How on Earth?

The start of my genre stretch (genre: crime) for this month is based on a picture prompt from the WriYe DreamWidth.  Lachlan is a werewolf peacekeeper (a magic police officer) and Ezra, his partner, is a wizard.

**

Lachlan shielded his eyes as he looked up into the tree.  “That,” he said, his voice soft, “is not something you see every day.”

“Certainly not,” his partner said in his strange drawling accent.  “One must wonder: how did a truck come to be lodged in the upper branches of a tree?”

Nodding, Lachlan sighed.  “Can’t ask the driver,” he said, shrugging.  He turned to his partner.  “Look for evidence of some kind of spell, I guess?”

“Is the driver missing or dead?” Ezra asked, as he began rummaging in his bag.

Lachlan shook his head.  “Missing,” he said.  He squinted up at the truck again.  “If you can get it down, I can… maybe track him.”  The more Lachlan looked at the car, wedged in the branches, the more he decided that it had to have been placed there – as a joke, perhaps.

Ezra nodded slowly.  Then, he drew out a long wand.  “Let’s get it down first,” he said.  Waving Lachlan back, he waved the wand and his lips moved as he cast a silent charm.  There was a loud creak of protest from the tree and a few small pieces rained downward at them.  Then, the truck was dislodged.

The vehicle floated down to earth as if it were being placed by giant unseen hands.  As soon as all four tires were safely on the ground, Lachlan stepped over to it.  While Ezra searched for some sign of a spell that might have gotten it up there in the first place, Lachlan tried to trace the owner.

He tugged open the driver’s side door and took a healthy sniff.  Even in the daytime, his senses were keener than those of his wizard partner.  He could smell one person – a manly scent mixed with pine and beer.  He stepped back and eased the door shut.  Then, he looked to Ezra as his partner stepped over to the truck.

Opening the passenger side, Ezra rummaged in the glove box.  “No registration here,” he announced.  He looked to Lachlan.  “I’ll call in the license plate and see if we get a clue from that.  Meanwhile… you have a scent?”

Lachlan nodded.  “Let me see if I can scent him outside of the vehicle,” he said.  As he moved to the base of the tree, he said, “Did you pick up anything?”

“No trace of magic other than my own,” Ezra said.  He looked from the truck to the tree again.  “However they got it up there, they used mundane means to do so.”

Heaving a sigh, Lachlan began moving in an ever-widening circle out from the base.  Finally, as he reached the edge of the field by the trees, he caught a scent.  He froze and sniffed at the air.  Pine and beer mingled with something else.  He sneezed and then heaved a sigh.  Turning to Ezra, he called, “Found the driver.”  Then, he stepped into the trees.

The forest undergrowth was thick, hiding most of the ground from view.  Lachlan didn’t need to see where to look, however.  He had the scent now.  As he pushed the branches aside, Ezra reached his side.

“Dear Lord,” the other breathed.

The man looked on the younger side middle-aged.  Lachlan knelt down and looked the body over.  “Not a mark as I can see and no scent of blood,” he said.

“Dead, though,” Ezra said, his voice soft.

Nodding, Lachlan grimaced and looked over his shoulder at his partner.  “As nails,” he said, his voice strained.

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