Episode One: So Marks the End – Part Three

A Vicious Turn

The day dawned grey and soaking.  The streets shimmered silver as car tires sloshed through puddles.  Rain pattered on the colourful umbrellas bobbing up the roadside.  Marius rubbed at his chest and stepped away from the hotel window.  The curtains swayed behind him, blocking the dismal day from view.

Ronan’s phone call woke him earlier than he wanted.  Marius took his time in getting ready.  The heat of the shower worked miracles in relaxing the stress from the muscles across his back and shoulders.  Meanwhile, the mini coffee maker managed to sputter out his guarantee for heartburn into a waiting plastic cup.  Marius drank the coffee without sugar, cream, or complaint.  The bitterness provided the perfect start to a day that promised to be anything but good.

A familiar black car pulled up to the curb just as Marius reached the bottom of the stairs.  He drew in a steadying breath and pulled the car door open.  Ronan’s warm smile greeted Marius as he settled himself in the car.

“Good morning,” Ronan said.  “Did you manage to get any sleep?”

“Yeah, eventually did.”  Marius didn’t bother to return the greeting.  He didn’t share the sentiment.  “You taking me home?”

“If that is what you want,” Ronan said.  The car pulled out into the flow of cars streaming along the street.  “I will not force you to see anything you rather not.”

The memory of emergency lights and sirens surfaced swiftly in his mind.  Last night’s discovery haunted him.  The still face of his wife as he held her hand in the ambulance was an image he could never forget.  The emergency attendant told him not to move the towels and blankets from her.  Experience in similar situations made sure he listened.  His years as an intelligence agent never prepared him to deal with this situation on such a personal level.  Sharalyn was dead and Issy was missing.
Continue reading

Episode One: So Marks the End – Part Two

Prayers

“You know, Roland. I think that hot pathologist likes you.”

Roland turned his eyes from the street outside the passenger window to study his partner’s face, glad to find Keefe’s focus was still on the traffic. “Aye?” He said slowly, not really sure who Keefe was talking about.

“You know, Ellen. Blonde, green eyes, Tracy would slap me for looking.”

“Oh, aye, Ellen.” Roland frowned and turned his attention back on the street. “You really think she likes me? I thought she was just bein’ nice.”

“Yes. She likes you. I think you should ask her out.” Keefe said. “Hell, we could do a double date if you’re nervous. Tracy’d like that… get somebody to watch the kids and…”

“No.” Roland said, a bit too quickly. “I dinna fancy her. She’s a verra nice lass and sharp as Damascus steel but… no.”

Keefe let out a little huff of breath. “If I didn’t know better I’d think you had aspirations to the priesthood.”

Roland chuckled. “No. That isna for me either.”

Keefe snorted. “If you say so… Check that map again? I don’t know the neighborhood.”

Roland tugged the tablet closer, shifting his fingers against the screen to bring the map closer. “We’re still going the right way. Next right.”

“This is just a routine interview on that Calloway murder isn’t it? Don’t know why it got handed off to us.”

“No, I dinna ken either. I’ve been over basics of the file but it isna ours.” That nagged at him as it had been since they’d been given the call, and he turned to frown out the side window again. “It must be urgent?” Roland tapped his fingers on the car door and watched worn buildings slide by the window. “Otherwise I dinna ken why Rogers wouldna just put it off until he could do it himself.”

“I’m not sure what could be so urgent about an interview. They didn’t say anything about an arrest. Maybe we’ll have some idea when we get there.”

Continue reading

Episode One: So Marks the End – Part One

Faces in the Fog

Her skin was still warm.  Smooth and rich beneath the drift of his fingers along her cheekbone.  Her smile must have been a beautiful thing to see, spread over full lips painted a natural bronze that blended well with her dark complexion.  Mel’s hand strayed out over the copper curls sprawled across the carpet, crunching them into his fist.  His curious eyes watched as they sprung from his grasp on spreading his fingers.  So vivacious, so insistent, just like the woman’s reaction when she first noticed him lurking in the shadows of her home.

“I’ve heard it said the moon lays his head down to sleep every morning,”  Mel said.  He gently gathered the woman’s head into his hands, leaning over her to brush his cool lips against her brow.  “That he forgets for the day all he has seen throughout the night.”  A smile touched the corner of his lips as he gave his head a subtle shake.  “Don’t believe those lies.  The moon neither sees nor cares what is done in the shadow.”

Shadow crept from the corners of the room.  Rivulets of inky black flowed over the carpet against the moonlight filtering through the bedroom window.  That liquid shadow smeared itself against the walls as if painted there by the palms of children, splashed up onto the ceiling with careless glee.  An incoherent chattering echoed from the darkness, faint and repetitive.  Gradually, the room grew darker inside than the world beyond the window.  Shadow and fog and ink followed him as if they were no more than his adoring pets.

Sharalyn did not reply.  She stared into the face of the creature that hung over her.  Mel could see in her eyes what she saw of him.  His moon pale beauty marred by burn scars.  His river of black hair, once silken and soft, now reduced to strung ash, fragile and in danger of breaking.  He loathed what he saw and shoved her from his lap.  Long, lean legs extended as he pushed to his feet, brushing the human’s filth from his clothing.  Blood and tears soaked into fabric pants, stained the leather of his wings.  He grew tired of playing with this meal.

The house was what attracted him.  The stink of magic was faint, but recognizable.  Mel found no sign of the ones that had left the magic behind.  The brothers that led the Hunt, that had rescued him from the fire that left him scarred, were not here.

Thin, pale fingers plucked a picture frame off the dresser, tipped into the illumination of the daring moonlight trying to force its way past the window.  Mel leaned against the window sill to peer over the faces in the photograph.  A woman, a man and a girl smiled up at him.  The woman lay suffering on the carpet.  The man was handsome but not home.  The girl?  Well, he could sense her asleep down the hall.

Continue reading