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 Haunted [SG/OFC 17]

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Katelyn
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PostSubject: Haunted [SG/OFC 17]   Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:49 pm

Haunted



Rating: 17
Characters: Brian Haner Jr. and Harper Reynolds
Disclaimer: This piece of writing is a work of fiction, meaning, all of it's contents have never happened and probably never will.
This story was inspired by the movie Ghost.

Summary:


Detective Harper Reynolds has never gotten a case that she couldn't handle.


...until now.


Chapter Index:

One: Page One


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PostSubject: Re: Haunted [SG/OFC 17]   Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:51 pm

Chapter One: A New Beginning



It has been said that those who aren’t at least a little crazy, are truly insane. Now if this is true, than I can safely say I am one hundred percent not crazy…I think. No, I’m definitely not crazy. I’m simply moving on. At least, that’s what I kept telling myself as I carried the last box out of my inner city Brooklyn apartment building.

Moving out of Brooklyn was something I’d looked forward to ever since moving in. But the fact was, I was comfortable here. I’d moved here years ago from California with no intention of going back, and I’d kept that promise to myself; until now, that is. But it’s not like moving back is actually my choice anyway. The decision was Chief Brown’s, of the New York City Police Department—my former employer.

“You’ll love L.A., I promise.” he had said to me in a tone that fell way short of being convincing. I was handing over my gun and badge at the time. “Just think of the sunshine and the beach. I spoke with Chief Bratton this morning and you’re set to start working as soon as you’re moved in.”

The encouraging smile on his face did nothing to hide the fact that what he was actually doing was dumping me on the other side of the country with another Chief. He assured me that this had nothing to do with the, “incident,” as he’d come to refer to it as, and that I was one of the best detectives he’d ever had on the force. It was just apparently time for me to change job locations.

The first and third statements I knew were lies, but I had to agree with him on the second. I really was good at my job, and sure, maybe I was the best. I certainly had the track record to prove it. Five years on the force since I put in my application at twenty-one, and I never once let a thug get away. I always got my man.

…eventually.

Just a note, you didn’t read that last bit, or about how old I am. My driver’s license may say I’m twenty-five, but I’m still twenty-three to everyone else, hear? Thought so.

After setting the large cardboard box in the open trunk of my car, I stepped back and frowned. Seven boxes, three suitcases, and one microwave; my life was comprised of and revolved around seven boxes, three suitcases, and one microwave. How sad is that? With a heavy sigh, I pulled the door of the trunk down and slammed it shut. I saw my neighbor Mrs. Harris looking down at me from her second story window and I gave her a friendly wave before walking around to the driver’s side door of my car. She had one of her eight cats in her arms and waved back using its paw. Fluffy didn’t look pleased.

A floor above her and a window over, old Mr. Peters was peering out of the gap in his curtains trying to look inconspicuous, but failing miserably. His attempt wouldn’t have been so bad had his twelve-gauge shotgun not been visible poking through the curtain as well. I wasn’t too worried though. Old man Peters hadn’t left his apartment since ‘99—or so I’d been told, and I knew his gun wasn’t loaded because I was the one that was assigned months ago to take away his ammo. He hasn’t liked me very much since then.

But I’d still miss him, and the rest of the tenants of my building. They were all half-senile, half-sober, or half-dead, but at least they were nice. I’d already bought a new apartment in L.A., but I had no idea what to expect from them. From what I’ve heard, they’ve got a whole other definition of crazy there.

After stealing one last fleeting glance at my old home, I slid behind the wheel of my ’97 Jeep Grand Cherokee and turned the keys over in the ignition. No comments about the car please. It gets me from point A, to point B, and it was what I could afford on my cop’s salary—which isn’t that much to be perfectly honest. After my fourth attempt to start the Jeep, it finally came to life and I affectionately patted the dashboard.

It would be a miracle if this thing could get me all the way to California, but I had some faith in it. It’d survived the streets of Brooklyn, so I was willing to take a chance.
Clasping both hands on the steering wheel, I took a deep breath and finally pulled away from the curb. With all of my worldly possessions in my trunk and Bon Jovi blasting from my radio, I pulled away from the curb.

Brooklyn and Los Angeles are separated by roughly three thousand miles of which I had given myself three days to cover. If I drove as much as I could each day and slept in the car, I could make it. You’re probably wondering why I don’t just take a plane to L.A. instead of driving, right? I’ll admit it would be a hell of a lot faster, but I refuse to fly. I’ve read enough horror stories for myself to decide we humans don’t belong up in the air. And if God wanted me to fly, he would have bought me a plane ticket. It’s as simple as that.

Day one of the cross-country drive wasn’t too bad, even though the air conditioner broke halfway through it. I think at that time the sightseeing was keeping me too occupied to care. Besides, it was March anyway. I had time to get it fixed by the time it got really hot outside. Day two was the worst. At that point I was seeing nothing but farmland and cows—which really sucked all the fun out of sightseeing. There really wasn’t much to begin with, but still. Day three, which was actually the shortest ways left, took the longest. With my terrible timing I managed to hit L.A.’s infamous rush hour traffic at five o’clock in the evening. By seven, I was standing outside my car gazing up at my new home.

I wanted to say that my old apartment back home was nicer, but I’d be lying. The tan bricked building was completely graffiti-free, and there weren’t even bars on the windows. Unusual, I thought, considering I was on Grand Avenue in the middle of the downtown district.

“I’m so not in Brooklyn anymore.” I murmured to myself while gazing up at the building.

“Hey, you got that right, chica.”

I looked around at the sound of the voice and saw a portly man nearing his fifties walking over to me. He was a head shorter than my five foot six stature, but compensated by growing outwards instead of upwards. I had never seen him before in my life, but I recognized his Latino accented voice as belonging to the landlord of the building. I had spoken with him over the phone an hour ago to let him know I’d be there for my keys soon.

“You must be Ms. Reynolds.” He said, smiling warmly up at me. I’d have to get used to that. Hospitality wasn’t a quality my old landlord possessed, along with the majority of Brooklyn residents. “Boy,” he laughed, pausing to look me over. “That drive from New York must have been hell, no?”

I reflexively winced. I had been hoping that I didn’t look that rough. “Is it that obvious?”

He chuckled. “Nah, you don’t look so bad,” he said reassuringly. “All you need is a good night sleep. A hairbrush couldn’t hurt, though.”

I looked in the reflective glass of my car window and fought the urge to scream. Last night I caved and rented a motel room, hoping I could make myself look somewhat decent for when I arrived the next morning. I looked all right this morning, but now I saw what Mr. Cortez meant by the drive being hell. It looked like I’d been there and back.

For safe measure, Mr. Cortez, who insisted I call him Diego, checked my driver’s license to make sure I was who I said I was. “Can’t be too careful,” he’d explained after I showed him. He’d offered to help me out with moving some of my stuff in, and five minutes later, we were riding the elevator up to the third floor each with a cardboard box and a suitcase. I only grabbed my essential stuff, figuring I’d go down to get the rest of it tomorrow.

“The apartment is fully furnished, like I told you over the phone,” Diego said, continuing our conversation as we walked to the door at the end of the hall. “Pero, I have two rules for you before I let you in.”

I looked at him expectantly waiting for him to continue and he put the cardboard box he was holding down to look at me seriously. “Rule numero uno,” he stated, raising a sausage-like finger. “I don’t want any keggers or frat parties going on, unless I’m invited first. And numero dos, recreational drugs of any sort are getting your ass outta here, comprende? I had a tenant a couple years back with the bright idea of making his own weed farm in the basement.”

I could tell he was serious by the eye roll he made at his last statement, but it was kind of hard to take him seriously considering he looked and sounded like Cheech Marin. Keeping my composure, thankfully, I assured him he wouldn’t have to worry about any of that from me.

“I’m a cop, Diego.” I told him. “Or at least I will be, starting tomorrow. I won’t give you any trouble.”

He was convinced after that and handed over my keys. “Good luck, chica,” he sighed with an encouraging smile. “Though I’ve heard if you can make it in the Big Apple, you can make it anywhere. You should be good, no?”

I nodded while smiling confidently and he returned the smile before walking back down the hall towards the elevator. Once I had both cardboard boxes and both suitcases set against the small foyer inside the apartment, I locked the door behind me and slid down to the floor against it. Why I did this I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I was just still tired. Maybe I was too afraid to turn on the lights and go any further into my new living space. Let’s just go with the first one, all right?

I sat there in the dark against my front door pretending to be tired for five whole minutes, before I reached up for the light switch on the wall above my head. From where I sat, I observed my new space in the light. Since there really wasn’t much too see besides the hardwood floor, I decided to get up to have a look around.

Like Diego had said, the place was fully furnished. The kitchen was complete with refrigerator, oven, and even a four-person table. All it needed was my microwave. The living room, like the rest of the apartment, had just the basics. One three-person couch, one armchair, one coffee table, and one television filled the space. After seeing the bathroom and my bedroom it was attached to, I decided I liked the place. It definitely needed some color instead of just the plain white walls, though. I’d have to ask Diego about that later. For now though, I was ready to crash on the first soft surface I found.

The next morning, I awoke to the incredibly obnoxious sound of my cell phone’s alarm ringing on my nightstand. After seeing the time, I grumbled swears aloud at myself for thinking that waking up at seven A.M. was a good idea. This would be my first day as part of the LAPD, even though I didn’t have to start until I was officially moved in. I guess a few more minutes of sleep couldn’t hurt.

As it turns out, I posses no mental clock whatsoever. What I thought would be a few more minutes of sleep actually ended up being a few more hours. By the time I rolled over to check the time again, it was already one in the afternoon. There went my plans of starting early. I remained in my bed staring up at the ceiling weighing my options.

Option one; I could get up, shower, get dressed, and then head into work. Option two; I could stay home unpacking. Neither of these options really thrilled me, so I decided to compromise. I’d unpack for what was left of the day, and then get ready to head into work for the nightshift. If L.A. was anything like New York, the really bad guys, or the monsters, only came out at night. I specialized in catching monsters. Well, sort of.

I didn’t think there would be, but just for kicks I opened up my refrigerator to look for something to eat. To my utter delight, I found that Diego had taken the liberty of buying a half-gallon of milk, a carton of eggs, and a small package of yogurt cups. I knew it was him that bought them because there was a note attached to the side of the milk carton.

Figured you wouldn’t have any food with you, so I got some stuff. There’s some peanut butter and bread in the cupboard too. But don’t get too used to this kind of hospitality, chica. Money don’t grow on trees here, either.
-Diego


I smiled at the note and made a mental reminder to thank him the next time I saw him. But even though he had gotten me some food, I still had to go back down and out to my car for my kitchen box with dishes. I didn’t mind, though. I had to start unpacking somewhere.

Unpacking took a lot longer than I thought it would, but that could probably be attributed to the fact that I wasn’t in that big of a hurry anymore. I did manage to get most of the stuff where I wanted it by the end of the afternoon, though. Only half a box was left to go through when I looked at the clock to see that it was already five. At that time, I decided a shower was in order before I went into work.

By six, I was out the door freshly showered, dressed, and I even had made an effort to style my hair. Hair gel and spray kept my shoulder-length chestnut waves in place, but I had a hair elastic around my wrist just in case. I didn’t know what was expected attire wise, so I played it casual in my usual dress of worn-in jeans and a t-shirt. To make myself seem at least a little bit professional, I had a button down shirt on with the sleeves pushed up to my elbows. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m a comfort over anything else kind of girl.

I was almost to the station when out of the corner of my eye I spotted the trademark golden arches. My stomach grumbled at the sight, and since I hadn’t eaten dinner yet, I made a small detour. A half hour later, I was stepping out of the Jeep in front of the Los Angeles Police Department. Looking at the steel gray building, I had half a mind to get right back in my car, pack the little stuff I had back up and go straight home. There were palm trees out front.

This wasn’t my first time in L.A.; I had lived here for most of my childhood after all, but I didn’t know if I could take a department with palm trees out front seriously. I was used to dirty, crime-ridden streets. This looked like a place where Officer Barbie would work. Finally, I reminded myself that there was no way of going back to New York, so I sucked in a deep breath and crossed the street to the front doors. Here goes nothing.

Chief William Bratton was surprised to see me when I stepped into his office, but he was pleased nonetheless. The sooner I received the run-down of the building and was photo-identified into the system, the better, he explained. Judging by his tone of voice, the pristine way he wore his uniform and his clean-cut gray hair, I got the impression that this chief was an efficient, no-nonsense kind of person. Chief Brown must not have told him everything about me.

While my ID card and new badge were being processed, I was shown around the building and then to which floor my specific department was on. My desk was among the twenty or so others in the large open room that was the fifth floor. Smaller offices were along the wall, each pertaining to the nine different sub-divisions of the detectives unit. It felt odd looking at my new desk. It was so clean, and so empty. Only a small computer, a wire file rack, and a desktop calendar sat on top of the polished mahogany.

There were no files on it, though. I think that was why it looked odd to me. Usually there were several tossed in a pile on my old desk. I guessed I’d just have to get used to this too. I probably wouldn’t get cases for some time. Chief Bratton hadn’t yet assigned me to a specific division of detective work just yet, but homicide was what I specialized in. For now though, I’d take whatever I could get.

Being the “new guy” on the force is never fun, especially when you’re a girl. The equal rights movement may have passed a long time ago, but try telling that to the majority of the male population. Apparently detective work was still a man’s domain. I wasn’t too worried, though. After the first month of working with the guys in Brooklyn, they got used to having me around. I figured this place would be no different. Although, that isn’t to say I wouldn’t get a few comments along the way. And I would be proven right later on in the night.
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PostSubject: Re: Haunted [SG/OFC 17]   Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:53 pm

Two whole hours went by in which time I did absolutely nothing. Either it was a really slow night in Los Angeles, or everyone else had a case except me. Occasionally other officers would come and go through the department, briefly stopping at their desk before taking off again. By the time eight o’clock rolled around, I was getting desperate. While I was debating whether or not to go see someone on a different floor about something to do, I caught the sound of heavy footsteps coming my way. Glancing up, I couldn’t help but groan.

The man walking now in my direction had to have been about six foot something and was in desperate need of a shave. Or perhaps he favored the just-fell-out-of-bed-look. There was no doubt in my mind that he was a fellow street detective by taking in his attire of rugged jeans, a blazer over a t-shirt, and the way he looked around like he owned the place made me dislike him already. Unfortunately for me, I was spotted as he was passing and he stopped in mid-stride to look down at me.

“Well, well, well. Hello, gorgeous.” he drawled, not bothering to hide the fact he was checking me out from top to bottom. I gave him no sign of acknowledgement and instead propped my Doc Martens up on my desk while I set to work filling out all of my employment information. It seems he didn’t need any encouragement because he went on talking. “You’re here awful late, are you waiting on someone? Boyfriend, maybe?”

I reflexively clenched my teeth together at his little term of endearment, but managed to make my tone pleasant as I answered him. “Anyone that’ll give me a case to start on.”

Just like I predicted, the dark-haired man tipped his head back and laughed out loud at my statement. I didn’t see what was so funny about it. “Honey, I think you’ve got the wrong floor. If you’re here to fill the receptionist’s position, you’ll want to check in at the front desk downstairs. I could show you the way if you’d like. Maybe you could tell me your name along the way.”

“That won’t be necessary.” I replied coolly, ignoring the hand he was now offering me. “I know my way around just fine, thank you.”

I was hoping my last statement would be enough for him to get the buzz off message, but I guess not. He only chuckled again. “So it is a boyfriend you’re waiting on then.” He guessed. “So, who’s the—”

“What makes you think I’m waiting for a boyfriend?” I interrupted sharply, catching him by surprise when I finally looked up at him. He actually backed up a step at the fierceness of my gaze.

He opened closed his mouth a few times, seemingly at a loss for words, finally. Before he could so much as think of anything else to say though, a booming voice came from across the room, causing me to look up.

“Sullivan!” The burly middle-aged man barked as he made his way over to where the man was standing beside my desk. I recognized him immediately as the head of my department, Chief Parker. He was on a conference call when I was first being shown around, so we weren’t yet properly introduced. Now that I was getting a good look at him, I knew why Chief Bratton had called him Pitbull Parker. The man had an uncanny resemblance.

“I’ve been looking all over for you, Sullivan, and here I find you socializing with a—” Chief Parker stopped his statement abruptly when he looked down at me, and his gaze instantly softened. “Oh!” He exclaimed, and looked from me back to the man I’m guessing was Sullivan. “I see that you’ve been getting acquainted with the newest edition to the force. Detective Reynolds, right?” He asked, addressing me.

“D-d-detective?” Sullivan stammered, looking at me now with wide eyes.

“Yes.” I said, shooting Sullivan a cocky smirk as I stood up to shake the Chief’s hand. “It’s a pleasure to be with L.A.’s finest, sir.”

“I hope this knuckle head here hasn’t been bothering you too much,” Parker laughed, looking to Sullivan who was still gaping flabbergasted at me. “And getting back to what I was saying, I’ve been looking all over for you. I just got a phone call about a 10-56 at the House Of Blues over on Sunset.”

Forgetting momentarily about gaping at me idiotically, Sullivan groaned loudly and looked to Parker. “Aw, man. You know I hate suicide cases. Why don’t you give it to Johnson? He’s the one that always—”

“This case is way too high-profile for the likes of Johnson.” Parker interrupted sharply. “It wasn’t just some civilian that offed himself this time. There was some rock band playing tonight, but the singer found their guitarist with an empty bottle of Vicodin and a bullet in his head before the show.”

My ears perked up at the word bullet and I snapped my gaze to the chief. “Bullet?” I asked, sounding way more excited than I should have been. “Someone’s been shot?”

“Well, it looks like he shot himself,” Parker shrugged nonchalantly. “He’s dead, that’s for sure. Say, Sullivan? Why don’t you take Reynolds along with you? You could show her how we do things her in L.A.”

“But sir!” Sullivan protested, sounding like he’d rather have each of his fingernails removed than agree to this arrangement. “I can’t take her! She’s a—well, I…I work alone! You know I always handle cases solo. And besides, she wouldn’t want to—”

“I’d love to go.” I interrupted. I may have detested Sullivan with a passion for his arrogance and ignorance, but I was still desperate for something to do.

“Well it’s settled then.” Parker said, clapping his hands together before Sullivan could get in another objection. “Go on, Sullivan. Move your ass. I want a full report of this on my desk by morning.”

Sullivan shot me a glare that said I’d be dead a hundred times over if he had his way, before finally rolling his eyes. “C’mon,” he growled and turned on his heels to storm off. “Let’s go.”

As much as I hated taking orders from pricks like Sullivan, I followed behind him. But not before Parker stopped me briefly. “Oh!” He exclaimed causing me to turn back to see him rummaging around in his pocket. He pulled out what I recognized to be a brand new badge and held it out for me. “I forgot, I was supposed to give you this. Here you are, Detective Reynolds. Welcome to the force.”

It wasn’t a squad car Sullivan got into down in the parking garage of the building, so I assumed the Ford Escape was his. I climbed in the passenger’s seat and fastened my seatbelt just before he threw the car into reverse and stomped on the gas.

“Jesus Christ!” I shouted after I was flung forward in my seat and jerked back quickly by the belt. “What the hell are you doing?”

A smirk made its way across his face at my scream. “Driving.” He replied simply. He was easily doing 70 as he peeled out of the basement garage and onto the street, giving the guard at the gate a short wave as he did so.

“Shit, slow down!” I yelled over the thumping rap music he turned on the radio. “You’re gonna kill someone!”

“I think you and I got off on the wrong foot.” He answered, but didn’t comply with my order. If anything I think he started to go faster. He did turn the radio down a bit, though. “Reynolds, right? You got a first name?”

I was terrified out of my mind that I would die in the next minute and a half from his crazy driving, but I managed to keep my voice cool as I answered him. “Detective Reynolds,” I corrected indignantly. “And you’d do well to remember it.”

“Oh, well excuse me.” He laughed mockingly. “Have you got a first name, Detective Reynolds?”

I folded my arms across my chest in a huff, but reluctantly answered him. “Harper.”

I got just the reaction I thought I would when he spoke again. “Harper?” He repeated half-laughing. “What kind of name is Harper?”

“Well what kind of name is Sullivan?” I shot back hotly while glaring at him.

Sullivan shot me a sideways glance at my retort, but smirked. “Jack.” He answered. “My first name is Jack.”

“Figures.” I grumbled under my breath.

Jack must have heard it though, because he looked over at me with a demanding expression. “What the hell do you mean by that?”

Not up for arguing anymore with him, I grumbled a low, “nothing,” before turning my attention out the window at the city blocks whizzing by. I could tell he wanted to press the matter, but at that time, he was pulling up to a curb out front of what appeared to be a very large beach-shack styled building.

The sign out front read House Of Blues, but I didn’t need to see it to know we were in the right place. People were all over the place out front, most looking to be disgruntled customers wondering why their concert had been canceled. While security guards were trying to usher them off the premises, other LAPD patrol officers were putting up crime scene tape.

“You can’t park here, idiot.” I stated irritably while gesturing my hand out the window. “There’s a fire hydrant right there.”

“I’m a cop.” He snapped back arrogantly while getting out of the car. “I can park my car wherever the hell I want.”

Grumbling threats under my breath about other places he could try parking, I got out of the car and followed behind. We both flashed our badges to the officer with the crime scene tape, and ducked underneath once he nodded to go ahead. Jack started up the small pathway to the front double doors of the building, but stopped and turned to me before he opened them.

“If you’re gonna pout and act like a five-year-old, you can go wait in the car.” He stated lowly. “I don’t know what the hell your problem is with me, but you better get the fuck over it. I take my job seriously and I’m the best at what I do. I won’t have you going in there embarrassing me.”

I scoffed at this and took a step so I was right in his face. “Embarrassing you?” I sneered. “I’m pretty sure you can handle that one all on your own, pal. And for your information I’m the best at what I do and I take my job seriously too. You can think all you want about women not being able to handle a job, or be smart enough for a job like this, but you’d be dead wrong. I’ve put away more scumbags in a month than you have in probably your whole career, so don’t patronize me and don’t fuck with me.”

Without another word, I swept past him and through the doors inside, leaving him gaping open-mouthed at me for the second time tonight. One thing’s for sure; the outside of the House of Blues did not do it justice. This place was huge. The large open front room looked as if it doubled as a restaurant on non-show nights and was easily twice as long as it was wide. A long bar was on the far left side and across the large open floor was a stage at the back of the room. Several officers were heading to the left of the stage, so I followed, figuring they’d lead me in the right direction.

Jack had caught up with me by the time I’d crossed the open floor, and he shot me a glare as he barreled past. Ass. The walking space got considerably tighter as we walked through the back area, which I presumed was all dressing rooms and storage space. At the far end of the hall, three officers stood outside a door with a large group of people. Five of which were females and hysterically sobbing. There were nine in all, not including the officers, and I assumed the four tattooed men were the vic’s fellow band mates.

“What’ve we got?” Jack asked the closest officer, who was standing with the most muscular of the band members.

I couldn’t suppress an eye roll as I stopped beside Jack. “Chief already told us the situation.” I informed him impatiently. “You didn’t have to—” I would have finished had the piercing glare Jack sent me not shut me up. I wasn’t scared of him.

…okay, maybe I was just a little.

“He’s got a stomach full of meds and a single gunshot to the head.” The officer answered, addressing Jack. “This one’s definitely a suicide, and he wasn’t taking any chances with it failing.”

While he was saying this, the large tattooed band member was shaking his head. “No.” He spoke quietly in a broken voice. “Brian would never…this isn’t…If you knew him—he didn’t kill himself.” He finished, sounding like he was using his best efforts to hold back tears. “This isn’t like him. I don’t understand.”

“Sometimes people do the unthinkable when they’re upset.” I said to him, doing my best to sound sympathetic. “Or when they’re stoned.”

The man’s golden eyes widened at this, and his strong jaw dropped open. “No!” He shouted angrily. “Brian wasn’t like that! He could party with the best of them, but he was no druggie!”

“Or when they’re wasted.” I allowed with a shrug.

Jack shot me a look that screamed he would knock me out if I weren’t a woman. I of course, couldn’t find a fault in what I’d said. “What?” I asked.

Instead of answering me, he rolled his eyes and looked to the man again. “You’ll have to excuse her. She’s new.” I opened my mouth to object, but he spoke again, this time, to the officer. “Can I get a look at the bod—uh, I mean, Brian?”

“We.” I corrected. “Chief Parker said I could—”

“Ugh, fine!” Jack snapped at me after the officer had stepped aside to let us pass. “You can come.”

I followed behind with a triumphant smirk, but it vanished the moment I looked over the dressing room scene. Aside from the fact there was a dead body in it, the room looked like a typical rock star dressing room; littered with empty beer bottles, half eaten pizza, and various articles of clothing. One of the vanity mirrors was shattered, below which lay the remains of a black and white pinstriped guitar. Judging by the snapped neck and mangled body, I could tell it had seen better days.

As if it was some sort of morbid centerpiece, the body was lying face up spread-eagle in the center of the floor. He may have been dead, but I had to admit he wasn’t exactly hard on the eyes physically. I estimated his height to be around six foot, and he had the same sort of muscular build as the band mate I’d spoken with. He was California tanned, of course, and full sleeves of tattoos adorned his arms as well as his knuckles. An empty pill bottle lay beside his right open hand while an 8-millimeter was still held in his left. Lastly, a pool of blood soaked the carpet surrounding his head of dark shaggy hair and a thin line of it ran down the side of his strong jaw from his mouth. But the body kept my attention only for a few minutes longer. Startled, my mouth parted slightly at the figure standing against the back of the room.

My eyes dropped back down at the body, and then back up again in disbelief. By the number of times this has happened to me before, you’d think I’d be used to this. The figure gazing at the body was the body. His features were all the same, only a lot more alive, obviously. He was gazing down at his body with a forlorn look, but the expression changed the moment he looked up at me. The ghost’s chocolate brown eyes locked on mine, and its mouth opened in shock. Apparently he didn’t think he was visible. I knew for a fact Jack couldn’t see him, because he was still examining the body.

“You—you can see me!” The ghost shouted, pushing himself off the wall towards me. I tried to advert my gaze to pretend like I hadn’t and just imagined it, but I couldn’t make myself look away from him. “I saw you! You looked right at me! I know you can see me! Oh my God! Listen, lady; you’ve gotta help me out here! Please, just tell me what’s going on.”

Maybe it would have been prudent for me to mention this in the very beginning. I wasn’t lying earlier when I said I was the best homicide investigator on the force. Sure, my fellow comrades might have been good, but I had the upper hand. Apparently leaving New York didn’t change the fact that I still have it. The reason I’m so good at my job is…well…

I can see ghosts.
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