I’m only a man – GS.

Scene setting : Back streets of New York.

co-written with Chor.

 

Chor:  Isa could not make the tears stop. It was like a well within her, the spigot broken and her body unable to end the flow.

Isa lived in a cage of darkness for the longest time and the light she’s just seen has blinded her soul, leaving it warm and alive. Much to Isa’s surprise, Frank lifted her face and his lips met her skin again. The saltwater that poured from her ceased slowly with each kiss, ending as he pulled her into his chest. The hug was the very definition of comfort and she let it soak into her, breathing Frank in like she could will the bad memories away with the scent of him.

What remained of the tears on her face soaked into his shirt leaving little wet splotches over his heart, which she heard beating like a sounding drum. With each beat, she fell rhythmically into a trance in his arms. Soon, though, she knew the moment was ending. His words were joking and light, an appreciated laugh that helped her break from the previous moment however much she didn’t wish to. She let a light grin slip over her features and looked up to his face.

“I say speak for yourself; for an ME I’m pretty hardy,” she joked back, letting her teeth bite gently down on her bottom lip. His next words were infinitely more serious and she sighed, basking in the truth of them. In school, they tell you the things that will go wrong. They tell you about inaccuracies in your work; about how you may encounter troubles with tox screens or other things of that nature. They never tell you that what you really need to fear is the people around you; those who are supposed to be your peers, your mentors, and your saviors.

“The worst affected from corruption is the common man,” Isa quoted, thinking back to a report she’d written before her graduate school years.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Isa was a girl who was wise beyond her years. It was clear that she had suffered in a similar way to Frank. The endless release of tears showed that she had been living with a ghost and a guilt that she could not shake. Been strong for so long, there had been no one that understood, that mirrored her pain in the same way….till now. Through watching Frank go through the motions of release in a way could bring comfort and solace. By bringing her into his arms and holding her against his beating heart he was more than just a shoulder to cry on. He was a man that could hold her up. As she gave him words of wisdom, Frank was able to see through the haze of emotion that had overwhelmed him. He was a man sure, but still a human being. It was wonderful to see the smile that appeared after the rain of her tears. Like the rising of the sun, bright and warm on a new day. Going it alone was not the way forward. Perhaps together they could conquer their demons, not just the ones that had taken their friends and loved ones, but the ones within. The inner demons that taunted them constantly.

“The worst affected from corruption is the common man.”

True words.

“Maybe we need to be the heroes in this. Real crime fighters.” It may have sounded a bit far fetched. It was not like he was speaking of becoming Superman; ripping open his shirt to reveal a big S, but to champion against the Commander and those that were pulling the strings. It was going to take a great deal of work and commitment, and now that Frank had Isa on his side, maybe she would be the wind to his broken wings.

Frank offered his hand to Isa, to walk out of the alley and finally leave Rory to rest. As they walked he said. “One thing I know, is I can’t keep going without sleep. Wanna come back to my place to crash for a few hours?”

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  It was the idea of them being the heroes, these tortured souls with their forsaken past, that made Isa remove herself from his breast. The idea was a wondrous one, full to the brim with hope and she knew looking to the future the difficulty it would bring. She would walk this flaming path anyways. The night at the end of the red and yellow tunnel, where she would rest easily knowing she’d done all she could, is what helped click herself into a new state of being. Instead of naught but existing in this dirty, filthy world, she would choose to live; to break free of the chains that dragged her so far down for so long. Isa was delving deep into her mind, clearing it of the pain so that it may be filled with happiness in return.

Her hand instinctively moved to grasp Franks, as if it was something she regularly experienced, and let him lead her out of the alley. By now their roses had lost their petals and the wind gathering in the empty alley, having nowhere else to go, pushed the mixture past Isa and Franks feet and into the street. At the mention of sleep, Isa’s eyes opened wider. Sleep. Dear lord, when was thelast time she actually, truly slept? Her body groaned to her in answer, praying for her to accept. If she went home, however, she would not even close her eyes before she started at working again. It was a curse.

“I would be delighted, thank you,” She replied, smiling thankfully. Something occurred to her then, and she looked to Frank.

I’m not sure I’ve truly introduced myself to you, Frank Malone, as opposite as that may sound. I am Dr. Isolde von Goethe of the New York Police Department’s Medical Examiners office; and it will be a pleasure to work with you.” It was a small, but true joke. She knew of him, but she had never really met him before this truly strange and captivating day. She’s glad she didn’t go home after her shift. Had she done as she should have and let the next crew take this body, she may never have had this wondrous experience.

“Lead the way.”

 

Razorbackwriter:  
Funny how one can simply connect with another and yet not even really know them This was the case with Isa and Frank. He didn’t even know her full name or her position at the NYPD….until now. Swinging her hand as they walked out of the alley, Isa introduced her name in full, and it had Frank’s ears prick. Sounded German. Interesting. “I think Isolde is a pretty name.” Isolde worked in the force’s Medical examiner’s office in the very same building that he did. No wonder he was just familiar with her first name having only seen her in passing. Her name on the odd report that he happened to have tacked to the wall of his study at home. Oh yes, he had been collecting those over the years.

Would she react to seeing his wall of mystery at home? Maybe, but it was something he wanted to share with her. As he had come by cab, he put his arm out when they reached the main road and whistled for another to stop and take them both back to his place. Frank gave Isa’s hand a light squeeze, as he found her company to be just what he needed, aside from sleep.

“Oh…one thing about my place. It is your typical bachelor pad. Fraid my housekeeping skills aren’t exactly one of my strong points.” Frank was making excuses as he tried to prepare her for what his place looked like. Still having to pay maintenance to a son he hadn’t seen for a few years, the detective was not exactly well off. He’d thought about taking up a second job, but with his mind always on the fate of Rory and the unsolved case, he never had the time.

A yellow cab pulled up beside where the pair stood, and Frank being a gentleman opened the door for Isa.

“After you.”

If she hopped in, Frank would slide in beside her and give the driver the directions to his apartment building across town. The inside of the cab was like something out of a Indian Bollywood movie, with the faint smell of curry and a lot of tassles and satin. Even a little elephant with it’s trunk up on the dash. The music streaming through the cab had a definite Indian flavor and the cabbie bopped his head along to it, barely taking in what Frank had said.

“I hope he knows English, or we’re fucked.”

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  A warmth, a rush of blood, spread across Isolde’s cheeks at Franks comment.

“Thank you, it was my grandmother’s name. My mother was pregnant with me, so my father came first to America. When my mother gave birth, my grandmother was too sick to join her and we had to leave her behind in Germany. We’ve been mailing ever since, but I haven’t heard anything back in a long while. Claura always was her favourite…” Isa explained, realizing that no one knows anything about her. No one in this whole country knows about her. It makes one feel small, being so completely alone and unknown. She looked to Frank, glad she now had someone to confide in; someone to remember her.

Frank whistled for a cab and much to Isa’s surprise, one truly appeared. The light squeeze upon her hand sent a jolt of electricity up Isa’s arm and she leaned into him, smiling when hearing about his abode. She had little room to judge, as her place of living was a mess of furniture, cases, and whatever cats came sauntering in through the cat door from across the hall. Schrodinger didn’t mind, which meant Isa didn’t either.

“Don’t worry, I most assuredly will survive it,” Isolde attempted to convince him.

As the cab door was opened for her, she nodded in thanks and slipped inside the pungent vehicle. This surely was a joke. The complete redecoration of the cab made it a small, Indian paradise for the driver and as much as she commended him for her efforts, she laughed inwardly at the whole thing. She, too, hoped that the man would get them to their destination safely and without trouble.

 

 

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Two red roses – GS.

 

Scene setting : Back streets of New York.

co-written with Chor.

 

Razorbackwriter:  
Taking a cab across town, Frank stopped at a curb side flower stand. Paying the driver, he got out of the cab and then went to buy two roses. He handed over the ten dollar bill and took the two long stemmed roses from the florist, who asked if they were for the detective’s favorite lady. Frank coughed a laugh as though he might humor the florist into thinking they were, but he was too shy to say. The truth however, was far different. Taking out a dark pair of shades; he placed them on and crossed the street to the alley where Rory…was killed. Looking up and down the street and seeing no one that he knew, he walked down the bin lined small alley all the way to the last place where he saw his best friend and his partner alive.

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There was no blood stain, no evidence of a man having died on this spot but to Frank it was burnt into his mind like it was yesterday. Kneeling down, Frank placed the two red roses on the ground – crouching for a moment as he said to himself a silent prayer. His right hand came up and partially touched his lips as though to stop himself from blurting something out that may be heard. You never knew who was watching. Eyes hidden behind the dark glasses, he paused there for a good two minutes or so, before slowly rising up to standing. He gave the area one last look around. A large lump formed in his throat as he fought to suppress the wave of feelings that were ripping through him.

Then without warning he screamed.

“WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE TAKEN ME?!”

He was answered only by silence.

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  
Isa still had barely snapped into reality as she pushed her small wad of cash through the dirty, clouded slot to the bearded cabbie with teeth like jelly bellys. He tipped his hat and turned, waiting for her to exit. Yes, exit. The worn, cool door handle made a click as the door unlatched from its body and she exerted just enough force to make herself leave the vehicles warm interior. The cabbie rolled down all the windows, for no other reason than to shout inaudible advice and wish her good luck when she closed the door gently behind her.

Smoke clouded the road behind her, some of it billowing up to her nostrils, where her lungs lapped it ungratefully. The poison, though, was ignored. Her focus rested solely on the man at the flower stand. He bought flowers, a gesture Isa didn’t quite understand yet. She let her gaze follow him until he was just nearly out of sight and then she walked.

“Care for a rose, dove?” The florist sang to her, his voice sweet like honey. A thought appeared. Isa wondering how many years it took him to perfect such an inviting and charming tone. She looked at him, eyes lightly narrowed, and nodded. In his hands he held not a red rose, nor was it of any colour. It was completely devoid of and vivid variation of the rainbows skeleton hues. White. Such a pure, simple thing, she felt a knot in her stomach just gazing upon it. Maybe this was hunger, but she felt this pain differently, in a more emotional sense. She gave him all that he asked for and caressed the rose as she headed off in the direction Frank had disappeared a moment earlier.

After a short minute that felt like a century of never ending searching, Isa almost died internally, thinking she’d lost him. If he was truly to disappear, she might never get the chance to finish this. Across the street from her, a voice was found. The voice ripped her soul to pieces, shattering her well-built nonchalant disposition. Why couldn’t you have taken me? Isa’s brain exploded with memories of Claura, small tears beading in her eyes and traveling the distance of her face to fall onto her jacket.

Every single day for days, months, even years, Isa asked herself that question. She would have given anything for it to be her instead of Claura. Her older sister was taken from Isa and she cried to herself every day that she would one day figure out what had happened. This man’s pain was tangible as she absentmindedly crossed the street. She was quiet coming up on him, holding the white rose in her right hand very lightly, as if just by breathing she might ruin the innocence it exuded.

Then, as if suddenly a rope was removed from her throat, Isa spoke,
“I’ve learned the walls don’t tell you what you did wrong; why you’re left and they’ve gone. They only stare back as you bitterly retreat into yourself. They sit silently as your tears turn to acid and your life falls to shambles.They don’t whisper that there was no suffering; there is no reassurance that everything will be okay. Nothing is okay, because I’ll never know.

Isa tiptoed to Frank’s side, crouching to lay the ethereal white rose atop his two red ones.

“I’m so sorry.”

 

Razorbackwriter:  ~The Day you went away~

 

 

Frank’s body was practically rigid. He had not expected a voice. He had not expected her. Behind the dark shades his pupils dilated and his chin wobbled slightly as he fought back the tears. Men don’t cry, right? For so long nothing made sense. Like a white rat trapped in an endless maze with no way out except the lonely nights at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. That numbed the pain, if only for a short time. He could forget it all, and even who he was. But sobering up brought him back to the stark reality and the cycle would begin again. Isa was right. Frank had retreated into himself. The former family man, loving husband and dedicated detective – partner…all that was a bitter memory now. He was a shell…an empty vessel. Sure, he could be funny and make you smile, but within himself he found so little to smile about.

Why was it he could hear the deafening sound of his own heart beat, as though it was right in his ears? Why was this ache twisting his very insides? Frank blinked a few times to quell those tears as he heard Isa say she was so very sorry. As she lay a white rose beside the two red ones that were now resting together on the ground, Frank brought his face around to see Isa’s. For a moment, his face was like stone. Mixed emotions were hard for a man to deal with. He had told her to forget him. To let him walk away. Yet she followed him here to this…most sacred of places. It was where Rory’s life ended….and in a sense, Frank’s as well. It was the reason for the two roses. One for each of the two men.

Frank turned his head away for a moment and coughed, as thought he words he wanted to say were caught in his throat. The detective sniffed loudly – a sign that he was racked with emotion.

“I’m…..trying to make sense of it all. How one single moment can have such a terrible affect on every other facet of my life. If I could go back, if I could….” his voice trailed away into a soft whisper.

When Frank went to look at Isa, she would see a face that had stared back at her on many a day and night. That same sorrow, etched into the lines of his face. Loss, regret….guilt. We can torture ourselves far worse than anyone else ever could.

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  Raw; the only word that could describe this moment. The alley was filled and overflowed with pure, unadulterated, raw emotion.

Isa stared into Franks eyes as if his face were a mirror in which she saw wholly herself. It was impossible to look away, now, as the emotion sucked her up. This black hole she’d tried so desperately to hide behind her antisocial, dark, and cold facade now leaked out of her; her pores oozing this deep sadness that she never let seethe light. Isa’s hands came up to meet Frank Malone’s face and pulled it near hers, so that their foreheads were almost where skin met skin. Her thumb reached to where a small, ashamed tear had escaped and wiped it from his kind face.

If only is a suicidal lullaby; it’s a flame, it is all consuming and it will kill you if you let it,” she whispered seriously to him, her words accented with sternness. The words she spoke were truer than most likely any she’d even spoken in her days on this planet. Isa’s months of ‘what if’ s and ‘if only’ s had taken her down to a level she hoped to never reach again. As she spoke these words, liquid bubbled in her tear ducts and the tears threatened revolt against her now dry cheeks.

The journey is not yet over; you must be strong for him,” Isa persuaded, pointing at the roses as they sat wilting slowly on the filthy alley floor.

And if you truly believe I’m going anywhere, you’re dead wrong.

 

Razorbackwriter:  How long had it been since he had felt the gentle touch of a woman’s hands upon his skin? He couldn’t even remember. But in this moment where both Isa and Frank were kindred spirits – both having loved and lost. Frank was practically transfixed by Isa’s words. They were comforting in a strange way. Those nights where he had taken sleeping pills and drank a sizable amount of vodka all in the aid of never waking again. You could call it a low moment. A time when he had lost all faith. It was friends like Tommy that was always there when he was at his lowest. Offering him a helping hand. They fought like cats and dogs half the time, but the mate ship….that was true.

Frank let his head fall into Isa’s hands and then their foreheads met finally. He could smell her sweet scent permeate through his nostrils as he closed his eyes and simply let himself be held. Was it a sign of weakness to give in so easily? To not fight her off and walk away from everything? No. For once in his life Frank listened. This girl was wiser in her years than any other he had met, and while they had not ever been seriously close before, they were soul mates of this moment. Sharing a bond through loss. The journey was not over. She was right. Frank, was trying to lay it all to rest as he was about to leave once and for all. Beaten. But Isa, in her inspiring words roused in him the spirit that he had thought died long ago.

“And if you truly believe I’m going anywhere, you’re dead wrong.”

Frank raised a hand and removed his glasses so she could see the glistening of his eyes as they captured her own. Lifting his face from her hands, he then leaned in to kiss her forehead. Little did she know…..she had just stopped him from doing the unthinkable.

“Rory would have loved you, you know? Always had a thing for stubborn gals.” A hint of smile tweaked the corner of his lips.

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa watched as his face told tales of his brain. He was reliving dark nights, as she often did, reminiscing unfortunately on hours spent pondering over mathematical equations to see just how much potassium chloride it would take for a woman of her height and weight. Isa’s mind justified these almost self-mortifying moments as she daily starved herself of both food and of human interaction for no other reason than to bury herself in her work as completely as a tick. Alcohol was the least of her poison intake. She was never really a drinker; that was Claura.

Finally, the rigid statue that was Frank melted into Isa’s embrace and in seeing his eyes she knew she’d stopped him from making a grave mistake. As she looked, though, she now saw understanding where there was only pain. The chains which bound him for so very long had retreated from their death-grip, allowing him breath and clarity. The kiss to her forehed was warm and kind and the thanks that came from it diffused through her skin and lit her aflame. The tears that followed in her own ducts came as he spoke. A light chuckle accompanied it as she looked to the ground to let the tears go.

Isa couldn’t dispute his words. She was stubborn, born with a drive that saw no end in sight. Without a doubt, Claura would have adored this man. Save for Frank, Claura may have been the only good cop in the whole station before her disappearance. They would have made a great team; maybe unstoppable. Isa now can only hope to do this for him. She’s not a cop, granted, but she is far more helpful in many other ways.

 

Razorbackwriter:  It was only at the end of his own tears that Frank was able to see clearly that his words had a marked affect on Isa. She was crying. A flood like release of her own that had Frank tilt his head slightly. Both of them had been keeping all this sadness and longing for understanding tied up within themselves that neither had had the chance to grieve what they had lost aside from those they loved. Themselves. It was almost instinct what Frank did next. Unexpectedly, he kissed away the falling tears that burnt her flesh. His lips tender to her cheeks till all the tears were gone. It was a gentle action, one that was probably saved for a lover. How he hated to see a woman cry. Even though these were tears were long overdue.

Frank wrapped his arms around Isa gently and brought her in for an embrace, his hand moving to the back of her head as he stroked her head gently. Allowing her to nestle her cheek to his chest. It’s surprising how something like a hug can bring us such warmth and peace. It was instinct. Natural and needed.

“Some tough cops we are. Heh.”

His words were not poetic or romantic. Just saying the first thing that popped into his head.

For the first time in ages, a real smile was on his face. Not forced, or painted. An inner warmth was spreading through out him. Isa would yet to realize what she had done for him. The roses lay upon the dirty ground at their feet, and already the wind was starting to peel back the petals. Frank had just let Rory go. Now it was time to save himself. Releasing Isa slowly, he said.

“Never thought I would be fighting crime within my own office.”

 

~RB~

 

 

 

Everyone has a tale to tell – GS

 

Scene setting – Fifth and Maple : Joey’s Apartment.

co-written with Chor & VunG.

 

VunG:  Even through her slight daze, Elissa was more than happy to see that idiot Commander Bracks getting so worked up over being proven wrong; pride before the fall asshole. Of course, now that she had made it apparent where she stood and how things had worked out, she realized just how far into the line of fire she had placed herself… no pun intended. Thankfully, someone else came in, someone whom he immediately recognized as Khalil, someone that she had had to cooperate with on more than a few occasions. Even if they weren’t what you would call friends, she was definitely very grateful for the support, even if it was just stating the facts… she would’ve displayed it if she wasn’t so busy trying to keep firm towards the Commander.

She actually wasn’t aware of the corruption that the man went through, but at this point she would’ve been utterly unsurprised. Still, she backed off a bit as the other two came into the fray, but remained near them, glad to see that she wasn’t the only one with a bit of fire in her heart. Unfortunately, the crooked cop went ahead and confiscated all the photos, and while she had no doubt that one of them had pocketed a few, she knew that getting the pictures into the paper weren’t going to happen. If the things went public, Tommy would get charged with taking evidence from a crime scene. Once again, back to square one, and this time not a lead to be found.

And of course, throughout this whole fiasco, the poor EMT was just staying off to the side trying not to get caught in the crossfire.

The moment the commander was gone, she seemed to deflate, actually stumbling a bit before the EMT caught her, her good hand going up to her forehead as the world started spinning. Her eyes turning to see a concerned face looking at her, and suddenly she felt a strange warmth in her, despite her condition. Still, she didn’t have the energy to do much other than nod feebly, to which the EMT grumbled in frustration, “Not that she has much of a choice.” As the man started to usher her out of the crime scene, she turned to Tommy, and had an expression on her face almost begging for him to follow… if for no other reason to bust her out once she had her stitches in.

Provided nothing else happened, she’d be brought promptly downstairs to the ambulance and brought in; though thankfully they spared her the indignity of using a stretcher. And then she would be sped away, siren somewhat unnecessarily blaring.

 

Chor:  Isolde wasn’t sold at all on the idea that this was a drug-bust-turned-assassination. Did anyone really believe that? Maybe they spent so much time settling for ‘just enough’ that they couldn’t tell that this place smelled of serious mischief. She had actually forgott about the Commander, having very little respect for him anyways, and her attention snapped up to him when he countered her. Tested? She snickered to herself, wondering if he knew a single thing about actual crime scene investigation. Obviously, there would be testing done; idiot. That meant very little, though, in this situatio nat this moment, where she could see with her own eyes that it was not a point blank shot or even from across the room. This was a long-range, sniper shot.

Isa did not falter when the Commander stepped up to her. She stared hatefully past his bushy dark brows into his sunken eyes and crossed her arms with closed fists.

You can count on it,” She muttered, fighting the urge to spit where he stood. Khalil seemed to sense her growing attitude and he pulled her towards the body again, attempting to avert her attention to something useless and not even relevant to the case. She looked thankfully at him. He was usually the one whi played mediator, stopping her from saying things she shouldn’t and doing things that would cost her dearly. Once the Commander had finally given up on barraging everyone in the room with insults or questions, he exited the building. He left his rotten stink behind, though, and his corruption choked Isa.

Filthy, sexist bastard,” Isa muttered to herself as Frank approached. She knows of him, has been following a lot of his cases, but has never personally worked with him. Khalil handed her a bag and a sharpie.

Unfortuantely, I’ve got to take it. I’ll make sure to return it in good condition, though,” She said, holding the bag open for the gun to be placed in, then marking it accordingly. She’s certain there’d be no evidential use for it, but the Commander would be ever so pleased she did as he asked.

I won’t let him pin this on you, no matter how much he gets paid or how lazy and ignorant he is,” She said thoughtfully, her more humane side showing. This is a man’s career; and not only that, his life.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank turned his service revolver around in the palm of his hand so that the butt end was facing Isolde. The detective then dropped it into the offered bag with something of a sigh. At least Isolde was being compassionate in the light of how the Commander viewed things. The Commander had to be one of the most unpopular men in the force, and with good reason. Especially after the way he spoke to those on the site. He was a sexist pig and a bastard to boot. With the gun handed over, Frank took out his badge and stared at it for a moment. How long before they asked for this too? From beneath his furrowed brow, the Detective glanced up to hear that Isolde was not going to let the Commander pin the murder of Joey on him. It brought a little comfort in what had been a rotten morning thus far. “Its a tough battle when you got dicks like him in charge. Heh, you didn’t hear that from me.” Frank offered with a crooked smile. Ah, there was that sense of humor. It was good to know that he still had that at least.

Watching the other officers boxing up all the photographs and equipment, Frank knew that this was going to get buried at the police holding office. Maybe the porn pics will do the rounds, but the pictures of the beast that will probably be discredited as being photo shopped….or computer generated. That was the key evidence to clear his name over Rory, and as the police teams thinned out to let the forensics do their job, Frank knew it was time to go. One last look at the sheet covered body of Joey, and Frank started for the door. “Keep in touch…okay?” Frank said, before heading out the door.

Tommy was waiting for Frank outside. The paramedics had rushed Elissa off to the ambulance, which meant that the pair would have to follow in Tommy’s car. You could see that Tommy was already angered by the behavior of the Commander, and his eyes narrowed as Frank appeared. “No offence, Frank….but that was some stupid shit in there. Are they all useless as that Commander Klutz?” Tommy knew that his chances of those pictures of the beast making front page were now all but gone. They were really on to something, and now the main witness was dead and the evidence taken downtown. Frank wiped some blood splatter from his cheek and patted Tommy on the back. “We’ll figure this out. Just…not now. Come on, let’s get to the hospital. I’m worried about Elissa.”

The two men headed down the hall to the stairwell, and would make it out to Tommy’s car, as the blazing lights of the police illuminated the alley.

~RB~

 

Chor:  As most of the cops had finished whatever it was they were pretending to do as they stood around breathing precious air and potentially destroying evidence with their sheer idiocy, this left the building empty save for Forensics, Khalil, and her. Khalil was already loading up the body into a bag and pushing it via gurney out to corpse-mobile, which left Isa by herself in what appeared to be some sort of living room. She scoured it for a few moments, finding nothing of significance, and almost resolved to leaving before abrupt laughter caught her attention in the next room. Obviously it was Forensics, she recognized Michael’s distinctly obnoxious chuckling. The room bustled with loud talking, then laughter, so Isa sauntered over and stood in the doorway. It was dark and they couldn’t see her at first.

The five men- including Ricardo the lanky newbie, Michael the unsightly prankster, Bronkov the stoic transfer, Balle the confused alcoholic, and Jameson the fucking prick- were all standing around a box of evidence. In their grubby fingers they held photographs. They were throwing the things around and making horrifying comments like they were playing some sort of pornographic trading card game.

“Riccy, here this one’s for you,” Jameson flicked a photo at the kid and he grasped the air, sadly not catching it. It fluttered slowly, as if caught on a breeze, landing just by Isa’s booted foot. Ricardo snatched it up, looking at her boot, then following it up to her eyes. Everyone fell silent then.

“This is evidence, you fucking dimwits,” She scolded, eyes narrowed to slits. Anger reddened her normally pale face and she took the picture from the newbie. It was a girl who could be no more than 19, naked and alone on a bed. There was a false sense of hunger in her eyes, followed by a sadness Isa knew all too well. The girls name was Amelia. She’d been a street girl when Isa’s sister was in Vice, but switched out of the game just to fall into another one. Just a week ago, Amelia was found in a hotel bathtub, beaten so terribly they almost couldn’t recognize her. Claura cried for a week.

“Oh, piss off, weirdo,” Jameson spat, making Isa smile because he couldn’t find anything more insulting to say. He growled, eyes shooting daggers, but the rest of the men just gathered everything and started leaving.

“No, leave the boxes, I’ve got to do inventory on it,” She commanded, knowing if any of these boxes disappeared from sight that helpful evidence might never be seen again. The men cursed their way out of the dark room, kicking feet like children at the prospect of being told what to do by a women. In picking up and inspecting the photos, she found that not all of them were of women. There were some that were barely distinguishable, like they hadn’t developed correctly, and some she could barely decipher. Then there were three that were actually frightening to look at. It was some sort of beast. Her eyes dug into the picture and she found herself thinking back to Claura’s third month in Vice. She’d seen something. As it was her duty to lurk in the night through all sorts of streets and alleys, she thought she’d seen it all. Claura was scared of whatever she’d seen. She told Isa every night that she came home that she felt she was being followed. Isa chalked it up to anxiety. Claura never was the best at handling stress and the new job was really getting to her. One month later, Claura disappeared and was never seen again. No one knows what happened. Nobody pays attention to a hooker. With a sigh, Isa went against everything she knew was right and pocketed the photo. Someone would know what this is. Someone had to believe her and if this photo disappeared, she would never figure it out. Collecting the three boxes of evidence, she exited the building and left in the running vehicle with the dead man in the back.

 

 

 

 

The Evidence doesn’t lie – GS.

 

Scene setting – Fifth and Maple streets; Joey’s apartment.

co-written with Chor & VunG.

 

VunG:  If there was one thing that nobody could call Elissa, it was easy to discourage. Even as she was getting fixed up by the EMT’s she insisted on being allowed to stay until she knew for a fact that Frank and Tommy were in the clear. Normally she would’ve just gone ahead and joined them, but she knew that her injury was mild enough that she wasn’t exactly in mortal danger and with that goddamn commissioner around her level of confidence in the situation was somewhere around Satan’s wine cellar. While the room was investigated by the CSI’s, she was busy with the EMT’s getting the slug out of her shoulder with just a local anesthetic and getting her all bandaged up. It wasn’t her first time getting shot, and besides bleeding out it was pretty mild. When the slug was out, she asked the EMT’s to have it put into a CSI bag so that they could examine it themselves… though she had to do a lot of pantomime to get that out and was stuck holding the bag for the time being.

Once she was in the clear and her arm in a sling, she went ahead and asked one of the EMT’s to help her up to the crime scene, something that he was really reluctant to do. “Ma’am, we need to get that looked at proper. The immediate danger’s over, but you might have some contamination from the blood, or just lead poisoning.” But after an assurance that she’d go with them to the hospital afterwards he agreed. As it turned out, her hunch that things were bad would turn out to be dead on.

As she walked on, she noticed Tommy waiting outside, and she nodded to him, flashing him a weak smile as she leaned on the wall. Slowly she spelled out ~Thanks~ with her free hand, privately cursing her muteness for the hundredth time since getting shot. But… she really was grateful to him… he’d looked after her while she was downed and done his best to see to her wound, even though he wasn’t trained for it. And… for someone not trained to do this sort of thing to be so composed under fire… she had to admit that she was really impressed. Of course her smile faded as a bit of pain lanced across and she winced, shaking her head to clear it.

And then she heard the “you have motive” phrase… and suddenly her face was beet red with rage. The EMT tried to usher her out, but there was no stopping her. Still in her tank top with a bright white and deep red bandage on her shoulder, she strode in as Frank was protesting his innocence, a snarl of pure rage on her face. Tapping the commissioner on the shoulder, she promptly thrust the bag of lead shards into his chest. Once he had it, she immediately pointed to her shoulder, then pointed across the room to the window it had come from, then to the place where Joey was laying/his blood pool sat… all the while the EMT was urging her, “Ma’am, calm down! It can’t be good for the wound!” However, even as light-headed as she was feeling right now, she wasn’t about to back down.

Chor:  When Khalil practically leapt into the drivers’ seat of the vehicle, Isa took it that they were off to the scene. He started the Coroner’s van and they sped backward, all four eyes in the car trained intently on the rearview mirror. The scene of this homicide wasn’t too far from the precinct, but the police obviously had been alerted first and she only prayed they did not mud up her scene. What some might consider a front yard that was really a patch of wet dirt had a plethora of police issue boot marks tracked through it, leading to the apartment. An officer stopped her at the door, looking her up and down until she produced her keycard for his eyes to squint at for about a full minute. Apparently satisfied, the mustached hero of the yellow tape lifted his thin barrier and allowed the two passage underneath. She’s seen this cop at least a dozen times this month, yet he still does’t recognize her. It doesn’t bother her, much, though. It’s something Isa has become accustomed to.

Entering the building, Isa could barely hear herself think…or even breathe. The amount of people in the place was actually suffocating the air right out of it. It smelled terribly of not only drugs, but now cigarettes and a hint of aftershave. Eyes flew to her as she arrived. She wasn’t dressed very properly, wearing black pants, a normal tee, and her lab coat. This, accompanied by her dissheveled hair and lightly smudged eyeliner, may lead some to believe she’s in the wrong place. Isa, however, steps gently over to the body and uncovers it. She rolls her kit out and assembles her camera.

The CSI team is taking plenty of photos, as is evident by the flashes still bouncing across every surface. It’s a habit of hers to take her own shots, though, and uploading them to the database so if anything happens- like it often does in their chain of command- she has the hard copies. Much commotion was going on between a few cops and possibly civilians. There was much talk about motive and how it ‘could’ or ‘couldn’t’ be the officer. A laugh escaped her. A little snort thatwas loud enough to stop and turn quite a few heads. The body in front of her was not killed close range and any idiot with a forensics degree could see it. She turned, standing.

“No abrasion ring, no powder residue, the entrance wound is too small, and look at the spatter!” A hand pointed down at the body as she near shouted. Her words weren’t meant as an insult, but nevertheless she was incredulous.

“He couldn’t have killed this man…” Khalil tried to help, hoping maybe the few glares they received would calm. Isa didn’t care much for anyone’s opinion of her. She cared about the facts; about justice. This detective, whomever he was, was not the murderer. Whether he hired someone was a different story, one she didn’t need to worry about. They could argue for days about motive, but the science was factual and the science could prove it wasn’t him.

 

Razorbackwriter:  
Feeling the sharp tapping on his shoulder, the Commander turned to see an infuriated Elissa thrust a bag of lead shards hard into his chest. It winded the Commander slightly as he released a loud oomph The Commander wrestled the bag from Elissa only to have her madly pointing out her shoulder, then over to the broken window. It was clear by her demonstrations that she was making him realize it was impossible for Frank to have been the gunman, if you calculated the angle of the shots, the splatter and the fact that Elissa had also been shot in the attack. With her SWAT training, the girl was a very credible witness as well as being a victim of the shootings. The Commander didn’t like being proven wrong, and you could see he was getting flustered and annoyed. Small purple veins were starting to stand out on his neck. He was about to gruffly reply to Elissa, when one of the team from the coroners office spoke clearly and concisely about what the evidence was telling her.

“No abrasion ring, no powder residue, the entrance wound is too small, and look at the splatter!”

“That all still needs to be tested.” The Commander argued, hating being in the wrong. But he was being outgunned here and the fact it was women doing it to him, made it all the more painful. In the background, Frank’s shoulders sagged. Seriously, the Commander was as corrupt as Joey had been. There had been a lot of talk around the station, that the Commander was getting kick backs and shady deals from some of the mob bosses. Also, the Mayor’s office was involved. Hushing up crimes against certain underworld leaders. You really had to wonder if there was any true fighters for justice in this town. Finally, Frank had had a gutful and brazenly said what was on his mind. “Why would I kill the only man who witnessed what I did the night Rory died, Sir?” Again he was talking about the creature in the photographs that adorned the dark room out back. At this, Tommy reentered the room. He was not part of any police investigations, but he was ready to go into bat for his best mate.

“When these pictures make it in the mornings paper, there are going to be more interest in the creature, than the death of a drug runner.”

The Commander stiffened, hearing the nosy reporter enter the crime scene. “Oh…the Press! You are not getting one of those pictures, Son. They are all evidence.” He said with a wave of his hand diagonally across his body. “Someone get that guy outta here!”

Isa continued to try and help the situation, by adding that Frank was not the killer. “He couldn’t have killed this man…” The Commander walked right up to her face and stared her down. “I want your report on my desk ASAP. Prove without reasonable doubt.” Having had enough of the argument, he turned to one of the uniformed officers. “I want all the evidence brought into the station. ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS and equipment.” Commander Bracks yanked on his jacket and then in a huff, stormed out of the room. Tommy still hadn’t left the crime scene, and came up alongside Elissa.

“Now do you wanna go down to the ER?” Concern riddled on his face. He didn’t say anything to the Commander about the photographs, since he knew Frank had a few in his jacket.

With the Commander gone, Frank approached Isa. “Do you want my service revolver for testing?”

 

~RB~

Frank takes the heat – GS.

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street; Joey’s apartment.

co-written with Chor and VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa’s face remained stuck in an expression of intense pain and concentration as she tried to keep herself aware, and even as Tom and Frank came to her aid she tried to reach out for her gun again. No, she wasn’t about to try and pull some last stand maneuver, but she damn sure wanted to be armed. Every one of the extra shots made her blood boil, and even with her wound she wanted to fire back. Of course, she realized pretty quickly what a bad idea that was, and would promptly put her hand back into place while Tommy perched over her, stating the obvious. (No fucking shit,) she mouthed, not really caring if he actually saw or understood her words. They didn’t have time for the obvious to come down. But… she had to give up the fight, and nodded and remained in place while he found something to help bandage her.

She was aware of Frank returning fire, but beyond that Elissa was unable to really contribute much here. Still… apparently everything calmed down… which gave her enough time to bring her hand away and punch the floor furiously, slamming her head against the couch she was leaning against as she kicked herself for not noticing that damn sniper. She’d made longer shots than that, much less seen them, how the hell had she missed that?! Was she really slipping that much?! Was she really that much of a has-been?

Of course, just to make matters worse, Joey’s significant other came in at about that moment to see the carnage. Frank was quick on it, of course, and was able to get things under control. Grunting softly, she reached up to the buttons of her coat and undid them as quickly as she could manage, ignoring the pain of moving the arm involved. The moment the thing was off to allow for a little better access to her injury, her right hand returned to its place while the left went limp, tears of pain streaming down her face as she bit her lip. Under her jacket she was wearing what amounted to a grey tank top. Tommy would be able to see the wound clearly if he could get her hand away, and if he was paying attention he’d notice scars similar to her neck’s along both her arms and a single mark on the edge of her right shoulder where she’d been grazed by another bullet.

She was absolutely oblivious to the calls being made… except for Frank’s mention of an 11-41. Immediately shame overwhelmed her and she looked down, biting her lip as more tears streamed down her cheeks. Damn it all… was that all she was now? A freaking ambulance call?!

 

Chor:  Now Isa wouldn’t have called herself busy, but drinking her shitty coffee from the conference/break room down the hall just past the morgue was the one thing that she preferred to be uninterrupted in her morning routine. She guessed, though, that in the city that never, ever sleeps, ten in the morning was not too early for a homicide. Truthfully, she had been on overnight duty and just slept in her office. The lounge served comfortble enough for at most six hours of light, non-murder-interrupted sleep. The crackling of the heat coming on in the room caused her to wake about thirty-seven minutes earlier and her hair was still a raggedy, sad mess.
This, of course, homicidal maniacs did not take into consideration when they started killing for the day. One sip into the sludge shite in the cracked “Best Mom Ever” mug and the radio exploded with sound, turning her quiet world upside down and causing her to drop her liquid breakfast onto the counter. The mug bounced off the edge of the granite and tumbled to the floor, creating a scene more annoying than she wished to handle at the moment. Listening closely to the radio, she stood unblinking. 10-71. Not for her. 11-41. Still not her. Her fingers twitched. Now that she was alert, ready for it, she eyed the device hungrily. So quickly her emotions could change. When nothing else spewed from the muffled speakers and the sound quit its reverberation in the accoustic room, she bent and retrieved her cup. The handle was broken and where the piece sepearated was seen layers upon layers of all sorts of glue of different consistencies and colors. This cup is old, a piece of fine china in their little kitchinette, and she would put it back together again. Just like she always does.
A towel is procured from a bland gray cabinet and used to mop up the black mess. The coffee was actually so thick, it nearly reminded her of coagulated blood. A small smile tugged at her lips as she threw the towel in the ‘to-be-washed’ bin, where it woud sit for about a week and a half until she washed it at home. Her second in command for this shift, Khalil, opened the door gently, holding fresh scrubs she only imagined he planned to change into.
“I got word from the buses it’s homicide. Keep an ear out, I’m headed to change, you’re on dead guy duty, I’ll drive,” He said. Khalil didn’t have an office, mostly because he was new and not because he didn’t deserve one. He worked just as hard as any of the others, just Isa worked harder; and she was more qualified. She nodded, though, and followed him as he left the entrance. There was a pretty good chance they’d be seeing hearing someone call in a body within the next ten minutes. She pulled her coat on and plucked her clip board and pen off the shelf, waiting patiently in the corpse-mobile.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The street below Joey’s apartment, was now filled with brass and the blazing lights of squad cars and of course the ambulance. Tommy sat outside in the hall, his jacket now a disheveled mess, covered in blood and bits of broken glass. After having answered questions to one of the other officers, he was ordered outside while Frank was getting a dressing down from his superior.

“No warrant? Jesus, Frank. What were you thinking? You are just damn lucky this joint is full of drugs.” The Commander scowled, as he was handed a bag from one of the CSI teams. “More in the bedroom, Sir.” The rookie announced, as others were searching throughout the apartment for more. Frank had been consoling Patty, who was now being taken away by a special officer for the bereaved. Joey was laying on the floor under a sheet, while another cop was dusting for prints. There had been no word yet on the dark room, and this had Frank on tender hooks.

“Sir, I’m not going to lie. Joey Patone sent me some photographs and that is the reason I came here. I dragged Elissa and Tommy Xo in with me. So if you are going to throw the book at anyone, throw it at me.”

The Commander raised a brow, and then asked. “What photographs?” At this point, Frank directed the Commander to the dark room. The two gentlemen walked in and this was when the Commander’s face became quite stern. “So he liked a little photography. What has that got to do with anything?” The Commander not being able to see a connection. He could see the p*rn pictures, but then he saw the ones of the beast.

“What the devil?” He pulled one down and stared at it. “He was into Sci fi photography?”

Frank came up behind him and said. “Sir…look at the date.” It was the same date as the day Rory died. The image taken from the alley below. “Sir…that is the thing that took Rory. Joey…saw it too.”

“AHAHAHAHA. What a load of crock. He was fitting you up, Frank. This is ludicrous.” The commander wasn’t about to believe Frank. Who would? He spun on his heel and got in Frank’s face. “You got a dead man out there, and you have motive.”

“What?” It was incredulous to think that Frank would kill Joey, if he was the only other witness to the death of Rory. “Sir, you’ve got this all wrong. A sniper shot Joey through the window. Ask Elissa…..or Tommy.”

 

~RB~

Foul Play – GS.

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street.

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  Elissa couldn’t help but grimace with contempt as she overheard Joey’s pleading. This sort of man was an utter worthless waste of food and even in her cursory examination she could smell the drugs here, much less see them. Still, they were here for a particular purpose, and even if they decided to bring this guy down for the drugs, they needed his dark room far more.

As she gladly took up her place to keep Joey under control, her finger actually resting on the trigger rather than resting alongside; unlike Frank who perhaps wanted him as a witness, she had no worries about killing a mobster. She’d done it more than her fair share of times in the past. She wasn’t really taking into account Frank’s treatment of Tommy; this was an act, and he was playing it to a T. But then Joey turned to look at her, and while she made absolutely zero reaction other than to tighten her grip on the gun, she could tell that he was scared about something, and it wasn’t her or Frank. Then…

BLAM BLAM BLAM. Blood splattered across her face her ears were ringing from the shots. Tommy’s words were unnecessary, by the time he said them she was already prone on the floor. As quickly as she could manage, she crawled for cover, pausing to wipe the blood from her face. Eventually she found a place behind a chair, and quickly got herself into a position to fire back, briefly peeking over in the hopes of spotting the shooter so she could return fire. However, even if she normally would’ve been able to, she was distracted by a slight fuzzy feeling, particularly in her upper arm. Frowning, she looked at herself… and would see red blooming on her shoulder. It was only then that she felt the pain explode as she realized that Joey hadn’t been the only one hit by the assassin.

Immediately she was on her ass and leaning up against the couch, a pained hiss escaping her as she dropped her gun, and reached up to put some pressure on it. She was completely oblivious to whether or not she was visible to the others, right now she was just trying to focus on staying alert and keep herself from suffering from blood loss until one of her brothers could get to her. Damn it… why did she wear such heavy clothing?! (Of course, she’d completely forgotten about her scarf, which had fallen off once she slumped over) This stuff couldn’t be easily torn! She tried to shout to them, to let them know of her status, but all that came out was a sound like a cat’s hiss.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The sudden sound of gunfire, followed by the loud thud and shouts from Tommy brought Frank running from the other room. Had Elissa suddenly opened fire on Joey? Had he tried to disarm her? All these things were buzzing in his mind, but the moment he turned the corner, the full scale of what had happened hit him damn quick. Another few shots suddenly were fired and whistled past Frank’s head as he too dropped to the floor. Seeing the slouched body of Joey, with his blood covering the floor and parts of the wall made him swear.

“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” He exclaimed as glass showered Tommy and Elissa on the floor. The window was now riddled with bullet holes, the glass having shattered and even a few holes in the curtains. The shooter had to have been across the street, watching the entire time. Crawling across the floor, Frank saw that Elissa had been hit. Frank’s eyes widened and then the horror sunk in. He had led his friends into a trap of sorts. When Joey said, he couldn’t go to jail again, and was afraid of something he wasn’t kidding. Now, their only witness to the creature that took Rory….was dead. They were now in the middle of a crime scene, and this was going to have to be explained.

Tommy crawled over to Elissa and started to tear fragments from the table cloth on the table above him. “We need to get you to a hospital.”

As he tried to help Elissa, Frank brazenly jumped to his feet and began firing at what he thought was the opposite window to Joey’s apartment. A light there flickered then went out. Whoever had shot Joey, had now fled. Frank collapsed onto a nearby couch and started to smack his own forehead with his left hand.

“DAMN DAMN…FUCKING A!” He had no other words to describe how he felt.

Suddenly, the key turned in the lock. It was Joey’s partner, Patty. She had raced home cause she forgot her purse and the sight that greeted her made her scream. “JOEY!!!” She saw the damage in the apartment and then the trio who were there, sitting in various parts of the room. “WHO ARE YOU PEOPLE? WHAT HAPPENED TO MY JOEY?!” Tommy groaned, as having this girl turn up now, was not going to help matters. Frank then held up his badge.

“Police. I’m Detective Frank Malone….Homicide.”

Tommy pulled out his phone and called 911. He explained the incident in minor details, and then sung out to Frank. “You are going to have to call this in.” There was no escaping it now. Frank reluctantly pulled out his own phone and rang head quarters on a 10-71…..and an 11-41. Slowly Frank got to his feet, as a sobbing Patty fell into his arms.

 

~RB~

 

 

“I can’t go to jail again!” – GS.

Scene setting – Fifth and Maple street

co-written with VunG.

 

VunG:  Once they knew the actual apartment number, Elissa took up a nice place on the edge of an alleyway and leaned onto the wall. She knew full well what they were doing was illegal, or at least it was walking a tightrope, but she didn’t mind really in this specific case. There were some situations where dancing the line were appropriate, usually when the system was doing everything in its power to sabotage the pursuit of justice. Sighing, she took another swig of whiskey and looked over at Frankie, trying to figure out what was going through his head. He was so close to getting some answers, so close, she couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be teased in such a way. She felt for the man, as a brother in arms, and she really hoped that this would help him.

However, right now she was more concerned with Tommy. While his reassurance that he would be alright was appreciated, she wasn’t certain. She hated this idea of sending a civilian to the wolves, and just didn’t have the heart to tell him off or the mind to come up with a better plan. Granted, he wasn’t some helpless lamb, but it still worried her, and in some small way, when she saw the window open she felt kind of relieved. Putting away her flask, she gestured to Frankie and headed her way up. As they went, she definitely sent a concerned look Frank’s way, but she wasn’t certain she’d show that she wasn’t so much afraid for her own safety. She could handle herself just fine.

Once up to the apartment, she’d wait for Frank and make an ‘after you’ gesture to the door, considering that it would probably be a more impressive entrance if he went in. Of course, if he didn’t take her up, she’d take the initiative. Either way, she’d walk in calmly and authoritatively, straightening her scarf as she joined the congregation and very calmly looking at Joey, all emotion gone from her face and replaced with an expression made of pure ice. Even when looking at Tommy, checking to see that he was okay, she was completely emotionless, just a simple blink to confirm that he was alright before gazing straight at their quarry.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Down by the car, Frank was feeling a little apprehensive. Joey was known to be irrational when disturbed, and knowing Tommy as he did, all it would take was one slip up. This was going against normal police procedure, and if it went belly up, he could see himself being demoted or worse. He hated the idea of getting Elissa into trouble, but this guy may well hold the clues aside from the few photographs that he had sent Frank in the mail. Staring up at the window for signs from Tommy, Frank then noticed that Elissa was offering a swig of whiskey from her small hip flask. The detective paused for a moment, and then realizing the drink could only help cut back the nerves he was feeling. Taking the flask, he took a sip before letting out a gasp. It really hit the spot. Handing it back, he uttered a word of thanks before watching her gesture that they were going to head up. It was now or never. Patting his jacket which concealed his fire arm, he followed Elissa into the building. Tommy had opened the window as a sign for the two to come up. The tension was growing.

Reaching the door, Frank tensed when Elissa made an after you gesture. Frank gave a small shrug and then with one bold kick from his boot, he punched the door open, much to the surprise of Tommy…and Joey.

“FUCK IT’S THE COPS!” Joey blurted, realizing he had a bag of hash in plain sight. He was not expecting this, and much to his shock he threw up his arms and went as white as a ghost. Frank had his gun drawn, and this may well have impressed Elissa, who followed in walking calmly whilst straightening her scarf. She looked over everything as Frank aimed his gun at Joey’s head. “AGAINST THE WALL….SPREAD EM, YOU SON OF A BITCH!”

Joey didn’t wait to be asked twice, doing exactly as Frank ordered, shaking in his boots. “Don’t you have a warrant?” He squeaked, knowing this was out of the ordinary. Frank simply scanned the room and then saw the bag of drugs.“You….Bozo.” He referred to Tommy. “You his dealer?” Yep, Frank was playing it like he didn’t know Tommy at all, and Tommy quickly bought onto the act they were going to play out. “No….Officer…I swear. I’m innocent.” Smirking, he then shouted at Tommy. “Hands behind your head, and on your knees.” Tommy shot a look at Elissa, like he wondered what Frank had been sniffing…or drinking. But Frank had it worked out. As he started to frisk Joey, he turned his head to Elissa and said. “Check the rooms, before we call this in.”

If she went into the spare bedroom, she would discover it was a dark room. The walls plastered with pictures, but most importantly, a whole heap on the large beast, just like the ones that he had sent Frank. In Joey’s terror, he didn’t recognize Frank at first, mainly since the death of Rory had aged him.

~RB~

 

VunG:  It was a damn good thing that Elissa couldn’t laugh, because honestly she would’ve done just that as they stormed into the room, the sight of Joey’s reaction making a smile tug at the corners of her lips. Still, she too pulled her gun out as they came in, if for nothing other than show. Still, she remained nice and calm; she knew what Frank was thinking, and hopefully he was right that Joey wouldn’t be smart enough to think that Tommy was actually part of their little cadre. When she caught Tommy’s eye, she just smirked and gestured with her gun (though pointing to the side rather than at him) to get down. Then, at Frank’s order, she quickly began making her way through the rooms.

She made a lot of noise, slamming each and every door open as she went and acting like it was a full-blown drug bust or whatever it was that Frankie was claiming it was. However, besides the place looking and smelling like Satan’s ass hole, she didn’t find anything of any real note… until she came upon the dark room. Oh, this place was a goldmine of what they needed, but while the NYPD would, in general, have a field day with this stuff, her eyes were immediately dragged to those of the thing that they were hunting.

Immediately she came back into the room with the other three, and snapped her fingers to get Frank’s attention before gesturing in the direction of the spare bedroom/dark room, nodding confidently to confirm they had exactly what they needed. If he wanted to take a look and not take Joey with him, she’d gladly take control of him, making sure she had him by the wrists and keeping her gun at the ready, even if she didn’t expect to have to use it. Regardless of whether that happened, she’d make gestures like she was making sure to sweep Tommy to keep him down, but really it went nowhere near him, and she’d give him wink and a smile to tell him ‘well done.’

 

Razorbackwriter:  The slamming of cupboard doors would have Joey wincing, since he had drugs stashed all over the apartment. He wasn’t a user, he was a dealer and his main source was from the East side Mob – The Monaros. A bust like this was going to send him down, and as he kept his place against the wall, he tried to plead with Frank. “I can’t go to prison again. Look….I’ll make a deal with you, coppa.” He had his face to the wall, so he couldn’t see Frank’s face, but the detective was already getting the feeling by the way Joey was acting that they had stumbled onto something big, not just the evidence in what killed Rory.

Hearing the snapping of fingers, Frank and Tommy both looked up to see Elissa come back out from one of the rooms she had searched. Her face said it all. Frank raised an eyebrow and then said. “You keep your gun on the suspect, while I check the back room.” He went past Tommy and shouted at him “WHAT YOU LOOKING AT, ASSHOLE?” Yeah, Frank was getting some mileage out of paying out on Tommy. He had to sound convincing. Walking into the hall way, he let out a nervous sigh, before walking into the dark room. JACKPOT! The room was filled with photographs and there on the string that ran across the room were the same pictures as the ones that had been sent to him. He pulled one off the string and stared at it. He wasn’t the only one that saw it. He had an eyewitness……

Back out in the lounge, Joey was getting anxious. You could say he was worried about something more than the cops. He slowly turned, hands in the air to face Elissa. “I can’t go to jail again.”

~BLAM BLAM BLAM!~

Shots were fired through the window, that Tommy had opened earlier and hit Joey. Two in the head, one in the chest. His body jerked and spasmed, as his brain was splattered against the nearest wall. Joey teetered on his feet, before dropping like a sack of potatoes on the floor. Tommy screamed at Elissa. “GET DOWN!”

 

~RB~

 

 

The Witness – GS.

 

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street.

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter:  With Elissa having joined the two gents on the next stop off at Fifth and Maple Street, little did they know that the photographer who had captured the pictures of the slug was home. Sitting in his lounge room, the odd buzz of morning news was in the back ground, while his girlfriend, Patty was getting ready for work. Joey Patona, who Rory and Frank had been staking out the night of Rory’s death was slouched on his favorite lazy boy chair with a cigarette hanging from his bottom lip. On the table beside him was racing guides, a crumpled packet of cigarettes and a long lens camera. He lazily took a drag from his cigarette as Patty stormed into the lounge from their bedroom.

“Joey…when you going to get a real job and help me pay the bills?” Since the court case, Joey had been keeping a low profile, since the prosecution failed in their bid to convict Mob boss James Capoda in the east side Brankston murders. They couldn’t bring Joey in a second time, as the key piece of evidence had been stolen from the police lock up. Joey brought a hand to his temple and rubbed it slightly while Patty finished putting on her day coat. She folded her arms and glared at him, waiting for an answer. “I’m expecting a call any day now, love. Just be patient, okay?” He sounded sincere, and his smile was disarming. Joey was great at using charm when all else failed. Patty on the other hand was losing patience. She’d been working two jobs to keep them from losing their apartment, and the stress was starting to take it’s toll. “Well, If I don’t see you bringing in a paycheck, its over!” Patty snatched up her purse and stormed out the door, leaving Joey to his devices. No sooner had the door closed, he was on the phone….to his bookie.

“Rick….yeah man, its Joey. Put fifty on race 7….number 9. I’m feeling lucky today.”

Pulling up in the alley, Tommy shut off the engine and turned slightly in his seat. Looking back at Elissa and Frank he said. “This is it.” It was it. The murder scene of Rory Lismore. Frank hated coming back here, but what choice did he have. That night played over and over again in his mind and the only way to end the nightmare was to find out if the giant slug….was responsible. Getting out of the car, Frank pulled out the envelope and then spread the pictures over the bonnet of the car. Looking at the images, and then the angle on which they were taken….to see if he could pin point just where the photos had been taken from.

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa had to admit, there was something eerie about coming back to this place. She’d stopped off at it sure, in fact if the guys were sharp-eyed they’d see a pot of flowers sitting in one of the corners that she’d left, but besides that there didn’t seem to be anything left of note here. And that was the scary part… it seemed too normal for what happened. She noticed the look on poor Frank’s face, and she made a mental note to keep an eye on him, just in case, but right now it was to business. As she looked at the pictures, she looked at the angle, then walked over to the rough place where the creature had been, looking around with her hands on her hips. She was thinking of this the same way you’d think of an actual rifle shooter, mostly for the purpose of trajectory. Thankfully, it was obvious which direction it was, the trick was just verticality. Walking back to the guys, she pointed at the building she thought it was, though beyond that she wasn’t too certain what height it was at, and could only give a rough guesstimate.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Both Frank and Elissa were of the same mind, when it came to trying to work out where the photographs had been taken from. Sure enough as their line of sight brought them both to the same window, Frank suddenly had a very grim expression. He recognized the building and….the window. It all fell into place. Who else would be so cunning as to send the photographs in an unmarked envelope in the first place, knowing full well what they meant. The stake out of Joey Patona. The very reason that the two detectives had been in the alley in the first place. What with the noise and all that happened, it would have brought Joey to his window. Frank reached up to scratch behind his neck as he turned away for a moment and silently cursed. Tommy watched on, and saw the change in Frank’s demeanor. “You worked it out?” The reporter surprised that the detective was coming up with an idea for who the photographer was.

“Son of a bitch.” The detective replied, shaking his head. “I’m going to need a warrant. I can’t just barge in there and demand that crook to admit to what he saw.”

Tommy chuckled. “Since when have you been totally by the book, Frank. This is about finding out what happened to Rory and clearing your name.” The reporter then smirked at Elissa and uttered. “She was a cop…you’re a cop….and I…could trick the bastard into fessing up. He might be keen to sell a story….and while I am interviewing him, you two burst in and….I don’t know, turn the place over.”

Frank wasn’t too sure about this. Joey had connections to the underworld, though he was on the outer at the moment. The detective had his badge, and his gun on him so there was no reason for him not to try and follow along with Tommy’s idea. The reporter beamed and then straightened his collar. “I’ll go up first, and set this up. You two wait in the hallway till I give the signal and then burst in.”

It was starting to sound like something from a mob film, and Frank was worried that Elissa might not want to be involved. He asked her directly. “I don’t want you in over your head, Elissa. You don’t want in with this, I’ll call in John Moss. Though he probably won’t want to touch this case.”

What would she say?

Tommy had already started off for the entrance to the apartment building.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Eventually Elissa and Frank traced the picture, and their gazes both landed on the window responsible… but unlike him she didn’t recognize who it was. However, as Frank mentioned that the person was a crook, she pretty quickly put it together, and she was promptly sighing with frustration and putting her hands on her hips while the men tried to figure out how to handle it. Tommy’s way of handling it had her a little concerned, but she could see things working without it going south. In fact, she could even see a way to do it without things going completely out of control and getting them in trouble, if they were smart about it as a group. This couldn’t just be a unilateral thing, they needed to plan.

Still, she wasn’t about to back down; Tommy was 100% right, they would be able to handle this without issue on a capability level, and they were pretty well backed up against the wall here. Besides, the way things were headed she would be pegged as an accomplice if this went south. No sense going halfway. Besides, she wasn’t unarmed; she had her police-service Beretta 92 AND a tazer both hidden in her jacket (she had a concealed carry license). Yeah, this would work.

Of course, as they began moving in, Frank’s words caught her a bit off-guard. The offer was definitely appreciated, and she made sure to smile and nod her acknowledgement, but she wasn’t backing down. Without any further attempt to communicate her thoughts, she promptly fell into step behind Tommy, flashing Frank a confident grin as she passed. She’d been deprived of this sort of excitement for too long.

However, she had to make one thing clear to Tommy, and would jog up to him to sign, ~If he’s cooperative, don’t call us in. I’m not expecting things to go that smoothly, the guy’s a pile of shit, but just saying.~ Of course, after that she’d fall back into line alongside Frank, glad to have this underway and with something that wasn’t a rough dead end.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Tommy stopped dead when Elissa came up alongside him and signed that if Joey was cooperative to not call the pair in as back up. The reporter understood exactly what she was conveying and gave her shoulder a small squeeze. “Don’t worry. I won’t call you in unless absolutely necessary.” Frank of course heard the exchange and adjusted his jacket slightly. He was ready for anything, and knew this could quickly go south, since Joey was known to be a bit of a hot head and unpredictable. Giving his companions a small salute, Tommy headed inside the entrance to the apartment building and left the other two to their devices.

The apartment building was the kind that should be condemned. Not only did it smell rank of curry, you could see rats out in the open scurrying along the walls. Tommy shuddered as he headed up the stairs. The lift was out of commission. Going round and round, he finally reached Joey’s floor. Working out the apartment from the window placement on the outside of the building, Tommy went over to room #339 and then knocked on the door.

Inside, Joey was watching the races on his TV set, when he heard the knocking. Thinking it might be someone that was coming to hit him up for money, since he owed his creditors and a few drug dealers, he picked up his baseball bat and approached the door. “Who is it?!” He yelled through the door, only to peek through the peek hole and see the well dressed Tommy standing there. He didn’t look like he was from the mob, due to his racial features. Thinking this was odd, he waited for Tommy to reply. “Tommy Xo….I’m a reporter and looking to buy your story about the court case. Everyone knows you were set up and I am willing to pay…..$5000 for the scoop.”

The moment that Tommy offered money, Joey’s eyes lit up. Five thousand sure could get him out of a bind and shut up his old lady. He set down the bat carefully and undid the locks, opening the door. Tommy was ready, holding out his press club pass to show he was legit. “Hey hey buddy. Won’t you come in?’ Joey stepped back to let Tommy into his apartment, which was a real dump no matter how hard Patty worked to keep it neat. Joey was a slob. He even had food stains on his shirt. Tommy entered the apartment, and took out a cigarette so as to look like he wasn’t nervous about being in a mobster’s home.

“Thanks. Mind if I smoke?” He asked, gesturing with the unlit cigarette in his hand. Joey was quick to offer an ashtray that was buried under a stack of racing forms. It was pretty clear that Joey was a gambler, what with the racing on the telly and the guides. Tommy took out his zippo lighter and lit up, letting out a puff of smoke, before continuing. He noticed the camera too on the side table, and then off the cuff asked. “You do photography?” It was an off the cuff question, but he had his reasons. Joey shrugged and then replied. “If I got something interesting to take a photo of. I do some photography work for the porn industry. Have my own dark room.” Joey was starting to relax a little and this was just what Tommy had hoped for. “Nice hobby. Does it make much?” Now Tommy was starting to delve a little deeper and this was when Joey blurted out a significant sentence. “I’m hoping it will. Took some snaps that might interest a certain detective. Blew my mind when I had them developed. Course….no one is going to believe it. Perhaps the coppa. So…you wanna talk about that murder case? I’m keen to make a bit of money.”

“Sure thing. Mind if I open a window? Need some fresh air.” Tommy asked, heading to the window to give the signal for the other two to come up to the apartment.

~RB~

Tommy’s street rats – GS

Back Streets of New York.

The shouting of the Chinese chefs grew as the night time trade was at their peak in the Golden Dragon restaurant. Tommy ‘s smile grew as he turned the corner. The dark alley stretching down till reaching fourth street. Here there were many vagrants and bums that the city had long since forgotten. But what people didn’t realize was that they were the eyes and the ears of the city. Carrying a small bag of Chinese dinners, Tommy approached two men that were standing at an upturned oil drum, which was being used as a fire bin. Each man having their hands held forward to warm by the fire. Tommy’s shadow soon overtook them, and both men turned with fright – only to be relived when they saw it was Tommy.

“Yo Man….you damn well scared us. Sneaking around like that. Hey, do I smell chicken and cashews?” The first man said, as Tommy pulled out one of the boxes and a pair of chopsticks, handing it over to the man who greeted him. Wearing an old brown coat, with a grey scarf tied around his neck, the bum greedily took the box of food and sat down on the ground, while his companion did the same. He was slightly wary of a well dressed man handing out free food.

“Wha’ chu wanting, bud?” The second man said, sitting down beside his friend and hastily opened the box of food, while Tommy lent on one of the industrial bins. Tommy was wearing a grey three piece suit with a black long over coat and matching scarf that helped keep his neck warm on these cold New York nights.

“Been a spate of murders in the area, gentlemen. I’m wanting to know if you have heard or seen…anything unusual. My money is on the fact that this is not mob related.”

The two men stopped eating, with their chop sticks held still. ~Murders?~ Sure, everyone knew that life on the streets was tough for anyone. You really had to know your way around, but it was so easy to fall foul of an angered and crazed drug user or a unpaid pimp. But with Tommy saying the murders were NOT mob related, that could mean only one thing.

“You thinkin’ it’s a serial killer?”

“Possibly….I’ve been working the case a few months. Trying to keep one step ahead of the cops, ya know?” Tommy answered as he took out a crumpled cigarette packet and tapped one end on the open palm of his hand – the cigarette sliding out, and he quickly flicked it up to his lips. He lit the cigarette with a zippo lighter, before snapping it shut and stuffing it in his coat pocket. The hot glow of the end of the cigarette was illuminating his face partially. Tommy was an attractive man. What he was doing down this end of town was considered out of character for his breed. Taking a long drag, he tipped his head back, and blew the smoke skywards, before returning his attention back to the bums.

“If you two see…or hear anything. Strangely dressed men…..odd gun sounding gun shots. You get in touch with me.” At this, Tommy gave the nearest bum his card, which had his contact details on it, along with the NY Times logo. He was one of the Times best investigative journalists, and it was easy to see why.

“There be more dinners like this, but in a better setting.” The journo promised as the two resumed eating their meals with gusto.

“You got it, Tommy.” the first bum said with a grin, as Tommy turned on his heel and started to walk out of the back alley. He was heading back to his apartment, since he had promised Tamika he’d show up for dinner.

As Tommy left the alley, the two bums looked at each other. Murders, and unusual ones. Only in New York.

~RB~