The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Tag: Five Following Planets

The Case of Statue Trail - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

The Case of Statue Trail

A freelance private investigator is hired to figure out why a client’s wife was transformed into a statue.


Much to the detective’s displeasure, the sun was out in full song and dance without a cloud in the sky. It’s not like he couldn’t work in the sun, but he had to take precautions to ensure his safety, which slowed him down. The client insisted on a rush job and offered to pay extra to start investigating now. He protected his skin with a refined black and purple suit with a subtle gothic flare of gargoyles on the back of the jacket.

With one hand holding his enormous umbrella, Psychon glided his fingers over the face of a statue of a surprised young woman. The detective looked down the urban wilderness trail, making a note of the other sculptures decorated along the path. There were various species and genders depicted with nothing in common other than they had a scared look on their faces.

Psychon turned to his client. Her outfit was the opposite of his in every way – bright, floral patterned shorts, a matching sports bra, and running shoes. Psychon understood her blue skin wouldn’t catch fire like his under the sun.

“Are you positive this is your wife?” the detective inquired.

“Absolutely,” the client responded with firm calmness. “She’s punctual to the second, and when she didn’t return home from her morning jog, I retraced her usual route and found her here.”

Psychon pulled off his pointy black hat with an eclectic assortment of patches sew on it. He dug around inside and pulled out a black tube the size of his hand. He returned his hat to his head, pressed the device against the statue’s neck, and tapped the red button on the other end. The device emitted three, quick high-pitched beeps.

“Looks like your suspicions were correct. Your wife was turned into stone. Does she have any enemies, Karviná?”

The client scoffed. “How much time do you got? Being a corporate leader gets you a few.”

“I change by the hour, but how about you share me the short version of who can transform her into stone.”

Karviná crossed her arms and thought for a moment. “I can’t think of any.”

Psychon glanced around the trail, looking at the other statues. “Do you, by any chance, recognize any of these other statues?”

“Can’t say I do.”

The detective went up to the nearest statue and tested it with his analyzer. It emitted the same three beeps. “This person suffered the same fate.” He checked another—the same result.

“What are you thinking?” Karviná asked. 

“This may not have been a personal attack, or it could’ve been personal, and these people were bystanders. Not enough clues.” He kneed down for a close inspection of the ground, being mindful of the umbrella’s location as not to damage the statue or get himself roasted. “Interesting.”

“What’s interesting?”

The detective searched the ground for the same clue on the surrounding statues. “They were all turned to stone where they stood. There’s nothing to indicate someone moved them. Do you know when these statues first start to appear?”

“Come to think of it, she sent me a photo of one of the sculptures commenting on how it was new. My wife takes this route every day.”

“We should get the protectors out here to get everyone to a hospital to be healed. Once they’re restored, they should be able to tell us what happened.”

“But that process takes time, and whoever did this is still out there.”

“Very well. I have a theory, but I’ll need your help.”

Karviná jogged along the paved trail as it came out along a river. She hadn’t seen anyone for several minutes. She was doing her best to follow the detective’s instructions to be natural. It was challenging to resist constantly look over her shoulders, and with the upcoming stretch having no statues, she was on high alert. 

She turned her focus to the flow of the river, hoping the sight would relax her like the waterfall white-nose she listened to at night. She took a deep breath to center her mind when a woman jumped out in front of her.

“Hello, there!” the stranger greeted with an extensively cheerful smile. Paint splatter covered her long-sleeve shirt and well-worn white jeans. Only her rainbow pattern beanie cap was free of paint. “Would you like to make some art with me?”

“I’m just out here enjoying a jog,” Karviná stumbled to explain.

The artist pulled out a large knife from her belt holster. “But my project needs more volunteers.” 

The artist’s beanie flicked off her head as several gorgon snakes hissed to life. Karviná screamed, prompting Psychon to jump down from the treetops. While floating underneath his umbrella, he landed directly on the artist, knocking her down. He immediately handcuffed her, which neutralized the snakes.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Karviná said, coming down for an adrenaline rush.

“I already called the protectors to treat those transformed and to make an arrest.”

“Why?” the artist cried. “All those people with increasing terror on the faces as they got closer to the big corporate complexes. It was going to be beautiful.”

A pair of uniformed protectors spotted them and rushed their way.

Psychon gently forced the artist up. “Maybe next time, don’t build statues out of people.”


The Case of Statue Trail - art by Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle

This short story was somewhat inspired by the following writing prompt: “A man discovers that a statue in a public square has something strange. She seems way too real. He discovers that there is a corpse inside it. A detective is called to see this, and he figures out that every single statue in this square hides a corpse.”

I thought it would be fun to write a short story featuring Detective Psychon, who is a minor character in my book, The Crashing of Heaven and Hell, and from a TV series I once attempted, but still plan to do. Since I’ve originally published this story, I’ve written more about the detective. You can find all of them in chronological order on his profile page.

Thank you to Janine De Guzman at Design Pickle for bringing this beautiful scene to life. For inspiration, I gave Janine a photo of the Tulsa, Oklahoma rival trails. In my mind, as I was writing this story, I even pictured those trails. If you ever find yourself in Tulsa, I recommend taking a hike or bike ride along there.

The Clock Tower’s Purpose art by Henry Yusman at Design Pickle

The Clock Tower’s Purpose

After the initial chaos of a clock tower falling from the sky, it faded into normalcy with only a reporter keeping tabs on it until one morning when its lights went out.


There were many theories why a clock tower the size of two houses fell from the sky and landed in Whiteridge. The initial reaction to such as large object falling in the village center was that a spaceship had crashed, but when emergency crews arrived, all they found was a violet steel tower with digital numbers the size of a person displaying the current time. There was no way discovered to get inside the structure. Early speculations suggested The Black Dragon dropped the tower; however, when the press inquired, The Black Dragon denied any knowledge of it. 

One of Auceon’s favorite theories was the whole tower was a social experiment by a secret cult. He didn’t have any opinions about what that experiment was. Although Auceon also liked the idea of it being an art piece, he figured the artist would’ve come forward to claim it or had the clock count down to something as part of a statement. After months of the clock running normally and no one taking credit for it, the clock faded into normalcy.

Despite the lack of activity, Auceon kept tabs on it as one of his beats for the newsroom. As part of his commute from work, he stopped by on his hoverboard. All the changes he recorded were beautification efforts to the area, like new flowers, trees, benches, and playground equipment — all of those he received press releases. No mysteries there.

This morning was different. From off in the distance, Auceon noticed the red glow from the numbers were gone. With no time on the clock, Auceon raced on his hoverboard to the scene, his brown fur blowing in the wind as he traveled as fast as he could. Since most visitors came to the tower in the evening, it was easy for him to spot three humans carrying boxes running out from a previously hidden door at the tower’s base. They fled around the corner and out of his sight. Auceon had a choice: follow the people or go inside.

Auceon went inside. Thousands of screens covered the entire room. His jaw dropped in shock.

“Hello,” Auceon called out. “Anyone here?” 

With no reply, he decided to familiarize himself with his surroundings. He rushed up the glass stairs, calling out again, only to find a self-sufficient greenhouse. At the end of the room, he found two doors. One lead to a bathroom and the other a tiny bedroom with three bunk beds. There were no personal belongings or clothing left by whoever resided there.

Auceon trekked back downstairs to study the screens. It didn’t take him long to figure out all of the displays were live feeds monitoring people and places throughout Whiteridge.

“What did I find?” Auceon muttered to himself.

Auceon scanned through the various monitors until he came across a set of static screens. Underneath was an infamous name: Bravak.

As if on cue, Bravak tore through the door. Auceon trembled at the sight of the shark twice his size. Bravak saw the screens as if they confirmed a suspicion he had and then noticed Auceon.

“You,” Bravak bellowed in accusation. “I should’ve known it would’ve been one of you reporters spying on me.”

As Bravak marched forward, Auceon knew it was the end of his journalism career. 


The Clock Tower’s Purpose art by Henry Yusman at Design Pickle

Thank you to Henry Yusman at Design Pickle for bringing this scene to life. For this artwork, the scene depicted takes place before the events of the story, back to when the clock tower first fell.

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