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  #1  
Unread 9th of March, 2011, 15:46
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Prelude: The Moment She Walked In...

Ben could tell from the moment she walked in that she would be trouble.

That wavy hair that bounced as she walked, the legs up to the stars, and those swaying hips that could hypnotize a man for a lifetime... but most of all he noticed the emotion in her eyes. They were frightened, sure, but they were also bold and wise beyond her years, which couldn't be much more than two decades tops. She had swept into his office that morning... right past his useless temporary secretary, Joy, who had barely pressed the buzzer to warn him when she came through.

"You're Ben Slyth, the detective," she said, rather than asked.

"Private investigator," he corrected her.

"You've got to help me... I've just witnessed my best friend be tortured to death."
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Unread 10th of March, 2011, 03:44
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Ben dropped his coffee mug, spilling the coffee within it all over his empty desk. "Godda..." He cut his curse short, being in the presence of a lady - even if it was her damn fault his desk had collected a brand new stain.

"Did you say tortured to death? Did you call the police?"

It barely ran through Ben's mind for a minute that he'd introduced himself as a private investigator, and not a 'Personal Investigator' like that Marketing wackjob had insisted he ought to.
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Unread 10th of March, 2011, 13:48
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The woman's eyes widened and she shook her head frantically. She was definitely spooked. She was pale and and perhaps in shock.

"Yes. And no! No... the police won't help. Claire went to them and now... now she's dead. Oh, god."

The woman shut her eyes and clasped them tight as she shaded a hand over her brow. Her body shook under the weight of memory. With a shuddered gasp she fought to regain composure.

"It all started two weeks ago. That's what she told me. She said someone was following her. Watching her. Going everywhere she went. I asked her to describe who it was, but she could never say, she never... never... never said anything. Not even if it was a man or woman... just a figure. I -" nervously the girl began to titter with a disquieting laugh. "I thought she was nuts. I really did. She called the police. They didn't do anything. Then in the apartment one night. All these symbols, written in blood she said. I went over to see... and it was true, symbols in blood - weird symbols. And we called the police together and they came... and then nothing. They did nothing. It was cleaned up and they told us they'd look into it, but we never got an answer. A-and and Claire she was going absolutely crazy.... she was shitting herself, saying she saw the figure all the time now, even when it wasn't there... y'know? Crazy shit... I thought maybe she'd written the symbols herself, that maybe the police thought it was all a hoax by her, or something... but then last night... Claire had been so afraid to go out and I really thought... I thought it'd be good for her to have a night out because she'd been so scared, so scared..."

The woman broke down for a moment and held her face in her hands, sobbing, leaving Ben to simply stare at her or continue attending to his coffee stain.
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Unread 11th of March, 2011, 02:01
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Ben dropped the rag he'd been using to wipe up the spilled coffee and came over to hug the girl, "Shhh.... shhh... There, now. I'm here. I'll help." He led the girl to the chair for clients in front of his desk and helped her sit.

"But in order to help I'll need to know what and where this happened. Was it at a club?" He tried to lead the witness into painting a picture. Yes and no questions were simplest, and he didn't have to worry about a lawyer getting the witness tossed anymore.
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Unread 17th of March, 2011, 09:25
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"No, not at a club. We never made it that far. She was certain that someone was following us and she wanted to turn around and go back to her apartment. So we got off at the next station... the East 68th street on the green line. That's when it happened."

The woman's eyes shut again, and she fought to calm her shaking body. "After the train left, we were going to cross to the other side and wait for a train going back north, when Claire started babbling about something. 'It's here! It's here!' she said, and then suddenly she pointed and when I turned around I saw a figure, cloaked in red, holding a long, curved knife. It looked like something straight out of those slasher flicks. There was a dark mask obscuring the face, I couldn't make it out at all.

"We bolted. Claire jumped down into the tracks, I guess planning to climb up the other side, since the guy in red - I'm guessing it was a guy by how strong he was - anyway the guy was blocking the other exits on our own side of the tracks. I went down to follow her, but he was so fast, he jumped down past me and when I landed he was there and he grabbed hold of my arm and flung me into the wall. I-I have no idea how hard I hit it, but everything went black. When I woke up, I was covered in dust and bricks, and I was partially over the train tracks which really freaked me out because the robed guy was still there, just maybe 15 yards away, hunched over Claire. And the bastard was cutting her and drawing with her blood."

Tears began to well up in the girl's eyes again, stronger than before. Her face contorted into overcome despair. "She... she was still alive, she'd be cut so bad... but she was moving... she was moving and tryiing to scream but he'd cut her so bad she couldn't... and there was so much blood and I didn't move because I was so scared... I thought if I moved I'd be dead too... so. I just. Watched..."

She buries her face in her hands. "I should have moved. I should have helped her. She was still alive... I could've helped her. She was looking at me I think. She was looking for help. Anyone. And then she couldn't fight any more, and that's when he cut her open and took it."

The hands slide from her tear stained face and she looked blearily into Ben's eyes with a deadly serious glare. "He took her heart."
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Unread 18th of March, 2011, 04:44
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Ben had to take a moment, and hoped the girl didn't mistake his silence for disbelief. He'd heard of such tales, from grizzled Homicide detectives, but you didn't expect to encounter a case like this in your lifetime. Especially not after leaving the Force.

Not that that was going to stop him from helping this girl.

"I..." he paused, how was Ben to approach this? The man was wearing a mask, and he didn't have any jurisdiction to arrest him, anyway. But he could find who did this to her friend, and take that to the cops and let them get the arrest. Yes, he could do that much.

"I'll find who did this to your friend, I will, but I'm not the police - there are things I can't do, and I have bills to pay. Is there anything else you can tell me that'll help?"
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Unread 18th of March, 2011, 10:28
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Her eyes shot upwards. "I can pay you. Honest. I can. It doesn't matter how much. I'll never sleep again until you find whoever did this to Claire."

She opened the clasp on her handbag and pulled out several pieces of paper on which were listed five addresses and minor scribbled descriptions of each. They seemed to have nothing to do with one another. There was a project house in Harlem, an all night rave club called EVE in mid-Manhattan, a small public library in the Bronx, a private art gallery in Queens, and a warehouse in Brooklyn.

"Claire works... worked as a property acquirer for a private real estate mogul who paid her well in advance out of the blue one day to begin acquiring these properties for him, and Claire said that her troubles all seemed to coincide with the beginning of this assignment. No reason was given, only that all five locations be bought. Midway through the assignment, she stopped receiving any calls from her bosses, but money continued to be wired to her purchasing account as agreed for her assignment, so she continued with it as normal. That was when she started to be followed."

The woman handed the notes over to him.

"I don't know if I'm leading you in the wrong direction with all this... Claire actually downplayed the importance of it when we discussed it about a week ago, but she could be like that sometimes, if you know what I mean. Downplaying the obvious. It was always like her..."

The girl gave a small frustrated cry, but quickly recovered herself, seeming to fight her sadness with anger at herself for seeming so weak.

"Get a grip, Wren..." she muttered under her breath, and then with sudden realization she looked up at Benjamin again. "Oh, sorry, I never said my name. I'm Wren. Wren Quentin."
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Unread 23rd of March, 2011, 05:54
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Ben took the addresses and placed them on a dry spot on his desk, then clasped Wren's hands inside his own and looked her in the eye, "I'll do my best, Wren. I'll find the one who killed your friend. And think - it seems your luck is turning, because I don't have any other cases. Small victories, Wren. Lots of Small victories will get us through this."

With that, he led her to the door, and took down her contact information. "Joy'll talk to you about the billing, and I'm going to get to work on this right away."

After finishing cleaning off his desk, he picked up the phone and dialed Tom Isensee, the homicide detective he'd once partnered up with, "Hey Tom, It's Ben. How're the kids..."

After the necessary small talk, Ben got to the point. "Tom, have you seen the Report on a murder that happened in the East 68th Station? May be a Jane Doe. may be for a Claire... I just have a friend of the girl who asked me to investigate."
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Unread 23rd of March, 2011, 10:20
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Wren nods and leaves, saying that she wants to be kept in the loop as much as possible. She's taken time off from work and can't think of anything but what happened, so she'll be expecting some news, even if it's news that Ben was still investigating.

"I just don't want her to be forgotten. I don't trust the police," she said with a meaningful look through reddened, tear-stained eyes.

When she had left and Joy had taken down all the pertinent information, Ben made his call to Tom. Small talk aside, Tom laughed a bit when Ben moved on to the purpose of his call.

"Digging up cold cases? When did this murder take place?"

When Ben told him that it had occurred last night, it drew a moment of silence.

"What are you talking about, Ben? Last night? Nothing like that has reached my desk and we didn't canvas any big murder scene last night. You sure you didn't just get a crazy coming in off the street?"
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Unread 24th of March, 2011, 02:22
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"I think I'd know if this had been a crazy, Tom. I used to work the desk, same as you. This girl was terrified, specific... I'd bet my license on her being on the level..."

Would he? "Hey, Tom... I'm going to check out the scene myself. If you wanted to get some coffee or something, your help would be appreciated."
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  #11  
Unread 24th of March, 2011, 12:34
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"Yeah, but I've seen some crazies concoct some real good yarns over the years, mostly for the attention." Tom said. "You and I both know that if there was a murder discovered in that sort of place the station would be shut down, the trains would be all out of whack and the morning news would be blaring the story over every channel if for no other reason than because the dead girl's corpse was making everyone late for work...

"Still, you can do whatever you want Ben. It's a free country. But I'm pretty damn sure you won't find anything at East 68th, except for angry commuters and the occasional hobo. I'd love to join you, but they've got me working a stabbing that happened at a rave club last night, and that takes priority. If I get a free moment, I'll double check and see if any Jane Does or Claires have come in to the morgue since last night, but that's about all I can go out of my way to do for you now. Call me if anything real turns up though. We've got the equipment to properly case a crime scene - unlike some P.I.'s I know who should be sticking to photographing cheating husbands."
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  #12  
Unread 26th of March, 2011, 09:29
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"Heh. Yeah - speaking of which, tell your wife I said hey." Ben hung up laughing as his friend laughed along with him.

This case was definitely starting off weirdly. He put the cards with the addresses of the property in his pocket, and put on his jacket. First stop would definitely be the Subway station, and then Leaky Bill, his old street informant. If a murder went down, Bill would've heard about it.

Exiting his office with a wave to Joy, Ben made his way down to a nearby subway station, paying the fare necessary to get to the station on East 68th.
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