Monday, 22 February 2016

Funeral Director

My 3 prompts:

My name is Laquisha. I am a funeral director. As a funeral director I need to know when people die. Nobody knows this, but there is an app for that. All funeral directors have this app, but most of them ignore it and allow customers to come to them. What makes this app special, is that it releases the location that the death occurs 3 hours before it happens, and slowly releases details until the actual event.

I don't believe that this app is an innocent result of quantum science mumbo jumbo. That is why I intervene.

I live in Piscatoris. I wear a deathmask and a tux. I am the Funeral Director.

A little over 2 hours ago, the App sent an alert to my phone. A death was going to occur at a 3 story warehouse by the docks. I got dressed and took a cab to the address. On the way, the app alerted me of 5 other deaths at the same address. So far, no names or other details have come through. I searched the first floor and found nothing. I'm on my way to the elevator, gun drawn.

The indicator light is on the 3rd floor, so I call the elevator. 30 seconds later the elevator door opens, and I enter. There is a front gate and a back gate, and I don't know which side will open, so I stand on the side keeping an eye on both.

The bell dings and the elevator stops. The doors open. My mind rebels at what I'm seeing. Clear sky through a glass ceiling, and dense trees all around. Someone has built a labyrinth up here.

I exit the elevator, and check my phone.
-10 minutes until the first death.
-It is a murder.
-Knife wound to the throat.

My mask is equipped with vision technologies, so I turn on infrared enhancement.

After 9 minutes of searching along the paths, I finally see someone up ahead. A small woman is collapsed on the path, her leg covered in blood. She is weeping softly, with her hair covering her eyes. Then out of the corner of my eye, I notice a hint of red. A camouflaged man has crept up on the woman from within the foliage. He is carrying a long knife, and he is inches away from her. He is intently focused on her like a hungry animal. I zoom in on his face, and my PAI (Personal Artificial Intelligence) identifies him as an escaped serial killer.

I swing my gun up to take aim, just as he lunges for her. She laughs and twirls around, steel flashing in her hands. There is a look of surprise on his face, as his blood drips down her arms. He still has some fight in him, and he tries to take his own vengeance. However, he is too weak, and she throws him aside. She cleans her knife on his shirt and looks at me. I lower my gun, and say, "Are you alright?"

She points to her ears and shrugs, then signs something at me. I don't know sign language, but my PAI displays, "I'm sorry, I can't hear you. I'm deaf." I nod at her. I have a business card, so I take out a pen and begin writing on it, "Can I help you?". But when I look up, she's gone. I look around, and there is no sign of her. That's when my PAI pings me. I look at the news article it pulled out of Google:
"Deaf Dora Deals Double Death!
Police are confounded by yet another murder by the mysterious deaf woman. This time, she knifed two men outside of a..."

I didn't expect that. I bluetooth my phone to the mask, and check for alerts. More details have poured in from the App:
-Less than a minute to next death.
 -Gunshot to chest.
-16 minutes to 3rd death.
-16 minutes to 4th death.
-17 minutes to 5th death.

Fearing the next one may be me, I look around fast. To my left! Someone is hiding in the tree. I keep them in my peripheral vision, as I review the image. There is a glint of steel in the image. I turn on my reverse cam and walk away from the stalker. The stalker creeps out of the bush and I recognize her. She is Deaf Dora. I swing around, gun pointing at her chest, and my other hand out in the universal sign for "Stop!" Fearing that the app may be right, my eyes plead with her to listen.

I miscalculated. She interprets my fear as being directed toward her, and charges me. I pull the trigger. She stops in surprise, as she looks down and drops the knife. Blood spreads outward from the center of her chest in arterial gushes. Her bloody hands take on more blood. She looks at me pleadingly, and collapses. Damn that App! I check her pulse, but there is none any more. Nothing more for me here, so I move on.

Five minutes later, I see someone else wandering the path, carrying a gun. He sees me, then my gun. I lower my gun and say, "You alright?"

He lowers his in response and says, "I don't know! I heard a gunshot. Was that you?"

"Yeah. I was attacked."

"Any idea what's going on?"

"No, not really. You?" My PAI pings me. Facial recognition has determined that this man is a serial killer named John Roscoe. He targets young boys. I'm safe.

"No. All I know is that I was lured here."

We walk and talk for a few minutes. I pretend to be a murderer, and that seems to loosen his tongue a bit more. I find out that he and his roommate received letters which were designed to lure them here. His roommate is the man that Deaf Dora killed, but I don't tell him that.

I check for updates from the App:
-Less than 1 minute to 3rd death.
 -Gunshot to head
-Less than 1 minute to 4th death.
 -Gunshot to head
-1 minute to 5th death.
 -Gunshot to head
-7 minutes to 6th death.

Just then, we come to a clearing.

Across the clearing, I see someone moving about, and point them out to my companion. “John! Look over there! Someone across the clearing.”

John sees them and says, “So there is… How did you know my name?”

“You told me, remember?”

“No. I didn’t.”

I notice a red laser dot appear on the head of the man across the clearing, just as John shoves me out into the open and draws his gun.

A gunshot rings out and the man across the clearing falls to the ground amid bloodspray and brain splatter. John hesitates and looks at the action. The red laser dot swings too fast to track across the clearing and settles on John’s head. My PAI triangulates the origin and highlights it for me, zooming in on the area of an image it took earlier, where a grainy sharpshooter appears to be hiding in the top of a tree. I yell, “Duck!” too late. John’s brain erupts from the side of his head. I dash for cover, and start running to intercept the sharpshooter. I chance a look at the shooter’s location just in time to see a red dot appear on her head, and a moment later watch her die like her victims.

Again my PAI tracks the laser, this time back toward the elevator shaft. Above the elevator there is an observation tower. I look at it, and zoom in on a man descending stars. There’s no time for me to reach the elevator shaft or the stairwell, but there is only one functional exit to the building. That exit is on the North wall, and I am right by the north wall. It is 25 feet to the ground below. Not really too far to drop, but I don’t want to risk breaking my legs, so I improvise.

The human intestine is 25 feet long in total. It’s slippery as you like, and not really that strong in its fresh state, but it worked. I made it to the ground right by the entrance just as the man was darting for it. I raised my gun and shouted, “Stop!”

He responded, “How many did you kill?”

“What?!” I was confused.

“How many of them did you kill? It’s a simple question.” He stopped 10 feet from me, still inside the warehouse.

I thought for a moment, my PAI pinged me. “You killed one person today.”

“Why does it matter?”
“I want to know. What is the harm in telling me? You can see that I don’t have my rifle trained on you. I saw all of them but two die. I know that they died, I had their vitals tracked. What happened to the other two?”

“First, you tell me what the bloody hell was going on here!”

“Promise to tell me afterward?”

“Fine. In fact, I’ll do one better. I’ll show you.”

“Thank you. I lured 5 serial killers here so that they would kill each other. Then you showed up. Now, show me, like you promised!”

I projected my recording of the two deaths onto the floor between us, adjusted for his viewpoint. He watched the recording play out with a look of ecstasy on his face.

“Are you recording this too?”


“Answer me!” He shouted.



He pulled out a diamond coated nanotube saw (DCNS) string from his glove, and flipped a coin. While it was in the air, he said, “Heads you die, tails I die!”


It landed tails up.

“Fair enough,” he shrugged. He lay on the ground, and took out a mirror, positioning it carefully.

“What are you doing?” I asked

He wrapped the DCNS Garrote around his neck and tightened it rapidly, cutting through his carotid artery.

“No!” I dropped my gun, running to him and tried to stop the bleeding. I knew there was nothing I could do. I also knew I needed to leave the scene.


My PAI responded, “Yes?”

“Scrub a copy of the recording of my identifying information, and post it to the Anonymous Police Report Forum. Prepare my apartment for quiet entry and a forensic bath. With epsom salts. And put some hot chocolate on for me.

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