[Chapter 6, for those who want it]
In a city as large as this there are AA meetings every night of the week spread between the campuses and churches and community centers. Somehow I found myself at one of those, still holding onto Kraden’s death threats. It was close to dark and I had been driving around looking for a nice quiet bar to have a nice quiet scotch in while I waited for the first round of blood tests to come in. I don’t know why I walked in here but I took advantage of the coffee at the side of the room and sat as far from the stage as possible. I started flipping through the threats.
12 letters. 5 of them had long essays, innocuous little phrases like “Someone should kill you” or “one day you will get whats coming”. These would barely trip our radar, and were likely overactive retirees who were angry that Kraden had had no plan to open the factories back up. a few more were postcards with a picture of Kraden or his family and crosshairs painted over. These are more serious, but too vague to be actionable. I kept flipping through. One of these is not like the others: Long angry letters, implied threats, and one crumpled sheet of waterlogged notebook paper that said, “What happened to Icarus. I want to meet her” It didn’t sound like a death threat, but why was it treated like one by Kraden. I was just examining the return envelope when I realized it had gone quiet.
“Can you hear me back there? Would you like to come and introduce yourself?”
I didn’t look at who had spoken, I just mumbled some excuse and looked at my wrist like it had a watch on it then left quickly.
I sat in my car. The handwriting looked similar to the pad, but was smoother. The letter itself had been crumpled and smoothed flat many times, probably by Kraden. Most of the letters only showed the wear and tear of the postal service, but this one was special.
I started my drive back to the precinct, stopping in a liquor store to grab a bottle of whiskey. This much coffee in me and I’d need some sleep.
I got back, checked on the blood test and was thrown out of the lab by Julian. I then went and grabbed the pad from forensics. I came back up to the office, set my whiskey on the desk and sat down
Side by side the two looked similar. I would send them off to get analyzed anyways, but I was certain of the link. The pad was shakier, but that made sense. Whoever wrote it pulled someone apart limb from limb afterwards. They wouldn’t have been calm
I leaned back and the next thing I knew it was morning.
The following is an excerpt of a work-in-progress novel. Please let me know what you think!
In the deep in the wasting corpse of industry an angel on a billboard burned. No one had touched this area of town in 15 years and this billboard was no different, a failed product line from a dying company. The top of it had already burned and coalesced into the smog, making the silhouette of this angel seem as though she was diving upwards into Hell. I listened to it burn in the wind-whistle silence of abandoned buildings. I sat and watched and listened.
I thought about checking the surrounding buildings for squatters to warn them of the possible danger. If I did I’d be shot. Even in plain clothes I look like a cop and there are days that looking like a civilian would be a blessing. I was born with a stern face and a conceal-carry permit. I’ve never been a civilian.
It was still early morning as I made my way through midtown. I hit the traffic, and people’s windows were open in the humid heat to play out their choice of early-morning talk-radio. I listened to the usual rhythm of dispatch at dawn; fender benders and last-call cleanup. After stopping to get some coffee at a drive-through I languished in the traffic, enjoying the rest after a hellish night.
Everyone out here was rushing to work or to wage, and when everyone else wanted to get there on time I was just happy just to have some. It was a rare moment in between paperwork and cases where the city was quiet only for me.
Reverie is rarely kept for long, though. A call from dispatch.
“Julia, My dear.” Was my answer, less formal than the precinct liked.
“Hey Mikey, Misha has a need for you” But I had known Julia since I was a PI.
“As quickly as you can” Figures.
“Let the Chief know I’m running lights from midtown”
“Be safe, Detective”
Its easy for a man to feel powerful when all he needs is some flashing lights for a sea of people in their own little worlds to part and give way. 40 minutes of traffic was made into 10 minutes of glorious speeding. Public Service has its perks.