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HOME INVASION 5
I wake up to the sun pouring through my window at 5:30 AM. I’m not an early riser on most occasions but my mind is flooded with images from last night. I can’t move from the bed, my body feels like lead, so I think I will just lay here and watch the movie replay itself from start to finish of all the events from yesterday evening. Did I miss anything?
The FBI is already involved so they will have access to all the fancy data that the local PD doesn’t. Nowadays everyone has access to most of it anyway, thanks to the Law Enforcement Intranet. By now they should have all the fingerprints processed, DNA samples from the crime scene, graffiti comparisons run against all known gang graffiti … (Detective Morales never told me if they chased down the van I saw leaving the scene? I forgot to ask. I need to start writing down questions to ask him when I see him this morning.)
I get out of bed and head straight for the shower again. I don’t know when I will ever feel clean enough to rid myself of this violation. I’m putting the house up for sale as soon as this is over – I have no idea where I’m moving next but I’ll think about that after the case is closed, as far as I am concerned.
Did Erik say they are making me a detective again for this case? He must have called Dallas. No doubt Kenny was working. Kenny and I were a great team back in the day, undercover - investigating homicides in some of the worst conditions. After the last case we worked together in Dallas, I had just seen too much. Kenny would have told Erik to bring me in because “otherwise she’ll be investigating on her own anyway and I would want all the information right away. The LAPD would do well to bring her into the investigation.”
Kenny never wanted me to retire early. He probably thinks that I’m the same “nose to the grindstone, there is always something more to find” Erin that left Dallas three years ago. I was famous for never letting things rest, and I pushed limits to get the information I needed. “If you don’t bring her in under your Department, she’ll be investigating in an unconventional way and be a step ahead of you every time.” That’s what he’d say…because that’s the way we were.
But Kenny doesn’t know me anymore. I don’t need the action or to keep putting myself in harm’s way to rescue the world. I realized, finally, that it didn’t make a difference. I didn’t make a difference. We couldn’t stop every murder before it happened all the time. I lost my edge. And I’m not bulletproof. And I can’t face any more victims’ families; something about being the first to tell someone that their child, wife, husband, mother or father has just been taken too soon because of an idiot with a gun, knife or other lethal weapon just doesn’t sit well with me. Nowhere is safe anymore.
I get out of the shower and am dressed by 8:00, ready with a whole list of questions in my hand and conditions to which I would agree to work as a detective on this case. The first condition was that Erik had to prove to me this morning, by showing me all of the evidence, that it was not about me, it was a random act. I needed to see proof that other crimes had happened in the city like this one that might be attributed to this same gang. I don’t believe I am the first victim.
At 8:01, the doorbell rings, its Erik. “Sorry, I’m late. But I do have a lot of information to go over with you. They’ve processed the scene overnight and I thought we could go over all the information at your house, after we go down to the station to swear you in. And we can do that right after we’ve had breakfast… by the way, how are you?”
“Do you always start the morning like a machine gun just shooting randomly at whoever might be listening?” I teased him, “I’m fine, breakfast sounds great, and I need to know some things before I’ll agree to this…”
“Already had my workout, protein drink and a coffee. - Erin, let’s go, I’ll explain on the way.” Erik was in such a rush to be off this morning, so much like Kenny… The old me wanted to jump right into the passenger side and engage just like I used to. The new me is scared as hell.
Erik and I sit in a table close to the rear exit, he faces the front door. “I can’t divulge a lot of details about the case before you are sworn in because its “Law Enforcement Only”, you know that. We don’t normally do this, but we think you can help break this thing wide open with your profiling and criminal psychology experience. I hear Dallas was rather upset to lose you…The things they taught you in the Service in D.C., no doubt, were incredible. Cutting edge. I’d love if you shared with me sometime when you are up for it. What made you give that up to write full time here?”
“Straight up?” I stare straight into his eyes. “You get tired eventually of staring death in the face every day, tired of the criminal mind and getting inside those horrid thoughts that perform these unspeakable acts to human beings who could have been someone who could have been someone close to you. They train you to understand these sadistic bastards to find them, to type them, to analyze them…and after a while it gets really old. You can’t enjoy going out, being in a crowd or a city, you suspect everyone and everything; it’s like a poison running in your veins that touches everything you experience. “
I try to gage his reaction, but he just tried to look deeper into my eyes as if to see something.
Erik spent most of breakfast on the phone and I just listen. I can’t believe how hungry I am. I study faces in the diner, none of them familiar; I don’t spend time in this part of town or any of the really “real” parts of any town – preferring the rural to anything suburban anymore. Suddenly, my world was changing back into something all too real.
When we arrived back in his office, the Chief of Police and one of the Judges summon us to the Judge’s chambers where I was to be sworn in for an unspecified time into the Los Angeles Police Department as a Homicide Detective. The ceremony is short and sweet, but welcoming and somber at the same time – reminding me of the importance of this case.
Immediately after, Judge Swanson has a few words to say, “Detective LeFey, I’ve been told of your service and talents by our Department here and have no doubt you will do a fine job for Los Angeles. The specific gang that invaded your home has been hunted by our Department for five months, I’m sure you will be briefed shortly. I wish you all the best and thank you for your help. I am also sorry for your own loss in this.”
“Thank you, Ma’am. I’ll do my best.” And so it is done.
Back in Detective Morales’ office, I listen as Chief Williams briefs me on the details. He is a tall and muscular black man with the deepest voice that commands your attention. “Detective LeFey, we do not believe your home is the first hit from this gang. There have been break-ins with similar graffiti, vandalizing, obvious rage, and robbery. Their subjects seem to be carefully chosen although we have yet to figure out what the link is between them.” Erik then pulled up a PowerPoint they had put together on the screen. The code name for the group was ‘Raging Demons’ since they were not sure who or what they were yet, they just popped up on LAPD radar.
Chief Williams continued, “There doesn’t seem to be a pattern in where they hit, some residences, businesses, - and they are all over the city. The businesses don’t have anything to do with each other – some have been small businesses while others were larger. There has been nothing to link them. Your house was the first to have a victim inside, we are afraid the crime pattern is escalating. We cannot find a real link with this woman to hard criminal activity.”
“I would love a chance to sit down with all the data, study it and come up with my own profile. Do you have ID’s on any of the suspects or the vehicles?” I am already drawn into the puzzle. There was no turning back now.
“I will let Detective Morales fill you in on everything. Our team of investigators has already been to the house, the FBI has scoured it – I’d like you two to head out there to find something they missed.”
“What did they miss?” I wonder out loud.
“I don’t know, Detective LeFey, but my gut tells me that you and Detective Morales are going to find something. And I’m usually right about things like this.” He smiles before he tips his invisible hat and exits the room.
Erik and I just stand there for a second before he starts talking about the information he has, “Well, we know that we haven’t seen anything from them before this recent crime spree so they either just entered this area or were just released from prison. Without an ID on any of them, it’s hard to tell. What I want to know is, how are they able to spend so much time inside a place knowing it isn’t alarmed and the owner is not around, blatantly taking their time on such destruction and picking and choosing what they are going to steal. They have actually gone through jewelry boxes and only taken high dollar items, only taken merchandise that is easily disposed of and left what they knew would be hard to resell. They party while they are doing this, yet leave no paraphernalia, no prints, and no shoe prints. We collected some DNA but its still being processed, if there are no records of DNA already in the system, we have no matches. They will have had to have been convicted of something before and already have samples stored. “
“What about the vehicles?” I asked.
“Erin, let’s talk on the way to your house.” Erik was distracted by the text he received on his cell. After a moment he said, “I just got word that the media is still camped in front of your house, so be prepared. We’ll probably see ourselves on TV tonight, and that means they will too. Flash your badge when you walk through so they know you are a detective and it may throw them off to who you are. Do you want a disguise? We don’t want any retaliation because this gang may get freaked thinking they just committed a crime against a police officer – but as a victim, legally you wouldn’t be helping in the investigation.”
“I can put my hair up and do the hat and sunglasses routine. No one has ever seen me like that. It’s not a look I favor…” I confessed.
Erik laughed. “Still a Cowboys fan or have you turned?”
“Actually, I am a Redskins fan from way back, but the Cowboys are my second favorite.” I wanted to just get through this and get on to the house, I was getting anxious. “Whatever you have is fine, really. I’m anxious to get to the house too.”
Other Home Invasion Chapters
- Short Story: Home Invasion
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I worked a little later than usual today. So it was dark as I was driving home in traffic listening to nothing. Too much going on in my head to be distracted by...
- Home Invasion 2
copyright pending 2011 by Erin Le Fey I awoke to two police officers hovering over me and a faint distant sound coming clearer; voices, Shes coming around. Ms. LeFey. Are you okay? Where...
- HOME INVASION 3
Copyright 2011 Erin LeFey I rode with Erik down to the Los Angeles Police Department - Chinatown Substation to give my statement and fingerprints so they could distinguish mine from those at the scene....
- HOME INVASION 4
copyright 2011 Erin LeFey Almost midnight and Im just reaching the hotel. Im so glad I still have the old habit of leaving a fully packed overnight bag in my car for emergencies. They taught us when...