INSIGHT - A Vancouver Story

It seems appropriate that I am writing this today.  Outside the weather is the template of what people think of for Vancouver.  The sky is a dark blanket of cloud and the rain, while not a deluge is consistent.  But here's the thing... it really isn't this way as much as people would have you think.  There is an image of Vancouver, which I believe is perpetuated by people that live here, that it rains constantly here.  Or... that it only rains here once a year - from November through May.

That is a fictional Vancouver.

Many people - perhaps even you - tuned into Vancouver for two weeks straight this past year.  February 12th to 28th specifically.  That was the 2010 Winter Olympics.  Vancouver was a socially and climatalogically warm yet brisk place where everyone had the time of their life 24/7.  While that image was based on Vancouver's best face, it too was fiction.

Necropolis is also a fictive version of Vancouver (and not just for the obvious sci-fi-horror reasons) that is based on true aspects of the city.

I love Vancouver.  It is a vibrant and exciting place.  In recent history - say, reaching back into the 19th century - there have been a list of cities that have been "the place to be" for a period of time... a few years, a decade, maybe more.  Paris, Berlin, London, Prague, New York have all been that city, as have many others.  And despite the exclusivity implied by the use of the definite article ("the") there have most certainly been more than one "the place to be" at one time.  The catch is, I don't think it has been easy to say that a place was the place to be until after the fact.  Despite this, I think there is a chance that in a decade or two we may find ourselves looking back to now - the turn of the 21st century through the 2010 Olympics and and declare that Vancouver was the place to be.  I am rather biased in this.

A local observance is that no one is from here.  It certainly seems that way.  There are precious few born and bred Vancouverites.  Nearly everybody who lives here is someone who came here from somewhere else (and I think that is part of the evidence that it is "the place to be.")  My Mother was born here.  My daughter was born here.  I was not.  My Mother didn't grow up here.  My daughter has thus far (a whopping three months).  I didn't quite.

I was born in Prince George - a mid-sized city in the dead centre of the province, often called "BC's Northern Capital."  My grandparents lived in Vancouver, and I spent a substantial portion of my summers (and various other times) here with them.  I went to University mostly in Victoria, but on either side of that (and discounting the many months I spent on tour) I have lived pretty much my entire post-high-school life in Vancouver.

I've watched it grow from the pre Expo '86 (the first time we invited the world) big, but un-remarkable city to the vital world-class destination of the second time - the 2010 Winter Olympics.  I've lived here long enough to watch the decline of Gastown and it's resurgence (indeed, I live in the Woodwards' Building that is symbolic of that fall and renewal.)  I've lived in Kitsilano, the West End, Burnaby Mountain, Trout Lake, The Drive and of course now, the DTES (Downtown East Side for you non-locals.)

There are other cities I have loved - London, Amsterdam, Tokyo, DC, Montreal, Adelaide - but none that I've really wanted to have a permanent address in. 

Yeah, no doubt I am a homer.  I cheer exclusively for the Canucks (whose first game was on my first birthday), I ride SkyTrain not the subway, I orient my internal compass by the lights on Grouse, staff (well, a few) at The Cambie and The Railway call me by name.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is to lend your writing veracity by writing what you know.  I think even if that weren't the rule, I'd still be making Vancouver the setting of Necropolis.  All of the "the places to be" places of the past have all had a literary history attached to them.  Vancouver doesn't yet have it's "great novel."  Not that I presume to lay claim to that, but a boy can dream... that said I don't really think "sci-fi horror" tends to qualify as literature.  There are novels of note that take place here: Girlfriend in a Coma; Stanley Park.  There are notable Vancouver authors: William Gibson; Douglas Coupland; Spider Robinson; Yann Martel; and my friend Mark Leiren-Young.  But there is no book that has truly risen above and that makes Vancouver the back-drop in any truly immortalizing way.  Not every city gets a treatment like Runyon's New York, Dickens' London or Hugo's Paris - and those are admittedly lofty ambitions.  But how often is that even attempted?  Honestly I don't know that one can even fairly attempt to do so, but to treat your domain with the reverence and attention that could lead in that direction... that seems like an admirable action.

While there is a lot of imagination going into this book and the Vancouver of it's chapters needs to live up to the title of "Necropolis", I do hope to present a Vancouver that is recognizable to those who are familiar with it.  When I use an abandoned building as a model for the action of a later portion of the story, I could not be happier than if Vancouverites are able to make good guesses as to it's real-world counterpart.  Some locations are more obvious - the action of the first chapter begins under the Burrard Street bridge and I make no bones about it.  Others will be semi-fictionalized - I have plans to include a fairly transparent analog to the Bentall Centre, though it will appear under a different name.  It is certainly my intention that every location in the book will at least be modelled after a true local place - even if I have played with the details considerably.

Yet here is my conundrum....

A lot of bad shit is going to happen herein.  Inevitably I am going to make Vancouver look like a place where a bunch of awful things happen.  I also want to be as honest as possible in my presentation of the real-world dark-sides of Vancouver.

The DTES has been (though things are changing) one of the most notorious drug-problem neighbourhoods in the world.  For a while around 1994 the cheapest place on the planet to buy heroin was about four blocks from where I now sit.  Access to the Pacific and a not very well policed port were the main contributing factors, I believe.  Heroin is not the problem it once was here, but crack and crystal-meth have each made their mark.  Add to that the indelible scar left by Robert Picton and the other numerous and inevitable costs of having Canada's poorest and richest postal codes a mere two kilometers apart.

I don't really know what my answer is.  I shall discover it along the way, I expect.  I assume that no-one will mistake Vancouver as being a place where the fantastic elements of my story actually do take place.  I hope that the good - and there is a lot of good in this small part of the world - that I love about my home will shine through.  And I hope that the reader can glean a sense of Vancouver that both encourages them to visit, yet doesn't pull punches when it comes to the unfortunate aspects of this relatively young, rapidly changing, friendly, vibrant and inarguably beautiful city is concerned.


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 8 - Installment: i

The strawberry tasted amazing.
Strawberries always tasted amazing to Sylvette. She had loved them as a little girl. But then the invaders arrived. For years she thought of strawberries as the ultimate in luxury. In her child’s mind the symbol of ‘strawberry’ had come to represent so much more than a simple summer treat.
They had been lucky. They had been allowed to stay in their own home. Other families homes had been destroyed, either by the initial shelling, or the invader’s onslaught, or even by the subsequent attacks from their allies on the outside, the free countries who fought for their freedom while they resisted as best they could under the thumb of the brutal occupying force. The provisional government, such as it was, arranged for reassignment of living space.
Before too long there were six families living in her parent’s home. Sylvette was an only child, and it was their home, so they were afforded the relative luxury of the attic apartment. No one walked over their heads, and they had two large rooms for the three of them. Yes, the sloping roof narrowed the usable space, but there was something impalpably warming about the knowledge that technically their family living space did cover the entirety of a single floor. Only one other family in the house could make that claim – but they had the basement. The basement was only five feet high and not unknown to flooding thanks to the foundation being compromised by a near hit when the invaders fought their way into the city. The family, the DesRoches, had six children and the infirm family patriarch who they all called ‘Bigorneau’ as he had once been a painter.
The yard had been divided too. No room left for play. It had become one great muddy garden, divided with string into six un-equal shares, roughly apportioned by head count per family. The string migrated. A stake would get knocked out of the ground by a busy gardener, then pounded back into the soil a little in favour of the person taking the effort to replace it. On occasion things got tense. Sylvette had stood by while her Papa had shouted obscenities at Bigorneau for planting carrots too close to the border between their gardens. The carrots would be leeching nutrients from Sylvette’s family’s side of the string. Sylvette’s father, Marcel, was also irritated by the old man’s attempt to grow snap peas in the larger plot provided the DesRoches family.
“There’s no room for such decadence.”
Marcel, it is a single plant.” Admonished Sylvette’s mother.
“Another single plant could grow there. A more enriching staple. It’s a waste of garden.”
“It is their garden.”
“Constance, we have to fight for every vegetable that comes from that yard. Those pods, growing above the ground are a beacon for thieves. It’s trouble enough, trying to keep them out of the potatoes which hide beneath the surface. But some scavenger sees those peas and they sneak in, trampling everyone’s hard work and making off with our turnips in the process.”
Strawberries would never stand a chance.


This strawberry tasted as good as the first one she’d had after the Liberation. It had actually taken years for her to finally taste a strawberry again, even after they got their freedom.
Constance had not survived the occupation and the home, which had comforted them so well with the knowledge that it was in fact their own, became a cold and inhospitable place. Marcel and Sylvette tried to rediscover their home, but suddenly they found it too big, too empty – too soul-less. Marcel felt a yawning emptiness inside with nothing capable of filling it.
Over the course of months and then years, the world around him changed. The debris that marked their good luck – the homes either side of theirs that were now nearly indistinguishable from the scattered cobbles from the shell-marked boulevard – was gradually cleared away. The café on the corner down the street was rebuilt, but beyond that, little remained familiar. The walls of their home, haunted by a preponderance of memories, grew more and more out of place in the strange landscape that built up around them brick by brick.
Then the offer came. It couldn’t have been called generous, but it was enough. Foreign investors looking to preserve surviving structures for historical and educational purposes wanted the house. Marcel took their opening offer without a second thought.
The money wasn’t good, but it was enough to get himself and his daughter across the Atlantic. They settled in Montreal. One of the older cities in the ‘new’ world. Their new world - unsullied by all but the most trivial of wars, comparatively un-populated. It seemed like there was nothing but open space in North America. Their house had a yard, a big one, and it didn’t butt-up against other homes on either side. There were plenty of brownstones in their new city. Nice ones. But they didn’t live in one. To Sylvette, the new yard felt like a field. Marcel kept a garden. It must have been as big as the gardens of all six families that lived in their old home combined. Sylvette made him promise to plant strawberries.
Since the death of Constance, Marcel had found that he could not stop himself from doing anything and everything for his daughter. Planting strawberries was the simplest of demands.
When the first fruit began to ripen, Sylvette begged of her father to let her pluck it. Marcel held out as long as he could. The berries were not ready. They were still waxy and lacking much colour, and the promise of their taste was a lie. Sylvette had not tasted a strawberry since she was four, and the anticipation was worse than Christmas. She pressed and pressed Marcel and before long he could not hold out any longer. He let her pick the biggest and reddest of the new strawberries. It was rather small and still more green than red, but Sylvette could not resist it and Marcel could not resist her will.
Late one mid-June morning they stood together in the garden and made a ritual of it. First a proper picnic meal of cheese sandwiches, milk and celery sticks – they rarely ate carrots anymore, turnips and potatoes were right out. When they finished the main meal, Marcel pulled back the leaves of the strawberry plant for her and she pulled the fruit away from the bush. They brushed away the soil and then she popped the runty thing in her mouth. Marcel expected her to wince from the taste – and make no mistake it was sour – but it didn’t matter to Sylvette. It was a strawberry. Her first strawberry in five years. It was the food of the gods.


This strawberry was of far better quality. Plump and juicy. She squeezed it slightly and let some of the sweet nectar drip onto the skin beneath it. She smiled as the muscles beneath quivered from the sudden coolness. The sight of the taught stomach contracting made her draw her breath as she felt a tropical feeling, warm and damp, blossom in her nethers. She licked the blood-red juice and listened to her lovers tenor moan.
It only gets better from here.
Marcel’s garden produced many better strawberries than the first. Strawberries comparable to the one she was now indulging in - the third partner in her coitus.
How did a citrus lay claim to the title of ‘passion fruit?’
Leaving their home in Montreal – leaving the garden – proved far more difficult than leaving the home where she’d been born. It was many years later. She lived in Montreal longer than anywhere else in her life to that point. Much longer. It was still the case. She didn’t think that she’d ever come to feel as though Vancouver was home the way Montreal had been. It was a beautiful city – just ask a Lower Mainlander, they never shut up about it – but after spending so long in Quebec and it being so much more like where she’d spent her childhood - minus the bombs and streets filled with rubble – Vancouver would never be home.
Vancouver was too young. Too unformed. Too unreliable. Montreal had a history and it was settled into its place in the world and it’s character. Vancouver had barely been on the map until they’d hosted the World Exposition, and from there on out it was changing so fast that it made no lasting imprint. It was schizophrenic. A cookie-cutter metropolis. But it was full of opportunity.
Vancouver became home when Marcel’s pursuits began to show more action on the West Coast. Opportunity abounded in a constantly metamorphing child of a city. That brought the attention of the most opportunistic of creatures and that in turn brought Marcel’s organization, the Lazarus Group to British Columbia. By then Sylvette was a woman and followed in her Father’s footsteps, practically as powerful in the organization as her father.


“Is this allowed?” hummed the tenor.
“Of course it’s allowed. Who do you think makes the rules?” She purred as she let the last of the strawberry slide down her throat.
“But couldn’t it be seen as sexual harassment?”
Simon, my dear, we are above that.” Sylvette firmly informed the man whose life she’d saved not a day before. She kissed the still tender flesh around the silver seal on his neck. “As far as I’m concerned, breaking the new recruits in is one of the perks of the job.”

Chapter 9


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 7 - Installment: ii

They found an empty diner on Hastings. No doubt that as the night wore on the bar-rush would justify these slow hours.
“What do you want, Bev?”
“Ah. Which means you want something, but you aren’t going to tell me.”
“This doesn’t have to be adversarial.”
“It doesn’t have to be circumspect, either.”
“Fair enough.”
“So, what do you want?”
“I’m a reporter, Scott. I need every connection I can make. I figure as a cop you’re in the same position.”
“I’ve made plenty of contacts in the past fifteen years, thanks.”
“Seems to me that you tossed the first five years worth to the wind, and the decade since you’ve been limping back to where you started and burning bridges along the way.”
“Thanks for the peer support.”
“Am I wrong?”
“It’s not the same as being right.”
“But developing a symbiotic relationship could be of value.”
“This is a cynical approach, isn’t it?”
“If it was cynical, I’d have called it a parasitic relationship.”
“And who exactly is the parasite, Bev?” It wasn’t really a question. His sarcasm was unmistakable. “Who’s doing the feeding?
“Oh, the reporter of course.” She smiled.
Scott's defence slipped as he laughed at Bev's self-effation.
“There we go.” She said. “Animosity cast aside. Now we can get to work on trust.”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself.”
“Okay, look Scott. Yes. This is a cynical approach. But it’s not like I’m trying to buddy up to you gradually for the same end. I’m putting it right here on the table. We can help each other. It is symbiotic. Yes, chances are I’ll get more out of it than you. That’s the way it works when our businesses meet in the middle. But when you do need me, I’ll be invaluable.”
“And when you screw me over, it’s okay ‘cause it’s all ‘right here on the table.’ I can’t complain, because we – you - were up front about it from the start.”
“Have I done anything to make you think I’d screw you over?”
“I’ve seen your work. You make people really uncomfortable. I don’t know that being your friend would do me any favours in the Department.”
“I never said anything about being friends. I just mean straight-up mutual assistance.”
“For however long I remain useful.”
“You’ve seen my work. If I screw you over, you’ve got it coming. Do you have it coming, Scott?”
“Some days.”
“Then maybe some day you’ll outlive your usefulness. And maybe by then we’ll have developed a friendship, and I won’t screw you over.” She let that sit for a moment before going on. “We’ve got something in common. Those meetings. Those meetings saved my life and you could even argue that they made me who I am. I take that confidence very seriously. Look, if something comes up. Something sensitive. You tell it to me in there, it’s sacred. Like confession.”
“So, there’s nothing else. You aren’t digging for a lead?”
“No. But some day I will, and I don’t want to have to break down this wall then. Look, I don’t need you to give me an answer now – or ever really. If I need information, I’ll be coming for you whether you say ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or nothing now. I’m just hoping that you’ll see that we can help each other. We really can.”
“I know.”
“So, yes?”
“Not ‘yes.’”
“But not ‘no.’”
“Like it would make a difference.”
“Yeah. Think about it, okay? I’m going to make this my home meeting for awhile. If you want to trade numbers, you’ll find me here.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I’m good at finding people if I need them.”
Scott sat and looked at her. He was good at reading people. It came with the territory. He saw nothing that hinted at dissembling. 
Doesn’t mean I can trust her – we’ve been clear about that. But she isn’t lying.
“We’ll see.” He said.
He got up and left a two-dollar coin for his coffee.
“See you.” She said, clearly not satisfied with his lack of an answer.
As he reached the door a thought occurred to him. He stopped and turned back for one more question.
“Just how good are you at finding people?”

Chapter 8


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 7 - Installment: i

     Step Nine had been the discussion of the meeting. Scott Edmond hated Step Nine. Scott was stuck on Step Nine. The Big Book said that there would be “others in which by the very nature of the situation we shall never be able to make direct personal contact at all,” but in his case it was so dissatisfying. He knew that he was hardly unique in this manner. There was still every chance in the world that one day things would change.
     I’m a fucking Detective for Christ’s sake! You’d think I could track someone down.
     But Franti was a Detective too. A good one. Or at least she had been. That would give her some uncommon insight into how to drop off the radar.
     The best he’d been able to do was infuriatingly feeble.  Prague. Back home.
     The notion of Prague being home to his ex-wife had always seemed odd, even a bit specious to him. She was a Canadian Citizen and had no accent. Her parents had moved to Canada before she was ten, and now she had returned to the Czech Republic. With their daughter. The trail ended at the plane. Air France 351 left Trudeau Airport on October 8th three years earlier with Frantiska and Janne Edmond aboard. It landed at Ruzyně. Scott’s wife and daughter disembarked, collected their luggage and for all intents and purposes disappeared.
     They were right to leave, but he just wanted to say “I’m sorry” and to let them know that he would always be waiting. They were, of course, the top two names on his Step Eight list. Janne and Franti.
     As he stepped down the church steps, a woman’s voice from behind.
     He knew who it was before he turned around. He’d seen her slip in as they closed the door. She’d sat to his left, deep in his peripheral vision on his bad side. They saw each other at meetings fairly regularly. They’d always ignored each other until now.
     “Hi, Bev.” His tone was measured. The first time he had seen her at a meeting he had been paranoid and assumed that she was digging up dirt. He left as soon as he noticed her. He didn’t go to another meeting for over two weeks and he very nearly fell off the wagon entirely, but the fear of the descent drove him back. He needed sobriety more than he needed a drink. He had proven that to himself far too many times already and he wanted so much to believe that this time he had finally won, but he couldn’t do it alone.
He started going back to meetings, but he scattered his attendance all over the region, trying to avoid any sort of pattern that she could follow.


     There had been a case ten years ago…
     God, was it a decade already?
     A kidnapping. Elizabeth Lancaster, the adoptive daughter of Edward Lancaster. Lancaster owned six of the biggest office complexes in the city core, god knows how much other land and additional business interests. Lancaster was worth a lot of money and the kidnappers could hardly have avoided knowing that. To the contrary, they clearly had targeted Lancaster because of it.
     Scott was already drinking heavily by then, but he’d managed to keep a lid on it. Not control, precisely, but he’d kept the repercussions to a minimum. The stress was too much this time, and it cost Elizabeth Lancaster her life.
     The force gave him a demotion, a severe reprimand and a departmental probation. Scott lived in a social limbo ever since. Franti had been very supportive. She knew the personal hazards of the job. She put up with so much as Scott gave in to the addiction three and four more times. She even helped him keep a lid on things as he gradually made his way back up the ladder. But then Janne came. Scott knew that he’d hit his new ceiling. No-one was ever going to let ‘the drunk’ go any higher.
     He’d never have an opportunity to screw up like he did with Lancaster again. It wasn’t luck. It was the work he was being assigned. His rank was practically ceremonial. He was respected, but not trusted. He knew it. It killed him inside.
     For the first two years after Janne was born he’d acted like a new man. But soon the weight of his arrested upward mobility brought him down. He had to be dried out twice in one year. Once he’d hit a place of stability the second time around, Franti made her mysterious one way trip to Europe. Scott tumbled again almost immediately before cleaning up for good – three years now. It was after that that Bev Williams started showing up at meetings.


     Bev was new. Or at least that was how he thought of her. He’d seen her segments on the news. Provocative and button-pushing. That was her style of investigative journalism. When he first saw her at AA he assumed that she was targeting him – the most infamous alcoholic in the VPD.
     Eventually Scott took the time to realize that his profile was stale. He wasn’t news – not anymore. Even if he was, Bev Williams would have made a point of searching him out in additional venues if she really thought he was a story in the making.
     Scott quit making trips into the valley or up the Sea to Sky highway to meetings. It was a time-consuming way to be in recovery. Soon afterwards he and Bev started crossing paths again.
     It was obvious that they knew who each other was. The knowing looks made it clear. Bev wasn’t the only one in AA who remembered the news of the Elizabeth Lancaster kidnapping. Edward Lancaster’s statement indicting the Officer in charge still stood as the single most vicious attack on the competency of the Vancouver Police in public memory. Scott’s fifteen minutes had burned hot and the imprint was flash fried on the memories of the city. Bev on the other hand was in the public eye on a constant basis. Hers wasn’t simply a face in the news it was the face of the news. No doubt had she been a decade older, she would have been at the vanguard of the journalists who had made a demon of Lieutenant Scott Edmond. Or perhaps not. Clearly she would have been somewhat more empathetic.
     Over the course of the months Scott had put together part of Bev William’s story as bits and pieces came out at meetings.
     A committed high-school party-girl, Bev washed out of political science in her first semester of University. Her parents had helped her pick herself up and dust herself off. She dried out and re-enrolled, this time in journalism school. She had become as addicted to the rush of investigative journalism as she had been to liquor. The result, was she was good. Very good. She was driven and worked hard to uncover any and all truth she could find. No doubt her term as a local journalist was destined to be brief, she was network material, and anyone who watched her knew it.
     “This chat been a long time coming.” Edmond challenged.
     “If you mean that it was inevitable, I’d say you’re overstating the case.  Coffee?”
     “Never sleeping again is part of the reporting world too, eh Bev?”
     “Creatures of the night.”

Installment ii



By now we have arrived at the point where plot threads are being revisited. For a while there it probably seemed as though every chapter was going to have a new main character. Believe me we have hardly begun introducing characters, but the primary work is done.

Hopefully, by now you have decided that you relate to someone in the book and that you will continue to read just to see what happens. Though things have only just barely begun to happen.

From time to time as I continue along on this project I will make a special request of you, as I am today. Today's request is most simple and rather general, but later ones will be more specific and I'll even provide some basic 'how to' direction for those who need it.  But today it's a cinch...

All I am asking at the moment is that if you are enjoying Necropolis, take a moment to tell someone else. Perhaps you know someone whose reading preferences clearly match Necropolis... Just let them know.  Send them the link to the first chapter, and tell them you think they'd enjoy it.

If you are feeling more ambitious, then Facebook, Tweet, Stumble Upon, Digg, Reddit, Blog, Tumblr, NetworkBlog it - or post on a forum you know of where people who you think might enjoy Necropolis participate.

I'll post again at a later date getting more specific on how best to do some of these things, but for now it's up to you how you spread the love.



Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 6 - Installment: i

The cool breeze of his breath on her damp neck sent a shiver up her spine. The tremor was more anticipation than discomfort. It was cool but not uncomfortable as he exhaled where he had just kissed.
“Mmmmmnnn.” Sarah moaned as Ruthven’s hands ran down her back, pressing in the small of it, pushing her closer to him. As they reached her hips his fingers reached the elastic of her panties she felt his fingers continue along her skin down the slim curve of her slight buttock.
Oh no…
But she let him continue. It felt good. God it felt good. No matter how much her father had angered her with the implication that she would never have the opportunity for physical love, the fact remained that she too had had serious doubts. To be laying here with Ruthven, one piece of clothing away from being naked with a boy for the first time was something that she had had never truly expected to be part of the patchwork of her life experience.
But Ruthven really likes me. That is what is most important. He likes me pale and skinny. Who am I to question that?
That she would have to stop him from going any further very, very soon was beginning to upset her mood. The anxiety raced.
God, to be able to just forge onwards. I wish we could. God I wish we could. Why can’t I be like other girls? What will he think? Stopping him – hell, telling him the truth – could be all it takes. He’ll never want to touch me again. This may be the only time I’m ever naked with a boy.
It’s okay, Sarah. Just let him go as long as you can. Make it last…
The panties curled up as Ruthven pulled them past her hips. He kissed her stomach as the cool air tickled her private area. He pulled them to her knees, and she told herself that that was all that mattered, she was for all practical purposes naked with a boy.
He kissed her navel and then just below.
Oh God. He’s moving too fast. I’m going to have to stop him… soon.
She grabbed his head. Tried to casually hold him close and slow him down, prolong the moment.
It didn’t work. Ruthven had set a goal and a pace and nothing was stopping his inexorable momentum towards her virgin lips.
She was wet, she could feel. Very worked up. She so wanted to let him continue, but she couldn’t.
That would be too irresponsible. I couldn’t live with myself.
The realities of her situation had been pounded in since she was a child. She took them for granted, but the call of her uncharted territory was putting all of that to the test.
His tongue found her hair and began weaving its way down…
“Wait…” She said.
He kept going. She could feel his breath against her wetness…
“Wait!” She sat up and pulled her hips away from his head just as he was about to make the plunge.
“You have to stop. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Look, everything is okay.”
“No. No it isn’t. There’s something I have to tell you.”
“I already guessed you’re still a virgin, if that’s what it is. I’ll be gentle. We can slow down a bit.”
“Ruthven… please don’t hate me.”
“I like you. I’m not going to hate you.”
“You will.”
“Look, it’s not that I’m a virgin. I am. And, God… I want to fuck you like you can’t imagine.”
“I imagine it’s going to be really great.”
“No. It’s not. We can’t.”
“What’s up?”
“You’re going to hate me.”
“I just said I’m not going to hate you. What is it?”
“I’m sick. I don’t want to make you sick too.”
“Right. ‘Cause you’ve got an STD or something.”
“But you’re a virgin.”
“Ruthven, my Mother got a bad blood transfusion when she was pregnant with me. It’s how she died. It’s how I’m going to die. We both contracted an infectious blood disease. I don’t want to transmit it to you.”

Chapter 7


Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 5 - Installment: ii

Tanya Meyers looked as bad as any woman waiting on bad news that Edmond had ever seen. She looked exhausted and probably had been drinking. 
At her best she must be pretty. Hell, at half her best she must be pretty.
“Sorry to disturb you Mrs. Meyers.” Shale greeted the tired looking woman. “This is Detective Lieutenant Edmond.”
“What is it?” she forced out, her worst fears evident in her subtext.
Scott took responsibility for the bad news.
“Mrs. Meyers, I’m sorry…”
She stifled a shuddering breath.
“What happened to him?”
“We’re still trying to figure that out. The circumstances are… unique.”
“What does that mean?” She begged for understanding.
“We’re hoping you can answer some questions. Right now we are quite uncertain about exactly what transpired ourselves. We’re looking for anything that might shed some light on the situation. To be perfectly honest – and not to give you any false hope – we’re merely confident that it is your husband we’ve found… although we’re quite certain.”
“Please don’t ask me to identify the body.”
“That won’t happen. I promise. May we come in?”
“I’m sorry. Please.” Tanya Meyers stepped away from the door, giving the two officers room to enter her home.
The only light was coming from the stairs to the upper-half of the split-level. Some children’s voices faintly trickled down, competing with the sound of a television set in the living room to his left.
“Go on in. Make yourself comfortable.”
Scott could barely see where he was stepping, but it wasn’t necessary, the house’s design was classic. He’d made countless visits just like this one to houses exactly like it. In fact, he’d grown up in a house which doubtlessly had the exact same cookie-cutter lay-out.
I’m sure I could find the bathroom with my eyes closed, I don’t need light to find my way in the door.
Scott and Shale took seats in the two arm chairs in the living room – it was obvious in the limited glow of the television that Tanya had taken station on the couch in her convalescence. A blanket was spread out on it and a cup of tea still steamed in front of a well compressed cushion.
“Can I get you some tea?” She offered.
“No thank you.” Both Detectives agreed in unison.
‘Like having a partner.’ Thought Scott. Pretty soon we’ll be just like an old married couple.
Tanya sat as expected on the crushed cushion of the couch, and pressed ‘mute’ on the remote, cutting short a news item about the latest threat to travelers: the most recent illness to hit the WHO etiological watch list.
Edmond pulled out his notepad. He could barely see the lines on the page.
“Do you mind if we put on a light?”
“If you have to. I’ve been crying so much, my eyes are hurting an awful lot.”
“I’ll make do.” He tilted the pad towards the glow of the television. It gave nominal light.
Lousy. But the lady just lost her husband.
“Mrs. Meyers, can you tell me, was there anything unusual about your husband’s behaviour in the period before his disappearance.”
“Well, I told Detective Shale Jeremy was sick. He’d spent about a week home from work. It had been getting worse. In the last few days he never left our room. Spent most of the time in bed. The night he disappeared, he wasn’t making any sense. He kept saying he was hungry, but he wouldn’t eat.”
“So you took him to the hospital.”
“I told Detective Shale all about this.”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Meyers. We’re just trying to put this all together.”
“Can I ask, what happened to him?”
“Mrs. Meyers, it’s important to remember that we’re not entirely certain…”
“It was him. Don’t try to ease things for me. It was Jeremy. You know it. I can tell, you’re certain.”
“Well, yes. In a forensic sense, we’re not positive, but yes, I’m confident that it was him.”
“So, what happened to him?” Her tone didn’t leave much room for interpretation as a question so much as a command.
“We’ve got a jogger who claims he attacked her, and she killed him with a rock. But we have our doubts. We think he was already dead.”
“Then how could he be attacking her?”
“Like I said, it’s complicated.”
A voice from the hall interrupted their flow. “Mommy?”
“Yes, dear?”
“Who are you talking to?”
“There are some police men here, Carly.”
“Can we meet them?”
Tanya Meyers turned to Edmond and Shale.
“Of course.” Shale.
Two young children entered the room.
“Hi sweetie.” Tanya said to the smaller one. “Come here, give Mommy a hug.”
The child shook it’s head.
Exerting independence. Thought Edmond. I remember when Janne was that young. The older one must be Janne’s age.
“Christopher, come to Mommy, please. Mommy can really use a hug.”
The boy worked his way across the room deliberately, but making a point of taking his time. Tanya took him into her arms, laying her head against his tiny neck.
“There’s a good…” She got no further. The tears that she’d been holding back finally came.
“Don’t cry Mommy.” Said the young girl, joining the other two, wrapping her arms around the other two as best she could. “Don’t cry.”
This shit always makes me feel like an asshole. Thought Edmond. Can’t leave. Hate to stay.
Shale and Edmond were forced to sit while Carly Meyers tried to comfort her Mother, not knowing or understanding why she was so distraught, or that the reasons would affect the course of her young life.
With some effort, Tanya Meyers regained enough of her composure to speak again. She looked across the darkness at the two police officers.
“Carly, sweetie, you remember Detective Shale, and this is his partner Detective Edmond. Go say ‘hi.’”
“Okay, but don’t cry without me.”
A small hiccough of laughter came from Tanya.
From the mouths of babes. Thought Edmond.
“Okay dear, I’ll be fine.” Tanya promised her daughter, while she kept a near death-lock on her younger child, her own tears trickling down the skin of his neck, glistening in the half-light of the television.
“I’m Carly.” Carly said, offering her hand in a precocious manner that indicated that she knew this was the ‘adult’ way to present herself.
Edmond took her small hand in his hand and shook it gently.
“I’m Lieutenant Edmond. But you can call me Scott.”
“You’re a police man.” It wasn’t really a question.
“Yes, I am.”
“But you don’t wear an policeman-suit.”
“Uniform. We call them uniforms.”
“You don’t wear a uniform.”
“No. I’m a Detective. We don’t wear uniforms.”
“So you aren’t a real policeman.”
Shale chuckled. Edmond shot him a reprimanding look.
“How old are you Carly?” Edmond redirected the conversation.
“My daughter is seven too.”
“Why don’t you wear a real uniform?”
“That’s a good question. I don’t know. It’s just the way it works when you are a detective. I guess we don’t frighten people as much.”
“Real policemen aren’t scary. They help people.”
“That’s right. I do have a badge though.”
He pulled out his badge and showed it to her.
“See. Just like a real policeman.”
“Yeah, right.” Carly said, in an over emphasized practice of sarcasm.
“Carly, be nice.” Tanya croaked out through her tear soaked throat.
Shale took the opportunity to break into the conversation. “Mrs. Meyers, you need some time with your family. We can come back.”
Edmond pulled a card out of his wallet and handed it to Carly.
“Carly, make sure to give this to your Mom for me? Mrs. Meyers, my number is on that card. I’ll call again in a day or two, but don’t be afraid to call me, okay?”
“I’m sorry I’m not in a better…”
“It’s alright. We’re just trying to fill in some holes.”
Carly took the card from Edmond and looked up at him. The motion of the images on the television set reflected in her eyes, making them twinkle at him. He smiled. She smiled back, and the two officers saw themselves out the door.

Chapter 6
Creative Commons License
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.