Motor City Intern: Part 6

Amy paused before responding, but then said, “If he’s fine with it? What if he’s not and you still need help?”

Memories of The Thing That Eats converting people I knew into alternate bodies for itself flashed through my head. “Let’s just say there’s a point where I’m going to ignore him and call in anyone I can get, but before that, I’m going to try to pull in any local heroes I can get. I mean, Skunk Lord’s around here somewhere.”

Laughing, Amy said, “The guy who controls rats? That’s a good idea, but don’t forget that some vampires also control rats. He might have to settle for groundhogs, skunks and squirrels.”

Even though she couldn’t see it, I shrugged. “There might be badgers around here somewhere. Also raccoons. Besides, he’s my backup plan. I’m hoping it doesn’t come up.”

“Don’t let your boss’s pigheadedness kill people. If you think you need us, call us in. From what you’ve said, he sounds like my guardian and there’s no reason you should have any patience with that.”

Thinking about Amy’s guardian, I had to admit that there was a resemblance in their personalities, but nowhere else. Amy’s guardian was blood sorcerer, hereditary noble, and spy who’d lived for hundreds of years. Working Man was just a regular guy with powers.

We talked a little longer after that but stopped when Mateo stepped into the lab. “Ready to go? I know a little bit more than I did when we came back, but I want to know a little more.”

I’d already finished talking with Amy as he opened the door, so I asked, “What have you got?”

With a wolfish smile, he said, “Names, a more precise location, occupations and times of death. And it gets more interesting. Officer Harshaw remembered that they were near the Renaissance Center, but as it happens all three bodies were found in a parking garage right next to the Renaissance Center. I don’t know if the vampire is there, but it’s still daytime which means it’s the best time for us to be looking for vampires. By the way, what did you get?”

“Not much. I didn’t have enough information. Without a description or more details than ‘spots of deathly power’ and ‘seems to have sucked blood,’ it’s anybody’s guess. For all Bloodmaiden knew, it could be vampiric vegetables.”

Mateo raised an eyebrow. “That would be different.”

We grabbed our bikes and rode the elevator up to the first floor. Once we got moving, it took about twenty minutes to get to the Renaissance Center—properly the GM Renaissance Center, now with the Chevrolet logo circling one of the Renaissance Center’s black towers.

The first fifteen minutes of the ride hadn’t been much different from the section of Detroit where the Motor City Heroes’ Tower stood—older houses, some scattered across nearly empty blocks of grass, others together in rows as they must have been for the last fifty years.

When we got closer, it began to look like every big city—big steel buildings with mirrored glass or dark glass. That’s not to say that Detroit didn’t have older, unique, brick, stone, and concrete buildings from earlier styles of city architecture. It did, but our route went heavy on gleaming modern buildings.

Of course, you could find yourself passing old, abandoned-looking buildings within a block or two.

Another amusing detail? American made cars were noticeably more common than in  Grand Lake. I’d heard that car companies gave discounts to their employees, and based on what I’d seen, I was prepared to believe it.

The Beaubien Place Garage turned out to be a brick building accented with white concrete. It sat next to another parking garage and both of them were across from a long parking lot filled with cars.

Given that the Renaissance Center was five large towers, I could imagine they’d need the space.

We parked the motorcycles on the sidewalk—not blocking it. The sidewalk extended from the building to the street and our bikes were next to the street.

As we walked in, I glanced back at the bikes, remembering what Mateo had said the last time we’d been downtown, “Don’t worry about it. The police won’t ticket us. We’ve got an arrangement.”

Inside, the parking garage looked like every parking garage ever—grey concrete beams, yellow lines, and grey concrete floors and ceilings. It didn’t take long to the fourth floor by the stairs, surprising a family and several men in business suits on the way up.

They didn’t register that we were superheroes even as they must have registered that our costumes weren’t quite normal gear for bikers. They shrank to the side as we hurried past them.

Cars filled the garage, but it didn’t take long for Mateo to say, “Over here.”

I followed him down the row of cars until he stopped in the middle. “They were found here.”

Mateo stared down at the ground between two Chevrolet SUVs. “I can still see bits of the power they got out of the blood. I’m going look under the cars to see what else I can get. Keep your eyes peeled in case we’ve got a daywalker.”

I looked up and down the row of cars, paying attention to the ceiling above them in case of a bat, mist, even a flying head.

Every now and again, I checked under the vehicle as well because any horror movie worth the name would include him getting grabbed and dragged away while under the SUV.

It didn’t take long before he crawled out from under it and stood up. “I think it was the same one. I’m not sure how I know it, but from what I see through the mask, this thing leaves the same flavor of evil—whatever that means.”

He grinned at me.

“The woman’s death was on the next floor up. We should go up there, but after that, I want to walk through the whole building once. If I’m right we won’t see any signs of it that are newer than three days. I think it went our way in search of new hunting grounds.”

I thought about the area around our Tower. Between the open land and abandoned buildings, it would have space to hide.

4 thoughts on “Motor City Intern: Part 6”

  1. Good luck in your hunt.

    In the meantime, the title of this arc keeps reminding me of Jet City Woman, by Queensrÿche.

  2. I am *really* enjoying Motor City Intern; the mix of (almost) real-world procedural, a new team, an engaging advisor who seems to be a hereditary Zorro-esque evil-hunter who’s also a priest — with a motorcycle. If they want to boost their city, though, the Motor City Heroes shouldn’t be riding Harleys; Harley-Davidson is still and always a South Dakota brand, and the only remaining American-made motorcycle (and yes, I live in SD, and yes, this month is Sturgis, and yes, I’m getting biker-cred just by breathing the exhaust fumes, so I had to do a little boosting (boostERing?) of my own.)

    Nick seems like the sort of young man who’d enjoy the band Rush; perhaps not the earliest albums… but I’d think he’d definitely know who they are. And I’m waiting with great eagerness for the topic of Working Man’s hero name and one of Rush’s earliest hit songs to at least be commented on! As a reader, I’m looking foward to meeting Working Man, too… though from things V-8 and Matteo have said, I suspect I won’t enjoy it much.

    Best of luck on the job search; I *feel* for you, and I’m very greatful you still choose to continue spinning your story.

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