12 November 2013

Survivor: Chapter One (Urban Fantasy / YA)

Corporal Tavish Dixon stood in the captain's office at the CIS. He hadn't asked for this job. He didn't want this job. The Cold Investigations Squad was the place where all the oddballs and misfits in the Lexington Police Department ended up. Or at least it was until a year back when eight of its thirteen investigators died in the line of duty during some sort of terrorist attack on police headquarters. The CIS officers were trapped in their basement offices and had to fight their way out. A bunch of awards were handed out - most of them posthumously. However, the actual facts of the event were kept under wraps, “for reasons of national security.” Dixon had been visiting his brother in Versailles on the day of the attack and all he knew were the second hand stories, all of which seemed to agree that a group of sovereign citizen types tried to plant bombs in basement and tripped over the CIS offices.

After the attack, Lieutenant Martin “retired.” The new head of the squad, Captain Arnold Long, was hand picked by the Chief. Word was that he only took the job after the Chief promised that he would be allowed to pick his replacements from anyone in street patrol ranked sergeant or below. For the last year, CIS had been trying to poach any officer who showed promise and there was a fairly large amount of internecine fighting as officers tried to avoid a career destroying transfer and the captain in charge of Patrol Division did everything he could to keep his best young officers.  

Of course, none of that bothered Dixon much; he was the short, round guy who sat at the front desk. He didn't have to worry about anyone poaching him. Then he made the mistake of tripping over and single-handedly stopping a bank robbery. It wasn't like he had gone in all Call of Duty. He'd walked in to beg for a loan and three men opened fire on him; he just dove for the floor and shot at their feet. Nevertheless, there were headlines, medals, and a promotion to corporal. Then came the transfer orders.

Captain Long extended his hand to shake. "I know you're not happy about the transfer Corporal, but your handling of the robbery was too impressive for us to pass you up. Three robbers downed in less than thirty seconds. We need survivors like that."

"Corporal Dixon, Do you know what this squad does?"

"Sir, it investigates cases after the Violent Crimes or Theft Squads give up on them."

“I know that's what we do on the books Dixon. Did you know this squad has the highest mortality rate in the department – and I mean even before the terrorist attack?”

“Um, no sir.”

“Good. It's a fact that the department works very hard not to publicize. Anyway, you're right, we handle the things that the other squads give up on. However, they give up on a lot of them much sooner than you'd expect. We handle the weird things which don't exist.”

“Here are the basic rules Dixon. One: Invite no one into your home. Not even if you know them. They can walk through the open door themselves. Two: No one gets your blood or hair. Three: Always carry silver, wood, and iron.”

With that, the Captain ended the strangest interview Dixon had ever been through and walked him out to his desk. The squad room had six pairs of desks facing each other and his name was written on a small whiteboard hanging on the wall next to one: Corporal Tavish D. Dixon. The whiteboard above the desk paired to it had the name Sergeant Maria Sanchez on it.

That desk was covered with religious icons and on the wall above the whiteboard there was a three foot tall crucifix. The woman sitting behind the desk was in her mid-fifties with graying hair tied in a bun on her head. The dark green dress she was wearing had white frills around its collar and cuffs. She looked like the matriarch from a Telemundo soap opera.

“Sergeant Sanchez, we got you a new partner.”

She gave him a once over. “No way, Arnie. There's no way this kid can handle it.”

“You don't think anyone can deal with reality Sergeant, but this kid ran down a cephlapoid on foot. That's got to be tough enough.”

Maria gave the captain a strange look. “A cephlapoid? Some sort of demon?”

Captain Long just stood there. After a second, he shrugged and turned to walk away. “It's a joke. Sometimes I forget you don't have a television . . . or sense of humor. Take care of the rookie. He's a survivor.”

As soon as the Captain's door closed Sergeant Sanchez was on her feet. She put on a matronly sweater from the back of her chair and motioned for Dixon to follow her.

“Where we going, Sergeant?”

“We, Ducky, are going somewhere that I can throw you into the middle of a bunch of gators. You won't believe anything I say until we get this over with.”

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