Written and Created by Darryll B. Carter
Disclamer: Watchers & all characters within Watchers is the copyright and property of Darryll B. Carter. Do not use with out express written permission of Darryll B. Carter.
A dark storm looms overhead at the apex of the witching hour. The wind howls and thunder cackles while rain teases its arrival with an incessant drizzle. The downtown city streets have traded the droves of diurnal pedestrians and vehicle traffic for nigh emptiness; the footsteps and rolling tires of a precious few.
A silver haired woman of wizened years makes her way down the sidewalk. Her footsteps are soft, but firm with confidence. She’s painted white, then black, then white again as she travels in and out of the cast down light of the street lamps above her. Over her shoulder she carries a dark satchel filled to the brim with printed documents, edges of paper are forcing their way out from under the satchel’s lip. The satchel’s strap hugs her tight between her breasts as it runs from her shoulder to her hip. It has seen better days; the straps are frayed at the base and bag worn by years of use.
A loud crash echoes behind her, sending a jolt up her spine and forcing her to swing her body around. The sudden movement breaks her confident posture and the strap of her satchel. It plummets to the ground with a slight crack. The impact flips the lip open and sends dozens of documents flying and a laptop sliding out into the street. She stands wide eyed recovering from the sudden shock. Two cars are in shambles at the nearby intersection. Their hoods are covered in rumples and their tires flat. The drivers begin to throw swears at each other on their vehicle’s behalf while they prance in broken glass.
Her eyes narrow as she pulls herself from her fright. She lowers to her knees quickly scrambles for her empty bag, reaching inside. She pulls from a zippered pocket a small black USB drive and clenches it in her fist. She rushes to her feet as swiftly as able and takes to foot running hurriedly.
She reaches a stairwell going down beneath the street marked by an orange sign that reads ‘Lombard-South, Broad Street Line’. She unflinchingly makes her way down the grim concrete stairs into the pale white light of the subway station below the street level. As she leaves the final flight of stairs a sudden and violent tremor jostles her footing. She grabs the nearby railing for dear life, but soon realizes it too is giving way. The sound of heavy cracking of pummeled concrete travels down the stairwell from above. The concrete of the stairwell ceiling begins to chip and crumble to the steps below.
She rushes forward for the row of turnstiles, once regaining her footing, carefully focused not to look over her shoulder. She pulls a pass from her pocket and begins to swipe hurriedly to unlock the turnstile and pass swiftly beyond. Her panic hastens and the turnstile gate unlocks as she hears the faint sound of the train’s horn approaching the station. She forces her way through the turnstile’s rotating arms getting the tail of her coat stuck in the process. With no thought at all she abandons her coat and runs for the stairwell with sign labeled ‘Southbound’.
The squealing sound of the train’s metal wheels and steel rails wails louder. The silver haired woman reaches the train platform and rushes to the far end, eager to be as far away from the stairwell she came down as possible. The fear and tension in her body begins builds to unnerving heights as she’s forced to wait for her screeching iron steed. Tremors vibrate through her legs and the light from the train shines in sight from down its tunnel. The train rockets from the tunnel and begins to screech to a stop. Just then, the heavy cracking of the subway’s tiled walls sounds behind her followed by the cracking of the platform concrete immediately behind her. The tremor shakes her very core, nearly dropping her to the ground.
A guttural and deep voice speaks out from behind her.
“You cannot prevent his awakening. Great Cthulu will be wrested from his sleep. ”
She closes her eyes as her body finds itself twirling in to the air over the subway tracks. The white of the train’s bright light bathes her as she falls. The train hits her body, knocking it forward and to the tracks. The train’s squeal is nearly overshadowed by her short, sharp yelp of pain. It screeches to a stop crushing and severing her beneath.
The sun shines over tombstone laced green fields and soft rolled hills. A crowd of people clothed in dark shades hover around a birch colored casket like a murder of crows sitting in a stone lined meadow. At varying distances around them are the aged statues of winged beings and persons of worship, gazing over them as if passing sentence.
The cemetery caretaker begins to lower the casket into the earth as the preacher recites his words of scripture and support for family and friends. They toss their flowers into the grave and break off from the ceremony in varying paces. An elderly woman is heavily taken by grief, collapsing to her knees unable to move. The black veil in front of her face cannot conceal the tears that flow behind it. Two men, one of heightened years, the other of heightened stature help her to her feet and take her away.
As the preacher closes his mouth and book a young woman steps forward. She is an eyesore amidst the rest of the crowd, dressed in denim jeans and sneakers. Although, her choice of blouse meets traditional dress code, the black plaid military cap upon her short but fierce scarlet hair received ill approval.
She grabs a sum of earth from a nearby pile prepped for the burial. She crouches down to the pole supports around the casket’s hole. Gently extending her hand over the lowering casket she softly lets the earth flow from her palm.
“Say hi to my parents for me,” she whispers while returning to height. She brushes her hands together letting the remnants of earth fall where they may. With the tuck of her hat she makes her way off leaving what’s left of the sobbing crowd behind her. She makes her way by the rows of tombstones and grave markers to the asphalt road where parked. Her eyes are glossy, but her tears are stifled. Her feet step upon the road, only a short distance from the ceremony. Her travelling ends beside a heavily dented… mostly black sedan, with a red front bumper and an off white driver side door.
“Yeah, that’s her. Ms. Tillmitt” a strong female voice says.
”Ms. Tillmitt can we have a word with you?” A male voice asks.
The young scarlet brings the rustling of her keys to a halt and turns around to find a able bodied man and a strong jawed woman behind her. They were both dressed in formal, but comfortable clothing; slacks and casual shoes with a tie for the man and a sports coat for the woman.
“Yes?” The scarlet says narrowing her eyes.
“Are Quisten Tillmitt?” The man asks reaching into his coat pulling out an ID and what could only be interpreted as a police badge.
“Yeah…?” Quisten says uncertainly.
The woman reached into her coat and pulled out her own badge. “We’re Detectives Olive and Peters,” she said pointing to herself and the man respectively. “You’re a hard person to get a hold of. We have a few questions about your grandmother’s death.”
Quisten starts to examine the detectives closely. Her eyes latch onto Det. Peters while her ears catch what Det. Olive says. “What do you mean? I… I thought you guys said it was suicide?”
Det. Peters subtlety stares into Quisten’s car window. The inside is a mess. Her backseat is an amalgamation of trash, clothes and a bedroom. He starts to drift off and make his way around the car.
“Nothing is conclusive yet,” Det. Olive continued. “We’re still conducting our investigation.”
“You mean like how you’re partner is investigating my car?”
Det. Peters throws his hands up in defense,”I’m just looking,” then continues to circle around her car. “You spend a lot of time in your car Quisten?”
“I’m mobile,” Quisten says with contempt.
Det. Olive smiles and folds her arms, “well that might explain why it was so hard to get in contact with you. You’re listed as next of kin. We needed you to ID her body. We had to use a close friend.”
“Is that a portable stove?” Det. Peters asks comically as he peers at her front bench.
“We weren’t on speaking terms.”
“Yeah, we heard from the people we did get in contact with,” Det. Peters says returning to a serious tone, “Shame really, you too look a lot alike, freckles and all.”
“She put you in the foster system. I get it. I’ve been there. It’s rough,” Det. Olive says consolingly.
“Then you also know I don’t really know anything about her. I’m done with this,” Quisten unlocks and opens the door in one swift motion, but the door is quickly shut by Det. Olive’s firm hand against it.
“Yeah. And we also know the last person she called the night she was murdered was a number in Austin, Texas,” says Det. Peters.
“We know you were in Austin working for a theatre troupe Quisten. We aren’t here to dig skeletons out of your closet or criticize your lifestyle,” she shoots a look at Peters. “We just want to know if you spoke to her and if you have any idea why your grandmother would still be out at work at 3am in the morning.”
Quisten’s tense posture begins to melt. The tone of her voice softens with airs of intrigue and concern.