This scene was a retirement home in Brooklyn, in the small apartment of a Judith McNally. I walked in and felt that same sickening energy that I did at the first scene. The bodies were still there, so that I could go over them. I wished that they hadn’t been so considerate and mindful of my orders; I didn’t need to see the wrinkled form of Mrs. McNally twisted in the arms of her former nurse, Jason Jackson. He was a foot and a half taller than her at six foot six, his ebony skin taut on a very well muscled frame, shaved head reflecting the stark fluorescent lights of the room. No one spoke to me, and I didn’t say anything to the few people there, a slight nod all they needed from me to know that I wanted them to vacate so that I could do my work. Only Baker remained.
I shook myself and pulled the flask from my bag. I tossed it to Baker.
“We’re on the job Danny, but I appreciate the sentiment.”
“It’s a potion, to fortify your psychic protections. Don’t want to be whammied by this witch, do you?”
He didn’t reply, just unscrewed the cap. “How much should I drink?”
“A double shot, and quick, it’s not good tasting at all.” I could feel something different about this scene, something stronger in the room than before. “What’s the estimated T.O.D.?”
“Twelve hours. They were found when the second shift nurse came in to check in on her.”
“So they were first. The teens were second.”
“Yup.” He drank, then gagged, sputtering. “Oh my god, that was horrible.” Then he shivered.
“The magic; don’t worry about it.”
“Better than Red Bull, in all the flavor.”
“Yeah, right. Make sure everyone working closely on this case drinks some of that; if you need more I’ve another flask of it.” My voice trailed off as I reached into the bag again, pulling out my wand. I whirled my wrist, the wand whistling through the air. Sighing, doing what I knew had to be done, I let my magic flow from the wellspring deep inside of me down through the wand and then into the room.
There was something different, first of which was that though the residues of the magic was weaker here than before, there was a thrumbing of it somewhere. It was hard to focus on with all the darkness in the room, all that bad energies made it hard to focus on one, like trying to hear someone speak in the middle of a loud and crowded bar. I took time, but eventually I found the source.
“Baker, pass me a glove.”
He did and I pulled it on, grabbing something small and sharp in the carpet. I held it up in the light. It was a shard of glass, or crystal, and it softly pulsed with magic. I smiled and chuckled, drawing a strange look from Baker.
“You okay, man?”
“Oh, I am more than okay. We’ve got her.”
“I’ve told you before, magic is one half being prepared and one half cheating. I thought that she was insanely powerful to be able to do all the things she was doing at once, and she might be, but she’s cheating. She using these to pull it off.” I showed him the shard.
“A bit of glass?”
“Crystal. Quartz to be exact. You can store energy in them, and with a focused will, enough power and crystals, you can store a full working, a complete spell in them.” I pulled a plastic sandwich bag from my messenger bag and slid it inside. “The thing is, if you put too powerful of a spell, or work a spell for too long, or any number of other things, the crystal can degrade and break. It did, and now I have her.”
“Think about it this way; you get a dirty sock of a perp, you can get your dogs when you’re hunting someone down to use that scent to find them right? I can do the same thing with her magic, which I have here. Moreover, a shard is a part of a bigger whole, and still has a connection with it. It’s why people can feel an itch on a leg they lost years ago, and I can use that link to find her.”
I put the shard into my bag and went over the rest of the scene, but other than that bit, there was nothing new there. I let the investigators back in and tried to make sure I didn’t look like I was stealing evidence from their scene. I gave Baker the second flask of potion and bumped fists, leaving the scene.
I keep my phone off when I’m in a crime scene. It going off has a terrible effect on my concentration and just seems disrespectful. I turned it back on as I walked to the car, and saw that I had a lot of messages, all from Cassie. I listened to the most recent one.
“Oh my god, Daniel, where are you? Fuck, oh god, she’s gone, Daniel! She’s gone. I don’t know what to do! Where are you?”
I called her back, my mind racing. She picked up on the second ring. “I’m sorry love, I was at a scene. What happened?”
“She’s gone; Nikki was supposed to drop her off but when I got there the door was open and no one was there. Oh god, Daniel, they’re gone!”
“Who is gone, Cassie? Who?” I said, my stomach dropping like a stone in my chest. I knew. I already knew.
“Lucy, Daniel! Lucy is gone!”
I knew. I knew it was her. And I know who had her. The witch, the mind mage. She had taken Cassandra’s sister. I didn’t know how, but I knew that she did it on purpose, that she knew I was working the case, and took her to hurt me.
“Cassandra, I will be at your house in twenty minutes. I will find her. We will find her, and whoever took her will pay. Do you hear me?”
She murmured in the affirmative and I hung up. I turned around and saw Baker coming out of the motel, tapping the bottom of a package of cigarettes on the heel of his hand. He saw me and came over.
“You all right? You look like you just saw a ghost.”
“The witch, she kidnapped Cassandra’s sister.” Baker had met them before at a few of the barbecues we had during the summer. He paled and stopped moving.
“Daniel, let me help; you don’t want to do this on your own.”
“How can you help? You’ll be a sitting duck for her to mind fuck. I can’t risk it. You can’t even do anything if you get her. What are you going to do? Take her to central booking so she can have a building filled with criminals and armed cops to put on a chain? No.”
“And what are you going to do? Go all Rambo and go in alone? What if she does it to you? Then what? You need back up.”
“None of you are ready to deal with something like that.”
“I am. I’ve been with you when you dealt with weird shit before. I can deal with it. Let me go with you Daniel.”
I watched him as he pulled the flasks out of his pockets. I looked into his eyes. “You sure about this?”
“Yeah.” He put them on the hood of my car and unscrewed them both, downing the potions in two big gulps. He shivered, the color returning quickly to his skin.
I nodded, tossing him the keys. “You drive, I have to get ready.”