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Thread: Mysteries in the Neighbourhood (M) 1x1 GodlyD&D x Maya

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    Default Mysteries in the Neighbourhood (M) 1x1 GodlyD&D x Maya


    MYSTERIES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD





    Chapter One

    Jim Cunningham exhaled a stream of blue smoke into the sweltering Los Angeles early evening air. He checked the time on his smartphone, looked both ways up and down the alley. One more minute. It was starting to get dark. He did not want to be around this neighbourhood after dark. He was in his best suit. The one he wore the first time he met new prospective clients.



    He heard a footstep and turned.

    He said, “You’ve gotta be kidding me.”

    Jim dropped the Marlborough light, stubbed it out, and turned to walk away.

    “Wait!” Saori Nishimura called. “Hear me out!”

    She scampered toward him, quick-footed even in high heels and business skirt.



    Jim whirled. “The last time I heard you out, I nearly lost my licence!”

    “This time it’s different,” said Saori, catching up to him. “This time it’s real.”

    They faced each other. Jim shook his head. “Then why all the codes and sneaking around? You should have just called me and hired me.”

    “You wouldn’t have come if you knew it was me,” said Saori.

    Jim shrugged. It was true.

    Saori took a breath and pressed on. “There’s a kid gone missing. It’s them again.”

    “Oh, them, the supernatural blood-sucking super-monsters?” said Jim, scowling.

    Saori kept a straight face. “No, them, the gang that is selling kids for some kind of cult sacrifice.”

    Jim sighed. He knew he did not want to get into whatever the Japanese journalist thought she was onto this time, but the old knee-jerk instinct was impossible to resist after ten years as a cop.

    “Who’s the kid?” he said.

    Saori stepped closer and produced a photo. “Tom Pierce, he’s at Beverly Hills High.”

    Jim growled. “Tom Pierce, the frikkin’ star quarterback? Now you’ve really gotta be kidding me!”

    Saori blinked. “What?”

    “His daddy owns half of downtown. He could hire any private detective in L.A.! I’m not interested in this rich asshole.”

    Saori laid a hand on his arm as he turned again. “Jim… would you be interested if he was a poor black kid?”

    He looked back at her, confused. She continued, “A kid needs help. He can’t choose who his daddy is or how much money his family happens to have. It works both ways.”

    Jim growled again. She always did that damn moral compulsion thing to him. “His daddy could choose anyone. So why you? Why me?”

    Saori took a deep breath again and hesitated. Here it comes, thought Jim.

    She said, “Okay, there were some… unnatural things at the scene where he disappeared. The cops were spooked and seems like they didn’t believe it was real – like some hoax or something. These rich kids get up to all kinds of stupid games. The parents asked some of the bigger private firms but they won’t touch it, either.”

    Jim snorted. “So we’re the last resort?”

    “Captain Callaghan called me. He knew I dealt with this kind of stuff before in Japan. This could be bad. I needed someone tough… and someone…”

    They met eyes and she gave him an earnest, pleading look. “… someone who won’t give up on me, or this kid. Someone who really cares.”

    Jim shook his head slowly in wonder. And just like that, she had him again.

    “Okay,” he sighed. “Where’s the crime scene?”

    Saori nodded, gesturing to the end of the alley. “We’ll need to break in. The police still have it sealed.”

    “Let’s go,” said Jim, turning.

    “Jim…” said Saori, and he paused. She finished, “Thanks...”
    Last edited by Maya Qwan; 05-14-2021 at 02:56 PM.

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    It was to Jim a typical end of an alley in these parts, with less kept up backparts of properties along the sides. Garages there had their closures pulled down, litter spilled on the pavement in places. At the end was a large building, with its garage space facing out to the alley. Jim followed Saori that way.

    He thought to himself, "Such legs! Why does she waste them in her ridiculous pursuits, though? She could do much better. But her hair-brained ideas keep leading to trouble. Stupid trouble. And yet, she entirely trusts the system to work it all out. Why? Why would she still think like that?"

    They came to the garage, itself left open. But the door within from the bottom of this building was closed, with a tape from the LAPD over it. Jim tried the door, it was solidly shut. He said, "I suppose you already have an idea how to break in. Right?"

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    Saori approached the garage warily. She had not seen inside it herself yet, but she had seen the faces of two cops that had, and that told her enough that she was not going to like it. She was suddenly very relieved she had Jim with her. He was more than just a good private detective. He made her feel safe in unsafe places.

    Even if he did have that infuriating habit of wanting to bring down the "system" at any opportunity. The guy was a born rebel.

    The garage door was locked and Jim asked if she knew how to get in. She flashed him a look of annoyance. That meant he had not brought the multi-key he kept from his police days. Well, that made sense. They were highly illegal in the hands of anyone except a police officer, and he did not want to go wandering around and get caught with it for no reason. It's my fault. I should have somehow got him to bring it.

    No matter. She did have a back-up plan. She walked to the wall at the side of the garage and pointed up.

    "Can you give me a leg-up? I need to get onto the roof."

    There was, she had noticed in an earlier recon from a neighbouring property, a broken corrugated iron panel on the roof, and a gap big enough for someone like her to slip through...

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    "Well sure," Jim answered, "but back when you would be carrying a bobby pin that would have more convenient. Right?" As he lifted her up and she came to the roof over them, he asked, "How are you managing? Does it look like you will make it through?"

    Of course, Saori was not too heavy for him. And he would not complain about the view. But those shoes, those were so hard. He did not want to keep holding her from there a lot longer. And how does she manage running around in these hard things, anyway?

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    Saori grimaced. Jim was right, with the right pin she could have picked the lock. I must stop relying on him.

    She balanced atop his strong arms, realising this was not the most ladylike of situations, and scrambled onto the roof. Her heels fell down onto Jim.

    "Sorry! Hold them, will you? They're Louboutins!"

    She scampered barefoot across the top of the rickety surface and found the gap. She dared not peer down into the ominous darkness below. The opening was tight, but she could make it.

    "I think I can get through," she called down to Jim. "But... stay close, will you? I'll unlock it from the inside."

    She hoisted her legs over the edge, then slipped inch by inch through the opening. At first it was easy, but the last part across her shoulders was more tricky. She had to squeeze and twist, her legs dangling above the eerie blackness below. She felt her blouse tear on a sharp edge, and rust flakes fluttered down around her.

    Then she was through and dropped to the ground below.

    It was cold, and almost complete darkness. Strange shapes lurked at the corners of her eyes.

    She could see the outline of the garage door - a thin line of white light from the outside showing around it - but nothing else in the room.

    Her imagination started to get the better of her.

    "I'm coming now," she said, just to get the comfort of her own voice - and hoped that Jim would call back.

    For some reason, at that moment, her legs seemed to lock into inaction. She had to physically force herself to take one step after another toward the garage door. She felt the cold, hard floor on the bare souls of her feet...

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    After quite a wait, the door finally clicked and opened outward to Jim, as he had already noticed that it would. He saw the face of Saori, wide-eyed, peeking out the slightly opened door.

    "Finally you are here. Let me pull the tape up, and I will come through to you." Jim moved under the tape and he slipped through the door opened as far as it would go with that tape over it, still holding the footwear. Saori made room for him, and he entered into this room, his eyes straining to see what there was in this dark room, with now just the light from outside the narrowly opened door. He paused for a little while, and fumbled through the pockets of his suit. He said, "I don't seem to have brought my flowergem light with me. I will have to be sure to always take it along in the future."

    Jim focused again on where Saori stood. "Your eyes have had a little more time to adjust, mine have not yet. Do you see anything here?"

    There was something in the one nearby corner more dark than the rest of the very dark room.

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    As their eyes gradually adjusted, with the gleam of light from the narrow opening of the door providing some light for that, Jim looked about that room for where he might have the room lit for them both to see it better. But he did not find anything for that. There were piles of things on the floor in scattered places. The dark shape in one corner seemed to be a hat and coat rack, with a large coat hung over it.

    "Jim! There are things on the walls. On all the walls, all around!"

    Jim looked, and indeed now their eyes adjusted enough so that there were distinct shapes on the walls, on every side all around them. And then Jim saw on the floor, close by to where they stood, a large pentagram drawn, with the circle going around in contact with the outward points.

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    Jim looked, and indeed now their eyes adjusted enough so that there were distinct shapes on the walls seen, on every side all around them. And then Jim saw on the floor, close by to where they stood, a large pentagram, with the circle going around in contact with the outward points.

    Jim drew nearer, and as his eyes adjusted he saw something, and knelt by the pentagram with the circle and leaning forward, he said, "There is something here. Yes, it is wax. So those using this room were burning a candle with this drawn pentagram." He stood again, and looked past the bundles left on the floor, toward the walls. There was a workshelf that went around the room on three sides, away from the door that connected it to the garage space. He said, "This was an abandoned room that used to be a workshop space."

    But as their eyes yet adjusted to the dim light in here, the images on the walls became somewhat more apparent. There were images of certain children with realistic details to the faces, with symbols between them, along the wall, and there was a unifomed officer depicted as well. There was a great spiral shown, as being tightly wound. On the other side of that there was a detailed image of a face, but one very strange, rather long and thin with a strange appearance to the eyes, longer ears on each side, and a couple of sharp teeth just showing in its slightly smiling slightly open mouth.

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    Saori's eyes adjusted to the darkness, and she almost wished they had not.

    "There's something on the walls!" she blurted out.

    She studied the pentagram with Jim, and it was the private detective who found that is was made with melted wax.

    Okay, thought Saori. If that's the worst of it, that's not so bad. Kids mess around with pentagrams and Ouija boards all time, right?

    But it was not the worst of it. She had been deliberately leaving the images on the walls to last. Jim pointed out the space had once been a workshop. Saori stared at the depicted faces - looking for Tom Pierce, looking for anyone she recognised.

    Her eyes settled on the last, troubling image.

    "Jim, look at this," she whispered, as if afraid to wake the thing staring back at her. "Does that look human to you?"

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    Jim answered, "That last one past the spiral image, right? These images are drawn, you see, though with very good talent from whoever was doing it, to make these realistic faces. I could believe this long narrow face corresponds to a distorted reflection in a mirror for that, but imagining the face pulled in for normal dimensions does not work. See? The nostrils of the nose are curved up away from the mouth, with the nose closer to the eyes, in that way not at all normal for humans. The eyes are oddly shaped and not the right distance apart for humans either. And certainly the ears are completely exaggerated. Except for those things the face is drawn realistically as the other faces are. I don't how such a face would be of someone real, it would not be a human face!"

    Jim studied the images further. He said, "The officers who were here took any of the obvious evidences. We need to look at anything here they left that were neglected as evidence. Could the images be evidence we need? What is with the symbols between them?"

    While Saori remained quiet just then, Jim turned to look in that dim light at the coat and hat rack with a coat still hung on it in the one corner, and then at the dark piles of things on the floor.

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