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Chapter 3: "The Confession"

June 10, 2008|By EVA NIESSNER / Pulse Correspondent

"I can't believe it!" blurted the young woman with lavender eyes. "You? You!"

Icarus Shortfuse, cool-headed research intern, got hot.

"Keep your voice down, Aurora!" he hissed. Icarus and Aurora Benjamin stood outside a coffee shop in a light rain. "I don't need the whole world on my back along with you!" He shoved the hair out of his eyes, a nervous tic since high school.

"I should tell the whole world!" Aurora exploded. "Do you realize what could happen? That ghost was captured because it was killing people, Icarus."

Rewind to 20 minutes earlier, when a police officer had come to Gemini Institute of Finer Sciences to investigate the release of a lab specimen - a ghost named Badenne. The officer was a 20-something, Brooklyn native with a body like a bear and an accent almost as thick as his neck. His name was Giovanni Fesano, and he seemed absolutely bored by his assignment.

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"I'll look into any perps," Fesano had told Dr. King-Brightsly, director of the Gemini Institute. "But frankly, I can't do nothin' about your missing ghost."

Seeing Aurora and Icarus - both ambitious, young interns at Gemini - standing there stupidly, he offered to go get them coffee. The outing had proved awkward for Icarus, with the rather chatty officer and even chattier Aurora refusing to leave him alone with his thoughts. Unable to overcome his sense of guilt, Icarus quietly confessed: "I let Badenne escape. By mistake."

"I know I messed up. Badly," Icarus said quietly, seeing Aurora's face. "And I know I made you miss your presentation and all, and I'm sorry."

"Sorry?" whispered Aurora passionately. "You think 'sorry' will get you off the bottom of the ocean after I put you there? I really don't -"

"They've caught Badenne before. Why can't they catch her again? Or why can't we catch her?" Icarus suggested, breaking off Aurora's threats. He turned to Fesano. "You. What do you think?"

"Me? I ain't involved."

Icarus sighed. "Come on, man, you're a cop! Don't you want to get in on the action?"

Fesano glared at him. "I'm a cop. Not a Ghostbuster."

"And we're scientists," Icarus put in.

"No, we're interns," corrected Aurora. "We don't have the experience - not to mention equipment! - of all of the scientists in the Confidential Case Quarters! And do you think no one's thought of catching Badenne yet? Your plan's moronic, Icarus."

"Well, what are we supposed to do?" Icarus snarled quietly, his last name beginning to show in the bright, angry red of his cheeks. "You said it yourself, Aurora: Badenne kills. So why don't we try and snatch her back up?"

"All of Brooklyn - probably all of New York - is lookin' for this Badenne of yours now," argued Fesano. "What makes you think that we can find her?"

"That's just it. All of New York is looking for Badenne." Icarus grinned triumphantly while Fesano and Aurora exchanged bewildered looks. "Dr. King-Brightsly said that she was captured in a town in Western Maryland. I think she'll go back there, and we can catch her, I'm sure of it. What do you say?"

Aurora sighed. "Whatever it takes to get this presentation done. Officer? Are you afraid of ghosts?"

Fesano grinned. "When I was six, my grandfather shot my dog in the head 'cause it wouldn't shut up. After that, I stopped botherin' around with fear."

"Excellent," Icarus told them. "We're going to need to find out where this town is and get over there straightaway. We can use my car. After we get some supplies, of course."

To be continued

Miss Chapters 1 and 2 of "Another Small-Town Horror Story"? Click here!

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