Judgement: Phenomena

“Good morning, Blackwood.”

Edward Blackwood woke from his sleep fairly violently. He'd fallen asleep in the middle of his research – something he'd believed only happened to his bad movie counterparts. He shook his head and regained his composure.

“Dreaming up our answer, were you?” Red grabbed a coffee from a box Lucy was carrying. He took a sip and set it on Blackwood's desk. “I think that's yours.”

“Any word about the Efreet we caught in the Morgue?”

“None.” Blackwood yawned a little. “And we probably won't hear anything. These judgement cults are pretty big deals. Lifelong devotion things. The only way we'll get anything out of him is if he's been told to tell us.”

“Frustrating.” Lucy looked around the room. “Hey, where's Melee?”

“Probably off on one of her magical mornings.” Red rolled his eyes and picked up the envelope lying on Lucy's desk. “What's this?”

“Hm?” Blackwood raise an eyebrow. “I think the delivery boy left that.”

Red ran a finger under the flap and began to read.

“It has come to my attention that you are investigating the events in my building. Please come to my office and speak with me about your progress. Yours, Sigmund Orpheus.”

“Sigmund Orpheus? The billionaire?” Lucy raised an eyebrow.

“I guess he's looking out for his reputation. A massacre in his building doesn't do much good for morale.” Sepia sighed and looked out the window.




“Thank you for joining me. Can I get you anything?” Orpheus smiled broadly at Blackwood and Red. They were the only ones in the office, as Sepia and Lucy had remained behind to continue Blackwood's research.

“No thank you.” Red gestured, and Orpheus settled into his seat slightly. “So, you wanted to see us?”

“Yes... It's a terrible business, this... 'massacre'. It's creating more than a bit of bad press for me. Stocks in Orpheus International went down thirteen percent in the last week.”

“How did I guess this was about PR?” Blackwood rolled his eyes.

“Is it unethical to want to solve a crime?” Orpheus rested his arm on his chair and smiled. “Does my motivation hinder justice somehow?”

Red inspected Orpheus. He was a clean-cut man, black hair, dark glasses, aged approximately forty. He was wearing a suit that he could tell was probably worth more than the contents of Red's house.

“Do you know of anything that might help us?” Red leaned back in his chair slightly. He was attempting to unsettle Orpheus by matching his comportment.

“Did you interview the guy that got fired?” Orpheus shrugged his shoulders. “Other than that, I don't know anything.”

“Wait, fired?” Blackwood raised an eyebrow.

“Yeah. He caused a big fuss. He even came up to my office, claimed they were doing something illegal, that he was looking out for my reputation and so on. I think he was just insane.” Orpheus began flicking through a stack of papers. “Yeah... Mitchell Collins. I did a bit of snooping on him after he came to see me. Nothing particularly exciting. I think he was just upset.”

“Mitchell Collins?” Red mulled over the name slightly. “Thank you for your time. We'll be going.”




“Emmy, lovely to see you again.” Blackwood shook Emmy's hand as he wandered into the morgue. “Still working here, then?”

“Just until the end of the week... can I help you?”

“Body nine.” Red started flicking through the names on the cold-storage lockers. “Have you done it's autopsy yet?”

“No, I'm doing them by age. Body nine was the youngest. He's one of the last ones I have left to do.”

“Well, good look with that.” Red swung the door open. The locker was empty. “Body nine was a vampire too.”

“What?” Emmy seemed confused. “Why didn't Fielding say anything? I would have got him out of there.”

“Because he didn't know.” Red seemed excited. Emmy could tell he was getting close to solving the case, or at the very least he thought he was. “Body nine, Mitchell Collins, hired the judgement cult. The problem was getting them in and out of the building. Efreet can hide, they're just energy after all, but they need to hide in something.”

“Are you saying...?”

“They hid in Collins.” Blackwood began inspecting the locker. “Collins was recently fired, more than likely because whatever Crisis Solutions was doing on the sly, he didn't agree with. That's why Fielding didn't know Collins was there. He wasn't supposed to be. He just walked in with his Efreet, had them do their job by exposing the heart of their victims – a metaphor of sorts – and then had them hide inside him again until they could escape.”

“Wait, is that why that fake agent was here?” A lightbulb switched on in Emmy's head. “He was trying to find an opportunity to get them out!”

“And to make sure you didn't discover them mid-autopsy.”

“So what now?” Blackwood asked Red. “There's nothing here that I can link back to Collins. Do we find him? Or do we go to Hra and... do something?”

“That is the question...”

The End

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