January 2003, Hartley House
It was the day before the beginning of the second semester. Shawn and Rex’s dorm room had been repaired and refurnished after the damage done by the sprinklers the day of the Winter Solstice party. Shawn never noticed as he alternated between pacing the length of the room and sitting on his bed with his head bowed, silently berating himself. How could I have been so stupid? Why did I let Cassie convince me not to tell Belle the truth? Why did I push Belle away when I needed her more than I’ve ever needed her before? Oh God, how could I have hurt her again after I promised her in front of all of our friends that I would never do that again? Stupid, stupid, stupid!
Shawn stood, a look of firm resolve settling on his face, as he left his room to explain everything to Belle and beg for her forgiveness.
He drew a deep breath and knocked. A complete stranger answered the door. “Hi, I’m Shawn, I’m looking for Belle Black.”
Before the stranger could reply, Cassie pushed her aside, grabbed Shawn’s arm and pulled him inside. “Hi, Shawn,” she cooed, her eyes sparkling. “I’m so glad you’re here. What would you like to do, should we go to a movie, go for…”
Shawn jerked his arm away from Cassie as he interrupted her, “I’m not here to see you, Cassie. Where’s Belle?”
Cassie smirked, “Belle doesn’t live here anymore, Shawn.”
Shawn turned to leave.
“Where are you going Shawn?”
Shawn stopped and replied without turning around, “Not that it’s any of your business, Cassie, but I’m going to see Belle.”
“You’re going to New York?” she asked.
Shawn spun around. “New York, what do you mean New York? I’m going to see Belle at her home.”
Cassie smiled smugly, “You can go to her home, Shawn. You still won’t see Belle there. She transferred to NYU, she left yesterday. She understands that you and I are together now and I guess she just didn’t want to be reminded of her loss by having to face us daily. She now knows that you never really loved her and that I’m the only one for you.”
Shawn exploded and grabbed Cassie’s arms roughly, “Look at me, Cassie. Look me in the eyes.” Cassie lowered her face. Shawn shook her and forced her to look at him. “Listen to me, Cassie, listen carefully. I should have done this a long time ago. I love Belle, I will love Belle forever. I will never love you. I will never be with you. Love you,” he yelled. “Hell, I don’t even like you. Stay out of my life. Stay out of my way. Don’t even talk to me again, ever. Do you understand me?”
“You don’t mean that Shawn, you don’t love Belle, you love me.”
Shawn pushed her away. “I meant what I said, Cassie, stay away from me, stay away from Belle.”
Shawn’s tone of voice finally broke through to Cassie and the slamming of the door reinforced the fact that Shawn meant what he said. Cassie’s eyes iced over as she said softly, “You’ll never be with Belle, Shawn. I’ll make sure of that.”
Shawn tried calling Belle over the next few weeks, but she refused to take his calls. After mid-terms were done, Shawn flew to New York to convince Belle to see him. She had campus security escort him off campus under threat of arrest, if he returned.
Shawn came back to Salem to regroup. He poured out his heart to his Mom and Dad. He told them everything he should have told Belle after Colin Murphy’s murder. He told them how he had pushed her away because he thought he was protecting her. He didn’t want her caught in the cross-fire when the next enemy of the Brady’s came after them. He told them of the promise he had made to her, the promise he had broken. He told them by breaking that promise he had broken Belle’s heart and shattered her faith in him. Bo and Hope reassured him and his Dad gave him a piece of advice that Shawn clung to.
“Shawn, actions speak louder than words. You have to find a way to show Belle how much you love her.”
Shawn took his Dad’s advice. He took the diamonds he had been given as part of this sixteenth birthday gift, and went to the jeweller’s in Salem Place. He designed the setting of the engagement ring and matching wedding rings. The engagement ring, was a round solitaire diamond, the wedding rings would interlock and form a star. He was going to give her the moon and the stars he had promised her on that magical night spent on a beach in Puerto Rico.
He knew he couldn’t go back to NYU, so he would wait until Belle returned to Salem for Easter break. He would see her. Nothing or no one was going to stop him from showing his Isabella how much she meant to him, how much he loved her.
Shawn was despondent when he heard that Belle had decided not to return to Salem until the end of the semester. He found comfort in the fact that it was only a few short weeks until the end of the first year of college and she would be home for several months. Plenty of time for him to win back her trust and love.
Shawn never saw Belle again. She disappeared without a trace from the NYU campus on April 20, 2003.
April 20, 2010 Spokane Washington
“Call for you on Line 3, Detective Brady.”
Shawn looked up. “Thanks, Josh.” He pressed the blinking light on his desk phone, “Detective Brady.”
“Hi, Shawn. How are you doing today?” the concerned voice of Bo Brady reached to him across the miles.
“Dad, don’t worry about me. This date is always hard on me, but I’ll make it through.”
“Shawn,” Bo hesitated. “I don’t want to make today any harder on you than it already is, but I thought it would be better if you heard this from me.”
Shawn immediately cut in, “What happened? Are mom and Zach okay? Do I need to come back to Salem?”
“Shawn, your mother and Zach are fine, we’re all fine. It’s about Belle.”
“Belle! Dad what’s the news, has she been found, is she okay, where is…”
“No, Belle hasn’t been found. I’m sorry, Shawn. I shouldn’t have blurted it out like that. I just wanted to let you know that John and Marlena gave the okay for Belle to be officially declared dead.” Bo paused, waiting for Shawn’s reaction. When there was no response, Bo continued, “Son, a memorial service is going to be held for Belle in a couple of days. Will you be attending?”
“No,” his response was harsh. “No, Dad, I won’t. I will not attend a memorial service for someone who is not dead.”
“Son, you need to accept that Belle is gone. You know that John searched the globe for her before he accepted that she was gone. There were no leads at the time of her disappearance – nothing, Shawn. For your sake, you need to accept that you will never see Belle again and move on with your life. Belle would want you to be happy, you know that. She would want you to find someone to love and share your life with, have children with, make a home with. She wouldn’t want you to spend your life without love.”
“Dad, do you remember when Larry Welch kidnapped Mom? Even when all the evidence pointed to her being dead, did you believe it?”
“Son, that was different. Your mother and I were connected, we share a great love…”
“Are you trying to tell me that I didn’t love Belle?”
“I’m not saying that you didn’t love her Shawn,” Bo said gently. “All I’m saying is that your mother and I had been together for years, we’re soul-mates. You had just turned nineteen when Belle disappeared. You were just dating, it’s not like you were married and had a family together.”
Shawn sighed. “Dad, I love you, but you don’t understand the depth of my love for Belle and despite what it looked like at the time, her love for me. Isabella and I are soul-mates. I know that she is not dead. I know this because I do not feel it in my soul. In my soul, I still feel her presence and I will find her.”
“What do you mean, you’re going to find her? Shawn, you’re not going to be able to find Belle…”
“Dad, I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to go, duty calls. Give my love to Mom and Zach. I’ll call you soon. ‘Bye.”
Bo heard the soft click of the receiver being set down. He turned to Hope, “I have this feeling our son is going to go looking for Belle. I should fly down to Spokane and try and talk some sense into him. Why won’t he accept the inevitable? Belle is dead, she’s never coming back.”
Hope pulled her husband close. “Ssh...Bo, he’ll be okay. You have to let him do this. He’ll have to come to terms with Belle’s disappearance in his own way. And if she is alive, he will find her. Those two were meant to be, just like you and I.”
Darkness had fallen early. Shawn glanced out the windows of the station house and noticed the sky darkened by rain clouds. He had spent the hours after the call from his Dad, reliving the past seven years. He recalled the night of the Winter Solstice party when he had been so close to making love with his Isabella. He could still recall how beautiful she had looked. There wasn’t anything about that night that he would ever forget. The feel of her silky hair when he held her head, the smoothness of her skin as he caressed her body. The feel of her lips on his lips, her tongue in his mouth, his in hers. How her naked body had shone in the glow of the candlelight. How she had moaned his name when he had taken one of her swollen nipples into his mouth and suckled it. He also remembered the shock of the water from the sprinkler system dousing them and killing the mood. He had remembered the special night they had planned for New Year’s Eve and how those plans had gone up in smoke with the murder of his cousin, Colin Murphy. He remembered how he had hurt Belle by pushing her away. He remembered his absolute panic when he heard that Belle had disappeared without a trace. He remembered his growing sense of fear and grief, as all attempts by the local authorities, FBI and ISA, had failed to turn up any leads or any explanation as to what had happened to Belle. He remembered his disbelief when the authorities decided that she had been so distraught over her break-up with Shawn, that she had committed suicide by jumping off of one of New York’s many bridges. They didn’t hold out much hope for a body ever being found. He was even more bewildered when John and Marlena accepted this conclusion. They tried to pacify him when he asked for an explanation by telling him they ‘forgave’ him. They pointed out that her purse, wallet with cash, credit cards, I.D. and cell phone along with all her belongings were still in her dorm room. He railed at them for ever believing Belle would commit suicide and hadn’t spoken to them since. He had finished college at his parent’s urging. He had transferred to Pepperdine because he could not bear to return to Salem U. After he graduated, he had tried to join both the FBI and the ISA with the intention of working from the inside to reopen Belle’s case. His application was denied by both agencies. He then joined the Spokane Police department where he made detective after two years on the force.
Shawn leaned back in his chair, thinking about his life now. Yes, there had been other women in his life since Belle’s disappearance, but he viewed them as a physical necessity, not as relationships. He was financially stable, in fact, he didn’t have to work another day in his life thanks to his Grandpa Vic’s trust fund. Shawn had received it when he turned twenty-one and the money had been wisely invested and the original amount had been duplicated ten times over.
He opened the word program on his desktop and typed up his letter of resignation. He printed it, signed it, placed it in an envelope and laid it in his desk drawer. Tomorrow, he would hand it in. The government, Belle’s family, his family, her friends – they all could give up on her. He never would.
Tomorrow, he vowed, he would start making his arrangements to begin his search. For the first time in years, he felt a glimmer of hope. He was going to find Belle, he was going to find his love. He could feel it.
The desk sergeant looked up in surprise to see a smiling, jovial Det. Brady saying good night as he walked out into the rainy night.
Shawn never felt the rain that fell steadily from the leaden skies. He felt a lightness of spirit that he hadn’t felt since he had heard the news about Belle’s disappearance. He was firm in his resolve to find Belle. He knew that she was alive. He could feel her spirit. Granted, he didn’t feel her spirit all the time, but there were moments, when he felt her presence so strongly that he found himself searching the crowd for a glimpse of her. Sometimes her spirit visited him in the dead of night. It was these times that brought Shawn to his knees. He literally ached for her, her touch, her scent, her soft, angelic voice. He longed to gaze into her blue, blue eyes and lose himself in the look of absolute love and trust that he used to see reflected back at him. After being awakened, he could never fall back to sleep. The rest of the night would be spent sitting out on his deck, staring at the night sky, and remembering, reliving every special moment that he had shared with Belle. He would also wonder where she was and if she was thinking about him at this very moment in time – was that why he felt her presence so strongly? He worried that she was scared, alone, hurt and losing faith in him. Did she think that he had abandoned her yet again?
Shawn unlocked the door to his SUV and climbed in and headed out of Spokane. He lived in a cabin in the woods a few miles outside the entrance to Mt. Spokane State Park. He liked the isolation of living in the woods. It afforded him an escape from his lady acquaintances when they began demanding more from him than he was willing to give. Any time spent with a woman was in her bed at her residence or in a motel room and Shawn never spent the night with any of them. He didn’t have a phone at the cabin and he gave his cell number to no one except his immediate family and the precinct. As he pulled out of the police station parking lot, he knew he would have to begin the process of closing the cabin, possibly selling it, but he pushed those thoughts aside. His mind wandered back in time to the year Belle had disappeared, 2003.
2nd Second Semester, Salem U, 2003
After Cassie had dropped the bombshell about Belle’s transfer to NYU, Shawn moved out of the dorm and back home. He continued going to classes and going through the motions of being an everyday student. The few times Cassie attempted to approach him, Shawn either turned and went the other way or blatantly ignored her. He heard through Mimi that Cassie had started sending e-mails to Belle at NYU that described in glowing and lurid detail, the romance and sex life that she shared with Shawn. Belle had confided to Mimi that she couldn’t bear to hear about him in bed with someone else so she had blocked Cassie’s e-mail address. Unfortunately, that hadn’t stopped Cassie, she kept sending Belle mail using other student’s e-mail accounts or the library computers. Mimi had assured Shawn that she had clued Belle in immediately. She told Belle that Shawn was not now or had ever dated Cassie. She even told Shawn about the day Belle had flown back to Salem to confront Cassie. It was the day of Shawn’s nineteenth birthday. Belle arranged for Mimi to bring Cassie to the penthouse. He could still recall Mimi’s words as she described the confrontation between Belle and Cassie.
“Thanks, Mimi, for bringing Cassie here,” Belle said warmly as she walked over and gave her long time friend a hug.
“Why did you bring me here Mimi and what are you doing here Belle?” Cassie demanded.
“Mimi brought you here because I asked her to,” Belle replied coldly.
“I’m not interested in anything you have to say,” Cassie stated as she turned towards the door.
Belle grabbed Cassie by the hair and yanked, hard. “You’re not going anywhere. I have something to say to you and you’re going to listen to me.”
“Ouch. Let me go, I don’t…”
Belle yanked even harder, bringing tears to Cassie’s eyes. “I said I have something to say.”
“Well, then let go of my hair and say what you have to say. Shawn’s waiting for me in my dorm room and he’s real anxious, if you know what I mean.”
Shawn chuckled softly as he recalled Mimi’s expression when she described what Belle had done next. Mimi’s eyes had rounded and sparkled with amusement and disbelief.
Belle’s control snapped. She yanked with all her strength, pulling Cassie’s hair so hard that Cassie had stumbled backwards about 3 steps before dropping to her knees. Only at this point, did Belle release the pressure on Cassie’s hair and step in front of her. She grabbed Cassie’s chin in her hand and forced her to look up at and into her blue eyes that were blazing with fury.
“You’re a liar, Cassie. A liar and a coward,” Belle spoke slowly and clearly. “Shawn never loved you, Shawn never touched you, Shawn never kissed you back when you kissed him, Shawn has never had sex with you, has he, Cassie?”
Cassie dropped her gaze.
Belle tightened her grip on Cassie’s face and forced her head upwards. “Answer me, Cassie,” Belle ordered.
“Ok, so maybe he hasn’t, yet. But he will because you’re not woman enough for him. You don’t love him enough, you just gave up, you never even fought for him.”
Mimi believes that this statement angered Belle even more because she recognized the truth in Cassie’s words.
Belle tightened her grip even more on Cassie’s chin until the girl grimaced in pain. “Trust me, Cassie. If Shawn has sex with you, that’s all it would be, sex. He will never make love to you because he loves me and only me.”
“And how long do you think he’s going to wait around for you? Face it, Belle, you’re no match for me and you never will be. You’re not half the woman I am and it won’t be long now before Shawn realizes that himself,” Cassie gloated.
Mimi said, at this point, Belle had slapped Cassie so hard that even she jumped at the sound that echoed throughout the penthouse.
“I love Shawn, I will always love Shawn and I will make things right with him when I come home this summer. There is nothing, nothing, you can do, Cassie, to keep us apart,” Belle stated as she released her hold on Cassie and strode to the door. “Now, get out, the sight of you disgusts me.”
“Well…,” Cassie began.
“I said get out, now,” Belle yelled and slammed the door as Cassie stepped through.
Mimi had laughed, saying that she was sure the force of the door hitting Cassie from behind must have sent her flying right into the elevator doors.
Unfortunately it had been after Belle’s disappearance that Mimi told him this. She had promised Belle that she wouldn’t say anything. God, if only she had, nothing would have stopped Shawn from going to New York to make things right with Belle. And maybe she wouldn’t have disappeared.
He had told John and Marlena that he knew Belle didn’t commit suicide because she was coming back to him. To this day, Shawn could never understand why Mimi had told the authorities that it had never happened and Shawn must have had a dream where she had told him this story. Cassie wouldn’t confirm or deny it until she was offered a ‘get out of jail free’ card and the authorities weren’t about to do that.
Three weeks after Belle’s disappearance, Cassie and Rex had been arrested for the murder of Dr. Colin Murphy. Their defence that they were ‘programmed’ to defend the DiMera’s didn’t get much sympathy from a jury of their peers. They had both been sentenced to life in prison and were both serving their terms in maximum security prisons. Tony DiMera had been incensed and had threatened his brother John and his entire family. Shawn remained bewildered that John couldn’t see the obvious, that the DiMera’s were behind Belle’s disappearance.
Washington State Highway 206, April 20, 2010
Shawn shifted his thoughts back to the present as he turned on to Hwy 206. He turned the wipers up a notch. He was going to have to focus all his attention on the road to make it home safely. The combination of the heavy rainfall, the new layer of blacktop and the enveloping forest made for very poor visibility.
Shawn was about three miles from the turn-off to his cabin when he got a glimpse of what he thought was debris ahead of him in his lane. The rain-washed headlights danced over the pile of garbage in the road. Shawn slowed and at the last possible minute opted to swerve into the passing lane instead of driving over the debris. He cursed, softly, as he pulled over and backed up slightly and parked as far over on the non-existent shoulder as he safely could.
He put the vehicle in Park, pulled out the emergency brake, turned on the four-way flashers and opened the door of his SUV. As he got out, he pulled the zipper and collar up on his leather jacket, mentally berating the idiot that would throw out garbage into the middle of a highway. He shut the door, and jogged towards the debris with the intent of pulling it off the roadway.
As he neared the ‘debris’, he stopped dead in his tracks. There at his feet was a naked woman, curled into the fetal position. Shawn felt sick to his stomach. He had been at a few gruesome crime scenes during his three years as a cop, but he had never seen anything like this. The woman was beaten so badly that there were no distinguishable features visible on the side of her face that was not pressed into the pavement. It was obvious to the naked eye that several bones in her arm had been broken. Shawn stood and stared at the rivulets of rain and blood that threaded and swirled in the puddles at his feet.
Shawn stood frozen, temporarily mesmerized, by the reflection of the light from the SUV’s four-way flashers that created a palette of colours out of the pools of blood-stained rainwater. He shook his head and crouched down to feel for a pulse. He did it because it was standard procedure, but in his mind, it was an exercise in futility. There was no way any human being could possibly have survived such a brutal beating. He laid his two fingers gently on her broken wrist. The woman whimpered and seemed to try and curl up into an even tighter fetal position. It was as if she was trying to make herself invisible. Shawn realized that she was afraid, no afraid wasn’t the correct word. He could feel her abject terror and immediately wanted to comfort and reassure her. He stood and made his way to the SUV. He understood that as much as needed to reassure her, he needed to get an ambulance to the scene as quickly as possible. He also needed to cover her to try and prevent her from going into deep shock. He reached inside the back of his SUV and grabbed his emergency kit. He pulled out the insulated ‘blanket’, tucked it inside of his jacket and went to the driver’s side door so he could radio in to dispatch.
“Spokane Police Dispatch.”
“This is Detective Brady, shield number 5477. Please send an ambulance to this location, Highway 206, approximately 7 miles from the entrance to Mt. Spokane State Park. Female victim, age unknown, severely beaten. Tell the ambulance time is of the essence. Radio the Sheriff’s department to send several units to secure the area and search for evidence. Also, notify Spokane Crime Scene Investigation and have them send an investigator.”
“Confirming location Detective Brady, Hwy 206, approximately 7 miles from Mt. Spokane State Park,” the dispatcher’s voice crackled over the police radio.
Shawn waited for confirmation that the ambulance, sheriff’s department and CSI had been dispatched. As soon as he heard that the units were in route, he threw the radio onto the seat and ran to the victim.
So c-c-c-cold. Why am I so cold? Why am I in so much pain? So much pain. Oh God, it hurts! Where am I? Wait, I feel water, cold water. Am I in the shower? Did I fall? Ooooh. I can’t…can’t…breathe…hurts…too… much. Why is it so dark? I need to take a deep breath. She tries to inhale. Oh…god…deep…breath…not…a…good…idea…hurts. She slows her breathing and fights the waves of blackness that threaten to overtake her. Think, just think. Where are you? What are you doing here? Why did you come here? What happened to you? She musters all her strength and will to move her mind past the pain. I’m here because I need to see him, I have to see him. Why, why do I have to see him? Think. I need to tell him that I love him, that I’ve always loved him, that I will always love him. For one brief pain-free moment she was content. She knew he’d understand. She lost that happy train of thought as waves of searing pain crashed against her. And then she remembered….
She had been run off the road by a half-ton. She got out of the rental car to check the extent of the damage and the next thing she knew she was being dragged into the truck. She had been blind-folded, gagged and her arms and legs bound. She had no idea, who had grabbed her or how far they traveled. Her abductors never said a word. She remembered one of them saying – “here’s a good spot” – as the vehicle rolled to a stop. She was terrified. They pushed her out of the truck, cut her clothes off her and then she remembered the first punch and kick. She had never known such pain. She welcomed the blackness as they kept pummelling her as she sank to the pavement. She never knows when they remove the blindfold and the binds from her arms and legs. She doesn’t know that they look down at her battered and bleeding body and congratulate themselves on a job well done and leave her for dead.
Why? Oh, no! What if they’re still here? I can’t take anymore. She feels one of them touching her wrist. No, ple-e-e-ease, don’t hurt me anymore! She screams and screams and screams and then stops. Wait, if I’m screaming, why can’t I hear it? I have to get away, have to…get…away.
Shawn approaches the victim softly. It’s as if he can hear her silent screams echoing around him. He knows he has to calm her, reassure her, prove to her that she is safe with him. He kneels down on the cold, wet pavement, unfolding the insulated blanket. He bends low so that he can talk softly to her – hoping the tone of his voice would break through her wall of fear.
“Hush, little one,” he speaks gently.
“Please don’t scream anymore. You don’t need to be afraid. Sssh. I know you’re cold. I’m going to cover you with a blanket.”
He kept his voice at an even tone. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry if this hurts you, but I need to cover you,” he apologizes as he lays the blanket over her.
“I called for help, they should be here soon. Hold on, keep fighting. You know, I can tell you’re a fighter,” he chuckled softly. “I bet you’re a real spitfire when you get angry.”
Shawn fought to quell the inexplicable panic that came over him as he felt her slipping away.
“Fight, fight, you have to fight harder,” he urged.
No, please stop! She waited for the death blow to fall. As she began to sink deeper and deeper into unconsciousness, she heard him. She fought her way back. Someone was talking to her, not hitting her, just talking, softly and gently. I hear you. Help me, please. I have to see…I have to tell… She felt something covering her and realized that he was trying to keep her warm. I will fight, I need to fight so that I can tell… She knew she was dying, she could feel herself slipping away. So tired…so very tired…I need to rest, I’ll just let myself rest…it will be so peaceful…if I… She heard him, urging her to fight.
Shawn was beginning to panic. Why the hell am I panicking? I can hear the sirens, help is almost here.
“No, don’t let go. I know it hurts, but you have to fight! You’ve hung on this long, don’t give up now. The ambulance is almost here. Fight, damn it!” he pleaded.
“I promise, you can trust me. No one will hurt you again. I won’t let anyone hurt you. You can count on me, you’re safe with me,” he promised.
Shawn could sense her struggle.
I can trust him. He’ll keep me safe. She didn’t know why, but she knew he spoke the truth. She fought with every ounce of strength and will she had left to stay alive. I trust you. Promise me you’ll stay with me and keep me safe. Promise me!
“I promise you, I won’t let anyone hurt you ever again,” Shawn felt the words flow from his lips as the ambulance and sheriff’s department vehicles screeched to a halt.
I promise! I promise! What the fuck am I thinking? Why did I promise her that I wouldn’t let anyone hurt her again? It’s not like she was capable of asking me, even I can tell her jaw is broken. Shawn shook his head in bewilderment, trying to chase away the myriad of thoughts chasing through his mind. But even as his logical side was telling him that she didn’t ask him to make the promise, he knew deep in his soul she had pleaded with him and he had heard her. And he had promised to keep her safe.
Promises were sacred to him – ironically, the only promises he had broken were those that he had made to Belle. Belle, the one person in the world to whom his word should have been sacred. Belle, the love of his life.
Shawn gave himself a mental shake, he needed to focus on the job at hand. He let his gaze take in the scene. The EMT’s were taking the victims vitals and relaying the information to the Emergency room personnel at Sacred Heart Medical Center. Shawn made his way to the Sheriff.
“I’m Detective Shawn Brady, Spokane Police Dept, Precinct 12,” he extended his hand, but quickly withdrew it when he noticed it was stained with the victim’s blood. “Sorry. Looks like I better head over to the CSI investigator. I would like your men to do a preliminary sweep of the area.”
“Sheriff Charlie Cameron. What are my men looking for?” he asked.
Shawn replied, “Anything that will give us a clue as to who this woman is and how she got here. Ask them to be extremely careful that they don’t contaminate the crime scene. If they see shoe prints or tire marks, they should alert the CSI unit.”
“My men are trained on the proper procedures to be followed when investigating a crime, Detective Brady,” the Sheriff responded indignantly.
“I didn’t mean to insinuate that they weren’t trained properly, Sheriff Cameron,” Shawn apologized. “If you’ll excuse me, I need to talk to the lead CSI investigator. They’re going to want my clothes to check for hair and fibres from the victim and assailant or assailants.”
Shawn noticed that the lead CSI investigator assigned to the case was Derek Lyttle. He had worked several cases with Derek and he knew him to go about his job thoroughly and expertly. Shawn knew that if there was any evidence available, any clue to be found, that Derek would be the man to discover it. Derek and he had also become good friends in the two years that Shawn was a detective.
“Hey, Derek,” Shawn greeted his friend. “I thought I better let you know that I’ve been in contact with the victim. I had to cover her to prevent her from going into shock.”
Derek took in Shawn’s wet slacks and the blood on his hands. He signalled for one of his co-workers. “Lisa, please take a sample of the blood on Detective Brady’s hand.” As Lisa was placing the sample into her kit, Derek turned to Shawn. “You know, I’m going to need your clothes. It’s obvious you were kneeling close to the victim. Some trace evidence might have been transferred to you. Do you have a change of clothing with you?”
Shawn hesitated for a moment. “I think I might have a change of clothing in my vehicle. Do you need me to change now?”
“The sooner the better – this rain isn’t helping. It’s going to make it difficult to process this crime scene,” Derek stated.
“Okay, Derek. I’ll do it right now,” as he turned and jogged to his SUV.
Who are you? What are you doing? Ouch! That felt like a needle. I hate needles. Please don’t touch me, it hurts too much. Please, stop. Oh god, don’t turn my head.
“Carl, we need to get the neck brace on her, so we can get her on a back-board.”
“I know that, Jules, what I don’t know is where to hold her head to stabilize it while you slip the neck brace on. Jesus, what kind of monster could do this to a woman, to anyone? How is she still alive?” Carl took a deep breath and tried to hold her shoulder firmly but gently in place, as he lifted her ever so slightly.
Jules slipped the neck brace in place and secured it. “At least she was smart enough to curl herself up into a ball on one side. All the damage seems to be to the right side of her body. Alright, let’s get her on the back-board, Carl.”
Don’t…touch…me! Can’t you tell that I’m in agony? She felt herself letting go. I’m so sorry, I just can’t fight anymore. It’s too hard and I’m so tired. I have to go sleep. She felt like she was floating. She felt warm and safe. I never really believed those near death stories before, people seeing this bright white light, seeing and hearing from loved ones who had crossed over and were waiting to welcome them to their eternal home. I see the light but there’s no one here to greet me. And then she heard him.
“You’ve decided to give up the fight, have you, young lady?”
The voice came from a kind, soft-spoken older gentleman. “Who are you?” she whispered.
“I’m looking out for my great-grandson.”
“I don’t understand. I’m not your great-grandson.”
“No, young lady, you are definitely not my great-grandson. You are his salvation. He needs you and you need him. You have a long road to travel together. Do not end the journey before you have taken the first step.”
“Go back, miss. Go back and fight.”
“I can’t. I don’t have the strength. I’m so tired. Please, I just want to come home.”
“He is your home. He is your strength. Go home to him. Lean on him. He will give you strength. All you have to do is call for him, and he’ll be at your side. He won’t leave you. He will keep you safe. Trust him.”
“Yes, trust him. Living is a far greater challenge than dying. You will have a long and difficult recovery, my dear, but you will recover. Choose life, little one, choose life and you will never regret it. Call him, call him now! Live!” he urged.
I want to live. I have to live. I have unfinished business here on earth. Help me! Help me fight. I need you, I need you, now!
Tom Horton turned to his eternal partner and soul mate, Alice. “It’s all right now, dear. She’s going home to Shawn.”
Shawn’s head jerked up and smashed into the rear-view mirror when he heard her silent cries. He quickly sealed the large plastic evidence that contained the clothes he had been wearing and bolted out of his vehicle.
“Here, Derek,” he shouted as he threw the bag in his general direction, never breaking his stride as he made his way to the woman.
“We’re losing her, charge the portable defibrillator,” Carl shouted. He looked up and seen the detective that had been on the scene when they arrived.
“Let me get near her,” Shawn barked.
“You need to stand back and let us do our jobs,” Carl spoke uneasily. He had never seen a look that matched the one in Detective Brady’s eyes at this moment. It was a combination of panic, concern and determination.
“I won’t get in your way. You don’t understand, she needs me.” Shawn took the woman’s left hand in his right hand as he went down on his haunches to talk to her. “I’m here. Fight! Use my strength, take it, it’s yours. Please, don’t give up.”
Carl was amazed to see that her blood pressure was rising. “Jules, we’ve got to get her to the hospital, now.” They raised the back-board. Shawn rose, never letting go of her hand. Silently willing her to live, he could feel his strength flowing into her.
“Excuse me, Detective Brady, could you please let go of her hand so we can load the patient into the ambulance and transport her to the hospital?” Carl asked.
“I’m going with her.” Shawn’s eyes searched for the Sheriff. “Sheriff Cameron, could you please have one of your men drive my car to Sacred Heart Medical Center when they’re all through here? He threw his keys to the Sheriff. “Just ask them to leave the keys at the front desk.”
In the back of the ambulance, with the sirens blaring, Shawn could here her silent ‘thank you’. His mind was cataloguing the few facts he had on this case. He knew she could still die from her injuries. Hell, he still didn’t understand how she was still breathing after the beating she had sustained. He also knew that the people that did this to her would not be thrilled to find out that she had survived. They might want to finish the job. He didn’t know if this was a simple case of a robbery with extreme violence or whether the victim had been targeted. It didn’t matter, he had to protect her.
He called to the driver, “Is there a private entrance that we can use when we arrive at the hospital?”
The driver confirmed that they could use a delivery truck entrance. Shawn asked him to radio ahead to Sacred Heart and tell them to have a trauma team ready at the delivery entrance. He instructed them to inform the ER staff that she was to be kept out of view of the other patients.
Shawn looked down at the women on the gurney. The right side of her face had no recognizable features, she was so badly beaten. The left side was badly bruised and she had abrasions from the pavement. Her dark brown hair was a tangled and caked with blood. She was very petite. She looked so tiny and vulnerable but Shawn sensed that she had a deep inner strength. She was going to need all of it to pull through this ordeal.
They arrived at the hospital, and Shawn stepped out of the back of the ambulance, still holding her hand, as they pulled the gurney out. The trauma team immediately started crowding around and Shawn unclasped his hand and began to release her hand when she grasped his fingers.
Don’t leave me. Stay with me.
“You need to let the doctors help you. I’ll be near by. I won’t leave you, little one. I promise,” he whispered as the gurney was pulled away and his fingers slipped out of her grasp.
|This message has been edited by Mrs.B. on Nov 5, 2004 7:03 PM|