Saturday, November 11, 2017

Vera King: Wormanoid -Book 2 -Chapter 12 Bug-Out

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 11 Part 2

Ping, the detective’s phone chimed with a text from Vera King as he warned the team of the gruesome scene in the second floor apartment. “What does she want? Hey, you,” he ushered an officer closer, “find out what’s going on with Haas’ rental truck and check on the police report about where hers is.” Rodriguez looked at his phone, it was a picture. ‘Here is the guy I was trying to tell you about with his mask off.’ He nearly dropped his phone as the recognition sank in; that was the man he had just passed on the stairs.
  “Come on, let’s go,” he beckoned the team follow him up the stairs at almost full speed. The metal stairs echoed with each boot; as they reached the door, Rodriguez held up his hand, signalling the others to wait before slowly opening it, gun drawn. The room was silent… The trail of blood stopped at the front door where he left it, but the worm was gone. One by one they entered, cautiously peering behind each corner. In the kitchen, a forensic team began examining each piece of who they believed to be Lavender, but where was the giant grub? And where was the mysterious man with heterochromia?
  “Sir,” an officer approached him, “the rental truck was paid for by a ‘Spencer Medical Group’, and no one at the station was able to find any police report about her stolen vehicle.”

  ‘Hey, Vera’, a text from Drew read, ‘the car may have been registered to Carl Haire, but whoever stole Martin’s phone deleted the photos.’
  Carl Haire? Who on earth is that? She rubbed her eyes; life was spiraling chaotically around her -she needed a vacation.

Chapter 12

  The lot in front of the medical offices where Spencer Medical Group was lied mostly empty except for three cars; one a curiously familiar black sedan. Detective Rodriguez parked alongside it and snapped a photo of the plate -it matched what Vera had sent him; the same one that was registered to an untraceable alias: Carl Haire.
  Somehow someone had managed to fabricate an entire registration. Hacking technology baffled Rodriguez; he scratched his stubbly chin before shading his eyes and taking a peek past the dark tinted windows into the vacant vehicle. Damn it, he thought as he turned toward the entrance.
  Inside, a cute blonde woman sat behind the blue glass reception desk in back scrubs. She looked up and smiled brightly as he approached, “Hello, how can I help you today?”
  “Is Doctor Dominic in?”
  “Yes, actually, do you have an appointment?”
  “No. Tell him Detective Rodriguez is here; now, please.” Her smile faded and brow furrowed as she rose and passed through the door behind her to the exam rooms. A few minutes passed before she returned, following close behind the portly doctor.
  “Hello again,” Doctor Dominic said, outstretching his hand to the detective.
  “It’s nice to see you without that god-awful pig mask.”
  “It was all in good fun,” he smiled.
  “So, I have several questions. You seem to be the center of my investigation.”
  “Oh? How so?”
  “We’ll get to that. First, what cars do you,” he pointed to the woman behind the doctor, “and you drive?”
  “I drive the pearl Mercedes out there,” he said.
  “The red Focus,” she chirped nervously.
  “What about that black car out there?” The doctor stepped around Rodriguez and peered out through the glass door.
  “I have no idea. Must belong to someone else in the office building.”
  “Do you know anyone named Carl Haire?”
  “No.” The woman shook her head.
  “Why did your business pay for the rental for Ms. Haas?”
  “Oh, Lavender! She’s a regular patient, sweet girl; we know her pretty well,” he turned to the receptionist who nodded and smiled in agreement, “and she came in here the other day complaining that she had to take a bus to her appointment because her car was stolen. Well, honestly she has great insurance, so I thought it only nice to repay her for making me so much money by supplying her with a vehicle until she could get another on her own.”
  His phone already in his hand, Rodriguez pulled up the picture of the man at the gala with the two different colored eyes. “Who is this?” Dominic squinted at the screen.
  “I don’t know, I only met him night.” The receptionist leaned in to look, but unlike the doctor’s stoic face, Rodriguez noticed the glint of recognition in her eyes and a slight twitch of her lips before she shook her head, “No. Doesn’t look familiar.” He just stood, phone still outstretched, and watched the two. The silence itched at the woman, she began to fidget, but the doctor, with his innocent expression, asked, “Is… there… something else?”
  “No,” he feigned a smile and pocketed his phone. “Oh, but you might want to let your office building know that that car is being towed today. Bye,” Rodriguez didn’t wait for a farewell from the other two; he felt it best to let them stew, but he had no intention of leaving that parking lot. Daylight surveillance… not the best, but he didn’t care.

  All of the eggs were gone, the grubs squished, leaving only the dead giant worm still in the lab. Vera sat in her car, staring at the entrance; she was supposed to be meeting with Angelica and Carolena about how to move forward. Ping… Her phone chimed with a text from John. ‘If you could use a vacation’, How did he know? ‘the next set of coordinates on that list is only a few towns over. Looks like another lab or something.’ Vera laid the phone in her lap and bit her lip. On the one hand she felt needed due to (and responsible for) recent events; Martin in the hospital, again because of her, Jeffrey texting asking her on an official date, and poor Carolena who lost not only her partner, but her intern may have been being arrested for murder at that very moment, also because of her. On the other hand, she was being followed, and getting out of town may let everything cool down. ‘Alright’, she texted back, ‘I need to bug-out’.

  “Thank you,” Doctor Andrew Dominic said to his receptionist, Felicity, “for not giving poor Carl away. Expect a special bonus this paycheck.” He winked at her and walked into a back exam room. Leaning against a counter, a tall man with one brown eye and one blue looked up at the open door.
  “This thing was hell getting into my car,” he pointed to the fat, three foot worm on the bed.
  “Speaking of your car, it’s being towed.”
  “You were sloppy. You got caught.”
  “I did everything you asked!”
  “Not very well, I’m afraid.”
  “What the hell is it being towed for?”
  “The detective knows, or at least has a hunch, that you are responsible for Derek’s death and Lavender’s.”
  “Whoa, she got sloppy and let the thing eat her. She called me to come get it and when I got there she was dead.”
  “It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t have lifted your mask before you left the gala. I also said I wanted this thing alive.”
  “I didn’t shoot it!”
  “It’s hard to find good help. That stupid girl shouldn’t have handed out my worms like they were toys, then at least I might have one to study. How hard is it to research immortality?”
  “Whatever,” Carl laughed to himself at the mad scientist standing hunched over the dead creature beside him.
  “I wonder what you would have blossomed into,” Dominic said fondly to his prize.

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Vera King II: Wormanoid - Chapter 11 The Apartment

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner
Chapter 11
The Apartment

 It was still black outside when Jeffrey’s alarm went off. His morning routine consisted of push ups, crunches, and squats followed by a jog around the neighborhood. Each house that passed laid dark and silent as their occupants slumbered under the slowly dawning twilight. The solitude was comforting; Jeffrey still wobbled and tripped over his own feet every once in awhile and he didn’t want an audience.
 During the ride to work, he tried to build up the nerve to ask John for permission to borrow his car, but he wasn’t sure if he should tell him why. On the one hand he was planning to ask out John’s ex, Vera, and he didn’t want to stir up any problems with his boss and roommate, but on the other they had been broken up for years and she made it very clear on numerous occasions that she didn’t want to get back together. “So, I’m hoping to go to the beerfest thing downtown this weekend, and I was thinking of taking a date, and I was hoping to borrow your car; that is, if you don’t have plans,” he held his breath in anticipation of John’s ‘Who with?’ question, but it didn’t come. “No problem.”
 What Jeffrey didn’t realize was that John knew he liked Vera. That jealousy had been growing for awhile, but he’d been making plans of his own and those depended strongly on there being no animosity between he and his ex; so that meant no destructive actions on his part. He quickly changed the subject; after all, he liked Jeffrey and didn’t want to feel that icepick of deceit in his back anymore.
 At work the sea was calm and Jeffrey stood near his new friend, Ray, as they stared out over the blue sparkling horizon. “So, that doctor guy, Ashlan, says I’m improving well.”
 “That’s good, man.”
 “Yeah, I’m gonna try to take Vera this weekend to that beer thing you told me about.”
 Ray frowned and rubbed the back of his neck, “Hey, I have kind of a confession to make.” Jeffrey looked over at him and patiently waited. “I, uh, sent a photo of you,” Ray grabbed the phone from his pocket, “and Vera that night at the gala... to John.”
 “Oh yeah,” Jeffrey smirked, “why?” Ray pulled the photo up on his screen and texted it to him.
 “I don’t know, man. I just felt like I had to report or something, but I feel bad about it. Sorry.”
 “Nah,” he replied, chuckling, “it’s no problem, really.” The photo pinged to his phone; the image of Vera... in her dress, captivated him. Without thinking, he sent it off to her along with the message: ‘I had a great time.’

 Ding. Vera’s phone chimed with a photo from Jeffrey as she lied in bed, her mind still racing from the previous day’s events. “Whoa… No way,” she enlarged the image for a closer look; standing behind her was the blue and brown eyed man -his mask up.

 With a gentle tap of his knuckles, Detective Rodriguez rapped on the metal, second story apartment door. Staring back at him from above the peephole were the numbers ‘203’ in chipping black metal -the home of Lavender Haas. Over the railing in the parking lot below he looked down at her black rental truck, but his attention was diverted by a loud crashing noise from within the apartment. He drew his gun and jiggled the handle; it opened.
 Squeak… the hinges squealed as he pushed the door open along the laminate floor. “Hello?” he called out, “Ms. Haas?” A strange, fishy odor emanated from the dimly lit living room. “Hello?” he said again as he stepped fully inside.
 Thud! Thud! Rodriguez peered carefully behind the front door toward the noise; he could see into the small kitchen over the peninsula. The detective glided closer and leaned over the countertop; on the ground, thrashing around, was a fat three-foot long grub.
 As if sensing his presence, the creature raised up, clasping it’s long pincers in the air toward him. Rodriguez jumped up on the counter, panicking, debating back and forth whether or not to shoot the writhing worm. It flopped out of the kitchen toward the open door, leaving a trail of blood behind it. His eyes followed backward along the slick track and saw, tucked up along the peninsula beneath him, what looked like the dismembered remains of a person; a woman.
 Bang! The bullet struck the grub, sending white and red ooze splattering onto the wall, but still it moved, ever closer to the exit. Again, he fired, and again, until finally the creature stopped just inches shy of the open metal door; a lifeless worm.
 Several minutes passed before Rodriguez gulped, his palms sweating, and stepped down off the counter; he didn’t want to take any chance. Giving it a wide berth, he quickly stepped back outside and closed the door before calling for backup.
 As he made his way down the stairs to meet with the other officers, he passed two men, both dressed in black, jogging up. They nodded to each other; there was something familiar about one of them, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
 Ping, the detective’s phone chimed with a text from Vera King as he warned the team of the gruesome scene in the second floor apartment.  

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vera King: Wormanoid -Book 2 Chapter 10: Again?

By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 10

 All day Jeffrey had been sweeping, mopping, and tying ropes; it was hardly the life he expected for himself before being frozen. He had pictured an accumulated wealth from his family waiting for him, his belongings in storage somewhere, and a more futuristic world surrounding him, but the life of a grunt seaman wasn’t even on his radar. The sun was hot, made worse by the reflection off the water, and the bobbing on the waves from nine to five everyday messed with his equilibrium; he had hoped to be used to it by then, but still he’d have to stand near the wire railing to catch himself.
 As a captain, Jeffrey felt John was fair, even friendly, but his interests outside of work were few and far between. Oswald was nice enough, but seldom fraternized during work; he was more willing to meet after at a bar. He had instead developed a closeness with Ray and found himself joking around with him most of all.
 “So, Jeffy, man,” Ray began, “what’s up with you and Vera?”
 Jeffrey shrugged and winced at being called Jeffy, it was a bit off putting. “I mean, I like her, but I don’t know how she feels. She’s hard to read.”
 “Yeah, yeah, man. You know she and John dated for awhile, right?” Jeffrey nodded; he’d been able to put together bits and pieces, but didn’t quite know the whole story. “He’s still infatuated with her,” Jeffrey picked up on that, too, “and I think that he thinks she’s coming back.” They each looked up from the deck at the bridge where John and Oswald chatted behind the controls.
 “So, Sting,” Jeffrey swallowed, “what happened between them?” He’d been desperately searching for a time to ask someone, anyone that question, and the opportunity seemed to present itself in Ray.
 Ray smiled and held his index finger to his lips, then, in a hushed tone, he began, “It was after high school for them…”

 There was something about the intern, Lavender, that Vera and Angelica decided together wasn’t right. They devised a plan so that Angelica would alert her immediately when the young girl left for the day, “Usually at about five,” so that Vera could follow her.
 It was ten minutes past five as Vera watched from across the street. Her phone chimed from Angelica, ‘She’s heading out now.’ The intern climbed into a black pick-up; her rental. As Vera followed suit, she kept looking in her rearview, expecting to see the all-too-familiar black sedan, but, almost disappointed, she saw nothing. They soon approached familiar territory; the road and then the parking lot all flooded back to her: they were at the offices of Spencer Medical Group. That was where Martin last contacted her from… It clicked in Vera’s mind that Lavender must in fact be responsible for his accident, but how, and why? She parked across the street and waited patiently; fifteen minutes passed before Lavender exited and drove off. Vera remained; she wanted to find out what was going on in there.
 The posted hours read closed, but Vera could see Felicity, the woman she’d spoken to while investigating for Jeffrey, seated at the reception desk. She knocked gently on the glass door and waved, holding up the cheap bouquet of flowers that she had bought from the convenience store a block away. Felicity smiled and buzzed her in. “Hi, dear, I heard about what happened to poor Doctor Spencer and I wanted to bring your office these flowers, to show my sympathies.”
 “Ah, that’s so sweet,” she took the bouquet and laid them down atop the counter. “How have you been, hun?”
 “Fine,” Vera began, “but actually, surprisingly, I was recommended to you by someone I’ve been working with, uh Lavender...something… Haas, I think. She works at B&E Research. I’ve been there a few days now and have had some pain in my lower back. She suggested I come by and see her doctor, uh, Doctor…”
 “Dominic. Yeah, she’s in here all the time, just between us,” she leaned in, “I think she’s a hypochondriac or something. Always crying wolf. I’ve even heard Doctor Dominic say that some of her wounds looked self-inflicted.”
 “Really?” It seemed like an important statement, but Vera wasn’t sure what to do with that information. The only thing that she could think of to do was reach out to the annoying, yet capable, Detective Rodriguez.
 She scheduled an appointment with the doctor’s office for two days from then, thanked Felicity, and retreated to her car to call Rodriguez. “Ms. King… How horrible it is to hear from you. Who died now?”
 Through gritted teeth, she replied, “You’re too much.” After a deep breath, Vera continued, “I was hired to watch over a lab, B&E Research, and they’ve been having break ins, accidents, crazy stuff, and I think that their intern, a girl named Lavender Haas, may be responsible and it may have something to do with Spencer Medical Group and that pig guy Dominic.”
 “Whoa. whoa, slow down. There’s too much info. Take it one piece at a time. What now?”
 Vera gently rubbed her temples before continuing, “I was hired to watch B&E Research.” She paused. “Ok,” he replied. “They have an intern named Lavender Haas,” she paused again.
 “Wait, Lavender Haas. I know that name. How did you get hired there?”
 “Well,” she licked her lips, debating whether or not to mention the eggs, “they had a theft and a mysterious lab accident, and they thought it best to hire a guard to watch over the lab. That’s how I met the intern.”
 “Uh huh… and it’s just a coincidence that you were at that gala with the murder?”
 “What? What does that have to do with Lavender? I was invited to that by my uncle.”
 “The dead guy at that event had a fiance named Lavender Haas. When I looked more into it I found that she’d filed a couple reports of domestic abuse, but then dropped the charges. She got a reputation for crying wolf.” There was that phrase again, crying wolf, just as Felicity had said.
 “Is it possible she wasn’t lying?” Vera didn’t want to take abuse claims lightly.
 “A doctor said that her wounds looked more self-inflicted.”
 “Was that Doctor Dominic?”
 He paused, “Maybe. So finish what you were trying to tell me.”
 “I think she might be a serial killer. I think she’s the one releasing the worms. One killed one of the biologists at the lab, then there was the one at the hospital, and I found one in my purse after I left there.”
 “So, you had seen it before. Again, how can I trust you when you continue to lie to me?”
 She rolled her eyes and continued, “Anyway, I followed her today to Spencer Medical Group -where Doctor Dominic works and that was the last place my employee, Martin, was before he was crashed into by a white truck; the same type of truck owned by Lavender... that she claimed was stolen.”
 There was a long pause before Rodriguez asked, “Why was he there?”
 “I was being followed by a strange black sedan -that I’ve never seen before, but it was tailing me everywhere I went. So, I asked him to follow it, and he reported back to me that he followed it there.”
 “A black sedan, huh?”
 “Yeah… Why?”
 “Did he get a plate?” Vera pulled up the photo on her phone that Martin had sent her and read the string of letters and numbers aloud.

 “Where’s my phone?” Martin asked his brother from his hospital bed.
 Drew looked up from his tablet, “It wasn’t in the car or with you. Give me a minute and I’ll track it.” He tried to log into Martin’s phone remotely, but its lack of signal meant it had somehow been turned off.
 “I took a photo of the guy’s registration, check my photos,” Martin suggested. Drew obeyed and logged into his brother’s phone’s photos, but the last picture appeared to be of a meal from the week before.
 “I think it’s been deleted,” Drew said.
 Martin thought a moment, “Uh… I read it… I think it said the guy’s name was Carl Haire. Text that to Vera.”

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Vera King II: Wormanoid - Chapter 9 Doppleganger

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 9

 The security room of the hospital resembled more of a storage closet than a command center. Vera and Drew crammed in behind the guard surrounded by monitors like a flight deck glowing blue from wall to wall. A small wire shelving unit was shoved in one corner to the left and stacked with wires and disassembled cameras while a small microwave resting atop a mini fridge stood in the other.
 “Here,” the man seated before them pointed to one of the screens. The two watched anxiously as a woman walked into Martin’s room, placed a vase of flowers on the side table and turned to leave. She appeared to be wearing a black beanie and… Vera gasped and squinted as she leaned in closer… rose embroidered jeans like Angelica had been wearing at the lab earlier.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Vera King II: Wormanoid - Chapter 8 Part 2

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 8 Part 2

  Alone in his bed, Jackson Wood lied immobile, staring up at the television screen mounted opposite him. The flashing red and green lights from the game show kept his attention diverted from the radiating pain in his back numbed only by the slow drip from the IV. A nurse busied herself in the bathroom restocking while the door to his room stood propped open with her cart.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Vera King II: Wormanoid - Chapter 8 Hospital

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 8

  Drew had returned to his normal, nervous self. “I really hate hospitals,” Vera said, almost stealing the words from her companion as they entered the lobby and approached the reception desk. “We followed the ambulance that brought in Martin Gilleo,” she said to the older woman behind the counter. The keyboard clicked and clacked as she searched, the blue screen reflected in her glasses.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vera King II: Wormanoid - Chapter 7 Followers Beware

Vera King: Wormanoid
Book 2 in the series.
By: C. S. Warner

Chapter 7
Followers Beware

  The mounting mystery surrounding the black sedan had finally lead to something tangible for Martin. He had followed the infamous vehicle to the parking lot of Spencer Medical Group. That name had been thrown around more than once from Vera in recent weeks, and finding it return to base at none other than where everything had seemed to begin was like winning the lottery for him.
  Parking across the street, Martin pulled out his phone and zoomed in to photo the car and it’s driver as he exited, slamming the door shut behind him. He wore a baseball cap, large sunglasses, and a small book bag, but Martin was still able to get a clear shot of not only his profile, but the license plate; which he immediately sent to his boss, Vera.

Vera King - Web Serial