Nothing is as it seems (Lurcolm+Kitti)

Discussion in 'ONE ON ONES IN CHARACTER' started by Kitti, Sep 3, 2016.

  1. [​IMG]
    The gentle clip of the heels on her boots as Gemma crossed the floor of the police station broke the unnatural silence of a building that normally hummed with activity, giving her a feeling of foreboding. It was the dead of night, though, and she had just returned from a crime scene, which explained both the stillness and her uneasy feeling. This murder had been perplexing for a variety of reasons but the element at the center of the confusion was the small journal found in the man's pocket. The writings in it were numerous but scattered throughout the pages, written haphazardly as though in a frenzy. That alone was not the most curious aspect, though.

    Gemma removed her jacket and draped it over the back of the chair. The night air seemed unnervingly still as well, sticky and humid. The temperatures should be beginning to fall during the night, as it was already April, but the digital thermometer on her desk still read 17 in glowing green digits. She sighed and turned on her computer before taking a swig from a water bottle on the desk. While she waited for the old machine to boot up, she stole another glance at the journal, furrowing her brow as if willing it to suddenly make sense.

    At last, having searched the number for the university, she scanned through the smiling photographs of the linguistics professors and glanced at the clock. Maybe one of them might still be awake. With that thought in mind, she dialed the listed phone numbers for the faculty directory and succeeded in contacting one of them.

    After a long series of questions and answers that seemed to lead nowhere, the man on the other end of the line suddenly perked up.

    "One of my students was very interested in some mystery writings that look like what you're describing. If you would like, I think I still have his number. His name is Johann van der Westhuizen. I imagine he'll be very excited to speak with you."

    Taking down the number and glad to finally be getting somewhere, Gemma hung up with the professor. She took another deep drink of water, mentally preparing herself for another stuffy man who seemed hell-bent on making her a doctorate in linguistics herself over the phone through a series of frustrating questions that she didn't know the answer to.

    Holding her thumbs and hoping that the number picked up, Gemma dialed again and was delighted when the phone was answered on the second ring.

    "Hello, am I speaking to Mister van der Westhuizen? My name is Detective Fane and I was told that you might be able to help me with something."

  2. Johann wasn't a very serious soul when it came to his free time. He enjoyed gaming, and said with no shame he was rather addicted to the mess. He was a very fickle individual when it came to tastes for hobbies, come to think of it. As the only thing he's done consistently was mashing a bunch of buttons to make pictures do things he wanted to. It was easy to pay such an expensive hobby by just giving lessons to rich people's kids. Johann was honestly surprised how much a concerned parent would pay just to see her child not mess up her d's and b's with eachother.

    He was also quite the loner, which made the ring from his phone all the more surprising! He leaped in his chair, screaming, "My liewe fok!" before he finally calmed down, laughed at how easily he was scared and answered the phone with a simple "Hello?". Much to his surprise, it was a girl. Johann had sadly very little contact with girls besides the online kind, and was rather surprised at her question. He immediately pegged her as a wife of some rich man looking for a tutor or a telesales man until she mentioned her being a detective.

    Shit. They didn't know about his porn and pirated games, right? That would be incredibly fucking bad if they knew about that! They wouldn't call about his porn, admittedly then they'd have to arrest half the males with internet, so it had to be either the pirated games or something else. He found himself hoping it was the pirated games other than something legitimately horrible!

    "Uh, ya this is Van der Westhuizen? You might not have the right number though, you looking for Marthinus or Johann? Cause Martinus is in Nigeria, and if you are I seriously wish you luck finding him"
  3. The voice on the other end of the line was not even remotely close to what Gemma had expected. Though he couldn't see her facial expression, her right eyebrow had raised in response to the man's slightly panicked tone and she had to quickly remind herself that she was calling to request his help, not interrogate him. Even if she now felt the urge to question him about why Martinus was in Nigeria and what he was doing there.

    Gemma bit her lip, wondering how much to tell the man. When she had expected to be met with another stuffy man whose head was stuck in thoughts of a thousand years ago, she had thought to entice this Van der Westhuizen to the case with the mention of academic gain and the chance to examine what could be, according to the professor from the university, priceless contributions to the understanding of an ongoing linguistic mystery... or something like that. With the man she had contacted, though, she was not so sure. She was trying to decide if she thought it at all plausible that the professor would be playing a joke on her when she realized that she had let the silence drift on a little too long.

    "Ah, yes. Well, it says here" she bluffed, her gaze flicking to her shoes as it always did when she lied "that I am looking for Johann. That's you, then?" She left another pause, this one only because he had sounded so flustered to begin with and she couldn't help herself. After a moment, she continued.

    "I contacted the university and spoke with Professor Heyns, who told me that I could reach you at this number. I'm looking for someone that might be able to assist with some... unusual writing that was found at the scene of a crime. He told me that you might be that person, but perhaps he misunderstood me..." She had been trying to keep her voice level and professional, but at the last part, she trailed off a little, her thoughts already jumping to what the next step might be if the man couldn't be of assistance.
  4. Ohshitohshitohshitohshitohsit!

    She's a detective, looking for him, with no prior reason! Was this about the pirate games? Please don't let it be about games that aren't even fun! Please, let his account have been hacked and only a small amount of money be stolen!

    "I uhh, ya that's me. How can I... help you with?"

    Then the truth came out! Thank goodness it wasn't anything he'd done. He laughed a bit, muttering a "Thank goodness." into the phone before he went on "Prof Heins knows exactly what he's talking about. I have a strange fascination with the.... the" He frowned, swinging his hand in a rolling motion as he tried to remember the right word for it, as if the motion would speed up the gears grinding in his skull "the occult? Ya that's it. Well I kinda did a thesis where I translated this strange language one of the sangoma wrote in his burial site. Freaky shit, reminded me of the Nordic writing in Skyrim."He rambled, getting out of his chair, before falling flat on his chest with a "shit!" before getting back up "Sorry, forgot my pants was down." He rambled, pulling it back up before he went back to his talking.

    "Alright, I'm in Centurion, you know those apartments by the mall?" He sighed "Of course you don't, because you're not from around here.... right? Where are you from exactly?"
  5. The mumbled "thank goodness" that Gemma heard from the other end was enough to make up for not being able to inquire further about Martinus and she had to bite back a smile lest it seep into her tone. It was good that she had something to amuse her before the man continued, her face drawing into an uneasy expression as she listened to him speak. She had bit her tongue to keep from saying something when she heard the word occult but her look of consternation did not improve as he kept speaking. Before she had even had time to ponder what the man might mean by Nordic writing in Skyrim - she knew what Skyrim was and it was not helping allay her fears to have him mention it - a commotion broke her concentration.

    Then the words sank in. His pants were down? Which means that he fell, she presumed. She couldn't tell if this phone call, which she had approached with such hopes, was some sort of karmic punishment for something she had done. She tried to recollect if there was any such wrongdoing in her past that might account for this, thinking to that time she skipped a class as a teenager to attend a book signing and then lied, telling her maths teacher she'd been ill in the bathroom.

    His question brought her back to reality and her eyebrows drew a little closer together. Was he implying that she sounded strange? she wondered. It was not a cheerful pondering and she tapped her toe on the ground.

    "I know where it is. What makes you think that I'm not from here, huh?" She had, in fact, lived here most of her life. There had been that short stint spent in Northern Cape when her father had gone to tend to his ailing father, but Gemma had been very young.

    Moving on, she continued "Not that it matters. You don't have to come in tonight, but if you think that you might be able to consult on the writing, I'd appreciate it if you would come down to the head office tomorrow. Do you know where it is?"
  6. "What? oh no, it's just I have really shitty luck when it comes to people's locations. I once had a man call me in Windhoek to ask for me tutoring his son. Can you believe that?" He realised rather quickly that he went off topic, so he promptly went back to her previous topic: "As for the head office thing, I honestly don't. I have Google though. You're never really lost with google, now are ya"

    He had gotten up and was already making a cup of coffee "Although, I would love doing it now. It's.... what" he looked at a nearby clock "Holy shit, it's three in the morning! What the fuck!" He growled angrily before talking back into the phone "Sorry but it seems time was lost on me for today. I'll find you at Head Office at around" He tilted his head to the side, a mildly disgusted expression on his face as he worked out how many hours that would be "Eight plust three is eleven, plus a- Could we meet at around half past two?"
  7. The attitude of the man on the other line was so radically different from what Gemma had been expected that she was briefly at a loss for words on her end of the conversation. She had gone from her worries of talking to yet another man who could hardly take a breath in between firing questions at her about infixes and periodicity now but was instead questioning how reliable this new lead would be.

    Casting a final glance at the journal to remind herself why this was a necessary venture, she sucked a breath in between her teeth. By two, the day would be half over! She mulled it over in her head, trying to think of possible compromises.

    "Can you make it any earlier? If you're looking at transport, I could arrange for you to be picked up and taken to the station." She could fill the morning with other tasks to follow up on other loose ends to this case but she was antsy about the journal. It felt so vital, like a key that would unlock all the mysteries of this case and deliver the killer on a silver platter. Or at least give some clue about who the victim was - for that had yet to be established - and who might want to do him harm.

    Pushing back a wave of tiredness, Gemma contemplated the possibility of taking a short nap in her office before reminding herself that it was probably a bad idea, no matter how tempting. Her first instinct was to follow the case like a hound after a rabbit but if she burnt the midnight oil now when it was not necessary, she might not have the energy later. Reluctantly, after a short pause, she relented a little.

    "If you can't make it in before that, though, well. As soon as possible is best but I understand if you have previous obligations."

    She hadn't realized before how tired she was and would surely fall asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
  8. He frowned at her request for an earlier time. It would work, of course it would, but he was kinda crass at himself for not thinking of it sooner. He was a natural nightowl and usually only started his day after noon or even later, so it felt for him perfectly natural, right on time even, to start his day that late. He also forgot everyone else disagrees with that statement, much to his dismay and hindsight. He gave a nod even though she couldn't see it "Well let's see, six hours of sleep, fifteen minutes to fall asleep and then an hour to get ready leaves me at about....." He started muttering numbers to himself once more before nodding again "I think about half past ten? I'm pushing it then, though. And picking me up would be a lot easier for me, if you'd be so kind!"
  9. "Ah, half past ten. That will be fine. I'll get someone to pick you up, just let me get a pen and I'll jot down the address where you want them to go."

    It took a little extra care for Gemma to write down the address that he gave legibly but she focused on forming the letters in smooth, even strokes so that someone besides her would be able to read it. The fewer objections that they could come up with when it came time to send someone to pick up Mr. van der Westhuizen, the better. She finished the call as quickly as possible, both so that he could get to bed and so that she could as well.

    After checking that all the rooms were locked up and empty, the last thing that remained was her office. After lowering the blinds on all of the windows inside the room, she gave the journal another turn over in her hands, thinking on what to do with it. It was a precious piece of evidence and she still couldn't shake the eerie feeling she was getting. While she reasoned that it was probably just tiredness and being on edge from the case, she still wanted to calm her nerves so that she could rest easy.

    On that train of thought, she tucked the journal into an evidence bag and sealed it before peering around her office as though expecting someone to be spying on her. Crouching down near the filing cabinets at the corner of the room, she carefully teased the loose brick out from the wall just behind the last cabinet and slipped the journal inside before replacing the brick and moving the cabinet back into place.


    It helped only slightly, as Gemma slept fitfully that night, plagued with dreams of being chased through darkened hallways. Her dream led her into a shadowy replica of her office, bare of all furniture. Why was she here? Before she could figure it out, she was jolted out of sleep by the beeping of her alarm.

    "Ahhh, eight already?"

    She'd been intending to get up early, to make it into the station and have a chance to convince someone else to go pick up van der Westhuizen but now that chance was looking ever slimmer. Hurrying through her usual routine, she half tumbled out the door in her haste.
  10. His alarm blared him awake at 9:15 AM, making him groan and complain as he simply tried to wait the alarm out. Addled with sleep, he completely forgot about the reason he set it until a good thirty seconds of it not shutting up. For another mere instant, he was very glad he used a clock alarm that can't be pressed snooze and can't time out. He groaned awake and went about his daily motions.

    Something bothered him though. He usually spooked at shadows all his own, seeing figures at the corner of his eyes and turning to see it was something non threatening and ludicrous to think malicious. Like shadows and normal, plain things like that. But today, it felt like something actually was stalking to him. And the shadows he saw wasn't something mundane from the corner of his eyes, for it vanished altogether when he searched for it. It was eerie. He couldn't remember dreams, but from the echos he can, he was very thankful he couldn't.

    By 10:30, he was standing outside his house, leaning against the wall of his apartment block and experienced something he calls "Waking sleep" Where he can rest for a tiny bit yet be aware of his surroundings. He liked it that way. As he stood and listened to the world, horrors and shadows suddenly entered his mind's eye, and he quickly jolted awake. He was a man who trusted his instincts.

    His instincts were telling him this isn't going to be a good day.
  11. In the end, it had been all but impossible to convince anyone else at the station to swing by to pick up her consultant. Most of them respected Gemma enough to shake their heads apologetically and mention "all the paperwork that needs done" but she knew well that none of them wanted to be sent off along on babysitting duty for a consultant. She wasn't going to demand that anyone do it, not such a trivial thing.

    That was how it came to be that Gemma herself was behind the wheel of the black car that rolled to a stop in Centurion. She passed a glance around at the area, eyeing everyone in the vicinity of the car. She had had an anxious feeling all day, not without reason. She was sure, absolutely certain, that she had locked the drawers of her desk last night before she left. This morning, however... that had not been the case. With an icy feeling in her stomach, she had stolen a glance at the cabinets and seen them still comfortably as she had left them. She did not take the journal from its hiding place.

    Now, though, her fears felt almost silly in the broad light of day with the sunshine beating down on the streets. It did not comfort her as much as she might have expected but it was easier to feel confident in the daylight than it might have been were it darker. For that she was grateful, as she had enough uncertainty about meeting with van der Westhuizen without any added stress.

    A man nearby leaned against the wall. He seemed to be waiting for someone, matched the voice she had heard on the phone well enough, and was in the place she had agreed to meet her linguistics consultant. After watching him for a few minutes, he looked around as though startled. Did he feel it too? The tension that felt like it hung in the air? Gemma climbed out of the car, taking care to straighten her posture as she walked toward the man.

    "Mister van der Westhuizen?"
  12. He jumped at her sound, making a small cry from the surprise. He looked around, bewildered for a moment, before he saw the police officer en route to his current position. He couldn't stop himself from giving her a nice elevator stare before he remembered his manners. He gave a big smile as he pushed out his hand to greet her

    "Yeah that's me. Pleasure to me-"

    A shudder came over him and his entire body felt like it just dove a few degrees. Like jumping into a pool when you felt hot. He recovered quickly enough, and the heat came back to his body as quickly as it left "Sorry about that. I think the wind blew the wrong way or something. Made me shudder" he stated, but clearly didn't believe it himself. He knew what a rogue gust felt like. The shudder came over him was like his very being was reacting to something. Alas, that's bullshit. And anyone would tell him that.

    "Pleasure to meet you! What's your name?
  13. Raising her eyebrow in response to the man's initial appraising glance, Gemma nevertheless stretched out her own hand to shake his in greeting. As for returning the smile, she managed to quirk the corners of her mouth up in something that she hoped at least resembled one.

    Before Johann could finish his initial introduction, he seemed overcome by a sudden chill. In this, he was not alone. As though an icy wind from the dead of winter had gotten lost on the sun-bathed street, the hairs at the back of Gemma's neck suddenly stood on end and a feeling of unease wormed its way back into her thoughts.

    If he didn't want to talk about what had just happened, though, neither would she. She had no desire to look the fool trying to explain why she felt so on edge despite the placid atmosphere. His next words made her question whether he had even felt the same pang of unease as he returned enthusiastically to his greeting.

    "Ah, Gemma. Fane. Either Detective Fane or... just Gemma is fine, though. You don't exactly work for me." She seemed hesitant about this, but thought perhaps that the man might feel more at ease without the formality of a title. Even if she had the strangest urge to request everyone call her Detective Fane, since Gemma didn't quite fit the tough cop image she usually tried to convey.

    "Yours is Johann, isn't it? My car is just over this way, I'd prefer to talk once we're inside. It's a bit sensitive." And there's something out here that gives me the creeps.

    She led him back to the understated black car and opened the passenger door for him. As soon as he had climbed inside and both doors were closed, she began to tell him a bit about the writings inside, to get a feel for whether this was even a useful use of her time.