Forever Is A Long Story

By E.E.Lewis

Mystery / Romance

The Hidden Diary Of Memories

Oscar Wilde: Memory...is the diary that we all carry about with us.

It lay untouched and unknown to the world, dust bunnies overwhelming its cover which stayed locked and sealed until found once more. Inside were words, written in ink. Memories of a past life, now gone from the realm of the living. There were secrets in there that would stay hidden...unless someone would find and open it. Then who knows what might be revealed? It waited alone, wanting to be touched and remembered. Now it only had to wait.

The sun rose, its rays shone over the skyscrapers, making the glass windows shimmer like millions of small white diamonds. New York looked beautiful at this early time of day, and the fellow inhabitants were lucky to live there.

Sadly, Jo never had the chance of watching the beautiful sun rise since she was always awake at twilight, before dawn's break. Also, she never looked up at the tall buildings for she was always focused on work and was too busy to stop and consider absorbing in the city's beautiful features.

Now it was different, time was on her hands and was never going to run out. She now had an odd and extremely altered perception of time. She forthwith stopped to admire her surroundings, enjoying it for a second, but then went back to thinking about the cyanide case. Her life was changing...but only slowly and one day at a time. Sure, she was now immortal. Her body knew, but her psyche was another story.

She was grateful that she had Henry throughout this eventful journey of hers, but she still felt alone and confused sometimes. There was still a piece of her heart that was empty and she did not know how to fill it. It was like...something was missing in her life, but she did not have an inkling of what. How strange and lost she felt sometimes and how she longed for it to go away.

Jo opened the police station doors, and waited to meet her partner there—they had made the eleventh precinct their rendezvous point before heading out to have a little heart to heart chat with Duncan Rymes in his large manager’s office. The bank probably contributed a nice hefty salary to their managers, Jo had suspected.

The detective wasn’t at all surprised seeing Henry sitting at her desk with a cup of coffee in hand waiting for her arrival. He had the knack of arriving before the scheduled time. She couldn’t argue; it was better being early than late.

“The early bird gets the worm.” Henry spoke up, spinning the chair so that he was facing her, smirking and taking a sip of his dark roast. He would have preferred tea, but coffee was all there was in a police department.

“And what would be defined as the worm? Because my chair isn’t as comfortable as it looks.” Jo joked, spinning the chair around with Henry still on it.

“No, in this context the worm means information. I got to speak to Hanson before you and he found a few interesting pieces of data about our new suspect.” Henry spoke smugly, laying his elbow on his partner’s desk and placing his hand on his chin, looking directly at Jo. He remained silent.

Jo huffed, annoyance exiting her voice. “Are you going to tell me or keep this knowledge to yourself?” She crossed her arms and tapped her foot which was an unintended reflex.

“We now know how Duncan and Allison are connected. Thanks to Hanson.” Another pause lingered in the air, purposely Jo was thinking.

"Don't try and act funny. Just tell me, with no pauses." Jo said sternly, rolling her eyes.

"Calm down detective. They were childhood friends for a few years from the age of ten to fifteen. Then Allison's family moved away, and the two friends never got to see each other again. Tragic, isn't it?" Henry implied, his poetic side showing.

"Until they reconnected with each other either purposely or accidently." Jo mumbled, setting the new piece of the puzzle with the others involving the murder case in her mind. "The husband said they broke it off six years ago, but did they really?"

"That's a good question." Henry responded, knowing exactly what Jo would say next.

"So let's go get the answer." The woman half lifted, half pushed Henry out of her chair, already getting dizzy from all the turning he was doing with it. "Come on Mr. Tortoise, let’s go to the bank."

"Just to point out, the tortoise actually beat the hare in the end. Going fast sometimes doesn't get the job done properly. You should listen to your elder, I've had more experience at life than you." Henry winked, putting his scarf around his neck and rapping it around once.

"Maybe I should listen, you are very old." Jo said with a hint of enjoyment in her voice as she heard her friend grunt.

"Please, you make me feel old and wrinkly." He raised his hands to his face, like he was checking for wrinkles. He always liked his face and knew himself that he was rather handsome. Being immortal should have a few good quirks, for instance, keeping his face rejuvenated forever. He just hoped his prideful thinking wouldn't ruin anything.

"Come on, jokes aside, we have a job to do"

...

New York's National Bank was situated in the middle of the city, where most of the high skyscrapers were located. Wedged between a large glass-covered attorney’s building and a telephone company was the bank. It was inferior to the two companies next to it regarding its number of floors, but pushing that small detail aside, the bank was surely the richest out of the three. It was evident; it was a bank…people gave them money willingly and numerable people got into debt.

Henry loathed any kind of bank and he had a reasonable motive for feeling this way. Henry was suddenly out of it, staring at the building, but his mind was elsewhere…somewhere in the past.

*FLASHBACK* Summer of 1900, Lloyds of London Bank, London

The main hall was empty and hollow, only footsteps of one single person could be heard―Henry Morgan’s. He was just about to finish his shift, but then the manager asked him to lock up and check if the vault was secure. The Englishman’s boss had put a lot of trust in the immortal and Henry was surely going to make his boss proud. When trust was gained, it was best not to lose it.

Henry wasn’t entirely alone, there was still two security guards present, doing their mandatory rounds before usually shutting themselves up in their little ‘rec room’ for a smoke and for the rest of their nightshift. Henry didn’t like how they did their job, he was going to talk to the boss about that. He knew that would place him in the tattletale section of humanity, but the bank’s safety was more important than his social status. Besides, he wasn’t able to have a social life because of his uncanny condition. Also, he was a man of integrity. He was a rare specimen of the male species; a gentleman.

The immortal could hear the two guards chatting away like they were two friends out for a smoke and a pint at the pub. Sighing, Henry headed to the large steel vault containing most of the city’s money. As he walked down a long hallway he heard something out of place. The loud conversation between the guards halted abruptly with two loud whacks. Henry hurried his pace to the ‘rec room’, not thinking of the harsh consequences to come.

As he peeked his head around the entrance he saw three men in all black, unmasking themselves, pistols in hand. Henry just put himself in the middle of an armed robbery! Why did he always get himself into sticky and highly deadly situations? Right…his curse was responsible.

Wide-eyed and hands in the air, he shot a look at both bodyguards; they were unconscious but not dead. A wash of relief ran through him. At least these were not murderous robbers. He hoped their guns were a precaution and only ready to use if they entered into deep waters. He could only hope…

Henry stood still whilst the three buff men held him at gun point, their facial expressions surprised and oddly worried. Finally they started arguing between them, leaving Henry sweating profusely since he didn’t want to get shot, die and disappear in front of them. Remember, that was his strongest phobia, being found out.

"Bloody...Urg! You should have known someone else was in the building!" The man who seemed to be in charge yelled at the two other men. “Great! Now he has seen our faces! You twits, why did I even bring you along?” He grunted, eyes fixed on Henry, contemplating what to do with their uninvited hostage.

“Sorry boss, what do we do?” The tallest of the lot asked, with an American accent.

“We can knock him out and shove him with the other pansies.” The last bloke offered, speaking in a strong cockney accent.

“Or not. He’s seen our faces, he’ll go to the police and describe each and every one of us. I say we put him in a condition where he won’t be able to speak again.” The head robber said, smirking devilishly. However, his accomplices weren’t as supportive of his murderous idea.

“You mean shoot him…dead? I don’t know man, killing someone is the death penalty or prison for life if lucky.” The American stuttered, blinking rapidly whilst rubbing his sweaty palms together.

“Yeah, I’m with the patriot.” The other said, nodding, also getting nervous.

"You bunch of sissies! Besides I wasn't going to shoot him, too much mess to clean up afterwards. Why don't we just lock him up in the large safe we have come to rob of its beautiful delicacies?" He glared at Henry, eyeing him leisurely, not a care in the world.

Both men looked confused and Henry picked up on that, so he decided to be a smart-ass. "I see you both are strong men, but not really all up there." Henry tapped on his noggin, continuing. "I figure you are confused since you don't know how locking me up in a room could kill me. Let me enlighten you on that matter. It is air tight, so I would eventually run out of air and be refrained from breathing, which always ends with death. Rather painful and heart wrenching to be honest."

“Is he actually being smug at a time like this? Even if he is about to die?” The American exclaimed, laughing and finding Henry amusing to listen to.

“There’s no point screaming and crying is there? So I am trying to act my normal English self.” Henry shrugged, already used to death by now, still with his hands up in the air. He was actually kind of relieved. He would die alone…with no witnesses.

“You, stay with the hostage while we empty the safe, then we’ll shove him in there.” The boss commanded, talking to the cockney speaking bloke.

“Why can’t Ronald do it?” He whined. “The American should be the babysitter, it fits him better.”

“Shut up and do what I say!”

Zipping his mouth shut, the man gulped, obeying and keeping his gun pointed at Henry whilst the other two headed to the vault.

After what seemed an eternity for Henry, the thieving duo came back with many full duffle bags hanging off both their shoulders. The immortal let out a large exhale, knowing another limitless life would be taken away from him…once again. Asphyxiation, why couldn’t he just be shot instead? He would have preferred that much more than dying slowly from a lack of oxygen.

Five minutes later the large steel door had shut and Henry was alone, in the pitch black, inside an empty vault. If it was anybody else they would have been panicking right now, trying to save themselves from such an unfortunate death. But not Henry, he just sat and waited for death to come in the room. Which would finally tie the murderous knot. Henry was absolutely not afraid of staring death in the face.

After sixty minutes the air started to thin out, but Henry breathed normally, not trying to conserve the little oxygen he had left. Fifteen minutes later his lungs started to burn extensively, making the man know that his demise was near. The pain he was feeling poisoned his whole body, making him fall on the cold cement floor. His body gave out, unconsciousness overcame him and the rest followed.

His entire life flashed before him like a home movie and as life breathed into him, he awoke surrounded by fresh water. He was back as his naked reborn self, swimming adrift in the Thames as twilight enveloped the slowly industrialising city. He was alive once again and now had a terrible annoyance of banks. When he found some clothes, he was quitting. Banks were just too dangerous.

*End flashback* Present, New York City, National Bank

“Hello sir? Sir!” The voice was unknown, but surely present as Henry felt a hand touch his shoulder.

“Hmm?” He blinked, snapping out of his trance of memories past. A guard stood behind him, looking rather annoyed. “May I help you?” Henry asked politely, not comprehending the situation.

“Sir, you are blocking the customer line. I would ask you to leave or move along in an orderly fashion.” The tall female said in a stern raspy voice.

“My apologies, I was…preoccupied, admiring the wonderful building you work in.” Henry responded ruefully along with his British charm.

“Sir…it’s only a bank. Not much to look at.” The woman replied with a confused odd tone, finding the man in front of her quite strange.

“Henry!” Detective Martinez’s voice echoed and Henry turned to see his partner standing a few feet away. He gave her small hand gesture, indicating that he was coming.

“I must go, have a nice day.” The Englishman ended, heading in Jo’s direction.

“What were you doing? You were having one of your flashbacks again weren’t you?” Jo smiled, finding it amusing, but also quite interested. “When was it this time? Nineteenth century? Eighteenth century?” She continued, folding her arms and cocking her head to one side.

“September of 1900. I used to work in a bank, not many good memories. Died actually, or rather murdered. Shame I can’t go to the police but a murdered victim still alive is impossible in the eyes of the law or even humanity.” The medical examiner answered, making a point.

“True…but as you said the past is the past and right now we have a man to interrogate, if you aren’t too busy? Jo asked as sarcasm dripped out.

“Of course not. May I ask where he is because I’m sure you already know?”

“He’s in his office. The one that has his name inscribed on it.” She pointed at a brown door that was situated next to a narrow employee-only corridor. Jo knocked on the door. “Mr. Rymes this is the NYPD. We need to ask you a few questions.” Silence… “Hello? Open up, it’s about the death of Allison Dale.” Silence ended when the duo heard a pair of footsteps moving further away from them as well as a door slamming shut. The idiot was fleeing, running away from the police. Terrible move on his part.

“Oh come on! Why do they always have to run?” Jo pounded down the door with her foot and ran after the escapee murder suspect who had fled out of the back door. Henry tried to keep up with Jo and the alleged assailant but had to stop and catch his breath after a few short minutes of running. For a two hundred and so year old man, he was out of shape. Maybe the gym was in order instead of being cooped up in his so-called ‘Bat Cave’ or ‘Death Lab’.

Jo―on the other hand―kept on moving in on her target, who was trying to get away by pushing trash cans over to slow his trailer down, but was failing.

Running down an empty back ally, Jo saw Duncan trying to climb over a locked fence, having a bit of trouble. This was her chance. She sprinted and shoved the suspect down onto the paved road strongly, making the man cry out in pain. Taking out her handcuffs attached to her belt, she turned the apprehended man onto his stomach and handcuffed his hands together. "Duncan Rymes. You are under arrest for the suspected murder of Allison Dale and also for fleeing a police officer." She explained whilst the man fidgeted with his restraints as she kept pinning him down. "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you, you have the right to one phone call. Do you understand these rights as they have been stated to you?" She asked.

"Yes I understand! But I did not kill Allison!" Duncan pleaded, trying to lift his head up to look the detective in the eyes.

She pushed his head back down. "Save it for the interrogation room." Jo snapped, she then looked up to see Henry standing there, out of breath. "Glad to see you have finally arrived."

"All in the nick of time." Henry huffed, placing his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

...

*One hour time skip* Interrogation Room

“I’m innocent!” A loud voice resonated throughout the small room.

“You ran away Mr. Rymes, which makes you look guiltier, not to mention that you had an affair with Mrs. Dale a couple of years ago and had a close relationship with her when you were both children. May I go on?”

“You are right I did have an affair, but we broke it off mutually. And yes I did run, but I was scared and knew I was going to be suspected of Allison’s death. I being here has already placed a dampener on keeping my job.”

“How thoughtful. How did you know she died? Also, your reason for fleeing was dreadfully foolish.” Jo stated sighing.

“I know…I knew she was dead from the newspaper, they publish anything and everything.” He explained, looking at his cuffed hands on the table. “But I didn’t kill her, why would I?” He asked, furrowing his blonde brows.

“Maybe you bumped into her once again which resurfaced some feelings for her. Then you asked her to leave her husband for you, but she refused, wanting to stay allegiant to him. Then you got mad and came to her house on Sunday and poisoned her out of anguish and anger.” Jo said, explaining her plausible story.

“No! I haven’t seen her since the mutual breakup.” He emphasized the word mutual to make a point.

“I see you haven’t asked for a lawyer.” Jo commented, sitting directly in front of him.

“That’s because I am not guilty and there is no evidence or reasonable motive to prove your theory.” He said calmly whilst his anger stayed on the inside.

“Have you ever bought any cyanide Mr. Rymes?” Jo continued, ignoring the suspect’s not guilty speech.

“What? Of course not! That’s absurd!” He declared, anger starting to bubble out.

“So if we get a warrant to search your house we won’t find any?” Jo crossed her arms below her bust, raising her left eyebrow slowly.

“Exactly! You can search all you want, but you’ll not find anything!” He yelled getting edgy toward the investigator.

“Where were you on Sunday between nine and eleven PM?” Jo continued, she couldn't figure out if this man was telling the truth or not.

"Aha! I have a solid alibi! I was at a family reunion on that day, left around midnight. Unless you think I paid over fifty people to vouch for me, I couldn't have killed her!" A smug smile formed on the blonde's face, but then a frown soon followed. He was mourning for the loss of Allison; he must have cared for her in some compassionate way and it still showed on his visage. He was a man in mourning and Henry―who was once again behind the police glass―saw it along with Jo. They both knew his alibi was going to work out since he didn't kill Allison...but then...who did?

...

After another hour of interrogating, Jo had learned how the adulteress couple got together six years ago.

Duncan Rymes had explained it like this...

"I was walking into my usual café in the morning right before work to buy a coffee, like I always do, and I accidently pour my beverage onto a lady sitting on one of the tables alone. As I look up to apologise I instantly recognise her and something sparks…in both of us. At first, we met a few times a week at the café before work, but then it became lunch, then dinner…and well…you can figure out the rest. It had been going on for six months and we knew one day that we would be found out. So, because I didn’t want to ruin my status as bank manager and she didn’t want to be shunned for having an affair and her husband finding out, we decided to break off the engagement permanently and go our separate ways. It was hard for me at first, but I got used to not seeing her anymore soon enough. We never saw each other again, and now never will.”

“It boggles me. I can’t place it, but I know there’s something missing we haven’t discovered yet that will crack this case wide open.” Henry told his partner as they stood in the precinct’s hallway.

“Why don’t you enlighten me and propose to me what we should do next?” Jo said, knowing how Henry’s intuition skills were always right; so she went with the Englishman’s ludicrous and strange prepositions.

“I think we should look around the victim’s house ourselves. I think forensics have perhaps overlooked something.” He said, walking down the hallway to the exit.

“Come on Henry, they always look everywhere and in every nook and cranny. Where would we look?” Jo asked, flinging her hands to the side.

“Well, we’ll figure that out once we’re there.” The old immortal answered with his typical charming smile.

Before they could leave, Hanson ran up to the duo, stopping them to give them some information. “Duncan’s alibi is real and also that fiancée guy, but it was hard to put a time stamp since some people might have thought he saw him or it could have been someone just looking like Mr. Adamms. However overall his alibi is solid enough, kind of.” Hanson told the couple, carrying a bunch of folders with him. “Where are you heading off to anyway?” He asked, half wanting to go with them, but had too much paperwork to do. He was already a few hours behind since he helped the inseparable sleuthing couple with their cyanide case. Maybe next time.

“Going back to the crime scene. Watson over here thinks the expert forensics team didn’t find everything.” Jo responded, pointing to Henry who stood next to her. “And thanks for the info. I’ll text you if we find anything.” She added, walking away.

“Watson? I think myself more of a Sherlock, or possibly a Moriarty.” The M.E whispered to his partner, being half-serious.

“No you’re Watson. The man who follows the inspector around, giving sound advice and who has a medical degree. I think that character suits you more than the villain or the private detective with a tobacco and drug problem―or might I say―addiction.” Jo contradicted Henry, proving her point to the fullest.

“Sherlock Holmes fanatic, are we?” Henry stifled a laugh, observing how much Jo was into the conversation.

“Shut up!” She said, shoving him playfully, not able to contain the smile already growing on her face. He could always make her smile, something she admired about him. “And let’s go.”

Jo cut the yellow police tape sealed on the door, entering inside the house. She looked around, it felt different than when she first stepped into it. Now all she felt was death. “Let’s look around. Henry, you take the right side of the house and I’ll take the left. Call if you find anything out of place.” She then left, starting with the master bedroom, hoping to find something in there.

Henry started in the kitchen, rummaging through the drawers and any place he could find whilst Jo did the same. After two long hours of searching, it seemed both parties started to lose any hope of finding something crucial to the investigation. Maybe Henry was wrong.

“I don’t think there’s anything useful in here, we’ve looked everywhere twice. I think we should head back.” Jo said, sighing and walking towards the front door.

“Come on Jo, I’m sure there is something here.” Henry didn’t seem to want to stop.

“The only thing that’s here are dust bunnies and creaking floor boards, especially in the living room.” She glanced at the small living room, rolling her eyes.

“Lighten up Jo you―did you say overly creaking flood boards? Tell me exactly where.” He pushed her into the salon.

“I think it was over here.” She stepped and it made a loud creaking noise.

Pushing his partner aside, Henry crouched down to all fours, fiddling with one of the loose wooden panels. Suddenly―to Henry’s delight―the plank popped off, revealing a small hole. Putting his hand, the man searched for an item or something that might be hidden inside. Luckily his hand felt something dusty and alone.

“What did you find?” Jo bent down, intrigue washing over her.

Henry pulled the object out of its hiding place and it exposed a small brown diary. “I think it was Allison’s. Perhaps whatever she wrote inside was why she was killed. Maybe the reason is because she knew something that she wasn’t supposed to. We did it Jo, we’ve got all of the victim’s memories stored in a little book.” This really was going to crack the case wide open, but will it be a large enough crack to solve the mystery once and for all?


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