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It’s raining.

It’s always raining in the mean streets of Brokenwood.


The city stands tall, chiaroscuro in the haze of streetlights and fog of rain, and the police stand too, dwarfed by the streetlights but not by their fellows. Red-black blood drips from the downed corpse and runs down into a nearby sewer grate.


It is 12.02 am.

“12.02am.” Detective Mike Shepherd crouches near the body. He’s not grizzled, not jaded - but curious. His long grey coat and accompanying hat keep out the damp, but only barely. His eyes have seen tragedy, and they’re seeing it right now. “The corner of Telomere Rise and Birk’s Line. Our victim is a woman, likely mid 40s. Gunshot wound to the temple. Breen? ”


My name’s Breen. Sam Breen. It doesn’t say detective on my uniform, but it really, really should. I push my wide-brimmed hat back on my forehead. It’s a little hard to see past the drooping brim, but that’s just the rain, and that’s just the usual. “Sir?” Mike doesn’t really like it when I call him sir, but it fits the tone of the evening and the tone of the streets.

The mean streets.

Have I mentioned that they’re mean?


“Your thoughts? Theories?”


“Looks like the work of the Big Sheep, sir,” I say, pushing the brim of my hat back again. Water drips into my eyes, and it’s not very pleasant. Not at all.


Somewhere nearby, a jazz sting plays. It might be from a nearby jazz club, but it also might just be in my head. My hearing’s not been the same since the Big Sheep raided our police department back in ‘06. Whatever it is, it sounds foreboding. Menacing. Like the sting for a villain in a radio drama.


“Breen!” Mike’s speaking again, and in truth, I’m not really listening. “Where’s Detective Simms?”


“Here, sir.” Simms bustles up, out of the rain. She’s a leggy blonde, or at least that’s how I’d describe her if I wanted to fall prey to my own internal misogyny.

She’s also a very good detective.


“What of the Big Sheep?” Mike asks, using his magnifying glass to examine the corpse more closely. It’s spattered with raindrops.

I have no idea how he can see anything through it, but he does tend to work wonders. Sometimes I suspect it might be a magical power, but that is really just a flight of fancy of mine.


“There’s been no sightings of the Big Sheep for weeks, sir.” Kristen says, and points her flashlight at the corpse.


“The last murder he committed was in the old Brokenwood Apartments, Shepherd, in February.” One of the other policemen - because of course, they are all men - faceless, bizarre men - steps up. He’s got a sheath of papers in his hand, all soaked through.

Why on earth is it raining so much?


“One moment.” Kristen kneels down, strokes her hand over the corpse’s face. “There’s something you’re missing, sir.”


“What?” Mike, the constant shepherd, seems surprised that one of his flock has hit on an answer before him. “What did I miss?”


“She’s not dead.” Kristen scrapes at the edge of the gunshot wound on the women’s face with her nails, and it peels right off, blood and gunk washing away down into the sewers below.


The former corpse sits up.

“Well, well, well -” She says, in a sharp Russian accent. “Fooled you all again. Brokenwood police, so stupid.”


“What?” Mike gasps, looking at the woman in absolute shock. “Who are you? Why have you been wasting our time?”


“I am the Big Sheep!” She cackles, wildly, madly in the cold grey air. “And I’m here to kill you.”


All of the faceless, nameless policemen draw their guns and point them at us. They’re ready to take us out, end our lives right now.

And as they move to fire, there’s a crack of lightning and a roll of thunder and…


“Why,” Kristen says, looking at me over a cup of her awful coffee, “did your dream brain cast Gina as the big evil villain in this noir?”


“I mean, I-” I begin, not even sure where I’m going to go with it.


“Oh. Wait. I know.” She points at me, in a way that I’ve truly began to fear. “It’s Freudian. You’re scared of her in real life so you-”


“I’m not scared of her.” I interject, feeling rather put-upon. “She’s just. A lot. And your psychology degree knows as well as mine that Freud’s theories are mostly bogus.”


“Sure.” Kristen settles back in her chair. She’s obviously not convinced. “Why was it raining so much? I get noir and everything but…”


“I woke up and really needed to pee. It was probably that.”


“Mmmm.” She says, non-committedly. “Like Inception.”


“Yeah.” I reply. “Like Inception.”