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Miles
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PostSubject: Drop Dead   Sat Jun 09, 2018 12:28 am

When her neighbor dies unexpectedly, Rua Bandini wants to pretend everything is okay, but clues soon begin to arise, warning of a new danger that has come to Moonlight Springs.

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PostSubject: Re: Drop Dead   Sat Jun 09, 2018 1:15 am

Neighbors flocked to the police car and ambulance parked outside the Bandini's, but received quite the shock when they heard that they weren't there for something that Rua did. Rua had been sound asleep when sirens caterwauled outside her window. She jolted awake and began fumbling for her laptop, something in her dreams convincing her that the noise was coming from her computer and she had to put a stop to it. It took her a few moments to notice the flashes of red and blue glinting through her window.

"Fuck the cops…" she mumbled, plodding down the steps in her pajamas (a shirt that turned see-thru in the wash and a pair of old gym shorts that had bleach stains on them). She looked around the den, squinting at the light emanating from the lamp on the nightstand. She heard voices outside, and saw her mother's green bathrobe amongst the many shifting silhouettes.

"Mom..?" she called, leaving the front door open and standing on the porch. "Mom, what's happening..?"

Her mother turned and wordlessly motioned her over. Rua came to her side, rubbing the sand from her eyes with one paw.

"Where's Dad? Is everything okay?" she asked, just now realizing that the ambulance outside meant that someone had gotten hurt bad. Her mother put an arm around her, which didn't do much to dissuade the younger cat's worry until she finally spoke.

"Your father is fine, hon, he's talking with the police. It's Mr. Penderson."

Rua looked over and saw that her grouchy neighbor's front door stood wide open. Two paramedics, a crow and a gray wolf, wheeled a gurney through the opening, its occupant completely covered by a tarp.

"He's dead?!" Rua exclaimed, a little too loudly. The two paramedics looked at her briefly before exchanging sympathetic looks with one another. They must have thought she and Mr. Penderson were close.

"He was a very old man, hon. He probably passed on in his sleep," Lilac said, reassuringly squeezing her shoulder.

Rua didn't reply. She was busy remembering just yesterday, when she passed by Mr. Penderson on her way back from Rigby's Diner. He was slowly ambling up Main Street, and paused to knit his wrinkled, scaly brow at her.

"I know what you are, lil' miss. You're mighty lucky this town gave you a second chance. If it were up to me-"

"Yeah, whatever. You'd scold me even if I cured cancer, Mr. Penderson," Rua said, cutting her neighbor off. She just wanted to go home and nap, not listen to the sour old coot berate her.

"Hmph." was the only response she got as Mr. Penderson puttered past her, although Rua heard him mumble something about the youth of today. She headed home and curled up in her blankets, in an even worse mood than when she left the diner.

She didn't want to admit it, but she hoped Penderson died when she was trying to fall asleep that night. It made her feel a little better.

"Rua, Lilac, step back just a hair."

She was snapped out of her guilt when a cheetah in a police outfit passed in front of her, unraveling a long yellow line of police tape.

"Zina, what are you doing?" Lilac asked. "This isn't a crime scene. Mr. Penderson was almost ninety!"

"Just following orders," the big cat replied, tying the tape to a fence post before entering the house. Rua frowned and looked at her mother, who simply shook her head. Rua's father, in an undershirt and fuzzy red pajama bottoms, approached them, immediately placing a hand on his daughter's shoulder.

"Are you alright, kitten?" he asked.

"I'm fine. Zina put up crime tape," Rua replied.

"She did, didn't she?" The family went quiet after that, watching Zina and another police officer talk in Mr. Penderson's sitting room. The cheetah eventually noticed them through the window, and she drew the curtains.

"We should probably go to bed," Rua's mother said shortly after the curtains were drawn. "We have work tomorrow. I'll talk to Zina about all of this tomorrow morning."

The three of them went inside. At the base of the stairs, Cactus, her father, turned to Rua, her mother pausing halfway up the stairs and looking down at them.

"Are you sure you're alright, Rua? I know you and Mr. Penderson weren't by any definition close, but…"

"I'm okay, Dad. Thanks though," she said, giving a half-hearted smile. The two of them hugged before heading upstairs to bed. Rua stared out of her window for a while before turning away, the red and blue lights dancing on the wall and keeping her awake for a long while before she drifted into a fitful sleep.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rua woke up sometime in the afternoon. She didn't bother to check the time. She rolled out of bed and quickly changed into her normal red-orange shirt and dark purple shorts with matching shoes, before she headed out of her room.

After grabbing a fistful of Cheerios for breakfast, she went outside. The police tape from the previous night flapped limply in the summer wind. She stared for a long while at the yellow and black stripe warning her to not cross. She thought about taking a look inside, but she could leave fingerprints and get in trouble with the cops all over again. Nevertheless, her curiosity was potent. Mr. Penderson may have been a jerk, but she couldn't think of a reason anyone would have wanted him dead. No one alive, anyhow.

Rua made her way into town, passing by a newsstand. That day's headline was something about the lumber industry. The news hadn't reached everyone yet, apparently.

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