Forums → Art, Music, and Writing → Sleepless Nights (The phantom of a detective's pshyci.)
It's been a few days now and he still won't leave me alone. I put a cigar in my mouth and reach for a lighter. He just stares at me. "Don't look at me like that I earned this." I light the cigar, he keeps staring. "What? What do you want?" He gets up from his seated position on my bed. "You know he's innocent." "Look I just wanna relax." He gets in my face, any person would have been bothered by the smoke. "You can't relax yet. Your job isn't done." "Hey I'm off duty just leave me alone for a bit." He wouldn't budge. "You are soooo foolish. You pretend like you don't get it." "If I don't get it then explain it." "You know I can't do that." "And why not?" "Because I only know what you know." Then I get up. "Look if you can't tell me anything then how can you be so sure?" A sly grin crept across his face. "Because..........I only know what you know." Just like that he gone again. I need a drink and some heavier meds.
This was an idea I had for a detective story about a man that uses a mysterious stranger as a clever metaphor for the abstract concept of thought. With his mental issues he clearly sees the stranger and the stranger helps him realize what he already knows. As I said the stranger is a visual metaphor for the detectives own thoughts. In an almost childish way he copes with confusion using mild phsycosis. It isn't the most well thought out idea but it does have some elements I think could make it a great story with some time and effort. So what do you guys think? Should I continue with this idea or move on and work on some of my other projects?
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Hmmm, very interesting. Tell me more, I like your style.
I look over a grim scene. I hear a voice over the sound of the sleepless city nights. "There seems to be something more to this." I hear a voice whisper in my ear. I motion to Warren. I ask him. "Does it look like there's something we're missing here?" He stroked his chin in a state of contemplation. " Well......I guess there is always something more." The phantom wanders about the allyway looking over every minute detail. He stops in the corner surrounded by rubbish. He looks for a while then he looks back at me and says. "You know if I murdered someone in an ally I would be pretty nervous........I would probably want a cigarette. I think a few moments after a murder wouldn't be the best time to however.......But guess if I had to kill somebody I'd try to keep myself from throwing up before hand.......I guess a cigarette could help mellow a future killer's nerves don't you think?" Just like that he had vanished into nothing returning to the mist from which he came. "It would appear that this was a random mugging, right?" The detective scratched his head and said "Yah looks that way, although he did have a Rolex that wasn't taken." A thought occured to me. I began to piece things together. "Right that's what I thought. Can I see his wallet?" The detective handed me a ziplock bag with a blood soaked wallet in it, and two latex gloves. "Carefull with that, the department would have my head on a pike if I let you mess it up." I put on the gloves and pulled the blood soaked wallet out of the bag. I looked inside it. "Detective the money wasn't taken from this man's wallet until some time after his death." The detective looked surprised. "And how could you know that Randy?" I open the wallet and let the detective look inside. "If you would care to notice this wallet is soaked in blood that has been coagulated for a while now. Upon further inspection you may notice that some of that blood has been peeled away roughly along this straight line here." I pull a dollar from my own wallet and use it for a shape reference. "A line that closely follows the shape of a dollar, meaning that the money was taken from the wallet after the blood had already coagulated and shaped a pattern that was disturbed by said taking of money." "That's very observant of you Randy, although I suppose that is a bit of a revelation, it doesn't do much to change the theory of a random killing." I placed the wallet back in the ziplock bag and handed it back to the detective. "Look over there Warren. Notice a few cigarette butts stomped out on the ground here there by that wall." Warren walked over to the wall and said. " Three Sonoma butts and eight Malboro. Then over here we have twelve Camels." I walked over to Warren. "As an added bonus it rained this morning but the sun being as hot as it was and the rain being so light , things got dry pretty quickly. Some of these went through the rain and got dried out. Those have been here for most of the day. The Sonomas and Camels are weathered but the Malboros have only been here a little while. That means someone was waiting here recently. With a bus stop and several twenty four hour shops and resturaunts why would someone wait here?" Warren seemed a little surprised. "So are you saying that this may have been premedatated?" I could tell the phantom had returned. I could hear his voice from behind me. "Did you know that some killers are a lot like animals. They have a lot of similiar tendencies. Natural selection and such picking out the weak. Sometimes they stalk anything that wanders into their hunting grounds." "No Warren I don't think so. I think this was a random victim, but not a random murder. Someone was going to die and it just happened to be this guy." "Well this is all very interesting. I guess now I just have to prove it, but to tell the truth I'm not sure how." The phantom was still staring at the body. "How strange. This man was stabbed once in the spine, then twice in the upper back. Then he was slashed across the pelvis twice. All these seem rather symmetrical. I find it odd that he died in a symmetrical pattern. You know sometimes when people have O.C.D there is a chance that they can become obsessed with with certain things, like symmetry. When a person displays such traits they show them everywhere. Every.....Where." The phantom walked back over to the corner by the cigarette butts, then dissapeared. "Hey Warren, do you notice anything strange about these cigarette butts?" "Come to think of it, yah. They're all pointed north." I walked over to the body. " And do you see anything strange about these wounds." Warren looked shocked. "YAH! THEY'RE SYMMETRICAL!" I turned to face Warren. "My friend.....We have a serial killer on the loose."
Still working out the kinks but this sorta sets the stage for some interesting stuff.
A nervous man's gaze shoots about the room. "Look I didn't do anything ok."
I reach into my pocket. "I'M sorry ok I just really don't know anything!" I pull out a deck of cards and set them on the table. "Are you a gambler, Mister Smith?"
He was anxious. He kept looking away shifting his eyes to each corner of the room and back again. "Yah I guess, What does this have to do with anything?" I shuffled the cards slowly and calmly. "Whats your game, Mister Smith?" He started to tap his fingers on the table. "Come on officer why does it matter?" He just called me officer, it felt kinda weird. It was like my mother calling me by my middle name, It made sense but it sounded alien. "I'm not an officer Mister Smith." I straightened my posture and locked eyes with him. "And I'm not your enemy. I'm a detective and I'm dedicated to the truth. So long as your telling the truth you have nothing to fear from me. When you get nervous your thoughts start to get cloudy, You forget what's what. Now let's just relax and play some cards so you can clear your head, and figuire out just what it was you saw." I leaned in very close and spoke quietly. "To tell the truth Mister smith, I didn't want to bring you in as a suspect. I only wanted to question you as a witness. Too bad the burden of evidence is against you." I leaned back in my chair and relaxed. "But if we can figuire out what really happened then we can get the right guy arrested and you'll be set free. "Smith stopped tapping his fingers and let out a sigh of relief and frustration. "I'm sorry man.......I just don't know anything." He began to sob softly into his hands. An apparision appeared standing behind him, and it began to speak. "On the contrary. You know it can be difficult when people don't know they know what they know." He walked slowly over to the table, his hard soles clacking earely against the concrete floor in rythmic cadence. The entire atmosphere of the room changed for me at the mere thought of him. He put one hand on the back of smith's chair and the other on the table. He looked deep into my eyes with a cold, icy gaze that chilled me to the core. "That's why I'm here." Just as quickly as he appeared he had vanished. "Mister Smith, as I said before you need to relax so we can get to the bottom of things. You know children often make terrible witnesses because they don't know what matter's out of what they had seen. They don't understand what would be criminal or suspicous, just like you having no psychological or forensic training don't know the value of what you saw." Smith scratched the back of his head. "Yah.......I guess that makes sense." "Are you hungry Mister Smith?" "What?" "I asked if you were hungry. You're homeless right? That's what you doing in the alley." Smith seemed suspicious. "Yah." "So if your homeless I guess it's been a while since you had a good hot meal?" "Yah, I haven't had any good, hot food since the soup kitchen got closed down." "Well as a man with a busy lifestyle it's rare that I get a hot meal either. I suppose since we're going to be here a while it wouldn't hurt to get one of those guys watching us to go buy some food." I motioned for one of the officers behind the one way mirror to come inside. Me and Smith looked at each other for a moment. An older black man with a thin white beard walked up to me. "What is it sir?" I pulled out my wallet and withdrew thirty five dollars. "Two things, first me and my freind here would like some food, Go to that place down the street, you know the southern place Magic Batter I here the chicken strips are fantastic, and the catfish isn't half bad either. Smith what do you want." The officer and I both looked at smith for a minute. "Oh uuuuhhhh, can I get the catfish please?" The officer had a very deep mellow voice, it was rather intimadating but also quite relaxing. " What you want to drink wit dat?" "Sweet tea please." The officer held out his hand and I gave him the money. "Fried chicken strips with sweet tea." The officer put the money in his pocket and said. "Aight."
The officer left the room and I addressed Smith again. "They left you with your smokes right?" Smith dug a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and set em on the table. I looked inside the pack and there were only about three missing. I held out the pack to him and said. "Good, you've got something to gamble with." I pulled out my own cigarettes and set two on the table. "Texas Hold Em' ?" He withdrew two cigarettes from his own pack and placed the pot. "Yah that's good." I was pretty much letting him win to help settle his nerves, he had nearly half my cigarettes by the time that officer got back with our food. It was piping hot and crispy. Smith imediately started digging into his Catfish. He tore at it like a wild animal, ignoring his condiments and his sweet tea. "So Smith......Looks like things have calmed down a little." Smith froze. "Yah." He had a half piece of cat fish raised to his mouth before he has frozen in his place. "And it looks like you've pretty much filled up huh?" He lowered his hand and set his food back in it's styrafoam tray. "Yah."
He closed up the tray and slid it to the side, then he wiped his face with a paper napkin and put a cigarette in his mouth. "Have you got a light for me?" I pulled my Zippo from out of my pocket, I struck it and held it up for him. "So then, shall we get to it?" Smith took a deep drag from the cigarette. "Right, So were do I start?" I rested my chin on my fist and grabbed and lit a cigarette with the other hand. " So let's begin with why you were in the ally."
Smith leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling. "Well......I usually like to wander about looking for assorted treasures. You know pizza crust, cigarette butts that still have some tobacco on em. I usually don't stray to far from the bridge I camp under, but I couldn't sleep and I figuired a walk might help me relax." He began to stroke his chin quizicly. "What, what is it?" " I think it was around two aclock or so when I wandered into the alley. I wasn't really paying attention so I didn't notice the body, the black outfit didn't make him any easier to see either." Like magic that creepy phantom appeared as though it was borne from the smoke of my cigarette. He was standing on the table with his arms crossed facing Smith. "Hey Dips*** are you color blind? The guy was wearing a red T-shirt, You gotta be pretty dumb to get those colors mixed up." Then he was gone again. I put out my cigarette in the ashtray and got up from the table. "Finish your catfish I might be a minute."
I walked over to the door and waited for it to open. I stepped into the veiwing room and began talking to the other detectives. "He claims he was taking a walk trying to clear his head when he came across a dead body dressed in black." "But the victim was found in a red T-shirt." I turned away from the one way mirror to face the woman that had spoken. "Detective Holester correct?" We shook hands in a formal greeting. " Yes sir mister Covak." "I understand your very highly regarded in the Psych unit correct?" She shook her head to accompany her answer. "Yes sir one the best detectives." " I see, then I'm sure you saw the strange patterns as well correct?" "Yes sir, I believe we can infer that killer has some deep fascination with symmetry." "Correct, now with such a fascination is it not possible that the killer has obssesive compulsive disorder?" She stopped shaking her head with her answers. She was now standing perfectly straight. "It's a strong possibility sir however we do not have enough evidence to support that theory." "Right so it isn't defenative but do you recall the cigarette butts left at the crime scene?" "Yes sir, there were several but fifteen were proven that they didn't come from the killer." "Right but do you remember what kind were found fresh?" "Malboros sir." I pointed my finger upwards to exagerate my point. "AH HA! But not just any Malboros, Malboro reds. All stomped out, all facing north. Now with someone that has O.C.D it is unkown where their condition will kick in, but there is a possibility that it could be related to color. Now if that man in there is telling the truth and he did find a man wearing black, and that man was killed by someone with O.C.D who has a fascination with the color red, is it not possible that the person came back later and changed the victims clothing?" Holester seemed hesitant to respond. "That seems a little illogical sir." A younger male detective standing somewhere to the right of me piped up. "The behavior of some one with O.C.D is often illogical." I pointed in the general direction of the voice and said. "My point exactly.
Yah so I dragged this one out pretty bad I think but oh well. I was kinda hungry when I wrote it so I added the part about the chicken and the catfish on impulse. I was just wondering, what city should I have my story take place in? I mean there is a lot of southern references and lingo but I wanted it to be a more northern city. I guess I could put it in my own universe which would allow for some more outlandish and dubious explanations and more interesting characters, but it get's kinda hard keeping that universe together with all the plot holes and different countries and wars and such. I guess If I bumped the time of my universes world economy crash I could easily make room for this story with out damaging the integrity of my other projects. What do you guys think?
Yay my thread's name change request went through!
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