Little white shorts – GS.

 

Gantz series.

Scene setting : Detective Frank Malone’s apartment.

Co-written with Chor.

 

Chor:  After probably the most enjoyable shower Isa as experienced in awhile, she stepped out of the shower onto the plush rug – which was immediately soaked by her dripping body- and pulled a towel around herself.

Shit,” she whispered. She really was not on her game this morning, as she had also forgotten that the clothes were in Frank’s bedroom. She decided on not bringing further attention to her idiocy and settling at the moment for brushing her teeth. At least three times. Finally, with the stench of the ghost of garlic of nights past gone, she pulled the towel tighter around herself, which was simple on account of there being little for her to actually cover, and opened the door a crack. Frank was in the kitchen and not paying attention. See, Isolde saw her underwear and bra as just articles of clothing, nothing too sexual or important about them. That probably stemmed from being with her sister, who came home in lingerie most mornings. Isolde tiptoed to his room while Frank was turned around and closed the door behind her.

Okay, back of the closet,” Isolde said to herself. She opened the blinded door and peer to the back of the dark space to see a box nearly overflowing with clothing Isa knew could not be Frank’s. She dragged it out with great difficulty on account of how much was actually in it. Oh my god. Isolde nearly snorted when she lifted out the contents. The box was teeming with white shorts and hoodies of every neon colour imaginable and…dear lord they all read “Malone 02” on the back. Soccer mom, how did Isa not guess it. She honestly couldn’t imagine Frank with someone who owned this many pairs of white shorts. Isolde couldn’t imagine how many more pairs the woman had that she was able to leave so many behind. How many monogrammed hoodies can one woman own?

Isolde snapped on her bra and then pulled over it an orange hoodie that didn’t have all the same vibrancy as the others – likely because of multiple washes in city water- sighing, as if the colour burned her eyes. Then came the shorts, through which her underwear were absolutely viewable. Shoving the box back to its hiding place where she hoped to never see it again, Isa exited the room, face slightly wrinkled, cringing like she was wearing some sort of clown suit.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank had been toying with his cellphone while trying to come up with an appropriate message to send to Tommy. It was not surprising that the reporter would send him such a text. They had been friends a long time and Tommy could easily pick when Frank was at his lowest. It was one of the things that made their friendship what it was.

Hearing the continual running of the water from the shower, Frank deducted that Isa was really enjoying it. Thankfully they weren’t on rationed water supplies, as that could have put a dampener on her morning ritual. Clothes. Now that was going to be interesting to see. When Frank had placed the large box of his ex’s clothes in the back of his closet, he had completely forgotten what was in it. Trust Missy to leave behind all her soccer hoodies and those numerous pairs of white shorts. It was only when Isa emerged in the pumpkin colored hoody did Frank have that sudden flashback. One thing though, Isa looked amazing in those white shorts. A hell of a lot better than Missy ever did.

Seeing the wrinkled facial expression showing that Isa wasn’t exactly sold on the look she was wearing, Frank tried his darnedest to cheer her up.

“Hey, Isa. You look great!” At least she wasn’t wearing the neon hoody. Those stood out worse than a construction worker on his night shift. Tommy gave a small thumbs up, before reaching for his wallet and keys. His phone was now safely tucked back into his jacket.

“Fancy going to Jax’s coffee house for breakfast. I happen to know they do great waffles.”

Frank was hopeful that Isa would agree to his idea, since it was his favorite place now for coffee – which he badly needed. Realizing he needed to freshen up first, he patted Isa’s arm as he shot past her into the bathroom.

“Give us five minutes, would you?”

In the bathroom, Frank splashed his face with cold water, before patting it dry and then grabbing his tooth brush to brush his teeth. Curry breath and all that.

Re emerging, Frank showed Isa to the door.

“I’ll text Tommy when we get there. Say….do you like soccer?”

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  It was kind of Frank to tell Isolde she looked great, when in reality she knew she looked nearly ridiculous. The shorts were tight beyond belief; how did this woman even have a child with such narrow hips? Isa was swimming in the hoodie however, the fit so loose the only way for her to function her arms was to roll the sleeves to her elbow.

Thanks,” she uttered with a disbelieving nod. Of course, it could be worse…probably? Okay, maybe not. The hot mess that stood listen to Frank mention a little coffee house for breakfast smiled to herself. Two meals in less than 48 hours? This would have to be a new record. They’d better alert the media; write it into the calendar…

Sounds great to me. Can’t say no to waffles.

Isa wouldn’t argue. Waffles happened to be her favorite breakfast food, aside from cheese-eggs, but she could only eat the eggs if she made them. Everyone else seemed to cook them too long or with not enough milk and cream. Thinking about it, Isa reminded herself that she should probably pick up milk and eggs when she got a chance. Maybe even bread. Frank darted past her to use the restroom and she blinked a wide blink, as though she’d gotten whiplash from the fast movement. When he’d emerged, Frank was a new person. Fresh and ready for the day. Jeez, how is it he didn’t even have to try to look handsome? This made Isa’s predicament a little more sour. At the mention of soccer, her jaw dropped with a grin. Really?

Oh, yeah, love it,” she replied sarcastically with a little chuckle as she grabbed her clothes, wadded them into a ball, and followed him out.

 

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Detective Klutz – GS.

 

Scene setting:  Detective Frank Malone’s apartment.

co-written with Chor.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The silence of the morning was broken by a strange yelp that came from Frank’s bedroom Rousing slightly at the sound, Frank pushed off the blanket that he had used after spending a night on the couch, and stood up – stretching slightly as he had a bit of a sore back. The rustling from in his room would have to be Isa waking up. Raking back his disheveled hair, Frank started for the bedroom door, only stopping to knock lightly.

“Morning Isa.”

Knowing she had been put to bed in her own clothes, Frank knew that she would probably want to shower and change. “There is a box of clothes in the closet, left behind by my ex wife, if you are looking for something to change into.”

Not wanting to disturb Isa further he added; “I’ll start breakfast, alright?”

Frank continued to stretch his arms and then roll his shoulders as he headed into the kitchen. Opening the fridge, he leaned on the door and sighed at the contents. A carton of milk, a block of cheese that had probably seen better days, and of course left over curry. Isa probably didn’t want another curry, especially for breakfast. Thinking the worst of the situation, Frank then spotted a box of corn flakes in the cupboard and pulled that out, placing it on the counter. It wasn’t going to be much of a breakfast, but it was better than nothing.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa was actually startled by Frank’s voice, momentarily running through mazes inside her head.

Morning,” she called back, her normally dark and chocolatey voice creaking as it usually does just after she wakes up. Isolde, still groggy, barely comprehended anything the man said, but did latch onto one phrase. Ex wife. The guilt that had started earlier to build inside her began to melt away. She’d seen the photo of Frank’s son, but didn’t know anything about a wife and honestly hoped she hadn’t just slept in another woman’s bed. Whatever sad, scary wall Frank had built up after Rory’s death is likely what drove her away. Isa knew what that could be like. She no longer had the friends she’d kept from school and even Khalil has distanced himself since Claura’s disappearance.

The rest of Frank’s statement came later, when she’d thought long and hard about last night. Changing sounded fabulous, but a shower sounded infinitely better. Isolde, hoping Frank would not mind, tiptoed in her disheveled state to his bathroom and began to run the water. She was always a scalding hot shower kind of girl. Disrobed save for her undergarments, Isolde turned to find that there was not a single towel in the bathroom. Oy vey. Too tired to really think it through, she pulled her unbuttoned top on haphazardly and went out of the room.

https://i2.wp.com/31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mcf3ih6zTW1rec9feo1_500.gif
There’s no towels in there,” she said, pointing back to his restroom. The water could be heard running and she looked straight at him, as if she didn’t even notice she was barely clothed. It wasn’t that Isa was immodest, she just didn’t consider clothing to be of much import. This is the body science gave her and though she may mistreat it, she is not ashamed of it. All of the symbols running lines over her body could be seen now as she waited for him to direct her to where she might find a linen closet of sorts…or if he just had a towel somewhere. Her gently malnourished body was not fit, but soft in the places where she still held weight. She didn’t do much exercise, but possessed a petite waist, enough breast to keep people believing she truly was a woman, and child-bearing hips to follow.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Ever seen a startled deer? Or a possum that had been struck by the headlights of an oncoming truck? Well, if you can imagine that, then that was very much the look of surprise that was on Frank’s face when he turned – box of cereal in hand to see Isa in…well…next to nothing. She spoke….she did. Something about towels. It wasn’t registering in Frank’s mind cause at this moment he was too busy oogling at Isa.“Uhmmm…what?”

The sound of the shower running in the background was a clue. A big clue. Frank was supposed to be a detective and yet here he was completely and utterly lost. A few blinks and a rub of his right eye with a closed fist, he finally understood what Isa was trying to convey. There were no towels in the bathroom.

“Towels? Towels…yes, I have towels.” Was he dumb? Frank sure appeared to be that way. Not bothering to look at what he was doing, he let go of the box of cereal that SHOULD have landed on the counter, but instead hit the floor – sending cornflakes flying.

Frank hurried to get to the linen cupboard where he kept a few towels and sheets, pulling the door open so hard he hit himself with it. Again, all due to seeing Isa in a state of undress. ~BANG~ “Owww!” Frank staggered back a bit, clutching the door with one hand. Now with a red welt on his temple, he stepped back and quickly found a couple of towels. Presenting them to Isa whilst trying to keep his eyes up to hers, instead of going lower….where most men seem to like to look.

“They’re clean, I swear.” Yes, they were clean. He only used two towels himself, one was either on the floor, the other in the hamper. These were guest towels. You could tell they were practically new, since he rarely had guests. The next question was obvious. “Need a toothbrush?” Frank was a little sheepish. You’d think he had never had a woman in his apartment before. Truth was, he hadn’t entertained anyone, cept Tommy for the football.

“There is a spare under the vanity.”

At this point, his eyes did betray him as they went to the strange markings that ran up and down her body, and being Frank, he had to ask. “Uhm..what are those marks? Are they some kind of tattoo?”

~RB~

 

Chor:  

Do I Wanna Know?

Isolde’s brows furrowed in utter confusion when Frank started mumbling and bustling about. He was acting so very strange, as if he’s never even seen a woman naked. Unless his song was born via immaculate conception, she highly doubted that to be the truth. The cornflake box fell to the ground with a crack! and Isa jumped a bit. There was cereal littering the floor and Isa bit her lip for just a moment, imagining that was their breakfast. It was quite alright, though. There was plenty to eat in this city.

Yes, towels,” Isa repeated, following him to the closet and watching while he took out the linens she required. They were clean, as he stated, and she gladly took them into her arms. A toothbrush sounded wondrous at the moment, though she hoped he wasn’t suggesting because of her rancid garlic morning breath. That was the only regret from the night previous. It was a good change, however, to find that he respected her. While many a male would take advantage of her state, Frank- it seemed- forced himself to lock onto her eyes. She hadn’t noticed him injure himself, but she saw the redness spreading on his temple. The smallest amount of skin had broken and only a drop of blood had surfaced and immediately dried.

Isolde set her towels at the edge of the sink and opened the medicine cabinet. In it she grabbed the ripped, dirty, and fraying box of butterfly strips and pulled one out. There was the tiniest bit of alcohol in the brown bottle on the topmost shelf and she poured it onto a cottonswab and made her way back to Frank.

I’m sure you know this is going to sting,” she whispered, touching it to his temple. This really wasn’t even necessary. She didn’t like to see him hurt, though, and practicing medicine is about all she does know how to do. With the blood cleaned from his head, she adhered the strip to his temple and used her index finger to gently ensure it stuck. Then, to the fridge, where inside she found a half-full tray of ice cubes and twisted them in two layers of paper towels. It would do as a make-shift ice pack, she supposed. Depositing this item into his hand, she took his hand in hers and dragged it up to his head and held it there only a moment before she went to stand in the middle of the kitchen, scouring the room like a hawk for something. But what?

Aha,” Isolde spoke with a successful grin. The short broom and accompanying dust pan lay in the corner of the room. She bent to retrieve them, then once she’d found herself at the scene of the cereal mess, she bent again to sweep the flakes with the small brush. It was a quick job and when she was done she deposited the last remnants of the corn flake box into the trash and wiped her hands. Time for a shower. He asked about her markings and Isolde was prepared to tell him, but first she needed to make herself presentable.

Tell you in a minute.

Isolde padded lightly back to the bathroom then and closed the door, hopping immediately in the hot shower.  

Razorbackwriter:  It wasn’t the fact that Frank had never seen a woman naked before. He had…many times. The thing was he was not expecting to see Isa parade around in a near naked state. Usually a woman would be more at ease to walk around in just their smalls if they had been intimate. That was not the case. Truth was, Frank respected Isa a great deal and was not the kind of guy to put the hard word on, or take advantage of a lady. Call him old fashioned, or just a guy with high morals; Frank was not your average bloke. This was the reason for his bizarre antics. The dropping of the cereal, the banging of his head on the cupboard door. Had it been Tommy, well things would have been a hell of a lot different.

The pain of hitting his head was subdued by the rise of embarrassment that he was feeling at being such a klutz in Isa’s company. But what surprised him more than anything was how Isa set to fix the damage he had done. Not just to himself but also the mess in the kitchen. He hesitantly touched the sore spot on his temple and saw the small amount of blood that had come from a cut. Frank mumbled that it was nothing, but that didn’t stop Isa from wanting to nurse him – by dabbing his wound with alcohol, then applying the butterfly strips. Just after that, she then fixed an ice pack, which had Frank wonder just how bad he donged himself. “Really…I’m fine.” Course, she knew better and the relief that Frank felt from the pressure of the cold pack was evident by the expression on his face. Having her guide his hand with the ice pack up to his head brought a small smile. If you can’t beat them, join them, the saying goes and Frank went with the programme.

His question however about the strange markings on her sides was answered with a simple statement that she would tell him in a minute, before disappearing into the bathroom and closing the door behind her.

Frank just stood there with his hand pressing the ice pack to his temple. What just happened?

Breakfast was now in the dustbin since he had dropped the box of cereal on the floor. There was nothing else in his fridge that could be considered the makings of a good and healthy breakfast, so Frank decided as soon as Isa was dressed, that he would take her to a decent cafe instead. There was an abundance of places to take her and all in walking distance. Besides, he made a lousy cup of coffee.

The lump on his temple was starting to shrink, thanks to the ice trick and he soon set the ice pack in the sink. Frank reached for a cloth and wiped the damp spot on his head, before taking in the fact he needed to get dressed himself. His hair was a mess and his clothes slept in.

Walking back to the lounge, he noticed his cell phone was flashing on the coffee table. Reaching to pick it up, he saw there were a couple of messages….and one was from Tommy. Playing it back, Frank grimaced. Obviously Tommy was worried about what Frank was doing, or going to do. Course, Isa had saved him from that. Frank thought for a moment. It was still a bit early, and he wasn’t sure if he should message Tommy back or not. God knows what he had gotten up to the night before.

 

~RB~

 

 

 

Happy Memories – GS.

 

Scene setting : Detective Frank Malone’s Apartment.

co-written with Chor.

 

Chor:  The knock at the door was almost a relief. The silence and painful small-talk that went between them was awful. It was like watching people trying to pronounce words incredibly wrong or babies trying to walk for the first time. As the food entered the apartment, Isa knew the first thing she was going to do was eat. Then she could assess and conquer the situation. At the very mention of the food, she didn’t waste any time coming to where Frank had laid out the food. She pushed her slightly loose buttoned sleeves up to her elbow, showing more of the strange markings running from where her wrist met her palm to the crook of her elbow. They were so old news to her that she barely even noticed the black marks anymore.

Wow, this all looks amazing,” Isa spoke aloud, though it was mainly to herself. She was getting slowly more comfortable. Not knowing just what she wanted, she took a bit of everything, but mostly she helped herself to the bread. For someone who doesn’t eat much, Isolde loves garlic. She supposes it’s some cosmic proof – or maybe a joke- that she’s not a vampire, despite her looks.

Isolde was just a few steps behind Frank as she took up her plate and went back to where they would watch the movie. The previews, which she was intensely uninterested in, played in the background as she settled on the couch, bare feet tucking to her left underneath her as she balanced her food on her lap expertly. On hand holding her beer, Isa raised it to Franks.

To Claura,” she said, nodding to acknowledge Rory and her sister before taking a swig.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank made sure to tap his beer can against Isa’s as she said the name of the person she wished to toast. Both took a swig of their beers right after. Frank took quite a large mouthful of beer, before letting out a loud belch. It wasn’t intended to happen, it just kinda did. Frank looked a bit sheepish and placed the beer can down on the coffee table, taking up his plate and then easing back into a more comfortable position on the couch. With one eye on the TV screen, Frank happened to notice that Isa had taken a liking to the naan. It was then he remembered it was garlic naan, and this caused him to let out a chuckle.

“Gotta love a girl that is game to eat garlic.”

He didn’t mean to sound rude, but it may have come off as such. Realizing his gaffe, he then started to recant a story about one night where he had been on a double date. It was back while he was still married, and of course the focus of the story was on his male counterpart – Rory.

“Ever been to Giano’s pizzeria palace? No? Well, one night four of us went down there and it was the night I learnt that my mate Rory loved garlic. Man, he had garlic on just about everything. Every course. I can remember his girlfriend.”At this point Frank’s eyes started to water, as though he had remembered something terribly funny. “Rory used to give her dutch ovens. Man…that night. I heard she ended up sending him to the couch. Ahaha. He totally reeked.”

By now, the movie had started, and Frank was belly laughing at the memory of that wild night with his dear friend who stunk of garlic.

“Was coming out of his pores and everything.”

~RB~

 

Chor:  After Isa’s sip,she was nearly scared to death by Frank’s burp. She turned to him, hand covering the stupid grin on her mouth. Because of a dysfunctional belch reflex, Isa has never been able to burp. She envied those who could and found burping quite hilarious.

“Yeah, you’d think I’m Italian instead of German the way I inhale this stuff…” Isa said, chewing off and swallowing another bite with a sip of her beer. Isa listened to Frank and simultaneously had her eyes on the screen for the movie to begin while his story was told. The story was personal, and quite frankly hilarious. Now it seemed they both were stepped from their comfort zones, baring souls and telling embarrassing stories. As the movie began, the story ended, but Isolde was still laughing. Frank had an infectious chuckle and you couldn’t just sit there and let him laugh alone. Is knew of the garlic pores. When she still lived with Claura, the two would eat Pasta Margherita at least twice a week and would have to spend the night locked in their rooms away from each other, using copious amounts of industrial strength mouthwash.

Soon after the movie began, whether it was the beer the tryptophan in her system from all the food she could not stop eating, it had caused her to become drowsy. She blinked a couple of times, trying to focus on an honestly confusing and sad movie, but mostly found herself unable to. Eventually, she couldn’t keep her body upright and gently slid into a comfortable sleep, her body surprised she made it through that much of the film.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Isolde had the most beautiful laugh, and thankfully she didn’t find Frank’ story to be rude. She knew how garlic affected some people and she happily joined in even with the movie starting in the background. Frank had to wipe away the tears of laughter with one of the napkins provided with their curry meal. It felt so good to be able to laugh at something so trivial, especially about Rory. A happy memory in amongst so many that were sad.

Whatever tension there was before, had now abaited and the pair were able to enjoy the movie as it got going, whilst eating the curry from that random curry house suggested by the singing cabby. It really was a great meal, and Frank noticed that Isa had taken to it with relish. A gusto that could have been brought on by the beer possibly. Frank finished off his plate, using a piece of naan to scrape up the last traces of curry, while Isa seemed to be focused on the move. Or was she? Taking their plates, he was about to say he would wash up, when he noticed that she had fallen asleep. Right there on the couch. Frank chuckled softly as he took her plates and cutlery and eased off the couch gently so as not to wake her. He tip toed into the kitchen and then started to do the washing up, ever so often peeking through the gap between the bench and the cupboard to see if Isa had roused at all. Poor thing must have been truly exhausted.

Finishing up the dishes, Frank packed everything away – for once, and came back into the lounge room to turn off the TV. The quiet of the room only interrupted by the sound of the traffic outside his apartment building. Gently, Frank put his arms under Isa and carried her into his bedroom. He laid her down on his bed, and brought the cover up and over to lay across her as she continued to sleep soundly. Isolde was probably the first woman to sleep in his bed, since he had moved to this part of town. He bent down to kiss her forehead, before grabbing his own pillow and a blanket from the cupboard, and making his way back into the lounge, to sleep on the couch.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isolde very rarely made it to the REM stage one so preciously needs to fully experience sleep. This also happens to be the sleep during which you experience dreams; one thing Isa tries desperately to avoid. It seemed the alcohol in her system gave her the faintest of reminders of the last time she indulged herself and the nightmare that followed was one of complete and utter torture. Her weakened body could not fight it off at first, but soon finally she awoke with a short yelp. Bolting upright, Isolde shoved the sweat-matter hair from her forehead and looked around. Where was she…oh god, she was in his bed? Not again.

She glanced down at her clothes, still on her body although highly disheveled,and uttered a sigh. There was a mirror on the other side of the room. Isa’s state could be considered treacherous. She really did look like she’d just tumbled down a mountain. Buttons unbuttons, skirt ridden up to the point of no return and hair knotted and wrapped in every which way. She looked like a commercial for the 1980s. What had she gotten herself into this time? Speaking of time…what time was it? Was it even morning. The room was dark, but she saw light peeking from behind the closed bedroom door. Had Frank slept out on the couch? Immediately Isolde felt guilt. She didn’t mean to force him out of his own bed.

 

A quiet night in – GS

 

Scene setting : Frank Malone’s apartment – Gantz Series.

co-written with Chor.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The ride over in the taxi had Frank feeling a little heady. Was it the music or the scent of exotic spices? This cab driver’s wife must have been a good cook. Trying not to burst out laughing when the cabbie started to sing a long with one of the tracks playing on his radio, he instead placed his arm around Isa and whispered in her ear. “Only in New York.” You had to admit the whole thing was comical. The smell, the music, the cabbie’s lack of musical training. Least now Frank had an idea as to why the guy was driving cabs and not appearing in an off broad way musical. Finally, the ride was at an end as the cab pulled up in front of Frank’s apartment building. The guy did understand English after all. Paying the cab driver, Frank was handed a pamphlet for the cab driver’s wife’s restaurant. No wonder the cab smelt the way it did. He was carting spices in the boot.

“Ah…the Sitar Restaurant. Might have to try that. Thanks.” Frank got out of the cab on his side, only to race around and get Isa’s door. He offered his hand to help her out which he hoped she would take.

Any nervousness that Frank might have felt about bringing Isa up to his apartment was quickly quashed, since he couldn’t get over her smile and the way she handled the cab ride over like a pro. It was often cheaper to use the cabs than trying to find a parking space, which is why Frank favored them as much as he did.

Taking Isa up the three flights of stairs, they finally came to the front door of Frank’s apartment. He rummaged for his keys, before opening the door. The tell tale creak of the hinges showed that it could do well with a bit of oil. Frank dashed in and immediately started a vain effort to tidy a little. Picking up old pizza boxes and Chinese take out containers – hurrying to the bin. He was like a fiend in racing about. Clearly he wanted to impress Isa if he could. Soon, he came to a stop and then clapped his hands together. It was almost like he didn’t know what to offer her first. When she had been left at the door, she may well have seen his study that was where the [i]”wall of mystery”[/b] was. All the cases, Rory…pictures and reports all tacked up on a massive board that covered half the room.

No doubt she would have questions.

~RB~

 

Chor:  While Isa’s family was still adjusting to American life, her father began work in the city. The money he sent the girls from his job paid for the small three-year stint they spent in upstate New York. The place was lovely, quiet, and Isa’s mother often marveled that it was so alike Germany. Isa was too young to even remember, but she knew in her heart that – from the few visits she’d been granted to see her father in the city- that downstate is where she wanted to be. Upstate was nice, but the city was beautiful. It had colour, originality, and brought so much more brightness to Isa’s life. This cabbie was what brought Isa to this place, it was the reason she resigned herself to the city and sold her soul to the idea that she could make it better one body at a time.

“Indeed,” she agreed. Only in New York.

The restaurant’s pamphlet, printed on bright orange paper, make Isa’s stomach growl furiously. Grateful of the loud, overwhelming music, Isa waited as Frank rushed to the other side and allowed him to help her from the automobile. He was acting very strange, which made Isa’s brow raise at the behaviour. As they entered his apartment, nothing really caught her attention as being overly filthy or too out of order. It was the home of someone who didn’t have the time for the little things. Sweeping, dusting…eating, sleeping, you know? She shook her head as he moved around like a whirlwind. He didn’t have to, she was not judging him.

Something her eyes gazed upon removed her attention from all else. It was the study, where it was clear Frank was attempting to solve the very case that destroyed his life so wholly. She was unable to keep herself from it, as if it had reached its saddening tendrils out to her and pulled her in. When Frank would clap his hands at the end of his cleaning spree, she’d already be gone, poring over the files and pictures like it was her own place. She pulled herself away, then, thinking the situation a bit inappropriate. Shutting the door as she exited, Isa went to look for Frank.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank had stuck the Indian restaurant’s pamphlet to his fridge while Isa had been drawn into his study. It was only natural for her to take a peek, since everything that was pinned to the wall was to do with the case that had consumed Frank’s life. Quietly, Frank came up behind Isa as she was shutting the door to his study. She would find herself facing him as she turned to look for him.

“Probably best to let that all be tonight.” He referred to the wall of investigations. For a moment there was an awkward pause, as though Frank really wasn’t sure what to do next. But his body had a funny way of showing just what he needed. A pained growl was audible and he rubbed his stomach with a rising blush to his face. “I can’t remember the last time I ate. Can you?” Frank had probably consumed a couple of gallons of coffee to keep himself alert, but as for food, he couldn’t even think of what he had last. Remembering the pamphlet on the fridge, he made a gesture towards the kitchen. “I’ve got nothing in the fridge except for some frozen dinners and that shit isn’t fit for consumption. Say, how about I order some Indian from the restaurant the cabby recommended.” Frank dashed back into the kitchen and took the pamphlet off the fridge door.

“Couple of curries…a few naan. I’ve got beer.” His face now hopeful that Isa would take Frank up on the idea. “Got a few movies we could watch while we eat.” Frank clearly had not dined with a lady in a long time. He was as easy going as they came.

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isolde felt embarrassment crawl about her skin as she turned right into Frank, nearly walking straight into him. She found herself nodding in agreement; they’d had about enough of that for the day. At the mere mention of food, Isa’s stomach replied for her, louder this time than in the cab, and she gave an almost guilty look.

“I can’t even count on my fingers the amount of days since the last time I really ate, ” she said shyly, feeling foolish about it. She could only imagine what he thought of her now as he truly realized the extent to which she was allowing herself to rot away. Isa always fed her cat, she always made sure everything was finished with bodies, always did her job to the fullest, but never found it of great import to nourish herself. Her bottom lip found itself between her right lateral incisors, biting gently.

Anything sounds good, really,” Isolde told him, not wanting him to worry about any special kind of food. She’s never been picky. At the mention of beer, Isa was the slightest bit conflicted. She wasn’t a drinker, for reasons she didn’t like to think about, but she felt safe with Frank. One wouldn’t hurt?

“Movies? Sounds good.

Truthfully, Isa has seen very few movies in her short life. As a child her family owned one movie which they watched repeatedly and in school she didn’t have time for the cinema. Now? Well, she has even less time.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Then it was settled. A curry night with a movie or two. Both would probably fall asleep on the couch, but Frank really didn’t mind. This was the closest he had come to actually relaxing. What he didn’t realize was that he had turned off his phone, so Tommy’s message had gone to message bank. It would be some time before Frank bothered to check it. Taking the pamphlet down, he used his landline to call the number on the back, and leaned against the doorway to his kitchen as a lady with a strong Indian accent answered on the other end of the line.

“Could I order a number 4 mild, with extra cream and a number 16 medium. Oh and a couple of naan breads.” Frank gave the lady his address and was told the meal would be there within the hour. They must have been having a busy run. That was good enough for Frank, who didn’t mind waiting. He keenly wanted to change out of his suit into just jeans and a t’shirt so that he could truly relax. Hanging up the phone, Frank explained how long dinner would be. “We have an hour or so before the take out gets here. Why don’t you rummage through my movie collection, while I go get changed.” Offering a light smile, he strolled into his bedroom, leaving the door open slightly as he took off his shirt and tie, dumping them both in a hamper. On his back you could see a tattoo on his right shoulder of an eagle. It was well detailed and had been there for sometime. It must have had some meaning to him, and that in itself was another story. He was well built and you could see that he did work out, from the tone of his muscles. Frank then went into his closet and dug out some jeans and a black t’shirt, before getting changed, while Isa amused herself. By the time he was done, he came out looking like a completely different man. He even ran a comb through his hair. He was still a tad rough looking, but in a handsome way.

https://i1.wp.com/thumbs.dreamstime.com/x/dvd-movie-collection-21744723.jpg

His DVD collection had everything from thrillers, detective stories, supernatural and of course a stack on the Marvel comic superheroes. There was three book cases filled, and a great choice for Isa to choose from. Wandering into the kitchen, Frank took two beers out of the fridge, then walked back into the lounge, offering one to Isa.

“Found something you like?”

 

~RB~

 

Chor:  This very situation was odd. Isa had never really stayed the night at a man’s house, save it be for overnight cram sessions with her laboratory partners in med school. Now, she’d just met this man and she was wholeheartedly ready to stay the night; no questions asked. It was definitely a change in character for Isolde, who mostly kept to herself lest she be interacted with. As Frank talked over the phone to the take-out place, Isa watched him secretly. His entire demeanor had changed from the first time she’d seen him. She could not imagine them having this same conversation and this same situation happening several hours earlier.

“Uh, sure,” Isa replied to his suggestion before he mosied off to change. Oh god, how was she going to find a movie? Isa’s television experiences consisted mostly of documentaries or interesting lectures and she didn’t want to bore him straight to death. He had a serious collection going, which made things infinitely more difficult. What if she chose the movie he didn’t like? Or one he just watched? With a sigh, she settled on two that sounded pretty interesting. As she turned, her eye caught the open door, just glimpsing the tattoo resting on his toned scapula. With that image in her head, she spun herself around, wide-eyed like a scared doe, and returned to reading the back covers of the films.

As Frank emerged, Isa peeked around once more, now glad to see him clothed. She looked at his casual wear and felt undoubtedly over-dressed for the occasion. She hadn’t planned for this…impromptu hang-out session when she’d scoured her closet for the day. Her hand reached for the two wedding rings on a chain around her neck, as it was a nervous tick, only to find them blocked by her button up. Oh well.

“Ehm, I’ve got World War Z or Shutter Island?” she said, holding the two up to either sides of her clavicle and looking forward to him. It was his choice now, because she figured the odds were better in pleasing him if she picked two. After his choice, she took the beer with a light thanks and opened it, the top digging happily into her finger as she twisted it off.

 

Razorbackwriter:  “Shutter island it is then.” Frank made the choice fairly quickly, as he had watched World War Z too many times to even count. Taking the DVD box, he went about removing the disc from the case and then walked over to the entertainment system, where he inserted the disc into the machine. At this point, he looked back at Isa and asked. “You sure you’re okay being here? I don’t want you to think I am like…trying to make moves or..” There it was. Frank was about as out of practice of how to act around a lady as she was about staying over at a man’s apartment. It was the first time Frank had spoken about just the moment, rather than the case, or Rory’s death. He stood awkwardly for a moment – pausing to let her say something. In behind him on the wall, was a picture of Frank with his small son on his shoulders. Happier times obviously. There was no pictures of a woman in Frank’s life. He had removed those when she walked out on him after Rory had died and their marriage fell apart.

Frank toyed with his beer can, having not even opened it yet. His mind was now going over everything and now he wanted to do the right thing by Isa. “If you wanna change, or freshen up, feel free to use my bathroom.” Was he falling over himself? He meant well, but you could tell now he was nervous. Dinner was yet to arrive. Maybe they needed an ice breaker.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa was a little glad that Frank chose the psychological thriller. She really would have picked the medical inconsistencies and pseudo-science in the other film to shreds. She was that kind, yes…

Frank’s question really caught her by surprise. She nodded almost fervently.

It’s fine, really. I think it’s better even,” she said, then thinking that too eager, added “…I mean if I go home I’ll just work.

An awkward silence. A sip of beer. Yes; good. At the mention of changing, Isa wished she had something. She resorted to just pulling off her jacket, which was a huge deal considering she would probably die in that lab coat. After doing so, she noticed her skirt had come up a bit to reveal one of the many symbols that ran all the way up her side from the outside of both thighs to just under where her armpit began. The skirt was swiftly pulled down to cover her and she made herself comfortable on the couch.

“I’m quite alright thanks.”   she said with a reassuring smile. He really needn’t fuss.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank may not have said anything, but his eyes, oh they could talk as they followed her skirt up her thigh when she had taken off her coat. Were they symbols on her legs. He even moved his head slightly to the right as though that might help him see better, but no sooner had her skirt risen up, Isa had caught onto the fact and then quickly smoothed it down into place. As she wriggled to get comfortable on the couch, she said she was alright with hanging out at his place after all. There was a tension there between them. Like two high school kids on a date, not knowing what to say or how to move forward. But just when Frank was going to say something about the markings on Isa’s legs, there was a knock at the door. That had to be dinner. “Just a sec.” Frank said; making his way to the door and opening it to see a young fresh faced Indian boy carrying a large bag. “You Malone?” Yeah, he had the right place. Frank took out a wad of notes and pressed them into the boy’s hand as he took the take out dinner bag from him. “Keep the change.” There was at least a ten dollar tip, and the young boy grinned. “Thanks, man.” Frank gave a little shrug before closing the door. It was the least he could do, since his apartment wasn’t exactly in the best neighborhood.

Walking back into the room, Frank got an idea. He motioned with his hand for Isa to get up and come to the kitchen. “Get it while it’s hot.” he called, as he placed the bag down on the bench and started to take out the curry box containers. The smell was a lot like the cab that they had ridden over in, but better. In his own element, Frank went to take out plates and cutlery, handing a plate to Isa as she came in. “There is enough for four people at least. You won’t go hungry.” This was said with a smile, as he opted for the Lamb korma with some jasmine rice. The other container had Butter chicken in a mild coconut and tomato sauce. In a paper bag was some garlic naan, that was easy to tear off and use for dipping.

Once Frank had helped himself, he headed back to the lounge room, where he cleared off magazines and his ashtray on the coffee table. It was casual dining at its best and Frank reached for the remote to start the movie. Isa would be able to hear the pre movie trailers starting on Frank’s sound system, which was fairly loud for the size of his apartment.

Frank picked up his beer and offered a toast, when Isa sat down.

“To Rory…” he paused so that Isa could add the name of someone she loved that had passed away.

 

~RB~

 

 

What killed Rory? – GS

Scene setting : Detective Frank Malone’s apartment.

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank had turned as white as a sheet, his hand gripping his desk chair to steady himself after the fright of seeing what was on the photograph. It wasn’t like anything Tommy had seen before, unless you counted the types of beasts that were on the World of Warcraft game. But that was fiction. How could a beast or creature like this be in New York city? While Frank was hyperventilating from shock, Elissa was signing so incredibly fast that it was hard for Tommy to keep up with her. From the frantic hand gestures and the look of horror on her face, it was pretty clear that the former SWAT officer was totally freaking out. With both his companions going bananas, someone had to be a man of reason and calm – though the picture completely defied all logic.

“Give me the envelope, Frank.” Tommy insisted, as he was trying to see if whoever sent the photos had left a return address. Turning the yellow envelope over he saw that there was no return address…but there was a postal stamp on the front that showed that the photos had been sent from the city post office. Frank was still shocked, and Tommy now asked the big question. “Frank…..is this the thing that killed Rory?”

All the blood had drained from Frank’s face as the memory of that night came flooding back.

~Flash back~

The detectives had been on a stake out for the case against Joey Patona, and had been parked in a dark alley not far from Joey’s apartment. He was under surveillance after he had been a witness to the east side Brankston murders and was still considered a suspect but there wasn’t enough evidence to incriminate him. Rory had been drinking way too many Red bulls to keep awake and said that he was going to go and take a piss, down past one of the dumpsters.

“Why don’t you just use the super slurpee cup, Rory?’ Frank said, shaking the near empty cup at his partner, who just took one look at it and scoffed. “Cause I piss more than that cup can hold, Frank. Be right back.” Getting out of the car, he shut the door and then headed back down the alley till he found a spot behind the large industrial dumpster where there was a bit of privacy. As he unzipped, there was a massive growl that came from the shadows near the ACME #36 Warehouse. A long loud rumbling sound as though something heavy was being dragged along the road. Rory raised his head in the direction of the sound, and squinted to try and see through the darkness. “Must be seeing things. I thought red bull gave you wings, not made you hallucinate.” Rory mumbled this outloud, before there was a massive roar in behind him.

~ROAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRR!~ The beast, or mammoth worm like slug reared up behind where Rory stood, and it was right as Rory was releaving himself. “ARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGH! Rory screamed in terror, loud enough for Frank to hear the cries. Frank dropped his coffee in his lap, scalding himself, before trying to get out of the cop car. It was only as he alighted, that he saw the massive shadow of the beast looming over Rory. Frank reached for his gun and pointed it at the beast, but it was too late, the worm like beast bit into Frank practically swallowing him up to his stomach. Frank fired two shots at the creature, which was like throwing pebbles at an elephant. Rory’s screams died away as the last part of him was eaten by the creature. Blinded by horror and rage, Frank ran at the beast, screaming and firing his gun but the beast slid off down the alley and then vanished into an abandoned warehouse. Like it had gone through some type of portal.

“RORY!”

~End flashback~

“Frank?…..Frank?” Tommy grabbed a hold of Frank’s shoulders and shook him. “Was that what took your partner?”Slowly, Frank uttered. “Y.yyyyesss.”

It was almost too incredulous to believe, but the fact that Frank had been sent the pictures meant one thing. Someone saw it too, and witnessed the murder of Rory Lismore. This was evidence, but they needed more than just some photographs. They needed to go back to the crime scene and retrace Frank’s steps. Tommy let go of his friend, and said.“In the morning we are going back to the alley where this happened, and see who lives near that spot. We need the witness.” Frank kept quiet. Was it possible the witness….was also a criminal? The one that Frank and Rory were staking out?

Tommy turned to Elissa and asked. “You want in on this? I can take you home and pick you up in the morning. No point searching that alley in the dark.”

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Elissa wasn’t a coward, she’d bumrushed men with assault rifles and semi-automatic shotguns before. She’d personally taken down drug lords and mobsters. There were many things that she was more than capable of coping with… but what she couldn’t handle was what she couldn’t understand. And that creature that was in those pictures was something that defied everything she knew about the world. If it had just been something in the jungle was one thing, if it had just been a hideous monstrosity sure, but this was something that was hiding out in the heart of New York city! How in the world was this even possible?!

At about the time that Frank began going into his flashback she would slowly begin coming back to the land of the living, her breathing coming back under control as she rubbed her sore neck, approaching the boys as Tommy tried to pry an answer out of his friend. Leaning up against the desk as she tried to get some color into her cheeks, she watched Tommy drag the truth out of Frank, somewhat forcefully… she was almost hoping that it was just a hoax picture. But… her heart sank and she damn near fell to her knees as she heard the confirmation, only staying up thanks to her arm propping her in place.

Rubbing her temples with frustration as the others considered this, she tried to comprehend the fact that they were going to basically have to trace down an entirely new organism. This wasn’t good… and it seemed to be a snake in form… what the fuck were they going to find of this aberration, its droppings?! Sighing with frustration, she would listen to Tommy give his plan, beginning to pace back and forth with her damaged hand on her chin, debating whether or not she would just be a fifth wheel at this point. However, when he offered her directly, she’d turn and look him squarely in the eye, and she found herself strangely reassured by the fact that this reporter was so brave in the face of this job. Yeah, she wasn’t about to get showed up by a guy whose most dangerous weapon is a microphone. Immediately her expression turned to one of determination and she nodded her confirmation, cracking her neck briefly before adding with a grim smile, ~I wasn’t planning to live forever anyways.~

However, just as she was about to walk forward and join them in planning, her phone began vibrating angrily as several messages came flooding in simultaneously. Frowning with confusion, she pulled it out and checked one of them… and her eyes would widen with horror as she locked on what she was seeing. She had a fair number of associates in the private detective business, and as a part of the local business’ network of favors they’d all agreed to send each other tips of anything that might be a lucrative job… or a dangerous one. Placing a hand over her eyes with frustration, she offered the phone over to the others with her free one, letting them look. On it, were a flurry of images sent from her many acquaintances showing images of a particular school in the city… or rather what had once been a school. Yeah… they might have other problems on hand.

 

Razorbackwriter:  With Elissa agreeing to come along with Tommy, the reporter had his mind set on heading home after dropping her off and getting a few hours sleep. Well, that was the plan. With Elissa commenting that she didn’t plan on living forever, which seemed a touch morbid in the light of things, Tommy was about to turn when Elissa’s phone vibrated. Maybe her man was wondering where she was. But it was how Elissa responded to the messages on her screen that had both Tommy and Frank curious. She handed over the phone to Tommy, who stared at the images of what was a school. It looked like it had been hit by an earth quake, or something of a destructive nature. A bomb blast? There was too much damage for a single blast. “The hell?” Tommy blurted. Frank, on the other hand knew the school. “I had a step brother who went there. Looks like a war zone.” With Elissa being in the private detective business, this was clearly a lead to work, but with the current mystery of what the hell it was that took Rory, and now this, it was clear that something was going to have to wait. A school is a place for children and if there was something there, that was in anyway linked to Rory’s murder, it needed to be investigated. Frank, was now sobering up thanks to his rotten coffee. He pocketed the photographs in the envelope to bring along with him, but made up his mind that he was not going to be left behind.

“I know where this school is. Tommy, Elissa….we need to get there and check this out.” The detective said with a firm nod of his head. “I’ll get my partner to meet us there. By the looks of things, the authorities haven’t been informed. If we hurry we could be the first on the scene…..aside from your mates that took these pictures, Elissa.” Tommy looked at Frank with concern.

“But what about the alley and the warehouse?” He asked, since he was keen to check that out as well. Frank gave a light shrug. “So we pull an all niter. First things first. The school.”

If Elissa agreed to come along, the trio would leave Frank’s apartment and head for Tommy’s car.

~RB~

 

VunG:  Their words basically summed up Elissa’s thoughts on the matter, the whole place looked like something that had been hit by a bomb. Yet the damage looked so localized; there were other bits, sure, but the local buildings only were undamaged for the most part from the looks of things, even by debris. Truth be told, she didn’t know what was more valuable in the hunt for Rory, but she was pretty certain that the person that had sent the envelope wasn’t going anywhere and this location was as fresh as things got. She wasn’t too certain what would cause such destruction, but if it was anything like the creature that had taken Rory then this was going to need some sort of serious coverage by detectives to catch whoever or whatever did this. She still wasn’t convinced on the supernatural aspect, but she damn well believed that something REALLY out of the normal was going on.

When Frank volunteered them for this duty, she couldn’t help but agree with every word leaving his mouth; she knew damn well that if they could be the first on the scene then this whole mess could be theirs to put under control rather than the politicians running the NYPD. She shuddered at the thought of doing an all-nighter, but if that was the way it had to be, then so be it. Hopefully the NYPD would be okay with her being there, not that she doubted that, and hopefully none of her more unscrupulous colleagues would cause damage to the site. Grabbing what was left of her coffee, she gulped it all down in one go, wincing afterwards and letting out a breathed grunt before nodding for them to lead the way, adding as they went, ~Tommy drives.~

There’s something out there – GS

Scene setting : Detective Frank Malone’s apartment

co-written with VunG.

 

Razrobackwriter:  Curiosity usually served a purpose in Tommy’s line of work, only this time his curious nature would get him the kind of reaction that made his face darken with a red hue to his cheeks. He had not meant to embarrass Elissa at all, he just spoke without thinking first. It was her eyes that said he had overstepped the mark. The hardness of ice, a steely gaze that sent a shiver down his spine as he looked back at her, almost apologetic in his facial expression. Slowly, Elissa lowered the scarf to reveal what could best be described as a horrific scar. Something, had attacked the poor woman in such a way it was a miracle that she survived it. Tommy’s jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed as he peered at the scar. His Adam’s apple running up and down his throat as the sight was such that it could turn a man’s stomach.

“God!…Elissa. I’m…I’m so sorry.” Tommy blurted, his voice a slightly higher pitch than before. His reaction was like a knee jerk, speaking again without thinking. Tommy was usually better than this. He raised his hand up to the side of his right temple and rubbed it gently. Talk about foot in mouth. To add to that, Elissa said simply ~I hate dogs.~ So it was a dog that did this? At least that was the deduction from the size of the wound and Elissa’s statement. Two and two makes four as they say. By the time Frank came back into his study with a tray that held three coffee cups and a small pile of twinkies still in their wrappers, Elissa would have put the scarf back firmly in place. Course, Frank missed the small drama and was completely oblivious to why Tommy and Elissa were looking at each other they way they were. Instead, he deduced it was from the apartment’s smell.

“I was going to get Rosetta to come in and clean for me once a week……but you know how finances are…and maintenance payments.” Frank was still obligated to pay for his son, and this took a big chunk of his pay. Sad to say though he didn’t have access to his only child. His ex wife made sure of that. Setting down the tray on the only clear space on his desk, he reached for a cup himself and urged the others to do the same.

“Really am grateful to you both. Kinda been a while since I had company.” This was the truth. Many of his friends lived and worked in the city, well the ones that hadn’t distanced themselves from him after the death of Rory. A slight sigh and he took a sip of the coffee and tried not to make a face. Frank made a shit cup of coffee. It was little wonder that he bought coffee on the way to work each day. Looking up at the wall one more time, the Detective’s lips thinned as his eyes scanned over the many pictures.

“In all my years, never seen shit like I did that night. There’s something out there.” He almost whispered this last part. On one of the tables was a pile of letters, bills and a large yellow envelope. The envelope was addressed to Frank as a Detective. He had just been too lazy to go through them. Not really thinking, he pushed back the pile of bills and brought out the yellow envelope. Frank tore off the seal, and inside there was some photographs. As he pulled them out, the man let out a scream as the images slipped from his hand and scattered like debris on the floor.

What was on the photographs? A large beast that resembled a snake but had a mouth like….a monstrous insect. Pincers and a golden mouth. Four sets of eyes….and green slimy skin. It was taken in the alley….the alley where Rory died.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Truth be told, Elissa wasn’t angry at Tommy for his curiosity, a touch annoyed certainly but this was something that she had to deal with pretty regularly whenever she suffered a wardrobe malfunction. And they happened a lot, considering she rarely used scarves before this. More than anything she just hated having to deal with this thing, it was embarrassing, frustrating, it reminded her of that horrible time in her life, and in her mind it basically ruined what beauty she had. Still, it was obvious that she might have gone a little too far with her response, and perhaps she should’ve just explained it to poor Tommy, because the poor guy looked like she’d just shown him what it looked like while she was headed to the hospital. Her expression would harden and she’d nod her thanks to his apology, even if she didn’t think the term ‘sorry’ was applicable here. There was a strange phrase that her mother always used: ‘don’t say sorry if you didn’t do anything.’

However, before she could say anything her attention would be drawn by Frank coming in with the coffee, the thought of drinking the stuff already helping wipe away the thoughts of her scar, at least for Elissa. She was a little thrown off by his comment about some woman coming to clean, but when she did realize she had to fight back a smirk at her own stupidity, and she’d find that tempered by a reminder of Frank’s financial situation. Oh if only she could do something to help the poor man. She would go ahead and grab a cup of coffee, though would find herself warned by the hints of a reaction that it wasn’t very good; and indeed it wasn’t, but thankfully she liked her coffee black as Stalin’s heart so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been. To his grateful words, she nodded calmly and continued to sip away at the coffee, trying to slowly whittle it down.

However, what she hadn’t been expecting was what came next. She would mostly just look up at the pictures, trying to spot anything she’d missed in either of their investigations… until she heard Frank scream. A bit of coffee launched from her cup in surprise (thankfully just onto the floor, not anything vital), and she’d let out a breathed, “Sht!” made just by mouth movements. Setting the cup down on the platter, she went to pick up the photos, thinking that the man had just burned himself or something and was so drunk that he was getting a delayed reaction. It took her a moment to actually look at one of them, but when she did she frowned and shook her head in confusion, as if to clear her head of some apparition, thinking she was just seeing things. Bringing them into the light, she spread them out of the desk in a line… and immediately found her hands shaking and eyes going wide with horror as she stared uncomprehending at the……. thingon the paper. Very briefly she forgot her vocal chords didn’t work, and tried to say something before leaning over to cough, pain racking her throat. She turned back to look back in that direction, and would promptly begin signing wildly WHILE mouthing the words along, ~WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THAT?! WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE?! MY GOD! I THOUGHT TOMMY WAS JUST CHASING SHADOWS WHEN HE SAID GHOSTS AND DEMONS WERE DOING THIS SHIT! WHAT CIRCLE OF HELL DID THAT THING COME OUT OF?!…~ and would go on ranting like that as she coughed to the side.

 

Some scars never heal – GS.

 

Scene setting – Detective Frank Malone’s apartment.

co-written with VunG

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank held back slightly as Tommy and Elissa were looking over his study and the wall. Being that Frank was himself a detective as part of the NYPD, to see this sort of mania in the way that Frank had set up his crime wall you would start to think that he himself had now become a fanatic almost. The sheer scale of recorded documents and the piles of files on his desk that he had brought home from work was mind boggling. It was little wonder that Frank would go to Big Joe’s after work to drown himself in booze, rather than come back to the quiet of his apartment and have to face this…day after day. To Frank, his life was on hold. Captive to solving what could best be described as an impossible case. It was easy to see why the department viewed him so suspiciously, as none of the findings made real sense. Rory’s body was taken by whatever it was that killed him. All that was left was a pool of blood. After the incident, Frank was committed since what he had seen had left him in such a state that he was unable to cope with what he saw. Post traumatic stress on a crazy level. Most soldiers don’t suffer this bad so quickly. It was why his wife left him and took his son away. The nightmares – broken nights….screams and haunting visions. At one point he woke up and found himself standing over his wife with a gun pointed at her. It was the last straw. He’d not told his closest friends this….the only one who knew was his therapist – Doctor Lindsay Buchanan. It was after six months of treatment, that he was released and assigned back to the force – but he was never the same.

Tommy, who watched both Elissa and the return of his good friend was very good at reading body language after years of dealing with people and informants. He could see that trace of emotion from Elissa’s face as much as she tried to hide it. You would have to be pretty impassioned not to feel something seeing all this. After Elissa had explained that she didn’t need to be signed to all the time, since she was a mute and not deaf, Tommy spoke out loud.

“That we are, Elissa.” He shook his head as he let out another sigh. “Leads take us nowhere, or….the reports are so bizarre that most people high up dismiss it. All the top brass care about is meeting quotas and keeping the Mayor’s office happy.” Speaking of the mayor’s office reminded him of the fact his lady friend, Tamika worked there and she heard first hand that the Mayor’s office are trying to down play the “incidents” as being just crazy claims made by whack jobs or attentions seekers. It made Tommy angry just thinking about it. In his own office at the New York Times, some of his fellow reporters had gone to putting alien figurines with crude messages on them. If he heard the Ghost busters theme one more time when he went to open an email, he was going to strangle someone.

Frank, suddenly remembered his manners. “Would either of you like coffee? I think I got some twinkies in my cupboard….maybe.”

Tommy was about to take him up on that offer, when he noticed something just peeking out from under Elissa’s scarf. A scar of some description. The Reporter was too nosy for his own good. “Uhm….Elissa. What’s on your neck?” He asked, as Frank shuffled out to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Truth be told, Elissa was in over her head with this case. As she’d said, she wasn’t a great detective, and while she had some degree of competence, she was more someone you’d put in as support or an extra set of eyes. She was just a sad, depressed, lonely woman without anything left to do in her life except continue on with the closest thing she had left to her old job. And with the exception of nearly getting her throat ripped out by that damn dog, she wasn’t really aware of the things that had ruined her life until after they happened. There was no attempt at therapists for her, she had zero trust in them after they tried to convince her that dogs had no intent of harming her and that her fear was unfounded. No, she was going it alone.

But… then again… as she looked at the two guys here, she realized that at the very least she’d be able to help someone else with some help. It wasn’t much of a boon, as it was likely only going to wind up as an alliance of circumstance, but it was one that she was thankful for. Eventually Tommy would speak up, and when he brought up the commentary on the mayor she immediately winced and nodded, rubbing her temples to keep herself from even thinking about that piece of shit. Hell, Elissa had been lucky in that she had no colleagues to torment her about this case, and even she was ready to tear someone’s throat out just from the stonewalling she’d been getting. It was SO galling that the officials and certain higher-ranking police officials cared so little about the actual results of their jobs. The corrupt policemen disgusted her, and all politicians deserved to be thrown in jail from her experience, it was the sort of thing that made her want to go vigilante on some people’s asses.

She’d be broken out of that destructive train of thought by Frank’s offer of refreshments, and would give him a thin smile and make a gesture showing that she wanted coffee–or rather she wanted something to drink. However, before she could even lower her hand, Tommy took notice of something he really shouldn’t have. Slowly she turned to look at him, her blue eyes hard as ice as she debated whether or not to indulge him. Thing was, he was a reporter, and she knew that even the good people in that profession had an insatiable curiosity.

It would probably just make her life harder if she hid it from him. Sighing, she reached up and pulled the scarf down to reveal the scar. It was a terrifying-looking thing, the entire area on either side of her windpipe was a nasty striated mess, and it wasn’t a small scar set either but rather the full width of… say… a dog’s jaw. It was actually just luck that she’d survived it, the dog’s teeth missed both her trachea and arteries, and when it hit her she fell forward and it released her when its back hit the ground. Still, she was told that the doctor had given her a forty percent chance at survival. She held the reporter’s gaze for several seconds, letting him get his fill of the sight while he could. Then, she’d simply raise her scarf back up and make sure that it properly covered her this time, and after that she would very simply state, ~I hate dogs,~ almost as if it were an unrelated comment.

 

A Web of Mystery – GS

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Scene setting – Detectve Frank Malone’s apartment.

co-written with VunG

 

Razorbackwriter:  The ride over to Frank’s place was a fairly quiet one. Frank had tilted his head enough to rest against the glass of the passenger door, and soon he was snoring softly – the drink now having lulled him to sleep. Tommy played some Fleetwood Mac on his car sound system, and that too might have caused Frank to fall asleep. Being that Tommy couldn’t sign as he drove, he didn’t think it was a good idea to try and make conversation with Elissa in the back and so he kept his focus on the road ahead. He knew the way to Frank’s place, mainly cause he had been there often enough. This might well be the first time that Elissa had seen Frank’s digs, but to be truthful they were nothing much to write home about. The ex took most of the family’s possessions, so when he took the apartment, it had been furnished by the previous tenant, who had died shortly before Frank took the lease. The furnishing were dated circa 1950’s and oddly enough suited the detective to the ground. The former tenant was a movie buff, and had film posters on the walls. Black and whites mostly. Classics all the same.

Pulling up at the curb outside the apartment complex, Tommy shut off the engine, only to hear Frank’s snoring. “Great.”Tommy said without thinking. The last thing he wanted to do was carry the guy up two flights of stairs. Getting out of the car, he opened Frank’s door carefully, and caught his friend before he fell out onto the road. Giving him a light shake, he stirred the Detective enough to wake him. “Come on, buddy.” Easing Frank out and making sure he was steady on his feet, Tommy asked Elissa through sign. ~You coming up?~ If she answered him with yes, he would wait for her to alight from the vehicle before taking Frank up the path to the entrance.

Frank muttered a few words before rousing properly and then recognizing his apartment. “Home sweet hovel.” Words of endearment surely for his current abode. Going up the two flights of steps, Frank was now able to stand on his own, and fumbled about in his pockets for his keys. He had a large key chain that even featured a pokemon character…pikachu…or something yellow. Turning the key in the lock, the door swung open and the trio would instantly be hit by a musty smell. Yeah, this was a single man’s apartment alright.

Entering the dimly lit front room, you could see a study off to the left and a kitchenette to the right. In the study, if you cared to take a look was walls of pictures…reports….all to do with the death of Frank’s partner, Rory Lismore. As Frank went to the bathroom, probably to throw up now he was home, Tommy wandered into the study and turned on the light. The scale of the amount of photos and documents on the walls and all across the desk was shocking. It was like this case had consumed his life, even more so than Tommy realized. Glancing back at Elissa, Tommy wondered what her reaction would be to see all of this.

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There was one thing that stood out in the middle of all this. A single framed photograph of Frank’s son who was sitting on his dad’s shoulders at the fair. A moment in time when both were so happy, a time that was now lost to memory as Frank’s life was now a race to uncover the truth about Rory and the other mysterious goings on.

Frank emerged from his bathroom having been sick from his night on the grog. He was wiping his face with a damp cloth when he entered his study in behind Elissa and Tommy. Folding his arms, he too stared at the walls of photographs of destruction and chaos, newspaper clippings about the death of Rory and the subsequent investigation. Pictures of Frank were on the wall too.

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Surprisingly, Elissa hadn’t even passed by Frank’s place at any point (at least not knowingly), something that she should’ve probably done if for no other reason than to make sure her research was complete. Still, that was fixed soon enough, and after a relatively pleasant drive through the night, they would come up to the place, and she would see that at the very least the detective wasn’t living in a truly rough part of town. She had fully been expecting to have to just wait for Tommy to get Frank situated, but would be surprised when he signed if she was coming, which she would gladly take him up on without actually saying anything, piling out of the car quickly.

She kept close to Frank during the walk up the steps, keeping herself perched in a position to better catch him if he stumbled, and would quietly follow the boys up to the house. She indeed noticed the Pikachu on his keychain, and it intrigued her that he would have something so childish on it, but she didn’t judge him based on it of course. As they waited for him to unlock the door, she commented to Tommy, ~By the way, I appreciate it, but you don’t need to sign to me. I’m mute, not deaf.~ Following the boys in, she’d rather quickly wave a hand in front of her face to try and get the smell away from her. Yeeeaaaah… not having a woman’s touch around was doing bad things to this place, wasn’t it?

Initially she just looked like she was wandering around, not really looking at anything specific, just killing time and keeping herself warm. However, when as she passed by the study, she came to a stop and found herself drawn to it much like a moth to flame. Placing her good hand on her chin, she went about looking it over, examining the board more than anything and trying to see if he’d made any connections that she hadn’t. Truth be told, she actually had one of these herself, albeit less obsessively large; she did this with every one of her cases and had multiple boards for just this purpose. It was a helpful organizational tool. Eventually she’d realize that they were pretty much just as much in the dark as she was and let out a sigh, putting her hands on her hips as she looked down towards the desk. Damn… no luck.

However, she would notice one thing, and that was the picture of Frank and his son. Initially the glare of light blinded it for her, so she’d reach over to tilt it up. Of course, once she saw it, her own misfortune dropped on her like an atom bomb, and she promptly let out a strange sputtering cough that may have normally been a sob, and by the time that Frank had come out she was pinching her eyes and trying not to cry as she pictured her beloved husband’s corpse. God… at least Frank still had the knowledge his son was alive… but Elissa… she was alone in this world. Her husband, her son, both gone; one didn’t even have a chance.

Eventually she’d shake it off, straightening herself up and running her hand down her face to remove any suggestion of tears before looking at the others, her eyes a little red but otherwise she was back to her usual ice queen treatment. ~Well… at least we’re on equal footing,~ she commented to Tommy, grimacing a little at just how incomplete this case was.