Decay (Early Draft)

EDIT: I apologize for the lack of distinct scene changes before this edit. WordPress has a habit of deleting important page breaks for some reason. I’ve put hyphens ( – ) in between scene breaks to make it explicit. I hope WordPress doesn’t delete the paragraph breaks like before.

My first go at detective fiction. I’m thinking to further edit this one in the future. It’s a little rough, fast, and full of dialogue, but I think it’s decent. I’ll be releasing a similar story that functions as a re-writing of this in a few weeks called Kēmeía which is at least four times better. (I’m just getting feedback on it.)

The Captain pointed to the body and told Fredrick to take a sample of the rot.

“Bring it to Chloe. Find me as soon as you get results.”

The officer nodded and did as he was asked.

“How long do you think?” She asked Setzer.

“Looks around four days.”

Captain Natasha looked at the corpse’s armband. “Four days?” She said.

“That’s what he said,” Setzer continued, “I got a ledger of everyone who was in the city during that time” He handed her a hardback clipboard.

She scanned the names, “A copy?”

“Yeah.”

Natasha unsheathed her fountain pen and began cutting out names. She handed the board back to Setzer. Only three remained.

“Where would you like to start?”

Setzer put his finger on a name.

Chloe took a look at the sample. It seemed strange.

She said, “Thanks, I will, ah, I’ll get it back to you in a couple of hours.”

Fredrick nodded, and then left.

“It has been a while since I got a chunk of human… Hey!” She called out to her one of the experimenters, “ah, can you prep my station?”

Setzer looked up at one of the few three-storey buildings in the city. They were there for Jason Arson, servant of one of the landowners in the “old money” district. Setzer was sure, or at least he hoped, that Arson had done it.

“He works here? Out in the open?”

Natasha nodded, “innocent until proven guilty.”

“What if we can’t prove someone did it?” Natasha said, citing Solune common-law.

A servant opened the door; it was the man they were looking for.

“Not you again,” he said. A mask covered his mouth.

“Has your master sent you on any ‘errands’ recently?” Setzer asked.

The servant made an angry face, but remained silent.

“How about, say… four days ago?”

At this, Natasha prodded him.

The servant shook his head, “I was on an errand. I picked that up.” He pointed to an expensive bottle of wine on the table behind him. “Is that why you came here?”

“No.”

“Well then, goodbye.” He shut the door.

As the two guards moved on, Natasha said, “You should have said yes. He obviously stole that bottle.”

Setzer frowned.

They visited the butcher shop. “Closed. Looks like your idea didn’t work out so well, Natasha.”

“We will check his home.”

The butcher lived in an old and run-down house in the same district as the body. Setzer knocked, and then eventually tried the door but it was locked.

“That’s odd.”

“Yes.” Natasha said, “So? What do you think?”

“Not what I was hoping for,” Setzer said, “we don’t know where he is now.”

Natasha said, “Then we will go to the lab.”

They went to the labs and checked to see if any poisonous chemicals were missing. Nothing was gone that wasn’t undocumented.

They passed a particularly dark and cluttered alley. Setzer, who somehow became more alert at night, stopped and turned his head. He listened.

“What?” Natasha’s words sounded more like a statement than a question.

“You made it stop, which means whatever it was is alive.”

He stepped into the alley, walking over dirt and rotten vegetables. Then, he saw her, a dark woman crouching near one of the walls.

“Who’s that,” he shouted.

The woman stood. She had black hair, dark skin, and a dark blue side-cut dress.

“Eating someone’s leftovers?”

“Maybe.” The woman wiped her mouth. It was too dark to see the red that was on it.

Setzer felt a prod in his back. He stepped forward, “Let’s see than.”

The woman courageously stepped back and crossed her arms. Her claws dug into her skin.

“What—” He stopped and then looked up at the woman, “it was you then!”

He grabbed her and tried to cuff her, but she was a lot stronger than him. Natasha watched in silent amusement. Setzer, in his struggle, turned for her help.

“What are you doing?” He shouted.

“She will not run. Give it up.”

Setzer ignored this advice and continued to wrestle the woman until he ran out of breath. The woman looked down on him and scoffed. Setzer leaned on a wall and threw one hand into the air in defeat.

Natasha took three steps toward the woman.

“That is a nice catch, Jade,” Natasha pointed to the corpse on the ground. Some of the fleshier bits had been torn open. “Tell me where you found it.”

The woman sneered, “Right here.”

Setzer caught a second wind, “Another body in an alley? How old?”

“Four days,” Jade said, “I hoped for something fresher.”

Natasha saw the armband. “Were those wounds there when you found it?”

“No. But the meat tastes funny, even for a body this old.”

Jade stopped and looked around. Her eyes changed their nature, and her nostrils flared.

“You will lead us,” Natasha said.

Jade gave a grunt of anger and moved. Natasha followed.

“What? Hey!” Setzer shouted after them. He got no answer, and, giving up once more, he followed them.

She took them to an abandoned building closer to the castle, but still in the western district.

“Hey,” Setzer whispered, “what’s with the cannibal?”

“That is simply a defect in Jade. She is not happy that we are going to cut her supply.”

“Huh. Innocent until proven guilty?”

Natasha nodded, “Cannibalism is not illegal.”

“Just everything that leads up to it, then? What a joke.”

“Here,” Jade extended her arm to the building, and then promptly left.

The building was old and hallowed. Setzer guessed that it would be demolished soon.

“What if they’re working together, then?”

“I doubt it.”

Chloe put on a white coat and sat down at her station.

Her colleague saw what the sample was, and knew what she was going to find out, so he silently left the lab.

The door was not locked. Setzer looked back, and Natasha confirmed; this building should have been sealed. They searched around what was no more than a shack.

“Up here, the roof has a loft. Aww! I can smell it!” Setzer waved his hand in front of his nose, then scaled the wall and hoisted himself through the hole in the roof. He looked to see if Natasha was following him, but she just stared. He shrugged and looked around. His eyes adjusted quickly and, in a pile of dirt, he found the body. There were two.

“Oh jeez!” He called down, “We’re going to need older records, this one’s a skeleton! And— oh man, what the hell? This is the first guy we found, except—”

Someone else came through the door, and Setzer stopped talking to listen. Natasha calmly turned around.

“Ah! I don’t like this at all. Where did you say you got it?”

“Natasha told me to bring it to you.”

“Obviously you had to bring it to me, who else would know what to do with it! But, ah, you told me that the body was only four days old, but look at this! Ah! Even you should be able to tell!” Chloe slammed the glass container on the table in front of Fredrick.

“Jade,” Natasha nodded, “you have returned.”

She looked very unhappy.

“Something is wrong,” She said.

Setzer, now aware that their guest wasn’t necessarily an enemy, said, “The other body is up here, the first one, and also a skeleton. And there’s a bigger problem.”

“Tell me,” stated Natasha.

“Well—”

“—it’s far older than four days, Look, the blood is decomposing. Fredrick, you have to tell Natasha that that doesn’t normally happen until eight days at the earliest.”

Officer Fredrick wiped his brow. It even looked like a different piece. The piece of flesh he’d brought was a sickly green, but sample Chloe held looked red and sticky.

“Bring this to her at once. And, ah, here,” she scribbled a note, “to quell and doubts she may have that it’s her sample.”

“—the body has become mostly decayed, as if it’s suddenly a few days older,” Setzer shouted down the hole.

“My food—I mean,” Jade thought for a moment, then said it anyway, “My food has been tampered with!”

Setzer jumped down from the attic. “Let’s stake this place out. Whoever is doing this will definitely return, probably with the cannibal’s body. Then we’ll get some real answers.”

They organized under his direction and surrounded the building. Jade hid across the street, Setzer crept in the alleys behind, and Natasha lay prone on the roof. Apparently, Setzer thought, she could climb if she needed to.

About an hour later, a man came through the alley with a large sac. Setzer watched him, but remained hidden. He tailed the man and confirmed that he was going towards the shed. Setzer beckoned to Jade, who was watching grouchily. She beckoned back across the street to Natasha, who was on the shed’s roof.

Natasha put her ear against the tile and listened. After a short period, she heard a loud thump; the sack. She waited for ten counts and then dropped her body, knee first, into the rotten roof. It sunk intward. She swiftly beat the dent into a hole with her fists, then slid both hands into it and ripped out as much if the ceiling as she could hold.

Bathed in the moonlight, the man froze in horror and then shrieked when he saw the silhouette of a guard Captain leaping through at him. She made quick work of the culprit.

Three people were gathered in the Captain’s office , two women, and one man.

Setzer said, “Well, you got him. Do you think he’ll make it through court?”

“Not with this evidence,” Chloe said, “Thanks to your other samples, I managed to extract the poison from his fluids.”

Natasha nodded, “I knew from the start that something was off, but when I saw Jade’s body, I was certain. None of these people had wounds, and they apparently tasted funny. They died from poisoning. And their clothing didn’t seem as old as the rest of them. What finally confirmed it though, was the wristbands.”

“Wristbands?” said Chloe, “They had festival bands?”

“Yes, from yesterday’s festival, not from four days ago.”

“What about the person who made the poison?”

“That was someone from my lab!”

“Yes,” Natasha nodded, “The man we caught did not seem the type to be making potions.”

Natasha and Setzer both stood.

“We still have work to do.”

Daniel Triumph.

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The Spectator; The Thief

Jason Arson walked across the rooftops. Most other people in his position may have run, but Jason was a punctual infiltrator. He was already ahead of his own schedule by fifteen minutes, and his schedule was set ahead by twice that much. Running would actually be detrimental, as the longer he stood in his hiding place, the more likely he was to be discovered. The only real downside to walking was that he had to push harder to jump from roof to roof, but Jason had strong legs, so he didn’t mind.

So Jason Arson walked.

He ran down an alley, thrusting his legs from wall to wall. He ran, losing a cubit of height with each step and hitting the ground right before running out of alley. Then, he walked out into the streets, entirely unassuming.

Arson wore a brown trench coat, cut right above the knee. He preferred black, but brown would blend in better with the castle’s insides, as well as its inhabitants. Jason patted himself down, checking items off his mental list.

Short sword? Left side, tied high on the waist. Spike launcher? He felt around. Also on the left side, above the sword. Truncheon? He knew he had that for sure, it kept knocking on his spine as he walked. Wallet? Jason tapped around his seven pockets. Nope, forgot the wallet. Hand pick? Yes! In a pocket! At least he had that.

The last item was his ear-trumpet. The use of the trumpet had made him a laughing-stock, until it had allowed him to hear a vital piece of information that everyone else had missed. They stopped calling him ‘the deaf spy’ after that.

The inside of the castle was extremely crowded, the walls browned with age. Jason quickly got lost. It is an infiltrator’s job to get lost. He quickly made his way to the second floor, and after making two lefts in the wide halls, he looked around for a haven where he could plan his next move. He found the door to a broom closet. According to the map he had been supplied with and subsequently memorized, Jason knew that this closet was only one wall over from the throne room. He looked around. So far, he hadn’t seen anyone on the second floor, and he guessed it was restricted from the public. This was both good and bad. It meant he was less likely to be caught, but it also meant that his presence would immediately draw suspicion. Jason tried the doorknob. Locked. He felt around for his picks, and then remembered that he didn’t have the wallet he kept them in. He was going to have to get creative.

Jason casually launched himself back towards the staircase, sidling around the corner. Before turning it, he stopped. He could hear footsteps, but they were unusually paced, as if the person was stumbling continually. He rifled around his coat for the small ear-trumpet. Thu-thump, thu-thump. The sounds became louder and more distinct through the horn, but they still made no sense to him.

He took a deep breath in, and then turned back from where he came. He tried every single door as he skulked down the hall. All were locked. He ran around the corner once more, and vainly tried the closet again. Nothing. He was farther from the footsteps now, so he took the extra time to feel around the walls for loose stones, maybe a hidden entrance. He again found nothing. He heard his oblivious pursuer getting closer. He didn’t have much time.

Jason tried all the doors in the section of the hall. No. No. No. No. Yes. Wait, yes? He opened the door and saw that it was another staircase, but that this one went up. He closed the door and ran to the top. The door there unlocked as well. “Okay,” he whispered.

Right as he opened the door, Jason heard the knob at the foot of the staircase turn. The odd footsteps had caught up. He rushed through the portal and closed it behind him, carefully turning the latch so that it clicked silently. The steps got even more unusual, as if they couldn’t understand the concept of stairs. Jason shuddered, but continued trying rooms, and continued to be denied entry.

Jason was getting nervous now; he was running out of options. He noticed that the rooms on this floor were labelled. He grabbed the one titled “supply door” and to his relief, it opened. Jason entered and slammed the door as silently as his nerves would allow.

Minutes went by, and the footsteps became audible once more. He listened as they passed and then turned the corner. In an act of poor judgement, Jason opened the closet door and looked around the corner of the hallway to see what kind of creature had been following him.

He saw a short woman. She had tanned skin, and thick sun bleached hair. She was a child! She was skipping down the halls! Jason receded back into his closet He took his face in his hands and pulled downward. He lamented the idea that he had been genuinely fearful of a prancing youth.

Jason sighed and returned to his task. He hadn’t memorized the third floor, so he felt around, hoping he had his map. Its presence in his coat surprised him. He quietly unrolled and read it. The throne room was two storeys tall, which meant that he could probably listen in from this closet, if he dug into the edge of the floor diagonally.

Jason Arson took the hand-pick out of his pocket and started at the mortar by his feet. Within twenty minutes he had removed many of the smaller stones from behind the outer brickwork. He worked his way around a wooden support beam, and then broke through into another room. He stopped digging, pulled the debris inward, and then peered inside. It was the target, the throne room. He could see the King’s wife milling about and talking to someone who he recognised. His mind began to wander into memories. He cleared his head. The King arrived. Jason lay face down on the ground, pressed himself against the wall, and readied his ear-trumpet.

 

Another of Jason Arson.

This is an edited re-release of the story fragment that was recently removed from the site. I figured that the story that was contained on the page might be worth keeping posted. Also, my editing game is getting up there. Pretty happy about it.

Daniel Triumph.

You can follow me:
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for art: DeviantArt and Instagram.

P.S., Happy Friday!

Gathering All of the Evidence [ROUGH DRAFT]

Evidence

This is a compilation of the first draft of the Evidence series.

Evidence is a novella, only 20 000 words long. This is the first draft, a simple copy of all the chapters that I’ve released individually over since May 28. This is almost word for word what you would find in the Table of Contents. If you want to read the final draft, you will have to wait for the editing process to be completed, right now there is no ETA. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy this heavily flawed first draft. I apologize for any grammar or logic mistakes, as this is the first draft, and it is entirely unedited and not at all proofread. Apologies.

One day, this will be fully drafted and finally self-published.

Finally, to hear the two songs that inspired it all, follow the YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpcDQGdwlGU, and then, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMcUxONgcsE.

You may download this manuscript: Gathering All of the Evidence

Gathering All of the Evidence

The First Draft

By Daniel Triumph


© 2017 Daniel Triumph, Canada.

Digitally published August 16, 2017 on danieltriumph.com and as a .pdf file.

Some rights reserved.

Continue reading “Gathering All of the Evidence [ROUGH DRAFT]”

Broken Teeth

This serial has been cancelled, and set to private.

Preview

Chronological Order

In Progress

Below are planned releases. This section changes a lot, as it is only a plan and I love changing my plans as I write!

Alexandre “Jutt” Dirge

Natasha Glass Rhye

  • 1: Jump
  • 2: The Thief
  • 4: Terrific Fatal Mania, Prelude
  • 6: Redeemer of Souls
  • 7: The Schizophrenic
  • 8: Coils Deep
  • 10: All but One

Old Drafts

Want a Different Story?

Alice and Finch

Evidence

Other works

Evidence

Previously, Table of Contents

Before he spoke, before he gave Janna her sentence, Kain called Natasha up. Janna assumed that this was so that they could discuss some form of law, as Natasha knew more about the exact laws of the Kingdom than anyone else in the room.

Then, Natasha sat down.

“You are sentenced to two years, with a potential for coarctatio in…”

Kain looked at Natasha, as if searching for answers. Natasha just shook her head, as if to say there was nothing she could do.

Kain’s eyebrows furrowed, and he said, “Eight months.”

Janna’s eyes widened. Eight months? She could be out, highly constricted, but free for the birth of her child.

She stood and bowed, then exited, followed by Drake, then Chance, then Chloe and Natasha.

 

Outside Janna leaned back and stared into the sky. Maybe all this wouldn’t be so bad. As she pulled her arm up to block out the sun, someone grabbed it.

“You are quite aware that this coarctatio is only to apply if you are absolutely clean of action during your incarceration.” Natasha stated.

She was handling Janna with force, locking her arms together. Janna turned, looking over her shoulder. She could see Drake being shackled by Alice. They were lead to the hotel-like prison. Janna continued to stare up at the sky as she walked, looking and feeling utterly condemned, relying solely on Natasha to guide her through the city.

“Is there hope of mourning?”

Natasha almost stopped moving, “No.”

It was an unusual phrase, but it had a very specific meaning. Their oldest sister, Jealousy had said it one day, when she was seven or eight, or possibly even as old as eleven. She had blinked, and suddenly looked somehow more mature, and then she said it.

“There is hope of mourning.”

No one else had been there, but two years later, on the exact date that this subtle but meaningful event had occurred, Jealousy blinked again, and looked somehow younger. This was moments after their mother had died, of natural causes.

Janna shook her head. She wasn’t going to think on the details of how her father had gone through to revive and stabilize Gwenhime, not now. Since then, it had become an ill omen, whenever Jealousy said those words. Usually of death, but occasionally of something far more sublime.

 

Natasha lead Janna into her room, and removed the cuffs. She stood on the threshold.

“Avoid confrontation in the coming months. Report to a guard if anything happens. I know this may be the hardest thing you’ve ever done,” Janna noticed that her sister was being entirely sincere, “But for the sake of yourself and your child, you must be entirely passive.”

Janna grabbed her sister’s hands and stared into her eyes. Natasha simply raised an eyebrow. They stared at each other for many moments, and then Janna fell into her sister. Janna did not shed a tear, but simply embraced Natasha. After a moment, Natasha returned the gesture.

“You have a couple of sixths to rest before the ceremony,” Natasha said in hushed tones.

She did not lock the door from the outside, and as she exited, Alice strode in. Again she was dragging Drake behind her as though she had forgotten about his existence.

Janna ran to the bed, stripped and leapt in. Drake rubbed his wrists, and followed, standing at the edge of the bed.

Alice became very bashful, and ran out the door, locking it from inside. They were not locked in, it was not yet time. The rest of the world was locked out.

Well, Evidence is finally over. It seems not a lot of people followed the series, but to be honest I don’t think it was that great. But! This is just the first draft. With most works of fiction, the first draft is awful, and so it is here.

That’s it. There may be a part two, but far in the future. It will start, of course, with Janna’s ceremony, and end with Janna choosing to continue her search for Zealott a few years later, in the company of her daughter and Drake.

The second draft will likely be released in three 6000 word parts.

Daniel Triumph.

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P.S. Check out the Table of Contents for more.