Identities -- MMGiru + Red Pen
"Two-nineteen Orchid, Apartment thirty-two."
"I gathered, Sergeant Keys," came the reply, dryly.
The black car -- police light cycling atop -- pulled up to a curb behind two more officially styled vehicles of the same order. Out of the driver's side stepped a man in his late twenties; broadly built, dark-skinned, and bearing an expression of well-tempered annoyance. From the other front door came a woman approximately twenty years his senior, shorter and thinner in stature, with hair that curled and greyed smoothly out of its former orange. Her own face was as disinterested as her words a moment before.
As the two walked up to the apartment complex's primary entrance, they flashed ID to a pair of uniformed officers standing on either side of the door. The men both stood aside after a quick glance, their conversation only resuming as the door closed behind their superiors.
The Inspector paid no mind to the 'Out of Order' sign taped to a small elevator, instead moving up the stairs jauntily. On the third floor, they were met with the sight of two doors, one of which was open, had yellow tape across half-way down, and had camera clicks emanating from within.
"Thirty-two, you say?" She did not look to see her sergeant's expression, but smiled when he quipped back "It may have been thirty-one, ma'am."
"There's hope for you yet, Keys." The small woman ducked beneath the police tape, rather than lifting it. Her partner was less fortunate with his own height. While he moved into the room, the Inspector spoke up to the uniformed officer photographing the scene.
"Jones. Where is this weirdness you hinted at?"
The balding man being asked didn't take his eye from the camera's screen, but answered, "There's some right here, as a matter of fact. Look at this."
She did, and couldn't help but grimace. "Jesus. That explains the screaming." She crouched for a closer look, and pulled on a glove from her pocket. Before reaching out, she looked back to the photographer. "You got this, Jones?"
The Inspector scowled at the name before picking the alien object off the floor. Her Sergeant moved closer, and she stood and turned to afford him a clearer view.
"Ma'am," he began, "how does something like that... happen?"
"I've not seen a cut like it before," she answered. "It almost looks like a sort of torture, except...."
"Correct. He'd have been struggling if someone had done something like that to him. And what can cut bone that cleanly anyway? It almost looks machined, for fuck's sake. I saw his hand; that cut was just as clean."
"Will the pieces match up, d'you think?"
"The lab will know, but... it actually looks plausible, now I'm staring at the thing." She smiled grimly. "I don't think they'll be stitching it back on."
Her Sergeant's expression was pensive as he looked her in the eye. "You think he was going to do it, then?"
"Certainly gonna do something; he chloroformed her. You don't just ask someone if they have any sugar after that."
"But someone stopped him, and cut half a finger off -- down the middle, no less -- before he could manage anything."
"I don't imagine he did it to himself, Keys."
"Nor did he likely smack the rock into the back of his own head, ma'am. We should bag that and check what type it is, as well." He paused. "Why is this trail of blood next to where the finger ended up? Did someone toss it afterwords?"
"A frightening thought. Look at that wall though."
The Sergeant did as instructed, observing a splatter of blood, the left side of the stain with a strangely abrupt end, compared to the right.
"What do you make of it?"
"I don't particularly, ma'am. The head wound and the finger are the only places he bled from, the nurse told me. And the woman didn't have a scratch on her. You don't suppose it's the other fellow?"
"Quite possibly. Another for the lab. Glad he helped us finger this bastard, at least."
Sergeant Keys did his best to ignore the pun while the Inspector bagged the partial digit she'd been viewing. Before she could proceed to the wall where her partner now stood, a man with ten years on her entered the room.
"Sir," the Inspector addressed him. "What's merited your visit? In the area?"
"Wrap it up, Liz. We have people from the capital coming in. They'll want everything neatly bagged."
Everyone in the room was surprised, but only the Inspector had the rank or inclination to express as much. Annoyance with her given name was forgotten. "They're taking it from us, sir?"
"Yes," came her superior's answer, before leaving the room without anything more than a once-over.
Two minutes later, some distance away, Fenton Avery's alarm clock went off. He looked at the time, observed two hours had passed since he last saw it, and cursed under his breath. Half an hour after, he walked into a small cafe, showered and dressed, but with bags under brown eyes. He could only hope it would be a quiet work day.
"Have you got the next package?"
"It's on it's way."
"Gender, height and weight?"
"Male, 5'10, 185lbs."
"What's his medical records like?"
"Clean. Not a single visit to the hospital since his last inoculations."
"Bring him in."
With that, the communication was over. The man in the shadows moved forward back into the light of his office and closed the door. The next package would be delivered shortly and hopefully this time the experiment would be successful. He wanted this completed before anyone could track them. The fact that this had being going on for years now without people finding him, was quite the accomplishment, but that didn't mean to say that they would always be safe. They'd moved on from prostitutes and homeless due to the fact that most of them were sick or diseased or druggies. He wanted people with clean bills of health.
Outside business matters completed, the man gathered his paperwork and left the office to go home to his wife and daughter.
Savannah Abrahams loved two things in life currently. Shopping and boys. Food was a third. With her father in the political business and her mother a model, it was hard for Savannah, or Sav as known to most of her friends, to admit to liking food as much as she did. Image was important when your parents were in the spotlight, and okay, image was vaguely important to Savannah too. Her long red hair was always brushed and put into two nice plaited pigtails either side of her ears - it made her look younger, but she liked it especially with her short height of five two. Her green eyes gave away her Irish descendent's from her mother's side. Her clothes were always ironed, brand names, and not a speck of dirt seemed to line them. Sometimes she seemed plastic almost.
But appearance was everything according to her mother. If you looked like shit you'd be treated as shit. And no way was her daughter going to be treated like a commoner, like a piece of shit on a shovel.
And that's exactly how Savannah turned up at the local cafe for a smoothie and breakfast muffin (or two). Hair neat and tidy, clothes neat and tidy, voice high pitched and excited as two of her girlfriends followed behind her, listening to every word she said as they waited in line. It wasn't too busy, so the line moved fast, but they could be heard the entire time at the front still.
"He's so dreamy. Perfect. I'm sure he's the love of my life." Savannah told Melissa and Janet.
"That is so amazing. What did he look like?" Mel asked.
"Brown hair, blue eyes. Oh and his accent would make butter melt!" She squealed in delight just thinking about the man she'd met yesterday.
"Where did you meet him?" Janet grinned.
"We bumped into each other on the street. How romantic is that? It's meant to be, right?" By now they were at the front of the line and whoever was behind was patiently waiting for their orders. Even that took a while as the girls finally started debating over what they actually wanted.
"Okay. We want 3 berry smooties.... Large. Not to cold please. Then Janet wants a croissant, warmed up of course no more than 30 seconds, and butter and strawberry jam please. Make sure the butter is low fat one too. Melissa wants a flapjack and I want a white chocolate with raspberry muffin and also...." Savannah took a break to breathe for a second and think about the order. "Oh, and that chocolate muffin. Yeah. Remember drinks not too cold and low fat butter, please."
And straight after, Savannah went back to giggling and talking about shopping this time, with the girls. There was no attempt at quietness and even the people behind the girls seemed to be rolling their eyes.
From the kitchen of one Café Christophe, Fenton heard a familiarly high vocal range and felt hairs on the back of his neck raise, not unlike a dog's hackles might. The manager -- a fellow named 'Christopher', by a strange coincidence -- happened to be on hand to see.
"Oh yes: your fav."
Fenton managed not to look up from the tea he was brewing. After a moment of contemplating his manager's inevitable smirk without seeing it, he reached into his pocket, before slapping the appropriate amount of money on the glossy metal table. The young tea-maker took the drink meant for a customer, and downed a sip. Burning his tongue, he began another cup of the same leaf, while his manager 'tsk'd and took the money from the table.
While bringing the (replacement) cup of tea out to its purchaser, Fenton spied three girls roughly his own age ordering various overly specific foodstuffs. The taller two were only vaguely familiar; he knew they were of better-off families, as the high-end of CC's young crowd often were. The shortest he could recognize in his peripherals. In full sight, the hair and eyes were vibrant, and the dialogue was... nearly intolerable.
After having made his delivery, Fenton set out on this new task, making smoothies, retrieving croissants and muffins; even a flapjack, which he himself had to make. They were the least commonly chosen of the cafe's foods, and did not, apparently, merit shelf-space. Fenton did not skimp on any of these orders; this job was more a practice in restraint than anything else.
He did take one small liberty. Beneath the raspberry-white-chocolate, a small note rested. It was the sort of paper an order would be written on. Instead of anything to that effect was a single sentence.
'Longer than a week this time, perhaps?'
Fenton stepped up to his side of the counter, announcing, with very intentional priority, "Berry smoothies, muffins, et cetera." Standard protocol for his seeing her was to say her name in acknowledgement. The setting determined which term he might employ. In the cafe, he could comfortably use 'Savannah'.
Savannah was the one that went to grab the order. The girls had spent the entire time talking about boys and shopping, and though she knew Fenton worked there, she'd completely forgotten about him, not that he was really anyone worth noticing. All he did was call her names and tease her. It was childish and stupid in her books. She wasn't really much better though, often being the airhead that she was.
"Oh... I need to get his number next time. I so hope I bump into him again on the street." She called out as she made her way over to collect the food. It was only then that she saw Fenton. Great. The guy that loved tomenting her and teasing her. The man she hated. She grabbed the tray, expecting something from him, but all he said was Savannah. Something felt off. No tormenting and teasing right now. What was wrong?
"Fenton. Thank you." With that she turned and left before he started something. It was always so childish!
Once back at the table, Savannah watched Fenton for a minute or so before looking at the food. Melissa and Janet had grabbed their food already. "Fenton's up to something."
"What did he say this time?"
"Exactly. When does he ever say nothing?"
"Maybe he's changed, decided to quit it."
Savannah shrugged, but grabbed her smoothie before grabbing her muffin and taking a nice big bite from it. Everything was delicious. It all tasted fabulous. Right up until she saw the note and read it.
"What does this even mean?" Savannah handed the note to her friends.
"I don't know. Who do you think put it there?"
"Fenton." Was the only word said. Savannah glared at the man behind the counter. She didn't have a clue what he meant by the note, but it infuriated her. And because she didn't know what he was talking about with his words she wanted to know. If it was possible, her face was nearly as red as her hair. "That's it. I'm going to find out."
With that, Savannah got herself up, her temper as fiery as her red hair right now. Luckily the morning rush seemed to have disappeared and she was the only one up at the counter where Fenton had given her the food. "Fenton!" She called for his attention. A not so amusing smile braced her lips for a second as she all but slammed the note down on the table. "What are you talking about in this note? What have I waited longer than a week for this time?" Her expression showed that she was less than impressed with his humor right now.
In the background, Melissa and Janet sat at their table shaking their heads. Another standoff was about to begin. Fenton and Savannah had almost being at each other's throats for months now it seemed. It had all started with some little nickname Fenton had given her when they'd been standing in line at CC's as they called the cafe, and because of the topic, and Savannah's highly annoying voice, he'd apparently had wise words for her or something. And it had taken off from there. And the girls knew none of it was malicious. But sometimes they wondered why Fenton did what he did when he knew how Savannah would over react. Like now.
Amazingly, Fenton's newest tactic produced a reaction no less volatile than the norm. He'd managed ten minutes without conflict though, which was something of an improvement for the two of them.
Turning around as casually as possible, he leaned forward and spent far longer reading his own note than the length of its content necessitated. After he'd stretched the moment as much as possible, he picked up his tea, had a sip, and spoke.
"Miss Abrahams," he said, in the way he might while waiting at one of her family's soirees, "I've no idea who wrote that, and I could not possibly speculate on the intent. Although...." He paused, before tapping the note, with another sip of tea. "It occurs to me that a week is the longest you've pursued one of these destined romances. What a marvelous coincidence-- Did you want a cup of tea? I would gladly pay for a nice white, with peach; or we got some fresh chai in just yesterday."
He took another sip, bracing himself for the oncoming explosion and applying a good deal of practice in not laughing at the same time. He'd almost used The Name, even. But it would have been unfortunate if she'd leapt over the counter and got him fired. And bruised.
Savannah stood there watching Fenton examine the note. The longer he looked at it and stayed silent, the more angry she got. He was doing this all deliberately! He was being so mean! When he finally spoke, her face was as red as a tomato. "You know nothing about me! You're a pig! A big fat pig! You know that? You don't know anything about my life and you stand there writing childish and pathetic notes! It's stupid and pathetic and I hope you know that!"
Okay so her words were stupid and pathetic and childish too, but she didn't care. With that, Savannah grabbed the note and went back to her table where Mel and Janet were talking again and trying to ignore Fenton and Savannah.
"Come on guys, let's go. I don't like this place right now." Savannah grabbed both of her muffins and her smoothie. "Maybe we'll go find somewhere else to get breakfast."
Of course that wouldn't happen. This was the place to be. Unfortunately it meant being in proximity with Fenton. That was the only downside. Either way though, this was a small place, normally they bumped into each other pretty regularly and he even worked for a catering company doing some of her parent's parties. Even if she stopped going to CC's, she'd still bump into him other ways. It was bloody annoying!
"And you can forget your tea. I don't even like hot drinks. Which proves you don't know me!" Savannah had to get the last word in as they all left. "Urgh! He's so annoying!" She added once they were out.
"You know, you let him get to you. If you ignored it, he'd stop." Janet pointed out.
"How can I ignore that?" Savannah frowned.
"Next time, try."
Savannah sighed, looking through the window to see Fenton in the cafe. Just looking at him made her crazy.
Janet and Mel smirked before looking at each other. "We've got to go. My mom is taking Janet and I out of the city on some stupid thing. We're not looking forward to it at all." Mel sighed.
The girls continued talking outside of the shop for a few more minutes before Savannah said her goodbyes. Secretly she was glad that she wasn't invited with Janet and Mel. Mel's mother was a piece of work. And their tours were even harder. The problem was, Savannah didn't want to go home. Her father was at work and her mother was probably stressing over tomorrow night's party they were throwing to try and keep her father in the political limelight.
Sighing, Savannah took one last look at Fenton through the window, scowled and then started walking in the direction of home.
Fenton didn't much care for the word 'pig' being applied to himself. But the absurdity of Savannah's other words made it easier to ignore, and he possessed a practiced patience. It was this patience that allowed him not to directly tell her that a person should be able to take a bit of criticism without resorting to ad hominem. His plan was to slowly indoctrinate her into sensible discourse; seeing how long this took was as much an experiment as a game.
Upon Savannah announcing her thoughts on a cup of tea, Fenton didn't particularly respond. He was at that point attending to an order in the kitchen. Fortunately, this was not a flapjack, and did not require an actual forging.
When the time came to deliver the newest muffin, Fenton was able to look out the window and see the two friend girls walking away, while Savannah was... scowling at him. Fenton considered waving, but decided it would be a bit much after he'd already caused a minor scene that morning. He did not fail to note, with faint surprise, that his target of amusement was moving in a separate direction from the other two. For one moment, the thought that she hadn't realize sprung to mind. He set this aside; she wasn't that unaware, surely.
After briefly considering the situation, Fenton reached into his pocket and pulled from within a small package, clearly labeled as energy gummies, of the sort athletes might eat some ways into their chosen activity. Tearing the thing open and popping two in his mouth -- grape, marvelously -- he made his way to the kitchen, despite not having an order up.
"I don't know how you can eat those," opined Bethany, who would have been taking orders, had they needed taking presently. "How much sleep did you not get?"
"Oodles." Fenton devoured another two, which amounted to a full serving, at half the package. "And these are delightful."
Beth snorted disagreement and shook her head. Fenton made a point not to scowl at the gesture, which he saw as a sort of mild dishonesty. Instead, he pulled off his apron and set it on a peg, along with his hairnet, from underneath which brown hair was released. Upon seeing a few strands stuck in the net, the word 'bland' vaguely filtered through his mind. Instead of voicing this, Fenton announced "Break."
John, who was at least two years Fenton's senior, and looked rather like he'd found a way to neutralize the smell of marijuana, gave him a mock salute, having just become the priority in attending to people's food and drink.
Once he'd stepped out the back door of the building, Fenton felt freedom in the grim city air. The couple walking behind the building did not see anyone walk out of the alcove where the cafe's exit was, and yet, when they passed, Fenton was nowhere to be seen. Not that they would have known to look.
As for Fenton, he now sat in a small room, carved, it would seem, directly out of stone. The air was musty, and indeed, the only source of fresh air appeared to be a series of grooves in either of two opposing walls. Their positions allowed for a breeze, which was how Fenton had designed the place. The ceiling had a lightbulb, with a cable leading upwards through rock, to some ambiguous power source. The surfaces of the room -- walls, floor, and ceiling -- had various shapes carved into them, which looked not unlike picture frames. Here was a square, there a rectangle, and the occasional circle or ellipse. In the corner was a casually balled black cloth jacket, and something that looked suspiciously like a matching ski mask.
For the moment's work, Fenton elected not to use any of his framing structures. Instead, he ate another two energy gummies. After a moment of chewing, he paused, and worked out a small figure in his head. It needed to be more than 'one', he knew, and 'five' was likely too much. Settling on 'three', Fenton continued chewing. A moment later, a curiosity unique to Fenton (to his knowledge) occurred. Quite suddenly, there was a hole in the air in front of him, a few inches or so off the floor. The hole was about the size of a large coin, and the borders were so thin as to be imperceptible. Looking down into it, Fenton could see, roughly three feet directly below, a head of red, pig-tailed hair. Sound through so small an opening was muffled, but he could hear the clacking of shoes.
Upon creating the thing, he could immediately feel it drawing on him. At that size, the energy requirement was as if he'd just started walking. Fortunately, the thing was anchored three feet above her head, so he wouldn't need to move it manually, in all likelihood. Fenton sat, waited, and watched, hoping the precaution was unnecessary. But it would be unfortunate to lose one of his principal forms of entertainment.
Boredom had already set in on the way home. She still had Fenton and his tormenting ways on her mind. She was so annoyed at him and it showed on the scowl that was still set on her face. "He thinks he's so funny." She finally spoke out loud. "And he's not. He's childish." She decided.
It was a long walk back to her place still, as CC's wasn't exactly close to her place but normally she'd walk back with friends. Of course she wouldn't have done it in the dark, or evening, that was for sure. But it was morning... well, afternoon so Savannah didn't think twice of walking back to hers by herself. And she wasn't even sure she'd go to her place. Maybe she'd go somewhere else instead. She had no plan on what to do and with Melissa and Janet gone, Savannah didn't really have anywhere else to go or anything else to do.
"This is stupid. I can have plenty of fun. Shopping. I will shop. Cheer myself up and prove that what Fenton says is stupid. Maybe I'll bump into that guy again. And then I can get his name and number and be seeing him longer than a week. See what Fenton has to say about that!" She said, still wound up, and then stuffing her face with a muffin. She changed direction, deciding to take a short cut through the place so that she could get to the shops. Of course, it happened to not be the greatest part of town that she was going to be walking through, but honestly, Savannah thought that she'd be okay.
And she was okay, until she got half way through and two men appeared in front of her. "What do we have here, Jake?" He smirked.
"Rich bitch, I think." Jake answered.
"Look just leave me alone. I'm just cutting through." Savannah probably should have been more afraid.
"Oh look. She's all brave. Remember what we did to the last kid that was all mouth..."
With that, both men started moving for her and Savannah started to slowly back up, but she wasn't acting scared. "I told you to leave me alone. I'll beat you up. I have a black belt in karate." She lied.
"Oooooh we're so scared." They taunted, laughing as they continued to advance on the girl.
Savannah really was stupid sometimes. She mouthed off instead of running away. She was making things worse with that mouth of hers instead of using brains to get herself out of the situation. And the two men weren't listening to her, too busy eying over their little surprise.
Fenton had caught his own name a couple of times while watching, and though he couldn't hear full sentences, the vocal range came in clearly enough, as did her tone, and the fact she gorged on a muffin in anger. He wanted to point out how unhealthy eating for emotion rather than physical need was, but refrained. It hadn't harmed her figure, if he was any judge -- which he did feel he was -- so he supposed she mustn't have done it too harmfully.
He was pulled from such thoughts by new voices. The phrase 'rich bitch' registered, as did Savannah's having stopped walking. Fenton acted immediately, moving to a crouched position and leaning to grab his ski mask and jacket. It had been much the same the previous night. He'd been getting better at this sort of thing over the previous months, but this would be the first time he'd act in front of a person he knew.
Returning to the portal just in time to see that Savannah was now backing towards a wall, Fenton closed it, and made another, some ways above them in the alleyway. Unfortunately, he hadn't realized there was an air conditioner there, and half of his new portal cut directly into the thing. Fortunately, it wasn't on at the time, but Fenton was given a cross-section of its lower half, which was somewhat distracting. He assumed a view from his floor would provide a view into the upper portion of the thing's innards. Not bothering to relocate, he observed the figures advancing on his own source of amusement. Two; he'd knocked over two before.
"I wouldn't, motherfuckers." For the occasion, Fenton had assumed the more rural accent of his upbringing, and lowered his vocal register as much as he could make sound natural.
One of the two, amusingly, looked around the alley before apparently realizing it had come from above. Fenton shrunk the portal to only leave an inch sticking out beyond the air conditioner. While leaning forward to get a better view, he noted one of the two had not taken his sight off the girl. Curious.
"Fuck was that?" he asked the one that was looking about.
"Dunno," answered Jake. He raised his voice for his continuation. "A bitch, apparently."
Fenton decided this fellow should not have used that word in reference to his inestimable self. Standing up, and pacing around his portal to face an appropriate angle, he pulled his hand back, before opening up a portal behind Jake's head. In the alley, within Savannah's field of vision, would appear an inexplicable window, looking into a stone room.
Light from the alley painted the wall of Fenton's room, which he could see in his peripherals. Presently though, his attention was focused on putting a fist through the portal. This was a dangerous practice, due to the risk of cutting open one's own arm on the edge of the portal. Fenton pulled it off without damage though, and felt his fist connect with the back of Jake's head, which sent the man tumbling forward.
In the alley, the more professional of the two turned on hearing his peer collapse. Something like a fist seemed to be snaking backing into the other side of what looked like a hole in the air, before said hole closed. Tully didn't have anything especially useful to say to that, but instinctively grabbed for their new, rich mark, hoping to get ahold of her neck while Jake got off his ass.
Fenton again watched from above, though not from within the air conditioner this time.
Savannah just didn't know when to quit and her back eventually hit the wall and she had nowhere to move as Jake came from one side, Tully the other. She didn't look scared though. No she looked as fierce as she could. Though what happened next was enough to scare her. A voice sounded from nowhere.
"That wasn't me, you idiot." Savannah retorted in reply to whoever mentioned her after it had happened. "I bet they're here to beat your ass. Not that I can't do it myself."
She gasped as she saw the arm come out of the portal (not that she knew it was a portal) and knocked Jake flat on his ass. Savannah just laughed. There was a big grin on her face and she found it really funny. That was until Tully had his hand around her neck and she couldn't breathe as he pressed her against the wall. This time she wasn't mouthy. Her face was full of fear and tears appeared in her eyes as she realised he wasn't planning on letting her go. Her own hands grasped at his, trying to loosen the grip somehow but it didn't work.
She couldn't get free and he smirked seeming to grip her tighter. Her struggles renewed more as the lack of air got to her. "Not so smart now, are you, bitch? No one's coming to save you!" He laughed. "You're mine. And then you're going to be some statistic of stupid dead girls found in the gutter."