Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 11 - Installment: i

Detective Francis Shale set a paper cup of hot coffee down in front of Scott Edmond. Edmond lifted his head from his left over paperwork from the night before.
“Hey ‘Partner.’” Smiled Shale.
“Oh, get that away from me.”
“No liquid alarm-clock?”
“Stuff is evil. I had too much last night. I was still awake when the sun rose.”
“That was, like an hour ago.”
“Sorry Scott. So, what do we know?”
“Coroner is still stymied. They’re threatening to box the whole thing. But they’re just frustrated.”
“I can’t blame them for that. I can relate.”
“I think that secretly they love the mystery.”
“Well it’s your homicide. You tell me: what’s next?”
“Footwork on trace.”
“What do we have?”
“Drainage rock. It wasn’t indigenous to where we found him. We check some suppliers, see if we can’t figure out where the specific sample has been used in the area.”
“Oh ‘whee.’  This isn’t the kind of stuff that makes good TV.”
“Yeah, it’s not why I signed up either.”


Two hours of tag-team phone-calls produced a handful of results. They had a list of outlets that sold the type and grade of drainage rock, and emails of the past decade of sales orders were on their way.
Meyers had attacked Moira Chan three kilometers from where he had jumped out of his wife's car. By Noon they had sorted through the sales orders and prioritized according to proximity to this three-kilometer corridor.
Shale and Edmond looked at the dishearteningly long list.
“There’s got to be another way we can narrow this down.”
“I wish there was. What I’m afraid of is that we aren’t searching far enough afield. In six days he could wander much further than this strip.” answered Edmond.
“Yes, but what are the chances that multiple samples of drainage rock would stay stuck in his tread that long?”
“There we go.”
“The chances of the rock remaining is the inverse of the time and therefore the distance he could have traveled. We work outwards from the attack site, weighting our search in the direction of where he left Tanya’s car.”
“Bingo. This is still going to suck. We should dress-down. This could be messy.”


They scoured three gardens quickly. A schoolyard proved more difficult as there was no apparent place that the drainage rock had been used. Ultimately they had given up on it under the assumption that if the rock wasn’t in an obvious location that it probably wasn’t the place they were looking for, and if they struck-out everywhere else, they could always return. 
The fifth place was also a bit confounding – a low-rise apartment with no yard to speak of. The building manager directed them to the roof. There was no way to access the roof except through the building itself – and the access was pad-locked. A cursory search of the roof provided no appreciable result – which satisfied them both.
With hunger growing in their stomachs, they agreed on one more stop before they ate. A drainage ditch at Kits beach extended from the roadway to the breakwater. As the ditch was not wide the two of them were able to cover ground quickly until they got to the downhill end of the ditch where it entered a culvert. The culvert was only slightly wider than a man’s shoulders. A person could certainly climb in. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but they couldn’t afford to discount it. Meyers could have crawled through the space, so one of them would have to do the same… just in case.
“Flip you for it?”
“It’s not a Missing Persons anymore. It’s your homicide.”
“Right. It’s my case. I’m in charge.”
Shale looked Edmond in the eyes to try to assess how serious he was. Edmond didn’t crack.
“You’re an asshole. You’re buying lunch.”
“That’s fair.”
“No. It isn’t.” Shale grumbled as he got down on his knees in front of the opening. He pulled out his Mitylite, flicked it on and crawled forward into the culvert.
Shale inched forward over the next few minutes. Edmond knew well what was proceeding at his foot level. Shale would be surveying over the scum-covered rocks, looking for places that had been disturbed. It would be obvious quickly if nothing had been moved – it took time for the algae to build up and it smeared easily. Shale’s absence lasted long enough that Edmond knew that he had found something – whether it meant anything or not was irrelevant. If it couldn’t be discounted, it needed to be pursued. Unlike the school ground, it wasn’t going to be easily followed up upon. If Shale was any sort of investigator he would be thorough while he was in there both despite and because of how unpleasant it undoubtedly was.
After nearly ten minutes Edmond heard scraping coming from within the culvert.  Shale was backing up. A minute later his feet appeared.
“Something.” Shale answered as his head cleared the open end. His pants and jacket were smeared with greenish mud. He reached in his pocket and withdrew a standard plastic evidence bag.
Well done. Thought Edmond. I can’t count the number of times I haven’t had a bag handy.
Shale extended his hand. In the bag was a silver neck chain.
Edmond smiled. It was something.
"Let's grab lunch and run it over to Tanya Meyers.  See if she recognizes it."


Shale ate falafel and Edmond shawarma. They both washed their meals down with ethnic soda variants that qualified as experiments to their palates.
“I love this Chick.” Shale nodded at the television.
Edmond looked up. Bev Williams.
“She’s alright.”
“Are you kidding? She’s smart. Sexy smart. Librarian hot. And she asks wicked questions.”
“She approached me the other day.”
“Get out.”
“No, really.”
“What’d she want?”
“I’m still trying to figure that out.”
Shale stood up and turned up the volume on the report.
“…CDC officials insist that the unidentified virus is does not appear to spread easily and that there are less than two known cases in North America.”
The feed cut to a pre-taped interview. A suited Indian woman appeared. A super, beneath her read ‘Dr. Niyati Mayur Vihar – Associate Director, Canadian Centre for Disease Control.’
“There is no cause for public alarm, but we recommend that anyone experiencing any combination of fever, photo-sensitivity – that is sensitivity to bright light – or irreconcilable hunger report immediately to the CDC so as to help us maintain a public safety level below ‘outbreak.’”
Bev's voice interrupted from off camera. "Don't you expect people to be scared due to the absolute mortality of the virus?"
“That is not confirmed. We do not know that all hosts have died. Once we have more information, we can identify the strain and treat the disease properly, this will lower the danger to individual hosts.”
“So you can confirm what family of pathogen this is?”
“I can’t answer to that.”
“So you do not actually know.”
“I can’t confirm that. But we do recommend that anyone coming in contact with a suspected carrier contact their physician.”
Shale turned to Edmond. “What were those symptoms again?"
"Jesus H. Christ.”

Chapter 12

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Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.