Bodysnatchers - Chapter 1 - orphan_account (2024)

Chapter Text

A detective of the Revachol Citizens’ Militia stands on Rue de Grande Fusterie in Central Jamrock in the winter of ‘53.

EMPATHY: That man… he could have been you.

I’m not here… this isn’t happening. I’m not here… this isn’t happening.

It is May- the sky is overcast with a dreary grey, trapping in what feeble heat was given to the earth in the morning before the clouds came in.

The body – male, in his late twenties, is dressed in a blue and white long-sleeved t-shirt and black jeans. There is jammy red blood leaking out of his ear and mouth, with his leg at an unnatural angle. Shards of glass jut into his left cheek and temple. He has fallen off his apartment roof and landed on the sunroof of a nearby Meriniit P31 motor carriage.

Harry hasn’t felt this corpse-sick since Martinaise, despite the many other homicide cases in the past month. A man with a missing lower jaw; and another with only his jaw left. There was a man with a third of his head shaved off by an industrial table saw. A woman who washed up on the beach, bloated and pale, three days old. That day, Kim wasn’t there.

PERCEPTION - Smelling of seawater and cadaverine,

INLAND EMPIRE - And left to the dogs.

“I think he’s dead,” Harry says.

“I agree,” Kim responds almost instantly. “totally dead.”



May. It’s the time of year when it’s not quite cold enough to wear a jacket; but not quite hot enough to wear just a shirt. Harry opted for his patrol jacket and dark blue jeans (no longer cum or piss-stained) and his white satin shirt, which he wore in Martinaise two months ago (also no longer cum or piss-stained).

Crybaby… Man-child… Whoever this person was, and wherever and whenever he had been, he’s gone. There’s only a camera twisting and spinning drunkenly, rising above Harry even higher above the apartment block the victim fell off until he can no longer see yourself and your thoughts. There is only the shape that forms,




INLAND EMPIRE - Knock knock! He’s not here.

VOLITION - No. You are yourself. You are here, in the world. It’s okay. You can hang out with Kim after this to clear your head.

Like turning a light on and off, Kim’s face appears in the peripheral of Harry’s vision when he blinks leaning over from his side with his hands behind his back. His face is creased with mild, professional, concern.

“Lieutenant, are you alright?” He asks.

EMPATHY - He realises that calling you Harry may have been the better option.

Endurance flickers in, filling Harry’s chest with a stubborn oak which makes him inhale and set his shoulders back.

ENDURANCE - Of course you’re alright, Harry. You can go like this for a couple more hours.

PHYSICAL INSTRUMENT - That’s right, son! No need to be looking so yellow-bellied and frail!

COMPOSURE - You look a little dazed. Straighten your back, stop tilting your head – and stop looking into the distance like a dazed possum. Also, the lieutenant has been waiting for your answer for four seconds while you wall-eye into the distance.

Harry, by instinct, does what comes to mind- it’s what’s carried him this far, anyway. He can feel each facet of his mind fall into place and execute. He feels like a stiff puppet.

“Yeah, I am. Just spaced out for a bit,” Harry replies, scratching his nose. He attempts to use *The Expression*.

Kim inhales sharply, his lips narrowing as he pursed them. He rubs his palms against his sides.

EMPATHY - *The Expression* brings back unsavoury memories from Martinaise for him.

DRAMA - He can ssssense it, sire. This is not dignified, silent, heroic suffering… This is just *sad.*

No, it’s just being professional, Harry shoots back at himself. Just keeping my dignity up.

DRAMA - But that’s *Kim’s* job. It’s unnatural, sire.

CONCEPTUALISATION - This could fit into the down-on-his-luck superstar person you started back in March. Tormented by his past…

“We can go up to get some fresh air. We still haven’t checked the apartment roof, so we can get this over and done with without pressuring ourselves too much,” says Kim.

ESPIRIT DE CORPS - By ourselves, he means *you*.

VOLITION - Don’t take Cop-Frequency’s comment too harshly. It’s just that Kim’s worried for you.

INTERFACING - Come on, you. We’ve got containers to open and things to look at!

The thought makes Harry crack his knuckles.

“Containers, beware,” warns Harry. He’s not sure himself whether he’s joking, being serious, or in a f*ck-around-and-find-out mentality. I think I’m serious this time, he notes to himself.

“Not one locked thing will be left when I exit that building. I’m part of the Anti-Object Taskforce.”

“Yes. Containers,” Kim remarks. “It will clear your head.”


As usual, it’s hard to tell if Kim was being dry or genuine. It’s a problem Harry has. He remembers, back in March… When he stood in the snow, shivering in the distance in the fishing village… He was convinced Kim hated him. There’s a not-quite frown on his face - not forceful, but still and relaxed. Professional.

ENCYCLOPEDIA - In short – this phenomenon is called RBF – Resting Bitch Face.

Kim gestures for Harry to take the lead as they walk up the stairs, following him from a distance to prepare for his Jamrock Shuffle. The apartment is filled with strange smells from exotic foods from each unit, as well as burning plastic.

COMPOSURE - You didn’t need to overdo it.

DRAMA - Of course he does, Mr. Stiffback! I thought you were part of our crew!

COMPOSURE - The crew?


The lieutenants reach the last landing of the stairs. The flight is two metres by five, barely letting the pair stand beside each other. On the long ends of the flight, the farthest ends in a concrete wall and the other to a railing leading to the stairs they had climbed up. A brown, flaky, varnished door is on the far wall to the left. It reminds Harry of a glossy old gym floor spotted with matte blemishes.

Kim walks past him, trying for the door. The doorknob rattles - nothing. Kim silently gestures and jerks his head slightly towards the door.

“It’s locked,” he says. There’s a twinge of disappointment in his voice.

Okay, a locked door, Harry thinks to himself. I’ve seen a few of these before. What should I do… We’ve talked to the apartment owner; she said she didn’t have the key and handed it over to one of the tenants…

LOGIC - This makes the landlady a suspect, or the person who was given the key, or any acquaintance of the person who was given the key.

INLAND EMPIRE - Or, the victim has the key. We should go back and check.

EMPATHY - No. He’s not ready.

HALF LIGHT - Bust this thing open! Now!




Suddenly, Harry can feel masculine force prickling and shivering down his spine, down to his legs, as well as behind his shoulder blades and biceps.

Kim retreats back to the top step to allow him room to move. Harry takes a few paces backwards on the narrow flight. Then, he takes two strides forward and turns his body to the left with a crunch, while lifting and bending his right leg, then striking the door in a precise mantis-like fashion.

It doesn’t budge.

Kim walks over, squats near the door, and points at a small block of wood wedged in the gap between the door and the cold concrete floor.

“There’s a doorstopper here.” He smiles warmly with a flash of his glasses. “Still impressive, though,” he adds.



LOGIC - It’s over, everybody. This man cannot still be a cop. There is so much garbage in his head, all shouting at once – and half, scratch that– three-quarters of it doesn’t even matter for anything.

ELECTROCHEMISTRY - Hey, man . You may be smart for the investigation - but I’m street-smart. City smart. What are you going to do without me?

LOGIC - A lot of things. Faster. Without you.

ENCYCLOPEDIA - Remember when you licked the booze stain off the table and got minus Kim points? And then, five minutes after Harry woke up from his stupor, he asked a woman if he wanted to have f*ck with her? And when you stole speed out of Klassje’s cabinet and sipped it? And then-

LOGIC - *Thank you*, Encyclopedia. That’s all.

ENCYCLOPEDIA - I do my best.

VISUAL CALCULUS - So, if three-quarters are useless…

LOGIC - That’s easy. The Centipede- Hand Eye Coordination, the bookhead, Visual Calculus, the Crownhead, and I. Empathy is a prospect.

VOLITION - Leave me out of this.

EMPATHY - A prospect? I want this as much as you do.

CONCEPTUALISATION - And not me? Forget that. I never wanted to be a part of this anyway. Remember the *Motley Crew* I mentioned earlier, Puzzle Face? We have something of our own now – a group of elite *supercops*, working together, pushing and contradicting each other, but ultimately coming together as one unit.

ENCYCLOPEDIA - Actually, it’s not a very high concept. It’s a common trope in popular films and TV-

DRAMA - Stop right there, before he learns about every sitcom and decides it’s too popular for him. We need this.

COMPOSURE - And the rest of us?* asks Composure.

INLAND EMPIRE - With the *psychos*.

LOGIC - He means Half-Light, Suggestion, Rhetoric, Endurance, Threshold, Instrument, Authority, himself… and those supernatural freaks over there in the corner.


VOLITION - This is not what we need right now. Right now, we need to get through this investigation, and go home, and rest.

SAVOIR FAIRE - Without movement, we’re…


EMPATHY - No! This is Harry’s last chance! One slip-up and we’ll be inhuman…

Harry brings a shaky hand to his forehead, grimacing. His skull is crawling with headaches.

“Lieutenant- Harry, are you okay?”


LOGIC - Every single time we’ve needed your input, it all goes to sh*t.

The voices become intelligible, becoming a slush of contradicting feelings, all trying to get their word in before Harry tips over.

HALF-LIGHT - They can’t f*ck us over again-

RHETORIC - Get the puzzle-face outta here!

“Harry!” Kim’s voice phases in and out of his head. Every time he tries to keep awake, consciousness scatters away, like words in a dream…

DRAMA - God, he’s got a job, he knows he’s sober, and he’s become a part of the world again. What could be worse than that?

INLAND EMPIRE - And you’ll become yourself all over again. You can’t escape it.

COMPOSURE - You’re looking like a fool in front of Kim.

PAIN THRESHOLD [Medium: Success] - There it goes… It feels like your brain is being sucked out of your skull with a straw. First, your head tilts, and the city skyline is turned sideways as you fall in slow motion, like a tranquilised moose.

  • (Try to cushion the fall with your arms.)

PAIN THRESHOLD - It’s useless – your head hits the cold concrete ground before your forearms do.


ANCIENT REPTILIAN BRAIN - Wow. This is a new one - passing out by midlife crisis. Way to go, Harry!

LIMBIC SYSTEM - He’s just woken up and gotten so carried away with this shiny new world… tried to eat all your candy at once, did you? Your mother told you so, Harry. Now it aches everywhere- everywhereee!

- Let me back in! I’m ready. I’m okay.

ANCIENT REPTILIAN BRAIN - Not anytime soon, Harry. Ask us questions. You love those. Interrogate yourself. I’ll try my best to answer, *officah*.

- Kim, where is he?

ANCIENT REPTILIAN BRAIN - He’s probably *tending* to your wounds, officer. But you’d like that, wouldn’t you? And then, you’d apologise all over again - like you were *really* struggling, and it won’t happen again. But it will. And he’ll keep coming back for you, Harry. Again, and again, and again… This is just the beginning…

His voice drawls on and on.

Bodysnatchers - Chapter 1 - orphan_account (2024)
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