Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Danica put her head in her hands. When she sent Chuck off to play “Please Be Mine” with Dara, she had no idea what she’d set herself up for. One strike after another. Tonya’s guests didn’t stick around and it made Danica wonder if they all caught the same flight.
She needed a break, a change of scenery. A trip to the coroner’s office would do. Hopefully Dr. Ayers had something for her to work with.


Chuck sat in his car and debated what to do. He had promised her the exclusive and knew she wouldn’t leave him alone until he did. He took a few deep breaths before he returned her call. He wasn’t surprised to see her sitting at his desk waiting for him.
“Hey big fella,” she beamed. “Whatcha got for me?”
Chuck gave her the basics; enough to get her off his back for a few hours. She wanted to hang around like she normally did, flirting and trying to find other stories to boost her career. He watched her move around his desk and as she inched closer to him, he could feel his muscles tense. She wasn’t quite as cute as he once thought, and he didn’t want to be bothered.
“I’m sorry Hope.” He rubbed his brow. “This case is crazy, and it’s only going to escalate after you break it. Right now I’m tired and in a nasty mood.”
“I understand.” She touched his hand. “You have my number.”
“I sure do.” He watched her scurry out so she could meet her deadline.
Chuck looked at Danica’s empty desk. He knew exactly where she stored their pieces of pie. Heaven help the person who interrupted his snack time.


Dr. Ayers was finishing her lunch when Danica knocked on her door. She smiled before she popped two grapes in her mouth. “I was going to pay you a visit. You’ve just saved me a lot of time.”
Dr. Jennifer Ayers, coroner extraordinaire as she’d been dubbed, pulled a file from a large stack on the corner of her desk. She dropped it in front of her, and as she did before discussing any case, yanked the hair band from her wrist and pulled her thick hair into a ponytail.
“Whoever killed this girl went past hatred. It was more for sport. Take a look at the abuse she took.”
Danica remembered Tonya Somers’ dead stare as she lay propped up in her bathtub. She didn’t need any more convincing of the torture she must’ve endured.
Jennifer flipped through the pages until she got to the good stuff. “Here we go. Let’s see. She was severely beaten, with contusions over ninety percent of her body. Looks like she fought back. But her jaw was completely unhinged, which made it very easy to shove that ribbon down her throat. We didn’t get any skin from her nails, but we did get fibers.”
Danica stood over the desk. “Time of death by chance?”
“Temp was taken at 6 a.m. she hadn’t been dead longer than five, six hours tops.”
“Thanks. You just lightened our load.” She moved to the door. “Completely unhinged huh? Dang.”
“Don’t you want to hear the rest?” she tapped her fingers on the desk. “You’ll have to adjust your investigation. There’s no way one person could do this. There were two assailants.”

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