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13th Precinct: Issue Seven
Bob Yosco

"Easy now, you’ve taken quite a shock to the system.”

I tried to open my eyes but the lancing pain that flared through my head said, uh-uh. It was cold. Not dry cold either, wet cold and I was shivering.

“Give yourself some time to acclimate, John…may I call you John?”

“You just did.” I said, or rather croaked. My throat felt like someone had ripped my vocal chords out by the roots, and hey, if this guy was going to kill me he at least had some manners.

“Ah, a semblance of humor. Good, very good John. I was worried for you there, my young friend. Now before a thousand questions begin dancing through your addled consciousness, let me first introduce myself…”

“”Boyd, where’s Boyd.” I interrupted.

“I was preparing to ask you the very same question, Detective, but my best guess is that our disappearing Mr. Castanet was hurled back to this plane much as yourself but seemingly another direction.”

“Does everyone involved in this crazy scheme talk in riddles?” I wanted to know.

“Yes, yes, I understand how out of sorts this must all appear but I assure you that everything you’ve experienced is real and not the product of a disturbed imagination. My name is Vic, and I was, am, a friend of Boyd’s. From what I’ve been able to gather through examining the somewhat stale flow of what was, you have been made aware of me and my relationship with your partner. Is that correct, John?

Vic. Victor Tepecio? The same Vic in the story I’d read on the net about Boyd and his friend croaking some badass at the Museum?

“Yes, John, the one and only. And it seems that Boyd and I were not as thorough as I’d have liked, but that’s water under the bridge at this point in time.” He said as he read my mind, and by now it didn’t seem to faze me in the least and that bothered me as much as anything. I chased away the pain for a moment and took a look at the guy hovering over me, and while everything was swirling around a little I got enough of a glimpse to see a dark haired, handsome enough and late-thirty’ish face that looked Italian.

“Good.” He said, looking into my eyes like there was something really interesting he wanted to find. “As soon as you’ve all of your wits about you, you’ll realize that we’re back in the rear entrance of the establishment you and Boyd forced yourselves into. I closed the path to the Outer Crossing, for a time at least.”

Sure enough the little stars at the edge of my vision began twinkling out and I could tell that we were in the storeroom of the Tattoo Parlor. No spooky hallway, no blue sanded beach stretching out forever, just a plain old storeroom that needed a new roof because it was cold and damp enough to keep a penguin happy.

“How…?”

“How indeed, John. I have yet to sort through all of the agonizing details but it would appear that you share or shared an affinity to Boyd that defied mortality. Take this as a matter of fact and things will go much easier, my young friend; I can see certain events of the not too distant past much as you would view a film of a boring friend’s vacation. Snippets, sometimes vague, sometimes crystal clear images of what has transpired involving someone I am closely attuned to. I myself recently arrived back in the City and was drawn to this place while searching for our friend. His quest took you beyond the mundane veil and into the Crossing, but neither of you were prepared to do battle with the elements of grave desire that dwell in that condemned land. Boyd knew that your weapon would not have the desired effect, but what he didn’t know was that the two of you were linked closely enough to cause havoc when you fired upon the Dreadlings. He was correct in thinking you could not kill them, but had no idea that your intervention could breach the fabric of that unwholesome dimension.”

“And I suppose you read all that from my head while I was catching a few winks here, huh?” I said, mostly just to say something, anything to stop him from confusing me even more.

“By and large, yes. There are times when I may not enter a demesne without formal beckon, and while I did manage to see something of your travails, most of it came from your recent rememberings. What I failed to notice was the direction Boyd took, and now I can see that you are without knowledge of his whereabouts as well.”

“Okay, Vic, nobody knows where Boyd is so we got to find him somehow, but tell me this and no BS, okay? Is he dead or not.”

“Sad to say, he is quite dead, John. Had I freed myself from my own adventures sooner, I might have been able to save him, but Boyd Castanet is entirely absent from this world as a corporeal being. At least for now.”

I nodded and the pain in my head had subsided to the point that I only grunted rather than screamed. Boyd was really dead. This guy Vic was some kind of honcho over the things that went bump in the night but he was Boyd’s friend and to me that meant a hell of a lot.

“So can you hook up with his spirit or soul or whatever it is that pops on in and talks to me?” I asked.

“Probably, hopefully.” He answered as he helped me to stand. “I myself, my very essence was fragmented and scattered to a far distant shore and locating our missing companion will not be an easy task. On a positive note, none of our enemies know me to be back and will not interfere.”

“Speaking of our enemies,” I began as I dusted myself off and waited to get some strength back. On my feet I was an inch or so shorter than Tepecio, but nowhere’s near as broad across the shoulders. “I’m still a cop and even if I wasn’t I’d be looking for the skells that killed Boyd. I can’t let this go, Vic. Professionally and personally I can’t let this go so no offense but I’m still going to be looking to collar them.”

“And I would not think of hindering your search, John. For very many years I’ve been of some assistance to New York’s constabulary and will lend a hand to your investigation. But not now, not today. You need to get back in touch with your superiors and then retire for a time to heal. We will leave this place but return soon enough, so have no fears the miscreants will escape.”

Funny thing. I believed the guy. He just seemed so…so calm and full of vinegar at the same time that I didn’t doubt he’d help me. He placed a hand on my shoulder as he led me to the door and it opened easily under his grasp.

“Ever think that you missed your calling, Vic?”

“Beg pardon?” He answered, raising an eyebrow.

“Used cars, pal. Line like yours just begs to sell some old lady a clunker.”

Okay, I was feeling him out some, testing him. And I’ll admit that the belly laugh I got in return reassured me more than all the fancy ass words.

I think I can trust this guy.

[ END ]

©2002 Bob Yosco

 

 
 

Bob Yosco - Once again, Bob Yosco takes us on a tour of the strange streets of 13th Precinct...

Read previous issues:

One
Two
Three
Four
Five
Six
Seven
Eight
Nine
Ten
Eleven

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