The morning was crisp, and York was glad he'd dressed properly. Coffee was the first priority, and though it wasn't great, the diner from the previous night was closest. The swirls of the coffee told him nothing useful, but he thought he saw a shape that looked a bit like a rabbit.
"Follow the white rabbit, eh Zach?" York chuckled. "That's a bit too cliché, don't you think?"
But as he was heading for the police station, a vague idea of shaking more information out of whoever was on duty, when he noticed a poster for the local amusement park. The one Officer Bennett had been killed in. The poster was stuck on a wall, faded and graffitied, but something about it caught York's eye. He pulled into a parking space a block up, and jogged back to have a look.
Nothing special. A skyline dominated by the roller coaster, children smiling and holding balloons, and… a man in a pink rabbit suit.
"What do you say, Zach? Feel like a trip to the amusement park?"
The park was closed, as was only natural, but York had federal jurisdiction. And a nine millimeter.
At least he closed the gate behind him.
Early in the day, a chill in the air, the deserted amusement park was more than a little spooky. York found a map and headed for the merry-go-round, the scene of the crime.
The photos of the crime scene hadn't been as thorough as he liked, but there was enough blood on the floor and painted horses that it had to be the place she'd died. The only strange part was the lack of other bullets or bullet holes. Officer Bennett had been found with gunpowder on her fingers, but no weapon. Along with the bullets in her body, she'd been gazed a few times, and had two fully pass through, but no other bullets were found.
Even if the killer had done a thorough job of cleaning up, why only take the bullets and not move the body? And why hadn't the bullets impacted anywhere nearby? The carousel was undamaged, except for the blood; no bullet holes, not even a scratch.
What York wanted to do now was examine the scene for himself. It had been a few weeks, but if the bullets had hit the pavement or a nearby building, there would still be evidence. York need to profile this, piece together what happened for himself.
The only damage remaining was some faded paint, from the bleach used to clean up. York stalked the area, searching for any signs of something… off. He found them, but they weren't what he expected.
More graffiti, on the back of a bench. The word "help." Odd, but might not be significant?
A piece of paper with a child's drawing, stuck beneath a trash can. Blobs of brown and red, with reaching arms.
A plastic water bottle with the label torn off, filled with an odd red liquid that smelled medicinal.
York straightened up and looked around him, taking in the quiet surroundings. Spooky before, even more so now, but there was nothing truly sinister. Just a closed park and discarded trash. He sighed, and lit up a cigarette.
"There are no coincidences, Zach." York shivered as a cold wind hit him, crisp and icy. "Odd weather too. I didn't think New England got cold so early."
A strange sound started behind him, from the carousel. A grinding, scraping sound, like old gears. York turned in time to see the horses begin to bob, slowly, the music barely recognizable slowed down to a crawl.
"Hello?" York called. "Is someone there?"
He couldn't see an employee at the control panel, but someone must have started the thing.
"FBI!" York shouted. "Come out where I can see you."
Still no one, no sound but the gradual speeding up of the merry-go-round music. York dropped his cigarette and pulled out his gun as he walked toward the contraption.
"A trap, Zach?" He shivered again, a cold drop hitting the back of his neck. If someone was there, they couldn't have gone far. York walked around the carousel, the horses bobbing past him. He could smell snow in the air.
The scraping sound began again, but this time it wasn't coming from the carousel. Someone, dressed in blue, moving toward him. York was squinting before he realized there was a fog rolling down over the park, obscuring his view.
"I'm an FBI agent," York said. "I'm investigating this crime scene."
The person kept walking toward him, a metallic scrape accompanying the movement. "Are you an employee? Maybe you can show me around?"
The figure hiccupped, and York thought he saw smoke, or maybe it was cold enough to see breath.
An echo of the scrape made York turn his head, and get a faceful of smoke. He coughed helplessly, trying to wave away the cloud, the smell of rust and tobacco clogging his nostrils.
Hands fastened around York's neck, the smoke and the stench getting stronger. Breathing wasn't an option, but York's gun was still in hand. He jammed the muzzle into the torso of the one choking him and fired until he ran out of bullets. The hands did nothing but tighten their grip.
Just before he passed out, York thought he saw a hollow-cheeked face and milky white eyes, staring at him.
Sound filtered in, followed by thought, and the usual coughing fit York had upon awaking. It wasn't worse than normal this time, and for a moment York thought the smoke and choking had been a dream; until he opened his eyes to see an unfamiliar room.
Out the windows, he could still see fog and snow falling gently, but no strange men. York stood up and stretched.
"I think we've fallen down the rabbit hole, Zach."
His gun was missing, and so were his smokes, but cell phone and lighter were still in place. He tried the phone, and wasn't particularly surprised when every call failed.
Looking around, the room seemed to be someone's office. York had been sleeping on a little couch, matched to the chairs in front of the desk. The chair behind it was much nicer, black leather, fully adjustable. York couldn't help wondering who worked here, and how they could afford something like that. Behind the desk was a painting of a lake at sunset, the light turning the water yellow and orange, like it was on fire.
With the fog, York couldn't see what was outside, but a bit of searching found some kind of vitamin drink in the desk, and a broken radio. He took the drink, but left the radio behind. No need to be carrying around useless electronics.
A bottom drawer proved more interesting; a nine millimeter Ladysmith tucked under some files. He'd been attacked once already, and he could always return the gun later, so York tucked it into his holster.
"Whatever's going on, Zach, it must have something to do with what happened to Officer Bennett." He pushed open the door, finding an empty hallway, barely lit. "I guess we'll just have to keep on our toes."