Saturday, June 30, 2012

Rue: Snow Ghosts Part 1

Snow Drifts

I hate eating around corpses. Everybody else does. Chaws on donuts, gobbles up eclairs, gives head to a chili dog. I dunno.

I drink my coffee because I always drink my coffee. That's different.

"Hey, Rue, we got one clusterfuck of a mess here."

"What happened?"

"Old factory in some Disciple controlled territory. Every member of the Arachnid and the Aces High street gangs are in there, with a smattering of Disciples among them."

"Like I said, what happened?"

"If we knew that, why the fuck would they have sent you in Rue?"

I drained my cup of coffee and tossed down a pair of ProTabs.

"All you've told me is that they're dead and who died. Roughly. I'm trying to be polite Simmerson. Give me some idea how they died or I'll request your assistance when I start looking for who did this."

I held up my styrofoam cup. His face was the same color now. I hated playing hard.

"You wouldn't dare."

I tilted my head to the side and yawned a little. I jiggled my cup, trying to get the last few drops to roll together so they'd fall out on my tongue. Simmerson was still shaking. Skinny people shake well.

"They slaughtered each other. Tore each other apart with their hands and feet and teeth."

"Thank you. Can I get another coffee please?"

"Yeah." Disgusted. He'd probably spit in it if I didn't watch him. One more reason to take it black.

I wandered forward, rubbing at my eyes. Mornings were supposed to start after daylight and after breakfast. I stopped at the factory doors and looked.

It was all old by now. Coagulation wasn't an issue. It had all frozen. From coloration, probably had been frozen for a few days. What a mess.

Hard to tell where one stopped and another started. Under fingernails and under teeth. Cogs clogged and gummed up with blood and chunks of skin.

"Your coffee. You wouldn't really request me to help you? Would you Rue? You wouldn't ask for me, right?"

"Simmerson, I see a lot of corpses. Disciples. Gangers. This isn't anything new. Why take me away from the designer flu thing and onto this? I don't see anything so spooky as to call me out on New Year's Eve, cross precinct."

"We've... well... We've got something for you on the roof too."

"More interesting?"

"You'll see."


It was certainly more interesting than a kiler flu bug. Even a designer one.

It would've been taller than me standing up. Taller by a head at least. Broad sweeping claws. Curving white dagger teeth. And a white, windswept body, bleached of color. One eye was missing. Well, it wasn't so much missing as something had been jammed into the socket.

"It dead?"

"Yeah. Figure it died when whatever got rammed into its eye. There's metal shavings under its claws and in its eye socket. But hell Rue, we aren't sure what it is yet, but we're guessing it had something to do with the killings down there."



"My name is Morgan. Detective Morgan. But I like just being called Morgan. People that are trying to make me angry call me Rue. Please stop."

He was white again and took three half steps backwards. Gave me some room to work.

I crouched down on my knees in the snow and ran my fingers through the creature's fur. Fluffy. I pushed a little harder, down to the skin. Stretchy. A layer of fat underneath most likely.

"Simmerson, this thing came from somewhere cold. Everybody evolving in the city is changing to fit our weather. Wet and hot. We've got a guest from outside city limits. Get it to the examiner, tell him I want a full autopsy. And I want to know what kind of metal that is in its eye. That comes first."

"What are you thinking Rue? Err... Morgan?"

"Where were you from before Chrysalis, Simmerson?

"Florida. You?"

"Minnesota. Up north, alot of the natives talked about things lurking in the woods. Wendigos. 1900s a guy named Jack Fiddler was arrested for murder because he said the person he killed was turning into one."

"Bullshit folktales."

"Maybe. I've got my cellphone on. Doc finds out what that metal is, I want to know. Immediately."

"You don't really think that thing is one?"

"Wendigos were evil spirits that haunted the forest and drove men mad. They were supposed to inspire madness and cannibalism. Look at the teeth marks on the bodies down there Simmerson. They weren't fighting over territory.

They were trying to eat each other."

Simmerson wiped the snow off of his thin face and stared at the ground.

"And get me another coffee please."


I juiced up my car at the battery station on the corner and got a mug of coffee and three more packs of ProTabs. Buying a bottle would be cheaper, but then I'd just take more.

I rattled down the road, slushing through the snow. The plows couldn't keep up, but that was alright. It kept most folks off the street. I wove through the West Worthington and East Fredricksburg branch office apartments. They hated city cops but oh well. I wasn't going to waste a quarter of a battery and two hours driving all the way around their subdivisions to get to the library.

The lot at the Sho District Municipal Library was empty except for Shannon and Roger's car. Per usual. I parked my beater next to them and climbed out, tugging my chewed up trench a little tighter around me.

At least it was warm inside.

"Morning Shannon, Roger."

They nodded and signed "Good Morning" to me with a smile.

"Work research. Nasty one today."

They nodded and went back to work, straightening, sorting, and dusting. Good folks.

It took three books before I found the reference to Jack Fiddler I was looking for. At least 14 Wendigos dead by his hands, with iron, steel, and more importantly, silver. A murdered woman supposedly becoming one. All of it ended in 1907 when Jack was imprisoned at the age of 87.

I checked out the book with a smile and slipped back out to the car. I swallowed down half the coffee and a pack of ProTabs. I flipped down the laptop built into my car and dove into the municipal files.

"Don't exist. Don't exist. Make these easy and just don't exist."

2 records found. Jack Fiddler. Joseph Fiddler. Birthdays twenty three years apart.

My phone rang.

"Morgan Chadwick speaking."

"It's Hoffman. Morgan, you aren't going to believe this."

"Give it to me Hoff. What did you find? Get a trace on that metal?"

"The stuff under its claws was old iron but the shard buried in its eye socket was silver. Purest I've come across in ages."

Two and two together equals?

"Thanks Hoff, that's what I needed to know. I've got somebody to go interview. Keep up on that autopsy."

"That's what you aren't going to believe. I extracted the shard, turned around, put it aside, and when I turned back around, the body was gone."


"Gone. No doors moving. No sheets ruffled. No tracks. Nothing. I've spent the last hour scouring my examining room looking for hide or hair of this thing. It's just plain gone."

"Alright. Thanks anyway Hoff. You hear anything, let me know."

"Will do."

It was a cold drive to Jack Fiddler's house. I should've brought more coffee.

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