THE TWO DETECTIVES WALKED OFF THE SIDEWALK, SCALED A FENCE AND LOOKED FOR ANY SIGNS THAT THE VICTIM HAD WALKED THERE. THEY WERE CAREFUL NOT TO CROSS THE BEAMS OF THEIR FLASHLIGHTS. THOSE DAYS, GAIL HAD INTIMATED, WERE LONG BEHIND THEM.
“Do you really want a new partner,” Asked Lincoln, finally breaking the silence.
“Didn’t say I wanted one,” Explained Gail. She was not eager to have the conversation but she had known is was inevitable since the moment she had called things off between them. “Said I’m going to need one if you can’t put our big mistake in the past.”
“Can we compromise?” He asked in utmost sincerity as he directed his flashlight at his own face. There was something almost irresistible about her partner in that moment. He looked… adorable. He looked like he did the night of the firefight on the lower Eastside: Afterward, in the locker room, when they were both finally realizing how close they came to never seeing each other alive again. That first night they kissed.
“How so?” She asked, turning her attention to the farthest point of light of her beam. Farther away from him — away from that night — away from them.
“Can we come up with another phrase besides ‘Our big mistake’?” He asked sincerely.
“Oh my god.” Was her reply.
“Fine.” Lincoln conceded for the moment. “Mistake it is.”
But he noticed she wasn’t talking to him. His were eyes focused on the end point of her flashlight beam.
Together they were staring at the billowing white gown that was draped on the low branches of a thicket of trees.
The gown moved with the wind, making it appear to be dancing in the dark like a lone ghost looking for its flesh and bone dance partner.
“No tearing. No blood,” Gail observed as they got closer. “No obvious sign on struggle.”
Lincoln was confused as he asked “What, Gail? You’re saying she just took off her clothes and wandered naked through the park?”
Gail decided not to answer. Because she noticed something on the ground about fifteen yards in front of the white gown. She bent down on one knee and produced a pair of tweezers and a plastic evidence bag.
She gingerly plucked the lime green plastic bracelet off the ground. She noticed it was pulled and worn at the center. Gail come to a conclusion about the significance of the item she had found.