Missing Persons


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Scene Title Missing Persons
Synopsis An investigation is underway, and a detective talks to a key witness.
Date November 23, 2010

At the Show

The night was supposed to be beautiful.

And at first it was. The pop and searing light of flash photography, illuminating in unreal, strobe-light staccato the sleek cuts, the subtle tones, the shameless wealth and taste and beauty of a line of models, sleek creatures with beautiful faces and bodies so slight they run no risk of distracting or distorting the perfection of the fashions they sport. Anyone who was anyone pressed in through the doors, flooding the interior of the exhibition pace, quickly striated by staff so that the best spots, closest to the runway, were saved for the most influence, the most famous and the most likely to write good reviews.

Even the hubbub, a clashing cacophony of thumping music and seething crowd, the first gunshot cut clear through, echoing against walls and ceiling, a deadly singularity shattered into innumerable fatal fragments. But only the sound, and its result, were noticed. In the snap snap snap of flashes, the muzzle flare was nearly invisible. Stunned, disbelieving, and then simply horrified, the crowd surged out into street well before security could mobilize to cotain the crisis. Those unlucky enough to be caught by the guards when they do respond were herded back into the main room, held until the police arrived

And now, no one is permitted to leave.

It's been hours now, and the razor thin models are looking a strange kind of exotic chattel, gathered in snippy little units as, one by one, they are called into interview by the police detective who has set up shop in one of the secretarial offices. Each one who enters leaves looking sulky, suspicious or scared, and soon the rumors spread. The detective is a brute, he's a beast, he's got an agenda. He's a pompous ass, a hard liner, an ugly taking revenge on the beautiful.

But whatever else he is, he's in charge. And when your name is called, you have to go.

Perched on the edge of her seat, the next interviewee seems to hold a mix of fear and intrigue in pale eyes. This is all very exciting, isn't it? It's all very dangerous, too. There won't be a single long-legged showpony that won't wonder, what if it was her? Why wasn't it her? These questions are on the tip of their tongues as much as it is that of the policemen, but only one group is actually paid to ask such questions. And as long as she isn't being paid

One leg folds over the other, ruffling the crunchy, metallic material of a ruffled skirt. A high heel of shining black comes free of a heel, dangling from toes in a restless swing, while long fingers about lighting up a cigarette and veiling any tremor that might have taken control of— slightly large— hands. Runway make up make deeply black bruises around pale green eyes. The wide collar of a coat wraps around bared shoulders, imperiously adjusted.

"What can I do for you?"

A brute perhaps, and quite possibly so, this detective. Built like a bouncer, but top-heavy, with shoulders as broad as a bull's, it's a wonder his suit can contain the fullness of him. Likely a shopper in Big and Tall stores, examples of the true unfashion, the policeman has a well maintained and highly anachronistic fedora resting by his right hand on the desk. The chair creaks under his bulk, utterly unused to bearing this much person, as he rises to his feet.

"What a civic attitude," comes a voice as deep and sonorous as you'd expect. Deep set blue eyes meet that bruise-painted gaze, either impassive or pitiless - it's hard to say. "I hope this portends cooperation. This is a very confusing case, very confusing. The sort of thing that makes and breaks careers… on both sides of the law."

He rounds the desk and sets himself in a lean against the edge, right by the corner, closing the space between himself and the interrogee, creating a proximity that could be taken as personal or imposing, and might well be intended as both. "I'm not going to ask you about the- unfortunate incident that will be all the news talks about. At least not directly. Please, smoke, relax…" permission given, rather pointedly, after the fact, "I'd like to ask you about something that had slipped everyone's notice until we started to take stock this evening."

The big man reaches into his jacket pocket and removes a folded piece of photo stock. He carefully pulls it open and then offers it up. Though creased deeply, the glossy head shot is unmistakeable. Though black and white, the red of the pictured girl's hair is not difficult to imagine for anyone who's met her.

"Delia Ryans… did you know her before today? She was very new to the business. Bright future, pretty, tall thing that she was. Is, maybe. We don't know. She's missing, you see. A murder and a missing person… quite a world you live in, hm?"

Smoke makes a shivery pattern past lightly painted lips, a sharp inhale at that name and face that the hardened detective will be able to deduce that yes, the fashionista sitting opposite him knows who this girl is. An eyebrow goes up as if considering lying, but decides against it. "Sometimes," is spoken as thick and sweet as syrup, "missing people do not wish to be found." Then, she? She. Sure, why not. She clears her throat, voice taking on a light timbre. "She's not cut out for the business, not for my world.

"What does she have to do with anything, detective?" A hand goes seek for a ceramic ash stray, lined stale and dusty but empty of any other cigarette butts. A tap of a fingertip sends embers knocking off the lit end, other hand restlessly pushing back too glossy raven hair.

"If I was interested in what people wish," the detective says, hand going out to take the ashtray and draw it closer to his person, taking it and its incinerated contents hostage, "I wouldn't be in my line of business. People wish for a whole lot. They wish for fame, fortune. They wish for what's not theirs. They wish for revenge. They wish other people dead." The steep slope of his words into dark topics is accompanied by a much shallower incline up into significance. Implication. Inference.

"Now that's an interesting question," he says, and apparently that is only answer he's giving - a non-answer. He taps one of his large fingers against the edge of the ceramic, well trimmed nail making a light tak tak tak. "You speak like you knew her. Or at least had an impression of her. An assessment. Please- what's the word?" His lips cant in a slanted smile. "Dish."

Mouth purses at the retraction of the ashtray, and so, interviewee leans back in her chair and tosses her head, a fine falling of ash pepper towards the carpet as she keeps her hand hovered away from her fine garments. "Because you're asking so nicely," is drolly delivered and with a little bit of tooth, top lip sneering in bristly reaction to veiled inference. "She's just a friend of mine. I suppose. We played football once." Wait— shaped brows knit a little in consternation at this out of context memory, before she shakes her head again.

"And she came to me…"

Elbow against table edge and chin in palm, thought is as silent and unraveling as smoke from the end of a lit cigarette. "Just passing through. Looking for something. I don't— " Long eyelashes flutter in rapid blinks, before she focuses green eyes on the man across from her, and seems to get some resolve back. Disdain makes haughty features all the more so. "Maybe that's so, Mister Detective," comes out near purred. "But I have nothing to envy of little Delia. I have money, power, fame, fortune. She is, as you say, new."

It's while speaking that the policeman slides the ashtray back within reach; he's not even looking at it while he does it, nor looking at her. His gaze is pointed towards some other thing, unseen, either outside this room or in his head or both. "I'm sure you feel very secure. You are, I'm certain, quite confident in your- uniqueness as a- what would I call you? A performer? An-" what is almost a laugh, aborted, "artist?"

The question seems to be rhetorical. In any case, his eyes swing back around to her, and he's addressing her directly again. "Makes sense, doesn't it. Older, more experienced individual, naturally the sort of person a newcomer would go to for- something?" A craggy brow arches above the dark hollow of his eye. "What something? I'm sure it'll come to you, if you take a moment to reflect."

That gets some bristling, the delicate stammering about what the interviewee happens to be — manifests in a squaring of shoulders and a narrower gaze out from shadowy makeup. A finger protectively coils around one glossy lock of black. "She came to me for an identity, the first time," Logan states, once the moment is passed, voice a little husky from the smoke he's imbibing. "For names and histories and a lack of SLC genetics. No one likes to be a freak, Mister Detective.

"The second time…" Green eyes go glassy in memory. Reflection, as implied. "She was— she was looking for home. For her body. She said that it was empty. She thought I'd know. She gave me this…"

Fingers pick at the silver chain draped around his throat, which may or may not have been there before, and set in silver, a large black pearl, nearly the same size as an eyeball, glossy and unique in itself.

The attention of the room is all upon that smooth sphere. Yes, it is only the detective, but the whole focus of the space seems to center around it, fishbowling perspective to match the curvature of the pearl. The detective leans forward, almost just reaching out and clasping it, but he stops himself short. His hand turns, fingers uncurling to present an open palm. "May I?"

Logan swallows, defensiveness in his posture, before he wraps his hands around the thin silver chain, and tugs sharply. The clasps snap apart, because it's not what holds it that's important. "It's just an imitation," he warns, a little prissily, as if dismissing a knock-off handbag that only looks designer, before he dangles the pearl for the detective's taking. "I gave it back to her, because— I didn't have what she wanted. I couldn't tell her where her body was, where home was supposed to be."

He crushes out the cigarette, and, hands free, tugs his fur coat around himself a little tighter, as if cold. Or wary of the strangeness of the room. "I never gave her an identity either," he adds, with a soft, dry chuckle, eyes reduced to pale slivers beneath the shadow of false eyelashes. "Dunno why she came to me."

A copy. Yes, the detective can feel it. It's weight, insubstantial - a shadow of the real thing. But still a lead. Still a match. His fingers close over the pearl, great hand easily capturing the full curve of the object in the closeness of a fist. "For all your money, power, fame and fortune, you couldn't give her what she wanted. This really was no business for her. She wanted something more than you could offer."

There is a momentary susserance as he rises from his lean, his suit rustling against itself. He rounds the desk, moving back to his chair, which he steadies in his free hand. The pearl, it seems, he's keeping.

"This, I suppose, is the most you can offer me," the policeman says, with a hint of disappointment - if not unexpected - in his voice, "I don't imagine you had much to do with her friends. Associates. Not of your world. And may never be."

The chair skitters out from Logan as he stands, sharply, all rustling fabric and indignance. "I could have given it to 'er," he argues, sharply, like it means anything to the man opposite, going a little cockney in the implication that he didn't have the sufficient power to help. "But I didn't. I used her instead — told her to fake the results so that I could feed her to the cops, as a favour. She's nothing to me, so no, I don't know her associates, her friends. No more than you do, I imagine. She just trusts me. Stupidly.

"Hokuto." It's like a flipped switch — all sharp annoyance flattening out into a single thought, a memory surfacing. "Hokuto's something to her. She's dead and all, but she goes in dreams— "

Wait a second.

Logan squints at the detective, like maybe he's not really a detective. Like maybe he isn't really a detective. A hard, pale stare tries to seek the gold in the detective's irises, but it isn't there. That doesn't mean he won't ask— nay, demand; "Who are you?"

The detective is examining the pearl again, his interest in Logan seeming to have receded, fingers rolling the replica back and forth in his broad palm. He seems, if not to see something in it, then to believe that, given time, he will. And as rolls it, it swells, growing larger and larger until it resolves into another object entirely, analogous but recognizably different for the white circle and dark infinity sign that appears on its surface. The detective peers into the bluish portal that's appeared, opposite the number.

"I am a man," and now when the detective speaks, his clipped, east coaster accent has become more eastern European. Caspian east coaster. "Who can help this girl." He gives the ball a rapid shake, eyes closing. When they open, they settle on the portent that appears in tiny window.

"I would like the contact information of this Hokuto," and the detective is the detective again, a boy from Queens, maybe Brooklyn, a kid who worked hard to get out of a bad situation, and now is sporting a badge and a rank, "then I'll be done with you. You'll be free to go."

This supernatural addition is another break in an already breaking script, the story of the model and the detective and the murder case. Logan is starting to breathe a little shallowly with growing anger that he's been tricked this long, and some other button pressed to find himself outside of the comfort of undoubtedly masculine lines of suits and ties. Elegant, yes, sometimes fuckin' flaming, but never a dress. His fingers hook like he might reach and claw the detective's eyes from his head, the table between them proving an adequate barricade.

"What if I say you're not free to go?" he challenges, hands coming to grip the edge of the table. "Besides, finding Hokuto is a matter of screaming her name into the sky and hoping for the best, but I'll bet she won't want to be found. How about this. You tell me what happens— what's happening with Delia, and I won't warn her you're looking around?"

Not a runway model, no, but a negotiator, even if his delivery is frazzled and he lacks the all important ace up the sleeve. Or sleeves.

A slight tremor runs through the room the moment Logan threatens capture, followed by another shift in perspective, a tilting of lines casing space of the desk between them to lengthen, expand, the man on the other side receding as a result. The would-be detective looks up from his dreamer's eight ball, meeting the dolled up Logan's stare with a hard one of his own. "She knows me," he says, and there is no disguising the accent now, straight from Petrograd, with a hint of Azerbaijani, "I am helping. Will help. Have helped. What I know is not more than you know. She's lost. If I find her, I can save her. This I can do. You cannot."

He turns his wrist and sets the erstwhile pearl on the surface before him. The eightball clacks down on the desk, and rolls slowly, slowly, across the extended intervening space. "If this Hokuto is in dreams, and you know her, I will find her. The name you call, she hears it, but does or does not come? I do not call like that. I call, knocking on the door. A visitor. I only need a letter of introduction. From you, perhaps?"

There is a vague feeling of vertigo as perspective shifts, Logan clutching tighter to the edge of the shifting desk. A hand goes out, clasping over the eightball, caging it within long fingers, the click of fake nails making his mouth twitch in a grimace. Renewed irritation has him rolling the thing back hard enough for it to bounce along the wooden surface. "Sure," he concedes.

It takes longer for the plastic pool ball to get back to Logan's 'visitor' than it did to get to Logan. The distance between them is steadily increasing. Still, they are within earshot of each other, and the detective doesn't need to raise his basso voice to ask, "Umoljaju?" a word with a resonance of the polite. One hand cups to catch the eightball as it rolls over the edge, the other extends towards Logan, reaching over the already improbably dilated divide.

Does this thing have pockets? Logan's palms pad around the cinched in bodice of the dress, the crinkly skirts, before it occurs to him to wonder where on earth he got a cigarette from. This has him shifting away the hem of skirt like drawing a curtain, before retracting a small, demure, vaguely golden envelope from garter where a cigarette case might have been tucked away instead. The paper shines, briefly, in the light, as if becoming infused with something — words within, one hopes — before Logan offers it across the impossible distance, eyes going hooded.

The thing folds itself into a paper crane, and with a dream-like animation, flaps its skinny wings and flutters towards the outstretched hand of the stranger, flattening back into its proper rectangular shape perhaps an inch from reaching fingers.

"Tell her that I didn't mean what I said, last time. That she and I should catch up, proper-like."

The intruder plucks the envelop from the air with a deft motion of his fingers, and slides it into his jacket pocket, not far from where he keeps his badge. If he even has a badge. The story has come apart at the seams, and with it the cohesion of the dream itself. The desk is an ever spreading plateau, and the room has been pulled into a mass of blurry bands.

"She will know," the man agrees. He reaches out and takes his hat from the desk, clearing the space entirely, and sets it on his head. "This dress, it suits. You look well," is added, as pauses, one shoulder turned away already. The man doesn't sound insincere, "I would say artist is not so far from truth." The brim of the hat is tipped, once. "Gentle waking."

The words are truth the moment the are uttered.

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