In the Blink of an Eye
By Darlene Elias
"What was the cause of death?"
This was where the mystery began, because even the unchangeable laws of science could not explain why a beautiful young girl lay dead on the pavement, pale as a ghost.
"Whaddya mean, you don't know?" Briscoe's voice rang out in the dark alley as he stared down at the body, annoyed.
"Look, Lennie, I'm not hiding anything from ya! No one can figure it out! The gal wasn't poisoned, shot, stabbed, raped, anything! It wasn't natural causes. She just, well....died!"
Lennie was shocked to feel a shiver run down his spine as he gazed into the corpse's eyes, which were chillingly lifeless. You've done this a million times, he told himself, and this sure ain't the messiest one you've ever seen! So why did he get such a creepy feeling about this murder? "What, John, you gonna send this to the X Files or something? There has to be a cause of death, or else the girl's heart would still be beating!" Lennie felt himself get angry and he shouted at the young cop. But the next words gave him nothing but an absurd sense of terror.
"Yeah, Lennie, maybe it should be on the X-Files," John whispered, wide eyed. "According to medical science, there is no reason this girl should be dead."
"Look, this girl didn't just lie down on the pavement and die for no reason." Van Buren spoke calmly with her usual sensible tone. "There has to be a reason for her death."
Rey nodded in agreement, glad that someone was sounding sane. Lennie had been acting weird ever since they'd gotten the latest case, and it made for an uncomfortable partnership. Rey had always counted on Lennie to be the cool one who stayed calm, no matter what. "So who is she, anyway?" he asked, leaning against the wall and flexing his arms out in front of him.
Lennie sat in the corner, silent.
"Missing Persons hasn't found anything yet, but-" Anita was cut of by the ringing of the phone. She answered quickly, anxious for any information about their victim. After a few scribblings on her note pad and a polite
thank you, she hung up and grinned at her detectives. "I stand corrected," she said. "A Mr. and Mrs. Lowell reported their thirteen year old daughter, Amy, missing last night."
"I just can't believe our poor little Amy is dead!" Mrs. Lowell wailed into her husband's arm, chest heaving with sobs.
Detectives Briscoe and Curtis stood solemnly before the grieving parents and sister of Amy
Lowell, staring at the ground in respect. Rey spoke reluctantly. "Mr. And Mrs. Lowell, do you know anyone who might have wanted to hurt Amy?"
It was a routine question, but he still always felt guilty asking, as though he was somehow disrespecting the dead. They got the typical answer.
"Of course not! Oh, who could have done such a thing!" Mrs. Lowell sniffled, hugging her youngest daughter towards her.
The next words that this little girl said were the ones that gave the whole case a dramatic turn. She gently pushed her mother away and looked up into the detectives' eyes, her whole face as pale as a ghost's. With the faint hint of a smile, she whispered hoarsely. "We did it. The Devil and I killed Amy. We stole her soul." Before anyone could say anything, she turned and faced her parents. "Just as I must now kill you."
Briscoe and Curtis stood, frozen, as they watched the child blink once and say in a different voice, a colder, indifferent voice, "Goodbye, Mommy and Daddy."
Suddenly the detectives were hypnotized by chilling images of translucent figures stepping out of the man and woman. They closed their eyes and disappeared, and by a horrific miracle, the two parents collapsed to the floor, dead. The little girl smiled and looked back at Briscoe and Curtis.
"Oh, God," Rey whispered, crossing himself over and over again. "We've seen Satan."
Jack McCoy and Claire Kincaid sat, speechless, across from Jennie Lowell and her lawyer, who seemed scared to come close to the girl. The two detectives stood stiffly by the door. Everyone in the room was terrified of her, of this simple child who could kill in cold blood in the blink of an eye. Dr. Liz Olivet had been at a loss for explanation of any of this, and she had been in frightened tears after speaking to Jennie. No one could explain it.
"You can not prosecute me," Jennie said calmly in a ridiculously adult voice. "I could kill anyone simply by closing my eyes. I am a slave of Satan."
"What the hell," Jack whispered, "This isn't possible. Not a sweet little girl." But Jennie's dull gray eyes were drained so completely of any life that he knew there was nothing else to explain it.
Claire trembled, grasping the sides of her chair as she stared, mesmerized, at this 'slave of Satan'." Claire had never been religious, but somehow she believed completely that this girl was, indeed, possessed, and it scared the hell out of her. God, she prayed for the first time in ages, don't let her kill us and I'll go to mass every
Sunday. I'll say a decade of rosaries. I'll cross myself every time I see a dead body. Just don't let her kill us.
"God can not help you," Jennie smiled, reading Claire's mind as she slowly turned towards her. But
just as the child's eyes began to close in the fatal blink, a bullet shot through her head and she fell to the ground. Everyone spun around to see Rey crying, gun having fallen to the floor as he crossed himself muttering, "I had to do it, I had to do it...."