Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Day 8: The Photos of the Dead Speak...

The photos spilled to the ground at their feet. Crime scene photos. Gruesome photos.
She couldn’t stop herself from looking, even though she tried. Rebecca’s naked body, tortured and mutilated, wearing the Angel’s signature white silk scarf around her eyes. Her throat had been slashed along with other, more deviant forms of torture. Her death would have been welcomed at that point. Rebecca’s hands had been untied postmortem. Megan could see the rope marks clearly. Now, they lay crossed in front of her chest, holding a spray of white lilacs.
Everything about the crime scene resembled the Angel of Death’s MO. But this case had one thing different from the original Angel victims. Rebecca wasn’t wealthy. She didn’t come from a moneyed background.
“Was there a quote from the Bible?” Megan asked Agent Dan Martinez , unable to stop the question.
“Yes, Exodus 12:23, ‘For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and not allow the Angel of Death to come into your houses to strike you.’ The same as in the original Angel case.”
“But they’re not the same, Dan. Rebecca and the others’—they aren’t the same.”
“I thought you didn’t have the gift anymore.” He said with a smug smile.
“I don’t—”
“Then how do you know there were others? Nice try, Megan. You still have it. Even if you don’t want it.”
“You’re wrong. And now I’d like you both to leave.”
Dan struggled with growing frustration at her answer before finally accepting he couldn’t demand her help.
“All right. I can’t force you can I? Do you mind if I use your restroom before we leave? It’s a long drive back to town.” He didn’t wait for her answer but stepped inside the house, slamming the screen door.
Megan held her breath, praying he wouldn’t see the photos of Emmie scattered around the house. Living on the reservation had its benefits. Not in the least was the sense of security she felt. The crime rate out here was next to nonexistent. Megan rarely locked her door while jogging.
Please don’t let him figure it out.
She stood silently ignoring Agent Kellogg entirely while listening to his attempt at making nice with Bubba. She couldn’t keep from smiling. Stan Kellogg didn’t know this but until Megan gave the word, he would remain Bubba’s enemy.
Dan walked out of the house a short time later. Megan searched his expression for some sign he might have discovered her secret but Dan had once again perfected his Bureau’s blank stare. He walked past her to the driver’s door of the SUV without saying a word. Agent Kellogg moved to the passenger side.
“Tell Jack I’m sorry, okay?” Dan nodded then got into the Suburban.
“It’s good to see you again, Megan. And I mean that. Take care of yourself.” With those parting words still hanging between them, Dan put the Suburban in reverse, turned it around on the dirt drive and sped away.
Leaving the photos of the dead behind.Megan couldn’t look at them. She listened to the Suburban as it made its way along the dirt road leading out of the reservation. Then she began walking, slowly at first but when that didn’t extinguish their voices she started running. Before long, her footsteps raced across the open desert with only the sound of her labored breathing and Bubba’s thundering gallop overtaking the tortured cries of the dead in her head.

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