The woman jumped, her screams echoing off the glass walls of the high rise building she had called home and growing fainter the farther she fell. The sound cut off with a thud as her body struck the paved surface surrounding the structure, exploding and spraying everything within a few paces in gore.
Casey Adler, former detective with the NYPD and now working for INTERPOL, took in the sight. She never looked away, not in cases like this. Cases that used to be rare. Used to be. Now it seemed like she was being called two or three times a week when before that she rarely had such a case in an entire month. She could recall a time when these incidents were less common. If they happened once a year it was considered an outbreak. It was why there were so few experts on this subject. No one felt it was necessary. Everyone had thought her crazy for pursuing this line of study in academy. She chuckled and looked at her partner, Vee. As usual, the tall, svelte blonde had turned away, still unable after all these months on these types of cases to stomach the less tasteful parts of the job.
"Holding up Vee?" Casey asked, standing and taking in the view.
Her partner grunted, leaning back against the window frame.
"I don’t know how you deal with it, Case."
Casey shook her head.
"I don’t. But I can’t ignore it, either."
Her gaze drifted down to the crowd below. Several other officers had arrived and cordoned off the area.
"Is this one related to the others?" Vee asked, moving away from the window.
Casey turned to look at the room.
"If you mean by blood, then no. I had her name run when we got the call. Nothing’s been found yet to connect her to the other victims."
Vee looked at her.
"Still think this is intentional?"
"I don’t know. But I’m not ruling anything out."
She stopped to look at a wall covered in frames. All of the women in the pictures were smiling and happy. The woman now decorating the pavement below appeared in all of them. Also smiling.
"What would drive her to this?" Vee asked, stepping close to Casey. "She looked happy, Case."
"So did the rest of them."
"What’s happening to our city?"
Casey locked her gaze on Vee.
"This is not isolated to New York," she whispered.
Vee looked out the window.
"Yes, yes, I know. But this is my home. It matters more."
Casey rolled her eyes.
"Anyway, you know I think they are all connected." She glared at Vee. "I said as much in my report about the last suicide we had two weeks ago."
Vee looked down, her face turning red.
"In my defense, you write a LOT of reports."
Casey stared at her partner.
"There are audio copies as well and I know how much you love listening to people talk while you run," she stated.
"Casts. I listen to casts. Not you droning on about these things."
Vee waved her hand at the open window. Casey looked over at the open window, pondering what she had witnessed. What had driven that woman to jump? What could she have been dealing with? Was she dealing with something? Was her mind messed up? Is mine for wanting to do this stuff?’ She shook her head. That kind of thinking was not going to help.
"Let’s get down there before those ladies mess with our crime scene," she said to Vee.
Her partner wore a look that said she’d rather not but she shook herself and fell in behind Casey, who smiled. Vee may not have been cut out for this at first, but she was good at this stuff, despite her weak stomach. She had an eye for things, could spot details that most would miss, including Casey, that no doubt stemmed from her anthropological studies that led to her finished dissertation. A feat that never stopped amazing her as Vee was one of the most absent-minded women she had ever met.
Vee stopped at the entrance and looked back at her.
"Coming? You’re the one that wanted to look at it."
"Yes, and then it’s time we had a talk."
"More work stuff?"
Casey grinned at her.
"Did you have any doubt?"