The tiny courtroom was suffocating with media, the Chief and family members of the Hopinachi tribe and
curious onlookers, packed in to standing room only. With no air circulation in the room, and everyone bundled
up in fur-lined parkas and Sorrels from the subzero December temperatures, the room was stifling. But no one
moved. No one spoke.
Chief-of-Police, William McCarthy, sat in the first bench behind the prosecutor’s table. His wife, Cheyenne, sat
beside him, clutching her chocolate-brown leather Gucci briefcase. She flicked the strap back and forth
between her forefingers. William’s knee bounced.
The bailiff rose. “All rise. The honorable Judge Noseworthy now presiding.”
Everyone rose as the judge entered the courtroom. She sat in her oversized chair, waving her arm at the room.
The judge pulled the microphone closer to her lips. Marcus leaned back and flopped his head to the side. His
orange jumpsuit made his skin appear jaundice. His arms and ankles were shackled to the table. He was calm
throughout his pretrial…too calm.
Judge Noseworthy cleared her throat. Marcus leaned back in his chair and leered in Cheyenne’s direction—her
peripheral vision allowed her to see his icy gaze. As uncomfortable as it was for her, she forced her eyes front.
Marcus stared at Cheyenne as the Judge spoke, “Although not the most brutal case I’ve had before me, it’s
certainly one of the most inane and pointless. The prosecution has presented a great deal of evidence, a lot of
which is circumstantial…”
“Your Honor,” the prosecuting attorney interrupted. “If I may remind you of the accused’s past history of
violence and his connection to poor Maria Longfellow…”
Marcus’ attorney rose. “Objection, your Honor. The Prosecution is speculating…”
Judge Noseworthy banged her gavel on the stand creating a hushing echo through the courtroom. “Enough! We
aren’t in the process of trial here, Counselors! This is only a pretrial.”
“Sorry, Your Honor,” they mumbled in unison.
Judge Noseworthy adjusted her glasses, then continued. “As I was saying, although a lot of the evidence is
circumstantial, it’s the opinion of this court there is sufficient reason and cause to hold a trial in this matter.”
“What the hell…” Marcus whipped around and glared at his lawyer. “You lousy son of a bitch,” he hissed. “You
didn’t want to take me on anyway. You thought I did it. I wanna new lawyer. This is bullshit!”
A gasp filled the courtroom as Judge Noseworthy whacked her gavel on the stand to regain control of the room.
“Order! Order in this courtroom or it’s getting cleared immediately!”
The room calmed, but Marcus continued to scream at his lawyer.
The judge yelled over Marcus, “If the Defense cannot control his client, we’ll remove him.”
Marcus stood, knocking over the defense table, with his hands and ankles still cuffed to the leg. “You bastards!
You did this! Why should I suffer any longer for things done to me?”
“That’s it.” Judge Noseworthy said. “Get him out of here! And, Marcus, you brought this all upon yourself.
Defense will be held in maximum security, without bail, until his trial.”
As the bailiff removed the cuffs, Marcus sprang at his lawyer and wrapped his meaty hands around the man’s
scrawny neck. It took the bailiff and three police officers to remove Marcus from the lawyer—with the
assistance of a taser.
As Marcus was dragged out of the room, he locked eyes with Cheyenne. “You bitch. This is all your fault. I will
get out. And you will suffer as I did. All of you will suffer and know what it is to have everything that means
something to you taken away!”
William rose to pose a barrier between Marcus’ gaze and Cheyenne. A smile spread across Marcus’ face. “And I’ll
save you for last Dr. Lady,” he hissed. “It will be my ultimate pleasure to give you what you deserve. And I’ll
like hearing you scream to me for mercy.”
Marcus licked his lips then blew Cheyenne a kiss. Cheyenne’s eyebrow rose and Marcus laughed as he was
pulled from the room.
Judge Noseworthy whacked her gavel one last time and shook her head. “Trial set for 15th next month. Court
William held Cheyenne’s face between his hands. She winced at first then eased into his palms. They embraced.
He made her feel so safe. What would she do without him?
The courtroom slowly emptied around them. Then Cheyenne saw the Chief from the Hopinachi reservation
sitting in a back row. He stared at her. Cheyenne’s brow furrowed as the man rose, walked to the end of his
row then nodded to her. As the double doors closed behind him, Cheyenne shuddered.
A week after the trial and life went on. Those involved with Marcus’ trial spent much time looking over their
shoulders, even Cheyenne. But she had more important things on her mind.
The atmosphere was perfect: candles were lit, Michael Bublé crooned from the stereo, baked gnocchi bubbled
in the oven and a fruity, nonalcohol wine rested in ice. Everything was ready, except William.
She glanced at the time as she switched the plasma television on to catch the news. She didn’t like listening to
the news—it always upset her. But she kept it on just in case. It was, after all, part of her job to keep abreast
of the goings-on in her city. Maybe prepare herself for an upcoming job she’d be forced to take on.
6:45 p.m. Where was William?
He was one of those anally-prompt people who gotten ready, then waited for everyone else. Cheyenne and
William had made a promise to one another: once the clock hit 6:00 p.m., they’d leave work at work and spend
their evenings together—except when high-profile cases screamed for their expertise.
As she checked on the gnocchi—fearing it’d been in the oven too long—something caught her eye on the
television. Perry, William’s partner, was interviewed by a local reporter. His face was white and expressionless
as his lips moved. A shot of adrenaline sparked like a wildfire from her stomach out to her extremities. She
reached for the remote to turn up the sound.
Perry’s rich Irish accent filled the dining room. “…he didn’t know what hit him.”
“There is speculation the shooter was that Marcus guy suspected in the double convenience store shooting. Is
that true, Detective?”
Perry rolled his eyes. “Darlin’, it wasn’t ‘speculation.’ It was Marcus.”
Cheyenne felt nauseous. Where was William?
“And where is he now, Detective? Was he detained?”
“Do ya see him ‘round, lass?” Perry pushed the microphone out of his way and turned to walk back to a squad
car when another question stopped him cold. “And what about Chief McCarthy, Detective? What is his current
status? Did he survive the shooting?”
“That information is private until family is contacted. You know how it works, lass. If his wife wants to make a
statement after that, it’s up ta her. No more questions.”
The scene switched back to the main reporters at the station. Cheyenne stared at the television for more
Did he survive the shooting?
The words echoed in her head. A knock at the door caused her to drop the remote. She ran to the door and
flung it open to see Perry’s grim face. He said nothing—just held out his hand. Finally he spoke. “Yeh gotta
come with me, lass. Now.”
Cheyenne had enough sense to shut the oven off, pull the overcooked gnocchi out and blow out the candles
on the table. As she pulled her over-sized sweatshirt on, she turned back to her surprise dinner table. Her eyes
welled with tears.
She left the positive pregnancy test on his plate.
He’ll be back home soon…he has to be.
Three Months Later…
Cheyenne McCarthy arrived at her office early as usual. It was ritual with her…thanks to her condition. She’d
been diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID) when she was two. A long string of words for what
it boiled down to—her brain had trouble processing the information that bombarded her day in and day out.
Nothing was filtered out. Every noise, every smell, every sight assaulted her, magnified hundreds of times over
from what ordinary people felt. A simple touch felt like fire on her skin. Her nervous system was her worst
enemy. Well, second to that psycho out there who still wanted vengeance, even though he’d taken the love of
her life away from her.
She approached her office and noticed the door is ajar and the light on. Puzzled, she slowed. Her door was
always shut. But maybe her secretary was in early today, too. She juggled her coffee and briefcase in one arm
and gently pushed the door wider.
“Morning and welcome back, luv,” bellowed Perry Fulton, his Irish accent swirling around his words. “Doncha
look particularly glowing today.”
Cheyenne released a relieved breath. “Perry, you gave me a scare. And that’s one hell of a Welcome Back,” she
smiled. “But it’s always nice to see your mug.”
Perry had been William’s partner. He’d been the one who’d introduced William to Cheyenne. He’d taken a special
interest in her the past few months—like a father figure—especially after finding out about the baby.
He reminded Cheyenne of an older-looking Columbo—wrinkled clothes, rustled hair, big stogie between his thick
fingers, never seeming to know what’s going on. Most of it was an act, though. She figured it keeps other
people on their toes—you were never quite sure whether he was serious or not. And she loved him to bits.
Perry chuckled and gestured to her belly. “May I?”
“Sure,” Cheyenne moved a bit closer. Suddenly her belly jutted out and rippled just for Perry.
“Whoa.” He laughed. “A future soccer all-star in the waiting then?”
“Yeah. I don’t get much sleep.”
A silence lingered and became uncomfortable. Both waited for a sarcastic remark or loud belly laugh but it didn’t
come. Perry nodded, taking his hand away.
“Well…” he coughed. “I'm here a bit early ‘cuz we need your expertise. Some of our boys are bringing an ole
Native guy…a Chief…who apparently has some info about our lurking friend. Heard you’ve seen his
granddaughter. What’s ‘er name now…uhm…Marie Longfoot? Longhorn?”
“Maria Longfellow.” Cheyenne had counseled Jodie, Maria’s mother, through a paternity battle. Maria stopped
talking from the stress. Although Jodie never divulged her husband’s name, Cheyenne came to know him as a
real jerk—abusive, chauvinistic and plain rude. She really hated custody cases and counseling child witnesses.
They were the worst cases to be involved in. With forensics as the main focus of her practice, she wouldn’t
have to do those cases anymore, thank God.
“Yeah, Longfellow, that’s it,” said Perry. “Boys are bringing him in before they take him to Holding for disturbing
the peace. Guess he was going on about seeing something. You know…visions and crap. Says he’ll only talk to
Cheyenne blew on her coffee. “Wonderful. I’ve never actually met him. Is he dangerous?”
“Nah,” Perry waves dismissively. “Just ranting. I’ll be there. No worries.” His cell phone blared “Mac Tonight”
from his belt. “Fulton, here. That was fast, boys. Great job. Be right down.” He flipped the phone closed, then
said, “They’re here. Bring your coffee.”
The examination rooms are down in the basement. Cheyenne chewed on her thumb and tapped her coffee cup.
She just hated basements—the musty smell and how the moistness licked her skin. As the elevator doors slid
open, she heard mono-toned chanting. Approaching the examination room, the smell of musk-scented incense
whirled around the hallway. The smell was faint at first but overpowered her once they entered the room. The
Chief stopped chanting.
“She is here,” he stated.
Astounded, everyone—three police officers, two ambulance attendants and Perry—looked at Cheyenne.
“Yessir,” said one of the officers. “She’s behind you.”
He turned in her direction and said “Yes, I know where she is, son. I feel her.”
He looked right at Cheyenne and she almost dropped her coffee. He looked to be in his early sixties, no older.
His black hair—sprinkled with silver here and there—was pulled neatly into two braids, each falling down to his
chest. His wrinkled skin was beautiful maple brown and his eyes, the clearest gray she’d ever seen. They
quivered from side to side when Cheyenne spoke.
“Chief, I mean no disrespect but…are you blind? I only ask because we’d need to conduct the interview
differently. I want you to be comfortable.”
The Chief smiled. “You are a very observant lady. I knew this about you already. I am fine. If I am
uncomfortable, I will let you know.”
She pulls out a chair to sit. “Okay, then. Let’s get straight to it. I was told you have some information
regarding our shooter and you’ll only talk to me. What would you like to share, sir?”
“You are looking for a very evil and cowardly man—a man who left my granddaughter motherless. He is not like
other men. Others will not find him. But you can. You will.”
His eyes, although unseeing, moved around furiously, watching the movie that played only for him. Cheyenne
put her coffee down to calm her hands.
“Well, Chief, I’ll do my best to find him,” she said.
“He will find you,” he said. He squinted. “You have what he wants.”
He slipped a hand into his pocket and the officers reached for their guns. Cheyenne motioned them to stand
down. Chief Longfellow pulled out a picture and held it out to Cheyenne. From where she sat, she recognized
“Take this,” he said. “Read what it tells you. Your answers are here.” As she leaned to take the photo, he
grabbed her wrist. Her heart lurched. His other hand pressed against her belly.
“Remove your hands from her!” The policemen had drawn their guns.
The Chief ignored their order. “I had a vision,” he moaned, his lips brushing against her ear. Musk flooded her
nostrils; dizziness swept over her. “He will come for you…for him. You have what he wants.”
“Did you hear me, old man? Release her!”
His hand tightened with urgency. “He knows your losses and will use them against you. But remember…what
was your enemy in the past will be your greatest ally in the weeks to come.”
“Let her go!”
He released her and slumped back, returning to his chant.
A wave of nausea flooded over Cheyenne as she scrambled to her feet and ran from the room. She spotted a
garbage can just as her stomach started convulsing. She broke into a cold sweat, her teeth chattering. The
floor under her feet rocked back and for the like a rickety old bridge in the wind. As she clung to the garbage
can, Perry ran toward her.
“Holy shit!” He threw an arm around her. “Are ya alright? Did he hurt ya, darling?”
Cheyenne instinctively shrugged his arm off as the floor started to feel a more solid. “Yes,” she whispered. “I
mean, no. He didn’t hurt me. I’m fine. He wouldn’t have hurt me. I didn’t feel threatened.”
“I’m so sorry, Shy,” Perry stuttered. “He’s going to Holding now. If you wanna take the rest of the morning off…”
“No. I’ll be okay. I have an ultrasound in a couple of hours anyway. I’ll just go home after it.” Cheyenne shakily
rose from the garbage can and headed for the elevator.
“Right, then,” Perry said. “I’ll give ya a call later. Just to see how things went and stuff. Right?”
“Fine. Talk to you later,” Cheyenne said as the elevator doors closed.
Feeling the familiar throb in the back of her neck that triggered a migraine, she leaned her head against the wall
and closed her eyes until the moldy smell of the basement disappeared from her nostrils. She went to put her
hands on her belly and realized she was still holding the picture of Maria. Gnawing her bottom lip, she stared at
it. Maria looked so sad. There was a man standing behind the girl with his hands on her shoulders. Other blurry
people stood around them.
Cheyenne got off on her floor and rushed to her office. Inside the solitude of her recently Feng Shui-ed office,
she collapsed into her chair, threw the picture on her desk then stared at the picture of William.
The Chief had mentioned a son?
“He will come for you…for him.”
Cheyenne rested on the hard leather examination table as a technician took her baby’s measurements. The dim
lights and soft music humming above eased her. The technicians never talked during these damn ultrasounds so
her mind raced as she tried not to notice how full her bladder is. And why was it they always seemed to have
to press right on the bladder? Cheyenne figured it must be some sort of torture tactic they all learned at school.
“Okay, Mrs. McCarthy,” the technician finally said. “You have a very active baby in there.” She laughed. “I
could hardly take my measurements it was moving so much.”.
The technician glided the wand over Cheyenne’s tummy as she explained what she saw—head, brain, heart,
legs, arms, fingers, toes…beautiful. And finally, the burning question was answered.
“…and you asked if I could see anything, you’d be interested in the sex. Keep in mind we can’t say 100%
because we really don’t know for sure. But …” The technician pointed to a tiny white blob just above the baby’
s legs. “This is why I think you’re having…a little boy. Congratulations, Mrs. McCarthy. You can get dressed and
get your picture up front.”
“Thanks,” said Cheyenne. She laid there for a minute after the tech left the room with her eyes closed. It is a
boy. She was thrilled and frightened at the same time.
You have something he wants…he will come for him.
OUT OF SYNC
by Chynna T. Laird