Strange Crust
A blog by Mike V.
Other Stuff By Me: Weirdy Wordy / Ear Rat Mag / Featured Writing / Writtte / NHN Podcast / Other
21's in Outer Metro
February 15th, 2021 | Fiction

Editor's Note: My friend Patricio and I challenge each other to make things based on a shared theme. This theme was "Your Hair is Everywhere."

"Hey Rook," Turn said to his new partner as he stood up at his desk. "We got a 21-21 down in the OM. You good for that?" Turn grabbed his jacket and walked towards the exit, not waiting for the answer.

"What's a 21-21?" Hart asked to no one in particular. He grabbed his service revolver, his notebook, his jacket, and a small field kit from his desk, struggling to keep everything bundled together in his hands as he added each new item. Turn had already left the precinct office.

Hart got to Turn's car, an old beat up Eterno Schism, from before they were decommissioned. Hart thought it was cool that Turn drove a vintage car, but didn't say anything about it. He was trying to play it casual. Turn looked over to Hart, "Coffee?"

"We have time to make a stop? I thought we were responding to a call?" Hart said as he organized the items he brought with him into his jacket which he had slipped on.

"An exploded corpse tends to stay exploded, kid." Turn started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, lifting his left hand out the window as a lazy wave at a car turning into the parking lot.

Hart tried to glance over at Turn without moving his head. He had a thousand questions he felt like asking but had resigned himself not to ask anything, trying to treat his new assignment like any other job he had. He blew on the open cutout of his disposable coffee cup; still too hot to drink. He watched the trees and houses whirl by as the two moved through districts towards the Outer Metro.

Turn reached down to his cup holder and lifted his coffee cup to his lips, drinking from it deeply.

"So Rook, what was your score on the exam?" Turn asked as he licked his lips and navigated his coffee cup back down to the cup holder, his eyes never leaving the road.

"Uh, you mean on the F.A.T.E. test? Or the written portion?" Hart asked. Turn grunted, not answering to either option. Hart assumed he meant the former. "I got a 998 on it, actually." Hart tried to prevent himself from smiling as he said this, but a smirk crept through his teeth.

"Two points from perfect, huh? What'd you miss?" Turn asked, his eyes still locked to the road.

"Hanson said that no one gets a perfect score," Hart said.

Turn exhaled forcefully, a slight chuckle to himself. "He's right," he said. The rest of the drive was silent.

They arrived at their destination, a half-collapsed public housing building. It was a popular spot for the homeless to squat in, or for an occasional budding drug-cook to use in lieu of a better location. The building was clear of its usual inhabitants, a few local police officers had cleared it out and taped it off. They stood as sentries in front of the main entrance, an open doorway without a door.

Turn and Hart both got out of the car. Hart was carrying his notebook with him under his arm, his pencil in one hand and his coffee in the other.

"Boys," Turn said as he flashed his badge while walking under the tapeline. "What do we have?" Turn asked before taking another deep drink from his coffee cup.

"Two Hirsutians went 21's on us." one of the police officers responded.

"Bomb builders?" Turn asked.

"Maybe, we don't know yet. Waiting for forensics to get here still."

"Alright, thanks. We're going to take a peak," Turn said as he looked at Hart and moved his head towards the entrance of the building. Turn raised his coffee cup as a salute to the officers and then walked by them, Hart scurried behind and then moved to his side.

"Did they say Hirsutians? I've never seen one before," Hart said as he walked through the open doorway to the crime scene.

He dropped his coffee.

The room was covered floor to ceiling in a layer of hair. A sheen on it from the blood and various innards that had coagulated and begun to break down, the floor, walls and ceiling were shiny, the brown hair catching the light and causing streaks of pure white to run up and down. Maggots had found their way to the room already, the hair on the floor was thickened by them and enlivened. The floor writhed and wiggled, a bloody hairy birth all throughout the room.

"What the fuck is this," Hart said, his hands locked in place at chest level. Turn took a sip from his coffee and looked around.

"Two Hirsutians go boom, kid. Those hairy fucks explode something ugly." Hart turned and walked out the door, breathing rapidly. Turn sighed to himself, "Rookies," and took another drink of coffee.