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."

November 12, 2013

Demonic Investigator - First Night (NaNoWriMo Update #3)

[Posted by Ted H]

This year I've managed to stay on a steady track for opposed to the year I won where I maintained a healthy lead throughout. For comparisons sake: after 12 days in 2011, I was 2 full days ahead of the pace...and wrote word #50,000 5 days ahead of schedule...
All I need is a solid couple of days to really get some words out...hopefully I get some good days in before Saturday, where the entire day will be busy with no time for writing.

Current status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 20,158 / 50,000 (29,842 to go!)
At this rate, my 50,000th word will come on: November 30th

Join me!


[Demonic Investigator - First Night]

            John slamming his fist onto the car horn broke James out of his slumber. It was dark out, but street lights illuminated everything around, including a pedestrian who wasn't in the mood to wait before running across the street and almost hit John as he was driving by. "Good morning," James said as he adjusted his seat up and stretched his arms.
            "So...Chicago?" he said as John nodded. "If you make one joke about how it isn't windy right now..." he started.
            "I'll be good," James said with a smile "So where are we going?"
            "My apartment. We'll sleep a few hours and start fresh at the crime scene in the morning."
            "Will there be more cops now or then at this crime scene?"
            "It won't matter so long as you stick close to me at all times."
            "If you don't mind, I'd rather just start now. No use putting this off with a killer running loose."
            John nodded and soon took a quick turn down an unintended street. James wondered if there was a little cop light he could put on the hood or a siren to sound as John drove aggressively through the late night Chicago streets. There was suppose to be a moon out, but the sky was thick with clouds. Not much longer and John stopped right outside an alleyway blocked off with police tape, a lone cops guarding the way in.
            John flashed his badge as he climbed out of the car. James climbed out of the other side and took a long moment to stretch his legs. "What are you guys doing here so late?" the officer asked as the two approached the alley. "Just looking over some details," John said "And getting a fresh perspective." The officer shook his head. "Bradford said no one else should-"
            "Bradford can suck my dick," John protested "We're going in there. I know what I'm doing."
            "I'm really not the permission asking type," James said as he stepped under some caution tape "So I'm just gonna take a look anyway." John took one last look at the officer before following James through. "Who is that guy anyway?" the officer asked.
            Deeper into the alley revealed the actual crime scene. John switched on a police flood light to illuminate the area. There was a totaled sedan that had its driver side torn open and farther along were two chalk outlines of people and some evidence markers indicating where bullet casing were. The entire area around the chalk outlines, street and buildings, were covered in blood. James studied both outlines. One figure was drawn with its arms stretched outwards like they were mimicking Jesus on the cross. The other figure was sprawled out in a less ritualistic way, with its limbs positioned like someone had dropped a ragdoll. The amount of blood in the alley made it seem like a crimson mist had come in from the river and the pungent smell of death permeated so well that James doubted that covering his nose and mouth would do anything.
            "You said this was a serial killer," James said as he pointed to both outlines "Did he come back and kill in the same place?"
            "Two people died here, but only one was murdered the same way as my sister. Michael "Mickey" Williams was the main victim," John said as he referenced to the outline with its arms out. He pointed to the ragdoll outline. "That one was Tony Allanson, and I believe he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Murdered just because he was in the way. Mickey was the target. There was a third person, in the car, Rickey Kenton, but he survived the crash amazingly. All three were known associates with each other."
            "What's Rickey got to say about it?"
            "We'll find out when he wakes up. You don't honestly think he was able to walk away from that crash, do you?"
            James walked over to the car wreck. The entire front was mangled. All the windows were shattered and the frame bent up as if it had slammed into a brick wall. The front of the wreckage was bent in a perfect semi-circle. "How was this thing moved?" James asked "This thing wrapped around a pole, but there's nothing to hit right here." He walked around and felt glass crunch under his shoes. "No one moved the car," John said "As far as we can tell it was trashed either before or right after the double homicide."
            "This car wasn't trashed," James said "It hit something. Something big. How is that not worth investigating?" John shrugged. "Because as soon as Kenton wakes up we can just ask him. It's not important. It has nothing to do with how Williams died."
            "Then why not just ask him who did it while you're at it, why bring me in at all?"
            "We don't know IF Kenton will ever wake up again. We needed the jaws of life just to cut him out of that wreck."
            "You don't know how this car got totaled or how it ended up down this alley, yet you'll dismiss it as irrelevant to the murder that took place ten feet away?"
            "Nothing has been adding up for any of these murders," John protested "We already had someone look into the car, and either we start looking for a ten foot bodybuilder, or we focus on the dead people."
            James walked away from the car and towards the chalk outlines. "I take it someone has already run a shit ton of forensics on this blood?" he asked. John nodded. "Odds are it won't yield anything," he said "We found just as much blood at my sister's house and it all belonged to her."
            "Did your sister get any shots off?" James asked as he looked over the markers for the bullet casings.
            "No. Four shots fired here, only one miss, but no blood trail. None of the victims were shot meaning our perp is at least wounded. We checked with every ER in the city and got nothing. This guy must know how to deal with gunshots, or at least knows someone private who could help him."
            "How do you expect me to find this guy?"
            "Is there anything here that can help you figure something new out?"
            "Not from chalk outlines and some blood painted pavement," James said as he looked back towards the car. The whole situation struck him as odd. He walked back towards it while John watched silently. He noticed it looked like it had hit a pole, but the way the front was bent suggested something else.
            "You guys didn't suspect that car hit anyone, did you?" he asked.
            "Not particularly, why?"
            James walked right into the middle of the front and noted how it bent perfectly around where his legs and the rest of his body was, almost as if the immovable object that it had run into was a person. "Now I've seen everything," he said as he took care not to catch himself on any sharp pieces of the wreck. "Hey," he said as he stepped back and looked to John "You have any of those plastic bag things that you put evidence in?"
            "You find something?" John asked, an excited look lighting up his face as he jogged over. "Maybe," James said as he went to one knee and looked over the front of the wreck. "I'll be right back," John said as he took off back towards his car. On the off chance that the sedan did indeed run into a person and caused the front damage, there would have to be something left behind. James was hoping for blood or some sort of DNA left caused by a cut from the jagged metal where the person would have been standing. He found nothing like that, but when John returned with a bag, James had finally found something to go on.
            Caught in a protruding piece of the wreck was a piece of dark gray fabric. James didn't know what it was from but he knew it wasn't from the car and it couldn't have gotten there before the mystery crash. James grabbed it and pulled it free. "This look familiar?" he asked John "Like something a cop would accidently have get caught while investigating?" John shook his head. "I have no idea where that came from," he said.
            James smiled as he held the fabric up in the air to examine. A piece of fabric no larger than two of his fingers pressed together; not a very good clue to start with, but he finally had something to go on. "Got a knife?" he asked as John produced a pocket knife. James used it to rip the fabric into two pieces and pocket one of them. He placed the other piece into the plastic bag and handed it to John. "You guys got a CSI crime lab thing back at the station?" he asked.
            "Not remotely like they show on TV," John responded. "Whatever," James said "Have them do whatever with that piece."
            "Sounds good," John said as he pocketed the bag. "We done here?"
            James stood up and looked about one more time. "Yeah, I think so," he said "I'd like to see where your sister died now."
            "Tomorrow," John said "It's not exactly around the corner and I need to get some sleep." James shrugged then nodded as the two made their way out of the alley towards Johns car. "What do you think this fabric is from?" John asked as they stepped over the caution tape and passed the officer from before, who wasn't paying attention to them anymore. "I have no idea," James said "But if I'm right, it should be from something that'll point us to the killer; either directly to him or at least point us in the direction we need to go."
            They both climbed into Johns car. John pulled out the plastic bag and opened the glove box. "Just leave it in here for now. We'll stop by the station on the way and drop it off," he said as he tossed it in next to some papers and a picture of a young girl. James reached in and took the picture before John could close the glove box. The girl in the picture had long brown hair that went over her shoulders, bright blue eyes and a smile James thought he could lose himself in if he were there in person.
            "This your sister?" he asked as John looked away and started the engine. "Yeah," John said without looking back over. "We're gonna catch this guy, don't worry," James said but John didn't respond. They drove all the way to John's apartment in silence, James looking down at the picture the entire time at the girl whose life was cut short seemingly at random by some sort of crazed killer.
            James didn't remember much about getting to John's apartment except that he was suddenly too tired to look around and went right for a couch. Before he fell asleep he made a mental note to hold a gun to John's head for some damn coffee before he did any more investigating. There was no way he was gonna catch anyone without some form of stimulant in his system.

November 9, 2013

Demonic Investigator - One Last Good Day (NaNoWriMo Update #2)

[Posted by Ted H]

My NaNoWriMo this year has been an absolute rollercoaster. One day I'm doing fine, then the next work/life drops the hammer on me and I'm falling behind the pace, then the next day I'm busting ass to catch up only to start the insanity anew the next day. At least I've managed to catch up as of this update, and am now building myself a nice little buffer for down the road.

Currently, and my egos desire to be a snooty writer is very much sated by this fact, I am kicking back at my regions NoNoWriMo planned write-in event. I don't know if it's the environment, or the fact that it would be taboo to alt-tab my way into porn out here in public, but I've been busting out words by the thousands today. Go me!

...and what better way to complete this writers illusion than to update this site while chilling in a NaNoWriMo event!

Current status of my 2013 NaNoWriMo: 16,080 / 50,000 (33,920 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 28th

Keep pace with or join me!


[Demonic Investigator - One Last Good Day]

            The drive out to Chicago was surprisingly pleasant. James and John took turns filling in details to their lives after college. The mood was good, the sun shining and the traffic light. One would be hard pressed to guess that the two haven't seen or spoken to each other in years, or that John had been obsessed with the death in his family.
            "So how come you never made anything of yourself?" John asked.
            "Tough to land a good job when you get kicked out of Cazenovia and labeled a psycho by the institution on the way. I make my own way."
            "How many part time retail jobs did you run through again?"
            "Means to an end," James said as he rolled down his window and lit a cigarette.
            "I heard you make most of your money betting on sporting events."
            "Who told you that?"
            "People. It wasn't easy tracking down where you ended up last night. I asked around."
            "I'm sure most of the people I think you talked to would love the fact that a cop was asking about me."
            "None of them were surprised."
            "Ha..." James blew smoke out the window "Well, yeah, I made a bit by analyzing certain teams and accurately figuring how they'd play their next game. Kind of easy at first now that I look back."
            "Most people just watch Sportscenter."
            "HA! They'd have you believe any team from Boston is invincible, and any Eastern Conference representative not named Los Angeles will always win out."
            "What if it's LA versus Boston?"
            "They're based in New England, ESPN, who do you think they'll say should win?"
            "So if it was so easy? Why do you seem so poor?"
            "For the most part, it is easy. It also requires the sports being played to be played clean. Refs make bad calls, players get away with cheating. And let's not forget choking and general boneheaded ineptitude. That "Fail Mary" game cost me a fortune."
            "You hard up on cash often?"
            "...Not ALL the time. But when I am I usually find creative and effective ways to stay out of the wrong peoples sight until I can make some scratch back."
            "You usually end up behind bars when you try things like that?"
            "What you saw? Well...not very creative, but it kept me far from Sully and his boys. Next time I see him, I should defiantly have his money."
            John smirked and shook his head, but said nothing. James glanced out the window as he continued to smoke, the sun was now being shielded behind a cloud as it began to set. They passed a road sign that said Chicago on it followed by a number low enough to indicate they were approaching it soon, but high enough to keep them from getting their hopes up right away. John pursed his lips and remained fixated on the road.
            James finished off his cigarette and rolled up his window. "Wake me when we're there," he said as he reclined his seat back and positioned himself on his side to look out the window. It had been forever since his last coffee and odds were John wasn't going to pull over so James could pick up a 40. Instead the only thing to do was to sleep. James wanted to get started the second they get to Chicago, so now was a good a time as any to catch some sleep, maybe even come up with a plan as to catch this killer.
            James snuck another look back at John, whose expression had only seemed to have gotten more grim, as if the closer they got to Chicago, the more that the feelings of loss and dread returned to him. The loss of a sister, the ineptitude of those around him while the one responsible ran free and continued to kill, it all was slowly washing back over John like the darkness creeping over the sky.
            James looked back out at the world passing by in the window. This situation was weighting down on John, and he was desperately counting on James to help him out on this. James only hoped that this little amateur detective task he was about to embark on wouldn't end up doing more harm than good.