the Nightcrawler Written by Ryan H. Johnston

Manuel Garrison, former high school math teacher, currently a detective for the NYPD. He is a master of manipulation, charisma, a true testament to Sherlock Holmes. Solved dozens of crimes, murders, kidnappings, and even stopped a gang. He earned the nickname Nightcrawler.

As busy as the office is, you will never see the detective dawdling around. The few, yet rare times that he is in his office relaxing, is when the streets are tranquil in the moonlight, which is all but too uncommon.

NYPD headquarters is a busy place. People walking here and there, papers being printed, files stored away on the clock. One man doesn't relax with the busy work hours, he is always on the go, never settling in one place. The Detective knows not to leave much behind, never settle in one place, because that's how you know they'll catch you instantaneously.

Lumped on his chair, as benign as could be, his black striped fedora blanketing over his eyes, and a cigarette in his mouth, he could care less about the world. He heard a quiet knock on his door, he looked up, curious.

The door was calmly whizzed open. Revealed to be Chief of NYPD Police, John Lee Pool, a balding middle aged humble man with dreams not even the dreamers can desire.

A small crease opened, revealing eyes, a big grotesque nose, and a bushy clean shaven mustache, "May I?". "Come in." said the detective. He gestured the papers in his hand, "We got another case on our hands,"

"Got another call today. Folks claimed to be a kidnapping on 14200 Helm Street. Screaming, incomprehensible words, muffled cries, glass shattering, loud hitting, all those nasty things. A squadron already reported over there, and we need you for the scene asap. Gather your things, this is going to be one hell of a case."

The detective was not looking forward to this, "It's not common for that to happen in Helm Street, or even in that remote area, folks are peaceful there." the chief acknowledged him with a concerned look of disbelief, "We know, and that's why we're all scared, freaking out, and one of the boys even started panicking. You'd be surprised by what the boys at the scene reported. Come on, get your things, we're heading out."

As the chief left the room in a haste, the detective gathered his things. His gun, belt, notepad, and pencil. He gathered on the trench coat, and went on his way.

"I can do this...I can do this..." Manuel didn't hide it from himself, he was petrified, every murder case, any kidnapping case scares him. He wonders from time to time whether he was ever meant for the job, let alone good at it. His fear is irrational in the field he works in, yet he still does it. In his undercover Volkswagon, he drives down the busy streets, heavy trickling rainfall, young pedestrians with big umbrellas, not knowing what is on the other side of town.

As he drove down the street, sprawling skyscrapers towering, intimidating, he felt the shivering winter freeze pass in his car window. Soon, he drove closer to the destination, not in a haste, but in hesitation. Driving closer and closer to the house, he witnessed police car lights flickering. What looked like to be four cars. Wait, no, more than four, more like 7 cars. He froze at the site of the scene.

Flickering police lights...everywhere. A white, two story house surrounded by clean cut bushes, a metal gate that has been broken into, clean cut grass surrounding the house. Windows were broken, every parked car was on fire, the door was swung open, it was like the intruder wasn't alone and did not care about cleaning up. Not that anything was able to be cleaned up...

He pulled onto the drive way. Police scattered everywhere. There seemed to be a dozen bodies in bags. This was no kidnapping, this was a murder scene, perhaps a mass murder. The detective was shunned, scared of what happened, all the worst possibilities haunted him in discrete fashion. He had so many questions. Cops were everywhere, talking, some yelling, some purging away from the scene. The detective slowly exited out of his car, unsure of whether what he was witnessing of one of the devil's tricks to test his loyalty to God. The chief, far far away from anyone else...hands on his face, he didn't have the will to look.

"How many?" Manuel asked. "12 sir, and 2 injured. There was a shooting at a dinner party, full of children, all girls ages 4-6." said the cop. His heart dropped. He gazed at the body bags. Felt pity for the men that were forced to zip up dead children, scared to see the children. The detective gave the cop a look of distraught, "who were the injured?" the cop hesitated, "two parents...a mother and a father, both were stabbed in the chest." He saw the cop in tears, "not sure if they'd make it, though." The detective, had an epiphany. He remembered his daughter was invited to a birthday party to her friend's house. His daughter, Stacy, was only five years old.

His chest dropped. That sinking feeling. His heart tore. He hoped that maybe, just maybe, this could have been a different party. It could have been a family of 12, or just all a coincidence. What has he done to possibly deserve something like this? So much doubt, yet it's all too much to not be true. He ordered all the police to open the bags. They all shut quiet, and gave him a look of disgust. "Stacy...Stacy don't do this to me." he muttered. He went through every open bag. Every corpse he came across. Selfishly hoping his angel wasn't there. And each bag he scattered through, each body he saw, the closer he was to the hole of sickness. One bag, one body, will reveal the truth.

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