An hour later, the detective was sitting at the desk, shaking her head and reeling at the knowledge she’d been presented with.
“So. You’re a necromancer. And behind all those disturbances at the cemetery.” She narrowed her eyes at him.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t arrest me for that, thanks.” Scot said nonchalantly.
“You do realize you’ve already broken about fifty laws and I could put you away for a very long time, minor or not, right?” Cross said, and Scott snorted.
“I don’t care about the second law of thermodynamics, what makes you think mortal laws fare any better?” he dismissed. “Besides, I don’t think you’re that stupid.”
“Glad to see the newer generation has so much confidence.” Cross sighed.
“Scott, stop teasing her.” Amber said, and turned to the older woman. “And, Mrs. Cross? Miss Cross?”
“Detective Cross.” she corrected.
“Right. Detective, I know this is hard to take in. I can still hardly believe it, and I died two weeks ago. But we need your help to catch the killer. It’s the only way to get my heart back.”
“With which you’ll use to do the impossible and bring her back to life.” Cross shook her head and looked down. “Can you really do it? Really bring someone back to life?” she asked quietly.
“As sure as the stars shine I can.” Scott replied, grinning. “I’m probably the only one in the world who can. And I don’t plan on making a habit out of it. As I said before, the only reason I’m doing it for her is because she’s paying me, and I’m not in a financial position to refuse that right now.”
“Jesus, kid.” Cross downed the last of her ice-cold coffee, and grimaced at the taste. “Okay. I hate to say this, but I won’t arrest you for…anything you’ve already done. They’d probably laugh me off the force anyway.” she muttered to herself. “Provided that you and the girl inform us of everything you know that pertains to the investigation, and promise that you won’t go graverobbing in the future.”
“Right, I promise you won’t find out about any more graverobbing.” Scott said and nodded solemnly. Cross opened her moth to protest, but closed it immediately, having got a sense of his personality over the last couple of hours. ‘Stubborn as a bull and twice as arrogant. Ugh. Just deal with it later.’ she thought to herself.
“Whatever. Right then, Amber. I don’t suppose you got a look at the guy?” Cross asked hopefully.
“Sorry. I was grabbed from behind, I didn’t really see anything.” she said sheepishly.
“Great.” Cross cradled her head in her hands. “Even the victim doesn’t know who this guy is.”
“I do have a question though, Detective Cross. My death was reported, but not the fact that my heart was taken. Do you know why that is?” Amber asked. Cross growled.
“That bugged me too. Turns out it was a joint decision by the mayor and Chief Mason. They decided to withhold that information, ‘to prevent widespread panic among the populace.’ Makes sense I guess, but I don’t like it and I’m not in a position to argue. And we still don’t know why this Jack the Ripper knockoff is taking them, again.”
“Oh, that’s easy.” Scott piped up. Cross and Amber turned to him.
“You know? Is this the theory you were talking about earlier?” Amber asked.
“Right. Detective, didn’t you wonder how there was no forensic evidence at the crime scenes? That’s not humanly possible, even for the best assassins, at least consecutively like this. That means we’re dealing with something not of a human power. The Necronomicon doesn’t deal with just raising the dead. It touches on all forms of magic, including forbidden rituals to sacrifice hearts to otherworldly beings in exchange for power.” Both Cross and Amber’s eyes went wide.
“What? Really?” Cross said, and Scott nodded.
“A magical blessing from such a being would be able to take care of such trifles as not leaving any evidence. You must understand the heart is the most mystically significant part of the human body, despite being made out of mundane muscle. You can do a whole bunch of stuff, thaumaturgically speaking, if you get your hands on one of those. The real problem here is how many, and the targets who’ve been marked for harvesting.” he explained.
“The targets? They’ve all been young women…” Cross said slowly.
“…Between the ages of fourteen and nineteen, meaning they all qualify as young maidens.” Scott finished. “The hearts of five young maidens can be used for some serious bad juju, but the fact that we haven’t seen anything yet means they’re cooking up something worse. There’s more than the dead in the Necronomicon. It tells of strange, ageless creatures beyond this world and even the next. Ancient, twisted deities that have no difference between thought and form, to whom human souls are no different than playthings.” He shivered. “And there is a race which desires to break into our reality, but lack the strength to do so. They have been passed down in human myth and legend, promising wealth, power, all manner of human desire in exchange for human sacrifice. They are the daemons.”
“You mean…devils are real, too? Not just ghosts?” Amber asked in a small voice.
“The daemons are, as a race, small, cowardly, and weak. Unfortunately, that means they employ lies, misdirection and manipulation more often than the forgotten elder gods. Save for a few archlords at the top of their hierarchy, they are small and weak enough to slip through the minor cracks of reality that separate our dimension from theirs that open from time to time. Of course, this can change. Say, if they partnered with a human that gathered the hearts of seven young maidens in an ancient and forbidden ritual to consume, thus empowering them on par with the Old Gods from before time. Fortunately, the ritual isn’t widely known and has never succeeded. Any human who was foolishly stupid or evil enough to try to make a deal has always been stopped.”
“R-Really? How do you know, Scott?” Amber asked.
“Simple. The apocalypse hasn’t happened yet.” he stated.
“Wait, you said seven hearts were needed to sacrifice to the daemons,” Cross said, not liking where this was going.
“Which means there will be two more murders of young girls before this is over. And if the ritual is allowed to proceed, what’s over is life as we know it.” Scott said grimly. “So, you know, we should probably do something about that, yeah.” Detective Cross stood up, cursing.
“Did not sign up for any of this apocalypse crap. This is so stupid.” she muttered, massaging her temples. “Okay. The top priority then is to prevent any more deaths. Scott, here.” She wrote on a piece of paper and handed it to him. “It’s my cell number. If you find out anything else, contact me immediately. I’m unofficially making you a consultant on this case. Don’t let anyone else know about this, this is strictly off the books. But if everything you say is true, I’m going to need all the help I can get, and you’ve proven you know more about this magic mumbo jumbo than I do. Now come on. It’s getting late, and you have school in the morning.” She shot him a small smirk at that, and he sighed.
“Yeah yeah. Looks like another day of drowsiness ahead for me.” he complained.
“Think of it like going undercover. You need to keep up appearances. Now come on, I’ll drive you home.”
As they piled into the car and drove off, each of them was ruminating over the implications of Scott’s explanation, all of them distracted as they drove on the deserted streets under a cloudy, starless sky.
Monica yawned as she opened the fridge, scanning the shelves for a drink to slake her thirst this late at night.
“Orange juice no, too acidic. Milk? Nah, too thick for right now.” She spied a bottle of water, and dismissed it. “Not enough taste. How about...” She picked up the ginger ale. “Yeah, why not.” Taking a hefty swig, she hiccupped as she put it back. “Ahh, that hit the spot.” She turned to go back to her room.
She hummed as she made her way through the living room, in a good mood. She was turning seventeen next week, and her grades were good enough that her parents had been dropping hints about a car for her birthday. Suddenly and unexpectedly, she heard a knock at the front door. Monica paused.
“This late?” she muttered. She padded over to the door and looked through the peephole. There was no one outside. “Probably just a raccoon or something.” she said doubtfully, and turned away.
There was another knocking on the door.
Monica looked through the peephole again, and still there was nothing. Staring to get seriously weirded out, she wondered what could be going on. Pranksters? Maybe a trash can blew over in the wind and was thumping against the door?
Making sure there was no one there, Monica cautiously opened the door a crack to check. Like she originally thought, there was no one there. Breathing a sigh of relief, she closed the door.
Out of nowhere, a gloved hand pushed its’ way into the door to stop it. A figure dressed all in black shoved its’ way past the frame, and tried to force a weird-smelling cloth into her face.
“Aaaaaaaahhh!” Monica screamed in terror and jumped back. Unfortunately, this allowed the figure to open the door completely. Monica saw that not even an inch of skin was uncovered, there was some blank black face mask covering the head.
Of the Craven Falls Killer. He stormed forward.
“Nooooo!” She lashed out with a kick that caught him on the hip, strengthened by seven years of ballet lessons.
“Gurk!” he grunted and slid back, trying not to fall down. Monica ran as fast as she could up the stairs to her parents’ room.
“Mom! Dad! Help me! Help!” She tried to open the door, but the knob wouldn’t turn. Her parents never locked their door. Help me! He’s after me!” She frantically pounded on the door, but there was nothing but silence on the other side. Panicking, she raced to her room, pausing only to overturn the small flimsy table at the top of the stairs toward the figure climbing them, buying her a few more precious seconds of time. ‘Phone. Have to call 911.’was her only thought as she laid her hand on her doorknob and turned it.
The black figure emerged from her room as soon as she opened the door, grabbing Monica and holding the cloth on her mouth and nose. Everything started going black.
‘No…why…why isn’t anyone helping…’ she thought before sinking into the darkness. She felt a dull pinch in her chest, and then she knew no more.