Suspicious : Chapter 1



by Edeyn Hannah Blackeney
Chapter One

It was then that she realized just how badly she needed to use the bathroom. That's all she needed, was for the rescue workers to find her in a pile of her own... nevermind. She shifted her shoulder slightly, again wondering how long she'd been under... under... however much of the rubble was on top of her.

However it was arranged, she had plenty of air, even though she couldn't tell how. But is suffocation or starvation a better way to go? She eventually drifted off to sleep.

* * *
Three hours later
* * *

It was absolutely maddening, knowing that the jerk peddling poisons was going to get away with it because of that flying, spandexed D-cup. "Special Officers" indeed. As far as she was concerned, the so-called 'Cosmics' caused too many loopholes for criminals to climb to freedom through to be outweighed by the times they helped 'catch the bad guys' in return. Let the police do their jobs. That's what they're there for. They've done fine for decades, no, centuries now... without the intervention of the superheroic types.

Who needs 'em? And how is it that they all are good guys? Aren't there supposed to be bad guy superheroes, too? Where are the bank robbers with super-strength? Where are the mad scientists bent on world domination? Wow, she thought, that was a downright perverted thought. Been under here too long, I'm starting to root for the other side.

* * *
Three days later
* * *

She could hear rescue workers digging and shouting, but couldn't raise her voice above a whisper. So thirsty. Was the entire building on top of her? Where were the damn Cosmics when it comes time to clean up the messes? They'd make wonderful cleanup crew for themselves if they'd just do it.

She woke and fell asleep another few times before waking up in the hospital. The nurse was checking a machine next to her bed, it was nighttime, and the lights were low so as not to disturb her.

"What happened? Is everyone okay?" she asked... at least that's what she meant to say with just the right amount of concern.

"Muuuurrgh. Fnnnnniiiiiipl." was what actually came out and caused just the wrong amount of pain.

The nurse looked up from the bliping machine and smiled. "Ah, you're awake. And you've apparently got quite a case of cottonmouth. I'll have a PCA bring you in some water," was the almost bored acknowledgment before she turned and left.

* * *
Three weeks later
* * *

"I don't care that it was 'your case,' Cady! I may be your friend, but I'm also your superior, and the regs on this since these so-called 'Cosmics' came outta nowhere are more than just clear, they're all but unbreakable. I gotta have your badge and sidearm, but I'll walk you down to the locker room so you can hand 'em off quietly. You're not even supposed to be here, active or desk jockey either one until the doctors tell me you can."

"Gee, Bobby, don't do me any favors," she grumbled as she pulled the gun off her shoulder, holster and all. "Here. Just... take it and let me know as soon as I'm cleared for active again, okay?" She set the gun and badge on the desk, quickly walking out of the office and making her way out of the building without eye contact with anyone.

* * *
Three months later
* * *

"I'm sorry, Inspector Lykaios, but with the evidence that's been shown today... I can't let you continue to work for the SFPD. With your record, I'm sure you can get a position with nearly any other law enforcement agency in the country. Why, I'll bet the FBI --"

"The Feds? No disrespect intended, Sir, but you used to be a regular cop before IA swallowed your soul. You know what any officer in this building would say to that. I haven't had a single black mark on my record before this, and you're saying there's no way for me to keep my job? None at all?" Cadence's voice may have been steady, but she was shaking with fury.

"I wish there was," replied the tall and lanky IA Lieutenant across the desk from her. "I've got a meeting with the Cosmic Committee the City Council put together earlier this year tomorrow -- maybe I can get a special dispensation. No promises, but I'll try."

She made an obvious effort and visibly calmed down. "That's all I'm asking, Rick. Just... a chance."

* * *
Three years later
* * *

As she sped down the interstate, she thought again about everything she'd lost. Job, home... friends. Granted, the life of a bona-fide Private Investigator could be just as fast-paced and enjoyable as a San Francisco Police Inspector's, but that was so seldom compared to the lost dog cases. The pawned wedding ring cases. The adulterous spouse cases. If she made it to her destination in time right now, for instance, she would be afforded the dubious honor of being allowed to search the newly dumped garbage in the landfill for her current client's dentures. Hooray for her.

Her thoughts drifted out the window as she drafted behind an eighteen-wheeler. Greenfield, Missouri, was her home now. Not a huge town, but not a small one... personality in spades, though. Good grief! I am using the Bogey slang. It's Geoffrey's fault. Those movies... and her thoughts drifted away from the dimly lit city she was circling.

She smelled, more than saw, the landfill as she approached it. As the gate guard waved her through with a grin, she fought the urge to flip him the bird and instead said a silent prayer to whatever deity had inspired Geoff to buy her those hip boots to go along with the rubber gloves.

* * *
Three piles later
* * *

Does that old gasbag really want these back after this? It costs, what, three hundred bucks for a new set of choppers? This is freaking disgusting. I'd almost pay to see the old coot put these things back in his mouth. Almost. She put the dentures into an evidence bag, drippy green goo and all, and waded back out of the stench-tastic drifts of garbage toward the pile that marked the parking area.

After throwing her gloves to the side, trusting they would make it to a pile, and dumping the now only describable as 'horrific' hip boots into her trunk, she got behind the wheel and tossed the dentures into the passenger seat. The guard was still grinning. She gritted her teeth and waved instead of gunning her engine through the booth like she wanted to do.

The way-too-cheerful lady on the radio informed her that it was now twelve o'clock and 'lunchtime' across the city of Greenfield. She threw the dentures a glance and decided it was worth taking a late lunch to get rid of the things.

At least, she thought, in a city this size rush hour is about as busy as San Francisco's midnight traffic.

She was rounding the last turn before the old geezer's sprawl when the flash of green, silver, and blue went by. Her instincts screamed at her and she jerked the wheel to the left to follow.

Why her? Of all of them, why did she decide to relocate here? The old man's dentures could wait. Where a Cosmic went, work followed.

As usual, it was difficult keeping the easy-to-see costume in sight. She lost track of the blur but when she rounded the last corner she'd seen her take, she slammed on the brakes. An entire building coming down... just as it started to tumble into rubble, the costume she'd been following shot out of an upper window and hovered in the air. That's where she still was when the police and fire departments arrives, with the paramedics and media right on their heels.

Just hovering there, with a look of shock on her face as though she were someone normal. Watching the debris settle from the collapsed building. Hovering there as the folks gathered to dig out any survivors. Still hovering there when even the TV station packed it in for the night.

The headline in the newspaper the next morning pretty much said it all:

Heroine Emotionally Destroyed Over Noon Inability Saving Tenant

At least there was only one person home when it happened. The article itself was little more than a fluff piece extolling Heroine's many successful rescues, but what could you really expect? Real journalism? At least Mr. Dines had his dentures back. Cadence steered toward the nearly falling down building that housed the loft that she and Wallace had turned into their PI offices last year. When she pulled up the freight elevator bay door, Wallace was sitting on the corner of Jessica's desk, and they were talking. Jessica raised her hand and motioned her toward them.

"Cady! Did you hear about that building that fell down yesterday? Oh, right, Irv told me you were there, anyways, didja hear about why it fell down? It was a mini-quake. A whatchacallit, tremor, like they have in California where you used to live, from that thingamajig, fault, down in New Madrid. The scientist fellas say that if it hadn't been right on top of the whosisbobber, eppy-center, and such an old building, it wouldn't have fallen in from such a weak **ahem** gee-oh-log-itch-ick-call event. Just bad luck completely. The tremor, the old building, and poor Heroine just not being close enough to help in time. A one inna million," came the roaring rapids that constituted civilized speech and conversation Jessica-style.

Cadence snorted. "Yeah. Poor Heroine," as she stomped off toward her own desk to unload pockets and just decompress awhile before heading home.

"Anything smell good for tomorrow, Irv?" she asked Wallace over her shoulder.

"I got a mother thinks her seventeen year old runaway daughter may be waitressing on the riverboat casinos, figured I'd take that the rest of the week. We're not busy so you can handle the lost pencilboxes for a few days," came the answer of the senior partner. The pencilboxes was an inside joke, but one they both enjoyed. She grunted what was generally an agreeable response and plopped into her chair. Up went her feet on the desk and the fedora her dad had bought for her as a joke was tilted over her eyes. No wonder you always see the guys in those old movies napping so much. This is really comfy.

The actual connection didn't come to her until the middle of the night when she bolted out of bed and knocked Geoffrey down on his way back from the bathroom. Heroine was too far away to help? It only would have happened to that building? One in a million?

She leapt for the phone to tell Wallace to cancel the riverboat casino trip, but there was no answer. The bastard left the night before. Okay, so she was gonna be on her own. She had contacts and connections of her own. She just had to think about it and remember who they were. She reassured Geoffrey and then went to the den to sit on the couch in the dark and think.

She waited for daybreak and the 7am change of shift at the police department.

"Evie? Okay, okay, Sargeant Malone. Dammit, Evie, this is important! This could be what gets me back to the shield and you to Lieutenant. Yes! That big! Promise me you'll take me serious? Okay... alright, already. Promise! Alright... it's a murder, an old-fashioned, pre-meditated homicide. And the thing is, it's a superhero what did it."

Interesting Start

Hope you come back to it someday (or tell us where the rest can be found).


[Trivial point: Because San Francisco is both a city and county, there's no City Council here, only a Board of Supervisors.]

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