Preludes

Finn Lumber Plantation - Northwest Stand
New Hope, PA - Earth
April 23, 2347

“Dad?”

At nine years old, Harry Michael Finn had already determined that he wasn’t going to stay on the family farm (plantation… whatever) but that didn’t mean it wasn’t the sum of awe to have, like, the biggest back yard in the state to run wild in, looking for mythical bad guys and solving mysteries that he yanked out of every holobook and vid he could get his hands on.

But right now, at the top of the small ridge overlooking the stand of hybridized maples and lifting his dad’s old hat from where it lay, forgotten in the dirt, he was ready to trade in every last acre to not see what he was seeing.

“Dad?” Swallowing the fear and the sudden urge to puke at the scent which was pushing at him to run away now, Harry crept closer, hands tangling in the soft fabric of the fedora as he came closer and closer to the prone form that wore his father’s clothes.

And then he was there and so was Dad but it wasn’t Dad anymore. Making a noise that probably shouldn’t ever come out of the mouth of a human boy, Harry felt his knees give way and he finally finally dropped the hat, reaching out to grab the deep-blue flannel sleeve that wasn’t blue anymore either because it had gone purple and sticky and he pulled at the arm and it was heavy too heavy and it was cold and he had to yank really hard and when that worked it was worse because then he could see.

He could see what was left of his father.

………………..

Buck’s County PD - New Hope, Precinct 4
Homicide Division

Smallish dirty hands, still with traces of blood on them turned the hat round and round and round as he answered the questions, yet again. Finally, as the detective paused to enter Harry’s by-now rote responses into his desktop, it was time for the boy to ask a question.

“Did they ever find it?”

“Find what?”

Blue eyes narrowed at the deliberate evasion, “His eye,” Harry said, his voice cold and clear and much too old. “Did anyone find it?”

The tired face turned back to him, to where this oddly self-possessed child sat. Probably shock Ryan was thinking, before he sucked it up and shook his head, “No,” he admitted. “No one’s found it, or the weapon…” or a single damned clue… A man is murdered on his own property, throat slit, left eye removed post-mortem and then the mutilated body left where his kid can stumble over it. In a pretty fked up line of business, even Bobby Ryan had to admit this was supremely fked up.

“I’ll do it,” Harry said, still calm though not, Detective Sergeant Ryan had to admit, with any of the blankness of trauma.

“Uh, sorry?”

“I’ll find him. Whoever did it.” At nine, there’s no such thing as an impossible promise. “I’ll find him.”

Ryan couldn’t think of a thing to say to that.

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