Pairings/Characters (this chapter): Mel/Johnny, Doris Rogers, Thomas McCready
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: AU, Challenge, Drama, Holiday, (With A Touch Of Horror), Mystery, Romance
Warnings: Mention of suicide
General Summary: A decaying old house in a genteel Chicago neighborhood is the site of many strange and disturbing happenings. Special Agent Melvin Purvis is sent to investigate.
Chapter Summary: Mel is assigned to investigate the House at 1313 Maple Street.
Date Of Completion: September 25, 2010
Date Of Posting: October 24, 2010
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1143
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for my 2010 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. :)
All chapters can be found here.
DANCING DOWN THE STREET
Mel lazily rolled over and gave Johnny a kiss, a tingle going through his body as he was soundly kissed back. Mel felt relaxed and happy, a state of mind that was more a part of his life now after falling in love with Public Enemy Number One. That countered the stress of his job and worry over Johnny, and he wouldn’t give it up for the world.
”Mmm, cantcha stay for a few more minutes, Sunshine?”
Mel smiled. “I can’t be late for work, love. Sets a bad example.”
Johnny raised his hand, brushing a strand of his lover’s dark hair out of his eyes. “Will I see you tonight?”
“Unless something comes up. You gangsters keep the Dillinger Squad hoppin’.”
Johnny laughed. “Good. I’ll see you tonight, sugar.”
“You bet, sweetheart.”
Mel leaned down for another kiss as they both chuckled.
Mel nodded to Doris as he walked toward his office.
“Good morning, Mr. Purvis.”
“Good morning, Doris.”
The Squad was busy chasing down leads, only half the agents in the office. Mel poured himself a cup of coffee and settled behind his desk, keeping his door ajar. He and Johnny had enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, and toast. Johnny was living in a house separate from his gang, liking the privacy for himself and Mel.
Mel smiled as he looked down at his cup. The white ceramic mug was emblazoned with the skyline of Chicago, a gift from Johnny.
“I wanted to give you World’s Greatest Lover, but you know…”
Mel remembered the sparkle in Johnny’s eyes that day. Feeling warmed, he got to work.
Mel looked up at the man standing in the doorway of his office. He was six feet tall, a broad-shouldered man in an expensive double-breasted suit, his gray hair slicked back. His face was ruddy, his blue eyes bright.
“Yes? How may I help you?”
“I’m Alderman Thomas McCready.”
“Hello.” Mel rose to shake McCready’s hand. It was a big hand, strong and firm. “Have a seat.”
The politician sat down, his movements nervous. “Agent Purvis, one of the brightest policemen on the force was found yesterday in an old house on Maple Street. He was…”
McCready looked exceedingly uncomfortable. “…found insane.”
Mel raised an eyebrow. “I…I’m sorry to hear that, Mr. McCready, but what does that have to do with the Dillinger Squad?”
“Director Hoover said the Bureau would cooperate. You see, Officer Joseph O’Grady is the son of my best friend. I want you to investigate this house.”
Confused, Mel asked, “Suh? What’s the house have to do with anything?”
The phone rang and Mel snatched it up. “Agent Purvis, Bureau of Investigation, Dillinger Squad.”
“Johnny!” Mel was glad his office door was closed. “Why are you calling?”
“Oh, just wanted to ask: steak or roast beef tonight?”
Mel chuckled. “Steak.”
“Great. I’ll throw in baked potatoes and green beans. Got any hot leads?”
“No, Smarty Pants. I did pick up a new assignment. A favor to an alderman.”
“What kind of favor?”
“A strange case. A patrolman was found in an old, abandoned house. They had to take him to Collinwood Asylum. Poor guy was gibbering and totally lost to the world.”
“Umm…I’ve got the address here…1313 Maple Street.” A hiss of breath sounded over the phone. “What’s wrong?”
“Mel, that house is haunted.”
“He said that but…”
“Mel, honey, that house is well-known to everyone who lives in Chicago or in the county.”
“Since when do you believe in haunted houses?”
“Hey, I’ve seen some weird things in my time.”
“Well, Jayee said I’d personally investigate this case. I’m going over right now.”
“Mel, there have been murders in that house…”
“Yes, I know. Regenia Stanford stabbed her fiance and her brother to death in 1914.”
“Did you know that there was a suicide there in the 19th century? Regenia’s mother Rose was found hanging from the old oak tree in the backyard, and there was a drowning and possible poisoning in earlier generations.”
Mel shivered. “Sounds like something out of a Eugene O’Neill play.”
“Or a James Whale movie. And that’s not all. People have gone in there and disappeared, or run out screaming about ghosts and monsters.”
“Why hasn’t the city torn the place down?”
“Somethin’ about the estate bein’ tied up. Mel, if you have to go, bring someone, Carter or Charles.”
“I can’t. They’re out running down a lead on your buddy, Baby Face Nelson.”
“He’s not my buddy.”
“I know.” Mel thickened his drawl. “Don’t worry, darlin’. I’ll be careful. It’ll be broad daylight.”
“You’d better be careful, Sunshine.”
“I love you, too. See you tonight. Oh, yes, Doris?”
His secretary had poked her head in. “You have that meeting with the mayor in a half hour.”
“Thank you.” After Doris left, Mel said, “Change of plans, honey. I have a meeting this afternoon so I’ll have to hit the Stanford house later. I’ll call when I’m through so you can start dinner. Love you, darlin’.”
“Love you, too.”
Mel hung up the phone, trying to ignore the uneasy feeling in the back of his mind.
Darkness came early to Chicago in October. Mel turned up the collar of his dark-blue greatcoat against the wind, keeping one hand on his fedora as he walked briskly down the street. His car was being repaired so he’d taken a streetcar from the office.
The day had started out clear and crisp with blue skies but had clouded over as dusk approached, the temperature dropping several degrees. Gusts of wind sent fallen leaves dancing in little arcs down the street as Mel passed respectable-looking houses and townhouses, lights shining in their windows, coziness against the cold. It was easy enough to spot No. 1313.
Mel stood outside the rusting iron gates for several minutes, a shiver running down his spine. There was no coziness here. The Victorian house was shabby and rundown, and did not look welcoming at all. Shaking his head, he resolutely pushed the gates open and walked down the cracked sidewalk.
Mel carefully walked up the sagging steps to the veranda, standing in front of the door. He winced at the ugly doorknocker, nerves on edge.
Johnny says I need to relax more. I do, as long as I’m with him.
Mel didn’t like the look of the house or the creepy feeling he was getting.
Well, better get on with it, or Jayee will have my head on a platter.
Mel reached out for the doorknob just as a hand clamped down on his shoulder from behind.