Welcome to the two chapter sample of my dark fantasy horror, The Blasphemous Welcome. It’s time to meet wearied cop, Detective Trimble and his new fresh faced partner, Kyla Corstain, as they battle a force they could never have imagined.
The Blasphemous Welcome by G R Jordan copyright 2018
This is good coffee. I mean that quite seriously, this is good coffee. It’s not that Java muck that’s brutal on your tongue, over brewed and an assault of flavour, so strong you can’t even taste it. No, this is smooth and has just a hint of a chocolate undertone. Maybe Kenya or Costa Rica. Like I would know. But it is good coffee.
You might be wondering why this means so much to me. Here I am, sitting at a metal table, a bloody grimy one at that, and staring out at all the people running here there and everywhere. Every single one of them in a damn rush. I should be in a rush too, but hey, I can’t think about that just now. You see, she said I had to take my moments of peace and serenity. The little ponds of calm. Who said it? Why, Jessica, my little island of sanity in this daft world.
I started seeing her—no can’t say that, can I?—or you might get the wrong idea. No, I started going to her about six months ago. She’s a counsellor, a shrink you might say, but she would give me a right dirty look if I said that in front of her. She’s like a sounding board, an outlet for my bitterness, turning it into positivity. Ah bollocks, that’s a bit overboard. Well, she helps me tune out the crap and hold on to the real scoop out there. Tidy figure too for her age. Lucky guy at home. Although you never can tell, she’s paid to be nice to me.
Who’s me? Me is Detective Kyle Mulgrew Trimble, once of homicide, twice of narcotics and now of special detachment after the incident. A long time bringer of good and hope to this crappy city. You can hear the sarcasm, right? Sometimes you Yanks don’t get sarcasm. And I lay it on pretty thick. It’s my upbringing, how I was reared. A right wee hellion. God rest her soul, she hauled me up knowing right from wrong and how to avoid the fall if I got it wrong. Ten years, Mum, ten long years.
I was saying this coffee is damn good and it’s served by Karen, the stick insect. At least that’s what a lot of the regulars call her, and it’s dammed unfair in my opinion. What do I know? Well, I’m a man so I come with the tools to assess women and like the rest of my kind, I find myself volunteering in this aspect. Sorry girls, you got the looks, we got the binos. Hell, that sounds creepy. Scratch that.
Karen’s actually really nice. Yes, she’s thin and not exactly voluptuous, one of those girls not blessed with womanly curves. But, hey, she suits her figure, and she’s a sweet girl too. Very pleasant face. Got a brain too and knows how to use it. So why’s she serving coffee, you ask? Student, earning her keep. And keeping her nose clean, which in a city like this is a major effort. The number of her kind I see parading on stage and shooting up. In my professional capacity, of course.
She’s just lifted my mug which is probably my cue for getting this day underway. My boss has already tried to ring my mobile five times, and frankly, he can shove it up his ass. He’s getting his knickers in a twist as there’s been a major homicide downtown and the press dogs are all over it. I called Lewanski on the desk after the first three calls and it’s a biggie alright. Someone broke into the Giardelli’s mansion and blew the three brothers away. Nasty pieces of work shafted by an even nastier piece of work. Bodies and blood everywhere. And the boss with his knickers in a twist. Well, I couldn’t give a damn as I have a woman to meet.
Ah, now you’re interested. What’s she like? Well, I don’t know yet as she’s only getting in today. All I know is she’s called Kyla Corstain, she’s a relatively new detective at twenty-five, and she’s just been through a pretty shitty time. That’s why she’s transferring from down south. And as she’s broken, no one wants her. So she’s with me on the specials, ‘cause I’m broke too. Anyway, I’m going to be late if I don’t get my ass in gear.
I take the subway across town to the Grand station, where she’s arriving on the night train at 08:05. Part of me would rather drive as at least it’s air conditioned, but the roads are hell at this time. So, instead, I make a vague run towards and catch the underground sweat box with the silent people and their papers. Like the rest, I’m wearing a rather dapper hat and a long trench coat as upstairs it’s positively Baltic. Yes, I do like my coffee in the cool air, thanks for asking. I hate the subway, standing inches from these soulless morons with their briefcases and smart ties. I’m forty now, and I don’t want a damn tie.
The Grand station is absolutely heaving as I clamber up the stairs from the subway, scanning to see a platform for her train. Electronic screens change so quickly, and I almost lose sight of the update of her train as it flashes from one screen to another. Platform eleven. I take just a brief moment to admire the world’s largest chandelier, hanging above me on an impossibly strong cable. Thousands of little pieces of crystal reflecting the bright light around the magnificent hall. Stunningly beautiful and strangely beyond these cretans view. If you want to show beauty in this town, you need to slam it in someone’s face.
Ducking down a narrow stairwell, I stand at the end of platform eleven as a long rumbling train grinds to a halt. Gradually doors open and weary looking punters emerge, most with a ridiculous number of bags and cases. Porters run to assist, and I look along the train for a twenty-five-year-old refugee. There’s a woman standing in a smart skirt and blouse, trim and neat, and getting some serious attention. But that’s not her, Kyla is dark on top with a bit of a tan. Still, I had to check.
The voice comes from behind, and it’s a little unsure, not altogether confident. I turn around and look straight into two very dark eyes framed by long black hair. There’s a hand extended, and I take it firmly, shaking it. Her skin is certainly tanned, almost heading towards dark brown, and she seems to be struggling to hold my gaze. She dressed in trainers, jeans, green t-shirt and a denim jacket. Unlike Karen, she fills them without looking like she’s forced herself into them.
“Hi. Yes, I’m Detective Kyle Mulgrew Trimble. But as we’re working together, you can call me Mulgrew. Only my partner gets to call me that.”
“Okay, thanks.” She’s still shaking my hand. Poor kid, she’s nervous, and no wonder, looking at this mess of an overworked, overtired curmudgeon in front of her.
“And I call you what?”
“Detective Kyla Corstain.”
“Little formal, don’t you think?”
“Sorry didn’t sleep much.”
“That’s alright. But what do I call you?”
“At the last place it was Corstain.”
“Well to hell with those memories, nice to meet you Kyla. You got a bag or anything?”
She shook her head, and I couldn’t help notice her hair flounce briefly, exposing her neck. This was my partner, and I was trying to be professional and detached yet warm and friendly, however that works. But I’m a man and she was in the binos sights. Yeah, it’s still creepy.
“Got stolen through the night. ‘Fraid this is it.”
“Well, here,” I said, passing her a badge with the precinct on it, “time to make a fresh start. The biggest crime family in town just got blown away, so I’m afraid it’s going to be straight in at the deep end. We’ll get round to sorting out the baggage later. You carrying?”
She shook her head again and damn did I try and not look at her neck.
“Okay Kyla, we’ll drop by the station and get you a firearm. You don’t take chances in this city.”
“And I need a hotel.”
“Later. Time to work.”
“Who’s the broad, Trimble?”
Broad? Obviously the diversity training taken on by the force isn’t working with the Chief. He’s a bit of an old relic, a couple of months from retirement, and yes, a living cliché that the commissioner wants rid of. Modern policing and the Chief don’t sit side by side. He missed the whole woman’s lib movement. But hey, he’s actually a good guy and a pretty decent policeman. That’s high praise from me, by the way. I don’t do praise that often.
“This lady is my new partner, Chief. Let me introduce Detective Corstain, newly arrived on this morning’s sleeper.”
“So you ditched my calls for a pick-up run? Shit, Trimble, this is a big deal we’re looking at here. There’s going to be a mob war if we’re not careful.”
Mob war? The man is a relic. There aren’t any mobs in the city, just ruthless families and businessmen operating with sod all loyalty. Not that I think the mobs had any class. A killer is a killer in my book. And a rip off merchant is a scamster. I don’t care how they dress or whose ass they are up.
“Sorry to be a bother,” says Kyla, and she is suddenly not the nervous, unconfident young woman I collected from the station. She displays her piece on her hip, I guess purely for the Chief’s benefit. I can see him eyeing her up and down, but she keeps a calm face that says “In your dreams!” But there’s a uniform interrupting with some paperwork, and I take the chance to step aside with Kyla.
“Look, I’m sure you know your way about, but this place we are standing in is kinda important. The bodies in the next room, well, three of them anyway, had fingers in every cream pie going in this town, and that means there will be plenty of interested parties. Not a place to make a foul-up just because you’re new in town. So just follow my lead, okay?” She nods, and I’m hoping I didn’t seem like a patronising parent. She reaches behind her head, gathering up her thick hair and ties it in a pony tail. Yes, that neck is something.
“Smart and professional Mulgrew. Is this okay?”
“Come on. You’ll do.”
We had come up to the north side of town to an area I can’t afford a bus in, never mind a house. We picked up the department’s wheels, and I let Kyla drive, supposedly to let her settle in, but in reality I wanted to see if she could drive. I’ve been a city guy for the last thirty years, and I drive like Miss Daisy. But she seemed confident.
The Marconi district has residents who never use a bus or even drive their own cars. There aren’t houses here but palaces and security the US government can’t afford. Normally the police don’t make calls here unless invited, but a certain uninvited guest had made our presence tolerable, if not welcome. I recognise some figures from the Giradellis’ outfit, all here no doubt to stake a claim for leadership now that the snake’s head had been removed.
I take Kyla aside and give her a brief rundown of the Giradelli family history. Their father had been a small time crook but had swam with the big fishes until he had learnt his trade well enough to one day flush them down the toilet. For twenty years he had maintained a front with the political elite whilst running major rackets in extortation, money laundering and general death. Then, one day, his sons had taken him out to the gorge and executed him. I’m sure he was proud that his sons had learnt the family way so well.
Of all the players in the city, the Giradellis were the biggest and most potent. And someone had simply waltzed into their fortress and taken them out. There’s bound to be a lot of nervous criminals in town at the moment.
“Shall we look at the damage, boss?”
Boss! No-one calls me Boss, least of all my partner.
“Told you, it’s Mulgrew. I ain’t your boss. Just your partner.”
“But you are the senior detective?”
“Listen Kyla, out there all we got is thee and me. So we are partners, okay? Always partners.”
“Okay. So who’s the man we need to talk to, partner?”
I gave a slight wave to indicate to her to follow me and walked into a room of busy activity. There’s always something surreal about a murder scene, and this was no different. Men and women in white plastic throw-away suits worked painstakingly at various minutiae around the room. There were little yellow markers with numbers on them. Plastic bags were at a premium and being sealed like they would soon be out of fashion. And then I see her. Jenny Tatler, one of the best forensic technicians I had ever worked with and also one of the most tragic.
“Jen, how are things?”
“Mulgrew, you dipstick. I’m up to my eyes or can’t you tell? You always were a crap detective.”
The white plastic hood is removed once she has stepped away from her work and reveals a sharp face with barely a blemish. Forty-something and wearing so much better than me. Even her blonde hair is still immaculate.
“Let me introduce Detective Kyla Corstain. Kyla, this is Jenny Tatler. The, and I mean the, best forensic investigator I have ever worked with.”
“You big smuck. I hope he didn’t hit on you, Kyla.”
Kyla steps out from behind me and reaches out with her right hand to shake, but Jen doesn’t oblige. It takes a moment before Kyla notices Jen’s missing arm. I did say tragic.
“Sorry,” says Kyla, issuing her left hand forth now and engaging in rather a limp shake.
“It’s okay. Long time ago, and a story for another day. Now I guess you’ll want a run down.”
“You know me,” I say, “the basics and none of the irrelevance you give the Chief.”
“Hey, I get paid for my irrelevance!” Jen smiles, and I see the rosy lips that I once tasted so many years ago. They say some people never leave you, and Jen’s mark is still carried on my breast. If it hadn’t have been for Hope…well, another long story.
“As you can see,” begins Jen, “our perpetrator wasn’t too subtle. And you are looking at the sanitised version. We already pieced the brothers together from different corners of the room. In total, there’s nine dead, the three brothers and six so-called protectors. Now as you can see, there’s plenty of bullet holes in the walls but none in the victims. I’m betting that ballistics is going to trace every bullet to a gun in here. All the victims were slashed in some form, with a weapon unknown.”
“A blade, a sword?” I venture.
“Unknown, but certainly a clean edge. But that’s not all. Look at Thomas Giradelli. That’s the one pinned to the wall, Kyla. As far as I can tell, and this is provisional, but he was dead before he was ripped apart.”
“From what,” asks Kyla, “drugged?”
“Fright? That brutal bastard?” I ask.
“Yes, fright. Terror. I’m betting he wasn’t touched until he was dead.”
“Who could scare him to death?” I ask, shaking my head. “He was the animal of the group, the terroriser. As far as I knew, he was nails.”
“Hey, I only tell you what happened. That’s why the Chief was dancing around when you wouldn’t answer. There’s something funny going on here.”
“Jen, may I?” Kyla’s kneeling down now at a bag on the floor, the contents of which are a head. Well, she’s not squeamish. “Who’s this?”
“One of the bodyguards, Mexican by birth, I believe.”
“But he’s white, sheer white.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Keep this under wraps, Jen. Until we can attribute this to something.” I say. I don’t really like bodies, especially ones which have been so massively dis-assembled. Time for another coffee.
“Time to go, Kyla. I need some lunch. Keep us posted, Jen.”
“But Mulgrew…” says Kyla.
Continue the adventure over at the shop – click here to read more