Part 2 - Investigating Myself
I hate Hub City. I grew up here and I remember it being a better city then. But that is because I didn't know what I know now. My father was Vince Carlucci. I didn't know what he did for a living but we lived well and I never wanted for anything. I found out when I was a teenager, my father was a member of a criminal organization. But he always told me I could be anything I wanted and I wanted more than anything to be a cop. He laughed. Told me I would grow out of it.
My phone rings. It's about eight. "Carlucci."
"We need you downtown. It's him."
"Are you sure?"
"Forensics is gathering evidence, but it is pretty much a done deal. There was a witness."
"I will be right there. Give me the address."
I get out of bed. My loft is lit by the morning sun and I shield my eyes. The skylight is open and I tap it closed on the way to the bathroom. My bathroom has no mirrors. I turn on the shower and step into the scalding stream. My bathtub runs red. I don't look at it. I wash up cleaning up and emptying my mind of all thoughts.
I never outgrew my urge to become a cop. I think it was the uniform. I graduated the Police Academy at twenty. My father and I stopped speaking moments after my graduation. He, of course, came to it. He had a reputation as an honest businessman to maintain. He was gracious that way. I found out later he and the Police Chief were friendly. They talked more than we did after that.
I did my job, and he did his. Our paths rarely crossed, and to be honest, I preferred it that way. Until I made Detective, I never had anything to do with my father's business or his work. I now knew what he was. Scum. He and his friends moved drugs into Hub City and had a finger in every kind of vice the city had to offer. In the twelve years I was a cop, I watched the jewel of the Midwest, a burgeoning technology center slowly drown in illegal deals, both private and corporate, rotting the city from the inside out.
From the outside, Hub City was still clean and beautiful, a city with millions of people living lives varying from wealth and opulence if you lived on the Northside, to squalor and filth if you lived on the Westside. It was very nice squalor and filth, relatively speaking, in comparison to some of the older cities like New York or Chicago, but it did not take away from the overall hidden menace our beloved Hub City held to its breast. We believed in our city. We believed it could be better. We were wrong.
I drove through the city, on autopilot, and found myself knowing, without knowing where I was headed. When I got there I couldn't believe what I was seeing. A car, literally ripped in half. Bodies torn to shreds, pulped like hamburger. And one of them, I recognized. The son of a rival crime family. Dodonavich. The only part of him left intact was his head. The rest had been dragged across forty feet of concrete.
"Nasty bit of work here." Peters was eating a donut. He had a flair for understatement. I could never understand how he could eat at crime scenes.
"Is that Dodonavich?" Peter pointed with his donut.
"Yes. This cannot get out. You know his father will go ballistic. Blood will run in the streets."
"What about the witness? We can't keep him. We might be able to work up a minor drug charge but nothing that will hold him more than a week." He was reaching but I knew we needed some time. If this got out, it could escalate.
"We have all the photo work done. We have all the samples. Do you need anything else, Peters? Sean White was the forensic head, and while he was talking to Peters, he was looking at me. Peters looked at me.
"Give me ten minutes, and then you can cart all this stuff down to the station for a further workup."
"Carlucci." The one voice I didn't want to hear and the one person who knew how to push all of my buttons. My former boss.
"Do I still pay you?" The same introductory joke when I haven't seen him for a couple of weeks.
"Yes, and less every time you make that joke. Sir."
After I became a Detective, we opened a Special Crimes Division. Crime in Hub City had grown darker, scarier, more dangerous. We assumed it was just a tone, something that had rippled from the older cities and had made its way to the Hub. We started seeing experimental drugs, strange technology we couldn't easily identify, weapons we had never seen before. Our task force was created to investigate, understand and handle these kinds of crimes. We were good, my partners and I, there were eight of us, at first. At the end of two years, there were fourteen. In two more, there were twenty. Special Crimes was nearly one third of the budget of the Sixteenth Precinct.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to the witness, but from reading the statement, he said it was done by a man. And this is the third incident in as many months, but the first with a witness. He said the man called himself Hyde."
"Hide?" What kind of name is that? What is he doing 'hiding' from the police? Not the brightest light, I think he became Captain because of his connections.
"No, Captain. I think he means Hyde as in 'Jekyll and Hyde.'
"So our perps were killed by a bedtime story?"
"I can't say, but I will poke around and I am sure we will be able to get something from the scene. We haven't been able to lift a print but its only a matter of time."
"Well, keep me informed. Peters, you have the duty. Carry on." The duty meant being my police liaison and watcher while I conducted my investigation.
I lost my badge in my fourteenth year. Excessive force. That was the story. It wasn't true. By that time, I was the second in command of Special Crimes. But they could not bury this story. It had been made public by no less than my father and his goons. I was let go. They did what they could for me, so I was able to not be completely disgraced. I did that to myself. I had to push the issue and investigated the people who framed me. Instead of vindicating myself, I was played and nearly implicated in a murder. My rep was nearly done. From super crime buster to nearly lunatic, Hub City's finest avoided me like the plague.
So I became a private detective. Hub City had lots of crimes and I was the best detective money could buy. I had a knack for Special Crimes and eventually I got a call from Hub City's finest. Its been three years, since I left the force. My own investigations outside of the Hub City Police taught me things were even worse than I knew. When I recovered, I was being hired by the Sixteenth as a paid consultant. Same work, slightly worse pay. My paychecks just come signed differently now. I work for the same people, in the same department, making the same calls. Except I work in my own office and drink my own coffee. Much better that that swill at the station house.
Its better this way.
So those mornings I come in late, no one questions, much. They ignore the rumpled suits and the dark sunglasses. They assume I am just having a good time and forget how to come home at night. If I don't answer my phone, they figure I must be getting some, because strangely enough, I am more popular with women now than ever. I don't understand it. Half the times, I can't even remember their names.
I circle through the wreckage, amazed at the catastrophic level of damage. They need a forklift to dig the engine out of the ground. The car looks as if it were torn apart by a bulldozer, shards of sharp metal are everywhere. As I stand over Dodanovich's body, I am struck by a memory.
"Wait, man, you don't want to do this. I got money, I will pay you whatever you want."
I have had enough. "Peters, let's get to the hospital and talk to this guy. There is nothing left to learn here except for why this happened.
Man, is this about the hookers? They were just hookers, man.
"Peters, were there any other bodies?"
"No, everyone in the car was accounted for, two shot out the car when he stopped it. The survivor said he didn't draw down on him so maybe that is why he was alive. The others tried to shoot him and he went wild."
"The question is why?"
"See if you can pull some traffic feeds and see if you can figure out where this car was coming from."
"We got a call off one of the phones so we know about what time it got here."
"Its a start. I'll meet you at the hospital."
I miss the honesty. I miss being able to tell them what I really do at the end of the day. I miss being able to tell them how much I want to keep fighting the good fight with them. I do my part during the day, investigate those things I can help them with, and then when we go home, I wait. If He saw something, He comes. I can't stop him and I don't even try anymore. I tried once, when it first happened. I don't remember what he did, but when I came to, I was sleeping on the side of a lake about eighty miles outside of town next to the remnants of a deer. I did not drive there. More than half of the animal was consumed, bones and all. I had never seen anything like it. But I remember the feeling and I never tried it again. He talked to me, a sympathetic vibration, I could feel in my inner ear.
He said, "Stop me again, and I will eat one of your friends, just like this. You cannot enforce justice in your city. There isn't enough fear. Stay out of my way."
I called him Hyde. He liked it. We are going to come to blows. Its only a matter of time.
Hyde © Thaddeus Howze 2011. All Rights Reserved [@ebonstorm]