Cyber Antics chapter 11
By Penelope Downs, AKA Doc
Disclaimer: The characters are mine and I own the copyright. Use without my permission is prohibited. Any resemblance to a person, dead or alive, is unintentional. If you under 18 years of age, are offended by same sex romances, or it's illegal to read about it where you live, stop now and read no further.
As Catherine and Torrey entered the suite of offices, the receptionist waylaid them, telling them to head directly to Robert MacEwen's office. Catherine was certain that Neil's news was bad; that the body that was found floating in the Potomac probably was that of the missing Edwardo. This case was taking on new dimensions at an alarming rate. She wished that she could go back in time to the day that Robert MacEwen dumped it on her; she idly thought she would have done things differently and would have threatened to quit if he didn't back down from his insistence on her handling it. Then she turned her head and caught sight of Torrey and realized that if she had done that she would have lost the opportunity to get to know the bright and beautiful woman. 'No, I guess that wouldn't be a viable option. Despite my discomfort at handling a criminal case, I wouldn't give up the chance of getting to know her. I wouldn't change a thing now that I think about it.' She stole another quick glance at Torrey and smiled as they headed into the eye of the storm.
Robert MacEwen's door was closed, but his secretary, Marie, motioned for Torrey and Catherine to enter while she continued a phone conversation. Catherine stepped up to his door and opened it without pausing. MacEwen and Neil were sitting huddled next to each other at the conference table, deeply engrossed in conversation. However, they stopped in mid-sentence when they noticed the two women entering the room. Ever the gentleman, Robert MacEwen stood and moved to pull chairs out for them. Smiling, he said. "Neil was just beginning to relay some dreadfully morbid facts when you ladies walked in. Neil, please be so kind as to begin again so that Catherine and Torrey can hear everything."
Neil slouched back in his chair and rubbed his chin before speaking. "Well, I hate to be ghoulish, but I think we all should know the facts. It may help us determine what in the hell is going on. If what I'm about to say upsets you, I'm sorry." With that, he took a swig of coffee and then proceeded to recount what he knew about the body at the morgue. "It seems that one of the high school rowing crews was out on the river early this morning, practicing. As they headed toward Cabin John, one of the people in the barge noticed something odd floating near an outcropping of rocks. Curiosity got the better of them and they broke practice and rowed near the object. As they got closer, they realized it was a body. They didn't have any extra space to try and haul it on board and they might have had a hard time describing exactly where the body was located. Fortunately, the coxswain had a cell phone with him; he phoned 911 and they remained near the body until the police boat arrived. That crew had the joy of hauling what turned out to be a mutilated corpse on board their boat. The first thing that they realized when they were fishing it out of the river was that it had been decapitated. Then, once they had it on board, they realized that the hands had been cut off, too. There were several gun shot wounds to the chest and torso and everyone suspects the dead man was probably shot in the head as well, although that will be impossible to prove unless that part of his anatomy is found."
At that point in his monologue, Neil glanced at Torrey and noticed that the young woman had a painful grasp on the arms of her chair. Her knuckles actually looked like they were turning white. He decided to take another sip of coffee hoping a brief pause in his gruesome tale might give her a few seconds to recuperate. He slowly picked up his cup and brought it to his mouth, taking several swallows before he set it down to resume. "I had asked my friend on the D.C. police force, Detective Williams, to let me know if any unidentified male bodies came into the city morgue. This morning, when he met me at Torrey's house, he told me about this body. After we had done everything we could at Torrey's we headed there. I wanted to see if there was a birthmark on this body that matched the one on Edwardo, which Carolyn had described. According to her, he had a distinctive mark on his left ass cheek, a triangular shape. I can assure you, that I've never enjoyed having to make a trip to the morgue and although I've seen some pretty awful things, this topped all of them. Someone really had it in for this poor guy, plus they wanted to cover their tracks and, I suspect, at the same time deliver a particularly graphic warning to others. It didn't take long to determine that this is probably Edwardo's body. They just had to turn the corpse over so we could look at his derrière. Of course, for a positive ID, someone with personal knowledge who can attest that this is him will have to view the body, which means we're going to have to make arrangements for Carolyn to go to the morgue."
At that point Robert MacEwen spoke up. "Of course, I'll see to that. I'll go with her. I know this will be very upsetting for her. I would like you to accompany us Neil."
"Certainly." Neil replied quietly.
Catherine was the first to speak up and raise the issue that was on everyone's mind. "This clearly escalates the stakes in the case. If someone was willing to commit murder, God knows what they're up to. I think we should check with the lab and see if they have any information for us yet. If they have any results, I'd like to hear about them and then I will notify Jack Matters. I want the AUSA to know about the results the same day that we get them. Torrey and I can work this matter while you two escort Carolyn to the morgue."
Catherine turned toward Torrey and smiled at her. If her appearance was any indication, the young woman's level of discomfort had risen again. She looked pale and clammy and also had become fidgety. Catherine had volunteered herself and Torrey to check on the lab's progress because she had wanted to keep the woman away from any involvement in Carolyn's trip to the morgue. Besides, she had no interest in viewing the spectacle herself and knew MacEwen would not insist that they accompany him once she made it clear that they would be busy elsewhere.
"That sounds like a good idea. I'll have Marie contact my driver so Neil and I can pick up Carolyn. You two should head to the lab." MacEwen replied.
"Um, excuse me for interrupting." Neil butted in, uncharacteristically. "I don't want to unnecessarily scare everyone, but as Catherine said, we are dealing with people willing to kill. I'm afraid the vandalism at my house and Torrey's was a less than subtle warning. I believe we all need to be careful. Everyone on the litigation team should expect the worse, that they may be followed or even become a target of convenience. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like an old colleague of mine from the Bureau to speak to us later today. He's now a self-defense consultant. He could give everyone pointers on how to stay alert to possible trouble." Turning to MacEwen, Neil added. "I also think that you, Carolyn and your wife should sit in on the meeting."
MacEwen rubbed his lips with his left index finger, an unconscious habit, and then silently agreed by nodding his head.
Catherine ended the meeting by standing up and saying. "I suggest that we all get to our respective tasks so that we can get back in time for the meeting that Neil wants to arrange. Torrey, let's go."
The petite blonde rose and followed Catherine to her office. Once they were behind closed doors, Catherine put her arm around Torrey's shoulder and led her to the sofa in her office. She wanted to take a few minutes to try to calm the young woman's frayed nerves. Neil's last comments had even spooked Catherine. She couldn't imagine what their impact on Torrey was. As they sat down, Catherine turned to face Torrey.
"Torrey, I would feel more comfortable if you stayed with me for the next few nights. I have a nice guestroom and two large, wonderful dogs that are excellent guardians. I don't want you staying alone at your house. Would you consider my offer?"
Torrey looked at Catherine. Tears were welling up in her eyes. She simply shook her head yes and leaned into Catherine as the tears began to flow again. Catherine responded by pulling her into an embrace, letting her own emotions run rampant Catherine cooed at the young woman, trying to comfort her. If she could have, she would have cried too.
Continue in Chapter 12
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