Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Chapter 5 and Chapter 6.
As Hanson said his goodbyes to Trout he knew his day was anything but over. The majority of people Hanson knew did indeed sleep but more out of habit than necessity. The longer people were on this side they went one of two ways, sleeping more and more, or less and less. Hanson did sleep from time to time, but never when he had an active case. Hanson was well known in the force not only because of his tendency to push the boundaries but he had revolutionized the force by not limiting his investigations to the living.
And while the beats and his partner slept he began to look up everything he could on Caden and Daisy. Caden’s records were fairly extensive. While the internet really took off among the living in the early 1990’s the Hub, as they called it, was developed among the dead shortly after WWII when many scientist lives were cut short before their work was.
The Hub, much like the internet was the perfect place to collect information and over time it had done just that. No different than the internet the information was only as good as the source, but if you knew what you were looking for the Hub could be quite useful. It helped that the searching capabilities far exceeded anything the google had come up with, and before long Hanson was an expert on the lives of the Mason’s, he knew where they had grown up, how many siblings they had, which schools they had attended, their best friends and perhaps more importantly those who had died around them.
Hanson often started with families, family ties are often the strongest and most powerful. Caden had mentioned that Daisy had recently come into a large inheritance. Inheritance is often the stress that acts as the straw on the camel's back. Obituaries were easy to find and both of Daisy’s parents had them. They had both died on the same day about 6 months ago. There was no mention as to how. But what stood out most was the fact that they were both preceded in death by Ryan, a second brother. There was little about him and he didn’t have any obituary of his own on file.
The only debate Hanson had was whether to first try to interview the parents or the son. In a decision that was basically a coin toss he decided on the son.
It was moments like these he was grateful for some of the extended porting authority that his badge granted him. Anyone who was dead could port anywhere they wanted, that is any address, or location they remembered or could think of. But as a badged member of enforcement he could port to the location where anyone was. He could think of a name and port and he ended up where they were. This was huge, for most people getting a hold of someone, especially someone who wished to remain hidden was nearly impossible, but not for those in enforcement. How this extended port authority worked was a mystery to Hanson, he only knew that it did.
Thinking of Ryan, Daisy’s brother, he instantly appeared in what he would describe as the middle of nowhere. The sun beat down on him with more intensity than he’d felt in many years. The fact that the sun was up at all let Hanson know he was nowhere remotely close to the home. Exactly what country or continent he was on he was unsure of. The landscape was mostly dead, brown desert sand. There was an occasional joshua tree, cactus, and sage brush but especially compared to Midwest Hanson would simply classify it as dead. Not that he was one to talk.
When porting to an unknown location to meet someone he was used to being placed, close to the person. Often it was outside a store, or home, but no buildings stood in sight. However, behind Hanson was what appeared to be an abandoned mine.
Hanson walked in the small rock opening that had been chiseled out of the mine. The opening was not even as tall as Hanson but just beyond the opening the cave opened to a large cavern, walking 20 or so feet in he began to makeout side areas along the main opening and he instinctively knew Ryan would be in one of the areas. Turning into the first opening there he saw Ryan, lying asleep on his back. Hanson called his name out but Ryan slept on. Leaning over the body Hanson grabbed his shoulder and said, “Ryan, wake up.”
Ryan groggily began to come to, “What? Leave me alone man.”
“Ryan, I’d like to speak to you.”
His eyes were now open, “Speak to me? Who are you?”
“I’m Detective Hanson, I’m investigating a homicide and I hope you can answer a few questions.”
Ryan laughed, “a homicide? Dude you’re the one who needs to wake up. You, me, we’re dead, who cares about a homicide.”
“I do,” Hanson quickly replied.
“Well, good for you, I don’t. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to sleep.”
Hanson was used to dealing with people like Ryan. Death removed the necessity of sleep but some didn’t see much need to be awake either. Many, finding the after life void of physical stimulation: food, drugs, sex and regular entertainment decide to simply sleep, some fall asleep in their home and simply choose to never or rarely wake up. Others, like it appeared Ryan did, first isolate themselves then begin a long sleep. Either way what they wanted was to be left alone so Hanson appealed to Ryan’s desire. “Listen, answer a few questions for me and I’ll get out of here quickly, or be difficult and I’ll have to take you to my office for questioning and it may be weeks before you see home sweet cave, or whatever you call this place, again.”
Hanson could see Ryan was debating whether Hanson would be able to follow through on this threat, but ultimately didn’t want to take the risk, “Fine, ask your questions.”
“How’d you die?”
“OD. At least I assume. We had the biggest run of our lives. More Heroin than I’d ever seen, enough for us to get high as Jupitor and leave enough for a big payout. We celebrated, clearly I went overboard, I passed out and when I came to, my body didn’t.”
“Me and My brother, we were into it together.”
“I didn’t find an obituary on you. Why not?”
“Nobody knew, nobody cared. My brother was probably too scared to tell anyone and I didn’t know anyone else who would have found out. For all I know they still don’t know I am dead.”
“Did you have any kids?”
Ryan got a small grin. “Not that I ever found out about.”
“Are you aware your parents died?”
“They left most of the money to Daisy.”
“Who else would they leave it to. Is Tommy even still alive?”
“I always knew he was the lucky one.”
“Do you think Tommy would be upset about not getting any inheritance?”
The two men sat in silence while Ryan thought and then quietly said with more conviction than Hanson thought him capable of, “When you need a fix and you can’t get it, you will do anything and be angry with anyone who stands in your way. Tommy loved Daisy, we all did. She continued to love us when the rest of the world, even our parents cast us aside, and I wish I could say that the love was stronger than the drugs, but it’s not. At least, it wasn’t for me.” He paused and then with true fear. “No one hurt Daisy, did they?”
“No. She is still alive.”
“Good. She is the best thing that ever happened to our world.”
Hanson had heard all he needed from Ryan, clearly he was either not involved or was lying, either one made further questions worthless, but for other reasons, he added, what year did you die?”
“Do you know what year it is?”
“Not sure, 97?”
Hanson could see Ryan was struck with disbelief, he wanted to assume Hanson was lying but could sense he was not.
“I was no different than you are today, when I realized I needed a reason to stay awake, a reason to stay dead. Someone very wise told me to find a reason, don’t let death pass you by.”
“You come to ask questions or play confucius?”
“Point taken, thanks for answering my questions, I’ll leave you to your rest.” With that he found himself standing in a smelly hallway of a rundown apartment. Hanson assumed this was some sort of government housing. This and homes like it were magnets for a certain class among the dead, several of which were in the hallway now. This was not what Hanson expected when he ported to the location of Daisy’s parents. People who leave multi-million dollar inheritance don’t usually move into project housing after death. Being out front of unit 209 he assumed it was the one and ported in.
Cries of sorrow were the first things to greet him. Four people were in the front room. The first, a couple, Hanson recognized from Caden’s home. They sat over the one living person in the room. The woman was crying and the man was caught between consoling her and telling the live man, “not to do it.”
The live man looked awful. His flush skin was covered in a cold sweat, and his eyes were fixed on a needle he held in his hand.
The last person in the room sat in the corner, barely visible and before Hanson could get a good look at them, they had ported out of the room.
“Who was that?” Hanson asked as soon as he had entered and witnessed the person in the corner porting out.
The couple turned and instantly recognized him as the detective from earlier that day. “Who are you talking about?”
“The person that was in the corner. They just left.”
“I didn’t see anyone.” The man stated, but as he did Hanson could see why. Whomever they were did not wish to be seen and it would have been easy to be missed. Hanson was holding a conversation with them and they barely noticed him, their focus was entirely on the man crying, clearly in intense mental anguish and a needle full of drugs in his hand.
“Stop him please,” the woman pleaded, turning to Hanson for the first time.
Hanson quickly tried to influence the man. “You don’t want this. You’re better than this.” But Hanson could sense it was too late, unless something changed or shocked him out of this state of mind it was only a matter of time.
“Is there anyone else in the apartment?” Hanson asked in a tone that demanded a quick answer.
“Only Riley his daughter, she’s upstairs.” The parents replied. Instantly, Hanson ported into the bedroom where the little girl lay peacefully asleep. Influencing people while they sleep can be a tricky business but he had to try. Two minutes passed and he was no closer to waking the girl. It may be too late already. Looking up Hanson noticed that the window was opened. It was now Hanson’s mind who had the dilemma. If he failed to act the man below would soon be drugged and do something that he would very much regret. But Hanson was only to use such actions in emergencies that were pertinent to the case. Stretching to get there he quickly laid out his defense in his mind. Given this is where he had ported, the couple below was likely Daisy’s parents and the other man her brother. If they witnessed him fall on, or was it off the wagon, Hanson could never remember which, they would be distraught and difficult to interview. It was a pathetic justification but a justification nonetheless and as he thought of it a gush of wind pushed through the window and with a crash a lamp on the short chest of drawers smashed to the floor. The force of the wind pinned Hanson against the closed bedroom door, as a cry from the bed told him he had successfully awoken the little girl. Footsteps came rushing upstairs and Hanson moved out of the way barely in time to avoid being smashed between the door and the wall as it flew open.
“Are you okay baby?” The man quickly went to his daughter’s side.
“My lamp.” She said as tears poured down her eyes.
“It’s okay, we will get you a new one. It was just the wind.” He got up and closed the window. “Go back to sleep Honey.”
The couple had entered and now watched as he calmed her back to sleep. Once she was asleep the man arose and all three followed him back to the living room. He looked over at the needle, picked it up, walked into the bathroom and injected the contents into the toilet, before throwing the needle in the garbage. Then he went to the living room, lay down on the couch and fell asleep.
“Maybe love is stronger than he thought.” Hanson said aloud.
“What?” The man asked.
“Oh, nothing. But now that that is over. I have a few questions for you two.”
End of Chapter 7
Here is Chapter 8