Mindcrash Pt. 3

May and Dylan questioned the crowd surrounding the crime scene, most of them had only come to gawk when the security barrier had been erected. One of them pointed toward a nearby house and said that they had been alerted by the citizen in the house. May and Dylan dispersed the crowd after scanning them to keep a record of who had been there. They headed to the threshold of the house. When they got to the door, a tall and gaunt form stepped close to the door. May looked up at the man who had coal-black eyes and fought not to shudder. Vampire Town was creepy.

“Greetings, Detectives,” the man said. “I am Grimm. I am, so to speak, the leader here and I thought I might check in.”

May held up her badge and scanned Grimm. Her badged chirped and the display popped up. “Grimm Harrow. Councilman and de facto mayor of Vampire Town,” May said. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Detective May Collins and this is Detective Dylan Rider.”

“I’ve actually met Mr. Rider before,” Grimm said. “It’s nice to see you again although the circumstances are not ideal.”

“We’re sorry that this happened on your doorstep,” Dylan said. The council did not really rule with iron fists but people deferred to them in times of crisis. They also acted as arbitrators in conflicts.

“Was it one of ours?” Grimm asked, his eyes narrowing slightly. “One of mine?”

May looked around to make sure they did not have any eavesdroppers. “Our technician, Cirra, was able to identify the remains as somebody from the Gamezone.”

Grimm’s eyebrows rose. “So far abroad?” He asked. “So strange. This might be a deep mystery. We have not had many deaths in the Lost Lands so far.”

May nodded. “Yes, well, if you’ll excuse us, Councilman, we were just about to question a witness,” she said.

Grimm looked at the door. “It might be better if I accompany you,” he said. “My constituents are very theatrical but many are actually quite shy.”

May and Dylan shared a look and Dylan shrugged. May sighed. “It might be a really good idea, I guess,” Dylan said.

“Alright,” May said. “Let’s go.” She turned and knocked on the door. Nobody answered it, it simply slowly opened. Grimm made a gesture for them to go first and May cautiously stepped into the house.

The house was extremely dark, like something out of the old horror movies. Almost every surface was textured like old, rotting wood. There were huge cobwebs absolutely swarming with spiders. Every so often, a bat flapped from somewhere in the darkness to somewhere else in the darkness letting out a shriek. May flinched every time a bat made a noise and her skin crawled when she saw the spiders. She knew that none of it was real. There was no such thing as actual animals in the Lost Lands. The spiders and bats were probably elaborate AI programs or possibly just well-programmed decorative effects.

“You don’t really like it here, do you, Detective?” Grimm asked.

May shrugged. “I’m not a fan of horror,” she said. “No offense.”

Grimm laughed and the sound of it was chilling but charming. “It’s quite alright, Detective,” he said. “It’s not for everyone.”

“Who lives here?” Dylan asked. He reached back and touched the sword on his back almost by instinct. May checked her own sidearm just in case.

“Morgan Le Mark,” Grimm said. “She’s rather dramatic as you may have noticed.”

A silken voice rang out from the next room. “Mayor Harrow,” the voice said. “Who have you brought into my abode?”

Grimm called out. “Morgan,” he said. “These detectives mean no harm. May we speak to you?”

“You may enter,” Morgan said.

They stepped into the room and there was Morgan standing in front of a roaring fireplace. She was pale and tall and she was wearing a black dress and she was draped with a black silk shawl. She smiled and there were actual fangs glinting in the firelight. May shuddered.

“Relax, Detectives,” Morgan said. “You will come to no harm in my home.” Her voice held the hints of some sort of European accent. She was a bit cliche but many stuck in the Lost Lands ended up that way. When you could be whatever you wanted for an eternity, some embraced their fondest dream.

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