Donovan hadn’t spoken to his psychiatrist for the better part of a decade, so it was a bit of a shock to find Dr. Burnham’s cognitive imprint on the queue of case files. The fifth precinct of New Flores was swarming with petty thieves and vandals during the holiday season, and the rest of Donovan’s special unit was dispersed across the country for major cases. Everyone knew the rookie needed a break after the trouble he had with his first Reservoir case.
Chief Ingram popped up on his console, obscured by a pyramid of 12-hour energy bottles that Donovan had been stacking. “Ramos, I need to see you in my office,” the grisly man huffed, “…when you get the chance.” Chief Ingram was still wary of the ResEV unit, but they raked in plenty of money, enough to support their own covert activities, so Ingram gave them a pass with cool regard.
“You wanted to see me?” Donovan adjusted his tie as he closed the door behind him.
“Have a seat. Yeah, I just want you on the Burnham case.”
“I saw it on my assignment list. I can’t take this one, Chief. Conflict of interest. I knew Burnham,” Donovan glanced at the sun’s position outside, thinly sliced by the polarized blinds.
“Althea requested you specifically. If you don’t think you can handle this one, find a replacement and tell her yourself. I don’t think she’ll let this one go to anyone else, though.”
“Althea Burnham? How could she afford to commission this one?”
“She’s waiting in the last interrogation room. Ask her yourself. Officially, though, I have no involvement on this one.” The chief turned a stern eye at Donovan, who shrugged and nodded.
Althea was very tall and slender, probably quite leggy, but it was hard to tell with the bunchy nylons hugging her knees. She appeared much older than her age, a result of her posture, drab fashion choice and the melancholic depth of her eyes. Hunched in a chair on the shaded side of the table, Donovan was hesitant to engage her, fearing that her delicate form would flake away or meld with the shadows.
“Ms. Burnham, I was told that you wanted me to investigate the death of your father.”
“Murder, Donny. It was a murder,” she rasped. A furrow of digital lines wavered on the recording table, dancing to the sound of her voice. Donovan switched the table off, perturbed by the fact that somebody’s badge had activated it before he got there.
“I’m not here to take a statement. This is off-record,” he explained when the girl eyed him quizzically.
Part 1 continued: