Friday, July 31, 2009


Name: Ronald Rhodes
Position: Detective, Special Crimes Unit
Date: July 30, 2009

After reporting to station and arming ourselves, my partner, Detective Jack Wesley, proceeded to continue our efforts to aid in the quelling of violence that has gone one for several days. At 1000 hours we received a call about a break in at 2560 Weston Avenue. We arrived on scene at 1015. The suspects were still inside. We entered and announced. The suspects claimed to have explosives. At this point we began evacuating the building and called for the bomb squad. I encountered the suspects on the third floor. There was an exchange and they announced their intention to detonate the bomb. I saw the trigger and was forced to exit the building through the window. The bomb was detonated and the suspects attempted to escape in the confusion. Detective Wesley and I apprehended them as they exited the building. Fire and Rescue arrived soon after as well as a wagon to pick up the suspects.

At 1320 received a request for back up at Anderson Street. Police was engaged in a firefight with suspects. Detective Wesley and I joined Detective Escobar, Detective Yi and Detective Montessi as well as other officers involved. We managed to overrun the gang’s makeshift barrier and breached 566 Anderson Street where the gang was occupying. There was an exchange of gunfire. Most of the suspects surrendered. Some of them were shot. A few of the suspects were heading for the roof via the stairs. Detective Wesley and I pursued them as the others secured the floor. We received fire on our ascent and returned fire. Detective Wesley wounded one of the suspects. Detective Wesley subsequently caught a round in his calf and was unable to continue pursuit. I continued to the roof.
The events after I reached the roof are unclear at this point. It’s my belief that due to the prolonged activity in the heat my perception was distorted. I could not find the suspects on the roof. I was confronted by a man wearing dark clothes. He was pale and appeared to be in his mid-forties with blond hair. No distinguishing marks or features. There was a verbal exchange as I ordered him to surrender. I was distracted by a cry for help and saw a woman who appeared to be in her mid-twenties with auburn hair. She was wearing a white dress. When I looked back to the man, he was gone. The woman was gone as well. Detective Escobar arrived at the roof right afterward.

We went back down to help Jack. EMTs and the wagon had arrived. We loaded up the suspects and I accompanied Detective Wesley to the hospital. This concludes my account of the events of the day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Learning Curve: Chapter 4

The room was the nicest one CC had seen on the campus. It was not very spacious, but it was much friendlier than any of the dorm rooms she had seen. The walls were plastered and painted a faint blue color; which was a great departure from the off-white block walls of the regular dorms. The private bathroom was a luxury after having to share a bathroom with eleven other girls on her floor. She took a long, hot shower and then retired to the bed. She drifted off quickly.

The events of the evening had raced through her mind before sleep finally claimed her. Encountering James Ellison, the party, Steve, whatever the hell had happened back in her room. Mostly she thought of Tonya. She was not sure what had happened. She wanted answers. She felt angry at the whole situation, and it seemed as if circumstance was attempting to make her a victim in series of events playing out. That notion flat out galled her.

Her sleep was restless. She woke up more than once in the middle of the night. When dawn finally arrived she still felt tired. She got up and dressed herself in the same clothes she had wore the night before. She was not sure what to do with the key Chad had given her. She was sure the use of the room was not a permanent thing, but she liked the thought of it. CC debated leaving the key on the dresser, but pocketed it instead.

She exited the room and went down the stairs to the lounge that was at the entrance. It was still early and there was no activity in the building, but she heard a few radios and TV fainting from the various rooms. Chad was sitting at a table with a cup of coffee that was obviously from a venting machine. He looked up from the book he was reading and saw her.

“Morning, Miss Tucker. How did you sleep?” He smiled warmly.

“Not very well. Chad, right?” She approached the table.

“That’s right, Chad Armstrong, at your service.” He offered her his hand, and she took it. He then gestured for here to sit. “You want some coffee. It’s not Starbucks, but it’s hot and does the trick.”

“Um… yeah. Cream and sugar, please.”

“Coming up.” Chad got up and went down a hallway to the vending machines. “Sorry you didn’t sleep very well, but after your night, I don’t blame you.”

“Yeah, it was pretty weird.” CC did not want to ask, but the thought was driving her to distraction. “Speaking of weird, what kind of name is Chad Armstrong for a Chinese guy?”

“The kind a Chinese guy gets when he’s adopted.” Chad answered as he returned to the table with her coffee. He set the cup in front of her and sat back down. “Now, I imagine you want to go back to your room and you have a ton of questions about what happened and about your roommate.”

“Well… yeah.” CC was a little put off by the fact that it seemed like Chad had done this many times before.

“First off, your roommate is fine. She’s still at the hospital, but she’ll be released today. I called about her a little bit before you came down.”

“That’s good.”

“Now, about your room, I have to ask you not to go back there for a while.”

“What? How long is a while?” CC snapped at him. She was still tired and her temper was starting to flare. Chad raised a hand gently to calm her.

“Just a few hours. We’re going to make sure that everything’s alright in the room.” Chad spoke evenly and calmly in an attempt to use his tone to try to sooth CC.

“Who’s ‘we’? What the hell happened? What the hell’s happening now?” CC snapped again, and her face was starting to redden.

“Miss Tucker,” Chad speech was firmer now. “I’m afraid I can’t tell you what happened in your room, but I can assure you that the people who are there now will make sure it doesn’t happen again. Think of them as cleaners.”

“Like I should think of you as security.” CC got up and took up her dup of coffee. Chad thought for a moment that she was going to throw it at him. “Thanks for the coffee.” CC turned and began towards the door.

“It’s just a few hours Miss Tucker.” Chad got up from the table and started to follow her. She spun towards him.

“I’m going to get some breakfast.” She said curtly. Her tone let Chad know that she was no longer interested in anything he had to say. She was in no mood for secrets or people thinking they were clever for having them. She left the building and went to the dining hall.

There were not many people up at that hour on a Saturday morning. She passed a handful on her way to breakfast. The morning air was cool on her skin and finished the job the coffee had started in waking her up. The sky was clear and the sun was casting long shadows along the old buildings of Lazlo University. She sat alone at the dining hall and ate silently. She did not particularly care for the food there, but had learned to live with it.

She weighed her options the entire time she ate. CC’s first instinct was to return to her room despite Chad’s warning. She thought about making her way to the hospital to check on Tonya. She tried to call her with her cell phone, but the call went straight to Tonya’s voice mail. Either her phone was off or it just had no signal in the hospital. CC wanted to know what had happened. She wanted answers. She wanted to be able to tell Tonya what was happening when she saw her.

She headed for her dorm room. She walked quickly, practically stomping all the way. Her frustration showed on her face. She was out of patience.

She got to her dormitory building and saw some girls gathered in the lobby. She paused for a moment and recognized the girls as the ones from her floor. She went into the lobby and spotted Liza, a girl she had chatted with a few times before.

“Hey Liza, what’s everyone doing down here?”

“Oh, hey CC! You just getting in?” Liza responded with a smirk suspecting that CC was returning from a tryst.

“Yeah, after the commotion last night, I didn’t want to stay in the room so I stayed with a friend.”

“Oh, that’s right! That was your room?”

“Yeah. So, what’s everyone doing down here?’

“Oh, some faculty guys said they needed us to leave the floor for a little while. Something about checking for a gas leak.” Liza said with a shrug.

“A gas leak?” CC cocked an eyebrow. She did not believe that for a second. “My entire ass.” CC marched past the group of girls. Liza said something, but CC was not listening. She went from the lobby to the staircase that led to her floor. She muttered obscenities under her breath with every step.

She got to her floor and the moment she stepped out of the stairwell she felt it again, the cold. She saw her breath mist in the air. She heard shouting. It was coming from her room. She heard words she did not recognize. It sounded like Latin, but she was not sure.

“Gabe, duck!”

“Dammit! Hurry this up, Doc!” They were male voices, angry and guttural. She heard things crashing. Wood was breaking. Glass was shattering. She had not heard any of that in the stairwell. For an instant she wanted to retreat back to the lobby. Her resolve to find the truth overcame that urge. She rushed down the hallway and turned the corner to she her room door wide open. CC came to the doorway.

It was like a miniature tornado in her room. Her and Tonya’s personal items were flying in all directions. The beds were overturned. The mirror was shattered. In the middle of the storm were Mister Gunther and Tommy Ellison. Both were trying to protect themselves with their arms. Tommy’s ponytail was whipping in the indoor cyclone. There was another man in the room who was seemingly unaffected by the event in the room. He wore a gray business suit and faced away from her. He was speaking in the language CC had heard but did not understand. He had dark hair that was cropped close and was not moving in the wind whipping through the room.
There was no wind in the hallway where CC stood. She was frozen there, transfixed by the sight in front of her. The air around her was completely calm until Tommy looked at her.

“RUN!” He shouted as the wind exploded from her room and blasted her back into the room behind her.

About this month's artist: Linda Jean made the time to get this piece done despite a very demanding schedule. Thanks, Linda!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Learning Curve: Chapter 3

“You so much as flinch and I’m going to melt your stupid face off.” It was an exaggeration obviously. CC Tucker knew full well that the pepper spray she had aimed at the guy who she had snuck off with would not actually melt anything. However, the threat did stop him from advancing towards her. “I scream and this room is going to be packed with people.”

“Calm down. I just want to talk.” Steve put his hands up in a submissive gesture.

“Yeah, well, I just wanted to fool around a bit with a random guy at a party, but then your Creep-o-meter started clanging off the charts.” CC kept the pepper spray aimed at Steve’s face and was very aware of the distance between them. If he rushed her, she would not be able to dodge him in the tight quarters of the bedroom. She also knew that if she wanted to get out of the room it would have to be through Steve. “Now you talk, asshole. Everyone freaks out when these Ellison guys are even mentioned. I don’t even know them! I have a professor in common with one of them and I ran into the other earlier tonight. I. Don’t. Know. Them. What the hell is everyone’s deal around here?”

“Stop pointing that at me.” There was anger in Steve’s voice.

“No.” CC answered sternly. The word had barely escaped her lips when Steve rushed her. CC hit the trigger on the spray, but Steve stretched out his hand and blocked the spray from reach his face. He grasped the small spray can and jerked at it, trying to wrest it from CC’s grip. The young blonde kicked upwards as soon as he gripped the spray. The kick struck firmly in the groin and with a loud grunt Steve winced and began to stumble backwards. He released his grip on the spray and CC took the opportunity to douse Steve’s face. He wailed in pain as CC shoved him aside and bolted for the door.

She was vaguely aware of the steady stream of profanity that was spilling from her lips as she descended the staircase. Slowly but surely the heads of everyone at the party looked to her. She stopped at the base of the stairs. No one spoke. The music continued to play. CC glanced around the room. Bitter feelings twisted her pretty face.

“Steve’s an asshole!” She shouted and then headed straight out the door. She had made it to the sidewalk by the time Tonya ran out of the house in pursuit.

“CC!” She shouted, but her roommate did not break stride. “CC, wait!” Tonya finally caught up with her and saw raw anger on her face. “What the heck happened in there?”

“Damned high school garbage.”


“That jerk Steve got me into a room and freakin’ grilled me about those guys. The twins.”

“The Ellisons?”

“Whatever. Screw this scene. It’s just like the cliques back in high school.” CC fumed as she walked down the Row. She and Tonya got catcalls much like they did on their way to the party but instead of offering a smile in return CC gave them the finger.

“What? It wasn’t that bad in high school.”

“Easy to say when you’re popular. That crap’s over. I’m not going to be judged or interrogated just for talking to a guy I barely know.”

“CC, hold on a minute.” Tonya grabbed CC’s arm and brought the pair of them to a halt. CC’s still looked quite angry but she was not going to take it out on Tonya. “I asked about those guys. There’s a ton of rumors about them.”

“So what?”

“So, none of them are good. I think the girls in the sorority are just trying to look out for us.”

“Yeah, well I didn’t ask them to. Go on back to the party. I’m heading home.” CC turned and headed up the Row and towards the dormitories. Tonya followed and quickly caught up. CC tossed her a questioning glance.

“The music wasn’t really working for me.” They both smiled and looped their arms with each others. They left the row and made their way across the campus to their dormitory. There was still quite a bit of activity on the campus. A few dedicated students were coming from and going to the library. The campus movie theater had a bit of a crowd. Tonya and CC did not say much during their walk home. Tonya wanted to ask about what had happened in the room with Steve, but she held off, not able to think of how to broach the subject.

They had planned on having a snack and watching a movie when they got back to their room. When they opened the door they were stopped in the doorway by a rush of cold air. They entered and were surprised that they could see their breaths misting in the air.

“What the hell?” CC went straight to the heating and air conditioning unit by the window as Tonya turned on the lights. The unit was off. Both girls felt goose bumps rise on their skin. “I’m calling maintenance.” CC said as she headed to the phone. She stopped short when she saw Tonya standing rigid in the middle of the room. “Tonya?”

Tonya did not answer she just stared blankly at the mirror. It was the same mirror CC had been looking at when she thought she saw something earlier that evening. Now she could only see a message. The cold and humidity in the room had put a layer of frost on the mirror. CC did not think the room was cold enough to produce frost, but it seemed the mirror had a different opinion. There was a message written in the frost:

“I’m coming.”

CC looked closer at the message. While the frost prevented her from seeing a reflection, where the words were written the mirror was clear. Something was looking back at her. She looked quickly at Tonya and them back at the mirror and saw her own eyes in the reflection. Without a word she grabbed Tonya by the arm and pulled her out of the room.

“Tonya!” CC nearly shouted at her friend whose face was still blank and expressionless.

“What?” Tonya replied. She was blinking quickly and looking around. “What just happened? What’s happening?”

“Screw maintenance. I’m calling security.” CC pulled out her cell phone and quickly dialed the campus operator. It wasn’t long before security arrived and the dormitory was buzzing with activity. By the time security did arrive, the temperature in the room had returned to normal. There was no evidence of there ever having been a message on the mirror. Tonya was taken to the hospital. She seemed to be in shock.

CC sat on a bench in front of the dormitory. She had been told that it was all right for her to go back to her room, but her gut feeling was to stay as far away from it as possible. The night air was crisp and clean. It helped her relax a little. She thought about sleeping on the couch in the dormitory lounge that night.

She looked around. The evening was peaceful. It was nearly midnight and only a few of the students were out. Most of them were either sleeping or already wherever they wanted to be that evening. The area was well lit, but there were spots down the road that ran along the dormitories that the streetlights did not fully illuminate.

In the dark area were two people. CC focused on them. They were men and the same size. They seemed to be looking at her, but at the distance she could not tell for certain. They were joined by a third man and for the life of her CC did not see him approach the other two. The one began walking away from the others and towards the dormitories. The other two began walking down the sidewalk in the other direction. They walked out of the darkness briefly and CC swore it was the Ellison Brothers.
“Bullshit.” She said to herself. “You’re tired and your mind’s playing horrible tricks on you.” Then she saw that the third man was walking towards her. CC continued talking to herself. “So help me if this guy is coming to me and gives me an ounce of grief I’m going to quit this stupid school.” The man did indeed walk to her. The area around CC was very well lit and CC recognized the man as the young Asian fellow that had nearly run her over on the stairs earlier that day. He stopped short, keeping his distance.

“Tucker, right?” He said with a gentle smile.

“Um… yeah…” CC did not know how this guy knew who she was, but she already did not like it.

“I’m Chad. I heard something weird happened in your room. There’s a suite over in Ellis Hall that you can stay in if you want.”


“You can get some of your things out of your room if you want. I’ll even come with you.”

“Are you campus security?”

“Something like that.”

“’Something like that’ isn’t going to cut it.”

“I understand. You’ve had a rough night.” Chad fished a very plain key ring out of his pocket. There was only one key on it. Chad kept his distance and tossed it to her. CC caught it. “Good hands. Anyways, it’s an open offer. Stay there or not, it’s up to you.”

“And why do I get this open offer?”

“You’re not the first person to have a rough night around here.” Chad smiled and nodded. Then he turned and walked away. “Room 212.” He called back to her without turning around. He walked away leaving CC staring at the room key. The offer of a soft bed in a suite was good, but more than that she wanted answers. Her gut told her she might find some in Ellis Hall room 212.

She went with her gut.

This month's artist: Is Hawaii's lovely and talented Kai Lee.