WARNING: This is a crime drama containing dark themes including murder and the aftermath of assaults of both a physical and sexual nature. Please read this story with extreme caution, understanding that there are disturbing images ahead.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight Saga. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note: Time for me to stretch myself as an author again. I love forensic profiling shows. My absolute favorites are Bones, Criminal Minds, and The Closer. Thus being so, I've always wanted to do a crime drama, but haven't been brave enough to try. This is my first attempt at a story with darker themes. As is my M.O. we will also see a bit of fluff from time to time, but as you will see when you finish this first chapter, this will be a very intense, serious drama. I know nothing about real life profiling etc, so please excuse me if I screw up some of the finer details.
A big thanks to my hubby and my beta AgoodWITCH for reading this and encouraging me to continue it.
Also be warned in advance that my focus at this time is on my original so the updates for this will be few and far between until after it is completed. I'll basically use this as a side project to take breaks or push past blocks with my original. I will most likely be updating on a regular basis by December or January if all goes as planned.
Now on with the new story…
The Return of The King
It was a pitch black, humid, June night. I walked up to the yellow crime scene tape, lifting it to step under while showing my badge to the black and whites guarding the perimeter. They nodded solemnly, shifting their gazes back to watch around them. The flashing blue and reds illuminated my way down the small hill toward the tree line with a dizzying strobe of alternating color as I cursed myself for not grabbing my flashlight. I'd been doing this for four years now, one would think I would be more scout-like and always be prepared.
I stumbled slightly at the bottom of the hill, as McCarty caught my arm with a chuckle. "Careful there, Swan, don't want to have to haul you off tonight as well."
I rolled my eyes and yanked my arm away in a huff. "Quit the shit and tell me what we've got."
Agent McCarty schooled his face quickly, his boy-like charm disappearing to make way for his professional side. He had been on the team back when I started four years before, but passed up the opportunity to lead the squad when the offer presented itself. He claimed his strengths rested solely in investigation, not paperwork and kowtowing to the bosses. When he turned down the job, they then offered the position to me. Honestly, I was shocked. While I had the second highest seniority within our group, I was still not much more than a rookie myself when I was handed the mantle of leadership three months ago. It was different being the boss, but for some reason the position seemed to be a good fit for me.
McCarty handed me a spare flashlight from his waistband as he led me toward the place where our victim lay just inside the line of trees lit by large mobile spotlights. "We have an unidentified Caucasian female, about five foot eight and approximately eighteen to twenty two years of age. She was found in this location approximately two hours ago by a passing motorist who had a flat tire. When they stopped the car, their dog jumped out and ran straight to the remains. We have no official time of death, but Whitlock and Brandon estimate due to the degree of decomposition that the victim has been deceased for approximately 72 hours, possibly more. There has been nearly zero animal disturbance of the remains which they find suspect, and indications have been found at the scene to suggest the body was placed post mortem. At first glance, cause of death appears to be a knife wound to the neck, but with the lack of animal disturbance, the squints suspect potential chemical contamination as well, but we won't know more about that until they can examine the samples and the body in the lab."
We reached the small circle of outfitted CSI scouring the area for clues as the photographer's camera flashed at a place on the ground several yards away where a tech directed for documentation of something he or she had found. As we reached the group, Jasper Whitlock and Alice Brandon were chattering excitedly over something they were examining in a plastic bag while Rosalie Hale leaned over the body with a scowl, examining the physical wounds more closely. I knew that look. This victim had been sexually violated; something that always affected Rosalie quite strongly considering her own past history. Unfortunately, a great number of our cases involved similar atrocities. I often wondered how she found the strength to come to work every day.
Back behind the group, standing alone was the new kid, Edward Cullen. Well, I say new kid, but in reality, he's actually a year older than me, and a whole hell of a lot smarter with a doctorate in Psychology and a master's in Criminal Justice. He was brought into the team to fill out the position when our former leader, who just so happened to be his father, retired, leaving a hole in the team when I stepped up to lead our squad. His eyes scanned the area, as his amazing mind worked, piecing together the scene with his uncanny ability to reconstruct the events to what has been proven time and time again a nearly perfect semblance of the actual event. I had never seen such an adept profiler. I had been known as being gifted, but Cullen was like a savant.
Cullen's apple green eyes reflected off the floodlights set up just a few feet away as he scanned the area again before his eyes focused on me. His expression changed ever so slightly as he gave me a nod of acknowledgement, to which I nodded back before kneeling down beside Hale to get a closer look and see if she had discovered anything disturbing. At this point, the body had not been moved at all in order to best preserve the scene.
"What ya got for me, Hale?" I asked as I slid on the pair of latex gloves McCarty handed me over my shoulder as I nodded up in thanks.
Hale pointed her chin toward the lower extremities as she began talking quickly. "Her hands and feet were bound by what appears to be some kind of rough hewn rope or tie back. She appears to have a great deal of atrophy in her legs which would suggest that she either was tied up for an extended amount of time, or had some sort of condition which would not allow extensive use of her legs. I will discover more once we get her back to the lab. She has bruising on her inner thighs and hips, which might suggest sexual assault. In addition, she had several scars on her arms and a large cut on her neck, which sliced her jugular. There doesn't seem to be nearly enough blood on her body to suggest that she bled out, but since she has been moved, there is a possibility it was wiped away before the transition, or she had been positioned at the time that the wound was made so as to make the blood drain away from her body. It could also be possible that the wound was inflicted post mortem, which would then minimize the amount of blood spilled. She also has a vertical incision on her abdomen that appears to be from a very recent surgical procedure. I'll know more once I can examine her more closely. Identification will be most difficult as her facial structure was broken beyond recognition, her teeth removed, as well as her fingertips."
I stood up, moving around the body to examine the things she pointed out. "Good, good, Hale. Thank you. Have they completed processing the scene yet? I would really like to examine the rest of her body and get back to the lab before the storm cell reaches us."
Lightening illuminated the sky to the west, punctuating my desire to move the body as quickly as possible as I looked up at McCarty.
"Yes, I believe that they are done." He looked around locking eyes with several workers who nodded back.
I looked back up to see Whitlock and Brandon packing up their supplies, leaving a few things out in case there was more evidence underneath the body to be collected, as Hale repositioned herself in order to examine the body after the move. I glanced over to see Cullen looking at me intently, his brow furrowed deeply. I gestured for him to come talk to me as I moved to ask the photographer to get a close up of something that looked off to me before we repositioned the poor girl's naked form.
I jumped when I turned back around to find Cullen standing next to me. It never ceased to surprise me how stealthily he moved. I shook off my fright as he tried to hide an amused smirk. I rolled my eyes at him before looking him square in the eyes.
"I haven't known you long, Dr. Cullen, but I can tell something is bothering you. What's wrong?"
He sighed, glancing around him again before looking back at me solemnly. "Something is off. There's something I'm missing, something more…"
Just then, McCarty and two other techs he asked to assist shifted the body to expose the victim's back as the group gasped and Hale let out an uncharacteristic scream. Cullen and I dashed to her side to see what moving the body had uncovered, the sight making my stomach boil with bitter bile.
On the back of the victim words were carved into her flesh along with an intricate rose stained black with congealed blood, under the body, a purple and blue infant lay curled into the fetal position, it's neck having the same wound as the woman lying over it, and the same rose carved into its back.
Hale turned and ran for the tree line, vomiting into the underbrush as McCarty ran after her, while Brandon melted into Whitlock's chest, quiet cries coming from her chest. At some point, I had fallen to my knees at the sight before us, as Cullen knelt beside me, his arm around my shoulder.
I nodded mutely, staring at the words taunting us all from the back of the innocent bystander in his sick, twisted mindgame.
Let's see if you can catch
the RIGHT MAN this time.
One year was enough of a vacation,
Time for the real work to begin.
"Do you think he's had her ever since?"
I nodded slowly, trying to control my reactions. We dealt with death almost every day, by this point we had learned to separate our emotions from the job, but this was personal. This girl died because we got it wrong…or at least someone wanted us to believe we did.
I turned away from the blood freezing scene to look up at the new guy as he stared down at me with worry etched in his features.
"Are you okay?"
I froze looking at him before looking back at the body and then to him again before I shook my head no. With gentle hands, he helped me up and led me away from the scene. As we passed, I noticed that the photographer was standing in shock as well. I touched his arm and gestured with my head toward the newly revealed scene as way of order. He shook his head to clear it before moving forward to document the new development.
Cullen led me to a dark area just out of view of everyone and turned me toward him, hugging me to his chest. It only took a part of a second before I began to cry. He comforted me as I cried, stroking my hair, and humming quietly. After several long minutes, I began to regain control, pushing away to look up at him, feeling embarrassed about how I was acting. I was a professional and the leader. I wasn't supposed to succumb to the pressures. I was supposed to be the example.
"I…I'm sorry Dr. Cullen. I.."
"Edward," he replied quietly. I looked up in surprise as he smiled back down at me. "Please, call me Edward."
I swallowed hard and nodded. "Okay, but not while working."
He nodded knowingly before running a hand down my arm. "Are you okay now? Do you feel like you are ready to go back out there?"
I nodded. "Thank you, Edward."
He smiled kindly. "You're welcome, Bella."
I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders before returning to the scene. I barely looked toward the two victims as I began barking out orders. Whitlock and Brandon gathered more samples and swabs before the two bodies were bagged and loaded to be taken back to the lab where Hale, Whitlock, and Brandon would work to get the details and try to get a lock on the poor girl's identity. As the scene slowly emptied of people, I ascended the small hill toward the roadside, pausing to look around one last time. The area had been trampled, but once it was cleared, one last thing that had not been obvious before was highly visible from this higher perspective now that the area was cleared of people and the bodies. The orange flags still in the ground to mark each piece of evidence documented for the case arched in defined lines around the epicenter where the bodies lay, creating a macabre facsimile of the roses carved into the skin of the two victims, reminding us once again that with The King, there are absolutely no coincidences.
Author's Note: This story only has one other chapter currently completed, and two other partially completed, so this will most likely wait long periods between updates, but I've been sitting on the idea for ages and wanted to get it out there. What do you think? I'd love to hear your opinions and maybe even a few theories along the way!
I will reiterate one last time…please expect very long delays between updates. Several weeks after we push past these first two chapters at the very least!