[ Author's Note: I had deleted this story from FanFiction awhile ago since it's supposed to be published, but I figured it would be okay to have the story up for those who want to read a digital version. If you like my story and want to support the SOS SAGA projects, please pre-ordered the printed version at the SOS SAGA Storenvy store. The pre-orders will have illustrations that will only be available in the printed. And you will receive a special character art book. ]
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg Police Station
August 10, 2010
"Have a seat. Let me go find the detective, sweetie. Could I get you a drink? Water, soda, coffee…?" No answer came to the offer. The male officer stood in the doorway with a troubled expression while a young girl only gazed impassively to the ground. The policeman reached out a hand to comfort the girl only to draw back out of uncertainty. "Water then."
The door closed, and Jennie glanced up for a brief moment, seeing her reflection in the observation window. Her eyes were dark and bloodshot, and her cheeks were blemished from tears. Even her hair, which had been pulled up, was matted and tussled with dried blood.
An abrupt cough came from the door. Glancing away from her reflection, she found a man in a suit stepping into the room with a cup in his left hand. Her eyes followed him as the man sat the cup down on the table in the middle of the room, and then motioned for her.
She took in his appearance. He looked to be in his forties. His dark hair was slicked back, kept nicely, and his eyes held a demanding composure. The man seemed to be someone authoritative yet compassionate; someone that was respected.
"Come on, sit down." He gestured to her.
Again she didn't answer, only obeyed by taking a seat quietly. Her eyes focused on the badge attached to his breast pocket.
"Let me start by saying that this interview will be taped," the officer said as he sat across the table from her. "For future reference." He produced a recorder from his jacket pocket and sat it down on the table then turned it on.
"Currently it's 1500 on Saturday, August 10, 2010," he continued. "I am Lieutenant Morey Byrant of the Martinsburg City Police. I will be interviewing Jennifer Schaffer in relation to the murders of Crane and Lowri Schaffer. Could you please give your full name?"
Completely stunned and ignorant to what was going on, she could only stare at the man. Her mouth slowly opened, but no words would come out. Fear set in. This wasn't something she could fathom. Why was she being questioned? Her heart pounded remorsefully within her chest.
"You okay?" Morey asked. "If you need more time..."
"I'm fine," she finally choked out. "Jennifer Marie Schaffer."
"Your date of birth, please?" he asked.
"August 10, 1994," she answered.
"Okay, let's start from the beginning," he said, leaning back in the chair. "Do you recall what time you found your parents?"
Her mind went into overdrive. Flashes of memories flooded her thoughts and her chest tightened, but she tried her best to keep her composure.
"Lunchtime," she replied, fighting the overwhelming sting in her eyes.
"What about earlier in the day?"
"I remember my mom was in the kitchen, baking a cake for my birthday. She's always in the kitchen. She likes to bake. And my dad had gone out to the garage. I think Mom asked him to get something from the freezer. He was out there for some time, which isn't that odd because Dad would get lost in his own world out there."
"And what about you?"
"I had been hanging out in the kitchen with Mom most the morning," she answered, "but eventually, I went back to my room. I just don't remember why I went back. Or what happened after that. I fell asleep and didn't wake up until lunchtime. My friend called me. I talked with her for a little bit."
Morey reached up and scratched his eyebrow. "You remember anything odd or different before falling asleep?"
"I don't think so," Jennie said with a shake of her head. She brought her hand to her mouth and nervously started to chew on her thumbnail. A chill ran down her spine. "But maybe I'm forgetting something, I don't know."
"Take your time. Can you tell me what happened after your nap?"
Her eyes clouded over. Just the idea of recalling it was hard enough. "When I was on the phone, I heard the smoke detector, so I got off and went to check it out. I found my mom first. Smoke was everywhere. I freaked out and ran to the kitchen. That's when I slipped on the blood on the floor."
"Mom was kneeling on the ground, but it was obvious that…that she was dead." Despite her efforts, the tears streamed down her cheeks as she recalled the scene. "I tried to pull her up. She wouldn't budge. I just kept slipping around. Then I went to go find my dad, so I headed to the garage."
"Did you notice anything unusual when you went to the garage?"
"I don't think so," Jennie answered, "but I didn't really pay attention. I just ran."
"What did you see at the garage?"
She tensed up. Taking a deep breath, she struggled to calm herself.
"Well, the side door was propped open, so I knew Dad was there. He would never leave the door open like that if he wasn't. When I went inside, there he was. Stuck to the wall." The vision of her father tacked up made her tense.
"On his back were these slits," she said, pointing over her shoulder as if to demonstrate. "And from those slits were…" She closed her eyes as she recalled the sight.
"Wings," she whispered.
"What?" the officer asked.
"His lungs had been pulled through his back and hung like wings," she said. "How could someone do that to my dad? He was the kindest man I've ever known. So was my mom. Why would someone kill my parents? And why not me?"
"I don't know," Morey stated, but he seemed uncomfortable. "Was there anything else?"
"My dog was dead, too" she said. "He was hanging from the rafters. And I think someone broke his neck because of the way it was twisted. Maybe he was trying to protect Dad. He did like him the most."
"Alright," Morey said as he started to reach out to turn the recorder off.
"Oh," she said as her eyes widened, "I found this."
Jennie began to search her short's pocket and pulled out a crumbled piece of paper. "It was hanging on the door of the garage when I was leaving. I just ripped it off and put it in my pocket."
Jennie slid the paper across the table toward Morey, and he pulled it closer with a pen. He face had no expression as he read it.
"Happy birthday, Jennie," she said aloud.
A knock caught the two off guard as the woman from earlier appeared in the doorway. Morey swiftly turned the recorder off.
"Byrant, the Schaffers' attorney is here to speak with Jennifer. Do you want me to show him in?"
"Yeah, go ahead," Morey replied as he stood up. He didn't look at Jennie as he walked toward the door. "I'm sorry for your loss."
"Okay," Jennie called back as she dropped her head down.