Officer Nicole Haught sighed as she stared down at the file on her desk. Strange. This was the fourth suicide in two weeks. A jumper, a pill popper, a hanger, and finally, a young woman who had brutally slit both her wrists. Aside from being gruesome enough to make Nicole shudder, it was also quite strange to have this many suicides back to back in a small town like Purgatory. It could be a demented murderer trying to cover up their tracks by using the suicide facade, or it could be a very extreme case of seasonal depression, or it could be a demon. The suspicion was almost enough for Nicole to want to alert Wynonna or Jeremy, in case this sudden bout of self harm in Purgatory was something slightly more paranormal than she was used to handling. Almost. Selfishly, a part of her wanted to keep this case to herself, and if it was demon related, she would get the glory for once. She could solve this by herself, and finally get to do something useful besides organizing paperwork and throwing wasted Shorty’s patrons in the drunk tank. She could be everyone’s hero. Waverly’s hero. Of course, Nicole had the same thought process every time a mysterious case fell into her lap, and she knew that if this one got any more paranormal, common sense would take over, and she would hand it over to Wynonna, whether she liked it or not.
Nicole’s thoughts were interrupted by frantic footsteps making their way into the station. She looked up from her desk to see a man in his thirties, with gelled up hair and a purposeful amount of scruff, practically running towards her as he entered.
“May I help you?” Nicole looked the man up and down, recognizing the familiar expression on his face. It was the look of an outsider first discovering something amiss in Purgatory. Terror, disbelief, a frantic search for rationality. Nicole remembered when she had once been in his shoes, having moved to Purgatory for her first job as a police officer less than a year ago.
“I need you to put an APB out on a serial killer.” The man stated.
“Do you have a name for this serial killer?”
“Mr. Yang.” The man over enunciated each syllable as if to make sure Nicole heard him clearly.
Nicole nodded. Of course she had heard of Mr. Yang, and this wouldn’t be the first serial killer to arrive in Purgatory. On top of that, the man looked genuinely shaken, his face hard and serious, but under it she could see undeniable fear. Even so, Nicole wasn’t about to just trust his word without any evidence of it being true.
“And what gives you reason to believe that Mr. Yang is in Purgatory?”
The man raised to fingers to his head dramatically, cocking it to the side, and only leaving Nicole more confused.
“I sensed it.”
“Yes, I could psychically feel her presence, here, in this weird, tiny town.”
Ignoring the insult to Purgatory (especially since she wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that assessment), Nicole narrowed her eyes sceptically. “Psychically?”
“What can I say, I have a gift,” the man stated, looking Nicole straight in the eye with such genuinity that she decided he was either a phenomenal liar, or yet another strange paranormal force of Purgatory. She found herself hoping it was the former. Paranormal forces in Purgatory were almost never good. Nicole jumped as her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of her ringtone. She couldn’t help but smile as she saw Waverly’s shining face light up the call screen. Nevertheless, Nicole rejected the call, making a mental note to call her back later, knowing that Waverly would leave her a voicemail if it was urgent.
Looking back up, Nicole realized that the man had suddenly shut his eyes, his hand back on his temple. “I’m sensing…” The man muttered after a few seconds. “I’m sensing that you are an outsider. You crave companionship, but you still feel alone, separated from the people you love. You resent that they don’t always trust you.”
The man’s eyes were open now, staring straight at her, sending goosebumps across Nicole’s skin. He had her pegged, and she had no idea how.
“It must be hard,” the man continued, “being gay in a town like this.”
Nicole’s stomach turned. She felt raw, and very, very exposed. She had no idea how this man could possibly know so much about her, but she did know that the rest of her team needed to hear about this. If this guy was a demon, Wynonna was the only one who could put him down.
“I- I have to go.” Nicole stuttered. “I- The station is closing. I’ll call you if I find out anything about Mr. Yang.”
Shawn was thoroughly puzzled. He had never seen that sort of reaction from a fake psychic reading before. He had seen harsh sceptics, and people with their jaws about to fall to the floor with awe, but never such raw fear. In retrospect, maybe it had been a bad idea to out the red headed cop right then, but judging by the ‘more than friends’ expression on her face when getting that phone call, Shawn had assumed that she wasn’t ashamed of who she was. Maybe he had been wrong, but he had a feeling it was about more than just being pegged as a lesbian that had that woman shaken.
Shawn’s thoughts continued to run at a mile a minute, replaying all the strange events of the day. First, the encounter with Yang in the men’s bathroom. One second she was there, greeting him with her creepily loving smile, the next, Shawn blinked and she had disappeared. If he hadn’t been confident in his own perceptive abilities, Shawn might have thought he imagined it. On top of that, there was Gus, who claimed to have seen some long dead ghost of some guy in that bar. And finally, there was the officer at the police station, and her more than strange reaction. There was something very, very off about this town. Shawn just had to figure out what it was.
Finally he reached the hotel room where he, Juliet, and Gus were staying. (Gus in his own room, of course, as much as Shawn had joked that it was fine if Gus wanted to bunk with him and Jules.) When he walked through the door, his stomach lurched at the expression on his girlfriend’s face. Deep concern, and a bit of fear.
“Oh no, Jules. Are you upset about this Rupert Grint poster thing too?” Shawn joked, but his heart was beating faster than normal. “Because honestly, sweetie, I don’t understand why that guy is such a craze. He’s just Ed Sheeran with-”
“Shawn.” Juliet interrupted, and he her tone confirmed what he had feared. This was serious. “I called Lassiter, and had him personally go check to see if Yang was still in Santa Barbara. She is. She never left the facility.”
“That’s impossible.” Shawn protested, his mind reeling. “Jules, I- I know what I saw.”
"She was never here, Shawn."