Monday, July 2, 2012

Rue: Snow Ghosts Part 3

 Blood and Iron

She still stole the covers, even when she was dead. It was okay though, I was used to it. I just snuggled a little tighter against her and drew in another breath.

Ghosts are cold to the touch.

But never so cold as sleeping alone after twenty three years of sharing a bed.

Dinner had been shrimp and scallops. She loved to find black market imports from the dockworks and steal them from smugglers. After all, the smugglers stole them from The Judges, why not steal them from the smugglers?

Did I mention I first met her while arresting her? It doesn't matter I suppose. She's still mine, even when she turns into fog around three in the morning. Amy turns right back into a solid, but she always blushes. And I kiss her and tell her it's alright. And then she pretends to sleep, even though ghosts don't, and I pretend to sleep. When sleep comes, it is a tide and I pass out in her arms. Never for long. But always peaceful.



"Time to get up and get to work. The Corp truck will pick up your catches in about an hour. You have time to make it over there before they do my love."

"There's no rush. They can't escape."

"How can you be so sure?"

"There's trace amounts of old iron in all those dumpsters. Wendigoes can't break old iron."

"You're kidding me."

"Nah." (I yawned) "It's like most old spirits. Iron binds them up tight..."

My eyes blinked open involuntarily and I looked at Amy. She stared back at me with her blazing green, semi-transparent, eyes.


"That's it."

"What's it?"

"I know who let them into the city. Thank you honey."

I kissed her, my lips slipping into her a moment before she materialized. It was always a cold kiss that melted me anyway.

"And I'm off."

She giggled and slipped out from beneath the covers.

"Your coffee's already ready. You take care out there love."

"You know me."

She giggled and disappeared, empty air whispering in my ears.

"I wouldn't have it any other way."


I stopped at a recharging station and juiced the car back up. The kid behind the counter was new and asked for ID when I bought a box of ProTabs.

"I'm going to have to see some identification sir."

I flashed my badge. And my driver's license.

"Mr. Chadwick, it's store policy for us to notify you that..."

"ProTabs are exceptionally dangerous to an individual's health. The stimulants contained in these packages have been linked to several cancers, including but not limited to prostate, lung, liver, and brain cancer. ProTabs also have been shown to affect an individual's nervous, digestive, circulatory, and endocrine systems in negative ways including but not limited to indigestion, insomnia, heartburn, acid reflux, seizures, blood clots, thyroid deficiencies, and immune system failure. Did I miss anything?"

She shook her head no.

"Just... officer... those things are bad for you, and you're buying a box of like eighty packs."

"We all have vices. Mine are legal."

I put money on the counter and left. After I opened the box and down a pack.

Much better.


"Hey Morgan. Didn't expect to see you. Everybody's out trying to get a look at those things you caught last night."

I shrugged.

"I got enough of a look at them last night Hoff. Find out anything new about the victims?"

He wiped off his gloved hands on his apron, shaking his head. His head wobbled every time he shook it. Skinny little old man with more skin on his head than anywhere else on his body.

"Nothing. I've been working all night Morgan, and I've got nothing on these guys. They killed each other, that's for certain. But no sign of drugs or any other foreign substance is in their system."

I smiled softly and sipped at my coffee.

"I wasn't really expecting there to be anything new."

Hoff frowned.

"Then why ask?"

"To see if you were lying. I've got to hand it to you Hoff, you are a sly one."

"I've got no idea what you're talking about."

"Sure you do. You let them in and set them up. No one will know and if The Sleepers ever do take over, you've got an in."

"Now Morgan..."

"Oh let it go Hoff. You got approached by a Sleeper agent that needed someone with access to city files. The Fiddlers needed IDs. So you gave them IDs. Didn't try to hide a thing. The night you were supposed to meet Jack, you got the hobo drunk so he'd pass out. Then you dropped magnesium in the barrel. It's still burning by the way."

Hoff was starting to fidget, wringing his gloved hands.

"You weren't counting on some bizarre toymaker to be out and about. You figured he'd kill the hobo and leave enough evidence I'd find him anyway. But instead he left a godawful mess behind in that factory."

"Morgan, I don't know where you're getting all of this but..."

"I'm not done yet Hoff. When I found Jack, he had iron under his fingers and silver in that eye. You knew what they did. You pulled out the silver, just like you said. But he didn't vanish. He couldn't. The iron bound him, weighted him down. Old ghosts are funny like that. You set him up to give me a fighting chance. You just didn't expect me to come back to you in the end."

Medical Examiner Hugo Hoffman slumped back into his rolling chair.

"I should've known better. How'd you get started on me?"

"Jack said he'd have to thank you in person after killing me. He had the chance to thank you before. Why not kill you on the spot? He knew about the iron Hoff, he realized what you'd done. Jack just decided to kill me first before coming for you. It's not real hard to understand why you'd do it. How many corpses do you see a day? How many mutilated, dismembered, disfigured? You wanted to spare yourself. Just not at everyone's expense."

Hoff put his head in his hands.

"What are you going to do Morgan?"

"About what Hoff?"

The old man blinked.

"About all of this. About the Wendigoes."

"What wendigoes? I don't know what you're talking about Hoff. I was asking if you wanted to go out to breakfast."

He blinked again, hands shaking.

"Hugo, just know to never do that again. You owe me. You owe me greatly. That's that. Two gangs are dead, some Disciples are dead, and the bad guys are crammed in a trash compactor. Now let's go get some breakfast. All this thinking made me hungry."

Hugo Hoffman, Medical Examiner paid for breakfast that morning.

He was a quick study.

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