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Twins in Death: Chapter Eight – Part One

Twins in Death

A Tale of The Weirdo

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Chapter Eight: Concerning Birds and Clones

 

  

October 24th , 2002

6:47 p.m.

 

            Kestrel McLeary sat on a couch in the den of her Long Island home and looked at the television. She barely paid attention to the story; she was thinking of something else. She was thinking that she was a little too old and experienced to be making a slip-up like that one. She hadn’t just been seen, but photographed. She had looked right at the camera and gotten her damn picture taken as good as a mug shot. All while trying to take that stupid picture again. She didn’t even like The Scream, but it had been a pride thing. Take the painting instead of swiping jewels all the time, and she got caught for it, or thought that she had. The camera had looked right at her, it couldn’t have been helped.

 

            Then it had been those stupid diamonds, those goddamn stupid diamonds. She had only had them in her possession for maybe two hours before dropping them off, but they had somehow been connected to her. It was just supposed to be a little drop off to get a little money and apparently they had her.

 

            The people in her neighborhood had been avoiding her the last few days, the police had been asking questions. It wasn’t as if they didn’t know before, everyone had known who and what she was, or she thought they had. They avoided her nonetheless though and this marked difference in their attitude could only mean one thing really. The only question was when the police would come kicking the door down and slapping the cuffs on her. She wished they’d hurry up, as she was getting tired of waiting for them.

 

            She had more or less guessed the time of their arrival within a few hours. She knew the date, and that they would come in the evening. They didn’t need helicopters as far as they knew. They thought that they could just walk in on her. That wasn’t to say there wouldn’t be helicopters, since they used those whirly birds for everything these days. There wasn’t the sound of any helicopters just yet, but there wouldn’t be just yet would there?

 

            She was preparing for their impending visit in the fashion of all polite hosts. She had set out some cookies and a large bottle of very expensive whiskey. However, it was taking them an awfully long time to arrive, and she had already opened the whiskey. It would be a shame to let the whiskey go bad and turn to vinegar, so she figured she’d better start drinking. By the time she remembered that it was wine that had to be consumed immediately and not whiskey, she’d already consumed over half the bottle and once you’re at that point, why stop?

 

            She looked at the photograph again, a bad photo, but still her. Her face had been photographed in the act, which meant she’d been burned, connected to a crime. Thieves don’t really have what you might call a code of conduct, but they do have rules of thumb, one of which said you don’t keep working in a place if they have a photograph of you committing a crime. This rule, like most others, exists for a very good reason. She should have cleared out a while ago, she knew that of course, but she was tired. She had enough money to hire an excellent lawyer and simply the fact that so many countries wanted to have a word with her would keep her bouncing around for a while.

 

            She couldn’t think straight, the whisky rolling around inside her made things fuzzy at the edges. She felt that she had drank the first one to help take the edge off, and found the edge to be quite sharp and the dulling of it required a few more drinks than she had originally anticipated. Then of course whisky has that habit of not hitting you all at once, or at least it didn’t hit her all at once. By the time she had come to the conclusion that she was going to be drunk, she had already taken a few too many.

 

            She looked from the newspaper shot of her to the television where the newsreader was complaining about how violence had plagued the city again. They were showing footage of The Weirdo, trying to gather himself and chase after someone. Another shot came to the screen and the passing resemblance between the man in the red coat and The Weirdo was mentioned. The red man’s picture was kept on the screen for a long time and she watched it with great interest.

 

            Her attention was fixed entirely on the glowing screen, something about the smile on the face of the red-coated man looked familiar.  There was something about the two men which made her shudder. There was something there, something deep within her long disavowed memories. It was like having something stuck in one’s teeth that you just can’t get to. It wasn’t something that she could identify, but she knew it was deeply unpleasant. In a sudden move she clicked a button on the remote control, blanking the screen.  Still feeling chilled; she retreated from the den, wanting to not think about it any more.

 

            She walked out of the room and began to ascend the stairs, holding the rail to steady herself. The oak rail felt warm beneath her fingers, she moved up the cold stairs and looked around her with a sudden feeling of impending danger.  She looked over the loft where the stairway ended and glanced at the front room.  Something wasn’t right, and she could feel it.  She thought it had something to do with the twinkling of the lights outside, but it was hard to think past the alcohol. She looked outside and shook her head again, trying to remember what those particular lights meant.

 

            Moonlight shone down brightly through the enormous skylight, bathing her bed in its blue-white light.  She ran her fingers over the king sized bed and felt the firmness of the springs.  She thought of sleeping for a moment, as she was very tired, but that same danger instinct wouldn’t allow it.  Finally, she entered the adjoining bathroom and flipped on a light.  Standing before the whirlpool bathtub, she turned on the faucets, watching as the porcelain tub began to fill.

 

            She pulled her shirt over her head, tossing it to the tiled floor before stepping out of her jeans. The air felt cold, goose pimples rising on her flesh making her shudder a little. She looked around at the people who were assembling outside and moved more quickly. She had completely forgotten about the jewel theft, which had led them here, and forgotten about the photograph of her.

 

            She slid her left foot into the warm water and then lowered herself into the tub.  Flipping a switch on the small control panel to turn on the jets, she leaned back into the water with a sigh.  Her eyes unfocused, she gazed out the window at the blue and red twinkles and let her mind wander. The lights were so pretty. She wondered what they were. They were flashing brightly in red and blue, reflecting off the houses. She knew that she should have some idea what those lights mean but it was hard to remember.

 

            Her mind was sluggish with whisky and tears, moving like a drunk trying to negotiate his way down a particularly difficult street. It was a particularly old drunk, one who had wandered the streets for a long time and had been drunk nearly every night of his life. She didn’t have any memories left anymore because the booze had washed them all away, over a thousand nights. The old drunk of her mind slid from one lamp post to the other, trying to decide where to flop down for the night.

 

 

October 24th, 2002

7:00 p.m.

 

            “Keep those damn lights off!”  Detective Murphy yelled.  “God, do you wanna let her get away?”

 

            ‘The police were readying themselves for a raid on the house.’ Detective Murphy thought to himself. ‘The woman inside, known as Kestrel McLeary, was an oft suspected but never actually arraigned jewel thief.  She was very careful, very clever at covering her tracks, but someone had finally caught her in the act of taking a consignment of Swedish diamonds, though only on paper. They hadn’t been able to get her in America, until now. After that, it was only a matter of getting the warrants; and now, finally,  they could storm the house. They loaded the rubber pellet guns and gas guns, they were going to take this one alive. There was going to be no slip-ups this time, this time they’d take her.’

 

            It’s no use trying to make excuses, this is actually the way Detective Murphy narrated his life. What can you do with a person who narrates his life, particularly with such a bad script? He would have said all of this out loud had his men not been close enough to hear him. Here was the sort of man who put an unlit cigar in his mouth because while he liked to be seen with a cigar he couldn’t stand the smell of one lit. There is, I’m afraid, no hope for poor Detective Murphy. He wasn’t actually a bad guy, it was just that he wanted to be in an action movie. He wanted to be the kind of cop he had seen on TV as a child, and was terribly disappointed that he had been a real police officer. Starsky and Hutch never showed the massive amount of paperwork that was required. That being said, he was currently having more fun than he had ever had in his entire life.

 

            A shotgun was put close to the doorknob, Kestrel’s head slipped under water, holding her nose. The gun fired and the knob and surrounding door was suddenly pocked heavily. The heavy thick door ram, held by two officers, swung in and broke the knob away from the door. Kestrel raised her head above the water as the front door was flung violently inwards. The door smacked against a small table and knocked a cheap glass candlestick off the table. It didn’t break as it hit the wood floor, but it clanged loudly. In a flash of understanding, she realized what the twinkling light had meant.  She cursed herself for not seeing it earlier, and cursed herself again for allowing herself the weakness of getting drunk.  Even now her mind felt fogged, her muscles not quite in sync with her will.  Rising, as quickly as uncooperative limbs would allow, she got out of the bath and shook her head around to get some of the excess water off.  Then, fumbling for precious seconds with the latch opened the window as wide as it would go. One punch knocked the screen out to fall the ground a story below.  The rush of cold air revived her somewhat, clearing her mind just enough to think.

 

            She closed her eyes for a moment, focused her willpower, and her body began to shrink.  It seemed to waver, as it grew smaller, changing form.  Her bare legs thinned, flesh becoming scaled and toes become claws.  Her arms stretched out, becoming wings, and feathers replaced hair all over her body.  When the police broke into the bathroom, they found a mottled brown bird the size of a robin. It was in fact a Kestrel, the smallest of all falcons. It looked at them and shook its head in irritation.

 

            “What the hell is that?”  Murphy yelled.

 

            “It’s a bird, sir,” one of the officers said.

 

            The little bird flapped its wings and flew out the open sky light window.

 

            “Stop it!” Murphy yelled, but the bird was already gone. He could tell that with the bird probably went his current prospects for a promotion.

 

© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions

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April 13, 2013 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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