characters belong to FOX. The Sentinel characters
belong to Pet Fly Prod. No
monetary units have exchanged hands for this
for the Brimstone ep. "Ashes"
Demons at the Gate
By Summer Rain
The alleyway was quiet except for the occasional scratchy
noises of the
various rodents passing by. The homeless man huddled against
clutched his worn blanket to his chest, trying to keep warm
chill in the air.
He was used to this alleyway and
he purposely came there because it was
quiet and still, unlike the other
places he knew where people gathered for
shelter. He was used to the quiet.
He liked it.
Tonight was different though.
the quiet was unnatural. The chill in the air was due to more
than the cold.
He didn't consider himself to be a foolish man normally and
tonight was no
exception. Gathering his blanket up he stood up from the
ground, left his
shelter and scurried away from the alley.
He missed the flash of
light and the body dropping from the sky to land
where he had just been
Had he been there he would have looked up to see the man,
leaning out of
the window, smiling knife in hand. But he wasn't there and he
those things, and because of that he was able to live another
Blair looked up as he heard a loud
noise to his left. He looked around,
wondering if anyone else had heard it
but the sidewalk appeared to be
pretty deserted. He peered into the alleyway.
He could see something large
in the shadows next to a dumpster. There was
just enough light in the alley
to know something was there but not enough to
know what that something was.
The anthropologist stepped forward
and then paused, wondering if
satisfying his curiosity was worth stepping
into a dark alleyway. He took
another step forward, gaze flickering upward at
a movement in the window
above the weak source of light for the
Whatever it was he didn't get a good look at it, but in looking he
stepped further into the alley. He gasped as he saw what he now knew to
a person on the ground. The dark stains of blood covering their
He took another step forward wanting to see if the person was okay
training, from having worked as a consultant to the Major Crimes
at Cascade PD, won out.
He ran back out of the alley
knowing full well that whoever had harmed that
person might still be in the
alley, perhaps in some dark corner where light
could not reach. He ran in the
direction of the truck, which was parked, a
block away, where Jim would still
be waiting for Blair to return from the
He called for Jim and
stopped as he saw the Sentinel already running in his
direction alerted by
the urgency in his voice.
Jim was already pulling the gun out of his
holster as he reached Blair and
Blair turned to run with him back to the
alleyway. Sentinel sight scanned
the weakly lit alley, a muttered curse
escaping the Sentinel's lips as he
viewed the body by the dumpster.
Jim started forward slowly, gun at the ready in front of him, his Guide
his back, a gentle touch to his shoulder keeping him focused.
the body, Sentinel and Guide both grimacing at the condition
"Chief, call it in" Jim said as he took in the surrounding
area of the
The Sentinel spotted some blood on the
wall in a few spots where the body
had apparently bumped against it, as if it
had been thrown down. He looked
up further to see movement in the open window
above where they stood. A man
who looked to be in his thirties with short
hair and a pale face looked
down at him, gun drawn.
looked down at the body and then his gaze swung back to
Jim's, his shadowed
eyes narrowing accusingly.
The sounds of police sirens blasted
Jim's hearing distracting him. It
only took seconds to recover but by that
time whoever had been in the
"You're getting sloppy
The words were whispered into his ear as he sat staring as
his cup of
coffee. He swore as the contents sloshed onto his pants, his hand
as he was startled from his reverie. He turned to look at the bane of
He shook his head and
grimaced, as he usually seemed to do when talking
his...employer...benefactor. He wasn't even sure you _could_ put a label
He shook his head again rubbing his eyes and
blinking rapidly as if
hoping the Devil would disappear once he opened his
eyes fully. It didn't
work of course and he found himself looking at the same
He dabbed at the spilled coffee and turned to face the
"I know, I let him get away" he said, his voice soft
and gravely. "That
man was killed because I couldn't stop the demon in time,"
regretfully as he placed the now empty cup on the table.
watched as the Devil's lips tightened into a thin line before he
"I'm not interested in whatever guilt you are wallowing in right
are here to do a job and you are failing. Remember Ezekiel, if you
redemption all the lost souls must be returned to me." he said
leaning in until he was just inches from the Detective.
"That is, unless you _want_ to spend eternity with me?" the Devil queried
lips just scant inches from Ezekiel's.
Stone ignored the shiver
that went down his spine as the Devil spoke to
him and moved back in his seat
to create some distance between them.
"You'd better get back to
work Stone. I didn't give you your life back so
you could sit around drinking
coffee. It's not like you actually need to
eat or drink. _You're dead Stone_.
When are you going to accept that?"
Ezekiel sighed and looked
away, annoyed. The Devil never lost any
opportunity to remind him that he was
no longer counted among the living.
By the time he looked back the
other man was gone.
*I hate it when he does that* he thought to
himself as he threw some
money down on the counter.
He smiled to himself
as he felt the change jingling in his pocket. One thing he didn't have to worry
about was money. He had died with $36.27 in his pocket and that's what he
started every day with. It wasn't a lot but it was enough for a room, albeit in
a seedy hotel.
It would have to do; the alternative would be
to get a job and he didn't think employers were too eager to hire someone who
had been dead for fifteen years.
Ezekiel stood slowly and walked from the
diner, hands in his pocket
shoulders hunched into his coat. If he were
physically capable of being
tired no doubt he would be dropping from
exhaustion at the moment.
As it was all he could do would be to square
his shoulders and continue
seeking the latest demon.
The tall man,
with the ice blue eyes, who was standing over the body when
he had looked
outside the window. Now all he had to figure out was what the
role of the
shorter man with the long hair had been.
He doubted the demons were
working together, demons not exactly being known
for their teamwork. Or maybe
he had it all wrong. Maybe it was the younger
man himself who was the demon.
The younger man wasn't as powerfully built
as the taller man, but Zeke had
learned long ago that appearances meant
nothing. And sometimes what seemed
like the obvious choice turned out to be
the wrong one.
continued to walk back to the crime scene going over in his mind what
happened last night.
It had taken a long time to figure out the Devil's
usual cryptic message
and by the time he arrived the demon had already
killed. Before he was able
to confront the men standing over the body the
police sirens had wailed and
he had had to leave.
As he had reemerged
on the other side of the alley and milled around in
the crowd he had been
able to observe several of the uniforms coming up to
the two men and speaking
with them. They seemed to be accepted at the
scene, he could only surmise
that they were police officers.
He shook his head lips tightening into a
thin line as he once again came
upon the crime scene. Officers. This was
going to be tough. How do you
investigate a police officer without him
knowing *and* without the police
officer turning around and investigating
He tried to blend unobtrusively into the crowd, hunching down a bit
hide his lanky frame.
Jim growled softly to
himself as he surveyed the crime scene. He had been
hoping that in the light
of day he would be able to spy something that he
had missed the night
Even Blair's soothing presence hadn't been enough
to orient the
heightened senses that were behaving erratically. For a moment
he let his
senses stray over to the young anthropologist. Blair's unique
Jim could feel Blair's warmth as the young man
stood behind the Sentinel.
He focused in on Blair's heartbeat for a
moment to try and anchor his
hearing and his other senses.
He had felt on the precipice of a zone as he strained to gain
_anything_ from the crime scene. He sighed slightly, feeling the
his body at the nearness of his Guide. If only he could get closer,
He shook his head to clear it of those
thoughts. They were torturous and
served no purpose since nothing more than
friendship would ever exist
between himself and his Guide.
his attention back to the crime scene. The body had been
but the blood from the victim still covered the alleyway.
There was nothing
more to be seen there. He turned around slightly to Blair
and inclined his
head in the direction of the window over the crime scene.
He walked away
trusting Blair to follow behind him.
At the entrance to the building he
inspected the floors, growling in
frustration as he realized the floors had
been recently washed. Whatever
evidence might have been there had been
cleaned away or at the very least
disturbed. Even if he were able to detect
something with his heightened
senses it would be useless if forensics was
unable to detect the same
If the trial went to court they
would need cold hard evidence.
He walked up the stairs, Blair directly
behind him. They had been together
long enough that Blair instinctively
walked in his footsteps so as not to
disrupt a relatively fresh crime scene.
They reached the landing. The
apartment they needed was directly across from
the staircase, which would
have made for an easy escape for whoever had
thrown the body from the
The door was slightly ajar, the
yellow police tape stretched across the
doorway. He was gratified not to
detect any cleaning fluids, which
hopefully meant an undisturbed crime
He ducked under the tape and stopped immediately on the threshold.
see half of a bloody footprint in front of the door. Raising his
saw that the footprints extended to the opened window. The scrapes of
along the windowsill indicated where the body had been hauled over the
and then tossed below.
Jim scanned the apartment. What
there was of it. It was only a one-room
apartment. There was a door off to
one side, which he assumed led to the
There was no weapon
on the floor and no sign of struggle. The only things
really out of the
ordinary in the apartment were the traces of blood.
Jim walked over to
the closed door in the apartment, hand ready to reach
for his gun, just in
case. By extending his senses he could tell there was
no one in there but it
was force of habit that had him at the ready. He
snatched open the door,
scanning the small room quickly and finding nothing
unusual. He turned back
to the apartment. The cover on the bed was turned
back as if the victim had
gotten out of bed calmly.
He frowned as he considered the state of the
bed. If the attack had
occurred in the bed, the covers would be in more
disarray, as if there had
been a struggle. There was no trail of blood
besides the bloody footprints
and even then there were only one set of
footprints. If the victim had
struggled there would be more blood on the
floor and more than one person's
Blair didn't need to ask what was wrong. He had gained
at crime scenes to know that this one was going to take a
lot of figuring
out. It had more to do with his ability to read Jim than
anything else. The
Sentinel was scanning the place thoroughly; senses on full
if the strain on
his face were any indication.
Jim's jaw was
clenched tight, body tense as he took in the scene. The
exclamation and the confusion in his eyes as he turned to Blair
know that things were not going to go well in this case.
me, Big Guy," he said to Jim knowing that talking the case out
helped Jim to focus. He kept quiet as he watched Jim's nostrils
flare as he
focused his senses on his Guide.
He knew what Jim was doing; he was
anchoring himself using Blair's scent.
Jim thought Blair didn't know this but
the truth was that Blair had been
aware of it for quite some time.
usual a small thrill went through him to know that he was this
the Sentinel. His thoughts were refocused on Jim as the
detective began to
"This is strange. There are no signs of struggle in here," Jim
sighing in frustration.
"And?" Blair prodded.
"Well, look at the condition of the body Chief" Jim paused as Blair
in remembrance. "Multiple stab wounds on an otherwise healthy
adult male. Why
would he not have struggled?"
"Maybe he was on something. There
*are* a number of drug users in the
area" Blair suggested.
he were high wouldn't he be moving around or just the opposite he
might be in
bed. He had obviously been in bed that night but no struggle
there, instead the killing was at the window."
question then isn't it?" Blair added "How did the killer
get into the
apartment and to the window so fast and kill him so quickly
that he wouldn't
have time to struggle?"'
Jim shrugged, having no answers and turned back
to survey the window.
Blair watched as Jim's nostrils flared and his head
cocked to the side
slightly. An endearing habit the Sentinel had when he was
trying to focus
on something. Blair kept quiet as he observed the Sentinel,
all the while
thinking to himself that this was one of those things that he
possibly portray on paper. No dry research paper could possibly do
Ellison, the Sentinel, justice.
He leaned forward as Jim leant
forward, forgetting for a moment that he
probably couldn't detect whatever
Jim was detecting.
"What is it Big Guy?" he asked softly, when Jim stood
"I don't know Chief. There is a certain smell at the
window..." he paused
and sniffed again "It's odd but familiar."
"Someone's cologne? A particular chemical?" Blair offered.
thought about it for a moment and then shook his head. "I don't know
can't catch it right now," he said frowning. Finally he stepped
back from the
window. And inclined his head towards the doorway motioning
for Blair to
"Come on Sandburg, there is nothing more I can get from here.
Lets go over
to the morgue and see if they've got anything on our John
They left the apartment quickly making way for some forensics techs
had just reentered the apartment.
Blair kept quiet on the way
to Jim's truck, letting the Sentinel sift
through all that he had smelled and
heard. He was so into his thoughts that
he didn't notice the Sentinel had
stopped until he bumped into him.
Jim didn't even budged as his gaze
swept the crowd of people at the mouth
of the alley.
"There is that
smell again, Chief," he said softly.
"Could it be from
yesterday? Maybe whoever it was in the apartment had
been down in
the alley previously"
"No, this is a little newer" the Sentinel answered
scanned the crowd again his intent gaze falling unerringly
on a familiar
"Shit! That's the guy who was in the window last
night" he called out as he
pulled out his gun. His suspicions were confirmed
as the man turned and
ran, trying to escape into the crowd.
off after the detective, watching from the corner of his eye as
some of the
uniform cops in the area turned to observe the chase before
guns and joining in.
The chase went on and on, some of the uniforms
dropping back in the
process after having gotten a late start. A few twists
and turns left Jim
and Blair the only ones in the running, the remaining
uniforms having been
left behind. Since it was mid-afternoon they couldn't
risk firing after the
other man for fear of injuring another civilian. Calls
to halt were ignored
for the most part.
Jim shook his head as sweat
poured down from his brow. He was quickly
running out of breath and yet his
enhanced hearing told him that the man
they were chasing was barely out of
In fact, he barely breathed.
Jim blinked, vision clouded
momentarily as sweat fell into his eyes. When
his vision was restored it was
to see the man they pursued, turning around
with gun drawn as he stood in the
center of the road. He fired at the other
man hitting him square in the chest
just as the suspect pulled the trigger.
It was all Jim could do to turn
to Blair and knock him to the ground as the
bullet sped towards them. As he
fell he looked up as he heard the sound of
the bullet he had fired, impacting
flesh. The bullet the other man had
fired at them whizzed past so off
the mark, that it was obvious it was more
a warning than anything
The other man staggered, looking down at his chest in shock
stumbling away out of the path of an oncoming truck. A wheeze from
partner beneath him reminded him he was probably squashing the young
causing Jim to roll off his partner, dragging his attention away from
By the time he looked back up the other man was
"Shit! First my coat gets charred and now
I've got a bullet hole in my
sweater" Ezekiel mumbled to himself as he ran
down the street.
He didn't even bother to look beneath the sweater
knowing that the bullet
hole in his body had already healed. He could only
hope that the detective
had been to busy dodging to notice that he had
succeeded in shooting him.
He stopped running, knowing there was no way
the detective could have
pursued him this far. He was surprised that the
chase had gone as long as
it did. Then again if the detective was the demon
he was after, chances
were they had similar endurance.
thing you have about ruining clothing Ezekiel?"
The words spoken softly
into his ear caused him to whirl around suddenly.
A ghost of a touch at his
waist caused him to still as he stared into the
eyes of his tormenter. For a
moment he thought he had imagined the touch.
But the too innocent look on the
Devil's face told him that the touch had
likely been real.
away from the Devil, looking away to hide the slight
nervousness at the other
"It's not my fault he shot at me" he explained tightly,
not in the mood
for his employer's games. "You're the one that let him slip
added, turning back.
"Him?" the Devil queried softly,
smiling at Stone's narrowed eyes.
"You're making a lot of assumptions here
Ezekiel," he said as he circled
the other man. He licked his lips, chuckling
as the detective turned with
him to keep him in his sights.
"I thought you
were a detective, aren't you supposed to investigate before
conclusions. Or have your fact-finding abilities left you now
that you are
dead?" he taunted.
Ezekiel closed his eyes briefly as he tried to
think of a comeback. When
he opened his eyes the other man was gone. He
chuckled to himself, the
beginnings of his anger leaving him. He just
couldn't stay mad at the other
man's antics. Well he _could _ stay mad but he
had learned to deal with it, it
was not the same roaring fury he had held in
when he had first been
returned to Earth.
The chuckle turned into a
grimace as he thought about what his employer
had said about him making
assumptions. It was true in part. He had
immediately zeroed in on the older
detective as the most likely candidate
the man had been powerfully built and had spotted him right
away unlike his
partner. That meant nothing, he knew. Appearances meant
nothing. Most of the
demons he had sent back to hell looked like average
That's what made them dangerous.
He looked around at the people on
the street as he smiled to himself,
wondering if any of the people realized
that the devil himself had been on
the street conversing just moments
He creased his shirt slightly to hide the bullet hole and turned
his way down the street. He thought back to the other man who had
chasing after him. The other man was just below average height with
brown hair and with a stocky built. The fact that he had been able to
up in the chase meant that he was in good shape. Ezekiel nodded to
as he noted that not once had the man drawn a gun. Did that mean he
have one? What police officer traveled with no gun?
been dead for 15 years but he didn't think police procedure
had changed so
much that an officer was at a crime scene unarmed. And he
everything he had learned in his career in NYPD had been
thrown out the
window in Cascade's police department.
The man had been the only one to
keep pace during the chase even as the
uniforms had fallen back.
*He never lead the chase though, he always followed his partners lead,*
thought to himself as he rounded the corner.
He gasped as he looked up
into the ruins of a burned down church. It was a
reminder to him of someone
who had not been what she appeared to be,
thought of her brought him a wave of pain. He hadn't known, hadn't
suspected that she could be so dangerous.
*Yeah Ezekiel, you're first
lesson in the dangers of making assumptions* he
thought to himself. *Face it
Ezekiel, you don't know all the answers.
You're going to need to go back to
that crime scene and look things over.
Don't assume, and don't take for
The question was; when would he return? It was only a matter
his time until there were not so many people
Particularly the two detectives who had chased him earlier.
Somehow the older man had zeroed in on his presence though he had tried to be
unobtrusive. He couldn't take the chance again of being
Jim lifted himself up off the ground,
arms trembling slightly in fatigue
as he swore under his breath. He turned
concerned eyes upon his partner as
Blair let out a wheezing cough.
"You okay Chief?" he asked.
The other man smiled ruefully, nodding
in the affirmative and extending a
hand for Jim to help him up off the
"I'm okay Jim, just got the wind knocked out of me for a
"Sorry, he had a gun I had
"Hey it's okay Big Guy, it's not the first time you've
thrown yourself on
top of me" Blair said, face heating at the thought of
Jim's body covering
"So where did he go?" Blair asked, to divert his
Jim shrugged in frustration "I don't know
Chief, I lost track of him
Blair stood open mouthed
as Jim suddenly cut off, tensing and running into
the middle of the
Blair ran over after a momentary delay as Jim turned round and
"Damnit! Where is it?" the Sentinel practically
"Where is what, Jim?"
"Blood. I shot him, he should have
bled onto the street"
"Are you sure Jim? Maybe it missed" Blair asked,
even as he himself
scanned the street for signs of blood.
heard it as it hit him, Blair"
Blair grimaced at the mental image
but nodded in acknowledgment.
"Anyway, even if it didn't hit him,
where is the bullet?"
Blair said nothing, knowing that Jim was
thinking out loud. He grabbed
Jim's arm and pulled him over to the sidewalk
as a passing car honked its
Jim reached around and jammed his
gun into his back holster as he eyed the
street in frustration. No
blood, meant no trail to follow.
"Well, we can put out the word to
local hospitals. I got a good look at
him, hopefully he'll go in to treat the
gunshot wound and we can get him
"Do you think he's
the one Jim?"
"I don't know Chief but I'll tell you what, he sure
was eager to get
away. Why wouldn't he talk to us unless he was hiding
something?" he shook
"Anyway, lets get back to the scene and
collect the truck. We've still got
to get over to the morgue and standing out
here won't get us any answers"
It was a long walk back,
though they were lucky enough to hitch a ride
with some uniforms that had
come to look for them.
It illustrated to Jim just how far the chase had
gone without the other
man even breaking into a sweat.
The ride over
to the station was quiet for the most part, each man lost in
thoughts. Jim parked the car and entered the building, finding comfort in the
presence of his Guide at his side.
They went straight to the morgue. Jim
could hear Blair's heart rate increase slightly as they neared their destination
but his Guide's steps did not falter in the least.
Blair took a
fortifying breath as they stepped into the room to find Dan bending over the
table in front of him where the body of the murder victim lay.
twitched as a familiar smell reached him.
He realized now what it was that
had bothered him at the crime scene. What it was that smelled so familiar to
It was the smell of death.
Or more accurately the smell of decayed
To a Sentinel's enhanced sense of smell, it permeated the morgue
no matter how much cleaning fluid and disinfectants were used to cover it
"What is it Big Guy?" asked Blair, noting the incredulous look on
"That smell at the crime scene...I know
what it is now"
He turned to face his Guide fully, "Smells like a dead
"So what are you saying Jim? That the guy was way dead when they
his body over the windowsill?" Blair asked shivering at the thought
someone mutilating a corpse.
"Not possible" Dan said, having heard
the last part of Blair's question.
"Our John Doe died just recently, within
the last 24-28 hours"
"Are you sure Dan?" Jim asked.
The look the
ME gave him had Jim smiling slightly and holding up his hands
Jim stepped in closer to the body, sniffing the air as
It was difficult trying to detect the
older scent since the scent of John Doe was more overpowering. He leaned
in closer to the deceased man realizing that sight might be more effective than
smell in this case.
Leaning in he zeroed in on flesh beneath the victim's
"Hey Dan, did you check this out?" he asked the
"Yeah, looks like flesh beneath the finger nails. Pulled some out
before you came in, was just about to look at it. I've got the sample
out," he said inclining his head towards the microscope on a nearby
They went over to the counter, Blair looking over Dan's
shoulder as the
coroner examined the sample.
Jim didn't bother having
already seen what he needed to see. What he
needed at the moment was the
coroner's interpretation and expertise.
"Yeah looks like human flesh.
Probably scraped off during the attack." Dan
said as he stared into the
"Anything unusual about it?" Blair asked, asking the question
"You mean besides the fact that it appears to have
come from a corpse?"
the ME asked, smiling slightly as he looked up from the
"What?!" both men exclaimed at the same time.
known something was odd but the last thing he wanted to hear was
that a dead
person had killed his victim.
"Okay, okay" Blair began, pacing a bit at
the counter, finding he was no
longer able to keep still.
Jim noted with
some amusement that Blair's pacing managed to keep him a
safe distance from
the John Doe.
"What if this guy worked in a morgue? Or as an undertaker
would that account for it?" Blair asked.
possible of course but it wouldn't account for the flesh to be imbedded so far
underneath his fingernails. Whoever it was he dug in deep, my guess would be
that it happened during the struggle," Dan said.
"That's just it Dan,
there was _no_ struggle." Jim said, exasperated.
"I don't know what
to tell you Jim, all I can tell you is what I see," he
said, pointing towards
the man on the table "That man over there has
decayed flesh embedded in his
fingernails, where it came from I don't know"
he said, shrugging his
"Why do I get the feeling it's gonna be one of _those_
cases Jim?" Blair
asked, turning to look up at his Sentinel.
don't know Chief, but I think I'm gonna trust your instincts on this
answered, shaking his head.
The rest of the time spent at the morgue was
anticlimactic after that.
Nothing was found that could help them, and the
incongruity of finding decayed human flesh under the fingernails of the corpse
occupied their thoughts.
They exited through the double doors and headed
back for the truck. They didn't need to verbally communicate to know that they
were going back to the scene. By this time the crowd would have died down, and
in any case there would be nothing to be gained by going up into the bullpen.
All they would be doing up there would be tackling paperwork, not what Jim
considered a productive way to spend the afternoon.
Brown and Rafe were
also participating on the case and were doing a follow through on trying to
establish the identity of the John Doe. After Jim and
Blair did a little more
legwork they would return to the bullpen to participate in the search, providing
no information had been found in the meantime.
Dan in the meantime would
work on procuring the answer to the question of whose flesh it was, embedded
under John Doe's fingernails. Jim didn't kid himself into thinking the results
would be coming any time soon, however.
He watched from the corner of his eye
as they entered the car and Blair's hand raked through his hair in a nervous
The young man, so still earlier now seemed to be vibrating
Jim smothered a slight smile as he observed his
Blair was thinking through this case. As ghastly as the crimes
investigated could be, there was no doubt that along with the pursuit,
the adrenaline surge.
And it was amazing what that adrenaline
surge did to Blair Sandburg.
It was the fight or flight reaction and
neither one of them were quitters and that meant fight. For Blair that meant to
think things through and explore the angles. This analysis was what helped him
be an anthropologist and what had proven to be helpful time and time again in
his work with Jim.
Jim surmised that by now Blair would be mentally
reviewing textbook information to see any possible cultural or historical
connotations. The possibility of cult activity might very well enter his mind
and the possibility of involvement of various specific cults would be discarded
or carefully considered.
They had been driving for about 15 minutes
before Blair turned to Jim to
share his thoughts.
"Okay, I've been going
over the possibility of cult acti...." Blair broke
off as Jim gave a soft
"Nothing, just thinking of something else. Go on."
Jim said aloud. *It's amazing how well we can read each other sometimes
Sandburg. Doesn't work all the time though, like when I try to read how you feel
about me* He gave a mental shrug, realizing this was not the time to pursue the
line of thought.
"What have you come up with, Chief?"
"Well as I was
saying before being interrupted," Blair began looking at him quizzically "I
thought about cult activity just as a possibility but can't really see it
Jim nodded in agreement, going on his own gut feeling that this
also was not a factor in this case.
"What makes you think so, Chief?" he
asked needing to hear the logic behind his own instincts.
nothing ritualistic about this killing. Nothing that was immediately apparent
anyway. The condition of the body and the multiple stab wounds," here he paused
so they could both shudder, "weren't in any particular logical pattern or part
of the body," he concluded. "Usually in the case of cult involvement something
like this would mean something. This didn't have that appearance just seemed
like a brutal killing.
They arrived back at the scene swiftly enough.
The earlier crowd had dissipated though the scene was still roped off. A few
officers milled about keeping watch.
This time when Jim noticed the
peculiar scent he tried to zero in on it nonchalantly not wanting to alert
anyone should it be the subject they had chased down earlier.
an arm in front of Blair to stop him from walking to the crime scene and they
stayed across the street from the scene, where he had parked the
Looking around he finally spotted the suspect and watched
curiously as the man loped down the street. To anyone else he appeared to
be walking slumped over, bone weary and oblivious to the world around him. Jim
however could read the lines of tension in the other man's body.
man was wary.
He looked like someone you could get the jump on but Jim
already knew as evidenced by the earlier chase that the man had a lot of stamina
not readily evident in the lanky frame.
Jim pointed in the direction of
the other man and Blair's eyes widened as he saw what had caught Jim's
attention. He waited patiently as Jim focused in on the other man as he
walked up to the uniforms at the scene.
Jim tensed and readied his
revolver when the suspect reached into his pocket as he stood in front of the
uniformed officers. He breathed a sigh of relief as the man pulled out a wallet
instead of the gun he was expecting.
He wanted to get closer to the
suspect in case he took off but was afraid to move from his current position in
case any movement should alert the suspect.
He listened in as the other
man opened his wallet.
"Hi I'm Detective Ezekiel Stone, mind if I look
around?" the uniform glanced at the ID quizzically but after a slight shrug,
stepped aside to let him through.
"What is it? What did he say?" Blair
asked as he saw Jim stiffen beside him.
Jim frowned down at his partner
before shaking his head and taking out his cell phone. His eyes narrowed as he
focused in on the badge as Stone closed the wallet, noting before it disappeared
from view that it was a New York badge. "Says his name is Ezekiel Stone, a
Detective" he finished incredulously.
"Who are you calling Jim?" Blair
asked curiously, watching the suspect enter the building.
"Calling in a
favor with someone I know. I need background info on this guy and info on what a
New York Detective is doing in Cascade investigating a murder almost as it
"Curioser and curioser" Blair mumbled to himself as Jim placed
"You got that right Chief" Jim said as the clambered up to
mysterious Detective Stone. "Lets just go in and check it out, if
the uniforms we might inadvertently alert Stone."
a New York Detective investigate a local murder and then take
when the local PD shows up?" Blair asked as they showed their
ID and slipped
inside the building.
"Lets ask him Chief" Jim said with a smile that
looked suspiciously as if
he were baring his teeth as he readied his gun and
stalked after the
Blair shook his head and
stifled a smile, wondering if Jim knew how close
to his animal spirit he
appeared to be at times like this. His mouth curved
down into a frown as he
followed Jim's lead up the stairs, moving as
silently as they
They reached the landing, Jim looking to make sure that Detective
wasn't standing in the doorway where he could spot them. He put a
his lips to warn for quiet and pointed to Stone's location, making
for Blair to stay behind him.
Jim reached the landing and
went to stand quietly in the doorway observing
as Detective Stone inspected
the room. His lips tightened into a thin line
as he caught sight of an
apparent bullet hole in the other man's shirt. It
looked to be about
where he would have gotten hit by the bullet from Jim's
someone get shot but then continue to walk around as if nothing
And earlier during the chase, he was barely breathing hard,
even after all
that running* Jim thought to himself. Sudden movement from
Stone alerted Jim
to the fact that he had been detected. He aimed his
weapon at Stone at the
same time that the man pulled out his gun and swung
Jim heard the soft gasp behind him as Blair watched the sudden
taking place above him.
"Cascade PD! Drop your weapon!" Jim
shouted, jaw clenched as he awaited the
other man's reaction. He felt his own
heart pounding as adrenaline pumped
through him, his body preparing to fight
for survival, all senses on alert.
"You're a cop?" the man asked in a
smoky voice. His voice was raspy yet
soft and he spoke slowly; lending even
more credence to the weary
appearance he projected.
"Yes I am, and at
this moment I want to know exactly what you are doing
standing in the middle
of a crime scene." Jim said, not allowing his gun to
waver in the least. He
knew that he was holding a gun on an officer but
there was something very
strange about this man, and he was not letting his
guard down until he got
"You're a cop?" he repeated. He shook his head, a
crooked smile creasing
his face. He let the gun dip and held his other hand
up as if in surrender.
"Put the gun down
on the ground slowly, then we'll talk" Jim demanded.
For just a
moment Zeke hesitated. He could see the cop's partner standing
away from them
and realized that he was outnumbered. He shrugged mentally
and set the gun
down. Because each year spent in Hell gave him more power,
greater than average strength. It would serve him well should
one or both of
these men turn out to be a demon.
"Okay now you can talk" Jim said
as the other man stepped away from the
weapon. He re-holstered his weapon and
motioned for Blair to come forward.
"I'm Detective Zeke Stone,
NYPD. I'm here to investigate the murder that
"Why did you run away from us?" Blair asked, standing
slightly behind Jim
Jim and Blair waited, as the
other man kept silent. Jim could see his
throat work as if he wanted to speak
and yet the man said nothing, simply
looking at them as if sizing them
"I'm not working in an official capacity," the man began
before being cut off by Jim's ringing cell phone. The story he
concocted died on his lips as Jim reached for his weapon again, giving
a hard glare in reaction to whatever was told to him on the
"Who are you really?" Jim asked, jaw twitching in
"I told you, I am Detective Ezekiel Stone,
"Try a different identity buddy, there is no Zeke Stone
in NYPD. The Zeke Stone matching your description died over
15 years ago,
which means you can't possibly be him! So, I'm asking you
again, who are
"I'm telling the truth"
simple statement caused a chill to race down Jim's spine, because for
moment he had believed the man.
Just for a moment.
It was easy
enough to prove whether or not the man was telling the truth,
listened in for the heartbeat of the man standing in front of
him to try and
determine whether or not he was lying.
Zeke watched as the horrified
expression on the officer's face slipped
away into a blank mask.
cop's partner ran forward reaching for the gun in the officer's hand
exact moment that Zeke reached down to recover his weapon, he raised
as the shorter man grabbed his partner's weapon.
The blank mask was
still on the taller man's face.
"What's wrong with him?" he asked
suspiciously. For all Zeke knew this was
some sort of demon
"Its nothing you need to be concerned about" the
younger man said, "the
more important question is, what are you going to do
Zeke kept the gun raised pointing at the two men. He was in a
The younger man didn't look like he was going to try to attack him,
concern seeming to go to his partner. Zeke wasn't so sure he
him _not_ to attack though if Zeke didn't decide to lower his
They stood silently eyeing one another, Zeke musing to
himself that he
could wait an eternity whereas the other man could
It was only a slight sag from the other man that caught his
well as that of the younger man. He could see the indecision on
man's face as he tried to gage Zeke's mood. Finally he
shoulders and deliberately turned his back on the former New
Detective, one hand going up to cup his partner's
Zeke stepped closer as the young man whispered to his
what was so important that this man was willing to turn
his back on someone
who had him at gun
"...back to me. Please Jim, we're in trouble
here, I need you to come back
Jim heard the whispered words
as they filtered through his consciousness.
In short order he catalogued the
nervous beating of his Guide's heart as
his senses began to come
He blinked and straightened, shoving Blair out of the way
with one hand as
he pulled back the trigger on the gun which was still
trained on the
so-called police detective.
"I told you to drop
the weapon." Jim said through gritted teeth as he
blinked trying to gather
his scattered thoughts.
"Are you really a cop?"
flickered to his left; surprised that Blair had spoken to
"Yes I told you..."
"You're lying" Jim
spat out, advancing on the other man in frustration.
"No Chief, there is something not quite right about this
guy" he said "he
didn't...you didn't...I didn't hear your
"What? How could you...."?
Jim watched as the other
man trailed off in apparent confusion.
"And the bullet. I know I
shot you, so what happened? I can see the hole
in your shirt where the bullet
went through...where is the injury?"
The other man appeared
startled for a moment and opened his mouth as if to
answer when at that
moment commotion sounded in the hall.
Jim was distracted just long
enough so that when he turned back around it
was to see the other man move
forward, finger pressing on the trigger. Jim
fired first striking the other
man in the shoulder.
"Oh shit!" it was Blair's voice but it echoed
his sentiments exactly, at
what happened next.
They watched as
Detective Stone shook his head, his mouth quirking
slightly in a ghost of a
smile before clutching his injured shoulder and
jumping out of the window
On to part 2
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