It happened again! Ayden was out on patrol, when he spied the Grim Reaper, seemingly following a citizen as she walked across the street.
This was not a good time to lose his job. Jade had just announced her big news to him. They were going to have a baby, soon. Jade was employed, but Ayden made far more Simoleons in his line of work. Simoleons they well needed. And Braylon? Well, who knew what it was he was up to, exactly? Anytime Ayden tried to get friendly with him, asking about his career, Braylon would simply lie, telling him he was a big time crime boss.
“Yeah, right, Bray,” he laughed. “I know you work the night-shift, but that doesn’t mean you’re a criminal. Say, it’s okay if you’re a night-janitor. There’s no shame in that. Really.”
All of this was swimming around in Ayden’s head when the chief finally set aside her files, got up from her desk, and offered him some coffee, gesturing with the full pot in hand. Ayden nodded.
“Senior Detective Cantrell,” she began pouring him a cup.
“Ma’am.” He took the mug she offered, wrapping his large hands around it.
“I’ve noticed something about you, lately. You have a very special talent. So, that’s why I would like you to go up to the break room and do whatever it is you did for our other two officers that stopped all of this mourning going on around here.”
“Ma’am?” Ayden leaned forward in his chair. He never realized anyone knew what he had done. He tried to be so quiet, so nonchalant about it. These people do solve crimes, he reminded himself.
“Well, you do realize that Detective Meghan Spurlock collapsed and died up there, a short time ago.”
“Yes, I’m aware. It’s a very sad thing,” he took a sip of his coffee. “We keep losing good people.”
“Yes, it is sad. It’s also problematic in that the Commissioner is on my back. He says we’re slacking, or something. I guess he’s never lost three co-workers in so short a time, as we have— especially not right here at the precinct. I do know cases are getting backed up around here. I told him we’d get our best people on it. And that’s what I intend to do. Starting with you. I don’t believe in any of this mumbo-jumbo, but I have seen the results of whatever it is you do. So, before they all start jamming themselves into the break room, weeping relentlessly all over the place, please do that — thing you do.”
“You want me to release her spirit to the Netherlands.”
The chief waved a hand at him in dismissal. “Whatever you call it. Just get it done, all right?”
“Yes, ma’am. I’ll get right on it.”
Ayden set his coffee mug aside and climbed the stairs to the break room. The room did feel — off. Not altogether sinister, but not exactly comforting, either. Decidedly chilly, he was at once beset by feelings he wasn’t alone. No wonder few ventured up here these days. Getting down to business, he placed a hand on the urn there, said a few words of comfort and then proclaimed to Meghan Spurlock, “You are free to go to the Netherlands.” Again, he watched the gossamer mist swirl about the ornate, brass urn until it seemed to rise straight up and through the ceiling. Then, he carefully disposed of the urn, hoping no one else would notice.
He was overcome with sadness, as he had been the other two times, but he had to admit, things felt different in the room. Clean, somehow. Certainly, the air was no longer on the frigid side. Then he went back downstairs, briefly told the chief the task was complete and went back to working on his latest case file.
When he got home from work at the end of his shift, Jade had no sooner served him some dinner, when she got a strange look on her face. Ayden quickly deduced she was in labor. He ate, cleared up the dishes and paced the room for a bit. Jade then got into bed and rested. Ayden crawled in beside her and did his best to sleep. Freeing spirits took a lot out of him. That was his biggest accomplishment for the day. Sad, but true. At least the chief was happy.
When Ayden awakened again, it was to the sounds of Jade’s travail. She moaned, cried, and all but cursed him and then presto! They had a baby son. He sure was a cute little thing, Ayden thought, watching the baby as he slept in his little bassinet. Life had suddenly changed for him, as if he now understood the meaning of Life. No wonder this was something his father sought — why he gave up his rather successful, lucrative career as a Rock Star. Ayden felt moved to work on his writing skills. At least, he needed to get this new perspective on his father’s choices written down before they evaporated.
On the way in to work the next day, he wondered where he could find those chocolate cigars. He had an irrational urge to hand them out to anyone and everyone. He couldn’t so much as find a candy store, the most logical place to look, so he gave up on the idea and simply went to work. He was quick to share his news, also realizing how sleepy he was. Who knew just how loud somebody so very small could be at 2:00 AM? He must have consumed an entire pot of coffee before he left home. Doing a weird kind of duck walk, he finally made it to the bathroom.
Right away, he got down to work. Cross-checking the data base, analyzing the evidence. He took time to study the board again, realizing more clues were right before him. Before long, he issued an APB and within minutes he was down town looking for the suspect. Inside of a couple of hours the perpetrator presented, a male Sim with long sleeves. After a short conversation, and that all-too reliable gut instinct, Ayden made the arrest. This nut was a bit harder to crack, he soon realized. After he’d searched the guy, took his mug shot and got his fingerprints, it was off to the Interrogation Room. Ayden had a few tricks up his sleeve. He’d had plenty of practice already, in his young career. He liked to mix things up. Switching from good cop to bad cop to all but disinterested cop to checking his cell phone. He even presented evidence. So far, the guy, likely a hardened criminal, was hardly breaking a sweat. Time for Ayden give him the stink eye.
When that failed, Ayden, mostly out of frustration, scooped up the paperwork from inside the file, all the bits of evidence, be it computer printouts to snippets of notes from his small notepad, and flung them up into the air. This startled the guy. They both sat there watching as the witness reports and other contents fluttered downward upon the tabletop.
Ayden leaned in and gave the guy his best ‘stink eye’ again. The Sim was clearly rattled at the point, when Ayden reached behind himself, and dangled his handcuffs in front of the Sim’s face. “Do you have anything to say?” Ayden asked.
“All right, all right I did it, I did it! Just don’t hurt me.”
“Thank you, I thought so.” With that Ayden locked up the suspect. He filed his report, apprised the chief his case was now closed and clocked out for the day. But, not before the chief congratulated him.
“Detective Cantrell,” she hailed as Ayden left her doorway.
“Congratulations on the birth of your son. And —”
“Thank you, Ma’am, but I’m a bit confused. And?”
“I’m promoting you to Sergeant. Good work.” She gave his hand a firm shake. Ayden smiled and for once, she smiled back at him.