The Title

by David Caldwell

Black and White: Part 01.

Gray Recollections

Shades of gray. That was all he could see from the small balcony of his modest conapt. He stared into the drab mist that hung in front of his eyes like a tightly-meshed, chain-mail curtain. His thin frame shuddered. He was clad only in a t-shirt and boxers. The only other accessory he had was a tumbler of scotch in his right hand.

It was 6:30 a.m. He was on his second Dewars, contemplating a host of things, but, most importantly, contemplating pouring himself a third. He padded back into the conapt, closing the doors to the balcony and shutting himself off to the outside world. Brion Young sat heavily on the bed. He stared at the wrinkled pile of clothes on the floor. The gold captain bars affixed to the collars of his uniform shirt were the only things not heavily creased by the violent removal of his garments. He drained the rest of the contents of his glass and looked blankly at the bottle of scotch on the nightstand. He blinked slowly. What the hell am I doing to myself? Young massaged his face with both hands and then abruptly got up from the bed. He paced the bedroom, mumbling to himself. Thoughts and images flooding his mind. Of the past and present. Of the living and the dead. Young felt like he was going to suffocate. His face felt hot, but his body shivered, coated in a thin film of sweat.

He quickly removed his T-shirt and boxers, grabbed the bottle of scotch and strode out to the balcony. The chill in the air was pronounced. Sharp. Like the point of a well-honed knife. 'Questions. All I have are questions. No answers.' A small voice spoke to him, from the deep chasm of his mind. 'Oh Brion. Do you really want answers to the questions that vex you so?' Young shivered. The voice was colder than the air around him. He shook his head from side to side, biting his lip. 'Yes,' the voice hissed in his ears, 'that is what I thought.' Young spat on the floor of the balcony and leaned over the rail, hanging his head low, hoping the thoughts that filled his mind would spill out of his head and fall to the ground, infecting someone else. Thoughts manifested themselves into tears as they leaked from the corner of his eyes. Tiny droplets of water slid down his face, each carrying a memory. An image. A question. All painful.

Eddie Gray was dead. A bullet to the head. His partner, Hannah Starke had simply vanished. She had sent her service weapon and ID card, accompanied by a terse resignation letter to Division headquarters by automated courier. He was shut out of the investigation when Gray's body was found. His superiors thought it best if Special Investigations handled the case. Young was furious. He had a rep-detective conduct a clandestine investigation into Eddie's death. The detective told him that he was running into dead-ends. Somehow, Young did not believe him. Special Investigations got wind of his scheme and the powers-that-be clamped down. He was charged with gross negligence as a supervising officer, for failing to take proper action regarding Gray's recent conduct, that was borderline, if not out-right, criminal. He was demoted to duty captain. Shipped off to Brooklyn North. The 13th Division. The Killing Fields as the cops referred to the hell-hole that Young now toiled in. 2000-0400hrs was his tour of duty in an area whose motto was You give us 22 minutes and we'll give you a homicide. He later found out that the ME had ruled Gray's death a suicide. Young knew that was utter nonsense. There was a new regime in town. A new mayor and a new PC. Operations Order Number One was this: NO SCANDALS. The brass told Young to shut up, suck it up and in 18 months or so, he might get out of Brooklyn North and back on with his career. Young swallowed his pride, his dignity and the last morsel of his integrity and backed off.

Young shook himself from his grim ruminations and in a fit of reckless anger, threw the bottle of scotch into the air. He watched it spiral down. The bottle shattered on a balcony below his. "Just like my fucking career," he groused to himself.

The voice was back in his head. Whispering.

'More like your life, Brion. More like your life.'

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