This is the rough draft of a scene from my current work in progress, The Marked File. This gives the reader an interesting insight into the mind and heart of Jess Reilly. I would love to know what you all think!
Jess had parted ways with Greg and Freedman and headed for home. The clock on the wall told her that it was after eleven o’clock, but her brain told her there was no way she would be going to sleep any time soon. She hoped that taking a long, hot shower would relax her enough to be able to get some sleep. It had been a long few days and she was starting to get the dull headache behind her eyes that usually indicated she had consumed far too much caffeine and had gotten far too little sleep.
She stripped down and ran a hot shower for herself. The water washed over her and she could feel the tension in her muscles relax ever so slightly. However, the faces of the dead managed to follow her into the warm cocoon of steam that was starting to swirl around her. The angry voices of Timothy Dunn’s mother and girlfriend echoed in her mind and mingled with the resigned sadness of Tanya Langer’s brother, Donald. She tried to push them out of her mind. She begged them to leave her alone for just a few hours.
“Please give me just a few hours to get some rest. I promise I will not forget about you or your loved ones. I will find you the answers you need, but I need some sleep.”
She pleaded with the images and voices of those who were left behind when Timothy Dunn and Tanya Langer died, but they all yelled back at her that she should not rest until she brought them the closure that they demanded and deserved.
After toweling off, Jess pulled on a pair of sweats and a Boston Police Academy t-shirt. She was physically exhausted, but her mind was buzzing with names, faces, and voices. The victims mingled with their loved ones and the staff from the various tattoo parlors she had visited that night. Her brain was trying to find a way to reorder and revisit the information in a way that would help her to see the bigger picture and then dial in on the piece she was missing. She climbed into bed and lay on her back visualizing her murder board on the ceiling. In her mind’s eye, she rearranged the information on the board, added new items, and then rearranged it all again.
As the images and information shuffled around the murder board, she began to doze and the current reality began to mix with the echoes of the past that had been following her around for the past couple of days. Eventually, she drifted off to sleep. The faces and voices of both the past and the present chased her into her dreams.
– – – – – – – – – –
She looked around and found herself standing in the kitchen of the house where her best friend, John, had lived. Everything was just as she had remembered it from the last time she had ever been in that house. The terrible day her senior year of high school when she discovered John’s ruined body. Except now, as she looked around, she realized that everything was covered with over a decade and a half of dust.
“I cannot believe you grew up to be a cop, Jess.” The familiar voice startled her and she turned to see John standing on the other side of the kitchen counter. “You shouldn’t look so surprised to see me since this is my house, after all.”
All Jess could do was stand there, opened mouth, and stare at her best friend from childhood.
“I think I should be the one staring at you in shock. I mean, look at you, Jess. You are, like, an adult now. How weird is that?” John walked around the counter and came to stand in front of her. He reached out and pulled the left side of her jacket aside. “Whoa, at least you get to carry a gun now. That’s pretty neat.”
Jess stepped back away from him so that her jacket slipped from his fingers and covered her gun again. She was still in shock but managed to find her voice.
“I think you should probably stay away from my gun, John.” She was surprised by how thin and raspy her voice sounded.
“I’m already dead, Jess. I don’t think that the gun can make me any more dead than I already am.” John chuckled at her.
“What am I doing here?” Jess looked around in confusion. She did not understand why the house looked all dusty and abandoned. After John’s father had been convicted, the bank foreclosed on the house and sold it to a family who had just moved to town.
“You’re here because of them.” John pointed into the living room. Jess turned to see a crowd of people standing among the dusty furniture. She recognized the faces of the dead. Victims whose homicides she had worked over the seven plus years she had been with the homicide division. Standing at the front of the crowd was Timothy Dunn and Tanya Langer.
“What are they all doing here, John?”
“They are here because you keep them here, Jess. These are all of the victims you have stood for over the years. You make each of them part of you and you never truly let any of them go. Even after you solve their homicide you never really let them go. So they stay here… with me. I was the first one here and those two,” he pointed to Dunn and Langer, “will not be the last. I have to admit, it’s getting a little crowded in here, Jess.”
“What am I supposed to do? I can’t just forget about them, John. I especially can’t forget about the ones whose cases went cold… The ones I couldn’t solve.”
“It is okay to remember them, Jess. You just shouldn’t let them… let us… haunt you like you do.”