December 28, 2013

Demons Ascension - Amy

[Posted by Ted H]

Aaaaaaaaaaand DONE! 57 days after starting and one title change later, Demons Ascension is complete. Im not crazy about the precedent 57 days sets, but whatever.

Overall, I'm happy with the final product. It comes across as a bit all over the place with its early part. I feel I didn't quite make a smooth transition between "Detective fiction" and "Oh shit, demons!" Grammar is, as always, not my strong suite and my ability to describe certain people and places is about as suspect as always....

...BUT, I write action better than most and I'm in my element more when the shit hits the fans (which obviously cant happen until late in the story) so when I get to the good part, I'm off and running. I like the end result, its a radical departure from the source story I wrote back in the day....and  most importantly: I finished a major project. Net win!

NaNoWriMo minimum, plus an extra 10k for good measure.


[Demons Ascension - Amy] 

           The bar was one of those typical sports bars, which James wouldn't have minded except it was filled with Chicago sports paraphernalia. There were White Sox and Cubs pennants in equal representation, as if the bar picking one side over the other would offend someone. James figured they'd pick the White Sox for the same reason most bars in New York backed the Yankees overwhelmingly over the Mets; it's less embarrassing that way. Then there were the numerous Bears decorations that irked James more than the indecisive baseball battle. There was a large neon sign in the back that read "This is Bears Country!" and a football helmet hanging over it. Next to it was an oversized cheese grater, which James figures had some asinine connection to the team. There were hanging basketball photos and a Blackhawks sign that just seemed out of place. All in all, James figured this bar was still better than a typical trip to UNOs.
            James had spent most of the $40 Bradford had given him when he felt a tap on his shoulder. It didn't seem like John, so James didn't turn around. "Here to make me look crazy some more?" he asked aloud as Amy helped herself to the seat across from him. "Sorry," she said "But you never really gave me a chance to explain."
            The bartender wasn't paying him much attention and it was still a good hour before people would pour in from work, leaving James some privacy in his little corner of the bar. They were in a booth in the back, a cheap stain glass lamp hung overhead and a signed photo of Frank Thomas looked down on them from the wall. "Am I just drunk and am imagining you?" James asked "Or is this some deeper psychological problem that I should get some pills for?"
            "You're not crazy," Amy said.
            "And you're not a lawyer, or whatever you're trying to pass yourself off as," James said back.
            "I'm whatever I'm needed as."
            "What were you doing hanging around Kenton?"
            "Keeping an eye on him. He doesn't have long. I'm just making sure he doesn't die in vain."
            "And will he?"
            "That depends on how you proceed from here."
            "What the hell are you?"
            "Right now, I'm a friend, because that's what you need right now."
            "Cute, but right now I need an honest friend...or more importantly a lead...or at the very least one of my usual strippers."
            "What if I told you this wasn't a simple string of murders?"
            "You mentioned something like that before, but I do find it odd that the concept of murdering itself is simple to you."
            "The reasons people give for killing are usually simple, the actions themselves are simple. The forces that drive the need to kill often are so petty it makes me cry when I think about it."
            "You know, for someone who talks about simplicity, you sure act in convoluted ways. How come only I can see you?"
            "Rickey could see me too."
            "Great, I'm in the same boat as a man crying that he'll be put on head meds. I'm in fantastic company."
            "I come and go as needed,  but I'm not invisible to certain people. My mere presence isn't suppose to be allowed here."
            "Allowed by who? What are you even risking?"
            "The fate of everything hinges on your ability to prevent him from completing his task, from finishing the ritual."
            "Stop being cryptic," James said as he gripped his bottle "Tell me who's doing this. Who am I trying to stop?"
            Amy shook her head "I dare not speak his name, and even if I did, it wouldn't help you find him," she said "And I could not help you find him. He masks his presence wherever he goes."
            "Naturally," James said as he sat back and finished his beer "So you look for me, tell me I'm important and that this case is way bigger than anyone is guessing, and then proceed to tell me nothing of importance. Real nice Amy."
            "Rickey told you the truth," Amy said as she grabbed a napkin and pulled out a pen to draw with "And you can be skeptical about the gunshots, but he did try to run someone down in his car."
            "Then tell me how the man could do something like that? How can a mere man completely total a car just by standing in the way?"
            "Because he wasn't simply a man," Amy said with a flat look as she drew "Not at that moment."
            "What was he?"
            "Something more. Something unholy."
            "How are the police suppose to take this guy in then?"
            "Oh, he's quite harmless now. But they're worrying about the man who killed those three people, when the man behind it all is the one that needs stopping."
            "Wait, there're more people involved? It's not just one guy?"
            "I can't stay," Amy said as she placed the pen down and rose."
            "What do you mean?" James asked as he went to follow.
            "Once he becomes strong enough, I won't be able to cross back over."
            "Say what?"
            "All I can do for now is watch over Rickey until he passes."
            "Amy, give me a name. Give me something to go one!" James yelled as he grabbed Amy by the arm. Amy looked back at him with fear in her eyes. "He'll have someone killed again soon enough, I can feel it," she said as she yanked her arm free "Until then, look for his symbol and put the pieces together."
            With that, Amy disappeared out the door. James was behind her by maybe two seconds, but she was nowhere to be seen on the street when he looked. He went back into the bar and looked at the bartender. "You saw her too, right?" he asked as the bartender nodded. "You should probably buy her a drink next time," he said with a smirk "And probably work on some better pick up lines."
            James ignored him and returned to his booth. He didn't really feel like drinking anymore and he was pissed off about his talk with Amy. The way she made it sound, the devil himself was behind everything. There was something else she wasn't saying, but whatever it was, she was scared to death of it. Either way, none of that was going to fly with John and Bradford, at least not without a little proof.
            James looked down at the napkin Amy had been drawing on. There were small markings all over it that James couldn't make out but the most prominent part of it was the large lines scratched out on it forming a C that hand a line drawn horizontally through the middle of it. None of it looked familiar but James guessed that this was the symbol Amy had been talking about. "The crazy in this case is going through the roof now, isn't it?" he said to himself as he pocketed the napkin and ordered another beer.

December 15, 2013

Demons Ascension - Rickey

[Posted by Ted H]

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeey.........Working way too much last couple weeks for any real writing. So close to the finale though, Imma try to wrap it up by years end. Til then though, I've build up quite the backlog of updates...gotta love NaNoWriMo!


[Demons Ascension - Rickey]

            The hospital was going to make James sick. It always did. It never matter where the hospital was or who was in it at the time, James would always feel like crap within a few days and be out of commission for a few more days. Every time he recovered he vowed never to step foot in a hospital ever again, though he always found some convoluted reason to go back.
            James didn't have a police badge to flash, so he had to wear a visitors pass in the form of a sticker they printed off with his drivers license photo and name. He felt like it was one of those "uninfected" badges some people had to wear in the one horror movie he saw once. He wanted to breath exclusively through a rag or any sort of filter but he knew he'd get looks for it. Better now to just suck it up and grind through whatever disease he gets from this visit.
            Rickey Kenton was still being kept in the Intensive Care Unit. From the snippets of conversations James could pick up from other cops on his way in, it seems Kenton was in a bad way and wasn't going to walk again. James thought back to the car wreck and wondered how Kenton managed to even survive. One cop had remarked about how karma caught up with Kenton so James assumed that car accidents were nothing new to Rickey.
            "How do you feel about wearing a wire?" Bradford asked as they stopped in the middle of the hall. ""Am I undercover all of a sudden?" James asked "I thought I was just going to talk to the guy."
            "This guy knows something. You going in there might be our only chance to get him to open up."
            "What's this guys deal? History wise?"
            "Typical punk shit, priors all the bay back to when his balls dropped. The guy is scum and we're suppose to coddle him while a killer runs loose."
            "Damn human rights," James said sarcastically "If only we could just torture him."
            "You think it's funny, but it's shit like this that always impedes an investigation."
            "Just let me work some magic," James said with a smile as he walked into the ICU and tracked down Rickey Kenton's room. The only cop around was the one standing outside the room. "You have five minutes," Bradford said as me nodded towards the other cop. "You guys won't be listening?" James asked. "Our budget doesn't allow for NSA style spy gear," Bradford said "So unless you talk loud, we won't hear much."
            "Good to know," James said as he walked in and slid the door closed behind him. The door was glass so James slid a curtain in the way for some privacy. James turned to get a good look at Rickey, who seemed to be entirely encased in a body cast. His left arm hung free of any confines and his forehead was wrapped. Every time he moved his jaw James could hear small cracks sound. Neither eye opened fully, and the entire right side of his face was purple and swollen.
            "Hello, Rickey," James said as he took a step forward.
            "I'm not talking..." Rickey mumbled, almost as if he was trying to wake up "Not talking to you."
            "It's ok, Rickey," a female voice said from the bathroom. James looked over to see the blond woman from before come out and rush to Rickey's side. She sat down next to him and put her hands on his free arm. "This man is here to help," she said.
            "You his girlfriend or something?" James asked.
            "Lawyer," Rickey said with clarity as he opened his eyes and attempted to sit up "I don't say shit without my lawyer. If Amy isn't around, I don't talk."
            "Good to know you have a name, Amy," James said as Amy smiled and turned away. "Mine's Blake. You can call me James though. No other friends or family looking to visit you, Rickey?"
            "Ain't got none. Not from around here originally."
            "Where you from then?"
            Rickey squinted his eyes a little as he looked back at James. "You must not be a cop or you'd know that already," he said. He turned to look at Amy, who only smiled and motioned back to James with her eyes. He looked back and said "Brooklyn."
            "No kidding," James said "You know a guy named Sully Sallome?"
            "Look, I know he wasn't based in Brooklyn, but everybody knew Sully."
            "I don't know what you're talking about."
            "I'm asking if you knew him. This isn't an interrogation."
            "I didn't know him long. He left the city."
            "Yeah, he didn't go far though, just upstate. That's where I met him. Kinda the reason why I'm here now."
            "You owe him money?"
            "Little bit. Nothing I can't pay him back and he knows it."
            "Man, you run all the way out here to avoid Sully, don't matter. He'll find you and beat you for making him look."
            "Oh I'm not running. I'm out here to get me the cash I need and then some, which brings me to you. But at least I know you know Sully. But have you ever met his daughter?"
            Rickey whistled "Few people get that kind of chance."
            "But when you do," James said with a smile "She defiantly makes it worth your while."
            Rickey fought it for a minute but eventually smiled, causing James to chuckle. "Yeah, you met her," he said as Rickey finally coughed out a laugh. "Dirty, little slut," he said. "Oh I'm thankful she is," James said as he dug out a pack of cigarettes "Otherwise I'd have trouble spending my money some nights." Amy was not amused by the conversation.
            "You smoke?" James asked as he offered his pack. "I would kill for one," Rickey said as he looked at the pack like a dog does to a treat. "Funny you should say that," James said as he lit a cigarette and stuck it in Rickey's waiting mouth then lit one up for himself "Because word on the street says you tried to kill a guy your car...and it didn't end well...well, it's not so much the street...only I'm saying it, but people are probably thinking it."
            Rickey shook his head and looked to Amy. "I don't wanna do this anymore," he said as Amy took the cigarette from his mouth. "He can only help if you tell him," she said as James opened a window and blew smoke out. "Tell me everything that happened that night in the alley," James said. "They're gonna put me on meds for this. They'll think I'm crazy," Rickey said as Amy ran her hand over his head to calm him. "I'm not a cop. Nothing you say here will get you in trouble with the law," James said as he flicked ash out the window "Just tell me what happened to you and your friends."
            Rickey waited a moment and took back his cigarette before he began. "So, the three of us, Tony, Mickey and I, we kinda have this thing where we, ya know, rob people and meet up afterwards."
            "You meet up in the same place every time?" James asked.
            "Nah, we always mix it up. Never the same place twice."
            "Who decides where you guys go?"
            "Usually Tony."
            So, this night we were meeting up like always, comparing hauls, when this guy shows up. We don't know him, but he knew Mickey. Freaked the hell out of all of us. We pulled our guns, but he just kept coming, so we shot him. All three of us, one shit, none of us missed...none of us missed."
            Rickey took a moment to stare off at that last thought. "What did he look like?" James asked "Can you describe this guy?" Rickey snapped out of it and looked back to James. "Yeah," he said "He was tall, kinda. Had long, black hair in front of his face, couldn't get a good look."
            "What was he wearing?" James asked. Rickey shrugged with his one arm. "I dunno," he said "Guy was wearing a big ass trench coat. Dark too, cuz we couldn't see him very well at first." James' eyes narrowed as he dug his hand into his pocket.
            "So you shot this guy," James said "Then what happened?"
            "I took off for the car," Rickey said "I knew someone might've heard the gunshots so I wasn't sticking around for no cops."
            "The others go with you?"
            "Nah. Tony wanted to loot the body or some shit. Mickey was too freaked to do anything right then. I was gonna get the car and swing back for 'em. When I drove back though, that guy was back on his feet and had Mickey by the throat."
            "And Tony?"
            "On the ground. He wasn't moving and didn't look good."
            "This guy, he had to be strong, right?"
            "To hold Mick up? Hell yeah. Mickey ain't exactly underweight, and to hold him in the air like that, guy was no slouch."
            "What did you do?"
            "Guy needed running over."
            "You...decided to drive right into him?"
            "Gonna splatter his guts all over the alley."
            "What about Mickey?"
            "For all I knew, Mickey was already dead."
            "What if he wasn't?"
            "Look, I never said it was the smartest plan in the world. Besides, the way I planned it, mystery man would've taken the brunt of the hit."
            "Didn't work out so well for you, did it?"
            "I don't remember. Next thing I know, I'm in here with cops crawling up my ass. Tony and Mick are dead and I got a nice prison cell waiting for me."
            "Probably," James said as he took his hand out of his pocket and produced the fabric. "This look familiar?" he asked as Rickey looked at it. "This the trench coat the guy was wearing?" Rickey nodded. "Where'd you get that?" he asked.
            "Your car," James said as he put the fabric back in his pocket "Or what's left of it. Good news is you might actually be telling the truth."
            "What's the bad news then?"
            "Bad news is apparently Superman is the killer."
            "You think I'm crazy now, huh?"
            "Well...your story fits better than anything I can come up with. And the police have I'm not ready to call you crazy just yet."
            "Thanks, I guess."
            "Could you at least give a sketch artist a try? To describe the man in the alley?"
            Rickey thought about it a moment before speaking "I'll think about it. Maybe if they entice me."
            James shrugged "Good enough for me," he said as he tossed his cigarette out the window and went to leave "I'll let them know."
            James stepped out and headed for Bradford. "Waste of time?" he asked as James shrugged. "The fabric I found came from your killer. Any DNA hits?"
            "Two hits. One of which I bet is you. Neither is in our database," Bradford said as the two headed for the elevators. "Anything else?"
            "Tall guy, has long, dark hair and is probably real strong. Defiantly wearing something like kevlar so he ain't no slouch."
            "You got all that out of Kenton? Damn. Fucker could barely mumble at us that he wasn't gonna talk."
            "Talked fine for me. Probably played up the invalid speech to keep you from bothering."
            "I bet. Can't wait until we can find something that'll stick and nail his ass for life."
            "Right. Anyway, you should probably send in a sketch artist to get the description."
            "Because he's gonna just jump at the opportunity to cooperate now."
            "I think he just wanted someone to listen to him without thinking he was nuts. Out of context his story sounds odd, but with a little logic, everything fits...almost."
            "Everything points to Kenton trying to run over the killer in the alley, but conventional wisdom states that the car isn't suppose to lose that kind of confrontation."
            "Probably a drug haze."
            "Something on his toxicology?"
            "Yeah, not enough to endure quite the hallucination but I asked them to run it again."
            "Whatever, just run some sort of enticement his way to give you guys the sketch."
            "Watch how fast we run," Bradford said sarcastically.
            "At least try something while his lawyer is still here," James said but received an odd look from Bradford. "What?" he asked.
            "What lawyer?" Bradford asked.
            "The woman who was in there with us," James said "Amy?"
            "There was no one else in there besides you and Kenton."
            "She's still in there, go see her."
            "Blake, there is no woman in there."
            James stuck his arms in the air and motioned back to Rickey's room. He was about to walk back there when Bradford stuck his hand up to stop him. "Look," Bradford said "We're going to get the sketch from him. Just take it easy for now." James shook his head in annoyance. "So what's our next move?" he asked.
            "Our next move?" Bradford asked with an eyebrow arched. "You don't need to do anything anymore. I thank you for your help, but let the proper authorities take it from here."
            "Well, you were my ride, so I figured..."
            Bradford pulled two twenty dollar bills out and handed them to James. "There's a bar down the road," he said "Just, hang out there and enjoy yourself. I'll call Praque and have him pick you up there. Just stay out of the way." He then motioned a couple officers to escort James away, then turned and walked back towards Rickey's room.

November 30, 2013

Demons Ascension - Homeless Man Alley (NaNoWriMo update #8)

[Posted by Ted H]

Ah, the final day of November. While I didn't have any need to write today, I decided to add a little bit to my word count just for kicks. The novel is almost done, Imma try to wrap the whole thing up by years end. I'm looking at a 60k word count, which would easily make it my biggest *finished* product. Enjoy for now...

Final status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 51,004 / 50,000
Goal reached on: November 28th


[Demons Ascension - Homeless Man Alley]

            They did not go right to the hospital. Bradford wasn't ready just yet to meet up with a possibly noncompliant witness. John was gone and James found himself with nothing to do. He decided to take a walk while waiting for Bradford to show up. James pulled his coat closed and started walking around the block. It seemed to have only gotten colder since last night. It was after two and the sun was blocked out by a thick block of clouds, putting a dimmed haze over the world.
            James buried his hands into his pockets and turned down a busy sidewalk, people blindly shouldering passed him without a thought as he walked. He wondered if anyone noticed or cared that he was trying to solve this mystery killer who was seemingly targeting almost anyone. Each person James saw looked like a potential victim. A waitress and a street thug were dead, what was to say a banker or a cashier wouldn't be next?
            Most of the people walking by James had been ignoring him. He glanced at each face and wondered what made each of them think they were safe. As he approached a homeless looking man on the ground by an alley, James figured that guy would be the easiest kind of victim. He wondered that if the killer was trying to kill people as part of a ritual, than why not just hunt down homeless, unless there was a purpose for each person killed?
            Unlike the other people James had been looking at, this homeless looking guy noticed him and looked right back at him with a quizzical look on his face. "Do you...want a dollar?" James asked as the homeless guy slowly rose to his feet and backed into the alley. James decided to follow the man down the alley a little. He found it odd how the man reacted to him, perhaps he was just surprised that someone was actually looking at him. James didn't know how Chicago people treated their homeless, but it couldn't be much worse than anywhere else. He lived in New York for a while and at least there people might give a half hearted toss of some pocket change.
            James watched the homeless man turn the corner down the alley. James continued despite getting a feeling that something wasn't right. As he turned the corner there was a dead end, but no homeless man. At first James thought this was one of those traps he read about where a bunch of people lure someone down an alley and mug him by surprise, but there was no trap. There was nowhere to hide in this alley. No oversized dumpster, no debris, no door to run through, nothing. The end of the alley was boxed in by multiple buildings and there were no doors or windows into any of them.
            "Right," James said as he slowly turned around to leave. He was just going to walk back to the diner and wait for Bradford. Standing in the alley behind him now was a woman. "Are you homeless too?" James asked as the woman smiled. She was dressed more properly than a homeless person and had bright blond hair and blue eyes. "No one is truly homeless," she said as she nodded her head forward.
            "Well if you're following that homeless guy," James said as he walked around the woman "I don't know what to tell you. He just really wants to be alone."
            "You weren't suppose to be able to see him is all," the woman said as she started to follow James out.
            "Look, I know the homeless are invisible and all, but even I thought that sounded cold."
            "That's not important. What is important is you."
            "I'm sorry. You must have me mistaken. Who are you?"
            "Who I am is not important. What is-"
            "Yeah, I'm important, I got that."
            James returned to the sidewalk and began back to the diner. The woman kept pace. "I'm not mistaken, James Blake. You are who I'm looking for. It's just taken a while to get you alone."
            "What can I say? I'm popular."
            "You don't seem surprised that I know who you are."
            "I'm sure you have your ways."
            "You know what I am?"
            "No, but I don't care. If I did, I could probably figure it out. If I had to guess right now, I'd say reporter."
            "What makes you think they're ritual slayings?"
            "So you are media. Isn't there suppose to be a camera man nearby?"
            "I'm not a reporter, James. I just need you to know just how deep this rabbit hole goes."
            "Cute, but I'm gonna stop talking to you now."
            "This is more than just some nut running around killing people."
            "Maybe you didn't hear me," James said as he lit a cigarette "But I'm done talking."
            "Well that's a relief," Bradford said as he walked towards James through the crowd. "Detective," James said as he blew smoke "Are we finally ready?" Bradford shrugged. "As ready as I can be," he said as he looked around James "Who were you talking to before?" James turned to point out the blond haired woman but she wasn't behind him anymore. "Um," James said "I think it was some reporter. Now I'm thinking ninja."
            "Please don't talk to the media," Bradford said "Ever. Now let's go."

November 28, 2013

Demons Ascension - Bradford (NaNoWriMo update #7)

[Posted by Ted H]

Greetings once again from a little place I'd like to call the winners circle!

I got work soon so I'll keep this short, as of this second, I have 50,001 words for the month of November (1 more for good measure). I plan on writing more in the coming weeks since I'm on the verge of the grand finale, but Imma just sit back and enjoy this nice victory.

Looking back on this NaNoWriMo and the previous win in 2011 (2012 didn't count, dammit) I can say I never write the same way twice. In 2011, I got off to a nice early lead and cruised to the win, barely adding to my word count once the 50K mark was reached...This year was an up and down affair, never having the luxury of cruising or taking an easy day. There were a couple days where I hit 3000 maybe 4000 words because I was either playing catch up or trying to get ahead in advance of a few days where I knew I wouldn't get much writing in.

Either way, I can't wait for next year and can only imagine what story Ill have in my head to use for the 50K challenge. other news, I've changed the title of the book. "Demonic Investigator" was only a working title and I was never too happy with it. Demons Ascension sounds better in my mind, so that's the title....and I did a google search this time. While "Safe Haven" wasn't an original title in the world, "Demons Ascension" seems to be untouched.
...I originally wanted to rename it to "Demonic Ascension" but that's the title of a Magic the Gathering expansion or something...whatever...a title is a title, it's the substance that's important.


[Demons Ascension - Bradford]
            John refused to let James meet with Detective Bradford in the middle of the police station, so instead they staked him out in the diner down the road he likes to frequent for lunch. John went to Brittany's home to help out, leaving James at his request so he could have at the detective alone. James downed multiple cups of coffee before a black man in a suit and trench coat entered and sat down in a nearby booth. James stood up and walked over.
            "I didn't think detectives did the whole trench coat cliché anymore," he said as he sat down across from Bradford. "You must be Praque's friend I heard so much about," Bradford said as he signaled to a waitress and simply ordered for his usual. "So I take it you know why I'm here," James said with a grin "And I'm gonna assume you know all about my history by now."
            "I'm a detective," Bradford said as a waitress poured him a cup of coffee "Of course I know all about your history. I've heard two different versions of that story however and I'm curious as to which one is more accurate."
            "Yes. Praque tells it as you being a concerned friend who wanted to catch a killer out of the kindness of your heart. The Cazenovia Police Department meanwhile painted you as a heartless narcissist with no respect for the justice system, let alone other people."
            "And the version you lean more towards?"
            "I know Praque. He tends to be a little melodramatic but he'd never over sell the details of a case. And I'd have to take the official C.P.D. story with a grain of salt since they originally arrested and charged the wrong man in the murder and called it case closed."
            "I'll take that as a slight vote of confidence."
            "Just answer me this. You killed the murderer when confronting her. Why? Is it because she shot you first?"
            "She did shoot me, yeah, but she dropped the gun. John was there, he wrestled the gun away from her but she had a knife or something that he didn't see. So there I am on the ground, weak and bleeding, while John's getting stabbed. At the time I didn't see much other choice."
            "I'm sure Miss Daniels' parents understood," Bradford said sarcastically.
            "The girl, Suzan Daniels, was the murderer you shot. Maybe the narcissist claims weren't inaccurate after all."
            "Leslie Tomko."
            "One of Suzan Daniels victims?"
            "You know how she died, but do you know why?"
            "They never did get the why out of Daniels on account of her being dead."
            "She was a loose end. Suzan was feeling the pressure and offed Leslie in an attempt to stay undiscovered. In the time it would have taken me and John to go to the proper authorities with what we knew and have them get to turn their investigation away from what was us at the time to Suzan, who knew what Suzan would've done to stay hidden. That's why we confronted her directly and right away. Well, John wasn't too sure at the time, he was just following me. And the cops were hot on our trail so they weren't far behind us, so we were actually saving a lot of time."
            "You confronted her knowing she had a gun?"
            "Well...Honestly, I forgot all about her having a gun at the time. I paid for that blunder. Trust me, I'll never forget about a gun again."
            Bradford looked down and slowly nodded his head before looking back at James. "Well Praque's a good guy and I trust him. If I didn't, I'd have already had you arrested for interfering with a police investigation."
            "I guess that means you like me," James said with a smile.
            "But, I hope you realize I can't have you running around crime scenes and involving yourself, police escort or not."
            "C'mon, it's not like I'm doing any damage. And I found that one clue, right?"
            "It's funny. I checked in with the morgue before coming here and they said a Dr. Blake was there earlier, ripped open the corpse of Tony Allanson and left it that way when he left."
            "Yeah, I never was good at sewing."
            "...Because that's the part I'm mad at, right?"
            "Look, I can be useful. But right now all I can do is play from behind and figure out stuff you already know. And some things I can't know because you've already collected the clues and John doesn't know about them."
            "Is that why you want to talk to me?"
            "If I know what you know, then maybe we can knock our heads together and crack this."
            "And what police training do you have that'll make you invaluable?"
            "You know, most people don't even solve one murder crime in their lifetimes."
            "And this is a different type of case."
            "And I'm a different type of guy."
            "...Wow," Bradford said with a smile, trying to process the arrogance in front of him.

            "Just let me show you why John thinks I'm the greatest."
            Bradford sighed and waited a moment. before speaking. "You have until I'm done with my coffee to impress me."
            "But...didn't you order food?"
            "You're looking at my 'usual' lunch order."
            "Ok...well, just remember this place give free refills."
            "So what can you theorize based on what you've seen?"
            "Two major victims were killed the same way, I'd say in ritualistic fashion-"
            "What makes you say that? Posing the bodies like Jesus doesn't make it a ritual."
            "Cuts in the exact same places, the missing hearts? You're calling that run of the mill?"
            "Jack the Ripper took the heart out of his last victim."
            "Yeah, he took the heart of the last one. Anne Chapman, Liz Stride, Eddows and Nichols? Their hearts remained."
            "Well he took the liver from one of them."
            "Point is, Jack the Ripper was constantly escalating his murders, upping the ante every time. First was simply slitting the throat, then a throat slit and some mutilation, climaxing with the complete mutilation of Mary Kelly. Our guy now though? Same murder twice. Stab in the abdomen, drain the body and cut out the heart."
            "You're saying our murderer is intentionally draining all the blood from their victims?"
            "Every cut made has a purpose. The bodies were handled post mortem? Better to drain the corpse with a few dozen well placed cuts."
            "Maybe the hearts are mementos. Our killer might want souvenirs of his victims."
            "Doesn't fit with the draining. Takes too long to risk unless it's vital to what you're trying to do. You're also looking for a big, strong person."
            "Why strong?"
            "We were looking at the same victims, right? Their ribs were twisted and snapped off to give our killer access to the heart."
            "Access to the proper tools could do the trick."
            "Show me such a tool and I'll go home right now."
            "How long is that offer on the table?"
            "What we need is a link between Stephanie Praque and Mickey Williams."
            "We've got nothing there. As far as I can tell you, they've lived two completely different lives."
            "There's a connection. Somewhere those two crossed paths."
            "There doesn't need to be a relation. BTK picked people at random, the only connection any of those people had was they were all killed by the same man."
            "M.O. varies too much between victims. BTK waited for you in your own home. That might fly with Stephanie, but this guy went after Williams in an alley with two other people present. By the way, what's the deal with Rickey?"
            "He's awake, just not talking."
            "Are you serious?"
            "He and his buddies were already prime suspects for some muggings that took place that night. We have him handcuffed to his bed but he refused to answer questions. All he does is plead the fifth and demands a lawyer."
            "This guy might be able to help you track down a killer and you're gonna let him keep his mouth shut. Give him a plea deal or immunity."
            "District Attorney won't play ball. Rickey Kenton was wanted for multiple GTAs and robberies and he's the prime suspect in a separate homicide investigation."
            "Then it's a good thing I'm here," James said with a smile "I'm not a cop. I don't need to worry about procedure or anything, and maybe Rickey will talk to me without worrying about what he says to a cop."
            "And what makes you think I'll let you within ten feet of Kenton?"
            "Because it's either this or you go back to having no leads."
            "We have fingerprints from the first crime scene."
            "And if they matched anything in your system, then you wouldn't be in a diner talking to a civilian, hoping he can give you a clue you've been missing before you unceremoniously send him on his way with your little "tell me everything you know while I drink coffee" game."
            "Ok...Maybe you are as smart as Praque says...maybe," Bradford said as he finished his coffee and stood up.
            "What can I say? I'm not as dumb as I look."
            "Let's go to the hospital then."

November 25, 2013

Demonic Investigator - Work-Friendzoned (NaNoWriMo update #6)

[Posted by Ted H]

This next part is a little quick, so I'm gonna go right ahead and post it right after the last part...
In other news, I checked my stats this year against my stats from 2011 when I last won NaNoWriMo and found out Im ahead of that pace for 50K. So despite my roller coaster year with word counts constantly going over and under the expected pace, Im now on track for an easy win...hopefully.

Current status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 45,557 / 50,000 (4,443 to go!)
At this rate, my 50,000th word will come on: November 28th

Join me!


[Demonic Investigator - Work-Friendzoned]

           "So..." John started as he and James rode the elevator up "What did you think of Elizabeth?" James sighed "I think she's a ditz," he said "And either she misplaced some body parts, or you apparently neglected to inform me of the amount of organized crazy that this case is rocking."
            "Yeah, the killer took their hearts."
            "He didn't simply take their hearts. He ripped them open, practically with bare hands. So unless the Incredible Hulk is our killer-"
            "Look, I know this whole case is nuts, but no one here has any clue of where to go on this. That's why I brought you in. This isn't Cazenovia, the cops here are some of the best and even they can't figure it out. I don't know if you were expecting things to be easy or what."
            "Anything come back on that fabric I found last night?"
            "Nothing conclusive. A lot of oil from the car, but defiantly no DNA to work with."
            The elevator stopped and the two got off. "Look," James said "If you want me to be of any use, I need to know everything now, and I mean every last detail, right down to the seemingly insignificant."
            "I'm giving you everything I know," John protested.
            "Not good enough."
            "Well I don't know how else to help you."
            "I need to talk to this Bradford guy."
            "Absolutely not."
            "Look, we're going to run into this guy eventually. Might as well do it now. At the very least we can get the awkward introductions out of the way."
            "This is such a bad idea."
            "You want my perspective? Kinda hard to do a good job when I'm running around behind everyone and trying to read cold clues and heartless corpses."
            "Fine, we'll talk to Bradford. But for the record, I hate this idea."
            "I'm gonna catch your sisters killer because of this. I think you'll manage."
            John said nothing for a moment before deciding to change the subject. "So anyway, about Elizabeth..."
            "Not interested in you," James said before John had a chance to finish.
            "Well what makes you say that?"
            "She's giving you professional courtesy out the ass, but she still only refers to you as "Officer Praque" as opposed to just "John" meaning she doesn't see you as anything more than a workplace friend. I got the same attitude from her despite just meeting her. So either she's a really easy lay, or you've been work-friendzoned."
            "I need to stop talking to you."

November 24, 2013

Demonic Investigator - The Morgue (NaNoWriMo Update #5)

We are entering the final week of this little challenge, and I am finally hitting my stride, which is great because I work retail, and black Friday will allow me 0 time to write. I wanna be done with this by Thanksgiving, or at least have a healthy enough lead where I wont need much more to hit 50k by the end day.

I've also determined a little checklist I inadvertently need to accomplish in all my novels...
-Gratuitous female nudity
-Guns guns guns!
-Excessive swearing
-Boom! Headshot!
-Default Will Death

As I was writing today, I noticed the female nudity mark hadn't been checked off for this novel...
...done and done!

...I could have excessive male nudity. But I did that in That One Night and Im still regretting it.

Current status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 43,354 / 50,000 (6,646 to go!)
At this rate, my 50,000th word will come on: November 28th

Join me!

[Demonic Investigator - The Morgue] 

           The morgue was cold. If not for the hot coffee James had from a gas station, there would have been a problem. "You guys should invest in a space heater down here," he said as a blond haired woman entered with a clipboard on top of a stack of folders in her arms. "Detective Praque," she said with a warm smile "What brings you down to my little den today?"
            "Elizabeth," John said, returning the smile "Just here to see if there's anything new on the Williams murder." James figured that was a flimsy excuse to get to the body, but Elizabeth only smiled and flipped through some of the folders she held. "Nothing new to mention. Just as disgusting to look at as any other dead body." James rolled his eyes as John approached the medical examiner. "We'd like to take another look at it if you don't mind," he said, using as much charm as he could muster.
            "Why?" Elizabeth asked "And who is this guy?" James was getting sick of hearing that question. "This is James. He's-" John began but James stepped in and cut him off.
            "I'm Dr. James Blake," James said as he extended his hand "Emphasis on the doctor part." Elizabeth tilted her head and smiled as she shook James' hand. "Detective Praque asked me personally to step in and offer my assistance in this case," James continued "As a personal friend, how could I say no?"
            "Well, any friend of Detective Praque is a friend of mine Dr. Blake," Elizabeth said as she crossed the room and retrieved the body of Mickey Williams. "So how do you know Praque?" Elizabeth asked as she finished placing Williams on the examination table "I've never heard him talk about you before." James gave off a fake hearty laugh, one of those laughs that pretentious doctor types love to make as if they're incapable of laughing like a commoner. "He's too modest, that's all," James said "He ever tell the story of how he saved my life?"
            "He saved your life? How?" Elizabeth asked with a light in her eyes. "Yeah James, how?" John asked with a bewildered look on his face. "Well...uh..." James started "I can't tell the story as good as John does. Why don't you two step outside and enjoy the tale while I work in here?" Elizabeth lit up at the idea. "I'm gonna need you to wait outside," James said to John. "Why?" John asked. "If you could Liz," James said to Elizabeth, ignoring John "Could you also set up the first victim too?" Elizabeth searched her papers and gasped when she saw the name. "John, I'm so sorry, I completely forgot," she said as John quickly walked out.
            "He'll be fine," James said "Now, is it possible to set her up on the other table?" Elizabeth quickly set up Stephanie's body next to Mickey without saying a word. "Make sure he tells you the long version," James said as Elizabeth made for the exit. She gave one final smile before exiting, leaving James alone with two dead bodies.
            "I was in a bar watching football the other night," James said as he stood by the corpse of Mickey Williams "How the hell did I end up here?" He checked the notes on the autopsy. "Bled out through wound in the chest," he mumbled as he scanned the report "Extensive damage done postmortem." He cocked an eyebrow as he reread the final part. "Extensive? What qualifies as extensive?" he said as he pulled the sheet off from the body and got a look at the damage.
            The entire chest cavity was open and exposed. "This is not how you close an autopsy," James said as he scanned through the report some more. He studied the accompanying photos and then checked over the body of Stephanie. Each of them had their organs bagged up in the chest cavity, part of a standard autopsy, but as James went over both sets, he couldn't account for either persons heart.
            "I wonder," James mumbled to himself as he did a little searching and found the drawer that contained the body of Tony Allanson. Unlike the other bodies, his chest cavity had been sewn up like a normal autopsy. James dug out his knife and cut the chest back open and began searching the organ bags. His heart however was included. James looked for Tony's file in the pile Elizabeth had left behind. His report gave him a different death than the others. While Mickey and Stephanie had died from bleeding out through the gaping holes in their chest, Tony had his entire midsection sliced open from the bottom of his torso up to his throat, killing him almost instantly.
            The damage done to Tony matched up to the stab wound in Mickey's stomach, so the killer used the same weapon on both men. A different knife had been used on Stephanie, but the style remained the same. Both main victims were stabbed in the stomach before having their rib cages ripped off and their hearts removed. Their bodies were also riddled with slashed applied postmortem which allowed their blood to drain almost entirely. Afterwards their bodies would be positioned and left to be discovered.
            Neither bodies had any defensive wounds or any DNA on them that would lead to a suspect. He checked their teeth and their fingernails to no avail. The ribs had been removed, not with a tool like James first thought, but one by one by force, each bone awkwardly bent and snapped. James wasn't even sure if such a feat was possible, at least not able to be done quickly without being discovered.
            "This is crazy," James said as he flipped through all the paperwork again, making sure he wasn't reading anything wrong. "John," he called as he left the morgue "John, what kind of case did you give me?"

November 21, 2013

Demonic Investigator - Packing the Dead (NaNoWriMo Update #4)

[Posted by Ted H]

So...I fell waaaaay behind this week, only to rally at the last second and get back on track. My ears have smoke coming out of them, but I'm back on schedule and that makes everything groovy.

My aim is to be done by thanksgiving, since between work and other stuff, ill never have enough time to write. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are gonna be big for me...

Current status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 35,036 / 50,000 (14,964 to go!)
At this rate, my 50,000th word will come on: November 30th

Join Me!

[Demonic Investigator - Packing the Dead]

            The ride over to the sister's house was another quiet one. James didn't think this was easy for John, but it was defiantly necessary. The house was out on the outskirts of the city near the suburbs. The house was a single story with a small front porch that had a lounge chair nearby. A small tree was towering over the roof, providing shade over most of the front yard. The only thing to indicate that this tranquil looking house had a problem was the police notice on the front door forbidding unauthorized entry.
            James looked back down at the picture of the sister as he and John stood outside the car while James smoked a cigarette. "What was her name?" he asked as he pocketed it. "Stephanie," John said while staring straight ahead at the house, but his mind was anywhere else but on the task at hand. A million other places on earth he would rather be and instead he was outside the one place he'd rather avoid. He looked comfortable last night in the alley, like standing in the middle of a bloodbath was no big deal; typical every day stuff. But here, he was hesitant to even walk towards the house.
            James intentionally waited for John to make the first move when they arrived. He stalled with a cigarette and when he finished, he looked at John and waited. John never moved, so James smoked another cigarette. He considered smoking a third when he instead looked to John and said "Well?" It was cold, the fall air threatened to give way to snow any day now and the sun was blocked out by gray clouds as it rose, keeping the air quite bitter.
            "Well?" James said again, this time loud enough to snap John out of his thoughts. "We going or what?" John let off a long sigh and walked forward, searching his pocket for keys. As they approached the front step, the front door began to open and both men froze. "Anyone home?" James asked. "Not suppose to be," John said as he reached for his side where his pistol was.
            The door slowly opened to reveal a woman with long brown hair that went passed her shoulders and bright blue eyes. The same smile wasn't there, instead replaced by a frown that went with the sorrowful look in her eyes. She was older than in the picture by several years and had multiple piercings in her ears as opposed to the clean look in the picture.
            "You're not supposed to be here, Brittany," John said as he walked forward and gave his sister a hug. "Who is that?" she asked as James made his way to the door. "A friend," John said as they all walked into the house "He's here to help. Why are you here though?"
            "Lyle dropped me off. I just wanted to grab a few things, and pack others up," Brittany said as James wandered into the living room and noted a number of packed boxes in the middle of the room. Random items were strewn about near the boxes. Whatever Brittany came to do, memories stopped her in her tracks.
            James remembered when his mother died and how his father set out to pack up her pottery stuff from the basement. It was easily a two hour task, but it ended up taking him several months. He would pack a few things up, then dwell on a particular piece she had made for hours on end before finally placing it in a box and just leaving the room. Sometimes if James was around he would start into a story about that particular item, then stop halfway through because he couldn't bear to linger on her memory anymore. Then when everything, the vases and equipment, memories and random trinkets were gone, nothing was placed in the empty space. The entire corner of the basement remained bare.
            James looked back at the half empty boxes in the middle of the living room. He figured Brittany could spend an entire year trying to pack the memory of her sister into those boxes. She could even rope in John, their parents and a handful of loved ones and James could guarantee that there would still be things left to pack after that year. It took his dad seemingly forever to hide all traces of his mother from the basement and here Brittany was taking the task of going through an entire house.
            What always struck James as odd was the need to even hide such things when someone died. Then one day years later his father was emptying out a cupboard to fix a shelf and he happened across an old misshapen coffee mug stuffed into the back. It was the first thing his mother had ever made in that little corner in the basement and suddenly a flood of memories came pouring back to his father like a damn in his heart had just burst. His reaction to such a sight was to hurl it across the room and break down into tears.
            Sometimes memories of a loved one need to be hidden, James figured that day, because some deaths cannot be overcome when you have a constant reminder of that person. James always caught his father occasionally in the attic going through one of those boxes. Sometimes he just needed to be reminded of the woman he loved, but only when he was ready, never able to properly handle it when caught unaware.
            "Where were you when she dies?" James asked aloud, turning from the boxes to the two siblings. Brittany was taken aback, but eventually answered. "I was working," she said "We were both waitresses and my hours recently changed."
            "How recent?"
            "A couple weeks ago. A few nights a week I close at the diner. We usually work similar shifts."
            "What about Stephanie? How often did she work late?"
            "Almost as often. The only night a week she was guaranteed not to close with me was...was that night..." Brittany trailed off.
            "So the killer knew she's be alone," James said.
            "We already canvassed the diner and asked questions. Nothing to really go on."
            James bit his lip and thought for a moment. If Brittany was still the only death, the diner would be a good place to start. But now he had a different objective. "I need to see the crime scene," he said "Where did she die?"
            "At the end of the hallway up ahead," John said "You can't miss it."
            The nearby hall led up to a door with torn police tape in the frame. Inside was a scene similar to what he saw in the alley. Blood was absolutely everywhere, mostly on the bed where he could make out the imprint of where Stephanie was positioned when she was found. She had been laid out in the same way Williams had been in the alley; arms stretched out on both sides and legs kept together as if she was imitating Jesus on the cross. James didn't believe in coincidences.
            The point of entry had been the window. It had been found open when Brittany discovered the body and it was far too cold this time of year for her to keep it open at night. James could tell it had already been dusted for prints. James wasn't concerned about that since whatever prints were found wouldn't be on record (otherwise he wouldn't have been called in), instead he was more concerned with something the police didn't bother with their first time around because there wasn't any need; he needed to find a link between Mickey Williams and Stephanie.
            "Here," John said as he followed in and produced a pair of plastic gloves from his pocket. "I hate latex," James said as John threw the gloves at him anyway. "Too tired and completely forgot last night," John said as he pulled another pair out for himself. "You'll defiantly explain to everyone if they find my DNA on that fabric, right?" James asked as he slipped on the gloves.
            "What are we looking for here?" John asked as James started opening drawers and digging through. "Nothing," James said sarcastically "I'm just raiding panties." John wasn't amused. "I assume you've asked Brittany if she or Stephanie knew the other victim?" James asked as he opened a desk drawer and pulled out a handful of pictures and started going through them. "She never heard of him," John said.
            James picked out a few photos that had guys in them. "What about that other victim and the guy in the car?"
            "There's no connection between Stephanie and the guys from the alley."
            "There's always a connection. These people were killed a specific way."
            "Maybe they were picked at random."
            "This guy knew your sister was alone that night. That doesn't sound random."
            "And Williams was killed in some random alley with his friends nearby. It's all contradictory. The only link was both major victims were killed the exact same way."
            "Copy cat killer?"
            "We didn't release specifics on the murder."
            "There's just a piece we're not seeing is all. We find the link between the two victims, everything should fall into place."
            James handed the photos with men in it to John. "Any of them look familiar?" John quickly flipped through the pictures and shook his head. "Old boyfriend...friends from high school...none of these guys are the ones from the alley," John said as he placed the photos on the dresser, one of the few areas in the room not covered in his sisters blood. "Maybe they were picked at random, and our killer just stalked them out for a better opportunity," he suggested "It seems this guy is doing it for the ritual more than specific victim. Like Jack the Ripper; his victims didn't know each other."
            "Jack the Ripper went after prostitutes," James said "Every victim is connected. Our guy knows what he's doing. There's a reason he's going after these specific people. If we can discover it, maybe we can figure out his next target before he kills again." The two searched the room some more in silence, neither able to find any link between Stephanie or Mickey Williams.
            "How's Brittany been able to cope?" James asked out of curiosity. John had the actual investigation to lose himself in, he couldn't figure how the sister would be able to deal with the loss of her twin. "She'll be fine," John said "She went to live with her boyfriend. She can't stay here."
            "I can imagine," James said as he looked down at the bed, masking his face from the stench of the coagulated blood. "She's going to sell the house when this is over," John continued "I can't blame her." James walked over to where a computer set up was, but the desktop tower was gone. "We have tech going through it at the station," John said "I'm sure there's nothing you'll look for that they're already looking for."
            James threw his arms up momentarily and let them fall to his sides. "I don't know what you're looking for," John said "We were already over this room with a fine tooth comb." James shook his head. "There's a connection," he said "It's just not here."
            "You want to try Williams' apartment next?" John asked.
            "No," James said "I wanna see the victims."
            "They're both at the station. I can escort you through crime scenes all day, but getting you to the bodies might be asking a bit too much."
            "Find a way. You wanted my help, right?"
            "Maybe I can get you photos of the bodies..."
            James just stared.
            "Alright, I'll figure a way to get you in there."
            The two men removed their gloves and left the room. Back in the living room, Brittany was on her knees near one of the boxes and nearby sitting on a couch was a man. "Hey partner," the man said to John "Who is that guy?" he asked as he looked to James.
            "This is James," John said "James, this is Lyle Mangan, my partner." James walked over and offered his hand, Lyle shook it with a skeptical look on his face. Lyle had short, curly black hair and sideburns that went slightly lower than his ears. "Why is he here?" Lyle asked, never losing the skeptical look "More importantly, why was he just in the crime scene?"
            "I asked James to help out a little," John said "A fresh perspective."
            "Another perspective?" Lyle asked "We have half the homicide department looking into this. We don't need a civi getting involved."
            "He's not just a civilian, Lyle."
            "Wait, he's that guy you were with back in Cazenovia. The one who got a girl killed while looking for a killer? John, the guy's a nut."
            "He tracked down the real killer then when no one else could. I trust this guy."
            "The guy thought he was Sherlock Holmes and he put others, including you, in danger by playing out that little fantasy of his."
            "I'm still right here you know," James said as no one heeded him.
            "He caught the killer," John stated as what he thought was indisputable proof.
            "And how did he deal with the killer when he found her? I remember the fucking papers had a field day with this; when he tracked the killer down, he went all vigilante on her and shot her in the head, point blank."
            "In my defense," James said "She shot me first."
            "You don't know the whole story, Lyle," John shouted "It didn't happen like that."
            "Guy thinks he's Batman," Lyle said "I don't need him running around killing people."
            "Batman doesn't kill," James said as Lyle shot him a look.
            "Does Bradford know you're marching this nut through his crime scenes?" Lyle asked "And yeah, I know you were at the alley last night, so I can safely assume he went all through it there as well."
            "I was just on my way to talk to him," John said as he started for the front door. James gave a half hearted wave and followed. "Just back me up on this," John said as he turned back to Lyle "At least for a little while." Lyle made another face. "Fine," he said "I won't say anything today, but I guarantee Bradford will catch wind about this guy eventually. And when he does, you better be ready to answer to both him and Monroe." John flashed a thumbs up and him and James were gone.
            "Nice guy," James said sarcastically as they walked for John's car.
            "How fast can you solve these murders?" John asked.
            "I take it neither of those two guys Mangan mentioned are nice people."
            "This investigation is Bradford's. He's a good guy though, let me get involved a little bit since it's so personal but he calls all the shots. He's not gonna like me going over his head and bringing you into the mix. You thought Lyle knew a lot of unflattering things about you? Bradford knows all about the Cazenovia murder incident."
            "How about that other guy?"
            "That other guy is Chief Monroe. He's an asshole. He'll threaten to take my badge when he finds out about you. He'll definitely have it if you fuck something up on us. So do me a favor and catch this guy within the next couple hours."
            "Then we better head for the station and get to those bodies."
            "Yeah, great. Let's bring you to the building full of cops so you can get unauthorized access to the victims."
            "I know, this is a great plan."