Stranger than fiction – BC.

 

Joel was sure he was on the right track with his thoughts on Selina.  Taking her to the Library, along with Ava, the truth is about to be revealed.

Scene setting : The City Library – Blood City.

Co-written with Temp and Gene.

 

Razorbackwriter:  

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Making sure that their new companion didn’t attract anymore unwanted attention, Joel escorted Ava and Selina to the City Library, which was actually a fair way from the shopping and cafe district. Thankfully, most of the pedestrians were too busy flicking through their smart phones to both to look up and see what was right in front of their noses. This was exactly what Joel was counting on. Society had changed and sadly for the worse. Though there were a select few that held on tightly to the old ways. Joel walked with a distinct strut, his attire allowing him ease of movement. It was almost as though he had a regal air, but he was the son of commoners and not one of high station – though he taught at the prestigious school of the rich and affluent. The young teacher was keen to light another cigarette, but remembered that his companions might not take to kindly to the offending smoke. So, he buried that thought deep as he walked along briskly.

“It’s not much farther.” In a way keeping the girls attention towards him and not those that they passed. There was a good reason why he chose the library to learn more about their new friend. The building itself was a couple of hundred years old, and it was a great source of history and archives of the by gone eras. A place that Joel felt that there may be answers to his own unasked questions.

Turning the corner, the imposing sight of the building gave cause for Joel to smile, though it was a fairly thin one. How many times had been here, he simply lost count. A place of solitude to those that wished to lose themselves in the many tomes on the dusty shelves. It was not a place for those that were all about money and possessions. The only thing you would get here was knowledge, something that Joel had craved all his life.

Reaching the large oak doors that had been carved by a true master of carpentry, Joel pulled the left door open and stood back to allow the two young girls to enter.

“After you.” His voice polite, yet serious.

Once the girls had entered, he stood in behind them and waited for their reactions. Had either of them been here before? He imagined that Ava hadn’t, for she simply didn’t appear to be a little book worm. Selina on the other hand, may have. In order to get the ball rolling, Joel walked around and then crouched before the young girl with the cat plushie and asked.

“This is a place that will help us I think. But I do have one question. What year is this?”

Her answer would help guide him to the right books.

 

~RB~

 

Temp:  Selina had once again examined her surroundings during the walk from the Cafe to the Library. This was something she had done beforehand, but she found herself doing once more regardless. This era was so much different than what she remembered that seeing something once simply wasn’t enough. Any looks she might have received from passersby went unnoticed due to her fascination with the city. Eventually the three arrived at the Library, and she was led inside by Joel. The building was quite old from the looks of it, but she wasn’t quite sure if it felt familiar or not. It definitely felt a lot closer to who she was than the rest of the city, that much was certain. Upon Joel crouching before her and questioning her, she found herself a bit lost. What year was this? “This is still the fifteenth centu-…” Her sentence would go incomplete due to a sudden shock she felt from her Grimoire. Apparently Tallulah didn’t want Selina sharing that information. Normally she would go with the advice of the Grimoire, but this time it was different. Tallulah seemed scared or worried about this time period for some reason. “Century…is it not?” This time there was no response from her Grimoire, for whatever reason. Selina knew that some time had passed by, but surely it was still within the same century…right?

 

Gene:  

 

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As the trio left the café, Joel led the way whilst Ava trailed behind Selina. She looked to those they passed; however it seemed they were too busy with technology to notice something not in the norm. Ava had a phone too, though she spent little time on it. Most people used their phone to communicate with one another, play games or just browse the internet. For the first, Ava had little friends. As for the second and third, Ava wasn’t much of a gamer and her phone had no internet. Her parents didn’t want her to be distracted; Ava quickly realised they simply didn’t want her to learn more about the City. Her natural curiosity allowed her to pursue such knowledge from other sources. Ava recognised the route to the library; it was one she took many times.

Finally, the library came into view. With little interest, she looked to it. The impact the building once had on her had long gone. Ava entered, whispering thanks to Joel. Her reaction to the library was pretty dull. When she was younger, she had come here many times, mainly to gain knowledge about Witchcraft. She only found the history of it, but it wasn’t what she was looking for. Ava wanted to see if there were more spell books. There wasn’t any in the library. After her disappointment, she hardly came here; only if there was a school project and she needed to do some research, then she’d journey to the library.

When Joel posed his question to Selina, her answer shocked Ava.
“Fifteenth century?!” She exclaimed; the librarian sent her a disgusting look and shushed her. Ava bit down on her lip, her face reddening. Was Selina delusional? This was the 21st century; her answer really did invoke deep thoughts. What was truly going on?

 

 

The Witness – GS.

 

Scene setting : Fifth and Maple Street.

co-written with VunG.

 

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

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

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

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

~RB~

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

What would she say?

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

 

~RB~

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

~RB~

School’s out? – GS

 

Scene setting – The school.

co-written with VunG.

 

Razorbackwriter:  It was a sobering drive over to the school. Detective Frank Malone had gotten his cell and texted his current partner – Detective John Moss to join them at what would be a crime scene. That was how Frank saw it, though he would be shocked by what he found….or rather didn’t. The night was dragging on, and it was obvious that all would be needing coffee to stay awake through it all. Frank, had come good considering how much he had to drink earlier. Perhaps the photo evidence and now this current investigation had sparked something within the war horse. Tommy parked his car in the school teachers car park and alighted the vehicle – going around the back and opening the trunk. He pulled out a small sports bag, with camera equipment as well as a good flash light. You know the kind that security guards use. A long black handle and large torch end. Slamming the boot closed, he turned at the sound of another car approaching. It was Frank’s partner, John. Already Frank had gotten out of Tommy’s car and urged Elissa to follow him and meet John. John looked like he’d just rolled out of bed. Racking his fingers through his hair, he approached the trio and asked.

“Want to tell me why you got me out of bed, Frank?”

“Easy, Elissa here has been sent some pics of damage to the school, thought we should check it out before the Commander gets wind.” Frank replied, knowing that John would probably be pissed at Frank acting without back up of the department. John rolled his eyes, before glancing at Elissa. “Don’t I know you?” He asked off the cuff.

A loud crashing sound caught everyone’s attention, and Tommy shone the light in the direction of the sound. “No time for pleasantries. Come on.” Together the four headed into the school grounds, only to be confronted by a sight that was like something out of a war zone. Massive holes that had been caused by some sort of explosion had left a trail of destruction, with everything from desks, chairs and papers scattered. Walking through the debris, Tommy shone his light left and right, but there was no one about – not a soul.

“Hello?!” He sung out, as Frank surveyed the damage in one classroom. There was no one about, and very little smoke. Just a lot of debris and broken bricks. “It’s like there was a battle here…..but there is no shells, no blast residue….nothing. What the hell caused all this?” He asked, looking back at Elissa. Had she seen anything like this before?

 

~RB~

 

VunG:  Throughout the journey over Elissa was staring at the pictures that had been sent to her, trying to notice things and areas truly worth examining right off the bat. Of course, the whole thing looked like a mess, and fine detail was lost on the phone cameras, so it wasn’t quite what she needed, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Once the car arrived, she joined the others in getting up and equipping themselves with flashlights, though she didn’t bother with a camera at the moment since she actually didn’t know the proper techniques for avoiding glare. Like Frank, her eyes trailed immediately towards the newcomer to the party, and she would gladly join in welcoming the poor fellow to the crime scene, though it was obvious that he wasn’t exactly in the sort of position to be all that happy; probably just woke up.

When John asked if he knew her, she would nod and put her flashlight under her arm while she reached for her notepad… but wouldn’t even get it out as they were reminded that they probably on the clock. Immediately she would join the lot in the charge forward, and find her breath catching as she looked on the mess before them. War zone was just the right word. As they approached, she almost immediately went to examine one of the blast marks more closely, not bothering with the interior of the school but rather trying to the actual technical side. She knew that was her best area… normally. This sort of damage was bizarre. It didn’t so much look like it was hit with an explosive, the damage was too clean, too localized for that. But it wasn’t a normal round either; there weren’t shells around but that could be explained away. She knew of a few ways to prevent shells from showing up; she knew that there were even prototype weapons using casing-less rounds. But… there should’ve been slugs. Putting on gloves she began running her hands along one of the blast zones, trying to find any sign of one of the things, trying to figure out the weapons used. But even as Frank spoke, she realized that there weren’t slugs either… nor even shards of lead or steel or anything that would suggest such a thing.

Frowning, she stepped back and began walking about the school grounds, pausing every now and again when she came upon an undisturbed section of carnage. There was evidence of something moving around here, things were disturbed, the debris had been kicked around, this wasn’t just a ghost job. But… that suggested that the damage wasn’t simultaneous either. This wasn’t deliberate per se, more like something had experienced a firefight in here, and the people were either moving in or out. As she realized this, she began taking note of the direction of things, and began following the rough path in towards the gymnasium… or… what was left of it.

For a time she stood there, just examining the damage, spending the whole time gesturing with her hands, flashlight in one of them, trying to paint herself an image of what happened, trying to figure out where all the debris came from. As she stood there, she would have to dodge a bit of falling concrete, and she’d begin to leave the area… only to notice something rather peculiar: the windows were mostly intact. Now that was interesting. Bringing a hand up to her mouth, she whistled sharply and would begin moving to a place a little out of the gymnasium where they could see her.

Once the guys were there, particularly Tommy since he was her translator at this point, she’d begin signing while gesturing to the windows, ~Whatever did this was either direct fire or physical. The windows are intact; explosive shockwaves tend to break them.~ On top of that, she gestured for them to look in the gymnasium and added, ~That seems to be where the worst of it it, but I’m not certain how stable it is in there. Watch your head if you check.~

 

Razorbackwriter:  Over the years, Tommy had covered actual war zones in the middle east and was used to seeing the kind of debris and ruin left by mortars and explosives. Even gun cartridges, and smoldering ash from fires caused by the carnage, but this…this was unlike anything he had seen before. Waving his flashlight over one of the walls, that had major structural damage, there was nothing that showed what caused the blast points or gaping holes in the brick. Tommy set down his sports bag on one of the remaining outdoor seats and pulled open the zipper, to find his camera and flash unit. He wanted to take as many pictures for evidence as he could before word of this got out. Snapping the flash unit in place, he started to take pictures, clicking madly as Frank and John were investigating what would be the pathway to the gymnasium. Both men had heard Elissa’s whistle and followed her lead. John mentioned to Frank; “She’s a quiet one, isn’t she?” Not knowing that the girl was a mute. He knew he had seen her before, some time ago but was only now putting two and two together when Frank made mention that she was once with the SWAT team. “Oh…right.”

Tommy jogged to catch up with the trio and added to Elissa’s signing. “The gym took the brunt of the battle by the looks of things. Elissa’s right about one thing though, I’m not so sure that the structural integrity of the building is all that sound.” He said, shouldering his camera and turning the torch in the direction of the destroyed gymnasium. Frank did notice one thing. There was no bodies. Surely after a fight of this size and scale there would have been causalities….but there was nothing. No bodies….no blood….nothing. The cogs in his mind started to turn. Could this have anything at all to do with what happened to Rory? Great creatures that were invisible to the naked eye, but able to be caught on film? Detective John Moss walked unsteadily over what was once the wall in the gym. He did notice that the windows were not blown out. So the force of the explosions didn’t cause shock waves. Again…that made no logical sense. Tommy took a few more photographs, but already John was starting to get suspicious.

“What if….this is some sort of…government..military type operation? Like, trialing some new weapons, though you’d think they would pick a place more suitable than a school.” Frank wasn’t too sure about John’s deduction. If the government was involved, they wouldn’t just allow anybody to wander on the sight. “I don’t know. Something is just really off about this. There is no residue smell of explosives, no fire…no ash.”

It was clear to all of them that there was little in the way of clues or evidence to suggest what caused all this destruction. In the mean time, they had another case waiting to be solved. The murder of Rory Lismore. They now had photographs of what took Rory that night, and a witness. Unknown at the current time, but it would hopefully be solved as they followed the leads that they had.

John approached Frank and Elissa and suggested. “We should call this in. If Commander Bracks finds out we were here and didn’t report it, we could lose our badges for obstruction.” John was now sure that what ever caused the damage at the school was not something that could easily be solved. Frank looked at Elissa as Tommy started to pack away his camera back into his sports bag. “Should I call this in, guys?”

 

~RB~