by David Beaumier
Case No: B3-700540
Reporting Officer: Phillip Dion
Prepared by: Phillip Dion
Detail of Event:
MELODY ANGERS [an-jurs] (white female, 165 lbs., black wavy hair, brown eyes, bruised around the face and neck) was found in her home on 700 W. Helena, Apt 480 on 2/17/2019 at 9:20pm. She was unconscious and brought in for medical care. Choice was made to isolate her based on finding the bodies of her brother PETER ANGERS, and the super, ZEKE OWEN, who called in the incident saying he heard fighting. Both Mr. Angers and Mr. Owen were found with advanced cases of rigor mortis and skin hard to the touch. Mr. Angers had a knife in his hand that could only be removed once three of his fingers were chiseled away. Physical contact not recommended. Ms. Angers is expected to be ready to answer questions in the morning.
Officers on scene have been quarantined. Whatever compound killed Mr. Angers and Mr. Owen seemed to have dissipated enough when the officers arrived to be non-fatal, but observation is still recommended for another two days. Preliminary blood tests show both men died from exposure to a mutagenic gene that latched onto the SRY gene (located on the Y-chromosome), which triggered a hardening of the dermal layer. Ms. Angers has tested positive as a carrier for the mutagenic gene, and inhibiting factors are being researched. Until then, all contact must be limited to those who have been tested for chromosomal markers, regardless of gender identity.
“And that’s why you’re up for this, Rookie,” Phillip says once Allison looks up from his report.
“Detective Hanover has more experience, and this is an unusual circumstance. Why won’t she conduct the interview?” She glances through the glass into the interrogation room where Melody Angers sits, her hazmat suit put aside in a neat pile.
“Tested her; she’s XXY it turns out. All this genetic crap makes my head spin. I needed at least two techs to walk me through it for the report. You’re the first one we’ve had come back as XX genuine female.”
Allison rolls her eyes.
“No lie, girl!” He grins. “And we need to know what she knows. In the best situation, this is a freak mutation, but at worst it was the start of a terrorist attack. Homeland Security and the CDC will be coming in on this one before you know it, just wait and see.”
“And I’m not going to get this weird virus?” she asks.
“Not according to the goons. They think she picked it up from her brother since they shared genetic markers, but it shouldn’t pass to anyone with an XX chromosome set.”
She doesn’t like it, but she joined the Visitation to help people, not for her own personal comfort. So into the decontamination room she goes, followed by the locking of one hermetic seal behind her and a second one in front. Her hair only needs to be patted down a little bit after the blast of ionization that should kill any foreign compounds in the air. She enters, dossier in hand, and sits across from Melody.
“Hello Ms. Angers. I’m Agent Allison Theed. I’d like to ask you a few questions about your brother and what you remember from last night.”
The bruise on Melody’s face already shows signs of turning blue, a contrast from the angry red it was in the photos from Phillips’s report.
“It’s only been one day since it all happened?”
Allison nods. “What do you recall?”
“Am I in any trouble? I’ve hardly seen anyone.”
“No Melody, we just need to know…” she hesitates. Glances at the report. Phillips has written that Angers has brown eyes, but this woman’s eyes are granite gray, hardly a trace of color, only shading. “We’re just trying to get a sense of what went down.”
“Peter called. He and Amber were fighting—that’s his girlfriend,” she adds, seeing Allison’s look. “Things have been tough for him since he lost his job.”
“The warehouse on 37th?” Allison asks, looking at a note.
“Right. Something about not filling his orders fast enough. I don’t think it was his fault, but he still took it so hard. It meant he couldn’t get her anything for Valentine’s Day, and things were already going poorly for them. He was crying, and I knew that they must have broken up.”
“What’s Amber’s last name and phone number?”
Melody gives them to her.
“Alright, he calls, and then?”
“He came over, and he was hurt. Scratches up and down his face. I asked him what happened and he started talking about what a good boyfriend he always was, how he always respects women. He told me how much he loved me and that he never meant…” she breaks off. “Where is Peter?”
“Melody, what did he never mean?”
“Did Peter call you to help me?”
“Just tell me what happened.”
“I need to know if Peter is here first. What has he said; have you found Amber?”
“Ms. Angers, please, if you’d—”
“Either you answer my question or I want a lawyer.”
“You haven’t been charged with anything.”
“Lawyer or answers.”
Allison glances at the window and sighs. This shouldn’t be happening like this. Melody Angers looks like a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time, knocked out by a potential terrorist attack. She gathers up her dossier, and heads out the door, which unseals with a quick and quiet efficiency. The ionization of decontamination blows over her, and then she’s out on the other side.
“That could have gone better,” a man says. He’s standing next to Phillip who looks rumpled next to his crisp suit. “Special Agent Seth Perseus, Homeland Security.”
Phillip shoots her an ‘I-told-you-so’ look with his eyebrows.
“Are you here to take over the interrogation?”
Seth folds his arms. “No, you’re still the only one who can go in and talk to her without any risk.”
“In that case, my call is to find out more information about Peter Angers’s girlfriend Amber.”
“Already sent someone there,” Seth says.
Allison’s eyes widen. “That says a lot about the priority of this case.”
The special agent’s expression doesn’t reveal anything, but he holds out a black phone for her to look at. “ID found on scene confirms, this is Amber.” Pictured is a young woman, dead. “CoD multiple stab wounds. Running DNA test on skin found under the nails. No sign of forced entry…looks like she knew her attacker.”
“So Peter kills her, and gets infected by some super virus on the way to his sister’s place. What’s the piece I’m missing here?”
“Money’s on her knowing.” Seth nods back at the door. “Get back to it, Agent.”
It’s through the first door, decontamination, and the second door all over again.
“Look.” Melody is standing now, hand on her hips, those strange gray eyes cutting through the air. “If you have to run out every time I make a request to talk with your supervisor, I would really rather just—”
“Amber is dead.”
The woman’s shoulders fall as if Allison hit her in the stomach. “No, I had hoped—I thought maybe…”
“What happened last night, Melody?”
Allison sits down in her chair and, after a moment of deliberation, Melody sits down across the table.
“Peter came over, like I said, and he was babbling. He kept talking about how it wasn’t his fault. His arms and hands were covered in blood, and he…he had a knife. He told me that he thought he killed Amber. He said she started shouting at him, that he was pathetic and couldn’t hold down a job, that if his job could replace him with a robot she could do the same. She—she could be cruel, but that doesn’t justify…” She takes a deep breath and pushes her curly hair back. “I told him we had to call an ambulance, that there was a chance we could still save her. That he needed to turn himself in. He started screaming that I was just like her, that I wanted him to fail, too. That I thought he was pathetic. I got distracted when I heard someone pounding on the door. It must have been Zeke.
“When I looked away, Peter grabbed the knife and came after me. I ran. It was surreal to run from him like that. I’m his older sister and he’s never… Anyway, he caught me against the wall and raised the knife, but then something strange happened.” She stops, gray eyes gazing off toward her reflection in the mirror. Her hand reaches up toward her face.
“Melody?” Allison prompts.
“He started seizing. I think maybe Zeke used his key to get in the room and must have tasered him. Peter fell on me, and he felt like he weighted a thousand pounds. I must have hit my head, because the next thing I remember was waking up here.” She paused again. “Did Zeke…Is Peter…Are they both okay?”
Allison considers the woman across from her. “They’re both dead.” She watches and waits.
“What?” Melody blinks several times. “Who did it?”
“I hoped you could tell me.”
“It was just the three of us. All I remember is seeing Peter with the knife and suddenly I felt like I knew him. That I could always see how rotten and bad he was to the core and how this turning to abuse was inevitable for him. I wish I saw it sooner. I could have stopped him.” Her fists clenched. “I could have…”
Time stretches on for several minutes.
Finally, Allison breaks in. “Do you need anything?”
Melody lets out a sigh as if her body is turning to stone. “Some hot tea would be nice.”
To the door, through decontamination, through the second door.
When Allison comes out Special Agent Perseus is dressed in a full hazmat suit, with Phillip handing him a gun.
“What’s this?” she asks.
“Word came in from up top. We’re to neutralize Ms. Angers,” he says as Phillip helps him secure a helmet.
“What? Like hell! Her brother almost murders her, so we’re going to terminate her? That’s not what we do here.”
“We protect the general populace, Agent Theed. Ms. Angers in there could wipe out half of the world’s population with the mutagenic gene she carries.”
“You don’t know that there won’t be a cure!”
“And you don’t know there will be. We believe this isn’t a terrorist plot, but rather she is patient zero for a new disease that triggered when she was threatened by her brother.”
“You mean it activated and protected her.”
“And it killed Mr. Owen, or did you forget?”
She thinks back to the picture in the dossier of Zeke Owen lying rigid in the door of Melody’s apartment, hand outstretched, mouth gaped in horror.
Special Agent Perseus shakes his head. “I’m sorry, Theed.” He opens the first hermetic door.
“C’mon, Allison. You don’t want to see this, we should go.” Phillip puts a hand on her arm and tries to lead her away.
“You go.” She doesn’t look to see him walk away as she marches into the interrogation viewing room.
Melody sits at the table, head in her hands, peering out between her fingers. Those gray eyes stare directly at Allison. No, she’s looking at herself, at her own eyes. Phillip said the eyes were brown, not gray. The second door begins to make the soft noise of unlocking, and Melody glances up to see Perseus raise his gun.
Allison clicks off the light to the interrogation room.
A bang as Perseus’s gun flashes. A shout. The sound of glass cracking. Silence.
Allison turns on the light.
Melody’s standing over the agent’s rigid body, his gun in her hand, pointing right at Allison. It’ll take some time to earn her trust, but Allison knows she’s going to help this woman to safety.
David Beaumier’strue love is Argentine tango. When he drags himself away from dance long enough to write and submit work, his stories have appeared in EWU’s Inroads, WWU’s Suffix, Psaltery & Lyre, and Whatcom Writes’ issues Choices and Resistance. He worked as the Assistant Publishing Director at Village Books and now edits professionally part time. He’s currently pursuing his Masters in English Studies at WWU where he serves as a genre editor for The Bellingham Review. He also serves as the project manager for The Writers’ Corner, which is expected to have a 3rd publication in the fall of 2020. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 2009.