One Way, Or Another


SUNDAY, JUNE 3rd, 7:15 PM
"Looked like vampires" was not a lot to go on. So much so that the anonymous tip hadn't been taken seriously. There'd been a brief patrol, a half-assed scope of the area. Nothing had turned up, so it hadn't been investigated much further. It wasn't enough for Joan. No one claimed to see a vampire without much of a reason. Not unless they were crazy, or wanting to be on the news. Both wouldn't have done so anonymously. There was also the gut feeling that told her to act. Maybe since it was so close to home. Maybe she was just tired of trails going cold.

So here they were. She'd called on Morgan to be a second set of eyes. When she stopped the car in an abandoned parking lot on the corner of Hill and 3rd, her critical eye hardened on the younger woman. "Keep your weapon at the ready. We're going to comb the alleyways." She instructed before exiting the vehicle and turning to peer across the lot at the building to the left. A narrow alley separated the two buildings. Good place to start as any. With her gun clasped surely in her hands, Joan started forward.

@Cassidy Morgan


Morgan eased out the passenger side and her hand found the Glock at her hip. Approaching dusk, she watched the sun begin to dip behind the mountains. Morgan smelt the alley before she turned to face it, McCole already edging into the shadows. She pulled her sidearm and adjusted her hand on the grip, index finger riding the trigger guard.

Morgan fell into formation, covering the captain’s approach while keeping awareness of their six. There were still too many unanswered questions when the supernatural was concerned; especially the creatures of the night. The vampire had many names, she learnt this recently. Maybe Morgan would have caught onto all this sooner if the fucking media wasn’t so creative with referring to the bloodsuckers.

Producing a tac-light from a vest pocket, Morgan clenched it in a fist crossed beneath her leading arm. Light wasn’t necessary yet but would soon be as they moved further into the shadowed alleyway.

Her steps were quiet, calculated. Her hands were steady on her gun, her eyes trained on the darkest reaches of the shadows that shrouded the alleyway as they turned into it. Morgan’s light shines a concentrated beam, and it afforded her the viability to inspect the walls and concrete just beside the edge of the buildings.

If Joan knew murder scenes; and she did; the attackers would have pinned the victim to the wall. Eliminate as much opportunity to run. Not that she thought anyone could outrun two vampires. Her nostrils flared for any hint of blood. She didn’t have any advantage past natural human capabilities, but she knew the smell of blood in large amounts. And based on the report, it didn’t seem like this was a quiet or gentle murder. It was going to be messy.

They passed through without any sign of something besides garbage and discarded shopping carts. When they reached the road that backed the buildings, McCole stopped to scan the sidewalks. ”We’ll try the next one over.” Joan said, her voice steady still. With that she guided them behind the building, down the sidewalk, and back down the alley walking opposite the direction they’d come. This one was darker, afforded more cover by a taller building that blotted out the moonlight from above. A hand moved to click on the light of her own tac-light, not so worried about flooding the place with too much light and alerting anyone or anything that might be waiting.

Morgan paced the alley behind McCole, the beam from her flashlight cutting across the brickwork and concrete. She crossed a drain and paused to shine the light through the heavy steel grate, weathered and grimy. Water glimmered at the bottom and Morgan continued on. Discarded pallets rested against a paint-chipped dumpster, rank with the stench of rotten garbage and piss. Morgan scrunched her nose and sniffed.

Glass crunched beneath her boots and the beam of her light snagged against the sharp edges of brown glass, some fragments nestled in the remains of a label. A bed of flattened cardboard boxes showed signs of previous habitation. Morgan frowned at the thought of calling this concrete crevasse home for a night.

She turned her torch across the dumpster and the grimy wall; it was then a dark spray of rust stood out in the spotlight. Morgan jerked the light back and came to a stop. She stared with a deepening frown at her discovery.

"Captain, over here." Morgan turned her light downward across the asphalt at the base of the brickwork. More of the dark red discoloration gleamed in the tac-light’s beam, and there was a lot of it.

Joan’s light illuminated the opposite side of the alleyway, her eyes scanning the brick and pavement. The silence of the night was filled only by their paced footsteps, but her ears strained for anything else. She slowed to turn the light to the pavement before her for a quick sweep, but stopped as the light illuminated dark russet streaks in the pavement.

He head turned sideways as she made to call Morgan over, only to be spoken over by the girl. McCole straightened some and turned to approach the dumpster, tac-light trained on the pavement. More drag marks leading from a dried pool.

“So much for ‘no evidence found’.” McCole said with a sneer, referencing the report given by the numbnut that had done the sweep.

“Looks like they dragged the body.” She gestures toward the marks, then stepped away to follow them. “Toward the street. Maybe loaded it into a car.” She said largely to herself as she paced along the intermittent streaks.

Anonymous reports were rarely given much credence. Such reports generally lacked substance and a quick follow up from a seasoned officer was enough to ferret credible accounts from the bullshit. Morgan frowned as her light played over the blood stains. Rust red settled into the mortar and discolored the brickwork. Large swaths of concrete stained red with vitae. Morgan noted the marks now that McCole pointed them out.

Her tac-light flashed up and down the alley, flummoxed how any officer could pass by this crime scene without second thought. It was difficult to defend such incompetence. The alley opened onto the street and the agents emerged beneath streetlights. The trail petered and Morgan nodded at the captain’s assessment; a vehicle was the obvious answer.

Morgan looked the length of the street, buildings loomed on either side, a boarded up ramshackle and vacant lot sat a block down. Traffic lights cast the road in green. Amber flashed briefly before turning red. The area wasn’t good for much, Morgan decided as she stood on the sidewalk.

The detective schtick was still new to her, but she knew how to gather evidence. "I’m going to walk the street." She holstered her sidearm and nodded towards the traffic lights.

Morgan came to the boarded-up property, a notice of condemnation stapled to the plywood shielding the front door. The abandoned lot, which a chain-link fence festooned with KEEP OUT and NO TRESPASSING signs, ran the perimeter. A rolling gate, secured with heavy chain and padlock, blocked access. The lower corner of the gate was popped and hung loose. Morgan’s flashlight cast a diamond mesh of shifting shadow across the lot.

She continued down the street and paused at the traffic lights. No red-light cameras and the traffic monitoring cameras holding vigil wouldn’t do them any good. Morgan paced back towards the murder alley and smiled. Coming to a stop along the chain link fence of the abandoned lot, she got on the radio.

"Captian, there’s a camera on the gate here; may have a good view of the street."

Morgan took one direction, and McCole took the other. She paced in near silence down the sidewalk, crossing before the facade of the building who’s wall was host to their crime scene. Two windows painted black framed a door with a sign that read “Red’s Tire Co. Relocated to 457 Sycamore Dr, Ravenswood.” It was old and printed in faded red. Looks like Red has gotten out of here before the area turned to shit.

The next lot was empty, probably used to be home to a dealership by the looks of the parking spaces etched in crackled white paint. A street light illuminated the sidewalk in a dull yellow, but otherwise she came up empty. Morgan’s voice on the radio slowed her pace, and she turned to peer back down the street. She spotted Morgan there, lingering by a gate. McCole strode in a swift pace to join her.

“This’ll work, unless it’s shit like the one from Last Stop.” She mused. “I’ll call this in, get forsencis on it to ID the vic. We’ll see if we can get the video pulled and get footage of the timeframe.” She eyed Morgan for any input, but expected none.

Morgan nodded as McCole met her eye. Hopefully the camera wasn’t a potato. Though digital forensics were able to pull significant details from the Last Stop security video. If their magic could turn this into actionable intelligence, they had a case. Otherwise… things would be difficult.

Also, they banked on their vic’s blood being in the system. The likelihood of that, given the sketchy area, was probable. But if their vic was a civilian lured from the beaten path and murdered, their chances dwindled. Lack of a body hampered the investigation, but bodies were difficult to dispose of. Morgan would wait and see which direction the investigation took them.

Eying their surroundings, she doubted anyone else coming forward as a witness. The fact that someone had done so surprised her, and it wasn’t any surprise they chose to remain anonymous. This area, at that hour, invited those with something to hide. No judgement; they did their civic duty. The hunt was on.

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