Unwoven Threads

Submitted into Contest #182 in response to: Start your story with a home alarm system going off.... view prompt

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Crime Mystery

Danny blinked awake to the red light blinking next to his bed on the table, next to a shot glass and an alarm clock - almost in sync with a lightning flash outside:

Someone had tripped his DYI home alarm system.

He didnโ€™t own a gun for various reasons, so he quietly reached for the fighting baton he kept under his bed. Creeping out of his small room and into the hallway, he saw yellow light pouring out of his dining room. Either it was someone wanting to be noticed or a trap to distract him.

Doing a dodge roll into the kitchenette, he stopped right in front of the intruderโ€™s fuzzy snoot.

โ€œBravo!โ€ The intruder said as she poured herself some cold coffee from the night before.

The famous investigative journalist - and meerkat beastial - Amber Zazueta was sitting at the dining room table in her classic short skirt and mischievous grin.

Danny caught his breath and rolled his eyes. โ€œWhatโ€™re you doing, Amber? Trying to give me a heart attack?โ€ He wandered over to the table and poured himself some coffee. โ€œYou on the run again?โ€ He asked.

โ€œNice to see you, Danny. You look like hell.โ€ Danny sighed as Amber continued. โ€œSorry for not calling ahead - pays to be paranoid. Yeah: itโ€™s one of those weeks. I think you might want to disappear too.โ€

Dannyโ€™s eye twitched as he pulled up a chair. โ€œWhat do you mean by that?โ€

โ€œI was following that lead in your last podcast. Those headless statue sightings in the area and all that. Somethingโ€™s off about this town.โ€ย 

โ€œFirst of all, kudos on finding me,โ€ he said. โ€œShit. I guess itโ€™s okay that the world-renowned investigative journalist meerkat found me. I wonder who else has.โ€

โ€œThatโ€™s why I didnโ€™t knock,โ€ Amber said, sipping some caffeine.

Danny heaved another sigh. โ€œHave... have you been seeing โ€˜em too?โ€

Her ears twitched. โ€œThe statues? I only caught a glimpse of one. Then it was gone.โ€

Her claws drummed against the counter. โ€œStrange, this makes me think of our old days when you were studying at Varunkirk.โ€ย ย ย 

Danny shook his head and cradled his throbbing forehead in his hands. โ€œYeah. My brother and his friends would hang out there - Uh, at this statue that resembles what weโ€™re talking about. Some weird statue with wings and a long tail... and no head... in the woods near an old graveyard.โ€

โ€œItโ€™s a good thing I havenโ€™t paid my mortgage on this place yet,โ€ Danny said, petting the linoleum.ย 

Amber looked up at the ceiling and scratched her furry chin. Her tail did that dance Danny was familiar with - the one it did when she was thinking.ย 

โ€œAlways found it odd. That graveyard was from the 19th century. Yet why did that statue have a tail, there were no beastials in the world yet. It seemed like something out of place. Like it was placed there later to blend in.โ€ย 

โ€œI didnโ€™t really realize that,โ€ Danny said. โ€œI guess beastials are so commonplace that...โ€

โ€œFalse. Weโ€™re not very commonplace at all. Youโ€™re just used to us.โ€ย ย 

Danny shrugged. โ€œLetโ€™s go to the basement, where my notes are.โ€ย 

โ€œSure.โ€ Amber nodded. โ€œGet everything you need. Iโ€™ll swap notes with what I have.โ€ย 

Danny picked up his baton, reached over the table and pulled the light string. In the basement, the setup was more to Amberโ€™s liking: an old computer, several chalkboards, and even a bulletin board with photos and string.

โ€œYouโ€™ve been busy I see,โ€ Amber said, straightening her skirt as she descended.

โ€œRemember that test cheating ring we uncovered?โ€

โ€œHa!โ€ Amber said. โ€œTook down all of Alpha house with that. That was a fun episode of your podcast.โ€ Danny chuckled wearily.

Amber smiled as she continued to tour the room, her sharp teeth prominently displayed. She stopped at the bulletin, unable to pull herself away.

โ€œIs this the mayor of this little to-- Yes, of course! Something was off about her. You know she wasnโ€™t startled by my appearance at all? Then there were her eyes. Sort of purple, and she seems rather youthful for one at her age, no wrinkles, or much gray hair to speak of. Did you come here following a lead?โ€ย 

Danny smirked. โ€œWell, sheโ€™s an interesting link to... several ongoing cases.โ€

โ€œI can see: lots of yarn leading to her picture.โ€

Danny walked over to the board. โ€œSheโ€™s interesting, thatโ€™s for sure. This whole townโ€™s interesting. Lots of beastials nowadays, but back in the eighties there was only one family.โ€ The lights fizzed and flickered as the storm outside poured and raged.

Amber looked interested, her tail twitching. โ€œA family of beastials lived here? How did you come by this?โ€

Danny laughed. โ€œOh no, on the next street over. Itโ€™s a nice house: couldnโ€™t afford it. I had to settle here. Well, do you remember Oskar Meadows? A deer bestial and the first bestial to reach officer in the Air Force.โ€

Amber nodded, โ€œHe retired in Reach City with his family. Daughter is in StarFire at Reach. I think her nameโ€™s Autumn.โ€ย ย 

โ€œThatโ€™s the one. Autumn had some interesting stories about this town. She didnโ€™t say names, but she did mention something else: Something about a headless angel with a long tail.โ€

Autumnโ€™s eyes widened. โ€œAll the way back in the eighties? How far back does this thing go?โ€ย ย 

Danny looked out of a little window onto the rapidly drowning front lawn, then went up the staircase to lock the door just as an appropriate flash of lightning made the lights flicker again.

โ€œShe mentioned something about having memory lapses from the eighties. She had a dream that she saw the thing in a video game. I canโ€™t make sense of it: this... this really is frightening me, Amber...โ€

Amberโ€™s ears twitched. โ€œYeah me too. I donโ€™t have all the pieces, neither do you. But we should probably get out of here soon. I think someone is catching on to you. Do you have somewhere to go? Iโ€™m headed back to Reach. I think thereโ€™s resources there. Maybe more missing pieces.โ€ย 

Wordlessly, Danny moved the bulletin board. Yarn that Amber didnโ€™t see in the dark light of the basement moved and unfolded. Behind it was another bulletin board, and at its center was an outline and the word โ€œMethuselah.โ€

โ€œMethuselah? Like the biblical story?โ€ Amber asked. โ€œThat a codename?โ€ย ย 

Danny gulped. Even though the basement was cold, his forehead was sweating. โ€œYou headed to Reach, Amber?โ€ He asked, slow and quiet as he stared at the black outline and the single word beneath.ย 

Keeping his gaze on the mysterious picture, he craned his head over his shoulder. โ€œThink theyโ€™d mind if I tagged along?โ€

January 27, 2023 16:15

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4 comments

Maxim Meleca
04:27 Feb 01, 2023

Part 2 please

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Hey Maxim! Thank you for the vote of confidence! There are clues as to what they are referring to buried in Veilwinter.com - my story site ;)

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M B
16:19 Jan 27, 2023

Love that my Amber had a prominent role here.

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