It’s finally time for the Rule of 3 Blogfest!
Today I’m introducing you to Laine Masterson, Sheriff in Renaissance who quit the New York Police force after the death of her husband.
She’s about to get a grim reminder of her previous job.
Prompt of the week: There is a fear of impending misfortune.
Blue… Red… Blue… Red… My SUV’s strobes bring a grim festivity to the scene. Smashed guitars lie next to upturned amplifiers buzzing the sky for help.
Too late for the victim.
Bile rises to my mouth as I throw a glance at the corpse hanging in a nearby tree. This doesn’t happen in Renaissance.
“Probably did it in a meth rage,” one of my deputies mumble on the way to the victim.
“Or a ritual,” another mutters. “You know how they are.”
“Looks like a piñata.”
I rub my arms to settle my hackles and walk away. Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, but the person hanging from the tree beaten beyond recognition is as far from a candy-stuffed paper animal as I could think. Except for the blood stained baseball bats strewn about.
“See if you can get prints on those.” Is it wrong that my blood is buzzing? It’s been years since I quit the NYPD, came home… I shake it off and stare up at the mangled person. The remains of the green and blue mohawk marking the victim as one of them.
Blood drips down from his tight fist. What’s he holding?
“Laine?” Mr. Piñata – Jack Flynn – sounds hesitant now. “What can I do?”
“Find the caller yet?”
“Nope. I’ll go round up the rest of the punks and see if we can scare out a quick confession.”
I frown at Jack, hunting for a nice way to cut him down. Policing isn’t about taking anything for granted. It’s about finding truth and justice. If it existed.
This isn’t New York. I forget that sometimes. I’ll see everyone at church tomorrow.
A bitter bark of laughter draws us both around to where one deputy is sidling away from a girl about my son’s age. Dried tears and mascara warp her face. Smudged black lips jump from laughter to crying until sobs win out. “We’re different, so we’re evil?”
Jack looks ready to speak, but I silence him with a single look. Shut up or be suspended without pay.
I choose to avoid the topic altogether. “Let’s move away from the scene.”
The girl combs her fingers through her bright pink hair. “Ray was a good person.”
Jack snorts before sauntering to where the medical examiner is unloading his pick-up.
“Ray?” I run my thoughts through the families I know in town.
Shit. His parents sit two rows in front of me. “Were you here when it happened?”
Her pink bob weaves as she nods. “We all were. It was supposed to be a concert.” She wipes her nose on the back of her mittened hand. “A fun night out.”
“They came out of nowhere and started beating people. Most of us ran, but Ray…”
My heart contracts at that word. They. Would I know them? “They?”
The girl snarls as she stares up at the victim. “Yes. They. The jocks. The town’s little angels.”