The Black Sphere – GS.

 

As you may have read, the Detective Frank Malone was dead…..or was he?

Scene setting : The Gantz room – Gantz series.

This arc is written following the Death of Frank Malone.  Co-writers – Fu, Zu, Ota, and Moo

 

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Nobody can get in, nobody can get out.
Used for missions only.

 

Moo:  Trent scanned into the room in the same position he’d been in previously. Whistling, he let the tune die after drawing out the last note, which was rather flat. It seemed he was the first one in the room again; he looked around the room with a bored expression, staring as though he hadn’t slept in weeks with his shoulders slightly hunched. Being that the last mission had gone uncompleted, he was back to zero points again. No matter; he enjoyed this game anyway and had completed it a few times already. Though, that last mission was definitely a first. Having to protect his boss from the rest of the Gantz team had been unexpected, but no problem. Trent wasn’t the type to help anyone during their missions. If he killed them to bring them here, it was more often than not to play with them like they were life-size toys. That being the case, he had easily killed each one of his teammates in order to complete his job. The best part was he was never punished by Gantz for doing so. It was just a question of who the target would be this time. His boss again? Or another alien? Stuffing his hands in his jean pockets, he resumed his whistling and walked toward one of the walls of the room, waiting as others scanned in shortly after him.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Cold. All around there was nothing but the blackness that had embraced the fallen detective into what he thought was death. He had always been told that there was a light. A light at the end of the tunnel. There was neither of those things. Frank was dead. Wasn’t he? Far off, there was this slow…beating sound. The sound that a heart makes, though it was faint at first. Slowly building. Blood…rushing back and forth through the arteries. A shudder….breathing that exploded from his lungs as Frank’s eyes shot open.

~GASP!!~

Deep panting. Eyes, widening, searching. He could see a room. A door. A window. A big…black ball. Trembling hands placed down on the ground as the detective realized he was propped against one of the walls, like a used puppet. Frank’s head lowered as he gazed down at his suit.

“What happened?”

It was then he heard the faint whistle, that belonged to another. As the detective looked up, he saw a man that he had never seen before. He appeared to be bored, or at least that is the impression that he gave off. The man was slouching -staring off into space. Frank’s eyes went back to the large black ball again. Why was there just a man and a big black ball in a room? Was Frank asleep? Was this what death was like?

“Am I dead?”

~RB~

 

Moo:  A new group of people, but more or less the same routine. The second person to scan into the room happened to be one of the most annoying types; full of questions. As if Trent knew anything that would be helpful. “Hell if I know.” He scratches his head, leaning against the wall with his hand still in his pocket. His feet were crossed as he hunched, giving off the vibe of a rather careless person. Letting out a long, exaggerated sigh, he shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head back, looking out the window across the room out to the skyline. It was night time, as always. But the city lights really didn’t make it seem any different; New York was a city full of life, after all. “Does it look like you’re dead?” What a pointless question. “You’re breathing. New York is right there.” Trent pointed out to the skyline lazily for a moment before dropping his hand again. He turned his head to look at the man sitting against the wall, his mouth splitting into a toothy grin. “But you did die.” The others around the room that had scanned in went on ignored. For now, Trent’s attention was on this guy. As annoying as it was, he felt he could entertain himself now. For a few moments, at least.

 

Razorbackwriter:  There were other people in the room beside this guy and Frank, though the guy with his hands in his pockets was the only one willing to answer his questions. Mind you, he wasn’t exactly helpful. Trent hadn’t been witness to Frank’s death, and Frank himself had no memory of it. Curious, Frank pushed himself off the floor. He needed more clues to prove he was really alive. Trent pointed out the window at the New York skyline, and sure enough it was just how Frank remembered it. He stood with his hands pressed to the panes of glass, staring outward, and yet he was unable to say anything. Trent had more or less confirmed what he believed to be true. He had died. How did he die though? The events leading up to meeting the Commander at the warehouse were all kind of fuzzy. Like when you are experiencing a hangover and can’t quite tell what you did the night before.

Looking down at his clothing, it showed no signs of wear and tear. No bullet holes…no blood stains. Frank reached up and touched all around his neck, then his face, as though trying to feel for wounds…scars. Anything.

“How did I die? Who killed me?”

Again, with the twenty questions. Frank had so many, but by looking at this guy who had a sick grin on his face, he was enjoying Frank’s torment.

“I gotta get out of here. I have to find Tommy. Gotta tell him, that the Commander is dead.”

At mention of this, Frank headed for the door.

~RB~

 

Moo:  So this guy didn’t know how he died. That was a clear enough sign that this was the business Bols had taken care of. Chuckling quietly to himself, Trent watched as Frank palmed at the window, looking completely lost at this point. Who knew if his memory would ever return to him? Well, whatever. It wasn’t like it mattered; this guy probably couldn’t do anything about it, even if he remembered something. And he would definitely be disappointed when he reached that front door, as he wouldn’t be able to even grab the knob. Try as he might, it was impossible for anyone to leave the apartment until the mission was over. With a small grunt of amusement, Trent pushed himself from the wall and resumed his whistling, ignoring as others within the room tossed similar questions at him that Frank had. It was because he was the only calm guy in the room. But he wouldn’t have an answer for any of them. He would simply wait until that familiar tune began playing and the Gantz ball opened, revealing racks of guns and suit cases. Each suit case was designated to a particular person, as it had their names on them. If opened, they would find a rather peculiar suit inside. It would only fit that person; if someone like Trent tried to take one of theirs, it would be rendered useless. Picking up a few guns, Trent holstered them accordingly and waited, staring at the screen that popped up on the sphere.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Frank reached out for the door knob so that he could find his way out of the strange room with the big black ball, and the whistling guy. The only problem was that his hand passed right through it. The detective let out a shriek, before trying again and again, but having the same results. Frank held up his hand before him and it looked real and solid, yet the door acted like he was a ghost or apparition. Turning around to try and get answers again from Mr Whistler, had Frank see the ball open and reveal racks of guns and suitcases. The suits within were meant to be worn by the people standing or waiting in the room. Wordlessly, Frank pointed at the opened sphere, then held his finger up as though to ask another question, but the Mister Whistler (which is now his nickname, in Frank’s eyes), was already holstering some guns. As others came and grabbed their suitcases and guns, Frank simply got in line and waited till it was his turn. Sure enough there was one with his name on it. Hesitantly, Frank reached in and took his out, along with a set of guns, just like the others. It was like being back in boot camp, or at least a very odd version of it.

Taking the suitcase and guns over to a corner, he opened the case and in it he pulled out a strange looking suit. Frank held it up before him and gave it a shake as it unfurled. Others were trying theirs on, and so…thinking this was going to be what he had to do, he took off his day suit and slipped into the special one, doing the zip up and then holstering the guns. Were they preparing for some sort of war? And who were the guns for?

Frank looked down at himself, now dressed like all the others. His old suit, he placed into the case and did it up. Knowing that Mister Whistler was already at the sphere and staring at the screen, Frank ambled over and then whispered

“Is the sphere….thing going to unlock the door?”

~RB~

 

Moo:  The black world Z had been submerged in suddenly seemed to evaporate. Her eyes fluttered open to a light of an apartment. At first, she suspected to have been in the hospital, as though D.T had reached her in time. But instead she was lying on the floor of a plain room. She sat up very slowly, surprised that she could breathe and felt no pain in her chest. Her hand rose to her chest, feeling no hole from where she had been impaled, and there was no blood on her clothing, nor any tears. Blinking, Z looked around. D.T had managed to get into this room too…but how? Why were they here? She curiously looked back at him. “Where are we, D.T?” She could only assume he knew the answer because he was awake and had never died. Had he listened to her about putting his patch back on?

Turning and sitting on her knees, she looked about the room where people were conversing or having small anxiety attacks. It seemed she wasn’t the only one who was confused. It wasn’t until some music began playing that she turned to look at the giant black sphere. A male was already standing there expectantly, tossing his clothes on the floor. He wore some weird suit and began holstering guns. At this point, Z could only assume he knew what he was doing and stood up to look at what the racks were lined with. Cases. One had her name, Zoey, written on it. How peculiar… This was by no means normal. Z took the case after looking from it to the guy she stood beside, and finally grabbed her case and D.T’s, taking both back with her. Upon opening the cases, suits similar to that guy’s were visible. “Mind helping me out?” she asked the android with a slight coy smile. Back to her old self. She moved to the corner they were near and began undressing, finding that she had to remove her undergarments in order for the suit to fit properly. Men in the room would most likely try to steal glimpses of her body unless D.T did as she requested and blocked their view. Not that it was completely bothersome for the woman.


Trent looked over the screen of the alien the team was suppose to kill tonight. It brought his brow up as he crossed his arms, disregarding a lot of the useless information Gantz provided. Frank’s shriek could be heard from where he stood, causing him to shake his head as he laughed to himself. Here came more questions. He knew it. Pulling off his clothes, he already had his suit on underneath. He just left the discarded clothing on the floor in front of the sphere, ignoring as people began murmuring about his suit. One woman in particular seemed to be observing him as she came closer and inspected him without a hint of shame.

Seeming to have observed him long enough, she was the first to take a case from the rack and open it, walking to the corner of the room to change. Trent turned his head to watch, assuming her weird friend didn’t step in the middle to block his view. Her face might have been a train wreck, but her body was something of a different nature. And if he would be observed, so would she. He tilted his head with interest until others began taking cases too. What the hell? Nobody ever did that. Looking surprised, Trent turned to see a few of them lined up; this was a lot more than usual. Frank was last to mosey himself on over, asking yet another question. With a slight twitch of his lips, Trent’s gaze narrowed at him slightly. “Eventually. If you don’t die.” This wasn’t going to work. Not so many. He scratched his head, seemingly thinking to himself now as he turned and wandered around the sphere. If nobody had noticed before, it would be brought to their attention now; a naked man sat in the middle of the sphere. Trent crouched and poked at the man’s temple with one of his smaller guns. “Hey. Send me first. Got it?” The man appeared to be sleeping, a breathing mask over his mouth. He was connected to Gantz by several cords and looked rather plain. Bald and fair skinned with no muscle definition. He did look anorexic as fuck though.

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Fu:  

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– D.T found himself in a room next to Z in a room . How they got there was unknown to him as he had asked him . However at this point D.T felt different then he was before blowing himself up , his hair felt slightly longer and more wavy then it was before ; at the point of covering his eyepatch and his clothes too were tinted black and had furry outlines. D.T was curious about their location as well . But he wasn’t as rude as to just stay quiet and he would reply to her once he found a appropriate response.-

” I believe we were transported somewhere. However exactly where and the reason for our presence here is beyond me ”

– He would watch her pick up the cases and wore them , D.T himself would follow her and obstruct people from observing and at that point would watch and wait to see how things would go afterwards. He didn’t know anyone else who was here as he was still newly awakened so he couldn’t truly speak to others at a optimal dialect at this current moment.-

 

Ota:  

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The reconstruction of the body which had just been taken apart and brought to the apartment, revealed a young female body dressed in what seemed to be a typical mans Imperial Trench-coat, scarf, black jeans and comfortable black Nike Roshe Run Hi SneakerBoots. The overall build was lean and peak-light athletic while her height was around five feet and eleven inches. However, the body was completely motionless by the time the female body was complete, steam coming off of her figure.

System rebooted. All damage has been repaired, manually starting optical hardware. Her eyes would open slightly before fluttering a bit as all the light was coming into her pupils. Her eyes scanned over the individuals and she couldn’t help but arch a brow. All senses and bodily controls have been reinitialized. All systems begin routines. Investigate prior memories of cause and arrival… None found. ERR0R. ERR0R.She’d squint slightly as her eyes rested on the others near by in the same room as them.

“Vitals are normal.” Alice finally stated with her voice as her eyes looked over the room with an almost expressionless looking face. “Parameters of the room however, are unknown. ERR0R detect…” She stopped and looked at the people again before tilting her head to the side. Then looked towards the ball thing that was near the other side of the room with peak curiosity. There was a man inside. Why was there a man inside attached to the ball? “Inquiry. Where are we? What is this location? How did I get here? Why are we here? Who are you people?” She was talking like a computer, it seemed like her speech systems weren’t entirely up and running just yet, despite being a cyborg.

Zu: 

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BRO!

A sudden jolt motivated Kenny, who had recently died, to wake up. He doubled over, heavily sweating after the dream he just had; a dream of death and sorrow. He lost his brother, and it was his fault that he couldn’t save either of them. It took a bit, but after breathing more slowly, he realized something.. he was alive. Kenny took a look around the room to see that he wasn’t the only one in it. He turned himself over once, seeing a big sphere just… sitting there. He looked once again at the people he saw. Is this a dream or something?, he asked himself, almost wondering if he should even ask the question.

 

Razorbackwriter:  
The room was now filling with people. People that had just as many questions as he had done. All looking disoriented, confused and in shock. Frank had just finished doing up his suit, and running his fingers over his name tag, when a pretty girl had grabbed a case and made her way over to a corner to get changed. Was there no privacy in this place? Frank spluttered as she started to get undressed, but thankfully she had someone with her that helped offer something of a privacy shield. The Detective’s cheeks flamed and he turned around whistling an odd tune. Thoughts turned back to Isolde, when he had watched her come out after a shower and she was looking for a towel….or was it the white soccer shorts. Either way, he was not at all comfortable watching the girl change.

Mister Whistler was the next one to get Frank’s attention. There was a naked man sitting in the centre of the black ball, and he was all hooked up to wires and electrodes that The man’s skin was devoid of any pigmentation. Like he was an albino and a sickly one at that. Frank made a face, then when he heard Mister Whistler tell the man that he was first, followed by poking the man with one of his guns, the Detective had to speak up.

“Don’t do that. You might wake the poor bugger. Is the ball thingy keeping him alive?”

Course, his questions might well get drowned out, by the many other voices in the room. One that sounded like a computer speaking, but it was a girl. Frank squinted as he tried to work out what the girl was asking. Same routine questions that Frank himself had asked.

“I don’t know, lady. But I have a feeling the guy in the ball is going to tell us.”

 

~RB~

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Frank : GS.

 

Two wrongs don’t make a right.  The last hours of Detective Frank Malone.

Co-written with Nhal.
Razorbackwriter: Heading out to the street outside Elissa’s apartment, the two men would be saying good bye to each other. Little did they know the importance of what this would mean. Frank now had the goods on the Commander, thanks to Tommy’s connection in the darker underworld of New York. Reaching the curb, Frank puts his hand out to flag down a taxi, as Tommy is about to head to his car.

“You sure you want to use them?” The reporter asks, almost second guessing himself. The evidence in the brown envelope is damaging. So serious in fact that the Commander would never get a job in the city again, not even street sweeping. Frank gave a mere shrug of his shoulders. Everything the Detective had tried to do to clear his name and his own reputation had been hindered by the Commander at each and every turn. With the most recent death of Joey Patone, Frank was now a scapegoat more than ever for who was truly responsible for the mobster’s murder. The Commander had in his possession the photographs that had been taken from Joey’s apartment and featured images of the creature that had taken Rory that fateful night. Those alone could prove that Frank was not in the slightest bit crazy, and backed up the claims that he had made. It would vindicate him not only to those that he served with, but also to his ex wife. Isolde would also be in the clear, since her lab reports on the firing of Frank;s gun would show that he did not shoot Eliissa, or Joey Patone.

One career for another.

“This has to end, Tommy. My life has been a right mess since the night Rory died. I’ve had enough of people holding that over me. You saw the fluffy alien princess upstairs. They exist. That means this creature that attacked Rory also does. The Commander knows it and is trying to keep it under wraps. God knows why. If I have to blackmail the bastard with these pictures to get what’s left of my life back…then so be it.”

Frank had no remorse for the Commander. He was the most corrupt official in New York. This was an easy out for him. All he had to do was hand over the pictures from Joey’s apartment and let sleeping dogs lie.

The reporter let out a sigh as a cab pulled up alongside them.

“This is my ride. I’ll call you. See ya, Tommy.”

Frank smacked the side of Tommy’s arm and then got into the cab. He settled into the back seat as the detective gave him an address that he knew was a place few ventured. Dock nine, Warehouse 32. The cab sped off into the traffic, leaving Tommy standing there on the sidewalk. There was little he could do, but wait for Frank to call him that night, and let him know how it went down.

In the cab, Frank started to text the Commander’s phone.

~Commander, it’s Frank. You and I need to talk. Meet me at Dock nine, Warehouse 32 at 4pm today. Bring the evidence box from Joey’s apartment, and I’ll let you have the goat pictures and footage.~

Frank pressed send, then stared straight ahead as his fingers strummed the outside of the parcel that contained the photographs.

In the Commander’s office, the Commander was dictating a letter to his secretary, when his cell phone started to vibrate. Thinking it could be his new wife, he picked it up – only to turn pale when he read what was on the display. ~Goat pictures?~ The Commander nearly started to choke, and it was bad enough to have his secretary run around behind him to pat his back. “What is it? Are you alright?”

Of course, the Commander was far from okay, and started to scream at the girl to get out of his office. This had to be a set up. Frank didn’t have it in him to try and blackmail anyone. Or did he? The Commander couldn’t take any chances and quickly lept up, grabbing his coat. The evidence box from Joey’s apartment was still on his desk, and in a terrible rush, the Commander left his office to go and meet up with the Detective. His career and everything he had ever worked for was now on the line.

In a darkened room across town, an agent had his hand up to the left side of his head phones.

“Ma’am….the Commander is on the move. He’s going to go meet Malone at the docks. Should we respond?”

The red hue of a cigarette burning was coming from the corner of the room and a feminine voice responded. “I think its time to bring the curtain down on the Commander. He just reached his use by date.”

Pushing herself up out from her chair, she snapped her fingers at her assistant – a dark skinned man wearing a black suit. He slipped on a pair of dark glasses and fell in behind the woman in red. It was zero hour.

4.00pm

Pulling open the warehouse door, a faint light could be seen inside the empty space within the warehouse. Stepping in with his gun drawn, Frank looked about for signs of life. There was nothing but the faint drip of what he thought was water. Had the Commander even shown up? Going in a bit further, he could just make out the outline of what looked to be the Commander seated at a table in the middle of the building. He was just…staring into space. Frank re holstered his firearm and then headed closer towards the Commander.

“It’s a shame it had to come to this…..”

The Commander didn’t answer. He couldn’t. He had a bullet hole in his forehead – his nose drenced in blood and the slow dripping of crimson onto the table in front of him.

The Commander was dead.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nhal: “A shame? No, I don’t really think it is. If anything I think it’s just one of many inevitible truths.” Bols stepped out of seemingly nowhere, almost as if he was spawned from the shadows themselves. He slowly paced his way through the open space, his shoes clicking against the ground loudly as he walked up behind the Detective. He crossed his arms and shook his head slightly as he paced up next to him. “And you know, I really am sorry, but there is one more truth im going to have to show you… A truth I dont think your going to enjoy.” Stepping around the body, Bols tucked his hand into his jacket and removed a small vial of dark blue liquid which he held up in front of his face, peering through the glass with one eye.

“Nobody enjoys the beginning, but the end?… Oh man that part is a whole lot worse…” With a gentle toss into the air he flipped the vial around in the air and caught it in his other hand, dropping it into his sleeve and then dropping his arms to his sides with a soft shrug. “So what will it be Detective? Are you going to take an offer of peace and prosperity? Or will you be put through a hell of running in circles for the rest of your life? You have five seconds to decide.”

Raising his hands out to his sides he gave a soft smirk towards the young detective. His own mischievous grin upon his face causeing him to look far less serious than his voice led him to believe. “Choose, now… Five…”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Razorbackwriter: Who was this strange man that appeared right as Frank was saying what he thought was a sad kind of greeting to the very dead Commander. It stopped the detective in his tracks and the package that had been kept tightly under his arm slipped and fell to the ground – scattering across the dirty warehouse floor. The sounds of his shoes, as he passed around the body of the Commander and his almost sarcastic tone was enough to make the Detective wonder if it was the man that had done the killing. Normally, an assassin doesn’t dance around his victim and taunt a police detective in the process.

“Who are you?” Obvious question is obvious. Not that the man would divulge such a thing. He was too busy speaking in riddles. He kept speaking about inevitable truths, something that had been lacking in Frank’s world up till now. The Detective was about to reach for his gun, when the man produced a blue vial and tossed it into the air, catching it with his other hand. It didn’t take all of Frank’s detective skills to work out that the vial spelt trouble. But why did he flaunt this, instead of a gun? Surely if he had killed the Commander, he would turn a gun on him. None of this was making any sense.

“I don’t understand what you are talking about? Did you kill the Commander?”

The man was set on a deal of sorts. One that the Detective only had two choices from and under five seconds to make it. HIs eyes showed conflict and confusion. Was his life on the line? He had spent years running in circles. Everything that had led up to this point was all smoke and mirrors. The truth….was on the table…on the floor. Now the Commander was dead, would he ever be free?

“Five…”

“Wait…I don’t understand..”

In a mad panic…Frank blurted the first thing that came natural. “I just want it to end!!!”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nhal: Bols stopped with a small shake of his head yet again. “What a dull choice… But I guess you wont have an issue with my own, seeing as you wont remember it.” Raiseing one hand in Frank’s direction he held two fingers and a thumb open towards him, as if displaying a card to the man across from him. “Im going to have to ask you to sit like a good boy.” Snapping his wrist downwards his fingers now pointing towards the floor, the weight in Frank’s body suddenly began to grow exponentially as if he was burdened by heavy stones or steel.

“You see, there has been a unanimous descision to take you and your boss here, and replace you with more… Cooperative buisness partners…” Turning his hand slightly, the weight of Frank’s being continued to grow faster and faster until he could no longer support himself. “Although if it makes you feel any better, its all for a good cause… Trust me.” Bols let off a light smirk before he flicked his opposeing wrist, summoning the vial of liquid to his hand again.

“Hey Volkov, hold onto his head for me will you? we dont need him squirming around or else I might knick something important…” As he finished speaking, a very bulky looking man in a white suite made his way into the warehouse from outside, getting close to Frank he simply gave Bols a grunt and a nod, placing his large hands on either sides of the detective’s head.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Razorbackwriter: How was it that this man was able to wield the power over Frank, to have his entire body become heavy as lead. Frank had no choice, he had lost the ability to move freely. Hands and feet swelling and he was finding a rising pain in his chest as he struggled to breath. Frank tried to speak, to voice a protest – but it all came out like a pathetic sounding grunt. His eyes now bulging as though his head was caught in a vice. He wanted to reach out towards this man, who was acting like a showman more than anything. But he simply couldn’t. A look of horror now on his face, as the unknown man said that there had been a unanimous decision for both the Commander and the detective to be replaced. Frank knew that the Commander was on the mobs books, but he never had the chance to prove it. Did this man think the same thing of Frank? Did he even care?

Not by the way he was speaking. Again with a sinister smirk and the showing of the blue vial, the same one that he had spun around on their first meeting.

“Although if it makes you feel any better, its all for a good cause… Trust me.”

How could he trust a man that had his sights set on killing him? Every part of his life was now spinning before his eyes. This was the end. it was not how he envisioned it. He never got the chance to say goodbye to the one person he loved. His son.

A single tear ran down his face, as a large man in white appeared from the shadows and took hold of his head. The only saving grace for Frank now, was that his death would be swift. He closed his eyes….and inwardly prayed to his Lord.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nhal: Flicking his opposing wrist, Bols brought a large syringe from his sleeve, stabbing the tip through the vial in his other hand and began to draw the blue liquid before he dropped the empty vial onto the ground. “Do enjoy your time here, because as short as it will be, it sure as hell wont feel like it.” Casually stepping over the corpse in front of him, Bols swiftly swung his arm and stabbed the needle into Franks neck, injecting the fluid within directly into his blood stream before tossing the apparatus aside. “Now then, the drug will start taking effect in about three minutes, so until then, we get to have a little fun… Volkov, make sure he doesn’t move an inch…”

The enormous man simply gave another grunt and a nod as Bols paced away from Frank’s position, approximately 20 feet in distance. Spinning on his heel he stopped and when he faced his target. “And so, we begin.” Slipping his hands into his opposing sleeves he pulled out two small knives, twisting his arms and his wrists forwards he loosed the blades, sending them spiraling towards Frank and burying them deep into the soft flesh at the joints of his shoulders. “Hit, Fourty points.” His head cocked to the side slightly. “But im sure I can do so very much better…”

Tucking his hands back behind his back he slid them under his vest before bringing them back in front of him and fanning a series of various sized and shaped blades. Tossing his ensemble into the air he began to juggle them in his hands before he suddenly hopped back and lifted his left leg, rapidly kicking at each individual blade and sending them flying towards the target. A blade in the arm, leg, shoulder, stomach, another leg and a shoulder, a hand, a deep graze against the neck, then both the final blades burying themselves in his waist. “Alright, thats much better… Ill call that Three-hundred Fifty points.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Razorbackwriter: This man was like some crazed circus performer with his insane wit and then the actions that were to bring horror and misery to his target of choice – the ill fated detective. It’s one thing to know that you are going to die. It’s another to be tortured beforehand. Without the ability to really scream as his body was now like a massive led weight, his jaw just fell open and the hollowed sound of his rasping breathe would bring a chill to anyone that felt a shred of humanity. The man with the knives clearly didn’t. He was enjoying this so much he was even shouting the scores as his blades made their mark on multiple parts of Frank’s body. A single bullet could have just ended it all, but this was dragging on and on. Blood spurting out of the wounds where the many blades were now buried. The man that held onto Frank’s head would surely have his pristine white suit splattered, but neither man seemed to care.

The drug that had been administered early on, was now starting to slowly take affect. Not that it really mattered. Frank’s mind had now completely snapped and reality was a nightmare that he could not be released from till a blade would puncture either his lungs or his heart. The man was clever enough to avoid striking major organs and arteries to prolong the suffering of the Detective. To fall prey to a sadist was the worst thing imaginable.

Pools of Frank’s blood was now forming on the floor under him and running towards the nearest drain hole. A gurgled sound came from Frank as he started to slip from consciousness due to the severe blood loss.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Nhal: “Come on Franky, stay awake… We just have a little longer to play, then we can wrap up here. Volkov, you can let him go… With all the nerves and tendons that Ive severed, theres no way he’s going to be moving anywhere…” The larger man gave his signature nod and grunt, releasing frank and stepping off to the side. Bols’ expression suddenly went serious, his arms moving out to his sides in a T. “Well Frankie, its been fun… But, my associates think its time we end this little dance… And besides, I have some important guests showing up soon, it would be a shame if I missed them…”

Turning his wrist sharply a thin fibre wire began to fly through the air, spiraling around Frank. “I think the term ‘Death by a thousand cuts’ is quite applicable here.” Giving his wrist another flick, a series of blades of varying sizes, styles and lengths began pouring out of his sleeve as if someone had knocked over a box at an old blacksmiths shop. they all stuck to the thread as more and more began to spew forth, surrounding the detective in a near solid wall of iron and steel.

“And this shall be the end… Any last words detective boy?…” Moving his arm to his front, Bols closed his hand, pointing a finger towards Frank as the dozens of different blades all faced in his direction, poised for the killing blow.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Razorbackwriter: Time had slowed right down, with everything in front of Frank to be nothing but a horrible blur of sound and sight. Though Bol had drugged the detective so that he would never remember this death, as he lived it – Frank was going through a torturous end. Mercy it seemed was not in Bol’s vocabulary, and so as the blood wept from each and ever blade strike, the detective looked nothing more than a sad mannequin that had taken it’s final bow. It was no longer about pain, it was more about regret. Missed chances, lost days, a pathetic existence. There seemed to be no justice or truth except to say that Frank’s death would end up being as much a mystery as Rory’s had been. And all for what? Would anyone care?

As more cuts were inflicted, the warehouse gave way to another setting entirely. Frank found himself on a jetty facing a boat that was boarding with many other people that had either been murdered or taken away….like Rory. In fact, it was Rory who was waiting for Frank. Still wearing the same suit as he had on the night of his murder, blood stains down his shirt, and gouges in his neck that appeared fresh, Rory extended his hand towards Frank to follow him. The detective looked down at himself, no longer bleeding profusely, but appearing as he had when he first entered the warehouse. His hands trembled as he reached for his friend. United in death?

“Come on, Frank.” Rory urged. The boat was ready to depart. All the others were now on board and staring at the setting sun. They would follow the sun till it reached the end of the earth and then be taken onto their new lives. “I’ve been waiting for you, mate” Rory was smiling now as Frank started to take those last steps…..

“And this shall be the end… Any last words detective boy?…”

The voice was coming from behind him. It was the monster that was delivering the final blow. Frank turned his head slowly in this dreamscape. Rory was now shouting at Frank. “Don’t listen to him…..Stay with me. Join me.” There was a desperation in his voice as though he knew what staying behind meant. A large horn blast from the boat meant it was leaving and Rory jumped on the loading ramp. “Frank!”

“Rory….”

It was to be his last word, as the blades all surrounded him…and delivered the crushing blow. Blood spewing from every point of entry. Frank was dead.

The boat sailed off….without him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

RIP Frank.

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.

 

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.

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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~

 

 

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~

 

 

 

Disappear – GS.

 

Scene setting : Big Joe’s Pizzeria

co-written with Chor.

 

Chor:   Isa was viciously reminded of her utter starvation the second her foot crossed the threshold. The wind displacement sent a breeze of warm, doughy scent straight to her nostrils and she fought the urge to order and purchase every slice of pizza in the joint. The odd looks she received snapped her mostly out of it and she seated herself in a secluded corner table. Isa had a very unorthodox style about her. She didn’t consider herself beautiful, product of a long, relationship-less life and years of emotional abuse, but she was charming and lovely in a way that drew you to her. If she bothered to eat now and again, she might fill out and stop looking like a corpse herself.

Style wasn’t really in her strong suits; the mess of clothes she called her wardrobe were not of the conventional sort. She wore things for the simple fact that she had to. Another thing that could put her off to people is her tattoos. Now, in an age where mainstream society is basically past the whole ‘tattoos are bad’ idea, her inkings are still a bit much. She’s riddled with symbols, a strange language no one can understand; not even her. It’s not obvious unless she’s in a tank top, but they cover much of her arms as well as her back. Today, though, Isa actually looked presentable. Hair braided loosely until it rested in a ponytail just past her clavicle, a black blouse and a black pencil skirt to match with comfortable flats.

Can I get ‘ya anything, love?” a pleasant-looking woman inquired of Isa. With a shake of her head, Isa dismissed the offer of food. She had to focus, despite her stomach violently grumbling in protest. The woman shook her head, having heard the noise, and stepped away muttering ‘damn shame’. Did she think Isa to have an eating disorder. Do I have an eating disorder? Sighing, Isa pushed these troublesome thoughts from her mind and awaited Frank’s appearance.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Having rushed back to his apartment to have a quick shower and change into a fresh suit, Frank took a cab to the Pizzeria rather than take his own car. It would be easier to lose anyone following him if he was in a non descript taxi than a car that would be recognizable. The yellow cab pulled up at the curb, and the asian driver sung out that Frank owed twelve dollars for the fare. The cost of everything seemed to have skyrocketed of late and Frank fumbled about in his coat to find the right change. Handing over the cash, Frank got out of the cab and slammed the door, before looking up and down the street for sign of Isa. He couldn’t see her in amongst the crowd and decided to head inside and wait for her.

No one could be more surprised than Big Joe, to see Frank coming back into the Pizza shop so soon. He came out from behind the counter, and tossed his checkered tea towel over his shoulder.“Franka….whata you doin’s backa here?” It was not that Big Joe didn’t want to see Frank, he just figured he would be at work. Frank slapped Big Joe’s arm in a friendly manner and then gestured to a booth at the back. “Would you believe your pizza is simply too good to stay away from?’

This brought a loud laugh from Big Joe. “Ha you fulla tha bullshit.” Both men had a good chuckle as they both took a seat. Big Joe had his teen son working out back and Joe had a few moments to spare. “Where is Tommy boy, eh?” Joe asked, now curious as to what Frank was up to. He hadn’t ordered anything yet and seemed a touch flustered. Like he was looking out for someone. “Tommy’s back at his office. I’d say he has a deadline to meet.”

Joe nodded slowly and then said. “Uh huh.”

Both men sat in silence for a moment and then Big Joe smiled brightly. “You still looka like shit. I get you a coffee.”Always hospitable. That was Big Joe.

“Thanks, Joe.”

Left on his own in the booth, he drummed his fingers on the table, looking towards the door….waiting for Isa.

~RB~

 

Chor:  It was not long until the door opened once more and through it came a very fresh-looking Frank Malone. He looked good all cleaned up, healthier than when she last saw him. Isa wondered if that’s how people thought of her…

He had not noticed her yet and she stood and, as he seated himself, ventured over. Settling herself across from him, Isa leaned back in her seat. The urgency of the situation still held in her demeanor, but in this place she felt about forty-seven percent safer than the station. Shortly after her arrival at the table, a cup of coffee also joined them. She stared at it and then up at the woman who’d asked for her order earlier. The girl gave her another once-over before stepping away to attend to the rest of the building’s patrons. Isa’s attention returned completely to Frank, then.

“How are you doing?” she asked, then thinking better of it. Stress, she could see, exuded from him like cologne. She, though, was not bothered by it; it’s almost charming when you wear the same, tense scent. Her left hand opened, like a cage door squeaking after being closed for a thousand year, and the flash drive fell out of it and onto the table in his direction. One blink. Two.

“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…” She spoke, licking her lips afterward. Bracks was good at making things disappear.

 

Razorbackwriter:  The clatter of the coffee cup being placed on the table broke the silence as Isa sat down at Frank’s booth. He’d been watching the door and hadn’t bothered to check the restaurant for Isa. She must have been there before him. Was he slipping not to notice her right away? Thankfully clean shaven, Frank didn’t feel like a total scrub sitting there. In fact, he was wearing his best suit. He wasn’t planning to go back into work that day…..no he had other plans. In a way, Frank was pleased to see Isa, and in another he wasn’t. Guilt was now weighing heavily upon him, and this would probably be the last time they would meet, though he was not about to let her onto that…not yet. “How are you doing?” Sweet girl. Frank thought. Caring about a bloke like him. He was honest in his answer.“Seen better days.” The answer was short and too the point. He wasn’t about to get into some long winded speech. The time for talking long gone. Frank was a marked man and he knew it. Seeing the flash drive fall out onto the table had Frank stare at it for a moment, before raising his gaze up to Isa’s.

“This is the ballistics report. I haven’t been able to do an autopsy yet, but the findings will be the same. As long as we have this, it can’t be disputed. Bracks is probably having a conniption at the moment, trying to find a way to make it disappear…”

That one word. Disappear. A word to describe the past….the present and the not to distant future. Frank pursed his lips as he heard that Bracks was probably working on a way to make it…the report, disappear. The detective let out a long sigh before reaching across the table and slowly dragging the flash drive up into his hand – closing his fingers around it. It was a brave thing the girl was doing to hand him the report in a flash drive. All things considered. Frank turned his wrist and opened his fingers slightly enough to look at the flash drive, before then closing them again and stuffing the evidence into his pocket. In a way, it was his life insurance policy. Frank had forgotten all about the coffee cup that was sitting before him. He appeared distracted, like his mind was playing out what he had to do and yet he remained perfectly still. It took a moment for him to speak, as though this was the hardest thing he ever had to say.

“You’re a great gal for doing this, Isa. But…now I want you to forget about me. I’m going to do the same thing that report is going to do, till such time as I have enough evidence to take THEM all down. There is no point being a just man in a crooked police force. “

Frank took out a twenty dollar bill and placed on the table. He had still yet to touch his coffee. Frank offered Isa a warm smile…a smile of goodbye.

Standing, he said simply. “If anyone asks….you never saw me.”

With that, he headed out the door.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa could only blink silently as the world whizzed around her. Frank left her sitting there, bewildered, hands flat on the chipped wooden booth table. Words did not come to her. Thoughts, too, sat huddled with her confused feelings and refused to comply.
Standing, that was good. She stood and walked out the door, catching him jump into a Taxi like he was joining the Olympics. She found a cabbie idling in front of the place, probably waiting for a late patron. He wore a scowl as she approached the window, hoping to grab his services.

“Just get in, hun. Where to?” He said, as if reading her face. She pointed blankly at the taxi now motoring away from the site and climbed into the ripped vinyl backseat, wincing as the cracked coating scraped against her exposed flesh.

“Oh, you’re that type, huh?” He said, chuckling wildly like this was some sort of conquest of love and she was some sort of hero. There was still fight in her, yet. Frank might not see it, but Isa has a deep, deep well of focus that has latched onto him. She can’t let it go; she doesn’t have the ability to just give up now. Besides, she still has one more trick up her white sleeve. Or in her pocket, rather…

 

 

 

Heads or Tails – GS.

 

https://i0.wp.com/www.hollywoodreporter.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/modal_800/2014/09/gotham_police_station_set_design.jpg

Scene setting: NYPD Police headquarters.

co-written with Chor.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Sitting in behind his desk, the Commander was smoking a cuban cigar and staring out the office window. He seemed a million miles away, a carefree look on his face. You’d think after the night before, then having to attend to the crime scene of Joey Patone’s murder that he would be still showing some annoyance about the whole affair, but surprisingly he wasn’t. A knock at the door broke his concentration and he took one last puff of his cigar before shouting “ENTER.”

A young constable opened the door, then in behind him was another officer who was holding one of the evidence boxes from Joey’s apartment. “You wanted this brought here, Sir?” The first officer asked, motioning to the second to bring in the box. Not even bothering to get up from his desk, Commander Bracks simply motioned with his right hand for the box to be set down on the right hand side of his desk where there was enough space. The second officer tread into the room and set the box down carefully. Both officers then stood there silently for a moment. News was buzzing around the office about the morning operation, the fact Detective Malone was there when Joey got shot. Rumors were rife, but the Commander was quick to discipline anyone who spoke about it. The Commander then stared angrily at the two men, as though they were loitering. “Haven’t you two clowns got better things to do than to stand there with your mouths open ready to catch flies. DISMISSED!” He roared. Neither men waited for a second time to be berated, hurrying out of the office and closing the door. The Commander leaned over slightly in his chair to see if anyone was trying to look through the office door glass, then when he saw the close was clear, he tore the evidence tape off the box and lifted the lid. Reaching in he took out a handful of photographs that were taken from Joey’s dark room. A smirk appearing on his face as he held one of the more….erotic photos up…..till the phone rang.

The Commander set down the photograph on his desk and reached for his phone, picking it up.

“Bracks.”

“Nice work this morning, Commander. I must say, you earn your commission.” The voice on the other end had a slight accent to it. Italian. “You got done fitting up Malone for Joey’s murder yet?”

The Commander then remembered that Isa was yet to submit her report. “I’m working on it as we speak.” He lied. The man on the other end was no fool. “Uh huh. Well, maybe I didn’t emphasize the importance to get rid of Malone.” The Commander coughed and tried to keep his cool. “I understand, I do. Look, if I have to squeeze a certain forensics officer to fudge the evidence I will.”

The man on the other end of the phone laughed. “You better, or that pretty young wife of yours is going to be a new star in one of my snuff films. Got it?” The phone call ended, with the Commander sitting stony faced in his chair. He had only recently gotten married to a young Thai mail order bride. She was innocent to all of the Commander’s back room deals.

“Shit.” The Commander muttered, slamming down the phone. As soon as Isa had done her report, the Commander was going to have a few words with her.

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa entered the building as she normally would, except her body was shaking like a wet cat. One of the guards asked if she was alright after she was buzzed in, to which she replied she was ‘just dandy’. Not that he cared. He’s never spoken a word to her in all of her time working in the department. Isa’s eyes grazed across the room as she bee-lined for the elevator. The Commander was on the phone and the look on his face was a mix between terror and anger. He slammed the phone down in such a manner that she jumped. The sour smell that perforated the department was now infiltrating her lungs. One push of the button labeled “1” and down she went. The entrance level was actually level 2, as this was a converted building.
She’d hyperventilated the whole ride back, much to Khalil’s demise. He kept asking if she wanted to pull over, thinking that the putrid smell of the decaying body was getting to her. Little did he know…

“Isa,” someone called her name and she nearly died of a heart attack. Her eyes shot toward the sign. It was Ricardo; he would attempt to apologize. Isa read it in his eyes and didn’t have time for this.

“Look, Isa, I…” He began, but she cut him off with a raised palm.

“Ricardo, forg-” She began, but quick realized something. Ricardo still believed in the goodness of the force. He thought if the Commander knew he’d tampered with evidence, that might be the end of the career. She fought the urge to just laugh right there. Poor boy, didn’t know what he was getting into.

“Okay, Ricardo, I promise I won’t let anyone know if you do me a favour?” She countered, acting sincere. His face softened and eyes brightened. He was like a puppy who just happened to be working the evidence locker. Usually she could try to squeeze visits to the locker out of Molly, the normal ‘keeper of the things’, but with her being on Maternity leave that left Ricardo here alone. His eager nod just brightened her whole day.

“I need any files on Frank Malone. Not by him, on him. Also, those of Claura von Goethe. G-o-e-t-h-e. Got it?” She was hoping to get the report that claimed Frank as a suspect and study it. She also knew what other things would be in there. He set on his way to the back through the shelves.

“Sure thing. Hey, I’m sorry about-“ He started again, Isa rolling her eyes.

“Really, Ricardo, just get to it,” She interrupted, but that didn’t stop him. He was intent on apologizing about the earlier debacle.

“No, it’s the files. The ones for…G-goethe?” He said, struggling with the pronunciation like he was staring at a card that said it. Isa’s heart stopped.

“What about them?” Isa uttered passively, but shakily. He snaked back to her with one file in his hand…and it wasn’t her sister’s.

“They’re not here…can’t read the name, so no idea who took ’em out,” He said regretfully, taking in the look on her face. Suddenly it hit him.

“Oh shit, that’s your sister, isn’t it? The one who went missing? I’m so so-“ He began, but Isa ripped the file from his hand and stormed back to the elevator. She couldn’t get downstairs fast enough. Claura’s file had been removed, probably destroyed. They knew closing it wouldn’t have been enough. As the elevator made its final ‘ding’ on the Morgue floor, the doors grumbled open and she near burst out. Khalil was down the hall in the break room and she saw him watch her dash to her office through the large windows. He knew better than to follow, so she spent the next thirty minutes alternating between crying and throwing things across the room. Once her fit had finally receded, she sauntered with her evidence to the lab. The gun was already there, so she set immediately into her ballistics report. This would be the best damn report she’s ever written.
After a total of two hours and three minutes continually firing and searching weapons on the database and comparing the bullet found in the woman and the deceased male, she finally was able to put it to rest. There was no possible way that Frank Malone’s gun shot the bullet that killed that man, no matter her motives. Not that there were any. Everyone seemed generally shocked about the assassination, the woman Isa imagined because she was going into shock.

Sitting back in her tall wheeled chair, Isa’s eyes finally pulled back from the microscope. The proof was solid, the facts complete and the report bulletproof. A burning sensation in her chest, though, told her something terrible was going to happen. She sighed and wheeled over to her computer and searched the database for ‘Frank Malone’. Taking down his number on her yellow, coffee-stained legal pad and printing her report, she almost wheeled away to give her report to the Commander. However, she thought better and saved the report file, including all of the data files and photos, onto a small, clear flash drive. Snatching up the report from the printed, she left the office with more confidence then she’s had in a long, long time, to deliver to the crooked man upstairs what he needed to see…
‘knock knock’

 

Razorbackwriter:   ~Knock knock~

The sound of someone’s knuckles rapping on the office door brought Bracks out of his dazed state. The man was still staring at the phone handle he had just set down. He stared at it as if it were infected. It was not the phone of course, but rather the man on the other end that made the Commander feel physically sick. Truly stuck between a rock and a hard place, the Commander had to find a way to incriminate the Detective and his hopes that the testing and subsequent report by Isa were high. Little did he know that the woman was not going to bring him the smoking gun report. The ballistics tests and follow up report would show inconclusively that the detective was innocent of the crimes that the Commander was trying to fit him up for. The Commander pushed back in his chair which groaned in protest due to the Commander’s bulk. The idea that cops lived on a diet of soda and donuts seemed to be accurate when you took in the Commander’s obese state. When was the last time he ever passed a fitness test? Was he even fit for duty as a member of the NYPD? Probably not. The only reason he still held the position was because he was nothing more than a pawn of power. Those with total control liked to have lackeys like Bracks in charge of what would become a bent operation. Numerous reports, and evidence had gone missing over the past six months. Millions of dollars worth of narcotics and weapons vanishing from the evidence rooms. Many young cadets were often put in charge of these facilities, later to become scapegoat in the Commander’s schemes. If only there was someone brave enough to speak out. Someone with the balls to face up to what was a corrupt force. So long as Commander Bracks was in charge, justice was not even going to shine it’s light upon the city.

Seeing the female outline of Isa through the distressed glass door pane, Bracks barked “Enter”

As the door opened, the Commander rose to standing as though he was going to use his size and height as a way to intimidate the young woman. Staring down at her, he noted she had a file in her hands. No doubt this was the long awaited report. It had taken a few hours, and now it was time to learn of its contents.

“Took you long enough.” The Commander grumbled. There was no smile or real emotion on his face. He wanted to appear cold and detached. It was no secret of his hatred for Detective Malone, the whole office knew. How on earth Frank lasted this long was a miracle. Tapping his toe on the wooden office floor, he then lifted his chin and snorted like a malley bull.

“So….did Detective Frank Malone shoot Joey Patone and Elissa von Pourtales?”

~RB~

 

Chor:  

Isa liked to pretend the possibility of being murdered in her sleep didn’t scare her. The fact that it very much did made it difficult for her not to fear this conversation. Bracks held power, and not just power with the NYPD, but power in much higher, more dangerous places. She’d completely dissolved into her thoughts until hearing Bracks’ loud mouth calling her in. The knob was cold, since no one really used this door except him. He doesn’t get many visitors. The door creaked furiously, as if upset about all the evil it has seen. Isa’s heartbeat quickened at the sight of the commander, but she repeated a single line in her head again and again as she walked over to the chair in front of his desk; facing him. For Claura, for Claura, for Claura. It made her calmer, more ready for his backlash. Obviously this was only half true as she was also doing this for Frank, who didn’t deserve this kind of betrayal. She’d read his file, she knew the good he’d done for the force. It’s a damn shame that the good ones are the ones who get this kind of shit.

Bracks’ spoke and she raised her brows. Has he ever even read a ballistics report, let alone done one? Isa worked so thoroughly that it would take others’ hours upon hours to finish. More proof of unappreciation for Forensics in a whole. Maybe you should do it next time, she thought, then immediately recanted it. That would be about a billion times worse by far. Isa couldn’t even imagine Bracks doing any real police work at all. By the look of him, he didn’t do much of anything except eat and lie. The fact that he was standing was very apparent to her. It was intimidating only because of Isa’s seriously under-nourished size. He was easily two or three times her weight and the way he was standing it was like he knew it. He purposefully made himself bigger, more scary so maybe she’d back down. The question that arose next was the question of the day. She held the paper in her hand out toward him, her other hand fidgeting with some forceps in her coat jacket.

“You will find that Frank Malone absolutely and unequivocally did not shoot Joseph Patone or Elissa von Portuales,” Isa replied, her voice stern and confident despite the situation. The only thing she had definite faith in anymore was Science. Science isn’t biased and cannot lie. You cannot bribe it and it does not fear.  

Razorbackwriter:  The rising red flush on the Commander’s face was like that of a pending volcanic eruption. Purple veins pulsing so close to the skin that they almost were protruding through his sickly pink flesh. Eye sockets drooped slightly to reveal wet watery chasms, from too much drink. Those words of finality in the answer to the question of Detective Frank Malone’s innocence were like a death knell to the Commander. Age lines appeared to grow as he stared down the forensics officer; the words of the man on the phone still going around and around in his head. The words that the Commander wanted to let fly simply went unsaid, as he had to just nod at Isa’s findings. The Commander reached out and snatched the report file from Isa’s hand and then rounded his desk; taking a seat. Again the chair groaned and protested with loud creaks as the Commander settled. He flipped open the file and silently read the report. Bracks didn’t even offer Isa a chair. He simply made her wait. Each turn of a page was preempted by a finger lick so he didn’t miss a thing. But by the last page it was clear that isa didn’t miss a thing either. Her report was solid and factual. Closing the file, Bracks tossed it on his desk haphazardly as though it was yesterday’s paper. There would be no words of appreciation or thanks for the speed in which Isa took to write up the report. The Commander glanced out the office window, deep in thought. Without looking at Isa he simply said….

“Dismissed.”

If Isa left the office without further word, it would only be then that the Commander would watch her go. Once she was well out of ear shot, the Commander picked up the file and tapped the edge to his bottom lip. His eyes narrowed into slits as he pondered, or rather plotted what to do. He needed Frank to be found guilty. He needed to pin a murder on him to appease the men upstairs. But how?

Glancing down at the file in his hands, he simply turned in his chair and dumped the file in the trash bin. Knowing full well that there would be a copy of the file in the forensics, it was going to be one hell of an operation to make it….disappear. Either that…or have something unfortunate happen to Isa.

The Commander eased back in his seat, drumming his fingers together as he mused on what to do. Taking a coin out of his pocket, he turned it over between his fingers before flicking it into the air. The coin spun and spun before coming down to land as the Commander said…“Heads…”

It landed tails side up.

Luck was on Isa’s side.

For now…..

~RB~

 

Chor:  Isa wore a look of complete and utter satisfaction: on the inside. She didn’t let him know how pleased she was with herself, mostly because the more sensible half of her was scared witless. What if he threatened her? Who would even believe her? Much to her surprise, he just read very silently through her report. Almost painfully slow…
He ordered her to exit and by jove she did. No amount of money in the world could have kept Isa in that dingy, pungent office any longer. With a nod of her head, Isa’s feet scrambled from the room and through the maze of desks until she reached the front door. The flash drive with all the information she needed was held tight in her sweating palm and the picture she’d confiscating illegally from the crime scene was burning a hole in her pocket and her character. It was unlike her to be so sneaky, but she’d stepped in a serious shit-pile with this case. If anyone else had been dispatched, the case would probably already be closed with Frank in jail and his cohorts at the bottom of the river.
The air outside caught in her lungs, the smell of cars and hot dogs filling and choking them. Her hands fell to her jacket pockets and the left found a crumpled paper. Pulling it out, her attention drifted down to read it. Frank’s number she’d written from his file. It was only seconds later the phone was ringing. He needed to know just how difficult things were going to be.
Hello?” She whispered, when the ringing ended and a voice broke through the silence.

 

 

Sophia’s secret – GS.

 

Scene setting : Jax’s Coffee House.

co-written with Moo & VunG.

 

VunG:  It was so adorable to see the girl react to Frank’s unintentional flirts, a small smile creeping onto her face at the sight. Of course, really she just enjoyed watching anyone enjoy themselves, she didn’t get jealous or anything like that, and this girl was kind of cute. The fact that the girl was asking their names was fine by her, but of course Elissa’s vocal problems tended to be a bit of an issue, she let the more talkative Tommy handle that situation. When the reporter complimented her, Elissa’s reaction was definitely more subdued than what Frank or Sophia were doing, but she still blinked rapidly with surprise, looking at him with a slight blush. She was able to recover quickly enough and waved her greeting to the girl, but it still threw her for a loop. Did he really think she looked ‘lovely?’ That was… an interesting note.

Letting it go with no more than a continued blush, she watched the banter between the lot with a smirk. When the subject of Tommy being jabber, she snickered a little and made a *blab blab blab* gesture with one of her hands, of course smiling at the reporter the whole while and showing that she was just playing with him. Like Tommy, she was just as shocked by the change in haunts for Frankie, looking at him skeptically before laughing quietly into her hand when it was suggested that it was because of a pretty girl. Reaching up, she pulled out her notepad and pencil and passed them both to the man, giving him a smile and looking meaningfully towards Sophia. She was trying to tell him to get her number, if he really was interested.

However, even as she was recovering from doing that, she caught the tail end of the strange expression on the girl’s face. It raised her curiosity, but she didn’t put two and two together, thinking she’d just seen a stain on the floor or something of the like. And then… oh Tommy… Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. Elissa had been in the middle of taking another gulp of coffee, and would wind up swallowing this one prematurely with surprise, sputtering a little afterwards and rubbing her neck in pain, again the scarf getting disturbed as she just tried to get the worst of the pain out. What the heck was he thinking?! Was he out of his mind?!


At about this moment, another fellow would come into the coffee house, all smiles with an oblivious spring in his step. A brand new pewter cross bounced against his chest as he went and he was whistling an unidentifiable tune. He’d just gotten some good news: his sister had found herself a job in Savannah and was a nurse at the moment. It had been a real turning point in his day, and while he hadn’t told her anything about what had happened to him the last couple of days, it was good to hear from his family again. Of course, as he entered the place, he didn’t even realize that Sophia was there, he wasn’t even going for coffee at this point, he was just coming in for the Wi-Fi and only noticed that there were the three people at a table talking to a barista. He didn’t even look close enough to realize that it was Sophia, he was just doing his thing. And so, while all the drama was happening over there, he sat at a table, opened up his laptop, and went to work.

 

Moo:  Sophia had gladly listened to each introduction. Of course the only name she thought was familiar was Tommy’s…a given, really. Though the public she’d been around usually listed him as a bit of a nut, what with the cases he attempted to publish in the newspapers. Looking at him now, she didn’t feel that he was a nut in the least. And given her own circumstances, he wasn’t a nut for believing in the supernatural. Merely inquisitive…and it wasn’t as if he were wrong. Not in the least. No…this man was definitely well suited with intuition and intellect. Even while she smiled in a care free manner, her eyes roamed over his face and body for a moment while allowing these thoughts to flow.

Elissa was introduced next, causing Sophia to smile politely while she gave a brief nod. “It’s nice to meet you.” Given the woman’s bashful reaction, she found herself chuckling. Rather enjoyable to watch, as she clearly couldn’t take a compliment very well. Did she know how beautiful she was? Truly? Sophia admired the woman from where she stood, even her smile turning a bit sheepish while she nodded, agreeing with Tommy. “A real beauty, that one.”

Turning her attention to the man introduced as Frank Malone, she nodded with a brightening smile. “Frank,” she repeated. “I will remember that.” Extending her hand, she had to bend slightly in order to reach his, giving it a nice shake before straightening once more. Really, this guy didn’t look as old as Tommy made him sound. Maybe his mid twenties. In any case, Sophia only looked younger than she really was, currently at age 23 and a senior in college. Though, due to Tommy’s commentary, the girl began to blush rather sheepishly, tucking her fingers tightly around the tray she held while she bit her lip, averting her attention to the floor nearby. Not that she could really help it, as she was never use to this kind of attention. Perhaps she wasn’t any better than Elissa when it came to taking compliments, as she wanted to hide her face completely.

All of this having taken place even before she’d caught a glimpse of that picture. Whatever that thing had been, Tommy clarified it for her. After commenting to Elissa, she’d been asked a question she hadn’t understood right away…until he very bluntly threw in the bit about a ten tonne slug; the same as in the image she’d glanced at. While Sophia had a fit of discomfort run through her body, her stance was easily changed due to the mute woman’s sputtering on coffee. “Oh- Are you okay?” She moved to grab a few napkins, bending to offer them to the woman, before catching a glimpse of her bared neck. It was a simple flash, but enough that Sophia saw it clearly. Something tragic had happened to this woman…but the scar itself would not bother Sophia; simply the story behind it, whatever it had been. Moving her eyes to the woman’s face, she smiled and held out the napkins before turning to look at Tommy. “Is this a fan club? The X Files is a good enough show for the attention.” She grinned, playing dumb for the time being. Hopefully the man wouldn’t prod further. But she had been right; he truly was someone she would have to be careful around. Whatever Gantz was capable of, she didn’t know the extent of. And it was obvious it was meant to be kept a secret, so for her to go blabbing her mouth would be dangerous. She felt it…deep in her gut. Luckily enough though, the opening of the door meant a new guest, and an escape from this awkward situation. “Excuse me,” she said lightly, waving her hand just a bit.

Upon turning to greet the new customer, she’d actually paused in her step to find herself looking at none other than Sasha. “What a pleasant surprise,” she greeted as she stepped closer. Her tray was still nicely tucked against her front while she hovered near him. “Can I get you anything, Sasha?” Perhaps in hearing his name, he would turn his attention to her. And while it looked as though he were hard at work, she really wanted to escape any questioning from the trio on the couch just behind her.

 

Razorbackwriter:  Why is it reporters have such a way of asking probing questions at the worst possible time? Tommy’s question to the barista created a chain reaction of events at the table, that left all either covered in coffee or choking on it. All except Tommy of course, who waited with baited breath to see if the girl HAD noticed the picture of the monster on the table. Her reaction however, was swift and well thought out. “Is this a fan club? The X Files is a good enough show for the attention.” Tommy’s smile faded as it appeared the girl wasn’t fazed at all. Perhaps he was just thinking she noticed the picture. Was he losing his touch? The barista was on the job, offering napkins to Elissa, which was a kind gesture. Frank simply grabbed one off the center napkin holder and dabbed at his shirt, but it was a useless gesture. He had stained his shirt. Great. He’d need to run back to his apartment to change, since he didn’t have his car. Tommy let out a half nervous chuckle, putting the photos back in the envelope and answered Sophia, while Frank shot daggers at him with a glance.

“No, this is more like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. We like to do detective work off the clock.”

Frank groaned, as he started to slink in his seat. The more Tommy spoke, the more stupid he was feeling. As luck would have it, a new patron entered the coffee house, and this would have the young waitress excuse herself, leaving the trio to either have it out, or Frank to berate his friend.

“What are you, nuts? You don’t just ask some poor waitress if she has seen a ten tonne slug like that? Seriously, man.” Frank ranted, then taking out his wallet and putting down a twenty to cover their coffees. He hadn’t had a wink of sleep, and the fact that they still hadn’t been to Rory’s murder site was grating on him. The school stop off having taken up a lot more time than he had anticipated. Frank rose to standing, and then ran his fingers across the coffee stain on his shirt. A muttering of obscenities followed. “Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys? Really? Couldn’t have said something cooler…..I don’t know…like…Scooby Doo and the mystery gang?”

Tommy could now see that he had really pissed off his friend, not that he had meant too. He kept shrugging his shoulders, as if words weren’t going to be enough. “Frank….come on.” But the Detective already was now looking at Elissa. “Going to head back up to my apartment to change, thanks to Tommy. You wanna catch a cab?”

~RB~