The Journey Inward – Chapter 4 – ARC

The Journey Inward – Chapter 4 ARC

The following is copyrighted material. It is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy which is an uncorrected proof and not representative of the final – published version) If you like this chapter, please support the eventual release of this book. Please feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments or in a personal message to the author. (email at the end of the selection)

The Journey Inward

The Journey Series

Bob James

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 4 of my book. Previous chapters can be found by clicking on the chapter

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

Chapter 4

Some days Aiden walked to the station.  A beautiful day like this would normally have been one of them. Today, though, he wanted privacy, so he took his skimmer. He didn’t normally have many encounters with others along the way, but he didn’t want to take the chance. If that Qu’evahn female was up, he wanted to talk with her privately.

“What’s her name again?” he asked himself. He pulled out his notepad and read the name again. “Ah, yes, Aryence. What a beautiful female…and she’s Qu’evahn to boot!” Aiden was excited over what the possibilities might be with this female. He had heard a lot of stories from others even though he had never known a Qu’evahn female. He thought Aryence had seemed normal enough, but wondered what she might be like in private.

He opened a mobile communication line and connected with Aryence. She answered. “Hey Aryence, this is Aiden.”

Aryence sounded like she had just woken up, “Hello. Aiden? Aiden who?” Aiden could hear her yawn as she spoke. “How late is it?”

Aiden was miffed at himself for calling so early, but he decided to press ahead. “It’s a little before first moon rise. I’m the cop you met last night.”

“Oh, Aiden! Sorry Aiden.” Aryence yawned again. “I should have told you to wait until after second moon rise to call. What can I do for you?”

Aiden’s tendrils quivered as he thought of all the different ways he wanted to answer that question. He restrained himself because he knew he didn’t want to scare the Qu’evahn female off. “You had said that we might get together some time and I thought tonight would be good. What do you say we get something to eat after work tonight?”

Aryence yawned again, “Yeah, that sounds like a great idea. I get off halfway between first and second moonfall. When do you get off?”

Aiden had trouble controlling the skimmer he was so excited. “Play it cool, Aiden. Play it cool!” he told himself. “I normally get off a little closer to second moonfall,” he said. “I can probably arrange to get off a little early so that I can pick you up.”

“That sounds good,” Aryence responded. “Can you pick me up at the bar?”

“I’d love to!” Aiden said. “See you tonight!”                                                        i

“Looking forward to it; wearing purple too.” Aryence clicked off the communicator and Aiden was sure that she had already fallen back asleep before she spoke that last nonsensical phrase. He didn’t care. He had a date with her and that was all that mattered.

He floated the skimmer into his parking space and then, practically floated up the stairs to the locker room to get ready for work.

Seppe came in through the back door of the locker room at about the same time. Their lockers were right next to each and they got ready together talking through ideas on open cases.  Aiden was about to brag about his success in arranging a date when a call rang out through the locker room. “Seppe! Aiden! In my office, NOW!”

When Captain Tengler called, the detectives jumped. Seppe and Aiden got what they could together and ran to his office. They saw Officer Re’Lears who had some pictures on the captain’s desk when they walked in. “Officer Re’Lears thinks she may be able to help you,” the Captain said. “Sit down and listen to what she has to say.” He nodded at the petite female officer. Seppe and Aiden knew that even though she was small, she had a reputation as a fierce cop when she needed to be. She was also smart and if they hadn’t been trying to downsize the force, she would have been a detective in no time.

Officer Re’Lears had no qualms about speaking before superior officers. It was like she was born to the stage and she loved performing as she was getting the chance to do now. “I was reading about your case and it reminded me of a case I had about eight cycle groups ago that we never solved.” She paused, waiting for some sign that they were listening. When she saw them nod and then lean forward in anticipation she continued. “My victim, name of Zerris, was also very tall. He was from the Sufran tribe. His throat had been cut, almost decapitating him, and his legs were cut off at the knees as well.”

She saw that they were still involved and walked over to the communicator. After a few commands, a picture appeared on the wall behind her. “This was the picture I took as I came on the scene. When I showed it to the captain, he showed me the pics from your case. There are a lot of similarities between the situations as you can see.”

Seppe looked at the picture thoughtfully. “That’s great work, Officer! Those pictures are nearly identical, except for the position of the head, and there’s only one finger showing on the hand in your case while ours has five.” Seppe’s voice trailed off as he spoke. “Can you put both pictures up?” he asked Re’Lears. “I wonder,” he said to himself as the second picture came up alongside the first. “Captain?” he asked, “Do we have any other unsolved murders between now and then?” Seppe had a hunch.

“We’ve always got some of those,” the Captain chuckled. “We weren’t too worried about them now that we got rid of all the bad guys.” He thought a second. “Why do you ask?”

“Just a hunch, Captain,” Seppe said with a little less confidence. He wondered if he was reading too much into his idea. “I’d like to look at those case files.”

“We don’t have a lot to do these days with all the bad guys shipped off to Darwinda,” the Captain began, “but we still don’t have time for a wild hrusk chase.” He looked at Seppe sternly. “You are involved in a case right now after all.”

“Captain,” Aiden interjected, “I would bet my life on Seppe’s hunches. I actually did three times. I can’t think of any time that he’s been wrong on his hunches.” Aiden looked over at Seppe and winked, “Can we just get case files of unsolved murders going back eight cycle groups? We’ll do the research on our time.”

The captain rubbed his jaw thoughtfully. “You’d be willing to work on your own time to get this done, Aiden?” When Aiden nodded the captain laughed, “You must really be serious, then. Do it on company time, but don’t fall behind in your other work. I want some progress on this Ca’Suisse case. What was the name of the vic? Grenoj?”

The captain stood up to dismiss them when Seppe blurted out, “Captain, can Officer Re’Lears help us as we go over the files? She seems to have a good understanding of the ideas on this case.”

The Captain put his hand on his head laughing a little, “Go ahead. I hope she helps. Just get me some results!” He waved his hands towards the door. “Now, go on, get out of here. Use task force office number seven and spread your work out there. Just don’t get in anyone’s way!”

All three walked out of the office in silence and headed towards their new office. Officer Re’Lears started to ask a question, but Seppe silenced her. They got to the door, walked in, shut the door and then the cacophony began. Seppe asked Aiden why he didn’t mention last night’s failed hunch; Officer Re’Lears wanted to know why Seppe asked for her; Aiden wanted to know what Seppe had seen; – what his hunch was. Finally, Aiden silenced the trio by pounding on the table.

“As senior officer here, my question gets to be asked first. What do you think you saw, Seppe. What was your hunch?” Aiden asked.

“There was something about those hands,” Seppe began. “I think Zerris may have been the first of what are now five victims.”

“I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t lied, now,” Aiden said shaking his head.

Officer Re’Lears jumped in, “I think I know what he’s talking about, Detective Aiden. I’ll get the pictures and show you what he means.” She flew out the door and headed towards the captain’s office to get the pictures.

Seppe looked at Aiden, “So why did you lie about my hunches never being wrong?”

Aiden smiled, “I just figured last night was an aberration so I didn’t count it when I talked with the captain.”

Seppe laughed, partly in relief that Aiden hadn’t figured out why his hunch was wrong and partly because of Aiden’s audacity. “But you’re still going to make me buy that Argarian Ale, aren’t you?”

Aiden laughed, “You owe me two flasks now, partner.”

Seppe smiled, “You’re on.”

Officer Re’Lears came back in with the pictures of Grenoj and Zerris. “Here you go, Detective Aiden. Look at these pictures.” She spread the two pictures out on the table for Aiden to see. “Look here,” she continued as she pointed to the picture from her case, “This is Zerris. Notice his hand. What do you see?”

Aiden sighed, “His hand is thrown up in surprise, just like in our murder.” He looked a little closer. “It looks like he may be pointing at something.”

Seppe looked at Officer Re’Lears, “Now do you see why I wanted you on the team? I needed someone with brains to outvote him.” Seppe jerked his thumb over towards Aiden. “Why don’t you explain what I’m getting at?”

Officer Re’Lears smiled. “I think Detective Seppe is of the opinion that these hands were manipulated after death. The killer planned to keep on killing and he wanted to mock us with each death.” She paused and noted Aiden looking more closely. “He isn’t pointing. The killer is telling us that Zerris is number one.”

Aiden shook his head in amazement and said, “So you believe that Grenoj’s hand isn’t thrown up in surprise, but that the killer is telling us that Grenoj is number five on his victim list. Is that what you’re trying to say?” When he saw them both nodding he said, “That’s an interesting idea, I’m not sorry I lied, but you still owe me two Argarian Ales.” He pursed his lips. “You also need to find evidence of victims number 2,3, and 4.”

Seppe laughed as he looked at Re’Lears puzzled face, “It’s a long story. Let’s just say that he didn’t exactly lie. It’s more like he didn’t include a piece of evidence. Now, do you drink Argarian Ale? I’ll buy you one when we’re off duty.”

Officer Re’Lears laughed, “Love the stuff! And I’d love to join you. You guys are a team of legend among the beat cops.”

Aiden laughed, “Well then, please don’t tell them the truth when this assignment is over. We’d hate to disillusion them.”

Seppe laughed too. “Right now Aiden and I need to go to the Ca’suisse section and find out about Grenoj. We need you to get the files of unsolved murders between Zerris’s murder and Grenoj’s murder. Look through them, now that you know what we’re looking for, and choose likely victims for two, three and four, assuming there are some. Then we’ll go over their stories and see if there are any common factors.”

“Yes, sir,” Re’Lears said as she saluted.

Aiden looked at her and laughed, “Oh, and acting detective Re’Lears, no salutes. They make us nervous.”

“Got it,” she said and then she suddenly realized what he said. “You can’t make me a detective!” she said wagging her finger.

Aiden laughed. “That’s just for the three of us. Remember. We’re a legendary team. We can make up the rules as we go along.”

Officer Re’Lears shook her head and walked out the door on her way to the records room to search for the files on any unsolved murders while Seppe and Aiden headed for the locker room to finish getting ready. After that they would head to the Ca’suisse section to find out more about Grenoj.


If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to bobjamesthree@gmail.com

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The Journey Inward – Chapter 2 ARC

The following is copyrighted material. It is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy which is an uncorrected proof and not representative of the final – published version) If you like this chapter, please support the eventual release of this book. Please feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments or in a personal message to the author. (email at the end of the selection)

The Journey Inward

The Journey Series

Bob James

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

Chapter 2

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.


If you have any feedback, please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to bobjamesthree@gmail.com

The Journey Inward – Chapter 1 (ARC)

The following is copyrighted material. It is an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy which is an uncorrected proof and not representative of the final – published version) If you like this chapter, please support the eventual release of this book. Please feel free to make constructive suggestions in the comments or in a personal message to the author. (email at the end of the selection)

The Journey Inward

The Journey Series

Bob James

Copyright Bob James 2016

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. 

Seppe turned his eyes away from the gruesome scene in front of him and looked up at the moons. “At least it isn’t Sand Season,” he thought. He sighed. Then he turned his attention back to the murder scene. It was one of the worst he had ever seen. The blood was spattered over a trail about 20 meters long and hit the buildings on both sides of the dark alley. The stiff’s head had been thrown under the fire escape of the building on the west side of the alley. The victim’s torso was splayed against the trash cans of the Kroll Rader Bar and Grill on the east. Both legs were cut off at the knees. The right leg was 15 meters to the south of the body, while the left leg was next to the head, as if it had been kicking the head. The left arm was partially amputated and hidden by the torso. The right arm was extended, as if he had seen the attack coming at the last minute and tried to defend himself. Even at night the flies were already gathering around the pieces of the corpse.

Seppe looked over at Aiden. Aiden was handling the shock of the scene as well as he was. He sniffed the air and could tell that Aiden was fighting back the nausea that this scene invited. Aiden looked up and saw Seppe looking at him. “Me too,” he said. “Twenty-five cycles on the force and I haven’t seen anything like this.” He laughed a bit. The irony was too heavy not to. “Here I thought they were getting ready to retire me, and now this. I guess I still have a lunar cycle or two left before they run me off.”

Seppe nodded. “You’re just hard to get rid of, aren’t you? I was hoping I wouldn’t have to put up with you much longer.” Seppe and Aiden were a team. In fact, they were THE team for the Wesdanian dectective force. Neither had stuck with a partner for more than a few lunar cycles until Captain Tengler had put these two together out of desperation. They had clicked and spent the last 8 cycles solving the tougher crimes together. The coming disbanding would put an end to all of that. But for now, they had work to do. When Aiden turned back to his work, Seppe sniffed again. He wanted to make sure that the extra smell he had sensed was a part of the crime scene and not just a passing odor.

It wasn’t. His tendrils quivered as he sniffed again. The odor was stronger. He knew it, but he couldn’t place it. He thought back to his childhood. He shuddered. He knew that he would have to talk to his pater. He frowned and shook his head. He turned back to the body when Aiden interrupted his thoughts.

“Something smells real bad about this,” Aiden growled. Seppe jumped a little and his tendrils stood straight out. Had Aiden seen him sniffing the air? Would he realize….

Seppe laughed nervously, “You got a dismembered man here, of course it smells bad.”

Aiden rolled his eyes, “You always do take me too literally, don’t you Seppe.” He laughed in friendly mockery. “I just meant that as bad as things look, there’s more going on here than meets the eye.”

Seppe laughed back. He was relieved. “Brilliant deduction, Aiden. We have a dead guy in pieces scattered across the alley and you figured out that something was wrong. I thought you were getting ready to retire and now you look like you’re bucking for chief.”

Aiden snarled, “Very funny bright boy. Let me just ask you one question. Who did it?”

Seppe shook his head in amusement. “We just got on the case how would I know who did ….” His voice trailed off as suddenly the depth of that question hit him right in the gut. “That’s right. We don’t have anything to go on.” He paused, and then looked back up in the sky at the silver moon, “All the bad guys are supposed to be up there.” Aiden and Seppe both stared at Dwarinda, the moon that held all the criminals.

Aiden’s comment highlighted the most puzzling part of the case. Half a cycle ago the Congress had arranged to deport anyone who had ever been convicted of a crime, anyone who had been suspected of a crime, and then anyone who might be thinking about committing a crime to Dwarinda. Wesdania was supposed to be free of any type of crime. Yet here they were, staring at the dismembered body right in front of them. Seppe glanced at the head of the corpse. The eyes stared back at him, mocking his naivete.

“It looks like they missed someone, doesn’t it? What do we got to go on?” Aiden asked with a shrug. “Where do we start?”

Seppe yelled back. “Good question.” He kept the odor clue to himself. He had kept his heritage hidden from Aiden so far, he didn’t want to reveal it now. “Perhaps we’d better get busy and see what we can find.”

“Yeah,” Aiden sighed. “What do you want to search: the head or the torso?”

“I’ll take the head,” Seppe said hesitantly. He had a hunch that Aiden wouldn’t mind and he wanted to check out a possible source for the odor.

“I like that idea,” Aiden said a little more enthusiastically than before. “I never did like working where I thought the victim was watching me work. I was always afraid that he would be alive and start talking to me.”

“Trust me, Aiden,” Seppe shook his head, “This John Doe is NOT going to talk to you.” As he turned towards where the head had been thrown he thought, “But maybe I can get him to tell me his story.”

Seppe examined the ground around him as he took each step. He pulled on a pair of rubber gloves as his tendrils quivered to let him know that he might be on to something. He stooped down a couple of meters from the head and examined the ground. He sniffed hoping to catch a scent that was out of place without Aiden noticing. His head swiveled back and forth as he made his way towards the dismembered head looking and smelling to find any evidence.

“Hey Seppe! You’ll never guess what I found!” Aiden called out excitedly. Seppe turned quickly to look at Aiden’s prize. As he turned his eyes caught a glint of light and his nose picked up a whiff of the scent he had been sniffing for.

“Whatcha got?” he yelled taking note of the glint and the smell. Seppe spied the billfold in Aiden’s hand before he responded.

“I don’t think the motive was robbery,” Aiden yelled. “His credits card is here in his wallet.” Aiden pulled out a small card reader and waved it over the credits card. “This guy had more credits than I’ve ever seen! If the guy who knocked him off was looking for credits, he could have lived out a natural life-time on the credits this guy had.”

“So he was rich. Big deal. Did you get a name and address from the card?” Seppe asked impatiently.

“Yep, some guy named ‘Grenoj.’ He lived over in the Zark,” Aiden responded.

Seppe’s countenance clouded over. He couldn’t say it out loud yet, but this looked like a case of tribal warfare that could be brewing. The Ca’suisse who had migrated into Wesdania City after the Revolution had all moved into the Zark. In fact, they rarely left the Zark which made matters even more troubling. “Why would this Grenoj leave the Zark?” he asked himself. As all this passed through his mind, he quickly processed the information and looked at what he could say. “The Zark?” he asked. “Isn’t that where the Ca’suisse live? Is he Ca’suisse?”

Aiden shrugged his shoulders. “I wouldn’t know, now, would I? You’re gonna have to tell me that. Check for the tribal marks on his head and let me know.”

Seppe turned and laughed quietly to himself. It was hard to believe these two worked together so well with all the barbs flying back and forth. Aiden glanced at Seppe and noticed that he was veering off to the right a bit rather than going straight to the head. He shook his head with resignation and turned back to searching the torso for more clues as to who Grenoj really was.

Seppe veered off to check out the source of the glint of light and the aroma he had noticed when he turned to hear what Aiden had to say. He approached the area slowly, eyes sweeping to and fro trying to catch a glimpse of what he was afraid he would find. Then his eyes picked out a gleam from the ground and he slowly approached as if fearful that the object would attack him of its own volition. He reached down quickly and picked up the toothpick sized object, putting it into an evidence baglet and just as quickly concealing it in his coat lest his partner see it. He justified his actions because he knew that few, if any, Wesdanians would understand the significance of the Qu’epic. “In fact,” he thought, “most Qu’evah wouldn’t know of it either.” His father’s endless teachings on the culture and the traditions of the Qu’evah, even the bloody ones, might actually be important now. As much as he tried to hide his heritage, he was sickened that a member of his own tribe might be guilty of such a horrendous murder.

“What did you find?” Aiden called out. He had seen Seppe stoop down but couldn’t see everything he had done.

Seppe broke out of his reverie and breathed a second to regain his composure. He decided that Aiden hadn’t seen him pick up the Qu’epic and told his lie with more assurance than he should have felt. “Nothing. I thought I saw something over here but it was just a piece of trash.” He knelt down again and picked up a tiny piece of silver thread that was near where the Qu’epic had been dropped and showed it to Aiden.

“It’s probably nothing, but why don’t you bag it anyway. You never know,” Aiden said helpfully.

“I don’t think…” Seppe began to contradict him, then faltered as he saw Aiden’s face, “…that’s such a bad idea. You always find clues in the most insignificant places,” Seppe complimented Aiden as he took out another evidence baglet and put the silver thread in there.

He walked slowly to the head and squatted down to examine it. He pulled back Grenoj’s hair looking behind the ears. It didn’t take long to find his Ca’Suisse mark. Next, he checked the neck to see if he could see any Qu’epic marks. He saw the puncture wound just below the jaw and he knew how Grenoj had met his maker; if the Ca’suisse believed in a Maker. He laughed at himself as the prejudices from his old way of life surfaced. Here he was berating the Ca’suisse for maybe not believing in a Maker when he himself chose not to believe in any of the deities, especially the Maker his people believed in.

“He’s Ca’suisse for sure,” Seppe called out to Aiden. Then he anticipated Aiden’s next question. “I wonder what he was doing over in this section of town?” he asked out loud.

“That’s a great question, Seppe,” Aiden nodded. He pointed towards the bar. “Let’s see if any of those bar patrons have any idea what’s going on.”

“Good idea,” Seppe responded. “If nothing else, I’m sure the bartender would love to get those people out of the bar and head home himself.”

Aiden laughed, “You don’t get out much, do you?”

“Whatcha mean?” Seppe asked innocently.

“The Kroll Rader was groundbreaking in letting females tend bar. They have an all-female bar staff, now,” Aiden added.

Seppe was a bit annoyed, “Doesn’t matter if the bartender is male or female. I bet the bartender is ready to go home.”

“True,” Aiden said, a note of triumph on his face. “Let’s go.”


Chapter Two is now available here

For more information or to send comments/criticisms please send email to bobjamesthree@gmail.com 

Inward Journey – an excerpt

An excerpt from this year’s NanoWriMo story….a serial killer is on the loose!

Acting Detective Re’Lears gathered the files of unsolved murders and started sorting them according to date and probability based on what she saw in the pictures. She picked some interesting cases to show to Aiden and Seppe and lined up the files; arranging them on the table in their investigation room. She had heard that Aiden and Sebbe were on their way back to the station and she wanted everything to be ready for them.

Captain Tengler entered without knocking to check in with Re’Lears. He also wanted to see what she had found, if anything. “Did you find anything that might fit the pattern you were looking for?” he asked looking at the case files spread out on the table; scattering them as he looked.

Re’Lears looked up when she heard his voice, “Oh, sir! I wasn’t expecting you.” She moved quickly to the left side of the table and opened up a case file, “This is one of the choices for number two.” She opened up another case file right next to the first one and said, “This is another one of the options.”

The captain looked with a slight frown. “These murders are nothing like the other two. Why are these two your candidates?”

“That’s a great question, sir,” she said brightly. “We didn’t expect the murders to be too similar. If they had been, everyone would have been talking about how they were alike. We think the killer is smart enough to vary his methods.”

Captain Tengler nodded his head, “Good thinking. We only caught on to the idea that we had a serial killer because you pegged the method for both number one and number five if the theory is correct.” He looked at her conspiratorially and asked, “When do you expect Detectives Seppe and Aiden to show up? I need to be out of here by then. They don’t like me messing with their cases.”

Acting Detective Re’Lears looked at the captain, “With all due respect then, you had better leave. They should be here shortly.” She thought a second and then added, “but you’re the boss! How can they get away with that kind of an attitude?”

“Got it,” Captain Tengler replied. “They can get away with that because they are that good. If the powers that be told me tomorrow that I could only keep one of those two, I would still keep both of them. But don’t tell them that!” He smiled, “You’re learning from the best.” He started to head out and then stuck his head back in. He winked at Re’Lears and then snarled at her, “…and when I tell you I want information on your case, I want information on your case. Don’t you dare hold anything back from me, do you hear me?” He winked again.

“Captain, captain, captain,” Seppe sighed in exasperation as he walked in. “How many times do I have to tell you not to jump in on our cases? We’ll give you the information you need when it’s ready. But give us some space to get things done first!” He looked at Acting Detective Re’Lears, “And you had better be nice to our partner here!”

Captain Tengler looked first at Seppe, then at Aiden and then back at Seppe again, “By the time you two are finished with her, she’s going to be just as bad as you are. You act like you don’t need a captain…well, you do! You do need a captain!” He stormed out as if upset, but pleased that he had protected Re’Lears.

“So how much did you show the captain?” Aiden asked. “What did he think?”

Re’Lears began to object, but Seppe just laughed. “You’re not experienced enough to stand up to the captain. We expected him to pump you for information. He always tries to protect the people we work with and thinks we don’t know what he does. The question is, what did he see and what did he think about it?”

“He just saw a few pictures and files that I thought were our best candidates for victim number two,” Re’Lears said reluctantly. “He appreciated the fact that we had realized that if this were a serial killer, he had to be varying his methods.”

“Well, that’s good to hear,” Seppe said. “He may be learning how to be a police officer!”

Aiden nodded, “That would be a good thing.” He turned to Re’Lears, “You have a couple of candidates for us to look at for victim number two?”

Re’Lears nodded, “I actually have good candidates for victims two, three and four. Which do you want to see first?”

“None,” Aiden and Seppe responded together.

Re’Lears laughed, “You two HAVE been together for too long! So all my work was for nothing?”

“Nope,” Seppe explained. “We just wanted to hear the story of our first victim before going on to any of the other victims. That’s the story you know best.”

 

Acting Detective Re’Lears gathered the files of unsolved murders and started sorting them according to date and probability based on what she saw in the pictures. She picked some interesting cases to show to Aiden and Seppe and She lined up the files; and arranginged them on the table in their investigation room. She had heard that Aiden and Sebbe were on their way back to the station and she wanted everything to be ready for them.

Captain Tengler entered without knocking to check in with Re’Lears. He also wanted to see what she had found, if anything. “Did you find anything that might fit the pattern you were looking for?” he asked looking at the case files spread out on the table; scattering them as he looked.

Re’Lears looked up when she heard his voice, “Oh, sir! I wasn’t expecting you.” She moved quickly to the left side of the table and opened up a case file, “This is one of the choices for number two.” She opened up another case file right next to the first one and said, “This is another one of the options.”

The captain looked with a slight frown. “These murders are nothing like the other two. Why are these two your candidates?”

“That’s a great question, sir,” she said brightly. “We didn’t expect the murders to be too similar. If they had been, everyone would have been talking about themhow they were alike. We think the killer is smart enough to vary his methods.”

Captain Tengler nodded his head, “Good thinking. We only caught on to the idea that we had a serial killer because you pegged the method for both number one and number five if the theory is correct.” He looked at her conspiratorially and asked, “When do you expect Detectives Seppe and Aiden to show up? I need to be out of here by then. They don’t like me messing with their cases.”

Acting Detective Re’Lears looked at the captain, “With all due respect then, you had better leave. They should be here shortly.” She thought a second and then added, “but you’re the boss! How can they get away with that kind of an attitude?”

“Got it,” Captain Tengler replied. “They can get away with that because they are so that good. If the powers that bey told me tomorrow that I could only keep one of those twodetective, I would still keep both of them. But don’t tell them that!” He smiled, “You’re learning from the best.” He started to head out and then came stuck his head back in. He winked at Re’Lears and then snarled at her, “…and when I tell you I want information on your case, I want information on your case. You don’t hold anything back from me, do you hear me?” He winked again.

“Captain, captain, captain,” Seppe sighed in exasperation as he walked in. “How many times do I have to tell you not to jump in on our cases? We’ll give you what you need when it’s ready. But give us some space to get things done first!” He looked at Acting Detective Re’Lears, “And you had better be nice to our partner here!”

Captain Tengler looked first at Seppe, then at Aiden and then back at Seppe again, “You two are making her just like yourselfBy the time you two are finished with her, she’s going to be just as bad as you are. You act like you don’t need a captain…well, you do! You do need a captain!” He stormed out as if upset, but pleased that he had protected Re’Lears.

“So how much did you show the captain?” Aiden asked. “What did he think?”

Re’Lears began to object, but Seppe just laughed. “You’re not experienced enough to stand up to the captain. We expected him to pump you for information. He always tries to protect the people we work with and thinks we don’t know what he does. The question is, what did he see and how what did he like think about it?”

“He just saw a few pictures and files that I thought were our best candidates for victim number two,” Re’Lears said reluctantly. “He liked appreciated the fact that we had realized that if this were a serial killer, he was had to be varying his methods.”

“Well, that’s good to hear,” Seppe said. “He may be learning how to be a police officer!”

Aiden nodded, “That would be a good thing.” He turned to Re’Lears, “You have a couple of candidates for us to look at for victim number two?”

Re’Lears nodded, “I actually have good candidates for victims two, three and four. Which do you want to see first?”

“None,” Aiden and Seppe responded together.

Re’Lears laughed, “You two HAVE been together for too long! So all my work was for nothing?”

“Nope,” Seppe explained. “We just wanted to hear the story of our first victim before going on to any of the other victims. That’s the story you know best.”

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