Small Towns @rubberduckiez
Dredging Up the Past

Dredging Up the Past

Daisy paced around the study. After her talk with Gladys, she could feel something. A niggle in her mind. It was just on the edges of it. And she knew she needed to get away from the others in order to focus. There were too many people and too many voices at the police station.

Soft music played in the background as she walked over to the desk and picked up a glass of wine. She had been pacing off and on for the last couple of hours. Going back and forth between staring out the windows and jotting down things in her notebook, then looking at the board. She could hear the agents just across the foyer, talking on speakerphone with their tech back in Washington. Reid had filled them in on their chat with Mrs. Martens and they put her to work scouring various records on the town.

But Daisy knew she wouldn't find anything. If Shelly Martens had shut down her mother-in-law from talking, there was a very good chance it wouldn't be in newspaper records or police records. The outsiders seemed to underestimate just how much power some of the families in town had.

There was obviously something hidden in the town and she needed to figure out who to ask. Preferably, she'd like to talk to Gladys again, but she knew after the old woman had nearly spilled the beans that afternoon, Shelly and the rest of the family would be circling the wagons and it would be hard to get the old woman alone again. But she felt that the answer lay somewhere in her head or the study.

She walked over to a bookshelf lined with yearbooks and photo albums. Sighing, she pulled off a few yearbooks and a large photo album, suddenly grateful that her mother had picked up scrapbooking and kept meticulous records of her history growing up. Walking back to the desk, she sat them down and started flipping through the first yearbook. It was from kindergarten.

She stopped on a page showing Mrs. Anderson's class. She looked down through the pictures, stopping on each one of the murdered women, frowning slightly. She had forgotten they were all in the same class.

There was a knock at the door, causing Daisy to look up. She walked over to the door, opening it and finding Spencer standing there with a smile and a plate of food.

"Found this in the fridge and thought you might be hungry. You've been locked up here since we got back," he said. Daisy stepped back and motioned him in, shutting the door behind him.

Reid walked over and sat the plate down on the desk, taking note of the half-empty wine glass and bottle of wine next to the open yearbook and the photo albums.

"You were in the same kindergarten class," he said, looking back at her. Daisy nodded as she walked over.

"Again, not unusual. It's a small town and there were only two or three to begin with," she said with a sigh. "But I just keep thinking that the connection… it's right in front of me." She then walked over to a cabinet and grabbed another glass, walking back to the desk and reaching for the bottle.

"Um… well, I don't typically like to drink when we're on a case," he said.

"A glass of wine won't kill you," she said, smiling slightly. "Besides, I find it helps me think."

"Then I guess one won't hurt," he said, looking back down at the book. "You come up with any other connections?"

"Not really," she said with a sigh. "I was just starting to go through old photo albums. Figured Mom might have left me some clue. She was practically religious in putting them together."

"Speaking of religious, seems everyone in town belongs to one church or another. Except you," Reid said. Daisy smiled slightly as she looked over at him.

"You caught that? Yea, just another of my parents' weird quirks. Never stepped in a church a day in my life," she said. "Though they got married in a church. Think that might have been the last time… but Grams… she was a member of First Baptist. Went every Sunday morning and night."

"Any reason they didn't go?" he asked. Daisy shrugged.

"If there was, they never told me," she said with a sigh, reaching out to open the thick album. "Just figured it was another of their things."

"What was that earlier about your parents?" Reid asked. "Seems like they certainly left a mark on the town." Daisy chuckled softly.

"Got that right," she said. "Grams and Gladys were friends going all the way back to when they were little girls. They had hoped that someday the two families would be united in marriage, but that dream died when they both had sons."

"Shelly Martens didn't seem too happy with you," Reid commented.

"Well, that goes back to my parents. She never liked my mother. Thought she was beneath her and unworthy to marry into the founding five. Regardless of how people felt, there is still a hierarchy in this town," Daisy said with a roll of her eyes. "And then I turned down her son Stevie in school. Even if she didn't like us, she still wanted her precious son to marry into the Whites and I was the only option. Probably wanted to get her grubby little hands on the family money."

"Why did you turn him down?" Reid asked. Daisy raised her eyebrows as she looked over at him.

"He was boring," she said simply. "Plus, like I said, I was eager to get out of town. Didn't want anyone holding me back." She returned to slowly flipping through the album. "Anyway, outside of Gladys, no one else in the founding five seemed to like us, though they tolerated us for appearances sakes. Same with their social ladder-climbing friends. Though Mom and Dad still managed to have some friends..."

"Hence why you made friends with the outcasts," Reid commented.

"Yep," Daisy said. "We understood each other. Protected each other when necessary. But thankfully the bullying stopped around junior high." Reid looked over at her, surprised.

"I would have thought being a White gave you a certain amount of protection," he said.

"Not in this town," she said. "Sure, people were nice to my face, but there are other ways people can show their dislike. Spreading rumors about me seemed to be a popular pastime. Especially with Toni and Vanessa's group."

"And here I thought small towns were supposed to be friendly," Reid said.

"They were also supposed to be safe," Daisy said, still flipping through the photo book. Reid stopped her, staring down at the photos.

"Your mother was really beautiful," he said. A soft smile came across Daisy's face.

"I used to love sitting and watching her get ready. She always had an impeccable sense of style," she replied. "And wouldn't be caught dead outside the house without her hair and makeup done. Grams was the same. She would get onto me all the time for my lack of enthusiasm for makeup and dresses. Think the only time I let her force me into a dress was for prom."

"Seems you were close," Reid commented.

"We were. Always have been. After Mom and Dad died, Grams was all I had left," she said. "And after Grams died, well, I had no reason to come back."

"But you kept this place," Reid said, looking around the study.

"Only because Grams made it very clear that it was to stay in the White family," Daisy said with a laugh. "But also, I couldn't bring myself to part with it. It's the last piece of my family I have left."

Daisy started flipping through the album again, then suddenly came to a stop. She stared down at the page, her eyes widening as she felt her heartbeat falter.

"What the…"

"What is it?" Reid asked, looking down at the pages. "I thought you said you didn't go to church."

"We didn't," Daisy said. "I don't remember this…" She bent down and looked at the photo of a small group of five little girls standing in front of a church alter. Her heart nearly stopped when she immediately recognized it as the one from her dreams. She reached out and touched the photo, then ran her finger down to her mother's neat script underneath it.

"Is that-"

"Yea… Vanessa Carmichael, Toni Abbott, me, Becky Rogers and Marley Reed," she said softly.

"What's Lighthouse Kids?" Reid asked.

"Must be one of those Bible scriptures kids' clubs," Daisy said. "Says I was 5 in this photo… why don't I remember this?" Reid looked over at her, noting her face had gone white.

"What's going on Daisy?" he asked. She glanced at him and then back down at the photo.

"I… I think I, well… I thought it was just a dream. Ever since I came back, I've been dreaming about this church. I thought it was just… a nightmare. But maybe it was a memory," she murmured, sitting her wine glass down.

"Daisy… that's the all the women who were murdered," he said.

"I know," she replied.

"And you," he said.

"I know. Just shut up for a minute. I'm trying to think," she said quickly. "I'm trying to remember the significance of this photo…" Reid reached down and pulled the photo out of the book, then turning towards the door. "Where are you going?"

"We need to show this to the team," he said, not stopping. Daisy followed him, a frown firmly on her face. "Guys, I think we found the connection." He threw the photo down on the table. "It's all of the victims and Daisy."

The rest quickly gathered around, looking at the photo.

"What is this?" Emily asked, looking up at Daisy, who was now chewing on her thumbnail. She shook her head slightly.

"I don't know. I don't even remember this," she said. "We were only five in this photo."

"What church is this?" JJ asked. Daisy shrugged.

"I don't know," she said again. "I don't even remember my parents going to church."

"Is there any significance to this photo that you can think of?" Emily asked.

"I'm trying to think," Daisy said. "But I don't remember anything. Nothing."

"Someone get the sheriff on the phone," Emily said. "In the meantime, we should scan this and send it to Garcia."

The dining room was immediately a flurry of activity as Daisy stayed to the back, frowning as she wracked her memory for anything. She closed her eyes, going back to the dream. The congregation singing. The wood panel door. The fear.

Something happened there, she could feel it. She just didn't know what.

"Daisy. Daisy," someone was saying. Daisy's eyes flew open as she looked at Emily, who was watching her with concern on her face. "If it's alright, I'd like to do a cognitive interview. See if we can loosen up some of those memories." Daisy nodded.

"I'm not sure if it'll do any good, but we can try," she said. Emily turned and made her way to the den, Daisy following. She could hear someone talking to Garcia on speakerphone again and footsteps behind her.

"Have a seat," Emily said, motioning to the large leather sofa. Daisy sat at one end and pulled a cushion into her lap, crossing her legs under her.

"How do we do this?" she asked, looking at Emily as Reid stood nearby watching.

"I just need you to close your eyes and take a deep breath," Emily said, sitting next to her on the sofa. Daisy nodded and closed her eyes, taking deep, regulated breaths. "Okay… I need you to go back… think about the church. You said you dreamed about it? What do you see in the dream?"

"It's always the same thing," Daisy said. "I'm walking down the aisle of the church to the front. Everyone is singing 'How Great Thou Art,'" she said softly, a frown appearing. "Grams used to sing it all the time, but she stopped…"

"When?" Emily asked.

"When I was in first grade," Daisy replied. "Then there's a door. Wood panel. It's in the church. I'm always walking towards it, but I never go in. But I… I'm afraid."

Emily went silent a few moments, casting a worried looked Reid's way. They had seen this before. There were very few reasons why someone would block memories from childhood. Daisy swallowed, opening her eyes.

"I know what you're thinking," she said. "Something happened to me in that church… that's why my parents stopped going." She pushed off the sofa and ran from the room.

"Daisy," Reid said, starting to follow her.

"Stop, Spencer," Emily said softly. Before either of them could say anything, Daisy had returned with the photo album.

"Maybe there's something else here," she said, sitting back down with the album.

"You don't have to do this, Daisy," Emily said. "Not right now."

"It's fine. If this has something to do with why my old classmates are being killed, then I want to find out," she said, not looking up. She looked over the page and then flipped it to the next. She studied it closely and then pointed. "There was another photo here." She looked up. "See this… a photo was ripped off and another put over it."

She looked back down at the page, frowning.

"Mom… what did you not want me to see," she murmured. She noticed other photos with the five of them. Birthday parties. Play dates. Halloween. Why didn't she remember being friends with Vanessa and Toni? The two had made junior high and high school a living hell for her. When did it all change?

"All these photos… I don't remember any of this," Daisy said. "I don't remember us being close at all. Only Marley, Becky and I hung out…" The door chimed and all three looked up.

"That must be the sheriff," Emily said, standing. Daisy put the album aside and started to follow her.

"Hey, are you okay?" Reid asked softly, grabbing her arm. Daisy looked up at him.

"I'm fine. I just want to figure this out," she said, starting to move again.

"Daisy…"

"Look, I'm fine. I've seen worse than this," she said.

"But this is… something may have happened to you," he replied.

"Then I'll get over it," she said, pulling out of his grasp and making her way to the dining room. Sheriff Walker was there with his deputy, Ryan Lake. He had been another old classmate of Daisy's.

"Sheriff," Emily said with a nod.

"What's going on?" he asked. "You find something?"

"We think we have," Emily said, walking over to the table and picking up the photo. "We think we found the connection." She held the photo out to him. Walker frowned as he looked down at the photo, Ryan looking over his shoulder. "That's all of the women who were murdered… And Daisy." Walker looked up, finding Daisy.

"I told you that you might not be safe," he said.

"That looks like Southern Baptist," Ryan said, still studying the photo.

"Southern Baptist?" Daisy said. "The church behind the high school?"

"Yea. My aunt goes there," Ryan said. "I didn't know you all went there."

"Neither did I," Daisy said softly. Emily looked back at her and then back at the sheriff and deputy.

"We think something happened there… about 28 years ago. That's when this photo was taken," she said. Walker looked at Daisy expectantly.

"I don't remember anything," she admitted. "I didn't even remember this photo being taken." Walker frowned and looked back down at it.

"I don't recall anything. But that would have been before my time," he said.

"I need to speak with Mrs. Martens again," Daisy said. "She almost said something today when Spencer and I were there, but Shelly cut us off."

"I don't think you should be interviewing her," Emily said.

"No. I have to be the one," Daisy nearly shouted. "This involves me. She'll tell me. And I have a right to know."

The room was silent as they looked at her.

"Are you sure you can handle this?" JJ asked softly. "Whatever she has to say… are you sure?" Daisy nodded.

"I have to find out," she said.

"I want a protective guard on you at all times," Walker said. "This photo is proof that this sicko is going to come after you next and I don't want you alone at any time."

"Fine," Daisy said. "But I get to interview Mrs. Martens."

"I'll call and get her in to the station first thing tomorrow," Walker said. Daisy nodded.

"If it's alright, I'll be upstairs," she said, leaving the dining room. Walker looked down at the photo.

"The caption said it was some group called Lighthouse Kids," Reid said. "Is there anything you can tell us about it?"

"It's a church kids' group," Ryan said. "Go once a week and memorize Bible verses. Had it at my church."

"Do you know who was in charge of the group 28 years ago?" Emily asked. Ryan shrugged.

"Couldn't tell you. I only went every so often," he replied. "We were members of First Baptist. But they would have had some sort youth minister that would have been in charge of it."

"You catch that, Garcia?" Luke asked.

"Got it!" a disembodied voice chirped brightly. "Already on it. Let's see… in 1990, the pastor of the church was a Richard Kingfisher. He retired shortly after that…"

"Moved to Pawnee to be closer to his mother," Ryan offered.

"And the youth pastor was a Mitch Fischer," Garcia said. "Married. He also moved out of town the same year." They looked at Walker and Ryan, who was frowning.

"I don't remember him, but Fischer… sounds like he's part of the founding five," he said.

"Garcia," Luke said.

"Already on it. Mitch Fischer, the son of Margaret and Tony Fischer," she started. "Seems they are part of these so-called Founding Five. His family has been here for generations."

"Anything on why they moved?" Luke asked.

"Nope, but I have a current address for Oklahoma City," she replied.

"Send us that address. We need to get up there to interview him tomorrow," Emily said. "Luke, you, Tara and Matt go to OKC to talk to Fischer. The rest of us will stay here and speak with Mrs. Martens."

"Got it."

"Daisy?" Spencer said from the open door. He looked across the dark room and could see the verandah. A head popped up over a large wicker chair.

"Come in," she called out. Spencer made his way across the large room, noting that there were clothes piled up around and the bed unmade. There were a couple of open suitcases. He stepped out on the verandah and sat in the open chair looking over at Daisy, who was staring out into the distance. She had retrieved the wine from the study and was clutching the glass in her hands with her legs propped up on a wicker ottoman.

"So… what's the consensus?" she asked.

"They are going to let you interview Mrs. Martens. I'll sit in on it while the others watch," he said softly. Daisy nodded slowly.

"I was probably molested or something, wasn't I?" she asked softly, still not meeting his eyes.

"We don't know that, Daisy," Spencer said quickly. She laughed softly.

"Please, there are very few reasons someone blocks memories. And they all involve some sort of trauma," she replied. "I know this. As do you." She took a long sip from the glass. "Though I suppose it makes sense. Why my mom wanted me to get out of town as soon as I could. Why she hated this town. Why I hated this town. Why I never felt like I belonged."

"It doesn't mean anything," Reid said again. Daisy finally looked over at him.

"Why I empathize with victims," she continued. "Even if I can't remember it… I always felt… some sort of connection with them… their families. I thought it was because I understood loss. Maybe this was it."

"Are you sure you want to know the truth?" Spencer asked.

"I need to know the truth," she said. "Wanting not to know is a luxury I don't have." Reid nodded and sat back in the chair, looking out at the peaceful countryside. Even at night, he could clearly see the rolling hills and pastures in the moonlight.

"This place really is beautiful," he said.

"Part of me always loved it," Daisy admitted. "I would come sit here with Grams all the time. It was her favorite place in the whole house. Guess it's mine too. We used to watch the storms roll in from here."

"Whatever we find out tomorrow, Daisy… it's important to hold on to memories like that," he said, looking over at her.

"Was psychology one of those fancy degrees of yours?" she asked.

"No, but you pick up some things on the job," he said. Daisy nodded. "And if it helps, I'll be in there with you tomorrow." Daisy looked over at him, frowning slightly.

"I'll be fine," she said.

"If I can speak frankly, you'll need a friend," he replied.

"And you figure you fall into that category?" Daisy replied.

"I think you don't have many friends and I'm offering to be one if you need it," he said. Daisy studied him before looking away.

"What makes you think that?" she asked. "I could have tons of friends back in New York."

"Friends that haven't called," Reid said. Daisy bristled slightly. "You've only texted a few times and gotten one phone call not related to the case since we got here. From your publisher."

"I'm not a very friendly person," she said.

"No, you just don't open up that much to others," Spencer said.

"Maybe I like it that way," Daisy said.

"Regardless, the offer still stands," Spencer said. Daisy looked down at her glass and then up at him.

"Suppose having new friends never hurt anyone," she said softly. Spencer smiled.

"It's not a bad thing."

Reaching the climax of this one. It's not long and things happen quickly and all.

Lolyncut – If there is anything I know, it's small towns. ^_^

Thanks for reading and following!

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