The crisp chill of the morning air hung heavy with the scent of rain, everything smelling fresh and new. They had not been due for a storm the night before but it had happened anyway which was not something she could complain about other then a lack of sleep that had befallen her. Rain was always a soothing sound but when mixed with thunder, it made her ears want to bleed which meant waiting out the noise for peaceful sleep. Now, she stood by the docks, sugary coffee in hand to counter out a restless evening and the early wake up call to duty. There had been no hesitation in taking this case or lending a hand when she had found out the minor details at almost the crack of dawn.
Her hand tightened on the cup, the whiskey brown gaze locked onto the ship in the distance and waiting for a boat to take her out to the location. She knew the minor details of what she would find on board but being at a crime scene was always different from the details, more so for her than most. A gentle breeze tugged at the chocolate brown locks of her hair, causing her to tuck it behind her ear as she picked up on the sound of footsteps approaching her direction. She pretended not to hear, ignoring the distinct step pattern and the type of cologne he always wore that gave away who was to be at her side. The older gentleman had been on the force for quite awhile and was always pleasant in nature. The kind that always smiled or brushed off the negativity of the job but today, he seemed to be struggling with the weight of it. No one could blame him. The fishermen were all in an upset roar and rightfully so, plus there was no doubt he had already been over to the destination before her.
“Hey Rookie, didn’t think I would see you here.” He stated, stepping up next to her to look out over the water.
“I am hardly a rookie and why wouldn’t I be here? A man is missing and you know as well as I that I am good at finding people.” Juniper replied, watching as her ride started to head in their direction. The man shrugged, a weak smile on his face that seemed completely forced and unnatural on him.
“Everyone seems like a rookie to me.” He stated softly before continuing in a serious tone. ”I’ve been at this a long time. I’ve seen a lot but I got to tell ya, this ain’t lookin’ good. It isn’t really what was done, we have had creeps like this in the past but....” he trailed off, shoving his hands into his pocket which caused her eyebrow to raise.
“But?” She questioned, trying to push him along.
“Something doesn’t feel right. Silly, huh? Maybe it’s just in my head. I might be getting too old for this crap.” He sighed, running a hand through his hair before shaking his head. “I swear I actually came over to see how you have been.”
Juniper felt a soft smile tug at her lips before taking a sip of blissful heaven she held in her hand. “Oh? You been worried about little old me?”
“Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh. You just haven’t been around much. Was worried you had disappeared or worse.”
“I’ve been on a case and besides, you know Natalie would be on you like white on rice if anything happened to me.”
“Not all rice is white.”
“Oh? Would you rather I had said like stink on shit?” Juniper jested in return which cause a genuine laugh from the other.
“Touché.” Marcus replied, about to say something more but cut of by the sound of an engine and the boat getting ready to dock. “I won’t keep you. See you around, Juniper......be careful.” He stated, waving as he walked away, leaving her to climb onto the boat and wonder what he had wanted to say.
The ride was quick and pleasant but as they got closer to the ship, the more the hair on the back of her neck stood on end and her nerves became on edge. Juniper felt the need to be on defense, to search for an attacker that might pop out at any moment, and a streak of full on fear ate at her gut but that was only because of the darkness that clung to this area. It felt off, like nothing she had ever felt before and she finally understood what Marcus had been trying to get across. It was bad if a normal human had sensed this even a bit. This might be part of the reason Salem had been a bit off for her this morning but Juniper had blamed it on the lack of sleep, that she was being silly but now.....it seemed suspicious if nothing else. Instinct was something that shouldn’t be ignored. She had learned that the hard way a time or two. “Good to see you, Detective. Watch your step.”, was the greeting she was met with as she climbed up the ladder.
The coppery tang of blood filled her nostrils with each breath, the darkness suffocating and the flashing of cameras was completely disorienting. She wanted to back off and run away but she also felt stubborn, the rage that something or someone had mutilated and harmed an innocent human being in the dead of night. It was cowardly and without any honor in her opinion. She could understand the need for food or even something that was uncontrollable but this didn’t sound like that kind of case. Juniper let herself be lead, her mind going a million miles a minute as she got closer. The body was sprawled out on the deck, cut open, and it was clear to her that some bones if not organs were missing. The rain had washed away anything that could have probably been found around the body such as footprints if that would have even been a thing in the first place. There was no sign of a struggle, the death coming swift which was most likely a blessing. Witches came to mind but the feeling that hung in the air made her think, no. It had to be supernatural but to what, she didn’t know.
Miss?Juniper frowned, feeling like this was gonna be a cold case for the police soon but she felt like it was only the beginning for her. The other man needed to be found but now, she could only hope he was still alive. The divers were trying their best but they didn’t have any clues for now. The trail was almost non existent and this would be close to impossible even for her. The thought she might have to tell the family she couldn’t find him was heartbreaking but this whole case just started more questions than providing answers.
Juniper questioned, her eyes focusing back in as she had been lost in her memories. It took a few blinks to adjust back to where she was standing. The loud noises of the crowds outside, the laughter of the people, human or not enjoying their time at the festival just beyond. “Your order?” the man behind the counter asked, trying to be polite but obviously getting a bit frustrated with her at this point which caused a blush to rise to her cheeks.”Right, sorry, I’ll have the...um....”
she bit her lip, her hand reaching up to play with the ends of her hair. Why did they have to have so many good flavors? It was practically impossible to choose.
Juniper shoved her hand into the pocket of her jeans, pulling out a quarter and giving it a quick flip in the air before catching it. Heads...alright. She did one more flip for the coin before catching it once more and nodding as she shoved it into her pants. Tails this time, sure thing. ”Can I get a scoop of the cookie dough and a scoop of the raspberry white chocolate swirl, please?”
she asked. “Sure thing. Would you like a cup or a cone?” He asked making her almost groan in frustration. Why did they need so many things answered.”I guess a cone might be nice.”
Juniper smiled gently, rubbing her arm softly as she tried to keep it off of her hair. “Sugar or waffle?” He continued to question, making Juniper start to wonder if he was punishing for waiting so long to order. ”Waffle will be fine, thank you.”
she answered politely, only to start internally screaming as he asked yet another damn question. “Dipped or regular?” was the simple reply to her answer but all she wanted was to be out in the sun with her sweet treat.”What do you suggest?”
she purred, leaning a bit more on the counter which caused the man’s eyes to drop. He stared for much too long than what could be considered as appropriate if you didn’t want to be caught and in turn realized the mistake, looking a bit nervous all of a sudden but it had gotten the result she wanted, no more questions due to awkwardness. He wasn’t sure if he should apologize or answer her questions so instead, he let a nervous cough escaped him as he walked away, grabbing a chocolate dripped cone and starting to fill it with her double scooped choices. He handed it over the counter to her before heading to checkout, ringing her up quickly as she started to enjoy her sweet treat, lapping happily as she paid her fee.
She practically skipped out of the ice cream parlor and into the busy street filled with stalls. It was interesting to see what people put up to share. It was supposed to be a fun day for everyone so she was going to make the best of it. Juniper couldn’t change the shift in the air over Salem, no more than she could change that one man was missing and another had been murdered. She had control of how she acted today and there was no point in bringing others down. When it was time to deal with the situation then she would but for now, she could pretend to be normal. It was easier said than done, supernaturals would be around and likely hunters as well but she would not be any trouble to them if they didn’t trouble her. You get what you give. An eye for an eye in a sort of way. Hopefully, she could enjoy the day, see some fireworks even if it blinded her and maybe catch a drink later at The Cauldron since it was much deserved already.