Thursday, July 9, 2009


If you haven't read yesterday's story yet, read that one first, or else this one won't make since at the end. This was from a challenge requiring the use of the Clue phrase "[Person] did it with the [Weapon] in the [Room]."

"Join the Arcane Threat Division, they said. Cushiest job on the Force, they said. Bullcrap!" He had never been so scared in his life.

Officer Ryan Segal, aka "The Rookie," stood at the entry to the North stairwell in the basement of the Tribune building. He tried to appear calm, but his right hand kept flicking the safety on and off his weapon. He resorted to pacing to try to work off his nervous energy.

He tried to think about something else, anything else, but his mind couldn't let go of the image. The scene replayed itself in his mind....


"Hurry up, Rookie. Jordan said the woman would be in the copy room in the basement."

Officer Ryan Segal followed Detective Carter down the stairs. He couldn't believe they were doing this - rushing halfway across town at the suggestion of a nutcase psychic. This wasn't the standard police procedure they taught him at the academy. When he had said as much to his new partner, Carter had simply replied, "They don't teach Arcane Threat Division Procedure at the academy." Rookies didn't argue, so he played along. Now they were in the Tribune building, racing to save the life of a woman who most likely didn't need saving. At least he was getting his exercise.

It took them a few minutes to find the right room in the warren that was the basement. Segal was shocked at what they found.

"We're too late," Carter said.

The woman lay on the floor in a pool of blood. Hair, white as the driven snow, shot out from her head at strange angles. Her face was a shredded mess of tissue, caused by the fingers of her own hands. She had clawed her own eyes out.

It was horrifying. Segal couldn't help himself. He vomited in the corner. Detective Carter, who normally had a quip at such moments, was silent on the matter. He knelt to examine the body.

"But not by much. This is fresh."

Segal wiped his mouth. He wanted to help, but couldn't bring himself to look at the scene. "What happened to her?"

"If I had to guess, I'd say she died of fright."

"Of fright? You're kidding me."

Carter shook his head. "The white hair is a classic sign. I'd say she saw something so scary she wrecked her face trying to get the image out of her head." He pulled a purple crown royal bag from an inside pocket. Opening the drawstrings, he dumped a large clear marble into his hand.

"What could do that?" Segal asked. "Make someone so scared they'd die?"

"Any number of things. I'm guessing either a demon or black sorcery."

"You're kidding me. You mean that stuff is real?"

Carter ignored the question. He mumbled a few unintelligible words and made a few passes over the marble with his other hand.

The sphere burst into brilliant green light.

"Holy Crap," Carter exclaimed, "The thing's still here!"

Carter turned to Segal, his face tight with fear. "Get back to the stairwell now. Make sure nothing or no one gets past. If anything looks out of the ordinary, shoot first and ask questions later. You don't move from that spot until I tell you. You see something you holler, you hear me?"

Segal could only nod. He legs shook as he ran for the stairs. His radio crackled to life as Carter made a call.

"Carter to Dispatch. We need ATD backup to the Tribune building now. Repeat, ATD backup to the Tribune building NOW...!"


That was the last he had heard from Carter. That had been five minutes ago. Now here he stood, holding the exit against a sorcerous demon running around the basement with the ability to scare people to death. No freaking way.A movement down the hall caught his eye. As he turned that way, the lights in the hall dimmed dramatically, leaving everything in a hazy shadow.

"Who's there?"

A small flame came to life in midair. It floated his direction.

"This is Officer Ryan Segal of the Chicago PD. Do not come any closer."

The light kept coming. Squinting, Segal could make out a hunched figure walking his way, holding the light out in a shrouded hand.

"I repeat, do not come any closer." Segal raised his gun. "Don't make me shoot you."

The figure was close enough now that Segal could hear a rhythmic chanting. Strange symbols flared into existence just below the flame. In response, a thick black shadow roiled forth from the figure, tendrils of deepest black lancing their way toward Segal.

The rookie raised his gun and tried to fire, but his nervous clicking had left the safety on. He thumbed at the switch as the blackness slammed into him. Fear like nothing Segal had ever experienced washed through him, robbing him of his physical control. He froze in place, riveted to the spot. The figure approached through the midst of the living shadow. It reached for its hood. Segal knew with certainty that to gaze upon the face beneath the hood was to embrace terror and insanity, but he couldn't make himself move. He screamed....

"What the #$%@ are you doing, Rookie?"

Like a cleansing tidal wave, the voice washed away the fear and darkness. Stripped of its concealing light, the figure was easily recognizable. A short man, dressed in a dark green robe stood not five feet from Segal. In his right hand he held a lit candle, the candle and stick etched with funky symbols. His left hand pulled back the hood of the robe, revealing a completely unremarkable pudgy face, with vicious expression.

That expression turned to shock as Officer Joe Spurgeon stepped past Segal to punch the man in the mouth. His eyes rolled up in his head and he collapsed on the ground in a heap.

"What kind of pansy move was that, screaming like a girl?" Spurgeon asked. "You have a %#$@$ gun. Next time just shoot the bastard."

" saved me!"

"Saved you from what, a freak in a robe?" Spurgeon reached down and picked up the candle from the floor. He blew out the flame. "What a load of $#*%. What kind of pansy wusses are they turning out at the academy these days?"

Detective Carter chose that moment to round the far corner of the passage at a full run, his gun out and ready. He stopped when he saw Spurgeon.

"Ah, I see the cavalry has arrived."

"Yeah, just it time," Spurgeon retorted. "It was almost 'Mr. Green in the Hall with the Candlestick. ' What are you teaching this kid, Carter?"

Carter smiled. "Oh, the usual. Cuff that guy, rookie. Make sure you search him and remove anything that looks - unusual."

Segal looked from Carter to Spurgeon. What had just happened? He shook his head, and then pulled his cuffs from his belt. "Cushiest job on the force, my a$$."

1 comment:

Christina said...

Great ideas - this and "Doubt". Really liked both of them. But if the the guy taking Spurgeon's statementin "Doubt" actually convinces Spurgeon that magic is real and he's good at his job, wouldn't that take away his edge? Not that it decreases the value of the story (I like it the way it is.) I was just getting into the story and making an observation.