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Vic Cross, PI

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Summary

Working cases in the seedy streets of Arch City, Vic Cross is sure she’s seen it all. That is until she’s hired by a gangster to track down a missing woman and finds herself in embroiled in the biggest scandal the city has ever hidden. It’ll take brains, guns, and a few reluctant favors to solve this mystery without losing her head.

Genre:
Mystery / Drama
Author:
LMSouthwick
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
8
Rating:
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:
16+

Chapter One

Victoria Cross sat in her shabby leather chair listening to soft jazz and watching rain pour over the darkened rooftops outside. The sun never completely dispelled the grey smog that hung heavy over the streets of Arch City, but it was easier to ignore the gloom and stench under blue skies. The dreary haze magnified oppressive buildings lined by dirty alleyways and distorted the harsh neon that flowed through the streets like a lifeblood. Vic hated the rain.

A knock on the office door shook her from her melancholy thoughts. Sighing, she spun away from the spattered window. Rainy nights were good for one thing at least, her business. There was never a shortage of misdeeds on nights like this. Through the glass, she could see the distorted silhouette of a large man. Unconsciously, she touched the gun strapped to her thigh.

The man who walked through the door was massive, his thick neck straining against the collar of his wrinkled button-up. He hadn’t bothered to close his cheap sports jacket, leaving his gut and the piece at his waist hanging out. He was a typical middle management thug, common in the streets but somewhat unusual in her shabby office.

“Can I help you?” She leaned back and pulled a cigarette from the tin on her desk. The big man narrowed his close-set eyes before speaking.

“Have a job needs doing. Now,” he clenched his beefy fists but otherwise stood rigid near the door. This was a guy who wasn’t used to asking for things politely, or at all.

“What kinda job?” Vic gestured to the chair opposite her with a wry grin. She knew he’d never take it, but pleasantries couldn’t hurt. He took a step further into the dim light.

“Missing woman.”

Vic raised an eyebrow at this, “who do you work for?” This type of guy was more likely to cause missing women than look for them.

He hesitated, rolling his eyes around the room as if he could find the answer in her dented filing cabinets, “...don’t work for anyone.” Of course, she couldn’t be entirely sure he wasn’t there on his own, looking for a cheating girlfriend or maybe someone with a debt; she’d certainly taken stranger cases. But she was a good PI, and even a bad one would be suspicious of this guy. Like her dad used to tell her, ‘you don’t ignore the gun to your head for the splinter in your toe.’

“It’ll be difficult for me to do the job without all the details,” she stood and walked to the side of the desk; leaning on it, she lit her cigarette. “I think I’ll have to pass.” His hand twitched at his side before he shot a quick look at her weapon. She could see the wheels turning slowly behind his beady eyes. Very slowly. Obviously, independent thought wasn’t a big part of his day job. Did he risk intimidation here? Vic didn’t look like much of a threat, but a bullet was a bullet no matter who pulled the trigger. After a moment he rolled his beefy shoulders and relaxed. She hoped that would be the end of it but he reached into his jacket and pulled out a thin manila envelope, throwing it on the desk behind her.

“Jobs for Emerson Gunn,” was all he said. She removed her hand from her pistol but ignored the package.

“Emerson Gunn? The boss of Barstolt Row? Nah, that doesn’t check. What would a big-time gang goon like that need a lowly PI for?”

“Missing woman,” he growled.

“Hmph...aren’t you helpful…”, she mumbled. He reached into his jacket once again, and she was on her feet, hand on her gun, “I’m going to need you to stop doing that.” She was growing impatient with his antics. He gave her a mocking grin but threw a smaller envelope on top of the first.

“Consider that a down payment. There’ll be more if you find her, but Mr. Gunn expects quick results.”

Despite her better judgment, Vic picked up the smaller package and peeked inside. As expected, it was enough to cover her fee for three jobs. Maybe even enough to make her consider working for Emerson Gunn. She wasn’t exactly rolling in the dough lately. She pulled the larger envelope towards her and flipped open the cover. Inside was a stack of papers topped by a black and white photo of a beautiful woman she recognized immediately.

“Is this a joke?” She looked up. Her office was empty. “Hey! Wait…” crossing the room, she pulled open the door but found nothing but an empty hall. Damn buffoon moved fast.

Slamming the door again, she switched off the neon open sign and closed the blind. One strong arm was enough for the evening. She perched on the edge of her battered desk and took a long drag of her cigarette while she stared down at the woman in the picture. What the hell have I stepped in this time?

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