I nodded toward the wreck. "It’s cold, and the weather is lousy. Just tell me what happened."
With an exaggerated sigh and eye roll, he slipped into police mode, and Officer Richardson was back. He thumbed through his notebook briefly. “The vehicle swerved, perhaps to avoid a deer or some other wildlife, and dropped off the embankment, coming to rest there." Officer Richardson indicated the car's current position. "The passenger was ejected, and the male driver appears to have died on impact. We’ve identified him." He paused and flipped through several more pages of his notebook. "Scott Malone of Indianapolis. The female passenger wasn’t carrying identification. I'll notify Mr. Malone's next of kin, and hopefully they can help me ID the woman.”
"Thanks. I'll do my reading, and then we can all go home."
"I’ll wait by my car for you to finish.” Brad still wasn’t comfortable with the fact I used magic on the job, even after months of working together.
"It shouldn’t take long,” I shrugged, trying to put him at ease. “That is, if the weather holds out."
It was overcast, and the starless sky added to the grim mood on the ground. The heavy clouds crouching over the scene threatened snow at any moment. The moisture screwed with the energy flow, making it harder to gather power, so I needed to wrap this up quick.
"I should be able to make a ruling in a few minutes," I said, and with a renewed sense of urgency headed toward the Toyota. As I followed the path the car had taken, nothing seemed unusual. I opened the door, and the metallic tang of blood assaulted me. The driver was hunched over the steering wheel. The head wound looked serious, but blood wasn't always a clear indication of damage. The only way I'd know for sure was an examination.
I snapped a few photographs and slipped off my rings, dropping them into my pocket. With my new ink, I didn’t have to draw spell glyphs on my hands anymore. I pulled on my gloves, ready to do the reading. I gathered power and drew it through the caduceus on my wrist. Images flashed behind my closed eyes.
Liver damage from habitual drinking. A healed knife wound. Two fractured ribs. A compound fracture of the wrist. Two burst fractures of the lumbar spine. A fractured skull and brain trauma.
The injuries were jumbled together in such a short span of time, it was hard to tell which one came first, but the brain trauma was clearly the cause of death. Everything seemed to be in line with an auto accident. I took a few more photographs and moved on to the body on the ground, removing the white sheet.
The unidentified girl was pretty. Strawberry blonde hair splayed around her head and a sprinkling of freckles dotted her baby face. She looked far too young to end up with me.
"I’m so sorry," I said, smoothing the hair from her face. “I’ll take care of you. I promise.” I placed a hand over each of her eyes, and a hot flash of power surged up my arms. I jerked my hand back.
What the hell?
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