Paranormal romance thriller episodes revolving around a pair of unlikely partners in their quest for truth, justice, and a pint of blood.There are those who hunt the night, and then there’s Liz Stokes. She’s a normal woman with an abnormal roommate until he up and gets himself murdered. Now she’s inherited his unique ring and even more unique business partner, and the world of the paranormal is sprung on her like a surprise birthday party nobody wants. Together the pair find out that they don’t like each other. A lot. The catch? They can’t kill each other or the survivor will die, too.Now Liz has to navigate this new and frightening world while dealing with her equally new and frightening companion. It’s a mad chase with mad scientists, men in black, and cop werewolves who want to take more than a bite out of crime.
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Copyright © 2017 by Mac Flynn
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Other series by Mac Flynn
We weren’t really a thing. Well, at least not usually. We were just really good friends with the occasional benefits. That’s why we shared an apartment, but not a life. That is, until he was killed. Actually, that’s not true. He wasn’t killed, he was murdered.
But let me start from the top. My name is Liz Stokes, and I was a normal office girl working at a normal day job that normally paid the bills. The only weird part about my life was my roommate for my normal apartment. His name was Timothy Hamilton, and he was, well, eccentric. We stumbled into each other one autumn’s evening five years ago. I was taking a walk, he was laying in some bushes with so many bruises over his body he looked like Barney the Dinosaur. I don’t like watching stupid animals suffer, so I helped him back to my apartment and like most strays he stayed there.
That’s how I learned how weird were his habits. Timothy was a night owl who dragged himself in at early hours of the morning and often collapsed on the couch. That was where I usually found him, if I found him at all. Sometimes he would leave for a few days and come back to crash for a few more days. Other times he would be awake at all hours of the day thanks to a gallon of coffee and superhuman perseverance. I’m sure you’re asking why he had such strange hours, and that was because of his job. He told me he was a kind of consultant, and when I found him he’d just had some bad luck in a mediation. That was how he was able to pay for his half of the apartment rent. I suggested a change of occupation, but he argued that he’d been doing it for so long he didn’t have any other skills.
Which now brings us to the man himself. Timothy was old-fashioned in his mannerisms. He’d open doors for me and sweep off invisible hats when we met. I have to admit it made me feel special, and that’s why we were sometimes more than just roommates.
With all his gallant manners and cute eccentricities there was one thing about him I couldn’t stand, and that was his partner, Vincent. Vincent was tall, pale, and unfriendly. He wore a black overcoat with a duster, and had a faded black fedora. It made him dashingly handsome, but I couldn’t get past his cold manner and eyes. I hoped he wasn’t the face of their Public Relations department.
The first time I met Vincent Timothy had us shake hands, or tried to have us shake hands. I held out mine, but Vincent just sneered and turned away. Timothy brought him over to the apartment only a few more times before he noticed Vincent and I didn’t hit it off, and then the visits stopped.
There was one final weird thing about Timothy that happened shortly after we agreed to share the apartment. He took me aside and handed me a small metal box. “If you ever find out something’s happened to me then you take this box and follow the instructions, okay?”
“Like what?” I’d askedhim.
He shook his head. “You’ll know when it happens, but don’t hesitate to follow the instructions inside. Got it?” He was so strange that I took the whole thing as a joke and stuffed the box under my bed. How wrong I was, and how I wished I would have better enjoyed the time we had together.
Those halcyon days of strange hours with my strange roommate came to an abrupt end three years after we met. It was a Friday afternoon and I was just finishing up my work at the office. It was one of those cubicle-filled places where the hum of the hive was really the water cooler in need of repair. I clicked and clacked through the last few sentences of a document I was typing for a boss who had an aversion to anything related to keyboards.
I clacked the last word, leaned back and groaned as I stretched. “And that completes another riveting day of office work,” I mused.
A head peeked over one wall of my prison. It was a fellow prisoner by the name of Jeremy who I suspected had a crush on me. Maybe it was the occasional flower on my desk or the longing smile on his face. I would have encouraged it if I felt the same way, but I couldn’t get past how ever-present he was around me. If we would have started dating I imagined he would have been one of those ever-texting boyfriends asking me where I was and who I was with. Not a healthy relationship.
“Have any plans for the weekend?” he askedme.
“None that I know of, and I’m just fine with that,” I replied, seeking to discourage any plans he might have had forme.
His smile slipped a little. Apparently I’d warded off trouble in the nick of time. “I see. I was sort of hoping that we could go out to see a movie.”
I sighed and straightened in my chair. “Not this weekend. Nothing’s playing that I want to see and I might have to nuke my apartment to clean it.” I was a little behind on my dusting, dish cleaning, vacuuming, mopping, and anything else that involved cleaning and the ending of ‘ing.’ “It may take me until next year to get everythingdone.”
Jeremy snorted. “Well, good luck,” he replied, and slipped out of sight.
Thus ended that Friday afternoon. I returned to the apartment and found that Timothy wasn’t home. As I said before that wasn’t so unusual except that he’d been gone for nearly a week. I wondered at what point I needed to call the police and submit a missing person report when there was a knock on thedoor.
I looked through the peephole and saw it was a uniformed officer. That was service for you. I opened the door. “Can I help you?” I askedhim.
He held up a wallet with a badge, but flipped it back inside his coat before I caught a good look at it. “Officer Sutton with the Third Precinct. Is this the residence of Timothy Hamilton?”
My heart picked up speed. “Yeah, why?”
“I’m afraid something’s happened to him. Are you related tohim?”
Horrible images and possibilities passed through my mind. “No, I’m just his roommate. What’s happened tohim?”
“Mr. Hamilton’s been murdered. His body was found a few hours ago along the river.” My mouth dropped open and I stumbled back. The officer stepped inside and caught me. He helped me over to the couch where I sat down in numb disbelief. “I’m sorry about this, but if you could come down to the station we’re going to need a statement fromyou.”
“What? Oh, yes, of course.” I mechanically stood and stumbled toward my room. “Just let me change and get a coat.” I was still in my uncomfortable work clothes.
“Certainly,” the officer kindly agreed.
I went into my room and closed the door behind me. That’s when the full force of the officer’s words hit me, and I burst into uncontrollable sobs. I slid onto the floor in a blubbering mass of tears and denial. Timothy, my Timothy, was dead. I didn’t want to believe that he was gone, that something horrible had happened to him and I wouldn’t see him again.
My eyes widened. “Something happened to him. . .” I softly repeated aloud. Those were the words he’d used when he handed me that box all those years ago. Sitting as I was I could see under my bed and the box stared back at me. Hope surged inside me that maybe this was some cruel joke of his, and that maybe the box held the punchline. I quickly crawled over to it and noticed there were fresh fingerprints on the dusty top. I fumbled with the clasp and the top popped open. Inside was a slip of paper and a ring I’d seen Timothy wear constantly. He must have put the ring in the box just before he went off to get himself-well, get himself in trouble.
My hands shook as I opened the paper which turned out to be anote.
If you’re reading this then either you’re sneaking a peek when you shouldn’t or something’s happened to me. If the former, then put this note back and don’t look at it until the latter happens. If something really has happened to me then you’re in danger.
My heart stopped beating for a moment, but I continued reading.
I’m sorry I couldn’t explain all of this while I was alive, but I didn’t want you to get involved. With my probable death you’re knee-deep in my troubles, and I’m sorry for what you need to do, but know that it’s the only thing you can do. Take this ring to the address at the bottom of this letter and wait inside the warehouse until after dark. No matter what, even if someone you trust comes to get you, you have to get to that warehouse. If you’re reading this at night then put on the ring and pray. Pray for me, too, okay?
I covered my mouth to stifle my sobs. He really was dead, and through this letter he’d warned me about some unknown danger. I jumped when there was a loud knock on the door. “Miss, are you all right?” the officer called tome.
“I-I’m fine, just-” I paused and glanced down at the letter. Timothy instructed me to hurry to the warehouse and the sun was even now setting. I glanced around my room and noticed the window and the fire escape. I could get down that and drive to the warehouse-
Wait a minute, why the hell was I running from an officer? All he wanted to do was take me down to the station to give a statement. Still, Timothy’s note made me suspicious, and I snuck over to the door. I opened it a crack and glanced at the officer. He was working the apartment over like a pro burglar as he stuck his hands and head into every hole and corner. Nothing too unusual about that. He was probably getting a head start on the investigation.
I slipped on my coat, stuffed the letter and ring into a pocket, and stepped out of my room. “I’m ready,” I announced tohim.
The officer jumped, grabbed his gun, and swung around with the barrel pointed at me. I jumped backwards and my back hit the wall beside my bedroom door. He smiled and re-holstered his weapon. “Sorry about that. It’s a habit ofmine.”
“T-that’s a bad habit,” I commented. Even without Timothy’s instructions ringing in my mind I didn’t want to go with a guy that had such an itchy trigger finger.
“No harm done,” he insisted. He turned to the front door, paused, and turned back to me. “Oh, did you happen to know where Timothy kept a ring?” he askedme.
My heart picked up speed. “N-no, why?”
“We suspect he stole some jewelery, and that’s part of the missing stash,” he toldme.
I unconsciously reached into my pocket and clutched the ring. I faked astonishment. “A jewel thief? When’d he stealit?”
“Um, about two years ago, but that’s not important. Let’s get you down to the station for the questioning, and then we’ll get you back here.” That was actually very important to me because I’d seen Timothy with the ring far longer than two years. The officer was lying, and I didn’t want to find outwhy.
I obediently followed him out into the hall and downstairs to the lobby where I glanced around looking for some chance to get away. My eyes fell on the public restrooms, and I stopped and pointed at them. “I need to go to the bathroom.”
He turned to me with a deep frown. “Can’t you holdit?”
I shook my head. “No, but this won’t take more than a minute.”
Before he could argue I rushed into the girl’s bathroom, leaned against one of the stalls and clutched at my heart. Something was seriously wrong here, and Timothy’s letter proved he knew I’d be in danger. The big problem I had was what was dangerous and what was safe. Timothy wanted me to go to the warehouse, and the cop wanted me to go to the precinct. As a law-abiding citizen I wanted to go to the station, but the officer lied to me about Timothy’s ring. I pulled out the paper and ring from my pocket. Who was I going to believe me, my dead friend or a cop I’d never met who’d already lied tome?
Yeah, not much of a contest there. If the cop really did just want to question me he could pick me up later. Right now I had a warehouse to get to, so I looked around the bathroom and saw a ventilation window at the end of the stalls. It was only four feet above the floor and I wasn’t that fat, so I stuffed the letter back into my pocket and, for safety’s sake, put the ring on my finger and went over to the window.
I hefted myself up over the sill and pulled myself through the open, angled window. I was nearly out when I heard a knock on the door. “You almost done?” the officer shouted.
“Almost!” I shouted back. Unfortunately, because my head stuck out of the building my voice sounded off, and that alerted the cop. He rushed into the room just as I slipped my legs through.
“Hey, stop!” He dashed over to the window, but I climbed to my feet and sprinted down the alley toward the street.
I dashed around the corner and saw my car parked on the curb. Unfortunately, I skidded to a stop when I noticed the police car and the cop’s partner sitting inside. I did an about-face in the other direction and was halfway down the alley when I heard shouts from the front of the building and glanced over my shoulder. Two cops raced after me, one of them being Officer Sutton. Fortunately I was in better shape than them, and I had fear and adrenaline to get me going.
I lost them a few blocks down, and stopped for a breather in an alley. “I. . .am. . .so. . .dead,” I gasped. I’d just ditched a couple of cops, and they were going to tell all their uniformed friends about me. I pulled out the letter from Timothy and sighed. “I hope you’re right about this, Tim,” I whispered.
I kept in the shadows of the alleys and my heart skipped a few beats whenever I heard the sirens of a police car. The address at the bottom of the letter led me to the river and a row of old, rectangular, abandoned warehouses that had been built on a small island a hundred yards out on the water. The sunlight was nearly gone and a cold wind from the water swept over me. I shuddered and hurried across a narrow paved road that crossed the water and led up to a chain-link gate and fence. The entire island was surrounded by the fence, and the top had coils of barbed wire. Besides the warehouses there were rotten crates and pallets, and an old guardhouse stood behind thegate.
A narrow patch of gravel ran along either side of the fence, and it took me a few minutes to find a hole beneath the fence that had been made by wild dogs and stupid kids. I wiggled my way through the loose gravel to the other side and I followed the peeled numbers on the buildings until I found the right warehouse. They ran lengthwise with the bank, and the one I was looking for was the one closest to the far-off shore. I looked over the broken window panes and the metal, and a sense of dread flooded over me. This place looked haunted, and the dim light didn’t comfortme.
I sighed and tried the knob. It was unlocked, so I stepped inside and looked around. There was just enough light for me to see that the place was full of broken crates stacked well over my head. They created a maze of wood that wound its way to the rear of the building. I moved through them and twenty yards from the door I found a space where the maze walls parted. The crates were arranged like a bench around a single long rectangular box. On the box was a deck of cards, a propane lantern, and a box of matches.
I eagerly lit the lamp and sat down on the makeshift bench in front of the long box. The air inside the warehouse was dank and cool, and I rubbed my arms to comfort and warm me. Outside the sun finished setting and the world was enveloped in darkness. To pass the time I pulled out the letter and reread the contents. I really wished Tim would have put in a few more specifics about what I was supposed to be waitingfor.
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