Been a long time gone

Deanne leaned back, puzzled. The fingerprints under her microscope looked odd. Which might explain why they didn’t generate any hits when she ran it through her programs. Even partial prints could hit on a match, most of the time, so that wasn’t the problem. Besides, she could see that this particular set was complete.

Something about the prints set Deanne’s instincts ablaze. She had a feeling she was looking in the wrong places for answers.

The phone on the wall buzzed, demanding the forensic tech’s attention. Glad for a brief rest, Deanne hurried to answer the call.

“Lab, Deanne,” she said into the receiver. Static was all she heard for a few seconds, then a tinny voice said, “Hey. Any luck?”

“Gerrard? Is that you?”

Her partner in the lab rarely called when he was busy on a case, so the call either meant he was finished with his task or he had hit a dead end.

“Yeah, it’s me. You haven’t got a hit, have you? I think I know why and it’s weird as…,” Gerrard’s voice faded. The static grew louder. Then his voice again, “…come down?”

“What? Gerrard, you faded. Who do you want to bring down?”

“Molly. I think we found something you should see,” her partner said, his voice rising above the noise on the line.

Deanne quickly agreed. She liked Gerrard’s wife, probably more than she liked Gerrard.

It didn’t take long for the pair to arrive at the basement lab where Deanne was still trying to figure out the mystery of the fingerprints. She was prepared to work all night. Cases like this one were too important to put off even a few hours.

“Deanne!” Molly’s voice interrupted Deanne’s thoughts about the fingerprints.

“Hey,” the tech greeted her friend. “So, Gerrard says you found something?”

The petite brunette nodded. “Yeah, well, he thought it was pertinent, but I guess I found it? I don’t know, De, it’s a little off the wall.”

“Hun, we’ll just say we both found it, okay?” Gerrard teased his wife. Then he pulled a textbook out of his backpack. “See, De, it’s in Molly’s anthropology book. Look, here.”

Gerrard opened the book to a marked page, pointing out a picture of a hardened piece of clay on the page.

Deanne looked. She looked up, thoughtful, then grabbed a magnifying glass from her lab coat pocket. She peered closer at the fingerprint pressed into the fragment of pottery.

Her eyes glittered when she looked up. “Alright, Gerrard, I’m convinced, but how are we going to tell Detective Mansur that his perp is a Neanderthal?”

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