Lord of the Flies

By Wordwitch

Joel Taggert pulled his scarf around his neck, tugging the ends across each other and tucking them under his lapels as he headed for the station door. It had been a long day, and it was certainly a cold night out there. As he pulled open the glass double doors, he saw Greenholt and Beringer dragging in a struggling street person, so he held the door for them.

Foam streaked the man's stringy grey beard and lank hair as he shrieked - something about gas and flies - and then he caught sight of Joel.

"Jackson! Tell the Colonel! Don't let them kill us!"

And then they dragged him further in.

Bemused, Joel headed on out to the weekly poker game.


"Huh," said their youngest detective as he finished up his story. "Bout how old was he, do you think?"

Joel saw the sharp looks sent Blair Sandburg-Ellison's way as he tried to figure.

"No less than forty, might have been as old as sixty, but you know street life is hard."

Blair nodded, his face grim.

"Probably a vet. Probably flashbacks. Probably, in fact, got caught in some of the defoliant they used in 'Nam - man, that stuff was nasty. I knew some men who'd been through it, and they were not right. But usually, there'd be something that set them off; something they would see that linked up with the memory."

"Wouldn't have to be much, Chief," Jim Ellison-Sandburg said, stretching his arms out before him and then folding them on the table. "If he saw too many flies around a dumpster, that might be enough to set it off."

Blair nodded, his luminous eyes turned inward. "The thing is, it's December, so there shouldn't be any flies at all, even around a dumpster. Not unless it was warm for a considerable period of time."

"Like, it was near one of those steam vents?" Henri asked, referring to the great steel-grilled squares that let off pressure from the city's steam-heat system, and which were favorite camping sites for the city's homeless. "Lots of those around." He shuffled his cards into a more interesting configuration.

"But what about the gas, then?"


Send feedback to Wordwitch

Go back to Story Page

Go back to Home Page