Part 3-1It was turning into late afternoon when Tyson walked into Marceon's Tavern on the northeast side of Crag. At this time of day, workers of any kind from all over the city were taking their first breaks to put on a sturdy enough buzz to last until the late evening; then they could meet back at Marceon's and put one on strong enough to last until morning.
"Afternoon, Tyson." greeted Marceon from behind the bar. "It's a little early for the hard stuff, but I know you're a whiskey man."
The full faced man, presumably of French descent as far as anyone in town knew, pulled a tall, dark bottle from the bottom shelf before picking up a bar rag with his stubby fingers and wiping the dust from the neck up.
"I appreciate it, Marce, but I'm on the job." responded Tyson, somewhat regretful.
Marceon, though a nice enough fellow when he needed to be, had a history of finding money where the law couldn't see it; and he wasn't such a nice fellow when he couldn't see it either. If someone was missing, they either came into the bar at one time or another, or Marceon was connected to the ones involved, although they could never actually pin charges on him.
"You know Ray Clark?" Tyson began again "Lives around here somewhere, I think. His wife passed 5 year back, they had one son."
"Of course!" Marce replied excitedly "I know Ray very well!"
"Oh, are you friends?" responded Ty.
"More of acquaintances, but I've always admired the man. He's like solid steel, confident and sturdy with all of his morals. Really, I'm jealous. These days it's a luxury in itself to survive without being sinful." Marceon chuckled to himself before continuing "But I'll be damned if the stubborn full hasn't been through hell itself and stayed with his 'God.' Have you ever heard anything so preposterous?" His large mouth was now fixed in a gaping smile, allowing the smell of stagnant liquor to escape into the air. "I'll never understand it."
"Well..." Tyson, now a bit suspicious "He went missing earlier this morning sometime after one, you haven't seen him since then, have you?"
"Oh." he began a bit more sober now. "No.. no I haven't seen him Tyson. I'll be sure to tell you right away if I hear anything."
"I appreciate it Marce, I need ears on the underside of this town and I hope I can count on you."
"Of course, Tyson." he responded as quickly as he seemed confident.
Tyson turned from the bar and began to leave. He hadn't solved the case yet, but he was a lot farther along than he had been. His right foot planted itself onto the orange clay that made up a lot of Crag's land, but before he made his second step, a quiet and beckoning voice resonated from right behind him. It was Benjamin Chase, a dodgy old worm belonging to the city council who ended up in more shady places than he had excuses for.
"What do you need, Mr. Chase." asked Ty. Usually, the man was an annoyance to everyone he came in contact with, simply because he only spoke when he needed something.
"Are you fucking with me Tyson?" he said in a voice that Ty couldn't make out for chuckling or trembling. "Marceon just fed you more shit than you could handle and you still asked for seconds."
"If you've got something to tell me,” Ty responded now frustrated “spit it out."
"Marceon knows Ray Clark, all right. The fucking prude has been trying to go through city council and get this tavern closed since before you were born. He claimed we were the beginning of the new world, and such an 'abomination' wasn't just starting on the wrong foot, it was running in the opposite direction. He riled up enough support that his proposition could have stood a chance, too. Thankfully, voting and tallying is done entirely anonymous in this town, and Marceon had lots of preexisting 'acquaintanceships' at the time; myself included."
Ty looked at the disgusting old man for a few moments before responding. "If Marceon is so confident in his... 'politics,' why would he have anything to do with Ray disappearing?"
Benjamin responded joyously, as though the idea of Ray's demise was something of brilliance; a beautiful piece to admire. "That's just it, kid! Ray found out about the dirty politics, but the connections are so deep in this town there was nothing he could do about it. If he tried to convince the town the council was dirty, we'd make sure he lost all credibility! So in desperation, Ray turned to a less noble option."
"And what would that be?" Tyson asked, now sick in disgust.
"He was going to destroy the bar, and Marceon with it!" Benjamin broke into a cackle after finishing his statement.
"How do you know all of this?"
"Because..." the worm started another small giggle fit before finishing "I was supposed to be his man on the inside!"
"Wait, what?" Tyson was now very confused.
"It was brilliant of me to say the least. The fucking sap comes to me in the dead of night saying if I helped him in this, I would be redeemed for all of my sins. Oh boy did I play along great, too. I secured the contraband he needed, the police patrol schedules, Marceon's whereabouts, everything! And all the while I would ask him to teach me about 'the Lord' like a good little boy in Sunday school."
Tyson was actually becoming sick at this point, but he allowed Benjamin to continue.
"Of course I let Marce know what was happening from day one. He not only agreed to let me help the plan to near fruition, but he commanded me to. This morning was when it all came to a head. Ray was going to use the key I secured him to soak the bar in it's own juices and let it burn from the inside. Unfortunately, when he opened that bar door last night, he was greeted by Marceon, myself, and few heavy-handed friends of ours. They toyed with him for a while, taking turns with their hands, pipes, knives, lots of things. Marceon was going to finish him, but then he got a better idea....
Finally registering the start of a new day, Charlie's eye lids bugged to a half-open position, thus bringing all of his anxieties to a head. Once again, he'd attained more sleep than the sun by a blasphemous two hours.
"God's greed is a misunderstood gift, Charles. He takes so that we may learn appreciation. We gave up our rights to luxury in trade for survival, and I won't have a damned son who restarts the cycle of sloth just to have us punished again!"
Charlie's father gave him the same damn speech every time he slept too late, although it's easier just to say every time he slept. This morning, however, was different. After laying in a half-awoken daze for upwards of 15 minutes, Charlie realized something was wrong; his one joy hadn't been abruptly ended this morning. After giving himself a solid knock to better wake up, he made his way to the den where a hardened breakfast consisting of a single biscuit and a glass of water awaited him on the hearth.
"Where the hell is everyone, anyway?" Charlie though to himself as he returned to a sitting position in his bed, legs outstretched. He rested his head against the wall, closing his eyes and emptying his mind to appreciate the rare moment.
"Probably the best morning of my life."The idea stood in his mind for a few moments, but not a moment more. Charlie peeked his eyes back open to the sound of the front door lazily pushed open and closed again.
Charlie's voice echoed throughout the lodge, but nothing greeted him in return. He sat there awaiting one of his father's two personalities, disappointed or angry. Still, though, only silence.
"Dad?!" this time more excitedly. Maybe the old prude was being spitefully childish. Still, though, there was no answer. Charlie crawled back to a stand at his door frame, peeking out to the den. There was an uncomfortable chill possessing the atmosphere, growing steadily stronger the longer Charlie stood in silence. A distant rumble from somewhere outside shook the house, causing settled dust to fall from the lips of the tin walls.
Trembling now, Charlie began to speak again.
â€śWho... who's the-â€ť a sudden surge of pain connected with the back of his head, and then darkness.
When Charlie woke up, it was only because of an unbearable stinging in his wrists. Closing his eyes extra tight before shooting them open for the first time, the horror of what had just happened still hadn't reached his comprehension. His main concern was a horrible drought plaguing his mouth, right above the rusted chains digging into multiple layers of skin under his hands. Though he was still unconscious to the full situation, Charlie finally began to understand he was in danger. Unfortunately, all he could see was a dim, stone room around him. There was a some kind of commotion near by, as he could hear the clamor of a large number of people somewhere beyond the room.
"Somebody... help... anybody..."
His mouth was so dry he could hardly make a sound, let alone cry loud enough to penetrate the thick walls surrounding him. As his breath grew faster in pace, it became apparent he'd been badly beaten in the ribs. He could also taste the faint iron of blood inside his mouth, only worsening his thirst.
"Sh,sh,sh,sh..." came a somber voice from behind Charlie urging him to hush.
"WHO... who are you?" Charlie began excitedly but quickly tired his energy.
"It doesn't matter, kid. All that matters is that your father knows."
Part 1A sturdy rap at Tyson's door connected with the drums of his ears early in the pitch black morning, right as he was on the edifice of an new subconscious respite. With a sudden and harsh inhalation, he rose to a sit in his bed, a large leather cot stuffed with a cheap cotton and tanned to keep cool and avoid the uncomfortable soaking of sweat. Tyson jumped out of bed and made his way to the front door before he'd even had the chance to clear the crust of his eyes. Outside were three men, two of them young and rugged with the clearly ignorant appearance of having more confidence than experience. The third man was exactly the opposite.
His name was Jeremiah Carson, one of The Originals, and a co-founder of the the Crag's police force. A tired looking old man, and tough at times, Carson was really very jolly in his age. His wrinkled expressions and thick, white beard stood over 6' from the ground, allowing few a very good look at his bright, bald head. When Ty was just a child, his grandfather and Carson would visit over a pot of coffee in the early morning to discuss the current happenings around the city and take patrol at first light. After his grandfather passed, Tyson was left to the care of the old man, who became the boy's primary influence through his late teens.
As the front door swung open, Carson announced himself with a simple “Morning.”
“Technically, I suppose.” Tyson said as he shifted to a tired lean on the door frame. “But not if I were the one in charge.”
“And you won't ever be the one in charge if you can't handle business before five. Now throw on something warm and something cool underneath it, it's gonna heat up quick once that sun hits and you'd better get comfortable with her fast. There's a long day ahead of us.”
Tyson gently snapped the door to a close and returned to his room. Rubbing his eyes, the house became slightly clearer, even in the darkness. It was a thin, wooden shack with dusty cement floors and not a lot more space than necessary. To most people, these kinds of surroundings came with a forced acceptance. Most people, even though never truly experiencing the luxuries of the past, still developed an entitlement to their warmnths after listening to the fantastic tails of their grandparents. Tyson, however, never felt such remorse. Tyson's grandfather, and Carson alike, had raised him to worry much more about his self than his surroundings; a trait that was better learned as a youth than accepted in seniority.
Tyson strolled to the end of the drive where the men were waiting.
“Well!” the old man began in his deep, wore voice, “You're looking a little more lively these days.”
“Yea, I was hoping you could fill me in on why that is.” replied Ty as the group began to their destination.
“Of course.” Carson began, “It's been one hell of a night. There was an incident at Mack's grocery at the south end of town. Apparently he and a friend were having a chat around one this morning while Mack was cleaning up for the night. All of a sudden they heard a lot of rustling outside near the road followed by what sounded like the scream of a lady. The friend ran outside to inspect and saw a vague figure disappear into the darkness moving towards the south walls.”
“How's the trail?” asked Tyson.
“None to speak of.” replied Carson. “No shoe prints, no blood, not even a hair. Mack pointed out the area where he believed the struggle had take place judging by the knocked up dust and distance of the scream, but soil samples in the location blended perfect with the controls, color and texture. You'd have an easier time finding sugar in the snow.”
“Well at least there's no mess to clean up.” Ty added sarcastically. “Maybe there's something we can get out of this fr-”
“Friend?” interrupted one of the young officers. “Only if you can find him first. His wife told us he never came home this morning. He left shortly after his inspection, insisting it had just been some kind of coincidental phenomenon.” Carson let out a mild chuckle. “Damn skeptics. Their biggest danger is themselves.”
“Well shit,” said Tyson “and I suppose Mack was abducted by fucking aliens too.”
“Fortunately for us, I suppose, that's not the case.” responded Carson. “Mack is perfectly fine, he stayed at the store last night. He doesn't know much, but he's all we got.”
“Hopefully I can get a little more out of him.” added Tyson.
“Just hold on their kid.” Carson said in a now serious manner. “Mack's an Original, and one of the oldest at that. He won't respond well to a baby cop trying to pull things out of his head that aren't even there, so you just let me handle the witnesses for right now. I've got something more important for you anyway.”
Story time!I've decided instead of updating a forum thread, I would post each new piece from my story in my journal. So I'll be reposting parts 1 and 2,, the further updates will be brand new material.