Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Death Cult, Chapter 3: Adventures in Investigation

Death Cult is officially released... if not this minute, then in about 3 hours, because Amazon is on Pacific time, the losers....


After Hell Spawn was finished, I knew that I needed to wrap up some loose ends.

But I didn't want to end the book with a lot of explaining. It would basically be a process interview.

But hey, wouldn't it make great recap in book 2?

I think it does.

Chapter 3: Adventures in Investigation
Both Alex and I were dressed to impress at the station. Okay, one of us was. I wore a solid black suit, with a police-blue clip-on tie (clip on because we don’t want to be throttled with our own neck wear) and overcoat. Alex’s suit was gray and wrinkled, with a skinny brown tie that may have been black in a former life. That life had long since faded.
Alex seemed to have finally calmed down. Along the way, I had helped a woman with her spilled groceries, then helped her walk a block out of the way. I didn’t think it was that far out of the way, but Alex seemed to be annoyed about it. (Seriously, it was one block, and the groceries were under twenty pounds.)
We walked into the police station together and had to walk around a stack of glass. I waved to the glazier. “Hey, Eric. This your last day?”
Eric Mahoney, a middle-aged, beefy fellow in a hard hat, scowled. “If I’m lucky. Seriously, what was it that made you people trash all of the glass in the building?”
The perp got out of control,” Alex explained.
Yeah, yeah, so you guys keep telling me.” Eric rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Seriously, one little guy on PCP, and he strings himself up? Did he have to work really hard to smash everything? And the vending machine, really? That, too?”
It was another moment I couldn’t exactly explain to him. The “junkie” had been a man named Hayes, who had been the first host of the demons within Christopher Curran. It was how the demon had targeted me before jumping into the serial killer.
Pardon us, Eric.” I stepped around the glass, worried about the placement.
At which point, we ran into Internal Affairs.
* * *
The worst part about being me – a living Saint (for lack of a better term)-- was hiding it.
Obviously, I don’t mean that one has to lie about one’s good deeds. That would be idiotic. Just look at Mother Theresa. She didn’t hide what she did from day to day. And someone who is truly a saint is humble enough to acknowledge all the flaws of which we are aware, and hence usually do not advertise how good we are—because we know better. We know better, because we know what happens in our heads.
The problematic part of being a “living Saint” (which is oxymoronic, as all Saints are dead by definition) is being a Wonder Worker. Basically, a Wonder Worker has miracles performed through them. You wouldn’t think this was a problem … but when you’re a law enforcement officer, saying “I healed my wife of the knife wound to the throat” or “I bilocated a copy of myself onto the other side of the barricade” doesn’t exactly fit neatly into the average daily DD5 report NYPD officers have to fill out.
And if you have earned enough brownie points to actually be a Wonder Worker, lying isn’t a valid option. While being honest is good and virtuous, it is the sort of thing that gives you a first-class ticket to the funny farm.
So when Internal Affairs asks a question where the real answer involves you being in two places at once, it becomes imperative to become creative.
The two IA investigators who had been assigned to my were McNally and Horowitz, usually referred to as Statler and Waldorf. Don’t ask me which one was supposed to be which.
No, before you get confused, this wasn’t even about the event in my home. This wasn’t about my family shooting their way out for our own survival. No, this was about the “Rykers’ Riot” of two months before.
How did you get past the police blockade to an island with only one path?”
I was really fast,” was my answer. And I had been. I had to move really fast once my bilocated self materialized on the other side of the bridge, and the blockade. I didn’t want to be caught in the sights of the machineguns on the armored cars.
Uh huh,” McNally huffed. “You going to tell me you just beamed on the other side of the fence?”
I shrugged. “I didn’t say that, you did.” It was also a fairly good description, too.
And your wife?” Horowitz asked. “We took a closer look at your body camera video. Christopher Curran slashed her throat open. And yet she didn’t die? Care to explain that?”
I shrugged. “I always got the impression that any wound above the collar bone bled profusely. Artery in the arm, the throat, anything in the head. You’ll have to ask the paramedics. I’m not a doctor.” Notice, I didn’t lie. I just stated random facts and hoped they didn’t notice I didn’t even pretend to offer an explanation.
How about the blood left at the scene around Curran’s body?” McNally asked. “There were at least two massive blood patches on the walls and floor around the body. How did that happen?”
My eyebrow went up. The question was phrased awkwardly, and strangely. Even better: no one had ever requisitioned my DNA for a crime scene. At most, they might have typed it. Unless someone routed through my trash for samples, they didn’t have proof that it was my blood.
Normally, I wouldn’t be too concerned with my blood at the scene. They saw me leaving Rikers Island. Everyone knew I was there. Everyone presumed that I personally put down the riot … somehow.
The official story involved me going in, breaking up some fights, and disrupting the pace and inertia of the riot. With the major players of the riot put out of commission, the riot dispersed. This was more or less what happened. If you replace “major players of the riot” with “the possessed.”
Part of the problem was that I had bilocated … in the end, I had actually done a four-way split, all but one of me dying in the line of duty. The bodies had faded away, but the blood remained. The two big pools of blood were mine, where I had been impaled with prison bars that had been made into spears. I didn’t know if my DNA would be the same coming from a duplicate, but I didn’t want to bet one way or another. Hopefully, no one outside of my wife would ever see me without my shirt on – every wound that killed me had stayed on my body as a scar.
It was a prison riot. I presume there will be blood.” Especially since I had to slide through at least one hallway full of it, and none of it was mine.
How did he die?”
He fell on some bars, like a tiger trap. All I had to do was step out of his way when he came at me.”
And you got no blood on you? At all?”
I shrugged, not answering. Again, that would require explaining that the body that walked out of Rikers wasn’t the body that walked in. Nor had I gotten into any direct fights the last time I bilocated.
Don’t worry if you’re confused. So was I, and I had been there and done that.
There were more questions, but I managed to stave them off with relative ease. I suspect that I had Help from Above with my little deceptions. While Christopher Curran and his personal demons had made no attempt to be subtle about their rampage, God was more low key.
I’m surprised you didn’t want to ask me about the incident in my home.”
McNally smiled. “Just you wait.”
We’ll get there,” Horowitz said.
* * *
I sat at my desk in the back corner of the bullpen, planting my back against solid wall. I had no interest in getting taken by surprise. Alex was in on my clean little secret but I didn’t want to share if I could avoid it. I’d prefer to keep it between me and my confessor, but witnessing some of my abilities had dragged Alex and my wife into it. Jeremy just thought I was a superhero, but he’d thought that before I performed miracles. Unfortunately, Enemies from the Other Side also seemed to know about me. Apparently, sending demons back to Hell just allowed them to communicate better via infernal interoffice memos.
How do you want to play this?” Alex asked. “As much as you’d like a piece of the case, I’m not sure you can. Or should.”
He had a point. There was a good reason officer-involved crimes weren’t investigated by said officer. I was the target of some obviously bad people and putting me out there was waving a red flag with crosshairs on it.
I mean, what do we want to say?” Alex continued. “That Curran was really just part of some sort of cult and now they’re out to get you?”
I frowned. “Thing is … you might not be too far from the truth.”
Alex blinked as though I had struck him. “What? You saying there really is one?”
I leaned forward. While I was certain of my fellow officers’ apathy towards what I had to say, I didn’t want to take the chance of being overheard. “When Curran was gloating, he—it—told me that it had been summoned. Which means somebody, an actual person, deliberately brought the demon to Earth.”
Alex frowned, then leaned back in his chair. “You have nothing else?”
I shook my head. He leaned back further, lifting the front legs off of the ground. “Well, I see why you didn’t follow up with it. I’m not sure there were any leads to follow up with.”
I nodded. It was the exact reason why I didn’t want to bother. “Until now. With the symbols on the guys who broke in, there should at least be some sort of trail behind them.”
Alex held up a hand to slow me down. “Curran was a politically protected monster. Are you sure we want to play these games again?”
I frowned. Considering the lobby behind Christopher Curran and his day job as an abortionist, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that whoever was behind him had similar protection.
Alex continued. “I mean, if I’m not mistaken, when you get at least four people with demonic symbols everywhere, this counts as a cult. We could call the FBI and give it to them. After all, he was a serial killer, and this cult seems to connect to him. They do serial killers. These guys are at the very least serial killer adjacent. Why not give it to them?”
I nodded to concede his point. “That is all true. Except, who in the FBI do you think could stop them? What if they have another Curran up their sleeves? Unless you know if the FBI has their own squad to handle the occult for real.”
Alex said nothing but continued to frown, chewing that one over. We had all hoped that the nightmare was behind us. Unfortunately, I couldn’t imagine a situation where anyone else could have handled it without at least the exact same knowledge, resources and abilities that we’d had back then. And we were lucky. Maybe the Feds could have brought more manpower to bear. Or perhaps they would have shot Curran, had the demon jump bodies, and we would still be trying to figure out who and what the next perpetrator was.
Alex finally said, “How would you pitch it?”
I sighed. “The tats on our John Does tell us that it’s connected to the Curran case, and we were the leads. The fact that Curran’s buddies have targeted me just means that the case wasn’t actually closed yet, we just didn’t know it. They don’t take investigators off of an open case just because someone shoots at us.”
Alex shook his head. “That could be used against us. You didn’t make any friends by the time we were done with the Curran case. There’s rocking the boat, and then there’s hitting the boat with an iceberg. You, my friend, are an iceberg. And there’s a difference between being the target of a lone psycho and being the target of a cult bent on your death. I mean, heck, they could screw up and get me by mistake.”
* * *
Our Lieutenant eventually agreed with me. I think he was less swayed by the “open case” aspect of my argument and more swayed by the political angle that I was already involved. I had already pissed off everyone there was to piss off and having bigwig politicos be angry at one officer was better than being pissed off at the entire precinct.
Alex scoffed and said, “What am I? Chopped liver?”
When our Lieutenant added, “I know they’re the wrong tattoos but have you considered MS-13? I’m sure they’re still upset at you.”

I knew exactly where we were going to go that day.

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