Thursday, May 19, 2011

16293--A Knowledge of Heather (Ch. 4)

Happy Thursday. To help keep my own feet to the fire, I'm using Thursday as my public accountability day. That means, posting a bit of coherently creative output for you to read and feedback on every week. If I perform according to my own intent, what I put here will be available as a whole elsewhere at the same time or shortly after appearing here.

A Knowledge of Heather is currently available as a part of The Official Private Eye Handbook, first book in the CITY OF MAGICK series.  Please, feel free to take a look here, though, and at subsequent chapters. Let me know how you feel about it.  For those of you finding your way here relatively late, no problem. The start of the story is just a click away.
Chapter 4
     I passed the security guard, Fred, but didn’t greet him. No point in waking him just so he could snarl at me. A quick elevator ride got me to the eighth floor, which was good because my stomach still hadn’t settled and I needed a strong glass of milk. From down the hall, I could see that my door was a jar. What sort of a madman would steal a man’s door and leave a jar in its place? My money was on that would-be maintenance wizard, always trying to show-off or fix things that didn’t need fixing or getting pissed off over nothing…I should’ve put a hole in him when I had the chance. Then, I heard a noise from inside my darkened apartment. I couldn’t stop the smile that suddenly formed anymore than I wanted to stop the smooth reflex that had my hand clearing my trusty .44 from its holster as fast as I could think about it. The gun’s cold steel weight always felt good in my hand. It was real and solid in a world where things all too often changed at someone’s whim.

     “Freeze, punk!” I shouted as I leapt into the apartment. I had him, but the idiot went for his gun anyway. Lucky me. He never had a chance. Instead, he had two slugs in his chest before his gun cleared its holster. Hot red spurted from him and he tumbled backwards through my living room window. Too bad, I supposed, but questioning was usually tedious anyway. Eight stories later, Fred finally noticed I’d come home. I waved. Fred shook his fist and snarled something. A true pro, but he lost my attention when I noticed the body on the sidewalk start to dissolve into a red smoke. That was potential evidence totally lost to the rainy night and I still had a broken window and no door. Why couldn’t they ever dissolve before shattering my window? Well, no body meant no paperwork. I was good with that much.

     It looked like the goon had been going through my photos and files, but there was no telling which ones. He’d tossed a few things around, adding to my usual clutter. I know I hadn’t ransacked my own closet before I went out. Flaming sack of monkey crap! I definitely hadn’t left my TV face down on the floor. Some guys phone it in, others earn every bullet. Hmmm…I noticed a wet coat tossed on the back of a chair. I was still wearing my wet coat, so it was time to see what I’d won. Black coat, nicer than mine, with a tacky “Hello, my name is…“ sticker on the left breast. Curiously, the name scribbled on it read “Brick Stone” which meant…more magic. Five seconds with a marker and anyone could have an instant disguise. That explained his getting past Fred, but dead minion obviously didn’t plan on running into me. There were a bunch of blank name stickers in one pocket and a hard plastic security pass card in another. The card was jet black and had a bold, red capital “M” inside a red laurel wreath on one side. I’d seen the symbol before, probably most people in town had. It was the logo of the Monolith, one of the biggest and priciest hotels in the whole damned city. It also meant that the other end of dead guy’s leash was likely held by Morgan Locke, legitimate businessman, or the evil wizard Monday, depending on which rumors one listened to, but someone one shouldn’t end up on the wrong side of either way. Damn. What in the worlds had I stepped into this time? Whatever it was, I figured I could expect that somebody would call back.


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