The branches of the trees in central park canopied over Lana like jagged cobwebs. All the leaves had withered and died with the winter and an incredibly eerie landscape fanned out in front of her. While eerie, it was calm and un touched at this frosty hour, only New York’s muggle finest and her patrolled the perimeter of the park awaiting their alphabet killer to strike.
Lana had watched and tried to take mental notes as Jamie Knight carried out complete and utter control over her squad. She led firmly but fairly, acknowledging every officer’s query and almost reading their issues from sight.
She had only had time for a few brief words with Lana, “no luck with your guys then?” She asked brashly.
“No, I’m sorry, I did try,” Lana apologised.
“I get it, you sound like me twenty years ago,” she smiled thinly at a memory, “you’re here and that counts for something.”
“I want to help however I can,” Lana said earnestly.
“That spell you did for the squad’s gloves and beanies boosted morale, I haven’t heard anyone complain about being cold tonight,” Jamie rubbed her own hands together enjoying the warmth from Lana’s heat charm.
“I’m glad,” Lana said, wishing she could contribute a little more on the investigative side.
Jamie heard her tone, “don’t give me that, boosting morale leads to a better investigation and a quicker result. And just the fact that one of your kind is here speaks volumes.”
“Thank you and I’ll keep trying,” Lana promised.
“I know you will,” Jamie winked and Lana wished desperately for her to mentor her, even though she didn’t have a magical bone in her body. Jamie didn’t need magic, she was a force to be reckoned with.
“Lieutenant!” Chris called, “all the radios have gone to white noise.”
“Shit, not again,” Jamie cursed.
“It could be from the heating charm, sometimes it interferes with muggle devices,” Lana explained.
“Nah it’s been from the cold too, the radio tower is older than my dead grandmother,” Jamie brusquely, “I’ll check in with the patrol car back.”
Jamie had only headed a few steps before Lana called out, “you shouldn’t go alone.”
Jamie rolled her eyes, “well come on then, you two can escort me.” She made an elaborate arm movement towards Lana and Chris, who obligingly followed her to the patrol car.
Jamie was still chuckling to herself about needing protection when a sound made the three law enforcement officer’s heads snap up ahead.
“So we all heard that,” Jamie confirmed, the slightest trace of a smile on her face.
“Could be squirrels,” Chris offered.
“Could be,” Jamie answered, her ears pricked up like a cat, “weapons out, just in case.”
Chris and Jamie withdrew their guns and Lana her wand, as the sound came again.
“Left or right,” Chris whispered.
“Hold on,” Lana did a four point spell but her wand came to no clear conclusion, “I don’t understand, this should show us where the most magic is coming from.”
“Could just be a squirrel then,” Jamie still sounded tense, “I’ll go right, you two go left and before you argue, Lana you are much more our killer’s profile than me. Chris keep trying the radio.”
Within a moment, Jamie’s strong figure had disappeared into the darkness of the park.
“Come on,” Chris kept his voice low and the pair made their way along the left path.
Every shadow and every change of light made Lana’s skin crawl, something was not right and a very large part of her didn’t want to find out what it was.
A gunshot cracked through the air, Chris screamed into his useless radio.
“Shots fired! Shots fired!”
“Jamie!” Lana called as the pair ran back through to where they had only moments ago parted ways. The right path streamed in front of them, steam rising from a sudden burst of heat.
“Officer down! Officer down!” Chris shouted into the radio.
“No, no, no,” Lana cried.
Jamie’s body lay ahead dark, blood pooling out of her stomach. Lana pressed her hands to the wound, the blood was warm and slick out of her new friend.
His radio useless, Chris fired several more shots into the air, bringing the force running.
Jamie was grey, her breaths were so tiny they barely escaped her mouth, “one of yours,” she croaked, her eyes holding Lana’s.
“Help is coming,” Lana assured her.
“Another girl,” Jamie twitched her head slightly to the left.
“We’ll look after it, you stay awake now,” Lana blinked back tears.
“He’s one of yours,” she repeated.
“Lieutenant,” Chris said softly tears flowing freely down his face, “the squad is coming, you’ll be ok.”
“Chris, keep your hands where mine are,” Lana said her voice beginning to wobble.
Chris placed his hands on his boss’ abdomen, the blood slowing down. Lana ripped off her blood soaked gloves and found the bottle of Dittany she always carried with her. “Here,” she sprinkled a few drops onto Jamie’s wound, it began to sew itself up and then almost immediately return back to it’s deadly size.
“Chris stay back, this is a curse,” Lana sprinkled the dittany on his gloves, in case he had caught some of the curse on his fingers.
“We need to stem the blood,” Chris argued, his face twisted in pain.
“I’m so sorry Chris, but there is nothing we can do.”
Chris swung his weapon around to the running figures approaching, Harry and Evan, their eyes wide with shock at the sight before them.
“There’s another body that way,” Lana said thickly.
Wordlessly Evan and Harry headed further down the path with their wands out, ready to fight.
Jamie had taken her last breath, her body was still, her blood still warm.
Chris sunk to his knees, “can’t you do something?” He pleaded looking at her wand.
“I’m sorry,” Lana said shaking her head sadly, “I wish I could.”
The rest of the squad’s running footsteps could be heard approaching, there was a deathly silence as they approached their boss’ body.
“What did you do witch!” One of the officers pulled his gun on Lana.
“Sam, stand down,” Chris shouted, “she tried to help, she’s the only one who tried to help.”
“How do we know these magi’s aren’t just picking us off,” Sam sneered, flicking his gun towards Lana.
“Because if we were doing that you’d all be dead by now,” Harry’s British lilt took the officers by surprise. Harry strode casually in the firing line of Lana and the gun, “gentlemen I am terribly sorry for your loss of your colleague and mentor but Mrs Knight’s stance has always been that we need to unite to capture this maniac, are you saying she was wrong officer?”
Sam’s hand went limp and his gun dropped to his side, “no,” he said quietly, “I’m sorry,” he said even more quietly briefly meeting Lana’s eyes.
“I have called your station and our own to come and assess the scene for evidence and then get your friend out of the media quickly,” Harry’s voice was confident and warm.
Lana felt Evan beside her, he gently looped his arm around her back and she leant into him.
“C’mon you need to get home,” he whispered.
“No, I want to help,” she protested.
“You’re covered in blood, you need rest and a stiff drink,” he argued.
“My suite is closer if you’d like to use it,” Harry offered, dismissing the officers.
“I couldn’t—” Lana began.
“You’re in shock, you need to rest of you will be no good to us,” Harry said firmly.
Lana nodded, if she was being honest she did feel lightheaded and her body ached from a mixture of adrenaline and cold. She let Evan guide her to Harry’s suite, reaching out briefly to squeeze Chris’s hand as he was also escorted by a fellow officer.
His boss, his mentor and for a moment Lana’s mentor lay still in the snow in the middle of central park.
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