Home > Uncategorized > Day Two Hundred and Twenty-seven: A Spirited Discussion

Day Two Hundred and Twenty-seven: A Spirited Discussion

The front door to the chapel was smashed and splintered like someone had gone over it with a sledgehammer. And over it. And over it.

“Holy cow,” Robyn said. She knelt down to get a better look at the damage done to the door, snapping on a pair of latex gloves with quick, practiced movements. “Someone really wanted to get in here,” she said.

“No kidding,” Tim said. He was already taking notes, trying to figure out how to categorize each level of damage done to the door. There were three large, head-sized holes at about waist height, fifteen large dents in the wood, and more scratches and gouges than he’d been able to count yet. “You’d think they would have rung the bell.”

Robyn pulled a long splinter away from the wood and held it close to her eyes. “If they could have just done that, they wouldn’t have done this.” She handed the splinter over to him, bet drew it back quickly before he could grab it. “Uh-uh,” she said. “Gloves.”

Tim rolled his eyes. “You and your gloves,” he said, pulling a pair out from his jacket pocket.

“You want to contaminate the evidence?” she asked.

“Robyn, it’s been hours since this happened, and we’re outdoors – I guarantee that something has contaminated the evidence by now.” He slid the gloves onto his hands, glaring at her. She glared right back at him, and her dark eyes did a much better job of it.

“Exactly,” she said. “So there’s no need for us to make anything worse.” She dropped the splinter into his hand. “Take a look.”

Tim held the splinter up in the sunlight the way she had, and immediately saw what had gotten her interest. “Hair,” he said.

Robyn couldn’t keep the grin off her face. “Yup.”

He looked over at the door again, and then at his own hands. “Those holes look about… how big, would you say?”

“About bowling-ball-ish,” she said, waggling her hand a bit. She was starting to get that jittery, manic vibe about her that she always did when they were on a case. She was ready to go, and all he really had to do was point her at a target. “I really think this’ll be the one, Tim,” she said.

“Don’t say that,” he said. “Just look at the evidence, see what presents itself.” He took a small sandwich bag from his other pocket and sealed the splinter inside it. “Let’s take a look inside the chapel, see if we can find the priest.”

If the door had been a prelude to destruction, the chapel was the main act, and both of them whistled as soon as they saw it. There were long gouges taken out of the plaster walls, windows broken, statues smashed, and the two dozen narrow pews were scattered about like straw in a whirlwind. Motes of dust glittered in the sunlight that streamed through gaping holes where stained glass used to be, and their footsteps crunched as they walked.

“Damn,” Tim said. Robyn just nodded as they looked around. The room was well-lit by the afternoon sun, but shadows seemed to linger where they could. Robyn turned on a small flashlight and started looking in the small holes and corners that still held darkness.

“You noticing what I’m noticing, Robyn?”

She didn’t look up. “No blood,” she said. She trained the light under some of the toppled pews, and then stood up. “A fight like this, there should be blood everywhere.”

Tim nodded. “And yet.”

“And yet.” She nodded towards the back of the chapel. There was a door there. Or there had been a door there. Now there was a door on the floor and an empty doorway. They drew guns and held them at the ready. Slowly, quietly, they made their way towards the door, trying to keep from crushing glass underfoot or knocking any precariously-balanced rubble further towards the floor. They edged around the shattered remains of the altar, and Tim winced as he stepped on communion wafers that had spilled out from a plastic bag. He glanced over at Robyn, who shrugged and kept moving forward.

They stepped carefully towards the door, and Tim cocked an ear towards the room beyond, straining to hear what he could before they entered.

It was silent.

He looked at Robyn, who took a deep breath and nodded.

Tim swept into the room, his gun held out in both hands and searching for any possible threat. Robyn was at his side a moment later. The tiny chapel office was much like the chapel itself had been. There was destruction everywhere. Nothing was where it should have been. Books and papers – and Bibles – were strewn about the room and carpeted the floor like fallen leaves. The walls were gouged and torn, and plaster dust drifted gently through the air.

What was most surprising, however, was the half-naked old man with a priest’s collar, sitting at a table by the shattered window and looking rather annoyed at the intrusion. As was his teatime companion, a large, hairy, wolf-like creature that was holding a teacup the size of a soup bowl delicately between its forefingers and thumb. When it saw Tim and Robyn, a low growl began to rumble through the room, its grip changed, and the giant teacup shattered, sending tea all over the table.

The old man held up a hand, and the growling quieted down. The wolf-thing never took its eyes off them, though.

In a calm, but firm voice, the kind that probably would have filled that shattered chapel, the old man said, “Can I help you?” The wolf-thing growled again.

Tim really wanted to look over at Robyn, just to see if she was seeing the same thing he was seeing. But at the same time, he didn’t want to let either of these people out of his sight. The old man stood up, and Tim found his gaze pinned carefully to the old man’s face. Whatever he and his wolf friend had been up to, it had done quite a number on his pants, and there were some things about priests that Tim really never wanted to think about.

Robyn was the first to find her voice. “Are you… okay…? Father?”

The priest glanced over at the wolf-thing, which was still staring at them and snarling silently. “Of course,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

That question hung in the air for a while before the old priest chuckled. “You young people,” he said. “Always so quick to judge.” He turned away slightly. “Yannst and I were just having a… discussion. Isn’t that right, Yannst?”

The wolf-thing growled again, and the priest turned back to them. “See?”

“But the, um… The chapel,” Tim said. “That looks like an awfully animated discussion.”

The priest shrugged. “What can I say?” He clasped his hands in front of him and smiled. “We had a lot to discuss.” His eyes narrowed for a moment. “You’re not… police, are you?”

This time, Tim glanced over at Robyn. “We came here to investigate some reports of unusual activity here,” he said. “And it looks like we were right.”

The old man’s smile grew a little wider. And pointier. “That’s wonderful, young man,” he said. “But you haven’t exactly answered my question. Are you police?”

The long pause seemed to be answer enough for him. His thin, elderly form was beginning to fill out, to swell and blur as silver-grey hair sprouted all over. Behind him, Yannst was already on all fours, long teeth – shining white – bared against them. The growl this time was more of a promise than a threat, and the guns that Tim and Robyn were still holding on them didn’t seem to worry them too much.

“That’s too bad,” the old man said, speaking more slowly so that his twisting, stretching mouth could still form words. “Someone might have missed a couple of police officers. And that would be a problem.” He dropped to all fours, and a great mane of hair burst out from his neck and back, quivering on end. When he spoke again, his words full of malevolent glee.

“Now. We have some things to discuss with you.”

Robyn sighed. “Aw, crap,” she said. And started shooting.

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