When it came right down to it, he hadn't been properly debriefed on the death of the stranger.  Critical Incident Stress accounted for more than its fair share of officers leave of absences.  Dan had investigated more than a handful of suspicious circumstances, and seen his share of bodies. And he'd always sought out the critical stress unit as soon as possible.

This incident had been different.  He had returned home after the on-scene paperwork was filed, a cool clarity about him.  He'd kissed Sophie on the cheek as she slept, and undressed without a word.  He slept like a baby.

Standard procedures would have him writing more reports on teh incident once his mind had started to put the facts together into some coherent fashion.   He'd scheduled an appointment with the Critical Stress Counselor for later in the day, but Captain Blake was of the mind that a return to the scene would jog some details loose and help hasten the process.

They had the basic details, of course.  The man who'd died was Lucas  Black, venture capitalist and entrepeneur.  He'd relocated to Newton six months earlier after one of his IPOs went nova.  The rumour-mill had it that he was had pulled out almost all of his investments in oil and gas and bought up several board-shares in alternative energy companies.

Black was a workaholic.  He had two ex-wives and no children.  He'd been downtown, emerging from a meeting with the CFO of EnerTECH just as the sun had reached it's zenith, when whatever it was happened.

There were no shortage of motives among the people in Black's life.  But if it were murder, who would have done something so graphic and in such a public place?  Was it a statement--a warning to others?

The Yellow Police tape was still in place on the sidewalk in front of EnerTECH.  The chalk outlines were unmarred, and there were several spots where the blood-splatters had been marked.  Forensics had come and gone and the body had been removed.  Thankfully, Black's death had happened on a Friday. The Newton business core was almost abandoned in the early weekend morning.

"Well?"  Blake asked, casting a proprietary eye over the scene.

Dan lifted the tape and stepped inside the area.  "I was standing here."  Dan began.  "There'd been a MVI at the corner with one survivor, one fatality."  Dan indicated the intersection ten meters beyond them.

"The ambulance was parked right here, in front of EnerTECH.  The survivor went into arrest, and the paramedics used an AED to shock him back.  Black stepped out of EnerTECH right then.  I remember because the paramedics asked him to step back when the AED went off.  Black droppedsomething, I think.  He bent down, and stood up, then walked around the paramedics, checking the traffic.... "

"Then, the darkness..."  Dan frowned.  It was fading already.  "The explosion.  Like a cannon going off...."

"There were no shell-casings or powder residue found in the area."  Blake said.

"Sniper?"  one of the uniforms offered.

Dan shook his head.  "Sniper would've used a silencer.  Whatever did this... it looked like it dismembered him.  Blunt force wound to the jaw and neck, enough force to cleave the shoulder."

Blake frowned.  "Could this "darkness" have been some form of distraction?  Camouflage what was really going on?"

Dan nodded.  "But you can't create patches of darkness like that.  Darkness is just the absence of light.  This was..."

"Tangible."  Blake said.  The captain did not sound impressed.

"Tangible."  Dan echoed.  All of a sudden he felt the need for a critical stress counselor.  There'd been enough officers on the Newton force who'd seen strange stuff happen on the streets--stuff that shouldn't happen.  More than one carried personal good-luck charms.  But officers who started spouting this kind of nonsense to the wrong ears found themselves on desk-duty or worse.



The End

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