Jun 012012
 

Start Reading from Chapter 1

My footsteps crackled with each step I took.  I looked down.

Oh yes, they’d laid down clear plastic over the floor.  Protecting potential evidence I guess. I assumed they’d already taken plenty of shots of this place earlier in the morning to reach a point where they’d invited civilian, regardless of whether or not he was the manager of the building into the place.

Certainly, if there was anything dangerous, or important about the blood on the floor, that would have been photographed hours ago.

But I stepped gingerly, nonetheless.

Fingers, as it turned out, was not in the master bedroom anymore, he’d moved on into the living room, talking with a couple of his officers in the livingroom.  Maybe I took too long actually entering the apartment.

While, I grant you, this was a fairly small apartment for 23 Pangbourne, certainly not comparable to the  three-bedroom suites we have on higher floors, but it still was a pre-nineteen sixties layout, so the rooms were fairly large compared to those in the more modern condo-style monstrosities that have been put up all around the downtown in more recent years, certainly large enough to accommodate more than a handful of  police officers.

It should have felt spacious, actually, with only a few remaining crime scene people, a tall and burley detective, and very disturbed building manager.  Maybe it was the plastic covered furniture, or just that it was all painted in oppressive dark red strokes.

I could feel the walls closing in around me.  Man, I hadn’t felt this kind of claustrophobia in years.  I decided to focus on Fingers.  He wasn’t part of this, and he was in motion., turning to talk to his officers, waving his hands with authority  Life, clearly, not death.  Still, I couldn’t help looking…

Symbols for of Basilic magic surrounded me.  Spells of concealing, hiding, and removing charms circled all of us. But they were cracked, twisted, broken.  And they all held a particular magic number.  One that I’ve tried to avoid for, shit, was it thirteen years now?  I think it was.  I knew it was.  And the anniversary was coming up.  Thirteen days past All Hallows Eve.  Oh god.

Fingers himself was discussing matters with a crime scene officer and a woman in a lab coat. And I could hear him speaking pretty distinctly even from entering the room.

There is a trick I play on my friends, and I’m good at it, mimicking their voices, but I am hands down best with Fingers because he has the most distinctive voice, at least in this day and age.  And yes, my trick does annoy him.

I swear though, he’s got a voice that’s perfectly between Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper. Which, in most circumstances, make his discussing of a police case fairly entertaining.  I used to get such a kick out of going over mock police reports at the bar to our other friends.

I didn’t expect I was going to be entertained at all today, though, I’d seen quite enough, and my stomach had gone from a sinking feeling to a definitely queasy one.

“Hey Johnny,” he said glancing in my direction, noticing me,  motioned me to join his happy trio. “Glad you could finally make it all the way down from your office.”

He couldn’t have really been looking at me.  Or he’d have seen my face, which must have really been white as a sheet.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I was still holding it together.

“I really didn’t want to,” I told him, waved a hand “and now I know why.”

He gave me a wry grin, then  held up his hand, and said, “just a moment.”

Then he finished up with what he was saying to the other two. And I stood in the room a surrounded by fucked up occult symbols drawn in real blood blood.

There was a certain smell, something you never forget.

It made me think I really shouldn’t have come in – down – to  work today, eleven floors on the elevator or not, or even had booked the day for a trip toFlorida. Sure, I don’t likeFlorida, not at all, but it would have been better than this.

Finally, Fingers finished with his officers, turned to me, and tried a smile. I raise my eyebrows.  I’d had enough time, I guess, to put up a front.  You know, casual disinterest coupled with disgust.  Maybe, even, some of that misplaced irritation that tends to put an end to relationships.

“Well, I figured that a few hours of sleep would get you ready to see this, eh?  That and a couple of cups of coffee.”

“You thought, did you?” I replied. “I don’t think there’s enough sleep or coffee in the world to prepare anyone for a mess like this.”

Certainly not a fullbreakfast I thought to myself.  Was I going to lose it?  I hoped not.

He glanced around at the surrounding symbology.

“Quite a piece of work,” he offered.. “See anything you recognize?”

I gave him a hard glare of the best look of astonishment I could fake.

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