At the police station, Steve Reynolds signs for his temporary identification card. Along with his portrait and physical attributes, it has Kandy’s address on it. Strange how everything he knows can be summed up on a card.
“I tried you at the Sisters of Sorrows Sanctuary,” says Detective Silver. He pulls open the glass door.
Steve steps outside into the afternoon sunshine as he recalls the two queens on the checkered floor. The Sanctuary of Sin must be an old memory, but it feels like yesterday. “Too many ghosts.”
“Well, I’m glad you found a place.” Silver huffs and looks at the street full of cars. “But, I’m sorry we haven’t found anything yet. I’m checking with someone from the military. Sometimes fingerprints have a way of slipping out of the system.”
Steve nods and follows the detective to the sidewalk where they join a crowd of pedestrians. He feels bad about leading the detective astray. Not a lie, but more of letting the detective assume Kandy is someone he only recently met. It is the truth. He knows very little about her, not even her last name. Kandy Fangs. Where does that come from? Her stage name perhaps. But Kandy is not human. He assumes she appreciates privacy.
“How about your memories? Anything coming back?”
Nothing of his history has made any appearance, unless he counts the scene within the Sanctuary of Sin. Considering the disconnected experiences, jumping from night to day at Kandy’s or the seeming time travel through Necropolis, he wonders if his experiences are his memories coming back. What if everything is a memory? It explains Kandy’s denial of threatening him with a gun and Sabrina’s response about never visiting Torx’s apartment. Time is relative. Perhaps his memories cross with theirs at odd angles.
“No,” he says. He digs his hands into his pockets finding the identification card, the pocket notepad, and the pen. All his possessions fit in his pockets with room to spare. “Nothing.”
“They say sometimes amnesia is a way of blocking out something terrible, something worth forgetting.” Silver wiggles his eyebrows. “Or so they say.”
What could be so terrible? In the last day he has witnessed a man’s head blown off by a shotgun, ghosts, shadows of time, Kandy consuming blood from two women, and Sabrina passed out in her own vomit in the aftermath of a drug party. Not even a queasy stomach. Is there anything so terrible that it erases a lifetime of memories? Seems unlikely.
Steve shakes his head. “They also say at death a person’s life flashes before their eyes. What if that’s all life really is? Memories crashing towards death.”
Detective Silver stops at a coffee stand on the corner and orders two cups. He hands one to Steve and takes a long drink from the other.
“At the crime scene where they found me.”
Silver lowers the cup. “Necropolis.”
“Was I at the back or the front?”
“Front.” Silver waves his cup at the air. “Like I told you before. It doesn’t make sense. Everybody would have been tripping over you at the stairs. I asked Gunnar twice, and he verified you were leaning against the wall between the stairs and the mess.”
“What about the body? Do you have a photograph I could look at?”
“No body.” Smashing eyebrows together, Silver gazes down at his cup. “Enough blood. There should be a body, but no body.”
“One body missing. One body found.”
“What you have to understand, Mister Reynolds, is that Necropolis is run by a very smart business woman. They follow every regulation to the letter. Paperwork always in order. Everything by the book. Perfect.” Silver shakes his head. “Too perfect.”
“You’re saying they’re good at covering up.”
“I’m saying I think my best bet on solving my primary case is finding your identity.”
“But you don’t think someone is trying to set me up?”
“The evidence says otherwise.” Silver shrugs. “If only you could remember the events leading up to that night.”
He recalls entering Necropolis after leaving Torx’s apartment. Somewhere between he lost a barely conscious Sabrina to the time-sucking shadows.
Glancing at his watch, Detective Silver says something about the time and scurries away, coat flapping like a cape.
A bicycle rolls to a stop, the brake releasing a high-pitched cry.
Steel rings pierce the young woman’s ears, her nose, and even her eyebrows. Most of them are simple silver rings, but some hold tiny colored glass. Her ratty hair seems to flow all over the place, tendrils dancing, almost as if defying the breeze.
“Hey, Mister Reynolds.” The bicyclist slips a bag off her shoulder and opens the flap.
Opening his mouth, Steve starts to ask about her, but clamps shut. He looks at her torn clothes full of holes. She appears like a vagrant on a bicycle. Or a drug addict. Maybe she just doesn’t want to get her nice clothes dirty.
Holding up a fat yellow envelope, the bicyclist smashes her face together slinging metal around. “I like you better in a suit.”
“Yes, a suit.” Taking the envelope, he searches for the words. He wants to ask about how long she has known him. How did she know to find him here? Nothing comes out. Maybe it’s her sudden appearance, or her disheveled look. Her hair. The way the strands shift about.
Steve watches the woman speed away, bicycle carving between lanes of traffic around cars onto the opposite side, and around the corner. Ripping open the envelope, he looks inside.
Dollar bills, a stack of them. He flips through the bills. All hundreds.