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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic

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Why is this wild-being slaying humans? What is the endgame? You'll find their purpose is not nefarious.


A large cherry wood table sits in the middle of a smoked-filled room, six people sitting along the edges, all quiet and staring at one another. Chief Royales groans, his nose twitching, while Edge City Police Department Media Spokesperson Renner fidgets with his tie. The County Coroner Maxwell clears his throat, still smelling of formaldehyde, as Mayor Nikolae coughs nervously. Governor Xiong has her hands clasped atop the table, her eyes beaming with anxiety. The eerie quiet breaks as Eco Force Public Relations Liaison Charity Walters speaks, “your governess, I believe we can begin this debriefing.”
“You don’t tell the governor what she can and cannot do,” Chief Royales snaps. He has always had an issue with people that possess extraordinary abilities, as well as with their sympathizers like Charity. His very public disdain for people with powers had almost cost him a promotion three times while he was living in Liberty Isle: while just a beat-cop Royales had been accused and investigated for excessive violence against those that possess unnatural talents or enhanced skills. However, once he had moved to Edge City, it seemed that he could not advance in the ranks fast enough, his hatred for NeoHumans never seeming to register with the mayor.
“Have restrain and show some respect Maynard,” Governor Xiong demands. “Ms. Walters is here at my request.” Chief Royales settles back in his chair, his head turning away from the table. Governor Xiong sighs before directing her attention to Charity, “I apologize, understand that the chief is zealous and wants to solve this case before any more innocent people are killed.”
“I can only imagine,” Charity says, staring down the rugged man wearing an expensive leather coat. “Please understand that I am not here to subvert your authority, I am here to help find the criminal or criminals responsible for the heinous murders plaguing the East Coast.”
“We don’t even know if they’re related,” Royales scoffs.
“On the contrary chief,” Maxwell interjects, “I have reviewed the official reports from the other coroner offices, and along with what I have put together so far, there is a definite link between all the deaths that have occurred in the fish canneries, meat processing plants, and gift-shop manufacturing facilities along the coast in the past several months.”
Royales is not pleased with being undermined by a doctor to the dead, especially when it is Maxwell. Their history is anything but pleasant. Once, Maxwell was asked to testify against Royales, and the coroner jumped at the opportunity to bring down the alleged corrupt officer of the law. And more than once reporters have quoted Maxwell regarding the immoral and illegal activities of the Edge City police chief. Maxwell even publicly informed Royales that he wanted nothing short of his resignation. Since then they have butt heads on all cases that crisscrossed their paths.
“Maxwell, you just began investigating the crime scene an hour ago,” Royales says, “how can you be sure of anything definite?”
“I was lead on a crime scene one week back, and assisted with two others last month.” Maxwell confidently replies, smiling. “All the victims were brutally killed, indicating a vile passion. Also, more than one body shared an unusual marking made by some sort of sharp-curved object.”
“A knife? A switchblade?” Royales leered. “Maybe, a sword?” Royales could not hide his sarcasm.
“Maynard,” Xiong interrupts, “the point is, these crimes are linked.”
Royales hates when the governor addresses him by first name alone, as if she had no respect for his title or authority. With a frown he asks the governor how that calls for assistance from freaks, obviously restraining from the vocabulary he wants to use. The governor replies that a special kind of help would be needed since no law enforcement agency had made any progress in securing or even identifying a suspect. Royales rises with angst and asks how anyone knows that it was not Eco Force slaughtering the meat-eaters.
“Obviously, you have followed our very public protest against meat-packing industries,” Charity snickers, “but Eco Force does not practice violence, and we only seek to end the vicious and inhumane practices against the animals used for food. Surely, that is no crime.”
For some reason, everyone in the room looks at Chief Royales. He does not care though, their vain and trivial opinions of him will not find the criminal responsible, and will not get Eco Force out of his city quickly. “A little help is no problem,” he forces himself to say.
“Good!” Governor Xiong nods. “Now that we are all aboard, here is how this case will carry on.” As Chief Royales slouches back into his chair, the governor begins the grueling task of explaining proper procedures needed to be followed to ensure minuscule media exposure and proper jurisdictions are recognized appropriately. “We have special deputizing approval from the president to accept assistance from Eco Force, but solely on the terms that the local police departments are informed of any and all progression with the case. Eco Force is still under investigation for vigilante actions and are here on a consultation basis only because the president sees the importance of stopping this criminal. So, your team is under a fine microscopic lens Charity.”
Charity nods her understanding and agreement, Royales grunts his approval. “Charity,” Xiong continues, “this means that your team will answer to Chief Royales when in Edge City, and to which ever chief of police that operates out of any city you find yourself traveling to. Disrespect the jurisdiction and that could be jail time. I take, this is no problem?” Royales grins as Charity looks him over, her one word response filled with disgust. With her head tilted and lips pushed, Xiong addresses Royales, “Chief Royales, before you issue any orders or directives to Eco Force personnel you will need to run them by the mayor and myself for approval. I want this damn killer found and arrested quickly. No room for questionable tactics. This will be done by the book. Understand?” Royales grunts his affirmation.
“Yes, some assistance in bringing justice to those involved would be beneficial to us all,” Mayor Nikolae agrees, the first thing he has says during the entire meeting. He had been quietly observing, thinking of only how to close the case without evidence against him turning up. If the investigation peered too deeply then Eco Force could possibly uncover information about his involvement with the illegitimate manufacturing of merchandise made from rare endangered species found around the world. The mayor needs Chief Royales very involved to ensure that his crimes stay buried.
“Very well,” Governor Xiong says, signing an official federal contract for deputizing Eco Force. Afterward she passes it to her left, and each person in the room signs their name before rising and leaving. Charity Walters signs the contract last and is stopped by Chief Royales as she exits.
“So, who will be out hunting the killer? Which one of you hippie wannabe vigilantes is going to be doing, what apparently, none of the fine city police personnel can?”
“Again, Chief Royales, we are here to assist.” Charity moves her hair from the front of her face, revealing a quiet smile. “We do not feel that your officers are incapable. One of our members has a hunch on who is behind the killings, and if they are correct, then we are all way in over our head.”
Royales frowns, “what do you mean?” I am officially asking you, who are your suspects?”
The smile fades as Charity explains that it may be more than one individual, that the killings may actually be orchestrated by a force that seeks the extinction of mankind. Royales shakes his head as he leaves Charity in the corridor. He steps out on the plaza in front of city hall, pulls a cigarette from his jacket pocket, lights it, and takes a big puff. “Stupid hippies with powers!”

Submitted: September 01, 2022

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