Logs:The Gambler pt. 2

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The Gambler pt. 2

Counting Cards

Dramatis Personae

Mackenzie, BF, & Amy ST: WorldWeaver

20 June, 2017


Mackenzie recruits some help to track down The Gambler.

Location

Fallcoast Suburbs


Hey, it's not like Kenzi usually steals cars like this. Civic's are way too easy to steal to make it worth her while. "Yeah, I know it's crap," she says as she heads over to the passenger side of the car and opens the door, waiting for the delivery of the cleaning supplies. "But, when you're being chased by... you know, I could tell ya, but then you wouldn't believe I wasn't high. Hell, even I thought I had to be high to have seen what I saw. Anyway, it was sort of a case of steal whatever was closest and bug the hell outta there, yanno? But I got it now, so I got to do something with it. And why not make a buck, right?"

Hey, it's not like Kenzi usually steals cars like this. Civic's are way too easy to steal to make it worth her while. "Yeah, I know it's crap," she says as she heads over to the passenger side of the car and opens the door, waiting for the delivery of the cleaning supplies. "But, when you're being chased by... you know, I could tell ya, but then you wouldn't believe I wasn't high. Hell, even I thought I had to be high to have seen what I saw. Anyway, it was sort of a case of steal whatever was closest and bug the hell outta there, yanno? But I got it now, so I got to do something with it. And why not make a buck, right?"

BF watches the girl as she goes about her business, and looks back to Amy. "Sweet girl, did you give it any thought yet? Would you rather a cute custom bike, and I'll teach you how to ride right, or would you rather I get a bike with a bitch seat and you can hold onto me like you said while we ride?" As she goes about helping wash the car he frowns -- that's beneath a lady! But he doesn't say anything, because she can make up her own pretty mind. BF is going soft…

Mackenzie snaps on the rubber gloves and starts with just mopping up the excess blood with the paper towel. "thanks," she offers to Amy, not even a glimmer of a smile on her face now as it goes into Resting Bitch Face mode. It would seem that Kenzi knows what she's doing, or at least has done this before. She tries not to roll her eyes at the couple being ... well, couple-y. Just cause she thinks that emotions are an inconvenience doesn't mean other people do. To each their own.

Kenzi crosses her arms on the roof of the car and looks over to BF. "Cuz? You know any urban legends about a flying skeleton that likes playing cards?"

GAME: Amy spends 1 Willpower
====> Amy to Here <===========================================================
    Rolled 1 Success 
    < 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 6 6 7 8 >
=================================>  Intelligence + Occult + 3 [No Flags] <====

Amy recalls the story of the Raving Gambler. He's not a local legend, but something that's popped up in a few recent stories amongst voudons and mediums. It seems he has a strong relationship with the dead.

====> Mackenzie to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 1 Success 
    < 1 1 7 9 >
=====================================>  Intelligence + Occult [No Flags] <====

Mackenzie recalls the story of the Raving Gambler. He's not a local legend, but something that's popped up in a few recent stories amongst voudons and mediums. It seems he has a strong relationship with the dead.'

====> BF to Here <============================================================
    Rolled 3 Successes 
    < 2 3 5 6 6 8 10 10 >
====================================>  Intelligence + Resolve [No Flags] <====

BF remembers something popping up on the news about a month ago. A few people killed, and a witness said a skeleton in a brightly colored suit carved them up. They say they even had playing cards laying on the chests of the bodies, like signatures. He's pretty sure he knows what neighborhood it happened in.

Amy doesn't actually wash the car. Once the supplies are deposited the young, pale woman backs away before turning and moving to lean up against the doorway to the back entrance of the bar. Keni may have a bitch face, but Amy's is... devoid of any emotion. Not bitchy. Not kind. Just... there." From the pocket of the undershirt she pulls a thin silver case which is popped open as a clove cigarette is pulled from it. Tapped a moment. Put between her lips and lit. When Kenzi mentions what she's seen, Amy doesn't react except for a glance out into the darkness. Starring at something perhaps only she can see. "No," she finally states as her green gaze turns to BF, "Neither. I want to go shopping with you."

"And what're we gonna go shopping for, other than some nice sexy ridin' leathers for you?" He asks. "Custom bikes ain't bought in a store. And real riders ride custom." He nods, firmly. "Harleys, or Indians, or full-on customs like mine, bent by hand and fitted special. We're not gonna be looking at no European sport bikes, or fuckin' Jap rice rockets! My lady's gonna ride in style, either on her own, or with me." He frowns then.

"I seem to recall something about people killed by some skeleton in a clown suit cuttin' them up. I didn't pay it much mind, there's always something fucked up going on in this city, and me and Amy, we got bigger concerns. Why're you askin'? There was something about playing cards lying around. You know, like the killer leavin' his mark. I reckon I could find the neighbourhood it happened in, but it was a month past, Mackenzie."

BF draws a chrome cigarette case from his own pocket then, and opening it, looks between the fat, one-gram blunts of prime weed, and the also thick hand-rolled Drum filterless coffin nails. He chooses the latter, just in case they're going chasing clowns in the middle of the night, and lights it with, of course, a Zippo. He looks to Amy, with her cloves, and his nose wrinkles, but he grins. Everything she does is adorable, or drop-dead sexy. As he was once heard to romantically say, he bet even her farts are cute.

Kenzi pauses a moment to smile and almost purr at the mention of Harley's and Indians. But Mack isn't stupid. You don't go stealing a person's bike. That shit is personal and is very much likely to get a person killed. Most likely her. So yeah, bikes are just for looking at. At least the ones that aren't rice rockets or sport bikes.

Giving a sheepish grin, Kenz lifts her shoulders. "I bring it up cause, believe it or not, that is what I was driving away from. Tonight. So... yeah. And no, I'm not high. Wishing I was though."

Amy stares at BF now and it's a long quiet silence. Perhaps what he said about the skeleton in a clown suit just disturbed her on some deep, deep level... "I would like to get an idea of what customization to get, baby. So call it inspiration window shopping." Or maybe not. A finger taps the clove to ash it as she remains resting against the doorway. Seems like Amy has nothing to contribute to the current conversation.

BF eyes her. "Well, you can have a couple of good sniffs when you're done cleaning up, and then you can explain this and why should we go looking for it? Is it our problem?" He snorts, though he does look as Kenzi bends over to scrub a seat. Again, not dead. And keeping it in the family is what Skinners do best, or so the rumour has it. At Amy's words, he nods and grins. "We can ride up to a custom shop in Boston, see what they have, and hook up with some riders, see what kinda bikes they got, see what catches your eye and fits that perfect ass of yours just right."

As she starts to scrub the blood out of the seats with one of the wet rags, Kenzi's butt wiggles as she scrubs, giving BF a fun view. She looks over at the seat, pulling away to see how it looks. She thinks she's got the blood all off. It at least looks that way, which is usually good enough. "I said nothing about going after that thing! I just wanted to know that I wasn't going crazy. You have a flying skeleton clown with glowing eyes coming after you, you like to know what it is. Though, I would like to know that it's not gonna come hunting me down next time I'm in the area. That place is prime car locations and also good for some sweet drugs, yanno?"

As she starts to scrub the blood out of the seats with one of the wet rags, Kenzi's butt wiggles as she scrubs, giving BF a fun view. She looks over at the seat, pulling away to see how it looks. She thinks she's got the blood all off. It at least looks that way, which is usually good enough. "I said nothing about going after that thing! I just wanted to know that I wasn't going crazy. You have a flying skeleton clown with glowing eyes coming after you, you like to know what it is. Though, I would like to know that it's not gonna come hunting me down next time I'm in the area. That place is prime car locations and also good for some sweet drugs, yanno?"

BF scowls. "I don't want Amy in any kind of danger, so that's that. You can have your clown skeleton." Which, in truth, is weird for BF, not what HE imagined Keepers like, but then, he never could be sure, and the thought of that, or one of their minions makes his blood run cold. The thought of one coming to hurt, or take away his lady? That has his blood boiling, in spite of the knot of fear that grows in his stomach. "No, you stay here, Amy girl, and I'll go lookin' for this thing, in case it's, you know... Trouble."

Looking to the pair, Kenzi nods. He wants to protect his woman. Yeah, that makes sense. "Thanks cuz. I would love to just ignore this whole thing and pretend it never happened. But with my luck, I'll likely end up in that neighborhood again and that freaking Raving Gambler guy is gonna remember me and want to make my life hell." She gestures to the car, the freshly cleaned passenger seat. "Hop in. We'll go for a drive."

"No. I'm going with you, love." Another inhale of her clove before Amy flicks it off to the side to smolder out on the gravel. "I can... find a doorway for you and I, if we get into trouble." Whatever that means, Amy isn't elaborating on. "I'm not a threat, things don't attack me." A smirk as she regards BF at this, pretty much telling him he would be the bait. A glance to Kenzi, then back to BF.

BF looks to Amy, long and hard, and his jaw sets stubbornly. "Now, princess, you aren't gonna go puttin' yourself anywhere near harm's way. I need you safe and warm and wet to come back to. Give a man reason to fight, but don't tie my hands back having to worry for you. If something happened to my lady, well, there'd be so fucking much Hell to pay, but that wouldn't change that you got hurt, or took."

BF looks to Amy, long and hard, and his jaw sets stubbornly. "Now, princess, you aren't gonna go puttin' yourself anywhere near harm's way. I need you safe and warm and wet to come back to. Give a man reason to fight, but don't tie my hands back having to worry for you. If something happened to my lady, well, there'd be so fucking much Hell to pay, but that wouldn't change that you got hurt, or took."

Okay, the sappy sweet lovie dovie talk is starting to get a little nauseating. Lord save her from ever acting like this for anyone. Cause yeah, no finger required. "Hey, outran him in this thing once. 'Sides, it ain't the car, it's the driver that matters." Not that she wouldn't mind something a bit more punchy. "Your call."

BF smirks at that. "And just who do you expect is going to be driving? You're cunny-headed if you think it's anyone but me. And outrunning ain't the issue. It's running down, and over, if need be. And two tons of Detroit steel is better than that plastic jap toy, pure and simple. It's my bike, and I go alone, or it's my truck, and the pussy rides in back."

Amy just stares at BF when he talks to her, and says what he has to say. Amy is quiet for a very, very long time, and eventually she just gives a rolling shrug of her shoulders. "If that is your line of thinking." Her tone is awfully neutral. Maybe a bit too neutral as she regards BF, fingers curling into the material at her side a touch. And so, while BF talks to Kenzi about who rides where, Amy simply turns with a flourish to move back inside of the backdoor to the bar, shutting the door behind her.

As Amy turns to go, he turns to her. "Amy girl, where you going? Don't take nothing I said to her personal. You're my lady, and I'm just so damned fearful of something happening to you!" BF now in the unique position, in his thirty-something years, of calling 'honey, wait!' or the moral equivalent.

Kenzi's brows arch when BF goes all testosterone addled. "Cuz, listen, thanks for the help in getting the car cleaned, but I think I'll do this on my own. Cause cunny headed? Seriously? Pussy rides in the back? Yeah.. You should go and make it up to your old lady, cause you are in soooo much shit right now."

Getting into the car and slamming the door, she lets her magic fingers start the engine again. "Have a nice one, cuz. Feel free to look me up when you pull your head out yer ass."

BF looks after Amy, scowling, knowing something's fucked up, but damn it, he doesn't want her in danger! So he mans up, which means she'll get SUCH an ass-kissing later, and scowls at Mackenzie. "Come on then. In my truck."

Rolling down the window, BF's little cousin sneers. "Oh, so your old lady is pissed so you need some pussy for the back? Yeah, homie don't play that, cuz. Like I said, thanks for the help getting the blood off the seats and the info on this ghost thing, but I think I'll look into it on my own." Yeah, apparently, Amy isn't the only one mad at BF.

BF scowls at her, and in that case, he stalks off, pulling on his biker leathers, and setting the holster for his hand cannon under his arm. Fucking pissed at Kenzie for getting him in shit with Amy, fucking pissed that he's off looking for trouble, fucking pissed at the world right now. And so he goes out front, kicks his bike into life, and pulls away, knowing where he's going, and likely to beat Mackenzie there in any event. Keeping very, VERY alert.

The neighborhood they arrive in is nothing like the one Mackenzie was in before. It's a little suburb, quaint and nice. If it wasn't for the news and nature of their little trip, it's almost like the horror that occurred here prior has been swept away under the plastic lie of a nice, quiet neighborhood. The night time casts dark shadows everywhere, like heavy claws tearing against that false facade, daring truth to reveal itself.

Maybe Mackenzie gets lost then, ha! Show her for not getting in the back of the truck!

If Kenz realized that BF was mad at her for getting him in trouble with his old lady, she'd laugh in his face. No no, that was all you, cuz. All you. She drives back to where she was, not worried about who gets there first cause it's not a race. She just wants to make sure some weird ghost guy isn't gonna come hunting her whenever she's in the neighborhood she deal with the thing in.

Getting out of the car, Kenzi doesn't bother locking it. After all, she stole it. If someone else wants to steal it from her? Well, clearly they need the money for it more than she does tonight. She gets on her phone and dials up EZ Bit. "Yo, it's Kenz. So, tell me everything that happened before you ran into me. What were you doing there and what did the skelly guy look like before you shot him?"

BF cruises through the neighbourhood, at a slow roll then, looking about alertly, all senses peeled, really. Tense, and ready for anything, or so he hopes. Fucking skeleton reaper clowns included.

E-Z bit doesn't seem to expect the call, but he picks up quickly. Talking with a tone much harder than he held when Mackenzie met him prior, he bobs through a beat of an explanation. "Yo, girl! Glad you kept these digits. When you gonna come take the E-Z street?" he flirts, the smile almost driving right through the phone. "He's not like.. he comes out of that dude I shot. Like some kind of mess of black fucked up shit that just rips right out of his body. Soon as that creature comes out, the fucking guy just drops like a sack of bricks!"

"You gotta stay away from that shit, a'ight? Just turn away from it and never look back."

Too late. When they arrive, bright flashes seem to crack in the middle of the street, and reality rips itself asunder. A gateway of some kind opens, the very essence of death washing morbidly over the souls of BF and Mackenzie when it does. From it steps the thug Mackenzie saw, still tattooed, without so much as a single scar from the multiple gunshots she saw him receive before. His eyes wash over both of the people present, and a sick, dangerous smile begins to crawl over his lips. "The fuck y'all niggas want?" the large ebon man calls out, opening his arms out in a challange.

Kenzi laughs as E-Z flirts with her. How easily he forgets that she saw him so scared that he was shaking like a terrified toddler. "EZ, babe, you couldn't afford my rates," she tells him. She walks along, looking this way and that for some sign of a clue. "Hey, I'd love to just walk away, but if that thing has got my scent, then I need to know it. Cause frankly, I'm not avoidin' shit cause something is after me."

As the gateway opens before her and she finds herself somewhere that isn't Kansas anymore, that's for fucking sure. She nods her head to the man before her, recognizing him and hanging up the phone. She doubts that EZ is gonna be much help now. "Hey! Yer lookin' pretty damn fine for a guy that was full of bullet holes just a couple hours ago. How you feelin?"

BF is tattooed, and plenty scarred. And as this thing appears, he climbs off his bike and kicks the stand down, reaching into his jacket for his special bullets. Because fuck if he's taking any chances. "All right, you fucking evil shit, this ends now. You're not fucking with me, or my lady, or even the brat back there. Lord knows she could probably use a hard one thrown into her." And with that he takes aim…

Kenzi laughs as E-Z flirts with her. How easily he forgets that she saw him so scared that he was shaking like a terrified toddler. "EZ, babe, you couldn't afford my rates," she tells him. She walks along, looking this way and that for some sign of a clue. "Hey, I'd love to just walk away, but if that thing has got my scent, then I need to know it. Cause frankly, I'm not avoidin' shit cause something is after me."

As the gateway opens before her, out steps the victim that started all this mess tonight. She nods her head to the man before her, recognizing him and hanging up the phone. She doubts that EZ is gonna be much help now. "Hey! Yer lookin' pretty damn fine for a guy that was full of bullet holes just a couple hours ago. How you feelin?"

Her cousin gets another glare at his back. "Yeah, well, your limp noodle ain't gonna be doin' it, that's the fuck for sure," she retorts. She rolls her eyes, holding out her hands. This is some sort of spirit of death, so if death isn't part of the plan... "Before you start using bullets on something that eats them for lunch, why not try talkin' to him. Half the time, that's all they want."

=============================> Initiative Roster <=============================
13) Mackenzie                                                                 
12) BF                                                                        
 9) Bone Thug (npc)                                                           
==========================================================> 3 initiatives

Holding her hands out at her sides to show she is not armed, Kenzi approaches the apparition. She's heard spirits and ghosts for as long as she can remember, so this really isn't all that new. "Hey... so, you've been scaring a lot of people 'round this town lately. What's up? You seem a little pissed. Trust me, I get that. This town? There's a lot to be mad about. Talk to me?"

GAME: BF spends 1 Willpower with reason: shooting a thing!
====> BF to Here <============================================================
    Rolled 10 Successes for an exceptional success.
    < 2 2 2 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 >
=============>  Dexterity + Firearms.Handguns + 4 + 5 + 3 - 1 [No Flags] <====

Having satisfied the Marksman's Pistol's requirement by declaring his intent to kill this thing, the relic pistol seems to come to life in his hands, and he takes aim and fires, the loud report echoing through the area.

The thug takes the shot into the chest, and bucks back. His hand touches the hole, as confusion begins to whirl through his eyes. Even as that happens, he crumples to the ground, coughing up a strange, white smoke from his lungs. He's dying. So why is it, that when he looks up to BF, staring that gun down with a wild gaze, that he smiles, just as the light leaves his eyes and his corpse crumples to the ground.

As the thug falls to the ground with a bullet shot to the chest and a grin, Kenzi throws her hands up in the air. "Seriously, cuz? Well, at least we now know that your balls are bigger then your brain, cause that was literally stupid as fuck. You just told me that the flying skelly shows up around death, so you kill something?" Even as she says this, Mackenzie starts backing up, making sure that BF will be the closest target should the nastiness rise from the corpse. He may be family, but she's not dying for him. Nope.

BF watches as the strange, white smoke emerge from the slain gang-banger, scowling. How the fuck is he supposed to deal with SMOKE? "Mackenzie, if you have any ideas, now's the time for 'em!" He calls. That shot would have dropped a rhino, and it did drop the... shell? What the fuck is left!?

Groaning, the 'shell' begins to rise again. He pushes himself up, still coughing, still holding that hole in his chest. The pair can see his heart trembling, yet again beginning to beat once more as he struggles to take air in through a single lung. Yet, despite that, he lives--long enough to collapse again. However, as that happens, several tentacles emerge from his back, pushing out in front of him, slowly beginning to take form. Before both of their eyes, the Gambler forms, his smile wide and jeering, a skulls teeth stuck in a permanent grin. He's shuffling those cards. "Would you like to play a game?"

====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 2 Successes 
    < 1 1 2 3 4 5 7 8 8 >
=================================================>  3 + 3 + 3 [No Flags] <====
====> Sebastian to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 4 Successes 
    < 2 2 4 4 6 7 8 8 9 9 >
=================================================>  5 + 3 + 2 [No Flags] <===
====> Mackenzie to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 1 Success 
    < 2 2 5 6 10 >
=======================================>  Resolve + Composure [No Flags] <====
====> BF to Here <============================================================
    Rolled 0 Success 
    < 3 4 5 5 5 7 >
=======================================>  Resolve + Composure [No Flags] <====

Mackenzie is just stunned into inaction for a moment. "Oh! NOW you want to listen to my ideas? Mr. Shoot first and ask questions while you're running away for your life later?" She watches as the Raving Gambler rises and swallows the lump that rises into her throat. "Hey! Wow! Yeah, you know, I`ve seen enough Saw movies to know where this is going, so I'm gonna say no and just thank you for the offer." She keeps backing up towards the little car that has saved her life once today. "Ee-efbay? Aybemay ouyay ouldshay ackbay uppay owlyslay?"

BF snarls, "What the fuck did you just try to say, girl?" He asks, backing up. Raising his pistol and taking another shot, aiming for the Gambler's head.

GAME: BF spends 1 Willpower with reason: shoot the fucker in the head!
====> BF to Here <============================================================
    Rolled 10 Successes for an exceptional success.
    < 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 7 8 8 8 8 9 10 10 10 10 10 >
=========>  Dexterity + Firearms.Handguns + 4 + 5 + 3 - 2 - 1 [No Flags] <====

BF aims and pulls the trigger once more, fighting the cold grip of fear in his chest, as he fires, and another cannon like report sounds, and this time, the cold iron bullet shatters the thing's grinning, leering skull!

"What Skinner ain't fluent in pig latin?! Seriously cuz! And put down the fucking gun!!" Once again, Kenzi shows that her hands are empty. "I would just like to point out that I in no way endorse this man's behaviour and how I wanted to talk to you, manus to spiritus, and try to come up with some sort of arrangement."

BF looks long and hard at the remains of that skeletal horror, moving closer to inspect it. He keeps the hand cannon in hand, though, eyeing Mackenzie. "Watch your mouth, you already got me in shit with my lady. I oughta throw a fuck into you right here, for old time's sake. If you got anything to contribute, bring your ass up here and do it. I don't know what I'm looking at, except that it's shattered good." A definite tone of satisfaction at that.

The corpse of the creature fades away, back into those ephemeral tendrils. All that's left behind is the corpse of the thug, still sporting that massive hole in his chest.

"I got you in shit with your lady? No no, that was all you, asshole. Pussy in the backseat and all that chauvinistic bullshit" She comes closer to the spirit and squats down to it to look at it more closely. "I'm sorry. You didn't even get a chance, did you? May you now have some peace at least. I'm sorry I couldn`t help you." She then stands up and angrily shoves BF. "You ass! I told you we should TALK to it first! You have no idea what that spirit needed. What it wanted!" She's fumingly mad. "And I don't turn tricks no more, less I hafta. And frankly, I'm good enough with the cars and wallets that hooking is a last resort. And it's staying that way. My hooking days are over. You get that?"

GAME: Mackenzie spends 1 Willpower with reason: Evil Eye
====> Mackenzie to Here <=====================================================
    Rolled 1 Success 
    < 1 4 6 7 7 10 >
=====================================>  Manipulation + Occult [No Flags] <====

BF frowns. "You're the pussy, you stupid girl. She's a lady. She knows I'd never call her that, unless we was in the middle of fuckin' and it was pillow play." He kicks around the remains, and searches the dead man's body. "Who the fuck cares what it wanted? It was killing people, that's reason enough to put it down..."

GAME: BF spends 1 Willpower with reason: No Mackenzie Evil Eye!
====> BF to Here <============================================================
    Rolled 2 Successes 
    < 1 3 3 4 5 5 6 6 7 9 10 >
========================================>  Resolve + Wyrd + 3 [No Flags] <====

"Well, by the looks on her face? I'm pretty sure that she didn't see it that way." Kenzi's jaw clenches, her mind racing with images of the other Skinner just not managing to maintain an erection with his 'Lady' or maybe even moaning someone else's name at climax. That would be sweet. That blue eye of hers seems a hint paler for a moment, likely a trick of the light.

"God, you are such an idiot. It doesn't work that way. It may not have wanted to do the killing. And as you said, it only comes out when someone is killed. Speaking of which, you just killed a man in the street, so I'm leaving before the cops show up and I get arrested because of your stupid ass."

BF scowls. "I'm leaving, and I'm gonna make things right with my lady. No thanks to you. Why're you trying to bust my balls? Were you and this joker friends? Last I heard, you was running for your life from it. So you can come back to T&B for the night if you want, there's a couch, or you can go your own way, but you might want to consider being around family. You was so quick to play that card when you were knocking on my door. And no, I don't feel a damn bit of sympathy for this thing. "Things" stole away my Amy, and..." He pauses then, gritting his teeth, not saying any more. She's clearly not of the Lost, and wouldn't wrap her empty little head around what it meant to be took…

"Anyhow, you said you was up for a fix, I'll take care of you. Family favour and all."

Mackenzie's phone buzzes and she looks down at it and smiles. "Seems like Bobby just got out. I'm gonna do what a good family member would do and go get him and buy him a fucking beer. You go home to that Lady of yours who walks around your bar in your undershirts. Yeah, cause that's fuckin' classy as shit. And yeah, the thing scared me, which is why I was asking you about it. I didn't want to kill it, I wanted to learn why it was so mad. Cause maybe it`s spirits mad like that that did the stealing that I always got blamed for, ya prick." She starts to walk away, heading back to the Civic. It's not a great car, but for the next couple of hours, it's hers. And as she walks away, she flips BF the bird without even checking to see if he's noticed she has done so.

BF's eyes narrow, and his voice cracks like a whip. "You watch your mouth about Amy, or you'll be short a few teeth, you hear me!? It's sweet, when a lady wears a man's shirt like that. And if you saw, everyone there, all the bikers, didn't give her none, because I busted the jaw of one who mouthed off at her. And the girls treat her like royalty. Which as far as I'm concerned, and you're concerned, she is. You got it?"

Moving to his bike, he kicks off the stand and mounts it, kicking it to life, and pulling off into the night before someone does show up, and cause him grief.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—

Merely this and nothing more.

To Mr. Reginald Harmon, a resident of 1616 Nightingale Lane, the flashing red and blue lights that jilted through his window were nothing more than a bad memory come to visit him yet again. The corpse this time was different--it wouldn't cause a vacancy on the street, it belonged to a stranger, but the entire neighborhood moved a little slower for the week after it all the same. The stench of death lies heavy over ones home, and a repeated visit can tear the life away from even the most jovial of residents. For the Harmon household, it's that much worse.

Dealing with the Peasant family in the morgue was a clinical, sterile affair. Though they were his neighbors, he had a job to do and to do well. It’s with a certain level of emotional detachment that one becomes a mortician, and as such this feeling of dreamlike separation from the things he’s seen and done are an altogether familiar feeling. However, this corpse was different.

No one knew the name of the young black man found dead on Nightingale. What he did know, however, was that this fellow had a deck of cards in his pocket of the exact same brand that were found on the corpses of Mr. and Mrs. Peasant. Cutting him open was a visceral and real experience, like some vengeance was gained even though none was to be had. What’s odd, he remembers, is that by the time a week had passed, the corpse had seemed to heal--ever so slightly.

The ongoing investigation delayed the young man’s disposal. He earned a home in the morgue with a few other semi-permanent residents, kept cold, and comfortable, and preserved. Mr. Harmon always felt it more comfortable to be around the dead than the living, even when they did die on his street--the dead don’t visit harm upon one another. It was when the door to the Nightingale corpses drawer flew open that he was suddenly, and oddly, reminded that his philosophy teacher told him to never speak in absolutes.

Mr. Harmon appeared to have died of natural causes. The missing corpse of the man found on Nightingale Street was ruled out as the biggest inventory mishap since 1968 for the Cherrywood Funeral Home, no doubt caused by Mr. Harmon’s deteriorating health. The aura of death grows stronger.