Disclaimers: See Part 1
Pain. Shooting, throbbing pain. That was all Jessica was aware of- pain. “Ohhhh, God. Ohhhh.” Her entire right side was aching where it lay on a very hard floor. She tried to move, and pain shot through the center of her body. “Ahhhh!”
“Good morning Sunshine, wakey wakey.” Jessica heard the soft female voice, but did not recognize it. Then she felt fingertips running along her brow. “Come on wake up Dr. Cooper, we have much to discuss.”
Jessica slowly tried to open her eyes; having partial success with her right. Her left eye was completely swollen shut and throbbed at attempts to open it. Finally, after several seconds Jessica was able to focus her eye and peered around. She was in a small dark room that seemed to be made from wood, maybe logs. She cast her eye back to see the woman kneeling in front of her. The woman was thin, very thin, and extremely pale. Her straight black hair hung long around her face and shoulders. Close set eyes, a dull gray color, peered out from a pasty complexion. Her thin lips were painted a garish red that made her appear as if she had just snacked with Dracula. Jessica shuddered involuntarily. “Who are you?” She croaked from a very sore throat.
“My name is Dr. Roselyn Redman, but you may know me as…”
“Rose Red. Sir Edmunds told me about you. What the hell do you want with me?” Jessica demanded.
“Well, I see my reputation precedes me. How is Sir Edmunds, the rat fuck?” Rose asked, and then laughed at her own remark.
“Again, I ask what do you want with me? I know you and Edmunds have an on-going competitive hatred for one another, but I can't help you. I know little to nothing about the man, I don't even have a way to contact him directly. So you are wasting your time beating me for information on him.”
“Yes, well about the beating, I do apologize. Sometimes Hugo gets a bit overzealous when he hunts. I'm sure you will have a complete recovery from your injuries. But you are mistaken doctor, it is not Edmunds I'm interested in, it's you. You tell me where the body is, and you can go; it's that easy.”
“What body? I don't know what you're talking about.”
“Come now doctor, don't play dumb. I know you went out to the National Forest to follow a wounded Sasquatch. I also know you followed it to the Blackhawk farm. I know you went back out to the farm to meet with Dr. Constance Blackhawk, and I know you two have been spending quite a bit of time together, including a cozy little camping trip near the area where you tracked the wounded biped. Now, I want to know where it is.”
Jessica stared in disbelief. This woman had been spying on her for weeks. “I don't know where any body is; I've never seen a body. I can't tell you anything.”
“Now, now Dr. Cooper, we both know that is a lie. I would suggest you tell me what I want to know, or do you need some persuasion?” The woman grinned, a garish smile, and stood up, towering over the professor's prone body. She drew back and kicked Jessica harshly in the stomach. Jessica doubled up in agonizing pain, and felt herself wretch. After several seconds of heaving she gathered enough strength to speak.
“I don't know where any body is. Yes, I followed a trail, but I never found anything. I can't help you.”
Rose Red bent quickly and grabbed Jessica's hair pulling her head back to look into her face. “Dr. Cooper I appreciate your attempt to protect this animal, but you will tell me where it is, or I will have you beaten until you do. Do you understand me?” She roughly slammed Jessica's head onto the wooden floor. “Now don't make me bring Hugo in here to visit you. He can hurt you in ways you will never recover from.”
“You might as well kill me because I can't help you. You have my cameras maybe there is something on there, but I can't help you.” Jessica could taste the fresh blood in her mouth, and her head swam from the abuse.
“I don't want to kill you; I want you to work with me here. You could be a very valuable asset to us. Now I am going to ask you one more time. Where..” She lashed out and kicked Jessica on the legs. “is..” Another kick, this one to the knees. “the..” A third kick to the groin. “body?” A final kick to the ribcage.
Jessica rolled in pain trying to crawl away from the crazy woman. But the kicks found their target. “Please stop! I don't know anything. Please…”
Rose looked curiously at the wounded woman at her feet. “Well now, if this isn't working, I suppose you don't have anything to tell me.”
“I don't know where any body is, please, don't hurt me anymore.” Jessica coughed out. Her body was racked with pain, and she could feel cracked ribs grating against one another when she moved. She knew she couldn't take much more punishment without passing out, or having possible permanent damage.
“If you can't help me, I'm wasting my time. Maybe your friend Constance would be of more assistance, Jessi.” Another sneering grin spread across the beast's face, and her eyes glowed. A sudden heat spread through Jessica's body. Colors flashed before her eyes, red, black, and white- white, hot anger. From deep within Jessica felt a surge of strength, unlike anything she had ever experienced. In one movement, she reached out and grabbed the sneering woman by the throat and clamped down. The beady eyes bulged from their sockets as the monstrous woman clawed at Jessica's arm with her long manicured nails. The wounded woman hefted herself up, never losing the hold she had on the scrawny neck. Jessica stood, dragging Roselyn up with her, and slammed her against the wall. Pressing even harder against the thin neck, she brought her other hand up to clamp down as well. Rose's clabbered complexion began to turn blue under Jessica's handling.
“Don't you ever touch her you bitch!” Jessica spit out. “I'll kill you if you even go near her. If I have to hunt you for the rest of my life I'll kill you.” Jessica continued pressing into Rose's throat, watching as the woman began to get listless, and her eyes rolled back.
Suddenly, the door to the room burst open, and there, filling the doorway, was the giant Hugo. Jessica released Rose, and the woman slumped to the floor. Looking around quickly, she grabbed a lamp from a nearby table and slammed it into the face of the oncoming behemoth. Hugo shook his head and grabbed Jessica by her arm wrenching it up, and back, until she heard it pop. “Ahhhhhhhhhh!!” She screamed as she collapsed to the floor. Hugo lifted Rose from the floor, and cradled her in his arms.
“Mama, you okay?”
The wounded woman rubbed her throat and croaked out an answer. “Yes darling, I'm fine. Thank you for saving me.” Roselyn continued rubbing her throat as she approached Jessica, who was still writhing in pain. “Uhhhhmmm, Doctor Cooper it appears you have a mean streak. Especially when it comes to your little friend, Constance.”
Jessica gritted her teeth and spit out, “Leave her out of this. Do what you want to me, but leave her alone.”
“Oh now doctor where's the fun in that? Hugo, help the doctor up.”
The hulking behemoth grabbed Jessica by the collar, and dragged her up, lifting her until her feet were no longer touching the floor.
“Now tell me where the body is.” Rose spat out.
Jessica twisted against the shirt material. “Ahhhhhh!!!” The pain in her arm was excruciating, and she began to feel a veil of gray fog drift over her.
The door to the room opened and she heard another female voice. “Hugo put her down this instant!” Jessica felt the grip around her neck loosen, and she fell hard to the floor. The pain to her beaten body was too much and she slipped toward unconscious. The last thing she heard was the stranger's voice. “How many times must I tell you not to do this? My God Gretchen, we're not animals.”
“Dr. Cooper can you hear me? Dr. Cooper, please speak to me.” Jessica recognized the stranger's voice again. The stroking of her face was easing her into wakefulness. Jessica slowly opened her eyes as wide as the swollen lids would allow. Peering at her was a beautiful strawberry blond woman, with emerald green eyes. Silver-framed glasses were perched on her slender nose, and she softly smiled. Jessica's first thought was Nicole Kidman had rescued her and she started to doze again.
“No, no doctor, I need you to wake up. I need to ask you a few questions.” Jessica's eyes slowly opened and tried to focus on Nicole. “That's it, much better. Dr. Cooper, I am very sorry about all the injuries you have sustained at the hands of my family. They are,…shall we say, uncouth at times. I have told them time and time again violence begets violence. Would you like a drink?”
Jessica slowly nodded her head. A cup of warm liquid was held to her lips and she drank greedily, hoping to quench her thirst, and ease her sore throat. “Easy doctor, there's more. Don't overdo it; you'll get sick to your stomach.”
Jessica allowed the mouthful of fluid to slide down her throat then roughly asked, “Who are you?”
“I'm Dr. Roselyn Redman. I'm a geneticist and a crypto enthusiast.”
“Wait, if you're Rose Red who was that crazy woman?”
“That crazy woman is my partner Gretchen, and the mother of our child Hugo. Again, I am sorry for what they subjected you to, but you have information we really must have. Their methods are a bit more….primal, shall we say. I have found over the years there are far more persuasive ways to get the information one needs. How are you feeling?”
“Ok, but I know I have broken bones.” Jessica drowsily said.
“Yes, again I am sorry about that. I gave you a pretty powerful drug in that drink. I want us to be able to talk without pain, or lies, or any inhibitions being in the way.”
“Right,,,,pain.” Jessica garbled.
“That's it Jessica, just relax and talk to me. You must have been excited when you tracked a biped to the Blackhawk farm weren't you?”
“Uh huh. It wasth coooool.”
“I'm sure it was. Was it a big animal?”
“Not the biggest. Seen bigger…..trackssss.”
“Did you just see tracks, or did you see the creature?”
“No creather. Just foots.”
“Ok. You're doing very good Jessica. Now where did the biped go?”
“Died I think……grotto.”
“You think it died at the grotto?”
Jessica nodded her head.
“Did you find the body, or remains Jessica?”
“Huh uhhhhh. Allll gonnnnnnn….” Jessica started to drop off to sleep.
“Jessica, wake up, we're not finished. You see it is very important for me to find these creatures, very important. Do you know where they stay, where do they live Jessica?”
“Woodsssss, cavesssss, treeeeessss…..everwhere. They're the mountain spiritsssss. That'ssss wha Beauty sayssss”
“Jessica. Jessica?” Roselyn stood up and walked to the door. Glancing back at the deeply resting woman she smiled, and turned and left the room.
“Did she tell you anything?” Gretchen was waiting outside the door for Roselyn. Quick as a viper Rose grabbed the other woman's hair, and bent her head roughly back.
“How dare you damage an asset like that! You could have killed her, and then what? Kidnap Ms. Blackhawk and beat her to death too? You two are imbeciles! Sometimes I think I should take you back where I found you and drop you out!”
“No, please Roselyn, please. Don't take me back there; I'll be better, I swear. I'm sorry, please forgive me. I'll do anything just please don't send me away.” Gretchen was hysterically crying and shaking all over.
“Yes, you will do anything. Anything I tell you, understand?” Rose threw her roughly to the floor. Stepping over the prone woman she sat down in a leather recliner, one of the few pieces of furniture in the cabin. “She doesn't know what happened to the Bigfoot. She thinks it died, but doesn't know where it went.”
Gretchen crawled on her hands and knees toward the recliner. When she reached the chair she took Roselyn's leg in her hand and slowly removed her high-heeled boot. “If she doesn't know about the body what has she been researching then on the Blackhawk farm?” She asked as she began to knead the now bootless feet.
“She has been looking for the same thing we are I suppose. She said the tracks weren't that large, a juvenile perhaps.”
Gretchen had continued her ministrations on Rose's calves, and was working her way up the woman's thighs. “Could it be another species?”
“Could be; probably a juvenile though. I bet her little friend Ms. Blackhawk knows what happened to the body. We will have to see what we can do to convince her to help us. Shame it could not have been taken alive. That would have been ideal.” Rose watched as hands slid up her thighs and dipped inward toward her groin. “Don't you think that would have been ideal Gretchen?”
“Oh yes, it would have been perfect for us.” The tips of Gretchen's thumbs began to run the length of the pants seam in between Roselyn's legs. Reaching with her fingers she began to unbutton the fly on the jeans, revealing red silk panties. Lifting up onto her knees Gretchen came face to face with Roselyn, as she slid her hand into the front of the silken undergarments.
Roselyn jerked at first contact then settled into the seeking hand. She reached out and grabbed Gretchen's hair again, drawing the woman's face within a few inches of her own. “Yes, it would have been perfect.” The captive woman leaned forward to receive a kiss, but her captor tightened her grip in her hair, and slowly pushed her head down toward a very busy hand. Roselyn leaned back into the soft leather and hissed. “Perfect.”
“Ohhhhh fuuuuuuuuck!!” Jessica opened her eyes to complete darkness, and realized the voice that woke her was her own. She was screaming in pain, writhing on the cold ground. Jessica shook her head to try and clear some of the cobwebs but to no avail, she was in severe pain and couldn't see anything. Gingerly she reached up with her uninjured arm and tried to rub her eyes, only to find a blindfold. Slipping her thumb under the cloth she pushed it off over her head. Jessica could see tall trees above her, with strange flashes of lights in the tops of them. She knew that couldn't be normal, but for a fleeting moment she thought it was really pretty. Then a pain shot through her body causing the lights to glow white-hot. “Ahhhhhhh, shit!” Jessica tried to calm herself by breathing deeply, and trying to figure out where she was. Peering slowly around, she could only make out thick trees, brush, and little explosions of drug induced lights, no recognizable landmarks.
Taking a deep breath Jessica pulled her body up from the hard ground. “Ahhhhh!” Stabilizing herself against a tree she wretched, losing her stomach contents onto the forest floor. After several minutes of heaving Jessica steadied herself and began to assess the damages to her body. Her right arm was useless, and her ribs ached with every breath. Her legs seemed to be in working order, but her head was not cooperating with them. “Oh well, I'll just sit here under the pretty tree lights.” She leaned back against the tree and closed her eyes. “This would be better if Beauty was here.”
Jessica's eyes shot open. “Constance! I have to protect Constance, gotta find Constance.” Willing an inner strength she slowly slid her body from the ground, using the tree for support. Once she was standing Jessica fought down a new wave of nausea, and steadied herself against the tree again. “Ok big guy, think you can walk me out of here? Huh, guess not. Well, here goes.” Tentatively she took a step, holding onto her tree. Once the first wave of pain passed she took another step. “Well at least I'm moving.” Jessica continued to pick her way down through the woods. She didn't know where she was, but knew the best bet to find civilization was to go downhill. Slowly, she made her way down a rough bluff, and into thick laurel. The first raindrops fell as she entered the laurel, a torrential downpour followed.
After stumbling, slipping, walking and crawling for hours, Jessica fell out of the woods into a cleared pasture. She collapsed into the soft wet grass and fell into an exhausted sleep.
When Jessica awoke it was dark, and lightly raining. Her entire body hurt and it was hard to breathe. She struggled to her hands and knees and looked into the blackness of the surrounding night. In the distance she could see a series of lights and began to crawl toward them.
Constance sat looking at the television, but not watching. All she could think of was Jessi. She had called several times the day before, but the other woman had never answered her home, or cell phone. Constance knew Jessica probably had other things to do, far more important things than sitting and waiting for the phone to ring. Maybe this was the professor's personality, and she needed space. Being clingy was a huge turn off to a lot of people, and Constance knew she could be clingy. Then with everything that happened with Stiles, Jessica probably just needed a breather.
Then why was it five in the morning and why was she still up and awake? She could not get Jessica off her mind, and she was worrying herself to the point of hysteria. Constance had imagined every scenario, most of them negative: Jessica had fallen down the stairs and was hurt, she had fallen victim to carbon monoxide, the house had caught fire, someone in her family had died, Chupa ran away, she had gotten sick. The veterinarian just knew something terrible had befallen her friend.
“Shit!” Constance glanced at her watch. Five-fifteen is way too early to call Jessi and wake her up. “Shit!” She might as well start her day. By the time the farm work was done it would be a more decent hour to call. As she walked toward the kitchen to make another pot of coffee, she decided if Jessica did not answer the phone she was driving out to her house, and check on her. Constance knew she would look like a total obsessed, crazy chick, but she had to find out if Jessi was okay.
After refilling the coffee pot she headed into the downstairs bathroom for a quick shower. While the hot water beat on her tired body she convinced herself she was not being ridiculous, Jessica would have called back, she just knew it. If nothing else, Jessi would not purposely worry someone. She quickly finished her shower, and bounded into the laundry room to get dressed. Instead of her typical farm clothes, she found herself dressing in her better jeans and slipping on a button down. The farm could wait a few hours, she had to go to Jessica's, she had to see her, and know she was okay. Sliding on the kitchen's well-worn linoleum, Constance hurried in her socked feet to the cupboard to grab a travel mug.
As she turned to the pot she heard Ruby whining excitedly in the mudroom. “Just a second Ruby, I'll let you out when I go.” The little beagle was not placated by this response, and began to whine even louder, and scratch. “Crap Ruby, alright I'm coming.” Constance walked into the mudroom to find the dog frantically scratching, and digging, at the outside door. “Dang girl, what's up? You eat too much before bed?” She unlocked the door, and pulled it open, expecting Ruby to fly out into the yard. But the beagle was frozen in place, as was Constance, as they both watched the limp, battered body of Jessica Cooper slide from a leaning position against the back door, and end up lying at their feet.
Jessica could feel someone holding her hand. She felt her hand lifted and someone placed a soft kiss against the skin. “Mmmm, Constance?” She mumbled.
“Hey baby, you waking up? I'm here sweetie, I love you.”
She couldn't believe her ears. Constance loved her! Jessica's heart leapt and she could hear a faint beeping sound.
“Shhhh, it's okay. You're in the hospital sweetheart, it's okay, I'm here.”
Constance was there, and she loved her. She was in the hospital? But Beauty was there with her. She could hear her talking, coaxing her to wakefulness. Jessica smiled. Constance would make a great mom, she sounded so maternal right now. In fact, she sounded just like –HER MOM? Jessica's eyes slid open to find Josie Cooper, her mother, gently brushing the side of her face with her fingers. Josie's normally bright blue eyes were dull from exhaustion, and her dusty blond hair hung limp around her ears. She lovingly smiled at her youngest daughter with her attractive mouth.
“Mom?” Jessica croaked.
“Yeah baby, I'm here. Are you in any pain?” She asked quietly.
“No. Where am I? Why are you here? Where's Constance?” Jessica started looking around frantically.
“Shhh, calm down honey. You are in the hospital and have been very ill my darling. So you're dad and I came to be with you. Jeshua and Jenn are both here too. Jesh got here Tuesday and Jenn flew in from Boston yesterday. We have been very worried about you Jessi. And, as far as your friend Constance, who is a lovely woman by the way, I sent her home to try and get some rest. The poor thing had been here day and night for the past four days. She went home long enough to do her farm work, change her clothes, and come right back. She was exhausted. I think she really likes you sweetheart.”
Jessica smiled. “I really like her too mom. She's very special. Did you say I've been here four days? What the hell happened?”
“Well, honey we don't know really. The police were hoping you could shed some light on it. Someone, some monster, beat you sweetheart. You have two broken ribs; several bruised ones, a dislocated shoulder, a fractured eye socket, numerous stitches, bruises and cuts, and a concussion. Do you remember anything? Anything at all?”
Shock registered on the professor's face. How could somebody get the shit beat out of them and not remember? But, try as she might, she had no clue what had happened to her. She concentrated on what she could remember. She had come home from Constance's and took a bath, but that was it, nothing else. “Mom the last thing I remember is being in the tub Saturday night. Did they break into my house? Oh my God, where's Chupa?” Jessica pulled herself up in bed only to collapse in pain. Her chest felt like it would explode, and she couldn't get enough air into her lungs. She tried to suck in as much oxygen as possible, only to be rewarded with a fierce coughing fit.
“Easy sweetheart, easy. Chupa is fine. Jesh and Jen are staying at your house taking care of him. Your father went to your house Monday afternoon, and found him in the basement; I guess he went through the doggy door. You need to stay calm. Everything is taken care of. You nearly ended up with pneumonia Jessi that's why you're struggling to breathe. Relax, nice and easy.”
After several minutes she was finally able to speak again. “Mom did this happen to me at home? Is that why Chupa was stuck outside?”
“They haven't found any evidence to suggest anything happened at your house. There was no sign of illegal entry; both your cars were there, nothing was out of place, except Chupa. Besides honey, Constance found you on her back stoop. Wherever you had been was within walking distance of her house.”
“Constance's house? How did I get there?”
“I don't know Jessi; we were all hoping you could tell us.”
Jessica yawned and blinked her heavy eyelids. “No, I just don't know Mom.”
“That's okay sweetie, you rest now.” Josie Cooper began to hum to her daughter, easing her into sleep.
“Did anything else happen to me? You know, other than being beaten?”
“No baby, nothing else. You were checked, everything was all right.” Tears welled up in Josie's eyes as the realization of her daughter's question hit her. “Nothing else.”
“Okay. Night ma.” Jessica drifted off.
“Night Jessica.” Josie leaned back into the bedside chair and watched her baby sleep.
“Hey sleepyhead, you waking up?”
“It's okay, I'm right here. Are you hurting, do you need anything?”
“Shhh, go back to sleep.”
“Constance?” Jessica groggily asked.
“Yeah, it's me. How are you feeling?”
“Like a Skunk Ape died in my mouth. Can I have a drink?”
“Yeah, let me get you some water.” Constance filled a cup and stuck a straw in the liquid. “Here you go sweetie, nice and slow okay.”
Jessica drank greedily, while Constance held the cup. When she finished the water she ran her tongue across her lips. “Ahhhhh, that's better. Thank you.”
Tears welled up in the other woman's eyes. “You're welcome.”
“Hey Beauty, what's wrong? Are you okay?”
“I'm okay, I'm just so happy to see you awake. You had me so worried.” Tears slid down her cheeks.
“Hey, don't cry, I'm alright, or at least I will be. You look so tired, have you been sleeping?”
“Not much, I've had too much on my mind. God you scared the crap out of me Jessi.”
“Believe me when I tell you this was not intended. Constance my mom said nothing was disturbed at my house, and I don't know of any reason someone would want to beat me like this. I think this is all linked to what's been going on at your farm.”
“I know, I think so too. Do you remember anything at all about what happened to you?”
“I've had these flashes of stumbling through the woods but that's it so far. Beauty you can't stay at the farm, you could be in danger. Come stay with my brother and sister at my house, please. Please, I don't want you hurt.” Jessica's voice had escalated and she began to cough.
“Shhh Shhh, Jessi honey calm down. Easy, calm down. I have a farm to take care of, and a mother.”
“Bring her with you to my house.” Jessica forced out.
“Jessica Cooper listen to me. I am not bringing my mother to your house. No way, no how. Besides, if someone wants to hurt me they will find a way to do it whether I'm at your house, mine, or in Timbuktu. All you need to worry about right now is getting better. Don't worry about me.”
“What makes you think someone would try and hurt her Ms. Cooper?” Jessica and Constance both looked up to find Sheriff Christopher Peterson standing in the doorway. He straightened his overweight frame and walked heavily into the room, his high polished, black shoes squeaking on the tile floor. “I mean did little Connie here do something to piss somebody off?”
Jessica made two immediate determinations about Sheriff Peterson: One, his comb-over didn't do a thing for his appearance. Two, she did not like him. “I'm sorry, do I know you?”
“I'm Sheriff Peterson; I'm investigating your accident Ms. Cooper.” He sucked his teeth. “The hospital called and told me you had been awake off and on so thought I'd stop by and see what you can tell me. You remember anything Ms. Cooper?” Again, the teeth sucking.
“I remember taking a bath at my house and then that's it, except for some fuzzy memories of walking through the woods in the rain. Do you have any leads on who did this to me?”
“Well,” teeth suck, “not yet. But let me ask you something. If you were at your house how'd you end up at the Blackhawk farm?”
“If I knew that I could probably remember what happened.”
“Yeah, well you know there are some really sick people out there Ms. Cooper. Some that you might even think you know.” He narrowed his dull eyes at Constance.
“Are you suggesting I know the person that did this to me?”
“I'm not suggesting anything Ms. Cooper. I'm just trying to do my job, and I have no leads. No fingerprints at your house, no witnesses, no nothing. If you can't tell me something, I don't know where to go from here.” He glanced at Constance. “Ms. Cooper would you like to speak to me in private maybe, about your accident?”
“Well, I just wanted to give you a chance to talk in private. You may remember something that you don't want to talk about in front of people.” He narrowed his eyes at Constance again.
Jessica noted his behavior and her anger flared. “Sheriff Peterson I assure you I am not hiding anything from you, and I certainly have nothing to hide from Dr. Blackhawk. I simply don't remember what happened.” She looked back to her friend. “Could you pour me some more water please?”
Constance refilled the hospital cup. “Here you go.”
Jessica took the cup and drank. Then she sat the cup down and patted the other woman's hand. “Thank you.”
Peterson sucked his teeth again. “Ms. Cooper you know people get caught up in some real, uhhh, unusual activities. Things that can get you hurt, by someone you might even think is a friend. A close friend, you know what I mean?”
“No sheriff, I don't know. Maybe you can explain it to me”
“Well Ms. Cooper, people are into weird stuff, unnatural stuff. You might have got yourself into a bad situation without even realizing it. Sometimes just being friends with someone can start you down a real bad road.” He glanced at Constance and sucked his teeth.
“Sheriff, are you suggesting that Dr. Blackhawk and I partook in sado- masochistic activities that got way out of hand? That I was nearly beaten to death by Ms. Blackhawk, and to cover her deeds she said she found me on her back porch?”
“You never know.” He said as he glared at Jessica.
“No that's where you're wrong, I do know. I know Constance was not the one that did this to me, that, in fact, is the most absurd thing I ever heard. I think it would be in everyone's best interest if you passed this case on to someone who is a professional investigator, and does not rely on their imbecilic homophobia to provide their small brains with outlandish theories.” Jessica fell into another coughing fit and reached for the water.
“Who do you think you are?” Peterson approached Jessica but was stopped short by Constance.
“Don't even think about coming any closer to her.” Her voice had lowered to a feral growl. “I think it would be best if you left.”
“I don't have to go anywhere you sick bitch, I'm the law. You better stand down, or I'll arrest your ass and put you in a cell with some other sick fucks. Maybe you'd like that. I have jurisdiction here little girl.”
Peterson whirled to find a tall, blonde- haired woman standing directly behind him. Her bright blue eyes bore into him and flashed with anger. “Who the hell are you?”
“Special Agent Jennifer Elliot, FBI, this is my case now.” She flashed her badge.
“Since I witnessed you harassing the victim; and the woman that potentially saved her life. Now I would suggest, if you want to keep your position as sheriff, you get the hell out of here.”
Christopher Peterson sucked his teeth one more time and stomped out of the room, brushing past Agent Elliot. She approached the women. “Are you two all right?”
Jessica reached out and took her hand. “Yeah, thanks Jen, Jen.” She glanced at Constance. “Are you okay?”
The veterinarian felt blood surge beneath her skin as the stranger squeezed Jessica's hand, and reached to brush hair away from the stitches on the professor's forehead and placed a kiss gently on the spot. Constance watched as the two women smiled lovingly at each other.
“Constance, are you okay?” Jessica asked concerned.
“Yeah, fine. Uhh, maybe I should go.” She stood to leave. Jessica reached out and grabbed her hand.
“Do you really have to? I really want to visit with you for a while if you have time.” Pleading blue eyes bore into her.
“I just thought you'd want to spend time with your…company.” Constance could feel the jealousy rise even higher within her.
“Who, Jen? She's not company, she's my sister. My much, much older sister.”
“Hey, watch it Loch Jess Monster! You're incapacitated and I'm trained at hand to hand combat, I could rough you up little sister.” Jennifer smiled brightly at Constance. “Hi, I'm Jennifer; this one's older, smarter, and more attractive sister. It's nice to meet you; my mom has been raving about you.”
Constance felt like a complete fool, she had been jealous of Jessi's sister. And more confusingly she had been jealous. She had never felt like that before. “It's nice to meet you too. I didn't realize you are FBI. Are you really taking over your sister's case?”
“I am going to do some snooping around on this. I was listening outside the door the entire time the sheriff was here. I didn't like the way he approached you all. Something is fishy about him.”
Constance spoke up quickly. “The sheriff and I have a bad history. I assume that is the problem.”
“Constance I don't care what kind of history you have with that ass, he is still supposed to be professional. I was beaten, and found in his jurisdiction, that's the bottom line. If he can't look at it like any other case then he needs to hand it over to someone else.”
“Jess is right. But I think there is something else going on, his actions were screwy from the moment he entered the room. Constance did he know you and Jess are friends?”
“I don't know how he would. He wasn't the officer that questioned me when I found Jessi, and I didn't even tell him that we were friends. I told him that Jessica had conducted some research on my property but she had left on Saturday.”
“I found his behavior very odd, and I noticed he said he was investigating your “accident”. It made no sense to me whatsoever that he would refer to you being beaten as an accident. It also seemed like he immediately tried to discount your story that you were at your house. I don't know; something just doesn't seem right. He also completely discounted the doctor's report that specifically mentions the sizes of the bruises, and the fact that you were not sexually assaulted. Also, not that I expect a Podunk sheriff to know this, you're injuries were not typical for S&M gone awry. S&M newbies aren't typically very rough, and if Constance is an experienced top, as Peterson suggested, she would have known what to do, and when to stop. Besides, you have no whip, scratch, bite, or flog marks, but you do have boot, fist and choke marks. This wasn't rough slap and tickle, this was ass-whipping.”
“My ass is about the only thing that doesn't feel like it was whipped. The rest of me- pretty rough. Hey Jen, how's Chupa?”
“He's fine little sister, don't worry Jesh and I are keeping him company. He is a big lap hound, you know?”
“Yeah, he's a big baby. I hate that he was stuck outside for so long. He must have been starving. I don't get how that happened?”
“Don't worry, we'll figure it all out. I know some real good investigators. But right now I want you to rest, you look tired.”
“She's right Jessi, you do look really tired.” Constance added.
“I am, but I don't want you all to go. Please stay, I'll just snooze for a few minutes.”
“I'm going to grab a cup of coffee, Constance do you want anything?”
“No thanks Jennifer.” The agent left the room leaving the friends alone. “I want you to rest, I'll be right here.”
“You look like you could use some rest too.” Jessica weakly smiled and reached for the other woman's hand.
“Maybe I'll doze while you doze.”
“You know I don't have any plugs, wires, or tubes on this one side; and this bed is plenty big enough. Why don't you crawl in here with me and get some sleep?”
“I don't know if the hospital would be too happy about that.”
“Screw the hospital, I would happy about it, and I'm the patient. Please Beauty; I want you close to me.”
“Okay, but if it's uncomfortable you tell me.”
Constance slipped into the hospital bed alongside Jessica, trying to carefully avoid hurting her friend. Once she was settled she asked. “How's this?”
“Perfect. Night Beauty.” Jessica nuzzled into Constance and fell quickly into slumber.
Minutes later, when Jen returned, both women were deep in Morpheus' grasp.
“Oh for the love of God!! I'm fine and I want to go home!”
“Jessi honey, calm down. The doctor thinks you should stay at least another day. He wants to make sure your respiratory system is cleared up enough before he sends you home. Now you…”
“Ma I'm fine. The only thing wrong with me is I'm stuck in this damn place. I want to sleep in my own bed and not have someone poking at me all the time. I want to eat real food. If I see one more cup of green Jell-o I'm gonna fuckin scream.”
“Jessica Abernathy Cooper, watch you language! Now that's enough, you're acting like a child. If the doctor thinks you need to stay one more day you're going to, and that's the end of it.”
Jessica slumped back into the hospital bed and huffed. Mumbling she said, “This is ridiculous.”
“Jessica, I said drop it. Dear Lord what did I do to get such a stubborn, pig-headed child. I suppose it's just my burden to bear, a mother's burden is never light. Sometimes the greatest gift can be the most difficult blessing.”
“Okay ma, you can stop talking to God, I'll behave.”
Jessica's brother Jeshua glanced back and forth between his mother and sister laughing in the process.
“What's so funny brother?” Jessica inquired with a glare.
“It just still amazes me the power ma has over all of us when she starts talking to God.” He turned and looked at Constance. “You see Constance; my mother never grounded us, spanked us, or stood us in the corner. Oh no, those methods were far too humane. Instead she launches into the ultimate guilt trip. The patented “Josephine Cooper, Why God, Why?” rant. Said rants can last up to an hour, leaving a child lying on the floor begging to be put out of their misery. Jess holds the record for the longest rant by the way. Mom stopped ranting after an hour, sent Jessica to bed, and started the rant back up the next morning for another 35 minutes. We were all begging for mercy by the time she was finished.”
“Okay, Jeshua Cantrell, that's about enough from you too.” Josie said sternly.
“Yes ma'am. I don't want you to have to speak to God twice today.” Jesh answered smiling his killer smile, his bright blue eyes twinkling.
Constance asked, through muffled giggles. “I have one question. Jessi what did you do that resulted in your mother talking to God, with a continuance?”
Jessica dropped her head and fiddled with the thin hospital blanket. “She caught me with my college girlfriend.”
“Yes, and what did I catch you doing? In MY house.” Josie questioned.
Constance watched as an embarrassed blush spread up Jessica's neck. “We were in the basement… smoking .”
“What was that? I don't believe we all heard that.”
“We were smoking, okay. Sheesh ma that was 15 years ago, I can't believe you're still mad about that.”
“I told you children from the time you were old enough to understand; I would not condone smoking, drugs or violence in my home. What you did in college, or in your own homes, your business. You light up in my basement-MY business.”
“Yes General!” Jessica and Jeshua answered in unison.
“Very cute you two. Jeshua instead of sitting there making fun of your mother why don't you go and buy your sister a nice dinner and bring it back?”
“Okay ma, anything you say. Jess what would you like?”
“I would love some Chinese. One of everything.”
“Chinese it is. Ma is dad and Jen coming back tonight?”
“Yeah they are. Why don't you pick up for all of us Jesh? We can wheel your sister down to the day room and eat together.”
“Sounds good. Constance do you want something specific, or do you trust me to get something edible?” Jeshua asked.
“I'm not real picky, but I probably should go and let you all enjoy family dinner.” Constance started to rise only to be stopped by Josie's strong grip on her arm.
“Young lady if you are a friend of Jess', you are family. Do you understand?”
Constance smiled down into the strong, beautiful face, with the questioning look. “Yes ma'am, I mean General, I understand.”
“Constance you really don't have to spend the night here, I will manage. Besides, my ma and dad are only a phone call away. I don't want to keep you from your farm work.”
“Jessi, first of all nothing on the farm is as important as you. Second, I want to be here, I want to help you.”
“What about your mom?”
“I cooked for mom already and put it in the fridge; she has my cell number if she needs anything. Besides, my sister gets in from New York tonight to visit. My mother doesn't need anything else in the world when my sister is around.”
“What about your sister, don't you want to see her?”
Constance leaned over toward the passenger seat of her truck. She gently rubbed Jessi's cheek. “I'll see my sister tomorrow. Tonight, I want to be here with you. Nowhere else, no one else, nothing else matters to me right now. Okay?”
The other woman nodded her head and leaned into Constance's hand.
“C'mon, I know a certain fuzzy baby that has really missed you.”
The two women walked slowly to the front door. Suddenly the house erupted with the sounds of barking and howls. Chupa's big furry head suddenly appeared at the front window barking happily.
“I think he missed me.”
“Looks like it.”
“The fact that he's standing on my coffee table should bother me, but right now I'm just as happy to see him.”
Constance pushed open the door and was nearly knocked over by the hairy whirlwind. He rushed to Jessica and plopped down in front of her wiggling from head to toe. Slowly she lowered herself to one knee and began scratching Chupa's head and ears with her healthy arm and hand. “Hey buddy, I missed you. I hope Aunt Jen and Uncle Jesh were good to you. My big sweetie pie, love ya you lump.” Chupa danced and wiggled his way completely around Jessica sniffing and licking as he went.
“Are you two love birds ready to go in?”
“Yeah, it will be nice to flop in my own bed, sit on my couch, eat out of my kitchen, drink my coffee…...”
“I get it. Come on let's get you settled and I'll make some dinner.”
“Can we order out?”
“Sure I guess. What do you want?”
“Indian, lots and lots of Indian. Lots of taste, lots of spice, and lots of non-hospital crap.”
“That was awesome! Great company, great entertainment, and great food. Life is good!”
“It doesn't take much to make you happy does it?” Constance smiled at Jessi who was sitting next to her on the couch. The older woman was relaxed with a blanket covering her legs. They had dined on Indian food while watching Xena episodes. “Do you need anything else?”
“MmmmHmmm. I need you to sit here next to me and relax. You don't have to wait on me, just keep me company.”
“Okay, deal.” Constance scooted over toward her companion and took her hand. “You can lean over on me if you get tired.”
“Maybe I'll take you up on that. I am pretty whipped. And my neck is stiff from having my useless arm hanging from it.”
“Why don't you stretch out, and slip out of that sling. I'll get you a pillow.” She started to rise but Jessi held her fast.
“No, I want to be near you. Is it okay if I put my head on your lap?”
“Sure. If you get uncomfortable tell me.”
“Thanks again for being here.”
“I already told you, you don't have to thank me. I want to be here. I just wish it wasn't under these circumstances.
“Yeah, me too. I'll make this up to you somehow.”
“Would you stop? I want to be here, I enjoy being here; there is nothing to make up. Got it? Jess? Jess?” Deep level breathing was Constance's only answer. “Sleep sweetie, I'll be right here.”
“Oh God my neck. I think it's broken.”
Jessica stiffly sat up and looked at her friend who was busily rubbing her neck. “Beauty you ok?”
“I fell asleep and my neck got into a kink. Damn it's stiff.”
“You want a muscle relaxer, or pain pill? I can hook you up.”
“No, that's ok. Come on, let's get to bed; both of us are obviously tired. Do you need help with anything?”
“No, I can manage. Would you mind letting Chupa out for me?”
“Sure.” Constance stood, stretched and rolled her neck from side to side. “Come on Chuperman, let's go pee.” Chupa happily bounded to the back door and raced out into the yard. Constance turned and watched as Jessi made her way slowly up the stairs. “Sure you don't need help.”
“No, I'm good.”
“Night Jess, I'll see you in the morning.”
“Where are you going?”
“I was heading to the guest room, is that ok?”
“Well yeah, that's ok, but my bed is much more comfortable. I mean, if you want to join me you can. No pressure, just offering. It's up to you of course.”
“Jess you're rambling. Will it bother you if I sleep with you? You are still recovering. I don't want you to be cramped.”
“No, it's a big bed, and I would like the company.” She held her hand out to Constance. “Join me?”
Constance grabbed her bag and joined her friend on the steps, taking her hand. “What about Chupa?”
“He'll come to the upstairs deck door, come on let's get some rest.”
Constance came back from her visit to the bathroom to find a pajama clad Jess letting Chupa in from outside. He ran over to their house guest for a quick ear rub and then jumped onto his dog bed and scratched it into submission. Constance giggled at his antics. “He's a nut. Do you need anything before we lay down?”
“Nope, I'm good. Do you care which side you sleep on, I usually stick to the left.”
“That's good, I typically am a righty.”
Both women crawled into bed and relaxed into the mattress. “Jess can I ask you a question?”
“What kind of mattress is this?”
“One with the memory foam. It eases pressure points. Why? Are you not comfortable?”
“On the contrary, this is the most comfortable thing I've slept on in some time. Mmmmm, this is nice.”
“Maybe you will have to spend the night more often. Uh, I mean, you know what I mean, right? Sometime when I'm around you I think I sound like a letch.”
“You don't, you just sound nervous. You don't have to be you know. I want you to be comfortable with me.”
“I am, it's just…”
Constance rolled up onto her elbow and looked down at her bedmate. “What is it?”
Jessica peered up into the seeking eyes above her. “Constance you scare me.”
“Shh, let me finish. I am scared of the feelings I have for you. I am so attracted to you, no that's not it. I want to be with you all the time, when I'm not with you I miss you so much. You are all I think about. Honestly, I have never felt like this, ever. So are you afraid of me now? I know I am such a freak.”
“Shh, let me answer.” Constance slowly leaned over and lightly kissed the apprehensive mouth beneath hers. The light kiss turned to a heated exchange between the two women each taking turns discovering the other one's lips. Jessi slowly ran her tongue lightly over Constance's bottom lip causing the supple pair to part. The seeking tongue was slowly sucked into the waiting warmth of the other woman's mouth. Jessica shivered at the intimate contact and suddenly pulled away.
“Are you ok Jessi, did I do something wrong?”
“No,” she raggedly breathed, “you did everything just right. Too right actually. I'm having a hard time breathing. I'm sorry, I am really sorry.”
“No, no it's alright. I guess we need to let you recover some before deep breathing is required.” She leaned forward and placed a soft kiss on the waiting lips. “Good night, if you need anything wake me up, ok?”
“Alright. Night Beauty, sleep well.” The two snuggled close to one another and relaxed into slumber.
Constance was slipping on her boots when there was a light knock on the front door. She quietly opened it letting Josie Cooper enter.
“Good morning Constance, how is my baby this morning?”
“She's still asleep. I gave her the six am. meds; she will need more at ten. I made coffee would you like some?”
“That would be wonderful; six-thirty is a little early for me.”
“Yeah, sorry about that. I have to get back out to the farm and feed this morning and do all the other chores.”
“No, no apologies, it's quite alright. I really appreciate you staying with Jessi last night. How did she rest?”
“Really good considering. She moaned some in her sleep, I assume she was experiencing some pain.”
“You could hear her moaning all the way down here? My goodness she must have really been in pain.” Mrs. Cooper could tell by the rising color in Constance's cheeks that the young woman had not slept in the guest room. “I'm sorry dear; I didn't mean to embarrass you. I didn't realize you and Jess were that, uh, involved yet. I am really sorry.”
“No, Mrs. Cooper, we're not, we haven't. We aren't involved that way. I don't think she wanted to be alone so I slept with her.”
“Now, now dear it is none of my business.”
“I assure you; nothing happened, or has happened between us.”
“Constance, honestly sweetheart I don't care. I want my children to be happy, I do not get involved in their personal lives, particularly their intimate lives. I don't want Jess to get hurt, but I also know she is an adult and has to make her own decisions and mistakes. You are a wonderful woman, and a wonderful friend to my daughter, that's all I care about.” Josie Cooper suddenly found herself wrapped up in the strong arms of the farmer. “What's this for?”
“Just for understanding, it's very nice to have a mother understand. Thank you.” Constance pulled away from the hug. “I gotta run; I'll see you later. Tell Jess I'll see her this evening.” And with that she was out the door.
An hour and a half later Constance was kicking off her boots in the farmhouse's mudroom. She had checked and fed all the livestock and gave Ruby a thorough rub down before facing her family. She entered the kitchen to find her mother and sister sitting at the old Formica table. “Well good morning. I didn't expect to see you all up so early.”
“And I didn't expect to see you at all. Sounds like you have found a new piece of ass to fawn over while mother is here alone, unable to care for herself.”
Constance glared at her younger sister, a cookie cutter creation of their mother. “It's good to see you too Meagan. I see mother has caught you up on my life, how's yours? How's Chad, speaking of ass.”
“You know Con you are such a disappointment. Shit covered farmer, foggy headed dreamer, cunt licking dyke. You provide so much pride for the family.” Meagan sneered.
“Kiss my ass.” Constance started to stomp out of the room.
“Where in the hell do you think you're goin?”
“Mama, I am going to get some stuff together and go back to Dr. Cooper's. It is really obvious I am not wanted here. I'll be back tomorrow to check on things.”
“Well, I won't be here.” Beatrice stated as a matter of fact.
“You won't? Where will you be?”
“I'm goin back to New York with Meagan. She's havin a baby and needs her mama. So I'm goin to stay with her, I don't know when I'll be back.”
Constance knew she was staring, but she couldn't believe what she was hearing. Her mother was leaving, she didn't have to be responsible for her; she was free! “Uhhh, when are you leaving? Do you need help with anything? Do you need some money?”
“You sure sound excited to get rid of our mother. You would think you would be grateful. After all, mother gave you a place to live, has taken care of you, fed you, cleaned for you. You're ungrateful you know that?”
Constance completely ignored her sibling. “Well mother, is there anything I can do?”
“No, you go on and run along. I just need a break from this place Connie, and a break from you. I'm tired of wonderin what you're up to, and I hate this damn prison. I need to be free.”
You took the words right out of my mouth, Constance thought. “Well okay. Take care of yourself mama. If you need me all you have to do is call you know.”
“I won't be needin ya, and I know ya won't be needin me. You've been in town more'n here for weeks now.”
“Mama Jessica was attacked and nearly killed. I found her for God sakes. Can't you understand why I would want to help her, check on her condition? Surely mama you don't hold that against me too?”
“You should not be trying to guilt mother into approving of your queer cavorting. I'm taking her home with me to a normal family, and a normal life. She shouldn't have to sit here and watch you sink lower and lower into hell. She deserves a daughter who respects her and cares for her needs, not a whore like you.”
Constance lunged, grabbing Meagan by the ear and hair. “Be lucky you're pregnant little sister. I may not be as nice otherwise. I hope you and our mother get along swimmingly, and I hope she can lead a normal life.” Constance jerked away from her sister and spun around facing the broom closet. Jerking open the door, she reached inside and pulled out half a bottle of gin. With hatred flashing in her eyes she turned and threw the container against the far kitchen wall. Glass exploded, peppering the room with shards. “There's her normal life, and her needs, and no I don't respect that. I hope you can give her what she needs so she can come back from hell.” Constance stormed from the kitchen slamming the door leaving two very shocked women sitting at the old Formica table.
“Ma someone's at the door could you grab it. Ma? Maaaa? Never mind, the invalid will drag her ass off the couch and answer the door. If it's a Jehovah Witness I'm sending them into the bathroom with you!” Jessica opened the door to a teary- eyed, distraught Constance. She fell into Jessica's waiting arm and sobbed uncontrollably. “Hey, hey, what's wrong, what happened? Beauty, tell me what's wrong.” The older woman slid her finger beneath a quivering chin and lifted a sad face up to meet her eyes. “Come on let's sit down.” She led the smaller woman over to the couch and held her tightly, rocking and whispering softly in a close ear.
Josie Cooper was suddenly there with a box of tissues and a glass of water. “I'll be on the deck if you need me.” She slipped off, taking Chupa with her outside.
“Here Beauty, take a sip.”
Constance complied sniffling as she swallowed. “Your mom is so sweet. Do you know how lucky you are?”
“Yeah, she's pretty good as a mom, makes a lousy uncle though.”
A small giggle followed. “You're a nut you know?”
“Yep, I know. So what happened with your mom?”
“Oh Jessi it was awful. My sister attacked me immediately; my mother has obviously been filling her head ever since she walked in the door. Meagan and I have our differences, but she has never called me names, and talked so nasty before. My mother informed me she is leaving; she's going to New York with her perfect, pregnant, straight daughter. The daughter who told me I am a whore, and a user, and ungrateful, and I believe, a cunt licking dyke.”
“Tell me you slapped the shit out of her.” Jessica's anger was obvious.
“No. I certainly wanted to, but she is pregnant, and that is really not my personality. I've never fought back; I would always just walk away. Today was the first time I came close to popping her though. I ended up taking it out on a bottle of gin.” Constance proceeded to relay the entire story to her friend.
“So looks like you'll be living the bachelorette life on the farm. Are you going to be okay out there by yourself?”
“Yeah, it's not like my mama brought a whole lot to the table most of the time.”
Josie's voice suddenly sounded from the back deck. “Hey Jessi honey, there is the cutest little beagle in your yard. Do you have any idea who she might belong to?”
“She's mine Mrs. Cooper, her name is Ruby.” She looked at Jessica. “I hope you didn't mind but I couldn't leave her there with those two.”
“Of course not. Do you want to bring her in?”
“No, let her run around and sniff out the place a bit. I closed the gate so she can't go anywhere. Thank you.”
“You don't have to thank me, Ruby's a cutie.”
“No, I mean for everything. For being here, for being you.” A light kiss was placed on Jessica's lips.
“I'll have to do more things to get thank you's. I like the payment.”
“Me too. By the way, do you need anything from the store? I need to run out and get a few things. I left the house without any clean underwear or clothes.”
“You could always throw your stuff from yesterday in the washer.”
“You wouldn't mind?”
“Of course not. Come on let's get your clothes going, go out and see if mom has wallowed the dogs to death, and then think about some lunch.” Jessica was given another kiss. “What was that for?”
“For having irresistible lips; and for being you.”
“Cool, I don't have to work for that, it's all natural.”
Constance stood offering her hand to the other woman. “Come on Natural let's go find your mom.”
“Throw it again, throw it again, pweeeeaase.”
“Do you always speak for Chupa? And if so do you always do it in that dopey voice?” Constance asked giggling at her friends antics.
The three women had been playing with the dogs and Constance had found herself pulled into a never-ending game of fetch the NERF football.
“It is our responsibility, and dare I say duty, to speak for those that have no voice. If we don't who will?”
“Jessi honey, you know as your mother I love you, but sometimes you worry me. And to answer your question Constance, yes she has been speaking in that goofy voice for that poor dog since she got him. I have gotten so used to it that I have actually answered the dog.” Mother and friend continued to laugh at the expense of the professor.
“That's okay, laugh if you want. Chupa appreciates it, don't you boy.”
“See.” All three women broke into laughter, only to be interrupted by the ringing phone. “Constance would you mind grabbing that?”
“Sure.” She quickly trotted into the kitchen and picked up the handset. “Hello.”
“No, one moment.” Constance started back outside to deliver the call.
“Is this Dr. Blackhawk?”
“Yes it is, who is this, and can I help you?”
“Oh, Dr. Blackhawk you have helped me more than you know.” The smooth female voice flirtatiously stated.
“I'm sorry, but who is this?”
“Doctor you have some very interesting residents on your farm. Residents that I would very much like to meet. I already tried to persuade Dr. Cooper to introduce me but she refused. Now I hope you will be more helpful.”
“I don't have a clue what you're talking about. Who are you?” Constance had walked back to Jessica and indicated that there was a strange caller on the line. Jessi took the phone and pressed the speaker phone function listening intently.
“It's not important who I am doctor. The only important thing is how willing you are to give me access to what I want. Now I know you have had some interesting happenings out at your farm. I also know there have been some, shall we say, unfortunate happenings as well. Now I personally would rather not have to be the cause of any further unfortunates.”
“Who the hell are you? Are the one that attacked Jessica? Killed my dog? Come on bitch let's get this settled. What do you want from me?”
“My, my, what a spitfire. No wonder Dr. Cooper is so taken with you. She took quite the beating over you, you know? So loyal, you must be some impressive piece of ass. Maybe I could get a turn sometime.”
“Hey watch your mouth bitch, who the hell do you think you are?” Jessica yelled into the phone.
“Ahh, Dr. Cooper, so nice of you to join the conversation. How are you feeling? On the mend I hope. I'm glad you're home from the hospital; I know that must have been a real downer for you. Not being healthy enough to fuck your dog doctor. I did notice you got to spend some time with her however. You two looked angelic lying there in that bed asleep.”
“You were there? Spying? What do you want with us?” Jessica asked in disbelief.
“I want the location of the body, nothing less, nothing more.”
“What body? What are you talking about?”
“Now, now Dr. Blackhawk, don't play dumb. It doesn't become you. I know an unknown biped was shot, and killed on your property. Now I want to know where that body is, and you are going to tell.”
“Even if I knew where to find a body I wouldn't tell you a damn thing. But I don't have a clue where to find what it is you're looking for.”
“Dr. Blackhawk I don't believe you. Perhaps we will need to meet in person so I can further persuade you to tell me the truth.”
“Don't you dare come close to her. I'll kill you, you crazy bitch. Do you hear me, I'll kill you!” Jessi broke into a painful wheezing, coughing attack. A high pitched laugh was the answer from the phone.
“Easy Jessi, I wouldn't want to stress, or overexert you. I'll leave that up to your little veterinarian friend. You know Dr. Blackhawk maybe your mother or sister could help me with my quest.” The phone went dead with a click.
“Hello. Hello! Shit, Jessi I have to go to the farm. I can't let my mom and sister get hurt. I've got to go.” Jessica grabbed the other woman's arm.
“Constance wait! We need to call the police, let them handle this, not you.”
“By the time we explain all this to the police my mother and sister could be hurt, or dead. I have to go.”
“No. Call them, tell them to leave immediately, but don't go.”
Constance stared at her companions. Taking a calming breath she dialed the phone. A consistent ring was her only answer. “Shit.” She dialed and was again greeted with never ending rings. “Jessi I can't just stand here.”
“Hold on a second.” Jessica took the phone a dialed a series of numbers. “Hey sis, listen we got a problem. We were contacted by my attacker and she is threatening Constance Blackhawk's family. How quick can you get people out to her farm? Great, we'll wait to hear something.” She turned to her friend. “Jen said she can have somebody there in twenty minutes, that's faster than you can get there, and they're trained professionals. We will stay here and wait for an update and you can keep trying to call your house, okay?”
Constance leaned into the other woman's working arm. “Okay. Jess what have we gotten into?”
“Yes, Jessica Abernathy Cooper, what have you gotten yourself into?” Josie Cooper stood sternly waiting for an answer. “Well?”
“Ma, this is the real thing. I don't know who this crazy woman is, or how she found out about the Blackhawk farm, but what she said is true. A hominid of some kind was shot and died on the farm. Constance saw, and examined it. Something, we assume another creature, took the body. We camped out on the property and someone that was snooping around killed Stiles, Constance's dog. I was attacked the next night and ended up back out to the farm somehow. Now we at least know why I was attacked, we just need to find out who this woman is.”
“Jessica you know how I feel about this work of yours. I have always felt it was an obsession brought on by Jami's disappearance.”
“Ma I swear..”
“Let me finish. Constance you saw something yourself?” The younger woman shook her head. “This crazy woman obviously believes something is out there. So, I guess you must have stumbled onto something that has caused quite a stir. Why Jess, why can't you just leave it alone? Is it really worth it honey? Is proving your right important enough to get hurt, or worse?”
“No, proving I'm right isn't worth it mom. But the truth is worth it.”
“I have already lost one child Jessica. I will not sit by and watch another put themselves in harm's way for nothing.”
“Nothing? How can you say that? I have dedicated my adult life to finding the truth. And now when I'm at the jumping off spot you're trying to stand in my way? I can't believe you. This means everything to me, can't you see that?”
Josie watched as tears streaked her daughter's face. Lovingly she wiped away a tear. “Is it worth dying for sweetie? Is it worth losing Constance over? Is it worth Constance, or her family being hurt?”
“No, it's not that easy ma. I don't want anyone to get hurt, especially Constance. But ma please hear me, I can't control this like you want me to. I can't just give this crazy bitch the information she wants.”
“Why not Jessica? Why would you put yourself in jeopardy?”
“I'm not jeopardizing anything ma. I can't give her the information because I don't have the information. We didn't find anything. In fact that bitch stole my cameras; she has the evidence if there is any. All I have is hair, castes and recorded sounds, that's it. I have no clue where the body is.”
“Don't you have any idea where it might be? What about you Constance? It's your farm do you have any idea where a body might have ended up?”
“Mrs. Cooper I will tell you the same thing I already told Jessi. My grandmother used to tell me that the Stone Man buried his dead, just like us. She told me that they lived in the caves at the top of the ridge and to leave them to their lives. I have never found any evidence of a burial area and wouldn't have a clue where to look.” Constance reached over and took Jessica's hand. “If I knew I would tell crazy woman. I don't want you hurt again over me, not if I could help it.”
“Beauty this isn't your fault or mine. This woman is disturbed; we aren't responsible for her actions.” The conversation was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. “Hello. Yeah Jen, yeah she's here. Are you sure? Okay, I'll tell her, we'll see you out there.” She hung up the phone and turned to her worried looking friend. “Jen's people got out to the farm and your mom and sister are gone. Your sister's car was gone and the house was locked up. It looks like they're safe.”
“Thank God.” She peered at her pensive friend. “Jessi what's wrong? What happened?”
“When the agents got out there the barn was completely engulfed in flames. The fire department just arrived; Jen doesn't think anything will be salvaged. I'm sorry honey. I told Jen we'd drive out and meet with the agents.”
“Okay. Uh, Jessica?”
“I don't feel good.” Constance's face lost all color and she sank heavily to the floor.
Jessica bent down and started rubbing smooth circles on her friend's back. “Hey, easy, easy, breathe in. That's it; now nice slow breath out. There you go. Ma could you hand me a wet cloth? It's okay sweetie; we'll do this together. Nice and slow, calming breaths.” Jess ran the provided cool cloth across the beautiful face in front of her. She watched as foggy eyes cleared and color returned to the skin that had been very pale. “Feeling better?”
“Yeah, I uhh, lost control for a few minutes. Sorry.”
“Never apologize for having feeling and emotions. I kinda knew you were human so you don't have to keep up the pretense.” Constance was greeted with a toothy grin.
“I think I need a vacation. Want to come?”
“Sure. Where're we going?”
“I don't care. Anywhere that's far from my life.”
“Well, you figure out where that is and I'd be more than happy to tag along.” Jessi offered her hand to the still shaken woman. “Think you can deal with this right now?”
“Yeah, let's get it over with.”
To be continued
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