The Best Unknown Supernatural Mystery in the World


by Robert Lee Beers

Tony’s Thanksgiving meal is interrupted by Pat Monahan, who tells Tony there is an emergency at police headquarters. They find it is something out of this world.

Contact info for Robert Beers
* Website – http://asmbeers.wixsite.com/robertleebeers
* Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Lee-Beers/e/B00JCRVS3U/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1505455713&sr=8-1
* Audiobook – http://www.graphicaudio.net/a-tony-mandolin-mystery-1-a-slight-case-of-death.html



I pushed the remnants of my meal toward the center of the table and sighed, “I’m telling you, big guy, that was one heck of a feed. Thank you.
The big guy in question was my housemate and partner in my two man Private Investigator operation, Franklin Amadeus Jackson. Frankie, as he preferred to be called was also an ex-drag queen, a raging pop culture sponge and a master in the kitchen. He was also a black man the size of your top NFL lines who wore a size 16 pump when he could find them.
We were in the final stages of a tremendous Thanksgiving feast and entering that wonderful tryptophan doziness the holiday is known for when someone started hammering on my front door.
Don’t get up,” I said to my guests. Paul Verona and his highly significant other, Ursula Ignatova were still busy picking away what little remained of the bird and the side dishes, so I wasn’t even sure they heard me. My delightfully significant other Alcina, the botanical garden’s Doctor of all things leafy, patted her belly and said, “Don’t worry, I won’t.
Frankie waved me along, “Go get the door Tony, I’ll man the kitchen. Tell whoever it is there’s still pie.
I thought as I headed down the hallway, “Not if Paul and Ursula have anything to say about it”. Both of them together were still smaller than I was, much less Frankie and they could pack it away like an entire team of competitive eaters. I think the food burnt up on reentry into their stomach.
The hammering continued. “I’m coming, I’m coming!” I shouted. “Give it a rest, will ya?
The stained glass inset in my front door is colorful, but it only allows you to see silhouettes, not whoever is on the porch. So I was rather surprised to see Pat Monahan, Metro Police Captain standing there when I opened the door.
Pat,” I said.
He looked at me with an expression every writer would have called haunted. “Mandolin,” he rasped, “You gotta come to the station… now.
I glanced back at the kitchen and then said to Pat, “I’ve got guests Pat. For God’s sake, it’s Thanksgiving. Why are you with your family right now?
He pushed past me, saying, “Right. Who’s here, is it Bain? God, we could really use a wizard on this deal.
Wait. Pat? What the hell is going on? Are you all right?” I followed him to the kitchen, not one of my questions even making a dent.
I arrived in the kitchen right on his heels, but he was already disappointed. He ran his hand through his white and ginger hair, muttering, “Damn. Just Jackson and the squints. No help at all.
What’s going on? What’s wrong?” Frankie, Paul, Ursula and Alcina all asked at once.
I’ll tell you what’s going on,” Monahan grated, “The damned police station’s haunted and whatever it is, it’s tearing the place to shreds.

Chapter 2

Yep, it’s haunted all right,” Frankie said, from his vantage point on the sidewalk.
Thank you, Jackson,” Monahan snarled, “I’ll be sure to include your expert opinion in my report.”
I looked up at the floor of the building Metro had its offices in. Frankie was right, if I ever saw a haunted building, what was going on would definitely fit my assumptions. Odd-colored lighting flashes flared and sputtered from every window on the floor. Some of the flashes formed into faces that gibbered and shrieked and then zipped back into the building.
I turned to Pat and asked, “What do you think I can do? You still have SWAT, right?
Monahan barked out an exhausted laugh with no smile at all in it to be found anywhere, “SWAT? Look around Tony. What’s missing from this little scenario?
I looked and realized I wasn’t seeing an essential part in this drama, police officers. There wasn’t even a Parking Officer and her golf cart. “Uh, Pat, where is everybody?
He pointed, “In there. When it started up, a few of my men tried to investigate, find out what was creating the display. They got pulled in. Those who headed for the door were stopped, grabbed by some kind of energy whip or tendril. I managed to duck behind the drinks dispenser and sneak out the window. I grabbed the drainpipe and shimmied my way down. Every cop that’s gone in hasn’t come out or reported. There’s no one left.” He sounded like he was right on the edge. No wonder he showed up on my doorstep.
It was then I noticed his clothes, stained and torn. He looked like he’d been dragged a couple of blocks.
Paul was saying something to Ursula, pointing upwards as he talked. She nodded and said something back.
I went over to them. “What is it,” I asked, “Do you notice something?
Paul nodded, “There’s a pattern.
A what?” Pat and I answered at the same time.
A pattern, a definite pattern,” Ursula repeated. “It’s mathematical, but I’m not placing which one. An obvious sequence, of course.
Exactly,” Paul mused, “but which one?
It’s fractional,” Alcina said from behind me.
I blinked, and thought, huh?
Monahan said, “What?
Paul and Ursula converged on Alcina, finding another speaker of their language in the world of non-geeks.
Alcina pointed and said, “Watch the sputters, see how they are shorter each time? And then how they begin again, longer than successively shorter?
Then she pointed to another spot, “And there, the flashes. They repeat the same sequence except I’d bet it’s on a different frequency.
Ursula murmured, “A Von Koch Snowflake…
Paul and Alcina said, “Ooh, of course.
I said, “What in the hell are you talking about?” Noticing Pat’s hearty agreement with my question.
Alcina said, “The Von Koch Snowflake is a fractal, a math sequence where you start with a triangle and repeatedly add a smaller triangle to every segment of its edge. After a while, the edge looks exactly the same at small and large scales. Quilters use it to create some of their designs, but I’ve never seen it used in a light display.
Believe me, madam,” Monahan growled, “That isn’t just light.
I nodded at the display. “Is that why you had me bring all my goodies?
Pat grunted, “Yeah, and I’m even promising to forget anything I see that might upset the DA.
He was talking about the assorted Tony’s little helpers I had secreted throughout my overcoat. On the outside, it looked like your everyday Chicago overcoat, the same belted type used in the old noir genre movies. On the inside, it had a whole lot of pockets and loops where I stashed various things like my head-knocker, a standard police baton with the added weight of some brass and lead on the end. And then there was my .357 semiauto. It wasn’t a monster like the DE, so it only held a half dozen rounds, but what I hit with it stayed down.
As a last resort, I had my collection of vials, given to me as a gift and a thank you from a witch I helped down in the Tenderloin without knowing what she was. Later on, I found out that there are a variety of witches and your average Wiccan isn’t a witch. Don’t ask. It depends on what they’d made their agreement with. I do mean what, and not who there, by the way. It seems everything involves a contract one way or another.
Each vial contained a potion, and each potion did something nasty to whatever was within a certain distance from where the vial broke. She had been very specific about me, or anyone I was fond of being a good ten feet away when I threw one.
I never did see her after that. I never even found the alley where she kept her shop, and believe me, I know every inch of this city, even those I’m not supposed to be allowed in.
Sure wish that damned wizard was around,” Pat said, mostly to himself, but he was also standing right next to me and we were both looking up at the building watching the light show.
You know, Pat,” I said, “I agree wholeheartedly.
The damned wizard was Landau Bain, a real honest-to-god magic worker, and not a magician. You did not call him that unless you wanted to wake up being something other than what you were before the whole conversation started. He was also cranky, rude, acerbic, abrasive and an alcoholic. He’d also saved my life several times over. Whatever was going on down here would have been right up his alley.
Well,” I said, to no one in particular, “I might as well check this out.
Yeah,” Frankie said, “Let’s get going, Tony.”
What?” I turned to look up at the big guy. “Who said anything about you going in there?
His face didn’t move, and neither did he when I tried to push him back. “That’s what partners do,” he said. “Besides, you can’t stop me from coming. Don’t worry,” he said, “I’m packing.” He patted his own version of the PI overcoat.
Oh God,” I muttered.
Monahan was no help, “Not a bad idea,” he said, “Anyone got Father Frank’s number?

Chapter 3

The front door to Metro’s headquarters was open, wide open, not just unlocked. The reception desk where a retired Sergeant would be sitting as he padded his pension was empty along with the desks I could see through the bullpen doors.
Frankie said, “Do you think the elevators are safe. Tony?
A bluish-pink snake of energy chose that moment to snake across the ceiling and then ground itself into the linoleum.
I glanced in the direction of the elevators and shook my head, “Uh, uh.
Climbing five flights of stairs as you approach a potentially deadly situation is not my favorite pastime, but it sure beats the hell out of enclosing yourself in a metal box when said deadly situation involves massive displays of unknown energy. I pulled out the automatic and said, “All right, big guy. Let’s do this.
There was literally no difference in floors 2 through 4, other than the fact that we were higher from one to the other. We saw nothing and we heard nothing. That was the really weird thing about the light show. From the street, there was a sort of crackling that went along with the display as if it was adding sound to the sequence, but inside… nothing. On floor 5 things changed, whether for good or bad is still up in the air.
Floors 3 and 4 are blocks of holding cells and the doors leading from the stairs are thick, reinforced and solid, meaning no glass. The door to floor 5 leads into offices so it opens onto a hallway and the little chicken-wired insert in it lets you know what’s on the other side. Whatever I was expecting, it wasn’t the lightning to act as if it could see out as well as we could see in.
Twin tendrils of energy danced on the other side of the glass and then passed right through as if it was so much air. They danced around, weaving back and forth in the landing like hyper itchy snakes and then zipped back through the glass. I heard the latch on the door click and then the thing swung open.
Frankie intoned, “They’re heeere.
I didn’t tell him to shush, ‘cause I was thinking the same thing.
The glare of the energy nearly blinded me as it rushed toward us. I put my arms up, covering my eyes and wondering what good any of that would do.
Frankie cried out and then he blurted, “Huh?
During one of my earlier cases, Landau Bain had given me a necklace with an amulet on it, shaped like an Egyptian ankh. He gave it to me with explicit instructions to never, under any circumstance remove it. I found out a short while later why he said that.
Right now, I was also finding out why. The pinkish-blue stuff was, for want of a better word, fingering my amulet, as if checking it out. This went on, with me standing as still as I could and the big guy hovering over me, goggling.
Then, as rapidly as it had charged me, the energy left, almost as if it was pulling into itself, I could see bits of it dancing along the acoustic ceiling, and others snaking along the baseboard, all of it heading toward the other end of the hall. I knew that place well. That was where Captain Monahan spent most of his days.
I said to Frankie, “Come on, big guy. Let’s follow it.
He balked, “What? You have got to be kidding me.
No,” I said, “I’ve got a hunch.
Oh,” he replied, “Well then, if you’ve got a hunch. Are you freaking serious Tony? Did you see that stuff?
I turned to look up at him and sighed, “Fine. You stay here, but I’m going. I think I have an idea what’s going on here.” I headed on down the hall.
After a brief second, I could hear the big guy’s footsteps and then his mutters, “If this hunch kills us I’ll never forgive him.
Ignoring the doors lining the hallway, I headed right toward the back. The hunch grew stronger and stronger as I closed the distance between me and the entry to the office that held Monahan’s little kingdom.
As I reached the door I saw a brief flash of pinkish-blue at the gap at the bottom. I put my automatic back into the shoulder holster and said, “All right Frankie. Try not to make any sudden moves, okay?
Sudden moves?” He squeaked, “You’re lucky I’m moving at all.
I pushed through the door showing a hell of a lot more confidence than I felt. There was something about the way the stuff felt my amulet, but still… I was acting on a hunch with no evidence to really back it up. If I was wrong, we were both fried, possibly literally.
The main room was essentially a bullpen, of sorts, with desks scattered about it and file cabinets lining the walls. One wall had a small holding cell for those cases where keeping someone out of reach mattered. Next to the cell was the door to the toilet, an absolute necessity with the type of coffee cops brew, and next to that was the glassed-in door leading to Monahan’s private office. Well… he was the Captain. Behind the glass was a whole lot of pinkish-blue light.
I looked behind me, Frankie was hefting his version of my head-knocker, a five-pound short-handled sledge.
Frankie,” I hissed, “Put that damn thing away!
But—“He began, nodding at the office.
That’s why,” I hissed back. “We do not want to appear threatening.
He muttered, “Threatening? I’m petrified.
I sighed and turned, reaching out to grab the handle to Pat’s office door. As I did, a thing thread of the energy reached through the glass and caressed my hand. Yes, I said, caressed. That is exactly what it felt like, almost as if what was on the other side was looking for reassurance. I said to Frankie as I pulled, “I mean it, big guy. No weapons, no threats.
The door opened and, sitting in the middle of Monahan’s desk was a tight bundle of the energy. I thought I could see something inside it, but for all I knew it could have been the same sort of imagination that made up sculptures in the clouds.
I think I know what you want,” I said. “I’ve been lost before too, but the one who made this for me, helped me find my way home.” I took hold of the amulet and lifted it away from my chest.
Another thread of energy reached out from the bundle and wrapped around the amulet. I could feel a tug.
I’m sorry,” I said, “But it can’t leave me. If you wish, I will stay and let you use it.
The feeling of gratitude was almost overwhelming. My eyes burned as tears filled them.
Omigod,” Frankie sobbed, “This is so beautiful.
The bundle pulsed and I could feel the pattern of the sequence as it passed through the ankh and then through me. The power built, and built and built until it seemed like every cell in my body was energized.
Frankie said, almost at the edge of my hearing, “Oh… my dear… Lord.
The feeling of gratitude changed to one of joy and then it was gone. I shook my head, expecting there to be spots before my eyes, but all I saw was Pat’s office in its typical humble disarray.
Frankie coughed and then asked, in a very soft voice, “We did a good thing, didn’t we Tony?
Yeah, big guy,” I said, Grabbing him by the shoulder, “We did a very good thing.

Chapter 4

We made our way back down the stairs. Mostly because it just felt wrong taking the elevator. Behind us, I could hear voices being raised in question. That also made sense, considering what the cops had been dealing with.
Once we hit the street everyone came running over to us, each of them calling out questions.
I held up my hands and said, “How about we head back to my house and I’ll tell everything over some nice cold beers. Is that okay?
Monahan grumped, “No, it’s not okay. What about my men?
I smiled, “It seems they are all alive and in good shape. They just got put away because they couldn’t help.
Pat glanced at his floor, “Huh?
I’ll explain everything, but right now I want a beer.” I started walking toward Alcina’s SUV.
I grabbed the shotgun seat and called out to Monahan. “If you want answers, my place. If you want to wait, you can try to figure it out with a couple hundred disoriented, but perfectly healthy cops.
Monahan looked back and forth a couple of times and then headed toward the car. “Right,” he said, “They’d probably prefer some sort of explanation.

Chapter 5

I popped off the cap of my beer and took a long, thankful swallow. “Ahhh,” I said.
It’s been long enough, Mandolin,” Pat growled, “What was going on there?
I looked around the kitchen. Besides the beer, Paul and Ursula were also polishing off the last of the pie. Well, it saved having to deal with leftovers. “All right,” I said, “The short answer is, you had a lost child who needed to call home.
After the assorted versions of huh, what and what the hell are you talking about circulated through the room, I held up my hands and demanded silence.
The only reason I know this is because of the connection I got through this,” I held up the ankh. “Bain made it for me, and for whatever mystical reason, ask him not me, it not only allowed me to communicate with your uninvited guest but to act as a sort of amplifier for the signal it was sending to its parents.
What about my men? What about SWAT?” Pat asked sharply, “What happened to them?
They couldn’t help,” I said, shrugging, “So they got put aside so they wouldn’t interfere.
I don’t know. I wasn’t told, and I think the answer would cause insanity,” I replied.
Frankie held up a finger, looking thoughtful, “Are you telling us that we actually had an E T moment and that this one actually—
Monahan growled as everyone else laughed, “If you say, phoned home, I will shoot you right here and now.

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