Memento Mori


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Scene Title Memento Mori
Synopsis Ezra Grimes digs up a skeleton in a graveyard, and it has nothing to do with Flint Deckard coincidentally.
Date March 16, 2009

Calvary Cemetery

Were it not for all of the unmelted snow, the feeling in the air would be unmistakable as a crisp Autumn afternoon. There's something about the stillness in the air of any Cemetary that brings memories of Autumn, of fallen leaves and dry, brittle branches underfoot. But it's none of those romantic visions that greetz Ezra Grimes as he walks up the shoveled footpath between skewed headstones and frosted monuments today. There's nothing but the cold, skeletal claws of winter here, and a feeling in his gut that just won't go away.

Monday, March 16th — 3:34pm

Over the last few days, Ezra Grimes has been hitting the streets hard. From the Mahjong parlors in Chinatown, to the cardgames in SoHo and Little Italy. Everywhere he goes, Case's name pops up on the lips of habitual gamblers willing to sell a man out for a buck. It seems Ezra's suspicions were right on the money — Case was making high-stakes wagers and coming out snake-eyes on them all, a man who never seems to catcha lucky break. Everything Tyler has, everything he's been gambling, has put him at what Ezra can ascertain is breaking even. In the end, it becomes more and more apparent that Case has been absent from his usual hangouts for two days, which leaves one last place to follow up leads.

Day 25

Walking along the winding pathway through Calvary Cemetary, the sun ducls behind a cloud, muting the contrast of light and shadow from the birstling headstones rising up from a white and brown patchwork of snow and dead grass. The grave of Elisabeth Case is an unremarkable thing, seven headstones in from the walkway in the shadow of a leafless elm tree that catches rays of the sun between its stick-bare branches. While it's clear a path has been trod through the snow to the headstone, it's not Tyler Case that Ezra finds crouched at the grave. Instead, a young woman with a black and gray knit stocking cap in a brown pea coat kneels in the snow, long brown hair spilling out in curly waves from beneath the hat, obscuring her face, safe for the downturned corners of her mouth when the wind plays at the chestnut locks.

Find something new every day, don't you?

It's a cemetery, but who gives a damn? Ezra's smoking as he comes down the row of headstones, trailing smoke behind him as he maneuvers. The trodden path through the snow doesn't excite him — one look and he confirms it. Unless Tyler Case's a victim of Chinese foot binding, there's no way that's his shoe-size. Still, he heads down the almost-beaten path, his hands in his pockets. He's wearing a heavy red hoodie with a black blazer. Not quite suited for the average police officer, but whatever.

"Miss," he says, announcing his presence. He heads up the path, his hands in his pockets. "Sorry to interrupt you."

Hazel eyes stare through a mess of curly brown hair before it's brushed aside with a wool-gloved hand. The woman staring up at Ezra doesn't say anything for a moment, looking remarkably stunned by the appearance of someone in the cemetary. She looks around, eyes darting across the otherwise vacant fields of grave markers, trees and monuments before focusing back on the slim man moving up the path. She immediately rises to her feet with a placating smile, mud and dirt soiling the knees of her worn and tattered jeans, the same mud that cakes the soles of her worn out and dirty sneakers.

"I— " When she speaks it's obvious there's tension in her aborted attempt to speak. She looks around again, a placating smile creeping up on her lips. "It's— I was just leaving," her eyes downcast and she sidesteps the walkway into the snow, making a wide berth for Ezra to pass her by.

"Hey, don't mind me," Ezra says, his hands still in his pockets. He's barely moving — he doesn't seem at all apt to budge, but her tension is not lost on her. He reaches for his badge and flashes it. She'll either run, in which case he'll have to catch her, or this'll calm her down, since it means he's not here to, say, kidnap her or something. Either way, he'll learn something interesting.

"You knew the Cases?"

"N-no I— " The woman begins to stutter out a denial, but then turns her head to the side only to catch the gleam of sunlight on Ezra's badge when the sun finally decides to peek out from behind the clouds. The wind picks up, playing at the woman's hair, sending dark tresses blowing across cold, reddened cheeks. She raises her hands, breathing into her gloves as her eyes stay locked on Ezra's. There's no response, not for him, not right away.

She just stands there, for a time, before letting her eyes fall to look down at the grave marker again.

= Elizabeth Marie Case

= April 1st, 1978 - November 6th, 2006

"Is… there something I can help you with off— " she squints at the badge, "Detective?" While for all her worth the short and wafer-thin woman looks like a deer in the headlights, there's something calm about her voice, like she's struggling and mostly succeeding not to sound as terrified as she looks. At least she's winning on that front.

Ezra squints, looking at the woman. He glances at the headstone, and something in his head clicks over, like a gear locking into place. His eyes dart up and down, making notes. Eye color. Hair color. Does that look like a dye job? "Yeah. Grimes. Call me Ezra. You work here, or something?" Ezra says, staring at her pretty intently — watching the movements of her throat, the darting of her eyes. All the signs of lies.

"I was hoping to get lucky and find somebody who'd seen a man I'm looking for," Ezra says, and reaches into his pocket for a old photograph — printed out on matte paper at the lab, but a picture all the same. He glances at it, and then back at her. "Huh. You could be siblings. Funny coincidence, huh?"

Her eyes flick over the photograph and then down to the ground at her feet, "Sorry I don't recognize him," she didn't even give it long enough to register. "I— have to— my husband is supposed to be meeting me here soon, I— should go." The way she says husband is almost like a threat, a wording designed to conjure up an image of a huge and protective caveman with a club. She keeps her eyes from Ezra, beginning to walk through the melting snow to pass by the detective's side. "Sorry I— I wasn't able to be much help," she adds with a murmur, head down.

Ezra steps forward and tries to get catch her wrist in his hand. He's got to lay his cards on the table. If he gets mean, he could lose the lead for good. "Listen," he says, trying to make eye contact. "I don't think he's done half of what they say he's done. There are a lot of people looking for him, and I think I might be the only person who can give him a fair shake."

"If I don't find him soon the next time anybody sees him he might not be breathing."

When her wrist is snatched the woman recoils, but not enough to break Ezra's grasp, just enough to jerk back in surprise. She tenses, visibly, but her reaction is a bit atypical. The way she tenses and stands her ground, the way her eyes divert and head bows are all indicative of someone who's used to being manhandled like this, signs of someone who's suffered from some form of physical abuse.

Her eyes only meet Ezra's when she hears what he has to say about the man in the photograph. "What did he do?" Her brows knit together, jaw trembling, and then she curls her fingers tight to her palms and looks away. Everything about her bristles with regret, the kind of stupid reactionary comment she made perhaps more than gave away her identity.

Gotcha. Ezra releases her, having gotten what he wanted. Jerk. "He's in trouble with some real scary people. … And somebody scarier. And a lot of my colleagues… think he's a killer." Ezra pockets the photograph. "But I'm smarter than they are, and I don't. I just need some help to prove it. I need to find Tyler Case — I need the whole story."

"I— " The woman withdraws her hand quickly when its released, bringing it up to cover her mouth as she looks down to the snow, "I don't know where he is— what— " when she swallows, there's a ragged and emotional quality to it. "I don't talk to him, he— everyone thinks— " pressing his lips together tightly, she shakes her head and rolls her shoulders forward, letting gloved hands slide into the pockets of her peacoat.

"I haven't talked… to Tyler in two years." Her eyes wrench shut, "Murder." The idea is somewhat sickening, somewhat horrifying, "Jesus…"

"He doesn't know, does he?" Ezra scowls. "Jesus." He holds one hand up to reassure her. His other hand, though, starts rooting around in one of his pockets. Don't mind me, miss. "I think he's innocent. But I need to prove it, and I need to figure out how to get him clear of the people who want him — if I was sure it'd be safe, I'd put him in a cell."

"Listen, I don't give a damn about you, but I've going to solve this case, one way or another, and the fewer bodies there are at the end the better. I need your help. So does he."

She doesn't look up at Ezra after the confirmation lays heavy on her about who she is — Elizabeth Case in the flesh. It's ironic, after a fashon, that Ezra had dismissed the idea of using a 'risen from the dead' Elizabeth as a way to lure Case out of hiding, when the brutal truth of the matter is that she very well is alive. The world's got a sick sense of humor, and this afternoon the joke is on Ezra Grimes.

"I don't— he's not supposed to— " Libby as she was known among the Triads, looks down squarely to her sneakers. "I've been… away. It's better for him, he— who's— who's looking for him?" She doesn't want to know, the horribly slim profile she gives her shoulders indicates all too clearly her anxiety, she already knows in her heart.

"The usual. The Triads. A third party. Not sure who." Ezra drops that like he's dropping a line in a pond, but he keeps up the pressure. "People are dead. I don't think he did it. I think I've pieced everything together, now. I just need a little bit more to tie it together. But, listen."

"This time is different. With what he knows, we might…" The thought that he can't trust Elizabeth passes through his mind. As Tyler would say — sometimes you have to roll the hard six. "… we might be able to put some of your old Triad pals away. Maybe a whole lot of them, starting at the top. With that kind of information, he could cut a deal — really get clear."

"And with you, he's got a reason. Give me 24 hours. Trust me that long."

Clenching her jaw and straining a sigh out through her teeth, Libby closes her eyes and slowly shakes her head. "I— " words fail her for a moment, and perhaps the emotional content of the whimper that slips out instead of words is lost on Ezra. "I don't want him to know— he's better— fuck." For all that Libby turns away and takes a few wandering steps, there's no real indication she's going to run. She just treads across the snow and stops, hanging her head to afford Ezra a clear view of her back.

When she turns around, her gloved hands are wiping as her eyes, reddened around the edges to match the color of her windblown cheeks and nose. "What— do you expect me to do? I— he's— " Triads, her little brother has fallen into the same pile of horse-shit she did. "What do you want me to do?"

"You better stay clear of the station. Do whatever you've been doing. You… Just keep this," he says, and reaches for his phone. "Keep this and be ready to pick up when I call. It'll be from this number." He indicates somebody in his phonebook named '#1 Mommy'. "I might pick you up. I might just need you to talk. I don't know yet. But can you do that for me?"

"You're the only chance he's got to become somebody else."

March 16th: Come Fetch

Previously in this storyline…
Check the Pet Shops

Next in this storyline…
Just Be...

March 16th: Just Be...
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