VALENCIA NOIR

ACT XI, SCENE I

Through something short of a miracle, Dexter and Tyler were able to get back to Dani and Ellie’s diner without anyone seeing them and were back to studying their notes in the meat freezer. Neither cold nor hungry slowed them down as they burned through their findings over and over again, stopping occasionally for a quick swig of coffee provided by one concerned and nervous Ellie. “Guys, listen. I don’t want to rain on your parade here…but are you sure you can’t move this little party somewhere else?”

“No time, Ellie. We need to finish this case here and now.” Dexter said, never once looking up from his papers as he sat on a crate of frozen fish sticks.

“She has a point guys. We were barely able to get the cops out of here last night without anyone getting arrested. Reisen suddenly escaping that police car didn’t help with that…” Dani said as he came in from the grill to get more beef patties.

“Sorry about that Dani but Raphael’s an a**. I wasn’t going to let him check my cousin into the iron bars hotel for the night.” Tyler replied as he read their notes and took a sip of coffee.

“As noble as it was, it nearly gave you two away! Plus I heard from Yang this morning that the vampires are now in a huff looking for you boys. You really need to consider how you could get out of this mess alive and free…”

“We can’t run if that’s what you’re implying. Our freedom lies with Tayte’s and the truth. If we can get both, we’ll be fine.”

“…Dexter really wants to boing this girl bad, doesn’t he?” Despite the seriousness of the situation, Ellie had to smile and poke fun.

“Like a horny chipmunk.” Tyler admitted with a straight face.

“Hey-HEY! What-What you mean-I don’t-I don’t just want-I mean-NOW ISN’T THE TIME FOR THIS SORT OF TALK!” Dexter tried to deny before just turning bright red.

“There’s always a time for a dirty joke, it helps break the tension. Come on Ellie, we should let these guys work.” Dani said before pulling his sister out of the freezer with a box of hamburger meat. He was smiling as well.

“Dex. Calm down and get back to work.”

“Says the master of the frisky chipmunk joke.” The angel pouted for a moment before getting back to work. They were both looking for that one last piece of evidence-the piece that would pull everything else together and form one clear picture of the mastermind behind these deeds. Without knowing what that piece was, they had to search through everything until either one of them found something that stuck out or was so small that it was almost missed. This search had to be done through everything: Dexter’s notes, Saria’s records and both of their memories. The coffee was a godsend for this part of the job. “There has to be something here…something we missed…”

“Thankfully with the suspect pool down, we only have to go through so much again. With all of the medical stuff these guys use, they could open up their own pharmacy. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them did.” Tyler said as he flipped through more papers.

“Tell me about it. There’s some stuff on these lists and bills that I don’t know what they could be…” Dexter drifted off somewhere in midsentence as his eyes caught onto something among the scattered papers in front of him. He picked it up and read it like a machine. “…Ty. Do these things here look familiar to you?”

The werewolf took the paper and read what his partner had seen on it. “…yeah, they do! I think Lulu’s aunt used these when she was-“His eyes widened then as he looked at the paper again. “Oh my God.”

“This is it.”

“You bet your a** this is it!”

“THIS IS IT!” The detectives quickly jumped to their feet in a moment of clarity and celebration, high fiving each other and jumping all over each other. Their moment was quickly interrupted by Dani returning to the freezer with a startled look on his face. “Dani, what’s-“

“You two get out here fast. Yang’s on the line and he’s got some news you need to hear!” Leading the way out into the kitchen, Dani took them to Ellie who was at the phone on the wall.

“Yang-slow down! Look, Dani’s got them out of the freezer so talk to them!” Ellie passed the phone onto Dexter who held it up between himself and Tyler. “You two better brace yourselves…”

“Yang? What’s going on over in the newsroom, pal?”

“Bad news, that’s what’s going on!” Yang sounded pretty shaken up then and like there was a lot movement going on in the background. “The hunt is on for tonight.”

“The…hunt?”

“THE HUNT! The Council has given the okay for the Wild Hunt to commence tonight!”

“WHAT?!”

“THEY DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TAYTE IS! …do they?”

“If they’re letting the Wild Hunt loose you can bet your sweet a** they know where she is! The boys here at the Times are having a field day with this! The Council, the mayor’s office and the police are already feeding these guys stories about how Tayte Fallon, the Fallon family and about a half dozen other gangs were taken down in one swoop! I don’t know where you fellas are on the case but I highly recommend picking up the pace to wrap things up!”

“We already finished the case, we know who did it!”

“Really? You guys actually did it?” Yang sounded truly surprised by this.

“We’ll tell you all about it in an interview about how Tayte Fallon was framed for the murder of Cyrus Gilmead!” Dexter declared with a smile.

“If we’re both still alive by then.” Tyler added.

“…you two are going to come back alive alright. I’ll be a sea monkey’s uncle if I’m going to let an opportunity like this slide past me. To write an interview with the detectives that uncovered a conspiracy that pitched L.A against a single gangster…its pure gold.” The gusto in Yang’s voice was back then and gave the detectives a bit more confidence.

“Thanks Yang. Any idea where Tayte will be when the Hunt starts?”

“My guess, someplace where all the gangsters are gathering. I think you two may already know where that is.”

“…we do. Thanks Yang. But if we don’t come back…well, give Sveta a good job and tell her we’re sorry.”

“Say that to Reisen too. And tell Lulu I’ll always love her.”

“Don’t be so sappy and get to it! You’re both professionals so you’ll be back by breakfast! I’ll be ready to interview you by lunch!” That was the last thing Yang said to them before he hung up the phone. The merman really knew how to stir up some confidence in people that were on a suicide mission. And boy, were they heading for a dozy.

Looking over at Dani and Ellie, everyone knew there wasn’t a lot of time for sappy goodbyes that could have been they’re last, so they all smiled, hugged and shook hands. The siblings were saying their silent goodbyes as if they would see them again soon…at least, they were hoping so. Leaving them an address to send the records back to the right Rosa Medical Center, Dexter and Tyler left the diner they loved so much to make one last run at truth and justice. They still had a lot to do. They needed to gather up the evidence, get a few more statements and find Cyrus. The ghost would want to be there when they exposed the one responsible for stealing his life away. They would need to move fast, time was of the essence. Much like any great beast that hunted, the Wild Hunt would take place as soon as the sun had set…
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The night had fallen on the city of Los Angeles with the eagerness of a patron attending a live show on opening night. It was quiet but full of energy, excitement and expectations. There was no moon in the sky…only the stars that twinkled with the dull gleam of stage lights before they were lit. The L.A. skyline was merely the backdrop to the stage that was set at a warehouse down at the docks. Before this warehouse stood Dexter, Tyler and Cyrus-ready to enter, center stage. The two detectives were armed with boxes of evidence…they wouldn’t go in with weapons just yet. The ghost looked at the warehouse with a nervous gaze…stage fright, as it were. “Are you…Are you both sure about this? I mean…can you say with certainty that you know who did it?”

“That’s what we’re here to do.” Dexter replied, looking straight ahead at the warehouse. It was the same one Vivi was moving his new casino into and where all of the gangsters would be to do their gambling for the evening.

“But-But what if you’re wrong? You could be killed just for showing up here again.”

“If we’re wrong and killed then maybe we’ll come back as ghosts.” Tyler said as he stared at the warehouse with the same look the angel had. “Then we can haunt this guy right into the courtroom with a nice heartfelt confession.”

“You mustn’t joke about such matters!” Cyrus almost shouted with a pain in his voice.

“We’re not joking. No matter what we’re going to solve this case and put the one responsible for everything away. There is a chance we could die…but we’re not going to allow that to happen.” The angel said to Cyrus. “We need your help one more time. Then you’ll have your killer. There’s no need to be afraid anymore.”

For some reason, the angel’s words and the werewolf’s determination reached the ghost and steadied his conviction. With a stern gaze, he looked at the warehouse with new eyes. “I can find a way in for you both. I’ll faze in while invisible and find a path for you to take.”

“…right to the center of the action.”

“Understood.” The ghost was good to his word and found a way in for the detectives in five minutes. He led them up to the roof, down into an air shaft and navigated them through the maze of air conditioning shafts until they exited in some abandoned office that oversaw the main part of the building. Through the windows they saw slot machines and gambling tables scattered around the floor with crates of all sizes stacked up to act as walls and give the casino a more finished appearance. It was these crates that were used to form the seats and walls that acted as a new cage for the fights that were taking place in the far corner of the building. Cyrus took a deep breath and faded away into Dexter’s hat. “Good luck, gentlemen.”

“Thanks Cyrus.” It was time to get to work. The angel and the werewolf left the office and quietly went up to the rafters to use once again to climb above the arena where the gangsters were fighting for territory. From the looks of it, just about everyone was here. All of the Fallons were present-Tayte, Laurent, Donny had managed to dodge the police and Nicky was standing tall with only a bandage around his head. Vivi was announcing the matches, Eclipse was surrounded by her vampires, Seth was with his men, Saria and Yorukage were there to play doctor…and much to their surprise and benefit, Ares was present for this gathering of L.A’s finest. It was hard to tell at first but it looked like a lot of the lower ranking gangs were nervous about something. They kept glancing at gangs that were at the top of the charts. Maybe the word that someone was making a pass at the Fallons’ slot was finally let out, and that it was about to bring the Wild Hunt upon them all. The stronger gangs were keeping calm…but occasionally came a nervous twitch, a shifty glance, a tapping toe. Everyone was ready to explode, looking for someone to name. Tayte was looking for someone to name and take out before she had to run for her life.

It wasn’t long before everyone heard something heavy drop twice onto the tallest stacking of crates in a shadowy corner of their arena. With all eyes on this corner, two people walked towards its edge…and smiled at them all. “Hey there, everyone!”

“Hope you’re having fun tonight!”

There was a moment of stunned silence and disbelief before everyone in the arena was up in arms and trying to kill the intruding detectives again. There was a bit of hesitation in two of the four Fallons in their attacks but everyone else was letting the sleuths have it as they jumped off the tower of crates and ran. Bullets were flying as best as they could around the scramble of bodies that dove into the arena, shadows were slithering with demonic intelligence and malice and… it simply became a scene of disorder and chaos. Somehow though, the detectives’ voices were able to escape the mob that threatened to eat them both. It reached the ears of a certain god that sat back and watched the possible blood bath take place.

“WE KNOW WHO’S BEEN TRYING TO FRAME TAYTE! THAT MEANS-“Dexter’s voice said before it was silenced.

“WE KNOW WHO IT WAS THAT TRIED TO KILL KRISTEN ALONG WITH NICKY!” Tyler’s voice finished before it was swallowed up by the mob of bodies.

The stone mask of the war god broke apart to reveal the various emotions a father could feel when presented with news on his daughter’s would be killers. Disbelief, relief…and then anger, which was put to good use. “SILENCE!!!” The voice of warfare and violence shook the warehouse to its foundation, putting an end to the mob that got its hands on the detectives. All eyes turned to Ares, all curious and demanding of an explanation. “Let them speak!” The fire in Ares’ eyes was all the explanation everyone needed. The mob was quick to release them both and back away, forming a ring around them that was ready to pounce at any moment.

Dexter and Tyler straightened themselves up before looking around them. This was-without a doubt-the harshest crowd they would ever have to present their findings to. Cyrus was already shaking in the hat on top of the angel’s head…but Dexter had to keep tough. So he swallowed down the fear rising from his stomach, glanced in Tayte’s direction and began. “As-As many of you know by now, Tayte Fallon has been named the number one suspect in the murder of the Valencia race track jockey Cyrus Gilmead.” This was met by a chorus of rude comments, mostly suggesting that Tayte did murder Cyrus. “We’re-We’re here tonight to prove otherwise!”

“Tayte Fallon and her brothers Nicholi and Donavon have been targeted as fall men for various crimes that they didn’t commit and have had attempts made on their lives because of one individual! This individual is among us tonight and has bypassed the rules in which our world is governed by in order to further their own domain of power and control!” Tyler added, voice sounding a little stronger as he stared down the masses.

The angel was slowly gaining his momentum. “The individual who’s responsible for attempting to fix the numbers in the races that help determine everyone’s status here…the one who orchestrated the framing of Tayte Fallon for the sudden and unplanned murder of Cyrus Gilmead…who ordered the murder of Nicholi Fallon, the burning of our office and the framing of Donavon Fallon and Kirk Yoru!” Dexter’s eyes were bright and steely as he turned around and pointed at the one responsible for all of these deeds. “SETH TARIK! YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL OF THIS!”

As soon as that name was spoken, there was an explosion of sounds that shook the warehouse. Shouts of accusations, disbelief and the cry for proof would echo through that part of town for years to come. Seth and his gang meanwhile remained quiet. His underlings looked startled and surprised by this accusation but Seth just sat back and watched with a cool gaze and a confident smirk. “And what proof do you have of this? If you have any at all that is.” Seth finally asked, smiling as if this were all a practical joke.

“We have the proof! You and your gang have horses that regularly race at the Valencia Race Track! Like everyone else here, you have your own jockey and attendants to our horses. It would have been easy for you to have any of them or your own men sneak into the Fallons’ stall and drug their horses on the night in question!”

“We also know what you tried to drug the horses with! We have records saying that your group regularly had access to this drug because of the doctors so kindly supplied by Rosa Medical! We found the syringe your boys tried to use that night with the Rosa Medical seal of approval on it!” Tyler continued, the box of evidence resting on his hip. “Your plan probably didn’t even include Cyrus being murdered in the beginning, it was only meant to drug the horses to mess with the Fallons’ stats. It was probably an accident-him stumbling on something he shouldn’t have seen and someone making a stupid move. But I guess that when you were told of his sudden murder-“

“You saw a chance to really make a move against the Fallons. You had your guys stab and slice up Cyrus like Tayte would have, find some of her hair from the old casino and planted everything at the scene to make it look like Tayte had killed the boy. After that it was just a matter of figuring out how to take care of each of her brothers. Nicky was too dangerous to keep alive, Donny could have been arrested like his sister and Laurent…well, that’s still a mystery. Either way, without the Fallons to lead their group the gang would have fallen apart and you would have had your chance to move for their spot at the top!”

The circle of bodies around them started to whisper about this theory. Some said they were nuts, others said that they could have been on to something…Seth continued to look so calm and cool. “…so far I haven’t heard much to say that it was me. A lot of the doctors here use the same supplies. It still could have been anyone.”

“Not possible! You and your group left your dirty fingerprints all over this case! A male’s shoeprint in blood at the scene-“

“Generic until you can connect to me or someone I manage.”

“-and a unique smell. Something musky and exotic…like sandalwood and oil.” That statement from the werewolf made a few men around Seth look around in guilt. “A little something from Egypt for everyone in your group to remind them of home or make them feel like royalty for once.” So they were lying just a bit to protect Cyrus…but he could still smell the sandalwood and other exotic musky scents coming from Seth and his boys.

“Speaking of Egypt, you send a lot of goodies back to Cairo very few weeks from the sound of it. You bribe a cargo ship to sneak in some extra drugs-both legal and illegal-back to Egypt to sell for double the price. The guys down at the docks told us this when we threatened to call INS. It’s also where we found these.” The angel produced a brick and a long rope from the box to show Seth and everyone watching with great anticipation now. “Same kind of rope and bricks used on the cargo ship you use to smuggle goods-same kind of supplies used to rig the cars that tried to squish Nicky and Kristine Wellington like cockroaches!”

People were really starting to talk now. Things were starting to make sense. And the mere mention of Kristine’s name proved that maybe they weren’t bluffing or making things up. It was starting to be enough for Ares as he stood up with clinched white knuckles. The members of Seth’s gang were starting to talk amongst themselves in nervous whispers before he silenced them. “As entertaining as this is…I’m still not seeing how I could be responsible for this.” He was looking less calm and more irritated by that time. “It’s no secret what we do and what scents we choose to wear. Anyone else could have done all of these things and have been trying to frame me.”

“How many of these people are demigods that could have bribed Vivi?!” This, apparently, wasn’t known by everyone present as there was a small collective gasp that made Seth’s eyes wide with shock. Dexter smiled. “The people who rigged the cars to crush them both on the road, burned our office and planted the drugs at Kirk’s place-they were Vivi’s boys! Only a gangster would have known how to get them from him!”

“Vivi wouldn’t do anything to endanger the Fallons and ruin his cash flow but you knew how to get to him-you promised him a chance to be free of Eclipse! He couldn’t recognize your voice-he didn’t know you were a demigod too-but he would take any chance to be free of his slave master and his blinder! With your dad being the Egyptian god Set, you had the means to make this happen. A few pulled strings, a few favors between gods from across the sea and Vivi would have been freed as payment, all the Fallons would have been dead and arrested leaving you sitting pretty on top of the world!” Tyler snarled.

Things were getting loud then. Eclipse was ready to kill Vivi and everyone was getting ready to do something rash and stupid. This news wasn’t sitting well with them and they were ready to act out their anger. Seth meanwhile looked furious. “Who told you what I am?”

“…Serena Acosta. Your motivation for doing all of this.”

“What do you mean by-“

“We met with her earlier today. After she nearly tired to pound our brains in, she got to talking about you. Told us to go ahead and use that bit of information here. She also said that she sold your car and she’s leaving town. She appreciates your offer…but she wants to raise the baby her way.” Dexter answered.

There was a moment of silence before someone spoke. “B-Baby…?” This voice was from Laurent.

“Seth was getting her prenatal vitamins. The amount of vitamins in the records we found suggested that this was for a personal reason and not a business purchase. And since you spoke up, Serena mentioned you as well. Congratulations Laurent. You’re the father.” Tyler said while sticking his tongue out at Laurent while saluting him. Laurent looked like he was about to pass out…and his siblings looked like they were about to murder him. Everything was falling into place then. The crowd was buying every word, Seth was on the hot seat and he was trying to keep from sweat bullets. “Finding out that your girl is pregnant by one of your rivals had to REALLY sting, didn’t it?!”

“That’s why you decided to go after the Fallons! You wanted to get some payback at them for Serena while still furthering your own career! Admit it! Admit it now and save yourself the trouble of denying it!!!”

Seth stood up then, eyes burning bright with hatred. “Serena…ISN’T my girl. She’s my friend. And you’re right. I wanted to get back at Laurent, and take his whole family down with him. I had been planning this for months but Laurent getting Serena pregnant was what pushed me to act. One of the few women I respect…and she was talking about having to give up her life to raise a kid with the second worse skirt chaser in town…if he didn’t skip town by then. So I did it! The jockey brat being there was a stroke of luck that provided me with the means of sending the littlest Fallon b***h away! The others should have been put away in a cell or into the dirt like I planned!”

“You b*****d!” Tayte was ready to walk right up to the man and rip his head off but was stopped by her brothers. They wanted a piece of him first-as did everyone else in the makeshift arena. The crowd was slowing shifting their murderous intentions away from the detectives and towards the newly discovered demigod and his gang. Ares was ready to push all others away for an exclusive pass to Seth’s skull. They were starting to surround the group when the sound of wood snapping and something heavy falling broke their concentration. One of the crates had fallen apart and this…sand started to spill out. Another crate fell open and more sand fell out. Every crate used to make the arena fell open to reveal pounds upon pounds of coarse white sand. No one understood what was going on until…the sands started to move and whip around in a frenzy of movement. For reasons unknown, a sandstorm had found a way to move out of its usual haunts in deserts and planted itself in the warehouse, reaching all its corners and swallowing up everyone inside. With all temporarily blinded and stunned by this strange occurrence that defied nature, the confusion-and the fear-only increased with one blood curdling scream. If one looked hard enough, they would have seen a bright flash of light through the sand. From that blast stumbled some random man that fell to the floor dead. His hands were fused to his face…his face contorted in pain…his hands, face and parts of his body covered in coarse glass. Dexter and Tyler found each other and saw this before they saw Seth standing on the edge of the storm. In one hand he held a bright flame of fire. He smiled a cruel smile.

“Thanks to my father, I have some very unique talents…sand and fire, both at my fingertips. Now seems like the proper time to debut them, don’t you all think? Thanks to the glass, everyone will be able to identify your bodies…if you aren’t sanded down to nothing or burnt to cinders instead. Goodbye…detectives of the slums.”

Thus was the end of Act XI…scene I.