“Not like this.” The words sprang foremost in the detective’s mind. “The body isn’t recognizable. We couldn’t identify it. I can’t believe a person would do this to another person. It couldn’t be wild dogs either, no matter what bull the chief is feeding us.”
“The body must have been pretty badly mangled to upset a seasoned pro like you,” Ellie said honestly.
“It looks like an animal attack, but, I don’t know. There’s something deliberate about it. It was bad enough that they called a specialist.”
“I thought I was the department’s specialist.” Ellie was hurt.
“This guy is different. He’s a specialist in voodoo mumbo-jumbo. He dresses like some kind of priest, and he gives me the willies.”
“I can do voodoo mumbo-jumbo,” Ellie thought, sulking. Instead, she asked, “Is the chief in?”
“He’s with the specialist. You’re going to have to wait in line. Have a seat outside his office, and I’ll let him know you’re here when he’s done with his chat.”
Ellie thanked the detective and headed down the hallway to the chief’s office. She knew from experience the office was the posh room surrounded by a glass wall. Presumably, this was so the chief could always keep an eye on what was happening in the rest of the station. Ellie knew, however, that he had always wanted a glass office, just like the movies.
Inside, the chief was sitting behind his desk, head down, in the closest semblance to humility Ellie had ever encountered from the man. She took a seat on a long uncomfortable bench, similar to the ones in the lobby. She grabbed a magazine, pretending to read it, and instead reached with her mind into the room to enjoy the show.
What she found was unexpected. Her mind slammed into a wall. It didn’t hurt, but it startled her so much she nearly dropped her magazine. It was like a mental bubble circled the office and the occupants therein. It cut her off from the juicy tidbits inside. She was infuriated, this had never happened before.
She knew the barrier could not have been created by the chief, she had eavesdropped on him plenty of times. Besides, he wouldn’t know psychic if it hit him over the head. He thought of himself as a practical no-nonsense kind of guy, and he didn’t believe in such things. The strange specialist in his office must be responsible for this anti-psychic bubble.
Ellie took a moment to scrutinize the stranger with renewed interest. He was tall and lean with dark hair and dark eyes. His face was covered in three-day-old stubble, and he looked tired. He was scowling at the chief while he talked, and the chief wasn’t retaliating in his usual verbose manner. The stranger wore a long black jacket which fell to his ankles and was buttoned high around his neck. Davis was right, he did look like a priest, though there was nothing about him to indicate that he actually was one.
“Excuse me.” The young woman’s voice was polite and curious.
“What?” Ellie was momentarily confused. She had been so busy regarding the priest that she failed to notice the young woman who had followed her from the reception area. The girl was perched precariously beside her on the arm of the bench.
“I was just wondering,” the girl began meekly, “Wouldn’t it be easier to read if it were right side up?”
Ellie glanced down at the magazine in her hands. Sure enough, the issue of “Cutting Edge Firearms” was upside down. It must have gotten shuffled when she was startled. She laughed and righted it.