The coroner and forensics teams were just finishing up their preliminary look when Goodstone signed himself into the scene. There was a certain amount of wrangling with the any reporting officer when Goodstone showed up on site. He had a series of forms already pre-written up so he could bring in Sparks, listed under non-standard tools. He had his shoe print taken and gave a small cheek swab.
He joined the live feed from the onsite crews ensuring that he would see the up to date information. Two fire trucks remained on site, ready if there was anymore flareups could occur. Nodding instinctively to the men and then proceeded past the yellow tape.
“Full scan Sparks, slow walk.” Watson put the small robot down on the ground and watched as the robot began walking the grid. The red lens of the robot pulsed with every slow step.
Watson pulled on a headset and activated the recorder. “Initial report, begins. Its a mess. Contradiction in the peoples lifestyles put them altogether in the same place at the same time. There were no prior connections or associations between them, only thing in common is that they are extra people from the library. If this was planned, eliminating 13 people leaves 40 behind. An even number, this was planned, nice and tidy in amongst this wreck.”
Watson scrolled through the initial reports. Truck drove through the safety guards and into the last passenger car. Large gas tank on the back of the truck exploded. Remains of five people in the truck found, passenger manifest for the train showed only eight people, six distinct bodies found. Two missing.
“Two missing. Putting coroner office on alert, standard watch on the eleven bodies. If there are any comebacks while on the slab, I want to know.” Watson looked at the twisted body of the truck, amazed that it was at such symmetrical curvature. “Truck seats 3 uncomfortably. Why would all five get into the truck?”
Sparks turned around at the edge of the tape, walked over three feet, then began the return trip.
“Why eight in the passenger car in the back? Everyone who rides the crosstown knows you get on the first three cars, closest to the stairs when exiting. Need a cross reference the train itinerary and possible cargo manifest.” Watson squinted to the burnt shell of the passenger car, hard to see from the amount of flashing lights in the area. “Safety inspection records as well. Something burned it right down to the rivets.”
“MEDIC!” A voice called out from beyond the far side of the passenger car. “We got a live one!”
Watson found himself bounding over the wreckage, almost as fast as the EMT crew. He felt the buzzing of the alert on his feed reader, pushing himself to get there faster. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw that Sparks had got within range of the person, still walking in the same steady pace.
He almost pushed the EMT’s out of the way, but stopped when he recognized the body language. Resigned.
“Allright, keep moving people, we’ve got one more to look for. We’ve got about 15 minutes before the dogs get here, so keep your eyes peeled. Francis!” The head EMT announced to the gathered crowd and then waved to coroner across the blazed crash site.
Goodstone looked to the calm and peaceful face of the body. He couldn’t have been more than 20.
“Goodstone! Greetin’s! What do ye make of this?” A voice from above and behind him, caused Watson to tense a little. The air around him cooled quickly.
Turning, he saw two figures slowly descend. The red haired man wobbled a little before his feet made contact with the ground. Then he shakily lifted up a little before jarring back down to the ground.
“Flying? You’re going to have to get that registered Hartlan.”
Four armed police approached the two. Automatically they pulled out small wallets and held out the identification.
Goodstone internally groaned as he recognized the slight frame of the young woman with Hartlan.
“What’s with this business? Everytime we come to help…” the young woman chirped in, Hartlan lifted a hand and she sighed.
“Sorry lad, learnin’ how ta fly, saw this mess o’ yours.” Rory Hartlan adjusted his fedora, tucked his walking staff under his arm, then looked to his younger companion. “She’s na the greatest teacher.”
“Hey!” She piped back. “I’ll have you know that Sensei says that in order to reinforce my own teaching-”
“You’ll have to study first Calhoun.” Goodstone quipped back as he looked to the body. “Remind me again, how is the community service hours coming along? Haven’t seen a waiver cross my desk lately.”
She closed her mouth quickly, and then flipped her short cropped hair back as something in the crash scene was suddenly very interesting.
“Right.” Hartlan lifted an eyebrow to the youth himself, then looked around. “So whuts all this ’bout?”
“You wouldn’t believe me.” Goodstone looked down to the dead young man again, then his eyes narrowed as he saw the clenched hand and something smoking in it. “Forensics!”
A technician came over quickly and Goodstone pointed out the hand. “Bag that hand quick. You can help out Hartlan, any mystical energies here?”
The red haired man grinned, as he pushed up his sleeves, adjusted his fedora and held out the walking stick.
“Really? Theatrics now?”
“Shush, tha’ shaman in Africa says tis all part o’ concentration and focus.” Rory spoke as he quirked his head, eyes closed as if he heard a whisper. “There tis somethin’ here. Old. Just a faint hint o’ somethin’ primal. Could be anything though. Could be me new stick for all I know. Can’t put a label or name to it.”
“Got it.” The forensics technician completed the bagging, and the smoke within the bag stopped. “He’s holding onto paper. I’ll get the coroner.”
“Thank you.” Watson spoke as he looked to Sparks who had increased his speed and recording. “Slinger, any other survivors here?”
The young blonde woman looked up at her callsign in surprise. She involuntarily scratched at the domino mask, “Give me a moment Detective.”
Rory frowned for a moment, then studied the area. “Can’t tell lad, if tis related or na’. But tis old. Working from a time before there were such concepts as words.”
“If you could please file that with the officer on duty, I’d appreciate it Hartlan.” Goodstone nodded as the coroner came by, initialed the bag on the young mans hand.
“Aye, twill do.”
Both men watched the coroner open up the young mans hand and pull out the piece of yellowed paper. Watson pulled out his own clear evidence bag and then gently placed it within. Rory came over and took a look at it, waving a hand in the general direction, he stopped and grimaced then shook his hand as if he touched something too hot.
“It’s coming from that.” Rory spoke quickly in crisp tones with less brogue accent. “Gods, tha’ hurt.”
Goodstone held up the yellowed piece of paper and clicked on his flashlight. The paper was wider and shorter than standard page. The color seemed aged, antique, little water stain on one corner.
“Whuts it say?”
“All according to plan.” Goodstone handed the bag over to forensics team, then looked to Rory. “How much should I worry? Visit from an angel of the higher host tonight. 12 of the 53 people I’m investigating get killed in a freak accident that doesn’t fit their usual lifestyle. 1 missing. And now a telegram from beyond time.”
“Dude. Freaky.” Calhoun said as she bounced over to the two men. “Nobody here but us turkeys.”
“Chickens.” Rory retorted, gripping the bridge of his nose.
“I ain’t chicken.” She quipped back, her knuckles cracking into fists. Blue energy flowing over her form.
“Calhoun. Settle down.” Goodstone looked to Rory. “What kind of protection would the other people need?”
Rory pursed his lips, dug into his pocket, pulled out a worn leather pocketbook and flipped through the pages. “Kinna think o’ anythin’ offhand. But fer yerself, me instincts are tellin’ me ta give ye this.”
The celt handed over a glass salt shaker with a cork. “Sprinkle it inta a circle around yerself, or across thresholds. May na’ help ye with this, but twill help ye sometime.”
“Is it mandatory for all magicians to be cryptic?”
“Part o’ the quota I got ta fill. Gimme a call if ye need backup.” Rory tapped his long walking staff, and his feet lifted off the ground.
“The Chief won’t agree to your standard contract.”
“Yer smart Goodstone, ye’ll figure out a way when yer arse deep in trouble.” The celt sped off into the night sky.
“Hey!” The young blonde woman sped off after the red haired man.
Goodstone felt the tapping of Sparks on his calf, he looked down and picked up the slight frame of the robot and set him onto his shoulder. His feed reader buzzed, and he glanced at the display, activating the text chat.
Chief : Monk’s report is on my desk, and his badge isn’t on the grid.
Goodstone : Signed off for the night?
Chief : Maybe, but the time on the printer feed for the report is two oclock this afternoon.
Goodstone : How is that possible?
The display paused for a moment.
Chief : We spoke at 9 this morning. I’ll give you till dawn due to the accident and new information. I’m putting out an alert for Monk, someone has to have information where he is.
Goodstones skin crawled at the realization. The entire evenings conversation in his garage didn’t happen for the Chief. Monk was missing. He could almost feel it. The world was changing beyond his control. And something told him that the plan wasn’t done yet.
-To Be Continued…-
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Tales of King City : Balance by Pearce Kilgour is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Canada License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://pearcekilgour.wordpress.com. But you should really ask him first… send someone to rub his neck, feed him a gin and tonic, that would be the best… in fact he thinks the world would be a better place if everyone got neckrubs.