Back in Arkansas, Fiona had worked meticulously to become a nurse, and she had paid her way all by herself. Her husband left her and Davina when Davina was Sebastian’s age, and she had not seen or heard from him since. The city they lived in was small and gossip-ridden. You know the ones…everyone knew everyone and everything. Fiona’s husband’s departing them was the talk of the town for so many years, so nursing school kept her mind off the nonsense stirring around in town. Eventually, it came to an end, but it only stopped due to the drama that began happening with Davina and Cole. By this time, Fiona had become a registered nurse, and she had found a job at the local hospital which Davina and Sebastian had to frequent due to her abuse from Cole. Aurora was a great friend and co-worker to Fiona, and she was very close-lipped, at first. It was pleasing to find such a quality in a friend in such a small town. Aurora was great with handling the dealings of Cole upon both Davina and Sebastian, but the last visit was where she drew the line between speaking and staying silent for them. The last incident with the stairs was too much for Aurora to ignore, and she talked Davina into getting in touch with law enforcement. Sebastian was starting to get hit a lot, and people were noticing the “too often” visits to the Emergency Department. Aurora played a huge role in getting safe along with Detective Finn Marlow.
Detective Marlow saved Fiona, Davina, and Sebastian from the grips of a very dangerous man. He had been watching Cole for quite a while due to his involvement in local drug trades and sex trafficking. He had only obtained the title of Detective about six months prior to meeting Davina and Sebastian, but he had known about Cole for years. Marlow had advanced his career by following the drug ring, and he made his promotion by discovering that Cole’s organization was involved in trafficking young girls as well. All the members of the Deville family were just bad seeds, and Davina along with Sebastian was caught in the middle of it all until they got out…or so they thought.
As the clock ticked onto the 24th hour, Fiona wiped tears from her eyes after reading everything her daughter had endured from such a dangerous relationship. They had never talked about all the terrible things that Davina had seen throughout her time with Cole, and to be honest, she did not really want to ever know things like that.
When the U.S. Marshalls moved them to Indiana, Fiona could have stayed and continued her life, but it was too risky because the family did not know if she knew anything. The choice to leave was hard because she had to leave her life behind. It was a no-brainer after seeing her sweet daughter banged up and bruised for what seemed like the 100th time. It was worth it, she thought, to be free of seeing Davina in pain. She left it all behind and never thought she would have to face it again.
She sipped her fountain soda, Pepsi, and she picked up the receiver to the landline to make a call to the officer who came to her aid with the car.
“Yes, may I please speak with Officer Jenson?”
The officer who answered the phone directed her call to him.
“Johnson here, can I help you?”
“This is Fiona Ridings. You helped with my daughter’s car last evening. She is still missing.”
“Ah, yes Ms. Ridings…I’m afraid I need to see you at the station. Would you be able to come down?”
His voice was sad and mysterious, but Fiona quickly answered, “Of course…I’ll be right there.”
“Okay, just ask for me at the desk, and I will come to get you.”
He too ended the call with a goodbye, and she hung the receiver up with a lone tear dragging her cheek. She knew something was going on and had gone wrong. She could feel it inside her soul. It was going to be a long drive to the police station, and the roads were bad since it was the first snow of the season.
She tried not to allow herself to be distracted as she cruised atop the icy roads from the country into the city. The fog was low to the road and almost did not permit her to see far enough in front of her, but she navigated through the conditions with ease. She turned on the radio in her pickup truck, and it helped to ease her nerves to the slightest amount needed to get from point A to point B. As she arrived at the parking lot of the station, she saw a U.S. Marshalls vehicle and an unmarked government vehicle parked at the side of the building. She recognized one of the men, and he was wearing the normal suit and tie garb that most detectives wear. Seeing him meant that her gut feeling was right. Cole is involved in Davina not coming home.
She called Sharon before leaving the house to make sure Sebastian was still able to hang out over at the house with Sharon and her family, and she gave a big thumbs up from afar. Her voice was happy and soothing, so Fiona knew he would be safe there. She told Sharon she had to go talk to the officer after finding Davina’s car, but the sweet waitress had no idea of the past that Davina had or why she would be missing.
Fiona turned the key to shut off the engine, and she sat there for just a moment to collect herself. She had not seen Detective Marlow for years, and she knew the circumstances were dire for him to be here. As she walked up to the station doors to pull them open, he met her there with a sad look on his face. He could not smile, and he could only put his head down as she walked inside the lobby.
“What’s happening? Where is she?”
“Fiona, I’m afraid we have uncovered a corpse over by the fire station in the water. Can you come with me, please?”
She was gasping inside herself with fear as she followed the tall dark-haired man down to the elevator. When he pressed the “B” on the floor buttons, dread consumed her mind, and her tears began flowing down her cheeks. There was only one thing down in the basement, and it was the Vigo County Coroner’s office and the morgue.
As the elevator come to a bumpy stop, the doors opened to a flood of cold, stale air into Fiona’s face. Detective Marlow, with the still sad look on his face, gestured to exit right, and she did slowly with her arms crossed. The cold bit into her skin along with her nerves making her bones shake like a rattlesnake’s tail. The detective led her down the hallway to the Coroner’s office, where she saw a table with a sheet-covered corpse laying on top of it. The smell in the room stung her nose, so she covered it with her finger. Tears were pouring from her eyes, and she could barely breathe from being so distressed. She never thought in all of her years that she would be here…doing this.
“Ma’am…”, the coroner said, nodding his head.
“Fiona, I need you to identify the body…I’m sorry.”, the detective said as he took a step toward the table and brought her with him with a soft pull of her back.
The coroner pulled the sheet back only past the neck of the corpse, and Fiona lost her footing. Detective Marlow was prepared to catch her.
“Davina…”, she gasped.
It was indeed her daughter. Davina was lying dead on the table. There were marks on her neck and bruises all over her face. He had found them. Sebastian, she thought.
“Detective Marlow, we need to go get Sebastian…he’s not safe.”
For my new readers, this is an ongoing story. Here are the previous posts: