I am trying to decide whether the dream sequence should be the prologue.
|Something moved beside her, she thought it was her husband Jackson so she moved to put her arm around him but something leafy brushed her arm. Baffled, her hands followed the leafy vine. It seemed to be wrapped around her and something else. She thought it was Jackson but when she shook the blanket a slender arm, not unlike her own, grabbed her wrist. Startled, Carina tried to pull herself free but for some reason it felt like her strength was fading and she stopped struggling to look at her adversary.
The room had slowly gotten lighter as the sun rose and she could now see dark chocolate brown eyes meet her own. She knew that face intimately.it was the face that greeted her every time she looked into the mirror – it was hers. Panicking, her hand followed the vine and found that it led to her, came out of her stomach. She screamed in horror.
“Wake up! Carina, wake up! It’s a dream.” Jackson shook her harder until her eyes snapped open. He could read the horror in her eyes. They chilled and weakened him; horror glazed eyes and he was powerless to protect her from it.
“It’s all right, my love. It’s a bad dream. Shh, it’s all right. You’re safe.” He crooned gently as he wrapped his arms around ‘Carina and pulled her gently to him. He held her knowing she would soon fall asleep and when he felt her body slackening, he laid her gently back down on the bed and covered her with the blanket. He put his arm around her and she snuggled closer to him. He knew that when she woke up, she wouldn’t remember the nightmare. She never did. The frequency of them worried him. “I have to tell her,” he thought resolutely. Unbidden tears welled up in his eyes as he too succumbed to sleep. His last thoughts, “I’m a cop damn it! Cops don’t cry.”
Jackson prepared bacon and eggs just the way Carina liked them; crisp and over easy. He added just enough hazelnut cream to flavour but not turn the coffee cold before setting everything on the table along with his own breakfast.
“Breakfast is ready,” he called and he heard her muffled reply before he saw her enter the kitchen with her fluffy purple housecoat wrapped around her, hair damp from the shower that he knew she’d just taken. He’d quickly showered and shaved before he woke her. Normally they’d take a leisurely shower together before breakfast but today he couldn’t afford the intimacy especially since, more often than not, they’d end up making love before their grumbling stomachs reminded them of more serious matters. Even now, as Carina sashayed into the room all fluffy and bare-footed, he was tempted. He stuffed some eggs into his mouth so that she could only kiss him on the forehead.
“Good morning, husband.”
He swallowed quickly, almost choking, “Good morning, wife!” It was a game they played. No sweet-heart or honey-buns for them. No, theirs was a deeper connection that words couldn’t express sufficiently.
Carina sat down, first sipping the coffee and then picking up the bacon with her fingers and crunching into it. The only way to eat crispy bacon she’d once told him. After another sip, she asked, “Any plans?”
“I have some paperwork that I need to do at the precinct and then I have to drive over to Rayleigh to check a scene.”
“Oh? What happened?”
“A woman went missing and there haven’t been any leads to lead us to her disappearance. Bruce, his commander, was getting a warrant to search the house.”
“Is she married?”
“Yes, the husband has been a bit belligerent to our questioning so we want to step it up a notch and see if he’s our perp before we can bring him and hold him.”
“Do you think he knows where she is?”
Jackson looked at her, “That’s what I want to find out.” He quickly changed the subject, “How about you? Do you have any plans?”
“No, not really. I have to take Casimir, their part husky and part wolf, to the vet for a checkup and maybe do a little marking so that I have less work on Monday.”
Jackson knew Casimir hated going to the vet and it was unlikely Carina would get much marking done for her grade five class. Instead she’d probably feel sorry for Casimir and take him for a long walk. It hit him that the walk would be a perfect time to talk with Carina about her nightmares so he said, “I’ll go into work early so we can take Casimir for a long walk later. How does that sound?”
She looked at him, grinning, “Who’s the softy now?”
He chuckled, “Guilty, always guilty when it comes to the two of you, especially you he said as he took her hand from the table and kissed it gently. He looked into her eyes and saw them subtly darken. He dropped her hand abruptly as he stood up. “So, if I leave here now, I can probably be home around 3 – 3:30.”
“Sounds like a plan,” she murmured. She moved to get up from the table.
“No, you finish breakfast. I’ll just grab my gear and go.” He kissed her on the forehead and hurried out of the house before he changed his mind.
It turned out to be a case of domestic violence leading to the death of Mrs. Baker. Jackson assumed she was dead from the amount of blood detected by luminal. It was everywhere. Either from previous abuses or her murder. The warrant turned up a diary that had been taped to the bottom of her nightstand. It documented repeated beatings. It was enough to arrest Mr. Baker but so far Baker hadn’t been forth coming about his wife. It irked Jackson beyond description; he hated abuse of any kind to anyone but violence to women and children angered him even more.
It was that anger that made him more abrupt with Carina later when they met but she had a way of targeting his anger and deflecting it away.
“Bad day?” She asked as she took his hand in hers and kissed it.
His breath whooshed out. He hadn’t realized he’d been so tense. “Not really. I just don’t like abuse cases.”
“Did you get the perp?” She’d picked up some of the lingo from him.
“We have enough to charge him but his wife is still missing.”
She squeezed his hand. “You’ll find her.”
Jackson’s gut instinct told him that, when they found Mrs. Baker, it would be alive.