When we got the prompt from Odd Prompts this week, we were really startled. You see, this could easily be a description of Jim, and we’ve been planning for a while to write about some of the experiences he’s had over the years, the way they really happened…or not. Nobody really believes them either way. So unless the story decides it has to do something unexpected, this prompt will form the basis for the first vignette in R.I.P. Meets the Supernatural (working title). The prompt was “The essence of noir: A man with a slouched fedora and hands shoved in overcoat pockets walks down a road, aware he’s being followed. Street lights flicker into darkness as he walks by.”
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Sergeant Waitman “Wade” Green adjusts his slouched fedora then shoves his hands deep into the pockets of his overcoat as he walks. The coat feels good in the chill of the night, and he’s been out strolling for a while. Fortunately, if he plays things right, it won’t be much longer. He just needs to be sure that they don’t lose interest and don’t catch onto the fact that he hopes, no, knows that they’re there. He isn’t quite sure how he knows, but he can feel them, creeping along, just out of sight. The street lights flicker overhead, blinking out as he approaches, then back on as he moves away, until finally he reaches one with a steady, yellowish glow and stops.
He leans against the lamp post and pulls a cigar and cutter out of his pocket, rolling the cigar in his fingers and sniffing it before deciding exactly where to cut. He focuses on his task with lazy, leisurely motions, pocketing the cutter before taking the lighter out of his pocket and running the flame gently over the tip of the panatela, cupping both to shield them from the light breeze.
Enjoying the slight feel of warmth on his skin as he works the flame, he starts to hear creepy laughter echoing out of the darkness and has to work to keep it from pulling his eyes away from the production with the cigar. Slowly, figures begin to ooze out of the darkness, into the light, and the laughter suddenly stops, as if on cue. They’re curious things, with greyish skin and large ears, thin and craggy and inhuman. The sergeant hasn’t seen their kind before, but he gets the feeling that he’s going to see plenty of them in the future. He makes a note to ask what they’re called.
Taking in the array of bodies before him using his peripheral vision, as he continues to warm the tip of the cigar with the flame, the sergeant notes one that has a different posture than the others. He recognizes the pose for what it is. Despite the fact that these creatures aren’t human, they seem to have enough in common to position themselves around their leader in the same way that human gang members do. He raises his head smoothly to look at the leader, a bland look on his face.
“You’ve made quite a mess of your crossing over.”
The leader’s face twists with anger, “Where’s the fear?”
The sergeant says calmly, “Not only have you been acting out, but you haven’t restricted yourself to your brethren who have a fair chance to defend themselves from your depredations.”
This prompts more cackling from the creatures. “You aren’t fooling us, we can taste your fear.” As they say this, they begin to creep closer, posturing.The leader adds, “I could tell by the struggle you had, trying to light your cigar.”
“Never said I wasn’t afraid,” he said, looking up and snubbing out the cigar with his face now darkly shadowed by the brim of his hat and the overhead lighting. “Didn’t say I smoked cigars, either. But my guys might have gotten distracted chasing tail again and missed the signal and I never like explaining to the Boss why things didn’t go down smoothly.” The creatures start to surge forward towards their mark as the leader hesitates, finally realizing that there are two layers to the conversation.
Echoing the move of the creatures earlier, men step out of the darkness from all sides. “Fortunately for me, that didn’t happen.” None of the guys is in uniform, and none looks anything like the others. One rises out of a crouch wearing camouflage, with streaks of paint on his cheeks, stalking towards the group. Another wears four radios strapped to his chest and a smug grin on his face as he pistol whips the nearest creature. Next was a little Latino dropping from a rooftop with a scream on top of one. A slender, somewhat nondescript one maintains a deadpan look as he casually pulls down the pants of one of them as it tries to flee and trips over itself, then says “That never gets old.” Then comes the sound of a car screaming out of the darkness with no lights, narrowly missing the sergeant as it clips two of the creatures, knocking them ass over teakettle.
The driver of the car breaks into a maniacal grin as he steps out of the car, “That WAS the signal, right? I’m not sure I can un-run those things over.” The man with the camouflage looks over from choking the first creature and cuffing it, shaking his head, “Why do you always hit them with the car? How do you know their blood isn’t caustic? Now we have to tear the car back down and make sure it’s good.”
As the cuffs go onto the members of his gang, the leader deflates. He can see that as the cuffs go on, something is happening to make each one look like an ordinary human. After that, everything wrapped up quickly. Once all of the creatures were cuffed and checked to make certain that there were no odd items, uniformed officers were called in for transport. One creature tried his bonds after being handed over, but gave up quickly.
Sgt. Green walks into a nondescript office. Reporting here is still new, but he doesn’t let that distract him. He knocks firmly and walks in when prompted. The ordinary guy in the nondescript suit behind the average desk motions him to sit in the chair facing the desk. “Hi Wade. I hear you got a good haul, no fuss, no muss.”
“Those guys may look different, but they act just the same as any other little crew. What were they, anyway?”
“Those? Um…Most common name would probably be greater goblins. There are lesser ones around, too. Those are more like vermin. People say they can communicate with each other, but they really aren’t much smarter than your average dog.”
“Huh. So what are we looking for next?”
“Let me see…there isn’t anything in particular we need found now. Just keep your eyes out for criminals who aren’t human and call before you initiate contact to find out if there are any special issues in regard to handling them.”
The lucky person who got to deal with our prompt is Cedar Sanderson, and we’re waiting with bated breath to find out how she manages to work it into the current story line, or if she finds a way to write something out of sequence. The prompt was “They needed to find a house. They had no idea how monumental the task before them was. (comedy/farce)”