(Internet is up, so I am sneaking this on before the electricity goes off in an hour)
Rick glanced at his watch. “It’s nearly three. We’ve got to go. Rayne, are you okay to travel?”
Rayne sat in the back seat of the car, with her feet on the driveway and the door balanced against her left knee. The past-visions had taken a toll on her. She wasn’t in much pain, but she was exhausted. She raised her head and stared at Rick for a moment, and then nodded her head.
“Maybe you should drop us off at my apartment,” Jenna suggested as she climbed into the front passenger seat. “I’ll ride in with you tomorrow to retrieve my car.”
Rick waited until Rayne had settled in and closed her door. He walked to the driver’s side and climbed in. “That’s a good idea,” he finally uttered. “Did you send a report to Trip?”
“I’ll do it now.” Jenna pulled her iPad and stylus out of her briefcase and began clicking away. When she finished, she handed the tablet to Rayne. “Did I record everything accurately?” She knew she had, but she needed to get Rayne engaged. She’d barely spoken since she told Jenna what she’d seen.
Rayne took the tablet and scanned the email. She handed it back to Jenna. “Yes, it looks fine. How did you know what the blue lion meant?”
“It’s a local high school mascot. I didn’t grow up around here, but I’ve lived here the past seven years. I’ve seen that logo a million times.”
“Thank you. I didn’t know if I’d seen a logo or an actual blue lion for a while. I felt silly even telling you about it.”
Rick looked back at Rayne through the rearview. “It’s a good thing you told us. It could be an important clue. If he is alumni of the school, we may have narrowed our search.”
Rayne flashed him a half-smile. “I don’t envy Trip. He has a motley crew of clues to investigate.”
Rick laughed and pulled out of the driveway. “He’ll be fine. He lives for those odd clues.”
As they backed into the street, the Haskells pulled into their driveway. Rayne glanced out the window at them. Mrs. Haskell got out of the car first and stood by the door. Their eyes locked. Rayne couldn’t tear hers away. She continued to stare back until their car disappeared out of sight. Find my baby. Please find my little girl. Rayne heard Mrs. Haskell’s words clearly. She felt nauseous and laid down in the backseat.
They drove back to Jenna’s apartment in silence. Rick dropped them off and went inside long enough to ensure that Rayne was settled. Satisfied that she would be okay, he went out to his car. He pulled out his cellphone and turned the ringer back on in case Jenna needed to get in touch with him before he made it to the field office. A text message came through from Mazi.
“Overnight shipped you a package. Should be at the field office this afternoon.”
Curiosity plagued Rick all the way to the police station. What could Mazi have possibly sent him? He’d called her that second day back in Sadie Falls when he went to check out of the B&B. Troy didn’t know it, but Rick always discussed his cases with Mazi. They had such an unusual connection and he appreciated her unique perspective on things. Maybe whatever she sent was related to the case, or it could just be something silly she found and thought he would love it. She did that sometimes.
By the time he’d pulled into the station, his mind had drifted back to Mindy Stevenson. He wondered if Trip had found anything out about her. When Rick walked into the conference room, he pulled the tech off to a corner of the room.
“Remember that woman back in Sadie Falls that I asked you to investigate?”
“Oh, yeah. I did some digging. I nearly forgot about her with all this case-related stuff. Her maiden name is Black. She got into a bit of trouble during her sophomore year at Hollins University. Arrested for prostitution and drugs. Dropped out of college and went back to Sadie Falls where she married Charles Stevenson six months later. That B&B they own, it’s deep in debt. The mother-in-law is in one of the worst run senior homes in the county.”
Rich rubbed his chin. “Interesting. Did you find any reason why Mindy and Rayne had a falling out?”
“They’re cousins. Father’s side. That’s all I could find out.”
Cousins? Why hadn’t Rayne mentioned that? “Thanks, Trip. Best let you get back to work.”
“No problem, G.I. man. Oh, there’s a package for you on the table.”
Rick had nearly forgotten about that. He walked over to the table and picked up the small square box. Normally, the box would have been opened and its contents searched, but everyone on the team knew who Mazi was. He opened the brown box. A small black velvet box and card were inside. He opened the card.
“For Rayne. Grounding and protection,” it read in Mazi’s handwriting.
Rick opened the box. A pendant and chain laid on a black silk bed. The pendant was a half-moon made of a dark grey metallic-looking stone encircled in silver on a silver chain. It was beautiful, but Rick had no idea what kind of stone it was and if it would do what Mazi claimed. He closed the box, slipped it into his pants pocket and joined the rest of the team at the crime scene boards.
# # #
While Rayne slept in the guest room, Jenna explored her tablet some more. She had access to the ‘net and decided to do some research. She went to the Fairfax High School website, but couldn’t find out anything about the team logo. She switched over to Wikipedia and discovered that their previous mascot had been called Johnny Reb, a Confederate soldier carrying a Confederate flag. That mascot had been removed in 1985. She realized that if the abductor had attended the high school, it would have been some time after then, but she couldn’t pinpoint when the lion became the mascot because shortly after Johnny Reb was removed, it had been replaced with crossed swords and something resembling a ball of flint. As best she could tell, the abductor was between thirty and forty-five, a white male with black hair. The burn scars on his hands could have occurred during childhood or on a job, possibly a welder or car mechanic. She decided to set up a Skype video with Trip to pick his brain.
“Howdy, Jenna. Enjoying your new toy?”
Jenna grinned. “Love it! Say, have you made any progress with the partial logo on that shirt?”
“Not really. Do you have any idea how many businesses around here have an A and an and-sign as a logo?”
“No clue. That’s why we leave that kind of thing up to you.”
“Yeah, well… there are tons of them.”
“Maybe I can narrow the scope down for you. Search for welding and car mechanic businesses.”
“What made you think of those?”
“In one of Rayne’s last visions, she saw burn scars on the abductor’s hands. So, I thought about possible jobs where those kinds of scars could occur.”
“You are brilliant, Jenna!”
“Thanks, Trip. It might not lead to anything. He could have received those scars as a kid or young man by some other means.”
“It’s a starting place. I’ll get right on it.”
Trip turned his head to the left and then back to Jenna. “Busy working on the boards with Mark and Denise.”
“Press conference. He’s about to release Rayne’s sketch.”
Jenna turned on the television. “Okay, I’ll watch it from here. Let me know if you find out anything.”
Jenna disconnected the Skype video and turned her attention to the television. The press conference was about to start. Troy stood outside the police station with reporters surrounding him.
“Thank you for coming,” he said to them and then looked straight into one of the cameras. “I have an unusual request from your viewing audience.” He held up the sketch. “If anyone out there can identify this young girl, please contact the Fairfax County Police Department.”
One female reporter stuck a microphone in his face. “SA Durbin, is this another missing girl?”
Troy shook his head. “She is a person of interest for now. That is all I can say about it.”
“But she is part of your current investigation?” another reporter inquired.
Troy appeared flustered. “I can’t discuss the case at this time. Thank you all for your cooperation.” He turned and went back inside the police department.
“Do you think anyone will call in?”
The voice came from behind Jenna and she jumped. She turned around and grinned at Rayne. “I hope so. You scared me.”
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.”
Jenna patted a spot on the couch beside her. “Come join me.”
Rayne walked around the couch and sat down beside her. She pulled her knees up to her chin and wrapped her arms around them. Jenna picked up her iPad and showed Rayne a picture of the Fairfax High School mascot.
“Is that your lion?”
Rayne stared at it for a moment and then nodded. “That’s what I saw.”
“I thought so. We are narrowing it down. Those scars you described on his hands? They got me to thinking that maybe he is a welder or car mechanic. Trip is checking out logos from those jobs in the area to see if they match what you saw on the back of his uniform shirt.”
As Jenna sat the tablet back on the table, her cellphone rang. It was Rick.
“Hey, partner,” Jenna greeted him and put him on speaker.
“We might have a hit on that girl. A Patricia Wells called in. She is white and her husband is African American. They have four children and her daughter Nisha fits the description.”
“And they are all safe?” Rayne asked.
“For now. Mark and Denise headed over to their house. We’ll put them in protective custody. Rayne, will you feel up to identifying the girl tonight?”
Jenna looked at Rayne. She had dark circles under eyes. “Rick, Rayne is still exhausted. Can’t this wait until the morning?”
“Hold on.” The phone went silent for a moment and then Rick came back. “Check your iPad. Mark just sent a picture of the girl.”
Jenna picked up her iPad and opened an email. She held the tablet up for Rayne to see. “Is that her?”
They’d dressed the girl in her helmet and knee pads. Rayne began to weep. “Yes. Yes,” she whispered through her tears.
“It’s a hit, Rick.”
“Great. I’ll be there in an hour. Hang in there, Rayne. We are closing in on this psycho.”
Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.
Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
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I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1817 words. Total words so far: 25,274