Trinity Island – Chapter 5

December 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm (Trinity Island)

Galen O’Brien was coming home. He’d grown up on Trinity Island, leaving when he was twenty to join the RCMP. He’d been stationed all over the country and had spent the past eight years working on Vancouver Island, but none of those places had ever felt like the right fit. His boss in Victoria thought this was a temporary placement, but Galen knew long before he’d boarded the ferry from Horseshoe Bay that he would not be leaving once the job was done.

He was on loan to the island, because they had requested RCMP assistance to help with a grisly discovery. One of the tourists had called the island’s parks board to report an abandoned tent in the camp ground. The ranger who arrived to investigate had noticed signs of a struggle and, inside the tent, blood. A search party was formed and the island was combed from end to end, but the camper had not turned up. The island was not indigenous to many types of wildlife big enough to have dragged off a fully-grown man, though the cougars and black bears could have given it a good shot.

When the request came in, Galen had put his name in for it. Given that he knew the island like the back of his hand, he’d been the only one considered for the job. No one else had wanted to get stuck on some out of the way island looking for a camper who had likely drank too much, cut himself, and then drowned trying to wash out the wound.

Truth was, Galen took the posting because he needed the break. RCMP budgets were stretched to the limits on Vancouver Island. He’d seen an increase in the number of calls he was expected to attend without backup. Driving into the near wilderness, where everyone had more artillery than you, was bad enough. Having to do it knowing that the next nearest officer was an hour away added stress onto an already stressful situation. Several officers had already been shot in the line; two had died. But the government continued to limit their budget, forcing the cops to work longer hours to cover the gaps in the schedules.

The posting to Trinity Island had come up two days before his self-imposed deadline for making a choice between putting in for a transfer or retirement. He didn’t know what else he would have done for a living. His savings weren’t so grand that he could have afforded to fully retire at thirty-four. But transfers weren’t being considered right now. He knew of at least five other officers who were actively trying to get off the island, but their requests were being stalled. No one wanted to come to the island, because they knew about the workload and the increased danger for the officers. If no one would fill their posting, then the officers couldn’t leave.

He rode the ferry, standing near the front as the island came into view. He hadn’t been back in almost two years. Getting vacation time approved was almost as difficult as getting a transfer. The last few times he’d made plans for a visit, work had interfered and he’d been forced to cancel at the last minute. He hadn’t told his mother he was coming this time. He figured he’d surprise her when he walked into her shop. He’d half expected that this trip would get pulled and he’d have to stay on in Victoria. He couldn’t know that the Wallis Foundation had agreed to pay triple for his services to ensure that Victoria sent them an experienced investigator.

Trinity Island was a fairly well-established community, but it didn’t have its own police force. As such, when something came up that was too big for the volunteers to handle, they had to petition Victoria for assistance. There was very little crime on the island, but the population was growing. If they could show need as well as an ability to cover the expenses of a police officer, the RCMP would post a job opening for the island. Galen hoped to show that there was need. He knew the island could afford the posting. The Wallis’ alone had more money than God.

The ferry bumped against the dock and the ramp lowered. Galen’s car sat middle of the pack. The center of town was a short five-minute drive from the ferry terminal. Even in the summer, Galen felt as though he was driving through a skiing village. The center of the city reminded him a lot of Whistler Village. The only thing they were missing was the mountain. They had a small one on the north side of the island, but it wasn’t landscaped for skiing. It offered some terrific rock climbing though.

Galen parked his car two doors down from his mother’s shop. She ran the local bakery, packing it full of cheesecake, fresh bread and, if his luck was holding, the best cannoli he’d had this side of the Atlantic. He’d gone to Italy after he’d been accepted into the RCMP and he’d tried the cannoli and found that it was on par with his mom’s. As it should be, he figured, since her recipe had been handed down to her from her grandmother.

Theresa Danetti had been born on the island of Sicily, just outside of Palermo. She’d met her husband on a trip to Ireland in, of all things, an Italian bakery. She’d remained, given birth to five of her seven kids there and, at the age of forty-two and pregnant with twins, had insisted on a change. Galen’s dad, Paddy, had packed up the house and the kids and they’d flown to Vancouver. Paddy’s sister had moved to one of Vancouver’s suburbs and the family had been to visit several times. But Theresa didn’t want to live on the mainland. She wanted an island. And she wanted her own bakery. So Paddy had agreed to stay home with the kids while Theresa built her bakery on Trinity Island. Galen’s family had lived on Trinity for twenty years and he didn’t think they’d be leaving any time soon.

Galen pulled the door open and stepped inside his mother’s bakery. She was at the counter rolling out dough and called out to him without looking up.

“Be right with you.”

“No rush,” he replied.

The Irish in his voice caused her head to snap up. With a cry of surprise she threw her hands into the air and ran around the counter. Flour and powdered sugar dusted the air as she wrapped her arms around his middle and hugged him. Galen folded her in closer and settled his cheek against the top of her head. She’d come to Victoria when he’d been unable to get away for Christmas, but it had still been over five months since he’d seen her.

She slapped his backside, leaving white powder on his jeans. Pushing out of his arms, she looked him up and down. He was fit, as always, but she saw the tiredness around his eyes.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were coming?”

“I didn’t want to jinx it, ma.”

She nodded. This she could understand. When he’d first joined the police, she’d worried he would be shot by a drug dealer or gangster. In the past few years she’d worried that he would have a heart attack from stress. He’d been home for more visits when he’d been stationed on the other side of the country than he had when stationed only a few hours away. It wasn’t right. A boy needed his family; he needed his ma.

“How long are you staying?” she asked, moving back behind the counter to work her pastry dough.

“I’m working, ma. I’m here on loan to investigate the missing camper.” Galen knew the shop better than he knew his own apartment. He poured himself a cup of the strong espresso his mother always had ready for customers. She never touched the stuff herself. He put the kettle on to make her some tea.

“That’s a mess and no mistake. There’s something strange going on here. Girls are missing, but no one seems to care about that. Then one lone male camper goes missing and they send to Victoria for a cop.”

His mother started muttering in Italian. She always reverted to her native tongue when she was pissed off about something. Consequently, he was fluent in the language.

“Ma, come on, you’re going to ruin your pastry.” She was beating her fists into it and soon it wouldn’t be flaky enough to suit her exacting standards. He’d tried on many occasions to learn how to bake, but it hadn’t stuck. He was a mess in the kitchen and he was comfortable with that. Put him in front of a grill, however, and he could make a mouth-watering, perfectly cooked steak. What more did a guy need?

Theresa eased up on the dough, wiping her hands on her apron. Sipping her tea, she gave her eldest another assessing look. If he was here in an official capacity, that meant he could look into anything weird happening on the island. And Trinity was no stranger to the weird.

“Have a seat, my boy. We’re going to have us a little chat.”

 

Someone brought a cop to the island. The watcher had heard the rumors floating around within hours of the cop’s arrival. Apparently, according to the gossip, the guy was a local and hadn’t known until he was halfway to the island that he was actually going to get the go-ahead from Victoria. There had been no time to prepare for his arrival. The watcher wasn’t worried, but he was a cautious man and he knew that he’d have to take care not to call attention to his work. Some didn’t feel his was such a noble cause.

He should probably lay low for a while, but the hunger was starting to build inside him. The girl was ready for him. Her soul was calling to the power within him. He knew that if he waited too long he’d be overcome by the power coursing through him to bring the women to the light. It was draining, assisting the women with their trip along the path while bleeding the demons from their souls. He took his work very seriously.

He did enjoy the blood, though. He didn’t think that was a sin. When the woman’s demons were particularly strong, the blood would pulse from her body, coating him in its thick warmth. He liked the ones with really strong demons. The power struggle excited him like nothing else could and he would use that excitement, that lust, to drive the demons out. Over and over again, he would use his power until the women wept with gratitude.

Just thinking about his power excited him. He would not be able to lay low, but no matter. He was smarter than some cop from Victoria. Some boy from the island.

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