Why I am writing this down you ask? The answer is rather simple and boring to be honest. What? You still want to know? Really? I just told you the reason was boring didn’t I? Fine, the simple reason I am writing this down, is because writing about stressful events helps me process them. There. Happy now? Also, who knows, maybe one day I can even turn it into a decent story and make millions by selling it as a best-seller… Yeah I know, but a guy can dream right?
My name is Russell. Russell Brooks. It’s actually a bit longer, but I’m not stupid enough to give away my full name where every supernatural creature could easily find it. Yes, laugh about me being paranoid. Just wait with judging me until you’ve seen the things I have seen. You won’t be laughing anymore then. Anyway, I’m a professor at the Institute of Historical Research at London University where I teach classes about archaeology and history. Most of the time anyhow. And it’s something I much prefer over some of the things I do in my spare time.
Alas, when you’re given power, you have the moral obligation to use said power to help your fellow man. A great man once said: “With great power, comes even greater responsibility”. Yeah, I know, it’s from Spider-man. That doesn’t make it any less valid does it? I’m a comic book nerd, so sue me. Back to the topic. As I said, I have powers. They are nothing special, they just make me stronger and a lot harder to kill than the average Joe.
Ever since my friend, Ethan, found out, he’s been on my case that I should use it to help protect those that have no clue about the supernatural. Oh, Ethan is a gruff, American ex-cop. Once you get to know him, he’s sort of okay though. And he hates vampires with a passion. Somehow though, the two of us got pulled into this crazy… adventure, I’d guess. Together with that odd, little shopkeeper, Shen. How all of this happened, I still have no idea and I’m the one trying to write it all down.
About siblings and mermaids
It started at June six, late at night. Shen was just about to close up his shop and call it a day when two strangers entered his shop. The little shop keep overheard the male one calling the other “sister”, noting they were not a couple, and glanced at them. Both of them wore leathery outfits of black and red. The man was big and burly and had a golden nose-ring.
The girl was small and petite, and if Shen was to be believed, her face was actually quite pretty. She also seemed to be the dominant one of the two as her brother deferred to her and let her walk up to Shen. “Good evening.” He called out with that happy voice of his. Shen always has this peculiar, happy sounding voice whenever someone enters his store. Most likely just a little ploy to make people feel welcome.
“Good evening.” The woman answered with a smile, though it never did touch her eyes. “We were told you have a reputation for being able to obtain rare and hard to come by exotic items.” With a nod Shen pointed at the many stands filled with wondrous items. “As you can see.” He told her. “My shop is filled with them. What can old Shen help you with finding today?”
“We are looking for something called ‘the fragile tears of the marina’. They are very rare, hence why we come to you.” Rubbing his chin, Shen pondered. “Oh yes, oh yes. Very rare. Very rare indeed. You made a good choice coming here. Let me see if I have some in stock.” He was bluffing, he wasn’t even sure about what they were.
After checking the back area he came back looking disappointed. “I am terribly sorry, but I do not have them in stock.” Shen told her. “I can probably get some by next week if you’d like.” The woman shook her head. “That won’t do. We need them two days from now. Can you deliver?”
Shen’s eyes gleamed at that. “Well…” He started off. “I don’t know. Is very rare and hard to come by. I can try, but it will definitely raise the praise.” Before he could prattle on, he tends to do that sometimes, the woman cut him off with a nod. “That would be fine. Two days from now. We’ll be here with your money. Come brother. We’re leaving.”
The woman turned on her heels and left the store, her brother following closely. Closing up behind them, Shen frowned and went to the back, going through book after book to find out just what exactly it was he was supposed to find. Not knowing what you’re looking for would make finding it quite hard after all.
After several books, he finally found something helpful. Apparently, they are mermaid tears shed under special circumstances. Oh, and they have to be in a marina while doing so. Don’t look at me like that, I didn’t write that book. I’m just writing down what Shen told me. The tears float on the water and are said to be very fragile. After only seven days, they will be useless, and without the right tools you can’t even harvest them without destroying them. The tears however, can be used in multiple ways. One of them is a sleeping potion that is potent beyond belief.
Putting the book aside, the old man kept looking through his stack of books and found yet another passage about the tears. It described two tools. The first is for harvesting the tears. Looking at the crudely sketched picture, Shen realized that an acquaintance, you know the “I know a guy that knows a guy” type, could probably get it for him.
The other tool, was one he owned. It was used to check if a supernatural creature had been somewhere. And the book described how to adjust it to check for mermaids. Perfect. Closing the book, he turned off the lights and went to bed. Tomorrow would be a busy day after all.
Concerning cops and ears
With a yawn, Ethan continued sweeping the church hall. He had to remind himself that he was almost done as he longed for bed. Looking around, he noticed there were still a few people left. Each and every one of them praying for something or another. Except for one man. He just sat there, staring at the altar. His hands gripping the back of the pew in front of him. The knuckles on both hands were turning white, that’s how hard he was squeezing.
With a shock, my friend realized he knew this man. It was, one of his former colleagues in the force. Putting the broom away, he sat down next the man. John looked at him with a startled expression before recognizing him. “Ethan.” He said. “Long time no see. What are you doing here?”
“I’m a volunteer and regular here Giles.” Ethan replied. “You however, never struck me as a pious man, so what are you doing here?” With a laugh,nodded though his face quickly grew frustrated once again. “It’s this case… The higher ups are going to close it. And we never found even a single suspect.”
Knowing what it’s like to “lose” a battle like this, Ethan put a hand on his old colleagues shoulder. “I know, it’s hard. It’s like the bad guys win. But you’re not telling me everything are you? Something like that is frustrating, but this seems to be something more.”
At that, eyes filled up with tears. “They are children Ethan. Ten disappearances already. Not a single clue as to how, why or when. All we know is that they never get back from school. The same school…”
“That’s the only link between them?” Ethan asked.nodded. “Yeah. As far as we know in any case. Look… I’m not supposed to be doing this, but…” reached into his pockets and pulled out a photograph which he handed to Ethan. “That’s one of them Ethan. School address is on the back. There’s nothing more I can do, but maybe you can. Oh, and we never talked about this okay?”
Ethan gave an absentminded nod as he stared at the picture. He knew this kid. Luke Trucker was his name. He came in every Sunday with his parents and brother. Getting up, he looked at the altar. Kidnapping kids was bad enough, but now they had taken one from the flock he was to protect. Now, it was personal. Walking towards his room in the church, Ethan heard the bells sound midnight as he started to figure out how to proceed from here.
Relating google wizards and flunking students
With a yawn, I took a sip from my cup of coffee while looking at my watch. To my horror, I realized only ten minutes had passed, which meant that the horrible presentation would not be ending any time soon. Not the best way to start a morning I can assure you. Especially since the kid giving it, is actually one of the best and brightest in my class! But, with God as my witness, I swear. This was just terrible.
Twenty sleep inducing minutes later it was finally over. Now, I’ve been doing this for a few years. But seriously. I have never had to fight to stay awake for a student’s presentation. Ever. I’ve never been more happy to hear the bells ring to signal the end of class. And neither had my students it seemed. They rushed out the door even more so than usual today.
“Mister Trucker.” I called out. “A word if you’d please.” Trucker came over to me, his face sullen and on the verge of crying. “Sit down mister Trucker.” I indicated a seat and sat down opposite the lad. “I’m not quite sure what to say here mister Trucker… That presentation just now. It was bloody awful.” Yeah, that’s me, always tactful.
“And it seemed like the other students agreed with me as I have not once seen that many people doze off at the same time.” Actually, I had, there was this one time… no, no, no, let’s not get into that right now. It’s not very important nor relevant to this story. In any event, mister Trucker just nodded at me.
“If there is something wrong at home, please mister Trucker, do tell. Perhaps I or the school can help you. It would be a shame if this would mar your otherwise perfect score for the subject.” I looked into the lads eyes, and I could see him struggling on whether or not he could talk to me about whatever was bothering him.
In the end, his desire to get it off his chest was greater than the need to try and keep up appearances and he told me. “I’m so very sorry sir… It’s my little brother you see. He’s missing. Disappeared. Gone. The police say he just ran off somewhere… But… he wouldn’t do that! I know he wouldn’t. Something happened to him. And the police is ignoring it!”
I patted the poor boy on his shoulder and told him to see the Dean and get some time off. School is important yes, but times like these it’s better if you just find someone to talk to for a long while and get your head set straight again. As for me, I went to the school library and hopped behind a computer and started google-ing.
And what did you know, within a few minutes I had already found multiple articles on the matter. Strange how I had not noticed this before. Oh well… I clicked on the first link and started reading. Apparently, there had been multiple kidnappings. All kids came from Valencia Middle School. I went to their website and located their address.
With that, I printed out a map of the area and set off. I had no more classes today and well, if the police wasn’t doing anything about it, it usually meant one of two things. Either they couldn’t solve it, or they didn’t want to solve it because strange things were happening during the case. If it was the latter, than it was something I wanted to get involved in. As that meant something supernatural was on the move.
Connecting calls to sightings
In the meanwhile, Shen had decided to make a call to get some extra information about the tears he needed. More specifically, on mermaids. And, as everyone does, he called a group known as “the Sherlocks”. Yes, yes, the name is incredibly lame. I am well aware, please do not remind me. But, say what you will about their name, their information gathering ability is top notch.
“This is Ronald speaking, how may I help?” Shen heard over the phone. “Ah yes… This is Shen speaking. You know, from Shen’s shop of wonders?” On the other of the line, typing could be heard. “Ah yes, mister Shen.” The reply came a bit late. As if he had been looking up something.
Explaining his predicament, Ronald listened and finally asked the million dollar question as they say. “And what do you intend to use this information for mister Shen? If I might be so bold as to ask?” Now, everyone that has ever dealt with the Sherlocks, knows they don’t just hand out information to just anyone.
And they especially don’t like it when you lie to them. The best way to stay on their good side, was to be honest. So after a short internal struggle, Shen decided that the truth would best serve his purpose here. “Well you see. Late last night, I was about to close up shop, when this strange couple entered my store. Although, the man did call the other one sister, so I don’t think they’re an actual couple you know. Just a couple as in, two people…”
“Mister Shen.” Ronald interrupted. “Is there a point to this story?” See, even others think he can prattle on about irrelevant stuff. “Oh yes. Yes. Sorry about that. Well, you see, this woman asked for a rare ingredient. Fragile tears of the marina. I do not have any in stock right now but she was insistent. I promised to try and get some for her within the next few days you see. It’s business. The customer is always right!”
Ronald sighed and told Shen to hold on. After several minutes he came back. “Well, you check out mister Shen, and I have some information regarding your inquiry. Apparently, a caged mermaid was sighted in the Thames at the South Dock Marina just three days ago. It got reported as a hoax though, as the camera image is very unclear.” After getting directions as to where the sighting had been exactly and thanking Ronald, Shen went on his way.
Regarding suspicious vans and concierges
Getting back up top after stepping out of the tube, I looked around to get my bearings and walked over to Valencia Middle School. Across the gates, I noticed a suspicious looking black van and decided to investigate. Upon looking through the window, I found Ethan to be inside and opened the door and get in.
My friend turned around to see what was going, his eyes still glued to his binoculars. Startled he put them down. “Damn Russell.” He growled at me with that grating American accent of his. “You gotta stop doin’ that man.” I just nodded and crossed my arms. “Hello to you too Ethan. Might I inquire as to what you’re doing here?”
“Me?” He asked me sounding surprised. “I’m on a stake out of course. Why did you think I got the van?” I once again nodded. “Yeah… a really suspicious van. Now, Ethan, I’m just an archaeology professor of course and most definitely not an ex-cop like you. So please, forgive me if I’m saying something stupid here. But isn’t the purpose of a stake out van to be inconspicuous?”
Ethan smiled. “Yeah. That’s why they’ll never suspect this.” With a grin, he turned his attention back to the school. “’Sides… this was the only one I could borrow. So I didn’t have a choice.” Right, makes sense… Anyway, apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking the van looked suspicious as a concierge from the school headed our way.
“What do you think you’re doing?” He asked us after he reached the van. We had a rather unpleasant conversation with the man which resulted in him demanding we move the van and refusing to tell us anything. He said we’d have to go see the headmaster and see if he wanted to talk, but the concierge himself adamantly refused.
So, we did the only thing two respectable adults could do. We left the van and walked straight past the little concierge to find the headmaster.
Stepping on drunken ruffles
Luckily the man had some time for us and we were let into his office. I looked around and saw ego enhancing wall decorations everywhere. A diploma of some backwater school proudly said that “Ruffle Jones” had graduated from it. Pictures of Ruffle with people I assumed were supposed to be important. And of course, the master piece.
The man had a huge portrait of himself on the wall. Something that just screamed “look at me, I’m important!”. Sadly, the painter must have gotten his bad side. Though… to be honest, I’m not sure if the man even had a good side.
After talking for a while though, it became obvious the man wanted things to be a mere coincidence and was happy the police are closing the case as is. As he tried to call Ethan’s church, to make sure Ethan was telling the truth, his phone died. Technology has a tendency to die when Ethan is around, and he was forced to do so at the reception desk.
Ethan, ever the cop, immediately started checking the drawers of the man’s desk. I guess you can take a man out of the force, but never the other way around. While he was doing that, I found myself inexplicably drawn to the portrait and grabbed it.
Sure enough, there was a little safe behind it. My excitement at finding something soon died however, as I noticed there was a wire attached to the portrait, which had now snapped. Undoubtedly, said wire was connected to an alarm.
Within minutes, the headmaster, and the annoying concierge, entered the room again and accused us of stealing and trespassing. At that point, Ethan pulled out a gun and empty bottle of whiskey from the drawers.
“Michaël… I think you’d better leave…” Ruffle stutters. The concierge left, while giving me a mean look. I got the feeling he didn’t like me. Wonder why, I’m such an agreeable person. Anyway. “Not something you’d think to be finding in the drawers of a headmaster, wouldn’t you agree?” I asked, my voice friendly and polite.
“I agree.” Ethan chimed in. “I wonder what would happen if the parents found out…” He mused. Which was just the push the headmaster needed to cave. “No. Please!.” He blurted out. “I’ll tell you all I know.”
I sat down again, as did Ruffle. Ruffle… What a name…. Parent’s must have hated him. Poor sod. He looked at Ethan and then at me and took a deep breath. “I don’t know what is happening, honestly. And I worry about these kids… But we can’t use the bad press. The police says it’s a coincidence and wants to close the case. I really would like to leave it at that, but I can’t help but feel something is weird.”
I nodded and thought for a second before I opened my mouth. “So… is there anything connecting these kidnappings?” The man had to think for a second. “The time frame.” He finally replied. “They all disappeared between leaving for home and getting there. And always when Hesus drives the bus.”
“Nothing else? You’re not holding out anything else are you mister Jones?” Ethan asked, an edge to his voice as he dangled the whiskey bottle. “No, no. I swear. Now please. Leave.” My friend looked at me and nodded. There was nothing more to be gained there.
Just as we were about to leave though, [[:Ruffle Jones| Ruffle]] stopped us. “Why are you doing this? You’re not with the police. So why?” Ethan turned around and looking grim. “One of the kids goes to my church. I protect my flock.” I sighed before turning around and Stared at Ruffle.
“These are children. Someone needs to help them. And if the police won’t, then I will.” With that, we turned around and left a confounded headmaster behind us.
Aspects in play
- Ronald : OCCULT SHOP OWNER (Shen)
- Shen : CAGED MERMAID SIGHTED
- Russel : MY BROTHER IS NO RUNAWAY, DAMNIT (James Trucker)
- Russel : IT HAS TO BE TRUE, OR I’M SCREWED (headmaster) tagged
- DRUNK ON THE JOB (headmaster)