Justin Rosler heard the quiet of the streets before he saw the building. It loomed ahead, giving off the feeling of abandonment and panic. As expected, the building was already closed of with strings of yellow police tape, warning others to stay away from the crime scene. He sat patiently in the passengers’ seat, but the rookie that was driving hummed with impatience.
“How can you not speed? People could be hurt...” Justin could tell his foot itched to bump the speed up a couple miles. He placed his hand on the rookie’s shoulder.
“Calm down Zach. If we speed, a lot more people could get hurt.” That seemed to calm Zach down for about five seconds, before he started shaking with impatience again. He hit the gas a little and they almost flew into the parking lot, stopping with an ear shattering screech of the tires. Zach was out of the car before Justin had undone the seatbelt. The two E.M.Ts walked slowly towards the group of police huddled around the opening.
“Detective Morgan.” Justin held out his hand in an informal greeting, and the older police detective shook it grimly.
“Hello Rosler,” He sighed with fatigue. “You can send the rookie into the employees lounge, but we need you in the main ballroom.”
Justin nodded his head in agreement, and turned to Zach.
“You heard him. Get going.” And Zach promptly scurried off with another officer. Justin turned just in time to watch Detective Morgan walking away. He followed the older man quickly into the ballroom, and the jewels all over the ground caught his attention. It was awhile before his gaze swept over the man on the tiled floor, the pool of blood dried around him. After eight years on the job, the sight of a corpse still had him speechless. He quietly walked over and knelt by the body.
“Carlos Hettinger, 23.” Someone said. Justin began to snap on a pair of latex gloves. Then something made him turn.
“You need me to do a C.O.D?” He asked in confusion. “He obviously died from one fatal stab wound to the back.”
“Check his mouth.”
“Oh... Oh!” The man’s mouth had unidentifiable pinpoint haemorrhaging on and around his mouth. “He suffocated?” The question was more to himself, but one of the officers answered anyway.
“It looks that way, but there were no particles of anything that could have suffocated him in or around his mouth.” Justin’s eyebrows knit together in thought. He could think of only one other possibility.
“It may have been a substance, so we’ll need a tox screen, but that’s not what killed him.” He was sure of this. “If the suffocation had killed him, he wouldn’t have bled out this much.” One of the police men quickly scribbled the information down on his report, and hurried away to report to his superiour. Justin continued to check the mans eyes, hair and skin. “From the amount of blood, I would guess he died thirty seconds to a minute after he was stabbed. Did anybody see anything?” Detective Morgan shook his head.
“Most people were gone before we got here. We do have two girls in the employees lounge, but we’re collecting a list of guests and workers. We won’t get the warrant to ask them questions on their property until tomorrow afternoon at the earliest. Shit. If there is one thing I hate, its cases like this. We can’t even pull D.N.A off the knife.” The forty year old man looked more haggard then ever.
“It’ll get better Morgan.”
“God I hope so.”
After Justin was finished examining the body, he made his way to the employees lounge. A loud crying came from just in the door, and he hesitated. He did injuries, not shock. After a brief deliberation, he continued into the room. The crying came from a pretty little red head on the couch, who sobbed into Zach’s shoulder. Zach looked almost smug, his eyes saying it all. Look at me with the model crying on my shoulder. Justin shook his head in impatience.
“Is this the witness?” He asked, almost rudely. Zach didn’t notice the tone, and he barely noticed the question. After a few seconds he snapped to attention and answered.
“Yah. The cops didn’t want us questioning her until we made sure she was okay to answer any questions. The other one too. I’m more worried about her actually,” He motioned with his head to the brunette by the window, “Doesn’t seem like she’s in shock or anything. Just stands there. Refused the tranq and everything. Will you check her out?” Justin was halfway across the room before Zach finished his sentence. He put a hand on the brunettes shoulder, expecting her to jump, but she just turned her head slightly towards him.
“You’re an officer?” She asked quietly. When he didn’t answer, she turned towards him.
If there was one thing Justin hadn’t expected to do tonight, it was looking into the face of Sarah Danton. The shock on her face was just as readable. “Justin?” She demanded. “Justin Rosler? Oh Christ.” Her face hardened slightly, and he smiled.
“Sarah Danton. My god it’s been a while.” His mind flashed back to his days in high school for a moment, and then he returned to the present. “ How have you been?” Sarah glared at him furiously. He decided it was true that a girl could hold a grudge forever. Very true.
“Someone is dead, and you want to waste time on small talk? They took Jolene! And Felicia.” Her voiced cracked on the names.
“Who?” Justin didn’t remember anything about two other girls, so the names rang warning bells in his head. Sarah shook as she spoke.
“Jolene and Felicia. We were all modeling the diamonds, and that man was killed. We...” her voice shook again, “we ran in here. Jolene slipped. Her foot was hurt, so we stopped, but...but Andrea and some of the others left. Jolene saw them out of the window, she saw the men forcing the others into their truck. The men saw her, and they... they came inside. I tried to grab her! I could have, but Stephanie pulled me behind the couch. They came in and took Jolene and Felicia.” Her eyes were filling with frustrating tears. “I couldn’t save them. Jesse trusted me, and I lost his girls and his jewels.” Her hands covered her eyes as she took three deep breaths, forcing her self to stay calm. Justin could feel a shot of fear filling his gut, the icy feeling making it hard to think.
“There was a kidnapping? Sarah, why didn’t you tell anyone!?” His voice rose louder than a few decibels, and everyone in the room stared. Sarah had a scowl on her face.
“I did tell them. Twice actually, but your friend, Detective Morgan wouldn’t believe me. Said it was shock, said the girls probably just left.” There was so much cynicism dripping from her voice that it almost completely covered the hurt, the fear. Almost. Justin stared at her intently as he motioned for a recruit to hurry over. He whispered something in to his ear, and the recruits eyes widened considerably. He ran out of the room as Justin took a calming breath.
“Sarah, even if what you say is true, you could still be going into shock. You need to take the tranquilizer. It’ll help your brain process more information.” She stared at him with hard eyes.
“Giving me orders, Justin? I’ve been in worse situations than this. Or have you forgotten who my father is?”
Justin had definitely not forgotten the famous Mark Danton. Even if he had never met the man, he most certainly knew who he was. Every business man in North America knew who he was, as he had single handidly created the biggest computer company in the civilized world, far surpassing that of Bill Gates and his Windows Company. Mark Danton was, hands down, the richest man in the world. His greying temples and sharp jaw gave him an appearance of terrifying authority that couldn’t be ignored.
Despite his looks however, he doted on his daughter constantly, much to her chagrin. At least, that’s how it had been back in high school. She had wanted to make her own way in the world without his help, so she had chosen not to associate herself with him. On a business level that is. On a personal level, she still loved him as much as a daughter could love her father. That was what had attracted Justin to her in the first place.
“Bringing Daddy up again?” He mocked, hitting the right nerve. A vein jutted out of Sarah’s neck as she restrained herself from swinging a blow at the paramedic. Her words came out in clipped rage.
“You know I didn’t mean it like that.” She seethed. “I meant I know what it’s like to be abducted. The panic, the stress. It’s not a pretty thing.” Her eyes glazed slightly, as if remembering a traumatic experience and the meaning of her words sunk in.
“You?” He eyed her dubiously. “No. You’re just trying to make me feel guilty?” He was trying to process the information as best he could, but it was difficult to imagine this seemingly normal girl being taken. She gave him the look of bitterness she had perfected over a lifetime of being used by hundreds of different people.
“It happened while you were sleeping with my tramp of a mother.” Her voice cracked like a whip, and was loud enough to draw a bewildered look from Zach.
“What? What did she just say?” His eyes were wide with interest. Justin didn’t answer. Instead he grabbed Sarah by the wrist and dragged her out of the room and into the empty hallway, despite her protests. He looked around to make sure no one was within hearing range, the he whispered violently.
“You didn’t believe me then, and I have lost all hope of you ever believing me, but I will tell you again. I did NOT sleep with your mother. I never did, and I never will.” Then a thought flitted through his mind. “Your dad said you weren’t at graduation because you had gone on a vacation... You... you were actually...”
She nodded her head. It had been the worst experience of her life.