I stood beside her shallow grave, in the steady rainfall that February night, and made a promise to her, I’d find who put her there and when I was through with them, there wouldn’t be enough left to bury.
It was them, that much I knew. The armor had digitally enhanced the area around the grave, using edge sharpening, and color spreading. I knew there were five of them, from the footprints in the ground, the damage to the grasses, the way the rocks had been displaced. Five distinct footprints.
“They knew who you were,” I spoke the words, though the armor silenced them. “It’s how they got to you.” I knelt beside the grave, used the armor’s scanners to look through the dirt and rock, to see her remains in the ground. “They beat you pretty badly, didn’t they.” The armor recorded the fracture to her skull, the dislocated vertebrae in her neck, the torn skin and bruises on her wrists and ankles. “How long have you been missing?” I had no way of knowing how long she’d been missing, or who she was, without digging her up, and getting a DNA sample, or fingerprints.
“Marker.” A slot on the left forearm of my armor opened and a small, black box with an LED on it popped out. I pushed a button on the box. The LED came on, a blinding red, visible for hundreds of feet. “Test.” The armor tuned a radio receiver to the frequency the box was broadcasting. The signal was a very clear “PING!” I pulled the plastic sheet off the bottom of the box, and put it on the rocks she was buried under. That box adhered to the rock.
I spoke into the phone, my voice altered electronically, “They killed this woman, and they buried her in the woods! Oh, God, they killed her!” I had to explain where, “I have an emergency beacon in my backpack. I’ll put that out.” I gave them the frequency of the beacon. They asked me to stay where I was. “I can’t do that.” Of course, they wanted to know why. “It’s not safe here. They might find me.” I hung up.
I moved into the trees, and waited five minutes. I called 911 again. “They’re after me! They found me!” I fired two shots from my hand-held into the ground. “Jesus, they’re gonna kill me!”
Shortly, there were sirens, followed by lights, and several law officers. They found the beacon.
So it began, the next hunt. “Armor 17.” I called headquarters. “Going silent.” That was the signal headquarters knew meant I was actively pursuing a case. They’d wait to hear from me.
I waited in the steady rainfall that night in February, for the authorities to come for her body. I’d let them identify her, and I’d go from there.
“I promise you, I will find them.”
I wrote this for #FlashMobWrites 1×42, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please,go read all the stories for #FlashMobWrites 1×42. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?