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Saturday, July 11

Black Guard: Part 8 – House Inspection

The house next door to the Gray’s was a large gray-brick home with an attached two-door garage and a large privacy fence encompassing the back yard. The home was two-stories tall with large bay windows along the front. Very few flowers grew in the yard and tall bushes filled the flowerbeds bordering the home.

Police flyers posted on the doors and windows pronounced that the home was “sealed by order of Judge Joe McCrary of Rosetta, Texas, pending completion of a criminal investigation. Anyone entering the premises without proper authority are in violation of this court-order and may be subject to criminal procedures.”

Jim-Bean approached the door. It was locked. He put one palm on it and concentrated.

The door clicked open as the various locks and chains undid themselves, bending to his will. The door flung itself open to reveal…

Hammer standing there.

“The window was open,” muttered Hammer, shaking his head.

The living room was spacious but sparsely decorated. An entertainment center sat on the north side of the room, just right of a door leading to the guest room. A 19” television set and an impressive surround sound system dominated the entertainment center. Lining the center was a rack of music CDs.

Jim-Bean checked out the audio equipment. “Manufactured in Germany. Go figure.”

A small brown couch and a faded leather recliner were centered on the entertainment center. Only two pictures were hung on the walls. One was a painting of a blonde boy looking upward, and the other was a picture of the 69 Mets following their World Series win. Under the picture was a banner with the caption, “You gotta believe!”

“I didn’t figure Nazis for Mets fans,” said Hammer.

A small fireplace filled the east corner next to the back wall. There was a closet beside the front door and an opening that led to the office on the southern wall. Two archways opened on the northern wall, one leading into a formal dining room, while the other provided access to the kitchen. There was a set of stairs going up in the center of the western wall, and a restroom door as well. A balcony overhung half the room, providing a good view of the front door and the front half of the living room.

“Spread out,” said Hammer. “I want a room by room search. Whatever happened is going on with this Doctor has something to do with this house.”

Jim-Bean caught a glimpse of a figure slipping across the threshold of the stairwell upstairs. He closed his eyes and concentrated.

“This is Nina Juarez,” whispered the GNN reporter into her handheld wireless microphone. “I’m here live in the Nazi house of Frank Manz, also known as Doctor Olaf Bitterich. I’ve searched the rooms here and despite the house supposedly being abandoned there’s evidence that someone, or something, is living here. Curiously, I found a pen with Dr. Revinowitz’s name on it, the forensic examiner on the case. I think I just heard someone enter the home…”

Jim-Bean’s psychic senses were suddenly tugged downwards into the center of the house, as if something was trying to get his attention. He perceived a terrible screeching, like nails on a chalkboard – he didn’t hear it, but he felt it tingle up and down his spine.

Jim-Bean sighed. “It’s that GNN reporter again.”

“How did she get here before us?” asked Archive.

“Juarez!” shouted Hammer. “Get down here!”

Nina slunk her way down the steps. “Agent Grange? What are you doing here?”

“You are in violation of a court order!” snarled Hammer. “Get out of here!”

Nina recovered, holding the microphone up to Hammer’s face. “Why is the government interested in this place, Agent Grange?”

Archive lifted one hand and the microphone began to spark.

Nina threw the microphone down in disgust. “Why does this keep happening!” He took out her tape recorder.

Archive kept his hand up, whispering to himself.

Nina played the tape. All that came out was static.

“Oh come on…”

Archive’s chanting grew louder. He opened his eyes and Nina was compelled to look at him.

Then she bolted for the door.

“What did you do to her?” asked Jim-Bean.

Archive shrugged. “Broke her microphone, degaussed her tape recorder, and scared the crap out of her.”

“So pretty much what we did to her last time,” snorted Hammer. [MORE]

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posted by Michael Tresca at 9:55 AM


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