As Derek approached the woman, he made sure his face did not reveal the startling revelation he'd just thought.
Could Zoe and Lucio's Wife, Mariana, be the same person?
He thought about how little he knew Zoe - aside from just one or two things about her background. He didn't know where she lived, or what she did when she was off duty. And now there was an enormous amount of incriminating evidence indicating she was way more involved in this case than he thought and had probably been manipulating him.
"There's Detective Derek Hawkins. He submitted the report and was at the site of the...er... murder. So if anybody can answer your questions, it'll be him."
Mariana rushed at him, kicking and screaming. Derek had to restrain her and calm her a bit. He was struck by her Mexican accent and almost thought his theory was false. But even during her fit of rage, she avoided his eyes. When he got a look, he knew even if it was Zoe, she must have been wearing a pair of contact lenses.
"You! You officer! You killed my husband!" she screamed, breathing hard with her nose flaring. Was Zoe ever such a good actor?
"Mrs... Alvarez, right/ Please come to my office let's sort things out in a more... serene environment" he said, gently pulling her by the arm.
Once they were inside his office, he urged her to sit down, and then he began to applaud quietly.
"A five-star performance. You studied Theatre Arts, yes?" He said, looking at her intently. She continued to feign ignorance and looked at him menacingly.
"We both know that Lucio was here yesterday with information about your activities, Mariana," he said, deciding to keep his theory about her being Zoe private, "and that you killed him and tried to kill me yesterday."
She kept a blank face and stared at him. He was unsure what to interpret from her actions.
"And I'm well aware of the fact that you have the girl, and you plan to hand her over to the Black Lotus," he said, taking a wild guess.
For a second, she seemed furious, but that quickly changed to a smile. "With no workforce at your command and very little information, you managed to solve half of the puzzle, didn't you?" she said, reaching into her bag.
Derek grabbed his gun "I suggest you don't try anything funny!"
She raised her left hand in mock surrender "Oh no! I just wanted to commend you for your efforts," she said, producing a wad of crisp notes.
"Money? Is that a bribe?"
"No, it's my Tithe." she said, looking at him indignantly "Of course it's a little "look-the-other-way token." She said, shifting it across the table towards him.
"Who the hell do you take me for?! Hell No!" he said, shifting it back.
"Hmm... a clean goody-two-shoes-0cop?" she asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"Not necessarily... You've tried to kill me at least two times now. It's personal. I'm taking you down."
"Really/ With what? The information you have is very minimal and it is backed up by little to no evidence..."
"You might want to reconsider that," he said, producing a bunch of papers containing the photocopy of her text message history which Lucio gave to him.
For a second, her face registered shock. Then her smile returned. "I don't suppose you know how to crack this code, do you?"
"Heh! Well, this is basically useless," she said, flinging the papers back at him. "You're hopeless detective..."
"It's only a matter of time before I solve this. And then you're done for, If I were you, I'd avoid the problems associated..."
"Problems? Oh Sherlock, are you aware I did not mastermind the attack at your house? You have at least two gangs at your neck right now. Before you seek to solve other's problems, you should consider yours first." she said, standing up.
"Hm..." Derek mused, concealing his shock.
"Well, may the best man or woman win," she said, leaving the room. 'Oh, and you might want to use that money to hire a bodyguard or two." She said, walking out as her phone rang, playing a flute-like tune.
"Where does a child hide in a small town like this?" He screamed into his desk, breathing heavily.
He waited a bit, then quickly ran out to catch the looks, make and plate number of the car she used. Tomorrow he would trace where the vehicle had been that day, and solve the remaining puzzle.
Sorry, even I know that this one isn't as interesting as it should be, but I guess I have to carefully build up the story so the plot stays good!
If you're looking for any of the Taken stories, please head to this post to read them.
PROMPTS: plan, manipulate, command, enormous, furious, bodyguard, money, flute.
RANDOM DIALOGUE: "Where does a child hide in a small town like this?"