Urban Fantasy Fantasy Crime

Detective Timothy O’Carter

             “Move to a smaller city”, they said. “There’s still interesting cases, but no gang wars, and you’ll get promoted faster”, they promised. “They” were right. But what they failed to mention was that in this smaller city, interesting didn’t begin to describe some of the cases that we dealt with. Most of them, actually, now that I think of it.

             My first case in this town had been a mass baby napping. If someone, somehow, stealing the entire preemie ward hadn’t been strange enough; it got even weirder once we caught the guy. Babies were totally fine, mostly asleep, not a scratch on them. The perpetrator, though. He never made it to his bail hearing, even. He wasted away in his cell overnight, the autopsy showing iron based heavy metal poisoning. Luckily, he didn’t seem to have any family so no one had sued the city for it. Most of our strange cases weren’t so large and showy, though.

             Like today’s fiasco. I worked my way up from a beat cop to Major Crimes. I was an actual goddamn detective. So why was I being sent to deal with noise complaints from a frat party?

             “Priska,” I ask my supposed partner. “Whose cheerios did you piss in this time?”

             “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He replies, trying to look innocent before going back to the mountain of paperwork on his desk.

             “I’m talking about this,” I put the file for this party disaster on his desk. “It’s nice that there aren’t any homicides to deal with today, but this?”

             “A noise complaint?” He looks perplexed. “How is there a whole file on a …” He gets deadly quiet for a few long moments, flipping through the file. I just take the time to finish off my coffee. “Did you read this?”

             “What’s to read?” I start to get up to find more coffee. “A frat party has somehow lasted more than one day, is louder than usual, and my partner has pissed off the chief enough - again - that we get to deal with it.”

             “What’s to read,” he answers me, “is that it’s lasted FOUR days now. And the 12 beat cops who went to shut them down over the last four days aren’t back.”

             “If we’ve got officers down, why isn’t swat going in? With EMTs?” Now I’m alarmed. This city is strange but they’re usually better organized than this.

             “Not down,” he clarifies, “just not back. The last ones to be sent reported seeing at least several of the others trough binoculars before heading in.”

             “So… hostage negotiators?” This still isn’t our job.

             “They saw them dancing, Tim.” He shakes his head. “They aren’t being held hostage; the party is contagious.”

             This is our job, and as much as I hate to admit it right now, we’re going to need backup.

Vivian May, PI

             It was a fairly boring week at my little agency. Nothing much had crossed my desk, just a missing jewelry case that I passed off to my best friend Richard. A werecoyote’s enhanced sense of smell is often enough to break that sort of case, but Richard’s low level psychic powers shine with this sort of thing, and he’s been bored (and broke) too. The big money in my line of work was in missing teenagers. Local cops don’t have the budget to look for kids who will probably wander sheepishly home in the morning, anyway, until they’ve been gone over night. Parents don’t usually want to hear that, so a friend on the force usually points them in my direction.

             The other sort of big money case I normally handle isn’t as exciting, but it is why my usual source of upset parents has dried up. Insurance fraud. It’s not flashy, and all kinds of people who normally wouldn’t commit crimes think it’s a great idea. People like Detective Timothy’s soon to be ex brother-in-law, for example. Which is why his sister is staying in his guest room, and his partner (and my good friend) Detective Priska hasn’t sent me any leads lately.

             When Priska calls me with something so weird that even Timothy is willing to deal with me, my ears perk up. Today might be an interesting day, after all. I talk them into meeting me at the local diner. If I can’t get involved enough to warrant a consulting fee, I at least want some free lunch. Shapeshifter metabolisms are no joke, even broke werecoyotes need to eat.


             I don’t like working with Vivian. First of all, even in a town this frigging weird, it’s irregular for cops to be working with a PI. If she’s so good at sorting out this strangeness, why doesn’t she just join the force? Ok, I guess that could be overlooked just because some of our cases were strange enough that we might not sort the out following the rules. But I’ve got a personal problem with her as well. My damned brother-in-law, well, ex-brother-in-law now… He’d been pulling some sort of insurance scam. My sister wasn’t in on it, which is why she ended up in my guest room after the insurance company hired Vivian. I know it’s not actually her fault. But, no grown man wants his older sister moving in with him.

             Also, she eats our entire petty cash budget every time we take her to lunch. I swear this gal has a hollow leg. She’s not an amazon at 5’9”, and athletic as opposed to slim but not over muscled. She eats like an ultra-marathon runner carb loading before a big race, though, seemingly every day. I just chalk it up to one more weird thing in this crazy town when she’s beat us to the diner, and ordered two huge club sandwiches with salads and fries. At least she already got coffee for all of us.


             I ought to stop eating like this in front of these guys. They’re like most of the normal people in this town, they wouldn’t recognize the supranatural unless it bit them. Hell, they might even tell themselves it was a dream or an art student’s prank if it did. A normal woman my size wouldn’t have my appetite, but using my enhanced werecoyote senses to solve cases without shifting to a coyote in the middle of the city - and getting animal control called on me (again) - took a lot of energy.

             Whatever, too late now. I finished my first sandwich and picked up the file they’d brought with them.

             “So, what strange nonsense do you have for me today?” I’m making light of it, because often it’s horrible.

             “Strange nonsense is the only way to put it,” Priska replies. “We have a frat party that’s been going on for four days now,” he raises one eyebrow, “that has somehow sucked in 12 beat cops who went to try to shut them down.”

             “Wait, what?” I put down my 2nd sandwich and pay attention. “That’s strange even for us.”

             Unfortunately, there isn’t much more in the file to go by. The first few sets of officers didn’t even take any notes, just went charging in. By the fourth set, someone assumed it was some sort of sonic attack and wore earplugs, at least. Not that it helped them. The sixth set got an eye on all the rest with their binoculars, and made note of the fact that they just seemed to be dancing, and went to try to talk sense into them. The three of us decide to just stay far enough away to be safe and carefully check it out.

             We’re still half a mile out when my nose tells me exactly what the problem is. It’s a Satyr. Yes, they’re real too, try to keep up. Ridiculous goat smelling, party loving, jerks. He’d play DJ for a week if no one stopped him, using his pheromones to pull more and more people in and feeding off their energy as they literally danced themselves to death. Fortunately, strong or not, they’re still herbivores. It shouldn’t take much for me to send him on his way. I’m turning to tell the guys that I’ll handle it when I realize it’s too late.


             For the life of me, I still can’t tell you why I went in there. I don’t want to dance; I hate to dance. I’m not here to party, I’m here to break it up. I feel possessed. It has to be drugs, that’s what we put on the report after so that has to be true, right? There’s no other rational explanation. Some aerosol version of a new party drug.

             Why it didn’t affect Vivian I’ll never know, but I’m glad it didn’t. I’m trying to keep an eye on her as I dance along with the crowd, just catching snippets of her silhouette between the strobe lights and the fog machine. Those can’t have been fangs I saw in her smile when she strode up to talk to the DJ. I must have been seeing things because of the drug. Whatever she said to him, though, worked. He turned as white as a ghost, and suddenly the music stopped.

             Someone turned on a normal light, and we were just looking at wreckage. People were collapsing where they stood, having danced for days. My partner and I got our wits back faster than the beat cops. We started calling EMTs, firemen, everyone really. There was something like 200 exhausted kids to deal with and no real answers. Maybe when I finished all this paperwork I’d put in a transfer back to the city, this town gets weirder by the day.

May 13, 2021 22:01

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