An entry in Kaya Sparrowhawk’s rapidly-expanding notebook, left under her nightstand this time.
The big man gave me my assignment yesterday. I had an enigma inside an envelope — a photograph, a woman’s name, and the implicit assignment. So I did a little research. Ana Menchu, apparently hasn’t been seen since she left a place called Tlaxcala on the South Side. Owns property down there, too.
I’ve been thinking a lot about community. I mean, goddamnit, Lee is joining the Krewe, Gabby is best friends with
Veronica everyone, and I have … Leon. Leon and his assignment. So I thought, who do I know in the South Side?
So I call up Javier. Aha, I think. Finally, not just me and my computer. Is this what other people feel like when they have social lives? So I ask him about Ana Menchu.
Well, that’s interesting. So I do a little more digging with My Electronic Best Friend. Turns out Menchu owns a lot of property, some of it through proxies. She donates a fuckton of money, though. Not really a landlord’s thing, usually. I mean, houses are a living, but still. Anyway, I dig a little deeper. I’m browsing through old crime statistics and spot an anomaly. Now, crime analysis is not usually my thing, but what it almost looks like to me is that Menchu buys up huge chunks of neighborhoods. Then, in those neighborhoods, crime stats decrease. Not generally, but violent crime goes down. But – and this is where it gets stranger – estimated drug use goes up.
I am not an expert on drug distribution, but this sounds like a pretty sweet deal for Menchu. She buys a neighborhood, starts distributing, and brings in some enforcers … So I text Jimmy, who is pretty much my one-stop-shop when it comes to sketchy druggie types.
He’s home, we match, and get down to talking. Jimmy paints a pretty picture about Menchu. It seems pretty much like it looks – she buys, she sells, she enforces. One other thing, though – people are wary of her, and she runs this shit like a business. None of this sample-from-the-stash stuff (and both Jimmy and I know that using your own stock can take a Native down, fast) – Menchu runs a motherfucking business, and a profitable one at that.
So that’s about it, and eventually I decide to get my ass home. I stumble out of the door, and it’s funny, because I have a policy about hallucinogens. I don’t do them. Not since … but when I walk out the door of Jimmy’s apartment, I know that somehow, something’s gone horribly wrong. Maybe I drank a bit much, maybe Jimmy got burned on the weed he bought, maybe … whatever. Because I am in a silent Milwaukee. Nobody on the streets. Me, alone, with a red flicker hovering over a bridge. I run to meet Red Arrow Woman.
She says … well, she only says a few words, but they lay everything out in front of me. Two paths. Sounds like a cliche, right? But it’s not a cliche when you’re the only person in Milwaukee, listening to a dead woman talk. She didn’t help me choose between the paths, but she did say one thing – that either path would take me to my destination. And that’s when I looked up and saw him.
The only people in the city were me, the Man in White, and Red Arrow Woman. And when I see the Man in White, I turn back to Red Arrow Woman, only to see his cold eyes staring back at me.
And suddenly – a car horn, and I awaken, flat on my back in the parking lot outside my apartment. Someone’s honking their horn at me, and I scramble back up to my apartment, unsure of what’s just happened.
When Gabby calls me, I’m not doing anything but lying in comatose shock. So when she says she found a door into the ground, I jump at the chance to get out of the house and do something that doesn’t involve too much thinking. So I meet Gabby and Lee downtown, and Gabby shows us this door.
She says the Man in White led her to it, looked her straight in the eyes and disappeared.
When we clamber down the long ladder, we are met by another door which we cannot open. I try, leaning up the door and willing it open, but my failure to open it saps me of any will to try once more.
But … what is up with the Man? Is he wholly supernatural? When I still thought that he was some asshole sent by some cartel to get me to stop snooping around in their business, I had no problem envisioning this guy’s death. But now … could he have been the midwife to my resurrection?
I obviously am in way over my head. Everything that happens simply confuses me more, until I’m not sure which way is up or who I should really trust. Sanders wants something from me, and although he’s all smiles, I still can’t see past his mask.
I don’t know who to talk to about this.