Sticks and Stones
Music playing in the background while Apache and Weasel are navigating through the neighborhoods on patrol:
Sticks and Stones by CASS
The thumping bass of “Sticks and Stones” by CASS reverberated through the night air as Apache steered the old muscle car down the dark city streets. His friend Weasel rode shotgun, eyes darting to and fro, keeping watch. This was their nightly patrol through the sectors, keeping the peace where the police couldn’t or wouldn’t.
As Apache maneuvered in and out of alleys, the headlights illuminated something moving up ahead. A figure burst out from the shadows – a man wearing a trench coat, hunched over and screaming. He ran right in front of the car, then dashed away just as quickly. Apache slammed the brakes and jumped out, yelling “Weasel – call 911! He’s hurt!”
Then he took off after the fleeing man. Tracking skills honed from years of reading scout manuals allowed Apache to follow the sporadic blood trail despite the encroaching rain. But suddenly, he was blindsided by a blow to the head. Dazed, he looked up to see the trench coated man raising a broken plank, arm bleeding from a gruesome stump. Apache braced for the blow, but instead heard the man yell “No, wait! I wasn’t going to hurt him!”
Before he blacked out, Apache witnessed a hulking silhouette grab the man and chomp down on his other arm.
When Apache came to, he was propped against a damp wall in the same alley. The trench coated man lay nearby, passed out and groaning. Apache’s head pounded from the hit. He checked the time – only 10 minutes had passed. Footsteps approached and Weasel’s scrawny form emerged from the shadows. “Apache! You okay bro?” He helped Apache to his feet. “Yeah, I’m alright. Where’s the…thing that attacked this guy?”
Apache gestured at the unconscious man. Weasel shrugged. “No sign of it. I called 911 though, they’re on their way. Let’s bounce before they get here – cops ain’t fans of the Watch, ya know?” Apache nodded, steadying himself against the wall.
As they turned to leave, he noticed something glinting on the ground. A silver pendant etched with a strange symbol. Apache picked it up and stuffed it in his pocket just as the wail of sirens pierced the night. Whatever happened here, it was far from over.
Enter The Hero
Vicki didn’t know what kind of meat she was eating, but it tasted just like chicken. She was famished, she could have eaten a horse. Well maybe not a horse, she loved horses, not a lamb either, but defiantly a chicken.
Being on a farm gave you a new way of looking at things. You didn’t take your food for granted. She never looked at a burger without thinking of the cow.
Most of the time she didn’t eat a lot of meat, though she ate a lot of fish. She cared about fish too, but somehow, they just didn’t seem like they were on the same level as a cow or a sheep. Even a chicken wasn’t all that bright, though she loved them anyway.
Maybe she wasn’t hungry after all, maybe she would have some chips and veggies. Her stomach felt queasy – like maybe she’d ate a friend.
You don’t look like your happy, is there something wrong with the food?
Vicki turned and met the gaze of the man she would one day marry.
No, it is fine. I am just, um well, usually mostly not a meat eater.
Not a carnivore huh?
Well maybe an omnivore – I eat meat sparingly. I sort of have a thing for animals.
Me too. I love them so much I want to make them a part of me. Uhhmm… so what did you say your name was, my friends call me Fang.
The Detective Directive
Dillon Russo wasn’t in the coffin, but there was a body, and it was dead. It looked like it was him, that was for sure, but not really. Maybe it was what he used to look like a little, but mostly it was just close enough to fool those who didn’t really know him. The telltale mark that let all his real friends know for certain that it wasn’t him, and that he was really still alive were his fingers. See, years ago before he was saved, he had tattooed hate across his fingers H-A-T-E but when he was saved that didn’t work for him any more so, he crossed them out and wrote love L-O-V-E.
Of course, if pressed they could always say they couldn’t tell for sure what was going on, because he didn’t do a very professional job of changing it, so they cleaned up the mess and made the original tattoo come out for the burial, but the truth was he wanted his friends to know that it wasn’t him, that the true Russo was still alive.
No one in his family knew he had made detective. They all thought he was just this disabled mentally ill giant who hung out with the homeless people and brought them home with him all the time out of the cold and fed them in his sister’s house.
The truth was he had been working with the police for years as an informant. Of course, it was never official, but he has helped them out when he could, and they brought him cases to solve. He had been instrumental in helping the police with several major cases.
Finally, he got involved in a major drug bust for the whole city. The drug lords didn’t like that and they wanted him dead. They tried to kill him and make it look like an accident, but Dillon fought them off. They tried to hit him with their car to stop him, and then force him to take drugs, but he wouldn’t do it.
That night he told the police what had happened and the police arranged a way for him to escape and work on the coast for them as an undercover agent.
He hadn’t been able to tell anyone, even his sisters or brother before he left and he didn’t want them to worry. But he couldn’t let them know. But by making this dollish corpse, maybe he could let them know he was alright, without blowing his cover. He just needed to move on to a new phase of his life, and a better one.
The night before he left, he packed a bag to go and his sister didn’t want to let him go, but he told her he packed it for a friend. She begged him not to go, but she didn’t press the issue. She knew he wouldn’t listen to her; he always won these battles. She wasn’t his mother, just his sister, though she often acted like it. But Dillon knew it was because she loved him. He would miss her.
The next day the police came to her door and told her he was found dead, and that he had overdosed, though they couldn’t be sure. Sometimes these things just happen they said.
The police trained Dillon to be a detective. He wasn’t really all that book smart, but he had worked hard to qualify. He was smart though in his own way, but it was hard for him to study. Eventually by talking to the other officers though, he got though what he needed for the exams and had everything he needed in order to be an undercover detective – effectively and legally.
But what he had that other officers didn’t have that qualified him most for the job was love. Love for others. Love for his fellow man. He came to the job with that.
Dillon had schizophrenia so he never really fit in with the rest of the world, but he had a heart as big as the earth. He found his place among the homeless and the cast out. You could find him always with them there, and he knew where they lived, and roamed among them freely.
But that was in city where he grew up, now he was moving to the coast.
He had lived on the coast before, but that was a long time ago when he was smaller, but he looked forward to coming back. But it would be to a whole new area so he would be starting from scratch where no one knew him. But that shouldn’t be a problem, because who would have known a drifter.
He was off drugs now – hopefully for good. He had had enough of that. Drugs had robbed him of everything once. If he had to use, he would use sleight of hand, if possible (he learned how to do magic tricks), or if critical he knew God would understand. But he didn’t want to go down that road again. Next time might his last.
He would just be honest. Hopefully that would do. He had become born again and given all that up, and would encourage them to do so too. Maybe they would.
When he met Vicki he didn’t know that they would become such good friends. She was beautiful of course, and Dillon usually fell head over heels for anything with legs, and Vicki definitely had legs. But they were pretty much just friends from the start. At least that is what he intended.
The homeless were terrified – Dillion could feel it. Of course, no one keep track of homeless people, the idea seemed ridiculous, but you get friends on the street, and when your friends don’t show up for a while you wonder. The word was don’t be by yourself if you didn’t have to. Stay in a group. But the homeless didn’t play well.