The Wonders of Technology

This little scene was inspired by a picture prompt at the WriYe DreamWidth.

**

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Lachlan watched as Ezra’s thumbs moved around on the keypad.  “You know,” he said, tilting his head, “I remember when those were these huge things that worked just like house phones.”

Ezra cast him a sidelong glance.  “I’m fairly certain you can recall when the only way to get messages quickly over long distances was the telegraph,” he said.

Chuckling Lachlan nodded.  “Now, we used to howl,” he said.

“Which was much faster than a telegraph message,” Ezra said, smirking.  He hit the last key and sent his message.  “This has its drawbacks, though.  People know their message reaches a person immediately and they expect an immediate reply.”

“Letters took months to travel when I was young,” Lachlan said, nodding.  “You just kept right on writing and trusted that you’d get a reply… eventually.”

Ezra’s phone chirped and he sighed.  Drawing it out, he said, “Sometimes, I wish we could go back to that.”  He smiled when Lachlan chuckled softly.

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Unexpected Visitors

Here is the next chapter in my Genre Stretch story… last month, the challenge was crime.  This month the challenge was mystery.  I’ve decided to just keep writing the same story for the genre stretch.  Each month will be the same chapter with a new genre.  It’ll be a fun and interesting challenge.  We’ll see how it goes.

This story also answers one of the WriYe DreamWidth prompts: policeman.

**

Ryan couldn’t have been more annoyed.  Not only had Ian vanished with his truck, he was late coming back.  He glanced over at his wife and shook his head.  “When I get my hands on that brother of mine,” he said, before trailing off.

“Now, Ryan,” she said, barely looking up from her knitting, “I’m sure we’ll hear from him soon and he’ll have some amusing story about how your truck’s gone up a tree again.”

“I wish he’d stop that,” Ryan said, rolling his eyes.  “I wasn’t funny the first time and it’s not getting more amusing now that he’s kept on with it a dozen more times.”  He might have continued his angry tirade, except that there was a knock at the door.

“Who could that be at this hour?” Nancy said, glancing over at the door.

Shrugging, Ryan headed across the room.  He tugged the door opened and frowned.  The two men on his doorstep were a mismatched pair if he’d ever seen one.  The short one was dressed in a fine suit with the dark green robes of a wizard over it.  His companion was tall and broad-shouldered.  He wore a cloak and… was that a kilt?

Shaking his head, he looked from one to the other.  “Can I help you?” he asked, scowling.

“I’m Officer Lachlan McClelland,” the tall one said.  Waving to his companion, he said, “This is Officer Ezra Metternich.  Are you Mr. Ryan O’Neill?”  As he saw their badges, he frowned.  What were two Supernatural Policemen doing on his doorstep so early in the morning?  This couldn’t be good.

“Oh, God,” Nancy said, her tone one of horror.  “What’s Ian done now?”

Officer McClelland looked from Ryan to her and then back.  “Ian O’Neill… is a bit of a troublemaker, then?” he asked, arching his brows.

Ryan rolled his eyes.  “My idiot brother likes to play practical jokes,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest.  “His favorite is stealing my truck and putting it in trees.  Then, he calls for a ride and says that he parked it and, ‘barely had he turned around, but the fool thing bolted up a tree, like a scared cub’.”

“That explains the truck being in the tree,” Officer Metternich said, scowling.  “Do you know how he’s done it, Mr. O’Neill?  I couldn’t detect any spell on the car that could have lifted it.”

“He makes the tree lay down and then drives the truck into the branches,” Ryan said, shaking his head.  The officer’s eyes widened and then Ryan shrugged.  “He thinks it a fine lark, but it’s not so easy to get down as it was to get up.”

“Can you think of… any enemies your brother might have?” Officer McClelland asked.  When Ryan shook his head slowly, he grimaced.  “I ask, Mr. O’Neill, because… we’ll, there’s no easy way to say this, so I apologize if this is harsh: your brother was found late last night in a wooded area.”

“Ian’s… dead?” Ryan breathed.  He covered his mouth with both hands as Nancy came to his side.  When the officers nodded, he shook his head.  “How?  How did it happen?  Did he fall?”  Had Ian fallen out of the car after driving it onto the tree?  Ryan had always told him the stupid stunt would be the death of him.  But then, he remembered that they’d asked about enemies.  No, it couldn’t have been an accident, then.  “You think… it was murder?” he breathed.

“He was killed with a dark spell, Mr. O’Neill,” Officer Metternich said, his voice soft.  His brows furrowed when Ryan shook his head.  “Are you… all right?” he said, his tone one of concern.  “Do you need a moment?”

“Where – where is he?” Ryan asked, as tears filled his eyes.  Ian was an idiot with his constant jokes, but Ryan had never honestly wished him harm.  He was Ryan’s brother, after all.  “D-did he suffer?”

“He didn’t suffer,” Officer Metternich said, shaking his head.  He heaved a sigh.  “His body is at the medical examiner’s office.  They’re checking it over to see if there are any clues.  It was difficult to say at the scene.”

“Basil,” Officer McClelland said, nodding.  He waved towards his face and shook his head.  “I was done in before I could get a good check of the scene for any trace of others.  Can’t say as it wasn’t on purpose that we found him hard by the dreadful plants either.”

“You’re one of those new werewolf policeman?” Nancy said, blinking.  When Officer McClelland nodded, she frowned.  “But… you still couldn’t find anything?  What good is that, then?”

Officer McClelland ducked his head, but Officer Metternich was the one who spoke.  “Officer McClelland has been a positive addition to the force, Mrs. O’Neill.  There are unusual circumstances in this case: the presence of basil at the scene.  His kind can’t tolerate the plant.  We’re employing other means in our search for clues.”

He handed a calling card to Ryan.  “If you think of anything that may be useful or just need to talk,” he said, “please call me.”

“Thank you,” Ryan said, nodding.  He heaved a sigh and shook his head.  “You’ll call me when… the body is released and – and when I can have my truck back?”

As the officers nodded, he sighed.  He set the card on the small table in the foyer where the phone was sitting.  Then, he nodded slowly.  “Thank you, Officer McClelland, Officer Metternich.  I’m sorry that I couldn’t be more… helpful.”

“It’s fine,” Officer McClelland said, his own voice soft.  “All our condolences to you and your family, Mr. O’Neill.  It’s a hard thing, but… please know, that we will do our utmost to uncover the perpetrator of this terrible crime against your brother.”

“Thank you,” Ryan said.  He watched as they turned and headed down the walk back to their vehicle.  Then, he shut the door and looked at his wife.  “A dark spell?” he breathed, shaking his head.  “But… who?  Why?”

“I don’t know, husband,” Nancy said.  Then, she hugged him close, while Ryan finally gave in to his grief and began to sob.

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.

Something Unexpected

This is the first DreamWidth prompt that I’ve answered for the year. The word prompt was “Bikini” and I had a bit of trouble figuring out how I could use such a word in my current “playgrounds”. Ultimately, I ended up choosing two of my little werewolf characters. Lachlan and Esther are a cute couple… fun to write. Being werewolves, imagine this as a moonlight swim (although, not the full moon).

**

Lachlan had seen many things in his life. You didn’t live for hundreds of years without that being the case. However, he had to say something about the current era: the idea of what constituted proper swimwear had come very nearly full circle.

When he’d been young, people didn’t swim very often. In fact, most people didn’t know how. However, when they went into the water, they generally wore nothing at all. Somewhere along the way, people had decided that even seeing flesh could give you improper – even sinful ideas – about other people.

Now, the pendulum had swung back the other way and he couldn’t say that he was too disappointed in the trend. He hadn’t expected Esther to embrace the change so readily, however. He smiled faintly as his eyes drifted up and down her form. Finally, he met her eyes and smiled. “What do they call that?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.

Esther grinned, her gold-brown eyes twinkling with mirth. “It’s a bikini,” she said. She chuckled softly and then shook her head. “Don’t have to ask whether or not you like it, do I?” Then, she spun away from him to head towards the water.

“You don’t,” he said, shaking his head.

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