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Venus Ascending (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Venus

“Venus Ascending”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Facing truths can be difficult; no matter how hard we try to push some away, the dark ones are sometimes the hardest to contain. Coming from the hospital, after Zarian called to set up the meeting, the ride over was tense. It remained that way even entering the apartment. Berrak, with Zarian by her side, sat facing her niece, Kristina. Her eyes were glistening from the held in tears. Kristina was leaning back as far as she could.

“So, you’re my aunt. Huh. Can’t say it’s nice to really meet you.”

“Kristina!” Rovas growled.

“Tina. Tina, not Kristina. Kristina is then.”

“Tina,” Berrak said, “I’m sure this isn’t easy for you. I only just found out about you; believe me, this is just unsettling for me as well. I am so angry at my brother for hiding you from me, us.”

“I’m not too fond of ‘dad’ myself. Only good thing out of all this was ‘Uncle’ Zarian here.” She half smiled a nod his way.

Berrak turned and looked at her husband at the use of his nickname. He shrugged. “She called me that after I told her my name, our connection. Not my doing.”

“It’s more natural. The ‘K’ is kinda harsh sounding.” She pointed to herself. “So, no more ‘Kris’, less harsh me. No more ‘Kha”, and the Inspector becomes…”

“Less harsh and easier to relate to,” Berrak nodded. “I’ve called him Zarian ever since our first date.”

An uncomfortable silence fell over all three of them. Berrak looked around the tiny apartment. Kristina…Tina, she would have to remember…had simply decorated in various shades of blue and white. It was calming, she thought.

Tina picked up her soda pop bottle, took a swig, and looked directly at Berrak. “OK; we’re here. You met me. What do you really want?”

Berrak was at first taken aback by her niece’s hostility, but that morphed into her own anger. She looked at Rovas. “I’d like a few moments alone with Tina, Zarian. Please.”

Rovas looked at both women: defiance radiating from one, the other determination. He got up from the table. “I’ll…take a look around outside. Make sure no one followed us.” He bent over, kissed Berrak’s cheek, and then patted Kristina on the shoulder as he made his way to the apartment door. It quietly snicked closed behind him.

“He’s a good man,” Tina said, anger abated. “I really haven’t met many good men, before. I’m…sorry.”

“Yes, he is a good man. A very good man. And, it’s all right. This is all so out of nowhere. All I really want is to get to know you. You’re family.” She stopped and tilted her head. “You do look like him a little. Your father, I mean. Nose area, eyes. Berk was stupid, what he did. He just…”

“Made a mistake?” Tina’s defiance was back up.

“No. You are not a mistake. He was a bit too self centered. As much as he wanted to protect his wife from any pain, from what Zarian told me, Berk was protecting himself much, much more. He was like that as a child. I had hoped that had changed when he got older. He cared about appearances.”

Tina nodded, turning away when some tears started to fall.

Berrak reached across and took Tina’s left hand in her right. Tina squeezed Berrak’s hand, closing her eyes, her head downcast.  Khazarian called, telling Berrak he’d be in the coffee shop across the street. The two women talked, getting to know each other, breaking through barriers on one side while a bond was beginning to form for both.

Through Zarian help, and Gil’s, Tina managed to stay clean. She attended meetings, finished her GRE’s, and had been admitted to a community college. Sadly, her mother passed away a year ago. This brought a new set of tears-on both sides-as Tina related her teenage years, problems with her mother, barely acknowledging her father the few times he reached out to her.

This brought them to her drug use and turn to prostitution. Tina had little to say, except that she owed Lilly a debt for taking her off the streets. Tears flowed again, and Berrak sensed, in Tina’s reluctance to continue, that there was something more to be gleamed.

She got up and walked to the other side of the table, sitting next to Tina. She pulled her close; Tina’s head rested on her shoulder, which was getting slightly soggy.

“Tina, do you remember anything about that night?” she asked, as gently as she could.

Picking her head up and wiping away the tears with her left hand, she shook her head no. Yet, Berrak felt Tina’s whole body shaking.

“Tina, something has been bothering me. If the other girls and the madame were protecting you from this…deviant…When Zarian and Gil removed you from the house, they also moved the tea service to the kitchen. So many things they did wrong by the law, for you.

The thing is, the tea service was also checked by the crime team. It had been wiped clean like the others, except for unknown prints: yours, I assume. If the others hid him from you, why was your tea service devoid of other prints?”

Tina started another flow of tears, bringing her legs up under her chin, her forehead on her knees. “I, I…couldn’t…I couldn’t tell…please. Stop. Please.” They both sat quietly, Berrak continuing to hold onto her niece.

“What couldn’t you tell? Your mother?” Tina shook her head. Berrak held back her own shudder. “Zarian?”

Tina nodded.

Berrak got up and walked to the window that was facing the street. She took out her cell phone.

“Zarian, come up…now. Yes, it’s important. I think our Tina has something she’d like to tell us.”

She watched as he came out of the coffee shop and walked across the road. Once he entered the building, she turned around and faced Tina. Her eyes were wide, swollen but dry. She blinked a few times, and looked up at Berrak.

“I saw the man who killed the others. I saw the man who was going to kill me.”

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. As this has progressed, it’s become something more for me. I wasn’t planning to do such a connected story line, but it’s the way it has worded out for me. I hope you’ve been enjoying this, mistakes and all.

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1300 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

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Tea and Soliciting (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first parts of this story line: Red Canvas and Still Life in Scarlet

“Tea and Soliciting”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The trip to the abandoned brothel was not an easy one for any in the car. Rovas was driving, his eyes focused on the road ahead, with only glimpses given to the rear and side windows. Berrak had her arms folded across her chest. Gil, in the back, wished he was anyplace else.

Gil was intently staring out the side window when Berrak finally broke the silence with a deep sigh.

“You could have told me…the two of you.” She stared directly at Rovas. “I am your wife, Zarian, not a stranger or an acquaintance you have to keep secrets from.”

“I know.”

“You know, yet I’m just finding out my late brother had an illegitimate daughter, that I have a blood relation niece? You know?”

Rovas sighed as deeply as Berrak had. “I told you: your brother begged me not to tell you. He had kept tabs on Kristina through her mother, his…dalliance.  You and Eva were as close as sisters-in-law could be; Berk was deeply ashamed for what he did. He did not want you to think less of your big brother.

He came to me when Kristina went missing. Her mother knew of our family relationship; she pleaded with him to contact me. Kristina was gone for almost two full weeks by that point. Berk had a recent photo of her. I know you know the time frame. Both you and Eva were concerned about Berk’s distraction and angry outbursts. It would have ruined his marriage. He truly loved Eva.”

Berrak turned her head away, looking out the front window. “So you found her in a whore house.” She shifted around, so she could see both Zarian and Gil. “I couldn’t take anymore in the house. I needed to get out, to do something. Tell me the rest.” She paused. “Please.”

“Gil and I found Kristina in the attic bedroom, tied up like the other two girls and unconscious. She was alive: the killer hadn’t gotten to her yet. The coroner found GHB in all three of the victims. The madame, Lilly, had the least amount, which is most likely how she was able to make the 911 call. There was a tea service in each of the rooms; a main batch was still in the kitchen.”

“It tested positive for Liquid Ecstasy. It’s odorless but slightly salty. Enough sugar will cover that, and there was plenty of sugar in the tea mixture,” Gil added. “We think the killer bolted, not knowing how much information Lily had given to the 911 dispatcher. She probably would have been next, then Kristina.”

“And what of Kristina?”

“I had memorized the picture of the girl and had been looking for her, when I could, for a little over a year,” Rovas continued. “Berk was sick with worry. I had nothing to go on. When we came across her in the bedroom, I knew. My shock was pretty evident to Gil. I knew what I had to do.” He looked at Berrak. “I had to tell Gil. I was torn: duty versus familial oath.

Gil reluctantly agreed with me. We carried her downstairs and out the back, laying her out on a blanket in the back yard for a moment. Gil stayed with her. I went to talk to the officer for a moment, again stressing no one enter until the crime team arrived. I was moving my car, I told him, so that there would be easier access for the ME and crew. Gil and I took Kristina out to the car, cracked a window open a bit, and laid her out on the back seat.”

Rovas made a turn off the main road into a loosely packed residential area. The houses were old but well kept, for the most part. He made a left turn and pulled up in front of a two storied, a corner lot. The For Sale sign in the front yard looked old.

Gil got out of the car and opened the passenger door for Berrak. “It’s no wonder that the house is for sale. Who would want to live in a house with three murders?” she asked.

“And was a whore house,” Gil shook his head. Rovas had turned off the car and came to stand with them on the sidewalk.

“Berk was both ecstatic and upset. He was thrilled we found Kristina, but not where she was found, nor the realization of why she was there. Berk knew there had been some drug troubles, but not how much. The mother kept that news private until…Kristina was hooking to supply her habit, no pimp. Lily somehow found her-Kristina still hasn’t told me how-and offered her a safe place.”

“Where is she, then? What did you two do with her?” Tears had been floating down her cheeks. Berrak dabbed them away with a hand.

“She is with her mother in hiding. The killer was a John, but she had been told to stay in the attic that night by one of the other girls. The man had rough tastes, and the others were protective of Kristina due to her age and what she was like. The way Kristina talked, the others treated her like big sisters, and Lily had helped wean her off the more dangerous drugs she was doing when she ran away.”

Gil looked up at the top of the house as they all walked up the front path. “She didn’t get a look at him; didn’t know his name. Any fingerprints that we found came from the women in the house and a variety of different men, some who came up blank when we looked. The tea kettle and materials in the kitchen and the bedrooms: all were wiped clean. Only the fingerprints of the victims were there.”

Rovas had the lockbox code he had gotten from the realtor when the house went up for sale the first time. It hadn’t been changed. It unlocked and he opened the door for Berrak and Gil to enter. He followed and closed it.

None of them noticed the car that had been following them the entire way from the Rovas home. The man behind the wheel stared at the house, looked at their car, and then drove around the corner and down the block.

John Peters drove on. His boy was waiting.

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1600 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Love Her Madly (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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Author’s Note: I must apologize. If you read the previous entry, Kaleidoscope Eyes, I made an error in regards to confidentiality issues with women’s health. No one brought it to my attention; it was just a realization later in the day. It has been edited and, I hope, makes more sense. Most importantly, that it does not trivialize a very sensitive issue.

**To start from the very beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

**To read the first and second part of this story line, click on: Jane’s Addictive and then Kaleidoscope Eyes

 

Love

“Love Her Madly”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Seven years ago, five people in their 20’s died of a drug overdose. The deaths were cut and dried, but who called it into 911 remained a mystery until now. Aimee confessed her part in that night, but Rovas felt there was still something more. While SD Katsaros took Ms. Andersson to the station for her to write out her part in that evening, Rovas and Berrak went home to dig deeper into Edward White, the one who, Aimee claimed, brought the lethal drug to the “meditation” party.

At first glance, little was to be gleamed from what was online. Berrak went online searching. When she found something of interest, she’d pass that information to Zarian. He would follow it up with phone calls when he could. For the next few hours this continued. They felt they were getting somewhere when Gil called them, asking them both to come down to the station.

When they arrived, Gil led them to his office and closed the door.

“What couldn’t you tell us on the phone, Gil?,” Berrak asked. “We have an idea, but…what did Aimee say now?”

Gil brushed his hand through his hair and sat back in his chair. “Aimee is the queen of omissions. Yes, she was involved with Robert Larsen, was best friends with his sister, called 911 and left. Yet, she neglected to tell us that she knew Edward White a lot more than just as one of Robert’s grad school friends.”

“Were they…,” Berrak asked.

“No, although according to her, he wanted it to be.”

Rovas interjected: “That seems to mesh with the few things we were able to find out. I made some calls to his parents, his sister, and though reluctant to bring it up after so long, they shared little tidbits. I was able to get his parents to speak to me on speaker. They were closed about his drug use, especially the father. Mrs. White  started to talk about it. ‘We thought all that was behind him’ she began, before her husband shushed her. They ended the call soon after that.

I finally reached his sister. She confirmed that her brother was a heavy drug user in his teens, but he got clean. She thought he had stayed that way. She did give us something new: “Eddy was really upset. He really liked this girl, but he said she really didn’t like him. She told him so, that bitch.” Rovas closed his notepad. “I asked her if she knew who that girl was, but she said no.”

“Aimee,” both Berrak and Gil said at the same time.

“Yes, Aimee. She initially “forgot” to mention that to us. She finally filled in many of the blanks that were missing once we got her here. Robert Larsen ‘pushed’ White on her. She felt this was a way ‘Bobby’ was trying to distance himself from her. He asked her out a number of times; she said no every time. Aimee said that just a few days before the incident, she…told him off in an unflattering way. She loved ‘Bobby’ and only wanted him. She told him to get lost, in much harsher terms.”

“Damn!,” muttered Rovas. “White brought the drugs, which she said was not the norm. Gil, Berrak, this was a murder/suicide. It had to be. Edward White wanted revenge against both Robert and Aimee, and to hell with whoever else fell by the wayside. Gil, he may have a a sealed record as a juvenile drug offender.”

Gil nodded, making a note to look into this.

“But, there were five bodies, and each one seemed to have their own roach,” Berrak queried.

“Aimee admitted that Edward gave her one and kept insisting that she light up, but she hesitated simply because of the way he was acting. He and the others were already on their way. She just put the…ahem…roach in her pocket and forgot all about it when the others started reacting to the pure heroin that White mixed in.”

Rovas looked at his wife. “Roach?” He had a smile, and shook his head.

“I am hipper than you know, Mr. Rovas.” She sat there with a Mona Lisa smile while the men chuckled.

“He meant to kill her along with the others, but Aimee’s refusal squashed that.” Rovas sighed. He turned to Berrak as Gil left to get them some coffee.

“What will happen to Aimee?,” Berrak asked her husband.

“It’ll be up to the courts to decide.”

They left soon after they sipped at the coffee.

It was almost a week later when Gil called them. Rovas spoke to him. Berrak noticed he tensed up, his hand going white gripping the receiver. He hung up with a curse.

“I don’t believe this. You won’t believe this.”

“What? Zarian, what has you so upset?”

He sat down and took her hands in his. “John Peters escaped from the mental ward on his way to jail.”

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“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1800 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.

Inquiries (A to Z Blog Challenge)

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**To start from the beginning: From the Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

Impulsive2

“Inquiries”

The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas

The tiny caskets were lowered into the earth. The entire Palmont family was there; Gerald was holding both his parents hands, while Janice and April held each other, slightly apart from their mother and father. Berrak was standing off to the side, towards the back, while others gathered around, the first to the grave site trying to touch or hug the girls. Most still didn’t understand Janice and April’s avoidance at the chapel: here, the rebuffs left nothing to misunderstanding.

As the mourners were leaving in small clumps, Berrak gathered herself to join them. She noticed that Janice was staring at her. Neither of them moved for a moment, Janice did a small wave to Berrak, then looked to her parents, then to April. Berrak caught her eyes one more time. She nodded and left.

Khazarian had stayed at home. He felt that he had done all he could do for the girls. The case closed. The funeral, in his opinion, was for them to come together again as a family. He was not part of that process. Berrak disagreed, so she went while sat at his desk, looking over the notes he was adding to the Palmont children’s file. Plus, the file notes about their abductor/rapist, John Peters. Sargent Detective Gil Katsaros had called early in the morning, bringing him up to speed on the proceedings.

John Peters was ex-military, a fact Berrak fathomed by the way Peters held himself while they were in his kitchen. “His posture was stiff, and he clasped his hands tightly about his back,” she said. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t have a military background.” She was right, of course. Each turn of events with his wife left an ever growing sense of respect for her, even with a high regard to begin with.

What he was loathe to tell her was that Peters’ lawyer had him plead not guilty, by way of PTSD. An insanity plea. Khazarian shook his head when Gil told him, this, noting the anger in Gil’s voice over the phone. At this point, Peters was locked up in a secure mental ward, undergoing psychiatric examination to either support or deny any of this. His military file was sealed. Both of them were extremely curious about that, but there was no way they could get that information. It would be on the shoulders of the prosecutor.

There had nothing in their data system about Peters. He had no arrests, no outstanding tickets, and nothing more than an expired meter ticket from three years prior. Bank statements came up clean. There was nothing that outwardly appeared unusual.

That is what gnawed at Rovas. Psychopaths walked among them, he knew all too well.

Rovas completed updating the files, copying down all that the Sargent Detective shared with him. He had a light bite and returned to the study, looking over the files to other cases on the desk. Berrak returned soon after.

“How was it?”

“Dreary. Dreadful. A funeral.” She sat facing him. “Why is it worse when it’s children?” Pausing, not waiting for an answer. “I know, I know. I know all of the usual reasons, the life ahead never happening. This…this was just compounded by what Janice and April-and Gerald-went through.”

Khazarian got up, knelt in front of her, and gave her a hug. He held her until she stopped crying. She gave him a kiss. He patted her back and returned to his chair.

“Zarian, got your shirt wet,” she said as she wiped her face dry with a tissue.

“It’s not the first time. If that is the worst…”

“I know.” Berrak took in the stack of folders on the desk, noticing one was open, some of the papers flipped over. “Is that…”

“No. The Palmont case is closed. I’ll tell you later about what I gathered from Gil about John Peters.” They both involuntarily twitched at that name, he in his shoulder, she in her face. “This file, well, this one does not involve any children.”

He pushed it over to her. Berrak took it, turned it right side up, and began to read.

“Really? Lacing marijuana with Heroin? Why is this…oh. Five deaths.” Looking up, she continued. “Obviously, you didn’t find the one, or ones, who did this. Do you think we could find something after…” she checked “…seven years?”

“Read on,” Rovas answered.

*************************************************
“The Case Files of Inspector Khazarian Rovas” is my theme for this year. Cold case files for the good inspector to delve into, trying to make sense &/or solve. My plan is to use a variety of genres within this overarching theme to allow me to play and, of course, challenge myself. Some cases might bleed into another case. Most will be stand alone. We’ll see, won’t we?

As to the Blogging from A to Z challenge, I’ll let the words of Arlee Bird (founder of said challenge) tell you what this is all about:

The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 4 is “C,” and so on. You can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day.

The A to Z Challenge is a great way to get into the blogging habit and make new friends.

So, join me (and the over 1800 other blogs involved) starting on Friday, April 1, 2016 and ending on Saturday, April 30th. Comments and such are always welcome. I hope you enjoy the stories.