Deep Penetration: Chapter Two
Deep Penetration: Chapter Two
A ZombieFic Production
The Investigation Begins
Preceding Chapter | Proceeding Chapter
“So, what say we discuss this case over coffee?” Zombie’s voice sounded scruff at the moment.
Lawliet bit her her lip, she had been annoyed by Zombie up until this point, but if she was going to work with him she might as well try to make it pleasant, “Coffee sounds good. I know a great place we can go.”
Zombie seemed indifferent, obviously putting on an air. It was his nature to appear humble when he should celebrate, and reclusive when he should feel ecstatic.
“Go ahead and lead the way. Hopefully it isn’t a long walk?” Zombie began spoke as he realized he didn’t really know much about the city he was in.
Lawliet looked confused for a moment, “Walk? Oh no, we’ll just take a squad car.”
She opened a heavy metal door bolted from the inside leading into a sparsely illuminated garage. There was about twenty marked vehicles for Moderators. Her vehicle was parked fairly close, it was an unmarked Global Investigator’s vehicle, and quite nice looking at that. It practically had a mirror shine, heavily tinted windows, obvious armor. Lawliet began inspecting the vehicle as though if anything were to happen to it she would be held responsible.
Zombie waited after she finished inspecting it before speaking, “You know, with a vehicle like that, people will see us coming from miles away. Kind of contradicts undercover work.”
Lawliet’s brows seemed to curl for a moment as she thought about it, before silently agreeing with him, “So what do you propose we do instead?”
“Well, first, if we’re going to be undercover you really should contemplate ditching that uniform, from there we go by foot like the rest of the poor folk in this city.” Zombie iterated his thoughts on the matter.
“Well, I have a change of clothes in the locker room, I’ll just be a moment.” Lawliet confirmed agreement with Zombie’s plan by holding up her end to this point.
Zombie knew a moment in woman terminology probably meant an hour. He began fumbling through the pocket of his trench coat for his cigarettes. He pulled out his cigarettes as well as a sealed envelope with luscious red lip prints still slightly moist to the touch. He had nearly forgotten about the letter, but now would be a good time as any to open it.
First though, he brought a cigarette to his lips, the cotton filter resting on his bottom lip with the weight of the upper lip holding it in place. He drew his lighter, striking it to produce a flame which engulfed the tip of the cigarette. He inhaled simultaneously dragging smoke into his mouth where he savoured the taste for a moment before fully inhaling it.
The letter was in his other hand, why was he so hesitant to open it? It was just an envelope with folded paper inside. He finally committed himself to opening it. His thumb slightly tore the cover flap and he peeled that the rest of the way open revealing the contents. Inside was a hand written letter.
I know this is out of the blue, and you’ll have to trust me on this, I didn’t want to drag you in this but they said no cops. I figured a private detective wasn’t a cop, right? So you have to help me, and I can pay you dearly for your work.
It would seem the men who told me not to contact any cops have kidnapped my father, who is a wealthy businessman you see. He owns several clubs around the city, and they rake in a lot of money. Of course, I’ll pay you heftily if you can aid in getting my father back.
I want to discuss the details with you in private, there is a night club in town called “Kitten’s.” Meet me there whenever you get the opportunity, I understand it may take a while as you’re a busy man.
As he folded up the letter and placed it back in the envelope, Lawliet had reemerged. She had definitely changed, her hair was let loose instead of held up. Her new clothes made her look like a new person entirely. An affordable dress, that looked quite familiar with other dresses he had seen ladies wearing. This one was of a dark blue shade, with thin straps revealing her effeminate shoulders. She began pulling a jacket over her arms though, and had a confused look on her face. It was at this time Zombie realized he was still holding the letter and his cigarette hadn’t had a puff since the initial one with ashes clinging nearly to the butt.
Zombie smirked, realizing just how exposed he was, and dropped the cigarette to the ground. He crushed it with the heal of his shoe, turning it and twisting it to ensure it was extinguished. His hand plunged the letter back into his pocket as that was his personal business and the lady explicitly stated she didn’t want cops involved.
“I take it you’re ready now, doll?” Zombie seemed to regain control of his tone and outwardly appearance once in her presence again.
“I thought I told you not to call me doll.” Lawliet seemed annoyed again.
Zombie let out a light laugh, “And call you Miss Global Moderator Lawliet, and blow our cover? I think doll will suffice, doll.”
Lawliet sighed, and figured she would change the conversation, “So, what was that you were just reading there?”
“It was my water bill,” Zombie replied wanting to avoid further discussing it.
Lawliet seemed confused, “With red lipstick on it?”
“Lead the way, doll.” Zombie pushed for the conversation to end.
Lawliet did just that, not wanting to pry any deeper in something he obviously didn’t want to discuss. She began walking through the dimly lit garage towards a side door that would lead into an alley. The door had a large push bar from the inside, and she pressed on it. The door budged, a cold breeze rushed inside. The morning was still young but daylight glimmered off of broken glass in the alley.
Zombie grabbed the door holding it open for Lawliet. She walked outside and Zombie followed, the morning was a chilly one. The alley was deserted, except for a rat which scurried away from their towering presence. The door slammed behind them, it had no handle on the outside and no means of opening. Though, despite how calm and desolate the trash riddled alley was, something felt dangerous to Zombie.
Lawliet must not have had the same feeling because she began walking and talking casually as though nothing was wrong, “So, Zombie, how long have you been a private detective?”
Zombie didn’t answer immediately, checking their surroundings. Something just didn’t feel right to him. He was becoming nervous, scanning their surroundings, his situational awareness skyrocketing. He came to notice scattered bullet holes in the walls and then the smell of gunpowder hit his nostrils. He moved his right arm under his trench coast feeling that wooden handle of his six shooter. The thumb gripped the ridged edge of the cocking hammer and pulled it back with an audible click.
Lawliet looked confused back at Zombie, obviously catching a hold of his tension, “Is something wrong?”
Again, Zombie refused to answer her, but instead called out into the nothingness “Just show yourself already.”
“Oh, you knew I was here?” A strange voice echoed down the alleyway.
Foot steps became clear accompanied by a slow clap and a man emerged from the shadows. He appeared to at least be wealthy, in a pin stripe suit with a bow tie. His white undershirt was extremely clean, and paper white. His face was long and expressionless, his greased back jet black hair adding to his ghastly appearance. Zombie swore to himself he had never seen this man before, but yet he seemed vaguely familiar and so Zombie continued to search his memories for where they could have met.
The man continued to walk towards them, his face continuing to hold no expression until Zombie drew his revolver aiming it at the man “That’s close enough. Explain yourself.”
“I see, so the facts we had about you were accurate. You really were in the great war weren’t you? That’s a rhetorical question, don’t answer it.” The man had no intention of explaining himself.
“Among other things, I see you know me for some reason. I don’t think you’re in a position to be not answering questions though.” Zombie’s trigger discipline lapsed as his right index finger slid from the trigger guard to gently rest on the trigger itself.
The stranger laughed, menacing though faked laughter, “I’m just here to observe you. A strange private investigator shows up to this city, he has to be observed. It’s merely my job to observe people like you.”
Zombie shrugged his shoulders back in anticipation to shooting. He was about to unleash a storm of lead into the man when Lawliet stopped him, her hand pulling the revolver down. Zombie didn’t take his eyes off the man, he was definitely dangerous.
“I highly advise you to stop tailing us, as our investigation has nothing to do with your syndicate.” Lawliet forced herself into the conversation.
“That’s what I wanted to hear.” The man said, before tracing his steps back into the shadows.
Now Zombie wanted questions answered, but he would fight them down. Now wasn’t the time or place to start asking such questions. He might have only been a fledgling private detective but he knew how to conduct himself in such a field. Though Lawliet seemed more curious in Zombie now and was about to ask him a question but Zombie shook his head before she managed even a syllable.
“He is gone now, let’s go.” Zombie turned around and began to lead the way as if he knew where he was going.
Lawliet struggled to keep up with his long stride, “Can you slow down, we don’t need to be in such a hurry.”
Zombie’s open pace slowed down and she caught up with him. He slid his revolver back into it’s holster as he realized he was still clenching it, his hand trembling on the grip. He began fumbling for his cigarettes, while asking himself why he was so scared. It didn’t matter now, Zombie decided. He could tell the man was no longer following them, or if he was he was doing a much better job concealing his presence.
By the time they hit the main street again Lawliet took the lead as Zombie clearly didn’t know which way to go. She headed east down the road away from the Admin offices towards an intersection which had several establishments on it. One of which was presumably a coffee shop. The coffee shop was about a block away, and walking there didn’t take very long.
The front of the coffee shop was rather plain. It was a corner building, made of large granite stone like most of the city. It had two main windows, with the front door being built right into the corner with an overhand. A small gas burning lamp hung under the overhang and projected dancing yellow light on the grayish granite stone. The front windows were intricately painted, though the paint was fading, he could clearly read “The Colombian Cup.”
Zombie grabbed the plain brass handle and pulled on it, the brass hinges cried in need of oil. He held the door open for Lawliet and warm air and an aroma of delicious coffee rushed through the open door. Zombie followed Lawliet into the room and began observing the surroundings immediately. The first thing he noticed was a general lack of people, it was early in the morning sure but they shouldn’t have been the only people there.
A chalkboard sign on a pole read “Please seat yourselves, we will be with you momentarily.” There wasn’t much of a choice in seating though, as there were maybe five tables in the small room. The counter seemed to take a large portion of the room, and had bar stools in front of it as well. Zombie led Lawliet to a window table, where he could observe the street and door as well as not be heard by other people in the store.
They barely had a chance to remove their jackets and sit down before a waitress was upon them like a buzzard on a dying rodent. She seemed a bit unhealthy, possibly sick with heavy bags under her brown eyes. He brown hair seemed to be incredibly frizzy and tied back in a pony tail. The attire she wore seemed to be some kind of uniform, with a red and pink striped blouse and a red knee length skirt. Her white apron was stained with coffee, some older than others but none seemed fresh.
Her voice sounded sick too, quite hoarse as if she had been coughing all day, which seemed rather unsettling, “Welcome to the Colombian Cup, two coffees?”
Zombie fought back the sarcastic remark he would have liked to have given, “That will work for now.”
The lady only nodded, obviously wanting to talk as little as possible, before heading off into the back. The two could hear talking in the back and a bit of shouting followed by a grinder which was probably ripping roasted coffee beans to shreds. Zombie returned his attention to Lawliet, who looked eager to talk.
“So I assume you want to know about the syndicate?” Lawliet asked.
“The syndicate? No, not really. We’re having coffee here. I’d prefer to talk about, oh I don’t know, what kind of music do you like?”
Lawliet seemed confused, “But, wait, didn’t you? Music I like?”
“Well, you could always tell me what I’m actually here to investigate instead.” Zombie laughed a bit at her confusion.
“As you are aware, we are currently investigating a certain matter. Unfortunately, it’s proving difficult for us because we are all well known in this city and nobody will talk to us. That’s why we wanted to bring in an outsider, somebody who could get certain people to talk more.” Lawliet stopped talking, seeing the waitress returning.
The waitress set down a cup in front of each of them and poured coffee into their mugs. She then proceeded to set a bowl of sugar cubes and a jug of whole milk on the table as well. She looked as though she were about to ask them a question, but she could tell her presence wasn’t wanted anymore and made herself scarce.
“The main problem is, we have a ring of what we like to call ‘alternatives’ causing havoc in the community. We need to figure out who these people are and put a stop to this.” Lawliet finished up describing their current predicament.
Zombie took a sip of his coffee while thinking things through. He seemed rather nervous, though it wasn’t the job Lawliet described, it was the guy from the syndicate and the letter from Zerabitu. However, Zombie had to regain his focus on his primary case.
Zombie dug for more clarification “And by alternatives, you mean?”
Lawliet thought about an explanation for a moment before responding, “In this city we have a form of identification. Well, some people have been making alternative identifications and using them to increase their own reputation and even voting for themselves in elections. It’s had a terrible effect on the economy as well.”
“So you want me to find the person responsible for making these alternatives?” Zombie responded finally appreciating the situation.
“Yes, and well, there is actually a large ring of alt makers and they’re very good at hiding from us.” Lawliet spoke before she finished her cup of coffee.
“Alright, I think I understand what is going on. I’ll begin investigating immediately. When and how should I contact you?” Zombie spoke, staring into his own cup of coffee which he had barely touched.
Lawliet smiled as though Zombie were missing something before she replied, “Well, don’t you recall what Zise had said earlier?”
Zombie seemed confused, “No, please reiterate.”
“I’m supposed to work with you on this case. Which basically was him telling me not to let you out of my sight.”
“Well, that’s not going to work. I highly insist you forget about what he said.” Zombie finally began chugging his coffee.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Orders are orders, and I’m bound to follow them.”
“Well then, be sure to stay out of my way. I tend to get reckless and I move quickly so be sure to keep up.”
Zombie had stood abruptly while reaching into his wallet. After fumbling around for a few moments he had produced some paper money. He folded the paper money in half and placed it under his coffee mug. The amount would be sufficient to cover the entire bill and leave a dignifying tip as well.
Zombie immediately began heading for the door, as Lawliet scrambled out of her seat to follow him. He pushed on the brass plate, and the door swung open. Yet, Zombie still held the door open for Lawliet as she finally caught up with him. For somebody who seemed to be wanting to get away from her, he was still consumed by his gentleman ways.
The warmth of the coffee shop was drowned by early day winds still carrying the nights chill. Lawliet shivered momentarily while waiting on Zombie to light a cigarette. As Zombie got off his initial drag, he began walking in a seemingly random direction. His brisk open pace made it difficult for Lawliet to keep up, but she managed.
“Hey, slow down!” She nearly shouted at him, “You don’t even know where you’re going.”
Zombie relaxed his pace, “No, I don’t know where I am going. I figured I’d explore the city a bit.”
Lawliet seemed confused but continued following him, his slower pace was much more comfortable for her to keep up with. She didn’t know where they were going anymore either. He seemed to be heading towards a part of the city they she didn’t visit very often. The quality of the buildings began to deteriorate rapidly. Many of the buildings were crumbling, and most were filled with obvious squatters. It became rather clear they were entering the slums. The amount of looks they were collecting were rather uncomfortable as well.
“Hey, Zombie, just what are we doing here?” She seemed rather hesitant to proceed into the area.
Zombie paused a moment whilst looking around, “The slums, a lot of new people to a city end up in the slums. New people are always looking for answers and tend to have a hard time starting up. Criminals always prey upon the new people in such areas.”
Speaking of criminals, Lawliet risked a peek over her shoulder and noticed they were being followed by a group of men. The group seemed to have a leader too, a bald man standing quite tall with a barrel for a stomach. The man pointed at the two of them, and the group started to nearly run to catch up with the two. Lawliet, slightly scared grabbed Zombie’s arm and tried to make him turn to look.
“I know they are there. Relax, this is kind of what I was hoping for.” Zombie attempted to calm her nerves.
One of the men, a skinny guy with hair that looked as though it had never seen a comb stepped forward. He had faded tattoos up and down his arms, with just as many scars. His belt seemed to have added holes so he could strap it down tighter, his pants obviously too big for him.
As he opened his mouth to speak it became apparent he had no dental plans in his line of work, “Just what are two people like you doing in this part of town?”
Lawliet was about to speak, but Zombie cut her off, “Well, we obviously have nowhere else to go. We came to this city hoping to find work and now we’re incredibly broke. After asking around for a bit we were told there would be plenty of places to stay around here.”
The man seemed to enjoy their apparent suffering and smiled, his terrible teeth showing even more, “No work you say? I beg to differ, you two were obviously just looking in the wrong part of town. I can get you some work right now, if you wouldn’t mind doing something less than glorious.”
Zombie had rubbed his stomach as though he hadn’t eaten anything in quite a while, “Right about now, I’d do anything for a slice of bread even.”
“Good, then you’ll come with us?” This seemed to feed the man’s appetite for his suffering.
Zombie nodded, and began to follow the man. Lawliet hesitantly followed as well while sticking incredibly close to Zombie. The group had led them back to the boss man, who then began walking down an alley which had definitely been cleaned up. The alley had tarps strung between the walls to keep the rain and other harsh elements. Electrical lighting had been installed as well, which provided decent illumination. There were bed rolls spread about and even people sleeping during the middle of the day, which seemed almost as odd as this would be headquarters.
The fat man moved towards a desk which had obviously been thrown away by somebody else at some point. The rolling chair he had sat in seemed to have suffered the same fate. The desk and chair served no other purpose than to establish his position in the group, which wasn’t very impressive.
The large man spoke, he had a soft and effeminate voice which definitely didn’t fit his appearance, “So you’re looking for work, are you?”
“That would be correct sir.” Zombie nodded as he spoke.
“And you, young lady?”
Lawliet had pointed to herself as she looked around. Clearly, her nervousness was quite evident and had even garnished snickers amongst the other people in the area. She was after all the only female there.
Zombie shook his head while staring at the hefty man, “She wont be doing any of the work you’re imagining. I’d quell those thoughts so as to prevent unnecessary injury.”
Lawliet soon realized she was hopelessly over her head in the situation and figured it would be best to stay quiet. The large man appeared insulted, and yet strangely he wasn’t angry.
“Oh, I see, you wish to protect your lady friend. I’m supposing she is important to you? Well, let’s see if we can break that desire to protect her then shall we?” The fat man nodded at one of his men.
The sound of a knife flicking open could be heard, Zombie stood there unwavering as the man approached him from behind with heavy footsteps. As the man came within five feet, Zombie snapped his arm into his trench coat and whipped it back out with a flash. His fully extended arm stopped directly in front of the man with the knife’s face. Zombie’s thumb pulled down the hammer while his right index finger pulled the trigger back.
There was a loud blast which echoed down the alleyway. The man’s face had become violently burnt with a small hole just below is left eye, the back of his head had fared far worst. The level of gore was astounding as several people behind the man had become covered in brain matter, chunks of skin with hair still clinging to it, and some had even been peppered with skull fragments. The body instantly went limp and collapsed to the ground.
Zombie had turned his attention back to the large man, Zombie’s eyes seemed to stare directly through the man as though he were unworthy of being looked at. The large man seemed to become overwhelmed with more fear than he had ever experienced in his life. The man standing before him had just killed a man clear as day and wasn’t even phased by it.
Lawliet seemed shocked too, she had been traveling with a man capable of doing something like this for hours. The part that scared her most was the lack of feeling on his expression, as though he had killed countless times in the past.
The large man had finally broken the silence, “How, how could you just, you just killed him!”
“He drew a knife on me. I warned you injury would result if you failed to heed.” Zombie’s voice had lost all of it’s tone, and had become rather flat.
“Just get out of here, I have no work for somebody like you!” The large man had shouted, his anger showing now as a vein began bulging from his temple.
“You never had work for me in the first place. However, you do have answers to my questions.” Zombie spoke, his voice still solemn and as cold as the wind howling through the streets.
The man felt every ounce of ice in Zombie’s voice, apparent as he swallowed nervously, “Look, I doubt I know anything you want to know.”
“On the contrary, people like you pride themselves on the amount of illicit knowledge they have.” Zombie slowly let the hammer up on his revolver. Maybe making the man less nervous would get him to talk more loosely.
“Alright fine, what do you want to know?” The man began to regain his composure.
“Where can I get an alternative?”