Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Specter of Death- Part 23

          “Hang on a sec,” Kim interrupted. “Before anyone goes anywhere, we need to coordinate with Detective McDonald. The last thing we need is to interfere with her department. I’m going to call her first before anyone does anything, agreed?”
Unenthusiastic nods were the only sign of agreement but Kim ran with it. She picked up her phone and dialed Marie’s direct line. On the fifth ring, just as she was about to hang up, the detective answered.
            “Hey, Marie, it’s Kim. We think we might have uncovered something that will help decipher those symbols. Did you want us to—”
On the other end, Detective McDonald interrupted, leaving Bill, Angela and Gillian only speculation as to what was being said. With the exception of a few, “uh huhs,” Kim remained silent until she said goodbye. Her friends stared at her with wide, expectant, eyes.
            “She’s sending someone from her team over to find out what we’ve got and they’ll take it from there,” said Kim. “In the meantime, Doctor Tynesdale, why don’t you continue with your other findings?”
For twelve minutes, Dr. Tynesdale had a captive audience. He was free to prattle on about his theories and no one objected because they had no choice but to wait. On the thirteenth minute, a young woman wearing a trendy business suit entered the morgue.
            “Hello, I’m looking for an M.D.I. named Kim,” the woman said as she pulled out her credentials and flashed her badge. “Detective McDonald sent me.”
Kim stepped forward, extended her hand, and introduced herself.
            “Here I thought I’d met everyone on Marie’s team.” Kim chuckled. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
            “Actually, I just transferred here. Detective Gabriella Sanchez and it is a pleasure to meet you too.”
Kim introduced the others to Gabriella and marveled that someone so young had already reached the rank of detective. Clearly, the others were surprised too but it was Dr. Tynesdale who addressed the pink elephant in the room.
            “Dear me! You look like you could be one of my students,” he exclaimed. “You must have been on the fast track to already achieve a detective’s position. If you don’t mind my asking …”
            “If she doesn’t, I do!” Bill interrupted. “That’s an inappropriate question and has nothing to do with the case, Phillip. I apologize, Detective Sanchez, on behalf of my colleague. Now, let’s just get back to the case.”
To speed things up, Kim filled in the new detective on what they’d discovered so far and their idea to check out The Seekers’ inner sanctum.
            “Sounds good. I’ll go check them out,” said Detective Sanchez.
            “Look, Detective, one of the victims was our friend and, well, I hate not being useless. Mind if I tag along?” Bill asked. “I won’t interfere or bother you. I need to do something to help even if it’s just keeping my ears open.”
            “And to keep an eye on the young detective, right? That whole bit about my age was planned, wasn’t it? You wanted to get on my good side so I’d let you come along.” 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Specter of Death- Part 22

In painstakingly slow and deliberate speech, Dr. Tynesdale explained the symbols found on the victims prior to Seth.
            “Now, here’s where we find something different,” the doctor said, pointing to an autopsy photo of Seth. “Up until your friend, the victims were all 'keys to the beyond.' This time, there is a key rune intertwined with this symbol here.” Dr. Tynesdale held up his tablet with a page from Seth’s Runeation. “However, it also resembles another symbol on page eighty-three so it could mean two very different things.”
    Sensing his colleague was more accustomed to giving lectures than offering his professional opinion for a murder case; Bill discreetly glanced at the ladies to see how they were holding up. Kim’s jaw clenched, in an effort to keep from interrupting, while Angela chewed on her lower lip. Gillian’s eyes had a glazed, distant appearance. It wasn’t until he noticed her hands—balled into fists so tight that her knuckles had turned white and Bill feared her fingernails would dig into her palms and draw blood. It was time for him to intervene.
            “Since time is of the essences here, Phillip, what can we do to aid in determining which symbols are correct?” Bill asked. “You know I’m willing to do anything I can to assist. I’m sure these lovely ladies would too.”
Angela and Gillian nodded in agreement. The ringing of Dr. Tynesdale’s phone cut off Kim’s verbal acknowledgement. From the doctor’s end, he uttered “ah, yes” and “I see” multiple times before the call ended. Again, the four friends waited for answers that seemed to never come.
            “It seems we were wrong in assuming your friend Seth created these symbols. Apparently, they are part of the teachings for a group called Seekers of the Astral Beyond, also known as The Seekers. There is an acknowledgement to The Seekers on the last page of Runeation.” Dr. Tynesdale explained. “My assistant informed me that The Seekers have; what I believe they refer to as … an inner sanctum, on the other side of town.”
            “I’ll go!” Gillian blurted out before the doctor could finish his sentence.
Worry creased Angela’s forehead and knitted her eyebrows together. Both Kim and Bill wore matching expressions.
            “Now, dear,” Dr. Tynesdale answered. “Please don’t take offense but I think this might be a better job for our mutual friend, Bill. I might be old fashioned but sending a beautiful, young woman into a hive of fanatics just doesn’t sound chivalrous … or safe! They could snatch you up and we’d never see you again. Cults like The Seekers have a terrible reputation.”
            “I can take care of myself,” Gillian objected. She hated being brushed aside simply for being a woman and her scowl showed it.
            “Jilly, we know you can,” Kim said as she placed a comforting hand on Gillian’s arm. “But, we have no idea who these people are. For all we know, they might be responsible for Seth’s murder. I think I speak for everyone when I say we can’t bear losing another friend. Maybe it would be best if we found another way for you to help.”
            “So, why is okay for Bill to go alone? If they killed Seth they can kill any of us,” argued Gillian.

            “You’re right, no one should go alone,” said Angela. “That’s why I am going with Bill. If it wasn’t for that shadow spirit thing following you, I’d be behind you going, Jilly, but until we know who or what that thing is … I think you should lay low.”