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Cole was miserably stoic the next morning when
he gave his full report to his captain.
“I know what I saw, Captain,” Cole said through
clenched teeth. He desperately tried to defend his
position after last night’s events.
“This is a complete cluster-f–k, Detective
Harvey,” Captain Finnegan roared. Cole was on
the receiving end of a thorough a-s-reaming. “We
have the dead body of a prime suspect in a chain
of kidnappings that looks like he’s been dead for
decades! And all you’ve got is that a naked
woman was in the room with him, who then
jumped out the window when you showed up? Is
that your f—–g story?”
“Yes sir, Captain,” Cole replied, sticking to his
word. He failed to mention the huge black wings
sticking out of her back, the horns sticking out of
her head, the long tail, or the red glowing eyes.
No reason to make the Captain think he was
more bat-s–t crazy than he already did.
Captain Finnegan sat back down in his padded
chair. He lowered his voice to a less strident
level. “Listen, Cole. You’re a good cop, one of the
best. But I can’t help but think you haven’t been
Cole rolled his eyes in frustration, knowing the
turn this conversation was about to take. “This
has nothing to do with Maria, sir. I’ve been
through endless therapy and countless
psychological evaluations. The shrinks say my
mind is fine and I’ve been cleared to be back on
“I’m fully aware of that, Cole,” Captain Finnegan
said. “I can’t begin to imagine what you’ve been
through. I’m just hoping that your frustration with
her case hasn’t carried over into your duties.”
“They haven’t,” Cole assured him.
“Good. Regardless — I want to give you a few
days off, with pay, to clear your mind and start
fresh on this case.”
“That won’t be necessary, sir.”
“That is an order , Detective Harvey! You are by no means to work this case until you report back next week, understood?”
Cole straightened. “Yes, sir.”
“Before you go, see if Vince has turned up anything in the morgue. I need at least something to feed the press dogs before they go spewing this as an act of bio-terrorism.”
The captain looked down at his desk, shuffling papers. Cole recognized the sign of dismissal.
Cole shut the door behind him and took a deep sigh. That wasn’t so bad, all things considered. It could have been worse. At least he still had a job.
Cole made his way down to the basement level of the precinct building. He replayed the previous night’s events over and over in his head.He knew he wasn’t crazy, but if he told anyone exactly what he saw, he knew he would be taken off the force possibly for good.He passed Frank Wallace, the detective assigned to Maria’s case. Frank was spending his oh-so- valuable time shooting wads of paper into a distant trash can. He sometimes scored. Of all the
people they could have assigned to that case,
they picked Frank. Frank! Cole was pretty sure
Frank was a dirty cop. However, there was
nothing he could do about that, not with Frank’s
Cole arrived at the morgue. He threw on a lab
coat and entered Vince’s examination room. The
bald pathologist was busy autopsying Travis
Dunham’s shriveled body.
“Please tell me you have something, Vince,” Cole
said, greeting the reed-thin, middle-aged doctor
draped in a worn lab coat.
Vince turned towards Cole and adjusted his
glasses. “Seventeen years on this lousy job and
I’ve never seen anything like this. Come here, take
Cole approached the body, or rather what
somewhat resembled a body. The corpse was
desiccated as if entombed for millennia in Egypt.
But the clothes piled on a steel table beside the
body were the same ones he saw Travis wear last
night, without so much as a stain on them.