Adolphus Wood Parkway11:23 PM
“So how does a nun take a job with the Gotham PD?”
Tork glanced out the corner of his eye at Sister Justine. They rode in his squadcar while Corrigan and Dr. Tarr dove ahead of them in a white van leading their two-car convoy. He noticed she worried a well-worn rosary between her long, slender fingers.
“Detective Corrigan,” she said. “He recruited me along with Dr. Tarr.”
“And the Church is cool with you moonlighting with the GCPD?” asked Tork.
Justine paused for a long moment before they shrugged. “My relationship with the Church is… complicated. I haven’t been ex-communicated but I am… never particularly welcomed whenever I interact with their emissaries. The things I’ve done in my past are well within acceptable Church doctrine, but it’s not something they like to discuss. ”
Sister Justine looked over at Tork and stared at him solemnly.
“Are you a religious man, sergeant?”
Tork felt his face flush. He didn’t think she was doing it on purpose, but she had the capability of shaming and embarrassing him. It seemed to be something every sister possessed. “I used to be. But the things I’ve seen since becoming a cop have made that faith erode.”
“The work we do here will make restore your faith in God,” she said softly. “You’ll know He exists… and then you’ll wonder why He allows this world to continue.”
“Again,” Tork said with a sigh. “What kind of work does that to a person?”
“You’ll see,” she said. “If I describe it you’ll laugh me off. The only way to become a believer is to see firsthand.”
They followed Tarr’s van down an off-ramp. They were somewhere on the outskirts of the city. The small, cramped rowhouses of the East End were replaced by comfortably middle class homes.
“What about the L.T.?” asked Tork. “Is he a ‘believer’?”
“He’s a clockwatcher,” said Sister Justine. “Counting down the days left until he takes his twenty year retirement. Lieutenant Haskins is the boss, but you’ll find that Corrigan is the one who really runs the show.”
An unmarked police car with flashing lights sat parked outside a nice two story home. Tork was surprised something gruesome had happened out this way. They were still in the Gotham city limits, but just so. A few blocks away would be unincorporated Gotham County, where an entire generation of working professionals called home. Not the city that their parents and grandparents had been raised in. Good enough to work in and commute to, but not good enough for them to actually live in. Because of that this part of the city was without a doubt the most sleepy and peaceful section for the GCPD to police.
Their small convoy pulled up behind the unmarked. Tork and Sister Justine got out along with Corrigan. Dr. Tarr rooted through the back of the van for some sort of equipment. Waiting for them on the lawn was a dark haired woman in a pants suit. Tork saw the badge dangling around her neck.
“Sergeant Tork, this is Detective Lisa Drake,” said Corrigan. “The last member of merry little band.”
Tork shook Drake’s hand. He saw a curious look flash across her eyes as they temporarily glazed over.
“Club soda and dishwashing detergent will get that stain out…”
Tork furrowed his brow. “What stain?”
“Your coffee stain,” said Drake.
Her eyes focused again and an apologetic look flashed in them.
“Sorry, Sergeant Tork… just, umm... Yeah you’ll see.”
“Did someone reach out to your or did you hear it over the scanner?” Corrigan asked Drake.
“I heard on the radio a patrolman calling in for a potential psych eval on an eyeball wit. That peaked my interest, and it doubled down on the description of seeing someone walking through walls. Then I got here and convinced the uniforms to let us have a look before the coroner shows up--”
“This whole place is covered in orgone energy,” said a heavily accented voice from behind Tork.
He turned and saw Dr. Tarr, a tall and thin man with a receding hairline, thick goatee, and even thick glasses. In the good doctor’s hands was a battered metal toolbox.
“Do you not feel it, Sister Justine?”
Tork glanced over at the nun. There was a worried look on her face and she worked her rosary beads intently.
“Let’s go inside and see what’s going on,” Corrigan said. “Then we can talk about energy, orgone or otherwise.”
The inside of the house was decorated in what could only be called New Age Basic Bitch. Lots of mason jars, signs about home and wine. An unironic Live, Laugh, Love sign hung above a fireplace. In front of that sign, dangling from the ceiling fan, was a dead body. A thin, middle aged man hung from a necktie. He had all the signs of death by strangulation. Bulging eyes with a swollen tongue poking out the corner of the mouth.
Tork had seen his share of hangers, but it seemed like the rest of the group saw something he didn’t. Corrigan scrutinized the dead body while Sister Justine and Dr. Tarr carefully examined the floor beneath the dead man’s dangling feet.
“Who is he… was he?” Tork asked.
“Peter Thatcher,” Drake said as she walked towards the far wall. “Forty-five years old, employed as an architect. The wife was found on the floor right here at the wall, scratching at it and screaming her head off. Said she saw someone go through the wall just as Peter started to swing.”
“No chair,” said Tork. “Nothing for him to stand on or jump off of.”
“Well we know she was telling the truth,” said Corrigan. “We just need to--”
“Wait,’ Tork interrupted. “How do we know that?”
The four members of the squad exchanged looks with each other. Corrigan looked at Tarr and nodded. The doctor placed his toolbox down on the floor and popped it open.
“It appears that you are a man of science, Sergeant Tork,” he said as he rooted through the box. “Like me. Now our colleagues here, they have the gift of the Sight. But for you and I?”
Tarr pulled a pair of glasses from inside the toolbox. To Tork they looked identical to the own thick lenses the doctor wore on his face. The only difference was the greenish tint on the lenses.
“We must adapt.”
He handed them to Tork and raised an eyebrow.
“‘One of the four beasts saying 'Come and see,' and I saw,’” said Tarr.
Tork slipped the glasses on and immediately wished he hadn’t. The entire room had took on a ghostly green aura. He could see Thatcher’s dead body was covered in it, particularly around his hands and neck. At his feet a collection of the energy spiraled upwards in a slow pattern. There were bright green footprints that led to the far wall where Drake stood. On the wall was an outline of a door.
“What the fuck,” Tork said as he took the glasses off. “What is that?”
“It’s what we see, sarge,” said Corrigan. “Drake, Sister Justine, and I. All the time.”
Tork let the glasses fall to the ground. Tarr let out a gasp of concern, but it died in his throat when the glasses safely landed on the carpeted floor.
“Fuck this,” said Tork.
He stormed through the living room and found himself in the kitchen. Tork paced furiously across the hardwood surface. He didn’t notice a half empty coffee cup on the edge of the kitchen island until he ran into it. The cup fell to the floor and spattered his pants with coffee. Tork took a deep breath and laced his hands through his hair. Deep breaths were the key to keeping himself calm and steady. Big breath in… hold it…. Now big breath out.
“We’re not fucking with you,” Corrigan said as he came into the kitchen. “And we’re not crazy… well, we’re crazy, but not to the point that we’re making all this up.”
“So what is all that shit I saw out there?” Tork snapped. “If you’re not fucking crazy, and if you’re not pulling my chain, then what is it?”
“Magical energy,” Corrigan said with a straight face.
“Yeah, sure,” Tork laughed. “You like the Easter Bunny for this?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Corrigan. “This is more the work of an occultist, a powerful one by the looks of it.’
“Makes perfect sense,” said Tork.
He started to pace through the kitchen and shaking his head.
“What the fuck did I get into?”
“This is what we do, sarge,” said Corrigan. “Our unit. On paper, we’re listed as some backroom research squad. But the truth is much more complicated. Sometimes the supernatural forces of Gotham step out of line. That’s where we come in. You may not believe in it, sarge, but that doesn’t matter. It sure as hell exists.”
“James, Francis,” Sister Justine called from the living room. “We found an item of interest, please join us in the sitting room.”
“Just sit back and watch,” Corrigan said. “Watch us in action. If this gets too real or you can’t handle it well… you can always ask the lieutenant for a transfer.”
“Actually, I can’t,” said Tork. “But I’m sure you know that.”
“I looked into you,” Corrigan said as they walked back into the living room. “Anybody who joins my team, against their will or not, I make sure I can trust them before they come aboard. Come on.”
Drake, Tarr, and Sister Justine were gathered around… something on the floor. It was at the base of the wall where the door had been formed. Tork reached down to the floor and picked the pair of glasses Dr. Tarr had given him up. He slipped them on and let the greenish hue fill his vision again. Tis time Tork was ready for it. He and Corrigan joined the others at the wall.
“There’s something here written on the baseboard,” Tarr said. “Looks to be the work of our perp. We can’t make it out.”
“Looks like some kind of dead language,” said Corrigan.
“It’s Old English,” said Sister Justine. “The common tongue of witchcraft.”
“Shit,” said Drake. “An honest to God witch?”
Dr. Tarr pulled another device from his toolbox. To Tork it looked like a basic tablet, but he saw the blood red filter on the tablet’s camera lens. Tarr bent down and snapped a photo of the writing. A few seconds later the tablet chimed.
“The translation is as follows,” he said. “‘Wrath be to the house of Thatcher on this day and time. Be it so that the line ends on this day and time. A curse upon this house and all who shall dwell in it. So be it ordained in my master’s will and covenant, Goodewitch Young.’”
“Yep,” said Corrigan. “Not a dabbler or some asshole with a few pages of a spellbook… a proper incantation and curse. We got a real witch…”
“Club soda and dishwashing detergent,” Sister Justine said to Tork.
“What?” asked Tork.
“The stain, dear,” said the nun. She pointed a finger at below Tork's waist. The upper thighs of his pants were flecked with dried coffee stains. “Club soda and dishwashing detergent is best for coffee stains.”
Tork looked over at Drake. She simply shrugged.
“Tried to warn you.”