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Sam Kane


"Sit down!"

I winced, not only at the way my Captain was shouting at me, but at the way he kicked open his office door, letting it fly back and crash into the bookshelf behind it. A few little things I'd never noticed before came crashing down and scattered on the floor.

"Shut the door!" he bellowed, and I complied quickly, taking the wooden chair in front of his desk and sitting, my hands in my lap. I was nervous, more so than I normally was when confronted with an uncomfortable situation like this. The difference this time was that I knew I was in trouble because I'd done wrong, there was no one else to blame here. If I hadn't insisted on tracking down that lead, hadn't insisted on checking out the apartment, well, my partner would still be here and not in a god damned hospital.

My Captain paced behind his desk, his face flushed darkly while he either tried to control his rage or organize his thoughts, I wasn't sure which. He had twenty-five years on me, and the gray was just starting to come in at his temples, the rest of his curly hair remained dark. He had a barrel for a chest and long legs, standing at least a head and a half above me with these huge arms - I don't know why I'm obsessing about his size, maybe it's because I think he might just decide to come across the desk and throttle me.

I've been accused of many different things in my life, but being smart ain't always been high on the list, if you know what I mean? Still, I did probably the smartest thing ever as I sat there with my mouth securely sealed shut. I wasn't about to be the first one in that room to speak and I hoped that every moment of silence would be another chance for my Captain to calm down a little bit more.

Oh, I hadn't mentioned it before, but I'm a Detective with the Denver PD. This is my third week. My name's Samantha Kane but everyone just calls me 'Sam'.

The Cap had his back to me now, facing the credenza but with his face turned up to the ceiling. His hands were on his hips and a lot of the tension seemed to be fading from his frame which let me relax a little the death grip I had on the wooden chair I sat in. I hadn't even realized how I was gripping the seat on either side of my legs until I eased up a little and a twinge went up through my fingers.

"Can you, please, explain to me what in hell you were doing in that apartment this evening?" he asked me suddenly, quite softly. I'd expected him to yell some more. Somehow, this quiet tone? It was worse.

"We had a lead saying Leo was staying there and decided to check it out."

"Did you?" He turned and leaned forward against the desk, looking down his nose at me. "You were -clearly- told not to-" I winced, waiting for the explosion only it didn't come. I looked up into his face and saw that he was no longer looking at me, but rather above and past me, towards the door. "No..." he said almost to softly for me to hear it. I swiveled in my chair and saw a man framed in the window of the door.

He wore what looked like a trench-coat bundled up all the way to his neck and his head had on one of those old style hats like Indiana Jones wore in the movies. It cast his face in a shadow as he looked down and kept me from seeing his features all too well.

A single knock and the door opened, the man stepping through and leaving it open behind him.

"Tom," said a gruff voice that spoke of too much whiskey and cigarettes.

I turned back to my Captain to see him leaning forward against the desk just as I'd left him, only his mouth was open and his eyes were as wide as I'd ever seen em. He was pale too, and sweating now.

"J-j-jack," he finally sputtered. "Wha-... Uh, what brings you down here?"

"Transfer," he said, tossing a folder onto my Captain's desk. I could see his face now, angular with a sharp nose and keen, dark eyes. His chin was covered with stubble like he hadn't shaved in a bit and he definitely smelled of smoke and something else that I couldn't put my finger on - something a little acrid and sour. There was a bit of brownish hair peaking out from beneath that hat he wore.

I realized that he was returning my scrutiny as my Captain said, "What if she declines?" He smirked and I realized they were talking about me!

"What? Transfer?" I said as I jumped up and reached for the folder, the Captain pulled it just out of my reach.

"You've been reassigned, Detective Kane. You're with me now. I trust you were done here, Tom?"

"Wait a minute - my partner?"

"No longer your concern. You will be working out of a different division now and will have a new partner. Tom?"

"Sam, I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do." He looked past me to 'Jack'. "She's all yours."

"Wait! What's going on?"

"Come along, Detective Kane," Jack said, then spun around and was out the door. I looked at my Captain - my -former- Captain, a question on my lips but he simply shook his head 'no' and nodded towards the door.

"Good luck, Sam."

What the hell just happened?



I caught up with 'Jack' just as the elevator came up and he was stepping inside. I had no idea what had just happened and I wanted some answers as I ran onto the elevator and turned to him. Like my former Captain, this man stood a good head and a half taller than I, but that's where the similarities ended.

Captain Thomas King was an African-American for one, where this guy was white. King had a barrel frame where this guy was long, tall and lanky - almost too thin, really. There was a hollowness to his cheeks that I hadn't seen when I looked at his face before. And despite it being easily ninety degrees outside, he wore a trench-coat that was done all the way up and now had his hands deep in the pockets of that coat as if he were freezing his ass off.

"Lieutenant John Mayfair," he said as the doors closed and he pressed the button for the garage. "Most folks call me 'Jack'."

"Sam Kane - look, what the hell just happened?"

"You've been transferred to my division. We work out of a different office, by the way. Do you have a car?"

"Yes. Look, how could I be transferred just like that? Isn't there paperwork? Shouldn't I get a choice?"

"Yes and yes. Your choice is to come with me or not."

"Well then," I said, a little mollified. "I choose not."

"If you wish, that's certainly an option. Have your desk cleaned out by five, the duty officer will accept your badge and weapon."

The elevator dinged, the doors opened and Jack Mayfair stepped out into the garage leaving me standing there staring at my own reflection in the mirrored elevator wall. My red hair had seen better days. Normally I kept it pulled back and away from my face, but all that went to hell last night so it was still hanging loose about shoulder high and looking like rats had built a nest. My mouth was wide open, much the way my former Captain had been looking when the man first came into the office. I tried not to see the blood stains on my blue jeans or the ones on my shirt. A part of me wanted to burst out laughing maniacally, just let this day push me over the edge and lose my mind, because this was the day my partner had been put in the hospital and I, I was apparently getting transferred against my will.

Instead, I sucked it up, closed my mouth with an audible click, and took off after Jack Mayfair. "Wait!" I shouted as I scrambled to catch him. Turns out, he was a slow walker so he hadn't gone that far yet. "What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"Look, Detective - may I call you Sam?" he asked and I nodded. He stopped walking and looked me in the eye. "You disobeyed orders and continued to investigate a case that had been taken up the food chain to Detectives with, shall we say, more experience? You were expressly told not to touch that case anymore, and you did it anyway, and as a result, your partner now lies in a hospital bed with a dozen tubes going in and out of his body and this giant machine that breathes for him, all in the hopes that he'll stay alive just long enough for his body to do that thing our bodies do and heal and, just maybe, recover - not a great chance of that, but, hey - you gotta hope. After all of that, what did you think was going to happen to you? Medal of commendation?"

I was stunned. I knew my partner wasn't doing so well, I knew it was all my fault, and I knew I'd have to pay a price for it, but, I thought, well, I thought disciplinary actions, sure, maybe even suspension without pay or something - maybe riding a desk for a couple of years, but, fired?!

"Face it, Detective," he said as he began walking again. "You're lucky I want you in my division at all."

I turned to say something smartass, and found that he was standing next to my car, on the passenger side. Had he already known about my car before he asked?

"Nice car, though it is a Ford. I never did like a Ford. I'm a Chevy man."

"Look, I appreciate that you want me in your division, I do," I said as I stomped over to the car and stood in front of it, trying to stare him down. "But there has to be an appeal process, something that I can say or do to get my job back!"

"Nope. Sorry. It's my way or the highway." He tried the door. "Power locks?"

Yeah, I'm a girl but I'm also a cop - a detective. I don't cry, not when I'm in front of another cop, no matter who it is. All of them, from the first day, did everything they could think of to get me to cry and I took all the shit they dished out and I never once gave them the satisfaction of seeing me cry and I wasn't about to start today in front of a man I didn't even know. For the male cops, female cops come in two varieties; the crying, simpering, useless waste they don't want riding in the car with them and the stone cold bitch that nothing touches (so she must be a dyke). I'm the latter to most of them, but I like boys. I just don't tell them that I like boys and when I cry, when I need to, I do it once I'm back in my own home behind a locked door with the curtains pulled and a god damned cold beer in my hand. I was feeling that need right now but I pushed it aside.

I've got a 2002 Ford Escort, burgundy, with four doors and power locks, which I pushed the button to unlock as I stomped to the drivers side door and got in, slamming the door for good measure. Jack had to shove the seat all the way back to accommodate his long legs, and he still looked a little uncomfortable, but what the hell? I also turned the a/c on which made him frown at me. My day just got shitty, so, so could his.

"31st and Downing - I'll tell you more when we're in the neighborhood."

"You want to tell me, maybe, who the fuck you are and what I'm getting into?"

"Of course. Mine is a very elite squad, only called in on the most difficult cases involving the strangest of situations. Do you mind if I smoke?" he said as he pulled a pack of cigarettes from his coat pocket.

"Yes. I do."

He sighed. "Pity. Everyone used to smoke, you know?"

"Most of them are dead now. You were telling me about this new job?"

"Hmmm?" he said as he returned the cigarettes to his coat pocket. "Oh, yes. Very special unit. Very elite. We take only the best candidates. You should be very proud."

"I am. So, why me?"

"Well, that's easy enough. Why don't you tell me about the ghost you saw last night? Oh, red light."

"What? Shit!" I slammed on my brakes, the car skidding and sliding towards the intersection. I hadn't even seen the light change. How the hell did he know about what I saw when the only other person who'd been there was in a coma at Sky Ridge Medical?



I was trembling for a couple of different reasons. One, the image of that, that thing I saw last night was conjured back up in my mind; the hollowness of it, the ghastly color of blue/grey, the way the eyes appeared milked over and just looking right through me. Everything just got colder under that stare; I could feel ice form on my bare arms, see my breath puffing out from my lips as I breathed. The world froze and I could no longer move under that gaze; I froze and my partner paid the price for it as something else, something somehow worse, ripped him apart.

The second reason I was trembling? I'd nearly driven my car right through a red light and into a busy intersection. I slammed on the brakes and came to a complete stop maybe a foot over the line. I got flipped off. A lot.

"It's never easy," Jack Mayfair was saying, apparently ignoring the fact we'd just very nearly been killed. "The first time you see one, that is. They have this way of... well, of penetrating through you, right to the core. You see a little something of them, of course, but they seem to see all that you are and you can't quite break away from their gaze - that takes practice and more than a little Talent. Hell, if you didn't have a little Talent, we wouldn't even be having this conversation right now."

"Are you insane?" I said hoarsely. I really needed a drink. A strong drink - the kind of drink that made you blind for an hour afterwards.

"Light's green."

I wanted to smack him, wanted to scream and tear at his eyes and shred his face with my nails. Instead, I stepped off the brake and onto the gas again, trying to pay more attention to the road and to what was going on around me. Still, my mind was reeling. How in the hell did this guy know about that... I couldn't even think it - that, that thing? I hadn't put anything about that little encounter in my report because I knew everyone would think I was a nut-bag.

"Make a right up here, just past that green car. Is that an El Camino? Lord, those are still on the road?"

I grunted and turned as instructed. I was on autopilot now. I'd lost my job, really lost it and my partner? He looked like someone had taken a cheese grader to his face, or maybe a blender - one of those food processors? I'd seen... I'd seen a ghost - there! I thought it. It happened. I'd seen a ghost and I'd tried to cover it up and still, somehow, got caught, and now I was with a guy who thought that, what? Seeing ghosts was something that happened often? That you got used to it?

"Left here, then on for two blocks, then another right."

His directions lead me to a roundabout, a large roundabout that I had never seen before, which was a bit disconcerting considering I'd grown up here. It looked like five streets met here in this roundabout. In the center of it, in the center was a house. I shook my head as I turned into the roundabout and he gestured at a gated driveway. If my old Captain hadn't known the man, I would've thought this was some sort of scam. Or worse. But he had known him and so I followed where he told me to go, if for no other reason then I needed some time to figure out what the hell was going on and how I was going to get my job back.

The house was surrounded by a rod-iron fence, one of those old, gothic looking fences with sharp arrowheads at the top of each rod. Stone columns stood every fifteen feet or so and flanked the gate, which Mayfair hopped out, unlocked and pushed open. The drive lead up to the remnants of a garage that looked like it had burnt down and someone had just paved over most of it to make a parking lot where five other cars were currently parked. I pulled up behind a truck that looked like it was from the Walton's or something.

"What happened to the garage?" I asked as I got out of the car.

"Fire. A long time ago."

He sounded oddly sad, so I nodded, looking up at the house. It was a dark green with a light trim. It looked like something out of an old movie, all spires and a high pitched roof that rose and fell as it went around the place. Three stories high with a wraparound porch it would've been worth a fortune anywhere else, but here in the center of a roundabout, I couldn't imagine a lot of people would want to live here. The yard was overgrown and the drive had little cracks here and there where weeds were starting to push through.

"Ever heard of a lawnmower?" I asked.

"It's seen better days, I know," Mayfair said as he stepped up beside me. He'd lit a cigarette and was doing his best to inhale it as quickly as he could. "But it works for our needs."

"'Our'?," I asked, looking the place over again. At several points, spires rose with an iron looking decoration at the very top; one looked like a moon, another was most definitely a crucifix but at the top of a tower that rose high above the rest of the place, there was some sort of star. It looked kind of like the Star of David, but I couldn't be sure. Also looked like there was some sort of balcony up there.

The more I stared at it, the more it gave me the creeps. That's when I noticed the gargoyles; stone beasts perched outside each and every window.

"Yes, come meet the team."


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