Raven’s Game Part 2 #horror #Halloween #thriller


Detective Gemma Cook runs her thumb around her badge while staring at the strange woman sitting across from her. It is not the first time she has had to bring the grinning brunette in for an interview. Even so, the hotel owner’s golden eye-patch continues to give the seasoned police officer a creepy vibe. The black and red dress that reminds her of a gothic noble does not make the situation any more relaxing. Gemma is aware of the theme banquet that has been promoted online for the last two weeks, but she would have preferred that the other woman be less eye-catching. She can already sense that there is a crowd on the opposite side of the one way mirror that is behind her. The glint in her suspect’s green eye is enough to make her bang on the glass and gesture for her coworkers to leave.

“You seem to enjoy an audience, Ms. Addison,” Gemma states while opening a notepad. It takes two clicks to get her battered pen to work, the first mark leaving a small splatter on the lined page. “Now, I have a few questions for you to answer. This is entirely routine, but we have to cover all of our bases. Did you know the deceased?”

“You should really put some color in this room,” Dawn replies while sipping at the tea she arrived with. Pouring herself a fresh cup, the calm hotel owner leans back and puts her booted feet on the table. “Carl came to Heaven’s Nest five times this year and twice last year. He was becoming one of our regulars before he threw himself from the balcony. Poor thing had gone through a terrible divorce that cost him a lot of money and reputation. I offered to make his problem go away, but he declined. Guess he simply had enough and wanted to see if he could hit the pool.”

“That doesn’t really answer my question.”

“I knew him in passing, Detective Cook.”

“What were you doing at the time of his death?”

“My husband.”

Gemma can only stare at the impish smirk on Dawn’s face, the blunt answer making the red-haired cop lose her composure. Pushing her chair back, she begins to pace from one end of the mirror to the other. The attempt to let the tension thicken fails when the suspect yawns and leans forward to put her head on the table. A gentle snoring rolls from the woman’s throat, the noise always cutting off with a sound that resembles a horse neighing. Slamming her hands down on the table, Gemma wakes Dawn and scowls at the innocent smile she receives.

“This is the fifth gruesome death at your hotel and it’s only April!” the detective shouts as she opens a folder. Tossing pictures of the victims on the table, she watches Dawn for any sign of recognition. “One person was cut in two by an elevator while another was mauled by a Seeing Eye dog that nobody ever claimed. Two people have fallen to their death too. Though my personal favorite is the woman who was electrocuted by the pinball machine. Mechanical failure, suicides, and faulty wiring were your collection of reasons. Yet, I really do think it’s strange that so many people have died at your establishment.”

“You remind me of a stubborn kitty. I like you,” Dawn says while nonchalantly moving the pictures around. Putting them in a pile, she tries to use them like a flipbook and giggles at how the bodies seem to twitch. “Accident happen and I compensated the families of those that died. I can’t be held accountable for any of this. Not like I pushed Carl off the building, which is why I wonder why you’re after me again. Ever since my husband and I set up shop two years ago, you’ve been poking at my life. Just like a curious kitten.”

“There’s something wrong about you,” Gemma claims, her skin crawling from being so close to the other woman. A chilling breeze runs through the room, so she bangs on the mirror to get them to turn the air conditioning off. “Your hotel appeared overnight and nobody in this city questions it. You talk about a husband that never shows up in public. These deaths simply add to my suspicions that you’re more than you seem. Then again, I could be wrong and you’re entirely normal.”

Dawn feigns a look of horror and drops her teacup on the floor, the porcelain shattering into jagged shard. “My dear, I am anything, but that. There’s never any fun in normal and I enjoy every minute of my life. Besides, there are simple explanations. My husband is shy and prefers to let me be the public figure. As for our quick arrival, there is so much construction in this city that nobody notices more of it. We didn’t announce ourselves until everything was done, so I can see how you were confused.”

“There is something wrong about you.”

“Well, I haven’t been the same since I lost my unicorn.”

“You see, I want to believe you’re joking, but you come off as serious when you say stuff like that.”

“Losing your unicorn is nothing to take lightly.”

“There is no such creature.”

“Well not any more since I had the last one and he’s gone.”

“Do you understand that we’re here because someone died?”

Wiping a few tears from her eyes, Dawn slides the picture of Carl’s body across the table. “I am well aware, but he did it to himself. The man was drinking a lot beforehand and took one of the waitresses upstairs to continue the party. He ordered a feast from room service, which I assume was a last meal. Guess he couldn’t wait or decided not to subject my employee to being a witness to the act. All of this reeks of going out with a bang. That and cheap coffee, which is the norm for this place. Wait a second. I think somebody else in the world just died. Now another one is gone. I think I just heard a twofer. Do you think I had something to do with all of those deaths as well?”

“I . . . what is wrong with you?” Gemma asks, returning to her seat. Unable to look away from the suspect, she pulls a flask off her belt and takes a sip of coffee. “Let’s talk about the past for a bit. Last year saw thirty disappearances and deaths in your hotel. Normally, that would be suspicious, but nearly every hotel with four and five stars had similar numbers. All of this began when you showed up. I don’t believe in coincidences, but that can’t help me here. For all I know, you’re involved in some hotelier war that the guests are becoming collateral damage in. Sounds crazy, but crazy makes a lot of sense around you.”

“You’re so sweet, kitty,” Dawn replies while she pulls a handkerchief out of her dress. She polishes her golden eye patch, being careful around the smooth edges. “I do feel like I’m being targeted at times. Perhaps this city is less inviting than I realized. Our theme nights and charity shows are rather popular. A slice of Vegas in New York is what a critic said. Not sure what he meant. I certainly didn’t start Heaven’s Nest in Vegas, get bored, cut it out of the ground, and move it here over night.”

The door to the interrogation room is shoved open by Captain Blythe, his eyes locking on Gemma. The towering figure’s mustache is bristling as he points at his subordinate and gestures for her to follow him into the hallway. Scowling at the interruption, the detective gathers the pictures and leaves the room. She gets the distinct feeling that Dawn is staring in her general direction even after the door closes behind her. Taking a few steps to the side, she feels better with a solid wall at her back instead of a window.

“I told you not to call Dawn Addison in because there is no way to tie her to this. Just like the previous times,” the chief whispers, trying his best to keep his voice down. Not wanting to embarrass Gemma, he snaps his fingers at anyone who attempts to eavesdrop. “This woman is only unlucky with these things happening around her. Now, I know you think she is up to something, but I can’t have one of my people holding a grudge over nothing. She has promised not to register a complaint against you, so I recommend that you keep your distance. If there are any other incidents at Heaven’s Nest then I’m handing them over to Max Boros. He’s your partner, so I’m sure he’ll keep you up to speed. That’s the best I can do, Cook.”

“All I wanted to do was check every possibility,” Gemma argues as her boss hands her an envelope. She opens the flap and curses when she sees what is written at the top of the folded letter. “You’re putting me on administrative leave? I know I’ve been pushing your buttons with some of my interrogations, but that’s rather extreme. Not to mention I wasn’t even rough with Ms. Addison. How did she get in contact with you about me since she was brought into that room immediately and I was waiting there for her?”

“I gave her my cellphone number after your last go at her, so she texted me,” the chief answers while putting a hand on the detective’s shoulder. Waving an approaching cop away, he softens his voice to prevent Gemma from getting angry. “You’ve been under a lot of stress ever since the New Year’s Eve incident. I told you to stay home until you were ready, but you refused to listen. Now I think you need a vacation for a week or two. At the very least, you need time away to get your head on straight. Last thing I want is you getting into trouble and losing your job. This isn’t a firing. You can come back when you feel better and have a shrink sign off on you.”

The detective taps at her badge, her blue eyes never straying from the letter. “I’ll go on vacation, but I’m not leaving the city. Also, I get to come back without all that red tape if anything happens involving Heaven’s Nest. That place is my territory and I won’t let Max block me out of the big stuff. Yes, I know you’re going to say that I don’t understand what a vacation is, but I don’t care. Just the thought of sitting in my apartment for two weeks is going to drive me insane. Unless you had a specific place to send me.”

“I’ll take the discarded kitty for a few weeks,” Dawn announces, putting an arm around the other woman’s shoulders. She winks at Captain Blythe, who blushes and takes a few quick steps back. “I have a suite on the thirteenth floor that would be perfect for you. I mean, the room is simply to die for. Do we have a deal?”

“You really want me to stay in your hotel?” Gemma asks, earning an emphatic nod from the friendly hotelier. Ignoring the feeling of fingers tickling up her spine, the cop hands over her badge and gun. “I’ll be checking in tomorrow morning. Guess you’ll show me just how normal and innocent you are.”

“No, no, no, little kitty. That’s not what this vacation is about. After all, there’s never any fun in normal.”

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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17 Responses to Raven’s Game Part 2 #horror #Halloween #thriller

  1. What a great idea! Have the detective stay over. This is getting better and better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. davidprosser says:

    Great reading Charles.


  3. L. Marie says:

    Oh my goodness!!! Gemma run! (But we don’t really want you to.)


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