Skeletons in the Closet

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Skeletons in the Closet

Post  JJ York on Sun Nov 20, 2016 3:08 am

The noise of rain pattering the roof of the car had always made him feel sleepy. It reminded him of the CD he had left behind at home that was almost worn out from use, sounds of whale noises and other calming effects. A laptop rested on his legs that emitted a dim light that barely illuminated the interior of the vehicle, the headlights beamed out and split the darkness aside. For a guy who had spent all of his life in the safety of Davenport, Iowa, he had always been curious as to what stretched behind the border line. So far it had been nothing but long stretches of road and cut off gas stations every ten miles or so.

“Don't fall asleep” he told himself, repeating what Penelope had told him over and over again since he had first strapped himself into the passenger seat. For a woman who seemed so confident with every step she took, she seemed surprisingly vigilant in making sure that he monitored the satellite navigation system.

More than once he wondered if he had made the wrong decision in 'convincing' his new companion into joining her work. Two months ago he was happy, as happy as a regular young adult in America could be with the task of discovering themselves, and now everything had changed. Annie wasn't there to steal his cereal in the morning, she wasn't there to fix his shirt when the collar popped up, she wasn't there their parents were out which of course meant late night horror movie marathons. It was strange the kinds of things he missed about her and the sort of things that came to mind when he remembered his sister.

A sign flew past that was only lit up for a second but was enough to show the words “St. Louis – 22 miles”

“We're almost there” muttered JJ almost to himself, he did look to his side to check Penelope's reaction “This still seems crazy, two men with animal bites on their neck tearing at their jugulars. Are you sure this is something supernatural? I've seen videos of crazy people hopped up on PCP that went on some zombie style rampage. I've been reading through the books you gave me, it looks like far too wide of a bite to be a vampire... What do you think it is?”

If this was the life he was destined to live, then he made sure that he soaked in every little bit of information Penelope could give him. She was an awful teacher however, at times unwilling to speak about what she knew and instead purposefully kept some information close to her chest. There was a certain way that her blonde hair masked the side of her face which only made the tough task of gauging her mood even harder. She was an confusing anomaly, unquestionably cold at times but giving off an aura that she didn't want to be as alone as much she said she did.

After letting out a cough and a splutter, more to break the awkward silence than to clear his throat, JJ attempted another avenue of interaction “I didn't finish my sandwich... You can have it if you like. My parents thought I was allergic to the red meat until I was fourteen, I honestly don't know how I lived without bacon for that long. I'm convinced that it was some sort of evil plot or something”

JJ chuckled a little and smiled “Did your parents ever do stuff like that? Over react to the smallest things, it was weird. They didn't care if we tried cigarettes or pot but anything that required constant trips to the doctors, man they'd lose the plot. They always said that I'd understand when I have kids...”

Like the majority of their conversations thus far, JJ wasn't entirely sure if Penelope was listening at all. Sometimes she would give a forced 'uh-huh' in acknowledgement, at the very most he'd get a minute long conversation that eventually ended in a new book being thrown in his direction. JJ felt as if he was waffling on which seemed quite unlike him, often he had kept to himself and found ways to avert himself from awkward conversations.

Fourty minutes later and the city of St. Louis was in full view. The street lights began to turn off as the sun rose in the distance signalling the beginning of a new day. For some reason he had expected the city to look like New York, that mirage formulated by movies and preconception was quickly dispelled. That wasn't to say the location was small, plenty of tall buildings covered the view of the famous arc that overlooked the block of civilisation.

Penelope turned into a motel complex and stopped the car, JJ took the opportunity to stretch his stiff arms and legs. His stomach felt empty but not from lack of food, the void inside was from the change in his body clock and getting used to shaving hour of sleep from his former schedule. One by one, JJ lifted out the bags from the boot and began the trivial task of transporting them into the empty room.

“Two beds... nice!” nodded JJ after dropping the luggage by the solitary chair in the corner. Two single beds were unfortunately adorned with a floral design that looked three decades out of date. Penelope didn't seem phased, or at least she didn't show it, it didn't take long for their makeshift base of operations to take shape.

“So... first case as a team” smiled JJ with his hands stuffed into his jacket pockets “How do you normally start an investigation like this? I mean it's not as if we can get into City Hall and snoop around without someone seeing us. I know you got past the sheriff back at home pretty easily but that's a small town in the middle of nowhere, pretty easy to talk past the morons there”
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Re: Skeletons in the Closet

Post  Penelope Jones on Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:29 am

Penelope couldn't believe she had agreed to take JJ along with her. After all, he was a civilian. His life had only recently been touched by the supernatural world but her life was shaped around it. She had unfortunately met him on her first solo case and for some unknown reason to her she had agreed to let him come along on her cases.

‘It would be kinder to ditch him,’ she thought to herself as she got set up in the car. What in the world could they possibly talk about? His life seemed like a cookie cutter American Dream. Hers? Not so much.

As she started the car and gave him instructions to monitor the sat nav - the only thing she could trust him not to hurt himself with; she let her mind wander. They had a long drive and it seemed he was the only one looking forward to this joint effort.

If she truly admitted it to herself, she was fascinated by his normal life, up until his sister died. She idly wondered as she drove about it. Did he go to prom? Which clique did he belong to? What was it like getting bedtime stories?

Her idle thoughts were only interrupted by his need to fill the silence. This was something she wasn't used to.

She went on her first hunting trip at 7, a local ghost terrorised her brother's classmate in Louisiana. They only lived there a few months but monsters lived everywhere.
She was home schooled after that as her family set up base. Her family was big in terms of hunter size, families didn't usually live too long in this job.

Again, her thoughts were interrupted by JJ’s talking. She couldn't bring herself to reply but cast a sideways glance his way. The guilt she felt inside was creating a whirlwind of turmoil in her gut. She had many reasons for the guilt but right now it was mostly because he could easily get killed.

Penelope stifled a yawn as dawn began to break. A new day, a fresh start. Sometimes making it to sunrise in this job was the highlight of a day. Her body felt coiled with tension. The guilt inside of her, his innocence and her family's voices rolled around inside her turned her stomach in knots. But, she didn't dare let this show. After all, she was a hunter.

They pulled up to a motel and checked in. She used one of the many fake credit cards she had acquired for this trip. At least if she ever retired from this life she was sure she would have a comfortable life as a criminal.

As they settled in the room it struck Penelope as somewhat adorable that he was excited about two beds. It was a nicer motel than most, the sheets didn't look infested at least and besides, she had grown out of that excitement as a child.

As JJ prattled on about the case they were here for and questioning her, she felt like shutting herself in the bathroom. How could she prepare him for what he would see? The reality of seeing someone's throat ripped out on the morgue table and talking to their families was a lot to handle.

Penelope unloaded her bags and pulled out all of her notes and weapons. She wasn't sure what this was it she knew it was supernatural. She'd have a better idea once they went to see the bodies. For now, she needed a shower, stretch and sleep.

“We’ll get going in a few hours,’ Penelope said, breaking her silence for the first time in hours. ‘This is going to be different than Iowa for sure but don't worry we're prepared,’ she said with a forced smile as she pulled out her catalogue of fake IDs. Maybe he'd realise why she asked him to bring a suit with him.

‘Sorry I haven't been chatty. I need to rest up,’ she began as she glanced at the clock. It read 7.30am. ‘We have a few hours til we can get going. I'm grabbing a shower and a sleep. Usually there's a dunkin donuts nearby if you get hungry. Try to not wake me,’ she warned as she grabbed her shower supplies and went on her way. They would have a busy morning full of interviews. Penelope felt the familiar knot of worry settle in her stomach. There was a slight thrill with playing cop but it also caused a lot of worry but her family assured her this would pass.
As she closed the bathroom door she pulled out her phone to sent a text to her Mom. ‘At the hotel now. Starting investigation later. Will call if I need you, stay safe, P.’ Her mother was on her own case otherwise she was sure she would have a chaperone. She turned on the shower and let the noise of the water drown out the storm of thoughts she had.
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Re: Skeletons in the Closet

Post  JJ York on Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:36 am

JJ nodded in acknowledgement, the tiredness around his companion's eyes proved she needed the short rest “Sure, For some reason I don't think I'll get any sleep so yeah... I might go and 'check out the parameter' as they say”

Despite feeling tired himself, the normally easy act of dropping into a deep slumber had proved more difficult as of late. Whether it was the fear of nightmares he wasn't ready for or the massive change in his living arrangements, his body clock was beginning to dislike the change. As Penelope closed the bathroom door behind her, the dull green circular bag peaked his curiosity.

“This must be the goody bag...” thought JJ as he slowly unzipped the bag. He felt like a kid at christmas peaking into their presents too early. However instead of a new Ipad or tickets to see the Chicago Bulls there were sawn off shotguns, flintlock pistols and other weaponry. The firearms looked as if they belonged at a World War Two museum bar the odd silvery gleam of a barrel from a much more modern model. JJ was sure that each weapon had it's own make and name but he knew nothing bar the odd first person shooter he had played on his sisters Xbox One.

Taking hold of the closest gun, a short and stubby six shooter, he was surprised at the weight at first. The heavy handle seemed to match the respect needed to hold it and he quickly shoved it back into the confines of the sack. Suddenly the excitement of joining Penelope of her adventures was losing a bit of its Hollywood gleam.

JJ knew what he had signed up for. The words that Penelope had used to warn him of a life he wasn't even close to being ready for had stayed with him. Her warning had grounded him, if that was her intent then it was working more as each hour passed. 'This is not a game, people have died, people will die'.

Instead of standing in the middle of a motel room feeling sorrowful and lonely, JJ took out his wallet and thumbed through the two twenty dollar notes inside. It was more than enough for an unhealthy breakfast for himself and by his thinking, grabbing Penelope's breakfast for her would act as a decent starting gesture. In a weird way, it'd be just like breakfast in bed, without all the monster killing concoctions resting on the bedside table of course.

The morning sunshine had finally invaded the icy overnight sheen that covered the roads, just a little speck of steam rose up from the road but was completely gone by the time JJ crossed the other side. True to Penelope's word, there was indeed a Dunkin' Doughnuts just a small march away but JJ desired some warm food to heat up his belly. A little cafe hidden between two apartment block would do the trick.

The door opened with a little jingle and immediately the smell of freshly cooked bacon invited him in. There were only four tables which were all taken, it didn't matter as he wasn't planning on staying. JJ scanned over the minuscule menu, small enough that he could have written it in memory fairly easily.

“Oh hey” began JJ, he was always useless at starting any conversation “Can I have the erm... Breakfast roll please. Sorry! I mean two breakfast rolls”

The dark haired woman at the till was nice enough to notice his anxiety and offer a welcoming smile in return “Sure kiddo. That's nine fifty. You ain't one of my regulars, just visiting?”

“Here's a twenty... Yeah just coming through, seeing the sights with my errm... my friend” replied JJ as he wondered if he could even call Penelope a friend yet.

The cashier took the note and left the change on the counter, she then wrote up the order and placed it on a small line for the kitchen staff to see “Ah well, you picked a bad time to do it. The whole city is in a heap over the news”

While the kind woman tried to make enough time in her busy myriad of tasks to speak to him, her finger pointed towards a free newspaper that rested on a small metal rack on the wall. The headline read 'BODY FOUND BESIDE CITY HALL!” in large black letters, JJ imagined it was quite the successful edition in terms of sales at least.

“Oh yeah... I think I heard about this on the radio coming in” lied JJ, he'd been reading through some of the more confidential channels that Penelope had hacked into beforehand “I thought the body was found inside City Hall wasn't it?”

“Nah you must've heard it wrong, both of them were found in the alleys beside it. Poor families must be devastated, we don't get this sort of thing happening here” explained the cashier, her latter statement seemed to be an attempt to ease her own concern rather than his own.

JJ nodded, it seemed strange that the official documents were different than the ones that the media were reporting. Was there that much of a reason to hide the fact that both bodies had been found inside the building rather than just beside it? Maybe he had misheard or misread something, the lack of sleep was probably to blame.

“Here you go, have a good day now!” the cashier handed over two tightly wrapped breakfast rolls that smelled of freshly cooked sausage and eggs. JJ nodded once again and made his way back to the motel room.

Upon entering the room, Penelope was already in a silent nap and almost completely covered by her blankets. JJ both respected her need to sleep and feared waking her up enough to tip toe over to the table much slower than he needed to. Staying as quiet as he possibly could, JJ turned on the laptop and began to bite into his greasy breakfast.

His eyes worked over the official police reports once again and his earlier words were validated. There was a discrepancy... why would the authorities lie about where the body was found. It seemed like such a unnecessary thing to do. Before long his eyes grew a little heavier and he found himself slipping into an unexpected nap of his own. His eyes only opened again with the sound of Penelope's alarm blaring out from her phone.

“Morning” smiled JJ before stretching out his painful back, motel chairs were not meant for sleeping on “I got you a breakfast roll, should still be a bit warm. I know I'm new to this whole thing but is there a reason why the police would lie about a crime scene location? As in, is there such a difference between a body being found in City Hall between one just outside? It seems like a weird thing to change. Or is it something about jurisdiction, maybe it makes investigations easier...?”

JJ knew he was babbling so made a concious effort to clamp his mouth shut and let the professional fill in the blanks where applicable.
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