WARNING! This scene has graphic descriptions of violent gore. Do not read if you are sensitive to such things!
Crime Scene - South Side Slums
1200 W. Harrison - An abandoned and condemned house marked for demolition. It looks like there are only a handful of rooms intact, and the rest have walls missing, or the ceilings ripped off.
Friday, May 29, 2009
Friday, February nineteenth, 2010. 02:15 am
The sun is down. The waxing crescent moon is up. <23.3% full and growing>
The tide is high and ebbing.
A cold wind blows from the northeast, driving charcoal clouds before it and blotting out the stars in isolated patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere the stars shine brightly. The winter Hawk wind is concentrated in the Loop. There is about 22.75" of snow on the ground. The average temperature is around Twenty-six degrees Fahrenheit, Negative four Centigrade.
It's been nine days since the night Hadley and Wickham were called out to the scene of the "Origami" victim. Nine days of research and getting around the lengths to which the killer went to obscure the identity of the victim have finally yielded some results. First, the facts. The victim was 21 year old Lisa Miller, a young woman living on the University of Chicago campus studying theater arts. She had been suffering from Osteogenesis Imperfecta all her life, and had been receiving regular treatments and physical therapy at Memorial Hospital. This was the same hospital which performed the surgery to insert steel rods in her left and right fibula to shore up the strength of her legs. She had not been reported missing right away, because she had told her family and friends she was going on a two week trip to Kingston, Jamaica with her roommate, Shelly, and her family. It turned out that Lisa told Shelly the morning of the trip that she was going to stay behind due to not feeling well, and that she'd decided it was best not to miss her Physical Therapy session on the fourth . Shelly went without her.
Finding out who the girl was proved difficult. At first, the judge wouldn't give a court order to pull hospital patient records to match up the bone surgery to the victim. But, once the lab came back with results indicating that only 20 of the 21 origami pieces recovered were made from the victim's skin, that changed. The 21st was from a (as yet, unidentified) victim still out there somewhere. The prospect of a serial killer greased the wheels of justice. Interviews of campus students and teachers confirmed that no one saw Lisa after the date of her physical therapy, although her physical therapist confirmed that she did attend her session.
It was also confirmed that the carving on the body was done with multiple blades, ranging from scalpels to hunting knives, and that bone saws and files were used to level the plane of her bones, weak from her disease, to make the "canvas" flat. Sadly, after determining all this, and the fact that the subcutaneous fat beneath the skin had been heated then cooled to hold the origami pieces together, the case ran dry. There were no other missing persons cases filed shortly before or since Lisa went missing.
All that has changed. A call came in that another body has been found, in another abandoned house on the South Side. This time it was discovered by a city planner who came just before dark to put a demolition notice on the door and smelled the corpse. The sun has gone down, and Eleanor has driven the pair of detectives to the scene once more. She went through her dress up game at the back of the SUV before any officer dared to approach them but now a woman, Officer Ortega from the prior scene, is heading their way.
The vampire hasn't said a whole lot tonight so far. He's read up on the case in the last week or so, obviously, but it's not like anyone's going to be happy about having a serial killer on the loose. Less so even than most would be Hadley. He stands at the back of the SUV with Eleanor, ready for their little jaunt in the ghetto. His gaze moves to Ortega when she approaches them and a brow arches, waiting for her to speak rather than doing so first, though he nods and he's gotten pretty good at not meeting anyone's gaze since now that he's a vampire, nobody trusts his eyes.
Ortega nods to the detectives, and she looks grim. "Sergeant Hadley, Wickham," she greets in a low tone. "We haven't let anyone in the room itself. We confirmed through a window that it was another carving job." That most likely says that no one wanted to willingly go in there this time. Never a good sign. Her hand twitches on her holster, as if she's been creeped out enough to want to walk around with her weapon in hand. "There's more of those paper things on the floor, but there's something glittering in there too. Broken glass, we think. There is no furniture and no closets, just the body and the extra crap. The rest of the house is secured."
She gestures at what there is to secure. It looks like there are only a handful of rooms intact, and the rest have walls missing, or the ceilings ripped off. 1200 W. Harrison has seen better days. Obviously so has its current occupant.
Eleanor nods at Ortega with a grimace. "Thank you, Ortega." She grabs her case, passes off her duffle to Hadley, and heads into the house, doing the "we have permission to be here" dance at every checkpoint. There is less debris in this place, until the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Then it is piled with refuse much like the last house, evidently having been used by squatters. The cops have cordoned it off so that nothing was disturbed here. "Same drill as before. Keep your eyes out for more errant pieces of 'art'," she states to Hadley as she ducks under the crime scene tape and makes her way carefully down the hall.
GAME> Hadley rolls 37 against 55% : 18% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 56 against 20% <+20% +20%> : 4% success
Duffle bag in hand, Hadley follows Eleanor into what was once probably a respectable home which obviously isn't anything resembling that now. It's sad, really, how homes can get in such disrepair. But the vampire isn't looking at the house; he's looking at the crap inside of it. He keeps his flashlight off, walking casually so he can take advantage of his night time eyesight. He pauses, says, "Wickham." And he waits for her to notice what he's looking at, which would be an origami crane. He turns on his flashlight to point it where he's look, at least, though.
Hadley's discovery has Eleanor crouching down to give it a look. She sets down her case and pulls on her latex gloves and safety goggles before she gets out her camera and some tweezers made of inert metal. She snaps some shots, the flash going off and illuminating the yellowed newspapers the origami crane is nestled in. "Well, if there was any doubt that this was the same perp, there isn't anymore," she mutters. She bags the crane for the lab and then frowns when the disturbed newspaper catches her eye. She leans in to inspect what appears to be a partial muddy boot print on the floor under it. She snaps more shots before she carefully moves the rest of the newspaper aside with the tweezers to better reveal the print. She sets down a ruler from her kit and shoots yet more photos. Once her eyes adjust in the wake of the camera flash she frowns. "It's probably not left by our perp, since it looks like the mud has been dry for a while." But better safe than sorry is the unspoken rest.
GAME> Hadley rolls 63 against 80% : 17% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 82 against 50% : 32% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 53 against 50% : 3% failure
GAME> Eleanor rolls 36 against 50% <+20% +20%> : 54% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 86 against 40% <+20% +15%> : 11% failure
GAME> Eleanor rolls 92 against 20% <+20%> : 52% failure
Hadley closes his eyes when the camera starts flashing with the pictures that Eleanor takes. "There was doubt?" he asks rhetorically. When the flashes are over, he opens his eyes to look at the print, but for the most part he seems almost anxious to get this all over with so they can leave. Always a good way to do detective work! "You'd think he'd have a little more pride in his work and not leave them rotting in shit holes like this," he says, pulling on latex gloves before approaching the room where the body is, still watching the floor and walls on the way there.
Eleanor snorts softly. "I think he's too careful to do otherwise. Places like this mean no one is likely to see him plant the body. I think his freedom might be at war with his artistic streak at the moment." She straightens and nods towards the doorway to the bedroom. "Let's do this. Officer Ortega, clear to bag everything in the hallway!" she calls back to the cops standing outside the tape. She makes sure to hold her position in the frame of the door rather than trod on possible evidence inside. Lights have been set up outside the broken windows to illuminate it, but she uses a flashlight regardless.
The floor of the room is covered in small bits of something pale and glossily reflective. There is no doubt that through the window it likely resembled broken glass to the responding officers, but up close it looks more like broken bits of pottery. They seem artfully piled up in layers beneath the figure. The odd thing is the way the body is positioned. It's not lying flat like Miller's body was. This one is balanced upright, in a crouched position, with one arm between the knees braced on the floor, and the head bowed. It is completely nude and hairless. Sort of. Like the last body it is covered with carvings in tribal styles, but this time they are also carved into the /likeness/ of hair on the corpse's head. Thick waves of hair. And this time the body's bones are not carved flat, but seem to have been sculpted and manipulated to give a suggestion of more defined musculature and a boyish roundness to the face. The most bizarre thing? Is that there doesn't appear to be anything propping the corpse up in this position. It's just holding together there as if by magic.
Hadley's energy intensifies, probably unconsciously. Maybe it's the sight of a dead body that kicks it up a notch for him but he doesn't look any different than he did standing back behind the SUV. "Is clay really that expensive?" Hadley remarks, again more to himself and nearly under his breath. He lets Eleanor enter first and from the doorway he looks all around the parameter of the room before focusing his attention on the figure in the middle. "How is it staying like that?" He looks up at the ceiling, even, perhaps for clear strings or something on that note that's helping the corpse stay the way it is.
"I don't know. Maybe he wired it inside? Cement reinforcement? Nailed his feet to the floor?" Eleanor hypothesizes as she snaps pictures of the corpse, circling it slowly as she does so and trusting Hadley to stay alert to anything threatening. Her own energy wavers and pulses as she forces herself not to recognize the body as a person. Now that the earlier corpse has a name and a life it was associated with, that makes it tougher. "Are those pottery shards it's perched on?" She gets halfway around it before things change. As she snaps a few photos of the back of the body, which is facing a window that has long been smashed out, two things happen.
First, Officer Ortega peers through the doorway in the process of bagging debris, and her eyes go wide. "What the hell!? That thing wasn't sitting up when we got here!" she shouts as she clears her weapon.
Secondly, the body begins to move. It is neither sudden nor threatening, but the police in the room might not see it that way. It simply seems to lose its ability to hold its position, and sort of slump-slides down as if suddenly remembering it is subject to the laws of gravity.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 56 against 50% <+10%> : 4% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 84 against 30% <+20% +15%> : 19% failure
GAME> Eleanor rolls 78 against 30% <+20% +20%> : 8% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 75 against 89% : 14% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 17 against 40% : 23% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 23 against 40% : 17% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 58 against 50% <+15%> : 7% success
His weapon appears in his hands, duffle bag dropped to the floor. He's aiming at the corpse, probably for lack of anything else to aim at, but his gaze flickers to the window and his energy almost seems to suck any warmth, limited that it already is, out of the room. "Get away from the window, Wickham," Hadley says in his no nonsense voice. "Something was keeping that thing up," he adds, trying to explain what he's thinking. God, he hates this magic bullshit.
Ortega looks like she's going to fill the dead body full of bullets to be sure it's going to stay down. She levels her gun at the corpse but she registers Hadley's words before she pulls the trigger. "Get me three officers in here to secure this body. You make sure it doesn't so much as twitch. If it does, I want it so full of silver we can sell it for dental fillings! Everyone else spread out, outside, and secure the exterior of the house!"
Eleanor nearly drops the camera when the body moves, and Ortega's revelation surprises her so badly that her brain just kind of freezes and gives her a ‘blue screen of death’/’404 error’ when she tries to parse Hadley's words. "Something was what?!" she barks at her partner as she puts her back to the wall beside the window, clearing the line of sight out it.
The corpse remains corpsey. Whoever was keeping it up might have realized they've been made. The sounds of police scrambling into motion outside trickles through the busted window, as three uniformed cops charge into the bedroom and train their weapons on the body.
Dammit. Eleanor is supposed to be the ‘smart with words’ one. Hadley struggles. "It dropped when you went in front of the window," he tells her, probably just hoping she'll catch on. He's still looking out the window but with the light shining in, it's not like he can see much past it. "It dropped when whoever is out there couldn't see it anymore," he tries that from another angle. "Why else would it be sitting up and then drop when you walked around it?" he says like it's perfectly obvious and totally ridiculous all at the same time.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 19 against 30% <+20% +20% +10%> : 61% success
Eleanor's eyes widen as she finally figures out what he's getting at. It's like he can see the gears behind her eyes, that seemed momentarily jammed, suddenly start to spin full speed again. "Son of a bitch!" she declares. "That leaves vampire, psychic, Fae, magic user, just about anything!" She strips off her gloves, unzips her coverall part way, and draws her Glock. "Cover that window with something," she instructs the officers inside, and beckons Hadley with her to go out and hunt for the perp. "We're the most likely to be able to sense them," she explains as she jogs out and hops to the ground through one of the partially missing walls. She lines herself up with the back window and gestures straight out from it. "That way if he had line of sight," she announces to her partner.
The night is noisy with the sound of officers thrashing through the overgrown bushes and trees bordering the yard of the house. "Clear!" come the cries from the smaller groups as they secure the perimeter.
GAME> Hadley rolls 40 against 60% : 20% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 97 against 60% : 37% failure
GAME> Eleanor rolls 45 against 30% <+20% +20% -15%> : 10% success
At the back window, finding tracks that weren't made by the police on the scene isn't the easiest thing in the world. But his heightened sense of smell helps to point Hadley in the right direction and he moves toward the overgrown land behind the yard. He doesn't stop to point out the tracks and some of it probably has to do with the whole 'I'm an invulnerable vampire' thing and wanting to track down the perp before he has a chance to get away.
It's dark out. Eleanor does not have the sharp eyesight or sniffer of her partner, and as such, she doesn't have as clear a sense of the trail Hadley is pursuing. She does, however, still have her forensic training well in hand. In the pocket of her coverall she keeps a bag full of finely ground, non-toxic, sidewalk chalk in bright orange. She pulls it open, and as she spots the occasional print on the ground, she reaches into the pocket, grabs a small handful of the powder, and tosses it down to mark the spot for later photographing and measuring. For the rest, she continues chasing after Brian with her gun in her right hand. She quickly falls behind, though, with her trail marking.
GAME> Hadley rolls 46 against 45% : 1% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 88 against 58% : 30% failure
GAME> Hadley sustains 30 points of damage <minor injuries -05%>
Up ahead, a figure, indiscernible in the darkness, races across a pile of wooden bits and pieces over a 30 foot deep ravine. It's only after they're fully across, with Hadley hot on their trail and catching up rapidly, that the pieces of wood suddenly fall, having been held aloft by whatever power they were using to hold the corpse in position. That, of course, leaves open air under Hadley's feet after he's taken a step out onto the false bridge.
The fall is ungraceful and Brian lets out a startled and then pained sound and then he's silent. At least he's not sobbing. His pride is likely hurt enough by falling. Not only in the ravine but for the old false bridge trick. Okay, so he probably has a right not to have known that was going to happen.
"BRIAN!" Eleanor shouts at the sound of the wood, and her partner, falling into the blackness ahead. She pants, out of breath, as she reaches the edge of the drop off and skids to a halt. Dirt rains from above due to her boots pushing it over the lip of the ravine as she shines her flashlight down and picks the vampire's pale face out of the brush and debris below. "Are you all right?!" The panicky concern for his well being visible on her face might be heartening if the wind wasn't dispersing the rest of the scent trail and blowing the snow over the tracks on the other side of the gap while he's nursing his wounded pride. She waves the other officers on, who have to go a ways to get around the geographical barrier.
It takes Brian a moment or three to respond and when he finally does, it's more a groan than a real response. There are sounds of movement but they stop with a hiss. "I think something might be broken," he says, sounding strained and unhappy. And pissed off. His energy is tense and there's a faint glow in his dark eyes when he looks up toward Eleanor to judge the distance. "Did he get away?" he asks like he didn't just survive a fall that might have killed him a few months ago.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 90 against 40% <+10%> : 40% failure
GAME> Eleanor rolls 40 against 20% <+10%> : 10% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 85 against 92% : 7% success
GAME> Eleanor sustains 3 points of damage <passing injuries>
"Get a paramedic over here now!" Eleanor snaps at a trailing officer. He backtracks quickly to get help as the detective begins looking for a spot to begin picking her way down to her partner. "Don't move! I'm coming down!" It's slow going, especially as she is not exactly the world's most coordinated climber. That becomes painfully obvious when she doesn't notice an icy patch on the side of the ravine, and slips on it, flailing wildly to stop her fall, but only managing to slow it a tiny bit before she's falling off the side of the ravine. Fortunately, her partner manages to partially break her fall with his unnatural strength. Though the effort is probably no fun for him. She WHUMPS onto her hands and knees beside him and yelps. That's going to leave a mark. But it's far better than if he hadn't managed to get a hand under her before she struck the ground. "I probably shouldn't have done that," she admits with a grumble.
His reflexes and night vision give him some benefit when Eleanor slips since he wasn't fast enough in telling her, 'no, stay there.' "That's great," Hadley growls, sounding even less thrilled than usual. He closes his glowing eyes and asks, "Are you okay?" Because that's the right thing to do, right? "You should've stayed up there. What were you going to do down here anyway?" he snaps.
Eleanor grunts. "I'm fine. I came down to cover you," she mutters. With a wince she rolls onto her backside to sit up and find her Glock. It's a couple feet away and she crawls over to retrieve it, checking to make sure it isn't out of commission. With the weapon in hand she goes to work on making sure he isn't bleeding to death. Undeath. Real death. Whatever you'd call it. But he's a vampire, and he heals fast. And nothing seems immediately critically bad on him. "What hurts worst?" she asks, though her eyes keep scanning the dark to make sure there isn't anything else lurking down here. "And how did you end up in the ravine?"
GAME> Hadley recovers 6 points of damage <minor injuries>
"Getting yourself killed isn't really my idea of covering me," Hadley grumbles, even though she's obviously still alive. "Just stay back," he tells her and she might notice that he's trying not to look directly at her. "I'm just. Just give me a second," he says, not answer the first question and going so far as to feel around for his own gun. At least he didn't shoot himself when he fell. "I fell," he says. "There was a bridge."
"There was a bridge?" Eleanor asks as she holds up her hands and grimaces at the bloody scrapes on her forearms and elbows beneath the tattered arms of the coverall, and the matching bloody holes in the knees of the garment. She pulls a wad of clean tissues from and inside pocket and a plastic bottle of rubbing alcohol and begins to dab her scrapes clean. "Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow." It becomes a repetitive sting-y chorus in the dark. "And I'm not dead. I think I'm more embarrassed than hurt," she huffs indignantly.
"There was a bridge," Hadley says again, like he's wondering if Eleanor hit her head. "It fell out from under me." He shakes his head because he knows it was stupid of him to fall. But he's obviously distracted by Eleanor's blood and he moves to get up with a wince and curse before he gives up and just stays sitting for now. "Give me your hand," he tells her, holding his own out for her to put hers in.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 66 against 30% <+20% +20%> : 4% success
GAME> Hadley rolls 48 against 61% : 13% success
GAME> Hadley recovers 5 points of damage <minor injuries>
Eleanor eyes Hadley like he's lost his mind about the bridge thing. But as she offers her hand over to him she notices the wood debris on the ground. It's like planks and two by fours and other bits and pieces that probably came from the broken down structure of the abandoned house; all individual pieces, not bound together. She looks up, then looks down again. "He planned an escape route and set a trap," she says in disbelief. "He could probably hold those boards up with whatever he used to hold that corpse in position."
"We already knew he was smart," Hadley says, swiping to grab Eleanor's hand as she gets distracted and he closes his eyes, tilting his head back. Aw. His hand is freezing but there's an odd energy to his touch, almost electric and warm, and it crawls over Eleanor but seems to focus in her wounds. Which heal somewhat before the energy dissipates. "Sorry," he says and lets her hand go.
GAME> Eleanor recovers 2 points of damage <passing injuries>
"I really hate smart criminals," Eleanor mutters. Then the sensation of Hadley's energy closing up her wounds makes her eyes go wide as saucers. She shivers as the warm electric sensation marches through her skin and the science geek comes out. "Is that what you were able to do even before you were turned?" she asks, completely fascinated as she draws her hand back and inspects her arm. Just the raised scratches remain, puffy and clearly in stages of healing. Even the bruises have started to yellow and fade.
"Yeah," Hadley responds with incredible simplicity. "So," he continues, apparently intent on changing the subject away from what he just did. "Is there a way out of here?" He moves to try to stand up again and come hell or high water, he's going to do it and get out of this stupid ravine if it kills him. But preferably not if it kills Eleanor. He stands, leaning heavily on the rock face behind him.
GAME> Hadley recovers 11 points of damage <passing injuries>
"Yeah," Eleanor says, getting to her feet now that most of the aches and pains are gone. She finds her maglite on the ground a few feet away and shines it up at the area she'd been attempting to climb down. "It's got some sort of terraced levels there, but there's some ice I overlooked," she admits. He'd probably be able to climb it without much problem.
Hadley stays where he is for another handful of moments, then puts his gun back in its holster. He pushes away to stand on his own, tentative at first, but apparently he's feeling better and he moves to start feeling around the dirt and rocks. "Where the hell are the paramedics?" he growls, moving down a little ways to see if there's anywhere better to climb but somewhere that Eleanor would have a chance at, too, because he's not leaving without her. He's mumbling something about his own idiocy while he does this.
There are sounds of a gurney bouncing through the snow and underbrush and trees, along with the faint shouts of the cops still searching the wooded area. It's likely taking so long because of the terrain, to get the equipment through.
Eleanor sticks her hands under her armpits to try and warm them up, and she hops from one foot to the other as the cold starts to register now that the adrenaline has worn off. "If you climb out, you can get a rope down to me and pull me up. I sort of didn't consider how I was going to get back up there when I came down."
GAME> Hadley rolls 45 against 79% : 34% success
"Fine," is all that Hadley says before he looks at the rise to the top of the ravine again. And then he moves to climb it, which he does with relative ease considering he was nursing possible broken things at the bottom of the ravine not so very long ago. "Over here," Hadley calls to the paramedics, glancing back down when he's at the top before he moves to give them a hand with their crap. Someone must have passed along the whole falling thing because there's rope and Hadley comes back to toss the end over the edge.
Eleanor continues her "It's cold, dammit!" dance at the bottom of the ravine until the rope thuds against the dirt wall. She ties it around herself in a strong knot and grabs it with both hands, setting one booted foot against the incline. "All right! Pull me up!" she calls to the top.
The paramedics unpack their usual assortment of bandages and supplies to clean wounds while a couple uniformed officers move to help Hadley pull his partner up.
Hadley doesn't really need the help, but he doesn't say that to the officers. It might be a moment for someone to be proud for him, but he wouldn't recognize it. It would be easy to just drag her up quickly but to keep the risk of hurting her further to a minimum, Hadley goes about the lifting slowly until she's at the top. Then he lets the paramedics take over.
GAME> Hadley recovers 10 points of damage <no injuries>
Eleanor scrambles over the edge and the paramedics help her get to her feet. They seem convinced she climbed safely down, due to the lack of injuries, though the damage to her coveralls makes them inspect her anyway. The minor scratches seem to perplex them after the damage to the garment, but she waves them off. "I'm fine. Make sure he didn't break anything that needs fixing," she instructs, setting them on Brian like a pack of overeager cocker spaniels.
Ortega jogs up, looking winded and very unhappy. "Lost his trail on the other side of the ravine. He's long gone," she reports, "but no one else got hurt."
Eleanor nods to her and grimaces. "I'll get the forensics team in to do their sweep, meanwhile, we need to go back and get another look at that corpse." She puts her phone to her ear to call down the lab rats while Hadley gets looked over.
"I'm fine," Hadley snaps at the first one that comes at him, but then he just lets them look him over to find that there's nothing actually wrong with him anymore. Not physically, at least. He brushes himself off when they withdraw, nevermind any tears to his clothing or blood with no apparent wounds. He's as good as new, though probably a good deal more in need of a meal.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 43 against 30% <+20% +15%> : 22% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 79 against 40% <+20% +20%> : 1% success
GAME> Eleanor rolls 67 against 20% <+20%> : 27% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 62 against 40% : 22% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 77 against 75% : 2% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 19 against 30% : 11% success
When the medical team is well and truly convinced that the vampire isn't going to require a hospital visit (or at the very least intimidated into leaving him the hell alone), the detectives are escorted back to the abandoned house to finish their investigation. Cardboard has been tacked up over the windows in the room to prevent a repeat of the intentionally positioned corpse.
A closer inspection of the "ceramic" fragments reveals that they are not pottery at all, but bone that has been chemically glazed like pottery. The bone likely belongs to the victim, just as the 32 origami pieces set around the body are probably made out of his flesh. This victim appears to be male, and is also missing his teeth and has had his fingerprints sanded off. Again the corpse has been scrubbed clean, even under the nails, to remove any possible DNA evidence left by the killer. And once more, between the victim's shoulder blades, there is the artist's signature, inside the pupil of the carved eye, the letters "VB".
Eleanor has a file folder brought to her with crime scene photos from the last victim to compare, and she tacks them up to the hallway outside, frowning at them as she beckons Hadley over. "If he hasn't changed his modus operandi," she states, after taking her multitude of photos and bagging the origami pieces and bone fragments with expert care, "then our victim is probably 33 years old. The 32 art pieces in here and the one in the hall. And the one in the hall is probably not made from him." She doesn't quite put together something else that her partner might.
Hadley moves to look at the pictures of the previous crime scene. He absorbs what Eleanor says for a long time while he looks at one picture in particular. Finally, he says, "This." He points at the picture. "This looks like that drawing of that one guy. Da Vinci, I know. The guy with the circle and legs." Artsy person, Brian Hadley is not. But who wouldn't know what he's talking about? "And that one," he gestures back toward the other corpse. "That one I've seen before, too. A sculpture by someone else." It's not coming to him.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 27 against 20% <+20% +10%> : 23% success
Eleanor looks over her shoulder at what Brian is referring to, then turns all the way around and stares at the photos. It's so plainly the Vetruvian man pose as to be ridiculous, even for the less artsy folks. But back in the moment, the carving of the body was so vivid that the subtler details of the positioning didn't parse. "I think you're right. So the perp might be an /actual/ artist, or an art student," she says quietly. Her energy sinks deeply into an uneasy place. She is dating a sculptor at the moment. If this were an actual Anita Blake book Monty would be their serial killer and the fact she had told him about the last crime scene to break her insomnia would now be incredibly ironic. Instead, it just leaves her worried and maybe a tiny bit paranoid. She rubs her arms with her hands as if warding off the chill in the unheated house, but even a blast furnace wouldn't help with this sort of cold. She swallows hard and forces herself to turn back and address the current crime scene. "The fact we have modified bones again makes me think this victim has the same disease as the last one. That's a pretty rare disease, Hadley," she says in a low tone.
GAME> Hadley rolls 55 against 50% : 5% failure
GAME> Hadley rolls 22 against 60% : 38% success
Hadley would probably be incredibly happy to say 'I told you so' in regards to the shifter man, too. Well, maybe under other, better circumstances. He thinks about this and nods his head. "If we know who he's targeting, we might be able to help them. We need to figure out who else is being treated for this disease and if any of them might be missing already. For all we know, he works for a hospital or knows someone that does, that will give him information."
"I think you're on to something there, Hads," Eleanor says. She calls in the team to deliver the body to the medical examiner and beckons her partner back outside and towards the car. Their part here tonight is done at least. "He set a trap for us; maybe we can set one for him. Dangle some bait for him, and be waiting." She strips out of the ruined coverall and pulls her peacoat on over her blouse and dress pants, stuffing the bloodied and muddied garment into a trash bag in the trunk. "The first vic was most likely nabbed either at the hospital or leaving it, since she was at therapy but didn't make it back to campus. Her car was still in the hospital lot. So he has to either be stalking these people or getting appointments from somewhere. If we can have one of us impersonate a possible victim, we can maybe scoop him up."
"A trap," Hadley repeats that word like he already knows where it's going. "I suppose next you'll be telling me that you'll be posing as this victim." And he really doesn't seem all that fond of this idea. "I might recognize the scent if I smell it again." But even he doesn't sound all that sure about that. He thinks for another moment, then turns to get inside of the car. He's not cold, exactly, but he knows that Eleanor has been. "It's worth a shot," he says even if he doesn't like it. If it would keep more people from being victims, it's worth a shot.
GAME> Eleanor rolls 84 against 40% <+20% +15%> : 9% failure
"Depends on if the bait victim is male or female. Tonight proved he doesn't discriminate by gender," Eleanor points out as she climbs back into the Escape and starts it up, turning the heat on full blast. Her teeth are chattering a little bit. "Back to the station?" she asks, not realizing he probably needs a meal of the liquid sort.
"Sure," Hadley says. "I'll have to take off for a little while, though." And he doesn't sound very happy about it. It's bad enough having to feed normally. But having to feed to make up for stupid is just the worst! "Don't stay up forever with this either, Eleanor. Let someone else take over some of this stuff so you can get some rest."
Eleanor finally catches on. "Oh crap, you need to eat, don't you?" she blurts out awkwardly. "Is there somewhere better I can drop you off for that or something?" She's no good at this. It's not like they can go through the Burger Tzar drive thru and order him a quart of O-Negative. "And you know how I hate leaving this stuff to other people. If you want something done right…" she trails off with a smirk.
Hadley shakes his head. "My car's at the department. I can find my way from there, I promise. And if you have to do it yourself, get some rest. I don't need you missing something important just because you're too stubborn and anal to let someone else give you a hand without you holding it the entire time." He's grumpy. But can you really blame him?
Eleanor frowns at the lecture. "Yeah well, last time I tried to not get over involved in the lab work and wound up with insomnia worrying about the case anyway, Hads. So if I'm going to be awake, I may as well be productive about it. I didn't sleep for two days after we found the last victim!" She pulls out from the crime scene and heads the SUV towards the CPD station.
"I could always come over and roll you to sleep at night," Hadley deadpans. But he's probably not serious. Right? "I worry about you, Wickham," he admits in a rather similar tone to the deadpanning. But it's just not something he's prone to saying out loud very often.
Eleanor narrows her eyes at him. "You're worried about me? Oh stop it, Hads. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself." Sort of. It smacks of a tiny lie when she says it at least. "And if I need someone to get me to sleep I have a smoking hot artist I can call." Which is probably an unfortunate choice of words tonight.
Hadley just snorts. It's not an attractive sound and he'd probably make it even less attractive if he could manage it on purpose. "Maybe you should go make sure he isn't the killer," he says. "Better yet, maybe I should." That sounds like a good idea. Not that Hadley wants to meet a 'smoking hot artist' shifter that's involved with his partner. "Why don't you just let me out here," he says more than asks, reaching for the handle.
Eleanor slams on her brakes at his comment, partly because it was rude and partly because it touched a nerve that is currently raw and jangling with fear. He can probably smell it on her. "Don't even think that. I need you to not think that, Brian," she says through gritted teeth, both hands clenched on the wheel until her knuckles gleam white in the darkness.
If he feels guilty for tugging on that nerve, Brian doesn't show it. "It would be stupid to think that he's never seriously hurt or killed someone." Then again, Hadley is a racist. Speciesist? Whatever. "For godssake, he turns into a fucking animal. But I've checked the bastard up and down and he's clean." And since the brakes were conveniently hit, Brian gets out of the car, shuts the door without slamming it, and starts walking down the side of the road.
Eleanor jerks her door open and stalks after him; anger simmering just under the surface and her energy roiling with it. "He was infected when he was fourteen years old, Brian!" she snaps out in a harsh tone. "But he learned how to control what was in him and he's done everything he can to live as a productive and law-abiding member of society. He's a good man! You have no right to judge him." And it's plain that she's started to let herself get invested in the werewolf, despite her logical side insisting relationships are a waste of time and effort and a weakness. "Are you jealous of him or something?!" Kincaid's comments come rushing back to her all at once.
Hadley stops and turns back to Eleanor because her following him wasn't part of his plan here. He deserves everything that she says to him and he probably even realizes it on some level. Except that last question. That actually makes him blink at her. "Jealous?" he repeats the word like it needs repeating, incredulous. "What the hell does he have that /I/ need to be jealous of?"
Eleanor glares at Hadley, not caring that she's meeting his eyes even. She's too angry to be smart at the moment. "That's what I'm trying to figure out because you're acting like he's some kind of threat to you, when you haven't even met the guy!" At least not as far as she knows. She throws her hands up in the air for emphasis. "You're behaving like a 7 year old boy does when someone else pulls the pigtails of the girl he likes to torment on the playground!"
"He's not a threat to me, Wickham," Hadley growls back at her. "He's a threat to you and everyone else he comes in contact with, the same way that I am. /Even if/," and this is a stretch for him, "He's in control of himself well enough, what about the people he consorts with, the other people he could bring you in contact with. Dammit, Eleanor, this has nothing to do with some secret feelings that I have for you because there aren't any there." That almost seems to make him more angry and his energy is intense even in the cold night air. "Get back in your car," he demands and he even points at it in case she needs the extra help with comprehension.
"You're a racist prick, Hadley," Eleanor snipes back. She has a wounded tone in her voice and anger riding from her in waves. "What about Ashley? Do you hate her too because of what she is? It doesn't matter to you that she's actually a good person. All you can see is that she turns furry once a month and that somehow makes her a monster. All the /human/ killers I've investigated in my time and you're going to lump a werewolf in with them by virtue of a disease?" She bristles visibly, shakes her head, and stomps back towards the SUV.
It's probably a good thing that he doesn't get a chance to respond to what she says before she's stomping back to the SUV. That might ruin everything for good if it hasn't already been irreparably damaged. Hadley stays right where he is for several moments, making sure she gets into the car safely, then he continues walking down the road.
Eleanor drives off angry with a squeal of tires and probably too much speed. But she's a smart girl. She'll calm herself down before she gets too far. It'll be a long night in the lab, that's for sure, because she's too disturbed and upset to trust herself to be alone at home.