I think you’ll find I’m the one that should be worried.
What do you have to be worried about? Last time I checked I was on my best behavior….for now.
Definitely or something.
That so? Is it somethin’ I should be worried about?
Luke wouldn’t believe that. He couldn’t. Anyone who thought themselves above the law was prone to making their own rules to justify their actions and in the end, rid themselves of the guilt that would have torn anyone else asunder at the lives destroyed by one person’s actions. And then there were the ones that chose to ignore the rules, bringing with them the destruction and crime that plagued his mind as well as the station. Where she stood, he wasn’t certain of except one thing, he was long past done walking in the same circle with her as neither said enough to make any difference. “I’m not playing this game with you.” He took a step back, tired of both the dead ends he was finding and the back and forth that wasn’t getting him anywhere except deeper into a hole that he wasn’t sure there’d be a way out of. Not as long as she was around. “Go home, Glenn.”
They stood toe to toe, muscle to muscle and one just as proud as the other and the only one to admit it would be her, he reeked of humbled when he wasn’t trying to play the bad cop. A game he’d succumbed to though he said he was down to get rough and tumbled, he’d kept the line and could have hauled her in on suspicion alone and the fact that her tracks were all over those woods. “And yet here you are, startin’ to think you like this ‘game’.” With his step backwards, she only persisted to follow as she ducked under the tape with out a care for what would come next as she held up the molar she’d collected when he’d had his back turned. “Yer CSI or whatever did a shit job, there’s this a quarter mile west I’m pretty sure there’s other bits of him too. What animal drags its prey that far and doesn’t bury it or eat it.” She questions though it’s very probable he won’t listen or care to when he’s slapping cuffs on her for obstruction of justice.
He could have laughed, incredulous and mistaken as a near growl at the base of his throat when she turned her scowl to a smile and those words she’d clung to for weeks came back with a vengeance. There was the drifter that thought herself above the law, above the rest of the town, and above all, him. It was exactly what he expected from her and yet at the same time, hated it. He wanted the anger back, the rough words, and the presence that sought to take him down that he’d seen for a few minutes. That felt more real than anything else he saw or that she claimed he couldn’t see. “No one is above the law.” He stared at her. “No one.” One step over the line and she’d be gone, just like anyone else that sought to take matters into their own hands when it would only end up with getting themselves killed and he wasn’t about to stand by and see someone else die. Even if it was someone who continued to play with fire. “And what’re the right questions?”
"Some are." Soft words, hard truths and tangible facts to her as she skirted around the boundaries of his so called ‘law’. The things she hunted didn’t play by the rules or adhere by any sort of code so why would she? She knew what rules to bend, how to move between them and break them without a pair of steel cuffs to hold her down though many had tried. She didn’t like confides or cages, and they couldn’t hold her if they tried, a point she was more than willing to prove as she moved just an inch closer a daring look to match her smugness. "If you have to ask that, then you really do know nothin’. Is there anythin’ that you do know?”
"At least I tried." That was more than he could say for what he’d seen of her or anyone else in the town. Too many had written it off as nothing more than an animal attack, growing more frequent as the weather changed though none of it added up. She spoke as if she knew more than she was telling, experience rolling off her shoulders as she turned them towards him and tried her best to gain any additional height that she could as not to have to look up at him. "You haven’t said anything." He shook his head, trying to get out everything she’d said to him over the weeks but more so during this conversation but it was no use, she was already in there. She had been for some time now considering how easily she riled him up. "All you’ve done is kick around dirt and act like you’re above the law when you’re not." Another warning. The last one he would give her.
It wasn’t a blind man’s bluff or a last ditch attempt to rattle her cage to get her to spill the beans she’d been carrying all of her life, he knew, she saw it in the whites of his eyes and the way that he carried himself even now with the tension rising and settling with each haggard breath. He was no fool, and neither was she as her scowl reformed to a sly, smug smirk that came as natural to her as breathing. “I don’t abide by the your laws, so in a sense I am just that, above them, nowhere near them and by no means should I be shakin’ at me knees because you wear that gun and badge with high honors.” As sweet and lovely as her smile might had seemed to another, it was vile and full of loathing not at him or even at him chosen way of life, it wasn’t so different from hers, but it was the sense of righteousness that made her sour. She knew who and what she was, how little time she had to do what had to be done so she chose to make the best of it and keep fighting, even in times where everything looked blurred and bleak. “You want answers cowboy, then stop asking the wrong fucking questions.”
Jaw clenched, Luke watched quietly as she stepped up to the think piece of plastic that separated them yet it seemed as if that wasn’t all that stood between them as she continued to speak out against him; trying a new tactic at bringing him down to her level or maybe he was seeing her for who she truly was for the first time in weeks. Either way, he wasn’t impressed. Not with the accusations that she threw at him or the fact that they only mirrored his own thoughts that not even the bottom of a bottle could dull. “And yet you say nothing.” Luke’s eyes flashed, dark with intense fury at the both of them and the fact that she continued to play around with him even now. Though it didn’t constitute enough of a reason to say what he said next, stepping up close enough that he could peer down at her with the frown that was permanently etched onto his features nowadays. "You didn’t save him.” Neither did he but that was the difference as far as he could see; one on one side of the tape actually trying and another on the other side of the tape just accusing him of doing anything but that.
"I’ve already said all that needs to be said, yer just not listenin’ or seein’ with your own eyes, too deaf, too blind, too stupid." It had crossed her mind from time to time, how useful he could be to her if she chose to shed light on the truth. An action never to be taken lightly, her fathers voice echoed in the back of her mind, to expose herself, her bloodline and what was happening around them was a dangerous choice, so she moved against her gut feeling and gave way to reason. A wise decision considering the way he looked at her, venomous words and a more than prominent threat lingering in the air between them as he challenged, unknowingly, everything she stood for. "Aye, I didn’t." It’s a whisper filled with regret, harsh and volatile on her tongue. "An’ neither did you, couldn’t if ya tried." She loomed at him from across their divide, toe on the line and not just with her words as she wanted the take a swing for good measure to knock the gull right out of him.
And there went her smile. One that always seemed out of place considering she was always where he least felt like smiling; standing over the last resting place of yet another body. There was some small part of him that’d known better than to say anything at all, let alone anything in her company that strove to bring out the worst in him or so he thought. “And what have you done?” He returned the heated words, not raising his voice as he turned back around and watched as she all but spat at him the words that he’d thrown in her direction to see if they would garner a reaction. They had. “What no smile this time or sly remark that’s meant to piss me off or impress me? Impress anyone with your knowledge about what may or may not be going on around here?” There was nothing noble in what he did, trying to find closure for the families he couldn’t save from being ripped apart. At best, he felt like he owed them everything he had to help with the pain he’d failed in preventing. “Say what you want about me, but at least I’m out here trying,” His hands went up, out by his sides as he looked around before his eyes landed back on her and his arms dropped heavily once again. “Can you say the same thing? What are you doing out here anyways and no bullshitting me this time.”
She had been trained better than to lose her composure to such a degree, especially with someone she knew best to avoid. Cops never made good bedfellows for hunters, sticking their nose where they don’t belong and royally fucking up every intent on doing their job. He had been no different, she shouldn’t have been there but she wasn’t surprised, his tenacity matched her own as did his rage that became more apparent with each moment that ticked away. “I’ve done more than you could ever even comprehend, everything you see is so limited, blinded by laws of men you don’t stop ta think what else is at work, or what goes bump in the night. You know nothing.” She took another step with no regard to the barrier she wasn’t meant to cross but didn’t care either way as she saw nothing but blood red and her own failure, and his. “I’m savin’ lives, that’s what I’m doin’. Can’t say the same about you when you’ve got yer blind and bloody finger pointed in the wrong fucking direction, what, you learn how ta do yer job with o’ those ‘Cops for Dummies’ books?”
It was enough that she’d managed to get under his skin in the short amount of time that she’d been in town, never connected enough to the attacks to warrant any kind of bringing her in for suspicion but that didn’t mean he wasn’t suspicious of her. Especially when she spoke as if knowing more than she should know without saying anything at all that was the real kicker, Luke ran a hand through his hair that only managed to ruffle it further from the lack of sleep or stopping in this mad dash to stop whatever or whoever was behind these attacks. “Dammit, Glenn. If you know something and you’re not talking
” He sighed heavily, feeling more exhausted by the moment before he chose to turn away rather than book her right on the spot for nothing more than aggravating his last shred of sanity with her word games. “If you know something that could help stop this and you don’t say anything,” he looked back over at her before shaking his head. “Then you’re no better than whatever is behind this. You’re not doing anything but letting it continue.” His father had told him once that the worst thing someone could do was nothing at all and he still believed that to this day.
It was strange to her how quick that tables had turned, she prattled on with a gifted silver tongue and she wasn’t shy to admit she did love to get under his skin. It her short time in town it had become a favorite past time, a knack she’d been rather quick to find ease in but not in that moment. Her smile disappeared, replaced by a firm, grim line a scowl set into her brow; she’d always had a fiery quick temper, one that often worked to her advantage giving her an edge that kept her alive. The tone he took with her, his choice in words and his accusation made her blood boil hotter than when she’d come face to face with death itself. “You haven’t earned the right to say that,” she spat, eyes narrowed to near slits as she stepped forward out of bold and reckless aggression. “all you do is sit there at yer desk, pushin’ yer pencils and making bogus arrests on cases that just don’t add up. How noble you must feel when you go home at night.” She had crossed that line, she knew, but she couldn’t hold it back when everything she was born, bred, and taught to do was protect those who could not protect themselves. And she had failed.
"For obstruction of justice." Luke frowned, not enjoying her words that meant to get a rise out of him or the fact that she seemed to know more about what was going on than she liked to share. Bristling beneath his jacket, she was right about one thing, that he couldn’t bring her in just because she was getting under his skin and saying the words that he’d been thinking all along. The same thing that no one else would even consider. "He wasn’t killed here. His body was dragged," he admitted, the broken branches and trail that lead deeper into the woods hadn’t escaped his gaze. "His weapon could be out there though
” It didn’t explain what he was doing out there in the first place.
"Obstruction?" She snorted, walking the line she knew she couldn’t cross with out a pair of cuffs getting slapped around her wrists and a rather aggravated cop hauling her off for questioning. She could handle herself, she’d been trained how to smooth talk her way out of this and that but he was tenacious in his suspicions, they both were well aware of that. "Can’t help that I just find myself centered around these atrocities, bad luck, that sort o’ thing." There was a smug satisfaction in her eyes at the details he let her have, ones she already knew from the lines in the earth and pieces that remained, such as the molar beneath her boot. "Could be," she speaks almost absentmindedly before finishing with a tone of confidence. "but it’s not."
That caught his attention. The mere mumble of her words that struck out with a sharp clarity that was out of place when surrounded by the confusion that’d continued to plague him as the body count rose. He stood up slowly, eyes back on the woman that continued to circle the spot that he stood in the middle as he appraised her as more than just a rubber necker that couldn’t leave well enough along, not when she spoke from some place other than morbid curiosity like the rest of the town that watched and waited for him and the rest of the force to solve this crime spree. “If you know something, you best decide now to start talking before I haul you in,” his threat clear and concise as he strode over to where she was standing, lifting the tape and stepping beneath it.
The threat was clear in his words as he came closer, dipping under the tape and striding closer with pure determination that would have rattled anyone, anyone other than her. She gathered herself, nose turning upwards as her lips pressed into a familiar smile that was devoid of any true humor or fretting she shook her head and held her ground. “Haul me in on what, exactly? Being in the wrong place and the wrong time, or just ‘cause I’m rufflin’ those pretty feathers o’ yours?” She was a master at hiding herself among the others, practiced smiles and personifications to have her coasting along and under the radar except around him. It seemed he had turned the odds against her, any composure and confidence faltered, leaving her standing with a worried feeling in her gut and the instinct to leave well enough alone. Which she never did. “His wife said he should have been at work, yet he was out ‘ere with nothin’ on him but his, phone, keys and wallet. Don’t you think a man out ‘ere, all alone, would’ve had the good sense to least be carryin’ a riffle in times like these?”
"It is as long as you’re in town," he replied, careful as he moved some of the brush that’d fallen down over the space beneath him with a pen. Watching her out of the corner of his eye but trying his best to ignore her presence the longer she lingered. It wasn’t enough to bring her in on the way she made his skin crawl when she was around or that it set him on edge when he was usually so calm and collected, Luke pressed his lips together as he continued his search. One step over the line and he’d bring her in, whether she was connected or not, just to keep her out of his hair and away from the trouble going on in the woods. He had his suspicions but none of which lead him anywhere other than in circles as he clung to his gut. "And it is as long as you’re thinking about sticking your nose in where it doesn’t belong."
She didn’t keep her eyes on him as she made her way around the scene, looking upon it with a different frame of mind than him it didn’t stop her from keeping her focus on the badge wielding blue bunny to her left. He had a point, in a sense, considering the amount of times she had drifted on through was growing in numbers over the past year as paranormal floodgate seemed to ripped open in this town. Flickering her gaze towards him, that smirk was present once again at the sharp edged and bit to his words, he had more brains than he did balls apparently. “That so?” She questions, stopping in her tracks as she looks upon the scene he’s standing in and connecting the dots with all her humor and color draining. Where the blood seeped into the earth and bits of flesh had once outlined the remains of one Frank Simmons she sees the faint remains of a circle, black as night and hardly standing among the ruins of the chaos it was meant to protect against. “Maybe it’s you who’s sticking their nose where it don’t belong.” It’s a remark she’ll regret as it slips right past her sense, barely a whisper when she makes the startling realization this case has become a lot deeper in it’s connections.
If he hadn’t known any better, Luke would have guessed that she was smiling at him or what he’d said though he couldn’t find anything to laugh about considering he was standing over the last resting place of one of the few unlucky people in this town found themselves in. But there she was, toeing the line and trying to play games with the law that was in place for a reason, to keep people safe though all he seemed to do lately was clean up the bodies. “And what do you plan to do with that toe or two before you step over the line?” Luke had already turned back to the ground, inspecting the dirt as he looked for some clue that had been missed earlier, anything that could connect the death to something other than an animal.
The air about her to him may have screamed careless, nonchalant and unaffected by the heavy tension that blanketed the air around them with the stench of death lingering on her senses. With a roll of her shoulders she walked the perimeter, her attention to the trees, the trampled earth and the drag marks in the leaves that the years of training and tracking had her picking up on in a matter of seconds. “That’s none o’ your business, Deputy Caldwell, none at all.” He wouldn’t believe that her intentions were the same, not with the way that he looked at her making the connections she knew his sharp wits would likely frame together only to miss one or two details. Such as how she wasn’t the killer and that her only involvement was to save as many people as possible, which the pair of them were failing to do.
The yellow ticker tape was the only thing separating the scene from the likes of those who trampled through the woods despite the multitude of warnings the station had issued to keep people from doing exactly what he was doing. Him and her by the looks of it as he glanced up from his crouched position to look over his shoulder at the source of the voice. It was her, just like he’d thought it would be as he gave her a grim smile without so much as a hint of humor. There hadn’t been much to find humorous lately, not when another death lay at his feet without so much as a clue to who was doing the killing when the rest of the force believed it to be animals doing the attacks but he had a feeling it was something different.
"It is when you’re trespassing."
The corners of her mouth turn upwards in a bemused smirk as the word ‘trespassing’ is thrown about, it’s definition lost on the likes of her as she holds back a laugh. “It’s not trespassin’ ‘till I cross this line ‘ere,” she drags a toe along the invisible line the yellow tape makes in the earth as she looks out across at him. “Got about a toe or two to go.” It’s a grim place to be having a laugh, but in the family business she’s learned to deal with things one of two ways and she doesn’t harbor the same look as he wears. It’s the one the men in his business are born with, firm scowls and the knowledge that there’s truly evil in the world…if only he knew what really lurked in the darkness and in the light.
He was working late. Hell, early wasn’t a word in his vocabulary especially not recently with all the quote unquote animal attacks around town that left townsfolk too scared to even leave their homes when the sun was barely hitting the edge of the horizon. So because of that fact, he was out there at the crime scene, later than anyone else as sleep still eluded him when he heard a branch snap in the distance, far too soft of a foot than anyone else on the task force. Luke had an idea who it was, considering they’d been present at nearly all the other scenes just shy of when he arrived. Someone he’d been keeping an eye on as long as he could feel her eyes on his back.
"You can’t be here."
It was a funny thing how many trails of late had led her to that neck of the woods, far too frequent and aggressive for her liking considering whatever it was kept eluding her. She had ruled out a wolves entirely, skin walkers and rugarus and as her list grew smaller, the more bodies kept stacking up leaving not only the police, but herself scratching her head. She didn’t like that, it kept her awake as her hands twitched with the excessive amounts of caffeine eroding her composure, ever more so as she came upon the latest crime scene. Only this time, she hadn’t beaten him there…it seemed the tables have turned.
"Nothin’ wrong with a lovely stroll in the woods, is there?"