The word limit was a little stunting, as originally I hit around 900 words, and had to trim some of the action within the brothel (shame, I know), but this is definitely a chapter that I will update and expand in the future.
So now, back to Detroit of 2089; the seedy futuristic world of Joe Chacago, PI…
The handle on the entrance was a decorative wing.
“Welcome to Flight – a Heaven on Earth!”
Joe pointedly did not acknowledge the welcome wagon of tuxedoed heavies and perfumed girls, instead shouldering through them, over to the unmanned reception desk of the neon-sweet foyer. Eyes shooting up to clock a camera, he continued behind the barrier, intent on going through the access door marked ‘Flight Personnel Only’.
Prob’bly tore it off an airport bathroom.
The crowd of employees jumped at Joe’s course; the girls gasping audibly, and the fellers tripping over to the desk to stop him.
“Sir, you can’t go that way. Sir!”
“Yeah? Why not? What’s this way so special I can’t see, huh?” Joe made a grab for a handle, but his hand fell on nothing but door. A digital keypad glowed tauntingly just to the side.
The tallest man reached the desk and landed a paw on Joe’s shoulder, intent on turning him around. He was successful in his endeavour, as Joe swung on his heels and delivered a left-hook square to the lackey’s jaw, knocking him down.
“Anybody else?” Joe grunted to the room.
“You’ve damaged enough china, thank you, Officer Chicago.” a familiar voice clipped from the personnel door. Joe turned back to see it wide open, the gaunt proprietor displayed in its frame as though he’d been watching through it the whole time. Eyes everywhere.
“That’s ‘Inspector’ Chicago, Francis.” Joe insisted, unclenching his fist and correcting the front of his coat, “We need to talk.”
“Certainly, Inspector. I’m all ears. But prior to politics, pleasure…”
Francis turned and slinked into the private room, disappearing through the darkness. Joe gave the onlookers a final glance to make certain he wouldn’t be impeded again, then followed.
The foyer’s flooding luminescence was cut suddenly off as the electronic door snapped shut behind him, leaving the room in absolute black. No sign of Francis. Nothing.
Damn. Keep it together, old man.
The benefit of the pitch surroundings was that Joe couldn’t see how dizzy he was getting – no blurring lines, spinning lights or loud colours. Even without visual cue, his tired knees wavered a moment, sending him staggering just one step forward.
“Not looking so hot, Joe.” carried Francis’ voice from nowhere, “Tell me, what brings you to my sector? To my home, no less.”
“Ah… The Angel of Antiquity.” Joe winced at the moniker. “Sorry, Joe, she was a no-show last night. My Cherubim and Seraphim have seen neither head nor… tail… of her since.”
Something heavy slid from atop Joe’s boot, as though it had been resting there a while.
“But why waste all this ink on yesterday’s news? Tootsy’s not drawn crowds for a long time now.”
“That why you k-?” There it was again, now sliding wetly down off the back of his calf, though Joe hadn’t noticed it land.
“Insssssspector Chicago, it is my pleasure to introduce you to our newest thrill – the Almighty Hafgufa!”