The Armoire Ch. 09bydarquesied©
"I need to speak with Thomas Dareson," she said, "or, should I say, Sam Darquesied."
It had taken Tommy a few seconds to get ever his apprehension of seeing the police car in the gate monitor. He finally pushed the intercom button as Alyssa dashed upstairs to get some clothes on, but even then, it took him a minute to ask the police woman if he could help her.
"May I ask what this is about?" said Tommy.
She said, "My name is Corporal Lindsey Stapleton, of the Provincial Police, Novamercado division; and it is important that I speak to you."
Just then, there was a knock on the door and Kendall walked in, "It's okay, Sammy, It's Lindsey. With all that was going on this morning, I forgot to tell you she was coming."
"Your friend Lindsey? You never mentioned that she was a cop!?" he said.
Still a little concerned he pushed the intercom at the same time as the gate lock and said, "Okay, just drive straight up to the house."
Kendall went out to meet her as Alyssa came back downstairs, wearing a black and white, floral print dress. As they started out the door he noticed that Alyssa had forgotten to remove the collar. He quickly undid the buckle, shoved the collar in his pocket, and went outside.
Corporal Stapleton was standing by her cruiser and talking with Kendall as Tommy approached. She was quite attractive, with long, dark hair done up in a French braid. Even though the uniform was not particularly flattering, it was clear the she was well built; muscular, but not muscle bound. She greeted Tommy with a firm handshake and a sincere smile.
"I'm sorry to surprise you like this; Kendall was supposed to let you know I was coming," she said.
Kendall just shrugged her shoulders and Tommy said, "Yes, well Kendall seems to be holding back all kinds of information...like the fact that her best friend Lindsey is a police officer!"
Corporal Stapleton said, "Do you have a problem with that?"
Tommy said, "You tell me."
"I assure you that I am not here to cause you any grief," she said, "I've come to ask for your help."
"My help...?" he said, "Okay...how be we go in the house and talk over coffee."
Kendall apologized again and went to tend the horses, while the others went into the house. The police woman and Tommy sat at the small kitchen table as Alyssa got coffee for all, and then joined them.
Tommy said, "Well, Corporal Stapleton, how can we help you?"
"Please, call me Lindsey," she said, "I only use 'Corporal Stapleton' for official business."
He said, "Okay, Lindsey, how can we help you?"
She said, "First of all, I should tell you...I know what goes on here. Kendall and I have been best friends since before high school and we tell each other pretty much everything."
"Should I be worried?" he said.
"Not at all," she said, "I don't see anything illegal here; in fact, near as I can tell, everybody who comes and goes here, appears to be pretty...happy.
"As I said, I'm here to ask your help...You may have seen in the news that two young women have been killed around here over the past four months."
Tommy said, "I read about one, a couple of weeks ago. They found her body just south of Carillon."
"Yes, that's one of them," said Lindsey, "and another was found about three months before that, around two miles from there."
Tommy suddenly said, "Oh wait! You think I had something to do with that!?"
"No, NO!" she said, "You are not a suspect, I assure you...please, let me finish."
He relaxed a bit and Lindsey continued, "There are several police forces working on this, round the clock. Last week, a forensic pathologist came up with something that has pointed us to, what we feel, is a good lead.
"At first, we thought the girls had simply been beaten to death, but the autopsies showed evidence of torture...whipping and more."
Skeptically, Tommy said, "Oh...so, naturally you thought of me!"
Lindsey, speaking with authority, said, "Please, Mr. Dareson, let me finish!
"Now...the post mortems showed that there were some injuries that had healed somewhat. They also showed that some were less severe than others, indicating, we think, that the torture may have started relatively light then progressed over the next few days."
Tommy said, "So, you think the girls were tortured to death?"
"At first, but the autopsies showed that both girls died from dehydration and malnutrition...they starved to death."
He said, "How long would that take?"
"They must have been given some water, but not a lot; probably just enough to keep them alive...barely. We estimate they lasted about a week; maybe a bit longer." she answered.
Alyssa broke in, "I still don't see how we can help."
Lindsey continued, "Well...long story short; our investigation has led us to believe that the killer is trolling for victims by using personal ads in local papers and the Internet. We have psychologists, profilers, and several other investigators who are experts in this sort of thing; and they have come up with about sixty personal ads; one of which may have been placed by the killer.
"What I was hoping, was that you might come to the station and have a look at the ads, and possibly narrow it down a bit."
"I'd really like to help," he said, "but what makes you think I can do better than your psychologists?"
She said, "It's a shot in the dark, Mr. Dareson, but what has us very concerned is that the ads are mostly current. This bastard may be hunting for a new victim—"
Just then, the phone rang, and Alyssa excused herself and went to the office to answer the call.
Tommy said, "Call me Sam please."
"Oh...okay," she said, "Kendall explained the name thing, but I still find it kind of strange."
Alyssa returned, "I'm sorry to interrupt, but it's Sadie's lawyer, from Chicago...He said it was important."
Tommy said, "Okay, I should take this...can you excuse me for a minute?"
He headed for the office while Alyssa topped off the coffees and took her seat. Sensing that Lindsey was curious, she said, "Sadie's a client; she's elderly and apparently she's not well."
Lindsey said, "Elderly? You have elderly clients here? How old is she?"
Alyssa said, "Sadie is seventy four, I think. She's special...it's a long story."
Tommy returned, and, with tears in his eyes, said, "Sadie passed away late last night."
"Aww...no..." said Alyssa as she too began to cry. She got up and hugged him for a couple of minutes while Lindsey just sat quietly watching.
As they returned to their seats, Lindsey said, "I'm sorry for your loss. She must have been very close."
"She was very special," said Tommy, "The lawyer said something odd though; he asked if I would inform Nicolette. She was supposed to be coming here soon but...damn, I was so flustered I should have asked him what he meant...I'm sorry, but you'll have to excuse me again. I have to call them back."
He went back to the office and Lindsey asked, "Who's Nicolette?"
Alyssa said, "She's Sadie's granddaughter. Apparently she gets into trouble...she's kind of a 'Paris Hilton', you know, rich, spoiled; parents never around. Sam met with Sadie a couple of days ago—"
"Okay," said Tommy, returning from the office, "I'll help you in any way I can, but could you do something for me? According to the lawyer, Nicolette left Chicago just after me; and he says she was coming here. Can you check to see if she arrived okay? She should have come in the night before last."
Lindsey said, "Okay, I'll see what I can do...I realize that you've just received some bad news, but can you come in with me now?"
He said, "Oh...well...yeah, I guess. We'll follow you in the Yukon."
The women went outside while Tommy went upstairs for his wallet. When he came out, he could see Alyssa was curiously asking the police woman about her cruiser. She started to follow him to the garage, but she seemed a little reluctant. Laughing out loud, he said, "You want to go for a ride in the cop car, don't you?
"Would you mind? I've always wanted to...since I was a kid!"
"Go ahead," he said, "It's only a fifteen minute ride, but...don't ask her to put the cuffs on!"
Mocking disappointment, she said, "Aww..." and ran back to the cruiser.
"Can I sit in the front?" she asked.
Lindsey said, "Only police personnel are allowed...yeah, go ahead. Next, you're going to want to drive!"
As Alyssa started to speak, the exasperated police woman said, "Just get in!"
Like an exited little girl, Alyssa kept turning and waving to Tommy, following in the Yukon. Finally, Lindsey asked her to sit and fasten her seat belt.
Tommy laughed out loud when he saw the lights come on and heard the siren; knowing that Alyssa had badgered the poor corporal until she finally gave in. He shook his head and chuckled some more, saying to himself, "She's a hard girl to say no to!"
Lindsey killed the lights as they turned on to the main road, "So, tell me about Sadie. I am having trouble picturing a seventy four year old woman in bondage, and all the other stuff."
Allysa said, "She's been coming almost since we started...Sadie is...was...a very powerful, and wealthy, woman in Chicago. Her family has been involved in real estate since the city was a clearing in the trees. She has lots of friends and contacts and she heard about us through one of them. She contacted Sammy and arranged to come for a meeting...
"You have to understand; Sammy is not judgmental in any way. Sadie and her husband had indulged in some private BD play. They were real close, and when he passed away she was all alone with no desire to start a new relationship, but...she had...needs.
"Sammy was so sweet; he built a special chair in which he could restrict her without causing any injury; and he was amazingly gentle with her. She was never naked; she wore this kind of body stocking thing. I helped a couple of times, once she was comfortable with me, and it was something to see her climax."
Lindsey said, "He was 'gentle' with her? So...he didn't whip her or anything?"
"Oh yes," said Alyssa, "he did, but...Sammy is an artist with these things, Lindsey. He has practiced for hours on end to make sure he knows exactly what a whip will do; how it will feel; how hard; how soft. He can hit exactly, to the millimetre, where he wants, and how he wants. With all the different women, it's a tremendous amount of work for him."
"So, he did whip her?"
Alyssa continued, "He had a special pony tail made for her. It was made from fine, human hair, like in a wig. I can't explain how nice he treated her. They had a very special relationship. Sadie was so happy...she's said, a number of times, that he saved her life...I don't think I can make you understand."
"No...actually, I think I do get it," said Lindsey, as they turned into the police station parking lot.
The Yukon pulled in moments later, and, as Tommy locked the truck and approached them, he said, "So, did you enjoy the ride?"
Alyssa said, "Oh yes...It was great, and she said I might even get to drive!"
"I did not!" protested Lindsey.
Tommy laughed and stood near the police woman, "You might as well resign yourself to the fact that, sooner or later, she's gonna drive that car."
He had long ago resigned himself to the fact that, no matter where they went, Alyssa would draw attention from most people in the room. The bustling police station was no exception. All eyes focused on her as she breezed through the main office, her light cotton dress swaying and hinting that there was little between it and nakedness.
There were led to a small room where a young man sat at a computer terminal, focusing on a large, wall mounted monitor screen.
Lindsey said, "Sam; Alyssa, this is Constable Benjamin Choi, a computer specialist on loan to us from another detachment. He'll be helping you go through the ads."
After perfunctory hand shakes, Lindsey asked if they could get started right away. She offered to get coffee, but Alyssa said, "Oh, I'll get it. Just point the way."
When she returned, she handed out the drinks then said, "Sammy, I don't think I'm going to be much help here, so I was going to wait somewhere—"
"Actually," he said, "I wonder if just the constable and I could be here. I think a lot of people would be distracting."
Lindsey said, "Oh, okay. Alyssa, why don't you come with me to my office and I'll see if I can check that flight."
With that, Tommy and Constable Choi were left alone, and after some chit chat, they got down to business. The constable would display each of the numbered, personal ads on the large screen, one at a time, while Tommy would study it, make some notes, take note of the number, and move on to the next. He was still uneasy; feeling that he wasn't really qualified for the job, but he was methodical and studied each one with great care.
In Corporal Stapleton's office, she and Alyssa were sipping coffee, "So, before, you were telling me about Nicolette..."
Alyssa said, "Oh yeah...when Sam went to see Sadie, he found her in pretty poor health, and she pretty much said that she knew she would never be back here again. It...it must have been a tough conversation for him to have; he really cared about her. Anyway, she told him about Nicolette and how her life was going into a downward spiral. Her parents had essentially given her upbringing over to 'handlers' so really Sadie was her only family."
"So, what has all that got to do with Sam?" said Lindsey.
"Well, Sadie thinks...oh...she thought...that Nicolette might get something out of a session here. I didn't get all the details of his talk with her, so I don't know exactly why she thought that, but Nicolette is, more or less, taking Sadie's place...at the ranch."
After over an hour, Tommy and Constable Choi had gotten through the entire set of personals. Tommy had him display several ads over again...then again...and again. One in particular kept jumping out at him, "Can you bring up number twenty six one more time? Last time, Benjamin, I promise."
"No problem," said Constable Choi, and re-displayed the requested ad:
"SWD Seek YSWF LUV PN. 2 SLV TRN. SMGTS"
Tommy said, "Where'd this ad come from?"
"Uh...newspaper...Hazelton Times," said Benjamin.
Tommy said, "Can you tell why this ad got flagged?"
"Uh...Just the 'SLV' thing."
"I'll be back in a minute," said Tommy, and he got up and headed for Corporal Stapleton's office. He rapped on the door then walked in, and was a little startled to see Alyssa sitting with her hands cuffed behind her.
"What the hell?"
A somewhat embarrassed Lindsey said, "Hey! Don't look at me! I just handed them to her and she put them on herself."
As the corporal got up to unlock the cuffs, Alyssa said, "I've never had real cuffs on before...I just wanted to try—"
"You're too much!" said a chuckling Tommy, shaking his head.
Alyssa said coyly, "Isn't that better than not enough?"
He walked over to her and kissed her, "Way better."
Then he turned to Lindsey and said, "How married are we to the idea that our bad guy is...a guy?"
Puzzled, Lindsey said, "Uh...Why? What do you mean?"
"Is it possible that the killer could be a woman?" he said.
"I...uh...I suppose. Why? Have you got something? She said.
"Not sure...maybe," he said, "Come have a look."
They followed him back to the viewing room where Tommy said, "Remember, I have not said that I was qualified for this, so I could be completely wrong here...but this one keeps popping out at me."
The corporal read the ad out loud, "'SWD Seek YSWF LUV PN. 2 SLV TRN. SMGTS.' Okay, what's so special about this one? "
He said, "Benjamin and I have pretty much deciphered the abbreviations...'Single White Dom Seek Young Single White Female. Luv Pain. To Slave Train.'...We're not positive, but the last part could be 'Start Mild Graduate To Severe.'"
Lindsey said, "Okay, the first part seems reasonable, but the SMGTS—"
"Yeah, it's a bit of a stretch," said Tommy, "but it fits with what your pathologist said."
The corporal picked up the phone, "Dr. McDermott? Could you come into the viewing room please?"
Before she could hang up, a short, balding man entered the room, "Yes, what is it, Corporal?"
Lindsey said, "Dr. McDermott this is...uh...Sam. I'd like you to hear what he has to say about this ad."
Tommy shook the psychologist's hand, and then asked Benjamin to put the translated version on the screen along with the original. He gave the doctor a moment to study the ad then said, "For what it's worth, I see this as being written by a female...
"The ambiguity of the 'SWD'. Could be 'Single White Dom' or 'Domme'. It does not indicate whether it's male or female. If I'm doing this I need the responder to know I'm a guy, otherwise I will waste a lot of time with people looking for a woman...and the word 'Luv'...and the whole thing is very...efficient...frugal. I don't know; it just feels like it's done by a woman."
Dr. McDermott said, "Okay...but even if you're right, why do you think this might be the perpetrator? How sure are you about the last part?"
"I'm not sure about any of it. I keep telling everybody that I have no training in this stuff, but they want my opinion so I'm giving it...but...the whole ad...Look, if I'm looking to get myself a submissive young girl, I want to be way less ambiguous. This ad, at best, is only going to attract the very naïve."
The doctor, turning to Lindsey, said, "There is obviously a lot of guesswork being applied here, but ...I would have to agree that Sam's assessment could be a possibility."
The corporal immediately picked up the phone and said to someone on the other end, "Get me someone from the advertising department of the Hazelton Times. I don't care if you have to arrest somebody; I need to speak to them now!"
Tommy said, "Don't go too nuts, okay? I'm just guessing here."
"It's better than what we had before now," said Lindsey, "We'll check it out and see where it goes...Oh, by the way, Nicolette did arrive at the airport the other night. I checked with that lawyer in Chicago and nobody has heard from her since."
"Damn!" said Tommy, "Where the hell is she?"
The phone rang and Lindsey picked up the receiver and said, "Who am I speaking to...? Okay, Mrs. Knowles, I need to check on a personal ad placed in your paper last week. The reference number is '0062543879.' Yes...Who placed it...? Was it a credit card...? Okay, hold on please."
She placed her hand over the mouthpiece and said, "She says it was a boy; around sixteen; paid cash."
"No way it was a teenager," Tommy said, "Is she sure?"
"Mrs. Knowles, how sure are you that it was that teenager...? I see. Hold again please.
"She says there were only two people in that afternoon; the kid, and right after, a girl just looking for directions."
Tommy shook his head, "I might be wrong about it being a woman, but there is no way in hell that a kid came up with this ad."
Lindsey spoke into the phone, "Okay, Mrs. Knowles, is there anything else you can remember...? Yes...Very good...yes, that may be very helpful. Thank you...Good bye.
"She just told me that she's pretty sure it was somebody local because later that afternoon somebody--she's sure it was a woman—called to make a correction...I suppose it would be easy enough, for someone trying to hide their identity, to pay a kid ten bucks to place the ad...Excuse me for one minute."
The corporal then went out and began barking orders, prompting an upsurge in activity among the staff in the office. Tommy spoke to Dr. McDermott for a bit then turned to Alyssa, "I'm really getting concerned about Nicolette. What if she got off the plane and just went and partied or something? Anything could have happened."
Alyssa said, "I'm sure she's okay. She probably just tied one on and is sleeping it off in a hotel somewhere."