James recalled earlier this morning being way to excited for this meeting. He had set it up a week ago and hope his interviewee wouldn't call the
whole thing off. The stories he told and words he used sparked a curiosity in him that festered this whole time. He needed answers and fast.
Little over two months ago a girl had been found. She was stiched up in a rather crude manner before being buried in a shallow grave behind the local
cemetary. Was a rude awakening for the couple and dog that found her. A pretty young thing not even a full year into her first year of college. Her
life cut short and the authorities had nil to show for it.
James heard a pair of vagrants discussion the matter in a hurried yet quiet fashion. To sate his curiosity he approached the two. One ran off into the
alley but Cliff remained. After a brief introduction, James promised him a meal and a drink plus a crisp twenty dollar bill if he would tell what he
"Look, I've got a few more friends to talk with and I don't think I can give you much yet, even for that twenty. Meet me at the diner around the
corner on Monday and I'll tell you what I know." Cliff disclosed.
The whole town had been in a frenzy since the discovery. Speculation ran rampant through the press and streets. Leery eyes poked out at passersby and
allegations spread. If he could produce a good few sound facts, surely it would pay well. Maybe even lead to a permanent job!
Cliff entered the diner. Wearing a beat up winter jacket and tan brimmed hat that looked like they hadn't seen a washing machine in at least a year.
His tattered gloves exposed his yellow stained fingers and the smell emanating from him filled the room with a sweaty sour ambiance. He pulled a smoke
from some pocket within the jacket and lit it. Starring longingly out the diner with intermittent glances to the door, he took a long drag.
"So this is what I know."
"She used to hang out with a dealer." Cliff bemoaned.
"My dealer. Nothing too serious, mostly pot sometimes some blow for the weekends. She got mixed up with this group and they had her on delivery
James pulled out his pocket pad of paper just then and began vigorously jotting notes.
"Any names?" He inquired.
"Not that I'm going to tell you!" Cliff snapped back.
"I will tell you that they were into all sorts of crazy #. Devil worship, acting out sacrifices and animals blood, weird # like that."
He took another long drag. His hands beginning to shake. James pressed him further.
"Is that all, you look like you want to say more."
"That's IT!" Cliff proclaimed.
James sat back in the booth. Watching Cliffs anxiety rise. The looks to the door were much more frequent now and he began to fidget.
"All right, all right. Want to meet me again in a few days? See if you know anymore?" James asked.
Cliff replied with a distracted, "Alright."
James slid a twenty dollar bill across the table where it was promptly scooped up and lost inside of the decrepit jacket. Cliff dashed for the door
and disappeared into the morning traffic just as the waitress brought their food.
James paid the tab an headed toward the door the waitress called out to him, "don't you want your change?" He waved his hand in a dismissive manner to
her smiling approval and he exited the diner. Down the road a few blocks was his apartment. He planned to process his information and notes for a
rough draft. "To be continued." He laughingly said aloud.
Up the stairs of the centuries old building he keyed the lock. To his shock and surprise a fresh female corpse lie across his entry. He reeled back
into the hall, covering his nose, the smell overwhelming. He must have shouted because the man across the hall exited his apartment. James yelled
"Call the cops, call an ambulance, CALL SOMEONE!"
Sitting on the stoop of the building the mortuary office was finishing up. What appeared to be the lead detective asked all the usual questions. Where
he'd been, what he was doing, if he'd known the deceased. The questions came as quickly as the answers. The whole time James mind couldn't rid the
memory of the stench. The detective left his card and notified him that he couldn't stay at his own home tonight.
"Great, perfect." James sneered.
Being allowed to grab a few possessions, namely his notepad, he headed back to the diner.
The coffee was especially good here and ordered up a cup. It was going to be a long night. Reaching for hist pocket notes he made the booth his
temporary desk. Peering over recent news and articles, trying to find the connections. Something esoteric was at work here, he need only find the
connection. Nothing in town set off any mental alarms. Not even a simple fortune teller. Looking for his pen, he found in his shirt pocket a carefully
folded note. Plain white lined paper, the words written in pencil. YOU KNOW WHERE. YOU KNOW WHEN. DON'T FORGET. Three rows, three simple sentences all
in capitalized letters.
James stared anxiously at it. It wasn't his handwriting. More to the thought, no idea if it was even meant for him let alone where it came from.
Remembering he pulled the shirt from his fresh laundry only this morning, it had to have been deposited today. But by whom? When? "CLIFF!" his mind
screamed. The bum must have slipped it into his pocket. James gathered his materials and set off to the alleys where he had last seen the man.
Three alley blocks and not one person. They were completely empty. Not even a warm barrel from the night before. The sun was going down now and he
would lose the light soon. Not wanting to hang around too late, he started away. Aimlessly wandering he recalled the key events of what had happened
to the young victim. She was found, stitched up, behind the cemetery. "Ah, yes, behind the cemetery!" He said aloud.
The sun was getting low now, dusk settling in. The last stop for the departed lie just over the hill. There is a row of homes that line the outside
edge, beyond a easement for access. He would take that. Much quicker of a path. The town was quiet tonight, no cars in the streets. That would seem
odd for most places, but not here. When the days came to an end, the folks returned home. Not much to do after hours anyway.
He reached the back of the cemetery just as the last rays of sun retreated under the horizon. A few lights donned the inside of the homes along the
alley. Turning the corner of the last one, James looked up and saw a faint set of lights. Three of them, all partly shaded by the trees. "Is the
investigation still going on?" James thought.
Gaining ground on the lighted flat of a small hill, he could now make out the three burning effigies and no fewer than twenty cloaked figures. There
was one, dressed in a long black robe, adorned with silver pendants and bracelets. A belt that glistened from the fiery fingers, sterling in its
appearance. The rest were all kneeling. Heads down, arms at their sides. Upon an alter there was a form. A human form.
"CLIFF!" James yelled
James tried to pull back the words but they had already gone. The mob turned to him in unison. Blank faces met his horrified visage. The air was
silent. Nothing moved. Cliff turned his head and smiled. Blood along his brow. Through choked words he said, "I see you got my note."
The supposed leader approached. Wrapping his hand around James' neck and pulling him close, he lunged something into his abdomen. Upon pulling it
away, it was his pen. His bloody pen.
edit on 4-10-2017 by JinMI because: (no reason given)