A/N: A side story while I get back to writing Poker Face; I'm writing with one of my favorite genres: Horror (a bit early, I know). There is slash here but it's minimum and enough for the story so enjoy! Reviews are welcome! Characters (c) USA
Shawn swirled around the trunk of the largest oak tree he could find in the forest; his thoughts roaming to the reason he was there in the first place. Like Gus, he didn't like to 'rough it' but he made a very special exception to that rule for this occasion. His cell phone went dead; something other than use had siphoned its charge.
"Another disappearance in the Tennebaum Orphanage," he and Gus overheard Lassiter sigh while they were doing their usual case-finding rounds. For some reason, Shawn could see his friend suddenly tense up. "The what?" Carlton gave the fake psychic a disbelieving stare when Spencer asked that. "You don't know about the Tennebaum Orphanage?" Before Shawn could answer, Gus quickly cut in with, "I do!"
"I don't," Juliet stated loudly enough to be included in the conversation. "Of course you wouldn't know O'Hara; you came from Florida," Lassie surmised, much to the junior detective's confusion. "So what does Jules coming from Miami have to do with a disappearance that happened today? And how can you and Gus be on the same page?" Shawn inquired, interest now piqued.
"Damn! Not now!" Shawn groaned while the afternoon sun glared from above. Not only was he too far from any form of communication, he pretty much was isolated from modern civilization. The closest thing was the now-closed Old Sonora theme park; that was his starting point to begin with. The fake psychic knew raccoons only came out at night but right then, he would've preferred them over the overpowering sensation of seclusion and being watched at the same time. Hell, he would've taken Gus if he hadn't proved to be a big chicken.
"The Tennebaum Orphanage was founded in 1867 by the Tennebaum family over by what today was Old Sonora. At one time, they housed 140 children of all age groups; that all ended June 13, 1871," Gus began then story so Lassiter would conclude it. "That night, the police supposed, a serial killer found his way into the building…25 people were killed and 45 were never seen again. The suspect was never found but he earned the nickname 'the Wild Dog' by the way the victims had been mutilated."
Shawn rolled his eyes, quite unlike Jules who was entranced by the story. "So? It's basically an early Halloween story," he brushed off in a nonchalant manner. "That sound strange coming out of your mouth, Spencer. Didn't your father tell you that one when you were little?" Lassiter questioned him with a humorless smirk. He recognized the shrug as a no so Gus proceeded to tell the fake psychic the hook. "Anyone who goes to the Tennebaum Orphanage never comes back..."
"I call bullshit and suddenly Lassie believes I'm psychic, go figure," Shawn said as he climbed up a light hill. From the highest point, he spotted the decrepit building just a few minutes' distance. "Good thing there's sunlight around or that place would've been creepy as fuck!" he thought out loud. After coming down, Shawn suddenly slipped on wet mud and rolled the rest of the way down. "What the hey?" he exclaimed until he raised his hand covered in mud and fresh blood. "Ew! What the hell?!"
He then spotted recent yet systematic red splotches all along the clearing's trees, most shaped like an arrow into the abandoned orphanage. "Someone wants me to find them," Shawn surmised as he picked up a sturdy stick as a makeshift weapon. If he's really a wild dog, maybe he'll even play fetch! Spencer humored himself. The rusted remains of a playground practically whistled with any passing wind; a swing set that no one would ever use, a slide that had half an inch of leaves and sediment collecting, even a rocking horse whose color had long since chipped away added even more weight into the loneliness Shawn was experiencing. Lassie wasn't lying about this place, he thought as he petted the misshapen ride. The hollow building seemed to be standing out of sheer will as one of the wings had collapsed at least 20 years prior; only three windows and two rotting doors sheltered the lifeless orphanage.
Out of nowhere, the fake psychic heard twigs snapping, causing him to spin around in terror only to remind him he was all alone. "I'm hearing things…that's never good," Spencer gulped loudly but fought his desire to run off. "No, I'm solving this even if it kills me, which it will," he stated while biting the means of a girly scream. The pseudo-clairvoyant then turned on his flashlight and entered the building after he spotted strangely fresh crayon drawings pointing him inside.
The day came and went, and Shawn solved another case but he wasn't letting go of what happened that morning. "I can expect something like this from Gus but you?" he commented as Lassiter served up Chinese takeout. "What are you talking about?" "I'm talking about the Tennebaum disappearance. Normally, you'd be all up in that case until you found the guy but this time you're being mum? It's so…un-Lassie-like! The end of the world is coming!" Spencer flailed his arms. The Head Detective pinched the bridge of his nose as his lover did this.
"Would you kindly shut up? It's not like I want to keep out of the investigation! That case isn't in our jurisdiction!" Carlton argued fruitlessly. "What? That orphanage is just thirty miles off Old Sonora! Also I checked the station's records; people HAVE come back from that place!" the fake psychic continued his tirade while presenting the evidence. "And did you even read those articles beyond the headlines?" "Why would I? It proves you and Gus are just superstitious!" The look Shawn got from Lassiter was something that shook him to the bone; those blue eyes he loved were as cold as an iceberg.
Most of the drawings on the walls both outside and in dealt with normal kids stuff, rainbows, unicorns and other toys as well as what they thought their future careers would be. But, as he later continued his walkthrough the main hall, the artists all concurred on one thing; a shadow man lurking by the corner of their artwork. "Dear God, this is the Blair Witch Project, Santa Barbara edition!" Shawn shrugged until he heard the faint sound of children's giggles.
Chills went up his spine as he looked up to the main staircase and could've sworn he saw someone enter one of the rooms and close the door. "I'll check that out later, when I'm done being scared shitless," Shawn assured himself while walking to the lunchroom. Like the rest of the Tennebaum Orphanage, the dining area was falling apart at the seams with flaking plaster buried the table and the porcelain dishes. The children's drawings continued, illustrating the bountiful foods and sweets being offered there. The problem was that just like the drawings before, they seemed fairly recent.
The dark conclusion came into Shawn's mind; someone was luring whoever came by into this place, specifically children. This thought was corroborated when once again the shadow man appeared in the doodles. "The Wild Dog," he stated in a hoarse voice, as if unable to accept that all along, Gus and Lassiter were right. No! There are no such things as ghosts! Shawn reminded himself…even though the proof was getting to be overwhelming. But one can imagine Shawn's face when he located his name written in a bright green crayon next to one Burton Guster. "What the fuck?!"