A/N: I am sorry about the long wait on the story, and here I have totally rewritten it! I hope I haven't ruined it for the current readers, but I was stuck with the older verion! Many apologies! Hope you enjoy this version!When living in a world of fictitious thinking and supernatural incidents, the world becomes a gray space of reality.
Natalie Lewis walked briskly through the crowded halls of the Sierra Vista crime lab, talking with a co-worker over her cell phone. As she walked, she distractedly brushed the sweat beading on her forehead while she struggled to listen to the person on the opposite end of the line.
"Ann, we won't have it by then! We are working as fast as we can for the tox screen, but unless you are able to speed up the process, it won't be ready for another 6 hours."
Natalie sighed irritably with the answer. She bit back her initial response, knowing that Ann Roth, being the local District Attorney, was only doing her job. "Look, I'll send over what we do have." She nodded to herself silently. "Right, see you in a few minutes," Natalie muttered, hanging up. She stopped at the front desk, pulling out the folder she had under her arm and started signing them.
"I heard that you were here." Natalie turned to look over her shoulder at the person who addressed her. She glared before turning back to signing.
"What do you want, Pratt?" Natalie asked with a sigh. Joseph Pratt, the head of the major case files with the Sierre Vista police department loved making her life miserable when it came to evidence and the cases he worked with her. The previous case being a drug smuggling ring with a trail of dead bodies was still fresh in her mind. Though thoroughly annoying, he did get the job done right.
"I actually needed to see the files on the drug ring. Apparently, the FBI is going over it now. They want anything we have, and you still have all the paperwork."
"It would have been just as well to call, and I could have sent a courier," Natalie mumbled, reading a note to herself that she had attached to one of her papers. "Heather, would you please make a copy of this for me?" She asked the receptionist sitting behind the window, sliding the paper under the window.
"Sure, Nat. No problem. You only need one?"
"Um… make it two. Thanks!" Natalie turned around and look at Joseph. "OK, I can get the papers to you. It might take a minute, just to make copies for our use. I'll have them ready for you in 15 minutes. You can wait here if you like."
"That should be fine." Pratt went back to the sitting area, pulling his cell phone out on the way.
Natalie nodded, turning back to paperwork she had. Heather had brought the two copies back to the window. Natalie signed off the two pages, rearranged the papers in the folder and handed it through the window. "When Ms. Roth arrives, can you give these to her? This should be most of the things she has requested. If she has any questions, I should be in my office for the foreseen future." Heather nodded to show acknowledge Natalie's instructions while reaching for the ringing phone.
Natalie smiled at her before turning back the way she had come, going back to her office. Today had to be one of the longest days in her existence. To start the day, she had not had her caffeine to jump start her morning. Her coffee maker had fried itself. Next, she had arrived to work to find the air conditioning was broken, with a broadcast for a real scorcher. It snowballed from there: her office computer decided that it did not want to work, the printer broke down, a case was being troublesome, the DA wanted things done quicker than was humanly possible, and the day was hardly even half over. Her long nearly black hair fell into her face as she sat at her desk and let her head fall into her hands.
Breathing in deeply, she turned to her file cabinet to retrieve the case file Pratt had requested. While the printer whirred to life, she looked through the file. As the lead detective for the case, she had been in charge of entire scene She had a close to photographic memory, and she had them practically memorized down to the case number. This one was no different. The case had started as one murder found on a backstreet behind a low-down bar. The cause of death had been obvious. The veins were still popped out, the syringe still at the scene, and remains of more of the dangerous drug in his jacket. The man had obviously been wealthy. He had designer clothes, shoes that probably cost her whole months salary, and a solid gold watch. Natalie shook her head remember the man. What would make someone so depressed to want to resort to drugs to alleviate the stress in their life?
The scene itself was like most overdose deaths she had come across, but the drug matched with two other open cases in the case files. It was tweaked a bit, but the basic chemistry had been the same. They had yet to find the maker, but they had found some of the dealers. The one they had found was not talking though, but they got the impression their operation was bigger than they had thought. The FBI confirmed that impression, she thought, since they were asking for the files. Being the head detective of the crime lab, she knew their lab was not equipped for the large scale investigation to find the very root of that drug ring.
The printer finally finished copying the pages, and she picked them up, removed the originals, and put them both in their separate folders. Pratt was still waiting in the sitting area, fiddling with his cover.
"Pratt, here is the file you needed. If they would like the physical evidence, they will need to come here to retrieve them. They need to be handled carefully to not destroy or have them contaminated. Need anything else?" Natalie asked, handing him the folder. Pratt took the folder, placed his cover on his head.
"Not that I know of. I will them about the evidence. Thanks for your help, Nat." He offered his hand, and Natalie shook it.
"No problem. Have a good one."
"Same to you," he said, already retreating out the sliding doors. Natalie nodded, letting the smile slide off her face, and turning to find Heather pointing to her from behind the window.
Natalie hurried to her. "There is a call of a single on 117. Multiple stabbing. They asked for you," Heather relayed. Natalie acknowledged Heather, and hurriedly moved toward the back of the lab.
"Davies, Kane, you're with me. Single multiple stab victim on 117. Let's move!" She called, the two she named following in her wake. They jumped into the van, pulling out into the late afternoon traffic. Half an hour later, they were pulling up to the scene. From the looks of things, the media was going to be a big hindrance. Sometimes being in such a small town had its drawbacks. Natalie pushed past the reporters, followed by the two other detectives. She spoke with the first officer she could, asking who was in charge of the scene. He pointed to the officer in charge before going back to keeping the reporters out of the scene.
"Officer Granger, I hear you called for me!" Natalie smiled at the officer. Ben Granger was one of the easier cops she had to work with. He smiled back at her, winking slightly.
"I figure you might want this one. It looks like it is not going to be a fun one to work." He grimaced. "The body is over here. Looks like the body was dropped here. Stabbed thirty-six times, which is the probable cause of death. No decay, rigor mortise has just recently set in. The body was left in the backseat of a blue '96 Toyota Camry. The tags say the car belongs to our victim, who had her ID on her. Her name is Victoria Veleporazo." Natalie nodded as she opened the back door of the car. Flies were just starting to fly over victim. The vision before her seemed to freeze in time and rewind to an older time, another victim. Natalie breathed shallow breathes and force her mind to the present. Pure will forced her the old memories back in the box that held her past.
"Davies, can you take a picture of this? I need pictures before I disturb the setting..." she trailed off. Davies moved past her, placing markers by the evidence. Within a minute, Davies had taken photos of the back seat and front seat of the Camry. Natalie moved around her to pick up the wallet off the driver's seat. She winced as she read the information. She pulled out her notebook from her backpack she always carried with her on the scenes. She wrote down the details. She sspoke aloud as she wrote.
"Our victim is Victoria Veleporazo, age 18. Native to the area, and is an organ donor. Kane, when we start the background check on her, look at the local high school to see if she is enrolled there." Kane nodded, writing the request down on his own notebook. Natalie moved in to study the body.
"There seem to be strangle marks on her neck, in addition to the 36 stab wound to the check and abdomen. She has slight lacerations to her face, around the mouth. Her hands are bound behind her back. Feet taped together. Bruises forming on the upper arms. We'll need to check under her finger nails to see if she scratched the assailant, but so far, it looks like there was a struggle." Natalie looked away for a second. The old memories were mirrors of what she was seeing before her. She rushed out of the car.
"Davies, you're in charge of the scene. I need to talk with the head at the lab to make sure the reports of this go straight to him and not through the channels. Understand?"
"Yes, ma'am." Natalie nodded and nearly ran from the scene. Hiding behind the van, she bent over trying not to wrench her lunch across the hot pavement. The images were coming so fast, she about fell over.
"It can't be the same..." she slowly said to herself. The memories pulled her in...