Lurking Beneath the Surface

While not frozen yet, its dipping to mid 40s or lower over night, just waiting for that ground freeze as winter approaches. Samuel can't help himself, to be out at the creek. He'll fish it most warmer months, but today it just seems darker to him. Remnants of leaves still blowing down hitting it and floating away, nearly sucked within its darkness. He's just off Reecer Creek Road, near the bridge that crosses the creek. Not off in the wilds, most likely walked out from town, needing some solace, or just to look at the creek. Wearing warmer jacket, not yet a winter coat, he'll wait for actual snow before throwing anything like that on, he has one hand in his pocket as he stands looking down at the water. Right on the path most people use to come down around the bridge to underneath it most likely.

There is a sound from the undergrowth. It is the squawk of a police radio. The foliage is brushed back and two of the local finest come into view. One is in a patrol uniform, the other is Ashton Brooks. The farm, of course, is not far from here. Dressed in a long coat that swamps her, likely one belonging to her brother, Ashton points off in the distance after spotting Sam. "Go check down there, Mike," that seems to be the name of the patrolman because he nods. "We'll rendezvous back at the station in a few hours. I have a couple things I want to check on. Might be something. Might be nothing."

Mike nods again, "Sure Ashton. Want me to go back and talk to the doc after I do this?"

Ashton weighs this up and nods. "Yeah, go back. Make sure they've got the forensics all cleared up and if it can't be cleared up we need it photographed because there's no way we can keep locals out of here for long." With that they part company and Ashton heads towards the slope that leads up to the bridge and to Samuel. Holding a hand up to shield her eyes from the strong winter sun she calls out, "Hey Sam. What brings you out here?"

The squawk carries more than voice and gets his attention. Samuel comes out of wool gathering for the moment, not hearing all the voices so much or seeing anyone until Ashton is head for that slope. "Hey Ashton," he grins warmly, moving to offer a hand if she wants it, not wanting to insult anyone's own integrity either. "Had to see the creek today." He shoulder shrugs, not sure what that does for him, having to see it. "Been stuck on the same dream lately. Drowning, in the creek, but its always as deep as the reservoir. Amelia helped me work up a dream catcher, but its coming back." Looking where he thinks she came from, perhaps seeing Mike if he's moving more along creek and out of the woods, "What about you, anything good, or don't ask?"

Ashton takes that hand and the help, accepting that at six months pregnant she needs help sometimes. When she has crested the slope, thanks to Samuel's help, she releases his hand, gives him a pat on the back both in greeting and in thanks. "That's a pretty interesting dream." She rubs a fingertip against the side of her nose. "Lots'a folks end up dying in the creek. Lots'a animals too." She looks around, giving the impression it is more than just casual. "Figure the gossips will spread the news sooner or later and I know you aren't one to go flapping. Somebody mutilated some livestock. Couple'a calves went missing from the Gooderson farm. Happens a lot, farm stock getting stolen. Mostly it turns up in somebody else's barn or in a slaughterhouse a few counties away. These poor things didn't have such luck."

"Yeah, just can't shake it this time," returns Samuel, gladly accepting the pat on the back, his hand up long enough until she's stable - which is back patting, and if finds a pocket in his fall jacket. Listening about the people and animals in the creek, there is a nod of understanding. Every now and again, he reads the papers even. One of those things living near a creek. Overconfident swimmers, intoxicated even, not respecting that the current can move fast, especially under the surface and in deeper channels, then it appears. The mutilation grabs him a little, "I'm not envious of your job, for the record. Kids being stupid or this something ongoing?"

She taps her fingertips against the railing on the bridge. "I don't know," admits Ashton. "There was some anger there. Something…visceral." Her fiery head turns and she looks at Sam. "In some ways, Sam, it…this sounds a bit crazy I know - but it looks kinda like what happened to my mom." That was a very grisly murder indeed. Ashton purses her lips and makes a faint sucking sound. "What you and I do, what we are…is good. But I know not everyone like us is good. It could be some kind of ritual gone wrong. Could be some kind of ritual that did what it was supposed to do."

Looking out towards the creek, up into the woods a little as he's thinking about it, Samuel hears her relate it to what happened and his eyes come back towards her. "Sounds like something for the Elders," he offers quietly in return, "But then, I mean, what happened to your mom. If that was something similar, and the Elders didn't do much then, who's to say they'll do something now." There is a look of consternation to his face, his folks and how they raised the Bates kids, coupled with what Ashton just said and some disagreement in his trust values. "You got some ideas on how to look into this?" Magically speaking, magical forensics?

"Everybody leaves behind something. Clues. Markers. Calling cards. It doesn't matter if it's magic or mundane. You just have to look carefully," says Ashton. Her head tilts and she looks down at the water below, the shadows cast by the late afternoon sun draw her gaze. "The why is the real question. Why do it at all? Whoever it was knew the missing calves would be reported. Knew we'd start looking for them. Knew we'd find their mutilated remains." Ashton takes a deep breath and releases it on a sigh. "So tell me about the dream."

His focus stays to her, listening her explain how something was surely left behind, jumping to its the matter of finding in his mind as she mentions looking carefully. A good profile as she gazes down at the water, that tricky winter sun, its bright and should be warm though the world is cold around them. The motif, elusive to her currently, gives him more to think about, he wouldn't of made the jump there, that they may have wanted to be found. His face remains wry. "Like a threat, or a challenge." Wanting the bodies found that is. As she asks about his dream, he turns to look at the stream as well.

"I'm out fishing, and I see something struggling in the water. I walk out to look, not in the water, you know, just over it." As they're slightly more open about what they are, he assumes the other detective is far enough away to say that much. "But it goes under, and I move to the spot where it was, not sure if it was an animal or a person, just some dark shape thrashing about. Then there is a face, or something, eyes and mouth … and I am pulled under. I try to summon something, anything, strength, will, just to cast something to help, but nothing works. I get pulled under the water, and its really deep, like the reservoir, though I started on the creek. I go to look at my ring." He holds up the sugilite purple/red/blue stone that is his, "And its rusty brown, all the color is gone from it."

She listens, taking in the details of what he is saying, both as a friend and as a cop who knows there might be something more to it all - not all magic is the good kind. "Next time can you write down what happens in your dream? Right when you wake up? I'm not saying what you're dreaming and what is happening down here is related, but it could be. Could just be coincidental. But I don't believe in coincidences."

More focused back on her again, Samuel bobs his head once in affirmation, "Yeah, I can write that down. Its becoming more and more vivid too. Like the first night I had it, it felt pretty real even after I woke up." Then he pauses, looking to the water, "Hopefully coincidence, wasn't sure about it the first time. Tried a few dream books, and some stone books as that was in the dream, but not much luck. Just the dream catcher." Then a turn back to her, "Is that mutilation recent, I mean, you're back now, on the force and all … what if its something they wanted you to see?" She did relate it to her mother. Her bringing up coincidence led him to that conclusion most likely.

His question gives Ashton something new to consider. Maybe it was put there for her to see. It isn't far from the Brooks' farm. "It's been within the last few weeks. Could be it was about me. Could be it wasn't, but that is something I'll have to factor into my investigation." She taps her fingers against the railing again. "If the dream becomes a problem I might be able to help, but dreams are things we are usually meant to have, in my experience anyway."

"You're brothers out there, but I'm just a phone call away," he puts out there. Knowing she's fully capable, but no one has eyes behind them too, Samuel just feels comfortable saying that without insistent on being careful. She probably knows that book better than him. "I don't have many dreams, the good sort," he chews on that thought while admitting it to her all the same, "The only things I recall are usually … well, nightmares I guess. If you know something about dreams, maybe I should be speaking to you about it." In general, but the recurring one has him, and he'll journal it the next time it wakes him.

"Anything can be a portent," says Ashton. "Dreams. A bird flying into an open window in your house. A mirror breaking. It's about interpreting them. There could be clues in your dream. Something that needs investigating - undercovering." She rocks back on her heels only to pull herself back forward again using the railing. "Has anyone else in your family had the dream or similar dreams?"

Still one hand in his pocket, Sam takes the other to run through his slightly short hair. Considering all that, "Something that needs investigating … curious, each time I have to go out and see what it is. Like I know its not a wounded animal or something, but I have to know." Recalling that, or more firm in his mind currently as she talks about dreams and portents. There is a pause, he looks up a little, shaking his head, "No, not that dream, and if they've had anything similar lately, they haven't shared. I don't know if my parents would tell me, but I'd know if one of Tres Bates had the dream. Maybe I should ask them though?"

"I think you should ask," agrees Ashton. "I know there is a link between you, but there might be things which are not shared. I mean, do they know when you're…engaging in amorous activities, because that would be…awkward."

Listen intently as he has been, serious topics abound, from mutilations, to his nightmares, to her mother, Samuel gives pause about amorous activities. Then a chuckle and a shack of his head, "No, no, not that, just close is all, we like to share what we can I think." Smile lingering from that thought, he agrees, "Awkward … I hope I don't ever know about that." For them at least. "I'll ask them, see what they know too. Meadow has been the closest on it, she was with me the first time it woke me up about a month ago." He looks back to the creek, offhandedly, "Feels like the snow will be late this year, a little warm for November."

"Could be," says Ashton as she looks at the water below. "Could be that it'll turn anyway. Never can tell with the weather. Soon it'll be time for folks to head home for the holidays and things will quiet down some. Your family going to do their regular big Thanksgiving?" Then a thought occurs to her. "When you went to see what was under the surface what did you think it was?"

"Yeah, Thanksgiving at the firehouse for families in town, then are own thing that night. Sort of a tradition, you know, feed others, eat our turkey then put up the tree. Just, don't think we'll see snow before then." But it will come, he's good with that. Then she asks about under the surface. Looking up in recollection again, "When I went to help, just thought it was someone needing my help. But then I see the face before it grabs me, like a demon … mythical biblical sort though." Not the sort that is worm/snake like and possesses people.

Ashton's brows rise up. "A demon? Interesting. One that looked human-like then, like the biblical temptations? Or was it easy to tell it was demonic?" For some reason this seems an important distinction.

"It was fuzzy, but yeah, easy to tell demonic. Eyes, horns or pointed ears, that it was under the water made it hard to make out the details," returns Samuel, still in that thought, giving it to her as his mind pulls for more strings from the memories of those dreams. "Almost like, the first black shape was bait." Since he understands fishing, "And it didn't want me to see, I only see at the last moment, but once I'm pulled down, I'm looking up, trying to get to the surface, and the light is receding. Just more darkness around me."

"And do you think the point of the darkness was to consume you? To kill you? To use you as bait for the sibs?" She turns around and rests her back against the railing, slips her hands into the pockets of her coat. "That's more than your typical drowning dream."

Coming back to look at her, "I don't know, it wanted me out there, but I don't know if anyone else is around to see, to lure them out too. I'm struggling for breath, but not passing out either, I only wake up when it hurts to much." A look back to the water again, "I'll write down the details next dream for you."

She winces a little and reaches inside her coat to rub her swollen abdomen. "I should get going." Ashton pulls her keys from her pocket with her other hand. "I'll swing by in a few days, see how you're doing. If you hear anything about what happened out here I'd appreciate you letting me know."

"Thanks Ashton, if anyone mentions anything, you'll be the first to know." He gives a wave to her, then considers the stream one more time, but decides to start walking back, especially with police business out here. "See you when I see you." He gives a wave, walks backwards just a little, then turns to head towards the city.

OOC Date: 07.07.2015
IC Date: 11.15.2014
Cast: Ashton, Samuel

OT12: Reecer Creek

Though not far from the road, the sounds of tumbling water over smooth stones eclipses the sounds of the road, giving the area near the creek banks a serene feel. The creek slopes downward, surrounded by a thicket of pines and elm trees with trunks so close in some places they nearly form a wall. The water is clear in the shallows, but deepens into a brown-green color where the depth is a little more drastic - in fact, some might not call this a creek at all, as it is wide and deep enough in some parts to be considered a small river. There is much wildlife around these parts, ducks, fish, and small woodland mammals - it just takes an observant eye and a quiet step to meet them.

A chilly wind blows from the west, driving dark clouds before it and blotting out the stars in patches overhead. The air is clear and elsewhere they glitter brightly in the dark sapphire sky. Leaves on the ground rustle, unseen, stirred by the winds. Falling leaves blow past you, whirled around by the wind in the dark.

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