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."

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