In the back of his small dimly lit living room, Detective Ezra Berkovitz is sprawled across his threadbare couch, dark brown hair curling off the side and olive legs propped over the back, frayed red cloth pulled out of the edges. Hands joined above his head in his customary triangle, his bushy brow furrowed, he heaves a sigh of annoyance and presses the heel of his palms to his eyes. "Bored, I'm bored." he mutters in a deep growl under his breath. In the distance, the church bell sounds two.
Abruptly, he flips up, blood rushing out of his head. Glaring sharply at the emptiness of his string board across the wall, he stands there, in the middle of his cluttered living room, breathing heavily. Frantically, he begins to rearrange the space, replacing each item meticulously, repositioning them until they please his trained eye. The church bell sounds three. Satisfied with the state of the room and momentarily calmed, he advances towards the wall, banging his hands heavily on either side of the board and boring his hazel eyes into the only picture pinned up in the centre, fuming.
A large, black, rusted wrought-iron key. Something else is not quite right in the room, an unsolved mystery permeating the air. He takes the key from the chipped wooden mantelpiece underneath the board. For the hundredth time, he makes the same deductions. "17th century gate, microscope uncovers remnants of bone particles and minerals found deep in the ground. A cemetery? Inside of the key is as rusted as the rest, suggesting either it's never been used or hasn't been in a long time. Still in perfect condition - not bent or scratched, but old so it's bound to have been a family heirloom, something that people would take care of." He inhales deeply, realizing that his brother isn't in the room with him like they used to be when he went on these tirades. "What does it open?"
That question had haunted him since the day his brother disappeared six months ago and gave it to him. It was now October 25, 2001. He paces across the floor, questions whirling through his mind. He opens the window onto the alley below, a cold draft of wind raising the hairs on his neck. The narrow street is empty, stray cats tearing through week-old garbage bags piling up against the derelict building walls. Graffiti marks the grey walls and stained curtains billow from a broken window across the street. A broken beer bottle rolls over. Only the moon bathes the scene eerily. Images of his brother jump to him, and he remembers the way he used to sit in the plush brown armchair across from his. He sits down, staring at the empty seat. "Samuel, what does this key mean?" he murmurs to himself.
A great fatigue settles on his chest and hopelessness momentarily submerges him. For a second, he relaxes into despair. Gathering himself, he grinds his teeth, getting up fiercely. Before he knows it, his fist connects with the wall and he barely feels the pain lancing through his knuckles. Over and over he hits the wall blindly, letting out a deep throated yell of frustration. In his frenzy, the dots connect in his mind, and he comes to a stop. The catacombs. "Of course!" he exclaims. Adrenaline rushes through him as he gathers his blue trench coat and scarf, rushing down the stairs. He spends the metro ride in a daze as his thoughts careen wildly.
He finds himself at the entrance of the catacombs They are closed for the night, so he pulls out his lockpick and opens the gate, fingers nimbly flurrying. Finding a map of the maze, he looks through all the possible places for a secret passage. His hawk-like scrutiny catches a dead end tunnel marked with "DISUSED". Having memorized the map, he flies through the pitch-black tunnels, sucking in the cold air impregnated with the smell of damp dirt, flashlight bouncing in front of him, reflecting off rows of skeletons. He leaps over the gate marked with large red letters "NO TRESPASSING". Suddenly acutely aware of his the echo of his footsteps, he slows down. His flashlight is no longer enough to pierce the thick darkness of the tunnel, and his hand instinctively grips the wall as he advances. A shiver runs through his spine. The darkness is like black ink pooling around him. His foot hits metal, and a sharp ring sounds through the silent tunnel. Gripping the freezing bars of the gate, breath quickening, he slowly raises the torch to the lock and fits in the key. They fit perfectly. The lock clicks slowly into place, resonating through his ears. Slowly, the gate creaks open. His brother's gaunt face peers up at him, fear glinting in his hazel eyes. "Ezra".