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Hayden Montgomery

The Determined Deputy

0 · 417 views · located in Cartwright Falls

a character in “Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story”, as played by Kaname_Takashi

Groups

The Sherriff’s Department of Cartwright Falls

Description

Hayden Montgomery

Image

Age- 21

Appearance- Hayden stands at 5'7", rather tall in comparison to many of the girls she had graduated with from Cartwright Falls' very own high school. Her eyes are hazel or brown, the color changing slightly every once in a while. Hayden's hair is a light brown color and goes down to about the middle of her back, though when on the job it's usually up in a ponytail. Weighing at about 155 lbs, normal for a woman at her heigh, her body is toned and stronger than it looks..

Personality- In high school, Hayden was always a kid with a cause; like handing out pamphlets to stop deforestation or animal cruelty (which she adamantly believes does not include hunting as long as you use everything from the animal) or holding a bake sale to raise money to help out the less fortunate. She was pleasant and polite to everyone and had only a few good friends there, being popular was never important.

Being from a small town gender roles were sometimes prominent, and after attending training at the academy it was even more noticeable to her. Because of this, Hayden sometimes finds herself always striving to 'keep up with the boys', she doesn't want to be thought of as less in any way just because of her gender.


Bio- Hayden was born and raised in Cartwright Falls, just like many of the other police force for the town. She had both parents growing up, her father who's a successful carpenter and her mother who runs a daycare in town, and she also has an older brother who now lives in New York City after attending college at Washington State University in Vancouver.

After graduating high school, Hayden attended her brother's alma mater to major in psychology. Moving to college did little to none in changing her way of thinking. Originally she was getting her degree to help out people, mainly children, that needed it but after one of the friends she had made was raped and the man never found, Hayden changed her mind. Making a difference and becoming a cop had become a goal for her.

Essentially she took the last semester off in order to attend the police academy, but she's still considered a part-time student because of the two classes she's still taking. After earning her degree in psychology she is hoping to apply for the FBI.

Skills- Hayden is a great shot. Since she was little she'd go hunting with her dad and brother, add on the finer points taught by the police academy and you have a girl that ranked the top 3 spots for shooting in her graduating police class. Hunting since childhood has also made a rather good tracker and navigator, especially in the woods surrounding Cartwright. Being a major in psychology, Hayden also has knowledge of behavior and mentality, though her actual usage of this knowledge is limited to only a few experiences.

Mental State- Needless to say, Hayden has mixed feelings about the current situation. As a person and member of the Cartwright community, she's sad to hear about the death of one of her own, and as a cop she's concerned about catching the person(s) responsible and hopefully finding Karen Fellows alive. Then in the back of her mind, Hayden also feels excitement; after all Cartwright doesn't have many murder cases and the FBI, whom she hopes to join some day, is coming to her little neck of the woods.

So begins...

Hayden Montgomery's Story

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Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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A rather unladylike groan left Hayden as she parked her car outside of the Cartwright Falls police station. The young woman was ridiculously tired, the past few days being terribly draining on her. After spending almost the entire evening leading one of the volunteer search parties through the forest, Hayden had just enough time to catch three hours of sleep before her morning shift. She shuttered to think about the paper work that would be waiting for her at her desk. Even still she pushed long, there was a missing girl after all and everyone was hoping to find poor Karen Fellows alive somewhere in the surrounding woodlands. This faith and hope had started high but as the days passed and with the finding of Julian's body, Hayden had watched the energy of the town plummet significantly.

Grabbing her bag from the passenger seat, Hayden casually made her way into the building. She took notice of the closed door to the Sheriff's office which usually meant he wasn't in. "Sheriff's out?" She asked the receptionist casually as she made her way in the direction of her desk.

"Yes, honey, I think he went to go see the coroner about Julian." The older woman's voice was quiet, sad even. "Poor baby.." Hayden heard the woman say softly. It really was a shame when someone so young lost their life. She set her bag down on her desk before searching it for her wallet. Taking out a twenty she moved towards the exit, muttering a "be right back" to the receptionist. Hayden hastily jogged herself over to the coffee shop next door, ordering herself a hot chocolate. She hated coffee with a passion, she'd never be able to understand how people could actually down the beverage.

A few moments later, hot chocolate in hand, the young officer once again found herself in front of her own desk, her eyes looking over the stack of folders neatly placed on the right hand side. It took a little while for her to a focus, but eventually she concentration took over and she was smoothly sailing through the papers. The front door to the station opening didn't even phase her. "Agent Thomas Barton, FBI. Agent Simon Temple is behind me. We're here to see Sheriff Elijah Carter."

Hayden's pen stopped moving as she looked up to see two men standing before their receptionist. She watched curiously as the woman apologized, repeating to the agents what she had told Hayden earlier. The sound of the Carter's Bronco pulling up was the next thing he noticed before the agent who hadn't spoken left the building. Slowly she stood, trying to look out the windows at the front of the office, before taking her seat once more. If the Sheriff needed her he'd let her know. She returned to her paperwork, though the impulse to watch the FBI agents kept distracting her from actually accomplishing anything much.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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#, as written by Bosch
Carter parked the Bronco in his space in front of the Sheriff’s Department and glanced at the car he didn’t recognise parked to the left. At the top of the small set of stairs in front of the Department stood a man in a suit without a tie who Eli could feel looking at him.

“Sheriff Carter, I presume?" The man began, "My name is Special Agent Simon Temple. I'm with the FBI. My partner and I are here on orders to investigate the recent case that happened here in town involving one Julian Bishop. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions."

“Pleased to meet you, Agent Temple. I’m Sheriff Elijah Carter but everybody calls me Eli. I can’t tell you how good it is to see you guys. I’ve set up a room for us in back. If you want to get you partner and meet me in the conference room.”

While the FBI agents made their way to the conference room Eli looked for one of his Deputies but most where still out with the search parties. He noticed the back of Hayden’s brunette head which was buried in some paper work but he guessed she wasn’t really reading the page in front of her. It was no secret Hayden wanted to get out of Cartwright Falls and a couple of time she’d expressed interest in the FBI.

“Hayden I need you in the conference room. You’re gonna be babysitting one of these suits.”

#

Once everyone had found a seat after getting a cup of coffee and a donut from the buffet Justine the receptionist had left out Eli grabbed a long ruler and started pointing to a collection a photos, maps and documents pinned to a board in the front of the room.

“Uh… Morning everybody. Sorry I wasn’t here to welcome our guests but I was at the Preliminary autopsy of Julian Bishop. We’re still waiting on Toxi… Toxiacal… the uh… science stuff.”

He cleared his throat and pointed the ruler to the map.

“We found the body here, and have search groups in these areas. To be honest given how far away Julian was found it’s unlikely they’ll turn anything up. Gives the locals a purpose though, you know stop ‘em worrying.”

He swallowed hard and continued.

“The autopsy was the damnedest thing. Bastard cut up the boy pretty bad.”

Eli reached over and pressed the intercom button.

“Justine could you bring those files from the Doc.”

“Yes Sheriff.”

Justine entered seconds later with multiple copies of the transcript from Doctor Lawson’s preliminary autopsy. As she handed Agent Barton his file she smiled faintly.

“That’s fine Justine.” Eli said gently knowing the old woman had taken a shine to out of towners before. Last thing he needed was the FBI picking up a stalker in their first hour. She was harmless enough just a little screwy.

After they had read the report Eli introduced Hayden.

“I was thinking we should split up to cover more ground, one Agent and one Sheriff. Most of my people are out on the search teams but the tired looking one there is Deputy Hayden Montgomery, she’s one of our brightest, even going to school to be a head shrinker. She can take one of you round town while I take the other.”


He finally set the ruler down and took a swig of his coffee.

“Now the way I see it we need to conduct more interviews with family and friends. Maybe you guys can shake something loose. We need to learn more about those markings on Julian and wait for the rest of the autopsy. There’s also a bar called Choppers that’s popular with Truckers I’ve been going up there most nights and asking the freight jockeys if they saw anything. So far no cigar but I’ll keep trying.”

Eli sat in his seat and took another swig of coffee.

“Whadda you guys think?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Tiffany Swan Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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Tiff had every intention of sitting in the cafe as she sipped down her Cappuccino, however when Eli pulled up and made his way over towards one of the men she had seen exiting the unfamiliar car earlier, the amateur P.I. bug inside of her began to squirm, and she couldn't help but quietly slip through the front door and take a seat on a bench underneath the cafe's front window - where she could JUST hear the conversation between the two men;

"Sheriff Carter, I presume?" the stranger began "My name is Special Agent Simon Temple. I'm with the FBI. My partner and I are here on orders to investigate the recent case that happened here in town involving one Julian Bishop. I was wondering if you could answer a few questions."


The two wouldn't stay outside for much longer before Eli made mention of a conference room and the two would walk inside the Sheriffs office.
Tiffany, not quite keen on snooping on Carters territory, cussed under her breath and quickly downed the rest of her drink, before leaving the empty cup on the bench and sulking over towards the Sheriff stations front door to peek through its windows.

"That must be the other fed..." she muttered to herself, as she watched the three men and a young woman she recognized as Hayden Montgomery - one of the many deputies she has bugged over the last few years - all walk to a room in the back.
On a normal day this would be were she'd cut ties, and refuse to snoop any further. However, since most the other deputies where out in the field helping with the search parties, she felt a lot more at ease with the idea of QUICKLY snooping inside the big-house, and after fiddling with her hair for a few brief seconds, Tiff opened the door and went inside.



"Tiffany dear, how are you this morning!??" the older secretary asked with a warm welcoming smile.
Justine was one of the few people in town who actually gave Tiff the benefit of the doubt, and was happy to see her turn her life around.
"Oh, hey Justine, i'm um, totally fine. Just a little chilly but what else is new!?"
She knew she might as well turn around after smiling towards the old woman, because there was no way she could snoop effectively now. Whether she was caught or not she'd feel guilty for essentially "letting a sweet old lady down". So instead of being sneaky, she tried simply being blunt;
"So Justine, any tidbits you can tell me about those two fedarales in there? I mean, i'm dying here for something good!"

The woman just smiled and shook her head - something Tiff completely expected.
"Sorry hunny, even if i wanted to tell ya it all i don't know much, they just arrived...."
Tiffany sighed softly before pushing herself up and sitting on the counter-top, something most of the deputies hated but Justine didn't mind. The two would engage in idle chit-chat for a short while before Elis voice crackled through on the intercom system.


Her ears would perk up at the mention of a file, and as Justine walked away from her with it she'd simply stare. However when the woman walked into the conference room Tiff couldn't resist the urge to hop down from the counter and jog over to the now partially open door. But before she could even hear anything Justine popped back outside it and the two nearly ran into one another.
"Oh my god! I'm so sorry for running into you like that, you okay!?" the shocked woman would ask, and Tiff would shake her head "yes".
"I just wanted to um, see what was going on in there, ya know....my fault."
The secretary would roll her eyes playfully before grabbing Tiffs hand and attempting to pull her away. "Come on dear, there's nothing either one of us are aloud to hear in there."

Acting quick on her feet Tiffany pulled out her smaller notepad and slid it over towards the conference room door, which was now several feet away thanks to the secretary.
"Oh wait, hold up, i dropped my notepad!" she'd let out, before pulling her hand out of Justines grasp and walking over to retrieve her trusty pad. But instead of picking it up and leaving, Tiffany stayed knelt down on the ground - acting as if she was fiddling through the pages for something, but in reality she was trying to hear what was going on through the still cracked door.


She'd hear Eli mention a bar she was quite familiar with before Justine would whisper for her to "come on". After a deep sigh she'd begin to stand, but without thinking she'd go to use the door, which wasn't fully closed, as support....and stumbled inside the conference room - landing on one knee.

"Shit!" she thought, before swiping her ponytail out of her face and quickly hopping to her feet.
"So um, hey yall! Don't mind me, just um dropped my pad here out my bag and that's all, promise!" she'd ramble, before doing a quick little wave and then running out of the room - shutting the door behind her.

"Damn, damn, damn!" she muttered, as she walked past Justine and towards the front desk.
"Are you okay hun? That fall looked-"
"Oh it was nothing, trust me, i've had worse growing up. I hate to be short but im gonna get out of here hun, just um, thought of somewhere i should be!"
And with that the slightly flustered young woman would fly out the Sheriffs office and across the street into The Observers building.


"Oh hey look who it is, get anything good in those nice little hot pats!?" one of her fellow journalist - the ever piggish Joshua Potter - spat out with a cocky smile. Tiff would simply smile while flipping him off, as she made her way towards Mikes office in the back of the first floor.


"I already know that! I'm sick of hearing the same ol' shit about this-" her boss would suddenly break from yelling into his receiver when she walked in, and would end his call in a much more pleasant tone; "-let me call you back in five minutes okay?"


It wouldn't even take two minutes to go over what she had so far; a self-rundown of the recording, and the small tidbit she had heard from the conference. Tiff would purposely leave out a lot of what she heard on the tape - claiming it to not be as clear as she'd like it to be - since she knew it wouldn't be wise to post the entire report in the local paper, however she gave enough to pacify Mikes frustration - for now.

"Well, i expect a rough draft before i leave this afternoon. Would prefer you get something more juicy to throw in there before you submit it though. Perhaps head over to that bar you heard everyone's favorite sheriff mention? Of course be safe and all.....k?"
Michael wouldn't even wait for a response before picking up his phone again and dialing furiously.

"Yeah okay, sure, i'll be safe." TIff mumbled as she rolled her eyes and strolled out of the crammed office, knowing full well Mikes little safety comment was completely disingenuous, and he cared much more about her just getting him a decent story.








A few minutes and a brisk jog up a flight of stairs later Tiffany was back inside her apartment, and as soon as she hit her door she heard whines coming from inside her place.
"Oh no!" she said, before running inside and making her way towards her bedroom, where alone in the corner, all cooped up in her kennel, was her 5 month old German Sheppard/Rottweiler mixed puppy - Tequila....who she had forgotten to let out before she left.
"Oh im so sorry girl! I have no idea where my head was this morning! I've been a bad mommy haven't I!!"
But as any other puppy, Tequila didn't show any kind of ill-will, she was just happy to be free to act like her normal cheerful over-excited self.

Still feeling bad however, Tiff would sit on the floor and play with her puppy for nearly half an hour before filling up the pups food and water bowl and again leaving.



Unlike most, she was too broke to afford a car, so instead she'd pull her red & white vintage electric-bike outside the Observers front doors along side her, and make sure her messenger bag was tightly secured over her chest before hopping up on the seat and taking off for the edge of town - where Choppers sat on alone in an empty lot.

Going full speed, which on average is about thirty miles per hour, it took Tiff and her little bike 15 minutes to reach the bar.
As usual their were trucks parked in the back of the lot, and bikes parked up front, but seeing as how it was so early there were only a few - compared the usual numbers. Still, this wasn't the best place to write an article, but for some silly reason she was hoping as she wrote a nice addition to her article would just walk in and flop into her lap.





Inside she was able to find a table to herself in the corner, and hoped it was dark enough that the few folks inside would leave her be. However within a minute of her taking off her jacket and getting her notepad and other materials out a pair of bikers would take a seat at her table without even asking.

"Um, Morning boys....is there something i can do for you two?" she'd ask, doing her best to hide her annoyance under a nice tone and a semi-warm smile.
"Well little lady wanna get up there on that bar and do a little dance? That's something you could definitely do for us that we'd be sure to like, right man!?"
The two would share laugh as Tiffany rolled her eyes and began to write despite the two, after muttering out; "You wish"

She knew she was in for a long afternoon in such a place, but she couldn't shake the feeling she might get a lead, so smug comments and utterly rude advances aside, she was gonna sit right there as she wrote her article - despite how much she might wanna leave.
"I refuse to settle on another boring article about search parties! That's something all the state papers are doing. I want something more, something meaningful, and perhaps i'll get it here." Tiff would think to herself as she wrote. "If not, there was always the family of the boy.......i could try to visit them tonight! Sure, they don't appear to be talking much to the state press, but perhaps they'd give a fellow small town girl the time of day...."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Tiffany Swan Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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“Pleased to meet you, Agent Temple. I’m Sheriff Elijah Carter but everybody calls me Eli. I can’t tell you how good it is to see you guys. I’ve set up a room for us in back. If you want to get you partner and meet me in the conference room.”

The former Green Beret spared a small smile, "Well, Eli, we tried to get here as soon as possible. Sorry it couldn't be sooner."

With that, he turned, and gave a small motion of the hand to Thomas to follow the Sheriff. He took up a position on the Sheriff's right flank until they had the conference room pointed out to him, and at that point he had headed there with Thomas. Stepping in to the conference room, he took up a position just down the wall from the door, leaning slightly against the wall as he waited. He and Thomas were left in the room to their own devices for all of a minute, tops, before the Sheriff had returned, and a young woman had entered behind him. Early 20s by the looks of her, dark hair, slim stature, and around -- 5'9? Her nameplate read "Montgomery" and he could only assume that she was one of his Deputies. They had both made themselves comfortable in the conference room and the Sheriff didn't waste much time in getting started, which was something that Simon appreciated. The secretary from the front desk had arrived with copies of the files and within moments all those in the room each had a copy of the coroner's report, as well as other important pieces of information about the investigation. Simon read along silently as Sheriff Carter had read through everything to them.

It was a bit -- gruesome.

To make matters worse, it brought back memories.

On the Mexican-American border, on those drug raids years back. They had been going after one of the local cartels in Mexico who had been smuggling their goods across the border. It had been in Phoenix, working with local police authorities and the FBI, and they had found out the location of one of the cartel's safe houses in that area. With FBI assets preventing communication in to our out of the safe-house, the surrounding area had been sectioned off by Arizona's finest, and an eight-man team of Green Berets with Simon acting as the senior NCO had gone in. Minimal enemy resistance, with only about fifteen members of the cartel in the place. They had tried to fight, of course, because they always did, but eight dead drug runners convinced the rest of them to surrender rather quickly. Questioning those that had surrendered had led them to an area of the safe house down in the basement where they were packing the drugs for transport. Simon had been the first man through the door in to that -- slaughterhouse. Bodies. They were planning to use bodies to move the drugs. Young, old, women, or children. None of that seemed to really matter to them. Cut open, stuffed with coke, and sewn back up. There had been blood everywhere, bodies lying about stuffed with narcotics. For whatever reason, Simon found his mind drifting back to that sick place was he looked at the coroner's photographs.

Who would want to do this to somebody? A kid, no less?

What kind of messed up freak were they dealing with?

His thoughts were interrupted, rather rudely, as his ears picked up on something. Noises, faint, from just beyond the door. Possibly female, but he couldn't tell what they were saying. As the closest person to the door, he doubted that anybody else -- and then she had come through. Simon's reaction was remarkably sober as the young woman had come barreling through the door. He didn't even say anything as he watched her hurriedly explain herself . . . and then leave. Then, with that mess taken care of, he heard Sheriff Carter's plan. With it, he looked to Thomas.

"Well, Barton. What do you think? Deputy Montgomery and I can look around town, while Sheriff Carter and you go to that truck stop. Or do you have another idea?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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Barton had kept quiet during the information dump, preferring at this point to observe. He had worked with local law enforcement before, and by and large they did good jobs without undue intervention. Barton could tell when coaxing was necessary to get the full story, and this was not one of those times. He took the autopsy file when it was offered, and read it silently. Sheriff Carter wasn't kidding about the details. They reminded Barton of an older case, one of a torture-murderer called the Shrike, who gradually disassembled his victims after propping them up someplace. They had never found some of the bodies, so keenly had he taken them apart and hidden them. The final death toll had to be estimated from those who had disappeared, and had exceeded 30 killings over five years.

That itself brought Barton back to his latest case. He shuddered briefly at the highly unpleasant memory, before realizing that Deacon was addressing him. He had been listening in the back of his mind to the Sheriff, enough to know that he would be going with the Sheriff to "Chopper's," a trucker bar. He hadn't been to a place like that for an investigation in a year or two. "That sounds workable," he responded smoothly, shoving the memory of his last case to his subconscious. "I haven't done that sort of thing in a while. Be a good change of pace," he continued. "Should we get on our way, Sheriff?"

A moment later, he realized that he never had introduced himself to this group. "Incidentally, I'm Agent Thomas Barton," he muttered, almost as an afterthought.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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The young woman was rather startled when she heard Eli call to her. “Hayden I need you in the conference room. You’re gonna be babysitting one of these suits.” Hayden's face broke out into a rather large grin as she made her way into the conference room.

She listened intently as the Sheriff relayed the information that the coroner had told him. Hayden found herself thinking about how disturbing the amount of torture that Julian must have gone through. The words 'sadist' popped into her mind as she read over her copy of the report. Still, from a psychological point of view, there wasn't much to go on. The killing could have been personal, exclusive to the couple, or it could be that beginnings of a serial kill. All were too soon to tell at the moment.

“I was thinking we should split up to cover more ground, one Agent and one Sheriff. Most of my people are out on the search teams but the tired looking one there is Deputy Hayden Montgomery, she’s one of our brightest, even going to school to be a head shrinker. She can take one of you round town while I take the other.” The young woman sheepishly smiled at the compliment, it was nice to hear every once in a while. She had to shake her head slightly at Eli's use of the term 'head shrinker' though.

Hayden sat quietly for a second as the two agents talked about how'd they be splitting up. Once it seemed like the two were finished, she stood and made her way over to Agent Temple. "Nice to meet you Agent," She said, sticking out her hand in greeting. "Name's Hayden Montgomery." Sure the initial introduction by Eli had been made, but Hayden felt it was rude to not properly introduce herself. "Any place in particular you'd like to see first?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Connor parked his cruiser in his designated parking spot in front of the Sheriffs department. Looking out the window, he raised an eyebrow, spotting Eli and Hayden's vehicles as well as one he didn't recognize. He stepped out of the vehicle, but continued to stare at the car as he made his way to the glass doors in the front, opening the door and stepping into the slightly warmer lobby, then after punching in his identification number on another door so that it would unlock, he made his way to the squad room in the back.

Upon entering the room, he heard Eli speaking to someone in the adjacent conference room, so after setting his uniform jacket in a chair, he moved to the Conference room door and knocked on it lightly before entering. The first thing he noticed were two men, one, obviously the member of some Agency from his apparel choice and the way he carried himself was speaking ti the sheriff, the other was talking to Hayden in another area of the room.
Eli and the sharply dressed man looked towards the door as Connor entered.
"The search party has been called off for tonight, Sheriff", Connor said. "Anything else you need me to do?".
Eli looked at Barton and the Deputy.
"Actually yes. This is Agent Barton from the FBI. He and his partner", Eli gestured over to the man who was standing with Hayden, "have taken over the investigation, and we're to help them with whatever we can. I need you to take Agent Barton down to Choppers and help him while I take care of some other things".
"Understood", Connor replied, then turned to the FBI agent.
"A pleasure to meet you, Sir." Connor said, the "sir" being something he still hadn't shaken off from his time in the Marines, as well as the way he stood at attention as he lifted his hand to Barton in invitation of a handshake. "I'm Deputy Connor Adams".

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Tiffany Swan Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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#, as written by Bosch
While the two teams got to know each other Eli collected his notes and prepared to leave. He finally addressed the room one last time.

“Right guys keep me, and each other, posted with what’s happening checkins every couple of hours ok?”

He then made his goodbyes and offered to meet up with the teams later in the day.

Outside the conference room Eli made a beeline for his office where he dropped his notes on his desk. He glanced out of the window at the deeply wooded hills and thought about Karen Fellows, terrified and alone with whatever had mutilated Julian Bishop. A shudder ran down his spine and he quickly cleared the image from his mind.

“Someone walk on your grave Sheriff?”

Eli turned to see Justine standing in the doorway of his office.

“What?”

“You shuddered... It was something my mother used to say.”

Eli nodded, something about the saying had always bothered him so he changed the subject.

“I’m heading out to the Bishop place. I’m going to give Cassandra an update, tell her the FBI has arrived. Then I’ll swing by the Fellows.”

“Ok Sheriff I was just coming to see if you wanted a coffee.”

“Naw I’m jittery enough already.”

It was raining pretty heavily when Eli left the station and his knee was starting to ache. The snow would be falling pretty soon and Eli was glad the search teams were back. The woods could be unforgiving at this time of year. He remembered the story of the original settlers of Cartwright Falls who got caught out by the weather and started munching on each other when they eaten everything else. They said it was almost as bad as the Donner Party, people went insane and there were murders. Of course old spooky stories still circulated the town around Halloween that the town was cursed because of what the settlers had done to survive then inevitably someone would jump out of the bushes and everyone would have a good laugh. All towns had stories like that.

Eli was piloting the Bronco past Choppers when he saw Tiffany Swan sitting outside the bar obviously waiting out the rain. He liked Tiff and felt sorry that her Mom was lush but that wasn’t his problem, Tiff’s shoplifting was. He just hoped the Louis Lane stuck because he hated being a hardass with her.

The girl looked towards his Bronco and caught his eye. Eli gave her a I’m watching you gesture before driving off, always important to keep on top of repeat offenders.

Eli pulled up in front of the Bishop house, his knee was feeling tight so he popped a pain killer and swallowed it dry. He then got out of the Bronco and walked up the short path to the house. He rapped the door and waited for a response.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: John Masters Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
“I’d like to know more about the body, so lets go to the autopsy room. I want to know more about the symbols on the body. If there’s an occult angle to this the Agency can help out. They have profilers for this kind of thing. Usually some lonely nutjob but this feels like it might be part of something bigger. We might have a serial on our hands.” Deacon said to Deputy Montgomery.
“You drive.” He said with a smile as he shot Barton a wave.

Hayden and Deacon set off for the small town hospital.

#

Eli was getting paler with each passing second, he’d be unconscious in less than twenty minutes if he didn’t stop the bleeding but he had to get out of the situation first. Lots of things were being said around him but focusing on individual conversations was becoming difficult.

“Please don’t shoot me! Its Nat!”

‘Who the fuck is Nat?’ Was all Eli could think. Then he saw the Alexander kid.

"Father! Please, help!" Eli’s grip on the pistol tightened but then he realised what she meant. Not that Father, not dear old Dad.

“We need to think up something quickly, he shot out the power by the looks of the electrical box. We need to defend ourselves with what we have.”

"There's weapons and medical supplies in the basement, a couple of pistols and maybe a rifle. Nathaniel, are you okay?"

“Shhhhhh!” Eli said as he held his finger to his lips. “He can hear you.” Eli whispered.

“Do not go into the basement. He’ll have you cornered. If we go upstairs we can exit via a window. If it comes to that everyone run a different way. I’m going nowhere, he tagged me good. How you help me is by getting help. No offence but you guys aren’t exactly cut out for this. We need police with guns not the cast of the breakfast club.”

Eli groaned with pain that may have been from the gunshot wound or the lame joke as he pulled himself to his feet using the banister and staggered up the stairs. His trousers were soaking with blood and his legs felt heavy. Finally he made it to the top of the stairs. He found a table piled high with a mixture of medical books and high school texts. He pushed the table over lay down behind, it wouldn’t stop a bullet but at least it was some form of concealment.

#

“LITTLE PIGS LITTLE PIGS! LET ME COME IN!” Kyle Renner yelled with a laugh. He was walking around the perimeter of the house which had suddenly gone silent. They were either hiding or preparing something. Of course Kyle had an advantage over them, he wasn’t scared and wasn’t shot while at least half inside the house were both. He liked the fear and he could smell it in the air, it’s what drove him on. No need to sweet talk Kyle now, he was too strong.

That’s when an idea started to form.

#

In the car with Hayden, Deacon was feeling a little out of his depth. He was never that good with people and preferred to talk shop instead.

“You’re studying psychology? Do you think it’ll come in handy out here?” He regretted his words almost immediately they sounded arrogant and patronising. ‘Smooth move special agent’ Deacon thought.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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After the examination of Julian's body at the morgue Hayden and Temple had agreed that maybe a visit to the library would be beneficial to their investigation. The librarian had a bit surprised to see the pair enter the building, commenting how she hadn't seen Hayden in a few years. The young deputy had tell the elderly woman that she was in the middle of an investigation with Temple in order for the lady to leave them alone. Of course it took more than one attempt for the librarian, Mrs Smith, to actually get the hint which Temple found to be a bit amusing.

They split the work accordingly; Temple taking the research of the symbol since he already had experience in this department, and Hayden dredging up every last bit of info on the history since the founding of the town.

"This sucks." Hayden muttered to herself as she flipped through another book. She had just finished raiding through a copy of an original settler named 'Ellie Finnegan' and was rather disturbed by what happened at the beginning of Cartwright's founding. Cannibalism had always been an interesting topic in psychology and cultural studies. There were really only two reasons humans would begin eating each other, religious purposes or starvation, and considering the writings of the woman from the late 19th century it was stated why it had been done. Even still, Hayden could never see herself eating another person, but as they say, desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Find anything interesting?" Temple asked has he made his way over to the deputy. His search had come up fruitless for the weird symbol. He couldn't find it on any occult websites or the FBI databases. There was no record of it beyond Cartwright.

"More like creepy..." Hayden said, closing the book she was skimming through. "The only thing I could actually find was a supposed name for the area before it was settled by the original town founder, something like 'The Forest of Eyes'. That was it though, you know beyond the crazy of the first settlement group. Apparently they were murdered by Natives and the three survivors were found insane, all of which happened after they succumbed to cannibalism because of starvation." She had also read repots by a Captain Dale Cooper who discovered those still alive in Cartwright.

"That's…nice." To Temple it would appear the sunny, good ol' American town of Cartwright held more secrets than one would thing. Suddenly Hayden's walkie talkie went off, a flutter of static and loud voices. The library was dead silent at this time of the day and the words spoken by Deputy Adams were clear. Within moments the two were out of the building and into Hayden's cruiser.

________________


By the time the duo arrived at the Bishop household the scene was filled with people; firefighters, police, and even curious neighbors. It was chaotic and loud, the smell of smoke filling the air as the firefighters continued to combat the blaze.

Hayden rushed ahead of her assigned FBI partner and all but interrogated one of the other officers on the scene. Apparently when the Sheriff came to interview Juliet there was a shooter and the two, along with another teen, were forced to seek cover in the house before the assailant essentially blew up the house and fled the scene. After a few more moments of talking, Hayden decided that she was going to the hospital; to interview the victims and check up on Eli. She'd have to give Justine a call as well to make sure the woman was doing ok considering what was happening.

"You okay?" Temple asleep as the two made their way back to her car.

"I'm fine…it's just things like this aren't supposed to happen in Cartwright." She sighed heavily as she plopped into the driver's seat. The brunette rested her head on the steering wheel, her eyes closed as she took a deep breath. Temple frowned.

"Not to sound like a jerk kid, but you need to get yourself together. You have a job to do and this isn't the time for you to lose focus." Temple said seriously as he watched Hayden. The car was silent as he sat in the passenger seat and the deputy didn't move. When he was about to say something else she sat up and looked at him before giving a nod and started the car back up.

As she was pulling away they were flagged down by Agent Barton. Hayden rolled down her window and asked the man if he needed what was wrong. "I just need a ride to the police station." The five minute right to the police station was quiet, but as Barton left the vehicle Hayden spoke. "I just wanted to say thanks, for helping the sheriff." The silence continued for another fifteen minutes as they drove to the hospital.

The Cartwright hospital was never a chaotic place, but with the explosion there was a little more activity than usual. Temple was silent behind her as Hayden made her way to the from desk. "Hello, I'm Deputy Montgomery and this is Special Agent Temple of the FBI. I was wondering where we could find the two kids brought in from the Bishop house. Also, is Sheriff Carter alright?"

The nurse gave her wide eyes and nodded her head. She was young and petite, her black hair up in a neat ponytail "Of course officers, right now the sheriff's in surgery so I don't have the most up to date information on his condition but Juliet and Nathan are this way." The nurse stepped out from behind the counter, leading the two down a hall to where the two teens would be.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Barton sighed and licked his lips nervously as he watched the ambulances arrive. They had hardly been here a few hours and already things were escalating. This couldn't be completely related, however: torture murderers and shooters, no matter the public perception, were not similar. Whoever had killed Julian Bishop had not been the same culprit as the one behind this shooting. And whoever was behind this was clearly very well-armed, as no ordinary handgun could have shot out an electrical box so easily. He and Adams had investigated the remains of the house and found a wallet. Inside was a driver's license for a "Kyle Renner," at an address in Los Angeles. In addition, there were several receipts, or rather parts of receipts, partly burned, for several stores. The items included general camping gear, and...ammunition. To be specific, 9mm pistol ammunition and .22 Long Rifle. Barton hardly needed to tap into his detective mode to make the connection. He had scribbled into his notebook a reminder, "Kyle Renner call LAPD". If things quieted down for a second, he would make that call.

He glanced around, and saw Deacon and Deputy Montgomery leaving in the Deputy's car. In a flash, he realized: He only had his Glock. Against a man armed with a hunting rifle and a pistol, he needed more. Deacon had his AR-15 and Barton had his Ruger...and both of them were at the police station, in their car. Sonofabitch, Barton thought to himself before running up and flagging the car down. Deputy Montgomery poked her head out, confused, and asked him what was wrong. Barton shook his head quickly. "Nothing's wrong, I just need a ride to the police station." He slipped in quickly, and was quiet as they rode over. When they arrived, he tapped Deacon on the shoulder. "I'll get your rifle, and I'll have mine. The shooter had a rifle; we need to be ready for him." He heard the Deputy as he left the car, but ignored it for the moment, and quickly retrieved Deacon's rifle and spare magazines from the car. He gave Deacon the unloaded rifle and magazines, then addressed Montgomery. "It's all in the line of duty. You can think me by making sure he stays alive. I'm going to follow you in my car in a few minutes."

He returned to the car, and retrieved the black case that held his own rifle and ammunition. He stopped under the awning of the police station and outfitted himself, loading a magazine into the rifle but keeping it uncocked for safety's sake. He then strapped on the small belt for the other magazines, and slung the rifle over his shoulder. He then glanced in, and saw the receptionist. He decided to stop in and ask about any information the Sheriff had that he didn't. Something new might have come in. He stepped inside, removing his wet hat and shaking it briefly onto the rain mat before walking up to the desk. "Agent Barton, FBI. You might remember me," he said tersely. "Listen, with the Sheriff out of commission and this being an FBI case now, I just need to know if there is any information the Sheriff has that we don't. Or if anything—anything—has come in since then." It was a shot in the dark, but it could work.

It did. "Actually, yes, we got a report from searching the woods for campers. It's in the Sheriff's office," the receptionist replied.

Barton smiled. "Thank you." He meant that. He entered the Sheriff's office, and found the paper there, in a manila folder. He opened it, and read quickly. They had found only one person out there, a guy out camping and hunting, a Kyle...Kyle Renner. Barton snapped the folder closed in his surprise. "Oh Christ," he muttered, then hurried out. He'd make that call the moment he got to the hospital. Deacon and the Deputies had to know about this. He hurried out, quickly placing the rifle in the empty passenger seat before firing up the car and driving out at a speed probably unsafe for rain. He clicked windshield wipers on and made his way to the hospital. Wasn't hard in a town as small as Cartwright Falls.

He was a sight as he burst into the hospital, aggravated, wet, and with a rifle slung on his shoulder. He fished his badge out as quickly as he said, "There's another FBI Agent here along with a Deputy, maybe two. I need to see them immediately." He was pointed down the hall, where he recognized Deacon's bald head and distinctive clothing immediately. He jogged up to them, tapped Deacon on the shoulder, held up the manila folder. "This was in the Sheriff's office. They searched the woods around Cartwright Falls, I guess for possible witnesses. They found a Kyle Renner out there, camping and hunting. We found a wallet belonging to Mr. Renner in the ruins of the house. He lived in Los Angeles, California. His wallet also contained receipts from hunting and outdoors shops, and has evidence of ammunition purchases. Whatever you were doing just now, do it; I need to phone the Los Angeles Police Department right now."

He left as suddenly as he had arrived, returning to the front desk of the hospital. He removed the rifle from his shoulder and placed it on a chair nearby, then did likewise with his coat, before re-slinging the rifle. He then turned to the front desk. "Is there a telephone I can use, with a phone book? I have some calls to make."

An intern guided him to a phone in another room. Barton thanked him tersely, then started flipping through the phone book quickly. Slowly, he enunciated to himself, "Los Angeles Police Department." A few moments of silent looking. "Here!" He muttered, then dialed quickly. He put the headset to his ear quickly, biting his lip nervously. There had to be something about Renner in the LAPD records. Maybe he stole the guns he had used.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Doctor Lawson looked down at the unconscious Eli Carter and frowned. The Sheriff was covered in bandages and tubes connected to an array of machines and bags. The shot had ripped out some of Eli’s intestine which had caused the dramatic blood loss, he’d also broken his right ankle and a couple of ribs in the explosion in addition to suffering a perforated ear drum that Lawson assumed was due to the percussion wave.

The Sheriff was a very lucky man Lawson thought as he patted the plaster on his forearm. It wasn’t the first time Lawson’s O Negative blood kept someone in the game. He checked Eli’s charts and shook his head slightly.

“Gonna be a couple of months till you’re back on your feet.” Lawson sighed and replaced the charts.

At least Lawson had gotten him a private room, he figured someone like Eli wouldn’t have wanted to be seen in his current condition. Of course that didn’t stop people calling anyway. Lawson had made it clear they were to be turned away until Eli regained consciousness.

#

Temple and Montgomery were looking at a pair of beat up teenagers and trying to piece together what had happened. The boy Nathaniel Alexander was destined for small town hero status after his efforts to get Eli Carter to safety also he was a new member of the I’ve been shot club and like Falco said Chicks dig scars.

So far the story seemed pretty sketchy, a guy just pulled up and started shooting cops and blowing up members of the clergy. There had to be more.

“Did the guy say anything? Maybe one of you got a look at him? Did you recognise the weapon he was using? Even if you think it’s stupid maybe that’s the thing that can help us.”

He worried he’d come on too strong and now the kids found him intimidating. He wished he’d left the rifle in the car but by the time he realised he was still holding it he was introducing himself.

He looked at Montgomery with a pleading look, perhaps the heavily armed FBI agent wasn’t the one for to be speaking to two traumatised teenagers. He hoped Hayden had been paying attention in her classes.

“Is there anything you would like to add Deputy?”

Before Hayden could speak a nurse entered the room. She had coffee coloured skin and a beautiful smile or at least Deacon thought so. Her hair was held in a loose bun and she carried herself with a happy go lucky demeanour. Nice smile or not she was interrupting his interview.

“Uh... excuse me, we’re conducting an interview here.” Deacon said to the intruder.

“Don’t mind me just have to give Mr Alexander his pills.” She turned to Nathaniel. “Painkillers sweetie, you’re going to need them later. Remember no more than two every four hours.” The woman’s voice was wholesomely sweet the kind of voice you don’t get in cities. “You’re free to go now... I mean from Hospital... not the FBI.” The nurse smiled awkwardly and left.

“Unbelievable.” Deacon muttered while he rubbed his eyes. “Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

#

The nurse made her way down the corridor towards reception.

“Excuse me, can I speak to you for a moment?”

The Nurse turned to see Doctor Lawson hurrying after her.

“Yes Doctor.” The nurse said with a smile as Lawson approached.

“I’m sorry I don’t think we’ve met.”

“We haven’t Doctor I’m Emily Dempsey. I was sent to help pick up the slack after the accident.”

“Oh I see, so sorry I didn’t introduce myself. Doctor Joseph Lawson, Joe.” He always wished people called him Joe but nobody ever did. He clocked it up to an age thing.

“Pleased to meet you. Is there anything else you need Doctor Lawson?” She asked while inwardly Doctor Lawson sighed, he’d even settle for Doctor Joe.

“Oh no I just like to make a habit of checking out any strange nurses wandering around the hospital.”

“Rightly so, you never can be too sure about people.”

#

She spoke for a few more moments with the Doctor but left before running into anymore staff. She trudged through the snow to the black jeep sitting in the parking lot. She got into the passenger seat beside a man with goatee.

“Do it?” He asked.

“Done it.” She replied in a voice completely devoid of wholesome sweetness.

“I don’t like this. It’s unstable. Are you ok with going off the plan?”

“I’m ok with being paid. They want it done this way I do it this way.”

“Fair enough.” He said with a shrug before turning the key and setting off into the night.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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“You really took a beating didn’t you son?” The doctor said as he examined Nathanial. “But under the circumstances you made out remarkably well.”
Nathanial smiled at the doctor as he too looked over his injuries. “Considering that I managed to survive it is a miracle in itself… I am just worried about Juliet and the sheriff; they looked worse off than me.”

“I am sure they will be fine, we have our best looking after them.” The doctor said with a reassuring smile. “Now I am going to freeze you side and I can get this wound stitched up.”
---
After some time the doctor took a step back. “There we go, that’s the last of your cuts, thirty six stitches in the bullet wound, four in the arm, and about ten in all the other nicks.” The doctor offered a hand to help Nathanial off the table. “Most should heal without any noticeable scarring, most are dissolvable but I’ll need to remove the ones in the arm and in your hip myself.”

Nathanial thanked the doctor as he left the room and took a drink from the glass of water that had been left for him, after about a minute a nurse entered the room.
“How are Juliet and the Sheriff? Can I see them?”

The nurse gestured for Nathanial to follow her. “The sheriff won’t be taking visitors right now, but Juliet is up, ill take you too her.”
---
After the nurse brought Nathanial to Juliet’s room she continued on down the hall leaving the two teens on their own. Nathanial sat on the end of the bed that they had been treating Juliet in. He forced himself to smile at her and let out a sigh of relief.

“We are ok, we made it!” Nathanial said to her in disbelief. He then looked to the ceiling and ran his hand through his hair. “I didn’t think that we would be able to get out of there…” He then turned back to her. “How are you feeling now? You look pretty good for someone who was almost blown up.” He said while flashing a smile.
---
After a bit longer the young deputy and an intense looking man walking in together, they introduced themselves and deputy Montgomery and Agent Temple. The two stood in the doorway examining the teens until Temple finally spoke.

“Did the guy say anything? Maybe one of you got a look at him? Did you recognise the weapon he was using? Even if you think it’s stupid maybe that’s the thing that can help us.”

Nathanial took a second to think.
“Little pigs, little pigs, let me come in.” Nathanial repeated the words that the assailant had yelled at the group in the house. “That’s all I remember him saying, pretty sadistic if you ask me. I wish I could say that I remember anything else but my back was turned when the shooting started and from that point on I was either ducking my head so I didn’t get shot or I was already in the house and out of a good view point.”

Temple nodded “Is there anything you would like to add Deputy?”

Before the deputy could speak a nurse entered the room.

“Uh... excuse me, we’re conducting an interview here.” Deacon said to the nurse.

“Don’t mind me just have to give Mr. Alexander his pills.” She turned to Nathaniel. “Painkillers sweetie, you’re going to need them later. Remember no more than two every four hours.” The woman said. “You’re free to go now... I mean from Hospital... not the FBI.” The nurse smiled awkwardly and left.
Nathanial downed the pills with a quick swig of water and turned to look over at Juliet with a reassuring smile.
“I don’t mind staying until you’re allowed to leave as well.” He then turned back to the deputy and Agent Temple who was looking after the nurse with a frustrated look on his face.

“Unbelievable.” Deacon muttered while he rubbed his eyes. “Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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''Got lots of information on Kyle Renner. Not only does he appear the most likely candidate to be the shooter at the Bishop household, thanks to the wallet we found, but he's also wanted back in Los Angeles, as the prime suspect in the murder of Tanya Renner and Chris Avalon. Tanya was seeing Chris behind Kyle's back. Their bodies were found in the Renners' bedroom closet; she had been strangled and he had been bludgeoned. They were found by the cleaning lady two days after Kyle had left, and three days after their deaths. He told friends he was going up to hunt by here to clear his head, not mentioning the double murder, of course." Barton explained to Connor, tossing his hat on his folded coat.
"There's not much we can do now except watch out and hope to catch him before he gets away again. More importantly, we need to figure out if there's a connection with Julian Bishop's murder. Right now the only connection we have is that the shooter—probably Renner—struck the Bishop household. He could have been stalking the Sheriff, or he could have picked the place at random. Right now...we just have too many damned variables. And a shooter out there. I hope you guys have rifles; if those receipts are accurate, Renner has .22 Long Rifle, and that shit has range.".
Connor nodded, taking in all the information and running through his head before opening up with a response.
"Well, if he's out in the woods...I know that there's an abandoned Mine out next to Hunters Clearing...the clearing is a popular spot for tourists and hunters out in the woods. I know how to get there, my dad and I hunted out there a lot before I went into the Marines". Connor said.
"It can't be a coincidence that this Renner guy's wallet was found at a crime scene, and if it is...well then we can hand him over to your agency and get him nailed for double homicide". the Deputy continued.
"As for weapons, I think I have something better than a .22", he said, a small grin on his face. "I'm a damn good shot with the 30-06, and we keep three of them in the armory up at the station, their powerful, and they have range, the only draw back is the bolt-action style." He said.
"So, Agent Barton. What do you say we grab you're partner, Hayden and a few other volunteers, gear up at the station and head out on a man-hunt?".

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
Hayden looked Agent Temple and thought the man looked tired, the case was having that effect on everyone. She could only imagine how it must have felt for the FBI agents tasked with clearing up the mess.

“Deputy Montgomery, anything else you’d like to add?”

Hayden looked at the two battered kids and tried a half smile.

“Guess you two must be pretty tired? The other deputies are trying to organise some accommodation for you and your Mom, Juliet. It looks like she’s going to be tied up here for some time though.”

“Yeah and wherever you end up we’re going to post two deputies in a Bronco out front. Just until we understand what’s going on here.” Temple thought it looked like the girl was about to protest. “This is non-negotiable, at the moment your safety is paramount.”

Hayden produced a large brown paper bag. “I figured you’d want a change of clothes so here’s some stuff we were able to scrounge from around the station. It’s all Sheriff’s Department stuff so don’t expect it to be terribly flattering but I suppose you’ll want to get changed.”

“Alexander, best for you to go home and when you do move bring someone along with you.”
Temple produced two business cards from his wallet. “This has my pager number. Feel free to page anytime day or night. If it’s trouble add 911 to the page and I’ll get to you as soon as possible. Obviously call the Sheriff’s Department first.”

Hayden patted her uniform and found a pen she scribbled the Sheriff Department’s number on the back of Temple’s business cards before handing them over to the kids.

“Remember call me day or night if you remember anything.” Temple said with a forced smile. Witnesses weren’t really his thing.

“Deputy, lets go.”

#

Hayden and Temple approached the Reception just as Adams was finishing up his plan.

“…what do you say we grab you're partner, Hayden and a few other volunteers, gear up at the station and head out on a man-hunt?".

“Man hunt? You have a lead? Those kids didn’t see much, guess they were too busy trying to survive.”

Hayden returned to the group as she had been speaking to Justine to organise the Deputies to look after Juliet.

“They’re pretty shook up. That poor girl.”

Temple nodded. “So what’s the story Bart?”

Before Barton could answer Doctor Lawson emerged from behind a pair of double doors.

“Ok folks it’s starting to look like an NRA meeting in here. Can you take it outside? We need some room.”

#

The city was a dot in the distance now and all Blake could see was miles of wilderness below.

“Pretty big eh?” The pilot crackled in his headset.

“Yeah lots of places to hide.”

“Telling me. I work with the Volunteer Mountain Rescue team that works the woods. Lost hikers are like a needle in a hay stack.” He was complaining but he
sounded cheery.

“Mountain Rescue eh? What’s your name?”

“Bradley Vickers pleased to meet you.”

“Yeah likewise. Bradley do you know what a secondment is?”

“Uh not really.”

“It means you work for me now, Brad. How long ‘till we arrive at Cartwright Falls?”

“About Twenty Minutes.” Bradley said the cheeriness gone from his voice.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Juliet was just sitting up when the door opened and Nathanial came in. She smiled weakly. "Hey." "We are okay, we made it! I didn't think we would be able to get out of there." He smiled at her. "How are you feeling now? You look pretty good for someone who was almost blown up." Juliet laughed. "Okay, considering I fell out of the second story window, nearly passed out, and had my house blown up, I'm great, thanks."

Two officers came in then, saying they wanted to take their statements. Juliet spoke up. "I saw him from over the sheriff's shoulder. He had a rifle - I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with firearms - and was driving this large silver car." She ran a hand through her hair nervously. She was upset that she couldn't provide more information. "I'm sorry I can't really give you much, Sir. I just - everything was such a blur, I don't really remember much."

A nurse entered and passed Nathanial some pills. Juliet wondered if she'd have to take some too. The doctor said she was lucky. Although she'd hit the ground pretty hard, there wasn't a concussion. Small wounds from the explosion were easily treated, however she was in shock. Juliet didn't feel like she was shock - she just felt numb. No fear at all, just numb.

Juliet answered the deputy. "Uh, yeah. There's nowhere to go back to, unfortunately, so I guess I'll just be staying here. Me and Mom both." "Yeah and wherever you end up we're going to post two deputies in a Bronco out front. Just until we understand what's going on here." Juliet frowned, but he interrupted. "This is non-negotiable, at the moment your safety is paramount." Juliet said nothing, but resented him silently for putting her in such a situation. All privacy would be compromised, and she wasn't even sure when this would end. Something very wrong was going on in Cartwright Falls.

She accepted the clothes from the deputy, thanking her quietly. Tucking the business card inside a pocket, she headed for the toilet to change into the clothes. Coming out, she turned to Nathanial. "Thanks for everything. Take care of yourself, okay? I'm going to look for my mother."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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Barton nodded slowly at the idea. "Ordinarily I would not recommend a full-on manhunt, not in this weather and at this time, but-"

"Okay folks, it’s starting to look like an NRA meeting in here. Can you take it outside? We need some room.”

Barton shrugged as he turned to Temple. "Let's get outside, then I'll fill everyone in." He quickly removed his rifle, donned his coat and hat, and re-slung the rifle before heading out into the rain. He stayed under the awning as he spoke to the others. "In short, Deputy Adams and I found the wallet of a Mr. Kyle Renner right near one of the windows. Presumably he dropped it at some point. It had receipts stuffed in it for outdoor supplies and ammunition, Parabellum and .22 LR. I did some talking with the LAPD Commissioner, and it turns out Renner's wanted down there now for double homicide, killing his wife and her secret boyfriend. As far as his friends knew he was just coming up here to hunt, which he's done before. He's driving a Toyota Hi-Lux, gray, and has a .22 LR caliber rifle and a pistol. He is to be considered armed and extremely dangerous. Deputy Adams here says you have thirty-aught-six rifles at the station. I move we pair off, one Agent one Deputy, to have a balance of armaments. I can get us all over to the Station to get the Deputies armed, then two take the FBI car and two take a Deputy's car, and we start combing the town. I don't know this town as well as you two," he said, gesturing to the Deputies, "So I'll leave the routes to you for the time being, so long as we get the town covered."

He breathed for a few seconds. Two long monologues in as little time. "Right, let's get going, then." He led them to the FBI car, and they piled in. He drove as quickly as seemed safe, his eyes darting around, watching as much for a Toyota Hi-Lux as for where he was going. As they arrived at the station, he quickly established a shooting position of sorts near the front of the Station, watching for any unwanted visitors. He saw one only a few minutes after he settled in. However, this was not a car, but a helicopter. He quickly left the station, standing under the awning as the chopper's passenger disembarked and approached the station. He recognized the fairly infamous face immediately, one that he connected to the Michelle Halpert case and the FBI, much the same way one connected Richard Nixon to Watergate. Professional infamy aside, Barton had no love lost for the man he now addressed stiffly. "Good evening, David. Hell of a way to make an entrance."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: David Blake Character Portrait: Claire Saunders
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#, as written by Bosch
“Why so glum Partner?”

Eli turned on the stool to see a tall man wearing what to Eli looked like a brown Stetson or other type of cowboy hat and a long black duster. The hat obscured the man’s face with shadow. His dirty, naked feet were resting on the table in front of him, muck seemed to ooze from the man’s pores and land with thick splats on the table. He produced a cigarette along with a lighter seemingly from thin air and while he lit the smoke his face was illumined showing a craggy face with dark eyes that seemed to suck in surrounding light.

“I’m having a strange night.” The man’s bizarre appearance put Eli on edge so he turned back to the bar.

“I suppose you are, Eli.”

Eli spun in his stool and faced the man.

“How’d you know…”

“Eli please, let’s not ask stupid questions.”

Eli didn’t know what to say it was like the cogs in his brain were barley turning.

“You’re dying, what does that feel like?” The man was talking to Eli but also thinking aloud.

“I’m not I’m…”

“Ticket sir.”

The man with the “Staff” badage was standing beside Eli with his hole punch at the read. “It’s time to punch your ticket.”

Eli handed over his ticket and with a quick click the bald man punched a hole in Eli’s Ticket.

“If you’ll follow me sir your party is waiting.”

“My party?”

“Yes Miss Elizabeth Button.”

“Lizzie?”

The car crash and the girl with the flame red hair came flooding back to him.

“Little lizzie? She finally got invited to the big party. I had fun with her.”

Eli looked at the man in confusion.

“You were there when I came for her. How she screamed your name.”

“Sir please.” The bald man said as he gently took Eli by the elbow. “Just follow me.”

Eli stood and followed the man toward the Dining room. The large imposing doors swung open and Eli found himself engulfed in a white light.

#

Lawson was moving as soon as the siren started to beep and the voice over the PA system announced a code blue in room 142.
Eli’s room.

“Jesus I need a crash cart. 142! 142!”

Lawson took the elevator as he knew his old bones would be much slower on the stairs. By the time he made it to Eli the nurses were already starting in intubate
and Lawson immediately took over. Eli was asphyxiating on his own vomit which was pouring out of the Sheriff’s mouth. Lawson needed to get past that open and airway or else the Sheriff would surely die. Time was critical as the longer Lawson took the less of Eli’ mind there would be left to save.

Suddenly Eli’s body was wracked with spasms and Lawson felt the tube tube slip from his grasp. The vomit turned red telling Lawson that the tube had damaged something. The nurses tried to secure Eli while Lawson prepared a muscle relaxant. The spasms were costing seconds that should be spent getting oxygen to Eli’s brain in addition to wasting whatever oxygen was left in Eli’s body.

Lawson cursed softly.

#

She was in a red dress and sitting alone stirring the ice in her drink with a muddler. The blad man showed Eli to his seat which he collapsed into.

“Lizzie?” He croaked as his throat felt scratchy.

“I wasn’t expecting you so soon but I’m glad you’re here.”

“Where is here?”

“Don’t be dense. Whats the last thing you remember before arriving?”

“Getting shot.”

“And now you’re talking to your dead high school sweetheart.”

“So I’m dead?”

“Oh yeah.”

Eli didn’t have any strong feelings about that which scared him.

“It alright though Eli you still have a job to do.”

“I thought heaven was supposed to be a relaxing place.”

“This look like heaven to you?”

She had always given him a hard time, in fact it was something he loved about her.

“So where are we?”

“Let’s call it Limbo. You met the cowboy out there?”

“Yeah he said he knew you.”

“That’s… We’re not talking about that. We’re talking about getting out of here.”

“Ok how do we do it?”

“Him, the Cowboy he’s keeping us here, we keep him alive but not well fed.”

“Fed?”

“Fear, he needs fear, but the dead provide much at least not here in Limbo.”

“So what’s he doing?”

“We have a lot to talk about before we can get into that.”

#

“Time of death 2015 hours.” Lawson said with a shake of his head.

Finally Eli was at rest. The spasms hadn’t stopped until the Sheriff’s heart had finally given out. Only a nurse remained scribbling some final pieces of paperwork
while Lawson cleaned up Eli. He closed the Sheriff’s eyes and wiped the blood and vomit from the man’s chin.

“Are you alright Doctor Lawson?”

It was Nurse Oldman, a young man with sandy blonde hair.

“I’m fine Tim. I knew his father, he was a good man like his son.”

Lawson turned and Tim noticed the red rims around the Doctor’s eyes. He knew Lawson found it hard to remain detached from his patients but he’d never seen the man so open with grief. For a brief instant Tim saw Lawson as an elderly man and not the brilliant Doctor with unlimited energy he usually saw.

“Doctor I’m going to call the on call. I think you shoul take a few hours it’s been a really long day.”

He thought Lawson would argue but the Doctor just clapped Tim on the shoulder and walked off toward his office.

Tim made his way to reception and after filing the paperwork related to Eli’s death he picked up the phone and punched in the on call Doctor’s Phone Number.

“Hello, I’m looking for Doctor Saunders.”

#

Adams was explaining how he had arrived at the decision to start a man hunt to Hayden and Temple when Blake and Barton entered.

“So Hank Phillips ran into a hunter out in the woods took his name and gave the list to the Sherriff. With… everything that’s happened the Sherriff never got to see the list. Agent Barton and I only discovered it when we got back here.”

The phone rang and Justine answered as Blake and Barton joined the conversation while Deputy Adams continued his brief.

“Ok so with the weather the way it is Renner will need shelter and there are a few places the Guy could have gone. There’s the mine not far from where he was found and the Saw mill is pretty close too. He’ll be wanting to keep off the roads because of the police presence so I reckon he’ll be hiding somewhere till the storm lets him make a move.”

“Yes he’s shot a cop there’s no way he’ll use the Hi-Lux again every badge in the state has that description.”

“Oh my God… Yes thank you, of course…” It was Justine. She hung up the phone and glanced over her desk and the assembled group.

“Sheriff Carter just died in Hospital.”

A stunned silence fell on the group and Blake recognised now was the time to introduce himself. He cleared his throat and addressed the room.

“The death of Sheriff Carter is a tragedy and we will avenge him but the way he would have wanted. I didn’t know the man but he died saving two kids and from what I’ve heard he was fine Lawman, he’d want this motherfucker brought to justice and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Renner will be taken alive and will face his crimes, there will be no reprisals against this man because it will fuck the case we clear here?” He let his words settle before continuing. “Remember we have a missing girl still out there.”

He nodded at Deputy Adams who continued speaking.

“So I think we should hit the mine first then try the Saw mill.”

Blake looked at the map Adams was using as a visual aid. “Ok make it happen. Barton and Temple liaise with the locals and go get this bastard.”

#

Cassandra Bishop watched her child stir in her sleep before she drifted off. Confusion was wracking her, she was exhausted and wanted nothing more than to sleep but she knew it wouldn’t come. For months her dreams had been invaded with dreams of Benson and the dark man, then Julian disappeared. She knew he was dead before they found the body Benson told her in a dream, he taunted her with the knowledge for how her child had died, in agony surrounded by dark figures.

Benson let her hear his screams.

Now all she had left was Juliet and nobody was going to hurt her.

#

The woman approached Nathaniel’s door and gave the door a quick rap. A short house keeper answered the door.

“FBI. I’m Agent Burrows and this Agent Martin. We need to speak to Mr Alexander.”

She flashed the bogus FBI ID and barged into the house. The housekeeper said something about the boy being asleep.

“Well go wake him.” Agent Martin said his goatee twitching with annoyance.

The pair remained in the hallway waiting for Nathaniel to show up. It was unfortunate the housekeeper had seen their faces.

It meant she would be the first to die.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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Hayden listened intently as Adams explained what they were to do once they started the hunt for the crazed man on the loose. Hunters in the woods weren't exactly rare, especially at this time of the year but the name was unfamiliar to the young deputy. Obviously he wasn't a native of Cartwright.

"Sheriff Carter just died in the Hospital." Justine's sad voice drifted to her ears. Hayden's heart almost stopped in shock as she looked over at the older woman with wide eyes. It seemed like just moments ago that she was at the hospital, Hayden had never expected Eli wouldn't make it through everything.

“The death of Sheriff Carter is a tragedy and we will avenge him but the way he would have wanted. I didn’t know the man but he died saving two kids and from what I’ve heard he was fine Lawman, he’d want this motherfucker brought to justice and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Renner will be taken alive and will face his crimes, there will be no reprisals against this man because it will fuck the case we clear here?” He let his words settle before continuing. “Remember we have a missing girl still out there.”

"I know the Saw mill is easier to get to than the mines, it's a faster trip from the town to there. With the weather the mine could be dangerous, lots of mud and there are sometimes pockets of water that are deeper than they seem. Some places flood when it rains a lot." Hayden spoke up as Blake gave them orders of who should go where.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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Barton shook his head quickly. "We have a bulk of identifying information, but the rifle's for defense. The shooter has a rifle too," he muttered off-handedly before they entered the police station. Barton remained quiet thereafter, listening carefully as Adams finished outlining his plan. He'd have to request a brief repetition for himself and Blake. A moment later, that was forgotten as the bombshell came.

"Sheriff Carter just died in the hospital."

Barton's eyes widened briefly before he clenched them shut tightly. He had only met the Sheriff briefly, but had carried him from the burning Bishop household. Somehow he felt useless, as though his efforts were now wasted. He bowed his head slowly, now unwilling to break the stunned silence. Make that minute a memorial for the dead Sheriff, for they might not have time for a proper memorial later. Unfortunately, Blake broke the silence with a sudden, impromptu speech. Barton never was much for that kind of monologuing, but he had to agree with Blake's sentiment. They could not let a desire for revenge override their duty as law enforcement. Renner would have to answer here for what now racked up to murder, double attempted murder, and arson, and then back home for double murder.

Though Barton hadn't noticed his leaving, Adams suddenly returned after Blake's speech, with a Remington shotgun and a lever-action rifle. Barton raised an eyebrow at the shotgun, but said nothing. It could have slugs loaded...no, a quick glance at the shells as he loaded them revealed all red shells, all buckshot. Odd.

Barton glanced with a small twinge of alarm at Adams' tone, cold and emotionless. This was a sudden change from his previous demeanor, and he didn't like what it boded at all. He silently hoped that Temple and Montgomery would be the duo to find Renner. Regardless, he realized one base that was uncovered, and that could now be covered. "Almost done, just one last thing. We have one more lawman with us now, though we have lost one as well. Blake, we've got two teenagers who survived Renner's attack; Juliet Bishop and Nathaniel Alexander. Alexander's at his house; Juliet's in the hospital. Can you get them both to the same place and keep them safe? We cannot yet rule out the possibility that Renner was targeting them. With that taken care of, though, we are done here. Let's get to stakeouts. I'll drive myself and Adams."

After that abrupt conclusion, Barton then left the station, putting his hat back on as he remembered the rain. It seemed to be getting lighter, though. Hopefully it wouldn't be as bad by the time they reached the mine: trying to see on a rainy night was difficult.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
"Almost done, just one last thing. We have one more lawman with us now, though we have lost one as well. Blake, we've got two teenagers who survived Renner's attack; Juliet Bishop and Nathaniel Alexander. Alexander's at his house; Juliet's in the hospital. Can you get them both to the same place and keep them safe? We cannot yet rule out the possibility that Renner was targeting them. With that taken care of, though, we are done here. Let's get to stakeouts. I'll drive myself and Adams."

Blake felt anger rise in his chest. He had been sent to oversee not to take orders but he swallowed his anger and let out a single controlled breath.

“Sure Barton, I’ll go check it out but then I’ll come back here to coordinate, make sure we don’t end up with another bloodbath on our hands.”

Blake too noted the change in Adams demeanour but was unsure if Barton had.

“Agent Barton can I have a word before you leave.”

Out of ear shot of the others Blake expressed his concern.

“Keep an eye on Deputy Adams, He’s seething. We need this done right, no Rodney King bullshit. Keep him on a short leash.”
Blake waited to see if the Agent had any other input, while he may not have liked Barton on a personal level he understood that personal feelings had no place in an investigation. The man could get a job done and that was all that mattered.

#

Temple reviewed his weaponry, he had a Grey six shot revolver on his hip, a Glock 17 in a concealed carry holster and the AR-15. After his years of military service the weapons felt extensions of his own body. He checked the sights on the AR-15 and could feel adrenaline trickle through his body. They all would be feeling it, hunting a cop killer in the hills during the dead of night, it would be impossible not to.

He glanced outside at the snow lazily drifting down and realised his suit wouldn’t provide enough protection from the elements. He went out to his car and from the boot produced a Black Jacket with the letters FBI on the back in large white letters. Before he put it on he stopped and pulled out his Second Chance Body Armour, again with FBI printed on it bust this time on the chest. He had a wife and kid and there was no way he was ending up like Carter.

Back inside he approached Hayden while he pulled on the Armour and his jacket.

“Ok Deputy looks like we’re hitting the Saw Mill. This is your neck of the woods so you’re driving.”

He tossed her the Keys.

“You got everything you need here? I think we have a spare set of body armour in the car.”

#

The kid was still twitching a bit as the woman injected him in the neck with a clear liquid. It was a simple drug that would keep him down for the drive to the base, she produced a pair of Flexi cuffs and snapped them shut on the youngster’s wrists. When she was done she sighed.

“Fuck, that escalated quickly.”

She would have to work fast as she didn’t know if the gun fire would attract interest. First she dragged Nathaniel’s unconscious body out and into the van. Next she did the same with the Man with the Goatee who Nathaniel had killed. His name was Keith and he’d been something or other in the Canadian Military. Now he was dead.

She dragged Keith’s body out to the waiting van and dumped him beside Nathaniel. The kid would get a little blood on him but that’s what you get when you start shoot shooting people in the head.

She was panting now from the physical exertion of the lifting and dragging. Despite being in good physical condition she was still much shorter than the two men. That’s why she left the tiny maid till last.

Once she’d the bodies and Nathaniel in the van she returned to the house and collected the shell casings before wiping down everything she could remember touching. Satisfied the place was clean. She went outside and insured the door was locked before smashing the living room window that was on the front of the house.

The clues would suggest a home invasion gone wrong and maybe the story would hold up or maybe not but it would cause enough confusion to make sure nobody came looking for Nathaniel in the right place.

She got into the van and started driving.

#

Eli had no idea where he was. He was still getting used to the power he now had.

Suddenly he was looking at a girl with blonde hair.

Juliet Bishop.

He felt like he was walking through treacle but Lizzie said it would be difficult for him at first.

“Juliet?”

He was unsure if the girl could hear him as she gave no reaction but he continued regardless.

“You need to be careful… looking for you… Mother… nobody never trust…”

Then he was back in the hotel sitting at the table with Lizzie.

“Did you speak to her.”

“Not really, more at her. I told her though. I don’t know what she got.”

“In time she’ll become more open. At least you tried to warn her.”

Eli sat glumly.

#

Cassandra jolted awake from another bad dream and looked down at her daughter. Benson was gone from her dreams now the Dark Man was the focus of all her dreams. His dirty coat and grubby hands stuck in her memory while she was sure she could still smell his breath, taste it in her mouth.

It was the smell of Decay, the taste of pestilence.

She stood and went to get a glass of water and splash some water on her face. For a brief instant she could see him watching her from the end of the corridor but then he was gone. She shook her head and tried to get a grip.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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Hayden remained silent and unmoving, numerous thoughts crowding her mind. At the sound of approaching footsteps, she looked up to see Conor heading her way. She was surprised by the shotgun, not expecting him to bring her a gun as well. The young woman accepted it nonetheless, as well as the box of ammo. She took her time in loading the shells into the chamber before cocking to the ready, remembering to switch the safety over once she finished it. As Hayden watched Connor walk away she couldn't help but feel uneasy, she could tell he was angry and not taking the Sheriffs' death well. She was really hoping he wouldn't do anything to dangerous or stupid, their department was already down one great officer.

“Ok Deputy looks like we’re hitting the Saw Mill. This is your neck of the woods so you’re driving.” Hayden looked towards the older man and nodded. Watching him put the vest around his torso made her nervous, she really hoped that if worse came to worse neither she nor Temple would be shot; grazed maybe, but that sure wasn't a reassuring thought. “You got everything you need here? I think we have a spare set of body armor in the car.”

"Thanks." She replied with a small smile, she needed to calm herself or she'd be absolutely no help to the investigation or the manhunt. Walking with Temple outside, she watched as he popped open the trunk of his car before rummaging through it and offering her the spare one he mentioned before. She slipped it on effortlessly, strangely, or maybe not, there had been many instances where she had worn one and not always when she was in the line of duty.

The duo moved towards her car, the snow was falling thicker now. It was becoming the kind that stuck and took forever to melt away. Hayden hoped they'd find Renner before it became a blizzard. She climbed into the drivers seat and slipped the keys into the ignition before blasting the heat in the car, it would only come out cold at first but she really didn't care. Running her hands through her ponytail to dislodge any flakes that may have become stuck, the deputy turned her head towards Temple. "I know this isn't the best time to teach you the way the Mill, but it's simple enough and if something bad happens…" She paused for a moment, re-correcting what she was going to say as to not jinx them in the future. "It would just be bad if I was the only one who knew how to get back to town. Like I said, the directions are simple enough, but in this weather and at night the forest can get tricky to navigate."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Kyra Gosling
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#, as written by Bosch
Hayden thanked him for the body armour and Temple smiled, he wanted to make sure the kid stayed safe although his motives were somewhat clouded. They walked out to the car and Temple could see she was getting a little keyed up. It was a natural response when going into battle of course she had nothing to worry about, Temple would take a bullet if it meant keeping her alive.

In the car she immediately hit the heat and began talking.

"I know this isn't the best time to teach you the way the Mill, but it's simple enough and if something bad happens…"
Temple almost smiled the adrenaline was making her nervous and talkative.

"It would just be bad if I was the only one who knew how to get back to town. Like I said, the directions are simple enough, but in this weather and at night the forest can get tricky to navigate."

“Good thinking I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled but we’ll be alright. Just remember to keep your eyes on me and stay low. Fire fights are won through use of cover so make sure you always know where your nearest safe spot is. Should someone go down focus on the threat then the casualty.”

He kept spouting advice for most of the car trip, maybe it was his way to keep his mind off what was about to happen.

#

The woman was finally approaching her base, a large Mansion deep in the woods. Originally it had been built by the owner of the Saw Mill, Julius Dalton, but along with the man’s business the mansion had fallen into disrepair. Now it was home to a very different man.

She lifted the scrambled radio out of the glove box and hit the PTT button.

“This is Gosling. I’m coming home got three eggs two of ‘em cracked.”

“Confirm acquisition.”

Gosling rolled her eyes and then looked in the mirror she’d set up so she could watch Nathaniel in the back of the van who was still out cold.

“Do you think I’d be coming back if I hadn’t?”

“Alright a team will meet you at the Garage.”

The Mansion had been bought by her employer a few years ago. His name was Blair Lamont and he was wealthy enough to buy mansions and hire people like Gosling. Along with the small army he’d amassed around the grounds of the mansion. As near as Gosling could tell they were some kind of cult, it wasn’t her bag but it paid the bills.

She had never been inside the Mansion but it was clear a lot of money had been invested in the old place. She noticed the high walls surrounding the grounds, the cctv cameras and the motion sensitive lights. Inside she guessed would be much the same and she had a feeling somewhere deep inside the mansion was a state of the art security room.

The armed men walking around the Mansion seemed to be well trained and she’d picked up a variety of accents, British, French, American, Israeli and she was pretty sure she’d even seen a Ghurkha. The crew all seemed to be ex-military and professional. Whatever was inside the mansion Lamont did not want anyone getting in to see it or maybe it getting out.

She was waved through a checkpoint by a friendly guard. He was the public face, a ruddy cheeked man who looked like a minimum wage security guard, enough to see way any travelling sales men or lost hikers. The only give away that all was not as it seemed was a SAR-87 sitting in the small guard post. A weapon like that wasn’t issued to minimum wage rent a cops.

As she pulled up to the garage the large door began to open. She parked the van and got out as four men walked to rear and opened it. Gosling lit a cigarette that she immediately stubbed out when she saw Lamont making his way toward her.

“This is the boy? I hope he wasn’t wounded?”

“Bloods not his. The maid took a bullet and so did the guy you gave me.”

“Good.” He said as he watched his men bring Nathaniel out of the van and into the garage.

Gosling cleared her throat. “About Keith getting killed. Now I have to do double the work load and I feel I should be compensated.”

Lamont looked at her with dark eyes and for a second it felt like the life was draining out of her.

“Of course. You’ll receive full payment on completion of your tasks.

Gosling nodded. “I’ll also need a new vehicle, That one looks like a slaughter house.” She said pointing at the van as the maid’s body was being removed.

“Take a key from the board.”

Gosling walked inside the garage and was astounded by its size. She had thought the room was much smaller but in fact it was set on incline and went far beneath the Mansion. There was an entire motor pool of various vehicles including motorbikes, vans, cars and ATVs.

She grabbed the keys to one of the vans from a board with hooks holding keys and walked to her vehicle. She noticed strange carving on the walls that looked like eyes. Gosling thought the place gave her the creeps and decided she’d do her best to avoid going back inside the mansion.

For a second she felt bad for Nathaniel whatever was going on here was dark but the feeling quickly passed. People in Kyra Gosling’s line of work didn’t get to have emotions, that’s what they told her in basic training and that’s what they told her again in Baltimore. She didn’t need to hear it though emotion for Kyra was muted like the volume had been set way too low. The two she knew she felt were anger and distain and the government had loved that. She first came to their attention when she signed up to serve her country as a solider at eighteen and happened to score highly on Moral Flexibility which ear marked her for a special programme in the NSA.

The next ten years she’d spent killing and torturing the enemies of Freedom for her Uncle Sam. Now she did it privately for whoever paid the most money, at the moment that Lamont. He had contacted her a month ago and given her a list of dates and times along with half a million dollars, all she had to do was round up the names and she’d walk away a full Million now it looked like she was getting Keith’s cut as well.

This motivated her.

The next name would be easier.

Hayden Montgomery.

#

They were out of the town now and far away from any prying eyes. Temple produced his weapon and seemed to check it. He cocked the weapon and pointed it at Hayden’s head.

“I’m real sorry but you’re going have stop the car and cuff your hands behind your back.”

Inside he was dying, he hated being played but in the end it came down to a simple choice.

Hayden or his Family and that wasn’t a choice at all.

#

Lamont had Nathaniel brought to one of the rooms inside the mansion the boy would be waking up at any moment. Once it had been a bedroom and in a lot of ways still was but subtle changes had turned it into a cell. The glass windows were shatter proof and covered by ornate iron bars while the door was reinforced. A two way mirror ensured the boy was always monitored but apart from that the room was well furnished with everything Nathaniel would need to make his stay comfortable.

The rest of the mansion was functional nothing had been replaced if it didn’t serve a purpose so the old creaky hallways were still intact along with peeling wall paper and water damage. Lamont had put most of his money below the foundations and in other places prying eyes couldn’t see.

“He’ll be waking up soon.” Lamont said absentmindedly to the guards. “Make sure the artifact is prepared.”

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Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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Needless to say, Hayden was completely shocked at the current turn of events. After everything that had occurred in just one day, she had never expected to be looking at Agent Temple down the barrel of his own gun. At first she hadn't thought much of his actions, maybe checking his weapon was some kind of nervous habit. She didn't exactly know him that well so she couldn't judge. At hearing the soft click of the gun being readied though, Hayden didn't even have time to turn her head. She just felt the gun being pointed at her, knowing just where it was without actually seeing it.

She could honestly say she'd never been more terrified in her life. Her fingers gripped the wheel tightly, her knuckles turning a ghostly white at the intensity, as she slowly pulled the car over to the side of the road and stopped. "What are you doing?" Her voice came off calmly, freaking out in a potentially, more like evidently in this particular case, dangerous situation was rookie mistake number one; in both law enforcement and in psychology. She wasn't going to do exactly as he ordered, cuffing herself would be really bad, but taking everything in stride at one step at a time was a much safer path.

Her blue eyes remained on the road, she could see the snow falling still. In a way it was serene, the pure white of the snow standing out starkly against the darkness of the woods. It was strange really, given the current events, Hayden couldn't stop thinking about the one time she had gotten lost in them when she was younger. It had been snowing then to and her father had been so furious at her when he finally found her. She had never been afraid of going out there though, dying in her patrol car in the woods she had spent most of her time in for the last twenty one years was not an option. "Could you please put down the gun Deacon?"

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Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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#, as written by Bosch
“Could you please put down the Gun Deacon?”

Temple sighed, she wasn’t making this easy.

“Look Hayden I like you but you’re not talking me out of this. Someone has my wife and daughter. She’s three months old. I’m not kidding you and I hate doing this but Hayden, you need to believe me when I say I will do whatever it takes to keep them safe and the people doing this weren’t to clear what shape I had to deliver you in.”

#

He was completely torn and knew he was throwing his career away but he’d do whatever it took to make sure his family survived. He got the page while on his way to Cartwright Falls and while Barton was refuelling the vehicle he’d used a payphone at the gas station to answer the page.

“Hello Agent Temple. Please hold the line.” The voice on the end of the line was deep and masculine. This took Barton aback whoever he was talking to obviously wasn’t expecting many calls.

“Simon! Simon! Hey took me and Juliet! Oh God...”

Then she was gone. Deacon’s jaw tightened almost as much as his heart.

“Do I have your attention, Agent?”

“If you hurt I swear to God I’ll...”

“Grow up Agent Temple. Take a deep breath. You don’t have time for impotent threats, your partner won’t be filling the tank all day.”

Deacon suddenly looked around the service station but there was no obvious surveillance.

“That’s right, we’re watching you.” The voice chimed, like a singsong in monotone.

The voice waited a beat while Deacon exhaled.

“Good. Feeling calmer? Here’s what’s going to happen, you will continue travelling to Cartwright Falls where you will meet a Sheriff’s Deputy called Hayden Montgomery. I wish to you to kidnap her and deliver to my associates.”

The voice supplied information of the time and place before suddenly turning colder.

“I don’t need to explain the penalty for failure or if you alert your people do I?”

“No.” The word came out as a cold croak.

#

“Hayden I won’t ask again. Pull the car over and cuff yourself.” He repeated trying to keep the fear out of his voice. He’d tried so hard to keep it together but now the weight was off in a way. “I swear once I get my family back I’ll do everything I can to help you. I will find you.” He wanted her to believe him but the fact he was holding a gun to her head didn't help matters.