|The Glass Ceiling
Author: Her Royal Nonsense PM
After a violent FBI raid is broadcast to millions across the United States, Sarah Williams' job and reputation is on the line. She decides to keep quiet while taking it upon herself to hunt down and arrest a sadistic and vengeful serial killer. J/SRated: Fiction T - English - Crime/Drama - Sarah & Jareth - Chapters: 2 - Words: 7,210 - Reviews: 16 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 06-21-11 - Published: 06-09-11 - id: 7067472
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
First of all, I'd like to send kisses in the general direction of UndergroundDaydreams and MikkiANNE for being fluffy wee sweethearts and giving this thing a chance. Secondly, well, there really isn't a secondly. I hope the second chapter doesn't disappoint. :)
Each step was evenly paced and announced as Sarah let herself into a spacious but cluttered office, lit only by a half-dozen computer monitors and a projector that displayed a rather grotesque set of crime scene photographs. Curiously she approached the screen to read the accompanying newspaper clipping, but was stopped-midstride as a deep voice laced with a heavy Brooklyn accent called out from behind her.
"Well, well, look who finally decided to get her ass back to Virginia for a change..."
"I knew you were missing me, Vic," a playful smirk crossed her face as she smoothed out the front of her fitted white pant suit before turning around - just as the lights turned on and began to softly hum.
An older gentleman with stark black hair that had just begun to grey at the sides sat at the large work desk in the centre of the room, poured over case files and computer screens. His rough and toughened hands, which a palm reader would predict have been through the worse, were folded carefully in front of him and a smoking cancer stick was trapped between two calloused fingers. Vic Vendetti was the Agent-in-Charge of the Behavioural Science Unit of the FBI. He had been Sarah's direct supervisor up until two years ago, when she'd been promoted to a relatively more prestigious position in the Hostile Rescue Team and had re-located to Washington. Too busy focusing on advancing her career to make many friends; she instead developed close confidantes within her teachers and mentors. Vic was one of them.
"How you doin', toots?" He asked as he crushed his cigarette butt in an ashtray and got to his feet to tightly embrace his former student.
Sarah returned the embrace with just as much vigour as he had shown her before responding with a vague and impassive, "eh, I've been better."
Furrowing his brow, the man gestured dramatically towards Sarah's leg. "What's going on here, I heard you were shot... why aren't you limping around like a dead donkey's dick?"
Snorting at the crude metaphor, Sarah merely waved away the speculation, unwilling to tread anywhere near that territory. She spent the past two nights contemplating how in all bloody hell she didn't even have the faintest trace of a scar to show for her injury. "Just a flesh wound, I'll survive."
"Alright, I'll buy that I suppose. How'd your night go with your mother?" He asked, gesturing for her to sit on an old barstool opposite his desk as he did the same.
"Oh, God," she began, crossing her legs daintily before briefly glancing back at the projector behind her. "She was not too happy with me, I can tell you that."
"Of course not."
"I honestly cannot tell you for the life of me why we're not estranged yet. She called me out right smack dab in the middle of dinner in front of her entirely bloody family."
Vic starred at her, confused. "What does she have to call you out on?"
"Apparently she keeps up with me more than I keep up with her. She also apparently didn't miss that mess I made at the Batkin compound."
"You did your job exactly by the book."
"I got suspended," she argued matter-of-factly.
"Listen toots, I don't know who the fuck you pissed off, but I've been telling you for years you really got under somebody's nerves. They've been dying for an opportunity to let you go. It has nothing to do with last week, and it has everything to do with them finding any excuse to get rid of you. All this fuckin' media coverage has made it easy for them to do it without looking like wankers." Sarah released a wistful sigh, whether she was truly at fault for the botched raid or not, there was very little that could be said or done to make her feel better about it. She certainly appreciated the effort, though.
"Anyway, I've got something better for you. It'll be off the record, but this is right up your alley."
She was nearly certain it had to do with the images projected on the screen behind her. "I'm listening."
"What do you know about the Crypt Keeper?"
"Well, whoever named him is certainly running out of either ideas or creativity, I haven't decided," she joked half-heartedly.
"Apart from that."
Sarah leaned back, crossing her arms, "he buries his victims."
"He buries them in a tempered glass capsule. He then sets it a long wooden box or coffin as the media says, nails the box shut, lowers it into the ground and sets a layer of dirt and concrete over it for good measure," Vic pushed the case file across the desk towards her,
"All the victims were female, right?"
"How were they found?"
"He sends letters the Seattle Police Department the night after they were buried. No prints on any of them."
"He's careful," Sarah observed, pulling a loose photograph from the file. It was similar to the images displayed on the projector. A young woman, beautiful in death as she would have been in life, laid atop a small pile of blankets. Despite her wild hair and pale, terrified complexion, the only evidence of a struggle was at her fingertips, which were bloodied and torn from clawing at her prison for hours. Sarah tucked the photograph in and ran a slender hand through her dark hair, "these murders weren't random," she continued, although she was sure he already knew all of what she had to say. "He put a great deal of time and effort into making sure they suffered. Pre-mature burials are one of the most widespread of human fears. He wanted them to be afraid because they meant something to him. He also made damn sure they had no chance of survival. That kind of effort... using both the glass and the wood for additional re-enforcement... that kind of effort isn't made for just anyone. Without some sort of oxygen supply being made available to them, and if they'd been struggling and panicking, they would be dead after one, maybe two hours at most."
"He's out for revenge."
"Well, that is certainly what it looks like. Recording it and sending it to the SPD is... showing off. He has a history with that PD in particular, or someone in it."
Vic nodded before leaning forward. "I want you working on this case. Those losers at SPD haven't solved a murder by themselves in years. I need one of my guys – or girls – to give them a shove in the right direction."
Sarah closed the case file abruptly and looked at him. "I heard there was a survivor."
"Yeah, that's where it gets weird. When she stumbled into the police department, the MO was spot on with every single detail. She led officers to the crime scene. They found the video tape, and dug up the empty coffin."
Sarah cocked an eyebrow, "and?"
Vic shrugged speechlessly before leaning back again and resting his hands on the back of his head. "We've got a clear shot of her on the videotape, her hair, prints, and blood was found everywhere inside the glass. The only piece that breaks the pattern is that she wasn't in it."
"Was anything moved when officers arrived at the crime scene?"
"Nadda. We can't explain it, and she's not talking. I was hoping you could help with that – feminine intuition and whatnot. I've never seen anything like it and shit, I've seen a lot."
"I think I might have an idea," she said, recalling how her thigh miraculously became healed. "Anyway, what's her name?"
"Lilith Lieberman, I can get you her contact information and we'll get you set up with an office tomorrow. Something larger than that broom closet they gave you back in D.C."
"That would be fantastic Vic, thanks."
"Nothing of it. I'm glad to have you back, toots."
"Have a good day, Agent Williams," winked the receptionist as Sarah neared the entrance. She was a heavy-set woman, an extroverted lady who had been working the front desk at the Behavioural Science unit for over ten years and Sarah knew her well. "Try to come see us more than once a year, eh?"
"Ah, Sally, I'm not going anywhere this week."
"Vic putting you to work?"
Sarah shook her head in mock disapproval, "I stop in for a visit and I walk out with this thing," she gestured to the case file, which was at least one and a half inches thick.
"You know the big man. He likes to make sure no one is ever board."
"That I do. Anyway, I have to head out, I'll see you tomorrow."
Pushing open the front entrance, it took Sarah a moment for her eyes to adjust to the natural light, having been in the dark basement offices for a considerable portion of the day. However, she froze in her tracks as her eyes gazed over the slender blonde figure seated with her head slightly bowed at the bench.
That looks like...
"Ms Lieberman?" Sarah asked rather hesitantly. The girl lifted her head; her eyes appeared dark and distant. The dramatic arch of her eyebrows and the bluish hue of her make-up reminded Sarah of something she couldn't quite put her finger on. "Ms Lieberman, my name is Sarah Williams, may I speak with you?" The woman nodded, and Sarah tucked her case file in her bag before taking a seat next to her and crossing her legs. Sarah found it slightly odd that the girl was here, and not at the police station. "Who were you here to see, Ms Lieberman? Perhaps I could help you find them?"
"Is there anything I can get you? Help you with?"
Again, the girl gave no response.
It was times like these that made Sarah more and more aware that offering condolences and words of comfort was never precisely her forte. Socially, she was stunted and awkward and despite the various training courses she had been through that preached how to deal with victims, it was never something that came naturally to her. "Ms Lieberman," she began carefully, knowing she was quite possibly walking on egg shells. "Just so you are aware, I am one of the agents who have been assigned to your case. I'm going to need your cooperation if I'm going find whoever did this to you."
After asking a handful more questions that went unanswered save for the odd grumble here and there that might have vaguely been a 'go away', Sarah sighed as she caught the hint that the girl had no interest in speaking to her, at least for the time being. Regrettably she excused herself and all but high-tailed it out of there, handing Lilith her card should she desire to speak to someone.
Sarah Williams' home office was perhaps one of the blandest rooms in her humble abode, yet it was in her office where she spent most of her downtime. The focal piece of the room, a work station with a birch and white veneer stood awkwardly in the middle, next to a black swivel chair which was twice the price of it. A 'hello kitty' notebook she'd absentmindedly snatched from someone else's office a few weeks back, a Bill Clinton bobble-head doll, , a pair of tweezers and an empty McDonalds coffee cup were among the only artefacts that suggested the occupant of this office was still, well, occupying it. Or even had a pulse, really. There were no pictures of happy family members in cheap photo frames on the desk. No witty or clever 'hang in there, baby' motivational posters lined the walls. Her Panasonic Toughbook's desktop background remained just as it was when she purchased it eight months ago. There wasn't even a gel pen in the pen tray that wasn't black, red, or blue and the FBI Shield of Bravery she had received a few years back for participating extensively in the capture of one of the FBI's 'Ten Most Wanted Fugitives' remained humbly tucked away and nearly forgotten in one of the cabinet drawers.
Sarah paced anxiously in front of her telephone. She had been through the FBI's files on Ms. Lieberman at least three times already, and nothing seemed to make any shred of sense. Lieberman's miraculous escape from certain doom was just as unexplainable as her flawless left thigh. As much as she had no desire to contact either Jeremy or Jeremy's better-looking brother what's-his-face at the moment, what with the disaster of a dinner that happened just a few days ago, she couldn't stop pushing away a nagging feeling that he quite possibly had an answer for her.
Or some explaining to do...
Scoffing, she reached down to retrieve the wireless telephone, hastily and with an unnecessarily amount of aggression, punching in the numbers of Jeremy and Linda's home phone. Much to her dismay, it was Linda who picked up.
"Sarah?" a soft, feminine voice rang from the speaker.
"I need to speak to Jeremy for a moment, please."
"Listen, Sarah, I'm sorry about the other night. I was just-"
"I would rather not talk about it," she interjected sternly, "I need to speak to Jeremy. It's important."
Despite the fact that Linda had never been particularly close to her daughter since she was a little girl, there were certainly facets of the girls personality that Linda knew of very well. When Sarah would 'rather not talk about it', then no discussion of it was going to be had. Linda resigned with an elaborate sigh before placing the phone on the marble end table and calling her husband to it.
Again, Sarah paced the length of the room before Jeremy's voice greeted her with an overly casual 'what's up'. "Listen, about the other night, don't take it-"
"It's fine. Listen, uh, there's something I wanted to ask you,"
"Your brother, uh, Jared?"
"Jareth," he corrected, although he couldn't hide his amusement at the mistake and lightly chucked.
"Right. There is actually something I wanted to speak to him about, a new case I am currently working on in particular. Would you be able to give me his number, or perhaps ask him to give me a call? I would certainly appreciate it."
"I'm sure he could meet you tonight if you ask him nicely."
Sarah froze, glancing up at the black and silver clock in her office. What the hell is that supposed to mean? "Um... what? He could meet me tonight where exactly?"
Shaking her head, Sarah quickly waved off the odd and slightly unnerving suggestion. "I'm not asking him to take a six hour flight here; I just need to talk to him for a few minutes."
"I'm afraid Jareth does not own a phone," Jeremy responded cryptically.
"Well, he's already said he'd be there. Play nice now, Sarah. Goodnight."
Sarah glared speechlessly at the phone moments after her step-father hung up on her. "Well, alright then," she whispered, gingerly placing the telephone in the receiver not a moment before the doorbell rang. Sarah didn't realize she had been holding her breath as she crept towards the front foyer cautiously, no, it couldn't be...
A relieved sigh escaped her lips when she noticed through the glass paneling an older, burly gentleman in a beige uniform with a box and clipboard. "Hi there, are you Sarah Williams?" He asked kindly as she opened the screen.
"I am," she said, taking the proffered pen to sign her name on the crisp white sheet he handed to her.
"This here is for you then, darlin'."
Taking the package, Sarah nodded her thanks to the UPS worker as she lazily backed into the door to push it shut. Satisfied with her marginal efforts, she stalked into the kitchen to retrieve a knife. Not a moment later the package she had attempted to balance under her arm met with the laminate flooring as she registered the mop of blonde hair that could easily double as a lion's mane, and the devilish, sly smirk plastered across his face.
"You," she scowled, evidently taking issue with his intrusion.
"Good evening, Sarah."
Thanks for reading and again, if you caught any errors please let me know s'il vous plait.