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 Post subject: The Black Dog
PostPosted: Sat Oct 18, 2014 4:53 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:11 pm
Posts: 17121
Title: Queen of Torture and Death
Name: Lia
Aliases: dnalia, DAn creature
Gender: Female
Flag: Image
The Black Dog

Genre: Mystery/Horror/Supernatural
Rating: FR 15
Characters: McGee, Bishop, Tony, Gibbs, Ducky, Abby, Palmer, Vance, OCs
Warnings: It’s horror. ‘nuff said.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters are the property of their respective copyright holders. No infringement intended. The original characters and places mentioned are the product of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to those living, dead, or undead is completely coincidental.
Summary: A pair of murders sends Bishop and McGee to Oklahoma where they discover a twenty-year-old mystery.

A/N: I’ve written a few Tony/McGee friendship stories, so I wanted to expand my repertoire a bit to have Ellie and Tim working together on this one. It’s a little story for the season ;) I’d love to know what you think.

The hounds, the hounds
come baying at his heels.
The hounds! The hounds!
The breath of death he feels.
~ Book of Counted Sorrows


Chapter 1

Major Derek Rowe climbed into his jeep, started the engine, and guided the vehicle towards his home in Master’s Hill. It had been a long couple of weeks, and all he really wanted to do was go home, have a couple of beers, spend some quality time with his wife, and go to sleep. He had three days of leave coming, and he was looking forward to doing some work around the house with the boys…among other things.

Rowe was about a mile from home when his cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket, checked the number and smiled before he pressed the speaker button.

“Hi honey, what’s going on?”

“I’m leaving work in about five minutes. Do you want me to pick up something for dinner?”

“Sure, something I can throw on the grill. Jordan and Connor will eat steak, I know.”

“But Isabel won’t. I’ll find something for her. Anything else? How about some sweet potatoes? Those were great the last time you made them.”

“Sounds good. I’ll—“ Suddenly a dark shape darted across the road in front of his jeep, and Rowe thought he caught a glimpse of glowing eyes before it vanished into the trees. He swore as he slowed the jeep and tried to catch another glimpse of the figure.

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. Just some idiot letting their dog run loose.”

“Do you want me to report it to the Commander before I leave? What kind was it?”

“I didn’t get a real good look at it, other than it was big and black. Not much to go on to figure out who owns it. Don’t worry about it.”

“OK. I’ll be home in about twenty minutes. I need to pick up the boys from soccer practice and Isabel from rehearsal.”

“Great. I’ll warm up the grill.”

“Thanks, hon. See you soon.”

“Looking forward to it,” he replied with a grin and his wife giggled at his lascivious tone before she disconnected the call. Rowe chuckled to himself as he pressed the gas pedal and started off again for home.

The sun had just slipped below the horizon as he pulled into the driveway, and when he stepped out of the jeep he noticed that it was unusually quiet. There were usually a few of the neighborhood kids out and about, but not tonight. Rowe didn’t think much of it as he headed up the steps to the front door of his modest 3-bedroom house and unlocked it before he stepped inside.

The house was oddly silent. Rowe realized he was used to his family arriving home before him every night, and their absence would account for the lack of noise, but the quietness of the house was a little disconcerting. He walked to the kitchen expecting Juno, Isabel’s cat, to come running as she did whenever anyone approached her food bowl, but she failed to make an appearance. With a shrug and one last look around he headed upstairs to change.

After switching out his greens for sweats and a T-shirt, Rowe returned to the kitchen, still keeping an eye out for the errant feline. He pulled a few ingredients out of the refrigerator to make a seasoning rub for the steak and soon got the strange feeling that he was being watched. Slowly he looked up and jumped slightly when he saw the huddled figure on the top of the refrigerator that was staring down at him.

“Juno, what are you doing up there?” He tried to reach up and grab her but she hissed at him, ears flattened, and let out a rumbling growl before she retreated even further. He shook his head. “Crazy damn cat.” He resumed his work, preparing the mix and then tearing off sheets of foil for the sweet potatoes. He was about to open the refrigerator again when he heard a strange, wailing growl. He looked up at the cat and saw that she was staring past him, her eyes as wide as saucers, her growls growing louder and louder.

“What in the hell?” He spun around, expecting to confront an intruder, and froze at the sight before him. He never even got the chance to scream.

XXX


Christine Rowe guided her SUV into the driveway and frowned, surprised that the front porch lights were not on. She supposed Derek had just forgotten and she’d give him a gentle, teasing reminder later. In the meantime…

“Jordan, Connor, help your sister with the groceries.”

“Why?” Jordan whined. “It’s just a few bags. She can—“

“Did I give any indication that my instructions were up for debate?”

“No…”

“Well, then, what are you waiting for?”

“Nothing.”

“What was that?”

“Sorry, ma’am.”

“Better.”

Conner smirked at his brother, receiving a light punch in the arm. “Mom!”

“Enough, Jordan, or you’ll be carrying all the bags. And washing all the dishes.”

“OK, OK.” Jordan followed his mother to the rear of the car and waited until she had lifted the hatch before grabbing a couple bags and shoving them at his younger brother. His sister nudged him out of the way as she grabbed a few more of the bags, leaving the heaviest ones behind. “Hey!”

“Isabel…”

She rolled her eyes and exchanged one of her lighter bags for a heavy one. “Sorry, Mom.”

Christine shut the hatch and headed for the front door, her children following behind. She unlocked the door and stepped inside, surprised to find the house dark and silent.

“Derek?” No answer. “We’re home.” The house remained silent and she felt a chill trickle down her spine. She turned to her daughter. “Wait here, I’ll be right back.”

“Mom?” Isabel had immediately picked up on her anxiety, and Christine could see that she was trying to hide it from the boys.

“Just wait.” Carefully she made her way to the kitchen, ready to defend herself and her children at the first sign of an intruder. Suddenly something shot towards her and she dropped into a fighting stance. The thing stopped a few feet away and she let out a soft huff of laughter when she realized what it was.

“Juno, what are you doing? You scared the crap out of me!” She reached down to stroke the cat’s head and stopped when her fingers touched something wet. She raised her hand to her face and n the dim light saw that the tips of her fingers were dark and glistening.

“What…?”

Her heart now hammering in her chest, Christine inched her way forward, terrified by what she might see. She eased around the corner to the kitchen and froze when she caught sight of what lay before her.

A few seconds later, the silence of the house was shattered by a blood curdling scream.

TBC…


Discussion thread is here.

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 Post subject: Re: The Black Dog
PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2014 7:33 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2010 9:11 pm
Posts: 17121
Title: Queen of Torture and Death
Name: Lia
Aliases: dnalia, DAn creature
Gender: Female
Flag: Image
The Black Dog
Chapter 2

McGee guided the MCRT truck to a halt behind the agency sedan and he and Bishop joined Gibbs and Tony as they approached the scene. Ellie was surprised to see the number of people that were standing out in front of their other houses in the subdivision, expressions of worry, fear, and anger on their faces. She knew on some level that the families on the base tended to stick together, but she had never seen such an obvious representation of that sense of community.

Two guards stood in front of the front door of the modest, two-story home that housed their latest crime scene. A glance from Gibbs had both of them stepping aside to allow the team to enter. The front door was open and as they passed through Ellie noticed a familiar, coppery smell. An MP was waiting to escort them and they silently followed him through the house. When they turned the corner to reveal the victim Ellie froze, her eyes widening in horror at the scene in front of her.

“Oh my God…”

The victim, or what was left of him, lay on his back, shredded arms outstretched, his barely recognizable face a rictus of terror. Blood was spattered across almost every surface surrounding the body, and as her gaze traveled upwards she saw a drop slowly gather and fall from a large splash of the red liquid on the ceiling.

“Rain gear?” McGee quipped, but there was an edge to his voice she hadn’t heard before. She glanced around and saw the same grim expression on all three of the men’s faces.

“Looks like Jackson Pollock on acid,” Tony remarked, earning him a smack on the back of the head from Gibbs.

“Did a person do this?” Ellie asked, unable to comprehend how such a brutal attack could have occurred.

“Or the family dog did a Cujo,” Tony answered, moving out of Gibbs’ reach and joining McGee as he started to survey the scene.

“No dog,” the MP replied. “Just the daughter’s cat. Had blood all over it. The vet cornered it in the laundry room and tranqu’d it. It’s still there.”

Tony turned to McGee with a rather wicked grin on his face, which vanished when he caught the glare from the lead agent.

“Bishop, go,” Gibbs ordered.

She nodded as she gripped the handle of her kit tighter and followed the MP back down the hallway, passing Ducky and Palmer as they entered the house and headed for the kitchen. After two more turns the MP stopped in front of a closed door and knocked twice.

“Enter,” a male voice called and the MP opened the door to reveal a man in fatigues.

“Agent Bishop, NCIS. I’m here to collected evidence from the cat.” The man nodded to the MP and he left as Ellie entered the small room.

“I’m Dr. Burns, and this is Juno.” The animal was lying on her side in a large carrier that was sitting on top of the washing machine. Ellie nodded to the vet and pulled on a pair of gloves while he carefully removed the cat from the carrier and held her up for Ellie’s inspection. There were several large red stains marring the white fur on the cat’s head and chest, but very little on its paws. Ellie snapped a few photos before gingerly taking hold of one of the cat’s front feet and gently squeezing it to extend the claws. They appeared to be clean.

“Doesn’t look like it had contact with the victim.” She peered closely at the cat’s face and it blinked at her slowly with glazed eyes. “They gave you the good drugs, didn’t they?” The cat let out a throaty purr and the vet chuckled softly.

“Couldn’t even get close to her before, she was so freaked out. I don’t think she cleaned herself up any, either, so what you see is what you get.”

Ellie nodded and took a few more photos before removing a small envelope and a pair of scissors from her kit. She trimmed a bit of the driest area of the stained fur and deposited the clippings in the container before folding it shut and adding a seal. She then swabbed the cat’s claws, just in case, and placed them in a separate envelope. Finally she gently combed through the cat’s unstained fur with her fingers and added the recovered hairs to a third container. After stowing the samples, she turned to the vet.

“That’s all I need. What happens to her now?”

“Quarantine, just to be on the safe side. I’ll get her cleaned up back at the office. You don’t really think…?”

“Just being on the safe side. Thank you for your help.”

“No problem.”

Ellie paused, remembering what she had seen in the kitchen. “No other pets in the house?” He shook his head. “Do you know of any other animals on base that could have been responsible for this?”

“All K-9 unit members have been accounted for. No one in this section of the base has a dog large enough to…” The vet winced. “To do that much damage. I guess it’s possible that a stray could have come through, but… I really don’t see how it could have gotten in and out of the house.”

“We’ll be looking into that. Thanks again.” The vet just nodded and Ellie headed back to the kitchen. Tony and McGee had both put on Tyvek suits and shoe covers and were busily taking pictures of the room while Ducky and Palmer were waiting just outside the door for them to finish the area around the body. Tony noticed her presence and lowered his camera.

“Anything on the cat?”

“Just blood. No tissue in her claws. I think she was a spectator, based on the spatter pattern.”

“Makes sense,” McGee remarked. “There’s a void in the spatter at the top of the fridge. Probably sitting up there watching when Rowe was attacked.”

“Rowe?”

“Prints ID’d him as Major Derek Rowe. Worked in the headquarters office. He was up for promotion next month.”

“Damn…”

“We’re ready for you, Ducky. Want us to squeegee a path?”

“Not necessary, Anthony. We’ll be careful,” Ducky replied as he and Palmer carefully approached the body while Ellie hung back, her eyes scanning the room.

“Where’s Gibbs?”

“Talking to the wife. Suit up, Bishop. You can sketch.”

“On it.” She hurried out to the truck to retrieve a suit, gloves, and shoe covers. She returned the house, donned her gear and got to work. By the time she finished the first rough sketch Gibbs had returned.

“What do ya got for me, Duck?”

“Well, I am fairly certain that this was not an animal attack.” He pointed to a group of deep gouges on the victim’s chest. “These are too far apart for a canid, and notice how they come together here?” Gibbs nodded. “I believe that’s from the digits being drawn together in a fist as they were drawn down across the body. That’s a human trait.”

“A person really did this?” Ellie asked as she looked up from her sketch.

“Either that or we’ve got a werewolf running around Quantico,” Tony snarked.

“Well I guess we better call Sam and Dean,” Ellie responded with a grin which faded as the rest of the team turned to stare at her.

“Who?”

“You know, Sam and Dean Winchester?”

“Are these more of your contacts at NSA?”

“No, they’re characters…on a TV show. Two brothers that drive around the country and hunt supernatural stuff. Monsters, demons, ghosts—“

“No such thing as ghosts,” McGee declared as he resumed his work.

“I know that, I was just trying to lighten the mood… Right. Leave the TV show references to Tony.”

“Good idea.”

“Get anything from the wife, Boss?”

“She called him before she left work, came home about half an hour later. Door was locked. No signs of forced entry.”

“Great. This is going to be a weird one. I hate Halloween.”

“Halloween’s over, Tony.”

“Doesn’t matter, Bishop. ‘Tis the season.”

“And no treats this year.” She caught Gibbs’ glare and quickly returned her attention to her sketch, hoping they’d be able to solve this one quickly. She really didn’t want to think what could happen if they didn’t.

XXX


“Talk to me.”

Ellie scrambled to pull up her notes as Gibbs strode into the bullpen, coffee in hand. The team had been working through the night and most of the morning to try and figure out why Major Rowe had been murdered in such a brutal fashion, but so far she hadn’t found anything. She really hoped Tony and McGee had fared better.

“I spoke to the neighbors,” Tony offered as he moved in front of the plasma. “They didn’t see or hear anything unusual. A Lt. Abrams who lives two doors down from the Rowes’ says he saw Rowe drive past about 1730 and that he saw him pull into his driveway, exit the vehicle and enter the house. He didn’t seem to be under duress. Otherwise no one saw anyone or anything else around the house until the rest of the family arrived about twenty minutes later. They came back out less than a minute later, and Mrs. Rowe was clearly upset. The MPs were called in at 1755. They searched the grounds and found nothing.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know, DiNozzo.”

“Right. Background on Mrs. Rowe is clean, Boss. Not even a parking ticket. She’s been working at the high school, teaching chemistry and biology since her husband was assigned to his post five years ago. They’ve been married for sixteen years. Met at college and married right after graduation and right before Rowe started active duty. They have one daughter, Isabel, thirteen years old, and two sons, Jordan and Connor, ages eleven and eight. No reported issues at school for any of them. I’m checking on their extra-curriculars now for any source of a problem.”

“McGee.”

“I checked their finances, and for the most part they are living within their means. Some credit card debit, but no large withdrawals or deposits in the past five years. Everything seems to be above board. No signs of any gambling problems or unusual transactions. I’m checking extended family now.”

“Check back further on the finances. Bishop.”

“Major Rowe wasn’t working on any sensitive projects. Normal security clearance for his position as the CO of the Headquarters Company. The XO says his work was exemplary and he was almost guaranteed the promotion that he was up for next month. I spoke to the rest of the people under his command and none reported any problems with his leadership style or methods. He was well liked and apparently respected.”

“What about before he was stationed at Quantico?”

“There’s nothing, Gibbs. No discipline problems, clean record, numerous commendations. He joined straight out of college. He was a full scholarship ROTC student at the University of Oklahoma. His GPA was high but not perfect, graduated near the top of his class. By all accounts he was a good officer in the ROTC, no mentions of hazing or other disciplinary issues. He served three years at Pendleton before he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2001. No black marks on his record during the three tours that he served there before he was transferred back to the states. By all accounts there was no reason for anyone to kill him...especially like that.”

“Someone had a reason. We need to find it.”

“You don’t think this was a random attack?”
“No. Too much care and planning involved to get in and out sight unseen. We need to figure out why.”

“Which would help in figuring out the ‘how’. Got it. I’ll try going further back, too.”

“DiNizzo, deeper background on the wife. See if she’s had problems at work.”

“On it, Boss.”

“Goin’ to see Abby.” He left, and Ellie returned to her work. After a few minutes, she glanced up to see what McGee and Tony were doing. Both seemed to be involved in their own tasks, but as she watched the two agents glanced up at each other at the same time before turning their gazes to Ellie.

“What?”

“Boss seem a bit off to you?” McGee asked, and Ellie shrugged.

“Maybe he’s a still a bit shook up from out last case.”

“Don’t blame him for that one,” Tony declared with a theatrical shudder. “I knew there was a reason I don’t like—“

“Doing your job?” Gibbs snapped as he returned to his desk.

“Did Abby find anything, Boss?”

“Not yet.”

“What about Ducky?”

Ellie could sense the anger radiating off of Gibbs as he turned to glare at Tony.

“Still working on it. Rowe didn’t have a chance to fend off his attacker. No defensive wounds.”

“Someone he knew, then?”

“Maybe. Dig deeper. Someone had a reason to do this.”

“On it.”

The team worked in silence for another two hours before Abby joined them, clearly agitated.

“Gibbs, this doesn’t make any sense. I’ve found nothing. No trace of the attacker, not even DNA other than the victim. I can’t find anything to say who or what else was in that house besides the family.”

“Should we bring them in, Boss?”

“They have alibis, Tony. Records show Mrs. Rowe used her debit card at the store exactly when she said she did. The whereabouts of the kids have been confirmed as well.”

“Well we need to find something, or else you’re going to have to start believing in ghosts because nothing else could have done this.”

“Someone did this, DiNozzo, and we’ll find them. Get to work.”

“Yes, Boss.”

Gibbs escorted Abby back to her lab and the rest of the team tried to come up with another angle from which to work the case. Ellie sighed in frustration as another search came up with nothing.

“Do you really think we’ll find something?” she finally asked, drawing the attention of Tony and McGee.

“Hope so, but right now…” Tony glanced over his shoulder to make sure they were still alone. “I think we’re going to need a miracle.”

XXX


“Goodnight, sir.”

Commander Michael Daniels glanced up at his assistant and managed a thin smile. “Goodnight, Lieutenant.” After the young man closed the door to his office, Daniels leaned back in his chair and stretched to work some of the kinks out of his muscles. He disliked paperwork, but understood it was a necessary evil, and while they were in port it was a good opportunity to take care of some of the backlog that accrued despite his best efforts to stay on top of things.

Daniels stood and stretched again, enjoying the release of some of the stiffness that had settled over him after hours at his desk. He checked the time, decided that it would be a good time for a walk around the deck, and left his office. Soon he arrived on deck and paused to take a deep breath, inhaling the coastal air full of the smells to which had become accustomed in his sixteen years of service. He smiled as he remembered to first time he had encountered them and started his circuit of the deck.

When he reached the stern of the ship, which gave him the best view of the sunset, he stopped to enjoy the sight. It didn’t quite compare to those he had seen while out at sea, but it was a welcome change from the rather bland interior of his office.

After the sun had sunk below the horizon, he started his trek back towards the bow of the ship. He glanced down at the dock far below and paused when he caught movement that was definitely not one of his sailors returning from liberty. He studied the area, trying to find the source of the disturbance and suddenly a large, dark shape darted between two stacks of crates adjoining the ship. He felt a shiver down his spine as the sight triggered a memory, long buried.

Daniels shook his head and continued on, only to see the dark shape again, moving parallel to his path along the deck. He stopped and stared down at the dock, waiting to catch the image again, but the area was still and silent. With an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach that he could not immediately explain, Daniels returned to his office, debating calling on one of his junior officers to investigate the possibility of an intruder. Finally he reached for his phone to call the deck officer on duty.

“Commander?”

“Have security check the dock near loading. I thought I saw something in the area that shouldn’t have been there.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Report back after you’ve secured the area.”

“Aye, sir.”

Daniels placed the phone back in its cradle and leaned back in his chair. He wasn’t exactly sure why that glimpse of something filled him with unease, but he didn’t like the feeling in the least. To put his mind off it, he pulled out his personal cell phone, something he rarely used but his wife had insisted he needed, and scrolled through the list of contacts. He stopped on one, a number he even more rarely used, his finger hovering over the dial function. He pressed the number and waited, unsurprised that it went to voice mail.

“It’s Mike Daniels. Long time no talk, I know. Give me a call. 757-555-0182.” He ended the call and placed the phone on his desk, wondering what had prompted him to reach out to the person he had just called. After a few moments he shook himself from his thoughts and rose from his chair, intent on heading to the officer’s mess for dinner, after he had questioned the deck officer on what he had found in his search of the dock.

He reached the door and started to open it when a low growl from behind him froze him in his tracks and all of the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight up. He turned, eyes widening in terror as he caught sight of the source of the sound, his scream silenced before it had a chance to leave his throat.

Five minutes later a knock sounded on the door to the Commander’s office. Lieutenant Carter, the officer of the deck, paused and waited for a response. His search had turned up nothing, and while he was curious why the Commander had ordered it, he knew better than to question the orders of a senior officer.

After no response, he tried again. “Commander?” He looked down and that the door was slightly ajar which set off his internal alarm. Something wasn’t right. “Sir, are you all right?” No response.

Steeling himself for a harsh reprimand, Carter slowly eased the door open and immediately wished he hadn’t as the sight before him met his eyes.

TBC…

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