DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT
“THE DEVIL BELIEVES IN YOU”
LUCAS COUNTY, LUCAS CA DAYBREAK:
Because Lucas County was at least a four hour drive away Neal packed an overnight bag, just in case they needed to stay over, while Steve made coffee to fill the thermos under the watchful eyes of Ruby who made sandwiches for them. Just as soon as they had everything they needed they headed out in the darkness and four hours later they met the Sheriff of Lucas County at his office.
After the Sheriff explained to them the situation and they arranged to have a tow truck meet them at the site all three of them got into the Sheriff’s car and made the drive out of the town proper to the rock quarry where the Professor’s car had been found.
Neal and Steve were standing on the edge of the quarry watching the car as it was hoisted up and out of the quarry just as the sun broke over the horizon.
Neal stood with his hands on his hips as Steve stood by him his arms crossed over his chest the wind lifting his hair as Steve glanced down at the ground then back up again.
“It’s….” Neal replied.
“….Torched.” Steve replied.
“Well boys is that your car?” The sheriff asked.
Neal finally broke his stance as he approached the car.
“Yeah Sheriff that’s it the license plates match.” Neal replies.
“They didn’t make it easy on you boys did they?” The Sheriff replies as he points to the car.
“No Sheriff they hardly ever make it easy on us, right Steve? Steve?”
“Huh?” Steve asks as he looks up rubbing his forehead.
“Do you feel alright?” Neal asks.
“Yeah I just think I’m getting a headache, so how long has this car been here?” Steve replies.
“Henry how long has it been here?” The sheriff asks.
“A couple of days I guess.” Henry replies as he shrugs.
“A couple of days?” Steve asks.
“Well yeah we’ve had some equipment problems and we shut down and it’s nothing unusual to find a car or two here….” Henry tries to explain.
“Is it usual for the car to be burned to a crisp!!” Steve replies as he crosses the short distance to Henry. “Well is it!!!” Steve says as he raises his voice.
“Steve….” Neal tries to interject.
“And you Sheriff do you even know what a B.O.L.O is huh!” Steve replies as he points his finger at the sheriff. “A couple of days! Do you know the time we lost in this in investigation! Do you even check that damn teletype of yours!!!! Oh wait I bet a hick sheriff from a hick town like this….”
Before Steve could finish Neal stepped in between Steve and the Sheriff and he
grabbed him by his jacket pushing him backwards a few steps.
“Hey what in the hell!!” Steve replies as he looks at Neal.
“Cool it man!” Neal replies as they are almost nose to nose.
“But Neal that car has been here for days!! If we’ve had found that car sooner than maybe we could have found the Professor!!!”
“Steve rein it in!” Neal replies.
“Rein it in?” Steve repeats.
“The car is burnt to a crisp whatever evidence there was is gone Steve, it’s gone.” Neal replies. “Why don’t you supervise the tow truck driver….”
Steve points to himself as he says, “Why don’t I supervise the tow truck driver?
I’m the lead investigator here remember?”
“Yes Steve I remember.”
“Good and don’t you forget it.” Steve replies as he rubs his forehead.
Neal puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Want me to talk to the guys Steve?”
“Yeah, yeah my head is killing me.”
“Okay I’ll see if I can find you some aspirin.” Neal replies.
“Thanks.” Steve replies as Neal puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Neal I have a bad feeling about this.”
“It’s just your headache Steve.” Neal replies as they walk back to the people who are waiting on them.
“No I don’t think so.” Steve replies as he shakes his head. “I don’t think so.”
After Neal found Steve some aspirin the morning passed them by quickly.
Neal interviewed the Sheriff and the employees from the quarry as Steve kept a close eye on the tow truck driver, supervising as a tarp was placed over the burnt car. By afternoon their initial work was finished.
“Well Sheriff we’re finished here are you ready to go?” Neal asked.
“Tell you boys what I’m going to stay here awhile longer you take my squad car back.” The Sheriff replies as he tosses the keys in Neal’s direction but Steve catches them.
“Steve where did you come from?” Neal asks surprised as Steve suddenly appears next to him. “I thought you were by the tow truck.”
“Well I guess you were wrong for once, right Neal?” Steve replies as he tosses the keys up in the air as he walks away towards the car.
“Well boys it was nice to meet you and take it easy with the car she’s practically brand new.” The Sheriff replies as he shakes Neal’s hand.
“Will do Sheriff thanks for your help.” Neal replies.
“Anytime. Just leave the car in front of the office.” The Sheriff replies.
“Will do.” Neal replies as he walks off and he joins Steve at the car, who by now was already in the driver’s seat and revving the engine.
“Hey cool it man didn’t you hear the Sheriff?” Neal replies.
“Yeah, yeah she’s practically brand new.” Steve replies as he puts it into drive and he follows behind the tow truck.
“How’s your headache?” Neal asks.
Steve is silence for a minute then he turns and looks at Neal. “One of them is gone.” Steve says with just a touch of sarcasm. Then he looks back at the road.
Neal scratches his head. “Maybe I should drive if you…”
“You always get to drive.” Steve replies as he continues to follow the tow truck out of the quarry.
Neal, up to now has been a lot of things in his life, but a fool isn’t one of them. He knew by Steve’s tone, which was odd , that he had his panties in a serious wad about something or other so Neal decided to just let it go and keep his mouth shut. That is until….
Steve yawns loudly then he says, “This is boring.”
“What’s boring?” Neal asks as he looks out the passenger side window.
“This.” Steve replies.
Then Neal felt the car accelerating and as he looks he sees the back end of the tow truck growing ever closer.
“Steve what are you doing?”
Steve ignores him as a eerie, little smile creeps over his face.
“Steve….you’re getting a little close.” Neal replies as he places one hand on the dash board to brace himself as his other hand has a death grip on the door handle.
Steve stills smiles that creepy smile as he accelerates even more then at the last possible second, he turns the steering wheel to the left, then when he was clear of the tow truck, he punched the accelerator. Much to the surprise of the tow truck driver and of course, Neal.
Steve lets out a loud cry as he passes the tow truck.
“Now was that fun or what!” Steve replies.
“Steve, what are you doing? We have to stay with the tow truck!” Neal replies as
Steve gathers even more speed putting the tow truck far behind them.
“Oh come on Neal don’t be such a killjoy! Let’s open this baby up and see what she can do!! Have some fun once in your dull, drab life!!”
Then at that exact moment Steve turned his head and he looked at Neal and for Neal, for just a second, a split second he saw….something. What it was he wasn’t sure but Steve’s face had changed, his expression, his countenance and his eyes, especially his eyes. They were cold, devoid of anything….especially life. They were evil.
Up to the point where this whole, crazy scene started the car was warm but now it was….cold. Like January cold, driving in the dead of winter with all the windows down.
Steve laughs a maniacal laugh that Neal has never, ever heard before.
Steve laughs again and he smiles as he shakes his head.
“So sorry Steve isn’t here at the moment, care to leave a message, Neal old buddy?”
Neal cringes at the way this thing says his name.
“Who are you?” Neal asks sheepishly.
Steve smiles. “I wouldn’t want to brag and it would take way too long to explain but for arguments sake, let’s just say you don’t believe in me. Do you Neal? Old buddy?”
Steve then reaches out and he pats Neal on the leg which causes Neal to jump and shy away.
“This is some car Neal, it has great handling and speed just watch how it takes this curve!” Steve replies as he takes the curve at a high rate of speed. “Legion.”
“What?” Neal replies not sure he had heard him right.
“I said Legion. That is who I am and we are many and Neal….” Steve looks at him again. “….You’re in some really, deep shit right now!” Steve laughs that maniacal laugh again.
“Let me out.” Neal replies.
“You’re joking right?” Steve says.
“If you don’t stop I’ll jump.” Neal replies.
Steve laughs. “No you won’t. Besides you don’t have the balls to jump, and if you did you would be killed and you don’t want to leave Ruby and the baby, now
do ya, Neal?”
Neal sits up straighter in the car seat. “Don’t….!”
Steve pretends to be offended. “Don’t what? Oh I see you don’t want me to say her precious name do ya Neal. Well then okay how about this, you wouldn’t leave Steve, would ya? You couldn’t. You know Neal I just don’t get all that close, togetherness crap! Lovey, dovey best friends shit!”
As Steve talks away Neal notices the road getting even more winding, with twists and turns and this Steve imposter doesn’t miss a beat.
“What do you want?” Neal asks.
“What do I want? Well you see it’s simple really, right now I want some fun! You see this Steve character is a real goody-goody or….” Steve replies as he holds up one finger as he looks in Neal’s direction. “Or he wants you to think he’s Lilly white, that’s he’s a good guy….”
“Steve is a good guy!” Neal counters back.
This causes Steve to laugh. “Oh you’re such a naïve son of a bitch aren’t you
“How do you feel about a game of chicken, Neal old buddy?”
Neal at this point, in this Twilight Zone episode that had suddenly become his life, was still working on the ‘naïve son of a bitch’ remark when Steve asked the question.
“Chicken?” Neal asks.
“Come on Neal try and keep up okay! I said how do you feel about a game of chicken?” Steve asks again.
“I….” Neal starts to say but he doesn’t finish because off in the distance, coming in their direction, was a station wagon.
Neal once again grabs the dash board. “Okay look, you’ve made your point, just back off.”
Steve smiles as he shakes his head. “No can do Neal, old buddy!”
“Steve or whoever you are, stop!”
“Stop Steve! Are you alright Steve! What are you doing Steve? Where are you going Steve? You know I’m sick of this guy Steve! Steve is gone Neal! GONE! I’m in control now….”
And with that all Neal could do was watch as the car grew closer and as it did Steve drove into the other lane, headed in it’s direction. The driver of the other car was leaning on his horn and all the while Steve was barreling towards it, the evil grin on his face. As the distance lessen between them, with what seemed to be just seconds before a head on collision the other car veered to the right, still leaning on his horn. The car flew off the road and after it did a 360 it came to rest in a ditch, rocking on all four tires engulfed in a mighty cloud of dust.
Steve lets out a yell as he looks back over his shoulder. “Loser!! Wasn’t that fun Neal? Who would have thought that a hick Sheriff, from a hick town would have a car like this! Guess what Neal?”
By now Neal was white and he doesn’t know how he didn’t lose his breakfast back there, he was sure his eyes were closed, just waiting for the inevitable crash to happen and when it didn’t he suddenly felt drained. He glances over at whatever it is sitting next to him.
“Oh come on Neal what’s wrong? You don’t look so good. Ahhh poor baby….you know Neal, I changed my mind I kinda like this guy, and I just might stick around awhile.” Steve replies as he looks at Neal. “I could really loosen this guy up! So Neal, old buddy old pal, isn’t that what he calls you? Huh isn’t it? Old buddy, old pal there’s a new sheriff in town and you….” Steve points at Neal. “Better get use to it! Get it! Ha! New Sheriff in town! Get it? And oh….just one more thing….” Steve replies as he holds up one finger. “I wonder how Ruby will like me now?!” Steve says as he leans in closer wriggling his eyebrows at him.
That was the very last straw and that is when Neal drew that line in the sand and he proceeded to cross over it. In one swift motion he was over in Steve’s space, or whatever this thing was, and he had both hands on the steering wheel, fighting this alien thing for it.
“Oh you want to play? Alright, Neal give it your best shot!” Steve replied as he fought for control over the steering wheel.
The car was back and forth across the lanes of the road as they both fought for control of the steering wheel then Neal saw an opportunity and he took it, one hand left the steering wheel as it crept down to the keys, hanging down from the ignition getting closer and closer. If he could only get to them then he could turn the car off then he….
But that was when Steve suddenly reached out with one hand, at an incredible speed and strength that Neal didn’t know he had, and he grabbed Neal around his neck. Neal’s hands quickly flew up to Steve’s wrist in a desperate attempt to stop himself from being choked.
“Do you really think you were going to get away with that? Huh? Well did you Neal?!” Steve replies as he gives Neal a good, hard shake.
“Steve….I….can’t….” Neal says as he manages to eek out a few words. His eyes watering from the effort.
“You can’t what Neal? Breath? Ahhhh poor baby! You know Neal you are a real jackass! I don’t know how what’s his name puts up with you! Now, just speaking for myself, I would have killed you a long time ago!!!”
“Please….I’m begging….you!” Neal replies.
“Oh you’re begging me? Oh….you will never know how much I enjoy hearing that! I will collect on that later but for now, you are getting on my nerves!!”
And with that and Neal doesn’t know how it happened but he soon found himself in the back seat of the squad car, with said squad car going at a good clip down the road. He could hear that thing, in the front seat, humming to himself and then he would laugh, a high pitched laugh, entangled with an evil chuckle. Neal could see Steve’s head above the seat, moving back and forth to some weird music only this thing could hear.
Neal raised himself up slightly from the back seat and he was just in time to see the sign go by that said that they were a mere ten miles from Lucas, the same town they started out from this morning. Neal knew he had to do something, he couldn’t let this thing get back to that town, he couldn’t let it have Steve. Once they got back to town it would be too late, he didn’t know what this thing’s plans were but by all indications they weren’t happy, go lucky plans.
Neal’s hand instinctively went down to the butt of his gun as he looked at the back of Steve’s head, no he couldn’t do that, there had to be another way….then he just happened to glance down. Between the driver’s seat and the door was a gap, just a big enough gap that he was able to spot the solution. Now if only he could get to it.
Neal didn’t want to do it because he knew what it could do. How fast were they going anyway? 50 to 60 miles per hour? They both could end up….well dead. But then again what were the options? None. Absolutely none. The longer he laid there in the back seat the more miles were being eaten up and the closer the town of Lucas became. So after he said a silent prayer to himself he slowly sat up on the edge of the backseat right behind the driver’s seat.
The minute this thing took over Steve he knew it was going to be a good day! Yes indeedy! A red letter banner of a day!! He really knew how to pick them! Yes siree Bob! This Steve walking meat suit was not a bad looking sort, as a matter of fact he had a level of sex appeal he could really capitalize on. He had plans for this one, oh yes he did. Not to mention the fact this Steve character seem to be a cop! Oh yeah that just sweeten the pot even more! With a badge and a gun there was no limit to what he couldn’t or wouldn’t do but as with all things there was a fly in the ointment. A big fly.
And his name was Neal. That guy was going to put a big cramp in his style. But he had to laugh, Neal seemed oblivious and naïve to the things Steve did in his past. If only he knew….this Steve meat suit was a little stiff and it would take a little loosening up to get him to fit like he wanted. He might go slow at first, have him do some little, evil deeds, nothing too severe but when he sees Steve start to catch on and his will is no longer his own, well then that is when the bigger stuff starts….like….maybe Neal’s wife. Oh yeah….this thing could just see it now….and he smiles as he imagines it….Steve banging Neal’s precious wife….oh boy….
The best way to handle this, Neal reasoned, to get to where he needed to be was to really piss this thing off good and proper. So Neal grabbed a handful of it’s hair and he slammed the Thing’s head into the steering wheel, not once but twice. And that seem to do the trick because what happened next Neal had no way of predicating.
The Thing after Neal slammed it’s head for the second time into the steering slowly raised it’s head up, and like something out of the Exorcist, the Thing turned it’s head around and looked at Neal. The impact from the steering wheel had opened a big gash on it’s forehead and blood was running down it’s face. And then it grinned at Neal.
Neal wanted to run, get away from this nightmare in front of him but he couldn’t and he had to see his plan thru he only hoped that if he lived thru this that he could forget this moment but if it killed him well then it wouldn’t matter.
“Oh Neal you’re going to be sorry that you did that.”
And with that it reached out over the back seat and grabbed Neal by the collar of his jacket and he drug him over the seat and Neal knew Steve, or whatever this was, was going to toss him threw the windshield. He had enough strength to do it. So Neal stopped his forward motion with his hands bracing himself against the dash board.
This Thing loved to drive this car and now with Neal in the backseat out of his way he can really open her up. Taking the curves with ease, a few cars passed them and when the people in the cars recognized the car as the Sheriff’s then would wave and of course, the Thing, being the outgoing demon that he is, he would wave back and smile. This car had all sort of bells and whistles and he was just about to reach over and turn on the lights and siren when he felt Neal grabbed a handful of hair from behind and then his head made contact with the steering wheel, once then twice. After the second time he slowly raised his head, blood running down his face, then he turned his head completely around and looked at Neal.
“Oh Neal you’re going to be sorry that you did that.”
And with that it reached out over the back seat and grabbed Neal by the collar of his jacket and he drug him over the seat it’s intention was to toss Neal out thru the windshield but then Neal stopped himself, his hands braced up against the dash.
The next thing Neal heard was the siren come on and then the lights and the Thing’s laughter.
“I will say Neal that I didn’t give you much credit but for a human you aren’t bad, you’re stupid, but not bad!”
“Steve I know you’re in there somewhere, if you can hear me, forgive me.” Neal replies.
The Thing laughs it’s sinister laugh. “Forgive you? There is no such thing….”
The sound of the siren is deafening. Bouncing off everything and coming back to rest in Neal’s head blocking out all thoughts except what he needed to do so he reached down to the emergency brake that was on his left.
“You shouldn’t do that….” The Thing says as it notices what Neal is doing.
“It’s the only chance we have….” Neal replies as he looks back at it.
“No….no….” The Thing replies.
Neal looks back at the emergency brake then he turns the handle. “God forgive me….”
The Thing reaches for Neal. “There is no god!!!”
Neal closes his eyes then he pulls up on the emergency brake.
The effect was immediate and severe. The second he pulled that emergency brake the brakes locked up on the car, which sent it skidding sideways across the road and the right front passenger tire into a pothole. Once the car hit that pothole it became airborne and in slow motion, a four ton, hunk of metal suddenly became weightless. It flipped once thru the air, the noise it made was a death knell, the sound of metal as it was pushed and pulled into ways that it was never meant to as the siren continued to wail and the lights continued to flash.
It had just enough momentum to make one more rotation then when gravity took over, it plummeted to the ground, landing with a sound that was akin to an explosion. The ground rocked from the impact as if there had been an earthquake and the siren let loose with, one last mournful wail, then it fell silent. The car rocked to and fro on it’s roof and then it also eventually came to a stop, the cloud of dust settled, and then there was….silence.
LUCAS COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL TWO DAYS LATER:
It was a nightmare, they were traveling in a car and Steve was possessed. Oh yeah it was a nightmare alright and by all indications it was a doozy! But no matter how many times Neal pinched himself he wouldn’t wake up. Now Steve’s head was turning all the way around to look at him, just like girl in the Exorcist! Oh yeah this was a nightmare. And that was when Neal sat up in bed.
“Easy sugar, take it easy.” Ruby replies as she puts her hand on his arm.
“Ruby?” Neal looks at her.
“Yes sugar it’s me. We’ve all been awfully worried about you.” Ruby replies as she pushes Neal back down on the bed.
“We?” Neal asks.
“Yes the Captain is here also, we have been waiting for you to wake up. You’ve been asleep for two days.” Ruby replies.
“Two….? Where’s Steve?” Neal looks at Ruby.
“He’s in the next room.” Ruby replies as she looks back over her shoulder.
“You had a car accident, you and Steve. It’s a miracle you two weren’t killed or hurt worse than what you were. Everybody here at the hospital is talking about it.”
Neal sits up again. “Car accident? You mean Steve isn’t….we aren’t dead? I thought it was a….dream?”
“No sugar it wasn’t a dream. Oh Neal I was so scared!” Ruby replies when she puts her hand on his cheek. “The doctor’s weren’t sure if you would wake up or how you would be when or if you did, oh Neal the baby and I, we need you.”
Neal moves his hand down to her stomach. “Ruby, maybe you shouldn’t be here.”
“No I needed to be here for you and Steve.”
“Steve how is he….?”
Ruby nods her head. “He will be alright, he has a lot of cuts and scrapes and he has a bad gash on his forehead, he will be bruised for days, but the doctors say he will be alright. Neal do you remember what happened? What caused the accident?”
Neal shakes his head. “No I….”
“The tow truck driver said that he saw some strange things, do you know what he means?” Ruby asks.
Neal looks at her then he grabs his head. “No, no I don’t.”
Ruby smiles at him with tears in her eyes. “Don’t worry about it now sugar, I’m going to go and tell the nurse that you’re awake. The Captain would probably like to see you, too.” Ruby grabs his hand then she leans over and kisses him.
“I’m so glad that you’re going to be alright. I love you.”
“I love you too Ruby.”
Neal watches her as she gets up and leaves the room and a few minutes later Captain Reynolds comes into the room and when he gets to the bed he grabs Neal’s hand.
“Neal we thought we had lost you, after seeing the car it’s a miracle you two survived it.”
“It’s totaled?” Neal asks.
Captain Reynolds nods his head. “It’s beyond totaled. Later we have to talk about what happened Neal, about the accident. Needless to say the Sheriff is not very happy.”
“No I would think not.” Neal replies.
“But for now you have to rest and get better, both of you.” The Captain puts his hand on the top of Neal’s head as he says, “Don’t ever scare me like that again, okay?”
Neal smiles at him. “Sure Cap.”
Then they hear the chimes that signal the end of visiting hours.
“I’ll see you later.”
Soon after the Captain left the nurse came in to check his vitals and update his chart.
“So Mr. Schon how do you feel?” The nurse asks.
Neal thinks about this. “All things considering I guess I feel okay. But I’m worried about my buddy, Steve, the guy who came in with me. How’s he doing?”
The nurse hugs the clipboard to her chest. “He’s going to be okay. Would you like to talk to someone?”
“Someone? What do you mean by someone?” Neal asks.
“We have a fine psychiatrist on staff….”
Neal laughs. “Why, why would I need a psychiatrist?”
“Because when you came in you were babbling incoherently. Something about your partner being possessed, that you had to do what you did and when we tried to put you two in the same room you became violent.”
“Violent?” Neal replies.
“Oh yes you absolutely refused to share a room with him, you said that you were afraid of….”
Neal holds up one hand. “Okay I get the picture.”
“Well, if you decide to talk to the Psychiatrist just let the Doctor know when he comes to see you. Your dinner will be here soon.” The nurse replies as she puts the chart back at the foot of the bed. “I think tonight it’s meatloaf.”
“Thanks Nurse.” Neal replies at her as she leaves the room.
A psychiatrist? Does he need a psychiatrist? He became violent when they try to put him and Steve in the same room? Neal rubs his hand over his face. His dinner tray arrived right on time and the nurse was right, it was meatloaf. After two days asleep Neal would have thought he would be hungry, but he wasn’t.
What he really wanted to do was see Steve.
Neal took a look around and he noticed that he wasn’t tethered to any sort of I.V. but from the holes in his hand he was at one time. He threw back the sheets on the bed and he noticed his real clothes were gone and he was wearing one of those, embarrassing hospital gowns. He was also wearing hospital socks and after he threw his legs over the side of the bed, he also noticed the hospital slippers. Sitting up on the edge of the bed was an effort he found out, he was a little dizzy so he closed his eyes and sat there for a minute or two then he stood up.
Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down Neal thinks to himself as he walks on unsteady feet to the closet and when he opens it he finds that Ruby had brought him his robe and he was grateful as he put it on. He slowly makes his way to the door and when he opens it he looks out in the hallway, looking in both directions, then he stepped out in the hallway.
He wasn’t sure exactly where Steve’s room was so he decided to try to the right and was glad that he did since there was only two rooms in this hallway. Neal gets to 212 and he slowly opens the door and he looks in, he sees Steve curled up on the bed on his side, his dinner tray untouched.
Neal was just about to leave when Steve turns his head.
“Hey.” Steve says.
“Hey yourself.” Neal says back with their standard greeting as he comes into the room.
“Not hungry kiddo?” Neal replies as he points to the tray.
Steve rolls over onto his back as he puts his hand on the railing of the bed and Neal covers it with his own. Neal sees that Steve has huge bandage on his forehead.
“Wow that is quite a shiner you got going on there.” Neal replies.
“I’ve been trying to sort stuff out.” Steve replies as he touches his eye.
“Sort stuff out?” Neal asks.
“Yeah Neal what am I doing here….what are we doing here?” Steve looks up at him.
“You….you don’t remember what happened?”
Steve grabs Neal’s hand harder. “I’ve heard them say something about a car accident? And how’s it’s a miracle we’re still alive! Neal!! I must be going crazy! I don’t remember any car accident!”
“Steve it’s alright….”
“No it isn’t alright! If it was that bad and everybody in this place is freaking out because it was that bad, Neal, I’ve heard them talking, the nurses! They said nobody should have survived that accident!! Nobody! If it was that bad….WHY DON’T I REMEMBER?!”
Neal looks over his shoulder.” Sshhh! Steve take it easy.”
“No! Neal you’re the only one I can trust to tell me the truth.”
“What is the last thing you do remember?” Neal ask.
Steve grabs his head. “Hmmm we were at the Quarry looking at the Professor’s car and I had a god awful headache.”
“Then?” Neal asks.
“Then nothing. Neal it was bad right, I mean really bad, did somebody else get killed? Were you driving….?”
Neal bites his lip then he reaches down and he lets the rail down then he sits down on the bed.
“No Steve no one else was killed or hurt, it was just us.”
“Then what?” Steve looks at him with that shiner and that bandage on his forehead, his eyes begging him for something.
Now this where the rubber hit’s the road Neal thinks. Does he tell him the whole truth, Steve you were possessed by something called Legion, who wanted to have some fun at your expense. You, well not you exactly, ran another car off into the ditch while playing a game of chicken. You, well not you exactly, did one hell of a good job of scaring the hell out of me Neal thinks. And it all has to do with this damn case we’re working on, the Professor and the devil worshippers and because I don’t believe….
“It was a deer.” Neal replies as he looks Steve in the eye.
“A deer….we swerved… .I mean I swerved so we wouldn’t hit a deer.” Neal replies.
Steve looks hard at him. “A deer? I don’t remember anything….”
“Don’t worry about it now just….”
Just the way Steve says his name sounds accusatory and the way he looks takes him back to the car, Neal has a distinct feeling that Steve knows that he is, what, lying? Stretching the truth? Saving whatever is left of his and Steve’s fragile sanity.
“Did I do something….?” Steve asks as he picks at the blanket.
“Bad. Did I do something bad?”
Neal shakes his head. “No Steve….”
“Then why does it feel like I did? There’s something just beyond my reach and I can’t make it out, like something off in the distance.” Steve says as he puts his hand up to his forehead.
“Steve you took a good blow to the head and I think this case with the Professor is getting to all of us. We haven’t had to deal with anything like this in the past.”
“The Professor is dead isn’t he?” Steve asks.
Neal nods his head. “I would think at this point it’s a good bet.”
“There’s something standing in our way Neal, it doesn’t want us to know what happened, we’re getting too close to the truth.” Steve replies.
“Steve we’re miles away from any sort of truth here….”
“The voice in my head tells me no….” Steve replies as he looks down at the blanket.
Neal feels the hair on the back of his neck stand up. “The voice in your head”
“I just don’t feel like I’m alone. Neal you know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you, I mean on purpose, you know that right?” Steve looks at him.
“Sure….Steve I know that. I don’t understand….”
“How many more do you think we have left, I mean, you and I?”
Neal looks at Steve and he sees that the question is a sincere one. “I’m not sure what you mean how many of what do we have left?”
“Lives.” Steve looks at him.
Suddenly Neal doesn’t like where this conversation is going. “Lives?”
“We seem to have nine lives, you and I, I just wonder after this accident how many do we have….left?”
“I….” Neal didn’t have an answer for him and he didn’t have to supply one for him since their conversation was interrupted by the opening of the door to the room.
“Well Mr. Schon there you are, I think it’s best we let Mr. Perry rest don’t you?”
The doctor replies as he holds the door open. “And it’s time for you to have some x-rays.”
Neal looks back at Steve.
“Mr. Perry you didn’t eat your dinner….again.” The doctor replies as he comes into the room and he picks up one of the covers on the tray looking at it quickly he sits it back down, then he picks up chart at the end of the bed making a notation in it.
“I wasn’t really hungry.” Steve replies as he tries to avoid Neal’s eyes.
“Mr. Perry we talked about this if you don’t start eating on your own, it’s been two days.” The doctor replies.
“Steve! Two days?”
“Oh stop it Neal I ate breakfast this morning, it’s not a big deal.”
“Two slices of toast and a cup of coffee Mr. Perry. Mr. Perry if something doesn’t change we will have to provide you with nutrition, do we understand each other?”
“Yes doctor.” Steve replies feeling duly scolded.
“Have you had any sleep Mr. Perry?” The doctor asks.
Steve doesn’t answer he just sits there as he lets out a great sigh.
“Steve the doctor asked you a question.” Neal prompts.
“I heard him! Are you my father all of a sudden? Leave me alone!” Steve snaps back at him which causes Neal to look back over his shoulder at the doctor then Neal gets to his feet.
“Alright Mr. Perry that does it, I’m going to have the nurse come and give you a sedative.”
“No wait you don’t have to….” Steve begs him.
“I don’t want you wandering the halls tonight Mr. Perry. You been thru a traumatic event, for whatever reason you two are a walking miracle. Anybody else would have been killed in that accident and you Mr. Perry aren’t 100 percent yet.”
“Oh I feel alright.” Steve protests.
“I’m not talking physically Mr. Perry.”
Now both Neal and Steve look at him.
“We have someone here that I would like you to talk to….” The doctor replies.
“Do we have to do this with him here?” Steve replies as he points at Neal.
“You two are in this together don’t you think Mr. Perry?”
Neal scratches his head as he looks at the floor and as Steve moves around in the bed.
“Not sleeping and not eating won’t help this matter any Mr. Perry, it won’t make what you’re suffering from go away, do I make myself clear? Mr. Perry?”
“Crystal.” Steve replies as he pulls the blankets closer up to his neck.
“Good I’ve have the nurse come in and give you that sedative, let’s go Mr. Schon.”
“Neal?!” Steve looks up at him from that bed and Neal thinks he looks more like a kid than he does a grown man.
“Hey doc can’t I just….” Neal asks.
“No I don’t think so Mr. Schon.” The doctor replies as he holds the door open to the room for him.
Neal looks back at Steve. “I’m sorry Steve I’ll see you later.”
After Neal leaves the room the doctor follows and he goes to the near by nurses station and he tells the nurse what he wants.
“Nurse Mr. Perry needs a sedative. 15 cc sure do the trick.”
“Was that necessary back there? He wanted me to stay with him!” Neal replies.
“Mr. Schon you have been asleep for two days unlike your friend in there who hasn’t slept for two days and who hasn’t really eaten much either. Do you know what he has been doing for these past two days?”
Neal shakes his head.
“Of course you don’t. Every night he would pace the halls then we would find him in your room, just standing at your bedside looking at you.”
“I don’t see how that is so bad….” Neal replies.
“It’s called guilt Mr. Schon.”
Neal looks at the floor as he moves his foot around. “Guilt? For what exactly?”
“I don’t know I thought maybe you could tell me? I have seen it a hundred times in survivors of car accident, it’s called survivor’s guilt, but in this case no one died. You two aren’t even seriously injured but your friend is punishing himself .”
“Punishing himself?” Neal asks.
“Yes withholding food from oneself could be considered a punishment, in his mind he has done something, something so horrible he can’t stand it so he’s punishing himself and this is the way he has chosen to do it. If he doesn’t get any better or if he doesn’t choose to get better then we will have to move him up to the fifth floor.”
“The fifth floor?”
“It’s the Mental Evaluation Ward.” The doctor simply says.
Then it suddenly dawns on Neal and he gets angry. “You mean it’s the loony bin! You’re going to put Steve in a padded cell?”
“It’s not the loony bin Mr. Schon it’s the Mental Evaluation Ward.”
“You can give it all the cutesy names that you want but it’s still the loony bin!
Steve isn’t crazy, he’s the sanest person I know!”
“Not today he isn’t.” The doctor replies.
“Look doc we’re homicide detectives from Oceanview and we’re working a homicide case and it’s the worse one we’ve ever had and I guess it’s messing with our minds.”
“It wouldn’t be the one with the Professor would it?” The doc asks.
Neal nods his head. “Yeah. You know about that?”
The doctor smiles. “Even out here in the country Mr. Schon we have television and newspapers.”
Despite the situation Neal smiles at this. “Yeah I suppose you do.”
“I know with what you have going on you probably want to get out of here as fast as you can.” The doctor replies.
“Yeah we losing ground as we speak doc.”
“Depending on how the x-rays look you could be discharged tomorrow or the day after but I think you should stick around until at least Friday, I think Mr. Perry needs to stay longer and I think he would be more comfortable with you around. Would I be wrong in thinking that?” The doctor asks.
“No you wouldn’t be wrong. What did you mean when you said that you would have to provide him with nutrition?” Neal asks.
“We would have to insert an IV and feed him that way.”
“Alright Mr. Schon here’s your wheelchair the nurse is going to take you to get your x-rays.”
A DAY AND HALF LATER LUCAS COUNTY MEMORIAL HOSPITAL:
Since Steve and Neal were going to be at the hospital awhile the Captain brought over the files and other things they needed to continue their investigation into the Professor’s disappearance and which now look to be his certain death.
Neal was pouring over notes and the report from the crime scene techs who processed the Professor’s torched vehicle when Steve came into the room.
“There you are where have you been?” Neal asks.
“Oh you know upstairs.” Steve replies. “Oh is that the report on the Professor’s car?”
“Yeah it says there were no remains of a body found in the car but they might have been blood in the trunk, no fingerprints, no nothing. Just a burnt out hunk of a car.”
Steve looks thru the report. “They did a good job of destroying evidence. Oh can I see that map?” Steve asks as he points to the box.
Neal reaches over and he hands Steve the map which he spreads out on the floor.
“Steve what are you doing?”
“Looking for the quarry and there it is! Maybe we can figure out where the Professor’s body is, we know it isn’t in the quarry, so maybe it’s in Lucas county somewhere.”
“Well Steve you know Lucas county is a big place we would need dogs, a lot of people to search….Steve why do I get the idea that there is something going on here?” Neal asks.
“Well I do have an idea….” Steve replies.
Neal throws his pencil across the table. “I knew it! What is it exactly?”
“Exactly?” Steve repeats.
“I have to show you.” Steve replies.
“You have to show me?” Neal repeats.
Steve then goes over to the door and he opens it and from out in the hallway he brings into the room a young lady.
“Neal this is Sara.” Steve says happily.
“Hiya Sara. Steve?”
Sara waves back as she smiles and she says, “You’re going to have a son.”
Neal looks shocked then he says as he points at Steve. “You told her to say that!”
Steve laughs. “No I didn’t! Neal she can help us….”
“Steve.” Neal interrupts.
“To find the….”
“Steve.” Neal interrupts again.
“Professor’s body. Neal she’s a….”
“Steve don’t say it!”
“Psychic!!!” Steve says happily.
“Steve can I see you outside. Excuse us Sara.” Neal grabs Steve by his arm and he walks, drags him out to the hall.
“Ow!” Steve replies.
“Steve what have you been doing? You know how I feel about….about.”
“Psychics!” Steve replies. “Neal she can help us find the Professor’s body!”
“Steve have you been talking to her about this homicide case, you know you aren’t….”
“Neal she’s a psychic I didn’t have to tell her anything she already knew because she’s a….”
“Psychic yes I know. Where did you meet her?” Neal asks.
“What?” Steve asks.
“I said where did you meet her?” Neal asks again.
“Oh you know here in the hospital, around here in the hospital.”
“Steve I’m not going to chase you around Robin Hood’s barn so just give!!”
“Oh alright I met her on the, you know, fifth floor.” Steve replies as he points up.
“Where you were talking to the head shrinker?” Neal asks.
“That is a crude way to put it but yes.” Steve replies as he puts his hands on his hips.
“Steve.” Neal replies as he rubs his eyes and he takes a deep breath.
“Does she work here at the hospital?” Neal asks.
“No not exactly.” Steve replies.
“A candy striper?” Neal asks.
“No not exactly.” Steve answers.
“Was she visiting somebody?”
“No not exactly.” Steve replies.
Neal rubs his eyes again. “Alright Steve, if she doesn’t work here, and she’s not a volunteer and she’s not visiting somebody then that leaves one last option. Steve she’s a….”
“Patient.” Steve finishes for him.
“On the fifth floor?” Neal asks as he points up.
“Well no not exactly, you see she has migraines.” Steve replies.
“Migraines? Oh I see they put you on the fifth floor, which is the loony bin floor….”
Steve raises one finger. “Be nice Neal you know I was on that floor.”
“Alright I’m sorry. Why is she on the fifth floor?”
“Well because she’s new to this physic thing….” Steve explains.
“So she’s a rookie psychic?”
“I guess you could say that but she’s trying to get a handle on this psychic thing and she was just upstairs talking to someone about it.” Steve replies.
“Steve you brought us a rookie psychic?” Neal asks.
“Neal any port in the storm as they say.” Steve replies as he shrugs.
“As they say?” Neal repeats.
“Neal we might as well give her a try, she’s here and she wants to help. At least it will let us find the Professor’s body and give his niece some closure. I know it’s not the outcome we had hope for but at least for his family it is an outcome.”
“Alright Steve but you know how I feel about these things not let’s make this a habit, okay?” Neal replies.
“Great!” Steve replies as he heads back to the room but Neal grabs him by his arm again.
“One more thing. How do we explain to the Captain how we found the Professor’s body?”
Steve shrugs. “We’re just tell him it’s one of our hunches or we had a confidential informant, we’re cross that bridge when we come to it. Okay?”
Neal thinks it about for a second. “Okay I guess.”
Once back in the room they see Sara seating crossed-legged on the floor with the map in front of her and she is looking intently at it.
“Sara?” Steve asks.
“Do you have anything of the Professor’s?” Sara asks.
Neal who is closer to the box goes over to it and he rummages around in it then he comes across the folder.
“We have the picture of him we gave out to the media, would that….”
“Give it to me.” Sara replies.
Neal goes over and he hands the picture to Sara as he looks at Steve.
Immediately when she takes the picture she has a sudden intake of breath and she sits up straighter.
“Bad! Bad! Very bad!”
“Sara.” Steve replies softly as he kneels next to her. “Can you tell us where he is?”
Sara begins to rock back and forth as she clutches the picture. “It’s somewhere you’ve been before but you haven’t been there.”
Steve looks up at Neal.
“You have to look for the blind scarecrow….” Sara replies.
Steve looks up at Neal again.
“A blind scarecrow, what does that mean?” Neal asks.
“It will be close by where two roads come together.” Sara replies.
Then all of a sudden her eyes fly open and she throws the picture aside and she stands up which throws Steve off guard and he falls backwards onto his butt.
“I have to go!” Sara replies as she runs across the room to the door.
“Sara wait.” Steve replies as he gets up off of the floor and he runs after her.
“What is it?”
“I can’t talk about it!” Sara replies as she throws open the door and she runs out of the room with Steve close behind her.
Thirty minutes later Steve returns.
“Is she alright?” Neal asks as he looks at the map.
“She won’t talk to me, she’s upset.” Steve replies. “I think whatever she saw scared her.”
“She was very cryptic Steve, what did she mean by a place we’ve been to before but we haven’t been there?”
Steve shrugs. “I don’t know but she told me it comes to her like that, disjointed pieces and places, it’s not all clear to her.”
“Steve you know I hate this freaky dinky stuff.”
“I know you do but at least we going home tomorrow.”
“I’m glad, I’m ready for things to get back to normal.” Neal replies.
THE 9TH PRECINCT DETECTIVES OFFICE TWO DAYS LATER:
“Steve there is no way we can get thru all of these messages.” Neal replies as he holds up a handful of them.
“Yeah and most of them are from that insurance claim adjuster guy about the Sheriff’s car.”
“I know that but we don’t have time to mess with him now we have to coordinate the search team to get out to Lucas County to find the Professor’s body. I think we should concentrate on a ten mile radius from around the quarry.”
“Detectives Schon and Perry?”
Neal looks up to see a man wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.
“Yeah. Who are you?” Neal asks.
“My name is Fred Turner and I’m the insurance adjuster that’s been trying to get in touch with you.” He replies as he walks up to the desk and he holds out his card which Steve takes.
“Oh looky Neal it’s an insurance adjuster.” Steve replies.
“You know you two guys are hard to get a hold of.” Fred replies. “Now is there a room where we talk about the accident?”
Neal looks over at Steve. “Oh well we don’t have time for this right now.”
“Yeah man come back, say in a week or two, we’re busy.” Steve replies as he stands up and he puts Fred’s business card back in his pocket then he pats him
on the arm as he smiles.
Fred laughs. “Oh no you see my company The Tri-County Mutual Insurance Company on behalf of my client, the Lucas County Sheriff Department, requires a fast end to this matter. I’ve already talked to the tow truck driver, a Mr. Henderson and he gave a most interesting account. I need your side of the story gentlemen.” Then Fred smiling back at Steve puts his card in Steve’s jacket pocket then he pats him on the arm.
“Alright look now Fred my partner here all ready told you that we’re busy….” Neal replies.
“Yeah man we’re conducting an homicide investigation and we don’t have time for this falderal….” Steve replies as he gestures with his hand.
“Yeah what he just said.” Neal replies as he points at Steve.
Steve grabs him by the arm and he begins to walk him over to Alicia’s office.
“Tell you what Fred old boy you go in here and talk to our secretary Alicia and she’ll set you up with an appointment.”
As Fred was voicing his protests the phone rang at Neal’s desk which he quickly answered.
“9th Precinct Homicide….Ruby? What’s wrong?!”
When Steve heard the worry in Neal’s voice he immediately turned right around and went back to the desk.
“Neal what’s wrong?”
Neal holds up one hand. “There was a what? Where? Ruby where are you? Stay there with Ida and I’ll send a patrol car right over there. I know honey, I love you too. Steve and I are going to go right over there. Alright bye.”
“Neal is Ruby alright?”
“Yeah she’s fine but you have to leave!” Neal replies as he points at Fred then he punches a few numbers into the phone. “Yes Watch Commander this is Detective Schon I need you to send a patrol car to….” Neal then covers the phone with his hand. “….Alicia please get him out of here!”
“Come on Mr. Turner let’s go in my office and have a cup of coffee, you can make an appointment to see them later.” Alicia replies as she takes his arm.
“You two haven’t heard the end of me!”
“Send a patrol car to 1425 Walker Ave Apartment 2B, my wife and her friend are there. It has to do with a homicide investigation we’re working on….yeah that’s the one, okay thanks.”
“Neal what’s going on? Why is Ruby at Ida’s house? Why the Patrol car?”
Neal grabs his jacket. “They were out shopping, things for the baby and when they got back to the house there was something on the front door.”
“You mean like something at the Professor’s house?” Steve asks.
“Yeah we need to go.”
NEAL AND RUBY’S HOUSE:
“Alright Detective we went thru your whole house and we didn’t find anybody.” The patrol officer says to Neal.
“Thanks Walter I appreciate it.” Neal replies as he shakes his hand.
“Anytime. We’re keep the media and the looky lous out of the way.” Phil replies as he walks off.
“Hey boys I got here as fast as I could, is that the same thing that was on the Professor’s front door?” The Captain asks as he walks up.
“Yeah the same pentagram and ram’s head drawn in blood.” Steve replies.
“Anybody want to bet that’s it’s the Professor’s blood?” Neal asks.
“How’s Ruby?” The captain asks.
“Oh she’s shook up alright. Her and Ida out shopping for things for the baby and they come home to this. Ruby was calm enough to tell Ida to go back to her apartment. I’m just grateful she wasn’t at home when this happen. Damn it!! These maniacs know where I live!! Shit!! If anything happens to her or that baby, I, I’ll never forgive myself.”
“Neal we won’t let that happen.” Steve replies.
“No son.” The Captain replies as he puts his hand on Neal’s shoulder. “We won’t let that happen, I already arranged a safe house for Ruby and Ida.”
“Hey Detective Perry you have a call.” One of the patrol officers says as he holds up the mike.
“I’m busy take a message and I’ll call them back.”
“No can do Detective it’s Alicia and she says it’s urgent.”
Steve looks at Neal and the Captain. “Oh alright.”
Steve goes over to their car and he takes the mike away from the patrol officer.
“Yes Alicia go ahead. What?” Steve says loud enough that it causes Neal and the Captain to look in his direction. A few minutes later Steve runs back to them.
“We have another problem.”
“Their busy little bastards aren’t they?” Neal asks as they look at the front door of Steve’s apartment.
“All clear Detective.” The patrol officer says to Steve as he walks by.
“Well the landlord says that wasn’t here an hour ago.” Steve replies.
“He sounded pissed is everything okay?” Neal asks.
“Well no not really he did mention something about kicking my ass out on the street.” Steve replies.
“He can’t do that, can he?” Neal asks as he looks over at him.
“Oh I’m afraid so. He also mentioned something about that he’s tired of me bringing my work home with me and that the neighbors are scared.”
“Scared? I thought the neighbors were happy because you’re a cop!” Neal replies.
“Yeah well now their scared because I am a cop! But I think the thing that broke the camel’s back is when I told him that they have to take the front door for evidence. He’s going to charge me 72.50.”
Neal puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Well you know you can always live with me and Ruby until you find another place.”
“I know but I’ll have to worry about that later now we have a lot of work to do. This….is too much. Too much. This is where I live and now it’s been violated, your house has been violated. They are capable of anything and this proves it. Somewhere those hooded bastards are laughing at us. And now….this is war.”
Steve replies as he shrugs off Neal’s arm and he turns and walks off.
“Where are you going?” Neal asks.
“Church.” Steve replies as he walks off.
LUCAS COUNTY CA ,THE WILLIAMS FARM, THE NEXT DAY:
“Who found him?” Steve asks.
“The owner of the farm Mr. Williams and his son, he’s ten. They are pretty upset.” The deputy says to him.
“What his story?” Neal asks.
“Well, you can see that the corn in the field has been harvested.” The deputy continues. “Mr. Williams was going into town with his son when he drove by and saw that the scarecrow had been moved but not only had it been moved but it was hanging upside down. He just thought teenagers had been messing with it, so he pulled over to check on it and before he could stop him his son jumped out of the truck and ran over to it and you can see what he found.” The deputy replies as he points.
The corn field was large and in the middle of this cornfield was a scarecrow or what used to be a scarecrow. Now it was the Professor’s body, wearing the scarecrow’s clothes, hanging upside down.
“When did he drive by here last?” Steve asks.
“Yesterday and it wasn’t here then.” The deputy replies.
Steve scratches his head. “She said it would be at a place where we been to before and we have been to this county….before.”
“But haven’t been to before and this corn field is where we haven’t been to before and two roads come together, a crossroads.” Neal points out.
“Yeah.” Steve replies.
“What are you two guys talking about?” The deputy asks with a puzzled expression.
“Nothing. Look Deputy you do know where Mr. Williams lives, right?” Steve asks.
“Great. Why don’t you tell them to go back home I think they have seen enough of this, especially that kid.” Steve replies.
“And while you’re at it get some of your buddies and keep the media back.” Neal replies.
“Sure Detectives.” The Deputy replies as he walks off.
Out in the cornfield, surrounding the Professor, were numerous crime scene techs trying to erect some sort of cover to keep prying eyes away and in the midst of it all was Sam, the Medical Examiner.
“Boys.” Sam replies as they walk over to him.
“Sam. Neal do you notice anything or maybe I should say the lack of something?” Steve asks as he squats down and he looks around.
Neal looks around. “Yeah no tracks, no tire tracks or footprints and the ground is wet.”
“So how did they get him here?” Sam asks.
“Good question Doc.” Neal replies as Steve stands next to him and they look knowingly at one another.
“Photograph everything Phil.” Steve replies.
“You got it.” Phil replies.
“So Doc any initial thoughts?” Neal asks.
“The only thing missing is the crown of thorns. Look boys see here.” Sam replies as he gets closer to the body. “This is a well constructed cross and see how deep it goes into the ground, it looks like somebody took a pile driver and rammed it into the ground, and he’s been nailed to it.”
“Damn.” Neal replies as he rubs his eyes.
“Another thing his eyes are gone.” Sam replies.
“What!” Neal replies.
“A blind scarecrow.” Steve replies. “Just like Sara said.”
“Shouldn’t there be some blood somewhere?” Neal asks.
“Yes you would think so but the lack of blood tells me he was killed some place else and brought out here, and also there is a lack of decomposition.” Sam replies.
“Which means what exactly?” Steve asks.
“Well it could mean he was kept somewhere where it was cold.” Sam replies.
“You mean like a freezer or something like that?” Steve asks.
“It’s possible.” Sam replies.
“Oh brother. Neal replies.
“We have another problem boys.” Sam points out.
“And that would be what exactly?” Steve asks.
“We can’t transport him like this, I mean on this thing. We have to get him off somehow, I suggest we cut him down.” Sam replies.
“Technically wouldn’t that be destroying evidence?” Steve asks.
“Steve the way this case has been going I don’t see us finding any suspects let alone getting any convictions and this poor guy he needs to be treated with some dignity, he needs a proper burial.” Neal replies.
“I guess you’re right, okay Doc whatever you have to do then do it.”
“Hey detectives come here!”
Neal and Steve both turned to see the Deputy standing there waving at them to come over to the fence. Once they got over there the Deputy handed Neal a folded sheet of paper.
“What’s this?” Neal asks.
“It’s a note with your names on it.” The Deputy replies.
“Where did you find it?” Steve asks as Neal opens and reads it.
“On the windshield of one of the cars.” The Deputy replies.
“Did you see who left it?” Steve asks as he looks around.
The Deputy shrugs. “No.”
“Did anybody else see who left it?” Steve asks again.
“I don’t think so.” The Deputy replies again.
“You mean to tell me that all of these people out here didn’t see a thing?” Steve asks.
“Yes Detective that is what I’m telling you.”
“Neal what does it say?”
In the way of an answer Neal hands the note to Steve. “The Devil Believes….in you. Well do you still think it’s a bunch of bored, rich College students who’ve seen too many horror movies, Neal?”
Steve asks as he slams the piece of paper onto Neal’s chest. “Well do ya?”
“No I guess not.”
“Can I speak to you two for a minute?”
Steve and Neal both look at the same time to the all too familiar voice.
“Sheriff.” Steve replies.
“You know we want to say that we’re sorry….” Neal replies but is stopped by the Sheriff’s raised hand.
“I’ll make this quick. I know you boys have had a bad time with this case, I have seen it on the news and yes Detective Perry even in a hick town such as this we have television.”
Steve doesn’t say anything he just looks at the ground.
“I don’t know why these maniacs you’re after had to pick my county but when you’re finished here, I mean totally finished and that poor man is laid to rest I don’t want to see you in my county ever again. Do we understand each other?”
“Yes sir.” Neal and Steve both say at the same time.
“And if I ever do get wind of the fact that you are back in my county, the police brotherhood be damned I will find some reason to arrest you. This was a nice, quiet calm county until you two showed up, and now you brought this evil down upon us!”
“Are you saying this is our fault?!” Neal asks as he points to himself.
“I’m not some high and mighty detective from the big city I’m just a hick Sheriff from a hick town, isn’t that right Detective Perry?” The Sheriff replies as he looks at Steve.
“Look Sheriff I’m sorry about that….” Steve starts to say but he is interrupted by the Sheriff.
“But I do know that note isn’t a love note and those people are after you too. And whatever is going to happen to you two I don’t want it to happen here! The people that live here picked this place for a reason. Now as soon as possible I want all of your people to clear out and never come back. I am the law in this county, do we understand each other, Detectives?”
“Yes sir.” Steve and Neal say at the same time and they watch as the sheriff walks away.
“He was pissed.” Neal replies.
“And he has every reason to be, come on Neal let’s go and help Sam so we can
put this place behind us.” Steve replies.
THE MORGUE TWO DAYS LATER:
“Well boys it’s been a long, bad two days. I’ve seen a lot of bad stuff in this job, man’s inhumanity to man and all of that but this tops it.” Sam replies.
“How did he die doc?” Steve asks.
“Slowly boys very slowly.” Sam replies.
Steve and Neal look at one another.
“First there was a blow to the back of his head, that probably happened back at his house on the day he disappeared and then he was tortured.” Sam replies.
“Tortured?” Neal asks.
“Yes tortured in every sense of the word. In addition to his eyes, his ears were cut off and so was his tongue.”
“His tongue?” Steve replies shocked.
“As in hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil?” Neal asks.
“Doc please tell us he was dead when all of that happen.” Steve replies.
Sam rubs his eyes. “I wish I could boys.”
“Jesus. What kind of people are we dealing with here?” Neal asks.
“Do you boys want my professional opinion?” Sam asks.
“Oh sure.” Steve replies.
“Of course.” Neal replies.
“This was ritualistic. He was tortured and his blood was drained from his body. The human body holds 6 quarts of blood and there wasn’t a drop left in him. I have seen this same thing a couple of times before, and it’s a classic case of devil worshippers.”
Steve and Neal look at each other.
“Now if the press was to ask me I would deny it. With the removal of his eyes, ears and tongue I would have to say he was being made an example of, he really pissed somebody off. “
“We think, somehow, he found out about a satanic ritual and he may have photographed it.” Neal replies.
“You see Doc he was writing a book about this sort of thing and I guess he was found out.” Steve replies.
Sam rubs his eyes. “You boys need to be careful. This isn’t four or five teenagers who got drunk one night and decided to sacrifice the neighbors cat. This is serious. The people who would do this are serious, card carrying, robe wearing, sacrificing people to the devil types. They are dangerous. Have you two asked each other how they got his body in that field without leaving any footprints or tire tracks?”
Steve scratches his head. “Yeah Doc we’ve talked about that and a hundred other things associated with this case.”
“Well the fingerprints tell me that he is Professor Stanley Clark. Does he have any family?” Sam asks.
“Oh shit! I forgot about his niece! I have to go and tell her before she founds out….” Steve replies as he gets up but Neal stops him.
“Steve it’s two o’clock in the morning.”
Steve looks up at the clock. “Oh yeah it is.”
“Alright boys you’re have my full report in a couple of days and when this case is over I’m going on vacation.” Sam replies.
“That sounds like a good idea. Come on Steve lets go home and try to get some rest.” Neal replies.
THE DETECTIVE’S SQUAD ROOM THE NEXT DAY:
Neal, after trying for the tenth time to call Steve, finally hung up the phone and he went back to the task at hand. Paperwork. Never ending paperwork. Neal was updating the folder in the Professor’s Clark case when he decided to give Steve another call and he was just reaching for the phone when he was interrupted.
“You have to see our secretary Alicia. Damn!” Neal replies as he slams down
“I didn’t see a secretary.”
Neal looks around. “Alicia! She must be in the back making coffee or something.”
Neal looks at the man who is carrying a briefcase and the suit he’s wearing seems to be new. His salt and pepper hair is to his collar and for some reason to Neal he looks familiar.
“If you’re an insurance adjuster I don’t have time, I’m working a case….”
“No I’m not an insurance adjuster my name is Jeremy, Jeremy Clark. My brother is Stanley Clark.”
At that Neal is up and out of his chair and he walks over to the man and he takes his briefcase from him and he moves the chair away from the desk.
“Oh Mr. Clark I’m so sorry, please sit down. Would you like a cup of coffee? I think I could even round up a Danish or two.” Neal asks.
“Oh yes please if you don’t mind, it was a very long flight.”
“I’ll be right back.”
A few minutes later Neal returned with some Danishes and two cups of coffee.
“Mr. Clark I am so sorry about your brother.”
“Please call me Jeremy and yes so am I. So it’s true something has happened to him? Something bad?”
“Yes I’m afraid so. We didn’t know that he had a brother, how did you find out?” Neal asks.
“Well Detective to tell you that I want to tell you a little bit about my brother.”
“I would love to hear it, do you mind if I take notes?” Neal asks as he holds up a notepad.
“Oh no go ahead. You see Stanley was the oldest and he was eccentric even as a child. Everywhere he went he took a camera with him. He was also very interested in learning, he always interested in other cultures and people, he knew there was more to explore than the little town we grow up in.”
“Where was that?” Neal asks.
“Oh a small town in Oklahoma. Stanley worked his way thru College using his photography and even back then I was telling him to be careful.”
“What do you mean by telling him to be careful?” Neal asks.
“Stanley was a risk taker, he realized that people, magazines and such would pay a lot of money for certain kinds of photographs and he didn’t mind taking the risks. He would be able to find out about meetings of certain organizations, groups of people, unpopular groups of people and without them knowing take photographs of their clandestine meetings.”
“Can you give me an example Jeremy?” Neal asks as he plays with his pencil.
Jeremy takes a deep breath. “The KKK for one.”
Neal looks at his notepad.
“I warned him every chance I had but he told me not to worry, he wasn’t going to stop, you see he loved the excitement of it all. But we decide that if he was ever in any trouble or if he needed my help he would send me a package in the mail.”
“A package?” Neal asks.
“Yes, you see that is why I am here.” Then Jeremy stands up and he puts the briefcase on the desk and he opens it and he pulls out of it a big, yellow envelope.
Neal gets up from the desk and walks around and stands next to Jeremy.
Jeremy hands Neal the package. “If I was ever to receive a package such as this I was suppose to go to the nearest police station in whatever city he was living in at the time, and now Detective Schon you know what brought me here.”
Neal carrying the package goes back around to the desk and he carefully opens it and then he dumped the contents of it out onto the desk.
“Rolls of film?” Neal asks as he picks one of them up.
“Yes he knew they would be safe with me, they were for his latest book, the book about the Satanist. I told him that it wasn’t a good idea, that they were dangerous but Stanley was stubborn. Detective you don’t have to spare me, I know that my brother is dead, I just want to see him and then make arrangements to take him back to Oklahoma. We have a nice family plot there, I want to bury him next to our parents.”
“Jeremy he’s at the Medical Examiner’s Office which is down in the basement but I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to see him.” Neal says to him.
“Thank you Detective I appreciate your concern.”
“I wish my partner could be here to talk to you too but I think he went to go and notify your niece Lydia. ” Neal replies.
“Who?” Jeremy asks with a confused look on his face.
At that moment Neal feels the hair stand up on the back of his neck. “Lydia….Lydia Clark. Your niece?”
“Oh no Detective I don’t have a niece. I do have a son thou, his name is Daniel. He’s in Egypt at the moment, you see we are archeologists and he is back at the dig.”
“You don’t have a niece?”
“Detective is there something wrong, you look like you have seen a ghost.”
“I might have.” Neal replies.
“Nothing. Jeremy I’m sorry but you’re positive you don’t have a niece named Lydia?”
“Oh yes quite positive.” Jeremy replies.
“You don’t have any other brothers or sisters?” Neal asks hopefully.
“No it was just Stanley and myself.”
“Alicia!” Neal yells across the room.
“Detective is there something wrong?” Jeremy asks.
“I hope not. Alicia!”
Finally Alicia appears from the back room. “Yes Detective what’s the problem?”
“Where is Steve have you heard from him?” Neal asks.
“Yes when I got here this morning there was a note on my desk he was going to go and make a death notification to Miss Clark.” Alicia replies. “Neal has something happen to him?”
“I hope not Alicia, I need her address. I know it’s in the first report Steve wrote.” Neal replies.
“It’s in the file cabinet I’ll go and find it.” Alicia replies as she turns and walks off.
“Jeremy do you have a place to stay, a hotel?” Neal asks as he rips off a page from his notepad.
“No I don’t I came right here from the airport.”
Neal scribbles something on the piece of paper and he hands it to him.
“This Hotel is a nice place to stay, good food, nice safe area and the best people work there, mention my name and they’ll give you a good deal, I promise.”
“Thank you Detective you’re very kind.” Jeremy replies.
“I hate to run out on you but I have to find my partner.” Neal replies.
“Oh no I understand. It has something to do with my brother’s case, doesn’t it?”
“Yes I’m afraid so.” Neal replies.
“I hope he’s alright.” Jeremy replies.
“As do I. I’ll be in touch with you.” Neal replies as he turns to walk away.
“Detective.” Jeremy replies.
Neal stops and he looks back over his shoulder at him.
“God believes in you too.” Jeremy replies.
Neal thinks about this for a minute. “I hope so Jeremy I hope so.”
1603 W EVERGREEN LYDIA CLARK’S RESIDENCE:
Neal stands next to the “FOR SALE” sign as he looks around then maybe for the hundredth, millionth time he looks at the address written on the piece of paper that he has in his hand.
He looks around again but he knows that this can’t be right. Can’t be.
Neal can’t believe that this is the place. The wind blows harder now picking up dust, his jacket flapping in the wind.
Neal looks at the address again….then he looks up….1603 W Evergreen….on
the north end of town….
Is a vacant lot.
The wind takes the sheet paper from Neal’s hand as he drops to both knees in the dirt.
TO BE CONTINUED:
© LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2013. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblances to anyone living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. I have no permission from Steve Perry and/or the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finished with them.