Eyes Like Yours Episode 4 - The Monster of Sceana Park - Part I

by Knights of Bardicry

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Bodies begin cropping up around town. With the local police on the case, can Demi and the Basilahs track down the Otherfolk responsible without getting themselves arrested?

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Episode 4 – The Monster of Sceana Park - Part I

DETECTIVE NARRATION

Darkness envelops my city, doing its best to snuff out the tiny blades of moonlight that wash down from above. The sharp staccato of rain punctuates the shrill call of a police siren as we speed down the lonely streets, its whine dimly fading away as we arrive. My partner—still a rookie, the poor kid—goes for the door handle. I grab that limp noodle he calls an arm and hold him.

Senior Detective:
Hold on, kid. There's always time for a slow drag before hitting the crime scene.

Younger Officer:
A... what? Oh, you mean a smoke? You know, I really can't understand what you're saying when you talk like that—

Senior Detective:
S'all experience, rook. You'll pick up the lingo just like you'll pick up some lead. In time. All part of the job.

[sound of a lighter and an inhale/exhale of smoke]

Younger Officer:
[clears his throat uncomfortably at the smoke] I still don't understand what we're doing out here. Isn't this the kind of thing animal control is for?

Senior Detective:
Maybe usually, but there was an awful lot of blood at the scene. We can't rule out the possibility of foul play, and besides: when the LT gives us the sheet, we take it. No questions asked.

Younger Officer: [annoyed]
I still think this is a waste of our time.

Senior Detective: [chuckles]
Time is relative, rook. More so when the dead are involved. After you, then.

Younger Officer:
[sighs and gets out of the car]

The kid's still wet behind the ears, too eager to rise above the pack and make a name for himself. Makes me remember my early days on the force, before seeing the worst in humanity hard boiled me like an overdone egg. But you gotta give the kid some credit. At least he looks the part.

So we step out into the night's cold embrace and mosey towards our destination; an alley between a pair of dilapidated buildings. The scene is just what you'd expect. Carnage, debris everywhere, and did I mention the blood? Thick, glistening globs of the stuff all over the place. But then there's the unusual part, the cream in what should've been your perfect cup of black coffee; thick gashes in the ground and the sides of the building, leading to a large depression near the back of the alley.

The rook raises his flashlight and drinks it all in. Yeah, I know, kid. What happened here? I tuck away my own flashlight to free my hands for another nicky, but as I reach for my lighter I hear—

Stokes: [mumbling to himself]
...but if that's the case, how are there such clean...

[The sound of a gun being draw and cocked]

Senior Detective: [voice raised]
I'm going to need you to get to your feet and slowly turn to face me, pal!

Looks like this night just got a whole lot more interesting. Some perps can't resist returning to admire their work. What a sick piece of trash. I gesture with my head and the rook shines his light towards the source of the voice. A figure's crouched over the depression.

Stokes: [oblivious]
...except the radius of damage is too wide for an animal of that size. It's not like there are any zoos in the vicinity. So where did it come from?

He doesn't move an inch. Is this perp crazy or just a flat tire short of a lemon?

Younger Officer:
This is an active crime scene, sir. We aren't going to ask you again.

The perp stands, looking over his shoulder, only half paying attention.

Stokes:
Active crime scene? Of course it's an active crime scene. It's not like I waltz into hazardous environments on my days off for fun. No, wait, scratch that, actually I do. But I'm straying from the point aren't I? I implore you both to not come any closer, please. I would prefer if you didn't contaminate my data.

Senior Detective:
You ain't making a whole lot of sense there, pal. Who do you think you are?

Stokes:
Come now. It doesn't speak very well on either of you, being so oblivious. I'm the expert!

Younger Officer: [confused]
The expert? What...?

Stokes:
Yes, you know, the one your boss called in?

[Silence.]

Stokes:
Really? Nothing? You should really ask to be put on that whole “need to know” list, because your lack of knowledge makes you both seem just a tiny bit oblivious. I could put in a good word for you, if you like? Oh! Speaking of your boss, one of you will have to pass along my thanks to the lieutenant at the earliest opportunity. I can't say I was expecting an excursion at so late an hour, but the scene is piquing my curiosity rather nicely.

Senior Detective:
Aw... ya gotta be kiddin' me!

Younger Officer: [tentative]
How can you breathe while talking so much?

Stokes: [clearly bothered]
You two are no fun whatsoever. Why do you think they sent you out here, if not to help me? This isn't some police procedure, it's an investigation! For science!

Younger Officer:
...Sir, are you high?

Yeah. My thoughts exactly, kid. But this guy looks at my partner and cocks a brow, as if the rook had just said something looney, and then looks all around, before returning to stare at the rook again, shaking his head.

Stokes:
Mmm, no, I most definitely appear to be on the same elevatory plane as you are. Are you sure you're well, young man? Such an obvious gap in your perception could be indicative of a serious mental condition. Perhaps we should run some tests—

[A loud ROAR]

The rook immediately flashes his light toward the direction of the sound. I keep my sights trained on the suspect. Years of experience and the main thing that sticks with you is never take your eyes off the target. But whoever this guy is, he doesn't do the same. Or maybe he does, except I'm not his target. His head snaps towards the roar, looking... is that excited? Then suddenly, he's running towards it.

Stokes:
Come on, boys! This is where we run!

Younger Officer:
Wait! Arg.

We give chase.

Senior Detective: [running]
Whoa! Just hold on a second! Who exactly are ya, pal!?

Stokes: [running]
The name is William Randalf Stokes! [skids to a halt] Dr. William Randalf Stokes.

DEMI NARRATION

Demi:
[gasp as she sits up in bed]

I wake up the same way I have been the last couple days, with memories of that night flooding back to me.

Demi:
What is that? It can't be... is that the middle orb? The... big, weird, opalescent one?

Basir:
Ah. That is the anchor. It isn't one of the Orbs of Ragnor, not really. It holds the orbs by catching them in its orbit, so they do not scatter, propelled by the forces they produce.

Demi:
It can't be. It was barely solid. I popped it like a bubble! It just looks like a big, heavy rock now... What happened to it?

Basir:
You just answered your own question. You happened.

Demi:
Oh...

Basir:
You can stay here for now. I'll try to resolve this as quickly as I can, but I make no promises. The Rakshasa will stay down here. Mikael, show her to the guest room.

Mikael:
Of course. Right this way, Lady Diaz.

Demi:
O-okay...

I didn't have the strength to argue the point. I spent the next two days holed up in their guest room, recovering from my injuries, and from the shock. I've been a skeptic all my life, the kind of person who believes in logical, tangible things, not magic and monsters... And now this... Nothing is what I thought it was. And to add insult AND injury to my cognitive dissonance, there's still Jayden to deal with...

I don't even want to think about what I'm going to do with him.

Demi: [exhales]
Dammit...

As much as I don't want to face any of this, I can't stay in here forever. I have a job, school, rent to pay, and a load of other responsibilities. I guess if there's any upside to this, it's that I don't have much of a social life, so there's nobody to think twice about my disappearance. Wow. I just made myself feel bad.

Demi:
[laughs without humor]

At least my injuries are mending. I stand up, slowly to prevent a headrush. I need to get out of this room. Maybe talk to someone. The most contact I've had with anyone the last few days is the sound of footsteps and a couple knocks anytime they leave a plate of food for me in front of the door. I have to admit, it was awfully considerate of them to give me some space to process all this. The guest room is in a distant wing of the house and bigger than my friggin apartment, PLUS it has a private bathroom. If it weren't for the circumstances, this would be a luxury vacation for me.

[Footsteps and the sound of the door opening and closing]

I make my way down the hall. The sun doesn't seem sure if it wants to be up yet. I'm not usually much of a morning person, but after sleeping for almost two days straight, I'm pretty damn awake. I know better than to assume anyone else is up at this ungodly hour, though, so I try to keep quiet. The house is big enough to be a bit disorienting, but I find the stairs and make my way down. Maybe I can just grab a quick breakfast before anyone notices I'm up.

Ithnanie:
Demi? This is a surprise. Good morning.

Demi:
Oh... hey... I didn't think anyone was up yet.

Ithnanie: [chuckles]
Just you and me, I'm afraid. Normally Jaddi and Mikael are the first ones up, but they've gone and won't be back for several days. Perhaps weeks.

Demi:
Oh, yeah? Is this about...?

Ithnanie:
The orbs? Yes. Jaddi went to Lamyria to gather what information he can on them. Naturally, he took Mikael with him.

Demi:
La-what-ia?

Ithnanie:
Ah, yes, forgive me. That's the official name for the Other World, though few people use it colloquially. I suppose there isn't much need to.

Demi:
Right... Hey, uh, I hope this isn't rude of me but... why do you... you know? Talk... different? From your other brothers, I mean.

Way to be eloquent, Demi.

Ithnanie:
Ah yes, my accent. I can understand how that would be confusing for you. I studied abroad for many years. I suppose a few of the customs and quirks stuck.

Demi:
Ah. That makes sense.

He's just a Euro-phile, isn't he? I guess I'm not surprised. He is related to Atiyah, after all.

Demi:
What about the twins? There's something weird about their speech too.

Ithnanie:
You know, I couldn't even begin to tell you. There's no explanation for those two. They've always just... lived in their own little world.

No surprises there, either. Atiyah almost looks normal compared to this bunch.

Wahid:
Ithnanie.

Wahid strides in urgently. He takes one look at me and lowers his voice, stalking right up to Ithnanie to whisper next to his ear.

Wahid:
May I speak to you in private? Now?

Ithnanie:
Right. Of course. Do excuse me.

They walk off together into the kitchen. So much for me being a part of this now. I spy a bowl of fruit on the table and reach over, fingers crossed that they're not some lousy plastic decorations. I touch them and find that most of them are, save a banana. I snatch it up and immediately peel it apart and bite in. I'm pretty ravenous this morning.

[The sound of a table being slammed]

Wahid:
Then what do you suggest!? With Jaddi gone—!

Ithnanie:
Wahid, calm down...

They return to speaking in hushed tones. I can't make anything out, but the sound of a secret conversation fills me with curiosity. I look down at my half eaten banana thoughtfully.

Demi:
Don't judge me.

Screw it. I'm already in too deep. Might as well add eavesdropping to my list of “Bad Decisions Made In The Basilah Household”. I tip toe over to the kitchen entryway, crouching against the wall and straining my ears to listen. I'm so close! I try to control my breathing, lest I give myself away...

Ithnanie:
We can't be sure it's what it looks like.

Wahid:
And what does it look like, Ithnanie?

Ithnanie:
Wahid...

Wahid:
Say it.

Ithnanie: [sighs]
I admit, the evidence does seem to support it.

Wahid:
It's all over the news, Ithnanie. People are going to start dying—if they haven't already. Something has to be done.

Ithnanie:
Jaddi is the only one equipped to handle this.

Wahid:
It is my responsibility to take over for him should he be unable to fulfill his duties.

Ithnanie:
I understand that, but for heaven's sake, Wahid. What are you going to do? Wrestle an Otherfolk with your bare hands?

Atiyah:
An Otherfolk!?

I jump and nearly fall over at the sound of Atiyah's voice in my ear. I spin around and find her there, crouched behind me. How long was she there!?

Wahid/Ithnanie:
Aityah!?

Atiyah:
A real life Otherfolk is running loose out there? And we have to catch it? I swear I've had dreams just like this! What're we waiting for? Let's go!

Wahid:
Absolutely not! It's dangerous!

Atiyah:
I'll be fiiiine! I'll have Demi to protect me!

Atiyah grabs my arm and clings on like an undiagnosed growth. Benign, but still worrisome.

Demi:
Ahaha, what? I don't remember volunteering to go Otherfolk hunting.

Atiyah:
C'mooon! I haven't seen you in like two days. It's about time we do something together! It'll be fun!

Demi:
What part of going after a dangerous monster sounds fun to you?

Atiyah:
The... going after a dangerous monster part?

Demi:
Let met think about tha—NO! I already got in over my head with an Otherfolk and paid the price. From now on, I'm leaving this to the experts.

Atiyah:
But Demi, you're the expert.

Demi:
What?

Atiyah:
Like you said, you've already gone head to head with an Otherfolk. You're the only one here who has! With Jaddi gone, that makes you the expert.

Demi:
That isn't what I—I didn't—I can't—

Ithnanie:
She does have a point.

Demi:
No, she doesn't! I don't care what the hell is out there, I want no part in it! I'm going home. I have to call work and explain my absence, and probably BEG to keep my job. If I'm lucky, they'll let me come in today and make up some of my lost wages so I can actually afford to pay rent.

Atiyah:
But you can't go! What about Jayden?

How does she know his name?

Demi:
I... just... He can't hurt me, right?

Wahid:
Not as long as he is under your control.

Demi:
Then wrap him up and I'll take him home with me. Hopefully he's house trained.

Wahid:
You can't be serious. He's a Rakshasa!

Demi:
And I'm 100% done caring! G'day mate!

[storms off]

Ithnanie:
Is... is that what she thinks I sound like?

DETECTIVE NARRATION

[The sound of dispatch. It's a crime scene]

I take in a breath of morning air, stretching to wake myself up. Nothing like an early stroll through a forested park to get your blood pumping. Or your stomach churning, in the case of my partner. The rook's in bad shape. He's not used to seeing the sight of a body yet. Heh. Poor kid. I put a hand on his shoulder.

Senior Detective:
It gets easier, rook. Everytime it'll get a little easier.

Younger Officer:
I-I'm fine. Just... not totally awake yet.

Senior Detective:
Sure, kid. Whatever you say.

I drop my hand and turn my gaze to the, uh, good doctor. In contrast to the rook, he doesn't seem to be the least bothered. He's right at home with his face in a corpse, gathering forensic evidence. The process is clinical, detached, as if he hardly sees the person at all, just a puzzle to be solved. Takes all sorts to make the world, I s'pose.

Senior Detective:
Whatcha got for us, doc?

Stokes:
I'm not sure... When they called in that another body had been found, I expected it to answer questions, not raise entirely new ones.

Senior Detective:
So, what, you got nothin?

Stokes:
Now I didn't say that. These wounds are consistent with a big-cat mauling, and a particularly large male lion if I had to make a specific guess. Same as the last victim.

Senior Detective:
Yeah? So? Sounds like confirmation for what we already knew.

Stokes:
No. Not at all. Do you remember the last crime scene?

Senior Detective:
How could I forget? The whole alleyway was sportin' a fresh coat of red.

Stokes:
Indeed. Odd, isn't it?

Younger Officer:
I-I don't follow. So there was a lot of blood. You said that was consistent with a big cat mauling too. Where's the problem—?

Senior Detective: [interrupting]
Holy toledo. There ain't a drop of blood. Not even a spatter.

Stokes:
Exactly. Tell me, detectives: how do you inflict gaping wounds and not leave a drop of blood in your wake?

Senior Detective:
Maybe the mauling occurred post-mortem?

Stokes:
Even so, there would still be blood, just a lot less of it. What's more...

He starts mutterin' to himself and bends over, pulling out a cotton swab and running it over the gash in the guy's chest. I expect the blood to come out either dry and crumbling or wet and flowing, depending on how long the John Doe's been dead. But I'm taken for a ride through the country as the doc holds up his swab. The blood's in a thick, juicy clump, looking every bit like a chewed up wad of dark gum.

Stokes:
Oh my stars... His blood has entirely coagulated. I've never... how is this...?

Younger Detective:
I think I'm gonna be sick.

The rook runs off behind some bushes. Can't say I blame him. Even I'm starting to rethink the pastrami on rye I had for breakfast at the sight of that meaty clump the doc's holding up.

Stokes:
Wait a tic...

The doc slides a gloved hand down the victim's arm, turning it palm-side up, and points something out.

Stokes:
Aha! A puncture wound. Small, but still easily visible to the naked eye.

Senior Detective:
I'm guessing that ain't consistent with a big-cat mauling, eh?

Stokes:
No... But it might be consistent with our victim's coagulated blood.

He swabs the puncture wound and carefully tucks his sample in a plastic baggie for safe keeping.

Younger Officer: [comes running]
Doctor!

The rook comes running, white as a sheet.

Younger Officer:
Come quick. I found another one, just down that way. Same sort of gashes on his body.

Senior Detective:
The hell is going on, here?

Stokes:
I'm not sure. But after this, I'd appreciate a lift back to my lab so I can find out. That is, if it isn't too much trouble, of course.

Senior Detective:
Uh, yeah, sure thing. No problem, pal.

And while the doc is running his samples, I'll be looking into who these bodies belonged to. World keeps on turning. Just another day on the beat.

DEMI NARRATION

[Sound of a driving car]

It would be difficult enough to drive home like this, my body still slightly sore and my head a mess of questions and doubt, without the passenger in my backseat. I dread every breath he takes, fearing he'll suddenly pounce on me, his claws digging into the back of my neck and sending me careening off the side of the road. But it doesn't happen. Every time I glance at my rear-view mirror, I see Jayden sitting obediently, staring out the window in fascination. He tugs uncomfortably at the modern clothes the Basilah brothers dressed him in, and takes a breath. I brace myself, my grip on the steering wheel tightening.

Jayden:
Alright, I concede. I can't find the horses on this carriage anywhere.

My face tightens in confusion. Of all things I expected a man-eating monster to do, striking up a conversation was not one of the top ten on my list.

Demi:
Uh, yeah. It... doesn't use horses.

Jayden:
Oxen?

Demi:
No...

Jayden:
Well it can't possibly be camels.

Demi:
No, no animals. It's all mechanical.

Jayden looks over at me in thought, then nods.

Jayden:
Intriguing. I didn't notice that humans were so intelligent.

My anger spikes suddenly. The NERVE!

Demi:
Yeah, well, you'd be surprised at what humans can do when you don't murder them.

[Silence.]

Jayden: [chuckles]
You humans are so self-involved. As if your species is above killing to eat, to survive.

Demi:
That's different! We don't eat other people!

Jayden: [calmly]
And I don't eat other Raksashas, which is more than I can say for you, as there are in fact humans who eat other humans. I've seen them.

Demi:
Ugh! You know what I mean! Cannibals are an exception, not the rule. Humans value life!

Jayden:
Ah, yes. The sanctity of life. As long as it's human life. It's so much more valuable than that of a pig, a cow, a chicken... let alone a head of lettuce or a tree. At least my species only kills to eat. Your species... they kill for any reason, for no reason. Sometimes for the mere sport of it.

Demi:
But not other people!

Jayden:
Of course. Unless they're a different color skin, or speak another language, or occupy land you want for yourself, or even just... because... they're poor. You don't have to use violence. Deny them food. Deny them opportunity. Deprive them of their humanity and watch them die out on their own. Human beings are the masters of fratricide, no other species is so adept. But go ahead, label me the monster. You're not only self-involved. You're a hypocrite.

Demi:
[silence]

I don't know what to say to that. Maybe it's just my currently unstable emotional state, but what he's saying makes sense and I have no argument. I fix my eyes on the road and just focus on driving.

Jayden:
Oh... have I upset you? Do excuse me. I fear I'm a bit cranky because I've been enslaved.

Demi:
You tried to eat me!

Jayden:
We all have our vices. No hard feelings?

I swerve into a parking spot in front of my building and storm out of the car. I don't even look back, I know Jayden is compelled to follow.

[Footsteps upstairs and a door slam]

Demi:
Don't. Touch. Anything. Just go sit down over there and leave me alone while I... figure things out.

[Phone dialing and ringing]

Demi:
Hey, Mariflor. Um, is the boss around?

It takes some begging and pleading, and a crazy lie about being in the hospital with food poisoning the last couple days, but I manage to keep my job. My shifts are all covered though, so I won't be able to go back to work until next week. That's an entire week's worth of pay I just lost. Dammit. I race over to my laptop to check my bank account. I'm already living paycheck to paycheck. How the hell am I going to make this work?

At least Jayden does as he's told, though I can't tell if that's cooperation on his part or the effects of the “binding”. I almost forget he's there for a while as I get absorbed in my number crunching. Of all things, it's my phone, and not Jayden, that pulls me back to reality.

[Phone rings. Answers]

Demi:
Hello? [pause] Wahid? How'd you get my number--[pause] whoa, wait, slow down. What?

No.

Demi:
What do you mean she's missing!?

Atiyah. You didn't.

Well, have you tried calling her? Looking for her?

Wahid confirms my fears. Atiyah deliberately went out looking for the Otherfolk, leaving her mother in such a panic, that she's keeping the rest of her kids in the house and won't let anyone else go.

Demi:
Aren't you adults!? Just go anyway! This is Atiyah's life we're talking about!

My scolding is premature. Of course the older brothers are looking for Atiyah anyway, but they have to keep coming back to check in with their panicked mother. Apparently she's really delicate. Which means they're not making much progress. They need help.

Demi:
Fffff... do you have any idea where she'd go?

Wahid:
Bodies have been cropping up around Sceana Park.

Demi:
That's not too far from where I live. I can...

I hesitate.

Demi:
Do we have any idea what we're dealing with here?

Wahid:
The news is reporting it's a mountain lion, but from what we can tell, it looks like the victims were also poisoned. Ithnanie thinks... we may be dealing with a manticore.

Demi:
A manticore?

Wahid:
Imagine the body of a lion with the wings of a bat and a scorpion's tail. They're tremendous beasts which primarily hunt humans.

Demi:
Great. Another man-eating monster.

I glance accusingly at Jayden.

Wahid:
No. Rakshasas posses human-like intelligence. Manticores... do not.

Demi:
So it's just a dumb animal. Great. I can't tell if that should make me feel better or worse.

I look at Jayden again. A thought occurs to me.

Demi:
Wahid... who would win in a fight, a manticore or a Rakshasa?

I hear Wahid consulting with Ithnanie on the other end.

Wahid:
A Rakshasa is a fearsome foe. Few Otherfolk can stand against one.

Demi:
Right. Okay, I'll head to Sceana park and look for Atiyah. I'll check in with you guys as soon as I know anything.

Wahid:
Be careful.

Demi:
That's the plan. [hangs up] Heeeey Jayden. Wanna go for a walk in the park?

Jayden:
[chuckles] You're hoping I'll protect you.

Demi:
I'm not hoping. I'm ordering.

Jayden:
My, my, do we take well to holding the chains.

Demi:
No more talking. Let's go.

I get into my car and speed off towards the park. My heart is pounding but only one thought races through my mind, over and over. Please still be alive, Atiyah... because I'm going to kill you!

credits


Voice Talents:
Demi Diaz: Lucia Lobosvilla
Atiyah Basilah: Victoria McMullen
William Randalf Stokes: Matt Di Carlo
Jayden: Nick Eriksen
Senior Detective: Joel Williams
Young Officer: Tom Laflin
Mikael: Dalton Broback
Basir Basilah: Will Sherron
Wahid Basilah: Joel Williams
Ithnanie Basilah: Ryan Hoyle
Thalata Basilah: Kory Showman
Arebah Basilah: Nick Eriksen
Hemsah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Sittah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Seba Basilah: Lucia Lobosvilla

Music:
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Lizzy Denning

Art:
Rebe García (892art.tumblr.com)

Written by:
Lucia Lobosvilla
Matt Di Carlo

Mixed by:
Lucia Lobosvilla

tags

license

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