Just off of downtown Fort McMurray, and about a two-hour drive from many of the oil sands mining operations, Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detective Bernadette Callahan was sitting in her Jeep. The engine was running, her two-way radio was on, and she was scanning her cell phone for recent YouTube videos.
Bernadette was bored. She had been parked outside the house with yellow police tape since 9:00 a.m., and it was now past 11:00 a.m. She was waiting for the coroner and the crime scene investigator to show up, and both were late, as they had been detained by another crime scene on the other side of town.
She was at the scene of a double homicide—a shotgun blast with some knife stabbing thrown in. A party gone wrong with some drug dealers, and no one had heard a thing through the loud music. When dawn’s first light came, the ravens started to circle the house.
Ravens will always lead you to fresh meat, she thought. Bernadette had been raised on a Dene reservation in northern Alberta, the daughter of
a Native mother and an Irish Catholic father who had wandered off. Bernadette had always walked a line between her native and Irish roots.
Bernadette had joined the RCMP at the age of twenty-two, when politicians were clamoring to bring about an equalization of minorities and gender in the force. Bernadette had made it on both counts and had to work harder than anyone else to get respect.
She had worked her way from one detachment to the next, always staying below the radar but proving skilled enough at solving crimes to become indispensable. It also helped that she took no crap from the male RCMP officers. Her last tangle with a senior officer had left him with bruised balls. She had proven hers were bigger, and she was shipped off to the detective squad—probably because they wanted to get rid of her, but she didn’t care.
Bernadette was thirty-five, with medium-length reddish brown hair, light brown skin, and green eyes. She was of average height with a muscular frame that showed off her dedication to the gym. She needed to be able to defend herself, against bad guys, but mostly, she needed to keep her weight down. She loved doughnuts and junk food.
She balanced a double cream, double sugar large Tim Horton’s coffee on her knee. A maple-glazed doughnut was standing by. She would hate herself for this later, but this was now.
As Bernadette scrolled down the YouTube site, she came across the video of the polar bear making a meal of a man. The description below stated: “Polar bear in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, eating an oil worker.” Thousands of hits cheered on the polar bear.
Bernadette shifted in her seat, took a swig of her coffee, and sighed. What is the world coming to? she thought. She had no idea how much this particular incident would involve her in the very near future.
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