Last night was a hazy memory… filled with heavy bass music, flashing neon lights, copious amounts of vodka, and lots of ‘whoo-hooo’ing. Didn’t she ride in a limo last night? She remembered there was something involving a lobster…. Eris scratched at the top of her head, rubbing feeling back into her numb scalp. Sniffling, she opened her eyes and looked up at the ceiling… that wasn’t her ceiling fan. She looked at the sheets, black and silk… not her bed… She cringed and looked over to her side and sure enough there slept a man she did not know. At least he was cute, and from the look of his apartment… loaded with cash.
“Shit, not again…. Stupid,” She groaned under her breath and carefully rolled out of the bed, grabbed her clothes off the floor and promptly snuck out of his Pent house, condo... whatever it was… it was too big for Eris to comfortably call it an apartment. She lived in an apartment. A Small under 1000 square feet of living space and she shared it with her best friend since that fateful day on the Red line. Now it wasn’t often that Eris found herself in a stranger’s bed, this wasn’t the first, and not likely to be the last. She chalked it up to those cotton candy and vodka cocktails from the club she had. She had an irritating headache, and though she was still dressed in her clothes from the night before she hopped on the subway and ignored the snickering looks. Hey, it’s only a walk of shame if you regret what you did, and since Eris couldn’t piece it together, she figured it must have been a good night. She just hoped she didn’t give someone her number. She’d done that before resulting in stalker status and a restraining order against some douche from college.
It took her almost an hour to jump trains, and hoof it back in her heels back home. She knew she was back on her street when she saw Mahlik sitting out on his front porch.
“DAAAMN girl!” he laughed. “You stayed out late,” he teased. Eris smirked stopping at his stoop and winked. “You doing that walk of shame, girl,”
“No shame in getting laid,” She said jumping up to his step and reached for the joint he had in his hand. He grinned passing it off to her and let her toke for a moment. Mahlik barked a laugh.
“I heard that,” Eris passed the joint back to him.
“You’re up early…”
“Early? Shit girl, it’s almost noon,” Eris began to cough and smoke escaped her lungs.
“No shit?” Mahlik nodded his head as he breathed in more smoke. “Damn, I gotta go. Oh Hey, I’d like to pick some up from you later today,” Mahlik stopped her and reached into his back pocket and tossed her a bag.
“Just swing by later and drop the money off, and before you go… be careful walking these streets… someone else went missing last night.” Eris caught the baggie and quickly tucked it between her cleavage. Another missing person? Why weren’t the cops doing anything? “Damn… why you gotta play me like that?” Mahlik asked, capturing her attention. Eris couldn’t help but smile at him.
“You could always fish for it, if I don’t pay,” Eris teased. Mahlik gave her a Colgate smile, his perfect white teeth stark against his smooth black skin and nodded.
“Hey, Imma hold you to that!” He shouted after her as she hurried on down the sidewalk towards her tenant building. Eris gave him a wave, before rounding the block and jumping up another set of stairs towards her apartment. They were on the fourth floor, and there was an elevator, but it was broken and had been broken since before Dahlia and her had moved in. That had been fun carrying up couches and mattresses.
Eris tried sneaking into her apartment, maybe Dahlia was sleeping in… except she wasn’t. Eris stopped when she saw Dahlia sitting at the Kitchen counter. “Oh hey...” She sang, a cat like grin reaching her cheeks as she slinked into the apartment and shut the door. “Hope you, ehhh… weren’t worried about my absence,” Eris said tossing her sequined clutch onto the quilt covered couch. She made quick work to hit the coffee pot and pour herself a drink. She drank it straight, no cream and no sugar…. Mostly because they couldn’t afford the creamer and sugar. “I saw Mahlik outside… said another person went missing. I’d say I’m surprise Ross didn’t tell me about it, but my phone died… its still dead,” She cringed, making a funny face and sipped from the coffee cup. “I wonder if he worked…” she muttered distractedly and hurried back over to her purse and plugged in her phone. She’d have to give it a moment before she could power it back on, so she kicked off her heels and padded back towards the kitchen. “I think it’s a little strange that people keep going missing in Hell’s Kitchen. Mahlik didn’t say who it was. Two weeks ago it was that teenage girl, last week it was that Goth kid who lives down by Pattys Pub… Give me a minute to shower, and we’ll start sniffing around town… see what we can find.”
It took Eris half an hour to shower and get dressed. During her shower she’d planned out their day. They’d stop by the Station and see if Ross was working last night and if he knew anything. Ross was a desk jockey for the local PD, and the rookie officer who had helped Dahlia and Eris that fateful day on the Red line. After he got shot on duty, he worked the desk ever since. Eris emerged from her room fully dressed and ready to go, grabbing her fully charged phone and was shocked to see the missed calls and texts, and plopped down onto the couch.
[ [b Message from: ROSS] ]
[Missing Persons reported in HK again. Same time, same type. Never came home last night. Friends missing 2. Call ASAP 4 deets]
[Where r u?]
[Never taken this long 2 txt back. U Alrite?]’
[plz don’t b doing something stupid… again]
[don’t hear frm u by lunch. Will hunt u dwn.]
-3 Missed Calls from ROSS
-2 missed calls from MOM
-1 missed call from Dahlia
-1 missed call from UNKNOWN
[b BANG BANG!]
“Holy Shit!” Eris, jumped in her seat and spun around to look at the door, when a voice carried through.
“DAHLIA! Are you home!?” The voice of Ross came in through the door, and once he was let in, he stepped through and looked around. “Did Eris ever make it home last night?” He asked.
“I’m here!” Eris shouted over and looked over her shoulder towards the kitchen and front door. Ross, like Mahlik was one good looking guy. He was tall, well built with tapered blonde hair, and warm honey eyes. He was an All-American, type of guy, and he was probably one of the only cops, Eris found remotely attractive in uniform.
“How come you didn’t call me?” He demanded. Eris rolled her eyes
“Omg, okay DAD… I went out last night. My phone died… but I didn’t,” she tried to tease, but Ross only glared at her and turned to talk to Dahlia.
“Coffee smells good. Mind if I have some too?” he asked, and when Dahlia gave him a cup, he thanked her and they all moved to sit down on the couch.
“So what’s the news? I just got your texts…” Ross frowned.
“Another missing person… that’s five now. Every week, like clockwork it seems. All of them are mostly troubled youth.”
“Missing people in Hells Kitchen isn’t new,” Eris murmured around the lip of her coffee cup.
“No, but the rate has increased, and this last kid was from the Upper East Side.”
“What the hell is some posh rich kid doing down here?” Ross shrugged, unsure. “So some rich rebellious brat goes missing and now it’s a priority to figure out?” Eris challenged. Ross only gave her a contrite look.
“All I know is something stinks about these disappearances. We’re already understaffed and SVU isn’t giving it much attention, they’re back logged as it is. Think you can look into it?”
“Can I get files?”
“You suck… fine… give me names. I need somewhere to start,” Eris said. Ross nodded and set his coffee cup down.
“I’ll text them to you, and their homes so you can talk to family,” Ross informed them both and moved to stand up. “I gotta get back, you ladies stay out of trouble, and keep in touch. Let me know if you guys find anything. Dahlia, lovely as always seeing you…” Ross said, and gave Dahlia an awkward smile, and even more awkwardly gave a slight bow of his head before leaving. Eris watched him go and looked at Dahlia.
“You sure you won’t date him just so I can get the inside scoop out of HKPD? No? You suck too…” Eris pouted, and guzzled down the last of her coffee. “Alright, let’s get the hell out of here and see how much trouble we can get into!”
The apartment was always too cold in the mornings. Dahlia couldn’t stand it. Perhaps if money wasn’t so tight she might have raised the temperature on the thermostat a few points. But as it was, living in the big apple was expensive and just about all she got out of her filmography degree was a pile of student loans. Well, that and her best friend the up and coming journalist dragging her around with a camera to document anything and everything that might be the next big thing. Luckily it had been enough to keep them afloat so far, but the dark haired woman didn’t exactly think it would continue for much longer.
Mustering up her strength to get up and start her day, she looked over to the analog clock on her nightstand. Too tired to fully read it, she deciphered it was somewhere between 7:30 and 7:45. Entirely too early by her standards, but she was already awake and there was little chance of her falling back asleep for any quantifiable length of time. So instead she cocooned herself in her thick down comforter, soaking up the warmth it had to offer, and dragged herself out of bed just like that.
There was nothing to keep her feet from the cool open air, but still she pressed on knowing it would only be worse in the kitchen. With that tidbit of information in the forefront of her mind, Dahlia paused at the doorway to the linoleum-lined room. Eventually the need for caffeine won out. The frozen floor’s repulsiveness wore off as she quickly grew accustom to the feeling.
The woman made quick work of grinding the beans and starting the coffee maker. However, the blanket made the task more cumbersome than it needed to be. All that was left to do was to watch the black liquid lazily drip through the machine. Dahlia took a seat on one of the stools located next to the island counter that doubled as a dinning table. There she played on her cellphone and impatiently watched over the coffee pot. The waiting soon became unbearable as the potent aroma filled the room.
The morning ritual had more than one benefit. Eventually the scent would drift down the hall and wake her roommate. That was if she hadn’t stayed up too late the night before. Although by that time, Dahlia would likely be sipping on her second cup.
Two cups of heaven’s nectar in and still the onyx-eyed woman didn’t hear anything from down the hall. It was unusual, but not unheard of. There was a sinking feeling in her stomach. On mornings like this, her friend had the tendency to come out of her room with a full plan of action for the day. This generally meant they would be on the snipe hunt from hell for the duration of their waking hours. She couldn’t help but wonder what it would be this time around.
Dahlia managed to get dressed and ready for the day before her roomie was out. Unusual indeed, but she was glad for the extra time. She was able to properly clean her lenses to her camera and camcorder. They were her babies. All her graduation money had gone into the camcorder, and even though it was almost two years old there wasn’t a scratch on it.