|Silver and Gold
Author: EYEStoLIE PM
A decade ago, Anne Kerrick went missing from the city of Lakewald. The only clue the Silvers, the police, ever could find was the Kerrick locket, which vanished alongside her. Now, on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance, a young woman calling herself Kerrick is caught trying to pawn the locket. Clearly she holds pieces to the puzzle... now it's up to the Silvers to get them.Rated: Fiction T - English - Mystery/Fantasy - Chapters: 3 - Words: 4,390 - Reviews: 2 - Updated: 01-29-13 - Published: 12-22-12 - id: 3085338
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The scent of burnt coffee was the air freshener of the Silvers and the rustling of ignored paperwork was the soundtrack to their day. Kerrick sat in their cage, watching them with impatient eyes and crossed arms, despite the faint air of condescension in her face; a content smirk that clearly read, am I supposed to be impressed right now?
Christian Holland had been subtly glancing at her from out of the corner of his eye. "She doesn't look like much." He concluded, turning his gaze back to Delphi. It was not her first name, but it was all she permitted them to call her by, and so the first name faded out of use and out of existence. Tossed into the back closets where small children are so terribly prone to hiding the things they do not want to remember and do not want to face.
"After living on the streets, you wouldn't be too pretty either, Christian." She shrugged, continuing to fill out the forms on her desk—forms for the extensive damage caused to LJ Herokal's shop. It hadn't been her mess—or even that of the Silvers, as Kerrick had swung and thrown the bat—but she'd been saddled with it anyways and chose not to complain.
"No, I mean, she doesn't look like a killer." Delphi paused, glancing up at this. "She's dead, isn't she? Anne Kerrick."
Another shrug and she looked back down. "Might be. Might not. So long as the Kerricks keep wiring us money, we keep looking."
When they'd first heard of the news about a young woman, around the right age, turning up with Anne's locket in a pawnshop, the Silvers had been ecstatic. Less so upon Isaac's return. The image burned into their retinas from countless missing persons files and television broadcasts was that of the idyllic little girl; big blue eyes, blond curls, creamy skin and a wide, toothy grin. Sugar oozed from her pores.
Absolutely nothing like the Kerrick in a cage.
The line of her jaw was not soft and sweet, but slender and sharp enough to cut. Her eyes the pale green of cats', hair a wild copper, shining like metal with grease and cut close to her head. Her skin was burnt much the same shade by the sun. Christian may have been mistaken, but he thought he could make out the tiny print of tattoos on the back of her head and peeking through the holes in her shirt.
Anne Kerrick had been the sweetheart of Lakewald, a treasure robbed from the city and only beloved after she had been taken. This new Kerrick looked like she wouldn't hesitate to deck Anne, should she smile at her in a way she took to be offensive.
He glanced over his shoulder as footsteps approached and saw Isaac returning with coffee from the small cafe across the street.
"Welcome back. Our princess say anything yet?"
"No, but a picture's worth a thousand, or so I hear." Christian tossed a holo in his general direction, but it fell to the ground. Isaac's eyebrows lifted in an expression that was somewhat torn between amusement and faint disbelief. And how did you expect me to catch that? It read, as he glanced down at the cups in his hand.
His fellow Silver shrugged. My bad.
Isaac made his rounds, handing out the warm Styrofoam to Delphi, then Christian, then Brask, who had been sitting silently in his chair this whole time (Brask was a man of few words and, when he employed them, few expressed a desire to hear him speak again), and finally set on down on an empty desk before taking the last for himself.
Only then did he cross the floor once more and pick up the holo, opening the thin digital screen and looking at the photo there. A scan of what he assumed to be the innards of their jailbird. Something metal and distinctly locket shaped resting in there.
"She ate it." It wasn't a question so much as a statement—and a skeptic one at that.
"Delphi thinks our girl might have been a mule. For Raptures. Could be why she's used to swallowing strange things." He paused, reconsidered. "Or she could have an extreme iron deficiency, you never know." Delphi reached across their conjoined desk and smacked him right on his shaved scalp. "Hey! It's an idea."
"The locket is gold, you twit."
"Gold, iron, who cares..."
"If it's iron, it's not Anne's. So we care." Isaac reminded him, glancing at Kerrick. She returned his gaze with one cocked brow. He made his way over to the cell, holo still in hand and displayed for her viewing pleasure. "You went through a lot of trouble to hide this, you know."
She shrugged. "People who get their stuff taken by Silvers never get it back."
"And what makes you think that?"
"I know people. Friends." She smiled faintly, but it wasn't a kind smile. Her blood was cold and her lips framed the polar ice caps. Her teeth were remarkably white, he noticed, for someone on the street. And she had the grin of a carnivore. A little too bloodthirsty for his liking. "What's your name?"
He pulled up a chair in front of her cage and sat down, leaning forward. "Isaac Cathaway. Why do you ask?"
"You ask a lot of questions, Isaac." Inwardly, he bristled a bit at the familiarity with which she spoke to him. "So, you're the one looking for Annie?"
Every day and every night for the past ten years, from the moment he opens his eyes to the instant he closes them. Efforts far beyond that which a simple fee would incite. But this isn't anything she needs to know.
"I'm the Platinum for this case, yes."
"The rule bender." She smiled again. "The law breaker."
Many things broke and bent for the Platinum, the law but one among them. But he nodded instead. "I'm in charge of all matters regarding the Kerrick case."
"Annie's case." She 'corrected' him and he felt his molars grind together. He had a very wise premonition that by the end of this whole Kerrick-Kerrick affair—if it ended at all—he would be feeling gum grinding against gum.
"You must know her pretty well, to call her Annie."
"Not really. Just know what I saw on papers and reports. Cute kid. When was she snatched again?"
"Ten years ago. She was twelve. How old are you, Miss Kerrick?"
"Just Kerrick. No 'miss'. Makes me feel old."
"We can assume you're not old, then. Twenty-three? Twenty-one?"
"Or maybe that number you're dancing around. Twenty-two?" She grinned again. "I'm twenty-five, actually."
Bullshit. His inner lie detector went wild, pointing accusing fingers at her. "Don't suppose you have a birth certificate."
"No, I don't suppose I do. But anyways, I'd peg you at... thirty-six? Recent birthday too, I'd guess. You don't look like you've grown into your skin yet."
His birthday was last month, but Isaac simply smiled again. She looked as if she was searching his face for something and he wanted to make sure she didn't find it. However, from the faint smirk growing on her lips, he had a suspicion she already had.
"Do you understand why you're here, Kerrick?"
"I chucked a bat through a window. Tell the old man I'll shell out the coin for the repairs."
"With what? The locket?" She stiffened a bit there and he detected a slight hardening to her gaze. "Where did you get her locket, Kerrick? Herokal—the old man?—he's seen photos of it a thousand times and he can pick a fake credit from a chest of real ones with his eyes closed. That's the real thing, according to him."
"Did you find a locket?" Kerrick challenged him, leaning forward in her own seat. He resisted the urge to recoil at her breath—her teeth were still white, but her mouth smelled like something had gone and died in there. Either she found a good brush and paste while rummaging through people's garbage cans or she hasn't been on the street as long as he thought.
He held up the holo in front of her and her eyes flickered to it briefly. The smallest hint of a scowl curled her lips downward.
Isaac smiled again. "That thing's going to hurt coming out you know."
"Maybe." She shrugged.
"True, it might not. Tell me where you got it and I'll take you to the hospital. Get it removed surgically, patch you up as good as new. You won't feel a thing—they might even put you on something while you're there."
He reached out to grab her arm and she snatched it away from his grasp just as quickly, so that the tips of his fingers only grazed warm flesh before meeting cool air. She shook her head, grin back and almost playful now. Taunting. Naughty, naughty, Isaac. Look all you want, but don't touch.
How could a face say so much and so little at the same time?
He didn't have to hold her skinny wrist to know what he would find there, branded in the flesh. When Raptures were injected, they left a very peculiar scar on the skin; a miniature twelve pointed star, just above the vein. It would be a creamy white above her bronze skin; a starry night in the canvas of flesh.
Abstract and uncommonly beautiful in its own jagged way—like a sliver of glass embedded in the skin, just before it draws blood.
"Where did you get the locket, Kerrick?" He asks her again.
Her grin dimmed momentarily—is the fun over so soon? It asked—before turning conspiratorial. Arms still carefully folded by her waist, keeping tender crook of her elbow hidden from his sight, she leaned forward and gestured for him to do the same. Deciding to humor her, he did.
But she was silent.
"Well?" He prompted her, impatience peeking through the threads of his calm facade.
"The Tall Man. He gave me the locket." Disclosure over and done with, she relaxed in her seat once more.
"Does this tall man have a name?"
"Maybe." She shrugged and shut her eyes, like she was going to take a nap. Only the guilty sleep, he thought to himself. She cracked an eye open about a minute later, as if to say, 'what, you're still here?'
He correctly deduced that he wouldn't be getting anything else out of her for quite awhile and stood, walking back to his desk.
Delphi and Christian said nothing and Brask was not expected to. He had things to say, but he would not utter them.
There was an opportune moment for such words—when the main characters ran out of words to spew and the audience was hushed and the orchestra took a moment to breath and let the air cool their heads.
When the theater was silent and people were willing to listen.
He pulled out the small notebook he kept in his pocket and wrote his lines while Isaac slumped over his metal desk and inhaled the fading scent of cleaning solution.
The chapters of Silver and Gold are going to be a fair bit shorter than those of Gilded, as I currently have no idea what I'm doing with it.