Just Another Night in the Band

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Fandom Fanatics

Chapter 11 (v.1) - Chapter 11

Submitted: February 20, 2017

Reads: 67

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Submitted: February 20, 2017

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It definitely smelled like the place had been left to rot. Rust, mold, sawdust, pretty much everything you'd expect in an old warehouse. It was pretty much empty, too, what crates were left smashed open and whatever had been in them swiped. The scent that had set me and Paul on edge was still there, but it was stale; whoever had left it hadn't come around in a long time.

"So, where's this 'underground pred park' you guys were talking about?"

Carrots was sticking close to the walls, like straying into the open was the fastest way to get her killed. I looked over my shoulder, smirking at her.

"Underground, obviously," I turned to Paul. "How did you guys get to the place, anyway?"

He messed around with a few things before pulling some kind of sheet off a desk, coughing in the dust cloud it threw up.

"There was a…a hatch in the floor…somewhere around here," he hacked a few more times and rubbed his eyes before pushing aside the desk he'd uncovered. He smiled, pointing down at a door a polar bear could fit through. "And I think I just found it."

Carrots' paw found my shirt again as we hit the staircase, the streak from the flashlight on her belt jumping ahead of us. I couldn't remember the last time I'd been in complete darkness like this, even my night vision was pretty much useless. The constant drag of Paul's claws on the wall followed us, just about driving me nuts when we finally hit the bottom. The floor didn't creak and groan like the staircase had, thankfully, but it was so quiet the smallest sounds seemed to echo.

"So…are we just supposed to start…searching for something?" Paul swallowed. He never had been a fan of the dark. I pulled out my phone, checking the battery before hitting the flashlight. I'd probably only have it for an hour or so at the most.

"What are even supposed to be looking for?" I turned to Carrots. She shrugged.

"Just anything that seems out of place," she adjusted her belt. "If this place really is as empty as it seems to be, then that shouldn't be too difficult."

I rolled my eyes, turning away.

"So we're basically looking for a needle in a haystack, got it," I flashed my phone around. "We should probably split up, we'd cover a lot more ground that way."

"But you two aren't trained like I am," she took a few steps. "And I doubt you're armed, either."

I chuckled, patting my pocket.

"Trust me, Carrots, I'm never unarmed," I glanced at Paul. "He's hopeless, though."

He stiffened.

"Am not!"

I laughed.

"So you're saying you don't remember that time with the lemmings, or those cubs at your sister's birthday party?" I laughed again. "Or how about-?"

"Okay, I get it!" Paul looked like a tomato had hit him in the face. His eyes narrowed when he glared at me. "And the only reason I stink is because you suck at teaching!"

He stormed away before I could say anything, leaving me and Carrots laughing our heads off. She covered her mouth as she calmed down, her eyes shining when she looked at me.

"You shouldn't antagonize him like that," she managed. I shrugged.

"Why not? He makes it too easy," I picked myself up off the floor. "And he really does suck at fighting. He just can't keep his head in the game."

She rolled her eyes, her ears twitching at Paul's fading steps. She took out her phone.

"I'll tell him to text us if he finds anything, and I expect you to do the same," she looked up at me, any happiness completely gone. "And be careful, okay? Both of you."

My tail flicked at her tone. What the hell was she doing to me?

"O-Only if you do the same, Carrots," I threw up a smirk. "We won't exactly get far without you."

She shook her head.

"I'm always careful, it's your hot-headedness I'm worried about."

I scoffed.

"Trust me, you haven't met a hot-head if you think I'm one," I turned away, hating the tightness the words put in my chest. This was the last place to think about that. "W-We better start looking, don't want Paul to be the first one to find something, do we?"

She chuckled again, shaking her head.

"Whatever, Slick."

************

I swept my phone in a slow arc, brushing away the dust that covered an old cabinet. The little side room I'd wandered into looked like it had been some kind of office, barely big enough for the folding table and chairs, let alone the line of filing cabinets along the wall. Paul had been right when he'd said the park had been here one day and gone the next. Except for some rusted parts and faded posters lying around, there was no sign anything like that had been here.

The park had been called 'Cut Loose', and from what I'd heard it had been some kind of paradise for preds. Paul and Trevor had always tried dragging me along with them, but I'd always turned them down. Just deciding not to tell my parents had almost been too much of a secret for me to handle, and the last thing I'd wanted was feeling any more guilt about lying to them.

Only about half the drawers were locked, the rest either empty or filled with things that didn't really matter. Pictures of preds enjoying the place, letters some of them had written, that kind of thing. It didn't take me long to get the rest open, though, since I'd found the key in a pouch stapled under the table. Not that it would've taken me long to pick the locks, either. I'm kind of an expert at that.

The stuff I did find wasn't much more interesting, just financials and other records about keeping the park going. A lot of the funding had come from the few wealthy preds that lived in the city, since most of the banks at the time wouldn't have had anything to do with us. Especially if we were unlucky enough to be born foxes.

A low growl slipped out before I could stop it. I shook my head, shoving the thoughts back to deal with later. I'd follow this case through, and then I'd be able to waste all the time I needed to sort through this crap. If only it would cooperate and let me focus.

I closed the drawer I'd been looking in, most of the stuff was so beat up I couldn't read it, anyway, then turned to the last one. A weird feeling had crept up on me the second I'd walked in here, and now it looked like I'd finally found the source. I didn't think I was able to move as slowly as I did then, slipping toward it like I expected it to blow up at any second. My heart started pounding the second I touched the handle; I snapped straight like someone had just poured ice down my shirt.

T-This scent…

Unlike the rest of the building, this one was almost fresh, whoever left it had only been gone a day or two at the most. The drawer creaked as I pulled it open, the sound setting my teeth on edge. I leaned forward to peek inside…

And jumped back, a terrified gasp choking me.

O-Oh God no…

I whipped my phone around, almost cracking the screen as my shaking paws clacked out the text.

'Carrots you better see this'


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