Prompt Short Story: Danson

Danson

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     ]

Danson rested his head on his desk for a moment, relishing the cool of the plastic on his burning face. Being sick during an investigation was a nightmare, but here he was, bunged up and phlegmy and even more red-faced than usual.

Jase had sent him to work with a flask of broth and crusty bread rolls, and a small box of drugs to combat the cough and sinus headache, but as the day wore on it was slowly dragging him down.

Egs, on the other side of the desk, leaned over, “You need to go home. Sleep. Rest a couple of days. I’ll keep you updated and you won’t make yourself even more sick.”

Danson hauled himself upright, wincing at the sharp stab of pain through his skull, “I’m good, just need more of those pills is all. Besides, what’re you gonna do without me here?”

Egs rolled her eyes, “Without a giant, hawking, dripping slab of beef hovering around to infect everyone? What could I possibly do?”

Danson chuckled a little, then coughed loudly and deeply, “I’ll knock off soon as we’ve seen that woman you looked up.”

Egs sighed, “Aright, let’s go do that now, then.”

After the ghost sighting the night before, Egs had made discreet, and somewhat embarassed, enquiries, and had found Dr Erin Yates, a PhD in Paranormal Studies, nearby. On speaking to her over the phone, Egs had been impressed by the warmth of her tone, and interest in helping – despite not knowing what help she could be – and she had invited them to her home office. She had further impressed Egs by saying she didn’t mind her partner being sick, she had a very strong constitution, just ask him to bring tissues as she had very delicate equipment that could do without being sneezed on.

On hearing this Danson had grunted once, “Normally that’d be the weirdest thing that’d happened in the last day or two, but not anymore.”

Now, heaving his bulk up from the desk even more ponderously than usual, he shuffled his jacket on, reaching in to unruck his sleeves, check his holstered weapon, and confirm his badge was in the inside pocket.

Egs likewise dressed herself for the outside, grabbing a file of carefully chosen information to show to the Doctor in order to seek her help.

Together, they left the station and Egs drove them to the Doctor’s address, a large, pleasantly-kept, detached house on a nondescript street on the outskirts of the city.

The woman who answered was short and plump, with a messy ponytail and a cheerful smile. Inviting them in, they saw the ground floor of the house was crowded with equipment they couldn’t even begin to guess the purpose of.

Seeing them looking, Erin – they must call her Erin, she told them – began to explain some of them. Getting only blank looks in return, she grinned merrily, “I suppose it is all a foreign languge to anyone not in the way of it. Don’t worry, you don’t need to know what any of it does, here’s my office, do sit down.”

The office was surprisingly tidy, given the rest of the downstairs. Situated at the back of the house, looking out into a neatly tended garden, the room housed a desk, a leather office chair, three comfortable armchairs on casters scattered around the room, easily moveable across the polished, hardwood floorin, and a comfortable-looking pullout sofa with a blanket folded at one end, and pillows on top. In the far corner was a mini fridge and various hot drinks equipment, with coffee percolating on a machine as they entered.

“Coffee? I promise it’s better than whatever you’re used to at the police station,” she smiled at their eager nods and poured both a cup, adding milk and sugar on request. “Also, for you,” she presented Danson with a bottle of pills, “Herbal only so they won’t affect anything else you take, but they might help with the cold.”

Danson accepted a dose, and the rest of the bottle when pushed, and closed his eyes in pleasure at the taste of the coffee.

Erin sat on the third of the armchairs, bringing it around to face them, and her smile dropped as she got down to business, “So you said on the phone I may be able to help with a murder? Of course, if I can help at all I will, do tell me what you need.”

Egs handed her the file, “This is what I’m able to release to you, on the understanding of it’s privacy.”

Erin nodded, “Of course, of course,” she began looking through. “Oh, how terrible, this poor young woman.”

“In there is what we know, the technical details and all, but if you’ll allow me to give you a brief precis so we can get to what we need?”

Erin nodded, following along in the file to register the finer points.

“The victim was Janice Copperton, killed as she left work. We first assumed she was killed by the blow to the head, but after the examination it seems she remained alive after this, which means the symbols we found carved into her in various places were begun as she remained alive, though we believe she did die during this process. We arrested a suspicious person, and questioned some witnesses, and so far haven’t found any solid leads, just lots of grey area – but you’ll find abridged versions of the interviews in there so show you that.

“Drew was a solid suspect, until the drug tests came back and we found traces of rohypnol in their system. It’s possible someone tried to frame them and we got to their bloods a bit earlier than expected, because according to character references we took, they have never showed signs of violence – quite the opposite in fact, they avoid conflict even to the point of allowing injury to themselves rather than fight back. So while they technically remain a suspect, we don’t really suspect them anymore, and it’s always possible the drugging was simply a coincidence.

“You can catch up on that information, though. What we came to you for is something more along the lines of your specialist interests.”

Erin looked up and closed the folder, “I suspect I won’t find any of this in here, please, go on, and I can assure you of my discretion.”

“Well…” Egs hedged for a moment, then took the plunge, “The victim’s ghost came to visit me. Danson saw her, too.”

Erin nodded, and leaned forwards, her brown eyes intense, “Tell me everything, every detail, no matter how small.”

***

Finally home, Danson gladly divested himself of clothing, made strong tea, used it to take more pills, and took himself to bed. Feeling foolish, even by himself, he took one of Jase’s pillows and cuddled it, enjoying the comforting scent of his boyfriend – musing on the previous night’s conversation where that had become their official status – as he drifted off to sleep.

Later, as the sun set, he started awake from strange, dark dreams that reminded him of his childhood though, as they faded, he couldn’t recall why.

He sat up and shook his head to clear it.

“You look rough, my dear,” said voice, both familiar and yet not.

He looked up to see his mother, long dead and barely remembered, sitting at the edge of the bed, looking concerned.

Unlike Egs’ ghost, this woman was solid-looking, real-looking. He reached to touch her, and his hand felt the cotton of her clothing, a solid arm beneath.

“I’m hallucinating,” he whispered. One of his reccent dreams returned briefly to mind, something about the day his mother died. He shook it away, “No, you can’t be real.”

She smiled softly, “I’m real, in a way. I came to warn you. This murder you investigate – yes, I know about it, I’m your mother, I keep an eye on you – is more dangerous for you than you know.”

“What? Ma, how can you be here? If you can do this, why never til now, and what do you mean dangerous?”

“Oh I’m often with you son, don’t you hear me in your head when you try to make the right decision? When you don’t know which way to turn?”

“I-maybe? But that’s just me, making your voice into the voice of reason. Ma, you died, you stopped being able to tell me how to live my life.”

“My beautiful boy, I’m your conscience, since I died and couldn’t be a mother to you that’s been my one job.”

Danson shook his head in frustration, “What?”

“Oh not like you’re thinking, I’m no Jiminy Cricket – I can only try to help when you’re lost, when something inside you cries out for me, for a moment I get a chance to help. But this is different, son you have to listen to me, please, put your confusion aside, and just know I’m here to help, I don’t have much longer.”

Danson closed his eyes for a moment and summoned his strength, “OK ma, I’m listening.”

“I can’t pinpoint anything but I sense the danger, something from your past and mine that I thought was over has returned, and you’re caught up in it. I never wanted that. I made a mistake and I didn’t mind paying for it, but never you, my dear son, never you. They’ll come for you, and for Egs, once they realise who you are. I’ll try to protect you but you must believe in the things you see.”

The figure reached out and stroked his cheek, flickering and fading away.

As Danson wept, trying to cling to the sight of her, the front door opened and closed, and a moment later, Jase entered the room.”Hey big fella, hey – hey…”

Jase dropped the bags he was carrying and climbed on the bed with Danson, wrapping himself around him as well as possible and pulling him down, “I’m here, love. I’m here,” he whispered, “Everything’s ok. I’m here.”

Danson curled as much of his bulk as he could into Jase’s arms and shuddered through his tears, hearing one last echo of his mother, “This one is good for you, son. Keep him safe, and he’ll keep you safe, too.”

Writing prompt used:

20

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Prompt Short Story: Egs

Egs

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     ]

Egs woke slowly, the feeling of something being not quite right invading her sleep. Rarely restless, and almost always level-headed, it took her a few minutes to realise both that she had woken up, and that she was scared.
She shook herself mentally, then physically, and sat up to look around. Everything seemed normal. She reached over to shake her wife awake, to look for reassurance that all was well in the deepest reaches of the night, before remembering there was nobody to shake. Not anymore. Just the lingering remnants of a relationship that had fossilised long before Wendy fell in love with someone else.
With no comfort there, Egs climbed quietly out of bed, opened the sturdy locked drawer in her nightstand and removed her police issue glock, unlocking the trigger guard and bringing it into the crook of her left shoulder, Specialist Firearms Officer training from her pre-detective days coming smoothly into play. A lap around the house, just to check everything was empty and locked up, should do the trick.
Of all of the things that sped through her mind, from an intruder to a car backfiring, that might have woken her, none of them included turning the corner to the living room and seeing the ghost of the murder victim sitting in her favourite armchair.

Egs stood perfectly still as the ghost turned to look at her, dripping pale white gore from the back of her head.

“Help. Me.” The ghost whispered, air scraping through lungs that no longer existed.

Egs shook her head to clear it, rubbed her eyes, looked again. The ghost was still there.

“Help. Me.” The ghost repeated.

“Are-are you Alison?” Egs asked, wincing at the quavering in her voice.

The ghost nodded slowly, carefully, as if it hurt to move.

“How – I mean you’re dead, how can I help you now? I’m trying to find who did it, if that’s what you mean.”

The ghost shimmered, “Trapped. Now. Please. Break. Chains.” Each word seemed to make her paler, as if the effort drained her energy.

“Ok, just…just hold on a minute,” Egs paced back to her bedroom to grab her phone, returning to the living room expecting to find the ghost gone. But there she remained, a little more solid after recovering from speech. “I’m gonna call my partner, ok? I trust him with my life, and anyone else’s.”

The ghost – Alison, Egs reminded herself firmly – made that pained nodding motion again.

***

Danson groaned and detached himself from the twink he was currently sleeping with, padding out of the room with his phone as he answered, “What’s up, Egs?”

Egerton hesitated, which was unusual, and he frowned, “Egs?

“Well.. I’ve got a ghost in my living room.”

Danson grunted, “Funny. Look I know you don’t like-”

“This isn’t about your leather bar pickups Danson, I swear, and I’ve repeatedly said I was sorry about that whole thing, so can you stop bringing it up? No I have an actual ghost. In my living room. Asking for help to break the chains that hold her here. Oh, it’s Alison, by the way, complete with smashed in head.”

Danson leaned against the wall and brushed a meaty hand down his beard, “A ghost.”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t believe in ghosts and I know you don’t either so-”

“I mean til now I never believed they existed, but this one is staring right at me, and talking to me.”

Danson heaved himself off the wall and plodded back to his bedroom, “I’m coming over, keep the ghost there if you can cos I’m not believing this til I see it too.”

“Fair enough, I’ll do my best, see you in few.”

Danson grunted again as the phone cut off. He dressed quickly in jeans and a t-shirt, one a previous partner had bought him because it showed off both his size and his muscles, and gently shook his current beau awake. “Jase? It’s alright, stay asleep, but I gotta run out, work stuff. I’ll try and be back for breakfast, but if not I’ll see you later.

Jase mumbled and flailed a hand out, finding Danson’s knee and patting it in acknowledgement, before rolling over in the big bed.

***

Egs made coffee and toast in the kitchen, watching the ghost over the breakfast bar as she did so, waiting for Danson to arrive. He didn’t live far, so it wasn’t long before headlights hit her window and she heard the creak of his handbrake and gentle clunking of his car door.

He opened the door, a greeting half out of his mouth, then stopped dead as he saw the ghost.

She hadn’t moved from the chair, but her head was now turned around, facing him while her body continued to face the other way.

Egs dropped coffee and toast on the coffee table as she went to close the front door, and waited for him to speak.

“What the fuck, Egs?”

Egs shrugged and shoved toast into her mouth.

“Help. Me.” Alison pleaded, “Trapped. Please. Break. Chains.” Each word made her shimmer and grow paler, almost disappearing.

“Can you tell us anything about who has you trapped or how to fix it, or who killed you?” Egs asked.

The ghost opened her mouth to speak, but the effort was clearly too much, and she shimmered away, leaving empty space where she once sat.

“Ok but that was real, though,” Egs said immediately.

Danson tilted his head from side to side, not even realising how cold the room had been until it now began to warm up. “I guess so, but I still wanna examine everything to make sure.”

Egs nodded and the two of them spent the rest of the night checking every nook and cranny of the living room and kitchen area, finding nothing, until, sun coming up, they both gave in, exhausted.

“Yeah, I think you have a ghost there, Egs.”

“I think I do,” she agreed. “One who was murdered and is now trapped, somehow, and wants us to help. It’s all gotta be part of the same thing – her murder and this, right?”

“Finding it hard to sell this as coincidence so let’s go with yeah unless we find out otherwise.”

“So now what? We can’t exactly tell anyone or use her a evidence. And where should our priorities be – solving her murder or helping her move on?”

“Hopefully one will help the other,” Danson shrugged. “Short of anything else to do, I say we keep on the murder and follow whatever else we find, if anything, in our own time.”

“Own time,” Egs rolled her eyes, “So much of that we have.”

Danson grinned, “Well, guess we gotta make some.”

Egs rolled her shoulders and stood, “Well I’m gonna make some to sleep in right now. Spare bed’s yours if you want it – you know where everything is.”

Danson stood and shook his head, “Nah, I can grab couple hours sleep at home then get breakfast made for me when Jase wakes up, but ta.”

Egs stopped and examined him for a moment, “You’re getting serious about this one, huh?”

Danson hesitated, a flash of fear darting across his face at the idea, and then nodded.

Egs nodded back, “Then I’ll make a proper effort, dinner date soon, ok?”

Danson smiled, his tiredness lifting for a moment in the face of genuine pleasure, “Thanks Egs.”

“Yeah, yeah, bugger off, I’m going to bed.”

Danson guffawed and let himself out, closing the door securely behind him. Serious with Jase? Scary thought, that. And yet maybe…not so much. When this case – and this ghost shit – was all over, maybe some commitment was called for. He smiled to himself as he put the car in gear and rolled on home, back to bed and the gorgeous guy he was falling in love with.

Prompt used

8

If you enjoy the stories and blogs on my site, please share them, every one of those helps.
And if you really enjoy them, please check out my Patreon, or the tip jar on the sidebar to the right, and consider helping me do more and better things!
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Prompt Short Story: Vicky

Vicky

(WIP, Untitled supernatural murder mystery)

by

Lee Hulme

[All stories in this series:
1: Drew     2: Vicky     3: Egs     4: Danson     ]

Egerton walked out of interview room 2, resisting the urge to slam the door behind her. She shook her head at her partner, Danson, and stalked off to the coffee machine, punching buttons and grabbing her cup so hard she almost crushed it.

“Easy, Egs,” Danson slouched over, hands in his pockets, his blotchy red skin looking sickly in the flourescent light.

“Easy?” Egerton turned on him, the hand not holding the coffee reaching up to run through the long side of her bleached undercut. “Right. Easy,” she sighed and took a gulp from the steaming cup, “Ow! Fuck!” She snatched it away from her mouth, spilling some over onto her light brown hand.

Danson hid a smirk, “Want me to try her?”

Egerton shook her head, grabbing some paper napkins from the holder by the machine, “I’ll give it another go. I think she’s intimidated by me, never mind you.”

Danson looked down at himself. He was large in every way. Height, stomach, even his voice – and he wasn’t against utilising this against a suspect but this was a witness, and one already shaking with terror at that. “Fair.”

“Alright. One more go. I’m sure she knows something but…hell I’m not convinced she even remembers what she knows never mind being able to tell me,” Egerton shook her head, punched the machine for a hot chocolate to take with her, and headed back into the interview room.

The woman was leaning forward on the table, head on her arms. She looked up, coppery hair pulled back from her face, muddy green eyes bleary with lack of sleep, when the hot chocolate was placed in front of her.

Egerton glanced up at the camera, confirming the red light was on, capturing all video and speech, before sitting down and opening the light red folder on the desk, spreading out a series of crime scene photos.

All of them showed a light-skinned body, lying facedown in a patch of muddy grass, the back of their head crushed. Some zoomed in on other features – crushed fingers on the left hand, left knee bent awkwardly out of shape, clothing torn around the waist and neck from a struggle. The victim had quickly been identified – being one of the bar staff made tht easy enough, but Egerton was delibertely holding back most of the information she already had, seeking to pry out any knowledge Vicky might have, without leading her.

The witness herself was a study in just-about-functional drug addiction. She held down a job – barely – as a dispatcher for a local taxi company. She paid rent, bought just enough food to remain alive, and spent the rest on a daily cocktail of uppers and downers, somhow dragging herself up and out regularly enough to work for more money to continue the cycle.

“Vicky, hey, wake up a little longer for me, ok?” Egerton nudged her gently. “Take me through this one last time and I’ll get someone to drive you home.”

Vicky shoved herself upright enough to pull the hot chocolate closer. Inhaling the scent seemed to energise her a little and she nodded.

“Tell me again, then,” Egerton leaned back in her chair.

“Went out to a couple places, got my stuff from the dealers and went to the Cross n Rose to mellow a bit, didn’t wanna go clubbing, so…” Vicky trailed off and blew on her drink before taking a sip, her gaunt features reflecting the grey of the stark room. She smoothed back her ponytail and continued. “So there’s that girl, and I see her before, she’s a’right, like most the ones in the Cross, she don’t bother me an’ she knows I come in on stuff but I never do it in the place so she’s cool. An’ she says hey, an’ gives me my drink, an’ she’s off. An’ that’s all I know til I come out later and goes for a walk, cos it gets hot an’ I like the air. So I’m walkin’ over the grass an’ I almost falls over her. I didn’t know who she were at first but I called you lot in an’ waited, an’ I been here all night since,” she looked up at the window, set high in the wall, a solid mesh allowing no more than a trickle of sluggish sunlight through.

“You have to have seen something else,” Egerton pushed. “Someone she spoke to – her name’s Alison, by the way, which you know because I told you. What do you not want me to know?”

“Nuthin,” Vicky grumped into her drink.

“Did you see her talk to, maybe leave with, someone? Did you see someone with her while you were outside? Did you maybe help – we found her blood on you, Vicky.”

“Cos I kneeled to see if she were alive! Got some blood from that! Didn’t do anythin’ an’I don’ remember anythin’!” Vicky’s face was set, stubborn, her jaw locked forwards and her eyes glaring about the room, never settling.

Egerton sighed in frustration. Something was there, she knew it, but what? Her drug-addled sibling prior to his death, often wore the same stubborn expression the morning after doing something he didn’t want to remember. She leaned forwards and caught the other woman’s eye, hardening her gaze, “Do you ever wish, Vicky, that you had a different life? One that didn’t mean pretending not to remember things you saw when all done up on your shit? Did you have a life before this? Was it better? Did you have friends, family, a loved one? Tell me Vicky, do you ever regret choosing your junk over everything else?”

Vicky folded her arms and looked away, “I likes my life. Regret nothin’.”

Egerton sighed softly and stood, “Only because you don’t remember what you’re supposed to regret. I guess we’re done for now, I’ll get someone to take you home but don’t leave the county, we’ll need to speak to you again.”

Outside, she shook her head at Danson, “Get a uniform to drop her home.”

“Will do. What about that Drew person?”

She shrugged, “Not sure yet. Keep them for now, best lead we have and closest to an actual suspect so far.”

“I’ll start getting a team on the rest of the questioning list,” Danson pulled out his phone and began making notes, “You get some sleep and come back rested.”

Egerton nodded, suddenly feeling every minute of the long night. “Alright. See you later on, then, call if anything major breaks.”

Writing Prompt used:

23

If you enjoy the stories and blogs on my site, please share them, every one of those helps.
And if you really enjoy them, please check out my Patreon, or the tip jars on the sidebar to the right, and consider helping me do more and better things!
Thanks for reading!

Posted in LGBT, LGBTQ, Prompt Stories, Short Stories, Stories, Trans, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment