Not even the FBI would wager a guess on the brainless bodies.

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A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental

Chapter 13

“Yeah, Angus.  Go ahead.”  Skeeter and Angus were just starting their workday.

“I think we need to have a meeting with Captain Sullivan.”

“What for?  Are we going out of town to look for the double-thumber?”

“No.  You know we aren’t going to find him. He’s buried deep.  The only way to find him is to nab the other two:  Guzman and Ortega.  Maybe they would all be together.  They aren’t going to talk, though, if he’s not with them.”  Angus was convinced of their behavior ahead of time.

“You’re right.  Even if we catch them all, they are not going to talk.  I think we need to do a series of full court presses on the neighborhood of the home invasion—go back over there again, and again—just not let up until we find out who their contacts in the area are.  You know, make a bunch of people nervous.”  Skeeter was determined.

“Okay, I guess we’ll be forced to do just that, later in the week.  Here is what I am thinking.  All of this stuff about the missing brains—it is all confidential—what LeBraun has told us, what Branford Cooper has told us, and I don’t want to break the confidentiality, but….”

“But what?”

“We are gonna get one of these bodies eventually.  From what LeBraun and Cooper told us, we have no idea what we are dealing with.  I think any of our guys here that are in on body discoveries, scene processing, or body handling—I think they should be protected.  I couldn’t live with myself if I knew they could prevent harming themselves and didn’t because I had not  told them what I know.”  Angus put it out there.

“We are in quite a predicament.” Skeeter agreed with Angus.  “I don’t want to betray the confidences either.  We should have a meeting with Sullivan and feel him out, see if he already knows something.  Surely he has heard something on his own, by now.”

“What started out to be a silly story in a scandal sheet turned out to be a real horror story with a life of its own.  I think you are right.  He has probably heard something about it by now, as many cities as it has hit.”

“And one small town in Louisiana.”

“And one small town in Louisiana.”  Angus echoed Skeeter’s words.

“Okay.  Let’s do it!” Skeeter agreed.

*     *     *

     “Come on in, you two characters.”  Sullivan invited them into his private office.  “I know you have hit a brick wall on your case.  I am not expecting miracles.  You have solved it for the most part.  It may take years to bring him in, if ever.  He will probably stay in Mexico, but I am counting on his having an addiction to crossing over here for more money.  Work on a couple of cold cases in the file, if you need to.”

“It’s not about our case, Captain.  .  .”  Angus started, “.  .we want to know, under strictest confidence, both yours and ours, if you have heard of a strange crime that has stricken some major U.S. cities, a deadly crime.”

“Why?” Sullivan asked, his eyebrows twitching.

“We have heard of something really weird.  I first saw it in a scandal sheet.  Then, in my spare time, I kept researching it, and it is for real.” Angus explained.

“Does it feature something anatomical?”  Sullivan asked.

“It does.”  Angus answered.

“You mean the brainless bodies?”

Angus and Skeeter glanced at each other.

“You knew?”  Skeeter asked.

“Well, I didn’t really hear about it until a couple of days ago when we got a bulletin from the FBI.”  Angus and Skeeter glanced at each other, again.  “Angus, I must say, you really go the extra mile.”  Sullivan chuckled.  “This isn’t funny, of course, but leave it to you to worry about crimes that aren’t even ours to deal with.”

“Yet.”  Angus said with an ominous tone.

“Okay.  I get your point.  Now what else can I do for you?  I know you didn’t just come in here to find out if I was current on brainless bodies.”

“What do they think is causing it?”  Angus went out on a brittle limb.

“Not even the FBI is wagering a guess.”

Skeeter asked, “Did they tell you what to do if we run across one of these bodies?”

“They are trying to figure that out and will give us an update when they know themselves.  What do you two think it is?  I am sure you two have put your heads together.”

“I think everyone should wear protection.”  Angus was sorry the second the words came out of his mouth.  Skeeter tried not to giggle but could not stop herself.

Sullivan took advantage of the slip.  “Wear protection?  Angus that goes without saying, but the department is not going to pay for supplies needed for recreational activities.”

What I mean, Captain,” said Angus with a wry smile, “is has the FBI or anyone else surmised what type of gear we should wear if we have to deal with one of these bodies?  I have tried to read everything I could get my hands on, and it was suggested in some of my reading, that special protective gear should be worn—maybe even hazmat suits.  I can’t remember who said that but somewhere they did.”

“They just don’t know, Angus.  They want to tell us the exact things to do but can’t.  I am going to call a meeting tomorrow and suggest just that.  I have ordered hazmat suits and surgical gear with goggles and masks.  In the meeting I will go over all of this.  Everyone is getting the disposable paper surgical gear and masks, goggles and gloves to carry with them, and sealable bags for disposal.  Any more questions?  I will try to answer them.”

“Captain, did you dream all this up on your own?  That’s pretty good!”

“No.  It crossed my mind in a big way, so I called up several Texas medical examiners and asked for their advice.  Then I combined all of the suggestions for maximum results.”

“Did you call Dr. LeBraun in Dallas?”

“I did, but he wasn’t available at the time.  Have I been helpful?”

Angus replied, “Yes, very.  Do you think we are a couple of young upstarts, coming in here like this?”

“Upstarts?  Yes. Young?  Not so much anymore.”  Sullivan retorted with a chuckle as he shooed them out the door.

Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.

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