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The Killing Ground

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Chapter One

Crime Scene


               She was strong, so very strong. She could never give up. If she did then the wall she had spent years constructing would crumble into ash all around her.  She couldn't let that happen. She wouldn't let them see just how much this broke her. Taking a deep breath she stepped under the yellow tape that surrounded the wooded area, the crime scene.  She walked toward the detective in charge. Someone she had worked with so many times before.  He turned toward her as she approached giving her a tight nod.  Even though he was a very seasoned cop she could tell that this bothered him. It would and should bother him. It would bother anyone even her but she couldn't let it.  Not yet, not when so many eyes were on her.  They looked to her to remain composed, unaffected.  Her tears would wait until she was safe behind her own closed, locked door, safe from the world where no one could see.

               "Dr. Chase. I see they called in the big guns."

               "They always do in situations like this Detective Tutuola" Fin have her an understanding look.  She had his respect and in truth in of his favorite people to work with. She was smart, caring and determined. She also didn't take crap from much of anyone. He had seen her put people twice her size in their place just with a single look. She had guts and able to hold her own. He couldn't help but like her. I

                 "They should. We need the best in this. This psycho is a slippery little bastard."

               "How many do we have?" She asked the question but really wasn't prepared for the answered.

               "Last count, twenty." He squinted at the number of yellow flags sticking out from the ground. Twenty flags marking twenty different small bodies. Remains of missing children. Twenty was a very large number. She had unfortunately seen more. She shook her head in disgust.

               "My team will be here shortly but I wanted a look see before they got here."

               "I thought you might. My partner is talking to the witness that found this mess. He was hiking with his dog when his dog retrieved this." He added as he held up an evidence bag in his gloves hand. In it a small arm and hand bone.  "Poor guy isn't handling it well."

                 "Can't imagine he is. Where are they?" She asked surveying the area, her gaze landing on three different men at the edge of the crime scene. Fin nodded as she obviously found them. He began to let them in that direction knowing gets well enough to know she would immediately want to talk to him. Or so he thought.

               "So who is the suit?" She asked indicating to the third man that stood beside Fin's  assumed partner and the witness. He was well dressed, too well dressed to be out in the middle of the woods at a crime scene. She quickly glanced down at her more relaxed state of dress. Jeans, olive green tee shirt matched with a light zip up and a baseball cap top it off. She rubbed her hands subconsciously over her pants in an effort to do what, she didn't know. But she suddenly felt self-conscience maybe because of his intense look as he seemed to be taking her in.

               "That's our ADA Rafael Barba." She raised an eyebrow at that.

               "What is the ADA doing at a crime scene like this?" It wasn't uncommon for lawyers to be present but in the same sense, it was.

               "He has a personal stake in this. One of his star witnesses in his current case had her son go missing two days ago. We found him this morning." She felt her heart drop. "Don't worry Evie; he's one of the good ones."

               "Coming from you Fin, that's a raging endorsement." She said earning her a bit of a light chuckle.

               "Just don't let him know that." She gave him a smile as they finally approached the three men. Fin introduced them. "This is my partner Detective Carisi, our ADA Rafael Barba and our witness Tomas Mason. This is Doctor Evelyn Chase." She shook each of their hands taking note of each of them. Carisi was a charmer or at least thought he was as he took her small hand in a gentle hand shake, smiling the whole time.

                 "So you're the famous doc that Fin goes on and on about." She returned the smile just slightly retracting her hand from his over eager one.

                 "Oh I don't know about that but they do tend to call me in on cases such as this”.

                 "Don't let her kid you. She is very good at what she does. They don’t call her Sherlock for nothing" She wasn't comfortable at any form of compliment but before she could rebuff it a voice next to her asked a question.

               "And what is it that you do exactly?" She turned to meet a very hypnotic pair of green eyes, eyes that seemed to study her with several degrees of interest. She found it hard to look away and to concentrate on a coherent sentence. Her uneasiness and his sudden effect on her must have been apparent in her face for a split second because he noticed as an ever so slight smirk appeared on his face, challenge in his eyes. He was studying her just as much as she was him.

               "I bring missing children home Mr. Barba, even those who have been gone for a long time."  Her answer seemed to shock him. But like her he was good at schooling his features. She didn't break eye contact and neither did he, both challenging the other, neither one backing down. It wasn't until Fin spoke that they both finally looked away. She was in trouble, he was trouble.

               "I take it you want a few minutes with our witness." She turned back to Tomas Mason. He was not that much older than her but something about his demeanor seemed off. The way he looked at her made her cringe on the inside. She wasn't the only one apparently because she suddenly felt a presence at her side. In her peripheral she caught sight of Barba. This man was a mystery and she wasn’t sure what to think of him. She shook the thought away temporarily and focused once again on Mason.

               "Mr. Mason I realize this is a difficult situation but was wondering if you could walk me through this one more time if you please." She could sense his hostility toward her but he was good at keeping in hidden.

               "I already told him. Why do I have to keep talking about it?" He was antsy, agitated and she now had no doubt what so ever that he was hiding something. She stayed calm showing him that he couldn't faze her.

                 "I know, but I may see something they don't. You said you hiked in here and your dog found the arm bone? That's quite a hike, do you take it often?" He seemed to squirm under her scrutiny just so slightly.

               "No! I need to take my dog home. Can I go now?" She looked at him again stating none of her thoughts.

               “One more question.  What kind of dog do you have?”  It was an odd question she knew but she got the required response.

               “Why does that matter?”  He asked rather defensively.

               “Just answer the question please.”  She asked in a polite yet even tone.  Mason looked all around and finally landed on the creature in question as it stood a bit away.

               “She’s a German Sheppard can I go now?”

               "For now Mr. Mason but I will need to speak with you again." She turned away basically dismissing him and to the in trained eye seemed rude. In fact she was gaging his reaction and he did not take this well. He had a problem with women, particularly woman in authority.  Fin caught in to her and shook his head in amusement.

               "I see what you did there." He said once Mason was out of ear shot. She gave him a bit of a smirk.

               "I don't know to what you are referring to Detective."

                 "Yeah, you do. " He turned to look at his partner. "We need to take a second look at our witness." Carisi have him a surprised look and then it dawned on him what had taken place. He turned back to Evie with an impressed look.

               "You were baiting him." She nodded in agreement.

   "I had him pegged two seconds after meeting him. I'm telling you he is hiding something.”

               "So you're a profiler." Barb a stated where he still stood by her side.

               "Among other things." She answered. "That and I notice detail."

                 "Like what? "

               "Like the fact that he watched me with contempt, especially when I challenged him or the fact that he kept looking over to his right which is where I'm assuming the freshest body is located and how about the fact that he was wearing clothing that was defiantly not suited for a big hike and if that dog is a German Shepard than I’m the queen of England.  But I can't make any official report until I do see the newest body."

               "Any some evidence would be nice." Oh yes a skeptic. She turned to look back at the lawyer with a raised eyebrow.

               "Oh you will have your evidence and I much more councilor." She added and then away before she could see the amusement that danced in his eyes. This was going to very interesting.

               “What kind of dog is it anyway?”  Carisi asked her as she turned to make her way deeper into the crime scene.

               “A Belgian Malinois. I know because I own two of them. You might want to expand our search to include the real owner of that dog. And before you say anything Councilor I don’t believe Mr. Mason killed anyone.” She added as she turned to The ADA who stood there mouth open ready to question it. Surprise once again flashed in his eyes as she had beaten him at his own game. “ He is an opportunist, I think he found the dog and stumbled on to this mess.  Why he was here to begin with, that is the million dollar question.” She turned away as she heard Fin’s voice, a note of amusement in his voice.

            “I told ya she was good.”

            “All right boys; let’s find out what is really going on here.” She added as she continued on.