So it's only taken me a million years to start writing again, but I'm back with a cross-over I've been considering for a few weeks now. It's been churning like butter in my brain...and hopefully it's smooth.

Disclaimer: If you recognize them, they don't belong to me!


The shop appears overnight.

On Sunday evening, Merle Standish's old bait shop is empty and rundown, the same way it's been since the economy bottomed out and Merle couldn't afford to run it. Sally Holstead remembers seeing it on her way home that night from Patrick's Pub.

On Monday morning, there's newspaper over the windows and a sign on the door that catches everyone's eye as they pass it on their way to Rosemary's for breakfast or Utney's for lumber.

The sign is eye catching, thought provoking. Scrawled on aged white pine in ink so red it almost appears to drip, are two simple words that could mean any number of things.

Needful Things.

The sky is an odd shade of reddish gray, the color of aging meat, and it's been that way since early Monday morning. Audrey Parker notices it while standing on the deck outside her apartment. She drinks her first – and most important – cup of coffee of the day and watches the sunrise beyond the cove where The Gull sits. Something about it turns her stomach and she cannot finish her coffee. She leaves the mug on the side table nearby and averts her eyes.

"Something seem…off about the sunrise this morning?" she asks Nathan Wurnous when she sees him later that morning.

He shrugs, sets a bag from Rosemary's bakery down on her desk. "Just a gray morning. Why?"

She pushes the bag away, still nauseated from earlier. "Something about the color. It just didn't look right."

Nathan grins. "Late summer sunrises will do that, especially if there's a storm coming." He sits in the chair across from her desk. "Not hungry?"

"Saving it for later," she says with a small smile. "What's on the agenda for this morning?"

"Nothing. Seems we had a quiet weekend."

"That's oddly worrisome."

He shakes his head. "Be thankful for it; means there's less paperwork. And I know how much you love paperwork."

She laughs. "You know me too well."

There's a knock on the door to her office and Stan pokes his head in. There are donut crumbs on his tie.

"Chief, Betty Samuels is here. She'd like to file a complaint."

Nathan stands, smirks. "What's bugging her this time?"

"She says someone opened a new shop in Merle's old place. Seems no one asked the town council if it was okay and she's got a bug up her ass about it." His cheeks color and he ducks his head in Audrey's direction. "If you'll pardon the expression, Detective."

Nathan shakes his head. "That woman needs a different hobby," he says to Audrey. To Stan, he frowns. "Take her complaint down. I'll be out in a minute or two." Stan disappears and Nathan turns back to look at his partner. "Some days, it just doesn't pay to be chief."

"I'll come save you if it looks like she's getting ready to hit you with her purse," Audrey says, attempting to keep a straight face and failing.

"Har har," he says, straightening. "Do me a favor, Parker?" She nods. "Humor that old woman and check out the shop she's talking about, since you don't have anything else to do besides laugh at me."


Thoughts? Concerns? Cookies? :)