The Prophet of Starfall: Episode 20

Thirty minutes later, the interview concluded and Brian and Bonnie went into a commercial break while Nathan and Jericho slipped out of the studio.

“I’ll be right back,” Nathan told Jericho as he headed for the bathroom.

While Nathan splashed cold water on his face, Jericho went outside to make a call.

The cool water helped revive his weary muscles and give him a bit of an energy boost. Grabbing a few paper towels, Nathan stepped out of the bathroom and looked around to find Jericho. As he patted his wet face with the coarse paper towels, Brian White walked over.

“Hey, man, thanks again for your help with my sister. That was amazing!”

When Brian extended his hand, Nathan gladly accepted it.

Having just seen Nathan exit the bathroom, Brian looked down at the wet handshake with an expression that tried to hide his disgust.

In a rare mischievous moment, Nathan took the opportunity and said,

“Oh sorry. Haven’t had a chance to wash my hands yet.”

As Nathan released Brian’s hand and walked away, drying the water off his hands, he imagined the look on Brian’s face and chuckled when he heard the bathroom door open behind him. Seeing Jericho outside on the phone, he headed for the exit, tossing the wad of paper towels in a waste receptacle.

When Nathan stepped outside, the warm breeze tousled his hair and lifted his spirits. For just a moment, he forgot about what he had seen in the latest vision.

“Today is the kind of day when family and friends should get together and cook out, play ball,” he thought.

Jericho saw the smile on Nathan’s face and asked,

“What’s so funny?”

“Oh nothing. I was just enjoying the weather,” Nathan said, crossing to his motorcycle.

“Hold up a minute,” Jericho called.

“What is it?” Nathan asked, looking back.

“I’m waiting for somebody,” Jericho explained. “How about you wait with me?”

Putting aside his thoughts of cookouts and ballgames, Nathan turned away from his bike, sat on the bench with Jericho and closed his eyes while they waited.

A few minutes later, Jericho saw the shadow of Elizabeth cast across the sidewalk as she flew in and landed. She was dressed in full gear, a yellow and black body suit, a gun belt, and a pair of tinted flight goggles.  As she walked over to Jericho, she lifted the goggles to her forehead and folded in her wings.

“Hi. What’s up?” Elizabeth asked. Then she added,

“How’s Nathan? He looks a bit rough.”

“He says he’s okay, but I’m not so sure. According to him, he hasn’t had a full night’s rest since he got here,” Jericho replied.

“Seriously?” Elizabeth exclaimed. “But that was four weeks ago. How is he even able to function?”

“I have no idea,” Jericho admitted. “That’s why I called you.”

Suddenly Nathan snapped awake with a snorting sound. After he blinked a few times to clear his eyes, he spotted Elizabeth.

“Hey, you. Good to see you up and about,” he smiled.

“Thanks. Are you feeling all right?” Elizabeth asked.

“Yes ma’am,” he yawned.

Nathan stood, stretched his muscles, and wiped his weary eyes.

“May I go now?”

“You seem to be in a hurry,” Jericho pointed out. “What did you see back there in the studio?”

“What are you talking about?” Nathan asked.

“You know what I’m talking about. After the interview in there. I know you saw something, Nathan. You got that look. Your face goes blank and, I don’t know if you know this or not, but your eyes go white like all the color drains out. When I first saw it, to tell you the truth, it was a little creepy,” Jericho explained.

“Is that what that was?” Elizabeth asked.

Jericho nodded then asked again, “What’d you see?”

“Nothing,” Nathan lied.

“Please, Nathan, tell us what it was,” Elizabeth pressed.

“I saw Jericho in the park playing with puppies,” Nathan replied.

“Fine. Keep it to yourself,” Jericho said.

“Look I’ve got to meet with the mayor about clean up after the Thymatec incident. He wants to discuss options to prevent future robbery attempts. While I’m gone, Nathan, Elizabeth’s going to keep an eye on you.”

“She is?” Nathan asked.

“I am?” Elizabeth asked.

“If you don’t mind. It’s just until he can get some rest,” Jericho clarified.

“Cool,” Elizabeth said. “We had fun last time.”

“Got to go. You two be careful,” Jericho said as he left.

Elizabeth turned to Nathan and asked,

“So what’s up with the insomnia?”

“It’s nothing really,” Nathan said.

“Tell me or I’ll body slam you from a thousand feet,” Elizabeth demanded, hands on her hips.

Finally, Nathan relented.

“I can’t say too much. It’s just that every time I close my eyes, I only get a few minutes sleep before a vision of the future shocks me awake.”

“How bad is it?” Elizabeth asked. “Must be pretty bad to keep you awake.”

“I can’t say, Elizabeth. But believe me, it’s important. Save the world important.”

“How so?” Elizabeth pressed.

“Right now the future is undecided, and any hasty decision I make may change things for the worse,” Nathan said.

“Nathan, you can’t carry this burden by yourself,” Elizabeth protested.

“Hopefully, I won’t have to for long,” Nathan said.

“What do you mean?” Elizabeth asked.

Before Nathan could answer, they heard an explosion in the distance.

When Elizabeth whirled around to pinpoint the area, she heard Nathan’s motorcycle start up. She turned just in time to see him pull away.

With a deep sigh, she slipped the goggles over her eyes, spread her wings, and lifted into the air.

 

*          *          *

 

Elizabeth flew over the city toward the area of the explosion, following Nathan below as he masterfully maneuvered the motorcycle in and out of the stream of traffic. She couldn’t help but worry about him.

“I’m afraid this sleepless night business will eventually catch up to him,” she thought.

Up ahead she saw a billowing tower of black smoke and slowed her speed. They were right above the train yard where police were busy cordoning off the blast area and moving people back behind the yellow tape. Firetrucks screamed through the streets on their way to contain the blaze, and ambulances pulled up from every direction to tend to the wounded and dead.

Nathan parked the motorcycle a safe distance away and shut off the engine just as Elizabeth swooped down and landed beside him. Nathan figured that with her skill, she could probably land on a dime.

“You can’t end a discussion by driving away you know,” she scolded, removing her goggles.

“True, but right now, this is more important,” Nathan pointed out.

“What happened?” Elizabeth asked.

“Someone was murdered,” Nathan told her.

Moving through the crowd of gawkers, Nathan made his way up to the barricade tape and got the attention of the nearest police officer.

“I need to speak with Detective Shields.”

“No supers right now,” the officer said. “Not until Crime Scene has finished up.”

“She’ll want to speak to me,” Nathan assured him.

“And why is that?” the officer asked.

“The victim’s name is Daniel Lincoln,” Nathan said, “and he was murdered.”

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The Train: Episode 69

Michael could see that the figure wrapped in shadows had a man’s build. Just as he ran toward the figure, Nicole drew her pistol. Seeing the gun, the man turned and headed farther back into the shadows. The round fired, cut through the air past Michael’s ear and struck the man in the shoulder. Twisting from the hit, the man kept running, gripping his wound. The back of the burned out rec center opened up to an alley. When he reached what was left of the back door, the man forced his way through and ran into the alley, hurdling a car and running in front of a truck. As the truck driver blared his horn, sliding to a stop, the fleeing man dodged the front bumper and disappeared. Michael stopped and searched the alley. The man was gone.

“What happened?” Nicole asked, catching up.

“He got away,” Michael said.

“How? I hit him,” Nicole questioned.

“You did, but if it slowed him down, I sure couldn’t tell. He’s fast,” Michael replied.

Michael told Nicole what had happened in the alley.

“He’s the killer, I assume?” Nicole asked.

Michael wasn’t listening. His attention had shifted to a cab parked at the mouth of the alley, the vehicle the killer had leapt over in his escape.

“Wait here,” Michael said, approaching the cab.

As he drew closer, everything slowed and his training kicked in.

 

How to investigate a crime scene:

Step 1: Approach and secure the area around the scene.

Before entering a crime scene, ingress and egress must be controlled to prevent contamination of any potential physical evidence. Make a mental note of what you see, hear and smell. Determine if anything looks out of place.

Except for the rantings of the angry truck driver as he drove away, the street was relatively quiet. A few cars passed by, and Michael noticed the smell of burnt fuel. He reasoned that the cab must have been parked in a hurry because it was blocking the alley, something a cabbie would avoid so as not to be ticketed or towed.

Step 2: Initiate preliminary survey.

Conduct a survey of the crime scene itself. Look for signs of entry such as open windows, damaged doors, ladders and the like. Note all sensory readings—the smells, sounds, sights—as before and once again determine if anything looks out of place.  Take plenty of photos of the scene.

Michael placed his hand on the hood of the cab and confirmed that the engine was warm. None of the windows were broken, and the keys were still in the ignition. As he circled the cab, he spotted a small piece of clothing sticking out from the closed trunk, and completing his lap around the car, he saw luggage in the back seat.

Step 3: Evaluate physical evidence.

Reconstruct the events of the crime. Use the physical evidence to answer questions such as: Did the crime take place here or somewhere else? Has the victim or anything in the scene been tampered with? How did the crime affect the scene (signs of a struggle, blood spatter, bullet holes)?

Michael tried the driver’s door and found it was locked. Removing a pair of lock pics from his pocket, he opened the door and carefully slipped the keys out of the ignition. As his eyes slid over the interior of the car, he saw two bullet holes in the driver’s seat and two in the seat behind the driver. Michael slipped out of the car, walked around to the back, and opened the trunk. Curled up on the floor mat, face upward, was a dead man. When he carefully turned the man over, he saw two bullet holes in his back.

Step 4: Prepare a narrative of the scene.

From the collected evidence, compose an account of what happened.

Michael stepped away and looked over at Nicole.

“Well, here’s the cab driver.”

“How do you know it’s him?” Nicole asked.

“The driver’s seat has two bullets holes entering the back of the seat and ejecting through the front with no damage to the dash or window. Plus, the driver has two bullet holes in his back, so he had to be driving when whoever was in the back seat shot him twice. There’s no blood spatter on the front seat or on the back seat. Looks like his killer hailed a cab, probably one at random, climbed in and shot the driver twice in the back with a small caliber pistol. Then he threw the body into the trunk and drove the cab to pick up James Nolan. After leaving the airport, I would guess pretty much after he pulled in here, he turned around and shot Nolan twice in the chest before dragging his body inside and hanging it from the rafter,” Michael explained.

“So he kills a random cab driver just so he can pick up a random guy and kill him in this place which someone, probably him, burned down?” Nicole asked.

“I know. I know. It doesn’t make sense, but there’s got to be a connection we’re missing,” Michael said. “We need to figure out what it is.”

“You know what this reminds me of?” Nicole asked.

“What’s that?” Michael questioned.

“The assignment before this one. Things kept changing. Remember?” Nicole said.

 

*          *          *

 

As they were leaving the scene, Michael realized he still had the car keys.

“Hold on. I’ve got to put everything back the way it was.”

Michael left Nicole and hurried back to the cab. He put the keys back in the ignition then locked and closed the door. Moving around to the trunk, he repositioned the body the way it was when he found it and was closing the trunk when he heard a woman’s voice ask,

“What are you doing?”

When Michael spun around, he saw a middle-aged woman staring at him in horror.

“It’s not what you think,” he quickly explained.

When he stepped closer, the woman let out an ear-piercing scream and ran off.

“Well that can’t be good,” he said.

Checking that the trunk was securely closed, Michael hurried back to Nicole.

“We need to get out of here!” he insisted.

“What happened? What was that scream?” she asked.

“Some woman. I don’t know. She spotted me with the body.”

When they reached Dr. Ricer, he was nervously pacing back and forth.

“What happened?” he demanded.

“What do you mean?” Nicole asked.

“According to history, what was a simple murder investigation is now a city-wide manhunt.”

Published in: on February 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Cadillac Diaries: Episode 53

As Tommy and Ray hurried out of the hospital, Ray asked,

“Where’s Pete?”

“Relax, mate. The old boy’s fine,” Tommy assured him. “He’s with Mavis.”

“Why are we running?” Ray yelled, trying to hold his hospital gown closed.

“Because people are dying and this city needs you,” Tommy barked.

“This city needs me?” Ray asked, cynicism in his voice. “Seriously?”

“All right, fine. There are people out there dying gruesomely, and I don’t want to make the list. Not to mention Deborah may have me flogged for breaking you out.”

“She wouldn’t do that,” Ray insisted.

But when Tommy looked at Ray completely deadpan, Ray admitted,

“Okay. Maybe she would.”

Just when Ray was about to ask where they were going, Tommy slowed and stopped beside an old yellow-checkered cab.

Something about the car looked familiar to Ray. As he stepped back and gave it a second glance, he gasped,

“Tommy! Is this my old cab?”

“Aye,” Tommy responded

“But I thought they retired it,” Ray pointed out.

“They did. Put out to pasture. But I bought it,” Tommy said.

“Why?” Ray asked.

“I met my wife in this cab,” Tommy defended.

Ray paused then with exasperation said, “You never married.”

Tommy opened the driver’s door and answered, “That’s the story I’m sticking to.”

As Ray reached for the passenger door handle, he saw a suitcase in the back seat. It looked as though it had been packed in a hurry with bits of clothing caught in the zipper. Hanging on a hook over the driver’s side rear window was a soft gray suit, newly pressed.

“You have a suit in here?” Ray asked.

“That’s your suit, ole boy,” Tommy replied. “Get dressed.”

“Where are we headed?” Ray asked as he crawled into the back.

Starting the engine, Tommy answered, “Murder scene.”

 

 

*          *          *

 

 

As Tommy flew through the streets, Ray bounced around in the back seat trying to get dressed.

“Slow down, Tommy. I’m not as young as I used to be,” Ray protested just as Tommy rounded a corner, pushing Ray up against the door.

“None of us are, mate. What’s your point?” Tommy asked.

“My point is I’m not limber enough to do this back here.”

With no response, Tommy kept moving, sliding the cab around corners and running red lights until he finally came to a stop in a small back alley.

Ray stumbled out of the back seat and straightened up to adjust his tie.

Tommy closed the driver’s door and looked over at Ray.

“So you picked the suit. Figured you would go for the jeans.”

“What jeans?” Ray said.

“In the suitcase,” Tommy answered.

As Ray sat down to slip on the shoes Tommy had brought, he said,  “There’s nothing in there but pajamas and underwear.”

Tommy shrugged and gave the suit and tie an approving look,

“Well it works. Here.”

He reached into the front seat and pulled out a fedora, tossing it to Ray. It was the same color as the suit.

Ray caught the hat and softly brushed his hand over the brim.

“Tommy, I haven’t worn a fedora since Margaret passed.”

He tossed the fedora back to Tommy then scanned the area. They were parked behind an old brick building that looked like its glory days were long past.  Rainwater gathered into shallow pools then like a crystal viper crept through broken bottles, cigarette butts, and fast food wrappers to at last empty into the metal grates in the asphalt.

“Where are we?” Ray asked.

“This is the place where the man who tried to kill you was murdered,” Tommy said.

“Porter Daniels is dead?” Ray said.

“Shot through the throat and left for dead in his apartment,” Tommy replied.

“Too bad. Looks like a nasty place to die,” Ray said. “Hope he didn’t suffer.”

Tommy looked perplexed.

“Ray, this guy tried to kill you,” he said.

Ray shrugged, “Yea. And don’t forget he destroyed the Cadillac. But that doesn’t mean he deserves to be tortured. I’m not the kind of guy who wishes that on anybody, even Daniels.”

Tommy shook his head then walked up to the nearest door.

“We don’t have much time before things get worse, mate.”

Ray followed Tommy through the back door and into the hallway.

“What’s going on?” Ray asked.

“Your friend Captain Bonkers is waging a one man war against some crime figure he calls the Chessboard King. Two people have been killed. The police chief was kidnapped, and St. Louis crime boss Russell Carpenter was beaten senseless with a brick and thrown off a building.”

Tommy paused and said, “Never mind that last one. Happened ten years ago.”

“The police chief was kidnapped?” Ray asked.

“Yea. Police don’t know it yet.”

They reached a small elevator, its peeling bright green paint exposing the metal underneath.

When Tommy pressed the call button, Ray protested.

“We need to find the police chief first.”

“I don’t know everything, Ray,” Tommy explained. “If you want to find the crazed clown with the death wish, we need to find his trail.”

“And that’s why we’re here. Got it,” Ray said. “He’s not my friend, by the way. He just said that I was more valuable to him free than locked up.”

When the elevator doors opened, Ray and Tommy stepped in. Tommy punched the button for the floor, and the doors closed. After a few moments of a shaky ride and depressing elevator music, the doors opened and Ray followed Tommy to an apartment marked off with crime scene tape.

Tommy tried the door, found it unlocked then opened it and stepped under the tape. Ray ducked and followed him in, closing the door behind him. The filthy apartment reeked of decay and mildew. No fit place to live. A sidewall window was open and rain poured in, soaking the carpet.

“This doesn’t look right,” Ray observed. “Why would anyone leave the window open to an open investigation?”

“Someone probably opened it to aerate this place out,” Tommy said.

Ray looked at Tommy skeptically for a moment.

“Been working those crossword puzzles again, I see,” he said.

“What?” Tommy said. “It worked. Aerate means to introduce air, and obviously someone needed to air this place out.”

Ray shook his head and said, “No cop worth his badge would do this. Who was the detective on the scene?”

Tommy paused looking away.

“Who, Tommy?” Ray insisted.

“Your son-in-law,” Tommy finally surrendered.

Ray rolled his eyes, “This is Richard’s case? Oh man. Not only is Deborah going to kill you, but she’s going to straight jacket me and lock me in a retirement home.”

“You think I don’t know that?” Tommy exclaimed. “She’ll have Richard arrest me for busting you out in the first place.”

“Nah. Richard won’t arrest you. That chance has long passed. Now she’ll just kill you and make it look like an accident,” Ray said.

“She wouldn’t?” Tommy said.

“Why do you think I got so good at investigation? Her mother was almost a super villain,” Ray said.

Before Tommy could respond, they heard a loud scratching. Tommy and Ray turned and stared at the door.

“We’re you expecting someone?” Ray asked.

“Not me,” Tommy answered nervously.

Published in: on September 19, 2014 at 2:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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