July 20th, 2017
Throughout the whole day, Dion had done nothing but errands. By his count: he had stopped four muggings, had helped two old ladies cross and by evening come, had finished three different bar fights. As a note here, he hadn’t even found a single piece of information regarding the Vampire of Havenbrook. Or the cultists. Or any demons, at all.
No. He had just played superhero. Acted it, too. He sat by the edges of rooftops, looking down with his pale mask on and wondering when trouble would come. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what he thought he’d be doing. His tired eyes wandered, he stretched his stiff legs. The night came early today. And when it got late, things usually happened. Bad things.
He was in the epicenter of the city, where the music was loud and the drunks even louder. It was a party night, he guessed.
He waited by one particular rooftop, staring down at a specific set of drunks. And, as he narrowed his eyes, a little girl too?
“Ah, boy,” He watched her. She had spirit. And she attracted trouble (as spirit often does). Drunks, punks, all manners of ill. One of them put a hand on her, tried strangling her, grabbed her and pulled her.
“She needs help,” He stood up from the rooftop and measured how far down the drop would be. And just about the time when he was about to jump, someone came. Police.
“Oh, thank God.” He gestured the cross in front of his face. He watched the small girl enter the police car and watched the drunk beaten and bashed and cuffed on the floor. He didn’t feel an ounce sad about that.
A crowd formed. People watched, and the girl was put into a car.
It should have been a relief. But as they stayed in the cop car and the criminal was taken away, and the people dispersed, something else happened too. The girl and the police hadn’t moved from their spot, hadn’t so much as even spoken words it seemed.
And the girl appeared distressed, shaky. Her shoulders were high above her neckline.
“That…doesn’t look right at all,” He looked at the girl, and the growing dread. Those familiar faces; the wide eyes and the tight-lipped mouth and pale face. And the way she turned away from the police officer.
It looked…weird. But it must have been a natural reaction, right? She just got attacked, right?
Maybe he just couldn’t believe it.
And maybe he was just so damn focused. All other noise, bass, and chit-chatter of horny drunks percolated through the filter of his focus. Such that, even with the bedlman-noise of the club below, he was still keenly focused on the car as it drove down the street. He leaped rooftops. Following.
And when the police car stopped, he stopped.
And when the policeman dragged the girl and tied her up, he almost felt like jumping himself and tying the prick up.
But he stopped almost as quickly as he started.
He remembered, he took out his phone.
“What? Apollo asked.
“There’s a cop here,” Dion said. “He’s tying a girl up.”
“I’m not lying. I’m watching him right now. He’s got her roped and stuffed in the back. A police officer.” He bit his lips. “She can’t be older than fourteen.”
There was a pause. A breath, exasperation leaving the body.
“That’s something,” Apollo said. “The guys who killed themselves were both cops. It’s not hard to believe that kind of corruption is in the force. I can’t imagine a badge would make you impregnable,”
“You’re saying he’s one of those cultists?” Dion asked.
“I’m saying he might be,” Apollo said. “Is he driving still?”
“He’s starting his car. I can stop him right here, right now,”
“I can’t make that judgment call for you, I’m not there,” Apollo said. “It’s your choice though, let him drive off if you think he’s a lead or stop him right now. It’s on you.”
Dion looked down. The roar of the engine, the smoke from the car hood like a dog’s hot breath in bleak winter dark. Cold, so cold even without snow. The wheels skidded and ran off like the start of a drag race. Lights off, too, so that the police car itself looked like an invisible monstrosity amongst growing darkness. All noise, but absolutely hidden in the light-less streets. He made a sharp turn. Dion followed, each turn forcing him to leap to the other side of the street. He felt his knees in burning pain.
“Listen.” He breathed hard. “I’m letting him go.” Another turn, damn. He jumped off, barely caught the edge of a cornice.
He said it so fast so he could just fit his phone back in his pocket, so he could just use both arms to lift himself to the edge of the building.
“You know, you’re reliable when you want to be.” He heard the final lines. “Or maybe you’re just lucky.”
And the phone hung up.
He carried his body up at last and sat looking down, the cop car had finally stopped. And people came out to greet it, with shifty looks and strange clothes.
Lucky. A strange word, maybe applicable. He had a knack of finding oddities. Rare things like death and violence. If you could consider that kind of bloodhound-like discovery work lucky, then yeah, he was lucky.
His narrowed at the building opposite. The massive, overloaded with wreckage, and in extreme dilapidation.
It was a building with layers of chain link fence to discourage people. And with even more layers of graffiti behind the fence. Bottles, glass, tired and torn tiles scattered everywhere. There were holes the size of grown men. It was exactly the type of place child kidnappers would hide in. The kind of place that looks so god awful that even looking at it could count as a kind of abuse.
He watched them drag the girl through the floor and into the building. She wore a cloth wrap with rope tying her together. Mummified.
A sign below him read,
4564 Malibu Dr.
This didn’t look like Malibu. He texted the address anyway.
And he rubbed his knees and took out his gun because Dion knew, he wouldn’t wait long.