Unraveling

Prompt: where people go

“Lord Haffley,” Thom said, as the noble slipped into the church sanctuary. Why was it that people felt the need to go back to the scene of their crime? He stepped out of hiding at the same time that Aidan did.

“You’re under arrest,” Aidan said. “The charges are the attempted murder of Ezra Pemberton and the murder of Cassidy Reinsch.”

Haffley looked horrified. “You,” he breathed. “Why did they send you to take me in? I wanted Amon!”

Thom frowned and looked at Noreen. “What?” he said.

“Amon is ethnically Shynian,” Syusuke said. He shook his head and looked over at the noble. “You’ll just have to settle for these two, my lord. Really, it doesn’t matter. They’ll send you off to South Cape Prison, same as he would.”

That seemed to bring Haffley up short. “You’ve got no proof,” he said.

“On the contrary,” Thom said, “we have all the proof we need and a witness. Pemberton recognized your voice.” However, they might never have caught him, if he hadn’t returned to the scene of the crime.

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A Working Holiday

Prompt: home is where we are not

“So, the judges all headed home for the holiday,” Aidan said. He looked at the members of his team and then at Thom. “I’m sorry we couldn’t do the same, however, this matter must be decided with all haste.”

Thom nodded. “We all understand that,” he said, his voice soft. As much as he would have liked to be with his wife and son on this day, they had a murder to solve. “Have we learned anything of use?”

“The killer was waiting for Judge Reinsch,” Steve said. There was such certainty in his tone that both Thom and Aidan looked at him sharply.

However, Syusuke nodded. “He’s right,” he said, sounding perfectly sane. He looked at Thom with bright eyes. “Think about it for a moment: Judge Reinsch took the same trail through that park at the same time everyday. It’s very likely that the killer watched her and learned her routine. He struck when she would least expect it.”

“So,” Eric said, “that discounts the theory that she was the victim of a random attack.” His brows furrowed. “She was intentionally attacked – something made her a target. What?”

“That she was a member of the High Court?” Aidan asked. “Does that mean the other judges are in danger?”

Noreen shook her head. “Not necessarily,” she said. “All the other judges… she and Judge Norse were the only members of the original High Court left.”

“And then, there was one,” Syusuke said in a low, creepy voice. For a moment, the others simply stared at him. He blinked and shook his head. Returning to his normal tone, he said, “Sorry… um… right! One died of old age and the other two retired.”

“Why did they retire?” Kyle said, his brows furrowing slightly.

Thom frowned. “What’s that got to do with the case?” he asked, shaking his head.

Aidan looked thoughtful. “Maybe nothing, but we won’t know unless we check it out,” he said. He looked at Eric and said, “The press asked Ezra about why the High Court was… homogeneous. It didn’t used to be.”

“That… in an interesting thought,” Eric said. He nodded. “We’ll start working that angle – see where it takes us.”

“We’ll keep working the forensics,” Thom said, nodding. His brows furrowed and he said, “Is Ezra checking into the background?”

“Probably,” Aidan said, nodding. “I’ll make sure he knows it might be connected with Judge Reinsch’s murder.”

Eccentricities

Prompt: No yesterdays on the road

Thom stared at the blood spatter for a moment, then, he snapped a picture of it. He glanced over at Sysuke was supposed to be the best forensics wizard the Agency had. Thom didn’t doubt that. However, he’d been with the Agency for just over ten years and he’d joined at a time before they’d realized what the use of so much magic did to a wizard’s psychological state.

“Syusuke,” he called, trying to get the man’s attention. “Are you ready to do the stress test?” He smiled faintly at Noreen. She had far more patience for Syusuke than he did.

Syusuke frowned and hugged his stuffed rabbit a bit closer. “Bunny doesn’t like this place, Thom,” he whined, stomping his foot. His voice turned low and somewhat spooky, as he said, “There’s death here.”

“We can leave as soon as we know what happened here yesterday,” Thom said, his tone one of exaggerated patience.

Syusuke shook his head slowly. In the same spooky voice, he said, “There is no yesterday here. There is only death.”

“Bunny,” Noreen said, setting her hand on the rabbit’s head. “Let Syusuke do his work now.”

That seemed to snap Syusuke out of his… spell. He blinked and handed Noreen the rabbit. “Hold him for me,” he said, suddenly sounding both adult and serious, without the strangeness of before.

Thom sighed in relief. For a little while, at least, they had their forensics wizard back. “Thank you,” he said, his voice faint. Noreen just shrugged.