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Linda Andersson & Sara Marx - In Sight of the S...docx
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Chapter Six

 “Officer down!” She screamed into her mic. “Do you copy? Officer down!”

With no regard for her own safety, Guin ran to her, fell to her knees beside Cheryl, checked her throat for a pulse.

“Cheryl!” She grabbed her collar, picked her up and shook her—did the anti of everything she’d been instructed to do to a mortally injured person. “Cheryl!”

Guin ran her hands across Cheryl’s blood-soaked shirt, felt nauseous as she started compressions. Nothing. She proceeded to mouth to mouth, alternated back to chest compressions in spastic movements. Again she screamed into her collar mic. “Goddammit! We need a bus! Can’t you hear me? Can’t anybody hear me!”

No response from dispatch. No pulse from her partner. Not a single breath.

“No! No, no, no…” Guin screamed, tears streaming down her face and she pounded Cheryl’s chest with clenched fists. She’d lost all control. Blood was everywhere. She crumpled over her partner’s lifeless body and openly sobbed. Sirens were too far away. She felt a touch on her shoulder and raised up slightly, still shielding the body.

Cheryl was standing squarely before Guin and…Cheryl.

Guin recognized the ethereal quality of her appearance, had been there before other times with other people...

“No! No Cheryl, please don’t go!” She reached out to her. “Stay! Please baby, please don’t die. Fight to stay with me!”

Cheryl sweetly smiled. She radiated pure peacefulness.

“No. I can’t do that.”

“Yes, you can!” Guin spat. She was painfully aware that she was chastising a ghost—all but ordering Cheryl’s spirit back into her body! That Cheryl’s ghost was there told her it was already too late. She wept uncontrollably. “No! My God…no…”

“He is wearing a black racing shirt with a number twelve on it.”

“What…?” The perp was really the last thing on Guin’s mind. “No—no! Please, Cheryl!”

“Goodbye, Guin.” Cheryl’s image began to fade right before her eyes. “I love you. I always have.”

“No!” Guin screamed. She lunged for the spirit, but as soon as she broke physical contact with Cheryl’s dead body, the spirit vanished, an action as precise as turning off a television. Desperately, Guin fell back onto the body. Nothing. Fury burned in her words. “You get back in here! Right this goddamned minute!”

She felt a hand on her shoulder.

But it was Sergeant Winters from evening shift. He and his brawny partner, Officer Burnette, firmly but kindly coaxed her away from the body as paramedics converged on the scene and swarmed around them. Still sobbing, Guin helplessly stood by and watched their futile efforts, deafened by the sound of helicopters buzzing overhead in their search for the suspect.

She didn’t remember being driven back downtown. In Captain Briggs’s office, she sat alone for an hour. It didn’t matter; she had no place to be. The crystal of Guin’s watch was covered in Cheryl’s dried blood. She dropped her arm back to her lap. The blood made it impossible for her to even fantasize none of this had happened and she was still meeting Cheryl for dinner. She wondered if Frank had been called. He was probably at the station already. And the boys, Frankie and Michael…

Guin cupped her forehead in her hand, leaned over, felt sick but had nothing left in her stomach. She wanted to weep but had no more tears left in her either.

Captain Briggs entered his office and shut the door behind him, motioned for Guin to remain as she was. In the dim, late afternoon sunlight, he took his seat, clasped his hands in front of him and contemplated her.

“I’m sorry for your loss.”

It was an unusual greeting, the sentiment they’d been trained to offer civilians when they’d lost a loved one. Jesus, she hated making those house calls. And now she knew that it felt every bit as weak as it sounded when she’d been forced to say it. Empty words void of true empathy. How could anyone possibly understand?

As Guin blankly stared at him, Briggs suddenly looked more like a friend than her boss as he looked at her blood-soaked uniform. “Christ, I’m sorry. We should have let you get cleaned up.”

“Crime lab took pictures,” she softly droned, business as usual. She looked down at her socks. “Took my boots.”

He nodded. They both knew the drill. Guin fiddled with the band on her hat as it lay in her lap, concentrated on simply breathing.

“Marcus, I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I’m sorry you’re feeling it.” He opened his drawer, withdrew a form.

She said, “I hate this day.” The childish statement was the best she could conjure up. Briggs nodded understanding. Her shock was still evident, her voice a mere monotone. “Do what you have to do and let’s get it over with.”

“IA will be involved as with any officer’s…” Briggs didn’t dare say death, only nodded to indicate. Guin nodded, understood, but hated the hell out of Internal Affairs. Always sending their nosiest weasels around, trying to sniff out bad or incompetent cops. “You don’t have anything to worry about, of course. Just protocol.”

“I know.” She set her hat on the chair next to her, sighed. “You’re good at this, all things considered.”

He didn’t respond; he didn’t have to. Guin had tremendous respect for Briggs, as most of the other officers did. He was fair, honest, and at the moment he was also hurting at the loss of a key officer. She appreciated him not proffering up mindless one-liners, like, “I know how you feel.” She was fairly sure he knew exactly why he couldn’t say that. Guin was grateful that he didn’t remark on it.

Guin pretended to scratch something on her cheek, tried to appear focused, calm. She casually examined her fingernails, saw the blood deeply embedded in every crevice of her hand, and dropped it back onto her lap. No, there was no fooling herself out of just how very bad a day it had been. A lump formed in her throat.

“This is hard,” he said at last. “We’ll keep it short.”

“I appreciate that, sir.”

“Sergeant Winters and the officers on scene mentioned that you might have some insight into Sergeant Jones’s shooting.”

Guin was momentarily caught off guard.

She half-shrugged. “I told him everything. Or at least I think I did.”

“He said you were pretty torn up.” Briggs bounced his pen on the desk blotter. “So…did you or did you not see who fired the shots?”

Guin studied him, didn’t want to take too long to answer. “No, sir. I did not.”

He poised his pen, started jotting. “So, Sergeant Jones was dead when you discovered her.”

“Yes sir. And the suspect had already fled.”

Briggs’s thick brow furrowed and he shook his head. “Then I don’t understand. You provided Sergeant Winters with a description of the alleged shooter, but you’re telling me you didn’t see the suspect and Jones had already passed.”

Oh boy. Guin was too rattled to think this quickly on her feet. She cleared her throat, took a second stab at it. “Sergeant Jones told me as she passed.”

Briggs’s pen dropped to the blotter as if he could tell something forthcoming would never make it to the report. The Captain’s look said he’d already heard an interesting version of this story from Winters. More than likely he’d blamed high-running emotions, figured he’d get the straight scoop out of her. And now here she was, talking in the same circles Winters had been. He looked like he’d really rather not hear it.

“Officer Marcus, if she had already…passed, as you previously stated, then how is it possible she spoke to you?”

Guin stared at him for a while. Everyone on scene had witnessed her total meltdown. Probably word was already all over the station that she thought she was seeing dead people. God knows what she’d babbled in the heat of the moment. She swallowed hard, told him, “It was her spirit.”

Briggs didn’t flinch. He didn’t look thrilled to death, but to his credit, he only patiently waited for her to elaborate.

“She told me the suspect had on a black racing shirt, with a number twelve on it.”

“Anything else?” he asked at last.

Guin hesitated. Nothing he needed to know. “No, nothing else, Captain.”

“All right.” Briggs replaced the form in his top drawer, withdrew a different one. Guin recognized it immediately and rolled her eyes.

“Marcus, it’s been a bad day. I think some paid time off would be a really good thing, don’t you?”

“And if I don’t?” But she already could guess the answer. He ignored her lame inquiry, and continued filling out the paperwork. Guin still lobbied against it, but the argument lacked much zest. “Honestly, Captain, it’s okay. I’ll be fine. I just need a shower.” She left out the part about needing a drink.

“No,” he firmly answered. “I’m getting old, Marcus. I’ve had a lot of years seeing a lot of officers lose their partners and it’s never easy.” He signed the form, handed it to her. “Take this to personnel, I’ll call Lisa and tell her to wait for you. Do it before you go to the crime lab.”

Protocol said she had to leave her clothes with the lab after an officer-involved shooting. She was surprised they hadn’t insisted upon it when they’d collected her boots. Guin glanced at the form. “A month? Captain…”

“This is a good thing, Marcus.” He stood up, allowing his full height to cast an imposing shadow over her. “No arguments. Check in with me every week and keep me posted.”

“And what the hell am I supposed to do for a month?”

“Yoga, vacation, knit yourself a damned sweater—I don’t care what you do, as long as you’re not doing it at my station.”

Guin’s shoulders softened. There was no fighting a direct order. She let her chin fall to her chest, expelled a sigh in the process. “One request, please?”

“What is it, Marcus?”

She raised her eyes back to his. “I would appreciate it that when you reassign me, that it would be with a male officer?”

“I’ll take your request under consideration.”

“Thank you, Captain.” She started to shake his hand, realized she was a walking Hazmat concern, and dropped it back down at her side. “I’ll see Lisa before I go to the lab.”

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