Crap! This is just a bunch of crap! Why won’t Ripley let me publish what I really want to publish? He goes and takes my article and chops it up. This only gives the public a mere fraction of the events that really happened. He says that the public just won’t believe it. Isn’t he the one who’s catch phrase is, “Believe it, Or Not”? I mean really! Ripley even changed the name of the downed officer. How far from the truth can you get? Well, in order to make sure that these truths are never forgotten, I am writing them here. Where Ripley has no authority and editing rights.
The new troupe that has promised to help me on my latest case, started the day early. Officer Krzysztof Krystkowiak headed over to the Little Italy Police Precinct to get some assistance. He is very “by the book” kind of guy. In my opinion this slows him down a bit. I think he sometimes doesn’t see the bigger picture at times. Yet, I realize that if he steps over too many lines, he could ruin his career. That would be terrible for his family; and would probably ruin all his possibilities to work on leads. So I respect him for that.
Officer Krystkowiak met his second-cousin at the precinct. His cousin told him that nobody was looking into the 14 missing persons case. In fact, they didn’t even think it was a case. I don’t know how Krzysztof even kept his cool at moment. Krzysztof asked to talk with the police chief, a big broad man by the name of Captain Luigi Armario (interesting name; I wonder if he is keeping any skeletons in his “closet”?) The Chief was not very please to even meet with Officer Krystkowiak, yet out of respect for a fellow officer he gave Krzysztof some time to address the recent events. I wish I could have been there. From what Krzysztof told us, once Krzysztof opened his mouth the Chief bowed out like a whipped dog. One quip from Krzysztof and the Chief turned the case over to Krzysztof. Unfortunately, that “by the book” code took over, and Krzysztof realize that he still did not have any jurisdiction in Little Italy; so he gave the assignment over to his cousin.
Meanwhile, Benny took us all to his library. Its not actually his library, it is more like His library. The collection of books belongs to one of the local cathedrals, the same church that Benny has been staying at. The priest was very kind and let us all peruse all the ancient text. We were looking for something that fit the description of the supernatural creature or being that could be causing all the Red Court Vampires to be leaving their territorial feeding grounds; and that could be behind all the reports of the missing girls. Our searches didn’t reveal any direct details, but it did narrow down some hunches. Henry could have been a little more help in providing more clues about his specialty, Vampires, but it seems that he hung out with his band the previous night drinking. I suspect that he didn’t get to bed until 4 am. I hope he will be of more research help on later days.
Other members of the troupe were kind enough to add to the library. I gave what I could from my personal collection. A few minor books on magic that I have been collecting in old book stores. I don’t know how much of it is useful or not. The only book that I kept is the one that I am still “borrowing” from my old university’s library. It is a book on Parcaemancy.
After about 3 or 4 hours of researching in Benny’s Library, Krzysztof returned from Little Italy. He told us what I have already written. He then went on his own again to get some more leads from a “friend” in his neighborhood. I offered to give him a ride, but he preferred to walk. I think he just likes to do things alone. His “friend” was a leader of a small Prussian Syndicate named Ludomir. Ludomir would not reveal much. Fortunately, one of Ludomir’s cronies, Petrov was a little bit loose with his tongue. Not one of the brightest chaps, but not someone I want to meet alone in a darkened alley. Petrov let slip that some mob activity might be involved in all this supernatural goulash.
While Krzysztof was away, I felt that we would best be of help if we looked from some clues on our own. Even though he directly advised us not to, we decided to go to Little Italy and ask some questions. Ripley had given me two names of the girls that went missing. I knew that it wasn’t much, but they were something. Kyle, Henry, and Benny joined me. I wanted to find out if there were any connections between the missing girls. This might reveal the reason why they were taken.
At first it seemed like a great idea, all up until we arrived at the first house. As I knocked on the door, the wretch of an demon, Kyle decides that he is not too keen on “just” going to ask questions. He decides to have a little fun with our friendly Scotsman. The Scot stayed friendly all the way up till he found himself wearing a lady’s-dress-of-a-kilt with bosoms to match. The grandfather that answered the door became startled when Henry’s deep Baritone voice came out of a woman. Henry, though infuriated, quickly changed roles to play the part. I vouched for him stating he was getting over a cold. But all that was for not, when suddenly the Kitsune beast, who was masterfully playing as if he were a fur tuff on Benny’s collar, suddenly proceeded to have a conversation with the grandpa. The grandpa’s heart might not have been well (that rat might have killed him if he pushed him any further), he collapsed in a sudden faint. Henry and I carried him to the couch. Benny (who should have been keeping that fox in check…I suppose it didn’t seem out of the ordinary for him, after all Benny was still getting used to being human).
Benny began searching the man’s house. We did not finding anything out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, I was looking around the house for some ammonia to use as a smelling salt. I couldn’t finding anything. The way the house looked, I bet this guy could afford a maid to come in and clean twice a week. No wonder why I didn’t find something as simple as ammonia. Once Benny was satisfied that there were no clues to be found, he filled a glass of water, took one sip, then threw the rest on the elderly gentleman. This woke him up with a jolt. But that didn’t last long, when Kyle opened up his big mouth again. We decided to leave him on the couch and go our way, since there was nothing to be found.
The next house went better (Kyle was not permitted on the grounds), but our results were the same. Nothing. As we were leaving, a patrol car pulled up to our car before we could get in. The officer put on his lights. “Were you three the ones that just came from the Giacomo Estate?”
I couldn’t lie. I told him we were. “Might I ask what this is all about, Officer?”
“No you may not! I am taking you in for interfering with an police investigation.”
“Taking us in? But why what did we do?”
“Old man Giacomo is pressing charges on you three for illegal interrogation and disturbing the peace.”
“Officer, I can explain.”
“I am a reporter for the Ripley Register. I was asking Mr. Giacomo about his granddaughter. Here is my press pass. What ever inconvenience we caused Mr. Giacomo, we apologize and would like to make restitution…”
My apology was rudely interrupted by Kyle yawning, “BORING!”
“What the?! Okay, who is the ventriloquist?”
“Ventriloquist? Where? I want to meet one.” Kyle blurted from Benny’s collar.
“Okay who is the wise guy? If you don’t tell me I am taking you all in.”
That is when Henry stepped up and took one for the team. “It’s me, Officer.”
“A wise guy, eh? You are coming down to the station.” The officer put the cuffs on Henry. Once in the car, it became apparent that Henry had more plans than just “taking on for the team”. We could see him wailing on the defenseless Kyle. He was doing it for REVENGE!
Before, the officer got into his vehicle, Benny notice a vague resemblance to our friend Krzysztof. Benny point this out. The officer confirmed that he was Krzysztof’s second cousin. We tried to use this as one last pitch to get Henry off. Unfortunately, it blew up in our faces. The officer just turned to get in his patrol car and scoffed, “Krzysztof’s friends, eh, should have known.” Then, drove away.
I didn’t know how Krzysztof would take that. It turns out that Kyle’s little stunt affected more than just an angry Scotsman. Krzysztof was livid that we had directly went against his advice. He believed that our simple actions might have lost his influence in the Little Italy Precinct, which meant that we were about to get shut down complete from this story. Fortunately, Krzysztof knew a thing or two about family. He told us there might be a chance if we stuck to his lead. After all the dead ends we hit to day, I wouldn’t mind some much of sticking to the book if it meant we could get some answers. We all agreed to follow Krzysztof’s lead. His first command: Borsht.
We were invited to eat at Lumita’s place. Krzysztof introduced us to his mother. But before doing so, he gave us the strictest of instructions that there was to be absolutely no funny business in front of Lumita. She was a precious portly woman with dark hair and a bright smile. Her cheeks were warmly, just like her Borsht. She took pride in her culture. Her house was decorated in small trinkets and curios from the old country. Though her English was a bit broken, she described each piece in exquisite detail as she provided us her personal tour. My favorite was a painting of a mountain cottage painted by Krzysztof’s great-great grandmother. That mountains, oil on canvas, seemed so bold and life like with color. The cottage though was serene and simple. The detail with in the windows of the cottage was something to behold. I could not fathom how she capture such detail with a brush. It reminded me of some of the works of art forged through magic, that I have read about in my book. Maybe, Krzysztof comes from a magic bloodline after all.
She sat us down at a large wooden table. By now the whole house was filled with the savory aroma of her homemade Borsht. Benny was the first to finish his bowl. Krzysztof was hardly even touching his mother’s Borsht. Instead he seemed lost in thought gazing through the shear drapes hanging in the front window.
“Mama, excuse me, there is something I must do. He stood up and put his napkin on his empty chair. He did this so neatly, it was clear that this was a tradition that meant he was only leaving for a short while. I left out the front door. Sure enough, he returned but he was not alone. Behind him heavily walked a large man, definitely Polish with a large chin and wide-spaced eyes. His two eyebrows nearly touched each other in one continous hairy arch. “Mama, this is Petrov. He is a friend of Ludo. I did not want him to wait out in the cold.”
Within seconds another chair was added to the table.
“You lika Borsht?”
Petrov just responded with a big grin and a single slow nod. With one scoop of his spoon his bowl was emptied. I sensed that this did not set well with Benny, who was trying to make a good impression on Krzysztof’s mom. Benny asked for another. Petrov realized the challenge, filling his bowl again, too. Bowl after bowl the two were locked in barf-inducing beefy buffet battle. Neither had the desire to be bested. In the end, Benny had to pull out all the stops to finish his last bowl. Petrov bowed out just shy of a tie by less than half a bowlful. Krzysztof enjoyed their enthusiasm, but was just grateful no one stained his mother’s rugs with a slip of emesis. By the end of dinner everyone seemed to be old friends. Incredible the magic a pot of Borsht possesses.
Once Petrov had left we were all replaying the events of the Borsht Contest. The laughing and gaiety was broken with the phone ringing on the wall in the sitting room. Krzysztof paused before answering it. He picked it up, “Hello?”
“Yes, yes I can…. where do you want to meet?….okay, I can be there in an hour.” He then hung up the receiver.
“What’s going on, Krzys? Do you need a ride?” I asked.
“Its nothing…actually, it might be something. How good are you at not being seen?”
I had been woking on some veils in my spare time. “I am pretty good. What do you have in mind?”
“Well hopefully nothing. But just in case, Benny do you still carrying your ‘you-know-what’?”
Benny looked a little confused until Krzystof gave an unsubtle gesture directing Benny’s attention to Lumita who was clearing the last bit of dishes from the table.
“Oh! Yes, yes. I left that out on the back porch as you had asked.”
“Good. How about you come with us? Knighten, I will take you up on that ride. Do you know the way to Wrigley’s Field?”
“Yeah. Who doesn’t?”
“Mama, I might be out late to night. Make sure to lock up.” With that we put on our coats and hopped into my car. Krzysztof had us park about a mile away from the field and walk.
“What ever happens, I want you to stay hidden. If anything goes wrong you run and get Benny. Benny, I need you to keep your distance a bit. It will all make sense a little later.” Benny and I both agreed to the plan. The rest of the mile was all in silence. It seemed like a long single mile.
I stayed in the shadows while Krzysztof entered the park. He had told us he was meeting his cousin about something important. He was gone only five minutes when I saw him drop to his knees. I struggled to decide whether to stay put or run to his side. I made up my mind once I heard him wailing in to the night. I ran to see what had happened. I found Krzysztof splayed out over the body of his cousin. I recognized his face as the officer that had taken Henry and Kyle to the station. The body was clearly lifeless. His mouth was gapping horrifically, as if his last moments were spent in agony. I immediately felt the pain Krzysztof must have been feeling. In the dim quivering light coming from Krzysztof’s flashlight I could sort of make out the wounds left in the victim’s neck. Krzysztof was not thinking about holding his light steady. Rather, his mind was transfixed on the macabre scene in front of him that was so close to him on more than one level.
“Go get Benny!”
“But I can help look for clues.” I was ready to cast a light spell to illuminate the scene.
“No, go—-get—-Benny—-NOW!” The tone of his voice was slow and deliberate. I didn’t question him. I ran off the field and down the road where we had left Benny.
By the time Benny and I had returned, Krzysztof had already combed the area for any clues. He had skillfully regained his composure, and was back to being an nose-to-the-ground beat cop. Krzysztof pointed out the lack of blood on the body, even though his cousin’s wounds must have cause a lot of hemorrhaging. There was no blood on his clothes or even on the ground. He also pointed out that there was no forced entry into the park. It appeared as though Antoni was murdered in locus alterum and planted here inside Wrigley’s Field.
Once our search revealed nothing else, per Krzysztof’s request we carried the body off the field. It was a cold, lonely precession just the three of us. It felt very eerie. Something just didn’t feel right. Maybe I was sensing something magic (CG said as I became more in tune I would start to feel something, much like a sixth sense); or maybe it was that fact that this was the first dead body I had ever seen, let alone touched. I never did get to see Granddad’s body, unfortunately it was a closed casket; his death still weighs at my mind.
It took us about ten minutes to carry him to the street. Once we arrived, we propped Antoni’s dead body in a sitting position on the sidewalk with his back leaning on the stone wall, which surrounds Wrigley Field’s perimeter.
Without warning, local cops showed up to take the body away. This seemed strange and out of place. I did not object to it because Officer Krystkowiak wasn’t concerned. Officer Krystkowiak went to the precinct to accompany the Little Italy officers. I took Benny back to the church and went back to the office to write somethings down. Late that night I got a call from Krzysztof to meet him in the morning. I am very curious what it is all about.