Serial cop drama. Check back for a new chapter every week — or maybe sooner. Here’s the last chapter. CONTENT NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNG READERS.
“Of course we thought it was just a prank,” Kowolski says. “You know, Wrigley, goat, that crap that you think is so clever. But then we noticed that the goat’s ear is pierced. Woman’s earring. That’s when we locked the area down and got forensics out here to do a preliminary test. We think most of the blood that was in this goat’s head is from a person.”
“So maybe the earring isn’t the only thing this woman is missing,” Sullivan says.
“She’s missing her life if all this blood came from her,” Jackson adds.
Jackson and Sullivan quietly stare straight ahead as they drive back to the station. They’d both seen some things in their days on the job, some of them gory enough to stick for good, even cause the occasional nightmare, but this one was unique.
It isn’t lost on Jackson that they had just been talking about baseball when they got the call. He wanted to make a joke about how he knew Cubs fans were demented but this took the cake. He knew that would get Sullivan going. But something stops him. He feels a chill rising. He tries to shake it off with a shudder, but something inside of him knows that he has seen something wrong, something really wrong, and it is almost definitely going to get worse.
Sullivan is shaken from his stare by Jackson’s shudder. He almost reflexively starts to say something like “Got the creeps Jackson? Can’t handle it Jackson?” But when he sees Jackson’s face he stops short. Because what he sees their isn’t just fear. It’s dread. Knowledge that something really f’ing bad is out there that they have to face. And though he doesn’t give Jackson the satisfaction of sympathizing with him, he quietly acknowledges the feeling to himself.
“I don’t know if I can do this one,” Sullivan’s inner voice tells him. But before that feeling can take root too deeply, he tells himself, “Don’t be a pussy.” And that clears his head.
The two cops brief their captain on the case and go over what they have to go on. As soon as it’s processed, they’ll chase the earring. Forensics will run the blood through the system to see if there’s a DNA match with anyone with a record. They can try to track down where the goat came from.
“A goat in Wrigleyville is not normal,” Jackson says. “We have to be able to find out where you can get a goat, find someone who saw someone with a goat. It’s a freakin’ goat.”
“I really hope the earring points us in the right direction,” Sullivan says. “I live and work in the city because I don’t want to deal with farm animals. As close as I want to get to a goat is lamb chops for dinner.”
As soon as he said it though, everyone in the room made a mental note that they would not be eating anything close to lamb chops for the foreseeable future.
Jackson and Sullivan decide to head to their respective homes, get cleaned up and eat something and meet back at the precinct later — or sooner if forensics comes up with anything.
Jackson always tries to be cheerful when he gets home, knowing that it’s a cliche for a cop to bring his work home with him. Today it feels a little tougher, but when he sees his wife’s big smile through the kitchen door and his kids run up and grab his legs and yell “Daddy!” the chill evaporates.
“Want a beer honey?” Alicia Jackson asks.
“Do I want a beer? Absolutely,” Jackson responds. “Can I have one? Probably not. I’ve got to head back to the precinct tonight. We caught a case.”
His wife frowns, but not in that I’ve-had-enough-of-this-crap kind of way — more like she’ll really miss him when he’s left tonight. And that makes Jackson feel lucky and like a heel all at the same time.
“Tell me about your day,” he says to his kids and scoops them up on the way to the family room.
Sullivan parks the car in the long skinny driveway of his bungalow and heads through the backdoor. Nobody asks him if he wants a beer because nobody is in the kitchen. A deep silence reaches into every corner of the house and makes the sound of the opening of the refrigerator and the crack of the beer top seem almost obscene. Sullivan takes a big gulp on the way to the living room and plops into a huge recliner.
“Jesus Christ,” he says and closes his eyes.
Continue to Chapter 3 …
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