Hello everyone, I’ve written the prologue of this morning sometime around 5AM with a few stiff cups of coffee. Today is also the day that I kicked off the crowdfunding campaign for my first novel, Whiteout, so if you have a chance, check that out, and if you don’t want to donate, share the post!
Warning, the following contains SPOILERS FOR WHITEOUT as it is the third book in the series. It is also the result of frantic typing and word vomit for NanoWriMo, so it is unedited and will be subject to change before final release.
When Nick woke up, it was to the cold sense of iron against his wrists. As he opened his eyes, he found himself wincing at bright fluorescent lights above him. The room slowly came into focus and it became very clear he wasn’t somewhere he wanted to be. What the hell happened last night?
He had some vague recollection of a boat, an explosion and then the sense of tumbling through space, but everything else was black. Nick tried to feel the back of his head for a concussion but felt his wrist catch against something. He looked down to find that his hands had been cuffed to a metal loop below the table he was sitting at. Great.
“Good, your awake,” said a kind voice that immediately established the speaker as the ‘good cop’.
“I am, but I can’t say I’m very happy about it.” A familiar pounding sensation began in the back of his head in response to the noise. Concussed or not, the source of his memory loss was likely heavy drinking, he realized.
“Well I’d say you probably just slept off a bad bender,” said the man, stepping into Nick’s view. He was tall, muscular and sported a close-trimmed beard. His eyes were friendly, but also held steely determination behind them.
Definitely the good cop, thought Nick. “I’m sorry,” started Nick.
“Oh we’re way past the time for sorry,” shouted a voice in his ear.
A heavy fist slammed down on the table beside him as what was sure to be the ‘bad cop’ rounded the table into Nick’s vision. “Do you have any idea the amount of damage that boat stunt caused to city hall?”
So there was a boat involved, thought Nick, joyously. Figuring out what had happened during a night of drinking was always like an exciting puzzle with a disappointing picture at the end. “I really don’t,” tried Nick, but was cut off once more.
“Don’t remember anything?” The bad cop lowered his face so that he was eye to eye with Nick, breathing heavily on him.
Nick could smell stale tobacco and jerky wafting in his direction with every breath. The man’s thick mustache quivered with every word as if it were holding on for dear life. His bushy eyebrows were slanted permanently downward to show disapproval, and while his partner seemed to present some semblance of sense, he did not. Nick couldn’t be sure if it was all a part of the act, but either way it made him want to gag, and caused his eyes to water.
“Yes, I don’t remember a thing.”
“Typical,” spat the bad cop, pushing away from the table with a huff.
Good cop approached slowly and whispered. “Sorry about him. As you can imagine, a boat just appearing out of thin air on top of city hall raises a lot of questions, and generates even more paperwork.”
Nick’s eyebrows raised. “What do you mean a boat appeared on top of city hall?”
Good cop set a file on the table and pulled a picture out, sliding it over to Nick. It showed a small military vessel, around fifty feet in length, perched precariously atop the crumbled roof of city hall.
“Recognize anyone?” asked good cop, good naturedly.
Nick squinted at the photograph and swore under his breath. Clinging to the mast, bottle in one hand, idiotic grin plastered to his face was Nick god-damned Ventner, and leaning over the side, puking, was James Schaefer, his apprentice. “At least I look happy,” muttered Nick, unable to think of anything else to say.
“That you do. In fact you were practically caroling until you passed out in that chair about three hours ago.” Good cop smiled, noting the humor of the situation, but behind it was the gravity.
“Unfortunately, the boat isn’t the only crime you’re being accused of.” Good cop pulled out two more photographs from his file. Each showed a dead man, sprawled out across the back deck of the boat. “Any idea what happened to these men?”
Nick stared at the photographs. Both men were large, muscular, blonde, and nude. What the hell did I do last night? “I’m sorry, I’ve got nothing.” Nick tried to raise his palms in a placating gesture, but succeeded only in clacking the chain binding him to the table.
“You’re going to have to have to do a whole lot better than ‘I’ve got nothing’,” mocked bad cop from the corner of the room. “You were found drunk, on a boat with two nude dead men Dr. Ventner!” Spittle flew from his mouth with every word.
Disgusting creature, thought Nick. Must’ve grabbed the card from my jacket pocket though. Nick was by no means a doctor, in fact, he had never finished college. Dropping out to hunt beasts no one thought existed and drinking with an old man who taught him magic had seemed more appealing. However, before he left university, he had managed to make up a few hundred business cards with the school’s standard. Dr. Ventner made his business feel much more legitimate, and had also stopped a few people from shooting him.
“You’re going to tell us everything you know,” growled bad cop, slinking back into the shadows. “Or you’re going to rot in a hole for the rest of your miserable life.”
Good cop held up a hand, silencing his partner briefly. “My partner does have a point Dr. We’re going to need to figure out exactly what happened.”
“I’m trying to tell you, I don’t remember anything.” Fuzzy snippets were starting to come back, but none of them were of any help.
“Well, let’s start with what you can remember. Go as far back as you need to.”
Nick looked around the room for means of an exit but found nothing. One wall was lined with a long mirror, the others were solid concrete with one door, guarded by bad cop. With all his effort, Nick tried to think back to the last thing he remembered. We were hunting sea monsters. Yes, that seemed true to him, but he wasn’t sure exactly how to explain it to a couple of beat cops from who knows where.
“Alright, but I doubt you’re going to believe me.” Just need to buy myself some time. They haven’t said anything about James, which means he might not have been captured.
“Try me,” the good cop sat down across the table, folding his hands.
“Alright, but two conditions.”
“You’re not in a position—” bad cop raged, but good cop silenced him once more.
“Yes?” he asked.
“The first, what day is it?” The more he thought about it, the more he felt disturbed by his lack of memory.
“Jesus, you must have had a rough night.” Good cop laughed slightly. “It’s Saturday, June 12th. Do you need the year as well?”
“No, that’s fine.” Saturday? What the hell happened to the other days? The last clear memory Nick had was from Thursday, and it was of sailing a ship into a growing storm.
“What’s the other condition?” asked good cop.
Nick grinned. “Can I get a drink?” His head pounded like it was filled with thousands of tiny drummers.
“You are in a police station, Dr. Ventner,” he admonished. “Black coffee will have to do.”
“It’s a start,” admitted Nick. “Alright, but for this to make any sense, I have to start in New Mexico, and the legend of the chupacabra…”