Monday, February 07, 2005

Once again, Kleinmann found himself walking the streets, airing out his mind. He had left his uniform back in his apartment, along with his notes. Still, the case stalked behind him, casting its shadow over him. He tried to feel the warm night air on his short-furred arms, to listen to the melange of sounds from the clubs and cafes around him, to do anything but think about the investigation.

Still, the faces of the Harrisons stared at him expectantly from the back of his eyelids.

A club's door stood wide open, breathing sweat and strange fumes into the street. At a sniff, Kleinmann picked out three different hallucinogens, swimming in the razor scent of alcohol. Bass whumped against his tall ears, which folded back instinctively. Kleinmann slowed his pace as a dogman ambled out of the building, smoke curling from his nostrils. One one arm, whispering behind her hand, was a young girl. On the other, looking more nervous than the other two, was a young man. The dogman tugged his two companions along the promenade, laughing with the girl.

Kleinmann watched them go, trying to clear his mind.

As usual, Giovanni was late. Donovan was unsure why he himself insisted on being anywhere on time of late. Even the old guard was getting lazy, when it came to official business. There was, of course, time for politicking any time of the day, any day of the week. Which was what annoyed him most about Giovanni's latency. Donovan knew the junior Councilor's priorities. So why couldn't he be punctual about them?

Thus, Donovan was left with time on his hands. A strange feeling, of late. It seemed the city-state that was Broadgate took more and more effort to run smoothly every day. More meetings, more phone calls, but most of all, more deal-making. Every day, Donovan met someone else he had to appease. Mostly the Cult of Masael, lately. It was becoming quite trendy, which caused Donovan no end of irritation.

He stood alone in the foyer of the Council Halls, contemplating his red-lined shadow on the floor. The wash of city light floated from the low cloudcover through the wide, domed skylight above. In the center of the great circular chamber, suspended from the walls by taut steel cables, was a giant moebius strip of steel. Below it stood a great classical pillar of marble.

Donovan rarely found subtlety where he wished.

Four days had passed, slowly, since the murders. Kleinmann was certain the murderer had military training, given the precision of his work. Every cut had been purposeful, intentional. And there was something familiar about the killer's technique. Kleinmann hadn't caught it at once, but after reviewing the scene a thousand and one times, a memory had spoken up. At that crime scene was something he'd seen before. After four days and nights, he couldn't decide what.

Perhaps, Kleinmann thought, there is a better place to clear my mind. And far in the back of his head, a reasonable voice suggested that perhaps there was another reason.

"Walter! Hey!" called the other reason.

Already, Walter could feel the weight. He turned around, sliding his padded hands from his pockets. There she stood, thankfully without a man attached to her.

"Hello, Natalia."

(to be continued soon...)

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