Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 12: Curiouser and Curiouser
"Uhhh....somebody answer the phone," I said into my pillow, wincing from the loud ringing. I kept the phone on the floor by my bed, because my dresser was across the room. Having to get up to answer the phone was something my genetically lazy body could not handle. "Hilde, get the phone!" I managed to say into the air this time. It rang a third time, and cursing Alexander Graham Bell his existence, I reached down and picked up the handle. "Damnit to hell..."
"Good afternoon to you too Duo," Meizer said. Smart-ass.
"Hey man, what's goin' on?" I asked in my sleep-ridden voice.
"Did I wake you?"
"What else is new. Hey, I got some info for you."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"I checked the lab reports on Mooney, Luna and Harvest."
"Lab reports?" I asked, coming fully awake.
"Yeah. The coroner noticed a funny smell," he let the pause run its course, "and had some skin and hair samples sent off. Also had some scientists from Austin come in to check the bodies out. All sources agree that the bitter almond smell from the corpses is because they were rinsed down with hydrogen cyanide."
"Hydrogen cyanide? Now I've heard of hydrogen and I've heard of cyanide, but I ain't never heard of hydrogen cyanide."
"Well, that makes two of us."
I could sense Meizer shrugging over the phone. "Hell if I know. So far, no one else knows either."
"Well, what's it used for?"
I heard the flipping of paper. "Used for tempering steel, dyeing, explosives, engraving, mixed with other compounds for fumigation, extremely toxic, blah blah blah...hey, listen to this. It's found in apricot and cherry pits."
"Yeah, but I doubt someone squeezed a gazillion apricot and cherry pits to have enough to pour over three grown men."
"I'm with you on that one."
"We don't have factories or any of that other stuff...well, damn!"
"That's what I've been saying all morning."
"Does it erase fingerprints?"
"It didn't eat the skin...it wasn't used to kill them...damn again!"
"You're acting as if those same thoughts hadn't crossed my mind, Duo."
"So much for CSI."
"Oh yeah," he interrupted, changing the topic. "I stopped by Tsubarov's yesterday."
"Yeah, really." He had the sound of surprise in his voice. "He looked terrible."
I couldn't help puffing my chest out again. "Oh did he?"
"Yes. He had about twenty five stitches all over his face," he said dangerously. "He said he fell down the stairs, but unless those stairs were at the top of a fifty foot stone temple, I don't see how that much damage was done to him." He left the question unvoiced.
"Well, if you don't believe him, maybe he got hurt because he overstepped his bounds with someone, and that person retaliated."
He was quiet. "Oh. I see."
"Good." The discussion was closed.
"I gotta go. I'll let you know what else I find out."
"Cool. Thanks Papa Bear."
"You bet." He hung up.
I hung up the handle and snuggled back into my pillow. I felt physically worse than I did yesterday, which sucked, but my mind's eye felt infinitely better. I realized that I was sleeping a lot yesterday, but I chalked that up to learning about the existence of werewolves, finding a human head on my car and getting my ass kicked. I've never hurt 'it' before, and I now just realized I was sleeping so that my brain could relax. At least that was my theory. I didn't necessarily feel 'it,' on a day to day basis, but today I felt like things were in focus. I felt as if, metaphorically speaking, the images were sharper, the color was more vivid, the radio was tuning in, et cetera. Yeah. Whatever.
I settled back into bed. Ahh...so warm...so comfy....
"Ahh! Grr...Duo! Get your butt out here!"
...so not going to get any peace. "I'm comin' Hil." I stumbled out of bed, rubbing my eyes and yawning. I heard another stumble from down the hall, and figured that was Howard climbing out of bed to see what all the fuss was about. I scratched my head as I came into the living room. "Hilde, what's my...fault..." My jaw hit the floor.
She was flustered. "This!" She swept her hand towards the room.
I heard Howard come up behind me. "Holy shit."
All of our furniture was gone. It had been replaced with a new leather furniture set. The couch, which was curved and long so that it could seat eight people, was buttery soft and the color of a loaf of bread. The two matching recliners, one of which rocked, was the same color, and all furniture faced the black, thirty six-inch Sony screen TV with built in VCR and DVD player. The new Playstation was already hooked up, equipped with a meager fifteen to twenty games, and the two speakers that stood next to the TV looked like they could handle a serious Jimi Hendrix concert. "Wow. I might have to put-out for this."
"Duo," Howard said, giddy but trying not to show it. "What the hell is this?"
I shook my head to clear it. I had to. I was completely overwhelmed. "Well, Wufei and I talked last night, and he told me he wanted to 'court' me."
"Excuse me?" Hilde said, clearly not impressed at all. Some people were just not easy to please. " 'Court you?' You can't be serious. You two aren't even the same species!"
"Who gives a shit," Howard said, stepping over to the TV. "If it don't concern them, don't let it bother you."
"Howard." Hilde sounded exasperated. "I thought you didn't like Wufei?" She put her hands on her hips.
"I don't," he agreed happily. "But that doesn't mean he doesn't owe us for the trouble he's putting us through." He turned the TV on. "Ooooh wee!"
"Duo." She turned back to me. Clearly Howard was not going to be of any help. "You can't accept this. You have to return it all. This is too much."
"No it's not!"
"Howard, stop it!" she snapped. "Duo, this isn't right. The furniture an-and the TV are not going to make up for the murders in town and for what we're going through because of him." She put her hands on my shoulders and started to shake me. "Look! Howard and I got home around two thirty in the morning, and I was the last to go to bed at three! They came in and-and did all this!" She waved frantically behind her. "They're coming in and out of our home as they please!"
"Whoa doggie. You want some fries with that shake?"
I glanced up at Howard, then at what he was watching. What the... "Howard, is that porn?"
Now I was surprised. "We have a porn channel?"
"Nooooo, we have six porn channels."
"Grrr!" Hilde growled, then stomped back to her room.
Figuring that Hilde would be okay, I went ahead and...and stayed with Howard just to make sure...you know, that the equipment and everything was safe to use, and stuff, and junk.
Wow. Six channels.
The bad side to all the new electronic stuff was the fact that it was new and electronic. We were men that did not read directions, so Howard and I spent a good twenty minutes trying to figure out how to set the damn clock on the VCR. After that, we were about to spill blood over which game to watch since two were on at the same time. We accidently discovered that if you hit the button that had a square within a square, both channels will display simultaneously. When that catastrophe was avoided, he and I settled down for a beautiful afternoon.
Hilde was so mad at me and Howard for our acceptance of my 'dowery,' as Howard called it, that she went into work early just to get away from us. A couple of hours later Howard went to work, kissing the TV and threatening me with bodily harm if I allowed anything to happen to ‘Susie.' Once he left I shut everything off, including the lights in the house, and let the silence and darkness envelop me. I had been avoiding this all day, and it was now time to do my part of the bargain. Closing my mind, I let my thoughts race around in my head as I searched for a connection.
Mooney was mauled to death...Luna had the skin licked from his bones...Harvest was decapitated...the murders didn't follow a specific pattern, or MO. Go CSI...
Except that each body was covered with hydrogen cyanide. That was the only constant.
Could it be that there was more than one killer then? Who else could be involved? If there was more than one killer, they were probably collaborating...
The men had no relation to each other...okay, so it was random? They opened up an opportunity, and the killer took it?
I was supposed to find Harvest. Was I supposed to find Luna too, or was that just a coincidence? I went to the store on a whim...
Did these pants make my butt look fat?
The phone rang, shattering any more questions (about the murders or my butt) that I had. It took me a moment to get my bearings; the lights were off, and because of my new...additions, nothing was familiar. I had to stub my toe twice before I got the lights on, then I had to find the phone. It was moved from its usual spot. "Yeah?"
"Will you get your bony butt over here?!"
Well, that answered my question about looking fat. "Quatre?!"
"I'm trying to shag here! Wufei won't let Trowa loose. They've been holed up in his room all day. I don't know what they're talking about but I could give a damn! Hurry up, I need a distraction." He hung up.
I placed the phone gently on its base, and stood there in confusion. I was planning to go to Wufei's today, but I thought I wasn't expected over there until later. It was only six o'clock. They seemed like...you know...night people, or something. Yeah. Right.
The phone rang again, and I picked it up. "Yeah?"
"Why the hell are you still there?!" It was Quatre. Again.
I laughed, loud and hard. "I'm on my way right now."
"Good." He hung up.
Still laughing, I slipped into my shoes and went out the back door. I decided to take the path at the back of the house that would wind me around the pet cemetery to Wufei's.