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Fanfic: The Weathervane

Chapter 1: More Bad Weather Coming

August 25

Micki stretched, eyes still closed in a vain attempt to shut out the dim morning light. She could already hear Jack and Ryan speaking in low tones outside her bedroom doors. One of the hazards of having a room right off of the dining room, particularly one with glass-paned French doors, was the inevitable early morning wake ups caused by Jack and Ryan plotting out the activities for the day. Micki swung her feet around the side of the bed and shivered as her toes hit the hardwood floor below.

It had been an unusually cold, stormy couple of days. And as cold as Chicago could get during the winter months, this was late August and it had been in the low 30s practically every day this week. And with the cold of the past few days had come the relentless storms with their driving rain and angry bouts of hail.

With some effort Micki pushed herself up, slowly lumbered towards her robe, and pulled it over her slender frame.

Jack and Ryan looked up from the manifest as Micki walked out, still dazed from the abrupt wake up," Morning," Ryan chirped in unison with Jack's throaty greeting. Micki let out a wide yawn, "Good morning. Why are you two up to so early?," she asked, looking at the clock for the first time this morning.

"Jack thinks there's something up with these crazy storms," Ryan stated matter-of-factly. Micki looked at them, confused, "OK, I'll admit the weather's been a little odd lately. But, it's just weather…Mother Nature's fickle."

"That figures. After all, she is a woman," Ryan said through a wide grin. Micki cocked an eyebrow at him and headed for the coffee pot, "So, if the weather is a 'cursed event', what have you two found?"

Jack and Ryan exchanged glances and neither of them said a word for a few long seconds, "Well…we haven't exactly found anything yet," Jack finally muttered, "But, I'm sure if we keep looking we'll be able to make some kind of connection. Did you know that the coldest day on record for August was set back on August 29, 1965? And even that was 49."

Ryan's eyes lit, "Hey, that means we've beaten that record nearly every day this week. Once again Ryan Dallion is an integral part of history." Micki looked over in time to see Ryan's smug smile being covered by the edge of his large coffee mug, and plopped herself down into a chair.

She set her cup of coffee down and switched on the television. Usually the TV was downstairs, but Ryan had been carting it upstairs every night so that he could watch the late night creature features from his bed. The TV now sat perched at one end of the dining table, the result of Ryan's late, late movie viewing from the night before.

Within seconds the dining room was filled with the familiar, pleasant tone of the meteorologist predicting the week long forecast:

"And it looks as though our stormy days will be moving on for the rest of this week. In fact the weather will be clearing up as early as this afternoon around 3pm. Now, folks, you can tune into other stations, but, as I'm sure you already know, the only truly accurate forecasting is right here on KAHN…"

Micki took a sip of her coffee, "Isn't that the truth. If I had been watching this channel maybe I wouldn't have gotten caught out in the rain while I was trying to bring home the groceries. I don't know what system this guy has, but none of the other channels predicted…"

"Micki, that's it!" Jack interrupted excitedly, springing from his seat, and tucking the large manifest under his arm, "That's precisely it!" Jack bolted downstairs leaving Micki and Ryan in his confusing wake. "What do you suppose…?" Ryan's eyebrows furrowed and he stood, going downstairs after Jack. Micki was right behind him.

"What's going on?" Ryan asked, taking his usual seat in front of the large, dark-wood desk at the front of the shop. "A few days ago Micki was caught in the rain. It went from a mild, mid-70s day to a downpour…she got drenched in an instant!" He chuckled, pleased at whatever he had discovered but not yet disclosed.

Micki took a seat at the foot of the stairs, "Glad you find that so amusing."

Jack looked up from his paper article and shook his head, "No, no, Micki, that's not it…It's just, well, read this." He handed over the folded up article to Micki. It was from a gossip and entertainment magazine from a few weeks prior.

Micki began to read aloud for the benefit of Ryan who was sitting there looking lost, "Weather personality John K. Barkman at risk of being fired due to his inability to forecast the weather. John Barkman, meteorologist for KAHN is rumored to be on the chopping block, and is likely to be replaced by a weatherperson who has not only a more likable personality, but also the ability to forecast the weather. Negotiations are said to be going on at the station and Barkman's firing is likely to happen within the week…"

Micki stopped reading and looked up, "But this article was written 3 weeks ago and Barkman didn't get fired."

Jack was, by now, grinning like a madman, "Exactly, Micki! And do you know why?" Jack rambled on before either of them had a chance to answer, "Because he started predicting the weather, and he has gotten it right every time." Ryan straightened in his chair, "So, you think that our man Barkman is more than just lucky?"

Jack nodded, "Precisely."

Micki handed the article over to Ryan, "Maybe he's just had a streak of accurate predictions." Ryan shook his head, now utterly convinced that there was something sinister behind the fickle, stormy weather. "But no one else had the scoop on this freak storm except for Barkman, you said it yourself. I mean, one minute, not a cloud in the sky, and the next..." *Crash*" Ryan slapped his palms together to simulate the crashing of thunder.

The loud noise made Micki jump, "Maybe they just have more accurate forecasting equipment at KAHN…"

Jack shook his head again, handing Micki another article, "There's more to it than that, I'm afraid."

Micki glanced down at the newspaper article that Jack had handed her and Ryan watched as her slightly annoyed look changed to a concerned frown. "What? What is it?" Ryan leaned forward enthusiastically and Micki handed him the newspaper article. He read it aloud, "Bizarre murder baffles local authorities. Man found dead in alley from a large stab wound to the heart. Police have no suspects, but forensics reports indicate that the weapon was constructed of an alloy commonly used in the construction of pre-20th century weathervanes."

Jack opened up the manifest to one of its middle pages and pointed a finger at one of the entries, "Sold. One weathervane. Constructed in the 1700's by Shem Drowne." Jack looked up, "Drowne was reportedly the first American weathervane maker. It was said that he could predict weather more accurately than ever before just by watching which way the wind was blowing."

Ryan was now leaning forward, intensely focused on Jack, "Like the way Barkman is predicting the weather more accurately than any other meteorologist out there?"

Jack nodded, "That's exactly it, Ryan."

Micki stood, moving towards the two men, "So, was the thing sold to Barkman originally?"

Jack shook his head, "No, Micki, it was originally sold to a Mr. Myron Ellis. But, according to one of the articles we found the day you two moved in here, he died. So, somehow or other, Barkman must have gotten a hold of it." Jack scribbled down Ellis’ old address on a piece of scrap paper that was laying on the desk.

Then he shut the manifest with a thud and stood, "Micki, Ryan, you two head over to Ellis’ old place, see if you can find anything out about this weathervane. I'm going to head over to the station and see if I can't have a few words with Mr. Barkman."

"Be careful," Micki warned, sounding concerned.

"Yeah," Ryan chimed in, "We have a pretty good idea of what this guy is capable of doing."

Jack nodded, "Micki, hurry up and get dressed, you two can drop me off at the station on your way to Ellis'." Ryan pocketed the address and Micki rushed upstairs to dress.


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