I love this book. Writing it was fun beginning to end. The only thing that I regret is that I didn't make it longer. I had so many ideas for Demo Ward and the storyline that could have gone any way I could have Fathom'ed. But after many, many hours of writing, a round of professional editing the book is on its way. As such it's time I begin to release some awesome tid-bits to satiate anyone looking for more. Take a peek into a world that's beyond belief...enjoy the unedited first release content and an intro to detective Demotreuis Ward, or Demo Ward and his partner, Bob Cathy Briar, Bob Cat.
CHAPTER 1 – CUERPO MORTO
“Blood, blood spatters, and more blood it’s always got to be blood.”
Empty streets of a barely held together neighborhood encapsulated the harrowing words of a scene that was still unfolding.
“I never understand why you act so surprised? It’s just another Monday.”
The conversation at hand was being held by two men standing dead center of a small street that could now clearly be seen as a festering ghetto. One of the men fidgeted nervously scratching his arm scanning the streets back and forth slowly. He was slightly taller than most men with a wiry frame that belied his lean muscle mass. Jet, black dark hair sat atop his head left in a messy plop of spaghetti that somehow came together. His eyes were a very light hazel that seemed to adapt to his emotions akin to a chameleon’s skin to its environment. His mixed ethnicity made him both plain and exotic all at the same time. He was adorned in an old, fuzzy suit that had long since needed to be retired. Along the ground dragged his worn, scuffed dress shoes to complete the innocuous package, his obvious failed attempt at professionalism being strongly pronounced. His name was Demotrius Ward or as his friends, family and most of the human population knew him as, Demo Ward. Apart from the name he appeared as nothing more than another face passed then forgotten on the street.
“Is that what you’re imagining or is that what you’ve been told” asked Demo staring at the other man walking side by side.
The other man was a scrappy looking Irish man whom looked like he had drug himself out of bed just moments before. His eyes had red runways etching their way through his sockets showing great signs of sleep deprivation and stress. He smelled like a familiar brand of soap, Irish spring, ironically. His face was a scruffy, shabby mess. Atop his head was dirty blonde hair that gave way to a very pale complexion, a man who was broad but not too tall. Bob Cathy Briar was his rather peculiar name emphasized by the very un-masculine chime of his middle name. He preferred to be called Bob Briar. Ironically it was Briar that almost everyone had dropped resulting in the far catchier name of Bob Cat. This name always struck a never with him, he felt forced into a reasonable state of complacency just to get by. Aside his obvious features were the not so obvious tattoos of a violent past. Scars of many shapes and sizes adorned his body like a writ of passage. Bob Cathy Briar was the result of the school of hard knocks.
“I’m imagining. But to be honest it’s always the same thing. I can smell the crap from a mile away. And it’s a big pile of steaming crap.” said Bob Cat looking over at some teenagers jumping over some battered fences.
“Look at these hooligans, running amuck without any sort of parental supervision. It’s no wonder we keep coming back to places like this.”
Demo shook his head only allowing a sliver of his eye to catch Bob Cat’s vision.
“They aren’t all that bad. Or have you forgotten where we come from?”
Bob Cat snorted at his response letting his nostrils flare a bit.
“Yeah that’s why I’m worried about em.”
Demo took the lead pushing himself a few steps out in front of Bob Cat who was obviously caught up in a vivid memory of some sort. He took a moment to begin assessing the situation putting all objects of interest front and center leaving the rest muted for the time being.
The area was obviously poor. Years of ghetto rehab and rehabilitation had stuck the proverbial needle in and out of the down trodden society so many times that all that could really be seen now was the track marks. Run down homes, broken down cars, trashy yards and flocks of feral, street children could be seen at every corner. The only item of distinction would be the occasional stand out ghetto, rich car that would be surprisingly clean and well kept. Demo closed his eyes letting his mind take it all in. He need to adopt this place, understand it, feel it, become it.
“Look another one of those lil pricks just eye’d our car! I’m going to pull out my gun just to show him I’m serious. Punks like that need a lesson. I just never understand why we have to park a mile away from the scene and walk. It’s such a waste of valuable resources.”
Demo now looked at Bob Cat dead on showing how agitated he had become on having his focus broken by such mindless banter.
“Look Bobby you know why. I’ve explained it to you a thousand times. I’ve got to understand the area and its people to get the gears moving. I can’t just show up to a crime scene and know what to do.”
Bob Cat shook his head looking up at the clouds.
“Talk about your dog and pony show. Well if you think I’m bad just wait till we get up to the blues. I can’t wait to see what you’re gonna say then.”
Just then Bob Cat ripped out a piece of gum from his pocket and stuffed it into his mouth. He chewed at it viciously.
“Still trying to quit?”
“Quit, just chewing the gum now.” said Bob Cat snapping back quickly.
“I think the point of quitting is that you stop chewing the gum. You’ve just switched addictions.”
Demo paused makings sure he had been heard.
“Still not sleeping? Still fighting?” Demo pressed further.
Bob Cat snarled reminding Demo of his place in things. Demo obliged by going back to his assessment of the area.
Worn tires on many of the cars that hadn’t been replaced probably meaning commuters with low income jobs. Cigarette butts looked to be as common as sand on the beach. The occasional smutty magazine could be found making its natural, migration path down into the gutter. Vice, vice and more vice, the one thing that flourished in places like these. The only obvious fauna was that of the violence, groomed dogs that would occasional lash out at them as they past, a flimsy piece of the bad economy being the only thing between them and a very bad day. The teenagers that were hopping the fences were more than likely in some sort of gang. Undoubtedly up to no good but just not enough no good that he cared to pursue, especially with a murder investigation underway. I wonder what this place used to look like in its day. It’s good to be home.
“Oh thank anything holy we are almost there. I can see the blues parading around still striping up the place.”
Bob Cat’s words snapped Demo back into reality. It was then that he could finally see the house of interest.
The house was really no different than any of the rest, broken, busted, trashy and very much like his very own recollection of his home all those years back. This meant there were plenty of holes in its foundation that extended far beyond that of the tangible. Weeds overran the yard with the occasional beer can mixed in the fray. Outside sat a truck with a faded construction company logo plastered to its side. Demo sped up to the truck leaving a bewildered Bob Cat behind.
“I hate when you do that, hate!” said Bob Cat still gnawing on his juicy, nicotine rich glob.
Demo was on his way to the car when he was abruptly stopped breaking his focus yet again.
“Sorry sir this area is off limits. This is an official crime scene.”
Demo looked at the finger that then led to the hand that connected to the police officer. He was having a hard time getting himself back to behaving normally. Instead he stood blinking, opening and closing his eyes blankly.
“There something wrong sir…?”
“He’s fine.” said Bob Cat just barely catching up heaving and panting as he came.
“He’s with me and I’m, we’re part of the detective team.”
The police officer looked utterly confused. He peered around Demo who still sat staring back at him blankly looking all the way down the street.
“You walk here?” said the police officer.
“I told you that was stupid.” Bob Cat mumbled to Demo underneath his breath.
“What was that sir?” continued the officer.
“Nothing just hashing things out here with my partner, I’m Bob Cathy Briar and this is my partner Demotrius Ward. We are the consultant detectives.”
The officer raised one of his eyebrows to almost cartoonish height and level.
“Consultant detectives, Demotrius?” the officer questioned.
It was then that Demo decided to chime in on his own accord.
“Yes Demo for short, don’t ask, and we’ve got a lot of work to do here so if you don’t mind.” Retorted Demo succinctly.
The officer hesitated while he tried to gather his thoughts. The prospect of gaining his permission was looking rather dim.
“Demo, Bob Cat, we’re all inside come on in. Don’t mind him he’s the new guy.”
The voice came from a slender, professional looking woman. She had beautiful tan skin that gleamed in the afternoon’s sun that was carefully adorned in pricy clothes that fit her body perfectly. Her teeth were almost blindingly white, her eyes a piercing green that could only be trumped by her wild, streaky hair. Variants of blonde and brunette covered her head all purposefully placed with immaculate detail, her true, natural hair color, a thing of complete mystery. It was apparent by the way she carried herself that she felt in charge. Her name was Jacky Stolckholm.
The officer glanced over at Jacky before nodding his head reluctantly still caught up in the very awkward situation.
“About time I see a familiar place around here.” said Bob Cat blowing past the officer on his way towards Jacky.
Demo followed suite giving a small nod to the dumbfounded officer before taking a quick peek inside the car as he went. Beer cans, piles of crumpled up fast food wrappers on the floor and a paper bag filled with protein shakes, bags of almonds, jerky and a stick of lip gloss in some weird shade of burgundy.
“I know it’s a weird name. I’ll explain it to you later.” Demo said to the officer over his shoulder as he went.
Jacky omitted an intoxicating scent that had been liberally dosed all over her body. Both Demo and Bob Cat shook their heads upon arriving within its alluring radius of effect. But Jacky was all business, dismissing the formalities quickly.
“And just where in this ghetto have you two been? I put the call in over an hour ago.”
Bob Cat stepped back behind Demo, shaking his head.
“Out for a nice stroll through the park as usual.” He said.
Jacky looked at Demo for just a moment before coming to an inward conclusion she had just made.
“Still haven’t quit have you?”
Bob Cat’s face grimaced in annoyance.
“I’ve quit I’m just chewing the gum!” he said loudly catching the attention of a couple of police officers standing closely by.
Jacky grinned, waving her hand beckoning them to follow. She cleared them a path with her mere presence alone. Any pathetic creature caught in it would glance up, realize its error and flee for its life. Her heels clicked and clacked as she walked on the patchy cement walkway that led up to the house. Demo glanced over to catch Bob Cat staring at her swaying hips.
“You really shouldn’t look you know. It’ll just make things worse.” Demo said trying to catch Bob Cat’s attention.
Bob Cat grunted in response but denied Demo’s suggestion with action, his eyes following Jacky’s every foot step.
Within moments they had arrived at the front door. There inside was an absolute bee hive of commotion. Men and women darted back and forth putting up lines of tape while pointing out potential evidence on the floor. The room was as worn as the outside of the house. The carpet was an off color of brown that perhaps had been a much livelier, lighter color at some point. The walls were covered by one rorsach, mystery stain after another. Off towards the far wall was a couch whose back was riddled with holes, burns and even more stains. On it sat a man with his head buried into his hands, sobbing and wailing away. On the unkempt walls were the occasional photos or two with some of them still having the stock photos inside. The smell of mildew and unwashed clothes permeated through the air drowning out everything else, including Jacky’s tantalizing scent. On the floor was a wide arrangement of clutter that was just a few cat litter boxes short of being a hoarder’s paradise. The objects ranged from clothes, shoes, left over pizza boxes, unwashed dishes and the occasional empty carton of ice cream. Demo looked up at the photos on the wall and paused on them for a moment. Many appeared to have multiple slots much like what a family would have. He imagined what the feeling would be like to actually have come from such a nurturing garden of emphatic love. The room ran into a filthy kitchen were stacks of dishes and pots seemed to work their way upward like proud achievements of human apathy. At the entrance of the kitchen was a tool bag filled with construction tools of every kind, it was surprisingly well organized and the tools inside gleamed divulging the care they had been receiving. Demo continued analyzing the room while he walked towards the train wreck of a man at the couch.
“Ok everybody I need you to clear out for a minute!” Jacky said loudly letting her voice be heard.
Demo and Bob Cat looked on as quickly the stammering commotion came to an abrupt stop and began to move outside.
“I like when she takes control.” said Bob Cat upon seeing Jacky’s command on the situation.
As the people passed by the trio heading outside, Demo could feel their blazing stares burning right through him. He knew what he did was weird. Taking them away from doing their jobs while he did his was an ongoing battle he had to wage, case by case.
“Not you.” Said Demo seemingly out of nowhere pointing at the man who was reluctantly getting up off the couch.
Jacky pursed her lips in preparation to clamor away at Demo’s remark.
“Its fine sweet cheeks he’s obviously got him flagged.” said Bob Cat smiling creepily.
Jacky spun around to meet Bob Cat directly.
“I’d watch your loose talking mouth. If you were on the force I’d have you canned in a week.”
Bob Cat rolled his eyes waving both his hands in the air.
“Oh no please don’t.”
Demo then stepped forward leaving the two caught up bickering back and forth. He had locked on to his target and was moving in quickly. Just like a torpedo heading to sink a ship he took the most direct path, stepping over piles of junk, clutter and the occasional piece of furniture. His lanky legs moved with a ballerina like precision and purpose. His eyes now in an unbroken stare with the sad looking man on a stingy couch. He arrived just in time to see the man fall into another spout of digression. Tears streaked down his face leaving a salty residue behind. But he was interrupted by a rather odd question.
“Paper or plastic?” Demo questioned.
The man stopped sobbing in order to raise his head showing his complete confusion in such a question.
“I’m sorry?” he said now looking at Demo who seemed delighted in his response.
“Paper or plastic, when you go shopping what do you use?”
This befuddled the man who gave a timid response.
“Whatever you always get I guess, never really thought about it.”
“Well that answers that.” Demo said proudly.
The man then looked out towards the quarreling duo at the door as if pleading for help. But he would receive no reprieve. Demo pressed on.
“Built the house yourself?”
The man shook his head while remaining completely confounded.
“How long have you lived here would you say?”
The man looked taken back but realized that there was no escape.
“I don’t know, five maybe six years. It’s been awhile I guess.”
“Kids no kids?” Demo probed further.
“No kids. We haven’t had much luck that way. Tracy had a hard time with it. And now she’s gone!”
At the mention of his wife’s name he began to sob uncontrollably into his hands.
It was then that Demo looked over the couch more carefully. The man sat in a time shaped indentation that conformed almost perfectly to his shape. To his left was a much smaller indentation that must have belonged to his wife. Not but a few yards away from the couch was the centerpiece of the room, the television. Demo focused on the television for a moment as if seeing a program pass before his eyes. In an instant he sat down to the right of the man on the couch. The man was shocked back out of his pity and woe, thrust chaotically into Demo’s nonsensical interrogation.
“She sat here?” Demo questioned looking at the man sternly.
“No Tracy used to sit…”
“I know just had to hear it. I need you to look this way.” Demo said nodding his head slightly towards his shoulder.
“Say my wife instead of Tracy. Say it to me direct and nothing else.”
The man’s face was now completely plastered with confusion. Again he glanced at the door to now realize that the once quarreling duo was standing within ear’s distance silently listening. Bob Cat met the man’s gaze and gave a very stoic nod. Hesitantly he turned to Demo and did as he was asked.
“My wife used to sit here.”
“Again please.” said Demo looking straight into the man’s eyes.
“I just don’t see the point could you please tell me why we are doing this?”
“Again please.” demanded Demo now with a harsher tone to his voice.
The man took a deep breath trying to control his emotion before responding.
“My wife, Tracy, used to sit here.”
Demo now took a deep breath as if annoyed by the response.
“I said to only say my wife, you added Tracy.”
The man looked suddenly agitated with Demo’s presence.
“It’s because Tracy is here name…”
“Was her name” corrected Demo interrupting him belligerently.
The man stood up. He was much taller than Demo had realized. He now sat looming over him like a shadow cast from a mountain.
“You’ve got a lot of nerve amigo. I don’t think I’ll be talking to you anymore.”
Demo ignored him completely and instead kept looking at the two impressions made into the couch.
“What do you do for work?”
The man stepped away from the couch.
“What does it matter?”
Demo broke his gaze from the couch and put it upon the man under question. He waited silently.
“I work construction. Like almost everyone around here in this garbage hole. So what? You could ask anyone around here what they do and it don’t mean nothing.”
“Double negative amigo.” said Demo suddenly.
“Did you want to be a construction worker when you were young?” pressed Demo.
The man shook his head.
“No I wanted to be a basketball player. But that ain’t what I am obviously.”
“That’s why you came?” said Demo pointing straight down at the floor. “That’s why you came to the US?”
The man nodded his head grudgingly.
“They said this was the land of opportunity. All I see is a bunch of fat pigs and wasted time.”
I used this scene to introduce the two main characters. I loved creating Demo Ward, he's goofy, awkward and yet extremely talented. I will be bringing much more where this came from but please feel free to read, critique and give feedback!
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