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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1848167-Chapter-7--8-Beauty-From-Ashes
Rated: 18+ · Chapter · Drama · #1848167
The murder victim is identified. Tanner seeks God's wisdom.


            1 Peter 5:7; Cast all your cares upon Him, for he careth for you.

              Darkness was slowly blanketing Mystic Valley as the day wound down. Light separated the darkness in the Park as Tanner pulled the Rover in to meet John. Yellow crime scene tape took on a strange neon glow in the wake of her headlights.  She bowed her head and prayed, “Father in heaven, please help us gather all the evidence and find out who the murdered girl is. Help us do this quickly…”


                Ceasor was listening to Tanner but his eyes were watching the woods.  The glow of demon eyes caught his attention as they flew back and forth through the headlights.  He stepped out of the car and stood to his full height, holding his sword.  The other two guardians encouraged Tanner to continue praying.  They needed the power.


                “For some reason Lord I feel a little nervous sitting here.  Protect me as I wait for John to arrive.”

                  Bon Jovi’s voice cut through the air and caused Tanner to jump, which caused the guardians to jump as well.  “Crap!” she said as she fumbled for her phone.

                Seeing Jack’s number made Tanner smile as she answered with her most seductive voice, “Hey baby,”             

                “Hey baby, yourself,” Jack said back with a low hushed tone.

              “How was your day? Is the new project still going to start on schedule?” Tanner asked.

                “I had a great day work wise.  I just finished eating the supper you left for me this morning, and now the dog and I are going to watch the Yankees.  I miss you my bride and I worry about you searching for a murderer…your being cautious, right?”

                “Yes I’m being cautious and I miss you too.  I’m glad work went well.  Give Rocket a kiss for me. I still have a few hours left here.  We have a ton of information to wade through.”

                “I know you can’t tell me anything about the murder, but the word around town is that people are afraid…the school let kids out early today and the news has been warning girls to stay in pairs if they are out.”

                “All very good advice since we have not found the killer yet.”  Tanner said.

                “I can’t wait to hold you, I’ve been thinking of you all day.”  Jack said in a suggestive tone.

                Smiling and letting out a little giggle, she replied, “I can’t wait to get home to you either.”

                “What are you doing right now?”

                “I’m sitting in the Rover waiting for John so we can go check out a missing person report, it will probably be a while. Save me a few kisses will ya?”

                “I’ll save you more than that Mrs. Quinn.  See you when you get here.  I love you. Be careful.”

                “I will and I love you too babe.  Bye.”

                Just as Tanner turned off her phone, John pulled his Ford pickup into the parking lot and unfolded his lanky frame from the truck.  Tanner had already gotten out of her vehicle and was by his truck door. 


                Tanner’s two new guardians stood by the Rover and Ceasor, along with John’s guardian, escorted them to the apartment building across the street. Eerrie sounds could be heard coming from the park.  Dogs began barking. 


              “The missing person report was filed by a Miss Beverly Jenkins at 5:30p.m with the Mystic Valley Police Department, after she watched the news. She lives in apartment two, of eighteen Walnut Street, the tan apartment building across the street from the Riley Park where we found the murdered woman.  I heard she was hysterical and waiting to talk to us,” Stated John with an amused face as they crossed the street to the apartment building. 

              The tan apartment building was a two-story, aging structure facing the street.  Eight windows and one central door fed by four steps, adorned the front of the apartment.  This is what you see of the apartment from the park.  Apartment two sits on the right of the steps on the first floor.  The curtains from apartment two parted after the second knock, and Tanner could see what appeared to be two elderly females looking out at them.  Miss Jenkins, along with the sister Clarice, opened the door on the third knock.

                Tanner mentally acknowledged Miss Jenkins to be seventyish. Her short, gray hair is thinning.  She has a short, stout build and nicely manicured nails.  The smell of alcohol entered Tanner’s nose as Miss Jenkins began spilling words out of her mouth in rapid succession.

              “It’s her, isn’t it? I know it’s her. She was always walking in the park alone and I told her to be careful but she would just laugh at me. I always watch her cat, Marbles, while she works and this morning she didn’t drop Marbles off to me.  I thought maybe she was sick and didn’t think twice about it but then when all the commotion was happening at the park I began to worry. I tried to call her several times and she didn’t answer. I went to her apartment, banged on the door and she didn’t answer…. I called her work and they said they couldn’t give me any information whether she was or wasn’t there.”

              Tanner and John stood facing Miss Jenkins and her sister as they listened to the rapid expelling of words and concern that fell from Miss Jenkins mouth. 

              “Oh my goodness that is just not like her to not go to work.  She is a new nurse and she would never; not go to work… I just know it’s her…It’s her…It’s her…….”

              Miss Jenkins cried harder as she melted to the floor in a heap with her sister following down to console her. 

              “I should have called earlier but I just kept hoping she would show up.  I thought maybe she went out with that new boyfriend or something and just forgot to tell me…”

              Tanner softly began speaking as she sat down on the floor to be at eye level with Miss Jenkins. 

              “What is the name of your neighbor, and how long have you known her?” she asked.

          “Her name is Kendra Mills and I met her a few months ago when she moved in,” slurred Miss Jenkins as she wiped drool off her chin with the back of her left hand. Tanner had a sudden urge to wipe the mascara from under her eyes but thought better of it.

          “When was the last time you saw her? I’m wondering if you could have been mistaken. It seems you’ve had quite a bit to drink,” questioned John from his spot towering over them. Tanner could see his irritation rising. 

          “Last night around seven thirty, when she came to pick up Marbles after work. She worked and I babysat as usual; I don’t normally give in to the bottle, but I’m very distressed officer,” Miss Jenkins slurred.  A fresh tirade of tears began pouring from Miss Jenkins eyes as she leaned into her sister. 

          “With all due respect officers, my sister is very upset.  I don’t think discussing her alcohol intake is the best approach.  She is trying to find out if Kendra is okay, or if she is the dead girl. Please excuse me for saying.” 

          Tanner stood and faced the refrigerator.  She began inspecting the photographs that were held in place by an array of animal magnets.  She took a photo off the freezer door that was held in place by a ceramic lion with a yarn mane. The photo was of a young girl with a blonde bob hair cut, holding an orange tabby cat.

        “Who is in this photo?” Tanner asked as she showed it to Miss Jenkins.

          “That is Kendra…the girl I’ve been talking about.”

            Tanner handed the photo to John. John flipped open his cell to call Chief Glover. 

            Looking down at Miss Jenkins and her sister, Tanner began talking to them as she paced around the kitchen.  She spoke information into her tape recorder.

            “So to sum up Miss Jenkins, you say that Kendra Mills is the young women in apartment three, and you cat-sit three days a week while Kendra works.  She works from 7:00a.m. - 7:00p.m., in the local emergency department.  You have been doing this for three months.  Kendra is single; but has a new boyfriend, “Tanner said.

            “Excuse me Tanner, but Miss Jenkins do you know the name of the young man that Kendra was seeing or have you ever seen him?”  John asked in a milder tone.

            Trying to stand up with aid of her sister and Tanner, Miss Jenkins replied, “I know that he works for the local ambulance service.  My sister has seen him on occasion entering Kendra’s apartment.”

            John took Clarice off to the side to get more information while Tanner finished talking with Miss Jenkins.  “Have a seat ma’am while I finish my questions; would you please?” Tanner asked as she assisted Miss Jenkins into the kitchen chair.

            “You report that every day Kendra walks in the Park at 5:30 a.m., and sometimes at night as well.  You say that Kendra did not drop off Marbles this morning as usual, and the hospital would not tell you whether Kendra was there today or not when you called. You know that you were to cat sit this morning from your conversation with Kendra last night at 7:30 p.m.  You say that Kendra seemed in her usual “tired mode” after working twelve hours and that you did not feel anything was strange about your conversation or Kendra. Is that accurate to the best of your knowledge Miss Jenkins?”  Tanner asked as she stood over the obviously drunk Miss Jenkins.

              “Yes,” whispered Miss Jenkins as her eyes closed.

              “One last thing Miss Jenkins,” asked Tanner as she headed back to the refrigerator.

              “Do you have any photos of the man Kendra was starting to date?” 

          “No, I don’t.” Miss Jenkins answered with her eyes still closed.

            John showed the photo to Miss Jenkins one last time to identify Kendra as the missing girl from upstairs and asked her permission to take the photo.

            With the reality sinking in that Kendra was the murdered girl in the park, Miss Jenkins stood up and began pacing.

          “It’s her isn’t it? I knew it was her. Oh my Gosh, her parents are going to be so upset. They are in Florida on vacation, and who will call them?  Oh my… Oh my…”

          “Do you know who her parents are…and who is the landlord?”  Tanner asked.

            As Tanner wrote down the information from Miss Jenkins regarding Kendra’s parents, John called the CID office and again spoke with Chief Glover.

            Tanner obtained written permission from Miss Jenkins to enter Tanner’s apartment, once she realized Miss Jenkins was the Landlord, as soon as the warrant comes in.

          “Yes sir, Kendra Mills is the murdered girls’ name, we just positive I’d her from a photo the neighbor had.  We are at her apartment now. Yes sir,” John said as he hung up.

            John called Steve.  “Have Doug go to the ER at Mystic General to question the staff, ask them about Kendra and about Kendra’ boyfriend.  Find out the last time anyone saw either one of them.  Have Tim start pulling up demographics on her, I’ll text you here parents name and address.  Tanner and I are will be waiting for a search warrant to be signed by Judge Thomas and we have the land lord’s permission to look around.”   



          Ceasor now joined Tanner.  John’s guardian stayed with him and the other two guardians stood guard outside Kendra Mill’s apartment door.  Two small irritating demons were watching them from down the hall.  Milky slime dripped from their mouths as they intently watched Tanner and John. 


          “Let’s see what we can round up Tanner,” John said while he put some blue booties on over his shoes, and donned gloves.  Using the key that Miss Jenkins gave them, John let them into Kendra’s apartment.  Marbles, the fluffy orange tabby cat greeted them with loud, continuous meows.

            “Hi kitty…can you show me around your home,” Tanner said to Marbles as she finished putting on her booties and gloves.

            Marbles hung around Tanner’s feet as she walked into the apartment.  Pulling her tape recorder out of her purse she began reciting what she saw. 

          “A small, one bedroom efficiency apartment, #3 on the second floor of the two-story, four-unit building at 18 Walnut Street.  The rooms are sparsely decorated.  Living room has a love seat and oversized chair, small lamp stand with a lamp and small TV and stand. There are two winter scene paintings on the living room wall, and several photos on the window cill that appear to be friends or family.  There is one photo of Kendra with a dark haired male who appears to be a close friend based on their body language.”  Tanner moved into the kitchen and continued with her account of findings.

          “Kitchen has the basic apartment style stove and fridge. The fridge has a moderate amount of food inside, half gallon of skim milk almost empty, and a liter of diet Pepsi, also almost empty.  Chinese food containers along with general cheese, fruit and veggies are on the bottom shelf.  Dirty dishes in the sink include two glasses, a coffee cup, and one small plate.  Two cups of brewed coffee remain in the coffee pot.” 

            Tanner moved to the bathroom and Marbles went to investigate Ceasor.

            Tanner continued taping her findings.

            “The bathroom is clean, toothbrush on the side of the counter with dried, pasty water under the bristles, toothpaste lying beside it with cap off.  A set of light blue scrubs hanging on a white plastic hanger behind the door.”

            John remained in the kitchen looking through papers and drawers as Tanner did the surface search. 

            “The bedroom is clean, bed unmade, robe and pajama top and bottoms on the bed.  The cat litter box in the far left corner of the closet is in need of changing. There are no pictures on the wall in here but there is another photo of the dark haired male on the bed stand. The closet is full of clothes, size six pants and small tops. Nursing scrubs filled the center of the closet, she liked the BARCO brand.  Three pairs of Dansko clogs and a nice collection of shoes and stylish boots, size 8.”

            Moving to the bureau, Tanner put the recorder down and looked inside.  She picked up her recorder and continued.  “Her bureau is full of clothes, workout type, and lounge wear.  She preferred pajama tops and bottoms to night gowns.  Her nightstand holds paper work for health insurance, dental insurance and literature on the new graduate orientation for the ER.  She was half way through the novel Capital Conspiracy by William Bernhardt.”

            Tanner continued her investigation as she slowly walked around the room. 

            “No Bible. Jewelry on the bureau includes two sets of gold hoop earrings, one thin gold chain with a pendant RN attached and two gold decorative rings.” Tanner stated into the recorder as she sat on Kendra’s bed.

            She dumped out Kendra’s black, oversized, Prada purse onto the bed beside her.  Marbles took this opportunity to brush up against Tanners back and meow for some attention.  Tanner patted the cat and whispered in his ear, “You miss your mommy, don’t you little guy? Maybe Miss Jenkins will adopt you.”

            Turning her attention to the contents of the purse, she noticed a matching wallet.  She opened it to find fifty dollars.  Her license was there; name was Kendra Mills, age 24.  No pictures were present, other than the license.  There were credit cards to the Gap, TJ Maxx, and banana republic.  She also had a health insurance card. 

              A black, zippered pouch that held her MAC makeup was neatly organized.  Two black, Bic, medium ball point pens, a half pack of big red gum, a set of keys, small address book and a day planner were also in the purse.

            “Tanner, I found a pamphlet for the abortion clinic in town,” John said as he entered the bedroom.

            “Where was it?” she asked

            “I found it in the kitchen junk drawer. There is date and time written on the back; September 1st, at 9:00a.m,” he said as he handed her the pamphlet and went to check the bathroom.

              Tanner held the pamphlet in her hand as her mind went racing back in time to May 2, 1985. She was seventeen years old and entering the abortion clinic in Portland Maine.  Her boyfriend Jack, her now husband, was with her.  She was scared and sick.  They were not talking.  The middle aged receptionist wore tight clothes that barely contained her pale, fleshy body.  She was curt and shoved a sign in form at them without looking up.

            Tanner struggled to compose herself as the memories of that day were quickly engulfing her like an ocean wave.  She felt like she was drowning. Her heart was pounding so hard it hurt and bile was rising up into her throat with force.  She involuntarily began holding her breath as sweat began building on her upper lip.  Her face and head felt hot.

          The smell of the clinic waiting room was what she noticed first. 

        “Stale cigarette and grease,” was what she had whispered to Jack.  Jack said he didn’t notice an odor of anything specific, just antiseptic.  They fought over that at the time.  Anything to fight over except a real feeling or emotion seemed to work for them back then. 

          Sitting in the waiting room of the clinic, with three other young women, and two young men, Tanner felt exposed and raw. Pulling her unzipped, gray sweatshirt around her stomach, she stared at the other girls.  She did not want anyone to look at her but she could not stop looking at them.  Did anyone feel bad? She was searching their faces and examining their body language for a clue. 

          The thin, teenage couple that sat directly across from her, held hands, and stared at the floor. Their faces looked like masks.  The girl had long, greasy blond hair with short jagged bangs.  She wore black eye liner and her lips were painted red.  She had on black jeans and a pink hooded sweatshirt.  Her boyfriend was all in black from head to toe.  As Tanner focused on their clasped hands she noticed their nails were painted black.

          A second couple sat several chairs away from the thin, gothic looking couple.  They looked like Jack and Tanner.  They were young, all American looking, dressed in Levi’s, sweatshirts and Dexter shoes. They were not holding hands, but they were looking at a teen magazine and laughing. They seemed comfortable.   

          The lone girl, who sat in the far corner of the small waiting room, looked scared to death.  She sat with her legs crossed, and her arms folded against her body.  Her brown hair was short and messy.  Her head was down but she kept shifting her eyes to the door and then back to the receptionist.  She moved no other part of her body.  Tanner felt anxious as she watched her. 


            Ceasor watched Tanner retreat further into her mind, and he prayed for her. 


        The smell of the exam room was a mixture of ammonia, sweat and blood.  The odor intensified her nausea.  She had been told by the receptionist to change into one of the yellow paper gowns and wait for the doctor.  Jack was not allowed to come with her, so he was alone in the waiting room.  Her hands were cold and clammy.  She had to keep taking deep breaths because it felt like she could not breathe.  The feeling of her heart beating so fast was making her dizzy. She realized there was no clock in the room.

        As she sat on the exam table, hugging herself, she could feel her armpits sweating even though she was freezing.  She tried to distract herself by looking around the room. The only window in the room was covered with a white blind.  The walls were light blue with dark blue trim along the top. The counter top was dark brown with flecks of gold all through it.  The counter was lined with glass jars of cotton balls, big long Q-tip looking things, and swab sticks.  The sink itself was silver but the faucet and handles were gold.  The colors looked odd together.  She stifled the urge to get up and open the cupboards. 

        The feeling of her bottom sticking to the white paper that lined the exam table annoyed her.  Her feet did not easily reach the stool as she sat with them dangling over the side so now her knees were beginning to hurt.  Looking down at her pink painted toenails she suddenly felt the urge to run.  From somewhere in her body she felt as if someone was trying to pick her up and fling her out the door.  Panic filled her as she started to doubt why she was here.  The doctor then came in. 


          Yahweh had instructed Ceasor to give her scripture reminders more often through this trial. He could see that she needed that now. She was so far into her memory he was almost afraid to jar her back to the present. 

          He gently whispered into her ear, “You’re sins are forgiven, they have been cast away as far as the East is from the West,” Ceasor reminded her.


            The scripture slowly reached her mind, releasing her from the long ago memory.  It reminded her that she was forgiven, and that she did not have to drown in this memory.  It calmed her racing heart and she slowly began to breathe in and out.  This simple action enabled her to gain control of her emotions and refocus on her job. 

        “Thank you Lord,” she said out loud as she began putting the purse contents back.  Wiping her face of tears and standing to regain her composer, she picked up the day planner and began leafing through it for possible clues and suspects. 

          “Hey, Tanner,” John said as he entered the bedroom again.  “I’m going to head back to the station and begin putting all of this together.  It’s already 8:30 and we have so much more to do.  I just got off the phone with Chief Glover and he is with the Doug, Steve and Tim.  He has sent two officers out to pick up the boyfriend.  A nurse in the ER gave them his name and address.  She said they were pretty serious and that she did not think they were fighting.  He also said the officers who went out in search of any neighbors seeing or hearing anything came up empty.  Chief is waiting for notification on the parents and he will talk with them.  Steve is working on reconstruction of the scene and is waiting for us to pull it all together.”

            “I suppose it’s too late to go to the abortion clinic.  Last I knew they kept banker’s hours.” Tanner said with flat emotion. 

            “I’ll have an officer go over and check it out.  If someone is still there working we should make a visit and find out what they remember about Kendra and the date she had on that pamphlet.”

              “Ok Bull, you head out.  Could you take the pamphlet and the other stuff I bagged back to the evidence locker? I need to see if Miss Jenkins wants Marbles.  I feel bad for the little guy….or gal.”

            “Don’t take long, and watch your back,” he said as he took the evidence and headed out.


            Ceasor and the two guardians stayed with Tanner as she gathered Marbles and his things.  Marbles watched Ceasor intently,  “WhhhaT are yoooouuuu looking aT liTTle cccrrreaturrrre?”  Ceasor teasingly growled as he looked at Marbles. 


            Marbles began meowing in what sounded to Tanner almost like a growl.  He climbed onto her left shoulder and dug his claws into her neck. 

            “OOOwwww,” she cried as she tried to lesson his grip. She laughed as she shut the door, struggling as she tried to hold the cat and all his belongings. 


            Ceasor and the guardians laughed a deep hearty laugh for the first time in days. 


            Miss Jenkins sister opened the door before Tanner could knock. 

          “Come in,” she said in a hushed tone while pointing to the sofa.

          “She does not normally drink that much, but she has been so upset over Kendra.  Are you going to put that in your report…that she was drunk?”  Miss Jenkins sister asked. 

            Before Tanner could answer she continued, “It would just ruin her reputation around town if you did.  She is big in the church you know, and those people don’t look too kindly of drinkers.”

            “Well, I’m sorry about that.  I’ll have to see how all the facts of what Miss Jenkins told us fits together with the evidence.  I do not see why we would have to include that unless it is warranted. I’m sorry to change the subject but I must get going. Ma’am, do you think Miss Jenkins would mind keeping Marbles until we can get in touch with her family?”  Tanner asked.

              “Of course not, she loves that cat. I don’t think any of Kendra’s family will want him. They never are around.”

                “Thank you.  Tell Miss Jenkins to call me with anything she may think of that will help us,” Tanner said as she gave Miss Jenkins sister her card.

                Marbles was now on the couch curled up with Miss Jenkins, eyeing Ceasor, as Tanner closed the door.   

                Safely in her Rover, Tanner allowed her mind to go back to the abortion clinic that day so many years ago.  She could still see the posters on the wall telling her that the choice was her own, that she was the boss of her body.  Pictures of young, happy women and girls, walking in the hallways of college and businesses showed her that she was making the right choice. 

              She would not let God talk to her then.  He kept trying, and she still hated herself for not listening.  It was easier then to listen to the voice of the world.  That voice that said what she wanted to hear.  That voice didn’t make her feel guilty and that voice did not hold her accountable for her choices.  The sad thing was that voice did not tell her that she would regret her choice for the rest of her life.  That voice did not tell her the truth. 


              Tanner continued to think back on that day as she drove to the station.  Ceasor sat beside her and whispered gently, “work through it Tanner, but leave it at the foot of the cross where it belongs.  Jesus died for your sins.  Let his blood be enough.” 




          “Ceasor is doing a good job with Tanner. He reads her well,” Michael said to Yahweh as they stood in heaven and watched the events unfold at Kendra’s apartment. 

          “He was trained well by you Michael, and he makes me proud.  I want Tanner to know her place in my kingdom and she will only know that by believing my word.  The scriptures will be her pathway to healing and growth. She needs to know that when she gave her life to me at age twenty six, her sins really were taken away and she was forgiven.  It’s time for her to believe it with all of her heart and mind.”



            Galatians 6:9, And let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

            Tanner’s neck was so tense she could not turn her head to the left without sharp pain shooting into her back. She sat in her office desk chair massaging her neck, trying to ease some of the tension out.  Between the murder investigation and where it continued to propel her mind to go, her neck was in knots. 

                   “Dear Lord, please help me to wrap up this day so I can go home and get some rest.  I know that it is selfish of me because we have not caught the killer yet, but Father, I am so tired. Help me to keep my mind on this present day.” 

          She reached into the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out some Advil.  Popping four into her mouth she could almost audibly hear her husband say, “Oh that’s it, kill your liver…Sure you don’t need it.” 

            “Sorry babe, but it’s a four Advil kind of day,” Tanner said out loud before she drank the rest of her warm diet coke.  She made a disgusted face as she swallowed and threw the can into the trash beside her desk.

            Switching her attention to the day planner she had brought from Kendra’s apartment; Tanner sat deeper in the black chair and put her feet on her desk.  Her feet were tired.  She had kicked off her Dansko clogs and was now barefoot.  She briefly looked at her feet and smiled.  She had painted her toenails cherry red for Jack.  You and your love of red toe polish, she chuckled to herself.

            The planner was thorough.  The day of the murder Kendra was scheduled to work her regular 7:00a.m to 7:00p.m shift. Nothing else was marked for this day.

          Turning to September 1st, Tanner took a deep breath as she saw Kendra did indeed have an appointment at the Mystic Valley abortion clinic at 9:00a.m. No other appointments were made for that day.

        Going back three months, Tanner slowly read through Kendra’s life. 

        Kendra moved back to Mystic Valley on May 31st of this year, after graduating from Emmanuel College of Nursing in Massachusetts.  She started her new job at Mystic General Hospital in the ER on June 7th.  She had several family gatherings in the last few months as well as four dates with Brad Garrett.  He is a local young man who works at the hospital for Delta ambulance service. She appears to have gotten Marbles from her brother two weeks after moving into her apartment.  She has gone out after work only three times with women.  She does her laundry on Wednesdays.  She began using Miss Jenkins as her cat sitter on June 24th.  She had a doctor’s appointment on August 15th and wrote down a positive sign with a circle around it as well as a frown face. 

          Flipping through the days after the appointment that confirmed her pregnancy, until the day of the murder, Tanner noticed other dates of interest. September 1st had #1 appointment written in the upper right hand corner of the date box.  September 4th was circled with no other notation. Nowhere else in the journal was there just a circle around the date with no notation. 

          “What does this mean Kendra?” Tanner said out loud.

          She typed all the new information in a report and began searching for more information on the strange font that the scriptures were left in.  Tim had sent her an email detailing when the font became popular and when it was first used in print.  He had not found any other information yet. *****(put this in here.)

          Bon Jovi’s voice startled her out of deep thought as she scrambled to find her cell phone in her purse.  “It’s Tanner.”

            “Tanner, its Doug, can you and Bull meet us at the crime lab in conference room two in twenty minutes? We want to recreate the scene and go over what we know so we can go home.”

            “Sure thing, Doug, I’ll get Bull and we’ll be right over.” 

              She stood and stretched her aching body.  Letting out a moan as she bent over to get her clogs, Tanner felt all of her forty two years.  She touched her phone and dialed John, letting him know the team was ready.    Doing a quick pit check to see how the B.O. might be faring, she did a quick swipe with the Dove deodorant she kept in her middle drawer. 

              Tanner called Jack as she drove to the crime lab.  “How was your day honey?”

            “It was long but productive.  I just got home and Rocket and I are watching the Yankees.  Are you anywhere near ready to come home?” Jack asked.

            “I’m headed to the crime lab now, hopefully in a couple of hours I can come home.  It’s been a grueling day…and we still don’t know who killed the young woman.”

            “The news gave a rundown of the young woman, said her name was Kendra but they didn’t have a lot of details.  She was young.” Jack stated in a matter of fact tone.

            “Yes, she was only twenty four.  She was a new nurse who worked in the ER.  A girl I would have liked,” Tanner said while still thinking.

              Tanner pulled into the parking lot and said goodbye to Jack.  She sat in the Rover and sent up a quick prayer.  “Lord, help us pull this thing together.  Help me to keep focused and to stop being pulled into the past.  I’m sorry Lord.”


            The team met in conference room two, where the evidence pictures were laid out with numbers and markings on the enlarged photos of the crime scene.  Tanner walked around the table absorbing the pictures while her brain began seeing the crime take place.  Doug began processing the scene aloud to the group as everyone but Tanner sat down around the table. 


          Ceasor took his place by the door as he eyed John’s guardian at the opposite wall.  Several demons were in the room.  They belonged to the group. One demon in particular got Ceasor’s attention as he slowly circled Tanner’s head, hissing at her. He was a black larger demon that Ceasor had not seen here before.  Ceasor moved toward her while grabbing his sword.  The demon hesitated but then backed away and stood in the corner.  Ceasor stood closer to Tanner.  The other two guardians spaced out and stood regal. 


          “Based on the actual location of where the body was found, we know the murder took place there.  There was no blood found at the entrance to the park, on the dirt pathway or in the surrounding areas.  The only sneaker print we could pick out and mold was that of a size 12 Adidas, 2003 male make. We have Tina working on finding local stores that sell that model. This print was mixed in with other prints that match Kendra’s sneakers and also the jogger that found her.”

          The group was passing around the crime photos as Doug continued his analysis of the evidence.   

          “There are no other sneaker prints so he must have used the grass to get in and out.  The female who found her is Monique Morgan and she has been processed by State police. She does not appear to be a suspect.  Based on the foot print pattern, Kendra entered the park by way of the front and used the dirt path until she came into the clearing where we found her.  There were none of her sneaker prints beyond the clearing.  The safety pin and crumpled pamphlet were found sixteen feet from the body in the grass beside the dirt path to the clearing.  The bullet casing was found near where the path ended and the clearing started to open, wedged in the grass.  Also, Kendra’s supervisor said she was employed there for approximately three months with a wonderful work ethic.  The supervisor was not aware of anyone who would want to hurt Kendra and she was not aware of her family situation.” 

            Tim piped in with his findings as he paced and Doug sat.


            There was a new guardian angel today, with Tim.  The demons that accompanied Doug and Steve tried to hiss and torment Tim, but his guardian was quick and serious.  The demons laughed and backed away.  Ceasor smiled at the young guardian.  Knowing that this meant Tim was a new Christian gave Ceasor great pleasure.  He offered up praise to Yahweh. 


          “The safety pin was clean with no prints and no blood.  The pamphlet had a small partial print but there were no matches in the CODIS data base.  The demographics I found for Kendra Mills are: date of birth, May 3, 1982, place of birth, Mystic General Hospital.  Parents are Kassy and Scott Mills of Mystic Valley Maine.  They were notified of their daughter’s murder and are arranging their way home from Florida now.  She has two siblings, both younger.  She left for college four and a half years ago and just returned as a graduate, bachelor nurse to be employed by Mystic General in the ER.  No criminal history.”

            Steve began his report of the analysis as he sat with his feet up on the table and leaning back in his chair. Tanner felt a wave of repulsion, you are so arrogant and there isn’t one note of concern in your tone, she thought.



          The demon that stood behind Steve was large, muscular and smelled of sour vomit.  He was coal black and his outer skin was of tough black scales.  His eyes were green and they glowed as he spoke into Steve’s ear.  Ceasor stood taller and watched him.  The evil that radiated from him was frightening, but Ceasor wasn’t sure if he was a threat to Tanner or not.  Either way this demon had full possession of his charge.  John’s guardian eyed Ceasor with a look of, this is a big one, Ceasor nodded.


          Tanner regained focus as Steve’s voice took on a different pitch.  “The entrance and exit wounds are consistent with those of a .9mm semiautomatic handgun.  It’s an easy gun to hide, use and tout around.  The clothing blocked the imprint of the nozzle and also any residue ring.  The work out top does have gunpowder residue left on it around the entrance sites which suggests near close range. The bullet casing we found is from a .9mm semiautomatic handgun.  The lab is trying to extract a number from it to match it further.  Markings and powder extraction will be done after.  The wounds on our victim are consistent with this type of weapon.” He said. 

          John began speaking in the authoritative tone he used when he was thinking out loud.

          “So we know she entered the park for her usual morning walk.  She was there at approximately 5:30a.m., according to her neighbor and cat sitter, Miss Jenkins.  She appears to have been attacked at the clearing site where we found her.  She was facing east when she was shot, based on the blood spatter pattern on the ground and the bush.  I think she bent forward after this as the blood then dripped on the front of her sneakers and down onto the top of her pants.”

              John began walking around to the different crime scene photographs as he talked. 

            “She instinctively put her hands to her abdomen where she was shot as her hands and forearms show by their blood pattern.  She stumbled around or was fighting with the killer, based on the dirt message and the broken fingernails on her right hand.  At some point she was then on the ground face up but not dead.  She possibly was crying out when the killer put his foot on her throat with enough force to crush her larynx and separate her skull from the spine.  The injury to her throat and spine are consistent with this finding.”

            John moved to table and grabbed a pen and paced as he fidgeted with the pen. 

            “The print pattern matches the sneaker pattern found at the scene as well.  The killer then took the time to pin the messages to her body.  He must have changed gloves because only trace blood was found on the baggies, and that was Kendra’s.”

            Sweat rings under John’s arms were all that Tanner could focus on.  She knew she was tired when she had to bite the inside of her mouth to keep from laughing about the pit stains.  She wanted to make a smart comment about applying deodorant more than once in sixteen hours but she knew everyone wanted to go home and not be side tracked. Changing thoughts she piped in to finish Detective Wares analysis from her findings as well.

          Standing once again and moving to the photographs she began her summation.

        “This all had to take some time.  She could have been at the clearing in six minutes if she walked at a rapid pace.  We are the same height and leg length, so my stride would match hers.  If she was running she would have been there in approximately two minutes.  This puts the time at 5:33-5:37a.m.  The attack was soon after hitting the clearing because there were no other sneaker prints past the site.  The female jogger called 911 from her cell phone at the site at 8:00a.m.  We began processing at 8:50 a.m. and determined her to be down for approximately two hours.  This means she died sometime between 5:50 and 6:50 a.m.” 

            John paced around the conference room with his hands shoved deep in the pockets of his black dress pants as he addressed the team.

          “To sum up, we have two suspects that were brought in and are either being questioned or have been questioned. They are the jogger who found Kendra’s body, and the young man who Kendra dated a few times recently.  Her family has been contacted and told of her murder so we can expect a flood of calls soon.  Her apartment is roped off.  The park is closed down and roped off with two local police officers guarding the scene until we release it.  I’m meeting with the district attorney to brief him for a press for a conference at 5:00a.m. The rest of you go home, and be back at CID by 6:00a.m.” 


            Tanner entered her house as quietly as possible.  Everything was dark except the illumination from the cucumber scented candle that was lit on the kitchen table.  Beside the candle was a note.  I am so proud of you my lovely bride… Come up and wake me.  I miss you. Jack

            Rocket, their loyal twelve year old bulldog, met her shortly after she closed the door and was patiently waiting for a head scratch.  She knelt down and scratched the old dog’s head and felt every muscle in her back tightening.  Her head was pounding and her body was emitting a very foul odor, despite the extra deodorant application earlier.

          “How’s my baby boy tonight?  Did you miss your mama?” She cooed to Rocket as she continued to scratch his ears. 

          Heading for the shower while she stripped off her jeans and sweater she told Rocket to go back to bed.  There were no arguments from the old boy as he headed up the stairs to his big, round, LL Bean bed.  Tanner could not suppress a giggle as she watched his stiff, old dog body lumber up the stairs, panting and grunting all the way.

          Clean and tired, she softly climbed into bed and into the open arms of her husband.  It was 1:15 a.m.  She was granted blessed sleep by 1:20. 


          Ceasor stood guard at the bedroom entrance after quietly talking to his old pal Rocket.  The two new guardians were at either entrance of the Quinn’s Farm style house.  The neighborhood was quiet. 


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