Ed came up behind me. “Dude, you all right?”

I looked over at him. He was trying to search for some kind of response to what just happened. I knew I had a look of regret on my face. “Yeah, I am good. Just worried about the girl.” I was hoping that would cover it.

“Yeah, looks like she’ll be okay. She was hitting on some premium grade pot. Looks like this guy had all kinds of premium shit. Meth, pot, ex… you name it, it’s in there. But it’s good.” He stepped in front of me, looking back into the room. “Hey, Ty, the girl said she heard the growling too, but that it was coming from you.”

I looked back into the room for a moment. They were getting her a wool blanket. Her eyes averted mine when I looked at her. “We still have to see if she was really just smoking pot, Ed. You know how it goes.” She hadn’t. I could smell it. But it would buy me some time.

“Yeah, I know,” Ed replied. After a few moments, “You know Anderson is gonna be on your case about this tomorrow. You keep feeding him ammunition for him to shoot at you.”

“Fuck Anderson,” I fired back. “I’d give him ammo for a Desert Eagle and he’d find a way to make it into pellets. I’ll deal with him when the time comes.” Anderson was the sergeant’s assistant at the cop shop. I had no idea why he was there, except to piss people off. I turned back to Ed. “Who’s chatting with the neighbors?”

“I’ll get some guys on it.” He left back down to the stairwell. Everything sunk in around me again. The rain outside, the cops talking, the people down the hall guessing what it could be. The rats in the wall. It was time to leave. I started heading towards the stairwell. I took a few steps down it.

“…he probably won’t be dealing around here anymore.”

It trickled past my ears. My head snapped around, looking at the direction it came from. Another apartment. The door was closed, and there was no one at it. I turned around and headed back up, approaching the door. I knocked on it. There was some scurrying inside, and then some footsteps towards the door. They were probably hiding something, but I didn’t care. After a few moments, the door was unbolted and an older woman opened it up. Forties, white, skinny. Smelled of lemons, pepper and some pot. Cooking, more than likely.

I flashed my badge. “Who isn’t gonna be dealing around here anymore?” I asked bluntly.

“What do you mean?” she asked. Same voice. I hate liars. I’m sure my face showed it since she immediately turned sides. “I.. uhh… there’s a man that comes by every once in a while, down to that apartment. He’s tan, like he’s from Cuba or Mexico or something. Sometimes he came with others, but I don’t remember them.”

“When’s the last time he came through?”

“Last week, I think. I think it was Tuesday.”

“Got a name?”

She shook her head.

“Thanks,” I finished, turning to walk away. She closed the door as soon as she could, and stayed quiet. I walked back down the flight of stairs, coming down to the entrance of the building. Ed was under an awning, questioning someone. He had a smile on him. He was always good with people. He was approachable. He saw me, and asked them to wait a moment, coming over.

“You got anything, Ty?”

“Yeah. Dealer came by last week on Tuesday.”

“Tuesday?” Ed pondered. “That’s the night before the girl was reported missing, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “No name, just came by Tuesday. He probably won’t be showing up for a while though.” Dealers always keep tabs on their drops, especially when they drop dead. Wouldn’t surprise me if they dropped out of the area for a while.

“Okay,” Ed said. “I’m gonna finish up here. If you’re heading out, I’ll catch a ride with one of the blues to the station.” I nodded, and he gave his own. I started walking towards the car, the rain still washing the shit out of the streets. As I was walking, an odd feeling came over me. I looked back at the building for a moment, right in the middle of the street. A low hum started to permeate my ears, followed with a ringing. My hands started to vibrate, and I was caught up in the feeling. I just stood there looking at the building, and the sensation stopped. The feeling and sound of rain rushed back onto me, and I turned to my car and got inside, taking myself home.

Everything started unravelling in my head as I drove. I just replayed the scene over in my head, taking in bits of detail with each passing moment. Got back on the freeway, and the rain started letting up. My mind was jumping to random points of the night. Tapping Ed to wake him up, the wood of the window frame giving way as I slammed the body into it. There was something I was missing, I could feel it. There was something underneath the drugs and the murder. I just couldn’t point it out.

Eventually I got home. I parked my car in the street, locking it as I got out. I looked around. Despite it being fairly cheap, it wasn’t a bad neighborhood. Brick-lined condos, some trees along the walkway. It was just old and depreciated. I didn’t mind it though. I came up the steps to my home, unlocked it, walked inside, shed my clothes and passed out.

* * *

God, I hate that fucking alarm.

I looked over at it, and at that moment the alarm clock, a plastic piece of five dollar machinery, was the bane of my existence. I reached over groggily, letting my hand land on it and hope that it turned it off. It did, and I turned over. Another day.

I counted down in my head from twenty. At zero, I’d force myself out of bed to shower, shave and get dressed for work. The wood floor greeted my feet in the same way most things did. Coldly. It was incentive to move faster. I got to the shower, turned it on to burn alive and stepped in, the water somehow revitalized me. I went to the dresser for some pants, got a decent button-up shirt out of the closet, got my peacoat, socks and shoes and headed out the door.

The police station wasn’t too far from my house, even with rush our at seven-thirty in the morning. Only took about fifteen minutes to get there. Always early, so I could hear what was going on. I liked keeping my ear to the ground. Opened up the doors, and it was picking up. Phones ringing, typewriters clicking. It was almost the typical police station from a movie, except the walls were green. I didn’t bother thinking of what shade it was, ever. It was just green.

I came over to my desk, plopped down in the chair, removing my peacoat and setting it on the backside of the chair. I looked at my desk. Some mail, files, a calendar, and some writing utensils. The phone was there, but it never went off. I had thought of switching my alarm out for it. Finally, on the computer screen was a stick-it note. “See me” it read, and I knew exactly who it was. After letting out a long sigh, I stood up and headed towards Anderson’s office.

I knocked at the door. He motioned for me to come in as if he was some big shot, steadily writing away at something on his desk. “Close the door behind you,” he said. Immediately I gritted my teeth. His voice was that of a chipmunk trying to be tough. The door clicked behind me, signaling his start.

“Another dead body, an unplanned stakeout, a window grating ripped from its wall, and you’re gonna frickin’ tell me that it was all necessary, right?” He finally looked up. “Then the girl tells me you were growling, and that you did quite a bit of tossing of the heap that was scraped off the insides of the apartment. Then I don’t get a written report on my desk, first thing so I can hand it to the chief. What’s going on here?”

I shrugged. “If you’re handing stuff to the chief, why don’t you have secretary written right beneath your name on the door?” I threw my thumb over my shoulder at it. I didn’t grin, but I had a glint in my eye.

“Don’t you fucking start with me, Ty.” He raised his voice, what he could. “I’ve been watching what you do, and nobody from the station ever sees you working out. You’re pretty tough, though, to be knocking gratings off of windows. Knocking people around like that. You’re always moody, and I think I know exactly why that’s the case.”

I didn’t ask. I just watched him quietly, waiting for him to say something.

“I think you’re on steroids,” he said after a moment. I bit my lip, trying to suppress a smile. I took a deep breath, and regained my composure. A small cough came from my throat.

“…steroids?”

“Yes, steroids. It’s got all the common symptoms of its use. So you know what? You’re gonna be tested. And it’s gonna start with you pissing in a cup.” At that, he reached in a drawer, produced a cup and a lid, and slammed them on the desk near me. “And you’ll do it now.”

I looked at him steadily. He stared at me, breathing as if to feel tough. I gave him one more glance, and my hands came out of my pocket, to my zipper.

“What… what are you doing?” he stammered. I unzipped my pants. “Oh, no no no. Don’t you dare.” But before he could get another word out, I was pissing in the cup, on his desk and looking down at myself as I did my business. I had forgot to do that this morning before I left. I figured I’d be decorative and moved my hips in a fashion much like a six year old trying to write on a wall. I finished, satisfied that I had put enough in the cup for him to sample. I zipped myself back up, and he was standing there, bewildered and speechless.

“Have a good morning, Anderson,” I said as I turned to walk out the door. I closed it behind me before I heard a very loud and audible “FUCK!” erupt from the small man. I smiled. Ed came over to me from his desk. “Jesus, Ty. What’d you do in there?” Anderson was still ranting on in his office. I knew I’d get disciplined for it, but I just smiled.

“I marked my territory.”

“Whatever, man. You need to come take a look at this. I got some interesting photos from last night in that apartment.” I walked behind Ty to his desk. He continued, “We always do a blacklight search for residue of other things in an apartment, just to make sure we get everything.”

“Yeah, so?”

“Yeah, well take a look at this.”

I looked down at the photos as he spread them across his desk. Blacklight photos, sure enough. But then, I felt a chill. On the walls was a language I had not seen in a long time.

“Any ideas, Ty?” I shook my head, looking over the photos. But the symbols were Aramaic. It was from an old, old tome. I read them in my mind.

And anyone’s name found in the Book of Death will be united with Me. Those who are burned in the lake will be My catalyst.