Storm Clouds III
Onto Chapter 2 this week…
The plot thickens some and we get our first hint of Succubi in this world…
“How did she die?”
The question hung in the air over the people surrounding the cold steel table upon which a body laid covered in a white blanket. The medical examiner pushed his thick glasses up his nose with a latex-gloved finger before replying in a disinterested voice, “Looks like a mugging. Stabbed in the back eight times and then whatever she had on her was taken. She was found beside a car in the Summer Hill Mall parking lot.”
The man that had asked the question rubbed the day’s worth of stubble on his chin, “Eight times? Sounds like something more than a mugging Doc. No mugger than I know of would spend the time to stab his or her victim that many times. Too easy to be see or get caught.”
Doc looked back at him before shrugging, “You want facts Tom. That’s all we have here. Nothing else to say about her. Eight wounds with a knife or similar object. No sign of other harm to her. Before you ask, no signs that she was raped either.” He turned away from the table and stripped off his gloves, “Just the usual senseless crime in the big city.”
After Doc left the room, Tom stared at the body for a while. It didn’t make sense. Why her? She was nobody. Nothing special. She probably had a family and he would have to see them next. That was the part he hated most of all. Having to walk up the lawn or path or whatever. Knocking on the door. The person opening it for a moment with hope in their eyes that their loved one would be there waiting. But instead they would see a middle-aged brown haired and brown eyed man in a rumpled suit flash a badge, ask to come in and then a little while later leave the home with wrecked lives in his wake.
He sighed and grabbed the clipboard that held her ID…
And came to an abrupt halt in his thoughts.
There was nothing there. No name. No address. No other ID. Nothing.
He was mulling over in his mind the procedures for filing a Jane Doe report, when a woman’s voice broke into the room from behind him, “We’ll look after her from here, thank you.”
Turning to look over his shoulder from his right he answered, “She’s a Jane Doe. My file. You have…”
He found himself looking at a woman about his height. She had short blonde hair in a bob cut, blue eyes. Slim of build. Cute in her own way, he supposed. She was holding a folded piece of paper in her hand, “Paperwork. I’m here to claim my Sister.” She handed him the paper as two burly men in dark suits entered the room behind her.
Tom didn’t bother to open the paper. There really was no point. They would not have managed to get into the room without having the paperwork to do so, nor would they be able to leave with the body if they didn’t. He watched her go over to the table, lift the top of the sheet from the body, then with a nod say to the men, “It’s her.”
They wasted little time then, within moments they had moved around both himself and the blond before taking hold of the table and rolling it out the door.
As she turned to follow the men pushing the table from the room, Tom called after her, “I’m… sorry for your family’s loss.”
She hesitated in mid-step before replying without looking at him, “Are you really? Or are you just parroting the words that your regulations say you should say officer?”
Tom found himself unable to bring himself to say to her that it wasn’t just words. That he hated his job. That he hated not being able to find the ones that did these things and bring them to justice. Instead he said to her, “Not all words are lies Ma’am.”
Her answer gave him pause, “No. No they are not. But neither are they all truths either.”
He watched her open the small blue purse she held. For a moment, she seemed to be considering her next actions carefully, as if she was about to reveal something that she was not sure she had the right to. A small white card appeared in her hand a moment later. She looked at it before placing it on the countertop to her right, “If you want to attend her services, they’ll be at that address. Tomorrow. Nine in the morning.”
With that she pushed through the door leaving Tom in the room alone with his thoughts, the buzz of the lights, and the card on the table…
And the question in his mind of whether or not he would or wouldn’t…
Tom picked up the card and stuffed it into his inside pocket of his jacket without looking at it. That decision could wait for the moment. Pushing through the door that led out of the room, he turned down the hallway and entered Doc’s office.
Doc’s office was not what you would expect from a medical practitioner. Every other doctor you would ever meet had their diplomas on one of the walls. Books neatly placed on bookcases. Files waiting for them on their desk. All of the stereotypical things you would expect. Doc was not the norm. Doc’s office consisted of a wall of filing cabinets on one side, his mass purchased steel desk opposite to that, and on the wall to your right a single photograph in a frame.
That photograph was of a young Doc with his arm around a cute red head with blue eyes. They looked happy together. Tom always wondered about that picture and what happened to make Doc the old crusty pain in the ass that he was today.
Doc was sitting behind the desk, a bottle of some cheap dime store beer to his right, his concentration on a file in front of him as he wrote something there in the chicken scratch that was common for doctors around the world to use.
Tom took the chair on the other side of the desk and then said, “It’s early for having a beer Doc.”
As he put his pen down and reached for the bottle the answer was, “Nightshift rules Tom. Whatever helps you make it through the shift.”
Tom frowned but didn’t push Doc on this. Doc was one of the few people that still tolerated him. Not quite a friend mind you, but at least Doc would listen. He said in return, “Our Jane Doe was claimed. She was rolled out of here a few minutes ago.”
Doc just about choked on his beer, “Claimed? I wasn’t told? Who released her?”
Tom blinked, “Err… I did. She had paperwork and…”
With a slam of the bottle on his desk Doc said, “Gimme the paperwork Tom.”
It took a moment to draw it from his suit before handing it over still folded up. Doc opened the paper and then shot him a look, “Did you look at this Tom?”
A shake of his head was the answer…
Doc tossed the paper at him as he reached for the phone on the desk, “Nice paper. No work.”
Tom blanched as he looked to see that the paper was… Empty. Blank. Nothing.
Just like Jane Doe herself.
It took a short time, but it became clear that whoever had claimed the body, had gotten out of the building unopposed and unseen. What was more frustrating was that parts of the surveillance cameras in the building would randomly turn off and then back on again leaving gaps in their coverage.
Doc pointed a finger at Tom, “You have any ideas?”
Tom didn’t hesitate, “Nothing. Didn’t give me a name or anything. I figured that a woman and her muscle wouldn’t get down here without clearance, so I didn’t think to challenge her.”
With a grunt, Doc turned back to the phone dismissing Tom…
Which was fine with him.
He stood up and walked from the office heading towards the elevators. After pressing the button for the main floor, Tom fished out the card she had left on the counter. He almost expected it to be as blank as the sheet of paper she had given him. Why didn’t he look at it? He should have. At the least he should have asked for her name or Jane Doe’s name. Something.
Finally the card was in his fingers and he considered the address printed there in a cold formal font…
S. Realm Enterprises, 69 69th Street. We make dreams.
The bell sounded as the elevator doors opened.
Tom had an appointment to keep in a few short hours and some answers to get from that woman over this…
69 69th Street was… odd.
This was one of the more fashionable, modern parts of town. Gleaming steel and glass building with their corporate logos plastered all across them. The typical chain stores with their signs screaming at people to buy something within their doors…
But not 69 69th Street… No this place was, well, calm. Quiet. Unassuming. Among all of the rushing around, this building was a throwback to earlier times in the city. A brownstone four story building that sat back from the curb a short way. The windows gleaming in the sunlight making whatever was within invisible for the moment.
Tom paid the cabby for the fare and then started towards the wrought iron fence that marked the edge of the property. As he walked along the cobblestone path towards the front doors, the odd thought came to him that it was like following the yellow brick road. Amusingly he wondered if that woman that he met in the morgue was named Dorothy or not. He noted to either side of the path he walked were a series of park benches and trees for shade in the small space that had been carved out for them…
He then registered the fact that there were no people sitting on them or milling around. If there was a funeral to be held here or at least a remembrance of someone shouldn’t there be people here waiting to enter or at least trying to comfort each other?
Taking the four steps to the front door, he noted the bronze nameplate of the company by the door and the little buzzer and speaker to call for assistance.
Which he pushed.
The speaker crackled and a somewhat distorted female voice asked, “Yes? Can we help you?”
Tom was going to start with the usual lines that all police gave, but then remembered the conversation he had with that woman and said, “I would… if it is possible, pay my respects to a sister that passed away…”
There was a short pause and then the voice replied, “One moment please and someone will let you in…”
It was a short wait of perhaps five minutes before the thick wood door was opened and, to his surprise, that blonde that gave him that blank note in the morgue stood there. She didn’t seem at all surprised to see him, although, for a moment, she brushed her hands to smooth out the black silk dress she wore before greeting him with, “Good morning. Please do come inside. I’m sure you have all sorts of questions…”
Tom shot her a look, but accepted the invitation and stepped over the landing…
And just about lost his breakfast as he did. For a moment he thought that he was going to leave a wet chunky spot on the carpet, but then the feeling passed and he found himself looking at the blonde as she shut the door and locked it again. Turning to him she said, “I’m sorry for misleading you, but there was little time and I didn’t have a choice in the matter.”
Tom very calmly replied, “Lady. You have no idea just how much trouble you have created. Where’s your sister? I’m going to have to take her back to the morgue. She was attacked and there is an investigation going on. You can’t…”
The blonde shook her head and then with a nod of her head offered, “Please. Just come over here into the waiting room with me? We can discuss this there and I’ll try to answer your questions…”
She led Tom towards a white trimmed opening in the wall that opened into a good-sized room. It was not your typical business waiting room with year old magazines and hard cold plastic chairs. No, this place was class. Cherry wood furniture, bookcases filled with what looked to be expensive writings, a large ornate rug in the middle of the room and a small fireplace in the wall that was unlit for the moment.
Taking a seat in what looked to be a Victorian high-chaired chair, she waited a moment before asking, “Would you like a seat?”
Tom shook his head, “No thanks. Lady, you are in all sorts of trouble.”
She smiled a bit, “My name is Camilla Addison. I’m sorry that I didn’t introduce myself when we first met, but I wasn’t prepared for you to be there. Might I know your name as well?”
Tom offered in return, “Thomas Selleck.”
Camilla placed a hand over her lips and attempted to not giggle as she managed to get out, I’m sorry. It’s just that…”
Tom nodded and allowed a small grin, “Yeah, I know. My mother was in love with the television show, but my dad wouldn’t let her name me Magnum… It’s a ice breaker at parties, however, when I have a fake moustache on…”
She placed her elbow on the arm of the chair and then put her head against it, “I’m sure it would be Thomas.”
He turned serious again, “Miss Addison, you understand that you have broken several laws in reference to what you have done and I will have to arrest you for them.”
She just smiled, “I don’t think there will be a problem.”
Tom was getting frustrated and it began to show, “A missing body, a theft, and you think there won’t be a problem? Why would that be Ma’am?”
A new voice came into the room behind him, “Just because.”
Tom spun around and just about fell over from shock…
Standing there in a red dress was Jane Doe…