Jen Air: Chapter Two

Again, just a snippet/extract from the chapter and story I’m working on right now.

Chapter Two

Morning came, the sun at last breaking through the clouds to show the result of all the activity that had taken place under the shroud of night.  Those who had survived, and at least two who had died.  It wasn’t long after dawn when workers reported the bodies, and police arrived and taped off the alley and part of the road.

One of the forensic team, a woman, was leant over the body that used to be Oliver Harris.  “I can’t tell you exactly what weapon was used – some kind of blade.  It was thrust up under the sternum into his heart,” she explained, acting out the scene.  “The killer must have been quite low to the ground.  Maybe down on their knees…”

Sergeant Chauncey ‘Chance’ Delainy stood pinching his nose, tired and still waiting for his morning coffee to arrive.  “Or someone small,” he murmured.

Another of the team scoffed, saying, “you think a midget did this?”

“No, I… I’m not thinking anything. I’m just speculating.”

“This might help,” Daramy said, arriving with their coffees.

The woman shook her head, continuing, “whoever it was, they would have to have been very strong.”

“Maybe it was a chimpanzee?” The young man scoffed again.  “They’re strong, right?”

“We could check the zoo,” Daramy nodded seriously, “or see if there is any circus in town.”

“Sure.  If someone is training chimp-assassins then we need to put a stop to it before they threaten to overthrow us.”

Chance sighed.  “Chimps have fingerprints, don’t they?  Maybe you should look for those instead of being a smartass.”

“Unfortunately,” Daramy said, stirring his coffee,  “the ‘planet of the apes’ theory makes about as much sense as anything else so far.  We know that he and the other victim, the one with no eyes, were at The Mill.  We’ve managed to get hold of a few people who say that Harris started acting strangely and ran out.”

The woman stood up and elaborated, “apart from some alcohol, we’ve found no trace of any drugs.  There may be other tests we can do in the lab, but far as I can tell right now the man was cleaner than a nun in a soap store.  In any case that wouldn’t explain his murder.”

“If someone had drugged him then it might have some connection,” Delainy thought out loud.  Of course it might have no connection at all.  There simply wasn’t much to go on at this point. “Why do you suppose the other one had his eyes gouged out, but this one didn’t?”

“Symbolic, maybe?” The woman speculated.  “Because he had been a witness… seen something he wasn’t supposed to.”

“So we think Oliver was targeted deliberately?”
“That would be my best guess.”

“All right… let’s see what we find out about him,” Chance turned to Sergeant Daramy.  “What about cameras?”

“Ah,” the black man gestured toward the back of a van, “see for yourself.”

They gathered round a monitor, watching footage taken from a camera on one of the buildings the night before.  They saw Oliver Harris half stagger and half run into the alley, and then collapse, and then… static.

“What happened?” Delainy asked.

The technician operating the monitor shook his head.  “That’s it.  The camera stopped working.  And not just this one either.  As far as we can tell, at that exact moment, every electronic device in the neighbourhood went offline.  Cameras, phones, street lights…”

“How is that possible?”

“The power company didn’t report anything unusual before, or after when it all came back on.  Had to have been some kind of electro-magnetic pulse across a wide band, but that would take some serious hardware.  If anyone with a pacemaker had been in the area, well… we’d probably be packing up another body.”

“Looks like our best guess is looking a little more likely,” Chance sighed. Anything high-tech also suggested military.  Or maybe he’d just seen too many science fiction or spy movies.    It definitely wasn’t typical of gangsters to go to lengths like this, but he couldn’t rule that out as a possibility either.  This was whole thing was just odd, and there was more to come.

Daramy had just answered a call on his phone, and now he nudged Delainy.  “Look at this…”

Chance took the device, looking at pictures of an overturned hatchback that had been found off the road a few minutes from here.  It took a moment for him to realise why it looked so familiar.  “That’s Kaya’s…”

“Who?” The technician asked.

“Kaya Cade… she’s just a punk and a hothead.  There’s no way she’d be involved in anything like this.”

“Maybe she saw something too,” Daramy said. “Tried to get away, but the killer drove her off the road.”

“Is she…?”

“No.  No bodies have been found.  At least not yet.”

“All right,” that was a relief, at least.  Not that Kaya really had anything to do with him, except that she had been the first arrest he’d made in Irongate.  And the first arrest he and Daramy had made together as partners.  And… well, they’d arrested her a lot.  But never for anything really bad.  Usually just getting into fights with people whose actions she found questionable.  A lot of officers had grown a little bit fond of her in a paternal kind of way.  “Send the word for everyone to keep an eye out, and to bring her in if they see her.”

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