Kaneonuskatew - 1
By: BJ DuVall
“So what you are saying to me, Mr. Ortiz, is that you didn’t even notice that Daniel Goff was gone?”
“Tha’s right. I’m not even sure which one he was. Is he the fat fellow with the bad breath?”
Mr. Ortiz was a lanky old man, bald, with a crumpled slouch of a man that has spinal problems. He was sitting in a wheelchair across a card table from Diane Flores.
“No, I think you are thinking of Mr. Crowe.” Diane said “Well, I think our session is just about over. Thank you for your input.”
With that Diane got up from her chair at the card table in the rec. room of B-wing. Mr. Ortiz was her last interview of the day, which was the fifth day in a row that she was doing interviews at the Bear Creek Senior Village. Her assignment was almost over, and she couldn’t wait. Spending a week on the indian reservation, interviewing the elderly residents, had not been fun for her.
She was on her fourth coffee of the day, and it was only 10 AM. She was finding it hard to sleep on this trip, and even harder to stay awake. For one thing, she missed her cat, pipsqueak. She also did not relish spending so much time in a rest home. It reminded her too much of her abuela, and her tia who both haunted places similar to this.
Having a minor in social work meant that she drew the short straw and was sent here to make sure that the seniors at this facility were not experiencing an unhealthy amount of stress or trauma from the untimely death of the orderly, Daniel Goff. The peculiar state that they had found his body, which had been left outside and was ripped to pieces presumably by coyotes, was troubling. The police believe that he was murdered and his body dumped. Due to the state of the corpse, or what was left of it, the police were finding it difficult to find any leads in the investigation. None of that was her concern. She was here to check on the state of the residents, and that task was nearing completion. The idea of heading home was a ray of sunshine peeking out from behind a cloud that she had been living under for a week.
“You almost done with your investigation, little lady?” asked Mr. Ortiz.
“Well, technically I’m not investigating anything. I am not a cop or anything like that. I’m just here for your welfare.” She replied.
“Don’ you know this is a place of death? You really should wrap it up and get heading back home, wherever that is.”
“I’m trying, believe me. Thanks for your help, Mr. Ortiz.”
Diane was born with a natural curiosity, and a knack for looking deep into a situation and figuring out what was happening. She exploited this greatly as an employee of the New Mexico Department of Health. Her health inspections were a thing of dread for the hotels and restaurants that were put under her microscope. This grief counseling mission that she was on was a whole different thing.
“So, Ms. Flores, are you getting close to the end of your inquires?” Mr. Beaulieu asked from behind, startling her.
Beaulieu was a skinny, middle aged, Native American man, with a rod straight posture. He was tall with a dark red complexion and dark straight hair that he kept in a neat ponytail. He was the head of this facility, and not well liked. When Diane had arrived last Monday, he had given her a speech about how being liked is not a necessity for keeping his residents safe and healthy. He also said in light of the current situation, their safety was his main concern. For some reason she hadn’t totally bought that speech, and had the impression that he was only looking out for himself.
“Ah, yes Mr. Beaulieu. I was just finishing with Mr. Ortiz, and there is just one more name on my list. It just says um, Kan-ee-on-us-kah teew?”
“Kaneonuskatew” Beaulieu corrected.
“Right. Sorry. I thought I had been to every resident, but he is still on my list. Do you know where I can find him?”
“Ms. Flores, I think you are working with an old list. I believe you have been through the entire facility, and there is no Kaneonuskatew here. I think that if you are lucky and you leave soon you just may be able to catch the bus back to Taos before noon. We really appreciate your attention to our facility and the help that you and the state of New Mexico have provided us.”
He extended a handshake and a warm smile that said ‘We are fine here and we will be even better the second you step out the door.’ She glanced down to his outstretched hand, ignoring the invitation to shake it.
“Mr. Beaulieu, since the last round of budget cuts, there has been no one to handle cases like this, and state law dictates that when someone is found to be a victim of homicide at a facility that receives state money, there must be a round of interviews to determine if there is undue stress being put on the residents of that facility. I do not want to be here any longer than I need to. Until I check everyone off this list, I really can’t head back home. Surely you understand.”
His demeanor was of a man that deals day in and day out with the realities of life and death. He was born for this role. Gatekeeper to purgatory.
“So you say it’s an old list? Then what happened to Mr. Kaneonuskatew, if I may ask?”
She was getting the impression that he wanted just a little too much for her to leave.
“Yes, of course, he was actually discharged weeks ago. A request from his family. As I said, there really is no need for you to delay.”
She shot him what she thought was at least a 150 watt smile, but was in reality probably only 60 watts at best.
“I uh, just need to have a copy of those discharge papers, for our records.”
Her smile was getting heavier to hold up, and she felt that his gaze was a bit too piercing, a bit too invading. She kept eye contact with great effort. Maybe her lack of sleep had more to do with the company she was keeping than she originally thought.
Seconds lumbered by as they both maintained their outwardly friendly appearances, and cordial discourse despite the tension. His smile dropped a little, and the steel in his gaze was tempered if anything.
“Crowe! Please find the file on Kaneonuskatew and run some copies for Ms. Flores so that she may catch the 11:45.”
The smile returned and the muscles under his eyes raised up and twitched slightly, giving his gaze even more edge as it slit open his face, exposing his dislike for her and her mission.
Crowe, the fat fellow with the bad breath (according to Mr. Ortiz, who was right on the money) appeared and acknowledged the task given to him, ushering Diane into the admin office while Beaulieu moved off briskly in the direction of the next target of his intensity.
“Listen,” Crowe confided, “whatever he said about Kaneonuskatew is a lie. There is no file to copy. I think he wants me to dummy up some discharge papers from another patient with his name on them. He’s had me do that before.”
“What?” Diane was fully awake all of a sudden, gooseflesh cascading over her arms. The smell of bullshit was a powerful stimulant.
“What are you telling me? That there is no trail for Kaneonuskatew, and he isn’t here?”
Another wave of goose pimples electrified Diane’s pores. Her mind started to quickly start to figure the quantity and severity of the violations Bear Creek was guilty of if this were true. .
“Where? And why is it a secret?”
Her innate ability to peer straight into the lies and find the truth was gearing up. She could see that Crowe meant to undermine Beaulieu, and she could use that to figure out what was really happening here.
“Follow me. As for why it’s a secret, you will see soon enough.”
Crowe led her down the main corridor to a door marked ‘employees only’ and beyond into a metal, utilitarian stairway. The bright fluorescent lights and antiseptic smells of the main facility were giving away to 40 watt bulbs and a dank, cold, mildew stench. the walls of the stairwell were cinderblock painted yellow, and as they descended to a basement level, the cinderblocks gave way to a rough foundation stone that was not painted. Some areas of the rough stone seemed to be weeping, and she guessed that they must have foundation issues, which contributed to the dank mildew smell. After reaching a steel door, they passed into the boiler room, which brought the temperature up a good fifteen degrees. She started sweating almost immediately, and felt the air she was inhaling become thicker and hotter.
“Where exactly are we going?” she asked.
“You want to meet Kaneonuskatew, don’t you?” Crowe called over his shoulder without looking back or breaking stride.
He was a no nonsense worker bee with an obvious desire to get things done. Diane could tell that he has been up and down this narrow corridor a multitude of times. After ducking under leaky pipes, and around a particularly steamy valve that made her think that it could give at any moment, they finally reached a corner. Turning right, they reached a heavy metal door that looked like it belonged as part of the ancient boiler itself if only it wasn’t so big. It covered a full sized doorway. She wasn’t sure how or why it was installed, or what lay behind it.
“Here you go.” he said.
Crowe flicked his way rapidly through his massive janitor’s ring of keys to find the one to this iron door, popped it off the ring with a practiced movement. He held it out to Diane with a tense posture that said that as soon as she took custody of the key, his obligation was over, and he would be off to more pressing matters. She took the key.
“Wait, what is this?” she asked.
She did not get her answer, and Crowe had already started down the corridor already. Diane did want to find out what was happening, and she did not trust Beaulieu at all. She took a deep breath, and found the keyhole to the door. The key went in roughly, and she barely had the strength to turn it. The mechanism seemed to be resisting her opening it. This did not seem like a door that was opened very often. With great effort, she was able to open the door.
As Crowe reached the top of the utility stairs, and opened the door, Beaulieu appeared in the doorway, frantic.
“Crowe! Where is Flores?”
“She’s down here, in the room. I can’t keep lying for you. If you want to fire..”
Before he could finish, Beaulieu pushed past him violently, causing Crowe to teeter on the landing.
“Tonto!” Beaulieu spit at Crowe from over his shoulder.
Beaulieu’s stiff demeanor gave way to panic as he rushed down the stairs and into the heavy suana of the boiler room. He sprinted through the narrow walkway, almost braining himself on a low pipe, and then smashing his wrist on the steamy valve causing it to start spraying more steam. He grabbed his wrist and started to massage it. Once he was in sight of the iron door, and saw that it was open, his eyes went wide with terror and his blood ran cold despite the oppressive heat of the boiler that was inches away.
He froze in place only a second or two, mind racing, trying to parse through the implications. The door was wide open, Kaneonuskatew was unsecured. Nowhere on the grounds was safe. The overwhelming urge to flee shattered his temporary paralysis, and he bolted straight back in the direction that he came from. He was through the door and up the stairs in a flash, taking them two or three at a time. He burst through the employee door and into the rest home running full speed. He passed Crowe without a thought, Crowe was in no hurry, and was leaning against the wall, watching Beaulieu speed by.
“Bastard.” Crowe said, disgusted, as he watched Beaulieu flee at full tilt.
In the room behind the iron door, Diane found a man, or rather what looked like a skeleton doing his best impression of a man. He was old, quite a bit older than any of the residents that she had interviewed in the past five days. His long grey hair hung down straight in greasy strands. He made no movement at all when she entered. he was sitting on a small cot, the only piece of furniture in the room.
Diane’s sense of smell was assaulted immediately after opening the door. The smells of human waste and sweat were overpowering. And an unmistakable odor that she recognized from the vet’s office when she took pipsqueak in for a checkup, the smell of a caged animal. There was a bucket in the corner where she presumed that he did his business. There were flies buzzing around it and him. When the flies landed on him, he made no twitch or movement to shoo them off. He sat on the cot frozen in place like an emaciated statue. He was wearing no shirt, and she could see his ribs stand out prominently, actually casting a slight shadow into the valley of skin that formed between each rib. He was dressed in only filthy cotton pants like most of the residents wore as pajamas, which they donned throughout most of every day come to think of it.
The room was lit with one dim lightbulb hanging from the center of the closet, which is what this was. She realized that this was meant as a storage closet for the janitor, and with the addition of the iron door and the cot, became a prison cell for this man, Kaneonuskatew.
“Madre!” Diane was horrified by the sight of Kaneonuskatew and rushed forward to come to his aid.
“Sir! can you hear me? I’m Diane, I want to help you.”
She knelt down and got eye to eye with him, noticing that he had one brown eye and one the color of blue ice. They were extremely dilated making his pupils look to be the size of dimes. She was looking for a response, but he appeared catatonic. She wasn’t even sure how he was sitting up.
“Sir, please, let me help you. Can you stand? Should I bring a wheelchair? You need nourishment, and you need to go to the hospital!”
After another couple of seconds of no response, finally his eyes seemed to focus. She pulled out her cellphone ready to call 911. As she was looking at its screen, seeing that she had no bars in this basement, he moved. She looked back at him.
“Sir! Mr. Kaneonuskatew! My name is Diane and I want to get you to the hospital! You need medical care!”
He lifted his head and met her gaze. The rest of his face was still a stone mask. He had high prominent cheekbones, and sunken cheeks that were etched with deep wrinkles. His bony eye sockets that looked ready to give up their grip on his eyeballs if not for the leathery skin holding them in check. His bushy grey eyebrows were the only hair on his face. Every part of him looked sunken and caved in. skin tightly wrapped around bone with no muscle or fat visible on him at all. Then he spoke.
“Woman. You have made a great mistake. You must leave me here. Go now!”
He lifted his arm halfway up from the cot, and pointed a bony finger at the door.
She gaped at him.
“Mr. Kaneonuskatew, No! You need help. They are abusing you here. Please, cooperate with me.”
“This will not end well. I am a beast, and you have opened my cage. You have unleashed a great evil today. Please close the door before it is too late.”
With that, he turned on the cot, and fell into a fetal position, facing away from her.
Exasperated, she stood up straight and started for the door, meaning to call the authorities from upstairs. She went through the door quickly calling back to him that help was on the way. She was halfway down the boiler room hall when she heard him start wailing. A voice too loud and too deep to come from that straw man. She stopped in her tracks and turned to go and assist him. That is when she heard the awful ripping sound like fabric and leather tearing in a dozen places and the wails became something else. A growl, deep and low. She hesitated, not sure what she was going to see.
Before she had the chance to look, a dark shape emerged from behind the steam from the bad valve, rushed forward faster than a man could move. She was flat on her back before she realize that she had been struck. Dazed, she tipped her head back, seeing the basement upside down, and trying to get a glimpse of what it was that hit her. She couldn’t see a thing in the gloom of the boiler room and next she heard three quick loud heavy clanks on the metal staircase, and then the door at the top blasting open. After that, distant screams.
Beaulieu was outside the facility, still running, but slowing. His breath was coming in shallow gasps now, and both of his sides hurt. He had gotten eight blocks from the care facility, and was ready to collapse. his legs felt like rubber, and his heart was racing. He was shaking from the adrenaline firing through his veins. Finally he stopped and collapsed on a bench. he was on the verge of hyperventilating. He flopped sideways onto the bench, and his body felt ruined. Now that he was off his feet, his legs started cramping up. His legs were now in twin vices.
His breathing was slowing coming back. He surveyed his options, looking up and down the street wildly searching for some kind of cover or protection. If only he hadn’t left his car keys in his desk and fled so fast on foot. He felt exposed and extraordinarily vulnerable. That is when he heard the first screams from the facility. He pushed himself up from the bench and forced himself to keep moving. He was limping wildly now, because of the cramps in his legs. In between ragged breaths he was cursing Crowe for leading that woman down to the cell.
Diane had gotten back onto her feet and around the corner into Kaneonuskatew’s cell. the cot was overturned, and the bucket had been spilled leaving his filth to run towards the drain in the middle of the floor. his cotton pants were rags, soaking up the urine spilled from the bucket. And there was something else. She stared at it for ten seconds, not registering what it was. When she did, she let out a scream.
It was his skin. He had cast it off in several ragged pieces. There was no blood, it was like how a snake sheds its skin. She could recognize the part that had been his face, it was oriented upside down to her, the mouth twisted in the shape of that howl that she had heard him let out. she turned and stumbled out of the door of the cell. she was barely able to hold back from vomiting, but her face was ashen and drenched with sweat. Her legs were weak. It took her great effort to get in a standing position and start down the boiler room again.
She now understood the ripping sound. It wasn’t just his pants, but his entire epidermis coming off in pieces. But where was he now? What was he now?
Upstairs the screams continued. She heard banging sounds as well. and all at once there was the sound of glass breaking followed by an alarm that brayed almost loud enough to drown out the screams. Almost.
Several minutes passed before she was able to climb the steps and emerge from the employee only door. She was fighting the heat from the boiler, as well as her shock. Once she emerged from the door, she realized that she had ascended into hell. The cold of the facility washed over her, chilling her more than it normally would due to the perspiration that was covering her body. It no longer smelled antiseptic here. It smelled like death, a smell she never encountered until now, but would never forget.
The hot noon wind was carrying the sounds of screaming and alarms across the mile that Beaulieu had ran to the bus station. He was trying to buy a ticket to Taos like he instructed Diane to do. Bystanders were starting to become concerned about the sounds coming from the facility. Several sirens from police and fire now joined the symphony of chaos, and two police cars came screaming past the bus station’s front windows. The woman at the counter was now moving out towards the window to get a look at the emergency.
“Miss! I need a ticket! Please, help me, it’s an emergency goddamn it!”
Beaulieu was holding out a fist full of cash and pleading with the woman. Her attention was solely on the window and she was still moving in that direction. He gave up and just ran to the boarding area, and started trying to flag one of the drivers to let him on and to take off immediately.
The screams were now coming from the streets, followed by gunshots. A cold sweat broke on his forehead, and he again started running. The knowledge that he can not outrun the Skinwalker is all too real to him. Beaulieu was putting everything into his run. He was breathing in uneven rasps that were not giving him enough oxygen. He chanced a look back, and he saw it. It was three blocks behind him.
Diane was in a daze. She had already walked past four dead residents. Blood was splattered in wide arcs on the walls, and were now starting to drip and run down the walls. Those she had walked past seemed to be killed in a hap hazard way, a single gaping wound across the neck or abdomen. One man’s face was half peeled off. She thought his name was Raoul, but she couldn’t be sure. The state that Daniel Goff was found in suddenly made sense. The police sirens were now audible over the alarm. The screaming had stopped at least, or more accurately, the screaming had moved outside. When she reached the front lobby, she saw Crowe sitting in one of the chairs covered in blood. He had a calm demeanor and seemed totally at ease with the current situation. His head was angled forward as if he was dozing off.
“Crowe, you monster! What were you thinking? You’re insane!”
She had stormed up to him and was starting to pull back to hit him. It was the only thing that made any sense to her. It was Crowe who was to blame, him and Beaulieu for caging the beast. And herself for unleashing it. Now that it was out, she could only think of hurting the man who gave her the key. He tipped his head back revealing a massive wound. His throat had been ripped out, and she was looking so deep into the wound, she could see part of his spinal cord. On his face was a smile. He tipped his head further back, which lolled backwards at an impossible angle. It seemed ready to fall off. It rested against the back of the chair, and didn’t move again.
Beaulieu had gained another half a block since catching a glimpse of the skinwalker. His heart felt ready to explode out of his rib cage. He could see people in front of him, down the street a few hundred feet, fleeing in terror. He could also hear Kaneonuskatew running towards him. The beast made no growls or vocalizations. He could only footsteps as Kaneonuskatew quickly closed the gap. Each footfall was heavy and had a dull, flat barefoot slap sound followed each time by the click of his toenails on the cement.
Beaulieu heard himself say “No” almost under his breath. This was it, he knew it. Finally, he stopped moving, and quickly turned, raising his arms in an almost perfunctory self defense gesture. He saw Kaneonuskatew right in front of him, his right claw raised high over his head ready to strike. He heard a gunshot ring out, and started to scream. The downward slash of Kaneonuskatew’s massive clawed arm cut the scream short.
Diane backed slowly away from Crowe until she reached the front wall of the waiting room. Her senses could scarcely take in all of it at once. The alarm, the gunshots, the sight of Crowe and the other residents that Kaneonuskatew had painted the walls with, the sounds of screams and shouts from police outside. All the blood left her face, and she felt like she was going to crumble under the weight of it all. Her arms started to feel numb, and so did her face. Her mouth was dry, she was shaking uncontrollably. It was this point that her bladder let go and she felt the warmth of her urine cascading down her legs. Suddenly she realized that the cacophony that she had been listening to had changed. The screams and shouts and gunshots were no longer getting further away, and were now getting closer. Before she had time to think, it crashed through the front window.
Kaneonuskatew the wolfman was now standing in front of her. In his right claw was a fist full of long black hair that led down to a heavy, red, fleshy orb that had a face with a frozen expression of terror on it. He was holding Beaulieu’s dismembered head by the ponytail.
Kaneonuskatew was massive. At least five times the size of the emaciated person she had met in the boiler room. Her mind tried to consider the logic of how that could be, but it was shut down. No coherent thoughts were being assembled right now. Her brain was on hold.
He had the proportions of a bodybuilder, but was impossibly sized, probably seven feet tall. She could see his one brown eye and one icy blue eye. Grey matted fur hung off of his body, and smelled horrible. His claws and hands were completely covered in blood up to his elbows as if he plunged his forearms into a barrel of thick dark red paint. he was completely wolfen in appearance over a massive human form. The only human flesh still visible were his feet, which were actually just the remnants of the skin he had shed. He was still wearing it like a pair of socks that he had squeezed into despite them being several sizes too small. His toenails, long and black, and razor sharp had poked through the front of the foot skin and were completely exposed. A couple of long tendrils of skin still hung on, travelling up from the feet to halfway up his calves. The shredded skin took on the appearance of a pair of gristly sock garters.
Kaneonuskatew had been shot a number of times, ripping through the hair and flesh, only none of the gunshot wounds appeared to be bleeding. It was as if the police had shot into dead meat instead of a living creature. In fact, she had started to realize there were pieces missing from him. whole sections of muscle and skin and fur had fallen off of him. He was literally falling apart, piece by piece.
She finally felt a surge of adrenaline as her body woke up and decide it was time to take flight. She spun wildly to start running away from him deeper into the main hall. She only got a couple of feet before she slid in a puddle of blood left by the body of Mr. Ortiz, who had been disemboweled, and went down with a smack sound flat on her front. She cursed herself for her lack of power to get away from this creature. She felt done. Her body was cemented to the floor.
Kaneonuskatew started to walk forward, slowly, and not in a predatory way. He looked like he was drunk. He started to look weak. He dropped Beaulieu’s head, and it make a sick thump on the tile, and then slid in the gore, like when an ice cube is dropped on a wet surface. His posture started to soften and get slack, and even more ragged pieces of hairy flesh fell off his body like caked on mud that had dried enough to peel off under the pull of gravity.
Diane had rolled over on her back, and looked up at him dimly, feeling hatred not for what he was, or what she thought he might do to her, but because he was more powerful than her and had the capacity to kill her with almost no effort.
What she saw shocked her yet again. Her mind barely had room for more wonder. She realized that under the ragged pieces that were falling off of him stood the skinny frame of his human self. Just like he shed his human skin to let out the wolf, he was now shedding his wolf body to let the human form out again.
The police had now entered, and three officers now stood in the entrance, opening fire on Kaneonuskatew. They hadn't bothered with any warnings, as they have been firing on him since they first realized what he was. Pieces of wolf flesh now flew off of him as he took the full brunt of the barrage against him.
The smell of gunpowder filled the room quickly, reminding Diane of fireworks. The thunder coming from the guns drowned out every other sound including the alarm and the howling of Kaneonuskatew. She covered her ears and closed her eyes and waited.
After a full ten seconds, the roaring stopped, as she assumed they were out of ammo. she slowly opened her eyes and saw the naked human form of Kaneonuskatew standing there limply in front of the police. A few large pieces of the wolf form still clung to his body in small patches. She could tell the transformation was complete. It was hard to put her finger on it, but she now felt like the form in front of her was totally human. She sensed the presence of the wolf creature had departed. She hadn’t realized the feeling that was in the air while he was the wolf, until it was gone.
The three police officers, two male and one female, stood there looking at him. They looked shell shocked. They were in a state of denial that he could still be standing after the barrage he was just subjected to. One of the male officers started to speak.
“Fuh-Freez..” He stammered.
“Fuck that.” the other officer said, and moved forward brandishing his nightstick. He seemed to be going in for the kill, with restraint the furthest thing from his mind. He brought the stick down hard to Kaneonuskatew’s head, cracking it easily. The sound of his skull splitting was wet and solid. Kaneonuskatew’s elderly human frame gave away immediately and crumpled straight down to the ground like a marionette whose strings were cut.
“Jesus Christ, Kev!” The female officer had stepped forward and grabbed the shoulder of the officer with the nightstick.
The other male office had shrunk back against the side wall, and slide down to a sitting position. He had tears running down his cheeks. He was white as a chalk. Officer Kev dropped the nightstick into the puddle of blood that had started out 100% Ortiz but was now mixed with that of Kaneonuskatew.
Diane felt a surge of relief that turned to anger. She had somehow found her legs at about the time the other male officer had lost his. Her fists were balled in pure rage, and she felt like ripping something apart. Adrenaline flowed so freely in her body she felt like she could taste it. Her body shook. She looked around the room wildly, and started to actually absorb the sight of the carnage. It looked like a badly done set for a horror movie. Blood everywhere. The rage instantly left her. After it was gone, she felt like she had been caught in a wave. A psychic shock wave that had been released from Kaneonuskatew when he died.
She knelt down in front of Kaneonuskatew, and now he looked more like a victim than a predator. the feelings that she had for him when she first saw him in the cell started to return. She started to see him as just as tragic as the others that had died here. His body was so limp and frail that she could not imagine that he had been host to the powerful creature that they had just witnessed.
She looked into his open eyes, and realized that they were now both brown. The icy blue eye had gone with the beast.
The aftermath of the event took days to sort out. The police had called in agencies from all over the state. Her boss from the health department was even in town for meetings regarding shutting down the facility. She had been sent here for grief counselling of others, and now she herself had met with a psychologist along with the other survivors to determine if she was showing early signs of PTSD. She had met with countless police, FBI and other agent to give her account. She had been interviewed before he was even able to wash the blood out of her hair.
Now, ten days later, it was looking like she was finally able to to go home. She was packed and standing in the lobby of the bus station.
“Are you sure you are all set?” Irene asked her.
Irene was the female officer from the last minutes of the event. Over the last ten days, they had struck up a friendship while wading through all the aftermath and cleanup. Diane was happy to have had someone in this town that she could lean on during all the stress and discomfort of the interviews and evaluations.
“More than ready.” She replied.
Diane was boarding the bus.
“I’ll call. I would say I would come back and visit, but I never want to set foot in this town again.”
“I don’t blame you.” Irene smiled. “Safe trip back, take care.”
The door slide shut as she was finding her seat. She grabbed a window seat so that she could give Irene a little wave as they pulled out. She saw Irene standing by the open passenger side door of her squad car. Her partner, Kev, was behind the wheel, his face a stoney mask with no emotion. Diane and Irene exchanged waves, and just as they were pulling away, Diane glanced at Officer Kev. He had taken off the aviator sunglasses that were always perched on his face. His stone expression softened into a smile. Then she saw, one of his eyes had changed color. He now had one brown eye, and one the color of blue ice.
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