Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

My Photo
Location: Texas, United States

Friday, April 03, 2009

Friday Fiction - Chapter Three!

Y'know, I'd Kinda Like To Know How This Ends...

OK, ladies & jellyspoons, it's time... First, make sure you've read Chapters 1 & 2!

Chapter One: Half of Two
- By Christina

Chapter Two: Collar & Cross - By Phoenix

Chapter Three: Emerald Eyes - By El Capitan

Jake Cole pulled the old Lincoln into the morgue parking lot just after 10 pm. Usually there was brisk traffic in and out of the morgue at all hours, but for some reason the lot was almost deserted. The night, already overcast, was laced with patches of mist & fog that the sodium vapor lamps seemed to have trouble penetrating.

The power steering belt moaned as he wrestled the car into the space reserved for the morgue's Director. Flipping down the visor with its attached 'POLICE VEHICLE' sign, Jake mused that the Director could complain all he liked if he showed up and needed his parking spot at this hour. The Connie dieseled a few times after Jake cut off the ignition, and by habit he reached for his pack of smokes as he exited the driver's door. Damn. That habit would take a while to get over, he thought. Maybe he needed to get some gum, or roll like Kojak with the Tootsie Pops.

The Mk. IV Continental sputtered once more as he slammed the door to ensure it would stay shut. Despite the aging car's quirks, it was a luxurious ride, especially when you considered the department was picking up the fuel bill. That, and the trunk was big enough for 3, maybe 4 perps if they needed a bit of softening up on the way to the precinct house.

Jake quickly crossed the parking lot and entered the lobby of the nondescript concrete block facility through a steel door just as a light rain began to fall. The entry light was flickering, and aside from a lamp at the receptionist's desk, the place was dark & silent. No one was at the desk, and there didn't appear to be any crews from the MediTrans service or the local funeral homes hanging around. Odd, for this time of night... Usually there was at least one geezer that had gacked it waiting for Leno's monologue.

Jake pushed open a few doors, calling a loud hello down hallways, but no scrub-suited intern or custodian appeared. OK, he thought, maybe there's a crowd gathered in the teaching theater watching a memorable autopsy. That happened every so often, and was probably the source of the term 'morbid fascination'.

Jake wandered past several offices and exam rooms back to the main storage vault. Only one in a dozen of the overhead fluorescents seemed to be working, and that in fitful flashes and flickers. Pausing by the heavy door, Jake peered one last time up & down the darkened hallway, then pulled on the actuator handle.

Like an oversized refrigerator door, the vault door clicked, sighed, then swung open easily. A rush of frigid air tainted with the undeniable smell of death blew past him, causing Jake to wrinkle up his nose in distaste. Unlike the rest of the facility, the vault was well lit. Indeed, it seemed that every available light was set on 'High', even the exam table lights.

Walking over to the bank of cold storage locker doors set into the far wall, Jake looked for an ID tag or some way to figure out which drawer had held Pandora, or Lyric, or whichever sister was supposedly dead and/or missing. Jake had just reached for the first handle when a rush of cold air up the back of his neck barely preceded the sound of the main door slamming shut. Then, of course, the lights went out.

"Shit, I just KNEW that was going to happen..." Jake spun in place, his right arm sweeping his jacket aside to uncover his sidearm. The place was pitch black, colder than a well digger's ass, and Jake felt the first tendrils of fear at the base of his spine as his fingers brushed the butt of his service revolv...


Jake, frozen in place, watches himself as if from across the room. A tall man in a long coat has plugged in a lamp, rising to face him, the light silhouetting his...


"STREGA!!" shrieks the son of the shoemaker, hurling a jagged paving stone at an old woman huddled beneath the basin of a public fountain, the crowd behind him in the town square screaming curses and making the sign of the horns. "STREGA DIABOLICA!!"


Two pairs of green eyes, backlit as if fueled by old lamppost gas jets, piercing from across the room, weaving closer as he struggles to...


***He is not of the Blood. We can take him.*** The voice is low, sultry, compelling, somehow Jake knows he's hearing it directly in his skull. ***No, he is... Protected... Do not harm him.*** The second voice is a polished baritone, evoking images of wild honey and rough-tanned leather. ***...Pity...***


"And what do you burn, apart from witches?" asked the warlord. "MORE WITCHES!!" shouted the crowd, shuffling closer, eager to smell burnt flesh.


Jake is standing out in the hallway of the morgue, facing the viridian embers of the paired eyes as they pass from view behind the closing door...


"Una maledizione sulla vostra decima generazione, voi mosca ripugnante!" Baby Jake jerked awake in his bassinet set by the window to catch the afternoon breeze as Gramma Constantino hurled epithets and curses at a tall man below on the stoop of the brownstone walkup.


The kilted man, grunting with the weight of the sandstone boulder, adds it to the pile threatening to topple out of the woven reed basket that's slowly collapsing the torso of a gasping young woman, her splayed limbs staked into the cobblestoned street beneath her.


A darkened movie theater up in Midtown, his aunt Gillian's fox stole piled in Jake's lap, her shaking in laughter the next seat over at the dialogue from the screen: "I sit in the subway sometimes, on buses, or the movies, and I look at the people next to me and I think..."What would you say if I told you I was a witch?" Little Jake didn't see what was all that funny, and wondered why his aunt was so amused...


Jake is standing behind the receptionist's station, seeing the missing night shift clerk tucked under the desk, wondering how human legs can be knotted behind one's own neck...


The old Philco, flickering hesitantly in static-filled black & white as young hands manipulate the tinfoil-covered coat hangers used in lieu of an antenna. Almost got it tuned in... got the sound anyway! "Just try and stay out of my way. Just try! I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!"


..standing by the front bumper of the Connie, leaning over to let his dinner escape at maximum velocity. Cold chills from the rain and... much else... "Jake, get out of here now!!" It was Dave, pushing Jake to the door of the Connie, the keys somehow in his hand. "Hurry, pard, I don't have much juice left!"

He's in the driver's seat without experiencing another one of those damnable 'jumps' in his head. The huge V8 rumbled to life on the first try. Still groggy, Jake turned to where Dave used to sit and asked "Where to, partner?"

"Finn MacCool's on 18th. Drive, Jake."

Finn's place. Perfect. Nothing like a bar full of cops to put a cap on the evening. Still, there were a LOT of guns in the place...

Jake struggled to remain awake as the Connie splashed through the darkened streets. Flashes of who knows what were still spilling through his skull, and he was beginning to question his sanity. Green eyes were always peeking at him from behind streetlights and inside vacant shop windows, except when he slowed to turn on the spotlight, there was nothing there...

"Dave, ol' buddy," muttered Jake. "I'm fairly certain there was at least one blue eye mixed up in all this. Whaddya think, pard?" His query was met only with the slap of the windshield wipers and the hum of the radials on the pavement. Wherever Dave had gone off to, he wasn't returning anytime soon, it seemed.

The parking lot at Finn MacCool's was only half full, so Jake didn't get too soaked from the rain as he staggered into the bar. Inside was a typical mix of tables & booths with a long bar against the far wall. Jake nodded absently at people he knew, and the hum of the room's conversation dropped by half as he was given the cop stare by most of the patrons.

Jake half-collapsed against the bar, and motioned vaguely towards a line of brown-colored liquor bottles. He was still feeling like an ocean wave was washing through his skull, and the nausea was returning.

Hoping for a double Scotch over ice, Jake was surprised to see a chilled bottle uncapped and slid in front of him by Reginald, the bartender on duty. The odor of ginger was strong and unmistakeable. Looking up at the dreadlocked Jamaican with a quizzical glance, he got a bark of laughter in reply.

"Trus' me, mon! You goin' want ta settle your gut before ya go to pourin' on the flames. You been rode hard tonight, looks like."

Jake was about to go ballistic when a hand vice-gripped his shoulder and shoved him down onto a stool. He snapped his head sideways, and relaxed when he saw the lined face of Shawn Doyle, a retiree from the force and semi-permanent fixture at MacCool's.

"Jaysus, Mary'n Joseph, and would you look at the bye?" said Doyle. "Ye've been slimed, boyo!" As he spoke he pulled a wad of odds & ends from his pocket and dumped them on the bar. "Go on and take a sip, it'll do ya good."

Still too dazed to be contrary, Jake took a long pull off the bottle, and grimaced as the full-strength ginger beer burrowed a path down his throat. Setting the bottle down, Jake placed his hand flat against the bar to steady himself, the other reaching for anything to soothe the burning ginger taste.

"Like that, do ya, lad?" asked Boyle. "Well, yer gonna love this!" With no warning, he scooped a thin sliver of metal out of the pile and rammed it into the back of Jake's hand, pinning it to the bar.

For a second, Jake could only stare in disbelief at the nail transfixing his hand. As he watched a thin rivulet of blood arc down over his knuckles, his first thought was that he couldn't very well pull a gun with his mitt nailed to the mahogany... Overtaking that thought was the realization that the nausea, disorientation and general fuzziness were gone. Gone completely. He felt as sober as a temperance worker. Jake turned a quizzical eye towards Doyle.

"Nothin' like a bit o' cold iron to cut through the faerie glamour, eh?" said Doyle. "Welcome to a world you never knew existed."

Reginald leaned over the bar with a damp towel and a pair of pliers and removed the nail with a quick *sqwonk!* He dabbed at the bar before tossing the towel at Jake.

Wrapping the none-too-clean towel around his hand, Jake gaped at Doyle . "Did you just call me a fairy?" he asked.

"No, you bloody spalpeen!" barked Doyle, taking a pull from his pint of stout. "God save us from mick/wop half-breeds with no proper larnin'! Faeries as in the Fae Folk! The Sidhe! The Jinn!" Pointing at the Jamaican, Boyle said, "What Reginald's people call the Loa. The Bible-thumpers call 'em demons. I call 'em no end o' trouble."

Even with his newly found sobriety, Jake was having a problem with all this. "I think I'll have that Scotch now, please. Why'd you stick me with the nail?"

"Look, boyo," said Boyle. "I know you think I'm fulla shite, but someone's seen fit to give you a debutante ball with the Old Ones this evening. You're known to them, now. That wooziness ya felt was their glamour, kind of a stupefyin' spell, if they used spells. Whether you call 'em faerie or loa or jinn, the one thing they all can't stand is cold iron. Here." Doyle handed Jake a ring that looked to be forged out of a horseshoe nail. "Wear this all the time, and ye'll be able to resist much of their mischievous ways, like gettin' froze up by them burnin' green eyes."

Jake looked dubious. "I dunno, Doyle. How do I explain this thing?"

Doyle chuckled. "Ye don't have to, boyo." Turning to the barroom, he shouted "Ring Check, you gobs!!" A sizable number of hands arose, each bearing a steel or iron ring. Oddly enough, those not wearing rings didn't seem to even notice what was going on, but carried on their conversations uninterrupted.

"It's an old, old world, Jake, fulla things beyond our ken, and most mortals are lucky to live their lives without ever gettin' a taste. You made it, what... 36 years without a clue? Those of us on the Job, well, we see more than most."

Reginald cut in, sipping from a coffee mug. "Some cultures be more in step wit' the Loa, Jake. More able to jus' believe wit'out tryin' to fix reason upon de t'ing."

"There's their world, our world, and something a bit in-between," continued Doyle. "Folks that can see 'em, talk with 'em, get 'em to do things, well, they usually get called witches. As it so happens, your mother's kin ran pretty heavy towards that sort."

Jake was beginning to be a bit overwhelmed. Gramma Constantino a witch? She did tend to cackle a lot...

"Why me, Doyle?" asked Jake, swallowing a large slug of whiskey. "What did I do to get wrapped up in this?"

"Yer ol' Da, I suppose," said Doyle. "The Faerie world is all about balance, boyo. For all the folk that spend time workin' with the Sidhe, there's just as many that devote their days to hunting 'em down & clipping their wings. Well, if they had wings, anyway... Yer father was one of them, even while still on the force. Could be they want to know which way you're gonna swing, hunter or helper. Could be you've got nothing to do with it at all, and just stumbled in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"How much danger am I in from these... fairy demons?" asked Jake.

Doyle chuckled. "It's sorta like bein' mobbed by cows, boyo. One or two o' th' daft buggers, well, they're mostly harmless. Get a whole herd of 'em wantin' a thing from ya, well, that's summat else entirely! Look, lad, you're just about done in. Y'ought ta get home and get some sleep. We'll talk again come daylight."

Sleep sounded like an excellent idea to Jake. He turned towards the door, the stopped abruptly and faced the old retiree. "Doyle, what about someone with one blue eye and one green eye? Are they a Faerie?"

Doyle thought for a moment, then replied. "Likely they're half in, half out of the spirit world already. A foot in both realms. Kind of like standing on the yellow line in the highway, though. Sooner or later, you get squashed like a skunk..."

To Be Continued...

Next chapter on or about next Friday at this site!
Final chapter in two weeks where it all began!