The Church of Minos #14

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part One

-This is a first draft-


It was the dream again. This time I had been tied to an ancient set of rust-coated box springs. They had been stood up on their short end and propped back against a graffiti-covered wall. I was in a wide room with high ceilings, like an abandoned ballroom in a forgotten hotel.

The air was damp and water trickled from the ceiling. The two blood-splattered doctors in gas masks from my previous dreams stood over me. They each clutched a gleaming scalpel.

“Alto con vite ban stiltomen,” one was saying in a language I’d only heard before in another dream.

“Kalt,” said the other. “Bar salto con falegrutten.”

I woke before they could start cutting, which happens once in a while.

I was back in the same jail cell, alone again on the cell block. But I wasn’t being held, not this time. This time I was here of my own free will.

After loading the three ogre corpses into the back of the patrol car — no easy feat for just two people, and one with broken ribs — we were, frankly, at a loss of what to do next.

The tunnel idea had been a total bust and it was, to be honest, my only real lead. Knowing, however, that the psychotropic spray that Maggie’s fiancĂ© had been soaked in would wear off by this afternoon, I figured our best bet was to go back to the station and wait.

Besides, I still had three or four broken ribs to mend, and I heal faster when I’m still and calm. So, while Diana went off to do some paperwork and figure out what to do with the ogre corpses, I came down to the cell block for a bit of a rest.

I yawned and sat up. That’s when I discovered that I was not, in fact, alone in the cell block.

A little girl of about ten stood on the other side of the bars looking in at me.

“Are you a criminal?” She asked.

“I am not,” I said.

“Good,” she replied. “Because your door is open. If you were a criminal you could get out.”

“Well, I’m not a criminal.” I yawned again. “What time is it?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “Before school but after breakfast.”

I wasn’t sure what to say, so I chose to say nothing, hoping that the girl would get bored and move on. But after a moment or two I realized that she wasn’t going anywhere.

So I stood and then groaned a bit as I stretched. No pain. My ribs appeared to be fully healed.

My gun belt, coat, and hat sat atop one another on the cot on the other side of the cell. I began to put them on.

“Your clothes are all dirty,” the girl said.

I ignored her and belted on my guns. I was still covered in mud from earlier, though it had all, by now, dried.

“Why are they so dirty?”

I continued to ignore her, pulling on my coat and placing my hat on my head.

“I would change my clothes if I were that dirty,” she said. “Or take a bath or something.”

“Look,” I said. “Who are you?”

“What are you doing down here?” Said a voice from the door at the front of the cell block. It was Pat.

“What did I tell you about wandering off?” Pat said.

“You said to stay close and to not go wandering off,” the girl said.

“And this is close?” Pat said, walking into the room.

“No,” the girl said, her lower lip sticking out in a pout.

“Okay then. So what do you have to say to me?” Pat said, walking up to the girl and looking down at her.

The girl, her eyes glued to the floor, mumbled something intelligible.

Pat reached down and placed a gentle hand under the girl’s chin, lifting it so that the girl was looking up at Pat.

“What was that?” Pat said.

“I’m sorry, Grandma,” the girl said.

“Grandma!?” I said.

“That’s right, Norman. I’d like you to meet my granddaughter, Susie.”

My surprise left me momentarily speechless.

“Susie,” Pat turned to the girl. “This is Norman Oklahoma, he’s an old friend of mine.”

The girl giggled. “That’s a funny sounding name,” she said. “Oklahoma is a state. We learned that from our geography book.”

“That’s all you have to say to Mr. Oklahoma?” Pat said. “That his name sounds funny?”

The girl looked up at me, another giggle hiding behind her eyes.

“Hello, Mr. Oklahoma,” she said. “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

I tipped my hat and said simply, “Ma’am.”

Susie giggled again.

“Okay, why don’t you go get your bag and wait for me in my office. I’ll be up in a bit to take you to school.”

“Okay, Grandma,” Susie said. “Goodbye, Mr. Oklahoma.”

I tipped my and and again said, “Ma’am.”

Susie giggled as she ran up the stairs.

“A grandmother, Pat?” I said. “Since when?”

“Oh, about eleven years now, Norman,” she said. “You know, for a detective you sure don’t pay a lot of attention to things.”

“Well,” I felt shame creep into my face. “I’ve been busy. Has Maggie’s fiancĂ© said anything useful yet?”

“His name is Anthony, and he’s originally from New York City. Beyond that it’s been much of the same.”

“Has he opened his hand yet?”

“Nope. If he’s holding on to something, he’s keeping it clutched tight.”

“Well, there ain’t much I can do from here,” I said. “Maybe I’ll go to the office, have a shower, then stop over at the Pub.”

“It’s a little early for a drink.”

“Is it?” I said. “What time is it?”

She consulted her watch. “Almost eight.”

“Regardless, whoever or whatever took Maggie has both goblins and ogres working for them, or it . . . That’s going to get annoying.”

“It is,” Pat agreed.

“Anyway, that’s not an easy thing to make happen. Now, I ain’t saying that Abner’s involved, but if anyone in this town is gonna know anything it’s gonna be him.”

Pat sighed. “Just be careful, Norman. Keep your head clear. It was only yesterday that you shot the place up.”

“My life is rather exiting, ain’t it.” I smiled.

To be continued . . .

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