INT. DASH’S APARTMENT – DAY
Dash’s LA apartment is all windows and light, small but modern. It’s sparsely furnished and decorated, the kind of place that someone lives but isn’t a home. After some fumbling sounds the door swings open, Amazing Grace enters.
You better be dead you goat fucker. I waited for you for over an hour and there’s no reason . . .
Grace comes to a stop as she sees Dash dead on the floor. Think Brian Tyree Henry. Dash is sprawled out face-down on the floor and the room it splattered with blood, far more than you would expect from a run of the mill crime scene.
My Christ Dash, what did you get yourself mixed up in this time?
Grace checks out the bedroom to make sure no one else is there. Once back in the main room she peers around the room deliberately as if she’s looking for things unseen. Once she finishes her scan she moves closer, careful not to disturb anything. She squats for a moment and runs her eyes over the body.
Fuckers got you good didn’t they? Took some souvenirs off you looks like too. Fuckers.
Grace stands and closes her eyes, murmuring indistinctly with her hand held out, fist clenched. With a quick move she flips her hand over and opens it. Dash’s phone floats smoothly off the floor where it fell by his outflung hand. The phone stops and hovers above Grace’s palm. Grace flicks a finger towards it like she’s getting rid of a bug and the phone suddenly comes to life with a full battery. She waves her hand like swiping on Tinder and the phone unlocks.
She scrolls through the phone with her fingers a few inches away, manipulating the phone remotely, not touching the screen. She seehs a lot of calls and texts from someone listed as GOLD-DIGGER in regards to a case. She sees a calendar appointment at Obsidian Bar with INFORMANT at 8 PM. She taps her thumb and pinky together three times and the phone dials GOLD-DIGGER. It goes directly to voicemail without announcing who it is.
(in a deep masculine voice, VO from Dash)
This is Dashiel Flint ma’am, my sincerest apologies but I have being called out of town unexpectedly. In order to keep your case moving forward I am going to refer to you a colleague that will be picking up the investigation with you permission. I have the utmost confidence in her abilities but I understand that this is an unusual request and I assure you that that this is not how I like to do business. Unfortunately in this instance it’s unavoidable. If you’re not satisfied with your arrangement I can offer you a full refund of the retainer and any invoices already paid. But, as I said, I give you my assurance that this colleague will deliver results and I vouch for her with complete confidence. At your convenience please contact her at (number)
With another gesture the phone turns off and floats back to the exact spot it was on the floor next to Dash’s hand. Grace takes some deep breaths, stretches her shoulders and then floats lightly a few inches off the ground like the kids down in the sewer in IT. Her eyes slowly turn a bright shade of electric blue. After a few seconds she floats back down to the ground and her eyes change back.
Not going to make it easy for me huh?
(she speaks to Dash’s body)
Well we know one thing for sure, this is some magic shit right here. If this had something to do with me Dash I’m sorry. I’ll find out. I guess I’m sorry either way. You were a good dude Dash. Most of the time anyway.
Grace takes one final look around the room and then leaves.
EXT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY
Outside the mansion gates Grace sits in the driver’s seat of a battered ‘64 Acadian Canso. The car has such things as claw-marks, acid-burns, and bullet-holes across the body. Grace is flipping through her phone learning about GIGI MUNSON, think Eli Jane or Jenae Altschwager. We learn that Gigi married a much older wealthy man, inherited $120 million when he died 2 years ago, and that she was once an outspoken member of CAN – the cult awareness network – but has since renounced the organization.
Grace tucks her phone away, exits the Canso and slips in through the gates while they swing open to hike a comically long distance to the front of the mansion.
INT. BEVERLY HILLS MANSION – DAY
Grace and Gigi are sitting in a finely appointed living room, Gigi poised on the couch like a queen and Grace perched awkwardly like a gargoyle on a funky modern art looking chair.
Can I get you something to drink?
Maker’s Mark and Code Red Mountain Dew if you have it, toss in some Skittles.
(polite but annoyed)
How about some ice tea?
(waving her off)
I’m good actually. I want to apologize again for Dash being called away so suddenly, he had an urgent family matter that he had to attend to, but I can assure you that I’ll be pursuing this case aggressively in his absence. I didn’t get much of a chance to talk to Dash before he left town so I thought it best that we speak in person, Dash gave me access to everything he had but he’s not big into record keeping, client confidentiality and all that. You never know who has access to your files right?
Do you know if Dash had any leads on the location of my step daughter?
Yes, I’m going to meet someone with some information later today, but could you start from the beginning please? I want to make sure I’m not missing anything. In these types of scenarios it’s not good to assume anything.
(takes a moment to compose herself)
Ela and I were never close but we had as good a relationship as we could have given the circumstances. I never tried to be her mother, that would be ridiculous since she’s three years older than me. But I didn’t pretend that we were friends either, I think she respected that. All I could do was I try to be there for her as much as I could. I knew the kind of problems that she was facing. After Hal died Ela and I started spending more time together, getting closer than we had before. Most people treat me like a gold-digging slut but Ela knew that I really loved her father.
(she wipes away a tear)
I was sick in love with Hal. Ela knew that and it was something that brought us together after he passed. A few months ago things between us were better than they had ever been but then her behavior became increasing erratic. She . . . has issues with drugs, but this seemed different. I struggled with the same thing for years, I know what that looks like, this was . . . something else.
(she takes a deep breath and then plunges in)
I was a 17 when I came to LA. I had already been using meth for two years. Everyone I met out here, man or woman, was looking to abuse me or hurt me or turn me out. LA is a city full of dreamers and that makes it a city full of predators as well. But some of the things I saw, or think I saw, were beyond . . . any sort of human exploitation. Some of it was play-acting, people making a show, wanting attention. But I saw, or think I saw, some things I can’t explain. I’ve worked with a dozen different therapists, specialists, memory recovery experts, all sorts of people. I still don’t know for sure what was real and what was in my head from those days.
I remember being at a party. There was a stripper there, and a gigolo I suppose, I remember several women I knew from the tennis club having sex with him while wearing hideous masks. I may have as a well. I can see him clearly in my mind. He’s lying on a low table made of white stone. He’s looking very satisfied with himself until his eyes widen when one of them slits his throat. The blood, I see the blood. They all come at him with knives and they hack at his body, ripping pieces of this flesh off and shoving them I their mouths. After he’s dead and they’re covered with blood and bits of muscle they were chanting and holding candles and things . . . happened. Things that don’t make sense. Other memories I question, other memories I have may or may not be true. But that . . . that one I am convinced is real.
That must sound insane to you.
Not at all. Trust me, I know reality is a lot more flexible than people like to think. I’ve seen shit that would make your pubes fall out. You must be bringing this up because you think your step-daughter is involved with something like what you saw?
I don’t know what she’s involved with. When she started acting oddly she would talk about the Apocalypse and Revelations and Judgement Day. At first I thought she was talking about the Bible, they really try to shove Jesus down your throat in some of those 12-step programs. It can be helpful . . . sometimes. She’s had a lot of sadness in her life. It seemed natural that she might turn to religion in some way.
But this wasn’t anything to do with religion, not any legitimate religion anyway. She would talk about aliens sometimes and a comet and some of that conspiracy crap about shapeshifters. She talked about this old occultist named Aleister Crowley like he was a god or some kind of messiah. She that she had made friends that were all about gaining power and how suffering was the natural human condition so it was okay to make othe people suffer for your own benefit. They were going to help her gain power and then no one would ever be able to hurt her again. She sent me all these links to bizarre subreddits and Youtube videos, some of which were advocating acts of violence.
What really concerned me is when she moved out of her apartment, I don’t know where she went. She’s not returning my texts or calls anymore and I don’t know how to get in touch with her. I would have assumed that she was backsliding, going on a bender, I know some old friends of hers were in town which is a trigger for people like us, but I went to this occult shop where I saw she was spending a lot of money at to see if they might know where she was.
I just got a bad feeling about that place. The woman behind the counter. Didn’t seem right to me. I didn’t speak to her I just turned around and left. I think I might have been followed by someone when I was coming home that day. It could just be paranoia but since that day some odd things have been happening. That’s when I contacted Mr. Flint.
What kind of odd things?
(Gigi holds up her phone and shows a video of crickets coming out of a water faucet when turned on)
Well, that certainly fits the bill.
I’m worried that Ela is in danger. I’m worried that anyone I send after her is in danger. The things I’ve seen . . . I’m thinking I should call this all off. I don’t want anyone else to be hurt.
(making an awkward gesture of comfort)
Don’t worry about that at all. I’m a professional. I know how to take care of myself so don’t give that notion a second thought. I’m going to do my level best to find out what’s happened to your step-daughter.
(wiping away another tear)
Thank you, you’ve been very helpful, and I apologize once again for you having to go over this all again. One last thing, can you verify the spelling of your step-daughter’s name? Dash probably ran her through all the usual databases but I have a few other sources I like to check out in situations like this.
Have you worked many cases like this?
Sadly yes. It’s amazing how blasé we are as a society about people disappearing. People throw around this platitude that when someone disappears because it’s because they don’t want to be found. To me that’s like coming across a dead body and assuming they killed themselves. It’s the easy way out intellectually, gets you off the hook. People like to pretend that when someone goes missing they just ditched and have a new life somewhere else, because the alternative, the truth maybe, is too ugly for them to think about.