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Darien's mouth closed before he said something he knew he would regret. Finally, though with some reservation, he slid the weapon into the shoulder harness concealed beneath his leather jacket. "What're y'gonna do, then?" he asked, eying the computer from outside the study, thrown off by the context of the message playing from its speakers.
"Turn that sound off, that's first thing I'm going to do." She moved through the library into Colleen's study. It was familiar ground. She turned the sound loop off then stared at what was on the desk. "This is worse than I thought." Morrigan gestured to the neats stacks of photos and notes on the desk. "How much of this have you ..." her words trailed off a moment as she lifted up a faxed copy of an article from newspaper's archive, "seen." The Post had been closed when Colleen and Madison were snatched off the streets of Old Temple. The headline was from the Star's End Chronicle, "Body Found in Dockside."
25 July 2012
Remains of a murder victim found in Dockside have been positively identified as Colleen Fenner. Cause of death has been ruled as exsanguination via the carotid artery aided by drowning. The family has asked for privacy during this difficult time.
Her hand moved to her throat. She remembered all too well that glittering knife that was the harbinger of her own ending. A second article page had been under the first.
2 August 2012
In a private service, Colleen MacLeod Fenner was laid to rest in the rose garden of the family home near Dublin, Ireland. She was the wife of Darien Fenner, investigative journalist with The RhyDin Post.
Mrs. Fenner owned several businesses including Navarra Farms and Plant Nursery. She was the chairman of the MacLeod Foundation which supports several charitable causes.
In addition to her husband, Colleen is survived by her children, grandchildren of several generations, nieces, nephews, and cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents, grandparents, two sisters, two sons, and a daughter.
The family will hold a public memorial in Rhydin at a later date. The family has asked that in lieu of floral tributes that contributions in Collie's memory may be made to the Rhydin Orphanage, Riverview Clinic's Pediatric Wing, or other organizations benefiting children.
She started digging for something, it had to be there. She knew Diana would have saved it. Morrigan's own husband was never shown the contents of a particular package. Was it possible that Colleen had never shown it to hers either? On top of the large padded envelope marked Photos - Do Not Bend, she found a print out of selected portions of Marc Franco's blog. Her eyes moved over them, one at time.
The first group had been dated May 18 2012, May 26, 2012, and June 1, 2012. Each one dealt with fingers being pointed at Darien and who he might or might not be bedding. The two remaining carrying a more sinister theme. They placed Darien as not just a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife and daughter, but as the likely instigator.
[size=9]June 30 2012
3. Tragedy in the MacLeod-Fenner family! It's hard to miss the missing person flyers all over town but just in case you have been under a rock over the past week, this is DEFINITELY a need to know item! According to their family, Collie MacLeod-Fenner and her five month old daughter, Madison, are missing! The pair was headed to a doctor's appointment but never made it. Their car was found abandoned in the Old Temple district and there hasn't been word from them since. All of this comes amid rumors of her troubles with her husband, Darien Fenner, who is all sorts of shades of shady. Her children have complained that he's been seen hanging out far too much with other women, not paying attention to his wife or child, and there's rumors of a drinking problem. We sure hope they're okay but we sure hope that the Watch is looking at the most obvious suspect!
Jul 22, 2012
1. We're Starting To Lose Count. So in this week's NOT DEAD files, it seems that Collie MacLeod-Fenner is NOT dead.... and, yeah, we think this is one for the NOT DEAD file, not the UNDEAD file. Biiiig difference. Anyway! Collie was reported missing by her family several weeks ago and then there were rumors that a body washed up looking quite like her's. There was also some talk that her husband, the ever so shady Darien Fenner, was behind her disappearance and possible murder! Things had NOT been looking sunny in that marriage before her disappearance but it seems that this brush with death has changed all of that. They were spotted together in the Inn one night this past week hanging out together with friends (although we use the term loosely in Darien's case), including Aja, Yeardley, and Audrey. Collie was overheard saying that being told to come claim your dead wife's body can change your priorities. We wouldn't speak too soon if we were her. Give it some time. That dog will be right back to his old tricks![/size]
Her mind was working on a puzzle. There was a piece that didn't fit into place. Sliding the packet of photographs toward Darien, she said, "These arrived after you departed and before she was taken. I doubt she ever showed them to you. Some are pretty damning as far as proof of infidelity goes." Morrigan withdrew one photo in particular from the package and pointed out the date and time stamp with the tip of her index finger. "I remember that date well. I had an argument with my husband, the next morning, which included his vehement denial of having an affair with at least one business associate. Yet," she tapped the backs of her fingers against photograph on the desk, "there are you are with your ear as a woman's dessert." She was quiet for a moment or two as she glanced out the window. It was still snowing. "My husband left that same morning. I never saw him again." She moved her hands behind her neck to open the clasp that held the beribboned cameo in place. The choker had hidden what was once an ugly gaping wound. A skilled mortician had closed it, "I never found out ..."
"You should read these, Darien." She suddenly moved her head like a raptor that was tracking its prey. Something had triggered instincts that were long out of use. "Son of a sailor's mother in Galway," she muttered. "Tell me something, Darien, will you? If your wife said that she wished you'd never gone to that warehouse, what would you say to her?"
As he took in all her state - the macabre choice of gown, pale and her neck stitched up like some gruesome ragdoll - Darien understood what Morrigan was. She was a choice, or a possibility that the Nexus had produced. From an infinite number of possibilities, he had to meet this one. Little regard was given to the literature on the desk, however engrossed in it Morrigan was. Darien had no interest in possibilities, only realities. And that left only one thing to do. "I'm sure I could point 'er in your direction."
She chuckled humorlessly as she put the choker back in place. "You're just the same as one of your counterparts, Darien Fenner. You turn over every stone, look under every rock, and oft forget the moss that grows upon them. I said I came to her for help and received it. I also said she's the one that calls me Morrigan. That, Mr. Journalist, should have told you that she already knows that I'm here." The laptop chimed again, the reminder that mail was waiting. "You see, that's what she said to the man that was in hallway a bit ago. Had it been you, you would have known what she was talking about. He didn't." The Nordstrom return information caught her attention. "What the hell would she be getting from them?" Unlike Colleen, Morrigan didn't hesitate. She opened the e-mail and read it. Her face twisted into a pained expression as she read. "So, the nightmare has become a reality." Almost reverently, she closed the laptop with both hands. "ArÃs, nÃ mÃ³r an bhean tarrthÃ¡la Ã fÃ©in," the words were almost like a prayer.
She was silent as she listened to the Westminster chimes in the front hall striking the hour. Morrigan picked the microcassette off the desk, the diminutive item fit within her palm. She gazed down at it. "Such a tiny little thing, don't you think?" Her fist closed around the audio tape. "In and of itself, it's innocuous. Yet the words recorded on it caused more pain than anything he did or could have done to us." The plastic casing creaked as her fist tightened.
Her quiet words held the cold of grave, "When you have survived being drugged, tortured, terrorized, and raped without letting go of your sanity, one of the few things that will break you, break your mind, is being shown the betrayal by the one you love most." With no fireplace in the room, Morrigan rolled the wick of a candle between her fingers. The filament sparked to life in a bright flame. "To escape from that pain, you pray for death, and you welcome oblivion." She held the offending thing above the flame and waited a moment. Morrigan set the tape on the desk and opened a drawer. She retrieved a micro recorder, plugged the tape into it, and pressed a single earphone into one of her ears.
As she listened, her already pale skin became ashen just like her counterpart's had not long before. A memory was awakened, her body remembered being ravaged. She remembered every word that had been played for her while Randy Vickers tore into her; unwelcome and uninvited. That had been embellished some, but this was the raw conversation. Morrigan drew in a ragged breath. Even after all the time that had passed, the talk of infidelity between a man and a woman to whom his wife had given her trust cut through her like a carefully sharpened weapon. Colleen's voice rang in her ears as her own filled her memory.
Her expression had run the gamut between hurt, rage, sorrow, and, finally, acceptance; stages of grief. Quietly, she clicked off the machine and set the earbuds next to it. When she looked upon Darien Fenner, Morrigan's countenance held a look of disappointment. Her hands were held out, palms upward in a gesture toward the small machine on the desk. "I," she hesitated briefly as if reconsidering her options, "cannot help her." Her next words were a mix of cantrip and prayer, "Of all the things that I am able to do, I cannot mend a heart broken in two." Silk rustled as she started to move past Darien. "I wish you well," she whispered as once again the incoming mail chime sounded through the laptop's speakers. This time, however, Morrigan resisted the temptation to look at it. She paused in her exit to glance over her shoulder. "She's one of two places. Where I ended or where the two you nearly ended before you had truly begun."
She had anticipated some kind of retort from him. "It's what I would do." A minute later, she was gone.
((Note: Portions of the Gossip GangSTAR were used with the permission of Marc Franco's player))