You Don't Wanna Know....
Summary: A murder investigation
goes strange when a young woman, who knows more about a murder than she should,
shows up at Cascade P.D.'s Major Crimes Unit.
Disclaimer: All characters from The Sentinel
belong to Pet Fly, I'm just borrowing them and having a little fun.
posted April 15, 1998
Revised: June 15, 1999 (Many thanks to Stargazer
for her time and patience during the beta process!)
Cat to her friends and coworkers, had been working for Imaginet Software developing
web page content and documentation for her employer for several months.
particular trip involved meeting and working for the next three weeks with the
programmers in Cascade, to understand a new software, and allow her to translate
the geek speak into something everyone else could understand.
This was her
first visit to Imaginet's Cascade office. Heck, it was her first time out to the
West Coast. She was looking forward to meeting people she'd only gotten to know
through email and conference calls for the last few months.
It had been
a long flight. It was early yet, but a six-hour flight and three-hour time difference
were hard to ignore. She had a 9 a.m. meeting, and wanted to be in top form. After
unpacking, Cat decided a relaxing warm bath and an early night were just what
she needed. Turning on the TV low, for background noise she wandered into the
Relaxed, she lay back in the tub, closed her eyes and realize
that she was a little more relaxed than possibly she should be. She found herself
being pulled down deeper and deeper into a darkness into which she'd never wanted
to return to.
Cat found herself fighting back a scream of horror with the
images that started flashing through her mind. It was a dark, lonely alley. A
woman lay dead among the garbage. There was blood all over her, yet there wasn't
enough for the wounds she knew were there. "Oh, God," she thought
to herself. "She wasn't the first. She won't be the last. Now, how in the
hell do I know that?
She forced her eyes open and tried to will the
images away. No. It was just a dream. She lifted herself out of the now cold water,
trembling from fear, not the cold. She fought for composure while she toweled
She pulled on her robe and walked out of the bathroom, only
to feel the room slide sideways as she watched in horror at the familiar images
of an alley, police, and what definitely looked like a body bag being loaded into
a coroner's wagon flickered across the television screen.
She didn't realize
that she spoke out loud when she moaned, "Please, God, no. Not again..."
Two hours previously, Detective Jim Ellison and his partner Blair Sandburg,
were sure they were headed home for the night. How wrong they had been. Who knew
as they started out of the Bullpen, that the young woman currently sitting across
from them, was downstairs, about to turn Cascade's latest murder into something
from the Twilight Zone?
At first, Jim had wanted to dismiss Catherine Alexander
as a crank. But there was something about her eyes, added to that, the fact she
was constantly balling her hands up into fists, and causing them to go white knuckled,
she was fighting for control, and so far she'd won.
Sandburg, however, hadn't
done as well. They listened to what she had to say only brought back the images
of the murder scene they'd investigated earlier that evening. He got paler by
The real problem with all of this was, there were details that
hadn't been released to the press. The site had been contained quickly. The press
hadn't had a chance to view the body or the scene.
Ms. Alexander was able
to describe that and more. All victims were female. She gave details like the
body had been mutilated and descriptions of where the mutilations occurred on
the body. Given paper and pen, she was able to draw where the wounds were located
on the current body and a second body she had described as not yet found. She
described bite marks, areas where flesh had been scored or cut away while the
victim was still alive.
She also indicated that the victims had not died
of the wounds, though, eventually they might have. Instead, the murderer had strangled
the victims with his bare hands. There were marks around the throat area that
would eventually be identified as the means of death.
There had been blood
all over the victim, but not enough blood at the scene to have been where the
victim had been killed. Cat described the knife that caused most of those injuries,
and how the other injuries were obtained. The autopsy would either prove or disprove
That left her as either an eyewitness or a suspect. But was
where the whole thing slipped into the Twilight Zone. It was impossible for her
to have been either.
According to the boarding passes and airline tickets
she presented, she had been landing in Denver at the time approximated for the
body being dumped in the alley. Cat stated that she had been checking into her
hotel room at the time Ellison and Sandburg arrived at the crime scene. She had
claimed it was all in a vision, and that images were continuing to come to her.
make matters even worse, she claimed that a another murder had taken place about
six weeks previously and the body of a woman found in a ditch outside of Cascade
was the first of three murders. That murder was currently unsolved, but there
was no mutilation mentioned, she claimed. DNA evidence would either prove or disprove
what she said.
Cat claimed the second murder was closer in appearances to
the current one. The body hadn't been found yet, but she indicated that it would
be found it in the city dump. Jim wasn't looking forward to that particular part
of the investigation. But considering everything she'd told them that was right,
only known by the police and the murderer, it had to be checked out. Maybe he
could talk Simon into assigning someone else to that particular detail....
said another victim would be found in the next couple of weeks if they didn't
find the murderer before then. If Sandburg could have gotten paler, he would have
when Ms. Alexander stated the next victim would be a student from Rainier University....
put in a call into the Metropolitan Toronto PD to start a background check on
Ms. Alexander. Apparently, the person he should speak to was an Detective Inspector
Michael Young. He wasn't going to be in the office until later, so Jim made a
note to call the Inspector when the he came back into the office in the morning
to complete his report. Ellison found it interesting that Detective Young had
made a point of routing all incoming inquiries about Ms. Alexander directly to
him, instead of having the calls handled by anyone else.
Blair sat quietly in the truck staring off into space, while his mind
raced. He wondered how many favours he could call in the Anthropology's department
office. He could obfuscate a little, and tell them he was looking for a student
who'd been trying to get in touch with him. Ms. Alexander, or Cat as she'd asked
them to call her, had given Ellison and Sandburg a name of the next victim, Sheila
The only problem was - that's all they had in addition to the
fact she was a student at Rainier. How many Sheila McDonnells were there on campus?
Cat couldn't even narrow it down to what field of study this Sheila would be found.
Rainier wasn't Washington State, but there were enough students that it could
cause a problem.
"I guess I should be glad the last name wasn't
Smith, Jones or Brown - that could have been an even worse nightmare." thought
Blair. "Speaking of nightmares, how the heck does she do it? I
thought Jim and I were going to have a collective heart attack when she turned
to us just before leaving and shot us that parting comment."
the way, Detective, I like your cat." And then she grinned. "You know,
the big black one that's been sitting beside you all through this session? Hope
he's house broken. I'd hate to see what he uses as a scratching post or have to
clean the litterbox." And with that, she had left.
his train of thought, "I would have been suspicious if we hadn't just
been through over two hours of hearing not only a description of the body. The
alley it had been found in. The revelation of two more victims.
Even the name of the next victim. How does she do that?
what a mischievous grin! Did it ever light up her eyes. I was amazed she was able
to show a sense of humour after what she'd been telling us. It must be a defense
mechanism to help her cope. I wonder how many times she's been through something
* * *
Cat sagged in the back of
the cab. "Well, you've committed yourself to this," she thought.
"You're either going to save the day, ruin your reputation, lose your job,
or die trying to do anyone or all them.
She thought back to the interview
with Detective Ellison and his partner. She'd felt bad for the younger man. Apparently,
the crime scene and the body had been as rough on him as the images of them were
Judging from Detective Ellison's cool demeanor, Cat guessed it was
possible to compartmentalize enough not to show it, but she knew he was affected
by the crime just as much as they were. He'd been the one thing that had kept
her steady through the whole reporting period. His steady gaze had held hers on
more than one occasion, and she'd been able to draw strength from it. He'd been
her landline in that awful mess.
That he'd been surprised to hear her story
wasn't a surprise to her. She knew well enough from the police back home, she
was considered a crank, or a crackpot, until proven right. Then she became a suspect.
It had to be the most frustrating experience to go through. Maybe she should just
change her name to Cassandra and be done with it. Rarely did anyone seem to take
her seriously, and when they did, the real trouble started for her.
close last time, had she come to losing her job? How many people she had thought
were friends disappeared when the trouble started? Finally, when things settled
down enough around her, she changed jobs to start over. Now it was starting all
over again. But her conscience wouldn't let her rest. If someone died because
of her inaction, she'd be just as guilty as the one who committed the crime. And
that, she couldn't live with.
As the interview progressed, earlier that
evening, she knew Detective Ellison would have to rule out crackpot. Not only
because of evidence that she'd not even been in the city when the murder took
place (thank goodness she hadn't taken the plane ticket or boarding passes from
her purse!) but she suspected the fact she was answering questions before he could
even ask them was unsettling to him - it normally was.
The cab stopped at
the hotel. Cat paid the fare and entered the hotel. She knew that she'd be hearing
from the police again. They always followed up as to what she had told them was
proven accurate. OR: They always followed up on her information, checked her out,
until what she had told them was proven accurate. Normally the police were looking
for more answers. She'd traded business cards with Detective Ellison, and advised
him that the cellular number would be available, though the other numbers listed
wouldn't be checked as often, since she was away from her office. The only other
local number she had was the hotel. He had made note of the information, and she
was free to leave.
As she stepped into the elevator, she allowed herself
a small secret smile. Why she'd commented on the black jaguar she'd seen in the
room, knowing it was a spirit animal, was beyond her. But she knew she had to
say something. And to be honest, the look on both their faces had been worth it.
she thought as she fished out her room key, the animal spirit was just
a way to punctuate the whole interview with one heck of an exclamation point....
looked at her watch as the elevator doors opened on her floor and she stepped
out. Ugh, it's 4:30 a.m. back home, which is... 1:30 a.m. local time.
The meeting is in a little over seven hours away, I've got to get some sleep.
I only hope that the images don't come back to haunt me in my sleep or I'm going
to be a wreck.
* * *
Jim kept giving his
partner sidelong glances on the way home. It was unusual for Sandburg to be quiet
that long. This was Mr. Bounce himself, and he wasn't bouncing.
awfully quiet, Chief." said Jim.
"Just trying to figure out what
story I'm going to give the department's Admin. Assistant so I can get the info
on all the Sheila McDonnells on campus without going through official routes"
replied Blair. "It could save us time. The information is available under
normal circumstances to university staff and faculty. I could get phone numbers,
addresses and course lists then we could start narrowing down the field to current
Blair looked at Jim as they pulled into the trucks
parking space, "Thought about what we're going to tell Simon in the morning?"
Blair asked with a grin.
"I'm trying not to think about it. I don't
even want to think about what his reaction's going to be."
how much do you think she knows?" queried Blair as he closed the door to
the truck and hurried to catch up to his partner who was headed into their building.
what, Chief? The murders? I think she's been as up front as she can."
no. The *cat*, man. You, being the Sentinel. Do you think she knows?"
what she's told us so far, and the hint she dropped, I suspect she knows something.
But how much, only *she* knows right now."
* * *
looked at the report from previous nights interview with Ms. Alexander.
Sandburg, as usual, had done a terrific job of it. Ms. Alexander came across in
the report as an informant. Not as a nutcase. Not a crank. But someone who had
come forward with information that they might be able to use. Now all they had
to do was break the news about their informant to Simon. Jim knew Simon was just
going to love that.
Jim closed the report, and motioned to Sandburg. "Let's
go talk to the Captain." They rose from their chairs in unison, and headed
for the door to Captain Simon Banks office. Hesitating for just a moment,
Jim finally knocked on the open door.
"Captain? Could we have a word
"Whats it about, Ellison?"
murder last night. I thought it was best we bring you up to date on the case as
"Okay. Come in then," Banks said, motioning them
with his ever present cup of coffee.
Jim and Blair went in. The shorter
man made sure the door was closed before Jim began talking. Simon watched that,
and wondered what was up, and why they felt the need to close the door for this
"Ellison, whats going on?" Simon asked once they
were both seated.
"Weve had an informant come forward. This person
has given us information only the PD had, that had not been available to the press.
In addition, there may be two other victims. One that is currently marked as unsolved
that occurred about six weeks ago. The other, apparently the body has not yet
been recovered. The informant has indicated that the body would be found in the
"Who is this informant? Is this informant reliable?"
Jim gave a quick look to Blair; "Im in the process
of checking the informants background. The informants name is Catherine
Alexander. She works for a company called Imaginet as a member of their Toronto
offices Online Business department. She arrived in town last night for a
series of meetings with members of the companys Cascade office."
sat up straighter in his chair and fired questions at Ellison. "Last night?
When last night? How does she know about the other murders?"
to the boarding passes and airline ticket, she departed Denver at approximately
8:10 p.m. Mountain time last night. She arrived in Cascade around 8:50 p.m. Pacific
time last night. She had checked into her hotel by 9:30 p.m."
a second." interrupted Simon as he took his glasses off to rub the bridge
of his nose. "You mean to tell me, your informant wasnt even in the
city when this murder took place, and was practically only arriving in Cascade
when you arrived on the crime scene?" He gave Jim an incredulous look.
sir." Jim replied, noncommittally.
"Then how did she know about
any of this?"
Jim took a deep breath. "Captain, she claims she
saw it, in a vision."
Simon sat back heavily in his chair, making it
creak ominously. "Now Ive heard everything! Do you really expect me
to believe this?"
"Sir, with the level of detail shes given,
it would be difficult to ignore what she has had to say. Ive put in a call
to Homicide, to see if theyve had any unsolved cases within the last six
weeks that match either of the descriptions shes given us. They think they
have one that matches. Ill ask forensics to go over the evidence of that
case and compare it to the evidence from the scene last night. I have a contact
name in Metropolitan Toronto PD to ask about Ms. Alexander. Apparently, they know
her and I should have a better idea afterwards as to whether or not she can be
considered a reliable informant. Ill keep you informed of our progress."
there anything else?" asked Simon, spreading his hands out in front of him,
"There is one other thing, Captain. Ms. Alexander has also
given us the name of someone who may be the next victim. The woman in question
is a student at Rainier."
"She gave you the *name* and gender
of the next victim? Are you sure this crime hasn't already been committed?"
thundered a skeptical Simon.
Jim defended Cat to his captain and countered
with, "Simon, we've got to take her seriously. She's our only source of information
right now. And, frankly, Sir, my gut feeling it to trust her." Simon nodded
reluctantly, since he had learned to trust Jim's "gut feelings" in the
"Well do everything we can to verify the information, and
coordinate with the campus police to ensure this persons safety."
What about the body in the dump? Are you okay to handle that?" asked Simon.
should be alright. Not a job Im looking forward to, but given enough manpower,
we should be able to locate the body if there is one."
is going to be at the university while you do this, make sure you take Taggart
with you. Ill have Rafe and Brown go as well. Coordinate with forensics
so they have people standing by, as well as the coroners office *if* the
body is found."
Simon sat behind his desk, shaking his head as Ellison
and Sandburg left his office and ruminated on the latest information. "Is
there anything else that can happen? Are we due for the apocalypse yet? If so,
I get the impression these two were going to be on the spot for it, and they'll
be dragging me along for the adventure."
He'd feel a lot better
if there was something of more substance than a vision to support the information
this Alexander woman had given them. Simon was primarily a black and white type
of man. Give him concrete evidence, not paranormal evidence, and he'd believe
it wholeheartedly. It had been hard enough to accept Jim's sentinel ability at
first. This was something else altogether.
Ellison had already requested
the evidence on file for the murder victim found six weeks ago be checked against
that of previous night's victim. That left the search of the city dump for the
alleged victim number two. Ellison was going to coordinate the team searching
the city dump, while Sandburg tried to get information on the "next"
victim using his connections at the university.
* * *
dialed the number he had been given for Detective Young of the Metropolitan Toronto
PDs 52 Division.
"52 Division. Detective Young speaking."
Young, this is Detective Ellison of the Cascade PD in Washington State."
I received a message you called earlier this morning, about Catherine Alexander
I believe? How may I help you?" Detective Young offered.
can you tell me about her?" Jim asked. "Shes come to us with some
unusual information and....quite frankly, I guess what I need to know is..."
she a nutcase or is she the real thing?" Detective Young finished, patiently.
Jim said warily.
"Detective Ellison, I have one piece of advice for
you. Listen to her. If we had, when she came to us a year ago, one person would
still be alive today. I can forward you a copy of the file on the case she was
involved in, if it would be of any help."
"That information would
"I have to admit, Im surprised shes
come forward again, after what she went through the last time."
dont follow you. What happened?"
"There was a burglary ring,
and she had predicted the location of the next robbery and the death of a security
guard three nights before it happened. Once it happened, she had to be considered
a suspect. But it turned out shed been right all along. If we had listened
to her, that security guard would be alive now. It also left her life in quite
a mess. Thats why Im surprised she got involved in another case, the
fallout from the case here cost her most of the people she had thought of as friends
and nearly her job."
Jim wondered what Detective Young was referring
to and speculated whether Cat bring it up herself.
* * *
of the new features we've built into this release...." droned the Project
Advisor. Or at least he seemed to be droning.
Between the lack of sleep
and everything that had happened the previous night, her concentration just wasn't
there. She hadn't been able to get a restful sleep. The images kept playing repeatedly
like a really bad movie.
She had gotten up after a couple of hours of tossing
and turning, hooked up her laptop and checked her email. From there she started
re-reading some of the files she'd brought with her to bring her up to speed on
She had breakfast at 6:30 a.m. local time, then wandered back
up to her room afterwards to pull everything together she'd need for the day,
and try to ready herself for what was going to be a demanding day.
help that Cat knew she was waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. It was just
a matter of time before she heard from Detective Ellison or his partner Mr. Sandburg
(or should she say Jim and Blair?).
The call would come, and she bet it
would come at the worst possible time for her, more than likely while in a meeting.
Not that she had a problem speaking with either of them, it was just she didn't
want the entire Cascade office knowing what was going on, because it would go
back to her own office. The questions, the looks, and suspicions at work were
not what she wanted. She was more than just a little glad she'd invested in the
vibrating battery for her cellphone as a result...
* * *
Blair!" Debra called as she came out of Professor Aronsons office.
how did you make out with that search? Any luck with the student record I was
looking for?" Blair responded as he walked down the hall with her towards
the administrative office.
"Yeppers. Got five Sheila McDonnells. Four
are current students. I've printed off their records, including class schedules.
One is a night student in business, so it's doubtful she's the one you're looking
for, unless she's planning a change in her major, or needs an elective. The other
three are full time students - two in sciences, and one in arts. The print-outs
are in your mailbox." Then she added with a grin, "By the way - you
"You know it Debra."
"Just remember that
when I need to arrange proctors for exams at the end of the term."
smiled to himself and thought, "Well something is going right. This is
do-able. Soon, with any luck, we'll know who's being targeted by this sicko, if
Cat was right." He followed Debra into the office, stopping at his mailbox
and pulled out the promised envelope.
"Ill see you later. Thanks
Blair returned to his own office, envelope in hand eager to
check the print outs himself. "Leave it to Debra, he thought
as he pulled out the sheets, shes highlighted all the important
info, name, address, phone numbers, major, current courses and their room locations."
After speaking with the manager of the site, Jim stood in the middle
of a path through the city dump.
They had been lead to where the garbage
would have been dumped during the approximated period of time. (Yes, they actually
did have a plan on where garbage was dumped, and could approximate when and where
as Ellison had been told smugly by the dump manager.)
There were approximately
12 men and women at the City Dump as part of the search team. Three uniformed
officers teamed up with each member of the Major Crimes Unit. Each member of the
team was armed with rubber gloves, masks and rubber boots.
The smells in
the place would overwhelm just about anyone at anytime. For a sentinel, a person
with heightened senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and most of all smell,
the city dump had the potential to be pure hell. Even the filter in the mask didnt
seem to be doing its job.
Detective James Ellison, a sentinel, was also
the one person who could find the needle in the haystack of a search that Cat
Alexander had instigated. So, he did what he did best. Jim slowly started to process
the information his heightened sense of smell brought to him. Filtering out the
smells one by one.
Sorting through the smells waste and decay, he found
what he was looking for. Faintly. He wound his way through the maze of paths to
where the scent was strongest, through the tons of garbage that were created daily
by a city the size of Cascade.
Jim called the other teams to help search
the likeliest mountain of rubbish. Following the unmistakable stench of decaying
flesh he was able to almost pinpoint the location of the body. It shouldnt
take too long to uncover it.
Then he dialed down his sense of smell in self-protection.
He desperately wanted something to wash his mouth out because of the taste that
kept settling in it when he tried to breathe through his mouth to cut down on
the smell. He knew he wouldnt feel like eating anything for supper, breakfast,
lunch, or ever again, with the memory of the foul odors. God, he wished Sandburg
was there. "He would get the easy way out, checking student records at
the university," he grumbled to himself silently.
hours, they realized their grim search was finally over when the shout from above
"We've got something!" was heard.
She was been right
again, thought Jim who took no pleasure in that knowledge. Thankfully,
the grim task had only taken hours, not the days or even weeks, it could have.
went over the spot to pick up any evidence that they could. Considering the garbage,
it was a job he didnt envy them. The coroner's team would then transport
the body for an autopsy, which was scheduled immediately, followed them. That
report would then be checked against the other two to confirm what was beginning
to look like another match.
* * *
"Want a little
more saki, Cat?" offered Dan Adams.
"Sorry, but I think I've had
enough, especially if I plan to do some work tonight. You can pass a little of
that tempura and daikon root over here, though. Ebi, anyone?"
the shrimp over here, Cat" replied Rob.
Just as she started to pass
the plate of sashimi to Rob on her right, the cellphone chose to vibrate. Quickly
passing off the plate, and grabbing the phone from her waistband, she checked
the number of the incoming call.
Can I put you on hold for a sec?"
"Sure," said Jim, hearing
the noise around her.
"Excuse me, people. Gotta take a call,"
she explained as she rose from her seat to step away.
"Got a hot date?"
called Joyce Whelan from the other end of the table.
"Trust me, you
don't wanna know," replied Cat. If only it were that pleasant, she thought,
remembering a certain pair of blue eyes that had helped keep her grounded less
than 24 hours ago. Was it really that short a time?
Going out to the foyer
of the restaurant near the pay phones, Cat was finally able to take the call.
about that, I'm having dinner with some of the people from the office, and they're
a bit noisy. Please, as I asked before, call me Cat." With a wistful look
back at the table, she could see other patrons watching the group. They were oblivious
to everyone else, and obviously enjoying themselves. "I needed to step away
so I could hear you. I take it we need to talk?"
"Got it in one,"
he replied. Damn she was good. Had she just anticipated his call, or did she really
know what they needed to talk to her about?
"Hmmmm. I more than likely
won't be back at the hotel until sometime after 8:00, unless you want me to meet
you somewhere else, like the station?"
"Either is good, which
is your preference?" offered Jim. He preferred to keep their talk private,
however, he let her have the choice due to the subject matter and her abilities.
He was still incredulous of what she had claimed to have seen and predicted. Jim
didnt want others to harass Cat because they were skeptical about psychic
abilities. He wondered if would he have faired any better, if, because of his
sentinel abilities, he were to come forward the way she had in similar circumstances?
about the hotel then? I'm at the Sheraton Suites, suite 510. What time should
I expect you?"
"Would 9:00 p.m. give you enough time without rushing
"It would. Thanks. I appreciate the thought. See
you then." Cat headed back to the table to finish her dinner, and rescue
what tempura was left on her plate. Someone had filched a couple of shrimp from
her plate, but she noticed they'd left the octopus...