The Alter Mysteries: Death Shadow, Chapter 1.1 by Laura Zabala
                                            My Lady


 Izzy is still on her way home. The cuckoo clock we bought in Germany announces that it's 5 pm. My smart watch doesn't show texts yet. Sigh. My eyes wander back to the criminal profile. It is not often we hunt a serial killer - at least not a paranormal one. No one has an ID on him yet. In our community, we still fear the internment camps of decades past - so, for the most part, paranormals stick to the letter of the law. We might have crooks and tricksters, but, we are truly wary of the standards who outnumber us 100 to 1. So far three women have died. All of them have mouths wide open; charring around their lips. Whatever the perp' does when they kill there are no memories, or feelings to trace. The corpse is simply a husk. There are no souls hanging behind in the aether looking to communicate his whereabouts either. I put the Flimsy down on the coffee table. Time to stand up and stretch. The sucking sound of our door opening sounds off from the entry.

"Hey, Zara." Izzy is carrying a grocery tote.

"Hey." Izzy saunters in wearing her retro dress. The fabric swishes around her muscular legs. I scan her voluptuous form up to the auburn curls. My hands grab her bag and automatically unpack it for her. "How was your day at work?"

The smell of coffee wafts through the air, "I need a drink after grading all those papers." Her shoulders look tense. I fold my arms beneath my breasts. She probably would find it weird if I offered a massage. Izzy and I have been best friends since elementary school. We were always a pair. It was natural for us to go to trade school together. Later on, she pursued a scholarly education and now works as a professor at a university on the banks of the Raritan River. Although I didn't go for a university career I was there doing my own paperwork while she studied. It was only natural we bought a house together. Although, everyone thought us weird. "You're not lesbians why would you live together? Don't you want to marry one of your boyfriends at some point?" We usually say something like,"I am not worried about it." Although, in truth, I feel no one will ever replace the prime position Izzy occupies in my world.

"Zara, are you listening?" Izzy holds a coffee cup under my nose.  "Oh, sorry." I grab the cup from her hand.

"Sweety, you really need to leave your work at work sometimes." Izzy does not pick up on emotions or thoughts the way I do, though her abilities are impressive in a different way.

"Izzy, this time--I can't. Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that." Izzy motions me toward the table. I sit and prop my chin on my folded arms, letting myself relax. "Izzy, you know how you love walking at night and by yourself in general?"

Izzy immediately crosses her arms, "What of it?"

 I hear the rise in her voice and sit up, "There is a paranormal serial killer on the loose and we have no leads."Izzy's mouth drops in disbelief. "I don't think I have ever gotten such a good view of your tongue before." I lean forward my raven straight hair falling over my petite breasts. Izzy shuts her mouth and shakes her head. Her eyes are wide. 

 "Zara, if what you are saying is true…"

 I put my hand up to stop the negative down spiral, "Izzy, you know your visions would tell you if this endangered paranormals as a whole. I know you see ahead, but please be careful from here on out." Izzy shook her head, "I am not a Goddess - there is no guarantee that I would see anything. Some events are beyond sight. I didn't even have a clue about this happening." Zara nodded, "That is what concerns me. Neither of us has picked up on the killer. No one has. Why?" We finish our coffee in silence. The conversation palpable with every slurp of the brew. Thankfully, caffeine is still legal. We will need it for the continued investigation.

 We enter the small home office we share. Izzy sits on the cushion by the window and I sit opposite her on my cushion. She holds out her hands and I grab them. At first, a tingling sensation passes through my head and body. Then as our minds merge a blank canvas comes into view. Izzy is a passive participant as I reach within her mind. Images of events begin to course in an unending stream. There are fires she will report. Accidents to avert. Where are the kidnappings? While sifting through the violence and emotional imagery Izzy begins to shake. My search slows to a brief pause. You ok? Izzy takes a breath, I am now. My search resumes. The image of a woman with blonde hair and olive skin comes into view. At first, all we see is her face. As the image pans out we see her walking with a Flimsy wrapped around her arm. Her boots clacking on the glass sidewalk. I try to zoom out to see the site.

The cement gray background of a nondescript building is barely in view. A gloved hand goes around her mouth. The victim is dragged out of view. The image ends abruptly. All I could gather was that the kidnapping actually happened during daylight hours by one of the many cement buildings in the area. We gently break the link. I slap the ground to vent my frustration. Izzy cocks her head and lifts her brows in question. "I can't get a read on the perpetrator, or the woman. All I could do was see and hear with that limited view." Izzy's face goes blank. We always get what we need when it comes to information. Izzy attempts to follow the thread of that future anywhere. Her eyes come into focus, "I am sorry, there's nothing." I put my hands on my temples. "Then, I am just going to have to get a hold of a remote viewer. Maybe we could at least find out who this woman is now that we know what she looks like." Izzy nods, in unison, we stand. Outside the window, the mask of night looms. We had been searching longer than I thought. We both head to the kitchen to grab some food. Tomorrow, I will have to double my efforts.



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