Title: Devil’s Night: The Beginning
Rating: PG to NC-17 depending on the chapter
Summary: It’s Devil’s Night and the Big Apple is set for a night of mischief. But for Peter Burke, the darkness hides an evil that he may not be able to overcome.
A/N: The night before Halloween, October 30th, has traditionally been a night of pranks and mischief. In the United States, the holiday morphed into a night of soaping windows and toilet papering trees. In Detroit and much of Michigan, the night is known infamously as Devil’s Night, a moniker now eternally linked with widespread arson and vandalism. For the purposes of this story, I’m moving Devil’s Night to NYC.
The wind blew scattered leaves under the parked cars as Peter Burke headed out for his evening run. Elizabeth was working late setting up for a Halloween Gala she had scheduled for the next day. The Brooklyn neighborhood was decked out for Halloween in a riot of black and orange with jack-o-lanterns and hissing black cats. Their house was equally festive with a haunted house -zombie theme that Neal, Mozzie and Elizabeth cooked up. He smiled and shook his head. Every year El came up with something more creative and with Neal and Mozzie helping her this time, the results were definitely unsettling. They did tone down the goriness when Peter reminded them that they really didn’t want to be responsible for the neighborhood children’s therapy bills when they were scarred for life because of the decorations.
He’d also threatened to send Neal back to prison if he didn’t show up to hand out candy. Peter didn’t mind it, but he always liked having a buffer and with El working, that meant Neal.
After stretching out, he took his usual route towards the park near their house. The rhythm of his feet hitting the pavement allowed his mind to wander as he thought about the day.
His team closed the McMillan bond case in record time thanks to Neal’s observation. Who’d have thought it would have boiled down to the dog-walking schedule. No one was hurt and the bonds were recovered. All in all it was a good day.
As he neared the park he noticed an increased number of patrol cars and remembered that it was Devil’s Night tonight. Peter sighed. It was sad that the increased violence and destruction marred a perfectly good holiday. Their neighborhood really didn’t see very much activity – so far it was mostly soaping windows and filling the trees with toilet paper, but you never knew when the more dangerous behavior would start creeping in. He focused on his surroundings just to make sure. Nothing felt off so he relaxed and enjoyed the feel of the park. He nodded at several joggers as he passed, and headed for the dog park where they took Satchmo on the weekends.
The temperature was dropping so there were only a few owners and their pets out, most of whom Peter knew. He reached the end of the park and stopped to catch his breath before he headed back. The area was more heavily wooded than the rest of the park, with oak and fir trees swaying in the wind. He stretched and began his run back when he heard what sounded like the snap of a tree branch being stepped on. Peter felt a prickle on the back of his neck and instinctively reached for his gun, belatedly realizing he’d left it at home. All senses alert, he didn’t stop moving as he scanned the area. Nothing looked like a person, but the shadows were playing havoc with his ability to see clearly. He increased his speed, feeling uneasy without his sidearm. The prickling faded but he still stayed aware until he returned to the more populated area of the park.
One of the local LEOs was sitting in his car at the park’s entrance. Peter stopped and tapped on his window.
“Agent Burke, how ya doin’?” said the cop rolling down his window.
“Pretty good, Anderson,” Peter replied. “Hey listen, I was jogging by the far end of the dog park and something felt hinky. Thought maybe you might want to check it out.”
“No problem, I’ll go take a look,” Anderson said. “Can’t be too careful, especially tonight. You be safe.” He rolled up his window and drove off.
Peter finished his run. Back at the house, he hung up his coat and let Satchmo out into the back yard. Opening up the refrigerator, he grabbed a beer and looked to see what leftovers were available for dinner. He was happy to find some of El’s Chicken Carbonara Risotto that they had from the night before. Turning on the oven to heat up, he took a swig of his beer, pulled off his sweatshirt and headed up the stairs to take a shower.
He never noticed the figure in half-shadow across the street.
…Special Agent Peter Burke….
I see you. Watching you as you go about your day. In your pretty house, kissing your pretty wife, with your pretty job and pretty partner.
Look how happy you are. I’ll bet you sleep easy at night. Why shouldn’t you? You have everything.
I have nothing. You took it.
I hate you.
I’ll bet you don’t even remember who I am. But you will.
Soon I’ll be the only one you think of from the moment you wake up to the moment your pretty head hits that pretty pillow. Only it won’t be so pretty anymore. Your life will be as ugly as you made mine…..
And you won’t even know why…at least not at first….
Soon, Special Agent Burke…..Very soon.