Pairings/Characters: (this chapter): Mel/Johnny, Charlie Woods, Ed White, Charles/Doris, Carter Baum, Patrick O’Reilly, Clarence Hurt, Sam Cowley, Hugh Clegg
Fandom: Public Enemies
Genres: Challenge, Holiday, Horror, Mystery, Science Fiction
Rating: (this chapter): R
Warnings: Please note that this story will contain gore, violence and character deaths. Each chapter will have their individual warnings. This chapter: Violence, implied cannibalism, & mutilated bodies.
General Summary: On Halloween, the Bankers Building becomes a literal House of Horrors.
Chapter Summary: Mel is given some highly disturbing news.
Date Of Completion: October 8, 2011
Date Of Posting: October 17, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Universal does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1348
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Notes: Written for my 2011 Guns_Fedoras Public Enemies Fic/Art Halloween Challenge. Option 1: (Elements of Halloween used set in or around Halloween: Pumpkins/Jack O’Lanterns, Black-And-Orange, Monsters).
All chapters can be found here.
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
This way comes,
In breath and blood and bone,
Unless one is careful,
Your soul will be owned.
This Way Comes"
Mel strode briskly down the street, glad for his warm, black greatcoat as the autumn air gusted from Lake Michigan. His step was jaunty as he entered the Bankers Building on this cold, crisp morning of Halloween, looking forward to tonight. He would meet Johnny and they would celebrate the holiday, Mel excited to be with his lover and to have some fun.
He entered the grand old building’s lobby, stopping at the newsstand to purchase a paper as people traversed the lobby. Two businessmen stood a few feet away as they talked, the older of the two saying, “It was a weird light, I tell you! It just zoomed right through the sky.”
“Shooting star,” drawled the younger man.
“You can see some strange things at night, all right.”
Mel picked up a copy of the Chicago Tribune, scanning the front-page stories: a murder in Grant Park, a tornado in Kansas, the latest scandal at City Hall, and a low-scale earthquake in northern Cook County.
“’Mornin’, Mr. Purvis.”
“Good mornin’, Charlie.” He tapped the paper. “An earthquake?”
Charlie laughed. “That’s old news. The tremors were last week, but that’s a follow-up story. Some scientist from MIT said it’s weird that it only happened in a small area of the county. Looks like he’s comin’ out here for a look-see.”
“Oh, well, science can be odd.” Mel handed the portly man coins for the paper. “Happy Halloween, Charlie.”
Charlie laughed. “Same to you, Mr. Purvis.”
Mel walked by the small lunch counter that sold sandwiches, pastries, coffee and soda, nodding to the white-haired elderly gentleman behind the counter. Ed White smiled a good morning, leisurely making fresh sandwiches and selling hot coffee to the businessmen, lawyers and office staff who populated the nineteen floors of the Bankers Building. The Dillinger Squad’s agents were also customers, and inevitably some young agent would make a mad dash for the elevator with a coffee cup in hand.
Mel took the elevator to the nineteenth floor and entered the office marked The Dillinger Squad. He said hello to Doris and Carter and a few younger agents. He went into his office and hung up his greatcoat and fedora, ready to tackle the day’s work.
Doris had brought in a pumpkin for her desk, and Johnny had given him one for his desk after a weekend spent in the countryside. He smiled as he caressed the round pumpkin.
He sat down and sifted through his stack of file folders, glad for a break when an hour later, Chief Patrick O’Reilly showed up with a problem. Mel welcomed the broad-shouldered redhead and they shook hands. He was on a first-name basis with the man, finding him extremely amenable and competent.
“How can I help you, Pat?”
Patrick produced a thick file folder. “I’d like you to distribute these reports to your men, Mel.”
“What’s it about?”
Patrick stayed standing, his ruddy face grim. “There’s been a series of disappearances for the past week in northern Cook County.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, but…”
“I know it’s not your jurisdiction, but your men go around the countryside pursuing John Dillinger and his ilk, so they might see something.”
“Of course, I’d be happy to inform them to keep their eyes open.”
“More than that, Mr. Purvis.” Patrick held out a photograph. “We’ve found three bodies so far, though we don’t know if they’re the missing folks.”
Puzzled, Mel took the photograph and promptly felt ill as he looked at it. “All three were…like this?”
Patrick nodded. “You can see why it’s so difficult to identify them.”
“Are you sure it wasn’t an animal who did this?” Mel handed the photograph back, glad to get rid of it.
“We thought of that, but the method of pulling the flesh from the bone is too methodical. While the killer gnawed on the bones, there was a pattern that indicates human intelligence, not animal.”
The thought of cannibalism sickened Mel. “Three bodies?” He sat down so that his legs would not betray him. “All found in the same place?”
“All in the woods, but several miles apart. That could indicate more than one killer, but it’s more likely one person on the move.”
“How many people are missing?”
“Six so far.”
Patrick shook his head. “Three men, two women, and one teenage boy. The only link is they were all citizens of small towns. The first one to disappear, Elijah Landis, was a farmer who lived on the outskirts of Clairville, a tiny hamlet in the north.”
“I hope that corpse is not him.”
Patrick nodded. “Still, it’ll be some poor soul.”
“How did they die?”
“Blood loss.” Patrick grimaced. “After their bones were broken. One victim had her throat torn out, while others had their limbs torn off.”
“This…killer…is a monster.”
“I’m afraid I must agree.” Patrick shook Mel’s hand again. “Thanks again, Mel. Better warn your men as they travel the Illinois countryside.”
Mel nodded, still feeling sick as Patrick left the office.
The phone rang and he jumped. Picking up the handset, he asked, “Yes, Doris?”
“It’s Jack, sir.”
“Put him through.” He desperately needed to hear Johnny’s voice right now.
“Hey, Sunshine.” Johnny’s voice was cheerful. “Happy Halloween!”
Mel chuckled. “Happy Halloween, darlin’.”
“So, got your costume ready?”
“I do, and, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is.”
Johnny laughed. “You know me well, sugar.”
“I hope to know you even better by evening’s end.”
“I’m counting on it.”
“Yes, well, I’d better get back to work.”
“You all right?”
“I…I received some disturbing news just a short while ago.”
“No, a murder case.”
“Care to share?” Johnny asked gently.
“I would rather not.” Mel’s hand gripped the phone painfully. “But then, you and your men are often on the back roads. There’s been disappearances and the discovery of bodies in the countryside for the past week, in the northern section of Cook County. The bodies are quite…mutilated.”
Mel could hear the intake of breath on the other end of the line. “I’m sorry, Mel.”
“Me, too. Just be careful, Johnny.”
“I will. You, too.”
“I love you.”
He could hear his lover’s smile. “I love you, too, Sunshine. See ya tonight.”
After hanging up, Mel went out to the squadroom, distributing the descriptions of the missing people and showed the photograph of the body. Faces went white, and Charles quickly looked at Doris, but despite her paleness, she appeared steadier than some of the younger agents.
“Be extremely careful when you are out there,” Mel said. He gave them all the information he had, then returned to his office.
“Pretty gruesome,” Charles said as he came over to Doris’ desk.
Charles had been joshing with fellow ex-Ranger Clarence when Mel had held the impromptu meeting, asking where their erstwhile partner Jerry was. Clarence and Jerry shared an apartment together.
“He’ll be along,” Clarence said, resuming their conversation.
“How would you know, out with Vonda all night?”
Clarence grinned wolfishly. “Jerry had a good night’s sleep. He’ll be here.” The phone rang. “Hurt here. Yeah? Let’s have the address. Okay,” he said as he scribbled it down. “Thanks.” After hanging up he said, “Got a hot tip. Nelson’s been sighted in East Chicago.”
Sam was carrying a stack of files. “Clarence, you and Hugh and I will check that tip out. And for god’s sakes, let’s be careful!” He went to Mel’s office to tell him where they were going.
A few minutes later, Clarence told Charles as he followed Sam and Hugh out the door, “Tell Jerry he owes me five bucks. The Bears won last week.”
Charles laughed but the hairs on the back of his neck were standing up. His hunter’s instinct was whispering to him that something wicked this way was coming.