Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Just a few minutes before now…
After a quick uniform change, Alex and Janet forced themselves to eat lunch, but neither felt any real desire for the food, beyond they had to eat something. Holding a half-eaten sandwich, Alex looked over Janet’s shoulder, as she searched for Cheryl’s dad workplace address on the OPP computer system. As Alex jotting down the relevant information into his work notebook, for the directions there.
Knowing they still had a very long afternoon ahead of them. After finding out her mom was on an international flight somewhere over the mid-Atlantic Ocean, heading to London, England for several business meetings and conferences there. The plane wasn’t scheduled to arrive there, for another 3 hours, provided they didn’t meet with a weather or mechanical problem. It was too late, in to the flight, to be redirected back to Reykjavik, Iceland. And Dublin, Ireland (the next closest international airport) was still another 2 hours away, for the plane to drop her off to wait for the first available return flight to Toronto’s Pearson International.
They asked her assistant to pass the message on to her about contact them, ASAP. Knowing, it would be at least some time tomorrow morning (Caledon time), given the 5 hour time difference between London, England and Caledon, Ontario, when they will finally be able to talk to her, about Cheryl and her death. A talk, neither one of them, wanted to have over the phone with Cheryl’s mom. Realizing that Edward would have already told her, about Cheryl’s death and the viscous manner that it occurred.
A 20 minute drive, from the OPP Snelgrove detachment, found them standing outside the blue tinted glass high tech industrial office building and parking lot. The complex was located in the southwest corner of Brampton, near the Mississauga border that catered to software and other computer related start-up companies. Officer Two Eagles vaguely remembered the local press proclaiming this, at the ground breaking ceremonies, seven years ago. As the new expansion site for Silicon Valley North, outside of the cities of Waterloo and Toronto, at the time.
Stepping into the building’s front foyer, they glanced at the building directory board, located beside the only visible elevator, just past the second set of glass doors. The directory showed Mr. Lawrence’s employer was located on the second floor, with their offices covering most of the second and all of the third floor, with the main entrance located at suite 205. They got confirmation that Edward Lawrence was here, identifying the 2017 metallic blue Chrysler 300’s license plate through the onboard computer as his. Parked in the space reserved for his car, as the ‘Help Desk’ Operation Manager and Vice President of Operations.
Pushing the up button, they were greeted by the elevator’s four glossy black marble walls, as the door opened. Inside, a notice advised all non-key holders that they needed a security guard's approval to enter the building's second floor. By speaking into the elevator’s intercom system, on the control panel, stating their reason for visiting, to an out of sight security location, before they could move to the second floor. A gentle little bump announced the second floor, as the doors opened in front of the corporate offices for Hermes Solutions, the company that Edward Lawrence worked for.
The front doors were two large and very heavy frosted glass panes. Centered, between the two glass doors of Hermes Solutions was the etched corporate trademarked image of winged sandals speeding across the global, in multiple directions. One of the many symbols for the ancient Greek God, Hermes, who acted as the messenger to the Gods and mortals, alike.
With a large brass handle on each door that pulled outwards, to enter the company’s office space properly. About 5 meters in, a large solid oak receptionist desk block any further advancement, without the explicit approval from whomever was sitting behind the desk. Stepping forward, Corporal Bowman introduced himself and Officer Two Eagles, to the well dress woman, in her mid to late 20s, who sat there. A quick ‘pardon me'’, she picked up the phone and pushed a button, relaying his request to an unseen person.
“Just one moment, Officers. If you would please fill out our visitors' logbook and please wear these visitor's badge, while here." She handed the logbook and badges to them. "Ms. Jenna Monroe will here, shortly, to escort you, to Mr. Lawrence.” She spoke, before returning to her job and the work that awaited her.
Janet had just finished filling out her visitor log slot, when Jenna Monroe appeared at the reception desk. Pausing a few moments, she introduced herself to the OPP officers, guiding them to her HR office. Gesturing them, to sit in the offered chairs before the desk, she settled in behind.
"How may I help you, with Mr. Lawrence, Officers?" She asked, studying their body language for any clues to guide her response to them.
"This morning, there was a very serious accident involving Mr. Lawrence’s daughter, at her school. As a result of this, we need to ask him some questions. Should it be necessary, one of us can and will drive him home, afterward, if he needs any further assistance." He replied, trying to balance Ms. Monroe’s need for information, without breaching Mr. Lawrence’s right to privacy or the criminal case that may be developing here. In withholding any facts that Corporal Bowman deemed relevant to the investigation.
He paused before asking anything else, looking around Ms. Monroe's windowed office. On the north facing wall, he saw various university degrees, college diplomas, and other work related awards hung, highlighting her career and educational achievements since leaving high school. Starting from the center outward, each milestone was carefully displayed, inside an expensive glass and metal frame, in neat organized rows across the wall. Marking an organized timeline of her past 28 years that centered upon her high school diploma, in which she was that year's valedictorian for her school. The script of the speech that she gave, was framed and hung with the same care for detail, completely encircling her high school diploma..
The western wall was dominated by the huge picture window that overlooked a picturesque little park with a small man-made lake that various birds swam in. Alex could only image, what a beautiful scene that this sunset would present during summer and fall. As the setting sun is reflected off of the body of water, with the rich vibrant colours of the sunset itself. Humbling one, in the grandeur of the natural beautiful too often ignored by people. As he pictured it, as a surrealistic painting, filled with brilliant red, yellows and oranges, hanging on the walls of an art gallery somewhere.
Her south facing wall, by her desk, she hung numerous photos marking Hermes’ Solutions expansion, from a small single room operation to its current state, an aggressively expanding mid-sized business with 90 employees. Among the photos, he noticed a ground breaking ceremony in one of Snelgrove’s new industrial parks. Recognizing the mayor of Caledon and a few other high ranking officials from the town and local business improvement councils.
The photo appeared to have been taken last month, in April, the way everyone in the photo are dressed in bulky clothes with umbrellas. Remembering how cold and wet, April was this year. As he silently suffered through a very nasty cold that had him, off sick for two weeks, for the first time, in his ten year career as an OPP officer.
In front of the east wall, a table stood with a coffee machine and several empty clean mugs embossed with the company’s name and logo, ready to use. Jenna had place one of those mugs filled with black coffee by the computer, she had been working on before their arrival. On the wall, itself, a print of a modern abstract geometric painting in bright bold colours that he judged to be tasteful and easy to look at. Relaxing anyone, who spent time looking at it.
"Cheryl is the dead body, in the park, by Hickory Road Elementary School, isn't she?" Jenna asked, her eyes filling with tears.
"Ms. Monroe, we can't confirm or deny this, at this moment. It’s why we do need Mr. Lawrence's help with this." Janet replied, trying to calm her down.
Instead, Jenna broke down and cried for the next 10 minutes, before she regained her composure. As she outright rejected the various offers of assistance from the 2 OPP officers. As she used several tissues to wipe her face before declaring herself ready to guide them to Edward Lawrence’s work areas. Both OPP officers could see her face was a mess, with black mascara panda eyes and tear streaks down her face, but kept silent otherwise.
“Please don’t feel like we’re trying to rush you, Ms. Monroe, but if you want to take and use this time to repair your makeup, first. Please go ahead and do so.” Corporal Bowman spoke. Hoping she would accept the offer time to collect herself and repair the damage done by the crying.
“Thank you, Corporal Bowman, but I need to get this done now, else I won’t be able to do it, at all.” She answered, getting up, from behind her desk and out of her office. As she led them towards Edward Lawrence’s desk, in the southern half of the office. An area, where the computer techs manned the company’s help center for their global customers. One could physically feel the atmosphere change, the closer they got to the help center department, from a dominantly female to a male vibe.
Jenna saw Edward Lawrence’s head pop up from his computer screen, having just finished dealing with his most recent customer’s problem. As he stretched his body, loosening up any cramped or stressed out muscle, before checking out the next outstanding customer, in the queue. She motioned him, to follow her and the two OPP officers to the empty conference room. Where the computer techs held their weekly meetings, discussing various corporate and personal goals that they wanted to achieve. More importantly, trading various tips to increasing their productive, in resolving difficult technical issues that the other techs may have not encountered yet, with the company’s other customers.
As they analysed any new or emerging trends they may have noticed with their various customer's help requests, whether they warranted a possible patch update and/or an outright new version that needed to be written and beta tested, before being released to potential new markets and existing customers.
More importantly, boasted about their customers’ satisfaction rating, in getting the problem resolved with the least amount of downtime and lost productivity. Earning the person with the highest customer satisfaction rating, a $25 gift card for their favourite coffee place. And an even bigger reason; bragging rights, until their next weekly meeting in the conference room.
To Corporal Bowman, the man who left Edward Lawrence’s work area, had an androgynous body that leaned strongly towards being feminine, at 5”8”. Many people would have mistaken him as being female, if they had looked at him, from behind. The general manner, which he presented his body and walked, could only be described as feminine. Whether or not, he realize this, was another fact. For Edward walked with the grace of a model strolling down a fashion show runway. More feminine than many women, he had seen walking down the busy crowded streets of Toronto, on a sunny summer weekend.
His clothes were expertly tailored and expensive, from the look of the material, they were made from. Although, the suit didn’t fit his body properly, as if they were too big for him, like he had dramatically lost a lot of weight and/or height, very recently. Raising another red flag for Alex.
Alex knew from their lunchtime check of the police computer system that Edward Lawrence and his wife weren't facing any criminal investigations or charges from any Canadian police force. Nor have any foreign government or police force expressed an interest in them, as far as he could find out. Leaving Alex to wonder, if they were innocent victims being targeted by outside forces, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As the only possible explanation for the physical and verbal attacks upon this upper middle class family.
They had just stepped into the conference room, when Edward’s cellar phone started to ring shrilly. Fidgeting with it in his long slender fingers he pushed the speaker phone on. Absently he answered the ringing phone without glancing at the phone’s call display. An unknown male voice making no attempt to disguise himself, launched into the most hate filled poisonous attack rant that Corporal Bowman or Officer Two Eagle have heard. Utterly destroying Edward and his wife, Joan, for their upbringing of Cheryl. Calling her Brian as he refused to use any feminine pronouns when talking about her, during the call. Each sentence grew more venomous, in its level of attacking the Lawrence family.
Mercifully, the call ended when Edward unconsciously pushed his left index finger over the end call button on the cellar phone. Moments before Jenna and Edward collapsed and fainted, in the conference room. Only the quick actions of Corporal Bowman and Officer Two Eagles prevented any serious physical injuries from happening. As Alex’s last second grab of Edward’s shoulders, prevented his head from bouncing hard off the hard wooden floor. Gently he lowered Edward’s body, tilting his head sideways to prevent him from choking to death on his tongue or vomit, should it happen. His feet were elevated and placed on a nearby chair, forcing his blood back into the body’s core.
Alex swore he was looking at a female face, instead of a male one, like he had expected. An older living version of Cheryl, as her dead body laid in the local coroner’s office, at the Brampton Municipal Hospital. Where an autopsy would be scheduled and conducted by a medical examiner there, before they could body turned over to her family for burial or cremation. Given the brutal manner of her death, it would be a closed casket viewing, either way. Poor girl.
The body before him, looked to be about 20 years old, instead of the late 20s to early 30s that he would have guessed Edward’s age to be. Sight of the body shook him, badly, to his core. He had handle numerous homicides over his decade long career, but nothing like this. For some reason, this case affected him, on a visceral level.
The body that lay before him, was one that many men and women for various different reasons would be following intently with their eyes. Some filled with appreciation and lust for the body’s femininity. Others, it would be bitter filled envy and jealousy over her ethereal beauty that they can never have for themselves.
Alex wasn’t sure, but Edward’s face appeared to be wearing some type of light applied makeup enhancing its overall feminine nature, which most women would be envious of. As he had to force himself, to use masculine pronouns, when he described Edward’s physical appearance. Making a mental note, to talk with Janet, about this when they were in the safety of the cruiser driving back to Snelgrove,
‘He’ had numerous visible piercings in ‘his’ eyebrows, nose and ears, with expensive perfect seamless gold rings, without any sign of a clasp, stud or a connecting wire that held them in place. Some, he knew from talking with various industry professionals, are very painful to get done and took a significant period of time to properly heal, like the ear’s bone (cartilage) piercings. Never mind, the total cost for these piercings and the numerous 14 k gold rings that adored the unconscious body before him. Especially, given the high price of gold, these days. Corporal Bowman would be able to a year’s leave of absence from the OPP, if he was to sell all of Edward’s gold body piercings. And still, have money left over in his bank account to pay any unexpected bills during this period of time.
Alex couldn’t see any signs of a beard stubble, or that Edward had ever used a razor on his face. There was no visible ‘Adam’s apple’ on his throat. Although, for some men, this wasn’t unusual, as they never develop one during puberty. The only visible missing sign from declaring Edward Lawrence totally female, was the lack of breasts and a vagina, but he couldn’t tell that with the way Edward’s oversized suit draped over him. And, he wasn’t about to do a strip search of the body, unless there was a legal necessity for it.
Curious, Alex picked up the lanyard around Edward’s neck, checking to see if the photo identification on the security badge matched his current appearance. In his attempt to test his working hypothesis for explaining Edward’s radical change. Knowing there’s no other rational explanation, but the involvement of the usage of magic. As his worse fears are confirmed with the simple comparison between the photo id and his visual inspection of Edward’s body.
The security badge identify Edward, as a 33 year old man, his auburn hair cut short with a neatly trimmed beard and no visible piercings of any types. Unlike the raven hair beauty, her shoulder blade length locks, tucked around what looked like pointed elven ears. Gone, the aquiline nose and those soulful brown eyes, one could lose themselves in. Replaced by a smaller cute button nose and pale lavender eyes, dramatically altering ‘his’ facial features, in a softer more feminine manner.
How did these piercings get here and look totally healed, so quickly? How old is the security identification card photo around Edward’s neck? Has Edward’s voice and his male genitalia had changed, as well? Questions that he had to wait for later, to be answered fully. If, at all, by Edward and those close to him.
Alex wondered, if he was the only one who had noticed these physiological
abnormalities to Edward’s body. Should he risk opening himself up or everyone else in the room, to the very real threat of a magical backlash, by examining Edward, using his second sight? Knowing by doing so, he would be alerting whomever had cast this spell that others were aware of the magic used on Edward. Indecision forcing his hand, as he did nothing magically around Edward’s body. Except to wait and watch for any more changes to occur.
He was tempted to ask for Janet’s opinion, but decided not to. Fearing she would judge him crazy for cracking the pressure of this case. Unsure, if she was receptive to magic’s existence and what were her feelings to it; did she fully embraced it, hostile to the point of its outright rejection, or just shrug her shoulder and move on with life reaction. Alex never realizing her background, having grown up around a very powerful Iroquois shaman, in her Uncle Paul Two Eagles, who was grooming Janet as his replacement, whenever he retired or died.
A second and more important thought crossed Alex’s mind, did Jenna or the rest of the help centre staff see Edward, as a male or a female, when they looked at ‘him’? A question that would have to wait for another day, when he and Janet had more time to explore that question and others about Edward’s recent past. Maybe, his wife could provide the missing answers that they sought, after she returned from England, or during tomorrow’s phone interview.
“Janet, something that just doesn’t feel right with this case. As if we’re being misled or being deliberately withheld vital information that we should have be given by our superiors or by the witnesses, themselves. In order to form the proper evaluation of the current danger, we face. It feels like they are trying to protect us or shield Edward Lawrence and his family from this. Worse, we don’t know the exact danger we’re facing here. Are they too scared, our judgment will become biased, to the point, we can’t make a clear and concise elevation of the evidence before us?” A very frustrated Alex spoke.
Wanting to share his deepest fears with her, but unsure, how far he should go. As he stopped short, of sharing his fears and theories about Edward Lawrence.
“I know, Alex. Who do you suggest we should ask for help, in the OPP and from the outside sources?” Janet’s fears showing in her voice, as well. She knew something was wrong, but was powerless to express her true thoughts on what it was. Her face displayed it, to Alex.
“I don’t know, Janet. I just don’t know.”
Internally Alex debated with himself, whether or not he should contact Lt Commander Aaron Fitzpatrick, knowing they had to write up separate incident reports on the death of Cheryl Lawrence, noting Albert Morris and his friends’ involvement. Followed up by the Edward Lawrence interview and the hate filled harassing phone calls to the family's various phone numbers.
Knowing there was no room in any police report, for his esoteric theories about the usage of magic against Edward Lawrence and his dramatic changes. They would need to track down the various owners of these numbers and possibly lay charges where warranted, under Canada’s hate laws. Once the local Crown Attorney gave their blessing for laying these hate related charges. Provided that Edward Lawrence permitted them to do so. As he made a mental note to ask Mr. Lawrence for the various numbers that he and his wife had, to start the paperwork on this crime.
Still, he felt uncomfortable talking with his recent mentor, at the Snelgrove detachment, about this. Having only sporadically worked with the Lt Commander on his mage training, given their differing work schedules and outside commitments by both men. One of his major frustrations since his transferring from the Huronia detachment, 3 months ago. From his previous mentor, he had heard about his new mentor was a very strict and rigorous trainer who focused on a detailed training regimen for all apprentices, regardless of wealth, social position, or the job that they held.
Right now, Alex knew he was way over of his head with everything that has happened in this case, since Janet gave their ETA for the trans-bashing call at Hickory Road Elementary School. As part of his official training, both as a police officer and a mage, he needed to know when he should be asking for help from others. And those times, he has to act alone, as the facts dictate it. Yet, he didn’t want to appear that he couldn’t act on his feet, or trust his own instinct to act upon them, when needed. Potentially causing the death of innocent bystanders or worse, a fellow officer or mage, with his indecisiveness.
Could this be, another new lesson or test that his mentor was using, in his attempt to teach him? Either way, he needs to trust Janet, fully with his observations and speculations about this case. If their partnership was to grow and develop on a firm footing. Especially, on those times when he needs her to protect him, if his magic fails.
The sound of moving chairs scraping against the conference room’s wooden floor, alerted Alex and Janet that Jenna and Edward were out of their fainting spell, after being unconscious for a couple of minutes. Forcing the OPP Officers to rethink the next stage in their investigation of Cheryl’s death. Knowing if handled wrong, this case could explode in their faces, given the delicate nature of this case.
“Ms. Monroe, if you feel comfortable and up to it, we would to ask you some personal background questions concerning Edward Lawrence, which will help our investigation. Officer Two Eagles asked, hoping to separate her from Edward Lawrence. Allowing Alex some private time and space, to ask those questions that he so badly wanted to. Without having Ms. Monroe running any type of interference, should she feel that the questions were getting too personal concerning Edward and his family life.
Jenna responded with a nod of her head. Asked, if she wanted to use her office, she nodded ‘yes’ again to Officer Two Eagles. Together, they left the conference room for Ms. Monroe’s office.
Alex waited until the conference room door closed, before he spoke to Edward Lawrence. Asking him, if he wanted a cup of coffee or tea? To which, he got a negative shake of Edward’s head. Forcing Alex to ask again, would he prefer a bottle of water, instead?
"Water, please." Hesitantly, Edward spoke. His voice cracking, its registry had gone up from a male bass to a female soprano. Another clue to add to the growing list of concerns that Alex had about this case and the increasing proof for the involvement of magic.
Helping her up and into a nearby chair, before he walked over to the row of vending machines. Alex stopped, realizing he was using female pronouns when he thought about Edward Lawrence, instead of male ones. He made a mental note of this, for a later discussion with his Snelgrove mentor.
His right hand dug into his uniform’s right front pocket, fishing out various coins from which he selected two Loonies and 2 quarters for the bottles of water. Giving ‘Edward’ more time to adjust to her new changed reality, as Alex returned the unused change to back its normal pocket, before he placed the correct coinage into the vending machine for the two bottles of water. Handing one over to ‘Edward’, while keeping the other for himself.
Sitting down in one of the conference room’s leather chair, beside her, Alex looked her over. Trying to read her body language and mood, before he began the interview. Not sure, if she realized how dramatically her appearance has changed recently. His compilation was interrupted by a very hesitant sound from Edward's throat. Her face mirrored the inner debate that she was experiencing over today's events. Wondering if they had really happened to her. Or she'll wake up and realize she had been dreaming a very lucid nightmare that nothing has changed for her or her family, with life continuing on, normally for them. As she fights against the tears, which threaten to overwhelm her.
“It’s okay to cry, Edward, if you want to.” Alex console her. Looking around for a box of tissues, should they be needed but found none. Hastily he apologized, as he left the conference room, looking for the receptionist. Hoping she would know, if there was a spare box of tissues that he could use for his meeting with Edward. Except, the receptionist desk was empty and no one was near to help Corporal Bowman out. He hesitated asking Ms. Monroe, but she was the only other person he could think of asking for help.
Jenna and Officer Two Eagle walked into her office, Janet asked her, did she want a fresh cup of coffee, while they chatted. As her previous cup had long grow cold and stale. She busied herself, with the preparation of making a fresh pot of coffee. Knowing Jenna still needed time to process everything that just occurred. Dumping the old coffee grounds and used paper filter, into the nearby garbage pail, as she replaced with fresh ones. Swapping the clean coffee pot, filled with water for the stale pot, which she poured the water, in the maker’s reservoir to be heated up, before it passes through the basket containing the fresh coffee and filter. Placing the empty pot on the warming plate, she switched on the coffee machine, as a gurgling sound announces the brewing of a new pot of coffee.
She joins Jenna, as they settle into the chairs, before Jenna's desk. Waiting for Jenna to make the next move, in their talk. In letting her feel like she has power and a sense of control over the senseless events that had happened today. At this point, the gurgling stop, announcing the pot of coffee is finished brewing.
“How do you take your coffee, Jenna?” Janet asks her. Not waiting for her to get up and serve herself.
“A daub of the soy milk with one package of Splenda, please.”
Janet hands her, the requested coffee, before settling in with her own stirred black coffee with two teaspoons of sugar. Taking a savouring slip of the black elixir that fueled many a shift for patrolling police officers, worldwide. A silence sigh of bliss escapes Janet’s lips, as she take a deeper sip of her coffee, before looking at Jenna. Deciding on how to start this interrogation, in a kind and gentle way, without spooking an already emotional background witness.
“Tell me, what type of roasted coffee beans does Hermes’ Solution buy? I would love to get this for myself and possibly for the OPP Snelgrove detachment.”
“Honestly, Officer Two Eagles, I don’t know. I just open up the prepared package and pour it in the filter paper.”
“Do you mind if I take the packaging and see, if I can ordered for myself, then? Please call me, Janet. It feel so cold and very distance, when you use Officer Two Eagles to address me, Ms. Monroe.”
“Only if, you use Jenna first Janet. Please be my guest.”
“So tell me about Hermes’ Solutions, Jenna. How did you come to join this company and meet Edward Lawrence?” Janet prompted her.
“The company was started 5 years ago, when a group of five long-time friends sat around a bar, drinking beers, as they complained about the lack of good affordable local IT help. They had business degrees and needed the computer expertise of Edward, who they knew from their high school days. Thus, the six of them, launched Hermes’ Solutions, each one an equal partner in this joint venture.
“Myself, I was brought into the company, 3 years ago, as it underwent an explosive growth spurt that saw its number of employees had tripled from 20 to 60 people, in a short period of time. From the photos on the wall, you can see that the company will be moving into a new building, around November next year.” She stopped to take the occasional sip from her coffee mug, before continuing onward with the history of Hermes’ Solutions.
“Have you noticed anything different about Mr. Lawrence, lately?” Officer Two Eagles asked. Hoping she wasn’t treading on any dangerous emotional ground with this question. Given the dramatic physical changes and energy, she saw Edward Lawrence’s body had undergone and given off, recently.
“How so?” Jenna countered. Wondering, if Officer Two Eagle had noticed the dramatic changes that Edward Lawrence had undergone in the past six hours, since he started his day in the help center. As she wondered, what this question had to do, with Cheryl’s death, just off of school’s grounds.
“Beyond the phone call, this afternoon, has he been dealing with any problems at home? Or here, at the job?” Mentally, Janet noted the rising level of concern, in Jenna’s body language and the way, she responded to the questions asked of her.
“From my limited interaction with Edward I would say ‘no’. But two years ago, when his son Brian announced that his change of gender and name, things got very stressful at home, for him. At the time, Joan, his wife wasn’t accepting of their child's new name or gender. Through gender and family therapists, they worked things out for the entire family.
“There was talk about one of the original partners offering up their company shares to the others, as they wanted to move on to another project. It was resolved quickly, as they equally divided the opting out partner shares among them, and they parted ways as still friends.” Jenna got up, motioning towards the coffee machine to refill her coffee mug. Hoping the interview was over, with Officer Two Eagles.
Reluctantly, Janet declined the offered second cup. Knowing, if she accepted it, she wouldn’t be able to sleep, tonight, when she went to bed. She waited, until Jenna had settled back in her seat before asking the next question.
“Have you noticed anything different about Mr. Lawrence, in a physical sense, like sudden dramatic weight/height loss or multiple unexplained piercings and/or tattoos on his body?” Janet noticed that Jenna was freezing up, as she asked her that last question. Like she had seen the radical metamorphosis Edward’s body had experience recently. Any chance of Jenna explaining it was lost, to Officer Two Eagles, preferring to keep silent on it.
At that moment, a solid and forceful knock was heard, breaking the building tension between Officer Janet Two Eagles and Jenna Monroe. Too eagerly, Jenna jumped up and answered the door. Welcoming any distraction to get away from Janet’s probing questions, about Edward Lawrence and his recent physical changes in appearance. Scared, her answers could change the relationship they had enjoyed over the past three years. In admitting, she felt a very strong sexual attraction to the ‘new’ very feminine Edward Lawrence. A fact, she was trying to deny to herself, since coming into work, this morning at 8 am. Reigniting her long struggle to accept herself, as a lesbian that ran countered to everything she was told, as a child by her immediate family and the Catholic Church.
“Am sorry to bother, you ladies.” Alex said, “Am wondering, where can I find a box of tissues? The conference room doesn’t have any and the receptionist isn’t at her desk, right now.” His words providing the necessary break, both Officer Two and Eagles and Ms. Monroe were seeking, but couldn’t vocalize.
“Right this way, Corporal Bowman.” Jenna led him, to the supply cabinet, located around the corner from her office. Handing him a box of tissues from the now closed supply cabinet.
“Thank you very much, Ms. Monroe.” Accepting the offered box, before returning to the conference room, to continue his talk with Edward Lawrence.
Clutching the box of tissues, Alex returned to the conference room, placing them beside Edward Lawrence, before reclaiming his seat. She used a couple of them, to wipe her eyes and blow her nose. He looked on and took several swallows of from the bottle of water, in silence. Noticing for the first time, her body was starting to relax and a small smile appeared. A fleeting moment that would soon disappear once the questioning begun.
“Ms. Lawrence,” he started, “do you remember anything unusual about today, other than the death of your child? However small, it may seem to you, it could be a very important clue to bringing your family justice. Like an unusual comment or a gesture made by a person you don’t normally have any interaction with.”
“Nothing, I am afraid, except the obscene phone calls started around 10 am, this morning, Officer.” She announced. “At first, I just ignore them and tried to focus on my job. The missed calls had my voicemail inbox overflowing with their hateful messages. Hoping this would discourage whomever was making these calls to me.” Alex noticed the tears starting to run down her face.
“Please remember, did you erase or playback any of those earlier messages from your voicemail inbox? If you haven’t listened to them, they may provide us, with a vital clue, in reversing whatever has happened to you, Ms. Lawrence. And if we have any chance of nailing these hatemongers, who are sending these messages to you, Ms. Lawrence. For we need to hear these messages in a safe and protected spot” He responded, starting to feel hopeful, for the first time since letting the Snelgrove detachment to start today’s shift. They had a chance of restoring some justice to the Lawrence family, how little it may be.
“Don’t know how, but the calls started to come directly to my work phone number, which I accidentally picked up and started listening to. At first, I thought the caller was someone inside the company, or a local client, I have dealt with personally, over the years. I have five personal customers that have been with us, since we opened up for business.” She broke down and cried.
“I couldn’t put the phone down, until the call ended. It felt like I was under a hypnotic trace, listening to those messages. There must be been about ten or so calls like this, before they tailed off.” She spoke between sobs.
“At first, I ignored these strange sensations that spread throughout my entire body, except it got tougher, as the day wore on. Found myself, wanting to strip naked and become the sexual play toy of the other techs, in the help center. Each passing moment, I felt myself slipping away and becoming this sexual toy. I would’ve done it, but your arrival saved me.” She got up and hugged him. Leaving little doubt about the completeness of her transformation, as Alex felt her small breasts pressed against his chest.
Unbeknownst to Corporal Bowman and Ms. Lawrence, Officer Two Eagles and Ms. Monroe had returned to the conference room. Hearing the last few minutes of ‘Edward’s’ very emotional and embarrassing confession to Alex. Breaking down, whatever emotional barriers, Jenna Monroe had towards Edward Lawrence.
“Oh, I’m so sorry that you had to endure this, in silent pain.” Jenna spoke, as she rushed to embrace ‘Edward’ in an emotional hug.
Corporal Bowman’s quick reflexes prevented another tragedy from happening, as he saw a bright sickly coy crimson red aura begin to form around the bodies of Jenna and ‘Edward’. Similar to the sexual binding impulse spells, he learned to counter during his early day of novice mage training. Except, this one could lock its selected targets, in a nearly unbreakable sex slave spell. Unlike anything, he had ever been exposed to, during his early days of training.
“Ms. Monroe, for yours and Ms. Lawrence safety, I would strongly recommend that you don’t touch her and keep a safe distance apart. Until, we can remove that curse upon Ms. Lawrence. Otherwise, you’ll trigger a very nasty spell that will sexually linked the two of you.” Upon hearing his words, Jenna blushed a bright crimson red, backpedalling several meters away from her.
“Before we drive you both home, I need to make a few phone calls. Depending on these calls, I’ll know which direction we have to take for both of your safety. Now, if you will excuse me, I need a few moments of privacy.”
He walked to the far end of the conference room, placing his first call to Lt Commander Fitzpatrick’s secure phone number. On the second ring, he answered the phone.
“Hello Alex, what’s new with the case?” His voice laced with a sense of apprehension.
“Hello, sir. This trans-bashing/murder case has gotten beyond my level of knowledge, as I need your help or someone else, who is more knowledgeable about destructive linked spells. Mr. Lawrence has been transformed by a spell repeatedly told to him, over the phone.” Alex paused, as he thought about how he was going to say the next part to his current mentor. “Also, there’s a very nasty sexual compulsion spell linked to another employee here that binds them tightly, in sexual slavery.”
“Oh fuck.” Alex heard from the other end. “Does anyone else know about this particular addition to the spell?”
“Not yet. I have only told you, sir.” Alex answered.
“Okay, give me about 5-10 minutes to call around the coven and see what the other members have to share.” A momentary pause, before the LT Commander continued. “Either way, we can’t leave these women alone, without any protection. As whomever is casting these spells have proven with their lack of concern for their physical and emotional wellbeing.” He withhold from Corporal Bowman, his fear that Cheryl Lawrence’s death was the catalyst for Edward Lawrence’s transformation and the linked spell to Jenna Monroe with him.
“Yes, sir.” The phone call ended abruptly.
Absently, he walked back to where the women had gathered, in the conference room. His mind replaying the brief conversation that he had with the Lt Commander and the feeling of dread, which filled him. Given his limited knowledge of the unfolding crisis before them. Knowing there was no easy way to explain this and still retain the women’s trust.
“Okay everyone, we should know more, in about 10 minutes or so. At that time, I should be getting a return phone call, confirming the necessary steps we need to take to keep both Ms. Lawrence and Ms. Monroe safe.” Hopeful eyes greeted his words, which Alex didn’t feel. Knowing their world had forever changed for them, however this case was resolved.
As promised, ten minutes later Alex’s cellar phone rang, with the distinctive ringtone of Depeche Mode’s song, Strange Love, for Lt Commander Fitzpatrick’s secure phone number. Upon hearing the first notes, he moved back to the isolate area of the conference room, to receive the phone call.
“Hello Alex, I have mixed news from the coven council, concerning Ms. Lawrence and Ms. Monroe. They want both women to be taken into protective custody, under my command, until we find a way to break that compulsive spell and eliminate whomever cast it. Complicating our investigation, immensely, on the magic and police side of this case. Secondly, you’re not to use your own magical abilities on either women, until we know the full extent of the spells placed upon them. Also, this goes for Officer Two Eagles as well. Am I, clear? Preferably, I don’t what either one of you, to touch Ms. Lawrence or Ms., Monroe, until we can remove this spell, safely. ”
“Chrystal, sir.” Alex responded back. As a new fear flooded him, as the last instruction have been already violated, both he and Officer Two Eagles had to move their bodies after the earlier fainting. “Except, both Officer Two Eagles and I had to touch their bodies, after they fainted, hearing one of the hate calls on Ms. Lawrence’s cellar phone.”
For several seconds, dead air filled Corporal Bowman’s part of the conference room, before the Lt Commander spoke again.
“Shit. When you and Officer Two Eagles are finished your shifts, today, I want both of you, to report to the mage compound for a thorough examination by one of our medic mages, to see if either one of you have been contaminated by black magic. Until then, I want you limited your exposure to any contact with these two witnesses, to the bare minimum. I will inform the counsel about these latest changes, in the case.”
“Yes, sir.” Alex responded back.
“Good. Have Ms. Monroe announce publicly to the other employees that Ms. Lawrence will be taking an indefinitely leave of absence to properly mourning her daughter, but she'll be returning to her job. Also, have Ms. Monroe take time off, herself, for a vague personal reasons outside of the job. But, like Ms. Lawrence, she will be returning back to her job, as well. This will eliminate many of the security barriers facing us, should Ms. Lawrence or Ms. Monroe continue with their work, for now. Should they face any resistance from their workplace, call me right away and I will resolve this magically. Although, I hate to mess with other people’s minds like this.” He paused, letting Alex digest the detailed information given to him, before continuing on with the conversation.
“When you and Officer Two Eagles get into the office, tomorrow, I want us to meet and map out our future plans for this case.” His voice implied it was an order and not a mere suggestion for the meeting. “Also, have one of the techs download both body cameras on to 2 DVDs with today’s date, which you’ll drop one at my personal ‘in’ box, at the detachment mailbox. And the second one, you hold on, until it can be viewed by someone with mage sight.
“Sir, what about the vehicles of Ms. Lawrence and Ms. Monroe, do we let them drive to the safe house, or does someone else take them to another location which they can’t traced to their new location?” Alex asked.
“The extraction team will be looking after those details. You will know of their arrival by the phone call on one of our magically secure numbers. They will give you further instruction at that time, about the steps needed to be taken by all involved. Until then, prepare to have our guests arrange their leaves of absence from work. Plus, I want all phone numbers from Ms. Lawrence and her family, along with Ms. Monroe. Also we’ll need their permission to ask their various phone providers for a record check, so we can track down those responsible for Ms. Lawrence’s transformation and the linked spell with Ms. Monroe.” A soft sigh escaped Alex, as he mentally reviewed the instructions that he had just received.
“Remember, you still have those police reports to be written up, before you leave, tonight.” Silent filled the conference room, as the Lt Commander hung up.
Quickly, Alex informed them, about the phone call and various responsibilities they needed to take care of, before the extraction team’s arrival. Knowing completing the various required forms will take time, as they needed to share them company-wide. Additionally, Ms. Lawrence had to arrange personally for the other call center techs to handle her personal clients, which got divided among the senior staff. Assuring everyone, ‘he’ will be back to work, after the grieving period is over. Just that ‘he’ wasn’t sure how long it would take. The next twenty minutes, they worked on finishing up the various loose ends, before the extraction team leader phoned Corporal Bowman.
By Therisa Godwaldt © 2017 Therisa Godwaldt All rights Reserved -------------------------------------------------------------------...