Category: Conjuring Oneself


Emery was certain that the man would kill him, but he seemed content to bring his prize elsewhere. He dragged Emery to a waiting car and pushed him into the back seat, tying his wrists together. Emery heard the doors lock but, when he searched, he couldn’t seem to find the knob that would unlock the doors and free him.

“Wh-what are you going to do with me?” he asked when his kidnapper climbed into the front seat and started the car.

They drove for several minutes in silence, passing a warden vehicle on its way to the crime scene. Emery breathed a sigh of relief for the officer who’d been set to watch him. If the man wasn’t dead already, he would likely be fine.

“I already told you that you have something of mine,” the man said.

“You… plan to… kill me,” Emery forced himself to say. They turned a corner and the wardens were lost to sight. He was alone and it wouldn’t take much for this man to kill him, as he had so many others.

“You have something of mine though and I will take it back.”

Emery swallowed and asked, “What do I have?” his voice came out as a soft murmur, but the man seemed to consider.

“I am nearly whole. All that is left… you have; the girl had… all that I need to collect is my special sight. I can see with my eyes but… my other eyes are still blinded.”

“You have the second sight – off-magic,” Emery murmured. “You can tell I have it and Martha Beede did as well. But-but how… how do you plan on t-taking it from me.” A part of him said to keep quiet but Emery had always been curious. It was that curiosity that caused him to pursue the answers.

“I’m going to take my special eye back,” the man said.

Emery moaned in horror and his hands went to his forehead. Stories said that those with off-magic, especially like his, had a well developed third eye. Truthfully, nothing had been proven physically. The pineal gland, which controlled a great many things both physical and emotional and was associated physically with the third eye, was any more impressive in those with off-magic that those without. Either way, if the man intended to remove it, he’d have to kill Emery.

**
“He’s not here,” Hassett reported to a very anxious Franklin. “Any information on the fingerprints and whatnot?”

“The fingerprints came back to Mark Jeffreys of Summerville,” Franklin replied. “We got an address from the medical supply store that he got the preservative from. Well, we assume it’s him, it’s the only none medical –”

“The address, Franklin,” Hassett interrupted. The little corporal was chatty when he was anxious; something Hassett didn’t want to deal with right now.

“118 Water Street, by the docks. Take Third Street,” he said quickly.

“Got it. over and out,” Hassett said. He slipped the radio into his pocket and ran out past Roderick and Fowler, who were taking care of the downed officer. He heard the stamping footsteps of Everett following him.

“You got the address?” the other warden asked. At Hassett’s brisk nod, he tossed Hassett the keys. “You drive.” They didn’t have time for explanations.

Emery looked up as he heard a solid thud just outside the bedroom of the crime scene. “Hello?” he said softly, peering out into the living room. He saw the officer who was there to guard him while he worked lying on the ground.

His first instinct was to go to the man and see if he was alright. However, he knew there was danger there. Instead he backed up and pushed the bedroom door shut. He locked the door and then sprinted over to the radio that Hassett insisted he carry in his bag.

“Franklin,” he said, depressing the button. “This is Emery.”

“Emery,” Franklin’s voice came back over the crackling of the radio. “Is something wrong?”

“My guard… is down.” He broke off as the door shook in its frame. “And someone is trying to get in at me.”

“Hang in there,” Franklin said. Even over the crackling, Emery could hear the tension in his voice. “Hassett and Everett are on the way.”

“Right,” Emery said. He stood, spinning toward the door as it broke free of its frame. There, in the doorway, was the killer. “Franklin, he’s here,” he managed, though his voice seemed to be on the verge of deserting him.

“You have something that belongs to me,” the man said.

Emery shook his head and then slumped to the floor as a wave of dizziness swept over him. He moaned in dread, knowing that he was having a spell but unable to do anything about it. Then the man was on him.

He expected to be killed immediately, but instead the man simply dragged him to his feet and towed him toward the door. “Let me go,” Emery said. “I’m dizzy. I need to sit.” The man lifted him up, but the sudden movement set his head spinning and he lost consciousness.

Emery peeked around the corner, almost afraid of what he’d find. There was blood everywhere. He could feel the trauma emanating out of the room. “He was interrupted?” he asked as he took in what he saw.

“Neighbor heard something and, apparently, she has a key,” Morrissey said. He looked over at the body and shook his head. “He left his knife behind, so now we have fingerprints.”

“He left… a flower on it,” Emery said softly. He shuddered. “What’d the neighbor see?”

“Not much,” Morrissey said. “He ran out the back door, off the balcony.”

“We should check the ER’s,” Hassett’s voice called. “That’s some jump.”

Emery stepped out onto the balcony and looked down. “We’re up two stories,” he murmured. “There’s no trauma. What’d he do: fly?” Hassett shrugged up at him and headed inside.

“No trauma, huh?” Morrissey asked. He looked up and tilted his head. “Maybe he went up. It’s only one floor. That might also be how he got in.”

“Might be,” Emery said. “Door wasn’t forced. She might have left the door unlocked, or even open.” He also looked up and frowned. “If he went up… he’d have to come down.”

“Too true, Chief,” Hassett said as he joined them. “You get your evidence collected and I’ll go check out the roofs. We’re definitely going to get this guy now – one way or another.”

Emery tried to take his mind off the case by reading a book. It was, he thought, a children’s book. He revised this opinion as he read. The story was rather gruesome. He hadn’t realized that the hunter had butchered the big bad wolf to get Red Riding Hood out.

He closed the book and shook his head, setting it aside. He didn’t need something like that weighing on his mind along with the still unsolved series of murders. “If only it was so easy to get thoughts of the murderer off my mind,” he mused.

Miles looked up and sighed. “Are you sure that… it’s you he’ll target?”

“He seems to be killing when the opportunity strikes. He’ll have to find me first and I don’t plan on being found, Brother,” Emery said. He shuddered and shook his head. “Hassett’ll keep me safe, Miles.”

“Just you remember, Brother,” Miles said. He smiled when Emery held up his hands in submission. “I worry, Em.”

“I know, Mi,” Emery said. He stood and took a different book off the shelf. The creepy feeling from the fairy-tale book would soon be gone. The fear from the serial killer would linger until the man was caught.

He couldn’t believe his luck. He couldn’t believe how easy it had been to gather all the pieces that he’d lost in the fire. Only two pieces remained and he saw the boy who had one approaching the car. He smiled warmly as the boy leaned on the door. “Hello,” he greeted.

“Hi, Mister… I’m a little lost. Can you tell me the way to the bus station?” the boy asked.

“I can do even better,” he said. “I can drive you there.”

“That sounds great, Mister. Thanks.” The boy bounded over to the passenger side and got in. He settled down into the seat and smiled as he said, “I’m going to visit my uncle and aunt for the summer.”

“That sounds like fun,” he said, putting the car in gear. They drove on, the boy chattering like a magpie, totally unsuspecting. Now he had all the parts he’d had before the fire. He only needed the last part. Everything was coming to be as it should. He smiled as he pulled into the parking lot of the bus station.

“Let me help you with those bags,” he said, smiling at the trusting boy.

“Nothing’s really empty,” Emery argued. He looked out the car window and up at the stars as he smiled faintly. “Even the stars have something they’re held in – plasma.”

“So his soul isn’t empty, it’s just… what?” Hassett said. He glanced at the brothers in the rearview mirror. Miles was dozing but Emery, as always, was ready for conversation.

“Well,” Emery murmured. After considering for a long while he said, “He feels like something’s missing – like he’s empty, but… it’s there, just… not in contact with him.”

“He’s lost contact with his soul?” Hassett asked, meeting the boy’s eyes in the mirror.

“That’s why he’s killing people, Hassett. If he was in contact with his soul – with the part of him that is God-given – then he wouldn’t feel so empty and he wouldn’t be killing people.”

“You can be very profound sometimes, Emery,” Hassett said.

He redirected his attention to the road and smiled as he heard Emery add, “At least that’s the only reason I can think of that you’d think other people have parts of you.”

Grant sighed as he unlocked the door to his car and climbed in. He’d been doing that a lot lately; sighing. As he turned the on and was about to shift into drive he spotted Franklin and Wheeler making their way to the parking lot.

As he noticed them holding hands, he sighed again. Everyone seemed to have at least a good friend that they could spend time with out of work, if not a significant other. Why was he the only one left out… always? The Ballards not only had each other; they had a friend that they’d grown up with. Hassett and Everett were good friends as well as partners. Hurley and Morrissey had known each other for years, even before the investigator had joined the department. The list went on. He was the odd ball out.

It didn’t seem fair. He put the car in drive and eased his foot on the gas. As he reached the parking lot exit, he had to stop short to keep from running into the new tech person. She flashed him a brilliant smile and tapped on the window.

He rolled the window down quickly and looked her over. She was a very pretty girl. “Sorry, did I hit you?” he asked.

“No, I’m fine. I just wonder if you could give me a ride to my apartment. I haven’t got an alternate form of transportation yet and I think I missed the bus,” she said. At his nod, she climbed into the car behind him. “I’m Hannah,” she said.

“Um… Marlin,” he replied, adjusting his glassed. He looked both ways and then eased his foot onto the gas once more. “So which… which way is it to your apartment?” he asked.

“It’s just up here,” she replied. He blushed as he noticed the way she was looking at him; almost sizing him up. “Would you like to come inside for a drink?” she asked.

“Alright,” he managed after a moment. He wondered where the night would lead them from there.

Hannah frowned as Miles left the room. She followed him silently until he reached the lobby. As he turned down the corridor that led to the supervisor’s office, she caught his hand. “I’m sorry, Miles,” she said. “You’re right. I… I followed you. I figured that… well, I wanted to apologize and… I was hoping… maybe…?”

“Hannah,” Miles said, his tone full of warning.

“Alright,” she said, relenting. “Seriously though, I want the job. I think I’ll be a good investigator – even if I have to work my way up from technician. Just give me a chance – not at a relationship… just let me work here. You don’t have to tell Morrissey about… how we used to be.”

Miles frowned but nodded. “There is no us,” he reminded her softly. “I’m not even sure we can be friends. This is purely a working relationship.”

“I understand,” she said, smiling. “Thanks, Miles.” She let him go and watched as he retraced his steps. Her smiled relaxed to one of grim satisfaction. Miles was the kind of person who was forgiving to a fault. She could bide her time. The right opportunity would present itself sooner or later.

Miles felt his breath catch in his throat when he saw her. It had been years, since they were in school. Still he hadn’t forgotten her. They’d gotten acquainted after his brother had found her, lost in the forest.

“Hannah?” he greeted softly as she stepped into the lab.

“Miles,” came the shocked reply. “I… had no idea you worked here.”

He smiled wanly and shook his head. “Hannah, you saw my brother; you knew I worked here.”

She looked down and smiled. “It’s good to see you again, Miles. You look good.”

He caught her hands as she reached up to set them on his shoulders, ready for an intimate kiss. “No,” he said, his voice steady. “Hannah, I’ve moved on and if you can’t then I’ll make sure that Morrissey knows about our past together. It can’t go back to what it was. It hurt too much the first time… the second time too. There will be no third time.”

“Miles,” she started. “I do like you. The past –”

“Happened,” he interrupted. “It’s still the past. It can never be the future, Hannah. I have a case to work on.” He took a step back away from her and left the room.

Miles looked up at the first explosion overhead. “What’s that?” he asked. There was a bright flash that faded quickly into the light of dusk.

“They’re getting ready for the fireworks that are scheduled for tonight,” Hassett replied. “Do they have them out in the countryside for Founder’s Day?”

“No,” Miles replied. “They only have them at midnight on New Year’s to welcome the new and scare away evil spirits.” He looked up with a smile. “I love fireworks.”

“Commander Hurley wanted the city planners to cancel them because of this murderer,” he said. “They refused because they didn’t want to panic the public.”

“Can we watch?” Miles asked, gazing up at the sky.

“I’ll watch with you,” Hassett replied with a grin. It was always nice to see the boys acting their ages.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

Heather's Fancies

tales from the enchanted gardens and shadow hollow

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