Kids, Clairvoyants, and Zombies, Oh My!
by M.D. Grimm
I was developing a twitch and the ten-year old was the reason. Why didn’t Cory understand the concept of “quiet” or “very-important-police-work?” I sat on the couch, my laptop on the short table in front of me, and the police files open on my lap. I told Cory I was busy, I told him he could play video games in the other room, but no, he just wanted to spend time with Uncle Maverick. Well, honorary uncle, anyway. Sweet, but freaking annoying.
“Did I tell you about how the cops came by my neighbor’s home?” Cory asked, sitting on his knees beside me on the couch, blocking my light at the same time.
“Yes,” I said, trying not to grit my teeth. “Rosen and Grimm look like they could go for a walk. You can do that, if you want. Just around the block.” Please God, take the dogs.
Hearing their names, my Rottweiler and one-eyed pug lifted their heads and wagged their tails.
“Nah, they look comfortable,” Cory said.
I barely suppressed a sigh. I lifted my head and rolled it on my neck, trying to ease the tension. I didn’t work well with others hovering. I liked peace and quiet when looking over police files dealing with stolen bodies from the freaking morgue. Five so far and I was hoping to get some lead, some clue, to help the police.
No, I wasn’t a cop. I was a paranormal investigator who sometimes acted as a “psychic” for the San Francisco Police Department. I wasn’t a psychic per-se—I hated that label and all the connotations that went with it—no, I was more of a clairvoyant. It was different, trust me. Anyway, sometimes the police asked me to look at odd cases.
I wasn’t a people person in even the loosest definition of the word, but I was forced to either talk to live people or talk to dead ones.
Yeah. I see dead people.
I’m not happy about it, either.
“The cops looked real angry when Mr. Chang didn’t let them in his house,” Cory went on. “I wouldn’t be either, if I had the door slammed in my face. Mr. Chang is kinda creepy anyway, I wouldn’t mind new neighbors. Maybe they’d have a boy my age I could play with. Not some old guy who plays in his cellar at night—”
I frowned and looked at Cory. “What was that?”
Cory blinked, looking shocked he finally had my direct attention. Then he smiled big and sat back, as if savoring it.
“Well, I can see his yard and cellar door through my bedroom window, you know? There’s all these noises and smells coming from his house at night. It sounds like some strange beast growling. I tried to tell mom but—”
“Do you know Mr. Chang’s first name?”
Cory frowned, squinted one eye, then shook his head. “No. Sorry.”
I flipped through the files and found a Mr. Ray Chang and his address. I knew where Cory lived with his mother and it was the same Mr. Chang who was an active suspect in the investigation.
“Huh,” I said. I patted Cory’s back. “Thanks. That helps.”
Cory blinked again, tilted his head. “What I do?”
The front door opened and Chakra, Cory’s aunt, came in. She beamed a smile at her nephew, her sister’s son, and held out her arms for a hug. Cory made a production of being grossed out but I knew he adored his aunt. Why shouldn’t he? Chakra was a gem. She was also a talented Egyptologist, gorgeous, and born a man. No joke. At the age of eighteen, she’d had a sex change and as far as I knew, she couldn’t be happier. We lived together but weren’t together. We were friends, and I didn’t give a rat’s ass about her origins. Maybe it was because I’d only ever known her as Chakra. Yeah, okay, I’d been weirded out for about five seconds at first, but she was the sort of person others gravitated toward. You couldn’t not love her.
Besides, I was the guy who talked to dead people. Who was I to judge or condemn?
Chakra and Cory chatted as they disappeared into the kitchen and I was finally left in silence. I blew out a breath and sat back, the stress easing out of me. I preferred the company of my dogs most days.
“I should probably check out Mr. Chang’s place, what do you think?”
Rosen panted, doggy grin wide, and Grimm snorted.
“You’re right, I should probably tell the police. I will. After I do a bit of snooping.”
I ran down the empty street—yes, those existed in San Francisco at night—my heart pounding, my lungs burning. Thank God I’d been running since I was freaking nine and it was my main choice of cardio.
The six corpses possessed by infernal spirits chased me, gaining. I couldn’t run much farther and there wasn’t anywhere I could go to avoid people. I could only hope they were strictly after me. I ran to a familiar building across the street, up a few steps, fumbling with my keys. The door to the apartment complex suddenly opened and nearly bashed me in the nose. A face I knew very well greeted me.
“Maverick?” Reggie said, startled. Wearing a pink fish-net shirt and tight black pants, Reggie was obviously heading out for the night. I’d come just in time.
If I’d had air, I would have shouted hallelujah.
I shoved Reggie backward, bulled forward, then slammed the front door shut.
“What the f—” Reggie sputtered. Six zombies slammed into the front door, shattering the glass. I stumbled into Reggie and we went down in a heap.
My best friend in the entire world—also the only gay medical examiner in San Francisco—stared up at me, brown eyes dazed, in a state of shock.
“Zombies, Reggie,” I said, gasping. “Why the fuck did it have to be zombies?”