The Case - Chapter One

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Chapter One - One Highway - Two Fatalities

Author’s Note: This story continues the tale of Poppy Evesham who is introduced in my story ‘Witness’. It is not imperative that you read Witness before you read this story but I highly recommend it.


The high beams of the car created a tunnel of light that cut through the old-growth forest encroaching both sides of the road. The driver concentrated on the road, Dolly and Kenny sang about Real Love on the only AM station he could find. He had no discs to put in the newly fitted compact disk player and the cassette player had chewed up his mix of favourite ballads.

He was tired and his right wrist ached. The brushed aluminium pelican case handcuffed to his wrist sat on the passenger seat and he was driving one-handed. The man was grateful that the car didn’t have a stick shift.

The man peered through the gloom and his attention was caught by the eighteen wheeler that sat jack-knifed across the road like a wounded dinosaur. His first instinct was to drive around the obstruction because he had no intention of stopping to render assistance but the truck had closed both sides of the road.

The man was immediately circumspect and suspicious and as he slowed down he quickly whipped his hand off the wheel and reached into his jacket for his gun. He took it out and placed it on the seat beside the pelican case so that it was close at hand. He stopped well short of the truck and looked around carefully for the truck driver, his concentration focussed on the truck’s cab.

The sound of the pistol tapping on the glass of the driver’s side window triggered his death knell and he knew it. He reached for his pistol but the masked man standing beside his vehicle aimed his pistol at the driver’s head and motioned for him to roll down the window. The driver complied.

“Hand over the case,” the masked man said emotionlessly.

The driver didn’t say anything; he just stared out the windscreen, his breath fogging in the cold.

“Give me the case and you’re free to go,” the masked man placed the muzzle of his pistol against the driver’s temple.

“Why? I’m a dead man regardless,” the driver was resigned to his fate.

The masked man pulled the trigger and blew the driver’s brains out.

“Shit,” the masked man cursed.

The masked man was a killer when he had to be but he didn’t particularly like killing. There was nothing glamorous about killing another human being; no glory, nothing to brag about. There was nothing cool about it; the man you killed might have a family, a girlfriend or a wife, maybe kids. It wasn’t like in the movies, like Rambo in First Blood where the violence was glorified. The driver’s blood had sprayed into his eyes and blood, bone and brain matter was spattered around the car, the coppery taste of blood was in his mouth.

He put his gloved hand inside the car and unlocked the doors and walked around to the front passenger door. In his non-gun hand the masked man held a soft carry bag. He opened the bag and took out a handful of rags which he used to wipe the blood and gore off the case. Then he took a pair of bolt cutters from the bag and cut the chain connecting the driver’s wrist to the case.

Whilst the masked man was carrying out his gruesome duties the truck driver came out of trees where he had been hiding, climbed back into the cab-over semi, fired up the engine and drove away. The masked man put the case down on the pavement and cleaned it as best he could. He took the pelican case and his soft carry bag and walked to where he had parked his own vehicle off the road. He tossed the case and the carry bag onto the back seat and drove away.

The whole episode had taken less than three minutes.

Five miles down the road, the now unmasked killer, was caught by surprise when a deer bolted out onto the road directly in front of him. He swerved to try to avoid the animal but he lost control of his vehicle and plowed into a red oak. He was not wearing a seatbelt and died instantly. The wreck was found by a passing motorist twenty minutes later. Emergency services arrived at the scene around four in the morning. A radio call to the on scene senior police officer informed him that a driver had been found shot behind the wheel of another vehicle five miles west of the crash site.

Another emergency services team was dispatched from the nearby township of Braidwood to deal with that incident and at this stage the incidents were not considered related.


Penelope woke at six thirty because that was when her internal clock always woke her.

But there was another reason. The man lying in her bed spooning her was pressing his erect penis into the crevice of her buttocks and rubbing it against her pantyhose-clad ass.

Penelope wore pantyhose to bed for two reasons. One: because they kept her legs warm during the bitter-cold winter months. Two: because her partner, Elliot Granger, had a raging nylons fetish and loved to play with her ass, legs and other tender bits whilst encased in sheer nylons. Plus, she liked the feel of satin, nylon and other diaphanous fabrics against her body; they made her feel feminine and sexy.

Her own penis was tenting the front of her pantyhose and although it might make her a little late work, she was happy to fool around with Elliot for a while because the feel of his cock pressing on her ass was making her horny as hell. Last night was one of the few times that they had fallen asleep without making love and they both wanted to make up for it.

“Uh-uh,” Elliot clamped his hand around her wrist and wrested her hand away from her penis.

He was proud of the fact that he knew how to make Penelope climax by just fucking her without her penis being stimulated by hand; it also turned him on immensely. Penelope sighed. It was going to take a while. Whilst she loved the delicious slow build-up and suspense that ensued from a prostate-only triggered orgasm, it took a while for her to climax that way, even though Elliot knew exactly where to press the head of his penis to incite the maximum amount of pleasure.

Elliot eased aside Penelope’s pink satin babydoll panties and slid his cock inside her pantyhose and nestled his glans in Penelope’s puckered bud. He could feel that she was lubricated. Penelope’s routine prior to going to bed was to douche and lubricate in anticipation of sex.

“Are you ok?” Elliot whispered in Penelope’s ear.

Her response was to take his penis in her fingers and adjust it so that Elliot’s glans was positioned exactly where she wanted it and then push back against him. Elliot held her tight as he slid his long thick cock inside her until his pubis was pressing on her soft buttocks.

“Mmm,” Penelope sighed.

She turned her head so that Elliot could kiss her briefly before she put her head down on the pillow and closed her eyes and let Elliot fuck her. Elliot was in no rush and used long slow strokes, purposely stimulating her sphincter and her prostate. Penelope’s cock was straining against the diaphanous fabric of her pantyhose and she desperately wanted to stroke it. She knew that if she did she would climax almost immediately but she didn’t want to disappoint Elliot and she was enraptured by the slow build up to her orgasm.

Although she loved Elliot deeply she fantasised about sexual encounters in her past whilst Elliot held her close and fucked her ass, nibbling on her ear and tweaking her nipples. Some of the fantasies she used to get off would have surprised Elliot if she told him the chimaera of previous sexual encounters. They often involved forced sex with multiple partners; back when she was known as Poppy and worked the streets for a living. She didn’t understand herself why these recollections got her off but they did.

Elliot was working harder now, increasing the speed and depth of his fucking, his penis rubbing against her prostate and his hands roughly caressing her breasts, eliciting feeling of sublime pleasure. She was close to climax; her cock leaking a continuous stream of pre-ejaculate. Elliot was panting hard as he moved his hands from Penelope’s breasts to her hips so he could hold her still and fuck her hard and Penelope obligingly pushed out her buttocks.

The steady build-up of pleasure intensified and began to radiate from her prostate; her cock quivered and ached as a result of the concentrated sensuality. The gossamer nylon encasing her penis was saturated with pre-seminal fluid. Elliot bit her shoulder and pulled her body hard against him and slammed his cock deep in her anus and ejaculated which triggered Penelope’s release.

Her body began to shake violently as her cock erupted, flooding her pantyhose with steaming ejaculate.

The two lovers groaned and writhed against each other as their orgasms bloomed and then slowly began to dissipate. Elliot clung to Penelope until his penis began to contract then he rolled Penelope over, climbed on her body and rained kisses on her. His cock pressed against the squidgy mess of semen-soaked pantyhose which was now spreading into her panties. Not that either of them cared. They would have loved to have stayed in bed and do it all over again but both of them had to go to work.

Penelope waited until Elliot was totally relaxed and distracted then she slipped out from underneath him and evaded his grasp.

“Just a few more minutes please honey,” Elliot pleaded.

Penelope stopped just out of reach and put her hands on her hips. She looked quite comical dressed in her pink satin babydoll pyjamas, the semen-sodden panties distended by her penis. The top was unbuttoned, displaying her ample breasts.

When Penelope and Elliot had been living together long enough to talk openly about it they had discussed her gender transition. Penelope had breast enhancement surgery when she was eighteen, paid for and arranged by her mother’s lover who was also her pimp. Her breasts were bigger than she actually wanted but she had no say in the matter because at the time her mother’s pimp and dealer had complete control over them both.

Penelope and Elliot had an in depth and intense discussion as to whether Penelope should complete gender reassignment. Penelope had finally said to Elliot that she would be willing to undertake vaginoplasty if that’s what he wanted and needed for him to think of her as a real woman. Elliot had told Penelope that he loved her unconditionally and that he never thought of her as anything other than as a woman and actually preferred that she keep her genitalia intact, which was great because that was how Penelope also felt and so it was agreed. Penelope did not need a vagina to be a real woman.

As a stipend to Elliot, Penelope did not undertake the breast reduction she was considering, which of course would have been a simple matter of replacing her implants with smaller variants.

“No Elliot we are both going to be late for work as it is,” Penelope wagged her finger at him.

She squealed like a girl when Elliot leapt out of bed and made a grab for her, his deflated penis had returned to full turgidity. She evaded him and made it to the ensuite bathroom unscathed. She slammed the door shut and locked it.

“No! You're not coming in; you can wait until I’m done,” she responded to his pleas.

Elliot finally gave up and realised that Penelope was right and he padded his way down to the main bathroom to shave and shower.

Penelope was downstairs sitting at the breakfast bar drinking coffee when Elliot came down dressed in his uniform. Ten years earlier Penelope had moved into the house that Elliot shared with his sister Sharon and her partner Bethany. Elliot had left the city and returned to his job as Deputy Commander of the Braidwood Police Department. Shortly after that they had moved into their own home, a rustic homestead on five acres that that they had lovingly restored and modernised where necessary. Penelope’s brother Robert had lived with them whilst he completed his studies at the Grosvenor School and had since moved out to attend university.

“You need to check your messages Commander. I told you there would be consequences for taking all morning exploring your licentious pursuits,” Penelope chided him.

“Me? Pursuing my licentious pursuits? I didn’t hear any complaints from you,” Elliot replied as he played the recorded messages on the answering machine.

“I’m just a lowly small-town lawyer whereas you're the Commander of the Braidwood Police Department and your sister is pissed because she can’t get hold of you to deal with a series of disasters on State Route 590,” Penelope eyed her lover over the rim of her coffee cup.

Elliot’s sister Sharon Granger was a senior Public Service Officer who manned the front desk at the police station and was responsible for staffing the emergency services telephone line and radio dispatch for the small municipal police force. She was the office manager and kept the place running smoothly. It was rumoured that the police officers of Braidwood PD were more scared of the Commander’s sister than they were of the Commander.

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” Elliot slammed down the receiver and snatched his car keys off the table.

“Two goddamn fatalities on the same fucking piece of shit highway!” Elliot cursed.

He opened the cupboard and took his service weapon from the gun safe and slammed it into his holster. He took his fur-lined uniform coat off the hook and picked up his gloves.

Elliot knew better than to kiss Penelope on the lips after she had done her makeup for work. She was meticulous about her appearance. She was wearing a burgundy skirt and blazer business suit, crisp white blouse, flesh-toned L’eggs Sheer Elegance pantyhose and burgundy high heels to match her suit. Her carefully coiffed brunette hair was worn shoulder-length; a long way from the bottle-blonde hair with blue and cerise highlights that she had sported in a previous life.

Penelope had been studying law before she met Elliot and obtained her Juris Doctor degree one year after moving to Braidwood. She had worked at Bethany Williams’ law firm as a legal secretary whilst she finished her JD and studied for the Bar. Penelope now worked as an Associate at Bethany Williams’ practice. It was a small firm with two Partners and two Associates.

All of the work and effort Penelope had put into studying law would have been for nothing except for Elliot. When she worked the streets Penelope had been spending almost every penny she earned to put Robert through school and her dreams of becoming a legal secretary would be thwarted not only because of her profession but because of her gender identity.

Elliot had not only rescued Penelope from the streets he had used his contacts in city hall to have Penelope’s birth gender changed from male to female and used his contacts in law enforcement to have her criminal record expunged. Elliot never told Penelope what this had cost him in favours and money but she knew that it was considerable. It allowed Penelope to acquire the documents that she needed to present herself as female.

Elliot kissed Penelope on the cheek and bolted out the door. Penelope heard the siren on his cruiser fire up when he exited the property gates. She rinsed her coffee cup, put on her heavy top-coast, picked up her keys and briefcase and went outside to her own car. Penelope drove a cherry-red Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z, one of the luxuries she allowed herself as reward for rising from the life of a street hooker to passing the State Bar Exam and becoming a lawyer.


Elliot called Sharon Granger on the police radio to get a sitrep. The whole of his small PD were deployed along State Route 590 west of Braidwood, half attending a single vehicle MVA fatality and the other half attending the fatal shooting of a motorist five miles west of the MVA. Elliot decided he would be of more value attending the shooting as it was likely a homicide.

He stopped briefly at the MVA where a black Chevrolet Blazer had its nose buried in a red oak. The driver’s body was partially hanging out of the windscreen, his body covered with a tarpaulin.

“Looks like he lost control, skidded off the pavement and collected the tree. No seatbelt, no passengers, no other vehicle involved, no signs of foul play. No booze in the car but we’ll get a BAC at the autopsy,” Sergeant Beau Benstead said to Elliot through the driver’s side window.

“However Chief, I think you should come look at this,” Beau encouraged Elliot to get out of his car and go over to the wreck.

The paramedics and firemen dressed in winter coats and gloves were standing around the wreck shooting the shit waiting for the body to be released whilst another of Elliot's officers was taking pictures of accident. Two other officers were redirecting traffic and a tow truck driver was leaning on his rig smoking, waiting to tow the Blazer to the police impound lot.

“We found this on the back seat of the Blazer Chief. We’ve photographed it in situ, tagged it and logged into the evidence log,” Beau pointed to the silver pelican case and the black ripstop carry bag on the back seat of a police cruiser.

“Looks interesting,” Elliot noted the pelican case was fitted with high quality security locks and the remains of the handcuff chain attached to the handle.

“So does this,” Beau used an extendable steel wand to open the carry bag and expose the 9mm semi-automatic pistol, the bolt cutters and bloody rags.

“Get someone to get these bags back to the station and put into the evidence locker asap. Make sure he follows correct procedures and wears gloves; this is very suspicious Beau,” Elliot said.

He felt his skin prickle as his sixth sense kicked in.

“I’m going to leave you in charge here Beau. I need to get down the road to the shooting but two fatalities on the same stretch of road, one involving gunshot wounds and the other where the victim is carrying a gun in his car raises my hackles. Let the paramedics take the body but I don’t want the vehicle moved until I get the crime scene crew here,” Elliot eyed the pelican case and the carry bag suspiciously.

“Sure thing Chief. Just what I was thinking,” Beau nodded in agreement.

“The crime scene crew are at the shooting fatality but I’ll release them as soon as I can,” Elliot was already walking back to his cruiser.

Elliot sped off down the road and Beau Benstead called over Pete Coombs, the most junior officer on the Braidwood PD. He told Pete to only handle the pelican case and carry bag whilst he was wearing gloves and to instruct Sharon Granger to do the same when she checked them into evidence. Pete knew that having a rookie instruct Sharon on how to do a job she had been doing for fifteen years would cause her to rain down havoc on Pete Coombs and he was sorry he wouldn’t be there to witness it.

“You drop that evidence off then hightail it back here. Don’t stop to flirt or to get coffee,” Beau instructed the rookie.

Even though everyone knew that Sharon Granger was lesbian, most of the officers couldn’t resist flirting with her. She was older than most of the officers being in her early forties but she was a good looking woman who had a penchant for wearing tight-fitting clothes, short skirts and heels. She might be the boss’s sister and a cantankerous bitch when she wanted to be, but she was one sexy matron and she knew it.

Pete Coombs pulled onto Route 590 and fired up the rooftop flashers. He was pleased to be given what he considered to an important task but wished he had an excuse to fire up the siren as well as the lights, but he knew it was uncalled for.

He did not notice the nondescript sedan take up station behind him two vehicles back. The car looked innocuous but the rumbling growl betrayed the high-power engine under the hood.

The driver of the beat-up sedan parked across from the Braidwood police station and watched Pete Coombs drive into one of the dedicated police parking spaces, put on a pair of latex gloves and take the carry bag and the pelican case inside. He tapped his fingers nervously on the steering wheel carefully watching the station and the surrounding streets. Both foot and vehicular traffic was light. After a few minutes the man killed the engine and walked to the corner to use the pay phone. He took a card from inside his overcoat and dialled the number written on it.

The conversation was succinct and the directions decisive. The man hung up the receiver and walked back to his car and took a pistol and a silencer from the glove compartment and tucked them into the inside pocket of his coat.

Sharon Granger looked up when Pete Coombs came through the front door of the station. He had called her on PR and told her he was inbound and she was expecting him.

“What have you got for me Peter?” Sharon Granger stood behind the counter with her arms crossed, tapping her fingers on her biceps.

Sharon Granger commanded the space behind the L-shaped counter which consisted of her desk, the radio set and the locked evidence room. To her right in an open-plan office were six desks used by the uniformed police officers and behind them were the three separate offices used by the two detectives, Sergeant Benstead and the Commander. Off the small entrance foyer was a single interview room.

“Ma’am I have these two bags to be locked in the evidence room until the crime scene guys or the Chief can get them fingerprinted, examine them, and inventory the contents,” Pete had difficulty lifting the pelican case onto the counter alongside the soft carry bag.

Pete raised the flip-up countertop and walked through the swinging door and closed the countertop behind him. Sharon was still standing in front of her desk with her arms crossed. She wouldn’t even touch the bags until the chain of custody paperwork had been signed.

Pete began to fill in the custody control form whilst trying to surreptitiously eye-off Sharon Granger. She was tall, slim and very attractive with her long brunette hair piled loosely on top of her head held in place with long wooden pins. Her makeup was carefully applied, especially the bright red lipstick she favoured. She was wearing a red pencil skirt with a hem that rested mid-thigh, a white satin blouse, tan hosiery and black high heels. The jacket matching her skirt was draped over the back of her chair.

Pete could smell her perfume from where he was hunched over the paperwork and he found it quite exotic. Sharon Granger was about the same age as his mother but she was far from matronly. The other officers called her a lipstick lesbian, the meaning of which they had yet to explain to him. They made lewd comments about how they would like to see Sharon and her girlfriend Bethany Williams going at it but they made their comments well away from Sharon and the Chief.

Sharon took the paperwork from Pete, countersigned it and completed the chain of custody form then she took a pair of latex gloves from the box on the bench next to the evidence room and put them on. Pete wondered how her long red fingernails didn’t pierce the thin latex; years of practice he suspected. He eyed her bottom in the tight red skirt and admired her toned thighs encased in the shiny sheer pantyhose.

“You have somewhere else to be I take it? Shall I get on the PR and tell Sergeant Benstead that you’ve delivered the evidence and are on the way back to the scene of the MVA?” she gave Pete a wry smile.

Sharon always referred to the senior police officers by their name and rank and she was deliberately formal. She was amused that the officers found her sexy and her partner Bethany William's often berated her for teasing the men but they both got a kick out of it. Bethany was a clotheshorse herself.

“No ma’am I’ll check in with Sergeant Benstead myself when I get in my cruiser,” Pete baulked.

There was no reason for any of the police officers to call Sharon Granger ma’am, she was a civilian Public Service Officer, but her seniority and professionalism demanded respect. The only person who called Sharon by her first name besides her brother was Beau Benstead. A few years ago she and Beau had a brief torrid affair when Sharon decided to experiment with a man to see what it would be like. She liked it but not as much as she liked being with other women, particularly Bethany Williams who could do things to her with her mouth and hands that no man could.

The breakup had been amicable. Beau was himself married and realised that the affair had no future but they remained good friends and kept their secret.

When Sharon was nineteen she had been abducted and repeatedly raped by two boys who committed the hate crime. They had brazenly told the officers that arrested them that they had decided to ‘fuck the lesbian out of her’ that ‘it was a waste of good pussy for her to be a lap-licker’. She had spent a week in hospital recovering from the ordeal but it hadn't stopped her being curious about what it might be like to be with a man who treated her caringly and Beau had been her sole experiment in heterosexuality.

The man watched Pete Coombs climb back in his cruiser and drive away holding the radio microphone to his face. He checked the street again and then crossed it and parked his car in one of the visitor’s parking spots right outside the station. All the other spaces were empty so he presumed that all of the police officers were attending to the two incidents out on SR 590.

The man’s luck was in and when he entered the police station he found it empty except for Sharon who was busy in the evidence room. He flicked the lock on the street entrance door. It was the first time that door had been locked in years. Braidwood might not be a large town but Braidwood County was big enough to require a twenty four hour police presence.

The man took the pistol from inside his overcoat and fitted the silencer, his eyes on the evidence room. An attractive woman in her forties wearing a fitted red skirt suit came out of the evidence room. The evidence room was temperature controlled and Sharon had put on her jacket before taking the soft bag and hard case into the room and completed the formalities required to enter them into evidence.

Sharon was pulling off her latex gloves and at first she didn’t notice the man standing at the counter.

He looked to be in his forties with shoulder length salt-and-pepper hair styled similar to Mel Gibson’s on whom she had secret crush. The man was handsome and looked like he a hard build under the black suit he was wearing under his overcoat. The silencer-fitted pistol he was holding with practiced ease dictated that he was not to be fooled with.

“Give me the case,” the man said with no emotion whatsoever.

The man’s icy-blue eyes were a void.

“Or what?” Sharon’s first instinct was always defiance.

The man aimed his pistol just to the right of Sharon’s face and pulled the trigger. The phut of the pistol was almost inaudible; a wisp of Sharon’s hair flew up as the bullet passed close to her left ear.

“There won’t be a second warning,” the man said aiming the pistol at her chest.

Sharon did a quick calculation and figured that she couldn’t reach the panic button under her desk before the man shot her.

“Which case?” Sharon put her hands on her hips belligerently.

“You know which case. Go and get it for me and no one needs to get hurt,” the man waved his pistol in the direction of the evidence room.

Sharon did another snap calculation. What were the chances that the man wouldn’t shoot her after she handed over case? He could just as easily shoot her now and take the case himself but it would take time for him to find it in the evidence room and then find the keys to the security locker where Sharon had secured the case.

She turned her back to the man, every nerve in her body tingling, and went back into the evidence room. The man leapt the counter and stood at the door and watched her.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” the man growled.

Sharon went to the drawer in the desk in the evidence room and made a show of ferretting around for the keys to the lockers. She deliberately kept her back to the killer who went quickly to the window to check the street. She seized the moment and took a pair of handcuffs from the drawer and closed the ratchet around her left wrist and concealed the other cuff under her sleeve. She made her way to the steel-mesh locker that held the two bags that she had only just checked into evidence. It was obvious which case the man wanted.

She put her hands inside the evidence locker and let the handcuff fall from her sleeve and quickly closed it around the handle of the pelican case. The killer heard the click when the handcuff snicked closed.

Sharon hefted the case out of the locker and stood there smiling defiantly at the killer.

“That was stupid. I can shoot you right now and cut the chain with the bolt cutters in the other bag,” the man kept his pistol trained on her.

“If you were going to shoot me you would have done so,” Sharon said trying to keep the fear out of her voice.

“I can get the bolt cutters out of the other bag and hold you down and cut the cuffs off,” the man replied.

“I’ll fight you tooth and nail,” Sharon hissed.

The woman was making him waste precious time. He could try to find the handcuff key but someone might come to the door of the police station and would be suspicious when they found it locked or there could be a radio call that required answering. What the killer should have done was shot this woman in the head and taken the case when he first arrived. He was getting soft.

The radio barked into life.

‘One Alpha Mike to base, can you call the coroner and tell him that we have a subject inbound for autopsy,’ Sharon recognised the voice of Beau Benstead.

Both Sharon and the man eyed the radio set.

‘One Alpha Mike to base over,’ the radio barked when there was no reply.

“If I don’t answer it soon they’ll become suspicious,” Sharon said.

“Bullshit. Even a sophisticated woman like you needs to take a piss,” the killer grunted.

Sharon just eyed the man coldly.

“Fuck this, I don’t have time to fuck around,” the killer put the pistol to Sharon's temple and frogmarched her through the break in the counter to the front door.

“We are going outside, down the steps and you are going to get in my car. If you fuck around I’ll shoot you in the head and shoot those cuffs off your wrist. If there are any witnesses I’ll shoot them too. Just nod once of you get it,” the man moved the pistol and jabbed it in the small of her back.

Sharon nodded.

She didn’t know why she had cuffed herself to the case. It was in her nature to be defiant but this was just stupid. Her carefree attitude to life had changed after she was raped and she was naturally defiant and often aggressive.

The man opened the door to the police station and checked the street. A young woman was pushing a stroller across the street talking animatedly to the toddler who sat in it. An elderly woman was walking down the street towards the police station, about thirty yards away. She was using a cane to support her weight.

“Let’s go,” the man hissed in Sharon’s ear.

He guided her down the steps holding her close, the pistol jammed in the small of her back. He only let go of her to open the driver’s side door of the car.

“Get in and scoot over. Don’t fuck around,” he pushed her into the open door of car.

Sharon had no choice but to comply, the man blocked any chance she had of escaping and is she tried she would put the lives of the mother and child and the little old lady at risk.

There was no way to climb into the car with any modicum of decorum. She pushed the pelican case in ahead of her and hefted it over the centre console onto the passenger seat and climbed in behind it, spreading her legs wide to straddle the console. The man couldn’t help but notice that Sharon was wearing red satin panties to match her suit. She lifted the heavy case and fell into the seat and put it on her lap to cover her thighs which were openly on display because her short skirt had hitched all the way up her legs.

The man only had a split second to admire the view before he dropped into the driver’s seat and started the car, keeping his pistol aimed at Sharon. He backed out onto the road and drove away from the police station keeping to the speed limit so as not to draw attention.

Both the stranger and Sharon were both thinking the same thing but for different reasons: what was he going to do with her?


Elliot pulled up at the scene of the homicide. The area had been secured by police tape to keep the scene uncontaminated and keep away the looky-loos. A pretty local TV reporter was standing just outside the police cordon holding a microphone being filmed by a camera operator. She thrust the microphone into Elliot’s face but he brushed it aside with a curt “no comment”.

Elliot’s two-man crime scene crew were working the scene dressed in Tyvek coveralls and bootees. Elliot pulled on a set of bootees and approached the vehicle.

“Looks like a single gunshot wound to the head at close range,” Steve Monahan, one of Braidwood PD two detectives said.

Steve had undertaken crime scene investigation training to the extent that he could lift prints, photograph and collect forensic evidence and make informed assumptions based on his observations. The forensic evidence he collected would be transferred to the Scranton PD Crime Scene Investigation unit for analysis. Steve had already collected blood samples, fingerprints, fibres and had found the slug that killed the victim lodged in the passenger door trim. He held up the baggie containing the slug.

“It’s pretty distorted but I’d bet my left nut that it’s a nine millimetre,” Steve passed the bag to Elliot.

Elliot looked at the slug and immediately thought of the nine millimetre semi-automatic pistol he had seen secreted in the carry bag at the MVA scene.

“Any chance of matching the slug to the weapon,” he held the distended bullet up to the light.

“Scranton should be able to match the striations to the rifling on the weapon if we recover it. I have the casing too so they can match the tool marks. Do we have a suspect weapon Chief, you’re looking pretty pensive,” Steve commented.

“We have that MVA fatality further up Route 590. He had a nine inside a carry bag. I don’t like coincidences,” Elliot sighed.

“Well take a look at this Chief? This case just gets curiouser and curiouser,” Steve led Elliot round to the passenger side of the vehicle.

“Check that out,” Steve pointed through the window.

The corpse was lying half across the passenger seat his right arm extended. A handcuff was attached to his right wrist. The links had been cut by some sort of crimping device, most likely a bolt cutter.

Elliot immediately made the connection between the single handcuff on the homicide’s victim’s wrist and the handle of the silver pelican case, the nine millimetre bullet and the nine millimetre pistol found at the MVA, and the severed handcuff link and the bolt cutter.

“I want a tight lid on this. So far only you and I know the incidents are related. It’s to remain close hold between the detectives, Beau and myself,” Elliot glared at the pretty reporter yammering into the microphone just outside the crime scene tape.

“When you guys have this scene wrapped get over to the MVA and process that. I’m heading back to the station to get a better look at that pelican case and the carry bag,” Elliot patted Steve on the shoulder and moved quickly back to his cruiser, pointedly avoiding the television reporter.

Elliot pulled out onto Route 590 and lit up the flashers. He wanted to get back to the station asap, he was contemplating the links between the occupants of the two vehicles and the way he saw it, it all came down to the contents of the pelican case. He figured whatever was in the case was valuable or at least coveted by someone who was willing to go to extreme lengths to get it, another reason to get back to the police station which was currently manned only by his sister.

The radio suddenly barked snapping him out of his reverie.

‘One Alpha Mike to base over,’ there was no reply.

‘Alpha Mike to One Alpha Mike, are you up?’ Sergeant Beau Benstead’s voice boomed over the PR.

Alpha Mike was the Commander’s callsign and One Alpha Mike was the Sergeant’s.

‘Go ahead One Alpha Mike,’ Elliot said into the microphone.

‘Chief I’m getting a 10-7 from base; any reason you can think of?’ Beau’s voice exhibited concern.

‘Negative Beau; standby. Alpha Mike to base over,’ Elliot tried calling the station.

The airwaves remained quiet.

‘All units this is Alpha Mike, I’m responding 10-39 to base, I’m declaring a 10-33 and 10-78,’ Elliot yelled into the microphone and hit his siren.

He had declared an emergency situation at the police station and called for all available units to respond with lights and sirens.


“What’s your name?” the driver asked Sharon Granger.

The man had put the pistol in his lap where he could snatch it up if necessary.

“I’m Sharon Granger, what’s yours,” Sharon quipped.

“So you’re not just a pretty face; you’re also a comedienne,” the man emphasised the feminine tense.

Sharon just glared at him.

“Ok, for convenience, you can call me Jake, how’s that?” the man smiled to himself.

“Can’t say I’m pleased to meet you Jake,” Sharon grumbled.

“Can’t say that I’m that pleased to meet you either. That was some trick, handcuffing your wrist to the case. What the hell did you hope to accomplish?” Jake asked, genuinely intrigued.

“Call it an act of defiance. It was intuitive, spontaneous, impulsive… pick an adjective,” she jibed.

“You don’t seem particularly scared,” Jake commented.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been abducted,” Sharon said levelly.

“Really? I can see why you piss people off and I can’t think for the life of me why anyone would want to willingly spend any more time with you than is absolutely necessary and I’ve known you for less than a half hour,” Jake commented.

Two police cruisers travelling at high speed crested a ridge ahead of them and sped past with lights flashing and sirens blaring. Jake put his hand on the pistol but left it in his lap.

“I wonder where they're going?” Sharon said sarcastically.

“They responded a lot quicker than I expected for small town Barneys,” Jake replied.

“Turn that on,” Jake pointed to a scanner fitted under the glove compartment.

Sharon just stared at the device but made no move to switch it on.

“Don’t make me make you,” Jake tapped the pistol in his lap.

Sharon doubted that Jake would shoot her for such an insignificant infringement but she saw no value in antagonising him further… for now anyway. She leaned down and switched on the scanner.

The air was suddenly filled with static that hurt their ears. Sharon turned down the volume and adjusted the squelch. She knew that she was aiding her captor but it was something he would have done himself anyway.

“Tune it to the State Police frequency,” Jake concentrated on the road ahead, looking for more police cars or possibly a road block.

“Not Braidwood PD?” Sharon asked.

“They're going to call the Staties and ask them to put up road blocks and start an expanded search when they find you missing. That old biddy or the woman pushing the kid will have seen you getting in the car, even those county Mounties will join the dots,” Jake sighed resignedly.

Sharon worked the dial to 154.83 MHz, the State Police band. As Jake had predicted there was chatter about Braidwood police station with reports of a code 207, meaning kidnap, and shots fired in the course of the abduction.

They both knew the police radio codes and their significance.

“We gotta get off the 590 and hunker down awhile, they’re going to put up roadblocks to stop me getting on the I-84,” Jake said more to himself than to Sharon.

Jake turned south at the first exit he came to.

“What’s down here?” Jake pointed down the secondary road they had turned onto.

“If you keep going we’re going to hit Lake Wallenpaupack. There’s a resort of sorts, scattered residences and a few fishing shacks,” Sharon hugged the case against her body; it had slid down her thighs during the turn.

Tree branches were hanging over the road and the last vestiges of snow was piled up on the side of the road. Jake cranked the heater up a notch. They followed a maze of roads along the shoreline eventually turning onto South Shore Drive which ended in a dead end. It was remote and surrounded by forest with most of the houses set back from the lakeshore on large blocks. The houses all seemed empty; boarded up with no smoke coming from the chimneys.

“Perfect,” Jake turned down a gravel driveway and parked his car behind a low-set shed.

“Are you going to give me grief?” Jake turned to Sharon.

He left the pistol in his lap as there was no need to threaten her. Sharon just held up the wrist handcuffed to the handle of the pelican case, shrugged her shoulders and gave Jake a satirical look.

“How far am I going to get with this strapped to me?” she relented when Jake continued to stare at her.

“Well whose fault is that?” Jake returned her sardonic smile.

“Stay here while I check this place out,” he took the keys out of the ignition.

He put the pistol in his pocket and got out of the car. The house looked deserted and winterised. The deck had been cleared of outdoor furniture, all the windows were shuttered and the doors were locked. He hammered on the door just in case there was an occupant inside but the house remained silent. He put his ear to the door and could hear the soft hum of ducted air keeping the place warm enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Jake walked over to the steel and aluminium shed. He kicked over a succession of rocks alongside the path near the door to the shed and found the house keys hidden inside the ‘hide-a-key’ rock. He opened the shed and found a twenty-foot Bertram centre console sportsman. The walls were hung with fishing gear, water-skiing equipment and other aquatic related gewgaws. There was a long workbench along one wall with a myriad of tools on shadow boards above it and power tools in boxes below it. A large chest freezer sat in one corner with an upright freezer beside it. On investigation the upright freezer was found to be full of a variety of frozen food.

He walked back to the car and climbed into it. The temperature had dropped during his short absence and Sharon was shivering. He fired up the engine and drove the car into the space beside the Bertram.

“Let’s get you inside where it’s warm,” Jake said.

Sharon struggled to get out of the car with the case handcuffed to her wrist and Jake held the door and put his hand on the handle of the case to take the weight. Their fingers touched slightly and Sharon was aware of the warmth of his skin. It was difficult for her to be ladylike in her short skirt and she finally gave up and just climbed out regardless of the panty-flash, which was not lost of Jake.

He turned away blushing when she drilled him with her eyes.

Jake locked up the shed and they walked briskly over to the house. Jake found the house key on the ring and opened the door and let Sharon step inside ahead of him, pocketing his pistol in his trousers.

“You're adding breaking and entering to abduction,” Sharon chided him.

“At least two men have died already trying to deliver that case to those who want it. A little break and enter is hardly worth worrying about and you wouldn’t have been abducted if you hadn't handcuffed yourself to the fucking case,” Jake’s ire was up.

He found the breaker box inside the hallway. Only the central heating was switched on and Jake made the other breakers. Some of the inside lighting came on and the refrigerator began to hum. He found the thermostat and cranked it up to seventy five from 55.

The place was open plan with a combined kitchen, dining and family room; more holiday home than permanent residence. It had a huge stone fireplace with wrought iron fittings. Sharon stood next to the breakfast bar shivering. Jake took off his heavy overcoat and went to drape it around her shoulders but she shrugged him off.

“Don’t be a martyr,” he gripped her shoulders.

Sharon capitulated and let Jake put the coat on her.

“Now you’re going to get cold,” she retorted.

“I’ve got plenty to do to keep me warm,” Jake replied.

There was a single wall-mounted telephone handset attached to the wall near the breakfast bar. Jake picked up the receiver and checked for a dial tone then he hung up and lifted the whole phone out of its mounting bracket and disconnected the jack.

“Not that I don’t trust you,” he waved the phone at Sharon who made a face at him.

“Can you make some coffee?” Jake asked her in a conciliatory tone.

“Sure. You want it black or black?” Sharon said sarcastically.

“I’m sure they have non-dairy creamer but anyway I saw some frozen milk in the freezer in the shed,” Jake replied and began to shiver.

The heating was working hard but the house remained cool.

“Take the coat if you’re going outside,” Sharon pleaded with him but Jake tucked the phone under his arm and went out the front door.

Sharon could see him trudging to the shed out of the window. She briefly considered making a run for it but where would she go? All of the nearby properties looked to be unoccupied and she wouldn’t last long in the woods. There was still snow under the forest canopy. She opened the cupboards and searched for the coffee.

Sharon was acutely aware of Jake’s warmth when he’d put the coat on her and she could smell the musk of his aftershave and the scent of his body. It was not at all unpleasant and it reminded her of the heat and redolence of Beau Benstead's hard body when they lay together after making love. She hadn't thought about having sex with a man for a long time and now was definitely not the time for those wonton desires to reoccur.

She found the coffee, filled the tank, loaded the filter and switched on the Bunn and then she looked for cups.

Out in the shed Jake put down the phone and went over to the workbench and found what he was looking for. He went to the upright freezer and pulled out a gallon of full-cream milk, a loaf of bread and some packaged small goods. He found two carry bags and dropped everything into them and locked the shed. He half ran back to the house, shivering in the cold air.

He realised his stupidity when he went to open the door and found it was locked.

“Come on Sharon, don’t be an ass,” he hammered on the door.

Sharon unlocked and opened the door and let him in.

“You are a comedienne,” Jake jibed as he brushed past her and went to the kitchen.

“Just letting you know that you didn’t think of everything,” Sharon sniped.

Jake put down the bags and pulled Sharon close to him. He could feel the warmth radiating from her body and smell of her perfume. He looked into her eyes and noticed that she had heterochromia: she had a circle of sapphire blue on the outer ring of her brown irises. She had high cheekbones, her bright-red lipstick was fading on her full lips, and she had fine wrinkles on her forehead and the outer corners of her eyes. She was not a classic beauty per se but she was attractive and her maturity gave her dignity and elegance rather than aged her.

“Are you going to behave yourself if I cut you free of the case?” he searched her eyes.

Sharon searched his face. His blue eyes exuded intensity and honesty but they also radiated gentleness. His nose was long and straight, his lips full and sensuous, the deep lines on his face gave him character. His face manifested handsomeness and confidence whilst his personality leaned towards modesty and kindness. He was an enigma of a man who was both dangerous and considerate. If Sharon was ever going to experiment with a man again it would be with someone like Jake.

“What’s in the case?” she gave him a wry smile.

Jake frowned. Then he smiled and his face lit up.

“Come here. Put the case on the counter,” the moment between them was broken and Sharon took a step back and did as he asked.

Jake took a pair of heavy duty metal shears and began to work on the handcuff chain. He struggled with the hardened steel and he took off his suit jacket halfway through the procedure and Sharon couldn’t help but admire his muscled body as he strained to cut the chain. The link eventually gave way and Jake exhaled heavily and wiped his brow.

He took the case and put it on the floor close to the door.

“I won’t be able to take the cuff off your wrist just yet,” Jake explained.

“I needed a new bracelet anyway,” she smiled cheekily at him.

“That coffee smells good; can you pour me a cup?” Jake asked, taking the other items from the bags and putting them on the counter.

He had left the heavy metal shears on the counter and Sharon picked them up. They were a formidable weapon and if she struck Jake with them there was a good possibility that she could incapacitate him before he could draw the pistol from his pants.

Jake stared at her, saying nothing.

Sharon spun the shears in her hand and handed them to him handles first.


Elliot pulled up at the station to find it surrounded by police cruisers with their light bars flashing. Inside he saw that Beau Benstead was taking charge. He looked around for his sister and panic began to build when he couldn’t find her but he kept it suppressed inside him. He needed to remain calm if he was going to take charge.

“Chief, come with me to your office so we can talk in private,” Elliot allowed Beau to lead him to his office.

Inside the office Elliot took off his winter coat and hung it on the wooden rack expecting the worse.

“We have Millie Renfrew in the interview room. She’s an old coot but she’s got good eyesight. Millie saw Sharon climbing into a car and a man she didn’t recognise climb in after her,” Beau explained.

Elliot made to leave, obviously wanting to sit in on the interview with Millie Renfrew but Beau grabbed him and stopped him.

“She’s your sister Elliot. You can’t get directly involved in this, you know that,” Beau said.

“Fuck that!” Elliot tried to get around Beau but Beau prevented him.

“Ok, ok,” Elliot sighed.

Elliot was shaking with rage thinking about what might be happening to his sister. Then he abruptly turned to Beau.

“What about the pelican case?” he asked.

“The man must have taken the pelican case with them, it’s missing from the evidence room but the carry bag from the MVA is still there. The evidence room is a crime scene Chief,” Beau explained.

“The whole station is a crime scene Beau,” Elliot countered.

“We’ve called on Scranton PD to provide support. We’ve given them a description of the vehicle and they’re putting up road blocks. They’re sending a team here to head up the abduction investigation. We still have carriage of the homicide out on Route 590 but there is no doubt now that the cases are linked, as is the vehicular fatality,” Beau managed to get Elliot to sit down behind his desk.

“Steve get in here and brief the Commander,” Beau called out the door.

Steve Monahan came into the Commander’s office opening his note book.

“We figure the guy who hit the tree killed the guy we found shot in the head. The handcuff on the homicide victim’s wrist is likely a match for the one on the pelican case. It all comes down to that pelican case Chief,” Steve kept reading his notes.

“We suspect the man who abducted Sharon came here to get the case. As you know there were no police officers here at the station because we all out attending the two incidents on the 590. Officer Peter Coombs handed the case over to Sharon who checked it into evidence. According to Millie Renfrew it wasn’t long after Pete drove away that the man abducted Sharon,” Steve Monahan looked up from his notes.

“But why take Sharon if all he wanted was the case?” Elliot asked.

“The man fired a shot into the wall. We suspect it was a warning shot, if he wanted to kill Sharon he could have just shot her and taken the case. Maybe the guy wanted a hostage?” Steve posed.

“Jesus!” Elliot began to shake again.

“I’m having the two vehicles taken to the impound lot and the bodies taken to the morgue for autopsy and hopefully identification. Neither of them was carrying any ID,” Beau said, his voice had a commanding tone.

“You have?” Elliot looked up at Beau looking puzzled.

“Chief, I’m assuming temporary command and appointing myself Deputy Commander until we find and rescue Sharon. You can’t be involved in this investigation and you’re going to be under too much stress to do your job without bias. You know that,” Beau patted Elliot on the shoulder.

Elliot knew that Beau was right but it didn’t make it any easier. He remembered when Sharon had been abducted and raped all those years ago before he went off to become a detective in New York City. At the time he was the Deputy Commander and Beau had to lock him in a cell to prevent him from beating the two perpetrators to death.

Beau suddenly stood up.

“I need to tell Bethany,” he sighed and sat down again.

Bethany Williams and Sharon Granger never stated openly that they were in a lesbian relationship but everyone knew it.

“I’m going to get all available officers to search the whole of Braidwood County Chief. You go and see Bethany Williams and do what needs to be done,” Beau said patting Elliot on the shoulder.

Beau and Steve left the Commander’s office and started to issue orders to the assembled police officers. Elliot pushed himself out of his chair feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders.

To be continued

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What a good start ...

... if you like crime thrillers. I don't normally read a lot of them but in the current circumstances I get my reading enjoyment where I can and Michelle's writing is getting better and better.

There's obviously something of great interest and probably value in that case. Hopefully all will be revealed in the next episode.



Action! Action!

joannebarbarella's picture

Both on the roads and in the bedroom.

Well, it wouldn't be a Michele Nylons story without a generous serving of rumpy-pumpy, now would it?

Don't keep us waiting too long for Chapter 2.