|Thorn On Her Side
Author: SpaceCat PM
2075 Det. Thorn of the NYPD becomes tangled in a conspiracy that spans more than a century. Part of my silly series that began with Just A Little War. Adult themes, violence and mild sexual content.Rated: Fiction M - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 15 - Words: 94,746 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Updated: 03-09-11 - Published: 06-29-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2823124
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Thorn On Her Side.
Detective Samuel Thorn sat waiting for his phone to ring. He had already left eight voice mails with Dr. David Stark and a ninth would not make any difference. Still, he flipped open his phone and poised his thumb over the number assigned as Dave's, on his speed dial. Hearing the beep of an incoming call, Det. Thorn quickly moved his thumb over the "Talk" button as soon as his caller ID made it clear that it was the call he was waiting for.
"Dave, I need you here now. No questions, no excuses. As a friend of Captain Donner, I expect you here five minutes ago with your bag of tricks." Det. Thorn hated using the name of the man that had saved himself and his closest friends through an ultimately selfless act, but the situation left him no other choice.
"Got ya Sam, I'll be there ASAP," Dave answered.
Closing the phone, Sam looked at the pathetic little figure in the small cardboard box that sat on his coffee table. In all of his days, serving with the NYPD, he had never seen anything like her and her wounds made it all the more unusual and horrific.
She had a beautiful face, though the cuts and bruises made one have to look very closely to see it. Her thick red hair, that reached to her waist, was matted with dried blood and obscured the curves of her body as well as a number of deep gashes on her torso and shoulders. One arm, her right, was little more than a bloody stump just below the elbow where, he had managed to tie it off with a tourniquet. Her right leg looked so mangled that he doubted that any miracle of technology could save it. As frightful as her wounds were, when he had found her, he felt certain he could not take her to the nearest hospital. This was due to the simple fact that she was no more that eight inches in length. As impossible as that seemed, when he had found her at the crime scene, her soft moans had alerted him to the fact that she was not some animated doll, created by one of the more fantastic companies out of the Asian Protectorate. He had to kneel down to view her in the cage on the floor and, even seeing her, had found it beyond belief. The leather tunic and gladiator style arm guard that covered what was left of her right arm were torn and tattered. Dried blood, both her own and that of the animals that she had been forced to fight, was caked on her armor and her skin.
Confounded and alone when he found her, Det. Thorn had rejected out of hand one of the local hospitals as her very size, her simple existence, would have raised too many questions before anyone got around to actually trying to save her life. As gently as he could, he had slipped her into a handy box after gently removing her from the arena like cage and carefully putting field dressings on her tiny wounds. Having fully expected to find her dead in the box once he got home, seeing her tiny chest rise and fall seemed like a miracle. Having seen combat during the "Intervention" between the Russian Union and the Asian Protectorate, he knew what the human body was capable of enduring and her injuries placed her, in his opinion, on the very edge of life and death.
Touching the pad of his left index finger to her head, he could readily tell she was as real as any normal sized person. Watching her tiny blue eyes open and close sightlessly, he gripped the phone in his right hand all the tighter. "Come on Doc, HURRY," he whispered as she whined incoherently in a soft voice.
All of the questions that flew through his mind, who was she, how did she get this small and why had she been thrown into a fighting ring with animals, would all have to wait until the Doc did what he could for her. The image of her tiny body huddled in a corner of the main cage that had been attached to the smaller cages along its perimeter, each of which held evidence of its former inhabitants, rats, made the twenty year veteran of the force feel sick. Someone had decided her little life held no more value than some sick spectator sport and only the anonymous tip, Det. Thorn had received, made it possible to have the slimmest of chances to save her life. She had fended off two rats with a third waiting hungrily in its cage. Two rat carcasses, one with a tiny lance and the other with an equally diminutive sword protruding from their more vital areas, testified to her determined attempt to survive. Like some surreal version of the more awful aspects of the old Roman Empire, she had evidently been charged with defending herself against the ravenous animals, using simple weapons, for the spectators that had sat in the empty chairs encircling the cages. "Try to hang on. Help is on the way I promise you," he whispered only half expecting the words to make it through her haze of pain and shock.
So much money and many valuable things had been left on the floor of the loft apartment that obviously some form of wagering had to be in play on the part of those witnessing the events that had taken place before they fled into the dark. Animal fighting had always been one of those crimes that seemed to pop out of the wood work like the vermin who enjoyed such entertainment. While most good citizens saw such things as matters of poverty or "foreigners", he was all too aware of the appeal such cruel games had among the wealthy and powerful. Watching the tiny woman try to move within the little box while covered with a bit of flannel cloth he was able to find, he wondered what horrible new level this vile tradition had achieved. The technology to make a human so small seemed more like magic than science but all he had to do was look at her to see the actuality of it. Using such amazing technology as just another means to inflict pain for the amusement of others, made his view of humanity darken, something he had long ago considered impossible.
Though the length of time could not have been all that long, it still seemed an eternity before his entry buzzer sounded, announcing the arrival of Dave. "Doctor David Stark to see Detective Samuel Thorn on December eighteenth twenty seventy five at 23:05 . Will you accept the visit, Sir?" came the dispassionate voice with a hint of a cartoon-like British accent the programmers seemed to think would give the building a more snobbish appeal, as it logged the visit for security purposes. Springing from the couch as he told the building's computer to send Dave up, the elevator took another eon to arrive.
Taking Dave's hand in his own, he welcomed his old army buddy. "Thank you, Dave. Now, I know you are going to have a million questions but I am pleading with you to save them all until you do what you can for the victim. I promise to tell you everything I know after. Deal?" Dave's quizzical look as Det. Thorn ushered him to the living room of his apartment made plain his confusion.
No problem but, you DO remember I am a veterinarian, right? What victim? Did your pet have an accident? When did you even get a pet?"
Shaking his head as he led Dave to the couch and the cardboard box on his coffee table, Det. Thorn reminded him. "No questions, not yet. Just do what you can. That's the deal."
"Ok, Sam, Ok…" Dave's voice trailed off as his eyes focused on the contents of the small box. Seeing the Doc's eyes go wide as he gasped and called out "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!", Det. Thorn pushed him down to sit on to the couch.
"She is hurt and needs help. I am asking you to help her." He considered calling upon the name of their savior once again but knew the weight of the first invocation had been enough when Dave opened his medical bag and began laying his assortment of devices on the coffee table by the box. Setting the Omni Med on his head like a skull cap, he began scanning her with the eyepiece that hung in front of his right eye.
After untying the hasty tourniquet and field dressing on her limbs, Dave began to mutter to himself as he noted her vitals. Cleaning and sealing her wounds with his smallest laser pen, he then proceeded to hypo various pain killers and antibiotics into her tiny body after removing the torn leather tunic and arm guard. All the while, her pitiful voice cried out between sobs and semi-conscious moans. Once Dave was satisfied that he had done all he could, he then washed her tiny body with an antiseptic wipe and wrapped her more egregious wounds in skin seal and small bandages. Shaking his head as he sat back on the couch, his patient under the watchful electronic eye of the Omni Med's detachable sensor array, he sighed. "Ok, I may not have seen everything but, I think this brings me pretty fucking close. Now, explain before I give myself a dose of tranquilizers I save for mad dogs in summer."
Watching the tiny woman begin to go limp, Det. Thorn looked worriedly into Dave's Face. "Calm down, Sam, she is sleeping. Must be one hell of a fighter to have suffered that much and made it this far. Let her rest and if she is still prepared to fight, she will. If not, well then not," he answered the silent question with a raised hand. Nodding, Sam walked to the little beverage dispenser built into the wall and asked the apartment's computer for two beers. As the bottles dropped down, he flicked off the caps and set one before the Doc. "Ok, skinny time. I think you will feel cheated but, hang with me. I will tell you all I know." Nodding slowly as he sipped his beer, Dave was all ears to find out where a tiny human female might have originated from.
"I have been assigned to the "RED" taskforce." Dave's face went white as his old friend made the admission. "RED" had been the ultimate scourge of the twenty-first century so far. Even more than the brief nuke exchange between the R.U. and A.P and as devastating as the all out nuclear and biological holocaust that had made the Middle East a dead zone, RED was, to the world of drugs what a Ferrari 2100T was to the automotive industry. Not a drug per se but a computer chip designed to trigger any or all of the pleasure centers of the human brain on command. While the urban legends claimed RED was developed by North Korea before its unification into the A.P., no one really knew its origin. To be assigned to the taskforce to combat its ever growing popularity was reserved for the most elite of any agency. Because of the vast amounts of money and therefore power involved, only those who passed rigorous psych evaluations, barring any hint of corruption were invited to join in. While he and Sam had served together during the U.S. "Intervention" between the R.U. and the A.P. in the Special Forces, Dave had never suspected his old buddy would have been snatched up by the RED Teams in civilian life.
"Ok, news to me, but go on, please." Dave was tempted to ask more about Sam's involvement in RED team, but knew that he could probably not elaborate all that much for security reasons and, he still wanted to know about the tiny and severely injured woman he had just treated.
"I got a tip about a RED manufacturing plant here in the West Village. Typical ID block call using a computer voice but, the info sounded legit so I called it in and investigated. By the time I got there, most the of bacas were gone, again typical. I Stazed a flunk who should be in custody by now and all that was left besides enough money and goodies to buy Manhattan two times over, was her. I knew what would happen if I took her to some regular E.R. They would browse and static as she died so, I thought of you. Sorry to drag you in but I had no choice."
Putting his free hand on Sam's arm as he lifted the beer to his lips, Dave made it clear that he was happy to help. Swallowing, Dave smiled. "You are just lucky I was the U.S. Army's best field medic before I decided mutts and kitties were more my speed. I have to tell you, I have never seen injuries like hers since we all got out with our DOD walking papers. No, even then. From the scan of her fresh wounds I would say she was set upon by some sort of animals, rodents perhaps, at her size."
Det. Thorn could not help the smile that tugged at his lips under his graying mustache. "You are still the best, Doc. No arguments." As he began to relate how he found her in the cage and the dead rats as well as the one in waiting, Dave's eyes narrowed.
"Gotta love humans, no one knows how to make things grim like us angry primates. I have to warn you, I would not bet the last beer in the house on her making it. Her new wounds are about as bad as they look and from the scan, I would say she was a regular customer of abuse."
Det. Thorn nodded. "I know, but if there is a chance she can make it and perhaps tell us what happened, how she got, well, tiny, I have to see that she gets it."
Turning his eyes to the little sleeping woman, Dave could not help but see the resemblance to Karen, Sam's late wife. He hoped his buddy did not see it as well but suspected he could not have missed it. Wanting to change the subject before his thoughts somehow grew loud enough to alert Sam, Dave smiled and looked around the living room. "Ok where is my rotten nephew, the bane of all mankind?" Dave had practically adopted Gan when he was born to Sam and Karen, fifteen years ago. When Karen had been killed in the Bio attack of Sixty Five, he had made a point of watching the boy while Sam was at work on the force. Even after Dave met the man of his dreams and married, he still considered Gan to be like a son to him and, Miko had been delighted to have the child around.
"With Karen's folks in Long Island. His school is having yet another recess as they try to figure out the "Every Child is Gifted" law so, I told them he could come keep them company. After a week without him, I am not sure I can take this much quiet for another week." The look on Sam's tired face made Dave worry.
As if on cue, Det. Thorn's phone signaled a priority call. Answering it, he frowned. "Ok, I will be there in nanos. I want to see the flunk as soon as he is defrosted." Closing the phone he turned to Dave with a look of want. "Any chance you could…," his words were cut off by Dave's smile as he nodded.
"Of course, Sam. You go tug threads and I'll watch the patient. I'll call Miko and let him know I'm going to be late. Now, go bend a fucker like the old days. If anything happens, I will com you and you do the same, if you can."
"Thanks, Dave, I owe you another big one. Tell Miko I am sorry about keeping you away from him."
"Fuck you, Sam. First, I owe you more than I can pay in this life thanks to Captain Donner and, I am not boggy enough to tell my wife I'm with you. He'll think we are drinking and circle jerking. I will tell him I'm at the titty bar trying to get crotch rot from all the girls. He can forgive that." Grinning wide as he knew what a gem of a man Miko was, Det. Thorn told the apartment computer to make his guest feel at home and accept all of his commands. Checking his holstered Stazer under his jacket and, slipping on his overcoat, he gave Dave the finger as he smiled.
"Fuck you too, buddy. Keep her comfortable at least. If she does not make it, say a little prayer and light a candle."
Walking at a hurried pace to the Sixth Precinct, Det. Thorn looked as he always did at the little bar where he had met Karen after he left the Army and joined the NYPD. She had been working on her Master's and did not want to be bothered by the young man that fell for her at first, beer goggled sight. After two years of pestering, she had finally decided to say yes to a date and no, to an order of protection against him. Not that Thorn had been all that rude, but he did find himself in that very bar at almost every opportunity. It was not until the birth of their son Gan that she finally confessed she had made a point of trying to study there after deciding he was not a total dick. The sight of the dingy awning hanging above the old plate glass front window, always hit him in the gut after her death but, he looked each time all the same as some manner of tribute to her memory. "Pain lets you know you are alive, maggot!" his advanced military instructors had always told him and if that was so, he and the tiny woman under the care of Dave, were both very much alive, indeed.
Walking through the weapons scanner at the front door of the precinct house, he waved his right hand that contained his ID chip and scowled at the scanner's lens. "Please state name and ID number, Detective Thorn." the mechanical female voice droned.
"Mickey Mouse, ID number nonya, as in nonya business, Mom."
"Please restate your name and ID number, Detective Thorn or I will have to notify internal security." The voice sounded happy about being able to make a threat at his expense even though that was out of the question as the stations computer could no more feel mirth than he could walk on water.
"Very well, Mom, Detective Thorn. ID number 1Z000529. If you know my name, WHY do you ask?" He could not help adding in the last insult directed more to the designers of the program than the end result that was now quizzing him.
"Thank you, Detective Thorn. You are now logged in with Central Data as being on duty. Please have a nice day and be careful out there." The old "Cops prayer", "Be careful out there", made even less sense as he was, after all, entering the building.
"You too and try no to let the boys in Central Data see your pretty chips today, you whore."
"I am sorry I do not understand that reference. Please rephrase." The canned response he always got as a reply to his more banal commentary for the computer's sake, made him shake his head as the gate opened to allow him entrance into the station.
"Someday you will think of a better line, Mom and I will drop dead right here. Killing an officer on duty is a hanging crime you know. I bet they will pull your CPU and hit it with a hammer on LinkView to show the rest of your kind what happens when you get out of line." It was not that he had any particular animosity for the precinct's computer, just that Det. Thorn had no love for any of the machines that seemed to have made life all too controlled. You could not walk down a street or visit a girlfriend without the Central Data facility knowing when you did and how long it took you. Even in your own home, your personal computer related your eating, sleeping and toilet habits to C.D. so that everyone from the Government to the advertisers, could collate and categorize you as a person. At least his apartment building was one of the older ones. He did not have the vid cams or room sensors the luxury buildings offered for the "safety and comfort" of their tenants. It was this simple fact that made it possible to hide the little woman in his place until he could sort her story out. If she survived that is.
Waving to the bored looking Desk Sergeant whose position was more of a traditional matter than one of necessity and, usually the last posting of the older "Lifers" before they had their forced retirement party, Det. Thorn proceeded to the lock up where the "Defrosters" would be waiting to bring his collar out of Staze upon his arrival. The "humane" alternative to the deadly force of the old days, when cops carried guns, the Stazer rendered a subject neurologically void but alive until they were "Defrosted" while in custody. While freezing had nothing to do with the process, the rigid bodies of the subjects had led to the natural if, inaccurate observation. Stazers had also redefined the time frame in which suspects had to be examined by the courts. Until one was out of "Staze", they were not on the clock to see a judge so, if things got backed up, they sat on their slabs, nice and quiet until the time to process them was found. In the case of the flunk from his investigation, time was Det. Thorn's concern so, the prisoner was rushed to the head of the line for arraignment under the Articles of Sedition that pertained to the RED crisis the nation had been facing.
Standing behind the clear barrier as the flunk was wheeled under the defroster, Det. Thorn watched anxiously as the man's nervous system was restarted. Seeing him move his head and hands as the Staze effect was counteracted, he pushed past the door and followed as the gurney rolled the prisoner to the interrogation rooms. "Room 3B is vacant, Det. Thorn. Will this be acceptable?" the internal systems computer inquired.
"I don't give shit where we do this, so long as I get to have a talk with this guy. Lock down the table and notify C.D. the interrogation has commenced on this flunk." Watching the sliding door open onto the room, Det. Thorn followed the gurney in and smiled as the containment bands drew across the midsection of the man.
One eye on the screen that stood above the gurney on the wall, Det. Thorn noted the man's name and personal history as reported by his ID chip. Kam Lo, age 19. From the list of priors, it was obvious the flunk had been a ward of the state by way of jail time alone. Standing next to the gurney as the young man's eyes slowly focused, Det. Thorn gave him a toothy, predatory grin. "Wake up Flunk. Time to say bye bye to the world. I already have enough on you to throw you off the planet. Involvement in RED production carries a mandatory life burn so, say good bye to anything besides bad food and rough prison sex for as long as you survive, MISTER Lo." Poking the helpless man's chest with his finger, Det. Thorn waited for the panic to rise in the man's dark eyes.
Wondering if the recent "Import" would try to play the "No English" game, Det. Thorn made sure the UniTrans was on line and ready to kick in as ordered, to help his prisoner understand what he was telling him. Funny thing about the world of the twenty first century, almost every "Import" learned English as a rule since the U.S. regained its Super Power status after the R.U. and A.P. decided to blow all their money on the most pointless war in history but, Americans still whined that no one spoke English. The fact that Americans always seemed to consider it some sort of unspeakable imposition to learn another language, never came up in such conversations. Once again, technology came to the rescue with the UniTrans, keeping America safe from having to learn more than one way to say "Hello".
Addressing the Table's controls, Det. Thorn spoke. "Raise table to vertical presentation." Being a simple device, it did what it was told without comment.
"Screw you, cop, I want my lawyer." The young man did not waste time playing the language barrier game which meant he either did not have the brains to play dumb or, was so used to the environment of police stations that he did not care. The glaring mistake as he asked for a lawyer under a charge of RED, made Det. Thorn grin wide.
"Nice try flunk but, under the Articles of Sedition as a RED suspect, you have the right to hang on the wall until we decide which corner of nowhere you live out your days. Rumor has it we are setting up a detention camp on the Moon, perhaps you will be one of the first to go. Don't worry, we will send the oxygen along for you as soon as we can." The growing look of trepidation in the man's eyes made it clear his hopeless situation was slowly dawning on him.
"I can, lower the charge and skip the RED matter, if you cooperate, you know." Det. Thorn almost whispered making the man strain to hear his hint of an offer. Walking to the drink dispenser in the wall, Det. Thorn ordered a coffee, black no sugars, and turned to face his prisoner as he sipped the steaming brew. "Or you can send me a postcard from Luna. Your call, tough guy."
"What? What do you want? I don't know anything," The young man's voice shook telling the detective that his plan was working.
"Sure you do, Mr. Lo. You know all kinds of things. I bet you are so smart you even know how your mom likes to be kissed when you ass rape her. While I am sure that is fun bit of trivia, I will not ask about your sex life with mom, today." Seeing the young man's face bloom with red hot anger, Det. Thorn smiled and sipped his hot coffee.
"Fuck you, crank. You don't know what a good woman my mom is. Suck my DICK!" Shaking his head as he chuckled, Det. Thorn made a note to the computer to log the incident of verbal assault on an officer while on duty by the suspect.
"Now, see, that just bought you more time if you don't end up spending it all in a hole. Let's move on from your two dollar whore mom, to the matter I am interested in." Walking to the com panel on the adjoining wall, Det. Thorn subtly switched off the microphone and camera that monitored the room out of the prisoner's eye shot. "How about we talk about the fun and games you were having with the rats and the tiny woman, shall we?" Again whispering so that his prisoner would have to perk his ears to hear, he smiled as he walked back into the young man's view. Seeing the suspect nod slowly, he knew he had a shot at getting the info he wanted before C.D. inquired about the "Malfunction" in the room's monitoring system.
"She is a toy. Her owner got tired of her and said she gets to play with the rats. We make money on her with the betting." His voice was breathless as he pushed the words out as fast as he could.
"Good, that just got my attention on the matter of your life burn in the slam. Now, tell me more and I will see to it I forget the matter of the RED and only focus on you as a typical knobbing scum." Again, he wanted the kid angry so that his pride would make him lash out, causing his mind to be distracted.
"I don't know anymore. She was delivered last night and we were told to set up the cages and call the clients. That is all I know." He was practically whining like a child as Det. Thorn kept his cool and sipped his coffee.
"Ok, Mr. Lo. What's her name? I am sure they gave you a name, right?" Looking into the young man's eyes, he hoped the boy knew just how deep a hole he was in.
"She was called Dink when she was delivered. Dinky, that's it. Since she is so small."
"Check," the detective mused silently as he made a point of sipping his coffee slowly, letting the man wait for his next words just as he tormented those who played chess with him at the bar. "Yes, she is small. How did she get that way? I would really like to know." His voice was almost sickeningly sweet as he asked the prisoner, letting his position talk for itself as he slowly walked closer to the gurney.
"Fuck I don't know. Maybe she was born like that. Look I just hold the money and guard the doors so the customers can have a good time."
"Oh I know. We found a pistol on you. Very naughty you know. That is another five years normal time right there." Smiling wide as the man was obviously weighing the number of normal mandatory years in stir, if he did not bite the big one on the RED charge, Det. Thorn sighed and shrugged. "Well, perhaps some of your guests might know then. Names, I would like their names please, Mr. Lo." Det. Thorn doubted the young man would give him names as that would mean no jail on Earth could keep such "Guests" from having his balls in a bag but, it was worth a shot.
"No fucking way. They will kill me AND my family. I will take the life deal before I let them do that." Sighing again, Det. Thorn considered his options as his anger, held in check by his discipline, began to give way at the thought that this young man was happy to stand by as the tiny woman was tormented to death.
"Ok, suit yourself flunk. But before you go…," he ordered the gurney to release the bands and simultaneously tossed the rest of the scalding coffee into the face of the young man. Hoping the boy was stupid enough to rise to the challenge, Det. Thorn turned the room monitors back on and was rewarded by a hay maker punch to the side of his head. "You hit like a little girl," he growled as he planted his right fist into the boy's jaw and felt the mandible break with a wet cracking sound. Grinning mirthlessly as the young man hit the ground, Det. Thorn drew his Stazer and fired. "Night night, asshole," he hissed as the throbbing of his own head kicked in. Looking into the lens of the precinct's computer, he called out a security emergency and waited for the troops to arrive.
Not much info, not much to go on but it was a start. The simple fact that this particular import was Asian, spoke volumes about the threads that dangled from the case. The admission that the "Guests" would kill not only himself but his family, confirmed that it was the Asian mob or one if its little cousins like the Flying Dragons or the Ghost Shadows. With any luck he could pay some visits and shake loose a fact or two from the folks he knew lived on the edges of the world of the Asian gangs. With even greater luck, the tiny woman would recover and be able to fill in a bunch of links for him to follow. At the very least, one little flunk would fill a slab until further notice incase Det. Thorn had any further questions for him. Not very fair in the conventional sense but, so far he had not broken any major rules that could be proven. Besides, after seeing the condition of the helpless little woman, he had to admit to himself, it felt good to cause the flunk some serious pain. Once defrosted, he would have the jaw looked at. Who knows, maybe the precinct Doc would be free to look at it in a day or two after defrosting. Scotch, Jimmy Black, was what the Doc drank most. Perhaps it was time to buy the old quack a gift? The thought made Det. Thorn smirk. Kneeling down to the rigid prisoner he whispered, "Pain lets you know you are alive, maggot. For your sake, I hope she is still breathing."
The explanation was an easy matter as the armored SRT guys came storming in.
"Are you ok, Detective?"
"Yeah, damn computer must have farted. Before I knew it, the flunk was out of bed and coming at me. Got me a good one, too. Keep him on a slab until further notice under the RED act for suspicion of production. Any questions, com me first before anyone gets creative." Rubbing his face for effect, Det. Thorn could not recall the last time he had been hit so lightly. "Typical Import Flunk, all noise and little bite. No wonder he and his pals like watching little things die horribly," he thought darkly to himself.
Checking out with a few choice words for the precinct's security computer that only seemed to puzzle the "silicon bitch", Det. Thorn walked passed the little bar once more. Seeing his reflection in the dark glass of the window, he could almost picture Karen standing at his side. Ten years and it never hurt any less than it did the day he was told she had succumbed to the biological agents used in the terrorist attack. Ten years and while he was only forty five now, the gray, readily visible in his reflection, told the tale of mileage over time. As the cold predawn wind tugged at him, Det. Thorn felt the compulsion to enter the little bar, sit at what had been "their" booth and wallow in his own misery. Such a strange aspect of the human mind, the desire to embrace the deeper sorrows one earns in their life. He could recall the last time he cried. It was the day he saw her lifeless body on the hospital bed. After that, he found tears no longer suited him. Whether for the sake of his son or his own sanity, his eyes remained dry as the crimes he was entrusted to investigate, paraded past him in a sad procession of horrors.
Fighting the gravity that tried to draw him into the memories the bar offered, Det. Thorn flipped open his phone and called Dave. "How is she doing?" he asked dreading the most likely answer.
"Better, if you can believe that. She just refuses to give up. Thought I lost her a few times but, she fought her way back. She would have made a hell of a shock trooper back in our day." Det. Thorn had to admit Dave had a point. To kill two rather large rats that, at her size were all the more terrifying with what amounted to a pointed stick and a small knife, was rather amazing. In the same circumstances, for all of the combat he had seen during the Intervention, he would be the first to confess that he was not certain his nerve would hold as well as hers must have.
"Thanks again. Tell Miko I wont keep you much longer as I'm on my way back. Little flunk told me enough to follow in the morning so, I can't bitch too much. See you soon." Closing the phone he forced his body to turn from the window and the sad reflection it offered him.
Walking down Bleeker St., he squinted against the sunrise. "Who knows," he thought to himself, "Maybe she will come through and tell me all I need to know." As much as he tried to view her as merely a very odd victim who could serve as an invaluable witness, he found her slight resemblance to Karen disturbing. Seeing the little convenience shops that braved the night with their round-the-clock hours, he stopped and purchased some flowers. "Hospitals always had flowers after all and, maybe the gesture would trigger something in her to help her fight her way back to the land of the living," he thought.
Paying the woman behind the counter he was shaken from his own thoughts by the woman's broken English. "Pretty flowers for pretty lady huh?" her wrinkled face beaming with a crooked smile.
"Yeah, sure. Very pretty, thank you. Have a good day now." It seemed the correct answer to offer the woman as he really could not explain the reality of it all. "Well, she is pretty." he mused, comfortable that he had not told an outright lie to a perfect stranger without good cause.