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Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story

Cartwright Falls

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a part of Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story, by Bosch.

You are outside on the streets of Cartwright.

Bosch holds sovereignty over Cartwright Falls, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

1,008 readers have been here.

Setting

The Streets of Cartwright. During the day they are filled with people but at night things are a bit quieter and more sinister.

The small size of the town means these only take in a couple of blocks.
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Cartwright Falls

You are outside on the streets of Cartwright.

Minimap

Cartwright Falls is a part of Cartwright Falls A Psychological Horror Story.

4 Places in Cartwright Falls:

16 Characters Here

Thomas Barton [46] "I will not be denied the truth!"
Hayden Montgomery [36] The Determined Deputy
Eli Carter [36] The Carwright Falls Sheriff
Connor Adams [33] Ex-marine, now Sheriff's deputy!
Juliet D. Bishop [32] "I'd give anything to have Julian back. Even my life."
Nathaniel Alexander [32] A graduating high school
Simon "Deacon" Temple [27] "It's all just a matter of the mind. FInd out what the people know, talk to them, get to know them, and everything else will solve itself."
David Blake [15] Senior Special Agent.
Kyle Renner [14] The Tourist.
Cassandra K. Bishop [11] "In the end, you still die. There's no fighting that fact - death is the debt all men pay."

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Kyle Renner
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"Tom?", Connor stood in place for a bit, daring to glance over his shoulder at the back of the Agent.
How the fuck does he know his name?
"I know you're out there, Tom. I know you're scared too. Scared of what's hiding in the dark, but you already know that, don't you, Tom?", The Deputy felt the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. Something wasn't right here.

"What happened to that old bastard on your last case taught you it's not the darkness out there you gotta worry about." , Connor stole another glance at Thomas. "It's the darkness inside that'll get ya." .
What the hell is he going on about? Do they know each other?. This case was starting to damage his calm. Can I trust Barton?
"How long before you start spending a little too much time looking in the dark places of your own mind?”

At nearly 15 yards away, Connor had already lost sight and sound of Barton not long after entering the cave, and the idea of moving his flashlight away from the mouth of the cave seemed unsettling given the events of the last hour. He heard someone he could only hope was Barton whisper something unintelligible.
Connor then heard the sickening, wet and all to familiar impact of something cutting open human skin, causing him to spin around, his fear of what may be lurking behind him gone. His light shone on Barton and another figure mostly hidden by Thomas' frame.

"Maybe that's why Alex left. She reads people for a living, and maybe she saw something in you. Something dark."

"Shut up!", the words suddenly erupted from Barton's throat, the loudness amplified by the cave walls made The Deputy cringe as made his way to Thomas, shotgun pumped and ready but the Agent had other plans.
"Connor! Get back to the car and get my first aid kit! It's in the glove compartment! I need gauze and I need it yesterday! I found Renner, and he's not resisting, but he's bleeding out fast!".
Connor paused for a moment, confusion wrestling with satisfaction that the Sheriffs killer was dying slowly. He also knew that Barton would probably hold the Deputy responsible if he refused to render aid.
"Shit", he muttered loudly as he spun on his heel and took off for the mouth of the cave.

Running for the vehicle in the dark made Connor paranoid, especially since the bodies of the wolves he and Barton had taken out less than an hour earlier were now gone.
Aw, hell he thought to himself, eyes scanning the dark as he fumbled with the passenger door, opened the glove compartment and withdrew the first aid kit.
"Hayden, its Connor. We got some serious shit going on here", he said into his Walkie Talkie has he ran back for the cave.
"Hayden?", he said, worry lining his voice when he received no response. "Do you copy?". Connor growled in frustration when the communicator remained silent.
Hope she and Temple are okay he thought to himself as he entered the cave and continued to move forward until his flashlight caught Barton again, hunched over the suspects prone form.
"Here's the kit", he said handing it over to the Agent.
"I tried raising Hayden on the Walkie, I got nothing", the ex-marine said. "When we're done here Thomas, we need to have words."

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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"Here's the kit," Connor told him as he handed the box to Barton. Barton quickly opened it and pulled out a roll of gauze, working the clip off with his free hand before pulling the bloody tie from the wound and quickly wrapping the gauze around Renner's arm. Even as he did he realized it was no use. Renner's eyes had clouded, and his previously manic speech had stopped. "I tried raising Hayden on the Walkie, I got nothing," Connor said suddenly. Hearing but not processing him, Barton started fishing for his notebook, sticking the light in his mouth to free his hands. "When we're done here Thomas, we need to have words." Barton froze a moment, then nodded with a muffled noise of assent. He pulled out the notebook and pen, then checked the time on his watch.

Carefully, he scrawled Died 12.11AM below the previous note on Renner, and drew a line to link the two. He closed the book and pocketed it with the pen, then reached over and closed Renner's eyes, bowing his head a moment. Barton wasn't religious, but he knew when was a time for respect. Renner's last moments indicated some kind of mental disorder. Possibly schizophrenia? Barton doubted they would know for certain now, with the subject dead. Barton eased Renner's body to lean against the wall limply, then took the light from his mouth and stood, ignoring his tie. "Adams, we can have words in a few minutes. Right now I—we—need to call Renner's death in, so we can call off the manhunt and get his body to the morgue. After that, we'll regroup and plan tomorrow before we all pass out from exhaustion. I hate to leave Renner's body out here, but I'm not leaving either of us alone after all of this. Let's get back to the car."

He shouldered his rifle and took the kit in hand before starting out, watching for Adams to follow him. They walked to the car in silence. Barton had a feeling he knew what Adams wanted to ask about. His last case, and Alex. Alexandra Glass. The name ran through his head like a panacea. She would still be up at this hour. Probably. He needed someone to talk to, and for him there wasn't anybody better for that than Alex. She was better than any psychiatrist. But how to explain her, and the Gerhart case, to Adams, without it seeming strange. After all, how could he really be in a relationship with her, when she was all the way in...Los Angeles? No, that was in a week. She was still in Richmond now.

With a start, he realized he had autopiloted his way into the driver's seat of the car, but hadn't started it yet. How long had he sat there? He started the car up with a tinge of embarrassment, and started the long drive back to the station. After a moment of silence, he finally spoke again. "So, what did you want to have words about?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Simon "Deacon" Temple Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Kyra Gosling
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Hayden was silent as Temple drover her car to knows who where. She could honestly say that this was probably the worst week of her life. Working in Cartwright as a police officer wasn't supposed to get you kidnapped and swept away to places unknown. A small town like Cartwright wasn't supposed to have a murdered sheriff and house explosions. It was supposed to be a nice town with nice people living ordinary lives. The long car ride gave her time to think, time to wonder just what someone would want from her.

She barely noticed that Temple had stopped the car before he was running out and screaming about his family. The young deputy looked out the window, it was dark and she couldn't see much but with the headlights of the bronco still on she could make out of the form of a woman. And exchange was being made and before Hayden knew it the unknown woman was settling herself into the police car and driving away. Hayden turned in her seat to look out the rearview mirror and before she knew it the night was filled with the bright light of the exploding vehicle. Her stomach felt queazy and she heaved the contents of her stomach onto the floor of the seat beside her. Who the hell were these people? The voice of the woman filled the car and Hayden was very much sure that there was nothing more she would like at this moment than to not be alone in with this particular woman, especially as a hood was forceable placed over her head.



As they drove the woman took so many twists and tuns that even a native of the area like Hayden had no idea where they ended up. It was even worse that Hayden couldn't see a damned thing. The young woman assumed that they were still in the area of Cartwright though, maybe in the woods somewhere considering the amount of confusion that the other woman tried to create.

The car stopped once more, this time large hands pulling her from the car. They took everything she had, everything that she could possible use to help herself. Not that she had much to begin with. She felt them take her up some stairs and down a hall before tossing her unceremoniously into a room. The door quickly shut behind her and the first thing she did was grab the hood off of her head. She bolted for the door she just came through and tried the knob. Hayden knew it would be locked but there was no harm in trying. Then an angry growl left her mouth as she kicked the door harshly.

"Who are you?" Someone whispered from the other side of the room. Hayden jerked around to face this new person, her hand instinctively reaching for the gun that was taken away.

The room was dark and she couldn't see much but she could make out another figure. Hayden remained calm, not sure if this person was a threat or not. "I'm Deputy Haden Montgomery, who are you?" A thought struck through her mind and she wondered if she had found Karen Fellows for a moment.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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"So, what did you want to have words about?", Agent Thomas Barton inquired after sitting in silence for what seemed like forever to the Deputy.
Connor was silent for a few moments longer, organizing his thoughts.

"What the hell happened back there? How did he know about you?", Connor let him answer before bombarding him with more questions.

"What was he saying about the "Darkness inside? And who's Alex? And what about your last case..what happened there?".
Adams barely heard his answers.

"We're in way over our heads, Barton. Something tells me this case isn't over", Connor leaned his head against the glass of the window, watching the sleet and darkness rolls by, feeling mental and physical fatigue setting in.

"When we get the chance, I'm sure we both need something to eat and a few cups of coffee. This is going to be a long night", Adams stated in a monotone voice.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams
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The obvious questions came first, and Barton answered honestly, "I'm still not sure. I've never met Renner before. I don't know how he knew what he knew. What he said was true. Which gets to your next question. Time for a story."

He sighed, then looked forward at the road. Merely recalling the details of that case disturbed him, but he forced the words out. Connor deserved the truth. "About three months ago, I was assigned to look at what was a suspected kidnapping that had crossed state lines. The suspect had allegedly taken his father from his home and was holding him in a small house on the outskirts of town. I talked to the old man, he was very quiet. I kept an eye on the house for the next two months or so, with no real legal basis for marching in there and taking the old man away. Then, one night, the house was quiet. I got no answer at the door...so I went inside." He swallowed, feeling the memory choke him. "I found the old man in there. What was left of him, anyway." He paused again, and realized he had been holding his breath the whole time. He forced air out violently, then breathed in and continued. The truth was paramount. "He was in pieces, and skin and bones. All those two months...the young man had been torturing him. Starving, mutilation, amputations...and the worst part was, I had lost the prime suspect. Incredibly, they caught him speeding not two hours after I phoned the old man's death in, and they took him in."

Barton continued to force breath. The worst was yet to come. "As the lead investigator, I interrogated him. It was only then I knew how twisted he truly was. He believed he had purified the old man, his father—his own father!—by ritually removing his hands and feet, then by starving him to death. He believed that ensured his father's place in the afterlife. When I told him he was going to jail, he went berserk. He attacked me. Spat on me. Said I was the devil. I requested leave off the case. They took me off the lead investigation, but I gave them my notes. The trial's going on now."

He sighed. "After that things seemed to be going uphill. I found a book called Down Along the East, and that's when I remembered Alex. Time for another story. This one's more pleasant.

"Alex is, for lack of a better word, my sweet. We met back when I worked in the Bureau's Richmond office, back in '88. She was travelling for her book, the Down Along the East one. Anyway, we had a fling while she was in Richmond, but eventually she had to go. We talked on the telephone an awful lot after that, but eventually I got transferred to this gig as a Special, and I couldn't call as often. Soon we just stopped. I guess there was a mutual acknowledgement that it couldn't be. Then, after I got her book, I decided to try and call her again. Now we're trying to see if it could work out. As for how he knew about her...I don't know."

Barton sighed again as he listened to Connor's response. "Yeah, long night. I doubt I'll make the night without some sleep. Check the walkie again," he continued as he saw the Station ahead. He parked the car carefully and got out. He wondered where Agent Blake was. Was he still getting the kids?

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Blake looked at his watch and rolled his shoulders in an attempt to ease the tension. He’d sent Justine home after catching her napping at her desk but she’d called in back up to man the phones and radios. A young woman called Tina was now controlling communications. She wasn’t as experienced as Justine but he figured it was best to keep the veterans rested.

He was standing outside the hospital waiting for Barton and Adams to arrive with Renner. He couldn’t believe the chatter he was getting on the radio. Wolves, suicides and creepy conversations. Blake ached for a shot of something but he’d had to settle for a cigarette. Which was why he was standing outside the hospital in the snow.

He’d wanted to check on Nathaniel and Juliet but with everything that had happened in the last few hours he didn’t have time. He’d do it after he’d inspected Renner’s body, it’s wasn’t that he didn’t trust Barton and Temple to do it he just knew they’d easily been awake for the last twenty four hours, the deputies probably longer. They would all need a rest for the following day.
He’d heard Tina mention that Julian’s funeral was scheduled for the next day and he wanted an FBI presence there. Never knew what they’d turn up. He’d decided Barton would attend as the older agent just had better people skills than Temple.
He took another drag and resumed waiting.

#

Nathaniel groggily opened his eyes while the room he was in spun around him.

He was lying on a bed in the middle of a well furnished room it reminded him of a trip to Disneyland he took years go with his dad. His favourite ride had been the Haunted Mansion and this room looked exactly like that. Except instead of the good adrenaline fuelled fear he’d felt then now all he had was a deep feeling of dread.

He climbed off the bed and was immediately hit with a bout of vertigo that sent him barrelling for a trash can. Luckily he made it before he lost his lunch. He staggered towards a dresser that had a large mirror on it and looked at himself. He lifted his shirt and looked at the two spots of dried blood where the barbs of the taser had hit him. It still felt pretty weird.
He let the shirt fall back in place and inspected the pin prick on his neck.

“What the...” He muttered glancing at it for a second before the memory of the attack came back to him. Maria was dead and he’d shot a guy.

He left the mirror and sat on the bed for a few seconds while he tried to get a handle on his feelings. He had to escape it was clear these people were crazy. He tried the door but obviously found it locked. He then tried the windows but found them locked and boarded. He was thinking about shouting but then thought better of it. He didn’t want to attract any attention.
Abruptly the door behind him swung open revealing two men in combat fatigues. One held a shotgun pointed at Nathaniel while the other held a pair of cuffs which he threw at Nathaniel’s feet before pulling out a pistol.

“Put em on.”

“I don’t think...” Nathaniel started but was cut short when the man racked his shotgun.

He bent over and slipped on the cuffs making sure to leave them lose enough to be comfortable. As soon as he’d slipped them on the men advanced and placed another hood on him.

#

He was marched down cold corridors, stumbling a few times because he couldn’t see. He walked down a few stairs before getting on a lift that brought him deeper down. Then the walking resumed, this time across uneven ground that caused him to nearly fall over a few times.

Then they stopped.

“Nathaniel.”

It was a new voice echoing off the walls and judging from the coolness of the room but lack of wind he judged he was in a cave.

“Please take off the hood.”

Nathaniel complied and found he was standing in the middle of a flood lit cave completely alone. The lights were the only thing that suggested there were other people there.

“Nathaniel do you remember this place?”

“Who are you? Why have you done this?”

“Answer the question please.”

“No I’ve never been here.”

“Do you recognise the markings?”

“Markings?”

Nathaniel was starting to feel cold, in fact it felt like the temperature was dropping steadily. A low pitched hum started to reverberate around the cave that seemed to beat inside his head.

“On the floor.”

He looked at the ground and sure enough there were scribblings covering it.

“No. I don’t”

“Look closer.”

Nathaniel bent down and spent a moment looking at the insanity of the mindless etchings.

“You killed Maria for this?” What do you want?”

“Look at the markings, do you see it?”

He dropped his head again and then he saw it. Each small etching was part of a larger whole, a massive eye that covered the entire floor.

“An eye.”

“Yes.”

“They’re all over town on trees, the Indians did ‘em or something.” Nathaniel said as noticed he could now see his breath.

“Close enough.”

“I’m cold.”

“Approach the centre of the cave.”

Nathaniel complied even though his teeth were starting to chatter.

He found a small depression with a perfectly smooth black stone in it. As he approached the hum got louder while he felt colder.

“What do you think it is?”

Nathaniel tried to open his mouth but his entire body was shaking with the cold and all he could get out was the occasional grunt. He fell to his knees in front of the stone and reached out with his blue right hand. He could feel the heat radiating off the stone.

If he could just touch it.

The hum was now pounding in his skull while his shaky arm reached forward.

Just a few more centimetres.

A bright light erupted from the stone and filled the room as soon as his finger touched the smooth surface.

#

“Aw shit not you too.”

Nathaniel blinked his eyes open to see the solemn face of Eli Carter standing over him.

“Sh-sh-sh- sherriff?” Nathaniel stammered through his chattering teeth.

He could feel warm sun of his skin and realised he was no longer in the cave but lying on on his back on a beach.

“Yeah kid you look freezing.”

Nathaniel just shivered while he let the sun light warm his body. Once he’d warmed up enough he finally asked Eli the big question.

“What the hell?”

“Yeah, lot of that going around. Good news is you aren’t dead.”

“Great so what is this? A hallucination? Am I dreaming you?”

“I don’t know about you kid but when I was your age my dreams tended to focus more on Farrah Fawcett than the local Sheriff.”

“So if I’m not dreaming where are we?”

“We’re in a limbo but you made the place. I’m me and you’re you. I guess you must have been pretty cold when you crossed over.”

“How’s that?”

“Well you dreamed up a warm beach.”

Nathaniel shrugged and pulled himself into a sitting position on the sand. Carter sat down next to him.

“So you’re...”

“Dead? Yup.”

“I was going to say a ghost?”

“Don’t know about that. I can sometimes see what’s going on but can’t really do much about it. In fact you’re the first person alive person I’ve spoken too since getting here.”

“I’m alive though?”

“Yeah. What happened did you and the girl make it out of the house?”

“Yeah that was hours ago. Thanks by the way.”

“No problem. Time is a bit funny here. What happened after that?”

“I was abducted at home. They killed my maid and took me... Is Maria here?”

“Don’t work like that kid. I saw Temple though.”

“Temple?”

“One of the FBI guys. Didn’t stop though he just went straight through.”

“To where?”

“Dunno that either. Haven’t been here too long, I’ve still got a pretty big list of blanks. Near as I can figure it’s like a limbo or something. So what happened next?”

“I woke up in a creepy mansion and they brought me to cave with this weird stone in it.”

“Weird stone? Did you touch it?” Eli said with an edge to his voice.

“Yeah I think so, I was dying of cold an it was warm.”

“Shit. Look kid don’t trust anyone anymore. I haven’t seen the stone but I know what it does. You’re gonna see things different now.”

“How?”

“Effects different people in different ways. Just remember don’t trust anything...”

#

Nathaniel woke back in the mansion bedroom. He was wrapped in many blankets and felt a lot warmer but incredibly tired. He looked at the bottom of the bed and saw well dressed man with a neat Moustache and a pair of half moon glasses on the end of his nose.

“Ah Nathaniel you’re awake. So sorry about all this but I’m sure you’ll understand in time. I cannot believe how strong your reaction was. You’ve been unconscious for nearly four hours.”

The man smiled but his teeth were black and vibrating.

“I’ve just stopped by to make sure you’re alright.”

Nathaniel kept seeing flashes of darkness erupting from underneath Lamont’s skin and clothes before they sank down below. It was like the darkness was inside him or wearing him. He wondered if it was what Eli had meant by the effects.

“My name is Blair Lamont and we’ll be working very closely together in the coming days.”

Nathaniel couldn’t speak, he was too transfixed on Lamont’s eyes or rather the thing that was looking out through them.

“Wha...” Nathaniel began before exhaustion took him and he fell into a deep sleep.

“Very closely indeed.” Lamont said as he stood and left the bedroom.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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The girl shifted forward, stretching her hand out to find the source of that reassuring voice. She grasped a shoulder, then suddenly rushed forward, hugging the deputy tightly to make sure that she was real and not just a hallucination.

"Oh, thank goodness!" she wept, salty tears falling from her brown eyes onto Hayden's shoulder. "I didn't think I could stand being alone any longer." Suddenly realising the situation they were in, she pulled back, eyes searching the endless darkness for any sight of Hayden's face. "You shouldn't be here, it's dangerous. No, no, you shouldn't be here... Run, before they get you."

She was aware of the fact that the deputy had just asked her a question, but chose not to answer it, she was so distraught. Suddenly, she stopped, and moved closer to Hayden. "You're a bright one... You know who I am, don't you?" A mad cackle emitted from the girl.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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Thinking of Agent Barton in any kind of relationship took the fearful edge off that nights events and made Connor smile.
"Yeah, long night. I doubt I'll make the night without some sleep. Check the walkie again,", Barton said, snapping the Deputy back into reality.
Connor pressed down on the talk-button and raised to to his lips.
"Deputy Montgomery, this is Deputy Adams, come in.", He said before taking his thumb off of the button.
No answer.
"Deputy Montgomery, this is Deputy Adams, come in!", he said again, desperation starting to edge his voice.
We found Renner, what the hell could've happened to them? Does he have an accomplice?
"Damn it. We should check in with Agent Blake", he said to Barton as he got out of the car. "Somethings not right here".
Ha, seems to be the phrase of the night, he thought to himself wryly as he got out of the car.
Barton got out of his side of the car and both of them walked to the front entrance of the building.
"First we'll report in to Blake, try to get some food and caffeine in us, then figure out what the fuck we do about Montgomery and Temple's radio silence.", the Deputy knew Hayden could handle herself in a pinch, and paired with the FBI agent they would be a force to be reckoned with, but he still couldn't shake the uneasy feeling building up in his stomach.

"Agent Blake." Barton said as they entered the Squad Room.
"We found Renner, but he committed suicide before we could apprehend him". The Agent continued. " He exhibited strange behavior, such as speaking in third person before killing himself, acting like one with split-personality disorder, and uh..."
"Sickin' wolves after us and knowing about Bartons past", The Deputy finished where Barton left off.
"Also, we can't raise Temple or Montgomery on the Radio we need to look into that", Connor said, looking between the two agents.

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((Omit this, computer posted twice))

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Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Nathanial awoke and slowly lifted himself off of the pillow, his head was swimming, he couldn’t focus on anything and he had a piercing headache. Finally after about 5 minutes his head cleared, he looked around and let his surroundings come into focus. He was back in his house in Cartwright and his father sat at the end of his bed.

“Hey kiddo, you’ve been out awhile.”
Nathanial looked at his father, he hadn’t seen him in months.
“Dad? But you were in Sweden, and I… I shouldn’t be here.” The memories of the two people who had abducted him and taken him to the mansion came flooding back to him, the heat from the rock felt as if it was still in his body.
His father patted him on the leg.
“I can’t believe you are here either kiddo, when I had heard what happened I came home right away.”
Nathanial sat up so he could face his dad fully.
“What do you mean dad? What happened?”

His dad stood up and walked towards Nathanial’s trophy shelf and began to gaze over the accumulated prizes that lay there.
“They said this may happen… How is your head?” His father asked now turning to face him.
“It’s fine.” Nathanial then stood up. “Dad I need you to tell me what happened.”
Nathanial’s father put an arm on his sons shoulder, and smiled reassuringly.
“You were a hero son, you managed to save that poor girl from the house fire, and the sheriff tells me you were both goners.”
Nathanial took a step back and then let himself fall back into bed. What was his father talking about? He had saved Juliet from the explosion, but the sheriff died.
“Son you’ve made me very proud, after that girl’s brother died you made sure she had someone to talk to like any good man should. You know, I always thought that her mother was a bit crazy, but not that crazy.”

Nathanial’s head started to hurt again, he had no idea what was going on, had the explosion just been a dream?
His father continued; “They found out that the mother had killed her son and his girlfriend, by the time they got to her house to arrest her they found it in flames, turns out that Ms. Bishop was planning on killing her daughter as well.” Nathanial felt his father wrap his arm around Nathanial’s shoulders and smile at him again.

“If you hadn’t been there to get that girl out of the house she would have been dead for sure. I’m so proud of you.”
Nathanial nodded to his dad, and stood up.
“I have to go to the washroom… I’ll be back.”
Nathanial stumbled down the hall and forced his way into the washroom; he walked in front of the mirror and looked himself over. He looked the same, he was looking at Nathanial, himself, but he was hearing about something that someone else did.
“Could I have dreamed it all?” Nathanial inwardly questioned himself.
Just then he heard the front door open, he wandered out of the washroom to look down the stairs. Down at the bottom stood his housemaid carrying the groceries; she looked up and gave him a kind wave and a smile.
Nathanial smiled at her and waved back.
“I guess I dreamed it all.”
---

Nathanial got dressed and brushed his teeth and headed downstairs to eat breakfast. As he sat eating he talked with his beloved housekeeper absent mindly. He didn’t fully understand what had happened but he was happy to see Maria.
Then a woman walked through the door and was followed by a man, before Nathanial realised who they were the man opened fire on the fragile housemaid and she fell to the ground in a heap.
Nathanial leapt out of his chair and put space between himself and the intruders, they were the same people who abducted him.

“No, I dreamt that, you’re not real.” Nathanial stammered towards the invaders as he stumbled backwards.
The duo starred at the boy with no expression at all, they lowered their weapons and moved to either side of the door.
Another man now entered, he was surrounded by a dark presence that seemed to jump out from him, the man carefully looked over the boy and slowly unfolded his hands.

“Hello Nathanial I am Blair Lamont.”
On pure instinct Nathanial ran, he needed to get out of there, he needed to find the sheriff. As Nathanial opened his front door he raan full speed into Kyle Renner.
“This is not an exit.”

Nathanial gathered himself up and sprinted up the stairs, his vision began to blur and his head felt like it was about to split open. His body was unbearably hot and his limbs felt weak. He moved towards the large window that looked out down the drive way. He picked up a lamp from the side table and tossed it at the large window, punching a hole through the glass.
It was then he heard the cocking of a gun behind him, he turned to face his assaulter.
His father stood in front of Renner, Lamont and the lackeys. All of them were surrounded by the dark aura, they all seemed to be intertwining with one and other.
“Dad…”

That was all Nathanial could mutter before his father pulled the trigger, it was a clean shot between the eyes, Nathanial’s body was tossed backwards and fell in a heap on the ground.

---
That is when Nathanial woke up, he pushed himself off the bed with a gasp of air. He looked around where he was, it was the mansion bedroom, he saw the chair where Lamont had been sitting and saw the blankets that were once wrapped around him laying discarded on the ground.

Nathanial could still feel the heat from the stone in his body, every time he thought of the stone directly he would feel a pulse of heat stream over his body.
He looked down at the bed he had been laying in and remembered the nightmare he had just experienced. His vision began to darken and then snapped back into clarity.

Nathanial walked over to the door and hit his fist against it.
“What is happening to me…”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
Blake stood in the doorway of the communications room and asked Tina for an update.

“Nothing yet Agent Blake. With the weather coming in so bad it’ll be hard to get a signal.”
Blake nodded but didn’t like the cold feeling creeping into his stomach.

“Agent Blake."

Blake turned to see Barton and Adams enter the squad room.

"We found Renner, but he committed suicide before we could apprehend him". The Agent continued. " He exhibited strange behaviour, such as speaking in third person before killing himself, acting like one with split-personality disorder, and uh..."

"Sickin' wolves after us and knowing about Barton’s past", The Deputy finished where Barton left off.

"Also, we can't raise Temple or Montgomery on the Radio we need to look into that", Connor said, looking between the two agents.

“Whoa slow down. Tell me from the top.” Blake said as he held his hands up in mock surrender.
The two men launched into the story and Blake just listened. When they finished Blake nodded slowly while he thought for a minute.

“Ok if both you can swear that’s what went down and autopsy can back it up I don’t think internal affairs will look at this too closely. They will have to look at this though could be seen as a little too much like vengeance.”

He then thought about the rest of what the men said.

“Alright. This guy was probably nuts. It will end up being like the bell tower sniper Charles Whitman. They’ll cut him open and find a tumour on his brain. As for him knowing about Barton, that case was pretty big and sounds like he got a couple of lucky guesses. You guys never heard of cold reading? I’m sure when you sit down and think about it the whole thing won’t seem that miraculous.”

Blake looked at the two men standing in front of him.

“Don’t take this the wrong way but you both look like shit. You’re both done for the day, go get some shut eye. I’ll have Renner’s body collected and go look for Deputy Montgomery and Agent Temple they’re probably still checking out the Saw Mill. I want you two at the funeral tomorrow see if you can’t scare up some leads.”

Blake’s tone didn’t invite debate.

#

“You’re Karen Fellows!” Hayden cried with surprise as she slowly walked toward the girl. “My name is Deputy Hayden Montgomery and I’m here too...”.

Hayden stopped halfway before checking herself.

“... i’m sure someone will be along to save us.”
She looked at the girl who seemed to be unharmed save a few scratches and bruises. Although the bouts of cackling laughter where a cause for concern.

Hayden sat down on the bed beside Karen and was sure to keep her hands where the girl could see them. She seemed a little unhinged.

“Did they hurt you? Do you know anything that might help us get out of here?”

The girl was about to respond when her eyes went wide with terror.

Hayden looked over her shoulder and saw the door to her room had swung open and two men were standing in it. One holding a shotgun, the other a pair of cuffs.

Hayden’s hands instinctively dropped to her empty holster which caused one of the men to laugh. He tossed a pair of cuffs onto the bed beside Hayden.

“Put em on Deputy you’re coming with us.”

Hayden took a look back at Karen who seemed to be frozen with fear.

“You guys must be real tough to scare a little kid like this.”

“Put the cuffs on or I’ll put them on you. You can guess what I’d prefer.” The man said with a dirty smile.
Hayden stood and slipped the cuffs on her wrists before the man walked towards her and placed a hood over her head. Then she felt strong arms guiding her out of the room.

#

Blake was standing outside the old Mill with his flashlight drawn and his hand on his pistol. It was easy to be rational in the well lit Sherriff’s department but out here alone in the woods with the stormy weather it was another story. He noticed the only set of tracks where his own but figured the harsh weather may have filled in Montgomery’s and Temple’s.

He crept inside the old building and had a look around.

The place was dilapidated and falling apart but it seemed structurally sound enough for Blake to have a look around. The first floor was a bust, all he found was some empty beer bottles, probably kids.

The mill floor was large with only old rusted equipment to hold Blake’s attention. He quickly moved onto the second floor which was a mezzanine overlooking the Mill floor. It was a collection of offices which provided him with little information apart from a map of the complex. He noticed there was a basement he still hadn’t checked.

“Typical.” He moaned before trudging towards the basement with only his flashlight as a guide.

#

The cuffs where removed and Hayden was pushed through a doorway. She landed in a heap as a heavy door slammed behind her. She got to her feet and pulled the hood off. Her hands were slightly cut from where she’d stopped her fall.

“Deputy?” A loud booming voice asked her.

“What?” Hayden asked aggressively.

“Sorry about all this but I’m sure you’ll find it all necessary in time.”

“I’ll find you in time.” Hayden whispered.

“No need for threats.” The voice answered and Hayden grew stiff. She looked at her clothes in the dim light but was still able to make out the small microphone than had been placed on her lapel.

She looked around the room which was actually a cave. There were five flood lights arranged in a circle around the centre of the room which left the recesses of the room in darkness.

“Please step into the light Deputy.”

“First some answers. Who are you?”

“Blair Lamont. Please step into the light.”

“What do you want with me?”

“Right now I want you step into the light.”

“What is this place?”

“Deputy. Trust me it’s about to get incredibly cold in that cave and if you wish to survive you’ll need to be in the centre of the room.

Hayden had noticed a chill in the air. So she slowly walked towards the light. Each step though became increasingly difficult as she became colder.

“Saying you’re so inquisitive I’ll let you know all about the cave. It has some bizarre qualities. For example we’ve recorded the temperature reaching absolute zero and the force of gravity changing. The walls contain trace amounts of elements like Seaborgium, Hassium and Fermium which as you know are all man-made. In addition to a few that are totally new to us. We also conducted analysis on the material the walls are made out of and found it to be at least 15 billion years old. That’s older than our galaxy. We also noticed any attempts to measure the size of the room are utterly impossible as appears to be constantly contracting and expanding...”

Hayden collapsed. She wasn’t listening any more to Lamont’s ramblings, it was too cold and rumbling growl filled her mind. All she knew was that the stone in the centre of the room was hot. It took all she had to reach out and touch it.

#

Blake was in the basement but had turned up nothing apart from some strange carvings that looked like eyes. He snapped a couple of pictures when his radio crackled to life.

“... Explosion... dead...”

“Repeat last Tina.” Blake said he made his way up the stairs and back to the Mill floor.”

“...Bronco... one body...”

He decided it was useless until he got outside.

“Tina repeat, I got none of that.”

“Agent Blake they’ve found one of the Broncos. Its blown up and they also found a body. It’s Temple.”

“Rodger, give me the details.”

#

Hayden woke up in the mansion bedroom with a man standing over her.

“Eli?”

“Yep. How you feeling kiddo?” Eli responded with a grin.

“You’re dead.”

“Yeah... You’re not though don’t worry.” Eli said remembering Nathaniel being worried.

“Great so I’m just insane.”


“Don’t think so. You’ve been the cold cave with the stone in the middle?”

“Yes.”

“Then no, you’re not crazy. The stone gives people abilities...”

“Who are you talking to?” Karen asked from the far side of the room interrupting Eli.

“Eli. You can’t see him?” Hayden asked.

Karen slowly shook her head.

“Well this just got interesting.” Eli said.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Alexandra Glass
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"Yes sir. Thank you," Barton responded, nodding wearily. He hadn't considered a cold reading, but something about it still seemed uncanny. Either way, he wanted little more than a nice bed...and a chance to talk to Alex. He normally only called on the week-ends, and also would not call at this hour, but he simply had too much to get out of his mind. He turned and left slowly, remembering that there was a hotel only a block away. He would walk; driving at his state of wakefulness was downright dangerous. As he left the station he doffed his hat, grateful that the rain had abated for the moment at least. A quick stop at the car for his duffel bag of basic personals, and he continued to the hotel.

Once he had reached the inside, he approached the desk. "Hi, I'd like a roo—"

"Agent Temple?" the receptionist interrupted Barton with the sudden question. Barton shook his head. "Barton then," the receptionist amended. Barton nodded. "An Agent Blake called ahead with rooms for each of you. Here's your key. Room's just down the hall, 113."

Barton took the key, nodded thanks, and slowly walked down the hall the young man pointed out for him. The place was surprisingly tasteful in its decoration, with old carpets that seemed worn a bit thin. They could use replacing sometime, he figured. The walls were a pleasing light green shade. The wall inside his room was the same shade. He slid off his jacket and attempted to pull out a tie that was not there before collapsing on the bed, facedown.

A moment later, he found himself sitting in a plain interrogation room. There was no blood. He wore his tie. Theodore Gerhart sat across the table from him.

Barton remembered what this was, but could do nothing to stop it.

The scene proceeded as it had before. Gerhart calmly explained his motive for what he did, impressively quoting passage after passage of Scripture, and other writings. His attorney stood off to the side, clearly cowed, though at the time Barton didn't have the damnedest clue why.

Finally, he asked Barton what he did. Barton mentioned that this grandfather's remains were gathered at the morgue...

And then Gerhart exploded. He grabbed Barton's tie and pulled him forward, smashing his face into the table in a smooth motion. Barton felt warm spit on the back of his neck before he pulled himself back, dazed and pained. Before he could think two officers had restrained the screaming young man, and another was pressing a handkerchief to Barton's nose. He realized it was broken.

A part of Gerhart's rant suddenly stuck out clearly. "I did what I did to save him! The evil inside him; I had to purge it! All the evils outside cannot hurt you. Your soul is your own enemy!" Suddenly the officers vanished, and Gerhart had morphed into the mad bearded face of Kyle Renner...


Barton startled awake, feeling sweat cool on his face. The room was dark; he had forgotten to turn the light on. He slowly eased himself upright and found the lamp, turning it on and shielding his eyes from the incandescent light. He couldn't sleep now. He had to call Alex.

He found the phone on the nightstand, and fished the number out of his discarded jacket's pocket. The phone was a rotary-dial, which he operated carefully, as though he might break it. After being certain he had the number in right, he put the phone to his ear. Three times it rang in his ear before a feminine voice groaned, "Hello?"

"Alex? It's Tom. I'm sorry to call so late, I just...things have been crazy. I had a bit of a nightmare, and I can't sleep anymore. Had to talk to somebody." Barton glanced over at the clock, and winced upon realizing it was almost 4 now. He mentally spun the hands forward, trying to figure out what time it was over in Richmond, where she had eventually settled. 7?

"It's fine. I was going to be up in a few minutes anyhow. Where are you?" At least she had already gotten her sleep.

"This small town way up in Washington called Cartwright Falls. Two students disappeared, one of 'em was found dead way the hell over in Idaho, so they had to call the Bureau in. They sent me with Simon Temple, a younger feller. I haven't seen him for a while. Or heard from him. Shit." Barton paused, wondering what had happened to Simon.

"Go on," Alex prodded after waiting. She knew he was prone to dwelling on things like this, and sometimes he needed a little coaxing.

Tom's voice came through sounding filtered and odd, though still recognizable as his. "Okay, sorry. We got there, and the house of the dead student's family blows up thanks to some gas line sabotage. There's a shootout right around the same time, and the town Sheriff is hit. We managed to get him to the hospital, but he died there. With a bit of poking around, we found out the shooter was an insurance feller from LA who was on the run after killing his wife and her man-on-the-side."

Alex sat up as she listened. "Jesus," she said during the pause. "He came up there to run away?"

"I guess," Tom muttered. "There was a quick manhunt, and one of the deputies and I found him. And he killed himself right in front of me! He cut his...he..." Tom shivered audibly, and Alex swore she heard a sob on the other end. "He slashed his wrist open! He started talking at me while he did it. He knew who you were somehow!" A chill ran through Alex at that. "He was talking about the darkness inside, and said you left because you found something out about me."

"That's bullshit," Alex interrupted. "I left you because I had to be in North Carolina in a week to stay on my travel budget, and I regretted it every day. You remember how we talked after that. I think it was only after March or so that your work and my editing caught up to us. No, I never left you. We fell apart." The very idea that she would have left him voluntarily was absurd.

"I know that," Barton shot back. The edge left his voice as he continued, "That's just what he said. I guess he was talking out of his ass."

"Absolutely," Alex answered. She had to be firm on this point. "You're an FBI suit, Tom. You can't let this get to you, and it always does. I mean, it's good that you feel, but..."

"I know, I know," Tom groaned. "I just...if you were here you might get it. Of course, this is right after the Gerhart business..."

Alex's eyes widened. "The Gerhart...you were involved in that?!" The trial had just hit headlines. Starvation, torture, dismemberment...the media was all over it. It sold terrifically..and disturbed the hell out of Alex in the meantime. And any decent person, which she knew Tom was. She took his silence as confirmation. He must have known things about that she would only find out later if at all. Horrible things. "Christ, Tom, I didn't know. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been so harsh."

"It's fine," Tom interrupted. "You're right. I thought I had this under control, but I didn't. I can't get transferred off this now, not with one Agent presumably missing, and the other guy being who he is..."

"What do you mean?"

"Never mind. That's another story. I need to sleep. It's only 4 over here. I'll call as I can. You aren't going anywhere, right?"

"Not until next week. I mean, not out of town until next week, if that's what you mean," she responded wryly. Maybe a bit of humor could relieve him. It seemed to work, as she heard him laugh.

"Yeah, that's what I meant. Oh, before I go, let me give you the number for this hotel, so you can call too." She quickly found a pen and paper, and scrawled the numbers down as he wrote it, adding a 1 in front for long-distance. "All right, I'll let you have your morning now."

"And I'll let you sleep," Alex responded. "G'night." The click came suddenly, which wasn't really unusual for Tom. Alex sighed, and replaced the receiver before standing up and mentally ordering her day.

----------------------

A scant hour later she was at the library, her hair still freshly damp. She made her way straight to the Web-capable computer section, and passed what looked like game after game before settling at an empty station. She stirred the computer from its sleep, opened America Online, and forged her way through the slightly familiar interface to a search engine. Slowly she typed, "Cartwright Falls, Washington" and started looking through results.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Juliet D. Bishop Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
A large monitor hummed quietly while a slightly pale young woman clacked on a keyboard. Behind her a squat man observed a bank of monitors. On one of them he could see CCTV footage of Hayden Montgomery and Karen Fellows on another he could see Nathaniel Alexander. Others showed recordings of Karen, Nathaniel and Hayden in the cave with the stone.

“Strange isn’t it, Sophie? They all reacted the same way when encountering the artefact but only Fellows brain waves were unaltered.”

“Maybe it rejected her?” Sophie offered.

“Don’t tell me you’re buying into Lamont’s supernatural nonsense. It’s just a stone, there’s no such thing as ghosts. There’s nothing special about that thing. Stones can’t reject people because stones don’t think.”

“It’s only supernatural until we can explain it Karl. We could be standing at beginning of the greatest scientific discovery of all time here.”

“We’re looking at rocks in a cave, not curing AIDS.” Karl said shaking his head.

“Explain the results then. Why are none of our instruments accurate?”

“It’s...” Karl began.

“It’s because this place is special Doctor Adams.”

Both turned to see Blair Lamont standing behind them.

“Any change on our subjects?” Blair continued as he strode into the observation room.

“Fellows is talking more which is good. The inclusion of a second subject was a good idea.” Karl explained.

“I’m glad you think so.” Lamont deadpanned.

“Alexander has recovered is back on his feet.”

“Any other suggestions he’s been affected.”

“Apart from the brain activity none yet.”

“Amazing what they can do these days miniature electronics.” Lamont said commenting on the electrodes attached to the base of the subjects skulls. It would only be a matter of time before they discovered them but until then they where providing fascinating data.

“Uh... come look at this.” Karl said from the monitor bank.

Lamont and Sophie Adams approached the bank of monitors.

“Who’s she talking to?” Karl asked.

“Fellows looks like she’s about to freak out.”

“Audio now.” Lamont said.

Karl fiddled with some knobs on the monitor and brought the sound up.

“Her brain activity is going loco over here.” Sophie said from her monitor.

Hayden’s voice filled the small room from the speakers dotted around the room.

“You’re dead.”

She waited a beat before continuing.

“Great so I’m just insane.”

“Yes.”

“She’s providing gaps for someone to respond.” Sophie said.

“Who are you talking to?” Karen Fellows asked on the monitor.

“Eli. You can’t see him?” Hayden asked.

“Eli Carter? The Sheriff?” Karl asked.

“Continue monitoring them. I think we might have something here.” Lamont said.

#


“Car bomb. Had to be. Look at the pattern, explosion emanated from over here, the tank going up was an unnecessary secondary. It just went up with the car. Whoever blew this thing up used more than enough to get the job done.”

Blake was standing beside the charred hulk of the Van that Kyra Gosling had detonated. The snow was starting to ease but Blake didn’t care he was standing over the body of a Fed, a G-man, one of his guys. This made it personal, while the death of Carter had been annoying this was a direct affront to the FBI and him by extension.

He was talking to a confused looking fire fighter but he wasn’t really. He was thinking out loud.

“If you say so. I just don’t know who’d be up to this kind of thing in Cartwright Falls.” The fire-fighter explained.

“That’s sort of the point. That’s why it’s a mystery.” Blake said like he was trying to educate a slow child.

“I saw them Irish fellas on the news doing car bombs maybe they had something to do with it...?” The fire-fighter offered.

“You think Irish Republicans decided to plant a car bomb with the view of killing an American, an FBI agent no less who has no links to Ireland? You basing this on a comprehensive academic knowledge of the History of Ireland?”

“I uh, just thought...”

“Leave the thinking to me. Don’t you have a cat in a tree to save or something?”

The fire fighter left with his jaw still swinging.

Blake gathered the Deputies around him and began to delegate tasks. The murder made no sense to Blake because he couldn’t understand why Temple had been in this area, why Montgomery and her vehicle were missing and why Temple had been targeted in the first place. it felt like an ambush.

Once he’d finished an older deputy at the back of the group raised his hand.

“What about Hayden? Why aren’t we out looking for her? She’s obviously been taken. You Feeb’s don’t care about that.” He used the derogatory nickname for FBI agents that implied they were feeble in some way. The jab annoyed Blake more than it should have but with an agent under a sheet less than twenty feet away he felt justified.

“Deputy I suggest you check your attitude. If you are implying I’m not assigning the correct resources to the search for Deputy Montgomery I invite you make a complaint to our regional HQ. For the moment I’d ask you consider that your force has been unable to locate Karen Fellows despite the incredibly successful ‘lets go out looking plan’. This time we’re going to focus our resources and have an investigation not a fucking scavenger hunt where first prize is finding a corpse.”

He looked at the group as if challenging anyone to interrupt. Eyes where suddenly not meeting his.

“Secondly your well honed instinct for detection has identified that Deputy Montgomery is missing as is her vehicle. You think this means she has been taken, I think this means we just need to find her as there is nothing here to suggest she wasn’t involved.”

“Hey if you’re saying what I think...” The older Deputy began.

“I’m saying be a fucking cop. Follow the evidence not what you feel. Lastly if you’re going to call into question the dedication of the FBI why don’t you go over there and take a long look at Agent Temple. Then go tell his wife what you think about...”

Blake stopped dead.

Wife.

“Fuck!” He roared. “I don’t have time for this anymore, do your jobs and your jobs are to make me happy. Now off you fuck.”

He ran to his car and grabbed the radio.

“Tina it’s Blake.”

“Oh Hiya Agent what can do for you?” She said cheerily.

“I need you connect me to FBI Regional HQ.”

“Right away.”

Electric air passed through the speaker while she connected him. Blake said the magic words that got the Regional Director Francis Reynard on the radio.

“Frankie, it’s Blake.”

“David I just heard about Agent Temple. I can’t express...”

“Yeah, yeah it’s a tragedy, we don’t have time for that. Has anyone gone to see the family yet?”

“A unit has been deployed but there’s nobody home. We’re trying to find them now.”

“Ok tell them to be cautious, there’s something going on here.”

“Speak your mind David. You think the wife had something to do with it?”

Blake remembered that Reynard had just been through a messy divorce, he wondered if that’s what caused him to immediately suspect the wife.

“Temple died in an area he shouldn’t have been in. He was supposed to be going to the other side of town.”

“So?”

“So someone drew him off course.”

“And what’s the wife got to do with this.”

“Apart from having a gun to his head the only thing that would have made Temple do this without checking in is a threat against loved ones.”

“You’re stretching here, David.”

“I know but just give them a heads up... and check hospitals see if there’s been any Jane Does.”

“Will do David but I think your spinning your wheels.”

“We’ll see.”

Blake replaced the radio and looked out of his car window. The Deputies had started on their tasks but a few where still performing tasks around the crime scene. He noticed a few taking sideways glances at him. He didn’t care if they hated him he just needed them to work.

#

Blair Lamont closed a tall thin door behind him and walked into his study. It was furnished in a manner befitting a man of his various niche interests. Books on psychology and the occult shared the overflowing shelves of the room while at his desk was top of the range NeXT Station desktop computer.

He cleared a space on the desk and lifted himself onto it where he assumed the full lotus position and took a deep breath. He tried to focus his mind and prepare himself for the meeting.

“Don’t know why you do that partner.”

Lamont’s eyes popped open.

Standing in the middle of the room was a tall man wearing a battered duster and a cowboy hat that obscured his face. His feet where bare a filthy and left a trail of black muck.

“Have I done well?” Lamont asked hopefully.

“You have done well. Only one more on the list to get then you can proceed with the rite.”

“Yes, Master.”

“Renner’s gone. His purpose is served though the others are too busy chasing their tails to detect you.”

“But with Renner gone?”

“I need another plaything. Maybe you Blair?”

Lamont’s face contorted into fear.

The dark man laughed a smoker’s laugh, husky and deep.

“It’s a joke Blair, there is another and I’ll be sated until you achieve your goals. The power Blair, The power will be unimaginable once the door is open.”

Blair nodded. “I’ll serve you.”

“I don’t doubt it Blair and you will be rewarded. What I have given you thus far is just a taste and flirtation of what is coming. You will be a God among men, and I a God among Gods.” He explained in his scratchy voice that sounded like it belonged to several people speaking at one time.

#

Cassandra looked at the sleeping Juliet and then at the large knife in her hand. She grasped it tightly and ran it along her arm, her eyes fluttering as she savoured the pain of the blade cutting into her skin.

“Still cutting Cassandra?” A scratchy voice that sounded like many people speaking in unison said.

She froze while the voice echoed inside the walls of her mind.

“That’s what they say about addicts Cassandra. They never really quit, when the chips are down they always come running back to their vices. Looks like your chips are down.”

“Stop it...” She muttered as she quickly walked to the bathroom of the Hotel room she was sharing with Juliet. She fumbled through her wash bag for a few seconds before laying her hands on a bottle of pills she’d taken from the hospital.

Antipsychotics.

“Those won’t help Cassandra.”

She downed the pills and went to the sink where she washed the blood from her fresh cuts before cleaning them up and dressing them.

“Bitch!” The familiar voice filled her head.

It belonged to Benson. Cassandra jumped as she looked around the bathroom for her ex-husband.

“Gotcha!” The voice cackled.

Cassandra dropped her head into her hands and started and silently weep.

“Now you get it Cassandra. I’m everything you fear and I’m going to be with you always. You’re going to start staying in public places because you think you can drown me out but I’m always here. Oh the things I’m going to show you. The dark places of yourself you boarded up, locked away. I’m going to free you Cassandra.”

“Why?” She whimpered.

“You’re broken Cassandra. I like broken things.”

Cassandra just continued weeping.

“Let’s get started.”

#

Blake looked at his digital watch which told him it was almost 10:30 am Wednesday 6th November 1991. It had been a gift from his wife that he thought was gimmicky at the time but since the divorce he’d found himself unable to take it off. He was in the men’s room in Cartwright Falls Sherriff’s Department trying to look fresher than he actually was. He tried to remember the last time he’d slept but remembering anything was difficult. He seemed too far passed into the stage of tiredness where cigarettes and coffee gave him an energy boost instead they just prevented him from collapsing into sleep.

He’d spent the night co-ordinating the efforts to learn more about the murder of Temple and disappearance of Montgomery. It was slow going but he’d made some progress. For example he knew Temple’s cuffs where missing, the Van was registered to a Mr Nemo Noone who of course did not exist.

He slapped some water around his face tried to look alive before stepping back out into the lobby.
“Call for you Agent.” Justine was back behind the desk taking the day shift.

“Thanks I’ll take it in Sherriff Carter’s office.”

Blake entered the office and thought about sitting in Eli’s comfortable looking chair but realised he’d last seconds before he was out cold.

“Blake.” He said once he’d lifter the receiver.

“David, it’s Frankie. We found Temple’s wife.”

“And?”

“Dead. Kid too. Bastards.”

“Where?”

“A field a couple of miles from they live, lived. Jogger found ‘em. What’s going on over there David?”

“I don’t know but we need answers. I’m going to check out Karen Fellow’s home today while Barton and Adams are going to the funeral of Julian Bishop.”

“Adams? Who’s that?”

“Oh he’s a Deputy here. Seems to work well with Barton.”

“That’d be a first.”

Blake let the comment go, he was warming to Barton. Blake sensed Barton just wanted results same as him sure they’d never go for beers together but that didn’t matter.

“I’ve left a message at the front desk of the hotel Barton’s at for him to get over here ASAP. He needed sleep though.”

“Yeah. He doesn’t sound like the only one. When’d you last take a break?”

“I went for a piss about five minutes ago. Does that count?”

“Get some sleep David I think you’re getting coarser.”

They ended the conversation and Blake got ready to brief Barton and Adams on the night’s events.

#

Eli had found the problem was concentration. He no longer had a body, at least a physical one, so if he wanted to achieve something he had focus his thoughts, for a Buddhist monk this would probably have been simple but Eli Carter was small town Sherriff not used to such mental gymnastics.

He’d been speaking to Hayden for the past few hours before he started phasing in and out. Then he decided to take a break before trying again. That’s when he learned his second ability. He could move, seemingly anywhere. Walls no longer presented and obstacle to him. He spent a few hours walking around the mansion but found a few rooms mysteriously blocked to him. For example he could not enter the elevator that led to the stone chamber. This frustrated him, it was like playing a card game without knowing the rules.

The mansion felt wrong, like it was an anachronism like it shouldn’t be yet it was. The sense of foreboding around the place was keenly felt by Eli although he couldn’t put his finger on why he felt this way. He found the room with Karl and Sophie in it though and realised that the captive’s where under surveillance.

He wandered back toward Hayden but decided to check the other rooms and see if he could see anyone. They were all empty apart from Nathaniel’s. Eli tried speaking, waving his hand in front of the boy’s face and screaming in his ear but clearly he couldn’t detect Eli. Increasingly frustrated he returned to Hayden’s room.

He focused his thoughts and began a conversation.

“Hayden pretend I’m not here. They’re watching you.”

He pointed to the locations of the cameras he remembered seeing on the monitors.

“Also Nathaniel Alexander is down the hall. I think you guys need to break out of here. I can help by telling you what’s round the next corner but aside from that you’re on your own. I guess I can do moral support aswell.” He smirked before turning serious.

“If you’re game you’ll need a weapon and I’ll tell you when someone’s coming maybe you can use surprise to overpower them. You want to play it fast and quiet though and make sure you take of the cameras before you do.”

He waited to see what Hayden decided, it was her call ultimately.

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery
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The joy she had at seeing Eli quickly fell when the other woman occupying the room said that the sheriff wasn't in the room. Maybe she was having some type of mental breakdown due to all the stress? Maybe these people had drugged her? There had been plenty of cases where a person had taken drugs and it had caused hallucinations or some more permanent and serious mental deteriorations. There was no other logical reason as to why she would be seeing her dead boss, right? If he was real Karen Fellows would have been able to see him.

Hayden took a moment to herself and took in a deep breath. Despite everything, she found herself quite enjoying the conversation she had been having with Eli. Despite the not-so pleasant topic, it was still comforting to be able to speak with someone she had known and worked with for such a long period of time. Eli kept going in and out of focus by the end of their conversation though and it wasn't too long after that he just passed through the room's locked door.

Suddenly being "alone" with Karen gave Hayden a rather daunting feeling. Without Eli right there it really started to hit her that she could have spent the last few hours talking to someone who was one, dead (a confirmed fact), and two, that she was still trapped in a house full a crazies (also a fact).

Hayden stood from her position on the floor and walked over to the door. She tried turning the knob, kicking it, pulling it, and pushing it but the thing would not budge. Gently she thumped her head against the barrier. This was not a position that she would have ever thought she'd find herself in.

She turned to face Karen once more, the poor curl was curled up in one of the room's corners. Judging from both the teen's appearance and her state of mind, Hayden knew that the other woman would be rather useless in an escape attempt. Something in the corner of her eye caught her attention and she moved her head just in time to see Eli push his way through one of the walls.

His words confused her for a second, but truthfully once they had sunken in she wasn't really surprised. The news on Nathaniel was the part that actually gave her heart a jump. Things had just gotten more complicating considering now there were two kids that she had to make sure were freed.

Honestly believing in words being told to you by someone who might have been nothing more than a figment of your imagination was scarey but at the moment Hayden really didn't have a choice. Besides, imaginary Eli was better than no Eli in the young deputy's mind.

Subtly she looked him straight in the eyes and gave an exagerated not that could have been taken as an attempt at cracking her neck. The movement felt strange for a second and Hayden reached her hand up nad underneath her hair, there had been something there. It took a small bit of prying, but using her nail she managed to dislodge it. It was small and circular, remindering her of the things you put on a person when you hook them up to a machine like a heart-monitor. No matter what it was Hayden was rather glad she had found it.

Frowning, she made her way over to Karen and asked the girl to tilt her head to the side. After moving her hair away Hayden found the same thing attached to the teen as well. Taking them both, the deputy threw them to the otherside of the room.

She took a moment to scope out the contents of the room. First thing on her list of things to do was to find something to take out the cameras. The room had a chair, wooden and Hayden thought that it may just have been the thing she needed. Turning the thing over onto it's side she raised her foot and slammed it down. The young woman had never been more greatful for her continuous visits to the gym because breaking a chair apart was much harder to do than the movies made it seem. A few more heavy stomps and one of the leg pieces managed to come off.

A little out of breath Hayden grabbed the wood up and headed for the first spot that Eli had pointed out as one of the camera locations. "Suprise Lamont..."She muttered as she took out the first camera. She knew she had to work fast and did as best as she could. Karen was all but cowering by the time the deputy was finished and Hayden gave herself a quick stretch out, she guessed someone would be coming at any moment. "Alright, you're up Eli."

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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#, as written by Bosch
Eli nodded and walked into the hallway. It was completely different from the well furnished room Hayden was in. Patches of damp wallpaper hung low of the walls from where rainwater had leaked down through cracks in the ceiling while the floorboards where bowed in places from age. The place had a spooky vibe which Eli thought strange. He was pretty much a ghost so why did he feel scared?

Eli continued down the corridor and checked in on Nathaniel who was still in his room.

Back in the corridor Eli heard two voices approaching. They belonged to two men dressed in tactical gear like most of the other people he’d seen around the mansion. Neither man had a rifle but both carried pistols and spare clips.

“That cop’s a sweet piece of ass eh Kent?” Said a muscular looking man who had the barely contained intensity of a coiled spring. Eli thought he seemed over caffeinated but from the guy’s physique he guessed it was more likely steroids.

“I wouldn’t know...” Replied his comrade. He was a distinctly average looking man with blonde hair who stood about a foot taller than his short friend. In contrast to the first man he seemed very calm.

“Whaddaya mean you don’t know?! You ain’t a queer Kent is ya?”

Kent looked at the fidgety man with intense eyes.

“I don’t know how you do things, Joe, but I’m a professional. The guy paying the bills wants someone hurt then I hurt em. Right now he wants them kept in the room and kept safe. If that means I gotta keep em safe from you then that’s what I gotta do.”
“Woah ok, ok Hombre! No need to go all fucking high and might on me. I’m just spit ballin’ here.” Joe said raising his hands in a backing off gesture. Eli found this interesting; clearly Kent was the alpha male in this duo despite the disparity in their physiques.

“Just keep it to yourself.”

A moment passed.

“You got the candy bars?”

“and the water.” Kent replied as he tapped the satchel he was carrying.

“Ok give me the girl’s stuff.”

“You think I’m retarded?” Kent said he pulled out two candy bars and a bottle of water. “Go give these to the boy. I’ll feed the women.”

Eli noticed the pistol on the Kent’s hip as he reached into the bag before returning to Hayden.

“We don’t have much time, thirty seconds tops. There are two guys coming to give you food. They’re splitting up though. One’s going to Nathaniel and the other is coming to you. He’s tall and has a gun but obviously not expecting anything. If you can trick him or make a weapon you might be able to get the drop.” Eli explained hurriedly.

He felt impotent as he watched Hayden react to the situation. All he could think to do was offer what he remembered from unarmed combat training at the academy.

“Whatever you do Hayden it’s got to bring him down quickly you can’t risk him alerting the others. Remember to focus on weak spots eyes, throat, temple, nose, knees... Fight dirty as well, if you get the chance you smash him square in the balls...”
In life Eli had been a strong man and never had much of a problem hold his own but looking at Hayden he felt a sinking feeling. Now he was reduced to simply cheerleading and armchair quarterbacking.

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Hayden let out a nervous chuckle at Eli's words. "Don't worry, I think if you consider the more than ten years of kickboxing and the academy training I'll be able to take him down Eli. Besides, I've got more muscle than Adams." She teased half-heartedly. In a way it put her at ease, the small talk and joking was like being back at the department, a bit a familiarity in all the chaos. All joking aside, while Hayden was definitely strong for a woman strength hadn't been what made her win her fights in practice, it was actually her speed. All the muscle in the world meant nothing if you weren't able to hit your target.

Taking one last deep breath she held tightly to the piece of wood in her hand as she took a stand next to the door. If all went as planned, she'd be hidden by the door opening when the guy opened the door. She'd have the element of surprise in the situation and hopefully would be able to take him down quickly. Of course things didn't usually go as planned.

When he walked into the room Hayden had only a quick second to size him up; tall and blonde hair. Hayden swing with controlled precision and strength, like when hitting a ball in baseball or softball. Of course in the sport the ball doesn't move on its own and Hayden just clipped the guy in the side of his head making him drop the things he held in his hands. The deputy stayed on him though lifting her leg to take out the back of one of his knees. Unfortunately he ended up dodging that as well and soon she was face to face with the man. Thankfully she that didn't throw her off at all, she wasn't even thinking much everything was happening in an almost instinctual kind of experience. Her arm reeled back and before either she or the man realized her fist was hitting the first vulnerable spot she could register; his throat. He went down gasping for air and Hayden lifted her weapon and brought it quickly down on top of his head. He didn't get back up.

Adrenaline was coursing through her body and it was as though she was on a high. Her mind was moving a mile a minute and her hands and arms were shaking. Slowly she made her way over to the man and knelt down to take his pulse. Was it bad that she was hoping she hadn't killed him? Either way he was alive, at least for the moment his pulse was thumping against her fingers pressed to his neck. Finally being able to get a good look at the man she noticed the pistol at his side with its extra clip. Needless to say she took it. She also took a second to rummage through his pockets, hoping to find another clip or a communication device, but instead she found a small ring of keys. She took that too.

Hayden looked over at Karen and moved over to grab the girl's hand, moving to the door quickly. She stuck her head out to look around the corner and once she realized the hall was clear she cautiously made her way down it and towards the direction that Eli said Nathaniel's room was. The hall was in a horrible state, in fact besides the rom they had been in the house appeared to be rather dilapidated.

Right when they were about to round another corner, Hayden heard the distinct sound of a door opening before slamming shut. She pushed Karen behind her and pressed both herself and the other woman close to the wall. A rather thick man walked down the hall and towards the staircase, muttering to himself in a rather irritated voice. Her body was still buzzing with adrenaline and it was as though her senses were in overdrive. Hayden could hear ever groan as the man descended the staircase and she refused to move until she hear another click of a door closing a distance away. Waiting for just another minute, Hayden took Karen's hand once more and moved down the hallway.

She reached the door that the man had come through, the one that Eli was saying was Nathaniel's. She tried to doorknob and, as expected, it was locked. Taking the keys she found earlier out Hayden began trying her luck. Three keys in she got what she wanted, the lock clicked as the door unlocked and Hayden turned the knob hastily. "Nathan?" She whisper as she spotted what appeared to be the boy on the bed.

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Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander
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Nathanial paced around his room running over all the things that had happened to him through his head. It was hard to believe that so much had happened in such a short period of time, and it all started with him attempting to offer his condolences to a mourning peer.

He ran his hand along the wall, for the time he had spent in the room he really never took time to really take in his surroundings. The room was nice looking but it was nothing really extraordinary, it had everything one might need to be comfortable but that was about all there was. He moved over to the bed and ran his hand over the covers. He couldn’t help but think of the dream he had experienced. Even the thought of it sent a shiver down his spine.

The silence was broken by a knock on the door followed by a voice.
“Hey kid, I’m bringing you some candy and some water. I need you to sit in the chair across the room and put your arms behind you.” There was a pause then the man continued. “If I see you anywhere else I’ll shoot you.”

Nathanial walked across the room and took a seat in the chair, he was tired and hungry, he wasn’t about to question this man. The door opened revealing a huge man holding two candy bars and a water bottle.
“I hope you like nugget kid.” The man said with a small smile.
“Oh it’s my favorite, how did you guys?” Nathanial retorted.
The man shook his head and placed the food on the dresser.
“Your real funny kid, maybe I can talk to the boss man about teaching you how to speak to your elders.”

With that the man lumbered out of the room and Nathanial heard what sounded like keys in a lock. Nathanial got up from the chair and grabbed the food. He walked over to the bed and sat down as he bit into the first of the candy bars.

It was then he heard the sound of the lock opening and the door opened again. This time it was Deputy Montgomery that stood in the door holding a pistol. She looked over at him and whispered his name.
He stood up and walked towards her.
“Deputy? What is going on here?”

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: David Blake
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Even with the slight peace of mind gained from his conversation with Alex, Barton still felt a bit unrested when he awoke. In a flash he remembered what he was supposed to be doing today, and glanced over at the clock. Red glowing digits displayed the time clearly: 9:40 AM. What time was the funeral today? 11? 1?

Not wanting to be late to anything, Barton showered and dressed quickly in his usual professional attire, finally feeling complete with a fresh, unbloodied tie, clipped to his shirt carefully. He thought about leaving his pistol, but given the events of yesterday alone he would probably be better served taking it. He had left his rifle in his car, where he would keep it for now, but the Glock stayed with him, he decided. He strapped on the underarm holster, checked to be sure the pistol was in Condition Three (loaded with a full magazine, firing chamber empty, hammer down, safety on), then pulled on the black blazer he used so often to conceal it. Thus ready and as fresh-faced as he was going to get, Barton took his key and left the hotel, nodding to the day-shift receptionist as he did.

At the Sheriff's office, he found Adams waiting in the main room. "Morning Deputy. Any word from Agent Blake?"

Adams looked at him slowly, then took a deep breath before answering, "The only word I got from Agent Blake was to wait for Agent Barton. Apparently he didn't want to repeat himself." His tone conveyed a touch of irritation, and Barton picked up on the likely series of earlier events. Most likely Adams had been on the receiving end of Blake's infamous "shut the ** up until everyone's here" routine.

No point in dwelling on it now, Barton decided. "Well, I'm here. Where is he?" Right to business.

"Agent Blake is in...um, in Sheriff Carter's office," the receptionist announced, having either heard Barton or deduced what he wanted without hearing him.

Barton nodded to her in thanks before crossing the room to the late Sheriff's office, knocking twice with his habitual heaviness, and opening the door slowly. "David? Thomas Barton here, reporting for day 2. Is Simon around?" The quick flurry was done before he stepped into the room. He blinked at the sight of Blake, who frankly looked like trash, worn out and run to the quick.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: David Blake
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#, as written by Bosch
"David? Thomas Barton here, reporting for day 2. Is Simon around?"

Blake looked glumly at Barton and Adams.

“Take a seat guys. I got some bad news.”

The two men entered the office and sat down across the table from Blake who exhaled loudly while he pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Agent Temple is dead, car bomb. Deputy Montgomery is missing, we’re working on the presumption she’s been kidnapped. Temple’s family was murdered and we believe they were used to control the agent.”

Blake then launched into his description of the previous nights events.

Before dismissing the two he told them of their duties for the day.

“The funeral of Julian Fellows is today, I want both of you at it covering the sister and a mother as well as keeping your eyes open. If this fucker is a thrill killer I’d say he wouldn’t want to miss this. Apart from that I suggest you get a move on gentlemen.”

He watched as they stood to leave. “Tom I need a quick word.”

Adams didn’t seem to get the message.

“In private.” Blake clarified and Adams left without another word.

“Montgomery is the only person who was near Temple when he died. We need to consider she was involved in some way. If that’s true this whole town might be dirty. Keep an eye on Adams alright?” Blake said quietly.

“Also with a G-man down Regional Director Reynard is insisting a Hostage Rescue Team is deployed.” Anticipating Barton’s negative reaction Blake raised his hands.

“I know, I know last thing we need is a bunch of macho assholes trampling crime scenes but if you find yourself having to do a room clearance you call it in and we send out HRT. Last thing we need is one of this assholes not having your back and pulling a Serpico.”

He waited to see if Barton had anymore questions before returning to his work.

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Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Karen A. Fellows
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Hayden let out a sigh of relief. Nathanial was all right and appeared to be in rather good health. Very unlike Karen Fellows who stood fidgeting behind her. The teen's nervous aura was starting to cause Hayden to have her own paranoid feelings. Then again given their current situation, maybe that wasn't such a bad thing.

Pushing Karen into the room in front of her, Hayden gave a final look down both ends of the hall before closing the door over. "Are you okay?" She asked, her voice filled with concern. "They didn't do anything to you, right?" He seemed well off, but looks could be deceiving.

The deputy made sure the gun she acquired was at the ready. They had to get out before anyone realized that she and Karen had gotten out of their room. "We have to move Nathanial, get out of her quick before any else happens. I'm pretty sure they're not keeping us here to have a tea party." She was getting anxious with each passing moment.

Opening the door once more, she took another quick survey of the hallway. They were still clear for the time being. "Look, I need you to help Karen, keep an eye on her and keep her calm." If they were going to get of their alive Hayden had to make sure that the traumatized young woman would be under someone's watchful eye. Considering Nathanial was the only alive person she had with her at the moment, the job was his. "Excuse the crazy for a second, okay?" She said, directing it at Nathanial before turning her attentions to Eli who had followed them into the room as well. "Can you tell me how to get out of here?" She asked, Hayden was pretty sure that finding their way via trial and error would take them much longer than if Eli took a look. At least he didn't have to worry about being scene. As a possible hallucination he hadn't steered wrong yet, so her faith was in his hands once more.

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Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Connor Adams Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: David Blake
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"Take a seat, guys. I got some bad news."

Icy dread creeped into Barton's chest as he slowly sat down. He couldn't...Simon couldn't have...

“Agent Temple is dead, car bomb. Deputy Montgomery is missing, we’re working on the presumption she’s been kidnapped. Temple’s family was murdered and we believe they were used to control the agent.”

"Jesus," Barton exclaimed quietly, before continuing to listen to the recap and the instructions for the day. The funeral, naturally, was a good place to start. Considering the arson the previous day, someone might have a vendetta against the Bishop Family, and at the worst, they might be drawn into the open. At best, nothing would happen and the investigation would continue as it was...hopefully with fewer late-night manhunts, and no more sudden losses. He nodded slowly, and stood to leave.

"Tom, I need a quick word. Alone."

Barton looked back in surprise, then sat as Adams left. He then listened as Blake outlined his concern. He quirked his lips pensively, not sure whether Blake was being paranoid or if he had a legitimate cause for concern. If Adams had wanted to off him, couldn't he have done it up by the mine, or in the mine? Still, he nodded. Better to watch for the attack that never came than to miss the attack that came.

A moment later, his trust in the Bureau's judgement wavered and fell. Hostage rescue? "Oh for Chr-" Barton trailed off as Blake explained Reynard's rationale behind the decision. He nodded slowly, grudgingly, then spoke in response. "As long as they don't jump the gun, I can deal with it. I'll get going to the funeral." With that, he rose slowly and went to the door. As he reached it, something occurred to him, and he turned. "Oh, one more thing David. Did they do an autopsy on Sheriff Carter? He wasn't in that critical condition when I saw him last, and that was before surgery."

--------------------

Less than an hour later, Barton and Adams stood at the funeral. The entire service passed without event up until the burial. Barton stood impassive as final words were said over the casket, and watched as they slowly lowered it into the ground. He glanced over at Cassandra Bishop, who seemed oddly...calm, particularly for a woman who had to see her own child buried. He had spoken to her earlier, and she had seemed equally calm, even passive. Odd. Barton had filed it away for reference.

He glanced over at Deputy Adams. He seemed fidgety, glancing over at something beyond Barton's sight. Unwilling to to admit Blake might be right, he trusted Adams's judgement on whatever it was. A moment later, however, the ball came back to him as Adams crossed the crowd to him. "Tom, you need to see this. There's a man up on the hill, flashing a light at m-urgh!" Adams flinched, his hand going to his stomach. "Sorry, just a cramp. Little short of breath. Probably a remnant of last n-aagh!" He failed to reassure Barton, who quickly supported him with his shoulder and helped him back to his car. He could feel Adams growing weaker by the second. This was bad. Very bad.

He borderline sped through the empty streets to Decker Hospital, stopping quickly outside the emergency room entrance. He helped Adams out, and almost dragged him to the door. Nurses immediately whisked Adams away and began questioning Barton. He answered them quickly, and they left him after a brief explanation, to attend to Adams. Barton blinked, processing the new information, then remembered Adams's last words before he collapsed. A man on the nearby hill.

He sprinted out and into his car, dialing the Sheriff's office on the car phone as he left, steering with his left hand as he held the receiver in his right.

"Cartwright Falls Sheriff's Off-"

"This is Barton, I need to talk to Agent Blake."

"Agent Blake has gone to sleep. I can take a message for when he wakes up."

"Sure, sure. Tell him Adams just had what the doctors think is a heart attack, at the funeral, but I got him to the hospital, and they said he's going to be all right. Again, he's going to be okay. Listen, this part's important: Before he collapsed, Adams mentioned something about a man on the hill, with a light, nearby the funeral. I'm going back there to check right now. I'll report back from here when I get more info. Got that?" After a brief confirmation, Barton hung up without saying any more, and focussed on getting back to the funeral.

He arrived in record time, the funeral party now only partly dispersed. He exited the car quickly, not drawing his pistol but squeezing it briefly and slightly with his arm, just to make sure it was there. He skimmed the area, looking for a hill. Finding only one hill, in the direction he remembered facing away from, Barton immediately accelerated into a jog and reached the hill. He looked around slowly, and found some trace of disturbance. Someone had been here. Recently.

He crested the hill and looked out into the trees beyond, but saw nothing. "Dammit," he muttered.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thomas Barton Character Portrait: Eli Carter Character Portrait: Hayden Montgomery Character Portrait: Nathaniel Alexander Character Portrait: Cassandra K. Bishop Character Portrait: Kyra Gosling
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#, as written by Bosch
Blake slapped his forehead.

“Damn it! The autopsy report. It slipped my mind with Temple. I received the report earlier this morning.” He rifled through his desk and produced his report on the death of its previous owner. Blake then handed the report to Barton who thumbed through it. Blake provided a brief synopsis but he knew Barton would still want to read it.

“Ethanol poisoning. They say it was methanol introduced via syringe. Pretty clean too suggesting the killer had some medical skill. Of course he died in a hospital so the suspect list is the length of your arm. I’ve got people reviewing tapes but with the numbers going in and out of his room it’ll be tricky to work out who killed Carter.”

Barton nodded and handed back the report.

After concluding their meeting Barton headed for the door and on to the funeral.

After a few moments Blake stepped out into the lobby of the Sherriff’s Department.

“Agent Blake you look like hell!” A woman’s voice cried.

Blake spun on Justine whose eyes were filled with genuine concern.

“I... I haven’t had much time for sleep.”

“Well right now we’re making time. You go lie down and I’ll field the phones. Nobody will miss you for a few hours besides everyone has been tasked all you’re only waiting for their reports.”

Blake nodded glad in way that someone was giving him permission to sleep.

#
"Can you tell me how to get out of here?"

Eli nodded before walking away from Hayden and the group. He spent a while getting the lay of the land.

They were currently on the third floor of a four story mansion. The mansion was divided loosely into five structures, an east wing connected to the main building by a long corridor. The main building was then connected the west wing via another long corridor. Eli decided to name the structures the east wing, east wing corridor, Main building, west wing corridor and the west wing. Apart from the bedrooms the place was in a poor state of repair.

The group was on the third floor of the west wing. Each wing had four stories except the main wing which seemed to have a large attic space. First the group would have to get out of the west wing which would not be simple considering the many armed men that where milling around the place.

Eli returned and gave his impression of the place to Hayden.

“Seems to me the easiest way out is through the parking garage below the east wing. Looks like you have two options, try to sneak past the guards on the west wing staircase, in the west wing corridor and the rest of the way there or use the west wing crawl space that will bring you to the main building attic. From there you might be able to sneak down to the east wing park garage. Whatever happens you need to get moving.”

#

Cassandra Bishop watched as her son was lowered in the dirt and felt nothing.

The voice was speaking to her, telling her what she must do. For now though she’d have to act the part she was expected to play.

#

Later, at the wake which was being held at the small church hall Cassandra saw her opportunity.

“The kids are all at home Cassandra. They need their mother, it’s time to come home.”

Cassandra dumbly nodded. She knew where she was needed, needed for the first time years. The voice had broken her but rebuilt her stronger and better than before. She now knew where her purpose lay.

At the mansion in the mountains.

She quietly excused herself to go to the bathroom but already she knew where she was going.

She left the church hall and walked to the car park where a white car was waiting just as the voice had promised. A pretty woman with cold eyes sat behind the wheel.

“Don’t be afraid she’s here to help, Cassandra.” The voice said when Cassandra felt a trickle of doubt.
Kyra Gosling got out of the car and approached Cassandra.

“Mrs Bishop, I’m here to bring to Mr Lamont.”

“Lamont?” Cassandra asked.

“Just another member of the family Cassandra.” The voice answered while Kyra looked confused.

Cassandra nodded and followed Kyra to the car.