Everything started going wrong when she dreamt of a man who was dreaming of her.
It was a man with eyes so gray, they almost looked silver just like the color of the moon. Ever since she first dreamt of those eyes, her life had been a mess to say the least.
Shaking the thought out of her head, she sighed.
Irony was a messed up bitch, Ava Woods thought as she walked inside the ground floor of the hospital. When she left Alaska, she promised herself to never come back. She promised not to ever look back. It was supposed to be her new life, a new chance to rewrite what she did in the past.
But a year later, here she was.
Back right where it all began, Alaska.
Not only that, she was now walking inside one of the places she hated the most.
A fucking hospital.
She grimaced as the smell of disinfectant followed by an array of emotions hit her the moment she started walking down the tiled aisle. A curse left her lips.
The various emotions swirling inside this place were suffocating. It was a painful reminder of how she couldn't control the ability that she had. Being an empath has its own advantages but feeling other people's grief, desperation and agony is not one of those.
She quickly reminded herself that she was here because of the dead witches. She was here to solve a crime.
Still, the buzzing from the emotions made her wish she could somehow turn the ability off.
She put on her earplugs and played her favorite song, hoping it would be enough to drown the emotions surrounding her. The desperation she felt made her wish she wasn't born with this ability.
There is simply no getting used to feeling such negative emotions.
She went west, towards the wing where the morgue was located.
"Miss Woods? Ava Woods?"
The voice came from a balding man with large circular eyeglasses. He was wearing clean scrubs. Her assistant had already informed her that he was the doctor working for the organization.
"Yes." She removed her earplugs and gave the man a curt nod.
"Timothy Gregor. You are here to see the body?"
She handed him a black card. On it was her name and the symbol of the Organization. It was a gold circle and a flower with three petals that was embossed on the card. Trillium.
He examined the magick on it for a few seconds before he handed it back.
"Please follow me."
Without saying anything, she followed him towards the end of the corridor and entered the last cubicle, the heel of her boot clicked behind her. The morgue was quiet, too quiet and she loved it.
For an empath, this quietness can be comforting.
No feelings, no buzzing, no grief. Just nothing at all.
"You work here alone?" she asked. She noticed a few bodies covered with white cloth. But didn't see anyone else inside the morgue.
"I sent others away for a little while."
She nodded. At least the man was smart enough to follow all protocols.
"Here, you only have ten minutes before the camera will turn back on."
"Who found her?" She opened the white cloth and frowned at the remains. At this point, it doesn't even look like the body of a human being. "And where's the rest?"
"The police are still looking for the rest. Unlike the others, we have her head so we immediately have an identification . She's from Valdez, a widow. As to why she came here, we don't know. The missing report was filed last week when she didn't make it back home."
She surveyed the woman's limbs. On the plane, she had already received a brief about this case. As expected, her hands were missing as well as her eyes. It was just like the others. Even the angle of the cut on the woman's arms was exactly the same as the other victims.
She inhaled and just as the brief mentioned, she couldn't feel or see any traces of magick on the body. No signs of burning or the smell of burned flesh. Whoever killed her didn't use any magick.
"No witnesses?" she asked.
"No. Hunters found her ten miles away from the road."
"It isn't hunting season…"
"They claimed they were just looking for a spot to camp. We don't believe them but they were able to convince the authorities. They're tourists." He shrugged and turned to face her. "I received a call. They said you will be working on this case?"
"The others are getting scared. There are already three dead witches including this one."
She could feel anxiousness emanating from the man. The mention of the number of victims somehow made him scared. She couldn't help but wonder if he knew someone who practiced witchcraft.
"There's already four of them." She pulled the cloth up and covered the woman's body. Yes. There were already four witches who died in the same way. And the first one was Gabriella Montez Woods, her adoptive mother.
But not many people knew about her .
She immediately tried to blink her own melancholy away. When she received the case, she promised herself that she was doing this for the whole Wiccan community. She convinced herself that this wasn't personal.
But seeing the body made her doubt her own words.
"Panic is spreading throughout the community," he said. "The covens want to talk to Trillium."
She nodded. She wouldn't blame anyone for panicking– especially not the witches. However, Trillium doesn't work for the witches alone. They can't just demand anything from the organization. Of course, if the covens wanted to talk to Trillium then they would have to schedule a visit with the head.
And that might take them a week to a month.
The process would be long and complicated.
After a few minutes, she bid the man goodbye and walked out of the morgue. The killings had the whole witch community worried. She needed to find something as quickly as possible to try and prevent another conflict with the shifter community.
After this job, she was already planning to stay for a couple of weeks to see her brother, Phil and sister in law Marylis. Then, she was leaving. The sooner she could leave this place, the better.
She sent a text letting her assistant know that she will be needing a hotel in Valdez. The fact that someone else is deliberately trying to hide the killings is complicating her job. The previous agents who handled the first three killings found nothing. And that's the reason why they chose her, an officer who never failed her job, to come here.
With a team behind her, she was hoping to solve this matter as quickly as possible.
After another elevator ride, she reached the underground parking.
The coldness of December seeped inside her coat as she walked out of the elevator. The fact that this place was covered didn't stop the biting chill from making her shiver.
Living in Alaska, ever since she was a kid, Ava used to love the snow, the cold weather. But her mother's death changed everything. Now, the once beautiful and enticing blanket of white was just another reminder of how her mother had died.
Eyeing the array of cars, Ava quickly found hers but she stopped walking when she felt her phone vibrate. To her surprise, it was a message from Marylis, her witch sister-in-law. Wasn't she going into labor? She couldn't help but wonder why a woman in labor would send her a text.
Did something happen? She frowned and read the text.
[No matter what you do… don't visit a hospital.]
It was a direct and stern warning from someone who could see visions of… the future.
Ava's senses immediately turned alert. Feeling like a target standing in the open, she hurried her steps towards her car.
She gnashed her teeth as she wondered if this was one of Marylis visions. If it was, the vision must have made her suffer again. But she couldn't just ignore any of Marylis's visions.
Not when she would only see something about the future when something ominous was about to happen.
Suddenly a loud screeching echoed.
She flinched. Startled, her eyes widened at the car which was speeding her way.
And instead of moving away, she froze.
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