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Omens of Blood
Detective Jake Johnson rolled over in his bed. Dang apartment’s always makin’ noise… he thought to himself. Detective Johnson lived in a small apartment on the seventh story of an apartment building near the middle of the small, densely populated town. Even though it was little, and he could afford much better, he lived in the apartment for two main reasons: it had a small balcony, or a fire escape rather, that overlooked the city’s central park. His balcony was one of the only observant, yet subtle look-out points. The other, was that being in a lower-middle class building, not to mention looking middle class, while having the money of an upper-class person, helped him greatly with his job because he could fit in with almost any crowd.
Detective Johnson felt he wouldn’t fit in as an upper-class man anyway. He had a tall, very large, muscular frame, with broad shoulders, and a 5’o-clock shadow that never seemed to disappear from his face. As he drifted back to sleep, he thought to himself; I work to hard to be in the middle-lower class, and that’s the exact reason I can’t be upper class either… he chuckled. I work to hard too belong anywhere…
Johnson rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Just as he felt the pull of sleep upon him, he heard the noise again. He rolled over and quickly grabbed his trusty gun, nick-named “Ol’ Reliable” by those who knew him well, which was a very small amount. Anyone who knew him well was either dead, or just as shady as Jake. His job required him to be able to blend in to any crowd, not to be social. His gun was as clean as a whistle, and twice as efficient. It was a custom balanced, double barrel revolver. Popular some time ago, but their expensive cost, and high skill requirements made them very rare now-a-days.
He heard the noise a third time, a harsher, louder sound than he had heard before. He brushed his black hair from his eyes, looked out the window, and saw a large crane, not ten feet from his window. It had a rusty yellow color, and it seemed to extend to the sky. Strange… he thought. He had never noticed it before. He heard the noise now a fourth time, now a screeching sound of grinding steel. He was tempted to cover his ears, but his detective instincts told him to observe every tiny detail, including the noise. A large, thin metal disc descended on a rope, presumably attached to the crane above. He disc began to spin, and one word crossed his mind
“A buzz saw… how in the-“ he started, but was cut short when the disc shot forward. He dived out of the way, only to find his corner apartment being shredded from all sides from similar buzz-saws.
He stood in a mixture of fear, awe, and confusion. He began to panic as the floor under him collapsed. His heart and mind simultaneously raced. He reached out to grab a hand that was not there. He lost his control and screamed on the way down. He dared not look below, yet he turned in mid-air and saw a gaping abyss below him, that must have extended into the pits of hell themselves.
He bolted upright from his bed, screaming. Cold sweat ran down his face. He sat and tried to control his breathing and heart rate.
“Will these night terrors ever stop?” he wondered out loud. “Third time this week…” he muttered softly.
He saw something that disturbed him. The door to his room was a hair’s-breadth ajar. He hardly noticed it, but quickly rolled over and, upon finding it already in his hand, raised his gun menacingly. “Paranoid” was not the word to describe detective Johnson; “overly cautious” would be a better description. He had many enemies, most unknown to him. A crazed maniac here, a convict’s relative there, crazed (ex) girlfriends, either his, or the prisoners’.
“Never a dull day,” he muttered to himself. “I wouldn’t be in this job if there ever was.”
He smelled a murky, ominous stench. It was more like a taste in the air than anything else. Blood. It brought back memories, and gave him expectations, both omens of problems yet to come…
His mind raced back to when he was eight. Just an innocent, little boy, going to a new place with his parents. His mother hugged him excitedly, as his father read the morning paper. Little Jake looked over and read the only recognizable words; Sunday, March 23, 1901. A date he never would, or could, forget. The carriage bumped along the road, jarring its passengers slightly. His father, Jacob, leaned out the window and called to the driver, “There’s no rush sir, but if this carriage’s breaks our bones, there will be.”
Jake remembered his father as a better groomed and higher class version of himself. Mr. Johnson was a kind man, but he had a short patience, and almost no tolerance for mistakes. He always spoke his mind; even when it would do him better not to. His mother rolled her eyes. She saw nothing wrong with the carriage ride, but she did not stop her husband, she already knew she couldn’t anyway. She was a well brought up girl of twenty-two; kind and knowledgeable, although a bit over-protective. She wore a white dress, which only made her look more elegant. Mrs. Johnson opened her mouth to say something, as a gunshot rang out. The horse whinnied, and fell over.
He snapped back to reality as he noticed the silhouette of a figure standing in front of the window.
“Look pal,” he said “I don’t know who you are, or how you got in here, but you’ve got three seconds to tell me--” his voice fell short.
The strange man turned, and revealed himself as Jacob Johnson.
“No!” he screamed. “You’re dead! I watched you die twenty-three years ago… You’re dead!” every emotion he could describe was released at once; joy, sorrow, nostalgia, relief, anger, fear, and confusion.
As the carriage fell over, his mother held him close, and his father opened the side door, attempting to get out. Mr. Johnson grabbed his family, but he was the only one who had successfully made it out of the carriage. He stood up from the ground, and ran over to the splintered, collapsed carriage. He pulled his wife, who was still cradling her son, and put her on the ground to look her over. The carriage driver pulled himself away from his now dead horse, and limped over to them.
“Everyone all right?” the carriage driver asked, bravely ignoring his own broken leg.
“I’m fine, and so is my son, but I’m worried about Isabelle…” his voice trailed off. “If these splinters are signs enough,” he continued, “My wife needs immediate medical attention.”
A large splinter of wood protruded from her chest, just bellow the left shoulder, and she was punctured all over by smaller shards of the carriage.
“Here, let me help,” the carriage driver said, and began to assist Jacob in carrying Mrs. Johnson.
A gunshot suddenly rang out, and the driver clutched his chest, fell over, and died. Jacob quickly pulled a gun from his breast pocket, and pointed it at the murderer. The double barrel revolver clicked as he removed the safeties. He pulled the triggers and avenged his wife, his last act on earth. He crumpled to the ground as the murderer’s bullet also found its mark. Four dead people, a dead horse, each with a bullet in them, and one very scared, very alone little boy, who would never forget the day he vowed to avenge his family. He stood up, and weakly walked to his father, took the gun that he carried with him always, and swore to keep this moment from ever occurring to anyone.
He had seen his father die, yet there, in front of him, stood Jacob Johnson. Half of the detective wanted to drop the weapon and hug the man, but his rough experience told him to stand firm.
“Who are you?!” he roared, and pulled the triggers. “You… are… DEAD!” he screamed, tears streaming down his face.
Jacob clutched his chest, and stumbled backwards, revealing two bullet holes in his chest.
“NO!!” the detective cried, but it was too late; he saw his father flip over the railings, and fall down the building.
Jake rushed to the window, but it was too dark to see anything. His heart told him to run down and look for the strange man, but his brain told him otherwise. He was dazed as he crawled into bed, and the next morning wasn’t much better.
He woke up with a fright, remembering the occurrences of the past night. He tried to put together the facts, as he got dressed. None of the clues made sense. His father had died, and yet, he had seen him last night. Maybe it was just another terror, he checked his gun. Surely enough, the first two bullets were gone; only empty shells in their place. He began to re-load his gun, and thought he noticed something. He reached over to where he kept his bullets, and noticed the time on the clock.
“Ten-thirty? I’ve gotta get to work.”
he grabbed some bullets, pulled on a coat, and ran out the door. He didn’t even notice the remains of a rope tied to the fire escape.
“Sorry I’m late, Pat,” he called to his partner. “I had another nightmare last night…”
“No problem J,” his partner replied. Patrick was a mirror image of Jake, only a bit shorter, and more energetic. His longer hair and clean face were the only mainly noticeable differences. The two could have been mistaken for brothers, but a look at their personalities said otherwise. Jake was a quiet man, who mostly kept to himself. Patrick Ryan was more jumpy, more spastic, more social, and didn’t take much seriously. Although the two were practically opposites, they got along great, and Patrick was one of the only people Jake could actually call a friend.
“We got two new cases, so take your pick.” Johnson nodded. “Number one, a missing ex-girlfriend for 5,000 dollars…”
“That’s a whole lot of money for nothing,” muttered Jake.
“..and,” Patrick continued, “we’ve got a missing daughter, ten year-old, for 1,500 bucks.”
“We’re taking the little girl’s case,” Jake stated firmly.
“Why?” Patrick questioned.” It’s not even worth half, we need money!”
“We’ve got plenty of money, these people obviously don’t, and they don’t have a daughter either.”
Patrick knew arguing wouldn’t do any good, so he simply sighed and muttered “An attitude like that is gonna get you in trouble some day… Alright, we’ll take my new car.”
Jake chuckled and cracked a small smile.
“Thank you for emphasizing my point,” he commented.
Patrick scowled. “Anyway, here’s the address, it’s on the other side of town, so we’ve got a drive ahead of us. Grab some food, I didn’t have breakfast.” He said as he walked out the door.
Jake grabbed a pair of sandwiches they always kept in their little ice box, and followed his partner.
Jake stared out the window and began loading his gun. He pulled the empty shells out as Patrick started to talk to him.
“You ok, Jake? You’ve been acting kind of… out of it.”
“Hm? Oh, that…” Jake replied. “Well, you know those things I have, those night terrors?”
“Yea, but I thought they went away, you seemed to be getting over them. What’s going on? This is the--”
“Third time this week,” Jake said in unison, “I know, I know. They seemed to be going away, but lately…” Jake sighed “they’ve been coming back, fast. They’re even worse than before…” his voice trailed off.
He placed the empty shells in his pocket as he loaded the gun. He wondered if he should tell Patrick about what happened last night, and if he did, if Patrick would believe him. Thinking back, Jake hardly believed the story himself. It seemed ridiculous; did he shoot in his sleep? No, the noise would have awakened him, and there would have been holes in the wall. Nothing made sense.
He absentmindedly looked out the window, and saw a carriage being pulled by a horse. Inside the cab was a woman in a white dress, sitting elegantly.
His mind went back to the dark day his parents died, and thought of his mother, and the poor cab driver. He even felt sorry for the horse. He looked at the woman again, and upon closer inspection, was faced with a spitting image of the mother he lost twenty-three years ago. As she turned to look at him, he noticed a splinter of wood protruding from her chest. He was speechless, and he only stared with his mouth open as her dress turned from white to red from the blood.
He turned to tell his partner when suddenly a gunshot rang out. Jake ripped his eyes back to the carriage, only to see the horse start to fall as the carriage fell behind.
“Turn this damn car around!” he shouted at his friend. “I am not going to lose my mother again! Turn the damn car around!”
Patrick was confused, but quickly obeyed; he could see that Jake was not in a mood to argue, and only squeezed out a quick; “What the hell?”
Patrick stopped at Jake’s command, and quickly got out of the car out of both concern and curiosity. He quickly walked over, and crouched down next to Jake to figure out the problem.
“What the hell was that about?” Patrick roared. “You almost got us killed! Are you out of your mind? What did you even pull us over on? There are no clues to… whatever happened, because nothing happened, and don’t even ask for my opinion of what happened, because the only hunch I have is that you’re crazy! Explain yourself you crazy jack-a**!”
“I saw my father last night, he was in my room, and I shot him!” Jake shouted menacingly. “Then, just now, I saw my mother die again before me, and the horrible incident that I never want to, but always remember is repeating itself!”
“Just now? Your mother died just now? How? How!? Show me the evidence; show me something that could possibly give any breakthrough to this insanity!”
“The…the carriage, the driver, the horse… my mother… it…I…it’s gone… how...how? I saw it happen! She was in the carriage, she had a piece of wood in her chest, she started bleeding, and the horse got shot and fell over! It should all be here!”
“Wreckage and three corpses don’t just disappear! Either psychotic ghosts are haunting you, or everyone else is psychotic! Nothing is here! Look around. There is nothing, there wasn’t anything, and we can stand here all day, and there will still be nothing!”
They were both silent as they tried to get over their emotions. Jake’s confusion and Patrick’s anger. They both took a deep breath, and tried to asses the situation.
“Listen,” Patrick began again. “I think that something is going on here, but no one is dying. I…I think maybe the stress of the job with your night terrors is giving you some… strange mental thing. I’m not saying your crazy or anything, but maybe this is the next level of those night terrors you’ve been having. Maybe you should take a break from work, maybe even retire…”
“You’re right, something is up. I haven’t been feeling like myself lately. I… what is that?” Jake asked walking over to Patrick.
He bent down and picked up a small bottle of a red liquid.
“Pat? What is this?” he questioned.
“Oh, uh… That’s my girlfriend’s nail polish, we got in another fight, and I took it to tick her off. It must have fallen out of my pocket.”
Jake grunted. He knew that Patrick was sensitive about his relationships, and dropped the subject. He quietly walked back to the car.
“C’mon, I’ll drive you home” Patrick got into the driver’s seat, and continued to comfort his friend.
Jake leaned over the balcony railing and took a deep breath of air. He tried to put together what he could of what still made sense in his life. He tried to think of the good memories he had with his family, and he thought of his Saturday afternoons with his father, that weightless feeling of the swing, the rush of the wind, and the sound of laughter. He opened his eyes to find the weightless feeling returning as he leaned forward to far and fell from his fire escape. He recalled his nightmare and once again reached out for a hand that was not there. He closed his eyes as he waited for death, but found himself dangling from a rope. He opened his eyes, and was shocked to the point that he almost let go of the rope. His father had saved his life.
He quickly climbed up and found himself just below his apartment balcony. He turned to the man, and realized he was facing a mannequin. It was dressed in a wig, and blood stained clothes. He looked over and saw a case of vials filled with a red liquid identical to the bottle he had found earlier. He unscrewed the cap of a bottle, and was filled with dread. Blood. Vials of blood. He walked into the apartment and found another mannequin with a white dress like his mother’s, and an unusual device that looked like a pump coming out of the sleeve. He squeezed it and was not surprised to find that the blood stained the shirt from the inside. He looked at a lone desk in the corner, and saw a sheet of paper with his parent’s death story written on it, a tailoring bill for Mr. Patrick Ryan, a diagram of a large concealed door in a building, and picture of a rope tied to the balcony above him, with a stick figure tied to it.
He reached in his pocket, and pulled out the shell of the bullet. He examined it closely, and was not surprised to find a blank. He walked out the door; mind clear, and with a new purpose.
“Thank you Mrs. Walker, I’m sure we’ll find your missing little girl soon,” Patrick said as he walked out of the house. “Nice folks. I’ll get twice the money they offered out of them now that Jake’s off the job,” he said, satisfied, as he sat in his car.
He put the key into the ignition when he felt the cold touch of steel on the back of his neck. “Good-bye â€˜Dad’” Jake said mockingly. “You wanted to make me crazy; well done.”
Detective and girlfriend found dead
This morning, two people were found dead in their car, the only lead; twin bullet holes in their necks. Murderer nicknamed “The Vampire”. Detective Jake Johnson is working with the police to find “The Vampire”, a personal case, as his partner was the murdered detective. When asked for any leads, the city’s sleuth simply stated: “I only wish that I could do more for my good friend and former partner.” There are no suspects, or witnesses, and this looks like a crime no one can solve.