Daniel Kane is the loose cannon of the Trent City Police. A veteran detective plagued by the ghost of his dead wife. When a copycat killer reproduces her murder it will take all of his wits to solve the case, and dive into the depths of his own psyche.

*Authors note-this is an old manuscript that's been knocking around for a few years. Once uploaded on booksie back then, but now redone and 'Remastered' so to speak.

Dead Rain
By M.M.Mann

Chapter I-Daniel Kane

It's raining again. The sky is a shrouded mass of black and grey weeping over this broken, cancerous city and the tumour that Trent City has is crime. I see the citizens down there from up here in this thirty fifth floor of an old rundown apartment block, scurrying to and fro in their daily humdrum existence, working eating sleeping breeding and eventually dying. I watch as they scamper under umbrellas as if it absolves them of their sins, oblivious to the poison lurking underneath. The fading street lights guide them like rats in an experiment around the arteries that make up this concrete carcass of a city, which is being shred and torn by rapists, murderers, and paedophiles gorging like vultures feasting on the remains. Against the noise of the city my phone is screaming I really can't be bothered to talk to someone at this hour. My years as a homicide detective have shown to me the true nature of a human being the innate nature for evil, if there is a god his greatest joke was giving mankind free will, whilst little old me is just a fibre in an old battered bandage trying to stem the infection. I've developed something of a working relationship with the reaper we go way back. There is no room for wishy washy sentiment any more. I watch cars with their creaking windscreen wipers on full speed, drive on by clogging up the slippery asphalt with their rancid smell of diesel fouling up the air. The smoke from my cigarette lingers as it swirls and dances, exiting through the window almost as if it knows you need to get out of this city. I glance at my still ringing phone I've got three missed calls and a headache coming on, I wish people would just leave me alone. I was like every other person once happy with the world at my feet.

Anna Stevens was the light of my life, we met at the annual TCPD ball somewhere in mid 2024, She was the half-sister of Rupert White, a narcotics officer and she was an aspiring criminal psychologist. It was pretty much love at first sight under the dark blue lighting of the city hall where we danced that night.She wore a white flowing dress that stopped just above her knees, her bright blue eyes sparkled with curiosity and intrigue in contrast to her pale China white skin with long black hair which was curled, she was tall and a medium build with a small button round nose on a slender face. she flirted with me in an Irish accent of her Dublin ancestry she was proud. Our first conversations weirdly enough looking back now, were about chess, Rupert had mentioned I'd beaten him on our lunch break turns out she loved the game too. She giggled like a little school girl at one of my stupid jokes that night. My god that smile made me weak at the knees. I popped the question over Christmas that year.

I remember the summer of 2026 like it was yesterday, sunlight sneaked in through the windows of our small apartment in the city. It was a humid summer and the fans were never off. She came home early from a conference one day and she was wearing her favourite white and black polka dot dress and her black hair was down flowing like a river, with a shade of pink in her lipstick it would go a slightly darker shade against the sunlight and the scent of her perfume she wore that day still lingers in my mind like a fly you can't get rid of. She positively radiated and I'll always remember how I commented on it whilst she was helping me with my tie as she beamed at me,
‘‘Pregnancy will do that to a woman Daniel’’
So, there I was fulfilling society's expectations the whole good wife, nice house, and a kid on the way the whole lot and yet all I got was short changed, circumstance was about to play its hand and let me tell you, God was away on business that day.


It was a day like most days during a Trent City summer, it was humid and the sun relentlessly whipped our skin like some form of corporal punishment. I’d set off for work nothing out of the ordinary, Anna decided on her day off to go baby clothes shopping when I left for the station. It must have been about midday or so when me and partner at the time Ricky Ravenhill were discussing another case in the office when the dispatch scanner yelled at us ‘’Shots fired on Rose Street, female victim’’ we raced to the scene which was chaos, uniforms had already put up a cordon and holding people back, the forensics team had just finished erecting a tent to hide the body from public view, A crowd had already gathered at this macabre spectacle, the ambulance had already arrived waiting to transport the body to the coroner's office, while reporters were jostling for me and my partners attention yelling at us to get their daily dose of misery to put into print. During our walk to the tent, I decided I wanted a quick smoke before taking a look so Ravenhill went in ahead and very abruptly came back out with a grave look on his face. “Daniel” he paused “you need to go home right now”
“As if it's nothing we’ve not seen before” I let out a small laugh but Ravenhill calmly replied “Go home I'm taking this one solo” it was at this point a stretcher came from the tent, a hand loosely hung out from under the white sheet and I recognised the engagement ring immediately. I vaguely remember screaming my anger at their being not enough uniforms on the street and being pulled back by Ravenhill as I tried to rush the ambulance crew to get a last look at my now deceased wife to be. I also vaguely remember squaring up to a press photographer who had somehow in a ninja like fashion found a way to take a picture. Breaking his nose got me suspended for three months. All it took was a single bullet to her neck to turn my world cold and grey.

The last look I saw of her was identifying her body at the morgue. I didn’t attend the funeral, didn’t want to hear all the fake were so sorry for your losses and the imaginary outpouring of sympathy when I know deep down no one cared. She was just another soundbite for the local press to report as a tragedy, another statistic for some suited and booted office worker to type up on a spreadsheet who didn’t even know her fucking name. My parents didn’t even show up and to make matters worse I couldn’t help with the investigation; the killer was never caught. I remember a priest at the morgue mentioned to me “The devil works in more strange ways than the lord does sometimes” to which I replied “There is no devil, with all the evil in the world he’s pretty much redundant”

And so next came what some called an addiction and what I call a damn good crutch, I hit all the local bars following the neon lights like a hyper active moth drawn to them then guzzling everything and anything like it was going to be the last glass of water I would ever have. I Started taking sleeping pills to help with the insomnia which morphed into headache tablets because of the lack of sleep. I threw myself into more and more cases. How I kept my badge is beyond me, probably something to do with my interrogation technique, questionable, probably illegal but got results. My captain turned a blind eye due to my massive increase in arrest rate. As for Ravenhill I hope the useless bastard has a nasty fall and there's no one around to help, that feeling has stayed loyal to me for two years straight now.

The case was botched from the start. Ravenhill ignored a tip from the drug squad from their informants thinking it would be unreliable, the local surveillance camera footage was lost in transition coming from a local laptop repair shop to the station, apparently due to lack of manpower it was posted. The only useful thing that came from the shit-show of an investigation was the shell casings which were 7.62 rounds. sniper rounds. The case was dropped. Four months later Ravenhill was promoted to head of homicide.

Every now and then I go to Rose Street and see flowers left there by some do gooder making themselves feel better about their own tedious existence, the shrink that I was coerced into seeing told me my cynicism and tendency for nihilism was my way of dealing with the grief and loss as part of my ‘mental process’ he called it. I didn’t grieve really it wouldn’t have achieved anything anyway, we all die eventually after this loathsome suffering we all endure until the grave. so, what was the point in me giving a solitary fuck about the tears that get hidden in the rain. What is the point in my line of work? there will always be another murder, there will always be suffering. My head begins to hurt another headache coming that’s for sure, and it always comes with this clickity clack noise that sounds like someone furiously typing on a typewriter reverberating in my peripherals. Her face appears in my mind like a bad movie stuck on repeat. All I’ve ever wanted since was just a chance to feel her close and tell her I loved more than life itself and even just simply name our fucking unborn child. All I wanted was just another five minutes but for now... she's just another statistic.


Chapter II-Wake Up Call 
  The persistent rain thumped on the windows like an uninvited house guest you didn’t want to let in. However it couldn’t drown out the wailing phone on the bedside cabinet surrounded by its neighbours, which were Kane’s service revolver and badge, some empty pill bottles and a half-drunk bottle of Jack Daniels all of which cast a shadow against the beige wood of the cabinet. Nestled among them was an old alarm clock which read 2:07am. The veteran detective groaned under the weight of another hangover, as he stirred slowly cursing the shrieking phone as he sat up. Some case files he had been looking over that night fell to his mud brown coloured carpet covering over a whiskey stain, revealing photos of the deceased looking up at him accusingly. He slammed that file shut hissing to himself “Nothing like having your own demons for company, right?” he looked across at the large wooden frame mirror that wouldn’t look out of place in a Victorian ghost story and grunted at his appearance. His black tie hung loosely from an unbuttoned white shirt like a man condemned at the gallows, whilst his unkempt beard looked so haggard it would grow its own ecosystem at any point, his long black hair was flung down his right side looking like it had given up on life. The lights from the city shined in revealing the cracks and age to the window frame and giving his cramped apartment an eerie mustard yellow glow against the aged ghastly green paint.

  He had never left since Anna died. The detective's hazel eyes scanned the caller I.D as his phone shrieked. He could hear sirens in the distance just audible over the sound of the rain thumping against his window. The call was from Stacy Brunt one of the dispatch operators at the station “What fucking time do you call this and by the way I'm off duty till Monday” Kane growled his voice was hoarse and low, a twenty a day habit evident. “Well, that’s no way to talk to a woman now is it” was the giggled response from the sweet-sounding sugar-coated voice from Stacy, whose reputation preceded her. She was known as the station bike for warrant of a better description. Kane could just imagine her bulky freckled face and green eyes beaming with childish excitement at the fact she was talking to him whilst she played with her curly ginger hair. It was a barely kept secret that she saw the detective as another potential notch on her bedpost. He fumbled for a cigarette from his breast pocket and lit it “What do you want”
“Shooting on Rose Street, female victim, your presence was requested someone's got a hard on for you this morning sweetie pie”

The words shooting and Rose Street sent a chill down Kane’s spine which didn’t happen often. “Who asked for me?”
“Well the Captain wants you on this he rung me himself to say he couldn’t get through to you on the phone apparently” she paused and Kane mulled it over Captain Charles Stone as a rule of thumb didn’t actively get involved in cases he just signed off on things or if someone needing chastising for a mistake. It hit Kane like a flash “What are you hiding Stacy or so help me-” Stacy interrupted him calmly. “The unsub wrote a letter addressed to you and left it at the scene” 
“Do you know what it said” Kane retorted, Stacy sighed, you could hear her trademark diamond necklace being played with as thought how best to form her next words, in the background you could also make out the faint sound of a tv before she matter of factly respond, “No sweetie above my pay grade sadly honey” Kane grunted back.
“Silly question really”
“Speaking of silly questions are you busy next Friday night?” 
He clicked the line dead.

He rose from his bed begrudgingly and viciously spat some built up phlegm into his carpet. He snatched a bottle of pills from the bedside cabinet and washed it down with the last of the whisky from the bottle before putting his holster and badge on. He stared indignantly at the window and muttered to himself as he took in the image of the rain-soaked concrete jungle. “No sense of time criminals am I right? I ain’t paid enough and as a bonus point, I'm too old for this shit” he stopped as the sound of the buildings plumbing system creaked moaning faintly as if it found a voice for its neglect and destitution and what sounded like the word “Daniel” gently echoed through the dank excuse of a room. The detective spun 180 degrees bringing his revolver to bear pointing at his bathroom door. He took a step forward hearing the floorboard creak under his weight. He stopped and all that could be heard was the sound of the rain and the distant wailing of sirens when it came again “Daniel” caressed Kane’s ears in a twisted warped way. It sounded like Anna. He finally snapped breaking out in a sweat “Who the fuck is there” his hands were now shaking as he stepped towards the door and gently opened it.
 
He flicked the light switch to find the bulb was dying, flickering on and off like a child in a sweet shop undecided what sweets to buy. The bathroom was like the rest of the apartment an ode to decay and neglect. The shower curtain was hanging half off the railing like it was still clinging on for dear life and inside the bath itself were pieces of broken tiles lying on the yellowing porcelain like an undiscovered suicide victim. The other side of the room was if anything worse, the cupboard above the sink had a mirror on its door which had a crack right across it as the haggard detective looked at himself pointing the revolver at his splintered reflection and muttered. “Mirror mirror on the fucking wall I'm really not the fairest of them all” The pipes groaned again louder than the last time. 
“Daniel” Kane fell to his knees beginning to cry  
“Don’t leave me again Anna don’t go please” he wept like a child quietly on his knees wiping tears from his eyes with the barrel of his revolver and without warning his shaking hands  placed the barrel against his temple and cocked it, hearing the mechanical sound of the chamber turning and ring in his ears. He shut his eyes and his face turned crimson and he could feel his heart rate sprint upwards in his chest. Before he could wipe himself from the world his front door was knocked loudly and abruptly three times forcing Kane to get up and investigate.

He slowly got up with his free left hand wiping the tears away and his right hand he pointed the revolver at the beige-coloured door as he stepped towards it. Before he could open the knock came again louder. With a snap he ripped the door backward stepping into the intruder pinning the shocked guest against the corridor wall using the barrel of his gun, and when the adrenaline wore off, he found himself staring at his former partner detective Ricky Ravenhill.


Chapter III-An Unwanted Reunion
Ravenhill broke the silence as the two aged detectives took each other in, Ravenhill with his white glasses and slit back grey hair and matching facial hair which was dripping water from the elements outside so was his yellow trench coat which underneath it he wore a light blue shirt and matching tie, he was soaked and his sorrowful blue eyes stared sadly at the ragged sweaty frame that was Kane with his tie still hanging loosely and his intense eyes looking like he could pull the trigger at any moment. “Put the cannon down Daniel” he calmy asked so Kane did so slowly with an intense burning look of hatred emerging on his face. “How longs it been what two years since we last spoke?” Kane ignored the attempt at small talk Ravenhill barged past him and into the apartment he looked around his coat tails flying and throwing rainwater everywhere before letting out an exasperated sigh “The rumours are true then your still drinking?” he calmly stated this he already knew the answer. He turned to face his former partner, with a look somewhere between pity and anger on his face.  Kane finally spoke only to snarl “You’ve got some nerve”

“Stone sent me I’ve been asked to work this case with you so like it or it or not your stuck with me” Kane stepped towards him his face only an inch away from Ravenhill’s “Go get fucked no way am I working a case with you, why you of all the fucking incompetent morons Stone would partner me up with I assumed he knew better than to pick you” 
Ravenhill had anticipated a hostile reception so bit his lower lip “I’m guessing you’ve not been told much then” 
Kane glared at him like a dog eying a piece of meat weighing up his options. “I’m not working with you; you probably won't listen anyway” the last few words Kane had spat with all the venom he could muster. Ricky looked to his feet pushing his glasses against his wrinkled face composing himself then back up again at his opposite number “Daniel are we really going to do this? we don’t have time” Kane exploded. 
“Yes! We are going to do this right here right fucking now! Because of you a killer walked free!! And if you hadn’t noticed it was my fiancé that died!! I never got closure!” He paused his face bright red with anger as he began to cough. Ravenhill took the chance to interject calmly “You quite done?”  
“Oh, and another thing Detective two whole fucking years and you never came to see me or even fucking apologize! Some friend you were!! And now you expect me to work a case with you!!” Ravenhill stared solemnly back at his former partner he took his glasses off to wipe away a tear. He composed himself “Listen Daniel, we both know there is nothing I can say or do that will change the past or bring her back, Anna was an incredible woman, I did what I could with what I had, as for not seeing you I couldn’t really, We both know you would badger me about the case and go investigate it on your own anyway, another reason you got suspended, and after Stone dropped it” he paused here and threw his arms in the air in frustration “I didn’t know what to say simple as that, I get why you blame me I really do” the bereaved Kane stared at him blankly took a step forward so his face was barely an inch away from Ravenhill's “Tell me detective why was it despite your inability to listen and do your fucking job you didn’t get fired, you got to keep you cosy pay check to keep your humdrum little world turning with your trophy wife beside you, hell you even got promoted!, yet I lost” he paused to whisper his final word “Everything” there was a silence and tension in the room, the rain sounded like it was getting so loud against the window it seemed to amplify the frosty atmosphere. Ravenhill’s reaction was sudden. The right hook he threw connected with his former partner's nose causing blood to splash onto the carpet as Kane stumbled onto the floor onto his knees, before he could counter Ravenhill grabbed his shoulder squeezing it so he couldn’t get up. He was surprisingly strong despite his years. he roared back; “Don't you lecture me on loss Daniel! It wasn’t just you who lost you selfish piece of shit! I lost two friends! Remember friends Kane? We used to go on double dates remember!? I lost you and her and not to mention my wife who was practically her sister from another mother, she was crying for weeks for fucks sake! as a side note pal did you even speak to her parents!” that was enough for Ravenhill who let him go. Kane rose clutching his nose which was now leaking more blood. At this point Ricky turned to walk away “By the way Daniel you stink of booze and look like shit clean yourself up and meet me in the lot I'm parked in there” before Ravenhill left the blooded detective yelled out “Do you ever ask yourself what's the fucking point? We arrest a psycho another pops up next day, it's like fighting fucking hydra!” Ravenhill paused with his hand on the door knob shook his head in disgust and gently shut it behind him.


Chapter IV-The Rats Secret 

It’s nothing new. Another cockroach crawling out of a crevice to rear its ugly head and swiftly smite down one of its fellow species and then brag with a letter in a gesture of ill-informed masculinity. As for Ravenhill I’ve got nothing nice to say, I hope the murderer comes back and puts a slug through his head, would make my job easier. Fuck I've got a headache let me chug another of these pills.
I walk down the gratified corridors to the underground parking lot under dim yellowing lights walking past a senseless junkie curled up in a corner like a foetus twitching and rocking back and forth, wearing a brown parka coat talking to himself, he looks like someone with leprosy under the yellow glare of the lights I make out the words ‘Aint no sinners like godless sinners’ dribbling out his mouth. His bald head shines and his shrunken eyes roll back in a godly effort to contain himself.

I arrive at the lot, Ravenhill offers me a ride in a black sedan opening the passenger door and I wave my hand and give him the finger as I walk on by and out into the rain of the street. I hear a woman on her phone race by under an umbrella on her phone “Oh my god Jenny he said his first words today he said mama I’m so proud Jenny,, I laugh to myself probably will be his last words as well poor kid I wonder how quickly it will grow up and realise life's a bitch.  
I wonder down the street following the streetlamps as if they are guiding me in excitement to the next grotesque show this city has to offer. I watch nameless faceless people walk on by, The smoke as I breath into the early morning air curls and rises and then gets drowned by the rain like a battle forever to be raged but never won or lost.

I stumble into a gas station. its brightly lit with slippery white tiles and no one's around, just a young attendant who looks like he’s only just finished puberty with a mohawk and a nose ring and a skinny spot ridden face making dull small talk about the weather. He serves me a pack of cigarettes telling me to have a good day. I exit back into the street feeling the rain come to greet me like an old friend, and I see a brown pick-up truck pull up outside and a young woman steps out barely in her twenties with short black hair she has a devilish grin. The heavy-set baseball cap wearing driver hands her an envelope from the dashboard as she kisses him on the cheek leaving a red lipstick mark on his cheek and he speeds off into the night. She turns to face me wearing a red corset underneath a battered black leather jacket which is torn at the sleeves, showing enough track marks to be a junkie's wet dream, she's skinny with lack lustre breasts and a tattoo of a pin up girl being more of an attention grabber then her chest. She walks towards me in a pitiful attempt to be seductive the rain slowly dissolving her eye shadow she looked like a desperate panda, she was smiling showing crooked yellow teeth “Why so glum honey bun you look like you could use someone to turn that frown upside down” she strokes my face as she gets close her breath stinks of something between alcohol and prescription medicines her perfume is sweet and over bearing, her voice nasal and irritating.  I move my black trench coat enough so she sees my badge and gun she steps back smiling and begins to laugh manically skulking off into a nearby dark alley next to the store. I wonder to myself as I walk from street to street making my way through this sprawling concrete metropolis why it feels like something more than usual tonight stinks and I can’t quite place it. I smell a rat tonight. A big fat twitching one but it won't attempt to escape its cage it'll keep its secrets to itself. I pull the collar of my coat up to try and keep the elements at bay as the wind picks up, as if to answer my thoughts and it knows more than I do. I’ve arrived at Rose Street.


Chapter V- The Opening Move
Rose Street wasn’t much to look at. Just a plain road with one crossing point just before it turned left into Silver Heights. Apartment blocks towered over a poorly maintained basketball court with rusting mesh fences and the hoops were missing. A few used needles could be distinguished in between the cracks in the pavement the detective sluggishly walked on, and the now fearsome wind was carrying litter along the street.  Across the road from the court was a boarded up old bookstore with the words ‘Closed due to Covid’ in black spray paint. The sign that used to bear the stores name was old wood and flaking but you could just make out it used to be called ‘Arthurs books’ the shops neighbour was a small laptop and cell phone repair joint with the bright pink neon above it screaming ‘laptops repaired 4 U while U Wait’ a few of its patrons were smoking outside despite the weather gazing with interest at the two cop cars and CSI van parked close to the crossing point further up the street. There was a gaunt quiet as the street had been cordoned off, save for the rain pounding the pavement. Kane walked up to the laptop store window and watched the display tv showing a debate between the two candidates to be the city’s new mayor, the tv was on mute which suited him just fine that’s how he saw politicians anyway all noise and no substance. The channel changed and the news story being shown was something to do with a pharmaceutical company recalling headache tablets. He asked one of the patrons a short Asian looking man if he could stand under his umbrella to light a smoke to which he nervously obliged eyeing the cop with suspicion and fear. “Kane glad you can join us!” Ravenhill roared from the other side of the street Kane grunted and continued to smoke that exact spot where the body lay, he knew all too well. It lived rent free in his head.

Two uniforms let their superior past the flimsy police tape and onto the scene at the sight of his badge. A couple of forensics guys shuffled past him glancing nervously at Kane as the detective made his way to the tall figure of Ravenhill who was staring at the body which was hidden under a white sheet his hands stroking his beard in agitation. The street light above the body was flickering on and off, an officer who Kane didn’t know personally was photographing the scene. When Ravenhill spied him approaching, he quietly asked the photographer to give them a minute. Ravenhill stepped back away from the body to sit on some steps leading up to the nearest apartment block “Take all the time you need I'm right here” he sat on the steps leaving Daniel to wonder what the hell was going on. Kane knelt beside the victim and pulled the sheet back the sight of the victim hit harder than a heavyweight's knockout punch his eyes widened in sheer shock. He was staring at a doppelganger for his dearly departed fiancé.

He ripped back the rest of the sheet to see her wearing a white and black polka dot dress just like Anna did even the heels were the same colour and brand; her hair was the same style, the curled jet black he had loved before, even her facial features were similar save for the eye colour, this woman's eyes were green and the nose was slightly too big. Kane retched quietly as flashbacks and memories danced before his eyes mocking him and flooding all of his senses and he started to sweat and tense up as his face contorted in pain at processing the information. The flickering streetlight was making him feel violently sick. He couldn’t take it much more he quickly put the sheet back over her. He was fighting back a tear; he was glad for the rain for once for not making it too obvious. He put his game face back on. “Someone went to a lot of on my trouble on my account didn’t they” he croaked, Ravenhill studied him quietly and threw over an evidence bag which was see through, and low and behold the same style and brand of red handbag Anna carried around with her was inside. “Let me guess the contents are pink lipstick, a Baby’s bib which says I love food in blue on it, some wet wipes and a set of keys?” Kane had just reeled off what was on Anna’s person when she died. Ravenhill nodded slowly.
“Even down to the gunshot wound in the neck looks like the external jugular vein on the right side was hit, we won't know for sure till we get the coroner's report. You’ve really rubbed someone the wrong way Dan” Kane cradled his head in his hands as his headache made a dramatic re appearance. “Vics name you're not going to like either we found this dumped on the pavement, the round looks like a 7.62mm by the way” Ravenhill had got up and held out a wallet to the still kneeling Kane who didn’t even look up “Her names Anna isn't it?” he was now actively struggling to keep himself in check he wanted to howl and to scream but he bit his tongue. Ravenhill knelt down beside him “Anna Jones hails from Saint Peters studying at the university studying philosohpy, listen to me I need to know if you're going to be able to hack this case because it will mean we will have to go through your Annas case files too” Kane nodded reluctantly as Ravenhill was looking at him with a worried face “And the crème de la crème Daniel” he passed an envelope to him with his name typed in bold. “This was in the vics hand I’d wager it was placed post-mortem” Kane took the envelope in and studied it, the brown colour indicated it was the kind you could only get from the postal service and his name was handwritten in block capitals. He opened the seal and a neatly folded white A4 piece of paper revealed itself. The typeface was what looked like a child's scribble in bright red crayon.

 

Dearest Detective Kane,
I would say I hope this letter finds you well, however with Anna in front of you I'm guessing you won't be, anyway enough of the pleasantries. Allow me to introduce myself I’ve taken the name Edgar Kerouac Pynchon. I'm not a happy bunny these days Kane. Like you I know what it's like to stare into a sea of mediocrity knowing everything is unoriginal! We are very much alike detective, we both know humanity has no meaning and no reason to live. I mean like look at you and Ravenhill the whole good cop bad cop shitshow how many times do we see that! I say fuck it let it all burn. I've taken a special interest in you purely because you’re the golden boy of the TCPD that arrest rate Jesus Danny 61% wow this makes you my natural nemesis, I'll be Moriarty and You'll be Holmes the games afoot as he would say. let's get down to it, the rules are simple I know you know this game. I move a piece you respond right back; my moves will represent a place in the city where I will strike next, you get there before I do I'll give you some information maybe even a clue to who I am, I'll give you twenty-four hours' notice from my last move.  For the purposes of my first move you will have twenty-four hours starting from midnight tonight, if you're not in time...well people die simple stuff, but let me make this clear to you I'm not fussed about winning. I'm more interested in how you will react, in some instances you will have to make a sacrifice , you might even save lives with your choices I'm interested in what it will take for you to break, I want to take the shining knight of the city down to the depths which is exactly wear the likes of you and I rightfully belong, I'm too far gone don’t worry I just want you to embrace your inner demons their fun I promise! anyhow look at me going on and on let's play. Best of luck. Don’t call me. I'll call you, best of luck.

EKP

 

P.S I'll play as white seeing as I started this and also if you take one of my pieces, you'll get information

Pawn D4


The two detectives stood in silence as Kane read the depraved ravings “May I” Ravenhill asked forcefully, Kane handed him the note. Ravenhill read through his face contorted into confusion.  
“How are you supposed to tell him your move?” Kane was mulling that very question over and thought aloud in a measured tone “Wherever that pawn has landed relative to the city I'm assuming we will find out, all we have to do is work out where that is”
“How the hell are we supposed to do that” asked Ravenhill agitated, Kane looked at him gravely “It’s the first test” he whispered,
“Say again”
“This is the first test Rick and my guts telling me this is meant to be an easy one”
Ravenhill straightened his glasses and stared “I need to ask again Kane can you cope with this, this guy is clearly out to play mind games with you I'm worried this might be you know, too much” Kane glared at him and turned his back to him and replied calmly “Since when have you cared?” and begun to walk away, Ravenhill yelled to have himself heard over the din of the rain a few of the uniforms head looked up to witness the verbal fight about to unfold “Since we were friends Kane!” this made his partner stop and turn slightly “We haven't been friends for a long-time pal”  
“Fine hate me Daniel! I can get behind that, sort of, but don’t you dare turn your back on this woman she's someone's daughter, someone's sister hell maybe even a mother so do not give me your selfish self-pitying bullshit, I know this isn't your Anna so what’s it to do with you right? Did it not occur to you this may be the closest thing you'll get to putting those demons to bed?” Kane chuckled, “Did it not occur to you... detective... maybe I invite them into my bed, at least they make me feel something” he walked away.

 

Chapter VI-A Morbid Barfly
I need a drink. Walking back up the street in my peripheral vision a black shrouded figure waves at me from the blackness of an alleyway, nothing sinister about it, just an overarching feeling of comfort from its faceless black figure. I nod and smile back and continue on my quest to get a drink. That familiar clickity clack noise faintly echoes from my ears again bouncing around between my ears like a hyper active child ignoring its parents, I have to stop and grip my head as the intensity and speed of it and scream down at the grey bland pavement, the distant sound of thunder interrupts and brings a silent calm as I'm standing on a lonesome street with nothing but the sound of the rain for company. I gulp down another pill from a bottle I stash in my inside coat pocket, feeling the initial hit kick in and my eyes widen. I turn right into a side ally which is alive with the sight and sound of the homeless holding out dirty pleading hands with eyes that look like they belong to a rabid dog. There's a brown wooden door lying on the floor crushing broken bits of glass and litter under my stumbling feet, I glance down to see a discarded condom lie on a piece of cardboard in its redundancy. The sound of giggling makes me look up. The black man grabs my attention first, wearing a white vest with black slacks and a tilted ragged black top hat with his back holding onto with a red haired woman who’s grinding with fervour against him and she turns giggling to look at me, she is wearing a black and orange leopard print dress which clings to her petite frame, her face is pale and fully made up with green eyes and small mouth which asks me “What’s up hun, wait patiently and you’ll get your turn maybe” she continues giggling. The man smiles at me revealing a gold front tooth in contrast to its yellowing companions and receding gumline. The brown door doesn't look like much but it’s my regular speak easy known to certain people in the know as ‘Reds’ a slat opens, and a pair of beady grey eyes enquire in a low voice
“Password”
“Small change got rained on with his own thirty-eight"


The door squeaks slowly open and I step in into a smoke-filled bar with a high ceiling accented with wooden beams and dated chandeliers hang from above. The wooden floor feels sticky stained with dried beer and here and there blood stains stick out like the building has its own war wounds. The room reeks of cheap booze mixing with perfume. In the air is the feeling of desperation. There are no windows which only serves to trap the patrons of this hidden hideout. This is where the down and outs drink, society's disregarded and dejected souls find their wayward solace here. In the corner stands a dusty juke box with a couple of bums standing either side of it constantly scratching their noses and talking quietly at each other grasping onto their glasses like their lives depended on it. Ghost Town by The Specials is playing. The bar itself is blood red colour made from mahogany wood which shows its age as I step closer. I catch a snippet of conversation from two men wearing dated eighties suits which look like they’ve never acknowledged the existence of a washing machine, one bemoans in a loud obnoxious accent but I can't place it sounds like a new yorker but I can’t be sure “I could’a been someone Joe I tell ya, im tellin ya Joe before the bitch ran off with everything I had I would have been on magazine covers and everythin Joe I'm telling ya but the bitch took it all, let's not even get started on the lawyers Joe” the man burps and gulps some beer from his glass. Joe is making a cigarette slowly rolling the tobacco in a little white paper looking disinterested. I order a bourbon from a scruffy looking barman who serves it with a sigh. “I’m waiting on someone” I mention to him he nods and walks away. Discreetly I drop a pill into my bourbon and wait on her. One of the other barmen taps me on my shoulder making me jump out of my skin casually informing me something was left for me behind the bar, he hands me a small brown envelope which I stash into my inside pocket. His face is beginning to swell and contort and drip over his shoulders like something straight out of a Salvador Dali painting and the colours of the million and one bottles behind him on the shelves swell and saturate into my retinas. The high’s kicking in. She’s right on cue as the music gently fades into the next track as the door opens and in she walks, She’s wearing the white dress she wore when we first met.

Anna sits next to me smiling her soft Irish accent almost a lullaby “You really need to stop doing this to yourself honey” I laugh quietly under no illusions it’s just a hallucination. “How else will I get to see you babe” I kiss her cheek softly The smell of her coconut shampoo gently works its way into my eager nostrils, her pale white skin glistening under the lights of the chandeliers above. “You know as well as I do, we probably don’t have long Daniel so honey what’s on your mind?” I just stare for a moment taking in her beauty taking a sip of this excuse of a bourbon. “As a criminal psychologist what do you make of this?” I slide over the letter ‘EKP’ left me. She reads through with a calm expression on her face “Male, late twenties, early thirties with major daddy issues I'm going to say, lots of childhood trauma I suspect, that sentence where he talks about letting it all burn is interesting. Was your victim burnt?”
“No” She continues, I'm just happy to hear her speak again “Hmm interesting a literature lover, plays chess, an intellectual, Hmm D4?” she pauses to give me a mischievous grin “You going with the Dutch defence? I know you loved that line against D4” I return the smile. 
“Truthfully I've not played since you left Anna but it's an idea, once I've worked out how to tell him my move that is” We both go silent as she reads back through the letter, “My dad once taught me the board was just a map of the battlefield if that helps?” I shrug my shoulders I'm more interested in just talking to her and making the most of the time I have with her before the high wears off “Anna, baby I love you so much”
“I love you you too Daniel, oh wow look at that your highs wearing off I've gotta go I love you Daniel and that thing you gotta do to keep your cocktails working you gotta do it again” she hugs me and kisses me passionately her warm soft lips bite my bottom lip, and when I open my eyes she’s gone. All I can think to do is quietly say to myself “Don’t go” I smash my glass against the bar in something between frustration and sadness, the glass breaks and cuts my hand open, leaving blood and the brown sludgy liquid to drip all over the bar and onto the wooden floor, making itself at home on top of the shards is a barfly looking at me mockingly. it's at that point a barman tells me I've had enough and to leave. Everyone is staring at me.


Chapter VII- Captain Stone
Kane was startled into awareness by a stray black cat which was licking his ear. He shot up and instantly the hangover made him regret it as the cat yelped in a high-pitched tone and ran. He took in his surroundings clutching his forehead groaning quietly to himself, he had made it to the steps leading up to his apartment block and had passed out evidently. He glanced at the sky seeing nothing but grey and the distant sound of thunder while cars went past with their engines sounding like drills burrowing into his head with his hangover. It was then he spotted the old lady with her multi coloured knitted cardigan, grey hair and zimmer frame staring at him from the bottom of the steps. “Heavy night was it dear?” Kane faked a smile.
“Sure, feels like it” he replied through gritted teeth, her wrinkled face morphed into shock “Oh my god what happened to your hand dear?” he looked at it and it was covered in blood and the cut hadn't been cleaned yet. It was at this point he realised he couldn’t remember much of the previous night aside from the murder. The old woman spoke again “Out fighting last night where we?” she points at his shirt which to the detective's horror is also stained with blood, he hurriedly covered it with his coat “Yes mam” and with that he fake smiled once more and waved, then navigated the last of the stairs into the apartment block.

Kane checked his phone as he re-entered his apartment, the battery was dead. “Fuck!” he yelled in frustration realising it was no help to his hangover, he decided that having a quick shower and putting a bandage on his hand was the best course of action, he was late for the morning briefing anyway. He chucked his coat onto his bed and saw sticking out of his inside pocket was the brown envelope the barman had given him the night before. He slid it out and ripped into it, at first it felt like there was nothing in it just a prank maybe he thought to himself so he let the envelope fall to the floor and turned towards the bathroom when he heard a thud against the carpet, he turned, what had fallen out of the envelope made him feel a sense of dread he hadn’t felt since his first case, lying on its side in stark contrast to the brown of the carpet was a chess piece. It was a black pawn.


The subway ride to the station as always was misery. First of all the ticket machines were playing up, Kane had to kick the one he used just for it to spit out his ticket, also to add further agony it was rush hour which meant the steps down to the machines and platform were heaving with bodies bumping into each other rushing around, there were people yelling on phones, young parents shouting at their kids all against the lifeless background of low grey painted walls and ageing signs and maps on them, the smell of sweat was rank in the air, for this reason Kane had chosen a black shirt and grey tie so he could mask his sweat somewhat. All of this only served to irritate further an already irate detective. Getting on the subway train if anything was worse, Kane was forced to stand cramped against the doors with a mother and pram effectively pinning him in place. The adverts on the ceiling had been gratified over with profanities and pictures of people being intimate in a less than loving way. While the seats were a light blue with what Kane suspected were piss stains on some of them. The train begin to rumble and shake softly from side to side as it begun its journey to the next station. It felt to Kane like he was a sardine trapped in a sweaty tin listening to other people's conversations he had no interest in. He felt relieved by the sound of his phone ringing its loud shrill tone which caused a few passengers to look up. That feeling of relief instantly turned to dread. It was Ravenhill on the caller I.D. Kane decided he would go on the offensive. “Rick before you bite my head off listen, I had to get away I was not in a good place and I overslept simple as that I know I'm late for morning briefing so step off” there was a pause and the response he received was not the expected one. “Morning Daniel, that’s fine it's not a problem” he had said this as casually as you would order a coffee which caught Daniel off guard completely.
“Huh?”
“Listen Dan I get it you’ve just seen your fiancé murdered essentially a second time I get it I really do, long as your head is clear today that’s all I'm concerned about, are you feeling ok to come in?” Kane was sceptical of this cool attitude Ravenhill had.

“Why are you so calm?”  
“Honestly? The captain wants an update in his office today and were only just getting started so we’ve not got a lot and you know what he’s like” Kane stood holding onto the door handle as the train wobbled in an unpredictable manner, just picturing the aging captain stood behind his desk yelling at them and his square like head going tense and red as he yelled about their incompetence, Kane’s headache got worse at the thought of being shouted at.  
“Oh fuck this morning's going to be fun” he grumbled aloud. 
“What was that Kane! struggling to hear you! are you on the subway?” Ravenhill yelled down the line, it was at this point the mother in front of him, wearing a green oversized green coat with blond hair turned sharply and glared and pointing at her baby in the pram offended at him swearing. Kane was having none of it “Hold on Rick I'll call you back gotta put this woman in her place” her face morphed into shock that a complete stranger could be so vicious, but Kane ranted at her anyway “Listen sweetheart its perfectly good English just slightly rude deal with it! And by the way that gremlin” he pointed at the pram before continuing his lecture “When it grows up will one way or another realize life’s a bitch that will chew you up and shit you out, when its older it will realize cuss words are the least of its fucking problems” she stood aghast and open mouthed at the detective, she angrily huffed and begun the slow process of moving away from the hungover cop, shoving bystanders out of her way a few of whom were just staring at him with disapproving looks. He got off at the next stop he decided to walk the last of his trip.

 

The homicide department was like any other office in the city. Beige like the architect only had one colour on his palette to work with. A million and one documents lay messily on uninspiring coloured desks and each suit worn by the detectives rushing around and shouting were as tiring to look at as the last. There was one big sweeping window at the back of the office showing a panoramic view of the city, the carpet was green with coffee stains and the sound of printers whirring and phones going off hit you like a tidal wave during a tsunami. Amongst this wave a familiar voice yelled “Kane!” he looked across the room and saw a very dishevelled looking Ravenhill he hadn’t changed his clothes. Ravenhill hurriedly walked towards him “Sorry to do this to you Kane turn round back in the elevator we gotta go upstairs to see the captain I’ll update you as we go up” the elevator doors shut leaving just the two detectives, Ravenhill’s first act was to snatch the coffee and gulp some “Sorry Dan been on the go since I last saw, you my wife's probably going to scream fucking murder when I get home” Kane was not in the mood for humour and stayed quiet to let him continue. “Uniforms interviewed everyone at the laptop store just after you wondered off” Ravenhill looked his counterpart up and down with a curious look on his face as if he was trying to work something out “Red’s last night?”
“It's cheap don’t judge me” Ravenhill hid his disgust well and sighed before giving his update “Witnesses heard a gunshot they say it sounded like it came from above them this wasapproximately 15 minutes before uniforms arrived around quarter to two this morning and as you know Stone got wind of it and rung me” Kane just stared back “The coroner's report just landed in my inbox by the way about five minutes ago, the captain gave the order to rush it through, as we suspected a 7.62 was pulled out the jugular vein in her neck so were dealing with a sniper again so one would assume someone with either hunting or military experience is our unsub” Kane interjected,
“Late twenties, early thirties some kind of trauma was our guys trigger, from the letter and his choice of language I'm going to guess something to do with fire so we should look into victims of arson or someone who served in the military who got wounded in an explosion or something of that description”
“Nice to know when you drink your still working”
“I’m fine by the way thanks for asking” was all Kane could reply just before the elevator doors opened.


You had to hand it to captain Stone he had picked his office to be on the quietest floor in the entirety of the building not to say it was entirely silent you could the muffled sound of phones going off and people talking it sounded like it was underwater when in actual fact the walls were just paper thin. The admin department was one long corridor and a few offices that were hidden behind innocuous looking red doors, Stones office was right at the far end of the corridor and it was feeling like to Kane an eternity to reach. Admin seemed to have a colour upgrade from the beige white of the homicide department it was a magnolia and the corridor itself felt narrow and claustrophobic. the ph Ravenhill went first opening the red door which took them to a small office for Stones secretary who simply looked up from her computer monitor and said in a monotone “Take a seat the captains on the phone” her voice reminded Kane of a voicemail machine almost robotic like, the two detectives sat just opposite her desk on two very uncomfortable chairs, his headache was coming back with a vengeance. “Ravenhill tell me you have some asprin” Ravenhill glared at him and said nothing clutching the brown folder to his chest, he nodded towards the door concealing the captain “Probably not your best idea seeing the captain hungover” almost as if to help make his point Stones roaring voice could be heard clear as day through the door “I will not be forced into making a decision! I do not and I cannot state clearly enough! I don’t and I'll say that again so it's simple enough for a limp dicked moron like you to grasp! I do NOT want to make!” Kane at this point felt like a schoolboy waiting to see the headmaster only this time he hadn’t done anything wrong. Stone was audible through the door again “Fucking liberals! Sweet Mary of God damn fucking Nazareth! If Kane and Ravenhill are not here in the next ten minutes I swear to God!” his secretary discreetly emailed him to let him know, this was obvious as his next yell was “Kane! Ravenhill!” the two detectives looked at each other as they rose almost as if the other was waiting for a pep talk that never materialized.

 

  Captain Charles Stone was an imperious looking short man who looked formidable in his full uniform, with medals on his shoulders which he wore with pride almost as if he was ready to charge into war at any given moment, it was common knowledge amongst his peers he had something of a Napoleon complex. His office was further proof of this his desk was old and made from walnut and engraved into it was an ancient map of the world, and next to his computer monitor was a model of an old warship. The man himself was aged with well kempt handle bar moustache and stress marks which seemed to encompass the entirety of his forehead which was only made the more obvious by thinning short grey hair, the stress marks looked as if they themselves could be a map. His nose was large and had been broken by Kanes estimation at the very least twice. Stone had beady brown eyes that never stopped switching focus between the two detectives and a square like head and a thick neck, he held his weighty body upright with a light-yellow cane. The captain spoke with a bark, like he was constantly shouting orders “Right men take a seat no time to fuck about I'll stand helps me think” this was why Kane respected him straight to the point and didn’t take shit. Ravenhill timidly gave the full update as he handed over the file, Stone snatched the file and turned his back to them as he read through it and every now and then gazed in thought out of his window. When Ravenhill finished, he asked “Forensics got anything from the bullet?”
“No not yet still waiting to hear about that” Stone at this point had turned to face them “So you’ve got jack shit then” Ravenhill’s eyes widened in near on fear “Not strictly accurate, we’ve got uniforms going over the apartments above the laptop store where the gunshot was supposedly heard coming from” Stone’s face was the perfect portrait of anger “Right detective one why are you not casing those with your brothers in arms and two, when do you hear back from them” it was clearly a struggle for the captain to keep his cool, while all Kane wanted to do was snigger at his former partner bearing the brunt of his displeasure, meanwhile Ravenhill looked like a schoolboy who’d just been scolded for not showing his workings out on a maths test. “Around lunch” Stone turned his gaze to Kane who was struggling to hold back a smile “Don't you snigger Kane your turn son, regal me with your insights in your own time” the hungover shell of man gave what psychological insight his dead fiancé had given him the night before and Stone sat down somewhat pacified. He held his head in his hands briefly before speaking again “Right boys so we’ve got a psycho who’s playing mind games with my top detective and that charming villain hasn’t given us a lot to go on, god this is going to be hell if the press got wind of this however” he paused somewhat, “I've kept them at bay for now don’t be surprised if those fucking liberal vultures come knocking for you two and while we're here let's talk about the elephant in the room shall we?” Kanes stomach tightened he felt like a conversation about his involvement and mental health was imminent but he had a brainwave staring at the grey clouds outside the window, something had dawned on him “My Anna was killed in broad daylight, this murder was done at two in the morning my guts telling me it’s not the same guy” he shifted his focus from the captain to his partner to see if they had anything to add, Stone snapped “Go on”
“My betting is it’s a cop only a cop would know the contents of her bag those details weren't leaked to the press” Ravenhill scowled
“You weren't on the original case how the hell would you know that” Kane smiled the answer was stupidly simple “I read the Trent City Post no mention of them at all, seeing as I was suspended it was the only source of information I had” Stone wanted to check that fact “Ravenhill, where those details given to the press?” Ricky just shook his head, Stone grunted.
“It doesn't surprise me at all if it’s a cop” the two detectives looked at each other in bewilderment then back at their captain who looked sad. “No one here gets paid half of what they deserve here, since the covid pandemic the politicians on the hill are more concerned with other things then giving us a pay rise, I know there's good men on the take just so they can put food on the table for their families but I turn a blind eye because we need them, the academy isn't producing the numbers it used to”

There was a slight pause as the three men took that information in before Ravenhill spoke gently “how many are we looking at Stone?”
“I’m not sure son but it’s a fair few and more to the point I think most of them are in internal affairs Kanes best buddys”
“That would narrow it down some, most of them have been calling for my head for the past two years” Ravenhill jumped in.
“I think now would be a good time to bring up that elephant you mentioned captain” Stone nodded gravely.
“Your right detective, I'm going to tell it to you straight Kane, I’m not giving you access to the Stevens file” Kane’s jaws dropped in shock “Why the fuck, why!” Ravenhill didn’t even look at Kane when he replied he kept his head down looking at his feet as he spoke “There's some things we never told you, and photos in that file me and Stone decided on the phone that would be detrimental to your mental health, lord knows you went through shit” Kane exploded with rage “How fucking dare you! Both of you tell me what's good for me I'm a grown assed man I can make my own decisions! Oh, and by the way how fucking dare you hide shit from me to begin with!” Kane had risen from his chair and smacked the desk with both fists so hard he physically flinched, his eyes were awash with hatred and rage his glare was aimed solely at Ravenhill who also rose to fire back “We had to make a choice Kane we can't risk you going off one a one-man vendetta in anger there's a process to be followed and we both know you wouldn’t follow, which would mean we would have fuck all to take to the D.A’s office let alone get a conviction, it was for the good of the case” Kane took a step towards Ravenhill fist clenched down by his side ready to swing but Stone calmed the moment by shouting in his military voice “Sit down both of you!” the two detectives sat back down sheepishly “Kane, Ravenhill, I don’t contest Daniel has a right to be angry at all if anything I'd be more worried if he wasn’t, however Ricky is right Dan we need to stick to the process on this one a nice clean investigation, I.A are already watching you like a hawk” there was a silence before Stone quietly spoke again “Ravenhill your dismissed” the detective looked confused then looked angrily at Kane who glared back still feeling the rage inside him Ravenhill left without saying a word.


“I'm retiring in few months Kane you won't be my problem for much longer” he came out with suddenly the detective’s head shot up. “And you're telling me this why?” Stone looked down at his desk. “The commissioners going to be pushing for Ravenhill to take my place which is not good news for you and let me tell you why, Ravenhill is a boy scout follows the all the protocols, good with the press, basically a good public relation stunt for the department, their version of a poster boy” he let that sink in for moment so Kane could work out what he really meant “So basically you won't be able to stick your neck out for me if I go off on one?” Stone nodded.
“Exactly I won't be able to protect you from my superiors and I would wager a bet Ravenhill would make damn sure I.A open up every file on every case you’ve worked and look for an excuse to get rid of you” he paused. “on the commissioners orders of course” Kane accepted his days looked numbered “Would explain why the prick is playing nice for now” Stone nodded in agreement “He doesn't show it but he’s wanted my job for the longest time and never really got an awful lot of recognition, always playing second fiddle to you because of your arrest rate, I wouldn’t trust the slimy bastard far as I could throw him” Kane just nodded mulling it over, and got up to leave 
“Oh, and before you leave Kane let me give you something, he rummaged around in a draw under his desk and eventually pulled out a brown file and flung it at the veteran detective. It read across the front TCPD Homicide File 237756/Stevens. Kane’s eyes widened.
“Why are you giving me this Captain?”
“You can't solve a case without all the information, as much as Ravenhill doesn't want you to have it, like I say you won’t be my problem much longer now get the fuck out before I change my mind”
Kane nodded and left.


Kane sat at his desk with his head in his hands mulling over the last twenty-four hours. His fingers dug into his temples as he tried to drown out the noise of the bustling office, the dispatch scanner screaming, detectives discussing the gory details of yet another murder, all the while through an open window you can hear the day to day being of the city as if it found a voice for itself, while grey clouds hung in the air. He opened up the file Stone had given him and strangely enough it was very thin, just a singular piece of paper with the words.

Puppet unaware and dancing to the tune of non-originality, killer here all along lol lol lol” 
too meta for own good,
kind regards
Edgar Kerouac Pynchon

 

Kane was perplexed the unsub had found the file before he had which made him thump his head against his desk in frustration, a photocopy of the first letter was also sitting in front of him, he read both over and over the words almost felt like they were mocking him as he struggled to comprehend how to enter this grim game of wits. Out of the corner of his eye Kane spotted Ravenhill approaching his desk but pretended to not notice, as Kane went back to pondering the letter a file landed on his desk with a thud making him jump, he looked up to see Ravenhill looking down at him with a grim look and spoke quietly “Forensics came back on the bullet we pulled a fingerprint on what was left of the it, got a suspect” Kane snatched the file up greedily and the photo inside was a mug shot of a young-looking man with short blonde hair staring at him with drooping grey eyes and a skinny nose and a thin face giving the impression he weighed less than a feather, Kane read quietly aloud “Fredrick Winter, Aka Broomstick aged 23 known dealer of meth and LSD also a user of both according to informants” Kane looked up and questioned his superior “I can only assume he’s known to the drug squad?” Ravenhill nodded.
“By the way Rick, you might wanna read this” he handed Ravenhill the second letter.
“You shouldn’t have this what the fuck is Stone playing at?” he read the letter and groaned.
“Today keeps getting better and better this guy has someone in the department clearly, I’ll send this to forensics and get internal affairs to take a look”
“Surely open shut case then we’ve got Winters on DNA right?” Ravenhill looked down and dug his fingers into forehead “Not quite Kane”
“What do you mean Ricky?”
“Freddy here was shot last week in a drugs raid”

 

Chapter VII-A Slow Dance with The Devil
Kane shrunk back into his chair “So someone has tried to frame a junkie essentially” the irritation in his voice obvious. Ravenhill stayed silent for a moment “Known associates?” he thought aloud, Ravenhill replied “Tommy over in narcotics wouldn’t say to me on the phone ‘Ongoing investigation playing it close to his chest apparently”
“Go on”
“Tommy thinks there's a mole in his department as well, some evidence on Winter went missing few days ago”
“Fuck sake” Ravenhill piled on the misery.
“Another thing you should know Winter was the guy that was named in the tip from Narcotics in your Anna’s murder” Kane’s head snapped up.

You mean the tip you ignored” the building anger was palpable in his voice.
Look at the file Kane! no military training and not the intelligent type, also he doesn't have the connections to get hold of a decent rifle he was just a small timer who doesn't fit the profile” Ravenhill paused to see if Kane’s anger would subside it didn’t. “What the actual fuck!” he had paused after every word to get his point across then exploded again “Did it not occur to you he simply went to a gun store and bought one!”
“Dan he wasn’t making enough money to feed himself properly the guy weighed like eight and a half stone don’t think he could afford a high-end rifle” Kane glared at his counterpart and got up to square up to him as he did, another detective was running past and knocked Kane over sending him tumbling to the floor the detective evidently a newbie started to shit himself and pulled him up “I’m so sorry detective Kane I was in a rush think my perps hiding in the A4 quadrant of the city I'm new to this city so I'm remembering areas by their quadrants on the map” he paused “Please don’t write me up I've been a detective like three days” Kane had been glaring at his squeaky clean shaven face and well-groomed black hair ready to give him a piece of his mind but softened when he realised something and fired back a question “What map?” the young detective was sweating.
“You're not going to write me up?” Kane growled his patience wearing thin “I will if you don’t fucking answer my question” the younger man suddenly looked irritated looking at Ravenhill “You let him talk to everyone like that!?” Ravenhill looked at his feet and sighed “Sadly Mckenna I don’t get a chance much to stop him these days but answer the question I want to know why our esteemed colleague here wants to know” there was an undertone of sarcasm in his last few words Mckenna glared at Kane and fumbled in his inside jacket pocket and pulled out what turned out to be a tourist information map “You see each part of the city has a quadrant for example Jackson Heights on the X axis has the number 4 and on the Y axis has the letter A it's obviously been simplified for tourists it's almost like a”
“Chess board” Kane interrupted. At this Ravenhill's head snapped up from looking at his feet “You don’t think” Kane wasn’t even looking at him he stared intently at the rookie cop “What's in quadrant D4?” the younger man looked confused “City Hall and the library the down town area” Kane looked at Ravenhill.
“Yep our boys got a sense of humour of course it would be fucking city hall, call the swat team I suspect we might need them”

 

  City hall was not unlike the police headquarters in the sense it was ancient, the slippery wide white marble steps leading up to its grand entrance had engraved on each one of them ‘built on the commission of mayor James Wright 1842’ just confirmed that fact, however where it differed was the fact a serious amount of money had obviously been spent on its upkeep. Each window of the building was big and elegant with bright white wooden frames against the grey of the old stone giving the impression royalty could be sat down for tea in each room, atop of the staircase leading up to what looked like the gaping jaws of this monstrous castle were two pillars reminiscent of Roman times, and at the top of them were perched black gargoyles almost camouflaged against an ever-greying sky clutching the hearts of vanquished enemies smiling their devilish grins down at the two detectives who were hastily making their way up the stairs. “Swat team is five minutes” Kane grunted and briskly continued ascending when suddenly Ravenhill grabbed his shoulder and stopped him dead in his tracks “Right talk to me you’ve been awful quiet on the ride here” Kane glared back.
“Isn’t it obvious” was the calm reply as Ravenhill looked confused.
“No not really, listen if you don’t want to talk to me all that much fine whatever, lets save the bullshit grudge for another time, I need to know what's potentially about to go down when we get inside” there was a pause as a light rain started to come down. Kane bluntly responded. “This was where me and Anna first met at the annual ball thought you knew that”
“Fuck! I forgot Dan that’s on me”
“Whatever Rick, it narrows down our suspect pool somewhat, not many people aside from close friends and family would know this” he paused again for dramatic effect before adding cynically “Or forget that” Ravenhill took a moment to process the subtle accusation and retorted angrily “So that’s how it is then, alright fine let's play your stupid game what's my motive Kane!?” he glared angrily wiping his glasses as he did “I dunno Rick maybe mentally immobilise me so you can catch up on the arrest rate, people have murdered for less, right?” Ravenhill was horrified at the suggestion his jaw had dropped “Jesus you really think people would kill just to be on a par with you, you egotistical son of a bitch I'll deal with you later” and with that he stormed off in hurry, his yellow coat tails flying behind him in the now increasing wind.

A couple of squad cars had arrived and were blocking the entrance to the stairs a light railing had hastily been put up and two uniforms were watching over them as Kane slouched his way up to the main entrance and into the foyer. The first thing that grabbed you about the reception area was its grandeur, you found yourself staring at a gargantuan flight of polished timber stairs which had thin red velvet carpet on it and the staircase twisted and twined as it ascended to the various floors of the building. The reception desk on your right-hand side as you walked in was a black granite with a white marble worktop it was here Ravenhill was talking in hushed tones with the receptionist who was a slender brunette wearing a black shirt and matching skirt with blue glasses. “I’m sorry detective we can't really let you search the premises without a warrant” her squeaky voice was high pitched and had an air of panic about it which was reflected in her blue eyes. Kane flashed his badge. “Detective Kane, I see you’ve met my colleague Detective Ravenhill, with the greatest of respect madam, we have reason to believe someone may be in danger or the building itself at jeopardy. If you refuse to cooperate, we can charge you with being an accessory if we are too late to stop it, with that said it’s not so much we need to look around the entire building in fairness. Is there any major events taking place today?” His question he had posed in a soothing manner to calm her
somewhat. “It's the Trent city junior chess championship in the ball room all the local primary schools are involved” Kane snapped his head to look at the other detective.
“Keep swat outside for now don’t want to freak out the kids” Ravenhill nodded gravely searching frantically for his phone as he ran back outside through the main entrance. Kane turned to face the receptionist she said “I can take you to the ballroom if you need” her voice was now projecting major fear. “No, I’m familiar” just as he turned to run she suddenly burst out in tears in a near scream “What’s going on!?” Kane stopped and stared and instructed her urgently as a sinking feeling in his gut was slowly creeping into his conscious. “Evacuate the building” her eyes widened and she fell to her knees limply, so Kane took control and roared lifting his badge at the now gathering worried looking crowd “TCPD!!! EVERYBODY OUT NOW!” the crowd panicked and ran towards the entrance the panic was now tangible in the air. The receptionist was now weeping in hysteria repeating to herself “Oh my god” Kane stooped down to her level looked her dead in the eyes and spurred her into action “Ain’t no god going to help you sweetheart, you’ve already one upped the bastard by actually being here you can help” he gripped her shoulders and shook her “Spread the word and get people out ok! Set off the fire alarm go now!” she nodded and wiped away some of the mascara which was running down her cheek and hurried off. Kane still crouched, turned his head to gaze at a big wooden door at the far end of the foyer which had a pretty white flower carved into its grain, this was the door to the ballroom. he muttered under his breath “Let’s dance mother fucker”


Chapter VIII- A Macabre Choice
Kane raised his gun as he tepidly approached the door and swung it open. The ballroom was a grand spectacle to behold, its polished wooden floor squeaked under his heavy boots and shone that little bit brighter under the glare of the massive red chandelier above. Dead ahead was the grand stage with a closed dark green curtain. It was quiet no one had shown up furniture no people just this gaunt quiet which filled the detective with both a dread and suspicion. He looked up to the upper levels where in times gone by people could observe the dancers below. A flood of memories came upon him in a flash, how he first saw Anna from up there, remembering how her brother Rupert first asked him if he wanted to be introduced. He lowered his gun and wondered what would have happened if he decided to give the ball a miss that night. He saw the ghosts of him and Anna in his minds eye, chatting and giggling in the far corner where the buffet table had been that night and wondered why it took a case to bring him back for the first time since their first meeting, nevertheless he cracked a smile for the first time in what felt like a thousand years. He looked down at his feet wiping away a tear when a man’s voice quietly echoed from the stage. “Memories are a fickle thing are they not detective, especially when there not your own” Kane’s head shot up and saw it was a figure in a blackened robe standing in front of the curtain with his arms, using his hood to hide his face from view so Kane drew his revolver “Hands up where I can see them now Edgar!” the hooded figure laughed.
“As you wish detective” he raised his arms into the air as he did so the curtain came crashing down to reveal two tv sets both on trolleys with wires dangling behind them with grainy black and white footage being shown on the screens. “Before you arrest me Danny you might want to watch the tube, it makes for a riveting watch” he began to laugh a high-pitched laugh witch he didn’t stop not even for air it sounded like, as Kane walked up the stairs towards him, his gun pointed at him the whole time.


As the tired cop made his way towards the suspect, he could audibly hear the people on the tv’s one was a man’s voice screaming “Help me! I have a family! Help!” while the other tv sounded like confused children “Where's mummy where's daddy?” Kane exploded.
“Kid’s! what the fuck have you done you twisted shit Edgar!”
upon closer inspection the man whom he had heard crying for help was chained to a chair in what looked like a dank basement, with green lighting in the background. The other screen was school bus with a direct feed to the kids trapped inside. “Do you know who that man is Danny?”
“First of all stop calling me Danny, and second of all get on your fucking knees” He cuffed Edgar and read him his rights. Edgar had begun to laugh again.
“Oh Danny, you're so predictable that man by the way you might be interested to know is an arms dealer, street level mind you but an arms dealer all the same”
“And why the hell would I give a rats ass about a street level arms dealer?”
“Jesus Danny you really are not as smart as they say you are” Kane struck Edgars jaw with the butt of his gun. “Spill it now!” he roared. Edgar leaned back up after being struck revealing blood coming from his mouth but was smiling laughing and coughing as he spluttered his words. “Just so happens he’s something of a specialist in rifles, he also happens to keep records of his transactions on the off chance he has to do a deal with you lot”
“I care because?”
“I’ve met him a few times nice guy considering his profession, he just so happens to be the seller of the rifle that killed Anna” Kane eyes narrowed and he placed the barrel against Edgars head and calmly stated “liar”
“Call me liar all you want, but his life is in your hands now you get to choose now detective” 
“No more games Edgar start talking” Kane cocked his gun hearing it click and pressed the barrel deeper into Edgar’s temple which sent hooded madman into hysterics “Jesus Danny as if I haven't wished for death silly! Anyway the deal is this, you choose who lives and who dies turn the tv off with the dealer on it, he gets to live BUT the school bus on the other tv blows to hell and you get a lead in the cold case. HOWEVER turn the tv off with the kids on they get to live and you're a saviour to the innocent but any chance of solving Anna’s murder vanishes” Kane growled.
“What if I just blow you to hell and we save both of them?”
“You think that little of me detective! As if I didn’t predict you would consider that! Open up the front of my robe and you'll find a mobile which is monitoring my heart rate, and that phone on my chest happens to be connected to the two bombs at those two locations, so if my heart stops it triggers them! Likewise if you decide to rip the phone off my chest it cuts the connection, and the bombs go off anyway its a fail safe to keep little old me from dying” he began to laugh again coughing up blood from the earlier blow. “So detective who’s it gonna be save the kids or save the street level thug?” Kane went into a Vesuvius style rage. “Right you twisted little shit there's nothing stopping me from beating the locations out of you!” He dropped his gun and his first right hook connected and his rage didn’t stop, he was now a perpetual freight train with no brakes, he repeatedly landed punch after punch till he got worn out, dripping with sweat he pinned the villain down and mounted him his fist raised poised to land the killer blow. “Last chance Edgar” the detective could feel the warm blood oozing from his blistered fist dropping onto his suspect. Edgar smacked the back of his head against the floor to remove his hood and Kane found he was staring at himself covered in blood and missing a tooth from the assault.

The detective reeled back onto his feet retching as he did so. His twin just lay there laughing and coughing up blood “Detective you didn’t disappoint, the great detective Daniel Kane losing the war against himself” the laughter sounded painful but it didn’t subside. Then in unison both of the tv’s turned off. “What did you do Edgar!?”
Kane picked up his gun and pointed at himself once more.
“Jesus you won’t even acknowledge my real name! oh boy that’s good detective, the time you spent beating me you could have asked for help”
“You're a murdering psychopath this ain’t on me!”
“Tell that to Anna Jones” Kane stepped back realising what the implications where, his hand was shaking and the tears flowed again, he looked up at the upper levels and saw his fiancée sitting up there and watching, she shook her head silently with her cheeks streaked with tears and got up and left. “Anna no come back!” Kane howled dropping to his knees he looked up again but she was gone. He aimed his gun at where his twin had been laying but there was no one there. “What the fuck is happening to me he sobbed” the doors to the ballroom swung open and three armed swat team members burst in with their rifles trained on him. From behind him he felt someone push him face forward into the floor reading him his rights and cuffing him from behind.

 

Chapter IX-The Calm
Kane awoke not for the first time with another searing headache with a pain in his back. The bed he lay on was made of a cold steel. He came around slowly wiping his eyes, then he realised he was in a light blue hospital gown. “Now I’m awake” he grumbled to himself. Feeling confused he took stock of his new surroundings, he realised he was in a jail cell with no windows which was now adding a sense of panic, he felt a lump begin to form In his throat and his breathing quickened as he quickly tried to process how he ended up here. He was dying for a cigarette. He noticed just beside his bed a former inmate had left his mark with his fingernails in the wall ‘Abandon all hope, Kane’s on the way’He snorted to himself “Nice to know my reputation precedes me” got up and banged loudly on the cast iron door trying to force the slat where guards could pass food to prisoners to no avail. “Can someone hear me I’m awake now! Very funny guys the prank was good but I’ve got shit to do!” no response. He sat back down instantly regretting the shouting, which had only made his throbbing temples send a thudding pain to his nervous system. He let out a quiet moan as that clikity clack noise he heard more often recently made a sinister return filling his eardrums only getting louder and more intense each clack sound feeling like a drill bit into his brain every second. The door to his cell swung open.


In strolled Ravenhill looking sullen carrying a brown file, the type of file Kane was all too familiar with, and a man he didn’t recognise who was a short tubby specimen wearing a mud brown coloured suit clutching a small suitcase to his chest, he reeked of cheap cologne and the wave like wrinkles on his enormous forehead gave away the late nights and caffeine addiction, his shirt was a matte black sporting a red tie for companionship and his tiny brown pupils studied Kane like a zookeeper keeps an eye on the caged tiger, but his most striking feature was a small patch of curly grey hair which hadn’t seen a brush in years. Kane was not in the mood for small talk.“What’s going on Ravenhill?”
“What’s the last thing you remember Daniel?”
“Walking into the ballroom and Edgar revealed himself, I took the shot! You were there Rick!” mud colour suit scribbled some notes in a notepad he had produced which Kane immediately seized on. “And who the fuck are you?” mud suit looked up from his notepad.
“I’m doctor Burt Smiler head of criminal psychology here at Redbridge” Kane’s head snapped to look at glare at Ravenhill. “As in the asylum? A shrink!?” his former partners face dropped and he adjusted his glasses trying to compose himself as he looked towards the open cell door. “Bring it in” he calmly stated. Two orderly's in white marched in, pushing a trolley which had an ancient looking TV and an old VCR player underneath and on Ravenhill’s calm order, one of the orderly’s put a tape in and pressed play. The tape was evidently CCTV footage of the ballroom there was a figure pacing up and down the stage waving its pistol around then dropped to its knees and started punching the floor. It was here Ravenhill paused the footage. Kane was staring directly at himself on that grainy looking footage.


There was a pause then Kane exploded rising from the bed “Right, that’s it! Jokes over the pranks gone too far! let me out, this is sick! We should be out looking for the perp!” The two observers just stared at the raging detective and let his rage subside before Smiler spoke gently pushing him back to the bed. “You had a psychotic break from reality Dan”
“Your clearly on better drugs than I am doc”
“I believe Dan it was those very pills you take for your migraines that are to blame, we studied them as they were in your pocket when you were subdued, they were part of the batch that were recalled by a company called Future-proof, they were cut with LSD, factor in your clear PTSD from your fiance passing and the booze it was a recipe no doubt that would fracture anyone’s psyche”
“Doc I ain’t crazy, so what I take pills and self medicate cheaper on the taxpayer right?”
Ravenhill interjected “Denial isn’t going to help your case Dan, I’ve got you bang to rights”
“But I don’t remember anything that footage has been tampered with I swear, not being funny you were there walking up the steps with me!!”

No Kane, after seeing the body and you left a few hours later, a member of staff called me from Reds, you where there last night talking to thin air and you were thrown out in a rage, they were concerned considering you where there night before as well”
“huh?”
“You left that chess piece for yourself you left it with barkeep instructing them to give it to you next day”
“Dosn’t explain the DNA Rick” Kane was now visibly agitated and looked like a cornered animal while Smiler was writing notes furiously again. “It was you that tampered with that evidence from the Winters case file, we spoke to the guys in admin that handle evidence Kane, you signed it out as Anna’s brother, and planted Winters DNA on the shell casings to throw us off, unfortunately for you Rupert resigned the day before so we got an alert when you signed it out as him, you would have known that if you had kept in touch with him”
“Why did you let it play out then Ravenhill”
“We watched you knowing in your state you would slip up and here we are, of course the meeting with Stone was a set up, I needed his authority to go after you of course, he just wanted to observe you himself before giving me the green light” the paranoia Kane had felt made more sense to him. “Explain the second letter then, I never wrote that”
“Yes you did Kane you scribbled it on a piece of paper and put it inside the blank file Stone gave you as you sat at your desk”
“But the map!”

A figment of your imagination, after we spoke about Winters you got up and left, and I simply followed and here we are” the room went deathly quiet and Kane suddenly felt his body temperature drop causing him to hug himself and the clikity clack noise returned to his ears slowly...click….clack...click. Smiler broke the silence “Your fractured psyche split into two, part of you still thought you were a cop and you hallucinated to protect your mind from the awful things you were doing, those two people on the cameras that were ‘hostages’ were already dead. The csi team worked out where you hid them, the tapes had been pre-recorded to give the image they were live, you have what we call in psychology terms a ‘saviour complex’ which your mind developed over time to protect you” all of this was becoming just a white noise to Kane who had begun to scratch at his head causing it to bleed a little “Don’t you guys hear that noise?”
“What noise?” Smiler gently asked.
“Sounds like a fucking typewriter but its so damn loud” Kane was now starting to pull lumps out of his hair. “Daniel, I need you to calm down and describe this sound to me” Smiler was kneeling down to his level to observe him, while Ravenhill looked on glumly. “Doc, give me a pad and pen” he handed one over to the detective who had now begun to scratch at his ears in an effort to drown out the sound which was now a pulse like racket speeding up, Click..Clack..Click..Clack. Kane looked at the pen then without warning stabbed his eardrum, causing blood to trickle down the side of his face as he howled “Make it stop please!”
Smiler took a step back and the waiting orderly's sprung into action. One held down his legs while the other pinned him down by the chest, the cell was now a din of noise, Smiler yelling “Calm down Kane it will be easier!” while the detective cursed and swore withering under the weight of the two men. Ravenhill left the room to take a call. Kane felt the prick of a syringe in his neck and then after a moment his body just flopped and he felt himself being placed onto a stretcher. A calm had come over the veteran as the drugs coursed through his veins, he watched the corridor lights above go by one by one as the doctors conversations were just a stifled mumble to his ears. He muttered to himself “I’ve worked it out its not my fault”


Chapter X-Realisation
The thunder and lightning outside roars against another blackened sky, visible through the metal bars of my cell window. The walls are a dull grey stone covered in scribblings of the deranged, its a mural to former guests of this hellhole. The only light I get is the puny bulb hanging from the ceiling outside my cell, it flickers in its cry to be replaced. The guard skulks past our cells letting his truncheon grate against the bars, clearly compensating for something and his lack of power in his home life. The scratching echoes round the corridor against the sound of other forgotten moaning and whimpering souls, those who have been disregarded and left to rot here. I write my own addition to the wall sitting cross legged in the dim light with my fingers feeling the cold stone crumble and slide into my fingernails making them become a thick black, they splinter and bleed. I can hear him approaching, his footsteps a loud ding against the concrete floor he stops to stare at me. “You realise they will tranquillise you again if you keep hurting yourself right?” I let out a small laugh. “As if you care, your just a throw away character”
“I’m paid to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, you threw your life away by killing those people you sick fuck, and you call me the throw away”
I laugh that little bit harder he clearly doesn't see what I see.
“But I was forced into it I have no free will. I’m an innocent man, my fate was pre arranged”
“You could have sought help after she died, I went through your file I know your story pal”
“And what a story it was, nothing original in it mind you”
“What the fuck are you on about, you really are as mad as they say you are” I couldn’t help myself my hysterics an almost reflex response. “Its by design, you really don’t see it do you, the writer made me do it, were trapped here in an unoriginal take on the detective story, were trapped within a novella” The guard said nothing for a moment before himself burst out in laughter, slapping his knees. “That’s a good one, heard a lotta stuff here in my time but never heard that” I stand up to the bars gripping the cold iron in my now dirty hands. I feel an anger at not being listened to.
“You laugh, but he’s a murderer”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night Kane, anywho I’m gonna head off and leave you to finish writing war and peace” he skulked away still laughing and I could him muttering what a lunatic I was under his breath. I turn to face the wall where I had scribed my message.

‘Dear Reader, nothing is original any more’


Submitted: January 24, 2023

© Copyright 2023 Michael M Mann. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories

Other Content by Michael M Mann

Short Story / Horror