(Psychic horror. And on we go.)
There are times when you feel like you are in over your head. My return to the crime scene convinced me the water line was well above me.
I had braced for a repeat experience of my previous visits. I ate light and was well hydrated, expecting to brave the maelstrom. It was a tense ride in another cruiser, driven by another unwilling young cop. I kept my head clear and actively forced myself to keep from clenching my jaw or squeezing my fists.
Before I stepped into the clearing I knew something had changed. There was nothing. It was almost the opposite of before. The mad rush that had overwhelmed me was replaced by an almost equally mad void; and it had the opposite effect on me: peaceful tranquility.
It felt as though every speck of psychic energy had been sucked out of the area. I walked to the middle of the clearing and it felt like there was nothing there. Only the faintest, distant traces of anything could be felt from the nearby officers. As disconcerting as it was for my sixth sense to fade out like that, it was also joyous, peaceful. It was like walking out of a rock concert and into a sensory deprivation tank. I lost track of time as I simply enjoyed the moment, unprofessional or not.
The moment was disrupted by the approach of more officers, and the void did not resist the intrusion of energy. The canine unit arrived with two German shepherds, almost frantically sniffing at the ground. They were as unbothered as I was. What had changed?
I made some notes and began moving to the perimeter I had mapped out. The void felt like it was unstable, probably collapsing under the weight of surrounding energies, yet I managed to determine it mirrored the earlier maelstrom. It was new territory for me, and left me feeling awkward and uncomfortable. I was in over my head.
I had been in over my head before, just not that far. It was like sitting down to an exam after attending only half the lectures, doing none of the reading and no studying. All I could think to do was walk through the area as systematically as possible, maybe to catch a trace of something. I refocused as I trudged through the brush and cleared areas, enough to stay open to whatever I might pick up. It was nearly supper time when I had finished, and nothing came through. The police presence was easily discernible from the nothingness of the scene, which was eroding rapidly. The center of the clearing remained calm, when I returned, but not as much as before. It was slowly and surely losing ground to the surroundings, a psychic equilibrium wearing it down.
Still, I took the time to enjoy the relative peace of the moment. It was almost therapeutic after the earlier scorching. As I basked, my mind started to go over the case. The details, even factoring out my psychic observations, were going to be a challenge. If forensics failed to get any traction with the physical evidence the investigation faced huge challenges. Who were these victims? How did they get here? Who were the perpetrators and where did they go? It meant a lot of uncheck boxes if the science came up empty.
Adding to this, I had come up with nothing. This was nothing new for me; sometimes there was just nothing, frustrating as it was. The wrinkle, this time, lay in the strange, unprecedented experiences I had faced; the overwhelming sensations of the raw crime scene, the matching void that followed, and the threatening message from the dream. I needed more time and more access to the physical evidence, even though it would be hell. Forensics labs, cemeteries and morgues are all nightmare scenarios for me.
I sent a quick text to Adam, whose cell number I had managed to acquire, then asked the officer in charge for a lift downtown. I made notes while I waited for the ride, which got me to thinking about the situation and how strange it was. The more I thought about it, the more it jogged my memory. The experience of the void, especially, seemed to ring familiar. The ride arrived, breaking my train of thought; doubly so because it was the same cop who had given me my initial ride to the crime scene.
“Hey,” he greeted me. “How are you doing?”
*steep, wooden stairs-clover-bright lights*
“Been better,” I admitted. “How about you?”
“Busy,” he said with a smile. “Things have been buzzing with all this going on, so they are running us steady. Overtime is going to be mandatory for a while, I think.”
I checked his name, which I had deliberately avoided before. Melvin Farthington. “I suppose that won’t hurt, then?”
“I am always good for more hours,” he said, putting the car in gear and driving out. “Have you cracked this case, yet?”
*poker chips-a poorly played violin-a paper cup-a box from a cheap chemistry set*
I nearly laughed out loud. “A stand still, really,” I answered. “This has been a unique experience. I need to cover more ground before I draw any conclusions, though.”
He frowned at that. “Really?”
“Yes, really,” I said. “Something about all this is heavily charged on a spiritual, psychic level. Until I cover my bases, there is not much more I can determine.”
“Well, that makes sense considering the scale of what happened,” he reasoned. “I mean, that’s more murders than we’ve had in the last ten years. Nothing normal about that.”
We rode in silence for a bit, my mind rolling over things. Awkward silence gave me time to process.
*blue paint on a wall-a feel of rough fabric-a stained coffee mug*
“Did anything ever come from that missing person? The kid from Timberton?” I asked.
“I haven’t heard anything,” he said. “You think there’s a connection?”
“Awfully long shot,” I replied, “but I hate ruling anything out, especially when the timing is so close.”
“Fair enough,” he said. “I’m sure they are considering that, too.”
“I hope so,” I said, letting the ride return to awkward silence the rest of the way.
*walking on hot pavement-a wine cork-smoke*