Keep in mind I haven’t seen the final edits from my editor so it isn’t perfect yet. Is anything created ever perfect? Is that why it kept me from finishing this story when I started it in 2006?
“April, don’t tell me you’re still obsessed with the Meguire case. Logan solved it three years ago,” my partner, FBI Special Agent Kris Anderson said, as he looked over my shoulder. On the computer screen was Natalie Meguire’s digital file along with her photograph. She was the twenty-two-year-old heiress to the Meguire fortune and the future CEO to Towne Square, a fashion company owned by her father Ron Meguire.
I watched Kris as he rubbed his chin. He was a good kid but still a rookie right down to his boyish looks. It’s not just the curly brown hair or the charming smile but the look of innocence in a profession that leads all too quickly to cynicism or self-doubt.
I sighed as I turned back to the computer screen. The engagement picture of Natalie Meguire and Ethan Griffith reflected none of the problems I suspected they had in their relationship. I hit the power switch, rolled my shoulders and said, “We convicted the wrong man.” Well, that wasn’t exactly true. The jury convicted the wrong man. We gathered the evidence, the attorneys pleaded the case, and Warren Edwards got life in Attica without parole.
Earlier in the day, I’d received an email from an unknown source containing the ‘original’ incident report written by Detective Keven Thompson. This was the only chance I’d had to review it. I was about to print the document when Kris got nosy. I guess it would have to wait until Monday.
“It’s done, Matthews. Let it go,” said a familiar, gruff voice. I looked past Kris to see Abel Logan standing in the doorway to his office. Logan began using my last name when addressing me on my first day, when I was as green and inexperienced as Kris.
Kris, Logan and I had discussed this repeatedly. I wasn’t going to try to plead the case again. I wasn’t a lawyer and it wasn’t worth the headache. Not with Kris anyway. I reached back to grab my jacket and stood up.
Abel Logan was my last partner. He spent ten years with the NYPD before joining the FBI where he’s been for the last twenty-two years. ‘Solving’ the Meguire case earned him a promotion, but it’s been more years than I can count since he’s been innocent to the cruelties we battle on a daily basis. So now Logan’s my boss, not my partner. The stress has added a slump to his once proud shoulders and more lines to his craggy face.
“Yes sir,” I grumbled. Kris grinned until I glared at him. It was about nine o’clock on Friday night and I was tired, hungry and the full moon which was due tomorrow was enormously distracting. I didn’t know if I had amber wolf’s eyes or not. I was having enough trouble not growling at the both of them.
Twenty years ago, shortly after a pack of werewolves tried to eat me, I couldn’t have had held the wolf back, but that’s a story for another day. Being one day away from the full moon had me on edge. I should’ve driven to the sanctuary earlier today. I thought I could wait until morning. The wolf is the least of my personal issues.
“How is the Remington case coming along?” Logan asked.
“Still waiting on the ballistics from the gun found in the dumpster with no new leads,” I replied.
“Fine. It’s Friday night, go home. See ya Monday if not sooner.” I’m not sure Logan noticed I was already wearing my coat. I missed the old Abel Logan. Once he earned a promotion, his entire demeanor changed. Before he would invite me out for a beer or walk me to the elevator and tell me about his grand kids. Now, he tells me to go home, rubs the back of his neck and pulls a bottle of scotch out of his desk drawer once we’re gone. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen him smile.
I was silent as I walked away from my desk, and Kris followed me into the elevator. He was silent for the first five floors then he spoke up.
“Shouldn’t you have left town by now?” Kris asked.
“My eyes shifted didn’t they?” He nodded. “I’m leaving in the morning.” Both Kris and Logan knew I was a werewolf. So far, werewolves we’re not known to the public but vampires are. I felt it was only right that they knew. I didn’t come right out and tell them at first that I was a monster. I waited a month or so but I didn’t want to freak them out the first time they noticed my eyes changing or a growl escaping.
“You could go for a run in Central Park,” he offered. I admit it was a tempting thought, but what if some romantic couple out on a stroll in the moonlight saw me? Now that I think about it, I doubt I would find a romantic couple in November after dark. There were far too many drug dealers and gangsters on the streets at night for some lovesick fools to risk a walk in the moonlight. I shook my head. I rarely let her run the park in Astoria where I live.
“The sky is overcast; it shouldn’t be a problem,” he said with a smile. I glanced at my watch again and shrugged. Sure I was hungry, but a run would sure improve my mood.
I raised my eyes from the floor after hearing the elevator ding. The door opened and Kris stepped out. “Good night, April. See ya Monday.” He grinned and almost skipped like a five-year-old past security and out the door. Was I ever so innocent?
Outside the air was humid with fog, and ice was collecting on cars and the sidewalks. If it kept up, the power lines would be down by morning. How was I supposed to have a brisk walk, let alone a good run, without slipping and falling on my ass? I shrugged and tried to enjoy the cool air while forgetting about work.
As I walked, my mind wandered to my childhood back in Beverly, Nebraska and the little girl next door that I used to play with. Mindy had curly brown hair and chestnut eyes. She and I were almost inseparable. We’d play from sunup to sundown during the summer. When Mindy was six, she began to pull away from everybody, including me. She’d hide in the basement every time her uncle came to visit, and then cry for three days after he left. Mindy’s mom would take her to a psychiatrist once a week to try to figure out what was bothering her. The psychiatrist made things worse. Then Mindy went missing. They found her body a week later alongside the creek.
My parents took me to her funeral so I would know she wasn’t coming back. It didn’t work. Mindy’s spirit crawled out of her grave and saw me. She didn’t realize she’d died. I wanted to run home when I saw her; Mindy’s killer had bashed her face in. She never left my side for three years before she finally moved on. Her funeral was the last time I set foot in a cemetery.
After Mindy passed, my best friends were the cats in the neighborhood. I scared all the other kids because I’d tell her to leave me alone all the time. The other kids thought I was creepy, like the character Cole Sear in The Sixth Sense.
Before long Mindy only came over after dark. She said it was easier for me to see her. At dawn she returned to the cemetery. I hardly slept in my own bed for three years. She still scared me until she moved on. As the years progressed she changed. Her game ideas got more twisted, more dangerous. She tried to get me to torture my cat friends or bully the kids at schools. By the time I hit junior high, my nickname was Creepy April. I lived with that nickname until I graduated. It wasn’t like there was another school within thirty miles I could go to.
A new girl, Claire Green, transferred in in eighth grade. Claire Green and I became instant friends. She was the one person in junior high and high school who treated me like a normal person. Perhaps it’s because Claire was a witch, complete with magical powers. She could make things move with her mind and see with her eyes closed. Whenever they picked on me, Claire would make their life miserable.
Scott Jenkins once called me a witches bitch and she made his hair fall out. All. Of. His. Hair. He was bald from head to toe. The men’s swim team was jealous. Scott got so many bruises from towel whipping that he almost lost skin almost the size of a cereal bowl. When the hair was growing in, he was itchy all over. All those vengeance spells weren’t so good for Claire though because karma’s a bitch. Claire died when she hit a deer with her car. What happens when a witch dies? I don’t know she never told me. I never saw her again after she died. To be honest, I didn’t want to, after the way Mindy was after three years.
I stopped to catch my breath, reveling in the rush of the cool night air, only to find myself in front of Natalie Meguire’s headstone in Cedar Grove cemetery. This was not good. I hate cemeteries.