he opened his car door and stepped out. Traffic was horrible at this time of day and he almost got hit by a cabbie breaking every speed law possible and wheeling through traffic. With a shout, he slapped his hand down on the hood, glaring at the man inside.
Then he was at the front doors of the office and pushing it in.
* * *
Chance heard the sound of horns blowing and glanced up, staring out the window in his office and seeing the familiar figure of the detective as he made his way across the street. "Shit," he said softly. They'd found Maggie's body, that was the only reason that Detective Grant would be here. He'd thought he'd have a few more days to prepare. Maggie's death was affecting him strangely and he wasn't sure how detached he was going to be able to be.
"I should affect you," Maggie said, staring at him with dead eyes from the chair across from his desk.
"You aren't here," he hissed. "You can't be here."
"Are you sure?" she asked, those three words sending shivers of fear through him.
There was a knock on his door and he called out, tearing his eyes from Maggie's nude body and bloody, torn out throatd. "It's not locked, come in."
"Dr. Steeple? Might I have a few moments of your time?"
"Detective Grant," Chance said, rising as he came toward his desk and holding out his hand. "I hope this visit doesn't herald another body."
"I'm afraid it does, doc," Trip said. He took the man's hand, feeling the roughness of his calloused skin. He didn't feel like a shrink, he didn't act like one and he sure as hell didn't dress as one.
The tall doctor was dressed in jeans that clung to his body. Old and faded, like a dear friend, they clung to his thighs and his ass in ways that were almost indecent. Over them, he wore a soft button down shirt, the hint of a tank top under it.
He was a good looking man and didn't seem old enough to hold all the degrees that decorated his wall. He was published, doing both psychiatry articles and fiction novels. He had a shelf that held his books in hardcover and showed him hob knobbing with the big wigs.
There were enough big wigs on that wall to make even a cynic like him sit up and take notice. "I need you to look at some pictures, doc."
"I can do that," Chance said, working hard on staying detached. If the good detective gleaned even a clue of his true self, he would have to be dealt with. While Chance didn't mind feeding and killing off of men, he preferred women and the pleasure he could give and take from them.
He sat back down behind his desk, offering the detective a cool beverage before they started. Reaching into a small fridge he kept stocked with bottles of water and fruit juices, he pulled out a cold bottle of water and held it out to Trip. "Would you like a glass? Ice?"
"No, just a name," Trip said, sitting in the same chair that Maggie had just been in and pulling a good picture of the girl's face out of the folder, before sliding it in front of Chance.
Chance picked it up, cursing silently as his hand shook. "Maggie McGee," he said softly. "Yes, she's one of mine. I took her and three other girls up to my property up north for a retreat this passed weekend. She came up missing one night at bed check. I make sure my nurse checks each girl to be sure she isn't wandering around." He slid the photo back to Chance. "I'm taking by your presence here, it wasn't an accident."
"What happened to her was anything but an accident. I'm going to need to know names, doc, of the girls you took up there and any staff you have as well."
"The staff I can give you, Detective, but you know I can't give you the names of my patients. Doctor/patient privacy laws," he said with a shrug.
"I can get a court order for those names, Doctor," Trip said, letting a little of the fury he was feeling leak into his tone.
"You do that, detective and then I'll be more than happy to help you." Chance rose from his seat and went around his desk. "I'll have my receptionist give you the names of the staff I keep up at my retreat," he said, waiting for Trip to rise. "Bring back that court order and my files are your files."
"I'll do that, doc," Trip said, rising and holding out his hand again. "Thanks for your cooperation." He started to walk out past the man but stopped. "Where were you when the girl went missing?"
"W-what?" Chance asked, cursing the stammer in his voice.
"Where were you when Maggie went missing?" Trip asked again, pressing.
"I was with one of my nurses," Chance said easily. "Kelsey and I are seeing each other as well as working together. It might not be the smartest things I've done, but I actually couldn't seem to help myself. When you talk to her, I'm sure you'll understand why."
"And she'll back your story, that you were with her when Maggie went missing?"
"It's not a story," Chance said, growing a trifle angry. "It's the truth."
"Seven girls, doc. I've got seven girls murdered, their throats ripped out, blood drained and then the bodies left all over the city. Besides the cause of death, the only thing these girls have in common are you. Can you tell me what that is?"
"No, I wish I could." Chance went back and sank down behind his desk. "I've been wracking my mind trying to figure out if there was someone out there that would do this to get to me. I can't come up with anyone."
"What about in your current patient list? You know if you've been given information that can help my case, it is your legal duty to inform me."
"I work with mostly girls, detective. Some of them have been severely traumatized. Some of them just need someone who will listen to them without judging them. None of them are capable of doing what is being done to those poor girls. Now, as I said, bring back a court order for my patient files and I'll be more than happy to help you out, otherwise, I have a patient due in any time."
"You do keep some weird hours, doc."
"I schedule my patients for when they can come in, some of them are in school and can't schedule anything earlier. Besides, I'm something of a night owl." Chance rested his elbows on his desk and let his chin drop down on his palm. He studiously avoided looking at the chair across from his desk. He could see her wide, beautiful grin out of the corner of his eyes. "Now, if there is nothing else..."
"I'll be back," Trip said softly.
Chance nodded and watched the man leave through the door specially designed so that his patients could keep their privacy and leave that way to avoid other patients arriving. He waited a few minutes then deliberately turned to face the specter of Maggie McGee. "Get out of my head."
"But why should I?" she asked. "It's much nicer than being with my body right now. They are doing the autopsy. Tell me, Chance, will you find me as attractive when I have a big scar across my body that will never heal?"
"You're dead, stay dead," he growled. "Go the fuck away."
Her laughter filled the room even as she left it. He almost missed hearing the knock on his door. "Come in!" he called shakily.
"Monica, come in. Now you know, you're supposed to call me Chance in the office."
Monica, a small, pretty much nondescript teenager with braces upon her teeth and a rash of acne across her forehead came into the room with a huge smile upon her face. "Yes, Chance," she said, sinking down on the low black couch.
Chance grinned, it was like shooting fish in a barrel. "You look nice today, Monica. Something's different. Did you get your hair cut?" He sat, listening to her rattle on for a few moments before glancing over at the chairs again. Maggie was gone.
"I've been thinking, Monica," he said when she wound down. "It might be of benefit to you to come out to my retreat. I have a group of girls going next weekend. I'll mention it to your parents."
"I'd like that," Monica said.
"Good, good. Now where did we leave off at in our last session?"
* * *
Wendy hurried in, her bag over her arm, in her hands the rest of the cake from her son's birthday party. He'd loved every minute of it, she thought, smiling.
Chang looked up as she entered the morgue, putting the wrapped cake on her desk in her office. "Cale's party went well?" he called.
"Oh yeah. I brought in some cake if you'd like a piece." She slipped out of her coat, pulling a white lab coat on over her pale green scrubs. "What've we got?"
"Boating accident. Guy was in a rubber raft fishing. His line got caught in the props of another boat. Instead of dropping his gear, he let it take him under."
Wendy stared at what was left of the man. The props had done a great deal of damage, slicing into his face and throat as well as into his chest, abdomen and groin. She stopped there, staring at the raw and angry flesh. "Is that a scar?" she said, pointing to his groin. "It almost looks like he was fixed, permanently."
"I was just getting to that. Check out the wounds, no bruising or bleeding to speak of. I think our victim was dead before he went under the boat."
Wendy picked up a hand held metal scanner and turned it on, slowly panning her hand over the mangled flesh. A beep rewarded her actions and she sat down the scanner, holding her hand out to Chang for a scalpel. Seconds later, a bullet landed in the silver tray he handed her. "You're boating accident is now a homicide," she said with satisfaction.
She pulled off the rubber gloves she'd donned and sat them on the tray to be counted along with the rest. Pulling on a fresh pair, she moved toward the drawers where they kept the bodies, pulling out the one where Maggie McGee, identity now confirmed, was located. She hadn't been touched, still wrapped in the plastic her guys had put her in.
Easily transferring her to a rolling table, Maggie slowly unwrapped the plastic. The girl's pretty face and wealth of dark red gold hair came into view. She was streaked with the dirt from the clearing where she'd been found. Wendy picked up a small magnifying glass, using it to check out Maggie's skin, searching for needle marks or inconsistencies. She lifted trace from the body, bagging it before moving the dead girl to the wash table.
Chang helped her, lifting her onto the table and then taking the silver cart away. The plastic would be folded carefully to preserve any trace that fell off the body and sent to the CSI lab. Grabbing her sponge and a small bottle of heavy duty soap, Wendy began the long task of cleaning the girl so that her wounds might be more easily seen.
"She's been through hell," Chang said softly, staring at the bruises on her wrists and ankles. There were bite marks on the body. "Those don't look like any animal bites I've ever seen," he said, lifting his camera and taking pictures of every bite. He took overalls of her body and then zeroed in on her wrist and ankles, cataloging the rope burn.