Friday, May 19, 2017

The Littman Detective Agency

Not much to start with, but you gotta start somewhere. The generous grant from my new Treasurer made Steelhead Bay an offer I can't refuse. It seems the Marshall isn't a fan of new-fangled gadgets, so my plans for buying one of them horseless carriages are off the table unless I paint it brass and slap a samovar on the trunk.

It seems New Palermo is never coming back. Most of the locals got relocated to a crater out in the Midwest with some secrets of its own. Will they even remember where they come from after the Feds are done with their newsreels? 

It's one of those places where people are afraid of Communists hiding under their bed and the kids ride around on motorcycles playing g-dawful music. One of those places where everyone expects you to be straightlaced during the day who knows what kinda monkey business goes on at night. 

Also found a lady with spunk who wants to join the operation, she even offered to build the placard and badges. Then we can start offering our services to anyplace with at least a telegraph.

So things are looking up.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Doom That Came To Palermo

My muscles burned in protest as I pulled myself towards safety one rung at a time. As I lifted and pushed away the manhole cover my eyes stung from the harsh streetlights.

Simone clicked the safety on her shotgun and helped me out with her free hand.

“What did you find?”

I pulled off the mask and threw it aside. I leaned against the brick alley wall with both hands  stooped over to spit out my lunch. When I was done I got around to an answer.

“It’s spawning...could be the Goat…”

Simone winced. “Oh Christ…”

I kicked off my galoshes and peeled away my leather gloves. “Soon the sewers won’t be big enough to hold them all.”

I kicked the bundle back down the open manhole. Simone opened the briefcase she brought along and passed me a new set of slacks.

“How much time do we have?”

“Not much time at all...we gotta evacuate this town inside of two weeks before the Foundation can send their exterminators. Otherwise a lot of people we know are gonna lose their minds and their lives.”

I was balanced on one foot and fumbling with the belt when I felt a cold piece of rope wind around my ankle.

“OH SHI--”


She unlocked the safety and fired both barrels down the manhole. Instead of blood and gore the thing dissipated in a cloud of oily black smoke, and I fell to the pavement like a drunk outside the cantina on Cinco de Mayo.

I crawled over and helped her push the manhole cover until the grinding of pavement against metal surrendered to a satisfying Clunk.

“That was a young’un. They’re faster....but they’re not howling like the big ones.”

“How the HELL are we gonna get all these people out? They’ve already been relocated once! They’re not gonna move this quick again!”

I pulled myself up and grabbed a clean shirt from the briefcase.

“That’s really not our call, Sis. As soon as we call Washington the Feds’ll make ‘em move. Especially if they gotta kill all that with fire.”

She sighed. “I was just getting the hang of this place.”

“They might move back eventually. For now they’ll think it’s just another natural disaster…”

I pulled my tie up until it was snug. “I here there’s a suburb of Boston that startin’ to boom...they’re actually lookin’ for workers. I bet a lot of these folks will sit tight there until Noop gets the all-clear.”

I picked up the gas mask and stuffed it in burlap sack by a strap with a pencil and dropped into a burlap sack so I could sterilize it later. Then leaned over the briefcase myself and fished out my trenchcoat with a snap.  

“I met one of our new Steelhead neighbors,” I went on as I adjusted the sleeves. “He’s cagey about it but it’s pretty obvious he’s Lunar’s kid. He’s building a library across from us. One of the kinds we could put to good use. His assistant he referred to sounds like a master of the five-finger discount.”

“Well that’s good to hear. Do we have furniture yet?”

I popped my fedora back on and shut the case. “Yep...I found an old file cabinet…”

She just shook her head. “Priorities, Dave. Priorities…”