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The Journey Inward
The Journey Series
Copyright Bob James 2017
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the eventual publisher of this book.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales entirely coincidental.
This is Chapter 2 of my book. If you have not read Chapter 1, may I suggest that you read that chapter first. CHAPTER 1 Link
Aiden and Seppe left the alley and turned towards the bar to question the patrons. A figure emerged from the night time shadows. His eyes followed the two and then glanced back at the murder scene. He had dropped the Qu’epic during the execution and was on his way back to the murder scene to retrieve it when the cops pulled up to the scene. He had observed the whole search process anxiously, hoping that if they found the Qu’epic, they wouldn’t realize its significance. He was puzzled as he watched the one cop pick it up and hide it in his pocket, not telling his partner of his find. In fact, that cop had told his partner that he had found nothing. He wondered why a cop would lie to another cop about finding evidence. He also wondered how such a young cop would understood that the Qu’epic had any significance. Up until now he had killed without fear of discovery. Now he wondered if he had made a mistake that would open the door for the cops to catch him. His previous kills in different kandas around the city were meant to appear random to avoid exciting any attention. This was his first murder since the shipment of the evil ones to Darwinda had been complete. He wondered how that would make the cops respond to his killings. He smiled. He could still outwit these cops. “They can’t even figure out the obvious clues I leave at each scene,” he said as he laughed derisively.
He backed away and then turned, walking away of the area, hoping that no one had seen him. He had disintegrated the outer clothes he had worn to kill the big tall Ca’suisse, but he knew that some fluids might have made it through the outer clothing and onto the inner clothing. Even though he had taken every precaution, he didn’t want to take any chances of being questioned by the police. He had to control his emotions when he realized that this was kill number five and nobody still had any idea about him or even that all the killings were all the work of one man. He couldn’t resist a smile as he got back to his skimmer.
He knew where the two cops were headed, not that they would get anything at the bar. He didn’t bother to stick around and watch as Seppe and Aiden entered the bar.
The first thing Seppe and Aiden noticed was that the patrons were far from unhappy at being told to wait. In fact, they had started an old fashioned Wesdanian wake. The noise of the music blaring out of the concert box made it impossible to think, let alone talk, and nobody had an empty glass. Seppe decided then and there that it would have been better to question witnesses first, before examining the area, to get clear, sober stories.
Aiden decided to take decisive action. “Quiet!” he yelled. While the customers settled down, the concert box continued blasting its noise. “Shut that thing up,” Aiden growled as he pointed at the concert box.
“Hey wait,” shouted one of the patrons who had wandered close to Seppe. “I paid two credits for that song and I want to hear the whole song!”
Aiden had dealt with people like him before. He looked at him coolly and snarled, “I’ll make sure that you hear it in the lock up if you want. Either shut down the concert box or let me put the cuffs on you while my partner shuts it down.”
The music stopped. Aiden and Seppe tried to hide their smiles when they saw the offending patron displaying the power and connection cords in his hand. “Thank you sir,” Aiden responded. “Now I can concentrate and get finished more quickly so that you can get home.”
“Who wants to go home?” shouted a voice from the back. “We’re enjoying this old Wesdanian Wake! Have a Sufran Ale, officer!” The crowd in the bar laughed and cheered. It was getting loud again.
Seppe shook his head, “Sorry. I can’t drink on duty. But if I really wanted to honor the dead tonight, I would be drinking a Ca’suisse Baltan.”
The noise instantly ceased. Patrons put their glasses down on tables quietly and they looked at the floor. They knew that while the Ca’suisse stayed mostly to themselves, they were known to cause great destruction if one of their own was treated with a lack of respect. They drank their Baltan, actually sipped it with food more than anything else, but eschewed all other intoxicating drinks. They would not take kindly to being told that Grenoj’s death had inspired a drunken revelry. “Have you talked to the Ca’suisse yet, sir?” a nearby voice asked hesitantly. “When you talk to them, please make sure that you tell them that as soon as we heard that is was one of their brethren, we showed great respect.”
Aiden nodded, “We will. You could show even greater respect by helping us find out who did this. Did anyone see a Ca’suisse here in the bar tonight? On your way to the bar? He was about 2.1 meters tall, had a full head of red hair, and a slight pot belly.” He knew the size alone would help pinpoint an encounter with Grenoj since Wesdanians rarely grew taller than 1.7 meters themselves.
No one stepped up. No one disappeared. They stood there without moving. One of the younger patrons tried to pick up a glass but it had grown slippery, and he couldn’t control it as it hit the floor with a loud crash. All eyes turned to the noise just as Seppe asked, “Anyone? Any idea? Did anyone see him on the streets? Did anyone see him anywhere?”
Silence flowed from the gathered bar patrons. The only motion came from those who looked around nervously at the others wondering if they had something to say. Seppe and Aiden walked around the crowd looking for any signs that someone might be trying to hide information. While all the faces were downcast, none seemed to be hiding an acquaintance with the victim. Seppe started to walk towards the bar when he looked at the bartender, stopped, and turned back to look at one of the patrons. He confronted him. “Are you sure you don’t know any Ca’suisse? Does the name Grenoj ring any bells?” He stopped the interrogation and looked back at Aiden, “Can you talk to the bartender? I want to talk with this guy. I have a hunch.”
Aiden nodded and walked towards the bar. Seppe had never been wrong on one of his hunches. The joke was that one day Seppe would be wrong on a hunch, but that Aiden would be long retired and not be able to enjoy rubbing it in.
Seppe sighed because knew that he would be breaking his “hunch” record. He knew he couldn’t talk to the bartender. He had seen her Qu’evahn tattoo. She would recognize that he was Qu’evahn also, even without the tattoo, and reveal his ethnic identity. That would finish his career on the Wesdanian police force; he didn’t know any other non-Wesdanian on the force. He had worked hard to hide his Qu’evahn identity and he didn’t want to ruin his career on this issue. When he realized that, he grabbed the closest poor shnook and gave him some tough questioning.
Aiden walked back after talking with the bartender expecting to see a triumphant smile on Seppe’s face. Seppe’s hunches were never wrong. Aiden was shocked to see a frown on Seppe’s face. “What?” he mouthed noiselessly.
“It had to happen sometime,” shrugged Seppe.
Aiden clutched his heart and staggered. Seppe shook his head disgustedly, but was silently relieved that Aiden hadn’t even tried to see through his subterfuge. They walked out together and headed towards their police skimmer. The hydraulic door opened as they approached and closed automatically as they got in. As soon as they got in and started the skimmer, Aiden started laughing uproariously. “Oh man!” he laughed as tears started running out of his eyes. Seppe could see his tendrils quivering. “Was that a two-fer for me or what?”
“Whatta you mean, Aiden?” Seppe asked, puzzled at his partner’s attitude.
“First of all, your hunch was wrong. I didn’t think I would live to see that. That means you’re buying the Argarian Ale tonight,” Aiden was almost giddy. “Then, that bartender was totally into me. She gave me her communicator info and told me to contact her any time. If I’m off duty she’ll give me free drinks while she’s working and if I wait for her, well…..”
“Sounds good for you,” Seppe responded. He waited to see if Aiden would continue with the normal comments about Qu’evahn women.
“Besides, I don’t know if you noticed this, but she’s Qu’evahn. Hot and Qu’evahn. Could it be any better? I hear that Qu’evahn women know some mighty fine tricks!” Aiden was lost in his own little dream world. He didn’t notice the darkening face or the quivering tendrils on his partner.
Seppe’s fought to control his darkening face. He didn’t want to his face to grow so dark that it would reveal his Qu’evahn heritage in his anger. He hoped that Aiden would attribute the color change to anger at being wrong in his “hunch.” He needn’t have worried. Aiden was so busy enjoying the moment that he didn’t notice anything else. On the road back to the station, Seppe started cooling down. He wondered why it bothered him so much that Aiden believed the stereotype about Qu’evahn women. It wasn’t as though he had pride in his heritage. Still it was his heritage and it annoyed him. His color returned to normal as he calmed down, but he knew that he would have to sort out his feelings. He yawned slightly and suddenly realized it was second moon fall as he looked out the viewport of the skimmer. He needed to get home and get some sleep.
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