Still gen, still R-ish.
After the flood of commendations had dried up, after she'd cremated what was left of Riley and sent his rusted and completely uncooperative Mustang to a junkyard, she tendered her resignation from the Sheriff's Department and put in for a transfer. There was nothing left for her in Hibbing, and she wanted to go somewhere big, some place where she could be anonymous for at least a little while, a city where she wouldn't be "Deputy Kathleen" anymore, with a standing seven a.m. order for a coffee regular and a raisin bran muffin at Meredith's Meals and an annual trip to the elementary school to talk about traffic safety.
She hadn't quite counted on feeling anonymous - lost, really - in her own department. The JCPD is big, large enough to stand with the state police on equal footing and fight for jurisdiction on interesting and politically important cases. There's no time or manpower to spare to show a new cop the local ropes, and it's not like she's some fresh rookie - she's a decorated officer, a veteran of a dozen years, and she's never developed a taste for being babysat. She takes the lion's share of hours at the front desk, waiting for a case she can call her own, being a team player and covering for the others when they're wrapped up deep in delicate investigations. It is an election year after all.
She's there Monday morning at six when a call comes through on line four, the line dedicated to contact with other city departments. "Officer Hudak," she answers, waiting for a meter maid's story about a car with no plates, something quick to check out and write up and feel like she's earned at least a little of her paycheck. Mundane isn't the release she thought it'd be after the Benders.
"Hudak, this is Gregson, over at Sanitation. We got a body. Shot through the head." She can feel her spine straighten, her mind start to race. This case is incontrovertibly hers; she took the call and she hasn't been assigned a partner. She ropes Caldwell into sitting at the desk by handing over her cinnamon streusel muffin and swigs her coffee as she steps out of the station and into her squad car. She catches every traffic light at yellow and takes the time to re-orient herself with the downtown area.
She doesn't recognize the address she's scribbled down, but at least the street name is familiar, and she doesn't need the GPS to direct her. She pulls up short when she sees the building. If Gregson had just said "Sunrise Apartments" instead of "1386 Riverside Drive," she'd have known what she was walking into. She parks in the lot, organizes her thoughts, and steps out into the bright and cold November sunshine.
The man standing on the front steps walks toward her with his hand outstretched. She'd never have taken him for a sanitation worker - he looks too thin to haul around fifty-pound loads all day, six days a week. But his grip is reassuringly firm and his dark face is drawn and serious. He leads her around the apartment building, unlocking the rear gate and latching it shut behind them. There's an alley behind the building that intersects with a small street, and she can see the body lying at the crossroad.
She circles the body once, noting as much as she can. Caucasian male, anywhere from twenty-eight to thirty-five, slim build, short hair, light brown with expensive-looking blond highlights. No rings or personal jewelry visible, but he seemed the type for a piercing or a tattoo - that black leather jacket, fashionably faded jeans, and heavy boots all spoke of a certain type. Head aligned with the east near some oil stains on the blacktop, sprawled legs pointing mostly west with the knees jerked north like compass needles.
First cursory examination over, she turns back to Gregson. He's a superb witness, telling his story clearly and thoughtfully, without any prodding at all. She doesn't think this is the first corpse he's come across in the line of duty. "Found the body when we started our rounds this morning. Five forty-five a.m.," he clarifies, watching her jot everything down in shorthand, understanding that this has to be done right. "Last pickup at this location would have been same time on Saturday morning. At least," he pauses and she meets his assessing gaze evenly, waiting to see what he'll come out with, "it scheduled to be five forty-five, six, but Saturdays tend to run a little later. But no later than seven for sure." She nods to let him know she appreciates his honesty. The lines on his forehead iron themselves out when he's done, and his parting handshake is warm and commiserating.
She calls for backup, turning the scene over when they arrive, cameras and gloves and evidence bags in hand. The crew is evidently surprised not to see a familiar face directing their efforts, and she smiles and introduces herself, apologizes for covering well-worn ground, and specifies that the site needs to be documented, the slug recovered, and everything in the vicinity, from the fire hydrant to the parked cars and the fire escape ladders, should be dusted for fingerprints. She asks for their findings by noon and turns away, hearing the saran-wrap sound of police tape being unfurled.
She squares her shoulders and walks back around to the front steps and begins the long task of questioning the building's residents. Not many are home at this time on a weekday, and she'll have to come back tonight. In the meantime, she's got a preliminary report to write up and a replacement muffin to buy.
Word count (today): 955
Word count (total): 3258 (10.86%)
[Newsletter girls, please don't bother linking these daily updates.]