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 Writing Wrongs

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Iliana
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PostSubject: Writing Wrongs   Sat Sep 21, 2013 9:58 pm

PROLOGUE


The trees were catching up to her. Immobile, almost frozen in time, they reached high over her, branches clawing at her flailing arms. Almost begging her to give up. Each passing tree was another wide berth of freedom stretching beyond The Jumper's path, dancing and toying with her through the twinkling fog of the moss coated woods. The path was set before her, one bush mangled from a passing doe,  another broken set of twigs cracking under her mud-littered shoes. The woods, the marsh, all her yellow brick road. This was her final sprint.

"Please..." Her voice shattered the distilled silence, crickets screeching in their over-zealous attempt to win out over the frail beg. The air scowled in disgust at her presence, serene tranquility now disturbed by fear, an ebbing flight for freedom. The night belonged to the marshes, eternal partners forever in the tangled waltz of beauty and death. Step-two, step-two, step-two, and the dance continued. Moon as wide as her shocking blue eyes, she hurls herself on the large shaft of the willow tree, panic now over-ridden by the need to escape. Freedom. Life. That was what the woods promised her. The liberty to run another day, to inhale more than the stench of her own blood and the over-bearing scent of the demon behind her.

"Pl-Please,"she croaked to the woods. The willow embraced her and she hugged it back, sinking down in defeat. Adrenaline kissed her toes for the last time. Then nothing. Stillness. The momentary calming embrace of the marshes, the stinging smell of honey-suckle, sickeningly sweet that it nearly made her wretch. It was over. Fatigue reigned victorious over the tangled mass of gnarled roots and cracked bark of the willow she perilously clung to. A stream of juices from the moss below ran between her toes, torturing her with the pleasure of feeling something other than her own river of blood. A crack behind her, and she closed her tear stained eyes. This was it. This was where her race ended. A sliver of moonlight poured over the canopy of pines, oaks, and cypresses overhead, shattering the damp ground with hundreds of glistening lights. The lens of the moon loomed closer to her lips, Death creeping behind her.

Not a word was spoken, their bodies not even 2 inches away from the other. It was clear she had admitted defeat, surrendering her trembling body to him not for the first night that evening. The rushing breeze hushed, willows and muscadine trees alike, standing still at the sight of him, their director. The Jumper drew in her last, ragged breath, and for the first time in her sprint, she never noticed how dark the night really was, the fallacious reality of her death amplified by the roaring applause of the nocturnal.

This was her curtain call, and he pitied her for it. The marsh was such an undeserving audience.


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PostSubject: Re: Writing Wrongs   Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:18 pm

CHAPTER 1




"Must you wear that God forsaken broach? There are going to be people present, you know?"

"What's wrong with my broach?" Barbara tinkered with the tiny red-orange apple pendant fastened to her plum colored blouse. It had taken her forever and a half to get it right, with the needle going through the fabric and not her skin. It took a couple of minutes, but after giving herself a personal acupuncture session, it finally stayed. The broach in question hung in a limp defeat right below Barbara's pursed lips, the dusty orange street light over head bringing the fruit to life. Lionus's scowl drew out the handsome set of his jaw so much so, Barbara was afraid his face would tear right down the middle.

"Besides the fact that it exists and we're in the 21st century?"he shot.  She lifted her chin defiantly against his sarcastic stare.

"A broach hardly seems like a topic of discussion at an Elementary school."

"Elementary school meeting. As in with officials. As in handsome middle-aged men with high morals and long term goals."

"Then they should respect my taste in apparel. It's still a school."

"The broach isn't looking any nicer,"he pronounced. He made a face and she snatched the keys from his hands in turn, taking the 3 stairs down the drive way and to her car. The two slid into the compact Corolla, knowing but not openly expressing what Lionus was proposing. The broach was a bit on the gaudy side. It was an enlarged apple a little too big and loud to get away with being nothing more than a simple outfit accessory. It could have been the state symbol of New York. Barbara snagged a glance at it while she fastened her seat belt securely around her waist, not a very difficult trial. It didn't look bad enough to cause such a fuss, in her opinion, but that was the way of Lionus's mind. A steel sphere that was impenetrable to the rebellion of fashion.

"The apple looks like you're doing too much. You're not even a teacher, for goodness sake! I'm just saying, Bug. A nice scarf or shawl would have done just fine,"he chimed. The car hummed to life and they pulled out of the driveway, away from the dimming street light and onto the gravel road.

"It's the middle of August,"she bit.

"Which means autumn is right around the corner! Wear something a little more festive and sexy!"

"I have a pumpkin broach. Would that suffice?" Lionus clicked his tongue and shook his head. She liked to call this his "crying shame" moods. Where he was deliberately disappointed at the state of things and nothing could be done about it but a shake of the head and a silent whisper of pity for all. Barbara succumbed to it many a time.

"Crying shame."he finished and she knew his piping was over for the moment. The drive to Oaknell Elementary couldn't have been shorter. In truth, they had only to drive down one road, a road Libreaux County dubbed Straight Street. Simply because the only way to go was straight. It was the only paved road for miles, the next being some 25 miles into Lafayette. Other smaller trails of compressed rock, gravel, and clay dirt were the other main roads.

Libreaux County in itself was nothing more than a large mound of houses and shops that coexisted with those houses, neighbor coexisting with consumer. Thus profit was easily won over with a neighborly smile. The only shops of mutual importance was Marx's Market and the Fruit Barrel where fruit was always stored in barrels for passerby's to frown at and walk past. There was the occasional decrepit auto shop that could tune a car faster than one could fall asleep. Skills ran deep in the bones of Libreaux. A county of misfits who could polish shoes, convicts who found the 'light' in making Sno-Cones.

It was Barbara's home through and through.

The mid-August afternoon sun winked at her from behind a veil of light grey clouds, disappearing as it began it's game of Hide and Seek with the moon. The road darkened in queue to the missing sun. Mirage images of water vanished from the head of the car, spilling make believe puddles under the tires. Lionus noticed it the same second she had, his nose upturning to the sky.

"Of all days..."

"What do you mean of all days? It's rain. We've been practically praying  to the Rain God for weeks now! This couldn't have been a more opportune time."

"Listen to you!"he gasped, turning his eyes away from the road to steel her with a scolding glare. Her attention remained to the road, unaffected. "You've even made the rain a part of your schedule!" She scowled.

"No, I'm just commenting on the state of the farmers-"

"Which is also none of your business."

"Neither is this school meeting,"she retorted, winning another over exaggerating gasp from Lionus.

"Not your business? My manhood is on the line, figuratively speaking, of course,"he added with a contradicting grin. "My business is your business by default. It's the way we work as middle-aged friends, honey."

"I'm 34 and I never signed up for this."

"It's a life time job."

"Well I quit."

"That would be suicide, sweetie." When Barbara neither retorted or looked his way, Lionus fidgeted awkwardly with his seat belt. Suicide was hardly his idea of a pleasant conversation, but it followed Barbara like a stray dog. Time was lost trying to dismiss it from the corners of her mind, days passing with the deafening realization that people do stupid things with their lives. Really stupid things, suicide being the one means of escaping the heartache and failure and disappointment. It was all so reluctant when a knife was involved. Posion made it savory. Guns were a favorite. Barbara revved the engine to accelerate and douse the sound of a gun shot from her head. What happened happened and there were wrongs that needed to be fixed by her hand and her hand only. With a surge of confidence, she tossed the 's' word away and focused on the road to Oaknell Elementary.

Large droplets of water pelted the hood of the car, drenching the dirt gathered from the off road. The ranches to the right swayed in praise to the rain and wind, crops celebrating like tall children at a parade. Rain darkened the sky to a deep violet, the red clay of the mountains stretching to tear across the dark blanket. Wildlife in the ranches blurred from her view, cows and donkeys alike watching, grazing slowly on the rain coated carpet beneath them. A set of golden auburn barns to her left were painted a deeper, darker hue. Barbara cast a glance at the sky with a smile playing on her lips. Libreaux got more beautiful each passing hour. She envisioned herself taking the steps the clouds created into the vast violet sky, enveloping herself in its wholeness, letting it take hold of her body in the cooling embrace it offered her. It made her feel important and lucky to know it so well. She knew the sky, the air of the county, more than herself, and not one strand of regret could be found in her smile. If only she could spend the evening beneath the mischievous stars.

Her entire life was spent under the stars. Every kid in Libreaux had the dream of becoming someone important and high and mighty. Someone to make people stop and say, "Hey, that's a swell gal." In a county that couldn't have been more than 78 miles long, that dream was attainable. A neighbor could become mayor, a gardener can grow to become one of the greatest novelist the town had ever known. If enough work and passion was put into it, Libreaux handed out opportunities left and right. That's what the stars told Barbara night after night. Sneaking out after a dinner of rabbit and some other broth, she made her own secret fort in a thicket of honey suckle beside a quail's burrow. Broken twigs, wrinkled autumn leaves, and a pea colored blanket and she had paradise. Her sister and brother always knew where she was, but never took the time to think about what she was doing out there with all of those animals and bugs and mysteries. They warned her about foxes, stray bullets from hunting seasons, even monsters that lived inside the oak trees. Imagination of these things piqued her curiosity. Every night she had her time under the stars.

A memory once warming to her brought nothing but disgust and frustration. The stars promised her flower only to give her weeds. There was no such thing as "opportunity" to a Marbet. She was destined to fail and destiny saw to that with a ruler in hand. The struggle against fate was a lost one, she knew, yet she fought on. She got herself out of the house at the age of 18 and into a college in Meterie. Journalism school was one of her biggest goals, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of her success. One semester of it and she was back in Libreaux, in front of a tombstone. Ann Marbet. Mother of three, wife of a former Somebody.

"Honey, you're swerving." Lionus's voice arrived from a far off place in her head. She immediately tightened her grip on the wheel and straightened out the car, not muttering the apology lodged in her throat. Another bundle of silent minutes went by before the two turned onto a semi-street, the gateway into Oaknell Elementary School. The only area of the school that wasn't drenched in a vibrant yellow paint was the parking lot itself. The Sunshine School, she mused. Barbara fought off the tiny giggle of laughter the memory of her sister, Sandra, spawned. That was more than enough nostalgia to last her a week.

"I almost forgot kids were supposed to be at this meeting with all the talk about you and Travis Harret,"she murmured, watching a long line of cars either deposit a small child or park for the parent and child to exit. Lionus chuckled and slid out of his seat belt.

"Well, I certainly didn't come here for the kids, darling."

"That's a cruel thing to say."

"It's a drug awareness program,"he replied airily. "Why do I need to be attentive to that?" Barbara answered him with a wry look, exiting the car along with him. A breeze slapped her tangled brown curls against her cheeks, bringing back some life into it hopefully. She thought back to. how pale her skin was when she gazed at herself in her bathroom mirror and hoped that she didn't look as ghostly as she felt. Lionus would have said something if so. The rain cascading in teasing drops would have to do for makeup for the time being.

The sea of students and parents took a turn in the direction behind the play ground. It was only a slab of asphalt that was meant for basketball, but with the goal hanging at an awkward 80 degree angle, it would make due for a meeting area. Barbara noticed that the faculty managed to heave the old beige bleachers from under the storage bin some ways behind Oaknell Elementary. The bleachers were ancient. The last time she recalled seeing them was at the Oaknell-Poilet basketball game some 4 years ago. She remembered all too clearly the juvial grins on the faces of the Libreaux kids prior to the game and the crest fallen frowns afterwards. After the event, the bleachers were stowed away and no one in the county saw not high nor tail of them until just now, she presumed. Drug Awareness Resistance Education called for drastic measures, it seemed.

"Hey! Thought you wouldn't make it!" The voice came from directly behind her, nearly taking the air out of her lungs. Strutting towards them like an angel in a business suit, 2nd grade teacher Travis Harrett sent a wave to Lionus and her from a few feet away. Linous flashed him his award-winning white-toothed grin.

"The pleasure is all ours, I assure you,"he beamed, extending his arms out to Travis. The two met in an embrace too warm and intimate to be a friendly hello. Barbara mentall stowed the image away in her head to bombard Lionus with it later. Travis took her by the waist, planting a kiss on her cheek.

"It's good to have you here, Barbara. It may not be much to report, but you know the county cares about Oaknell very much. You already know a lot about it and believe me, you're more than welcome to pile drive us with questions,"he finished. Barbara fought with a flying tuft of brown hair, tucking it tenderly behind her ear.

"It's good to see you too, Travis, but I think I'm going to lay off the pad tonight. I'm just here for Lionus." She ignored Linous's piercing glare and returned Travis's warm smile. They made their way with the throng of people, parents and children alike, towards the slab of asphalt. There were already a couple of cops stationed towards the edge of the cement. Their badges twinkled in the two large mobile lamps the school positioned on either side of the ground. The lights poured on the center of the cement to give the speaker, whomever that may have been, the utmost attention.

Barbara was rather relieved that she was not reporting this moment in Libreaux. It wouldn't have been front page worthy, but she would rather have the night not stressing about drugs and writing. The oil and water of her current daily life. In both reality and nightmares, the two intertwined one another, twisting and coiling in a wispy vapor around her wrists, throat, thighs. A drowning reality, both her weakness and her curse. For the third time that night, her attention was interrupted by a booming voice recognized quickly as Principal Jonathon Parker. He had the one of the rare sorts of bass in his voice. The kind that came naturally, with no force and no filter. Standing only around 5'9" and weighing around 240 pounds, Principal Parker's voice made up for the features he lacked.

"Welcome, Libreaux, to this year's annual D.A.R.E meeting! Aside from the rain, isn't this a lovely night?"His face was a mosaic of liver spots. He held raccoon eyes, a mask that came with lack of sleep and the stress of the school. The crowd murmured a plethora of responses and he continued to go forward with the speakers and special guests on the evening. Lionus and Travis seemed to have disappeared when she glanced to her left. A small, blonde haired child cast her a look of pure boredom which somehow made her feel at fault, like she was the one who made him stand in the rain to hear the principal. After sending him an apologetic shrug, Barbara sheltered her arms against the cold, stinging rain from above. Maybe that shawl Lionus mentioned wasn't such a bad idea after all.

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PostSubject: Re: Writing Wrongs   Sat Sep 21, 2013 10:23 pm

Detective Davis Gillespie had several reasons why he'd rather be home in his bed on that Wednesday evening. For starters, he had a toothache. The pain bumped into him on the way to the gas station. It came out of nowhere to his knowledge, a coy little fox that ended up right below his feet. Windows down, seat lounge back, and Morris Albert wailing about his feelings, Davis worked his jaw strangely. A sting on the right underside of his jaw caught him off guard, earning a swear. Uncalled for annoyances, much like the D.A.R.E meeting he sped onward to. Davis wasn't much of a meeting person, detective or not. There were do's and dont's that he simply didn't wish to follow. It was all a game in the best sense of the word. You had the big man on campus who spoke as much as he could about something important for minutes on end. A filibuster of information thrown in with gusto, false emotions, the rising and falling of volume. Once all were said and done, he would close his mouth and gaze over the waning crowd, coming into eye contact with as many spectators as he could just to guess how much information their mind stored. That was the game. Speak and see how much of it was retained.

Davis tightened his broad jaw and rubbed a hand at his three day stubble. The sandpaper feeling that conjoined with the action yielded no reaction from him. He looked like hell. Hell, he felt like hell. That toothache was just icing on his cake baked solely on frustration and his pissed scowls.

"To hell with Schryer," he whispered to no one in particular when his car finally pulled into the driveway of an Elementary school. There were a lot of cars but no people exiting or entering them, which meant he was late. He chose not to care. Had it been Schryer playing this game of Speak and Save, the townspeople would already be curled in their beds, some in the fetal position, letting the night take them. He was a man of few words, speaking in short sentences with half of the words being swears. The man had no filter, didn't care to develop one, and was fine with having a toothache-bearing detective do his dirty work for him. Davis grunted more to himself than the pain when he stalked closer towards the mass of people beside the old yellow playground. Harold Schryer was a dick's dick.

"What took ya? Didn't we tell ya not to let the ladies screw up yer busy detective schedule?" Davis merely tipped his head towards a tall, lanky cop who walked over to pat him on the back. Trevor Yordy grinned from ear to ear, his teeth the color of ash, most likely coupled the 2 boxes of Camels he blew a day. There was a such thing as an addiction, and then there were Trevor Yordy's: men who smoked because they had nothing better to do. Davis always thought he did it just to send his pathetic excuse for teeth to the Guinness Book of World Record to win the Most Fucked-up Teeth Award and wouldn't be surprised if he had plaque for it. Just for the irony.

"If it was a lady, I wouldn't be here at all," he answered, managing to pull away in a friendly manor. The putrid smell of nicotine and apples hit him a little bit harder than the toothache.

"Yer hand don' count," Yordy joked.

"It should. Doesn't matter how I get it off, just know that if I got it off, it'd be you speaking to these pikes and not me."

"Yer a son o' a bitch, Gillespie!"

"So I've reminded myself," he put plainly. The rain raced down harder over the brim of his Zephyr's baseball cap, the white turning grey, matching the simple T-shirt he threw on earlier that evening. Those other fools could deck themselves in the full uniform if they wanted to. If Davis was going to have to be forced to do something, he would do it the way he damn well wanted to, his own personal 'fuck you' to Schryer. He should be happy Davis didn't come in his boxers. He and Yordy crept towards the back of the asphalt, careful not to interrupt Principal Jonathon Parker's speech.

"We've been family since our Grandmammy's told our Mammies to stay out of the muscadine trees," Principal Parker lamented. Davis locked his jaw, bringing back the twisting knife of his toothache. "Our sons and daughters that are here right now, so innocent and so small... They need to be taught. They need to know what we know in order to make Libreaux into a bigger, better, safer place! Take me, for example. I used to do a little something on the side in my younger years, and the Lord above knows through and through that I regret every single second of it. He saw me for who I was: a smart, intelligent, charming, handsome..." Davis instantly tuned him out. Nothing but a whole load of crap. Everyone in Libreax knew Parker still did "a little something" every now and then at the County Estates with all of the other men that had their belts a little too tight and their stomachs swinging dangerously close to the ground. Libreaux was nothing but a county of misfits. Somehow, he found a reason to return to it. From Paradise to Hell.

"...which is why I'm overly pleased to let our new detective, Detective Davis Gillespie, tell you the importance of resisting drugs of any kind and what you should do should you ever come in contact with someone who has them. A member of the community a bit new, but he still fights for the line of duty and the safety of our kids. Ladies and Gentlemen, Detective Gillespie!" A strange round of applause erupted when Parker swung his massive pink arm towards Davis who stood directly beside a light pole. He mused that the applause came not for him, but for Parker's departure. Smart town. The rain flowed lazily in a moderate drizzle over the colossal wall of light he walked into, sending Principal Parker another sardonic nod. The biggest fraud he met since his arrival in Libreaux. The breeze picked up, sending the rain spraying sideways over the crowd. Some parents grumbled, annoyed, but forced themselves and their children to stand put until Davis was done speaking. Amusement playing on his lips, he shoved both of his hands deep into the pockets of his denims, leaning on one foot.

"There's nothing more enjoyable than explaining about the resistance of drugs in the middle of August, in the rain, in the dark, on a Wednesday." The blatant sarcasm earned a gradual chuckle from the crowd. Even Lionus and Travis, returning from who knew where, sent their own giggles Davis's way. Barbara froze when Lionus's hand clapped down on her shoulder when Detective Gillespie continued forward with his speech. She shot him a narrow glare.

"Where the hell have you been?" her voice low but resolute enough to drag her point across. Travis conveyed the expression of being unable to hear their conversation and Lionus rolled his eyes for his repartee.

"What do you think of him? He's definitely man enough for you. Could give you one hell of a whirl." Barbara unwillingly followed his gaze to the detective basked in the deafening beams of light like some sort of heavenly deity. He poised him self as if he was the center of the universe, his voice smooth and lazy, drawling every little syllable as if to enunciate his boredom. His shirt now slick with the rain clung desperately to his broad chest that was unmistakably male. A boomerang symbol molded itself in the middle crest of his pants, both a result of the rain absorbing it and his hands shoved tightly into it. Barbara simply pursed her lips.

"Yeah sure, if you're into meatheads," she prompted. Detectives, cops, deputies. They all had that semblance of superiority and false justice, most especially the men of Libreaux. Being a small county undoubtedly had its perks. Why send a man to jail for cooking meth when the cop on duty grew up with him as dirty nosed kids? The actuality of it made her want to punch something, a notion she hadn't felt in a day or two. She was doing so well with ignoring things like justice, retribution, revealing everything to the rawest form possible, and somehow, Detective Davis Gillespie shattered that for her. As if he could read her mind, Detective Gillespie closed his mouth and swiveled his eyes directly onto her. Even for a fraction of a second, Barbara was absolutely certain that he heard everything she just concluded inwardly. His gaze was measuring, amused, bringing up an uncomfortable heat in her shivering, rain coated body. She conferred the unconscious tremble of her body as a result of the rain and chose to glance elsewhere.

"Meathead? Is that some sort of sexual phrase I haven't picked up on yet?" Lionus voiced. Barbara considered ignoring Lionus, but her irritation clouded over her train of thought.

"Are you capable of thinking about anything other than sex and men?"

"Why wouldn't anyone want to conduct a conversation about sex and men?" he sent back, mocking an incredulous gasp.

"Stop answering my question with another question."

"It was a rhetorical question. Come on, Bug. I thought you knew me so well!" Barbara opened her mouth to retort with how people change when she was interrupted by a sound she hadn't heard in a long while: an ambulance wail. The growing alarm screeching from several miles away piqued the interest of the Libreaux townspeople, whispers flying left and right. Some already claimed what the accident may have been: fire, some old woman fallen and couldn't get up, car accident. A handful of parents filed out of the meeting without waiting for the proper denouement from Principal Parker who begun to waddle toward Detective Davis who stood idly. The two shook hands for a little too long in Davis's opinion, their palms ending up damper than before.

"You said it well, detective. Couldn't thank you enough!"

"My pleasure. Someone has to teach the kids the way. Who better fit than the Libreaux Police Department themselves. We have such a handful of 'talents' in that area, don't you agree?" Parker sent a him a booming chortle and released Davis's hand as if he suddenly developed some sort of contagious disease.

"Well, you sure know your stuff," he replied, deliberately dodging the question.

"I have a knack for cracking codes, is all," he said carefully. The color flooded from Parker's face for a split second and Yordy's splashing footsteps from behind them saved him from an unintentional interrogation from Davis. Pity, or he would be confessing before the bell rang for supper.

"Gillespie, Schryer called," Yordy squeaked, eyes bugging out of his head like a frightened salamander. A wave of resentment swept through Davis's abdomen at the name. He smoothed it over by pulling a silver quarter from a chasm in his pocket, flipping the trinket through all four fingers, down, and back again. It was a bad habit he developed mid way in his journey from cop to detective. Where a cigarette would cool the average mind, a flip of the coin acted in nicotine's stead.

"Good. Ask him how many beers he's going to buy me once I get to Sacha's. I'm at around 4, maybe 5 if I'm feeling all right," he murmured, probing his aching tooth with the tip of his tongue. The pain was temporary but still present as was a great deal of things in Davis's day. One stain in his life was a stain too much. Yordy sucked in a whiff of humid air in absence to a cigarette. After a moment of studying him, Yordy appeared paler than his usual pasty complexion. Davis read too excessively into things.

"What'd he want?" he questioned, dreading the answer as much as Yordy resented the question.

"He's with those ambulances about 13 miles down from here at the marshes. They found a body. Track leader Jessica Collins."




[END OF CHAPTER 1]

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PostSubject: Re: Writing Wrongs   Mon Sep 23, 2013 1:33 pm

CHAPTER 2


The purring engine of Davis's auburn Crown Victoria died down along with the speed as he pulled into a small gap in between a pair of two cop cars. The moss underneath his tires groped the Vic well enough to give Davis something to grumble about when he left. That was Schryer's fault too. The earlier wave of anger seeped back into the his head while he killed the engine. The meeting at the school was the business of Harold Schryer, lead officer of Libreaux County. He handled all the meek and dull county calls with a plastered reassuring grin. The people of Libreaux looked up to him dubiously. He was a heart-bred citizin from the day he took his first shit in a diaper, Davis heard. The county came to despise him as a snot-nosed kid, admire him as an aspiring college teen, and adorn him as what he had become: a 46 year old jack ass, in Davis's opinion.
He thought back to when Yordy mentioned that his assistance was needed at the crime scene, earning him a raised eye brow.

"What? Old man can't handle a cold body?" Yordy did nothing but shrug which pissed Davis off even more. No one ever questioned the business of Harold Schryer. No one ever complained about doing the petty dirty work of Harold Schryer. Schryer was the titan of the LCPD. Everyone worshiped him and those that didn't had to do so anyway because Schryer had dirt on everyone he ever came in contact in. That was his way of initializing justice: Piss enough people off, flash a badge, and it was smooth sailings from there.

Davis let this notion fuel his steps out of the safety cone of light from a street lamp above and into the ominous blanket of darkness at the mouth of the woods. If Schryer was so high and mighty, why did he need Davis present for the discovery of a body? Surprisingly enough, he managed to come up with a lot of reasons, one being that Schryer simply wanted him to suffer. The rest were minuscule enough for him to pass off, only focusing on the former. Since the first moment the two met, he knew that Schryer was going to be hell on Earth to deal with. It started when Davis straightened the tie of his green-grey blouse on a hot Tuesday afternoon in July outside the door of the Libreaux County Police Department. Detective Gillespie.  It rung like a bell of opportunity. A new life in an old town. He allowed himself a couple of seconds to take it all in. The familiar sights, the smell of pine and honey fencing him against his memories of that place. Given the opportunity, Davis would have driven figure eights around the city just for the euphoria his nostalgia brought him.

"Well, ain't you a sight for sore eyes all dressed up in them slacks in the middle of July." Davis brought his attention to the mass of flesh and tight jeans, a white tank top once upon a time, covered up by an winged navy blue officer vest, all topped with a shiney sherriff badge pinned to his buldging chest. Harold Schryer spat out something brown with a sour smile glued to his cracked lips. He straightened himself, almost forgetting to be presentable to a guest. First impressions were a key in Davis's book, and if he could hold one word to Schryer about his impression, it'd be 'asshole', simply put.

"And jeans are better?" Davis cut back, striding up to Schryer who was a good 3 inches smaller than Davis himself. At least he had that going for him. Schryer's beady brown eyes squinted up at Davis underneathe the brim of a brown and black hat, a large alligator stretching across the hood. Beneathe it were the words, "A Man's Best Friend.'

"Least my nuts ain't ridin' up my granny panties," he shot back, thrusting a hand forward. "I'm your new Sherriff, kid. First thing you gotta understand is that I do what I do to make people understand that it's okay to be an idiot. Sometimes, there ain't nothing you can do about it, you know?" Dismissing the grim reluctance to touch any part of that man, Davis met his shake full on, letting him know he meant business with a unnecessary grip. Schryer wasn't phased, jutting his chin to the right to deposit another loogy of God-knew-what.

"That's understandable. You should never argue with a fool, or people will be confused as to who the fool is." Schryer scowled immediately, raising up his oil and grit covered jeans in the typical cowboy fashion.

"That supposed to mean something?"

"I'd hope so," he answered simply. The two released hands quickly, the sweetest relief Davis felt in a long while. Sun beating down on the gator cap, he watched Schryer wheel over thoughts in his head, his eyes darting to Davis then away again. If Davis listened hard enough, he could have heard the gears rotating over one another. It was that easy. In his younger years, Schryer could have been quite the charmer with the way he held himself, like the mass of his muscles threatened to weigh down on him. Age wasn't kind to the muscles that he once bore. His stomach remained slouched an inch or two over his waist line that was too defined by the tight squeeze of his rancher's belt. He hadn't let himself go yet, Davis presumed, which could have even been congratulated or pitied. The man was nearing on his years, tiny grey streaks peppering the top of his dark brown curls. He finally broke the silence with a raspy chuckle.

"You're gonna fit in just fine, rookie. You came early and you're just in time too! Got some paper work in the office D that could use some... detectin',"he drawled, a rougish grin breaking the seams of his deep tanned face. Davis neither reacted to the 'rookie' addition nor the obvious bait Schryer tossed at his feet like a matador's red flag. He glanced at him and shrugged a little, shoving his hands in his pocket in search of a quarter, an amused smile challenging Schryer even farther.

"Lucky me. I know one man can't do it all and I'm elated to help you with the hard stuff,"he said evenly, nodding to the steaming Schryer before he strode into the LCPD building. Somehow, even in the dead of the night in the pouring rain, Davis could feel the boring stare of Harold Schryer on the back of his neck. Rain pelted the canopy leaves, splitting a droplet of water to maximize the rainfall. A fallen oak stretched across a film of moss and water, bordered by wild bramble and severed twigs. The crickets screamed high into the air, awakening the chilling calm of the night. A pair of wayfaring lights caught Davis's attention, his boots sinking inconsiderably into the mire. The first voice he caught was Harold Schryer himself, deepening the scowl on his face.

"In my county, no shittin'! People think they can just kill a woman and slink off into the night like the sleazy rats they are.  It ain't gonna fly, I'm tellin' you."

"It seems it already has," Davis called, greeting the other cop with the same nod he gave to everyone. The short one on Schryer's right was Paris Girtright who never said much of anything. He couldn't be blamed. The poor kid was a former Army veteren sent back to the States because his intelligence scores didn't match up with their prerequisites. In the nicest form, he was too special to aim a M16 in a battle rife marksmen test, so he became a cop in Libreaux County. They let him have a night stick. His eyes were a brilliant blue, sending Davis a glazed stare and wave. A swell of empathy swept through Davis as he returned a wave of his own, only for it to come crashing down when Schryer barked his name.

"Quit your gawkin' and come here. I didn't hire you to stare at horse flies."

"Oh? You'd think so, considering." Schryer turned his back to him and bent his head closer to what Davis deemed was the body of Jessica Collins. The usual putrid stench of decaying, perfumed skin wasn't present. She hadn't been dead for long. Jessica Collins was spread out on her bed of pine needles, a crop of moss and autumn stained leaves. Her hair that was once a golden kissed blonde was now a tan, mangled mess. Her eyes were closed to Davis's relief. Her lips were bruised and cracked, most likely due to a copious kiss. Her face was clear of any bruise and blood, only heavily applied makeup around her eyes and now sheen-white cheeks. She resembled a clown, her swollen red lips parted to say yeild neither a scream nor cry of help. Davis noted the blood stains through her elongated cream t-shirt and white-washed jeans.

"She ain't been here long," Schryer concluded.

"Not by the looks of it. The insects and animals would have beat us here if she had been." Schryer made a face that Davis ignored, dropping down to his knees. He hardly noticed it, but right below her chin lay a thin line of blood, stretching across her entire neck like a necklace. "She was choked, most likely by a tight line. Fishline maybe. Our killer took his time with the death,"he added, eyes sweeping over the blood caked clothing.

"Seems he had a little fun with her before ending it,"he commented, stretching his body back to his full height.

"Jesus H, Gillespie," Schryer swore, winning a sketched eyebrow from Davis.

"You'd rather me gawk?"

"I'd rather you not talk about the dead like that. This was someone's daughter or sister or such."

"Yeah? And the killer is someone's son or husband or such. Your point being?"

"The killer isn't dead," Schryere said flatly. He gave Davis a glare that could have been mistaken for a mask of what he was truly feeling. Failure. It was a fleeting image, there and gone in less than a second.

"Not yet he isn't and he won't be until we find him, which I'm assuming is the reason you brought me here?"

"Yeah," Schryer drawled, nodding his head towards a small strip of paper lying listlessly next to Jessica's right elbow. The rain did a number on it. One touch of it and it would have tore right down the middle. Attention diverted, Davis lowered himself once more, his eyes fighting to make out the words on the note.

"'I hope well of to-morrow; and will lead you, where rather I'll expect victorious life, then death and honour.'"

"The hell does that mean?" Schryer barked. Davis's stomach took a grim turn at the sinking reality of it.

"Only one thing: That our Shakespeare here has done this more than once." Schryer swore deeply, forcing his view away from the body, note, and Davis himself. The pieces fell in place one by one while Davis reread the note twice more. Murderers never left notes. Masterminds did. As if he spoke it aloud, Schryer swore a little louder.

"You fuckin' kiddin' me? This is Libreaux. There's no such thing as a you-know-who."

"Come on now, don't be childish about this. What normal murderer leaves a note that says nothing about the death at the scene of the crime? The only thing they leave behind are semen stains, and we don't have any of that," Davis explained. "We have a careful killer here. Strangulation is a simple, clean procedure." Schryer locked his eyes onto Davis's incredulously.

"Clean? There ain't nothing clean about it! The woman's dead, for Christ's sake! You can't get much dirtier!"

"You can and you know it."

"Shit," Schryer spat, twisting his body away from Jessica and onto Paris who stood immoble. "You believe this guy?" Face absolutely placid, Paris exchanged stoic glances with Davis before shurgging to suspend judgement.

"Who found her?" Davis questioned.

"Augustus Booner. He gave the station the call." Davis felt his stomach drop all the way to his knees. Augustus Booner of all people. Gus Booner was the very last person Davis wanted to be dealing with when it pertained to the law. There were too many memories, too many promises. He dismissed the anxiety that wound itself against his throat tightly.

"Where's he now?"

"In the back of a pick up with his hands cuffed," Schryer replied simply.

"Christ, Schryer, he only found the body! That's no reason to lock the man up." Schryer huffed.

"Reason enough for me."

"There are questions you need to ask and rights you need to state--"

"Yeah, that's all peaches and cream, kid. We can do that all at the station when he's behind that mirror and that microphone."

"That's not the way it works."

"You tellin' me how to do my job?" Schryer spat, pulling up his britches. His attempt at intimidation slid off of Davis much like the rain above.

"No, just telling you not to do mine." They exchanged burning glares, one titan against another. Davis didn't come to Libreaux to get treated like he was some sort of intern, regardless of what Lead Officer believed him to be. He had seen things worst than the body of Jessica Collin's during his time in Meterie, things that weren't easily unseen. Schryer had only been cop of a county who had never been introduced to something so foreign and so stuttering. Libreaux may have been a small county in a nearly nonexistent parish, but death was a poison, taking no care to intoxicate every crack in a human mind as it could. Davis knew exactly what he was dealing with and he shuddered at the truth of it. A new life in an old town.

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PostSubject: Re: Writing Wrongs   Fri Jan 24, 2014 2:41 pm

Two beams from behind them caught the trio's attention, watching a slim silhouette of a woman creep up to them. Davis clenched his jaw, dismissing the notion that Jessica's body was there to recount her death, her last seconds of life. Schryer scoffed loudly in his throat and Paris barely twitched.

"Didn't StickHead tell you to come alone?" he questioned.

"He did."

"Then who the hell is that? Fuckin' Mother Nature?" Barbara faltered in her steps, the anvil of regret finally weighing down on the soles of her shoes, now caked from her wedged heel to her ankle. She was well aware that she was making a big mistake following the auburn Crown Vic all the way to the marshes, especially in those heels and her deep plum business get up. It was a miracle that her pathetic excuse for a Corolla decided to start up. She growled and smacked the side of the steering wheel as if that would make it any less than scrap metal. The dectective's car smoothly pulled out onto the gravel road to her dismay, and with the fifth and final attempt the car purred to life. When she managed to slip past Lionus and Travis who were enraptured in a conversation about Fall Bogo items, there was no reason for her to turn back then. The words 'body' and 'marshes' were reason enough for her interest to be piqued. It came with being a hell-bent intern report. At times, she thought the curse of wanting to know everything was implanted in her while she was in the womb. All of the Marbet's wanted to be caught up on all the latest things in Libreaux: stocks, business, television ratings, the county census. Barbara's calling was coupled with a pad and a high since of perception. It helped her find out what the detective and cop were talking about at Rockwell, and it brought her right at the doorstep of a crime scene. When Harold Schryer swore, however, her confidence took a dip.

"Uh, hey. Don't shoot and all that jazz. Just a reporter here," she explained, going as far as to raise her hands in the "we come in peace" manor. The three of them scrutinized her for far too long before Harold cracked his wide, jester's grin.

"Oh, it's you, Barb. What you doin' out here and how'd you hear about this so fast?"

"How indeed," David said, his mouth twisting. She made a face and carefully stepped a little closer, feeling that Harold had given her permission to insert herself.

"You know us reporters. We have that sense," she replied dryly.

"We all have ears, Apples," Davis shot back. Barbara narrowed her gaze at the man she had followed in the dead of the night. His expression was just as blank as it was when he warned the kids about the use of drugs. Even death didn't shake him. She kept her gaze away from the sprawled body behind the two cops, her chin lifted defiantly against his questioning scruinty.

"Who was she?"

"Jessica Collins, the track leader over at Rockwell El, darlin'," Harold replied, earning him an annoyed glare from Davis.

"What are you doing here?" he asked in the least sarcastic way he could. Barbara tipped her chin over to him in a challenging manor.

"Am I being interrogated for doing my job, Detective?"

"Not at all, Apples. It's just mighty strange that someone decides to follow me without even introducing themselves first. It's rude." Barbara glared him, fighting the urge to flick him off without seeming like a PMSing teenage girl. The broach pinned beneath her chin seemed larger than she remembered it being, casting an embarrassed glance at it before returning her steady gaze on Davis.

"Barbara Marbet, Intern Reporter for Libreaux Publications." Davis mouthed the word "Ahh", his smile now having detoured to pure entertainment.

"Then I don't expect you to know how this works, being an intern and all. This, my dear, is a crime scene, and unless you have a badge and a gun in that order, you aren't allowed anywhere near it. For future refference, of course." The insult struck her head on, a typhoon of blood rushing to her cheeks in anger. Harold's eyes darted from the two before he finally intervened with a heavy, outrageous clearing of his throat.

"Come off it, Gillespie. She knows what she's doing. Don't get your pantie's in a knot."

"The only thing she knows how to do is stalk which isn't looking so good at the scene of a crime, does it Officer?" Unable to tame her frustration, Barbara thrust a chipped nail at his chest.

"I didn't stalk you. I have more important things to do with my time than stalk a moose's ass like you."

"Clearly," he murmred, his eyes darkening with amusement. She took a deep, shaky breath. It was all she could not to strike him across the face in front of the presense of two cops. Harold seemed to have sensed her furstration, stepping in front of her to give Davis a scolding glare. His expression didn't falter.

"Come off it. Let the woman do her job without you getting all in her head." Davis shrugged innocently.

"And here I thought that'd be hard to do."

"Go piss up a tree," Barbara snarled under her breath. He merely blinked in mock surprise, moving an inch or two out of the line of fire her eyes sent.

"Anxious for a view already? Does that make you a bad apple?" She didn't grant him the satisfaction of hearing her raise her voice. He was doing nothing but getting in the way of a potential story the Publications wasn't going to let her write. Even that notion was compelling enough to drown out Detecitve Douchestick and all of his glory. Jessica was strewn right under an archway of two very large willows, the tops of the trees drooped like the heads of mourners. The rain dripped off of the leaves much like tears, and Barbara's throat knotted quickly. The swamps were always a haven in her eyes. Many times she'd wish she could run through the marshes with the different animals, smells, sights, discoveries. Even in the rain, beauty poked its head from the canopies of trees and entangled locks of moss hanging from a stray cypress or two. But tonight the woods gave her nothing but a sense of foreboding and neasea. Barbara unconsciously drew her arms around herself, slicking out the rain from above on her cold skin. She pushed a damp strand of her cocoa hair from her eyes to get a better view at Jessica Collins. Aside from the blood on her legs and chest, she wasn't completely maimed to the point of looking away. In fact, if it weren't for the lack of color in her skin, she could have been mistaken for someone sleeping peacefully on a bed of amber leaves.

Jessica was not sleeping. She was dead. Dead and left in the middle of the marshes with nothing but the screeching of cicadas and stinging rain. Nothing but the tall, majestic trees to cradle her and while she slowly began to decay. Surprisngly enough, Barbara's eyes stung with the threat of a rushing, oncoming tear parade. Who would kill someone like Jessica Collins? She was a track leader of an Elementary school, happily married with two children, to Barbara's knowledge. Her reputation as an athelete lead to her getting the job at Rockwell. That and the fact that everyone in Libreaux knew her and her family. Barbara even remebered giving her a nod and a wave each time she found herself at Rockwell, writing stories about meaningless Show and Tell projects and basket ball game stats. How could someone who worked so well with kids, who had such a steady life and job and reputation end up abandoned and left to rot? A flurry of questions buzzed through her head before she realized that she was being spoken to.

"I jus' don' see why anyone would jus' kill a lady like that. In the middle of broad daylight too cuz she ain't been here long." Barbara forced her eyes away from the crime scene and onto Harold who stood raking his fingers through his matted crop of grey-black hair.

"Things just happen," she murmured with a shrug, not too sure of where she should place her emotions on the matter. Davis immediately scowled towards her, his amused expression erased as if it were never there.

"No, these things don't 'just happen', Apples. This small of a county like Libreaux doesn't just get a murder at its doorsteps, much less one by a serial killer."

"A what?" she choked. Harold swore loudly and swung his mass in front of Gillespie. There was a red ring around his ears and right above his mushed cheekbones that were slicked from the rain.

"We ain't got no serial killer! Don't just be poppin' off that word every chance you get!"

"Oh, and who do you suppose left this? Captain Crunch?" he retorted, waving the flimsy note back and forth. Barbara strained her eyes to get a glimpse at it only to have Davis carefully tuck the article inside his coat pocket, still steeling her with the same glare. "Libreaux isn't the paradise you make it out to be, Schryer. It doesn't take much for a dog to go rabid every once in a while. You just got to find the right women and before you know it, you got yourself a mad man."

"And you're saying Mrs.Collins was the "right woman?", she retorted, sending him the same challenging gaze. "If a mother of two and a wife makes the profile of the "right woman" to be killed like this, you've got to be the sickest man I've ever met. Believe you me, Detective, if there are any dogs in this part of the county, they sure as hell aren't from around here." Her eyes remained on him, probing and waiting for him to say something smart or sly about her comment. That was just a part of the way detectives work. They manage to piss her off while holding up a golden apple just outside of reach, tantalizing her with information but at the cost of a bite in the ass. Davis stood over her, tall and expressionless.

"So I've heard," he murmured.  She had about enough time to seize him up as she did counting blades of grass beneath her feet. It was obvious that he wasn't going to let her know what was on the note and more about the serial killer comment that put Harold over the edge. In fact, Detective Gillespie made it quite clear that she didn't belong where she was now. A tiny tinge of regret made it's way to base of her throat.

"I'll be taking my leave then, if you don't mind," Barbara said, planting her hand on her hip and leaning her head towards Harold. "Thank you."

"Was nothin'. I'd rather have you string up this nightmare than any one of those stuck up old tards in the Publications anyhow." Barbara forced him a smile. With one final glance to both Davis and Parish (who she felt hadn't moved as much as Jessica did), she started off towards her car. What started off as a good idea only turned into a migraine dancing on her frontal lobe. She internally kicked herself in the shin over and over again. Stupid Marbet. You can't even write a decent story about hunting season let alone a full blown murder. Especially one by a serial killer. Barbara unconsciously held her throat when she finally made it to her car, wrenching the door open before vaulting in the inside. A serial killer in Libreaux County. Had Jessica been the first death? Who would be the second? Barbara let these question bounce around while she tried for the umpteenth time to start the car. The only response from the engine was a faint vibration under the seat before the car stilled.

"Perfect,"she growled, swinging the door open and slamming it with more force than intended. The car was one of many things that wasn't working for her. Her career was a mockery of her skill, she had no friends but Lionus who would talk to her for hours on and about sex and fashion, and she owned her own house and a cat. She sniffed, supposing she should consider herself lucky that she had those things. Holding her chin up an inch, she bypassed Davis's curious gaze and went straight to Harold who was mumbling something to Parish. The kid could have melted away right in front of her eyes and still Barbara would refuse to believe he was ever there in the first place.

"Everything alright?" Harold questioned.

"I need a ride,"she said simply. "The rain did a number on my car, not that it wasn't a piece of shit to begin with."

"Ah, well uh, I'd take you home in a heartbeat, sugar, but I have to entertain the rats in yellow. Forensics will be here any minute." A second passed before he stuck his thumb at Davis. "The detective will be glad to take you home, won't you, Gillespie?" Davis wasn't given the opportunity to speak about his services being volunteered.

"No." Barbara snapped.

"And why not? You scared I'm gonna bite you?" Davis said, one side of his mouth curling in amusement.

"Hardly. I'm afraid of the fleas."

"Do whatever you want, Apples. If you wanna stay here in the rain, that's fine by me. As for me, I'm going home to a bed and a beer." She made a face and held her glare for a second longer. He was the last person she wanted to be stuck in a vehicle with. Barbara was sure that the entire ride home would be filled with nothing but his sardonic smile and witty remarks. She turned and looked to Harold for some assistance on the matter, but he did nothing but shrug. Defeated, Barbara returned her head to its upright position.

"Fine. Let's go." She turned sideways and headed off towards his Crown Vic that was sitting in the middle of the woods like a small dog awaiting a flying stick. Davis faced Schryer with an annoyed scowl.

"Next time, don't call me to come all the way in the woods to read a piece of paper. You learned this in kindergarten." With that, he cast a final look towards Jessica, her body looking a lot less peaceful and a lot more rigid after the affects of rigomortis. She was still beautiful even beneath the shattered rays of moonlight beaming down on her skin like mini spot lights. Davis eyed the position of her body, making a mental image for the evidence meeting that he would no doubt be a part of. Regardless of Schryer's lack of acceptance, there was not a strand of doubt in Davis's mind that there was a larger mind at work. Even in a tiny place like Libreaux, evil has a way of sneaking up on the strongest of people. He heaved a heavy sigh, the note in his breast pocket feeling another pound larger than it did before.

Barbara made sure that she would say nothing throughout the entire ride back to Libreaux. The detective had already gotten under her skin well before she reached the passenger door. Her jaw began to hurt from being clenched so tightly in her efforts to say nothing to him. Instead, she turned her focus to the murder as the Vic rocked along the gravel paved road. Jessica Collin's dull eyes remained in the back of her mind, imploring Barbara to hold eye contact with her, to see what no one else what see. She felt this way towards every victim in any crime she reported, if she had been so lucky. They all had stories untold with justice hanging just outside of reach, near enough for Barbara to touch but snatched out of her grasp because she was nothing but an intern. A tag along to the big time writers in the Libreaux Publictions. Barbara fidgeted in her seat when she felt the eyes of the detective on the back of her neck, her brown hair damped and crumpled at the ends. With a sharp huff, her attention was returned back to the road as the Vic rolled alongside the golden cornfields.

"You have a radio in your car?" he asked, his voice rumbling over the silence in deep, clear waves.

"Why? Does me liking music intrigue you as much as much as my job does?" she said irritably. Davis shrugged, his lips twitching in an attempt to hold back his sardonic grin.

"Not nearly as much," he said with a nod. "I don't too much care to drive in silence. I get enough of that at home."

"Shocker," she grumbled which lit another smile on Davis's face.

"You always this bitter?"

"What's with all the questions, detective? If I'm not mistaken, if you want to use any of my words against me in the court of law, there are a good number of rights you need to state before doing so. Other than that, I don't have to tell you a thing." she said, folding her hands in her lap to signify that the conversation was over. Davis cut her a glance, chuckling at her hardened expression.

"Law 101, yes. Your internship sure is teaching you the basics all right."

"Yet you're still talking to me,"she said tightly.

"Simply because I don't plan on using anything you say as nothing more than a conversation carrier. Besides, I don't think the court of law cares too much about why you're always so bitter." She shot him a narrow glare and her fingers under the grip handle above her curled. She was getting no where with him by conducting in nonsense conversations. Barbara didn't want to get anywhere but out of that car and into her house, to an inviting bed and a sleeping tabby. Once she was asleep, she could let the murder disappear in tiny fragments just the same way all of the others did. Jessica and her distant blue eyes would haunt her only for an hour or so before disappearing into the back of Barbara's mind. The Vic rocked underneath the loose, mud caked road. Davis arched a wide, brown brow towards her.

"What's the matter with your car?"

"The starter is going bad. It may have bit the dust tonight because of the rain," she answered smoothly. He frowned.

"How are you going to get back and forth to work?"

"I'll walk."

"Sounds dangerous," he sniffed.

"I'm a big girl. I can handle a little exercise," she said dryly, pulling a smile from Davis.

"I bet you could." She shot him an incredulous glare as if he had suddenly sprouted butterfly wings.

"You can't honestly be this big of an asshole, can you?" she questioned. He shifted his weight against his seat, his deep eyes remaining on the windshield that was taking on the violent rain.

"Depends on who you ask. Personally, I don't think I'm much of anything. I do a little work, solve a case or two, and drink beer. I guess you can just call me an Average Joe kind of person."

"That'd be giving you too much credit," she sneered, cutting him another glare from the corner of her eye. "I do agree on one thing, though. You're not much of anything." He chuckled lowly at her response.

"Woah now, Apples. You're starting to agree with me about something."

"Like the serial killer?" She was surprised at how simple the question came out. She watched Davis's grip on the steering wheel tighten along with the smile on his face. A passing street light swept over the two when he took a left turn onto Straight Street.

"That would be none of your business."

"I'm a reporter. I would assume that any major happenings in Libreaux are indeed 'my business.'" she said tightly.

"Intern reporter."

"And you're a replacement detective." Davis locked eyes with her, his gaze carrying an unfamiliar heat inside of her chest. He seemed momentarily distracted from the road or anything other than her, for that matter. Even as he returned his eyes to the road, Barbara could feel the waves of contemplation roll off of him in the silence of the Vic, nothing but the rain and the stray pieces of rock rolling through above the tires. Barbara knew nothing about him and what he was capable of, much less of what he had been through. He wasn't like any of the other detectives that worked for the LCPD. He was certainly a lot more endowed than the others, being smart enough not to show his face in every single news coverage of any crime like the ones before him. Detective Gillespie remained in the shadows of the county until the recent murder of Jessica Collins. It was the first time she had seen him, apart from the D.A.R.E meeting which he didn't look all too pleased attending. An embarrassed streak of red crept across her nose when Davis sent her a grin, his smile amused and void of any prior contemplation.

"You've done your homework, I see." Barbara shrugged, her eyes sliding to the window beside of her.

"I was going through paper work and your name just sprout up."

"I see. First it's paper work, then it's your presence at the meeting, then the crime scene, and now my car. I think you have an obsession." His smile was wide and wicked, his voice low and seemingly closer to her ear than she remembered it being.

"It was boredom," she clarified.

"Clipping your fingernails is boredom, Apples. Just say it. You're interested in me far more than you let on." Barbara sent him a disgusted scowl, fighting hard not unlock her own door and vault out into the cold, county road with nothing attached to her but the clothes on her back. The thought was momentarily contenting.

"It's Barbara, not Apples, and the only thing I'm interested in is Jessica."

"Why?" The question took her aback.

"Why not? Someone is dead in Libreaux County. I don't know if you know this, but it's definitely more front page worthy than cattle grazing, that's for damn sure." Barbara pointed him towards a sharp turn to the left, the car finally bumping off of Straight Street and creeping onwards towards Barbara's fortress of solitude.

"I meant why Jessica? You knew her?" he asked carefully. Barbara answered him with a shrug.

"Who didn't? She was the track leader at Rockwell for about four years. Before that, she sort of put Libreaux on the map when it came to her track running days. She competed in the Parish finals an won against Kenner, which was a big accomplishment for Libreaux, believe it or not. In a way, she was famous without doing anything but running through the county." Davis listened to her with reserved judgement, keeping his focus on the road and the road only until Barbara steered him to her house. It was larger than he expected it would be, especially for a house placed in the middle of nowhere. On both sides of the driveway were columns of Spanish Moss trees, bordering along side the white-washed brick house. It was easily 2 stories high with a chimney and a gargantuan backyard that gave way into a bristling thicket of woods. There were no other cars, animal, or life to be seen when the he made his way through the driveway. He assumed she lived alone in that massive place, with no one but herself and her stories that were little more than fickle in the Publications view.

He waited until she found the buried seat belt to shift himself towards her, finally earning him a  chance to look at her without driving his car into a tree.

"We will find out what happened. I suggest you leave the reporting part to the people at the Publications. It isn't good to let your emotions get in the way of your work, especially if the victim meant something to you." Instead of calming her like he intended, Barbara only tense up, shooting him a steeling glare.

"I just said everybody knew her and I would appreciate it if you stop treating me like I'm some wide-eyed highschool determinst. I know a lot more about a murder than your ego refuses to let you believe." He grinned, shrugging his broad shoulders in defeat.

"Then you should know that a serial killer always strikes multiple times to familiar targets."

"What are you implying, detective?" she shot, narrowing her gaze at him. She wasn't sure whether she saw a flash of warning in his eyes or amusement before she opened the car door.

"Only what I said before: Stay out of it. This is a cop's warning." Barbara laughed, unoffended.

"Oh yeah? And this is a county's welcome," she concluded, sticking the bird at him before storming off towards her front door. She heard his Vic rev out of her driveway even before she managed to get her front door open. Even as she murmured a welcome to her beige tabby Sandy, Barbara knew that she got herself too far into it than she wanted to believe.



[END OF CHAPTER 2]

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