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Vracar
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 17, 2010 10:07 pm
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I jumped into the drivers seat of the Ford Floater and lifted off, blurring through the sky just underneath mach 2. Radiation sizzled in the distance as streaks of dawn burned through the O-Zone layer over San Fransisco. I didn't know how much time I had left. Between Eddie Ching's prophecies of doom and her rival Mr. Dumphrey it was hard to tell which way was up

And then there was the scrawled note I got from Winslow; it was my most concrete lead yet. It was a checkout stub for a locker rental at the South San Fransisco monorail station and it had the number for the locker and the code to unlock it. I slipped the stub back into the trench coat and watched the city dazzle by for a couple more seconds before the speeder came to a sudden and dizzying stop. Luckily it was a soothing voice that told me I reached my destination.

I parked the speeder and opened up the trunk to take a look at the gadgets that came with it. I already had a bottle of bourbon, a doll and the ticket stub but experience had proved that any tool, no matter how obscure, could somehow become useful at the appropriate time.

There was a basic flashlight. I turned it on and was happy to see that not only did the batteries still work, but it was blinding with its brightness. There was a power screwdriver with its own cutting tool, and a laser glass cutter. I hoped the glass cutter would last longer than my old electronic shop one.

The train station was well lit and empty. It was early in the morning so I probably shouldn't expect to see anybody but it would have been nice to get some directions. I looked around the lobby and found a sign pointing to a set of stairs leading to lockers and made my way down.

Some of the lights were off around the lockers so I pulled out the flashlight and turned them on. Locker ninety three was towards the back, nestled in between four other groups of lockers. There was a lining of dust on the locker except for around the handle and the keypad. I opened up the locker and looked inside.

There was a thin manila envelop. As I pulled it out of the locker I heard the shuffling of footsteps in the distance. I shut of my flashlight and waited, looking over my shoulder. I could still hear the sound of some people walking around in the distance but they didn't seem to be turning around the corner any time soon. I turned the flashlight back on.

In the manila envelop there were two old photographs. One showed an older Chinese man and his daughter in front of a collection of short old statuettes, the other showed him, an older Chinese woman and the daughter on a boat. The names, John, Margaret and Edith Ching were written on the back of the photograph of the boat. On the back of the one of the statuettes it was written, “One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves.” I looked at the other statuettes and they shared an eerie similarity to the one I was looking for.
I heard another set of footsteps and I looked up to see a giant of a thug staring me down with a pistol in his hand. For a moment I thought my life would be as fleeting as my recent discovery when I recognized the shape of the knuckles on his fist. I didn't quite like how I knew him, but it was somewhat a relief to realize that this was one of Eddie's goons. If he was around that meant she was around, and I had a few questions to ask.

He lowered his gun and whispered, “Turn off the flashlight.” I followed orders and he backed off, looking over at every corner of the platform.

Bright lights flashed through the cracks in between the lockers and the southbound train came to a stop at the nearby platform. There was a quick set of footsteps, the sound of high heels clacking against the concrete, and Eddie Ching appeared around the corner.

I started to say, “Eddie, nice timi-”

She rushed over a put a finger to my lips. She whispered, “Stay quiet, Tex! The NSA know that Martindale is dead. They had already sent out their cleaner when he'd gone missing and now that he's dead they've given the cleaner orders to fix everything.”

There was a low hum as the train departed from the platform. I whispered, “Who's their cleaner?”

“I don't know his real name. All I know is that he's been working with Smith to acquire the eyes, and he may be using this as a cover to find them himself.”

I was about to demand a few answers to my questions when I heard a gunshot and the goon standing behind Eddie fell back into the lockers behind him, dead. Eddie pulled out a gun from her purse and ran across, behind another set of lockers out of view.

There was another set of gunshots and the body of another of Eddie's henchmen flew across the platform. I scrambled to the corner of the lockers and looked around. The cleaner was across the platform and he was carrying a rifle the size of a heavy luggage container. I spotted a black eye patch over his right eye and ducked back out of sight. There was another bang and this time I saw a set of lockers fly past and over the tracks. If there was any time I wished I had it gun it was now.

I looked up and noticed the lone, solitary ceiling light above me, barely illuminating the lockers I was beside. I took out the glass cutter and turned it on. There was a few gunshots and another bang and I heard a woman scream as I cut through the glass and then the bulb cracked inside and I couldn't see anything.

I leaned back against the locker and pointed the flashlight, waiting for the cleaner to come to view and hoping I'd be able to see him when he did. I heard his footsteps, low and steadily coming closer. There was a hum in the distance and I heard the train coming to a stop at the platform. Lights from inside the train flickered through the lockers and I could see him standing in front of me at the entrance to the lockers.

I turned my flashlight on and the light blinded from my angle and everything became fuzzy and he put his arm over his eye, knocking his eye patch out of place. I jump to my feet and ran past him and onto the train and hid underneath a bench, looking out the window, waiting for the doors to finally close.

He stepped out from the lockers and for a split second I looked and see his right eye looked like stone and he raised his gun and fired, blowing the doors out the other side. The lights flickered and an automated voice gargled out, “Next -op, Fra-n Stre-,” but the monorail left the platform in working condition.

I found a spot to sit down and leaned back when I heard a voice say, “Tex...”

I looked over to my right and saw Eddie Ching, lying in a growing pool of her own blood. She took a bullet to the side and was surely counting the minutes she had left.

She said, “Tex, I've gotta tell you something...”

_________________

My blog:
http://nvracar.wordpress.com/
My attempts at writing and drawing:
http://nickleevee.deviantart.com/

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sam10100
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 19, 2010 8:07 pm
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I leaned in to hear what she had to say, but she passed out from the blood loss. Hell! The death toll on this case keeps getting worse and worse. I was determined not to have another death on my conscience.

I emptied the contents of my pockets and figured out what I had to do. I frantically took off Eddie’s dress to get access to her wound. Thankfully she was unconscious and probably wouldn’t remember this part.

I poured some of the bourbon onto her wound and pulled out the screwdriver and set it to the Phillips head. All those years of playing Operation with my siblings finally paid off as I managed to dig the bullet out of her side. The train jerked to a stop at Frank Street.

I still had to stop the bleeding. The train roared off and I heard “Next -op. Abbey Ro-.”

I saw the doll made of cloth and used the cutting tool on the screwdriver to undo the seams. Luckily the doll was made with one patch of cloth rolled up. I drenched the cloth with more bourbon. What a shame…. I pressed it up against Eddie’s side and held it there tightly for a couple of minutes.

I pressed my head against her chest to make sure her heart was still beating. She started to come to and moved her head and mumbled “purse” before passing out again.

Man do women always immediately reach for their purse for everything? I looked up and saw where she dropped her purse. I reached for it with my free hand and shook out the contents. Bingo! Damn that Eddie was smart. I found a hand held homing beacon and switched it on. Help was on the way.

I took a look at her wound. It was bleeding less but I couldn’t keep holding onto it forever so let go and reached for the laser glass cutter. I popped open the casing to get to the internal circuitry. I found the control for the beam intensity and turned it down to the lowest setting. I used it to seal up the hole left by the bullet. It looked like a job worthy of Dr. Frankstein.

The train stopped at Abbey Road. I picked her up and carried her out. I took a quick look for the one-eyed man and dashed for the exit. I felt a cold breeze on my face and saw Eddie was beginning to shiver. I put her down and took my shirt off to wrap her up. Then I heard a speeder hovering overhead. It landed right in front of me and a man ran out.

“Murphy, what the hell have you done to Eddie?”

“I just rescued her from the NSA. She needs a doctor!”

“Get in the speeder!”

After we were back up in the air, I turned to explain what happened but I got a puff of gas in my face.

I opened my eyes. Darkness again. Something was different this time. I was lying in a comfortable bed. No pain. No ropes. I reached out to find a lamp. I turned it on and looked around.

I was in a beautiful bedroom decorated with roses, and I could smell Jasmine incense. I looked down and realized I was wearing red, silk pyjamas. My God did I die and go to heaven? I didn’t hear the Great P.I. in the Sky. There were no windows, but I spotted the way out.

I got up and looked around for my clothes. They were on a chair clean and pressed including my shirt. Wow no blood stains either. I changed and bolted for the door. I peaked out into an empty hallway. I ran around the corner and almost ran right into a woman.

“Oh! Excuse me, I was looking for the dining room,” she said. “Are you a guest here too?”

“Guest? I don’t know. Hey wait a second. I know you.”

“No I don’t think so. You don’t look familiar. Mr..”

“Murphy. I’m Tex Muphy. Wait, now I remember. When I held the statue fragment, I saw a vision of you crying in a room alone. You looked like you were in trouble.”

“I don’t know anything about a statue, but you are right. Mr. Smith had kidnapped me a week ago and was holding me in a warehouse. These people rescued me last night in New York. How did you see me? In a vision? Are you a psychic like me?”

Before I could answer, the same goon that gassed me comes up the hallway.

“Ms. Parker, can I help you with anything?” he asked in a remarkably pleasant voice.

“Yes I was hungry and looking for the dining room.”

“Oh right this way ma’am. I’ll lead you there. “ Then he switched his tone back to the gruff voice from earlier. “Murphy, come with me. Eddie said to bring you as soon as you were up.”

“Hey you. Just where the hell are we?” I said.

“The name is Mark and you are in Eddie’s secret hideout. Eddie’s personal physician has taken care of her injury. She’ll live but be weak for a while.”

We walked down some more corridors. This place was huge and no windows in sight. I had no idea what city, state, or country I might be in. He stopped abruptly at a door and opened it for me to enter.

I stepped into the room and saw Eddie lying in a bed. Wow this room was even nicer than the one I woke up in. There were antiques everywhere and expensive looking furniture. This room smelled of orange blossoms. This place made the Kickerbocker look like a clearance sale at Walmart.

I stepped closer to the bed and saw Eddie. She looked so sweet and peaceful like the picture of the little girl I saw. I reached into my coat and the photographs were gone. No doubt Eddie reclaimed them from me while I was asleep.

She opened her eyes and rolled her head towards me. “Tex! Stop wasting time. Give me a report of what’s happened since the last time we talked.”

So much for frail and helpless Eddie. She’s tougher than she looks. I gave her a run down of the package from the NSA, Arnold, and my meeting with Mr. Smith. I didn’t want to have to tell her that her plan to trap Smith wasn’t going to work; but I laid the cards on the table.

She laughed and smiled at me.

“Tex, you can be a little slow sometimes, but I have to admit you did come through for me better than I expected. I sent you to the Waldorf Republic to keep Mr. Smith and Isabella busy while I broke into Mr. Smith’s warehouse to rescue someone. Your job was to create a suitable diversion.”

“Hey I don’t like being used Eddie! I told you I’d work for you. There was no need to treat me like a stooge.”

“I couldn’t tell you more. Isabella is slightly telepathic. She can tell if you are lying and can read your surface thoughts. I couldn’t risk them stopping me from getting to Angela Parker. Give me your fragment. I need to add it to my collection.”

“So you’ve got a collection like Smith as well? I hid it in a safe place after I figured out what it could do. It seemed dangerous.”

I took off my hat and pulled a wadded up tissue out of the inner lining of my fedora. I handed it to Eddie, and she picked up the fragment and examined it. It had no affect on her.

“You are right. It’s more dangerous than you know. Only a trained, experienced psychic like Ms. Parker can control and interpret the messages from all the statue fragments. Luckily for you, you only touched one small piece.

You may have some latent psychic ability but you won’t be able to handle all 15 fragments. Their power will overwhelm your mind and either drive you insane or give you a brain aneurysm.“

“Gee is that all? I thought I was in trouble.”

My attempts at levity still didn’t seem to fly with Eddie. Sometimes I think she must be made of stone herself. She continued as if I had said nothing.

“Now, thanks to you, I have six pieces. According to my sources, Mr. Smith has the same number. There are three more left to find.”

“Eddie do you think you can boil it down to brass tacks and tell me exactly what’s at stake? I’m tired of playing games and not knowing the whole story.”

She took a deep breath and sat up in her bed. She was trying very hard not to show any sign of weakness; I could see her stop herself from reaching for her side.

“The Eyes of Grendeljen has the power to see the past, present, and future. She can tell you who shot Kennedy, what you had for breakfast this morning, and who’s going to be President of the United States in the next election.”

“That’s amaz…”

“It’s not amazing. It’s terrifying. Can you imagine what would happen if Mr. Smith got a hold of her?”

I took a deep swallow. “He’d be able to control the world with that kind of knowledge. He’d have unlimited power.”

“Exactly. It’s been the sworn duty of every member of my family for generations to protect her. No one can be permitted to have that kind of power. She is in a safe, secluded place that no one can find without using the completed statue.”

“Can’t you just destroy the pieces you have? Won’t that stop Smith?”

“Yes and no. He won’t be able to find her but he can still use the fragments he has to see visions to manipulate the future. The ideal solution would be to return the statue to the Eyes of Grendeljen so she will be safe and nobody can use the statue pieces.

If we can’t do that, we’ll have to settle for plan B and destroy as many statue pieces we can after we’ve found them all. “

“So how do we get to these other 3 pieces?”

“You need to talk to Angela Parker and get her to do a reading on the 6 fragments and then…”

“Eddie. Eddie!” I leaned in closer. Looks like the strain finally got to her. She was unconscious again.

_________________

Samantha


Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.

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AC
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 23, 2010 9:09 pm
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Women seem to enjoy hurting me. Maybe it’s because I’m tall and always project an air of cool confidence and they know I can take it, in which case it could be some kind of psychotic foreplay that I don’t understand well enough to consummate.

Or maybe women are like bourbon: smells good, goes down smooth, and makes your toes tingle…but if you don’t know when to quit, bad things happen.

Eddie Ching had hurt me a number of times, though she inflicted pain in the more traditional sense. Which I had to respect. I’ll take a fist to the face over a knife in the back any day. In fact, as I thought back to all our previous dealings, Eddie had always been pretty straightforward with me, unlike the majority of my clients. I, on the other hand, had broken into her apartment at the Knickerbocker and stolen a priceless artifact and then handed it over to the worst possible person.

Perhaps I deserved to get slapped around a bit for that one.

Now I was in her bedroom (of all places), looking down at her as she slept. I wasn’t sure if this indicated a newfound sense of trust…or if she’d just passed out unexpectedly. Either way, I could still see in her face the innocent little girl from the photographs we’d found in the train station locker. Clearly, Eddie had gone through a lot since those photos were taken. I wondered what had made her who she was now.

One thing I was sure of: this whole business with the statuette fragments and the Eyes of Grendeljen were not about priceless artifacts and making a buck; Ching had a personal stake in all of this. The photo was proof, but there was something else, too. A sense of personal responsibility, maybe. A duty.

I was about to leave when I noticed the edge of something sticking out from under her pillow. Again, using my invaluable Operation board game skills, I slowly extracted the item. It was the photo of young Eddie with who I assumed was her father, and all the statuettes. The other photo was probably under the pillow as well, but I’m not the frickin’ tooth fairy. I slipped the first photo into my pocket and stepped out of the room.

I followed my nose to the dining room, where I found Angela Parker eating alone. The last thing Eddie had said was to have Mrs. Parker do a reading on the six stone fragments; unfortunately, I didn’t have the fragments and I doubted any of Ching’s lackeys would just hand them over to me. There wasn’t much I could do until Ching came to.

Honestly, I was glad to have a little break. Mrs. Parker seemed to be the one person I’d met in the past several days who wasn’t likely to punch me out or try to kill me.

She dabbed the corners of her mouth delicately before addressing me.

“Hello again, Mr. Murphy.”

“Mrs. Parker. Mind if I join you?”

“Please”. She gestured to a seat kitty-corner from hers. “The food is wonderful.”

“Smells great. I’d like to eat some.”

She gave me a slightly confused look, so I clarified. “Not yours, of course.”

On cue, Mark the Gasser entered the room. “You want some dinner?”

I did. But not enough to be polite about it.

“I should have known you were a waiter. Your poor customer service will be reflected in your tip.”

Without a word, Mark spun around and returned to kitchen…undoubtedly to spit in my food. Oh, well. I’d eaten worse things. Quite often.

Spit or no spit, the food was amazing: some kind of chicken with a sweet, tangy sauce and a streak of red pepper heat that made me cry just a little. A pile of sticky rice with scallions and a hint of coconut balanced things out nicely.

The company was just as enjoyable. Mrs. Parker was a charmingly quirky woman who liked to talk, but had interesting things to say. She told me about her background as a psychic – a gift she’d had as long as she could remember – and how she’d learned to control it and then use it to make a living.

To my knowledge, I’d never met a real psychic before…if there even is such a thing. When I’d touched the stone fragment earlier, it seemed like I’d had a flash of déjà vu or something, but who knows? The human brain is a tricky thing – easily fooled and quick to make connections that aren’t really there. Had I really seen Angela Parker, or was it a memory of someone else that my brain was trying to make sense of? I’m not saying it wasn’t a real psychic moment – I just don’t know. Like I didn’t know if there were aliens or not until I found one of their ships and blew it up.

I’m a conspiracy guy. JFK Assassination? Tunguska? Trilateral Commission? I’m there. But the paranormal stuff? I try to leave that kind of thing to the Archie Ellises of the world. When it comes to vampires, demons, bigfoots – or would that be bigfeet? – I have no idea and couldn’t care less. And I’ve always lumped ESP and mediums and remote viewing into that same paranormal category.

But my dinner companion, Mrs. Parker, was nothing like Archie Ellis. Quirky, yes, but like a dear old aunt, not a geeky virgin paranoid shut-in. When she talked about her psychic abilities, it was matter-of-fact…completely plausible. She explained how she could often focus on something – or someone – and get very clear images. Sometimes it seemed that she was communicating with the dead – or possibly even the unborn – though she couldn’t be sure if it was actual conversation or just getting a sense of their being or aura. Whatever that means.

Mrs. Parker looked up at me over her steaming cup of after-dinner decaf.

“Like most psychics, it helps to have an object associated with the person or thing involved. It’s thought that some objects may contain residual psychic energy. I believe that we all radiate energy and that objects conduct that energy; objects of personal importance seem to be especially conductive – photographs, in particular.”

I pulled the photo from my pocket and laid it on the table.

“What about this one?”

Mrs. Parker pulled out a pair of reading glasses and leaned forward for a closer look. After inspecting the photo for a few moments, she moved her right hand over it and held it steady.

“Oh, my.”

“What is it?”

“I’m not sure. The energy is very strong…overwhelming, in fact. There are so many images flowing through this energy: some are recent – connected, I’m quite certain, to our host, Ms. Ching – while others date back many hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. And there is something else…something in the very near future…”

The Psychic pulled her hand back and, reluctantly, removed her reading glasses.

“I’m sorry. I’m too tired to do anymore right now. I’m not as young as I once was and doing this takes a lot out of me…especially with something of this magnitude. I can try again later, if you’d like.”

I pocketed the photo and wished Mrs. Parker a pleasant evening before returning to my room. For the first time in awhile, I didn’t appear to be in immediate danger and there was no one breathing down my neck to do something or other. I plopped down onto the bed, kicked my feet up and tried to wrap my brain around everything.

The major players – at least the ones I knew of – were the NSA (or a faction within the NSA), Mr. Smith, and Eddie Ching. Mr. Smith was still a complete mystery. Ching’s involvement felt personal, maybe dating back to her early childhood.

With the NSA, whatever they decided to get involved with, it was always about control: monitoring enemies – both domestic and foreign, looking for information and technology to maintain their number one spot in the world power rankings, and (not least of all), keeping their own citizens in line with the constant threat of war.

I remembered Martindale’s last words: “…the war…” Had he been referring to NSA scare tactics? Or was he referring to the big one?

WWIII.

I was too young to remember what had happened and there were so many versions of events, it was hard to know for sure. The only thing everyone agrees on is that it started with the terrorist attacks in New York. After a brief period of patriotic outrage, cooler heads prevailed and a path of diplomacy was chosen over war.

The U.N. joined in and, for a few years, it seemed that we’d finally achieved global peace. In reality, those years allowed a coalition of anti-U.S. groups to secretly join forces and provided plenty of time to make plans. Just when everyone else was celebrating world peace, the coalition unleashed a single, unified strike.

We all know what happened then: nuclear attacks all over the U.S., followed by devastating counterstrikes. Chemical agents of all types. Millions of casualties. Many cities reduced to rubble. A generation of disfigured victims, followed by the first generation of genetically mutated offspring. Mutants.

It took a decade or more just to pick up the pieces. Some might say we still haven’t gotten over it – and maybe we never will. But life went on. Babies were born. People had jobs. Things got rebuilt. Government carried on, but with a lot more paranoia…maybe with good reason.

President Clarkson was the third “post-war” president elected. He took the office in 2016 and helped to pass the first legislation banning hate crimes against mutants. Many conspiracy theorists – especially mutant conspiracy theorists – believe he was murdered in 2019, though the official cause was a heart attack and the autopsy results were never made public.

What was made public was the discovery of the strange painting now known as The Eyes of Grendeljen, shortly after Clarkson’s death, in a secret room adjoining the Oval Office. A photo of the painting – captured on a camera phone – and eyewitness testimony were the only proof of its existence, but a few people who saw it in person all described it in the same way and agreed that it was real and appeared to be very old. The painting disappeared and has never been seen in public.

The Eyes of Grendeljen.

A four-eyed, deformed young girl.

The painting was done long ago. Centuries ago. Maybe longer.

A four-eyed, deformed young girl.

A mutant.

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Jen
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 27, 2010 4:02 pm
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It was a lot to think about. But with Eddie deep in slumber land and Ms. Parker retired to her room, there wasn’t anyone else to bounce ideas off of. The bed was comfy and I didn’t feel like roaming around the house. The gasser was sure to find out if I was snooping around, and nothing would improve his mood more than tossing me around like a set of juggling clubs before knocking me unconscious just for something to relive his pent up boredom. I decided to settle in, kicking off my shoes. Whoo! Time for fresh odor eaters Murphy.

Fortunately, there was a portable computer on the bedside table. It was time for some good old fashioned leg work. The photo from the Arnold’s duffle bag had the names Edith and John Ching. I wondered how many teeth I’d lose by calling her Edith once she woke up. The chuckle passed, and I booted up.

Thankfully my host had an Asian name that wasn’t the most common. If it had been Jon Li or John Chen, I would have called this game over. About as easy as finding a Chris Jones….

It took about 20 minutes of wading through the American Information data base before I found what might have been the correct guy. He graduated from Zhejiang University with a PHD in Anthropology with a focus on archaeology with top honors. A thesis on archeoastronomy got him published with much acclaim and derision by some of his peers. No convictions, some basic information, and that was all. I decided to branch out.

Wait a second…. I had the picture! I prayed that Ching left me a top of the line portable computer, and fumbled at underside of the laptop, towards the right, hoping it came equipped with the pull out scanner.

Bingo! I scanned the picture face down, and went hunting in my online library for the facial reconigition software. I had a passing thought about the security of my information on Eddie’s machine, but decided that I wasn’t going to worry about it that much, after all, my password was my phone number, who was going to guess all those 69’s?

“Object found” the computer voice chimed, and I scrambled to turn the volume level down, trying not to let everyone in the house know what I was doing.

“Jonathon Ching, and unknown.”

That would make sense, as Eddie was a young girl is the picture. I wondered if there were any more pictures of Jonathon online.


“Searching.”

I nearly jumped, I hadn’t realized that I had spoken aloud. That little feature had added a few thousand dollars to the price tag on that computer, and I eyed it enviously. Maybe a little reward for saving her life….

The screen came alive with search images results. Graduation photos, author write ups etc. Only one photo caught my interest, it was of a crime scene. The shot was of a body face down. I clicked on it, and an article clicked up.

“Acclaimed Archeologist brutally slain by rival scientist” screamed the headline.

I scrolled down, scanning the article. Eddie’s father had been shot down by a long time friend and fellow anthropologist. Searching through pictures hyperlinked to the article turned up gold. There were dozens of pictures of John at various expedition sites, with various colleagues, even a couple with Eddie out in the desert as a young child. I decided to narrow the field more, by tagging both John and the murderer. Aliah Ravana.

Ominous name, I thought to myself.

Six pictures. Four of them from various sites in the desert. Aliah looked to be of Indian decent, and was of about average height and weight. Whatever animosity led to the murder of his friend wasn’t evident in these first pictures. Two of the images were of the both of them showing off an excavated relic, broad youthful grins of excitement and promise. The last picture was a close up of Aliah, dated 2 weeks before John’s death. Ching was in the background, it looked like the snapshot was from an awards dinner. They both looked about 20 years older. I studied the last image and looked closer, there was something around the neck of Aliah, the picture only showed a glimpse.

Let’s put this machine through the paces, I thought.

“Isolate image 5.”

The background melted away and the picture filled the screen.
“Break image into 12 quadrants.”
The computer obliged.

“Isolate quadrant 6.”

The rest of the image faded away, only a small square filled the monitor. It was of the open collar of Aliah, and a hint of his chest. A blurry object rested on his skin, suspended by a chain.

“Enhance image.”

The screen flickered and nodded in confirmation.

“Image fully enhanced.”

The four eyes were unmistakable. There were the last missing pieces. If Eddie was right, and the eyes had been originally removed from the statue, they had found their home again.

I quickly copied the images and opened up my email, securing backup of everything I’d found. At the top of my inbox was a message from Isabella. A vid-message. Hmmm…

When I clicked on it, her face popped up on the screen, still gorgeous and dangerous, but I could detect a twinge of wariness in her eyes.

“If you’re getting this message, it means you haven’t gone back to your apartment and gotten shot.” She looked over her shoulder. The background was black and indistinct, she could have made this anywhere. “I suggest you don’t go back to San Francisco until this is finished.” She looked away again off camera, and I got the idea that she was starting to get nervous. “I can get the rest of the pieces away from my father. If you and Ching want to have a meeting, you know where to find me. This video will erase, but the number attached to it can get me 24-7. Think it over.”

True to her word, the attachment was gone.

Was this a setup, or was she working something on the side, without her father’s involvement. It didn’t matter at the moment, she could sit tight until the last pieces were found. I hoped the computer could help me fit one of the last parts into place.

“Where is the current location of Aliah Ravana?” I was praying that the computer would not say deceased, knowing full well that if that happened this lead would completely fall apart.

“Harper Geriatric Psychiatry Center, Boston Massachutes.”

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Joel
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: May 31, 2010 7:58 am
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Location: Melbourne, Australia.

Well, like the great actor Marlon DePacino once said in that classic mobster film, The Godfella, the computer offered me with an offer that was frankly too darn good to refuse. The bus ride to the psychiatric facility was quite draining. In fact, the act of competing with traffic followed by miles of empty, lifeless roads was enough to drive anyone mad. But sanity kicked in once again with the odd road stop for something that resembled a beef taco.

As anticipated, as a Geriatric facility which hosted those who were a few penny's short of a dollar, the hallways were squeaky clean and quiet with padded rooms to absorb the cries of memories long gone. Naturally, the staff were sceptical about letting anyone in to see someone like Aliah given his less than socially acceptable past. But, with some of the right words I was able to get in...or out. See, he wasn't kept in a padded, one man cell and I can assure you that he wasn't the facility administrator or the head chef.

He was a patient but also a man in resolve. I was walked out to this garden type area and shown the way to this gazebo type building except with glass windows. Inside was decked out with a work bench with agricultural tools attached by short chains with small potted plants surrounding the work area in the little work shop. The plants were all perched on a series of shelves near the window, presumably to collect sunlight. My first introduction to Aliah was the back of a man spraying some kind of fertiliser onto one of the perched plants. I calmly cleared my throat to which was greeted with the man turning to face me with a humbled smile.

He looked different to what he did in the photos. Some wrinkles, greying hair, slimmer figure. He wore a long sleeved checked blue shirt over bone white pleated trousers with brown boating shoes. He spoke, "they say in the final days of humanity the Earth will die screaming." See, not the facility administrator.
In true fashion to fit in, I decided to engage in some philosophical debate, "if that's a statement from the same people who tell you that money cannot buy happiness then I'm not buying it." A warm, compassionate smile crossed Aliah's face as he placed the fertiliser spray jug down, "then you will die with a full belly."
"If the seafood special from the Brew 'n' Stew doesn't do it first", I said with a chuckle, a poor choice of humour given the geography in which the joke was based on.
"Well let's hope that's Louie's insurance fund is better maintained than that of his oil cookers" Aliah nodded.

WHAAAT? He couldn't have just...
I laughed again but this time with the most nervous of chuckles, "Well if you know that much then I guess you can anticipate my next question."
"You want a reason", he surmised as he walked over to another plant, closing his eyes as he sniffed the aroma of lavender it gave off. He then looked over to me, "Tell me, if I stopped watering this plant for a week, what would you expect to come of it?"
I looked to the plant, trying to look beyond the obvious, but maybe that was the point he was attempting to make, "It would brown, whittle and begin its passage toward death."
Aliah nodded in acknowledgment, "Just as you would expect it to live on with fresh water and sunlight. Don't you find it strange how life consists of a series of these false dichotomies? You live, you die, you do, you don't, you swim, you drown - I could go on. But what IF, Mr. Murphy, just what IF? What IF the code to these conventions could be re-written?"
"I think I saw this in one of those old sci-fi movies, The Avamatrix right?"

Aliah just narrowed his eyes in what could have been understandably been construed as a state of confusion. My knowledge in movie trivia was unbeatable, I remember one person turning my challenge down claiming they had other things to do with their time. Yeah, I still haven't lost it.
"I think your comparison might be conflicted there. But the scriptures did say that the wanderer only became the man he was until he was truly lost."
The penny just dropped right there that the conversation hadn't even started. I needed to get this back on track. "We've never met", I reminded him.
Aliah chuckled gently, "Reason, Mr. Murphy - AGAIN!" He placed the pot plant down and walked up to me with his hands by his sides.
As friendly as he was, I needed to remind myself that this guy wasn't quite the one you'd trust to babysit. "Then you know why i'm here, I suppose we can just get down to the brass tracks."

Aliah walked over to his workbench and took a seat, looking to me, I joined him and sat on the bench. "Think of the linear electrical. If between the source and a resister any part of the path is severed, the entire unit shuts down. But, in a network, the current can travel in more than one way to obtain the same result."
He was losing me again, "Yeeees."
"When you came here to see me, came here by public transport. There were many other ways you could have got here. But because you're bound by your own conventions, you refuse to fathom the impossible."
"With all due respect, Mr. Ravana, I really don't-"

"YOU DARE INTERRUPT ME!" His tone shifted suddenly and with great sincerity. "You cannot understand the decisions I have made to redirect the flowing current of this race. As you have suspected, it is no coincidence that the Eyes you seek to see with those of your own have been there at significant turning points in history. "
Ok, now we're getting to the gravy. He continued, "they were all a part of the steps in the great war and you are to be its judge and jury. There are four worlds, Mr. Murphy and you must decide which three must burn."

"Look, you have to understand, all of this is totally left of centre to me. Great war, the prophecy, alternate worlds - what does it all mean?" I just didn't know where to begin.
"You, Mr. Murphy are the wandering spirit. The scriptures surrounding the Eyes wrote of their ability not only to see into other worlds but also to project back onto our own. There are four of these and each more dangerous than an atom bomb." He stood and walked over to a painting, a portrait of an elderly woman, perhaps from 12th Century. He picked at her left eye and pulled out what looked like a marble - one of the eyes?! He walked back over to me and held it up. "There were four of these but have been scattered . Each eye holds a key to its own world and can only be summoned by the wandering spirit. The spirit needs to hear the interests of those as which world is to prevail. Those who have attempted to harness its power were driven to their death or insanity. I am living proof of that!"

"So...then who...can can harness this?"

He looked to me, almost in fear, he reached into his pocket and took out an opaque marble type object: one of the eyes! He handed it to me and nodded, "You, Mr. Murphy. You are the wandering spirit."

I was well and truly out of my depth...

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Frank
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jun 06, 2010 1:37 pm
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Whatever had just transpired in this mental facility was going above and beyond my scope of understanding. Whether Aliah was being literal in his speech or rambling in symbols I couldn’t say, but I was secretly hoping for the latter. Whichever it was though, I found more than I came looking for in Boston, and decided to leave the archaeologist alone with his plants, this one hobby which occupied his mind enough to keep him in check with reality, or so it seemed anyway.

Strolling along the corridors I found myself to be quite shaken by the revelations bestowed upon me. Had I been interrogated by one of the resident shrinks, here and now, I would have surely been hauled in a padded room by the men in the white coats. On the bright side, the place definitely beat the Ritz, and the administration seemed friendlier than Nilo. I wasn’t too sure about the food, but the company wasn’t too strayed from my usual frequentations.

My place wasn’t here, though, and I was determined to see this case to the end. Not so much for humanity’s sake, but mainly for myself, to protect my own sanity. All of this was becoming too personal to my liking, and I had the unpleasant feeling of going up against ghosts and goblins from a world beyond my reach. Conspirators, stone-cold killers and vicious candy snatchers I could step up to, but creatures from other worlds were not part of my service offer.

There was one person who could help me though, someone who dealt with the occult on a daily basis, or so she claimed. I was going to ask Angela for a reading on non other than myself as soon as I returned to Ching’s, and see if she could make sense of what Aliah had just told me.

Despite being employed by at least three different parties in this case, my expenses remained unexplainably unpaid for, and I was running alarmingly low on lunch money. Looking at my battered trench coat, the unkempt fuzz on my cheeks and the stains on my tie, I contemplated finding a cosy spot downtown Boston to beg for money, but decided against it. I was more likely to get attacked by other bums than make enough money to fly home, or back to Ching. I would have to settle for the cheapest, dirtiest, most unpleasant mean of transportation known to man; the autocar.

Murphy’s Law, a long-running family curse, dictates that no matter the forecast, it always rains when one waits for a bus to arrive. I was damped by the time the stinking, rattling dumpster on wheels showed up, fashionably late, true to its reputation. The driver seemed all too happy by my lack of luggage to carry, and hurried me inside, as if he was suddenly in some kind of a rush. The battered vinyl seats were surprisingly comfortable, in an old slippers kind of way, and soon enough I found myself ignoring the bumpy ride and drifting into a half-dream state.

A few long blinks later I opened my eyes to a dim-lit room, devoid of furniture except for a round table and a few chairs. Seated around it were four people, seemingly assembling a jigsaw puzzle. The first face I recognised was Eddie’s. What few pieces she had, she held close to her, almost clutched to her chest, reluctant to share them with the rest of the party. Dumphrey, alias Mr Smith, was seated across from her, busily trying to put the jigsaw together while Isabella held his pieces. Arnold Barnes was in between, morsel-less, holding the puzzle box top and contemplating the image depiction. The last member, unknown to me, carried the most pieces. He was entirely bald, hairless in fact, eyebrows included, and his skin was red and bubbly. The man was simply terrifying.

And then it hit me. An old image from childhood lore. His picture had toured the world, from National Geographic to all front pages across the globe. He was the first known WW3 mutant, the first time America and the rest of the planet became painfully aware of the casualties, and what was to come next. A symbol of the mutant race, his picture resurfaces every now and then in extremist groups advocating a violent shift in power.

From my position I could see Martindale, in another room, with headphones over his head, prying on the conversation going on at the table and eating nuts with his one good hand. Everyone else seemed oblivious to his presence. Or if they knew, no one cared.

Digging both hands into my pockets by habit, I found I, too, was holding a piece of the puzzle. Looking closely at it, it was the image of an eye, but the pupil had been replaced by something else. A globe.

Earth.

I jerked from my seat as the autocar came to an abrupt stop. The sign out the foggy window indicated Illinois Transit Station. The bus wasn’t leaving for a whole other hour, which gave me ample time to stretch my legs and clear my thoughts.

The events were starting to come together in my mind, to form a coherent picture. Out went the conspiracy theories and other enigmas shrouded in mysteries, and replaced they were by a much simpler, vital truth. Winslow said it all went back to the War. He also said he hadn’t told me everything. In fact he had said very little, only what was necessary to lure me in, get me hooked. This was a game I’d have to learn when playing with the government, only let on the minimum required, holding everything else to one’s self.

Everything he had told me came to a whole new light. We need someone with no links whatsoever to Uncle Sam on this one, and it so happens that some crack head thinks you might just be the man for it. I was, apparently, but not for the ego-flattering reasons he was hinting at. My run-in with the Crusade earned me good and powerful friends among the Mutant League, and a good rep in the rest of their community. The government were doing what they do best, and needed me for the grunt job.

It was all very obvious now, as if I had known right from the start, from our first run-in in Marty’s office. Someone, in the mutant community, had started to dig for the statue again, the first we heard of it since the War, and along came other predators and scavengers looking for it. From a long-winded historical myth, She had become a mutant legend amongst the angry and the desperate; Hundreds, thousands of years old, She was the first mutant. Not since WW3, since the beginning of time on Earth.

The NSA must have gotten a whiff from the search, and wanted to monitor potential internal terrorist threats, as they always did. Winslow had probably hoped I would find which group, among the Mutants, was behind the Easter Run, and somehow infiltrate them. He couldn’t know Eddie Ching would be along for the ride, or that some of his men were Dumphrey’s sleeper agents, which eventually got him killed.

Arnold Barnes, most likely a mutant, risked his life, and lost it, just so he could see the statue with his own eyes, hold it in his hands if for a minute. Something told me he knew which mutant group was involved. Whatever knowledge he had, he must have given to Rook for safekeeping.

The last lap of the race was officially on. I had to get in touch with Rook, get a reading from Angela to figure out the meaning of Aliah’s words, get Dumphrey’s pieces from Isabella, combine them with Eddie’s and solve the mystery behind the mutant conspiracy, even if it meant hurting some friends along the way.

I may not be fit for the occult and the paranormal, but the grand ol Murphy brain was still very sharp when it came to unravelling complex cases. After all, I was still the undefeated Bay City Mirror Riddle-Of-The-Week champion, four years in a row!

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freepizza
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jun 15, 2010 6:24 pm
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And as the camera panned out I realized that this adventure, in fact all of my adventures were contained in the snow globe of an autistic child and his powerful imagination.

Whenever a case was getting me stressed out I liked to sit back, close my eyes, and imagine that was the end of my story. That if I failed or succeeded, in the end it didn’t really matter. But as I was dropped off on Chandler Avenue I got my game face back on. I had a job to do, and fail or succeed; I was going to see it through to the end, or at least my end.

I stepped inside Rooks to see what I could find out about his meeting with Barnes.

Rook greeted me with his usual pleasantries. “Murphy what are you doing here?”

I eyed his merchandise suggestively. “That golden dog statue would look good in my office.”

“Oh come off it, we both know you never buy anything here, let’s hear your questions.”

I took off my hat and grinned like a little boy who just got a free ice cream cone. “So the dogs already sold?”

“Stop wasting my time.”

In a moment quicker than an old computer game could load up a change of scene I was out on Chandler Avenue again, without the information I needed for my case. If I was going get Rook to talk to me I was going to have to be a little less of a smart ass.

I stepped inside Rooks to see what I could find out about his meeting with Barnes.

Rook greeted me with his usual pleasantries. “Murphy what are you doing here?”

I eyed his merchandise suggestively. “That golden dog statue would look good in my office.”

“Oh come off it, we both know you never buy anything here, let’s hear your questions.”

I took off my hat and set it on the side of the counter with a face telling Rook I was all business. “The other day you had a conversation with a man named Arnold Barnes…” Before I could continue Rook smiled and spoke.

“Arnie? How do you know him?”

The very personal ‘Arnie” suggested to me that these two knew each other on a more personal basis than I thought. “I was working on a case for him.”

Rook looked confused. “Strange for Arnie to look for outside help, I suppose you were able to offer assistance?”

I started to get an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It didn’t sound like Rook knew that Arnie…I mean Arnold was dead. “Rook…how did you know Mr. Barnes?

“Why?” Rook could see the bad news in my eyes. “What the hell did you get him into Murphy?”

I paused for as long as I could before breaking the bad news. “He’s dead Rook. He got too close to something, something real big, I just got lucky enough to live another day.”

It was the first time since I had known Rook that he was ever visibly shaken. Rook was as hard as a rock most of the time, but this was obviously something very important to him.

He reached under the counter and pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels. “Rook should I be worried that you keep that so close to you.”

“Life’s too short to keep your booze out of reach.” He took a big swig. “I knew Arnolds father in the war. I made a promise to him that if anything happened to him that I would be there to look after his family. Arnold is the…was the only family left. I guess…I guess my jobs done.”

A single tear rolled down Rooks cheek. “I’m sorry.” Was all that I could get out.

“Boy was just like a son to me.”

Rook pulled out two glasses and offered me one. “I really shouldn’t.”

“Damn it, don’t make me feel like an alcoholic, drink.”

Bottoms up

It wasn’t long before Rook and I had finished the first bottle and had gotten half way through the second one. It was the first time Rook and I had bonded, and it was the first time I got to see that warm heart that everyone else kept telling me he had. I would tell a touching story about my past and Rook would come up with an even more touching story. We damn near high fived before I remembered that I was there for a reason.

“Rook, I hate to do this. But I need to know what was in the package that Arnold was carrying the night you last met with him.”

“Ah yes, take a look.” Rook pointed over his shoulder to the wall. “A picture he had framed of me and his father from our war days.”

“Is that…Rook you were a fox.”

“What do you mean were. “ Rook took the picture off the wall to get a better look at it. “I’ll have you know that I get just as many women leaving panties and room numbers with me than when I was that age.”

I started to laugh at Rooks obvious exaggerations when I noticed a smaller wallet sized picture slid into the frame. It was of little bit younger Barnes and…no…”

“Who is that with Arnold?”

“That’s his wife Sarah. Oh no…she might not even know yet.”

“Sarah?”

Rook looked like he was gearing up for another touching story. “They met in the academy, they would later become partners, and then…”

“Academy?”

“Yes, yes, the academy. Arnold is an FBI agent you know that don’t you?”

I stopped to consider just what these new pieces of evidence meant. Things were starting to make a bit more sense. And if my hunch was correct, yes it had to be correct. “Rook, I don’t think Arnold is dead.”

He suddenly woke up from his buzzed state. “Don’t screw around with me Murphy. What are you talking about?”

She definitely wasn’t as dolled up in this picture, but without a doubt it was her. Who Rook knew to be Sarah was the person that I knew as the lovely Isabella.

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Travis Jacobs

"You might not sound so idiotic if there were at least something excitable in my post to begin with..." --Baf

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Bafitis
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jun 19, 2010 11:26 pm
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Rook placed his hand on my shoulder, I could tell he was getting pretty sloshed, he went to speak but belched instead, what a stench. I was tempted to ask him if he had had the brain special at Louie’s for lunch.

“There was one other thing,” Rook stumbled with the words, but at least they were understandable, not like me after I’ve finished off a bottle. Arnold asked me to keep something for him, so we took it up to my storage spot in the Warehouse.”

“Do you know what it was?” I used short words and spoke them slowly in hopes I wouldn’t lose him. I can tell that Rook doesn’t go after that bottle very often.

Rook stood up, and almost fell down, and patted himself and looked around.
“I can’t seem to find my keys.” I clearly heard them jingle in his pants pocket when he slap ‘em, but I’m not gonna say anything.
“If you can get into the Warehouse you can look in the box he left there, a somewhat small metal box. It is off to the left under the stairs there and on the box it says “ARMS”.”

Getting into the Warehouse shouldn’t be too difficult, though I did see a contractor up there fixing that hole.
Rook stumbled into the back room, I think I’ll turn the Open sign to Closed on my way out.

As I stood up I realized that I had had a little more than I thought as well, but I was still able to maintain my composure. I stepped outside and Chelsea was busy with a customer so I didn’t bother her. I went ahead and stumbled up to my office and into my new bachelor pad, still smelled of saw dust and wood stain. My face hit the mattress and stayed there for hours.

I pulled my mashed face from the same spot it had fallen. I don’t even remember dreaming, but felt fully charged again, which was a first since this case began. Now if I could only remember where I was in the case and I’d be able to get started. Maybe it will come back to me while I shower.

As I toweled off it suddenly hit me, me and Rook actually had a moment yesterday, the tough old buzzard had actually broken down and tears fell from his eyes. I always thought that was Rook’s Mutant ability, no tear ducts.
The Warehouse. That’s where I needed to go.

Oh lookie there, my Jackknife, I was wondering where that was, maybe it will come in handy *Jackknife added to inventory*.
I slipped my head into my fedora and then headed outside and sparked up a Lucky. Ahhhh nothing like some fresh air.

Chelsea isn’t at the Newsstand, I wonder what time it is. Rook’s sign still says closed and it doesn’t look like Nilo is in yet either. Must be really early.

Well it was time to get into that Warehouse. The light is on, someone must be in there. Oh that looks like a nice sturdy box *medium wooden box added to inventory*, maybe if I just act like I’m a customer they won’t suspect too much, as long as it isn’t the owner.
I stood by the door for about 10 minutes waiting for whoever it was inside to come out so I could make it look like I was just coming, this way he might hold the door open for me since my hands will be full. I think he’s coming, I picked up the box and started walking from about 10 feet away when an old man emerged from the Warehouse. His back is turned, he’s locking the door.
“Excuse me, could you hold that open for me a moment.”

“Sure, Sure,” the old man stepped aside and held the door, but he stood in the shadows so I didn’t get a good look at him, all I could tell was that he was wearing glasses. “Sorry I didn’t see you coming, I was just locking up.”

“That’s okay I can lock up after I put this away.”

“Whoa be unto those who eat meat,” what in the world is that I wondered? I put my foot in front of the door to hold it open while I looked over towards the alley behind the Golden Gate Hotel. Someone was back there and they were dissing meat, quite loudly. “I got the door, thanks a bunch.” And then I heard the gate creek and saw some bearded man looking out.

“Quite welcome,” the old man said as he headed off, I started inside when I heard something hit the ground, I turned around to make sure the old man hadn’t fallen. He hadn’t but he was hunched over. “Are you okay?”

“Just fine, dropped something.” I walked inside and as the door closed I heard the clink of keys falling, I’m sure the old man is okay I’ve got work to do.

I tossed the box into the oil drum by the door and started looking for the box Rook mentioned. What did Rook say it said on it? Barnes? No. Rooms? No. Alarms! That was it, I think. More importantly, where did he say it was. Wow I had a lot more to drink last night than I thought. I guess me and Rook celebrated Saint Patty’s day all on our own. Up at the top of the stairs I think it was.

I climbed up the steps and nearly fell back down them again. I can’t believe that Rusty doll is still hanging up here. Just as life like as when Mick went through that wall. Anyway no boxes up here. I thought for sure Rook said up the stairs. Well I guess we’ll do it the hard way. Alarms, come out come out where ever you are. Why would Arnold want to protect a box of Alarms?
If this case goes badly that will be my next bed, I thought as I looked at some coffins being stored here. Arg, no time for Pirate Treasure today matey.

Stupid Murphy, under the stairs, that’s where it is. The only box under here says “ARMS”. Well I guess I could have gotten that wrong too. Just a simple little lock, nothing my Jackknife can’t handle. Damn broke another attachment off, nothing left now but the flathead screwdriver and the pliers.

Okay got that open, only to find a slightly smaller, and sturdier, metal box with a 5 button combination lock. On the bottom it says “Pushin Securities – Model 2”. I remember that company, they didn’t last too long, all of their items were too easy to break into. I remember reading about them a couple of months ago in “Solid Detective”, before Chelsea took it from me that is.
What did it say about this model? Hold it up to the light just right and the keys used in the combination will become translucent. Ah Ha, only the 1, 3, and 4 are used in this combination. But there are 5 digits in the combination. Now I have to figure out what the combination is.

Well I don’t know what happen to the Ford Floater, but I still have my Lotus handy, I think I need to pay a visit to an old friend.

“Oh hell, what do you want Private Screw Up?” I couldn’t quite tell, but I think Mac is in a bad mood, hmmm, gonna have to handle this delicately.

Should I try an overly used cop joke or maybe take a potshot at Mac’s ability to test his belts to their manufacturer’s limit, or maybe I should just be friendly and get to the point.

“So Mac, do you know how many cops it takes to ---“
GET OUT MURPHY!

Wow there really is something bugging Mac. I’m gonna have to give it another try.

“Oh hell, what do you want Private Screw Up?” I couldn’t quite tell, but I think Mac is in a bad mood, hmmm, gonna have to handle this delicately.

Should I try an overly used cop joke or maybe take a potshot at Mac’s ability to test his belts to their manufacturer’s limit, or maybe I should just be friendly and get to the point.

“Look Mac I don’t want to take up ---“

“Just sit down,” Mac came over from the bookcase and sat behind his desk. “I’ve been getting my ass chewed out all night and I haven’t been home to shower or sleep. So lets just get this over with.”

“What’s going on Mac?”

“Dead bodies have been turning up all over town, thefts reported, shootouts on trains, and government walking all over my new shoes.”
“Say, you haven’t been messing around with Eddie Ching or the NSA have you?”

“You know me Mac, I stay as far from Government as possible. As for Ching, I haven’t messed with her since I borrowed a statue from her sometime last year.” I hope he buys that.

“So what do you want then?”

“I was wondering if you could track a name for me? I was told that he was in the FBI.”

“Was? Retired or Dead?”

“Dead, but authorities might not know it yet.”

“What have you gotten into this time Murphy?”

“Please Mac, his name was Arnold Barnes.”

“You’ll have to give the computer a minute, after all this isn’t anything but a humble police station.” While waiting I thought about lighting up, but then remembered how much Mac hates that.
“Arnold Barnes, stationed out of the office in Chicago. Recently took a leave of absence about 3 months ago, return is unknown, apparently it was for medical reasons.”

What’s his Badge number?”

“uhhm, there it is, 31443. What’s this all about Murphy?”

“With a little luck you’ll never have to know Mac. Thanks a million. Oh, you wouldn’t happen to have his address on there, would you?”

“Being a law enforcement officer I do have access to it, but you didn’t get it from me, you understand?”

Mac gave me one of those stares that told me I would end up moving from the Ritz to the bottom of the Bay. “Absolutely, thanks again Mac and if I live through this, I’ll tell you all about it over a drink at Louie’s.”

Not sure when or even if I need to go to Arnold’s home, but I had the address just in case. Armed with what I believed to be the combination to this box, I headed back to my office, once there I noticed a couple of messages on the Vid Phone.

“Tex”, the voice was unmistakable it was Isabella. “I don’t have much time, but I hope you’ve considered my deal and I hope you get in touch with me very soon. I just pray that Ching hasn’t done away with you.”

“Murphy,” another unmistakable voice it was Eddie and it sounds like she has gotten her strength back. “Where have you gotten off to? You could have at least left a message saying you were leaving. I expect you to get back in touch with me after you track down whatever lead you are following. And you better not be thinking of double crossing me.”

Well Eddie didn’t sound too happy.

Come here box. 3 – 1 – 4 – 4 – 3, mmhmm, that didn’t work, I thought for sure it would. Arnold was a strange guy lets try, 3 – 4 – 4 – 1 – 3, *click-click* Ahhh.

I lifted the lid to find 2 small rolls of bubble wrap. I carefully unrolled them on my desk to reveal two little Arms to a statue, one with a 4 fingered hand and one with a 6 fingered hand. They appear to have been broken off just above the elbow, right where it seems the sleeves of a shirt or dress start.

Two Arms and an Eye.
Eddie said there were 15 pieces. So if you break it down like this it makes sense:
4 Eyes
1 Head
2 Arms
4 Legs {I guess the legs were broken into 2 pieces, maybe at the knee}
4 Torso Pieces {top left and right, bottom left and right I figure}

Well I have 1 Eye and 2 Arms, sure only leaves 12 pieces to find. Though Eddie did say she had several, 6 in fact and I know that Dumphrey has pieces. How many Dumphrey has is uncertain at this time.
Could we really be this close to putting the Statue back together?
If Dumphrey has 6 pieces, that would be all of them.
It would just take a coming together to make it all happen.

Well I guess it’s time to contact Isabella on that number she left a while back and see what this deal is all about. But I’d be stupid to do it from my own Vid Phone. Maybe the Electronics Shop will have something that can scramble my signal.

Closed, We Are In The Process Of Changing Management & Will Reopen In Approximately 2 Weeks.
Dated only a week ago, so still another week to go. I guess I’m not shopping in there. I guess Hamm is moving up in the world, maybe he perfected that security system so that plastic darts and water rings were no longer a threat.

I’m just gonna have to go find a random public phone somewhere.

Just then from out of no where --- --- ---

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Demonlawyer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jun 27, 2010 10:22 am
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a black speeder dropped down to street level. I knew it meant bad news, and in this neighbourhood, they were only ever looking for one person. Me.

I ran into the alley behind Rook's pawn shop and found a dumpster. There wasn't much time to think of what else to do so I opened the lid and jumped in.

I nearly jumped straight back out again. No one was here but clearly someone lived here. The dumpster was actually tidy and organised. Sure it was filled with junk, but it had a bed, a table and a big box full of chocolate.

I heard footsteps approaching the fence so I quietly lowered the bin lid and kept quiet.

Footsteps. Slowly walked around the yard before stopping. I could hear them disappear further into the yard before they returned some moments later. Closer the steps came until they stopped right outside the dumpster. I held my breath. The dumpster stank so there was more than one reason to do so.

Suddenly the lid lifted, and a flash of daylight appeared, though what I didn't suspect was for a can to be thrown in and hit me on the head. It hurt, but I kept my mouth shut. The lid closed again and the footsteps disappeared.

I waited a full ten minutes before trying to venture out again and crept into the yard. The speeder had clearly left but I had no doubt that it would return again soon. I still had to see Angela Parker to get a reading on the stones but I had no idea how I was going to get hold of her. I had to see her but I had to see Isabella first. She was telepathic and would be able to read anything I tried to hide. It was best that I didn't know what Angela would reveal, to only give that information away to the first telepathic person I met.

I jumped out and knocked on the back of Rook's pawnshop. He opened the door, looking worse for wear.

'Murphy!' he hammered, 'it's your fault I drank last night - what do you want now?'

'Sorry, Rook', I whispered, 'but I need your help.' I held my fedora gingerly in my hands. This was a long shot.

'Rook, do you have a vid phone or a phone of any description in your shop right now? I need to make a call. It's important'

Rook's look of anger softened as he searched my eyes and saw how important this was. 'Does it have anything to do with Arnold?'

'It has everything to with Arnold, Rook. In fact, this could help me finish what Arnold started.'

Rook looked at me a moment longer before opening his back door to let me in.

'If it will help a friend, I'll do whatever you want'

'Thanks Rook. I think of you as a friend too.'

He chipped back 'I was talking about Arnold'.

I stepped inside his shop which was still shut and had a quick look of the shelves, though I knew that Rook would find and volunteer the phone to me. It wasn't long before he reached into a cupboard under his counter and slid back a wooden panel. He pulled out something covered in dust and blew on it. A cloud of ash filled the air as I looked at what lay underneath.

Someone pawned this many years ago and I've never been able to get rid of it. It has a charger and I believe it works on any network.

I looked at the strange silvery black object and wondered what it was. Rook plugged a cable into the wall and into the object. A few moments later a screen lit up on one side. I rubbed the back of the other side to read the faded words on it. 'iPhone'. I'd never heard of it.

I worked out how to make a call after a few attempts but I couldn't take the phone with me - it had no juice on it, but I couldn't be on the phone to Isabella for long anyway. I dialled Isabella and waited for her to pick up....

'Hello?'

'Isabella, it's Tex. Tex Murphy. I've called to arrange this meeting. How does now suit you?'

'Fine, Tex. How about we meet somewhere like the Lombard Lounge? How long will it take you to get there?'

'About ten minutes.'

'Great', she replied. I'll see you there.'

I put the phone down. I knew that this now meant that Rook's place would be filled with people trying to kill me in no time. I wouldn't be here, but that didn't mean it could bring harm to Rook.

'Thanks for this Rook.' I said. 'You realise that that call was probably traced? And that means that this place will be swarming in no time?'

'I'm not a fool, Tex. I need the phone back so I can take out a fully comprehensive insurance policy on this place. Before it's ripped apart. Oh, and remind me to thank you again for that when we next meet'.

I smiled. 'Nice idea Rook, but I have a better idea...' Rook looked puzzled. 'It's been fun Rook, but I think it's time your involvement here ended. Maybe I'll see you in Louie's at the end of all this to raise a glass to departed friends, but for now I need to lead the lions away from your den.

I patted Rook on the shoulder and pulled the charger out of the phone. It wouldn't have much power on it, so I ran out the door and into my speeder. I powered it up and lifted into the air. The phone showed one bar but it would still be sending a signal to whoever might be watching. I also played with it to try and find Angela Parker. I didn't expect to find the Angela I was looking for, but it would show that the phone was being used.

Surprisingly I found an entry for Mystic Angela, a tarot card reader, who had an office on Jefferson Street, near the marina. I made a note of the address but deliberately didn't try to memorise it. I didn't know what Isabella could and couldn't do with her mind. Or her charms.

I turned the speeder towards the Gashouse Cove and as I reached the water I opened the driver's door of the speeder. I put the phone in a plastic takeaway box I had, sealed the lid on top and dropped it over the side. The waves would keep the signal moving slowly until the battery died or someone came to find it.

As I gained height again I knew it was time to meet Isabella to discuss a deal. I had worked on some interesting cases before, but it weighed heavily on my shoulders that if the Eyes fell into the wrong hands I could have caused the end of many things. I couldn't begin to fathom the existence of mutants before WWIII but was there something cyclical in all this? Would things come full circle or was a hidden community always there to a greater - or lesser - degree? I just hoped that whatever I did, I didn't make the world end.

I headed for the Lombard Lounge on the corner of Van Ness and Lombard and parked the speeder nearby. I walked in, bought a finger of bourbon on ice and sat in a quiet corner, waiting for Isabella to arrive...

_________________

David

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Fred Buer
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jul 12, 2010 1:38 am
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I felt a warm tingling sensation where the bourbon had gone. A few patrons got up to leave, a few more arrived. The bartender kept busy. I looked at him. He looked back at me, somewhat nervous. I had a moment to wonder why. And then the mountain came to Muhammed. A gigantic man blocked my line of sight, and a smaller man popped up beside him.

"Let's go, mr. Murphy. Time is running out."

I tried to reply, but my tongue had turned to jellyfish. My mind felt brick and I couldn't move my colors. And then nothing.

I woke up with a headache that I would've sworn could be heard through a wall. It looked like I had been kidnapped for the umpteenth time, I had my hands tied, and I had been tossed into the back of a speeder. The enormous mutant was driving, and the smaller one was leaned over his seat, leering at me.

"To answer all relevant questions quickly, mr. Murphy, you were drugged. There was no time to waste. We got to the Lounge first. And we did so because we have an active listener-tracer running on the lil' tramp's phone. Maybe if you hadn't bothered to detour to fling your phone device into the ocean, you could've gotten a clean drink. Of course, then we would've had to get... creative." He said that last word as if it amused him somehow.

"I am telling you this so you will understand you are outclassed. You are no match for us."

"Well now", I said through the pain, "Seeing as how I have no class at all, that's not hard to guess. A match, though, that's something else entirely."

I took the chance of a lifetime, hoped to hell I could catch these guys off guard, and leaned back fast and kicked the little guy in the teeth with both feet. His head hit the windshield hard enough that something cracked. I threw both hands over the big guy's neck as fast as I could and hung on for dear life. Unfortunately, he flipped on the ALS, grabbed my wrists, and then I lost the fight. It only took one punch too, but he landed four on me. Must've been sour that I knocked out his girlfriend. Why I didn't pass out I'll never know.

We landed on a rooftop and then me and the one I knocked cold were carried inside. The goon dropped me in a chair that was more comfortable than my office chair, but not as good as a bed would've been. It was around then that my drugged, beat-up brain managed to take in my surroundings. I had been here before. Eddie Ching's apartment. With Ching mysteriously absent. Which meant...

"Mr. Murphy." I'm starting to hate it when people call me that. I prefer Tex. Or Murph. Even Sneakin' Piece of Slop.

"Tex Murphy, the man of the hour." Charles Dumphrey. Or mr. Smith. Or better yet, Sneakin' Piece of Slop. My mind was still woozy. He was standing behind a chair just opposite me. In the chair was Isabella, bound and gagged. Flanking him on both sides were the two goons from the speeder. Apparently it was the windshield that had made the cracking sound. He seemed less small now that he had some distance from the hulking brute he was partnered with. His eyes were swimming, just like mine were probably doing - in a pool of self-pity and pain. 'Wait a minute' I thought to myself. There was something... familiar about his eyes. Too much business about eyes lately. And Isabella's were full of tears.

"Where is Angela Parker?" Dumphrey demanded. Angela? What about the stones? The statue? There was suddenly a flash of light behind my eyes, not quite unlike the way I see things when people hit me from behind. I was actually quite surprised when there was no pain following the white sensation I had. Instead, I could've sworn I heard Isabella shushing me. It might've been instinct. It might have been telecommunikesis. Or telephonypathy. I gave my head a shake and I could feel the world focus somewhat. Or maybe that was just me.

"Who?"

"Normally, this is where I smack you in the face with the butt of my gun. But, like I told you the last time we met, mr. Murphy, I've grown tired of the clichés in my old age. Now. I will not ask you again. I'm going to assume you are able to remember the question, and answer it to my satisfaction. If you do not..." He pulled a gun from inside his very nice coat.

"I've got a question for you, mr. Dumphrey. Why is your daughter trussed up like a thanksgiving turkey?"

He looked at her as if he'd forgotten she was there.

"Oh, yes. Isabella. Turns out my daughter spent her time in New Virginia somewhat differently than she led me to believe. He put his free left hand on her left shoulder and kissed the top of her head. And then he put his gun to her temple and shot her in the head. It was surreal. The noise was deafening. It happened so fast I couldn't even close my eyes.

"A federal agent, can you believe it? Warren here, he clued me in." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the massive henchman. "Computer whiz-kid, can you believe it?"

"Now then. Angela Parker. Where can I find her?"

I was staring stupidly at Isabella's limp figure. So were the two goons. One of them especially. The one I had kicked turned to look at the big guy while reaching inside his suit. Dumphrey aimed his gun at me.

"I won't count to three, mr. Murphy. I won't miss, and the cavalry won't come barging through the door. You will just be dead."

"Not much of a salesman, are you? You're not giving me a whole lot of incentive beyond a quick death, no matter what I tell you."

"Oh, I know, mr. Murphy. I'm just counting on your survival instinct to tell me in the vain hope of living just that little bit longer. However..." He thumbed the hammer down.

And then there was another deafening bang. What happened next is mostly a blur in my memory, but it did seem to me that one hired lackey had shot the other. And then Dumphrey whirled around, bringing his pistolwhipping skills to bear on the other guy - which ruined his face mask - and beneath it I admit I was not altogether surprised to see Arnold Barnes.

Barnes countered a second blow from Dumphrey. Then, getting his foot behind his, the Machiavellian fed shoulder-charged him while gripping the gunbarrel, effectively knocking Dumphrey to the floor and disarming him all in one clever move. Barnes then twirled his newfound pistol around in his hand, and aimed both weapons at his fallen foe. In the background, the big lug named Warren was sliding to a seat with his back to the wall, a big red leaking dot in his forehead.

"SHE WAS MY WIFE!!" Barnes roar was louder than any gun.

"I know."

"How could..?"

"She was my daughter. She betrayed me." Dumphrey left it hanging at that.

Barnes cocked both hammers. His eyes weren't angry anymore. They were simply flat and unsympathetic. I'd seen that look in a man's eyes before; I knew what came next.

And apparently, that lack of emotion had registered elsewhere as well. The section of wall that Warren had bled on while collapsing fell back a few inches, then opened. A panic room, I guessed. From the room beyond stepped Eddie Ching, Mark the Gasser, and most surprisingly, Angela Parker.
Barnes was surprised too, when he, for no apparent reason, threw both his guns into Ching's aquarium. Dumphrey got to his feet, slowly. So did I, even though I did feel way too tired. The tied rope around my wrists fell off, as if the knot had been untied.

Ching spoke first, almost reverently. "All the pieces have been assembled. Grendeljen is once again free of outside control."

Barnes looked like he was straining against something. His outstretched hands looked like they were clawing for Dumphrey's throat. Dumphrey, on the other hand, stood still, calmly.
I tried to take a step forward, but found that, even though I felt that I could, I didn't really want to. Like someone wasn't restraining my body, but was restraining my willpower. It was the strangest sensation.

Finally Barnes let go. His arms fell to his sides. At the same instant, I felt free again. And equally at the same time, Dumphrey's left hand disappeared into the right side of his coat, and brought out a second gun. As he did so, Angela Parker raised her hand.

No. That's not quite right. If I'm to be totally honest, I would have to say her hand became outstretched towards Charles Dumphrey. I didn't see her actually raise it.

What happened next is even harder for me to swallow - I usually try it with bourbon - but Charles Dumphrey fired his gun, and then... He flew backwards, through the windows, and out into the night, trailed by shards of glass.
When I turned my head again, Arnold was sitting next to Isabella, hugging her lifeless body. Angela was gone. My head was pounding worse than ever. And Ching was speaking to Mark.

"Be sure and collect the pieces he was carrying. If you can't make it before the police draw a messy chalkline around him, then get them from the evidence locker. I doubt they'll rule this suicide or accident. Not with that angle of trajectory. And call Dave and Wayne, we're moving everything of value from here to the safehouse within the hour. Go."

Mark started for the door. Dumb and slow of wit that I am, I opened my mouth to speak.

"Uhm..."

"And Mark? Take mr. Murphy... Tex... with you. Drop him off at that quaint little cul-de-sac he calls 'home'."

"...Ms. Ching? I actually had some questions..."

"Yes, mr. Murphy. You private investigators usually do."

And then the world went black again.



-Fred

_________________

Pirates, vampires, zombies, ninjas, ghouls, aliens, goblins, monsters, robots, sorcerers, undead, werewolves, demons, mutated dinosaur-cyborgs and those pesky phone salesmen! The shotgun is a one-size-fits-all solution!

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Vracar
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jul 13, 2010 2:10 am
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I opened my eyes to the familiar click of a lock turning. My fingers tightened their grip on the flimsy sheets covering me on instinct and I pulled them up to my chin and I could feel the hairs on my arms stand on end and I didn't know why and the door opened and it was just Isabella. She greeted me with a smile and the nurses cap on her head tilted at an angle.

“Good morning, Tex!”

I relaxed and let go of the sheets. I didn't know who I thought it was going to be but I'm glad it wasn't them. “Good morning Isabella.”

She walked over with a paper cup filled with water and a smaller variation with colored pills. “Medication first, than you've got to come up for breakfast.”

“Do I have to?” I pictured the long hallway from the door down to the cafeteria and each time I did the hallway grew longer and longer.

“Head nurse says so. Gotta have your breakfast. So come along now, take your medication and then get something to eat. I heard Louie's got pancakes going.”

I wondered what I'd do without Louie's cooking. I swallowed the pills and got out of bed. There was a white robe and fluffy white slippers to match. I slipped them on and stepped out into the hallway. A big goon and his little friend were there to greet me.

“Here to escort me to breakfast?” The big one grunted. I assumed that was a yes and started towards the cafeteria. I didn't have to look back to see them following me. I could hear the heavy thumps of the bigger one's feet against the carpet.

Calling it a cafeteria was a misnomer. It was more like a break room at an office building or residential kitchen with one long table and a counter for food. It was crowded in the (cafeteria) break room; the seats were almost full. The Head Nurse, a woman named Eddie Ching, stood in the corner whispering secrets to Charles Dumphrey. I looked over at the counter but the promised pancakes were nowhere in sight.

“Watcha looking for?”

I turned to see Chelsea at the end of the bench. “Pancakes. Isabella promised pancakes.”

“Go to the kitchen, I think Louie's making some right now.”

The door to the kitchen was against the counter, unlocked and open. I walked in and the kitchen was empty and all I could hear was the sound of short breaths in staccato.

“Louie?”

I walk around the kitchen and I find Louie with a hole in his gut, on the floor in a pool of his own blood. I knelt beside him and looked around to find some sort of a clue.

“Louie, what happened?”

He blinked and he said, “I don't know. Look, Tex. You've gotta solve the case. You've gotta....fix it!”

I knew he was right. One final move. I stood up and-

-cold water splashed across my face and I woke up sitting at my desk. It took me a second to realize I'd stopped dreaming and there were two thugs in suits standing to my left and right, and a very tall man standing in front of me. It took one look at his stone eye to realize he was the cleaner from the NSA.

“Mister Murphy,” he said. “I've been watching you for a while. I think you've also come to realize who the real enemy is here.”

“Eddie. That's why you were taking pot shots at her at the train station.” I took a deep breath. “So are you here to finish the job?” I'd come so close to death the past few days it was easy to assume it was their agenda.

“No. I want you to set up a deal with Eddie for the last piece. She had thought she'd get the last of the pieces from Charles but was very disappointed to find out he was one short.”

“I don't have it.”

He grinned and lifted up his eye patch. He pulled out the stone from his right eye and set it on the desk. He took a piece of paper from his pocket and dropped it next to the eye. “Call this number. It's listed on her father's name, though we believe she still uses it. If she asks how you got the number tell her you know some hackers amongst the mutants in the area. Set up a meeting to sell her the eye.”

I looked at the stone eye on my desk. Charles and Isabella were dead. Eddie had the stone pieces, and if I set up the meeting with her I might find out why.

The cleaner whispered, “Make the call. Pretend we're not even here.”

“Right.” I reached for the vid-phone and dialed the number.

_________________

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http://nvracar.wordpress.com/
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http://nickleevee.deviantart.com/

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sam10100
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jul 13, 2010 12:07 pm
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The phone rang, and I saw Eddie on the screen. I had to warn her somehow without being obvious. I may have been banged around, drugged, and mind-controlled, but I still knew which side was the right one. Before I could say anything she spoke first.

“Tex honey. I thought I told you this number was only for emergencies. Shame on you. I’ll have to spank you the next time we see each other.” She smiled and gave a very coy wink at me.

What the hell?! Okay maybe I'm still not completely awake. The NSA cleaner was staring at me and expecting me to respond.

“Sorry Eddie. I just wanted to call to see how you were doing. Are you missing anything by chance?”

“That’s what I love about you Sweetie. You can read my mind. I’ll have to invite you into my bedroom more often. Did you find a certain item for me?”

The NSA cleaner raised an eyebrow shocked by Eddie’s response. If only he knew I was equally shocked. I finally figured out what was going on here and fell into the part.

“That depends on how you intend to show your gratitude. I can still remember the smell of orange blossoms in your room and that sexy, pink nightie you had on the other night. Will I get another taste of that kind of treatment?”

She brightened up into an even bigger smile. “Oh yes, I’m very good at expressing my appreciation. Are you going to hand over the piece?”

“Anything for you baby. Can you stop by the Snow White Warehouse in thirty minutes? I’d love to see you again.”

“Of course. I’ll be there shortly. I’ll wear something special just for you.” She blew me a sultry kiss and turned off the vid-phone.

“What the hell Murphy! Did you honestly think you could give coded messages to Eddie right in front of me? Roger here is telepath and can tell me you were lying!” The cleaner was pulling out his gun.

“Uh boss. He wasn’t lying. I can sense he’s telling the truth. He has been inside Eddie Ching’s bedroom. I can see an image of him taking off her clothes.”

“Really? Mr. Murphy I’ve got to say I’m impressed. Most of Eddie’s boyfriends don’t live to tell the tale.” The guys still looked a bit skeptical.

“Hey what can I say. I’ve got a way with women. They’ve all got a weakness for me.” I smiled and leaned back in my chair trying to look smug and confident. Man I hope I get an Academy award for this performance.

We then headed over to the warehouse. The thugs found hiding places behind the boxes and were ready to spring their trap. It wasn’t long before the door opened and Eddie walked in to see me. Wow! She looked fantastic. She was wearing this short red and black dress with a slit up her left thigh.

I snapped myself back to the matter at hand. “Eddie, baby. I’m so glad you could make it.” I pulled out the fragment and held it out in my hand to her.

Eddie came closer and that’s when all three guys popped out and started heading towards her. “Not so fast Eddie. I’ve spent the last few years infiltrating the NSA to finally get my hands on that statue. Hand over your pieces.”

“I don’t think so. I’ve dealt with Smith, and I’ll deal with you if necessary. I’ve been keeping close tabs on everybody who’s been after the statue. Between the two of us, Smith and I have eliminated all of the competition. It’s down to you, and you are not getting anywhere near her.”

“Who are you to decide? I’m not evil. I’m thinking of the greater good. She’s a mutant. She’ll be a champion for our cause. Dumphrey would have abused her powers, but we wouldn’t do that. We want recognition and equal treatment among the norms. We could use her to help get our people in power and give us a new way of life.”

“No. No one can be trusted. That much power will corrupt anyone. My men have orders to destroy the other statue pieces if I don’t return safely. So kill me if you want. You aren’t getting the statue.”

I moved slowly behind the men as they were talking. I got behind a stack of boxes and pushed them over to make a loud crash. They turned and I sucker punched one of them in the stomach and face. He was out cold. I turned to check on Eddie when I saw her dodge behind a box and lift the right side of dress to pull a gun out of a thigh holster. She shot the other two guys in the leg with amazing speed. Man this lady is dangerous.

That’s a lucky gun if that that was its usual hiding place. It was hard not to stare at Eddie, but I kept telling myself that she’d probably end up killing me in my sleep. But there are worse ways to go.

“Tex! Give me that last fragment.” Well so much for sweet talk. She turned to the NSA cleaner.

“Look, I do sympathize with your cause. That’s why you aren’t dead now. I suggest you stay out of my business or next time you won’t live another day. Let’s go Tex.”

We headed for her speeder and there was Mark and Angela waiting for us. We flew to an abandoned airport and ducked inside a hangar. The four of us gathered around a table.

Mark emptied out all the statue fragments on the table and Eddie added the last piece. The fragments began to glow, and I started to hear this strange hum in my head. It was getting louder and giving me a headache.

“Tex, are you alright?” asked Angela.

“It’s all the noise.”

“What noise? I don’t hear anything,” responded Mark.

“I can hear it too Tex. You are sensitive to the psychic energies too aren’t you? Ms. Ching, what do I do now?”

“You’ve already been able to enhance your powers by manipulating the energy from the fragments. That’s how you managed the telekinesis and telepathy recently. Now you need to draw on the energies again and use them to fuse the fragments together to reform the statue.”

“I don’t know if I can, but I’ll try.” She nervously moved her hands toward the pile of fragments. I’d be shaking too. This statue scares me.

The fragments began to glow brighter, and the hum in my head got louder. Then the fragments started to move. They started spinning around like a miniature tornado. The pieces moved in closer and closer, but then Angela’s hands fell down.

“Are you alright?” asked Eddie. She reached out to hold her hand.

“I’m sorry. It felt as if the fragments were taking energy from me instead of the other way around. I don’t think I’m strong enough.”

“It takes a lot of power to assemble the statue. We can help you. If we all join hands, you can draw on the Qi energy from the rest of us to assemble the statue. Please try again.”

Mark and I rested our hands on Angela’s shoulders and held Eddie’s hands. Angela raised her hands again and the fragments started to twirl together. I understood what she meant. I felt like something was sucking the life force out of me. I could feel myself getting weaker. I was about to collapse on the floor when I saw a bright burst of light. The statue was complete.

We all stared at it. It seemed so magical and alluring. I felt this incredible urge to reach out and touch it. Eddie stopped my hand.

“Tex! Don’t. It might kill you.” A pang of concern from Eddie? Maybe she does have a soft spot for me after all.

“I’m so tired, but we can’t stop now. The Ching family has waited so long for this day,” Eddie smiled a soft smile at all of us and reached forth to give Angela a hug. “Thank you.”

“Ms. Ching, Eddie... The statue spoke to me. It told me where we have to go. I don’t believe it. It can’t be real.”

“Let me guess Angela. I think I know where we are going. I figured it out a while ago.”

“Really? You think you know our final destination?” smirked Eddie.

“Yep. You said you’ve been protecting the Eyes of Grendeljen for generations of your family. Now that means either you’ve been protecting a family of Eyes or she’s a very ancient lady by now. Then you said she’s in a safe, secluded place that can’t be found without the statue. There’s only one place I can think of where you can live forever without being found. Shangri-La. Am I right?”

“Very impressive. You’re smarter than you look.” She turned to Mark. “Is my jet ready to go?”

_________________

Samantha


Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.


Last edited by sam10100 on Aug 21, 2010 7:02 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Jen
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Jul 23, 2010 2:01 am
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“Om Mani Padme Hum, Om Mani Padme Hum”. The chant echoed over the whirl of the helicopter blades, slowing now, as the four of them climbed out of the chartered helicopter.

The landing site was a section of hard-packed dirt cut from a patch of grassland, overflowing with bright summer wildflowers in a myriad of colors. The air was clear and blue, the snowcapped peaks of the mountains of Tibet towering in the distance. Carved in the hillside, monasteries became one with the earth, the golden rooftops flashing like jewels in the summer sun. The lush valley was carved by the pristine river flows, runoff from the mountain ranges, and far in the distance a few young boys herd a small group of sheep and black yaks.

The chanting emanated from a group of wizened old men that surrounded a three story brass tower, intricately decorated and inlaid with Chinese symbols of bronze and aged copper. None of the men looked to be younger than 80, bent over with the weight of old age, but they as a group rotated the building easily, all while chanting over and over in their strange tongue.

I looked over at Eddie, as she slung her personal bag over her shoulder, and gently carried the box containing the statue under one arm. She was unaffected by the beauty around her. She spoke in clipped tones to the helicopter pilot, and he nodded in agreement, a large wad of money exchanging hands.

“It’s a prayer wheel. It is filled with the prayers of our people. Rotating it is a meditative path to opening your mind, channeling wisdom and compassion, a way to enlightenment.”

Angela stared with as much amazement as I felt. Eddie’s next words were for her. “It also enhances the siddhis.”

Angela responded slowly, as if in a daze. “That’s it. She has the mastered the tri-kāla-jñatvam."

"The tri-lambda what?" I mused aloud.


Angela answered me. " Knowing the past, present and future."
Eddie had no reply.

We followed the rough path though the wildflowers and grassland to the small village cut into the hillside. Soon we were surrounded by flock of laughing children, some pulling at my trench coat, and reaching for my pockets. I safely tucked the luckies inside my shirt, but one little mischievous boy managed to wrangle something from inside my trench coat pocket.

Eddie’s eyes latched onto it, and grabbed it from the child’s hand. I had no idea what she was speaking, but the rapid fire gibberish to my ears could only be profanity and the children looked shocked, and scurried away.

“Oh why did I bring you along? I knew this was a bad idea. Tracking device, and a bug as well, thank you so very much detective.” She crushed the teeny electronic device under her boot heel, there was one last squeal of feedback before it broke into several pieces. Eddie stood for a second, thinking about her next move.

“The damage is done, I can only hope that there was no one listening. It’s not far from here, let’s go, single file, and keep close.” We wound our way up, through fruit vendors, goat shepards, and women roasting barley flour over small fires. We approached a rich looking residence with orate double doors, and a wide wooden porch overlooking the road. She knocked twice, looking over her shoulder, and casting yet another dirty look at me.


We were greeted by a tiny old woman with broad warm smile on her face. Her grey white-hair was pulled back into a large bun, and she was dressed in rich red silk.

“Eddie.”

“Ayi.”

They embraced and held, as if they hadn’t seen each other in ages. When Eddie pulled away, her eyes were glassy, swimming with unshed tears.

The old woman gestured the four of us in, and Eddie handed over the box. Ayi (whatever that meant) looked up at Eddie with a start. Eddie nodded, slowly. They both embraced again, slowly, both looking down, and the rest of us squirmed a little, uncomfortable to intrude on such an intimate moment. At last they separated, and seemed to compose themselves. The old lady turned to us and in perfect English spoke.

“Tea?”
We all shook our heads.

“Well, I will take to all to meet her. Please follow me.” We were led through the sitting room, and down a flight of stairs to the basement level. The stairs were wooden, and we shuffled downward into the darkness.

The rich, heavy smell of incense wafted upwards towards me and made me a little dizzy. The downstairs had a small window where a few scattered rays of light permeated the red velvet curtain. The walls were dark, covered with tapestries, woven with designs that I couldn’t make out in the poor light. The entire floor was a single room, and in the center of it all was a large circular rug. In the center of that was a woman’s form seated in the lotus postion. Her face was cast in shadow, but the huge swell of her very pregnant belly was obvious to us all.


Angela gasped aloud and in a whisper we all could hear, she spoke the words…
“genetic memory”


Last edited by Jen on Apr 15, 2012 12:58 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Aug 08, 2010 3:56 pm
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And with that sound reverberating around the room, the woman before us opened her eyes. In the shadows they flashed an almost unearthly light, and she nodded simply to Angela.

Mark chimed in, his gaze searching the room. “Where is your mate, the father of this child?”

There was an almost imperceptible shake of her head as she spoke. Her voice was rich, satins and silks to the ears. She spoke without accent or heavy inflection, it was a siren song that could cast ships to the stone with everyone aboard enraptured.

“We are like the smallest of grass mites that by the billions, or the mighty komodo dragon in solitude, create life without a male. We have always been this way, and have been feared and shunned by it.”


I smiled wryly, “Not too many virgin births on record. The last one was a doozy.”


Eddie jabbed me in the ribs, and I wasn’t quick enough to flex my abs of steel before her sharpened little elbow almost knocked the wind out of me.

Again Angela had the answer, that woman was damned sharp. “Parthenogenesis. Female asexual reproduction, in dozens of species: fish, sharks, lizards, insects but never a human. Not even in a mammal, that I’m aware of.”

“When the time is right, a child is born, and we continue on. Our past memories endure to the next. But I fear….”

Mark interrupted again. “The statue. We need to destroy it.”

“We can be controlled, yes, but the pendulum swings one way to another without the influence of whomever holds the statue. There cannot be lightness without dark, and within my time and my life there has been great awakenings and peace.”

There was a moment of silence as she considered her next words. I watched on, her eyes never focusing on me for more than a moment before they passed on to another, and I couldn’t say I was sorry. I felt like a Neanderthal man looking at Cro-Magnon.

“The future is a branching of strings, free will and the choices we make expand the strings to an almost endless tangle of eventualities. But most of the strings that lay before me lead to a future in shadow and darkness.”

Her eyes turned to me again. “Would you be so kind as to collect the red stone on the curio? My mobility is somewhat restricted right now.” I walked over to the wooden dresser, and there were several large crystals strewn about, an amethyst, emerald and sapphire, but the largest was a raw ruby red stone about the size of a quail’s egg. I picked it up, and it was just like holding the statue again. Visions danced in my head, and I tried my best to shut them out. She watched me wince.

“Yes, it is true then, you have traveled, but you do not know it.” She saw my discomfort. “Please give the stone to Ms. Parker. It is for her.”

I gladly passed it over to Angela. When she grasped it, her eyes went far away, but her face remained still. She held it for about 15 seconds, and placed it inside her pocket.

Angela looked at her with uncertainty. “Are you sure you want to give me this? It feels like it will take more than my life time to tell this story.”

She nodded back to her. “You will outlive us all.”

A look of pain crossed the face of the pregnant mutant woman.“Our guardians have now left this plane.”

That perked up my PI instincts, and not in a good way.

Eddie barely had time to register what she had said, when the door to the basement slammed open. The bloody corpse of a young man of Asian descent was thrown down the steps and landed face up on the floor in front of us. His throat had been cruelly slit from ear to ear. Gunshots echoed from the rooms upstairs, and then the pounding of heavy shoes on the steps. We were quickly surrounded by 4 large and armed men.

Caught with our damn pants down. If she knew the future, why hadn’t she given us more warning. I thought to myself angrily.


“Because this is the path that I have chosen.” Whether she spoke aloud or in my head, I had no clue and cared even less, as I was too busy getting shook down while another goon waved his gun in my face.

“The area is secure.” The goon called up the stairs, and slowly we heard the heavy sounds of footsteps, one strong and the other shuffling. Slowly they descended the stairs, and as they came into view Eddie cursed again, loud and unintelligible to my ears.

He was battered and bandaged, but still very much alive. “Underestimated, Ms. Ching, again. Thank you for the assistance Mr. Murphy, you did prove to be invaluable.“

Even half crippled and supported by his assistant, Mr. Dumphrey, Mr. Smith, or just plain Mr. Pain is the ass, radiated menace. He shakily took a gun from his own jacket pocket and pointed the barrel at Eddie Ching’s head.

“Collect the statue, and shoot them all. Except for our mother to be. Cut the child from her womb before you kill her.”


……to be concluded.


Last edited by Jen on Aug 10, 2010 12:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Jen
Post subject: Re: The Eyes of Grendeljen
Post Posted: Aug 09, 2010 3:26 pm
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“The child and the statue are mine to control, thank you Ms. Ching. Your time of coveting the creature has ended.”

‘The creature’ had no response, but Eddie and the Gasser lunged. Eddie darted forwards, quick as a striking serpent, and made a grab for his shiny silver gun. Four shots rang out before she managed to wrest it away, pointing it upwards towards the ceiling. At least two made their mark somewhere, I heard a sharp inhale as the bullets hit flesh, but that was all.

The next sound was a brittle cracking as Eddie snapped Mr. Smith already injured forearm. It hung crooked and limp.

She hooked the barrel of the gun in his left cheek, pointed upward, up into his soft palate. Without hesitation she emptied the rest of the weapon up into the brain matter, and a fine spray of blood covered her, and the room behind her.

I pulled a right roundhouse and managed to surprise the thug beside me, while the Gasser tousled with the lead goon, he managed to get off a few badly aimed shots before Mark disarmed him, tossing the foe’s weapon to me underhanded. I barely managed to catch it, and pistol whipped the man covering me. He went down, and I took his gun.

Angela had enough sense to duck and crawled over to the pregnant woman, using her own body as shield. Eddie had managed to pull the same hidden gun from the warehouse scuffle, and while she dumped the lifeless body of the man she’d hunted for years, she turned her weapon on those that remained. Less than a minute had passed.

“Drop your weapon, or die like your boss.”

Everyone to a man, obliged.

“Mark, get them out of here. You know what to do.”

She looked at each one of them in turn, committing their face to memory. “If I see anyone of you again, you will pray that I end it quickly.”

Her eyes flashed pure venom.

Mark waved both guns, and they filed up the stairs, he trailing at the end.

With the pounding of the feet subsiding we could hear the quiet weeping of Angela.

“She’s been shot.”

Angela lifted her face where she had been embracing the woman, trying to shield her, and where contact had been made it was covered in bright crimson and gore. An impossible amount of blood and fluid flowed from the mutants belly, there was no chance that the baby lived. All of us dropped to our knees beside her. Her struggling eyes opened and sought out Eddie.

“Edith.” She spoke quietly. “Please don’t cry for me, or consider this a failure. It was the best of all possible paths.”

She coughed a little, but showed no expression of pain, only peace.

“I’ve been haunted with the deeds of my ancestors, both of good and great evil, for too long. The path of my descendant was the darkest yet. Best to have us at an end. Now that our story can be told.”

Angela bowed her head. “I promise.”

A series of gunshots rang out from outside, and I knew that Mark had left no witnesses. Eddie closed her eyes and nodded.

“Look the statue.” I pointed at the opened box where the statue laid. There was nothing but fine powder and dust, the link between the two of them broken at last.

The eyes of grendeljen closed for the final time.

The End.

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