Read Polar (Book 1): Polar Night Online

Authors: Julie Flanders

Tags: #Horror | Supernatural

Polar (Book 1): Polar Night

BOOK: Polar (Book 1): Polar Night
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POLAR NIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By

Julie A. Flanders

 

 

Ink Smith Publishing

www.ink-smith.com

 

 

Copyright © 2012 by
Julie A. Flanders

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved. T
his book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

The final approval for this literary material is granted by the author.

 

 

 

Printed in the USA
, 2013

 

 

 

 

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

ISBN
978-1-939156-05-1

 

 

 

Ink Smith Publishing

P.O Box 1086

Glendora CA

www.ink-smith.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dedicated with love to
my father, Urban Flanders, who was a poet and a master storyteller.

Prologue

 

He loved the cold.

 

Raw, icy, bone chilling cold. It reminded him of ho
me. Of January. Of her.

 

Most couldn't tolerate the harsh Alaskan winters. But he wasn’t like most. He didn't fear the cold. He embraced it.

 

He stared out at the barren white landscape in front of him, and brushed a strand of straight blond hair from his forehead. He shook the snowflakes from his long, gloved fingers, and put his hands back into the pockets of his black coat.

 

He loved the cold, yes, but he loved the night even more. His first winter in Alaska had convinced him to make the state his American home. He knew he had found the right place.

 

He lived for the night. And it was coming.

 

It was almost December, and the darkness was coming.

 

When it came, she would be his again. He felt a rush of anticipation as he turned to go back inside.

 

The darkness was almost here.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

 

One Month Later

 

 

 

Danny Fitzpatrick rolled over
in his bed and stared at the ceiling. He glanced towards his window and winced at the sunlight filtering through the blinds. Sunlight? What time was it, anyway?

Danny put a pillow over his face to block the sun, as his head was pounding too much for his eyes to handle the light. He tried to remember what day it was. December 22
nd
? 23
rd
? If the sun was up, it had to be close to noon. Which meant he was already very late for work.


Too much to drink last night, Danny?”

Startled, Danny jumped and tossed the pillow aside at the sound of her voice. Caroline. He turned towards her, in spite of the fact that he knew she wasn't really there. She never would be again. One of these days, he'd drink enough alcohol to get that through his thick skull.

He sighed and heaved himself to a sitting position, tossing his legs over the side of the bed. The clock on his bedside table flashed 2:00. Had the power gone out over night? He couldn’t remember if the electricity had been on when he’d stumbled into his apartment last night after helping to close down Abe’s Bar. Or was it the Blue Moose he had visited? Either way, it wouldn’t be a surprise if his electricity had been out when he had finally managed to find his way home. The slightest wind seemed to knock his lights out on a regular basis.

Danny picked his cell up from the table, and checked the time. 12:30. So he was even later than he thought. He forced himself to his feet and walked to his kitchen, where he started a pot of coffee brewing and downed four extra-strength Excedrin capsules. Then, he headed for the bathroom and the hottest shower he could stand.

Five minutes later, he stepped out of the shower and toweled himself dry. Dropping the towel on the floor, he checked out his reflection in the mirror above his sink. He had dark circles under his hooded brown eyes, and he definitely needed a shave, but otherwise, he didn’t look too bad for a 40 year old guy. His face was long and narrow and his pale skin reflected his Irish heritage, but, except for the fact that his nose was too thin and too pointed, he didn’t have much to complain about when it came to his appearance.

He picked up the towel and rubbed it through his thick chestnut colored hair. His mother had always said his hair was the color of a thoroughbred. But Danny was sure no horse had ever had hair as unmanageable as his. No matter how hard he tried to plaster the hair to his head, it seemed strands of it were always sticking out at odd angles. He tossed the towel on the sink, and ran his hands through his hair, causing it to stick out even more, as he walked back to his bedroom.  He didn’t feel like taking the time to shave.

Danny stepped into his closet, hoping he had something clean to wear. He was in luck, as he found a pair of khaki pants and a white oxford shirt he had just picked up from the dry cleaner. He grabbed a blue pullover sweater from the top shelf of his closet, walked to his dresser to get some underwear and warm socks, and quickly got dressed.

As he walked to his living room, he tried to think of an excuse to tell the captain to explain why he wasn’t reporting to work until after noon. He’d come up with some bullshit about a lead he was following up on this morning. But he knew it really didn’t matter. No one cared what he was doing, as long as they could say he was working diligently on cold cases.

He poured himself a mug of coffee and looked in his cabinets for something to eat. He had a choice of strawberry Pop-Tarts, or blueberry Pop-Tarts. He chose blueberry, ate two cold, and finished his coffee. Pouring the rest of the pot in his thermos, he headed for the front door. Of course, he needed his parka, gloves, and head scarf before he ever set foot outside. It was December in Fairbanks after all, and the temperature was a frigid -2.

Before he could get into his silver Subaru Legacy, he had to unplug it from the socket on the outside wall of his apartment building. Unplugging a car was something he was still getting used to, but he had quickly learned that if he wanted his car to start during an Alaskan winter, he needed an engine block heater installed and plugged in every night. He had also been told that all-wheel drive was an absolute must, something he was already used to from driving in Chicago snow. After reading online that Subaru cars were popular in Alaska, he had quickly made his purchase. So far, the car had not disappointed him.

Except for the fact that he cursed himself every morning for not buying the auto-start feature when he sat with his teeth chattering as he waited for the heater to warm the car enough for him to drive without shivering. Why hadn’t he doled out the extra money so he could start the car from inside his apartment? Even better, why had he ever moved here to this god-forsaken place? Chicago wasn’t cold enough for him?

After concluding his daily rant to himself, he pulled out of his driveway on Slater Street and away from his apartment building, an unassuming fourplex with a white siding exterior. The landlord, who lived next to Danny’s apartment, kept the place clean and the lot and walkway plowed, which was all Danny cared about. He knew his landlord’s name only because he wrote the man a check each month. While he would smile and say hello to his other two neighbors, he had no idea who they were and he liked it that way. He assumed they did too.

Danny passed Slaterville Park and remembered how he had intended to start jogging there or at nearby Griffin Park last summer. The park entrance and sidewalks were covered with snow now, but he’d found the greenery and flower gardens inviting when he’d driven past in the summer. He’d also liked the moose antler arch that marked the entrance to Griffin Park, and kept meaning to check out the rest of it. He’d known a daily walk or jog would have done him good. But he’d never ended up doing either.

Danny turned left on Church Street and made another left onto Illinois, which eventually turned into Cushman Street, the home of the Fairbanks Police Department. As he always did when driving in to work, he noticed the old Catholic Church on his left. Danny had heard that the church was on the National Registry of Historic Sites, and had been around since the founding of Fairbanks. Danny liked the building, but had been amazed last spring when he had driven by and realized the roof of the building was green. He’d assumed the roof was white; not realizing the white color was only because of the constant covering of snow during the long winter.

He crossed the Chena River and continued towards the police station, stopping at a red light at the corner of Second and Cushman. He noticed the marquee sign of the bank on the corner flashing the date and time. December 23
rd
. Two days away from his first Christmas in Alaska.

When he left Chicago for Fairbanks last February, he’d never expected to still be here at Christmas time. But then, he hadn’t expected to be anywhere else, either. He’d tossed his detective’s badge on his captain’s desk and walked away from his job and his life. What was left of his life, anyway.

Danny had no children, no siblings, and his mother had died several years earlier. He had no idea if his father was also dead, as the last time he’d seen him was when the man left Chicago and moved to Atlanta to start a new family. For the majority of his adult life, Danny’s family had been his colleagues in the Chicago police department. His life had revolved around that department and that job, before it had all collapsed around him in a split second filled with ear-piercing screams, unrelenting terror, and gushing blood.

He’d packed a bag and driven to O’Hare without a clear plan in mind. When he’d seen the listing for Fairbanks on the departures screen, he’d remembered that he’d always wanted to see Alaska. And he’d decided that there was no time like the present. It was hard to imagine a better place to get lost in than Alaska. He’d bought a one-way ticket and hadn’t looked back.

It was all well and good that he’d wanted to explore the frozen tundra of the north. But he couldn’t go too far without an income, something that hadn’t really crossed his mind back in Chicago. He realized he didn’t know how to be anything but a cop, so he’d put in an application with the Fairbanks Police Department. His big-city detective credentials had gotten him in the door, but his refusal to use his experience in homicide had relegated him to cold cases.

Cold cases had suited Danny just fine. He didn’t have anyone breathing down his neck and he didn’t have to worry about making prosecutors or politicians happy. He knew no one outside of the victims’ families really gave a damn if he solved the cases. All that mattered was that the higher-ups had a warm body they could point to in order to assure grieving families and nosy reporters that no cases were ever forgotten, and one of their best detectives was looking at every possible angle, no matter how old the case. And, Danny couldn’t help but feel a connection to the victims whose cases he studied. He saw them as lost souls, something he could relate to all too well.  He wanted to solve their cases, in spite of the fact that his efforts were mostly futile.

So here Danny was, ten months later, an official resident of Alaska and of Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City. He’d yet to explore the frozen tundra, but it was still on his to-do list. For now, he’d mostly explored the bars and liquor stores of Fairbanks. He’d been happy to know that Alaska’s reputation for high alcohol usage was not unfounded. He’d fit right in.

Danny turned onto 10
th
Avenue at the blue sign advertising the Fairbanks PD, pulled his car into the police station parking lot, and parked as close to the building as he could. The building was the nondescript taupe color that was so typical of municipal buildings in cities all over the country. Whoever had designed the place had tried to brighten things up with green trim on the windows, but the effects had been negligent, and the only word that came to mind when describing the building was drab. City Hall was right down the road, as was the bright red and glass building that housed the Fairbanks Fire Department.

He braced himself to go back out into the cold. Pulling the hood of his parka tight around his neck, he made a mad dash to the door of the station. He heard Tessa Washington’s laughter as he barreled into the front corridor of the office, and pulled the hood of his parka off so that he could actually see her.

At barely 5’2”, Tessa was much shorter than Danny’s tall and lanky 6’ frame, even with her long braids piled high on her head. She had unusually dark brown eyes, and her skin was the color of a mocha latte. Tessa was always impeccably dressed, regardless of the weather. This morning, she wore a navy and cream striped cardigan over a pale blue tailored shirt, with thick cream colored corduroys tucked in to waterproof Caribou boots. She was Danny’s closest, or really only, friend on the force.

“You’re not used to this cold yet, Danny?”

“How the hell would I be used to it? This is my first winter here, remember?”

“I just thought a Chicago boy wouldn’t be such a wimp.”

“And I thought a military lady would have better manners.”

Tessa laughed and helped Danny out of the arms of his coat. She had been in the military police at nearby Eielsen Air Force Base, and had decided to stay on in Fairbanks once her military duty had ended. Like Danny, detective work was all she knew. Also like Danny, she was a loner. As she put it, walking in on her husband screwing her best friend while all were stationed on the same base had killed any interest she had in being social. She was very happy living alone in Fairbanks with her “baby,” a gigantic Siberian Husky named Maya, after Tessa’s favorite author, Maya Angelou.

“So are you just reporting for work now?” Tessa asked, as the two walked towards their cubicles in the far corner of the office. Tessa’s was decorated with tinsel, a red bow, and a Merry Christmas banner. Danny’s stood bare.

“Yeah. Kind of a late night last night,” Danny said.

“A drunken night, you mean.”

Danny shrugged. “You could say that.”

He glanced towards Captain Meyer’s office. “Is he looking for me?”

Tessa shook her head. “No. He’s been in meetings all morning.”

Danny nodded and sat down in his chair. “Good.”

He looked at the bulletin board above Tessa’s desk, and noticed a picture of a pretty blond woman in the center of the board.  “Your latest case?” he asked.

“Yeah.”

“Homicide?”

“No. Not yet, anyway. Missing persons.”

Danny leaned back in his chair and put his feet on his desk. “How long has she been missing?”

“Two days now. That’s why I got it.”

“So what’s the story?”

“She’s a 28 year old Fairbanks resident, and was last seen on the morning of the 21
st
when she left her boyfriend’s apartment and said she was going shopping. She can be seen on the security camera outside the store where her car was found, so she did go shopping. But she never showed up for her job that night, and nobody’s seen her since.”

“What was the job?”

“She was supposed to be taking Santa photos at the winter solstice celebration down at the Golden Heart Plaza. You know, the 21 Days of Solstice event?”

Danny nodded. “Yeah, I saw that advertised.”

BOOK: Polar (Book 1): Polar Night
7.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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