Charles had spent most of his time in the hospital on the internet uncovering any sort of representation in Grenoble and around it to find a trace of this Morgan Maero. Her name alone wasn’t enough, she seemed to shun social networks.
A call to the theater where he saw her revealed similar results, too many had tried. He classified every potential event she could have played in, be it street spectacles or one time shows, he unearthed every member and assistant until he found her again. In Grenoble, of course.
The hospital released him after a day, unable to find anything wrong save for psychological weariness, he was advised to stay home and sleep.
Sophie kissed him goodbye this morning, Charles told her that, of course, he would use his medical leave to rest and recover. He excused himself before God for this lie. The moment Sophie closed the front door he got dressed and left in direction of the Berriat court.
What a dump, the polar opposite of a welcoming theater. This early, only the cleaning crew was on site. If a bunch of sleep-deprived students willing to make a quick buck on the side could be considered as such.
They directed him to a small stairway, Charles focused on the task ahead and calmed the nervous twitching that agitated him since the hospital, he knocked at the door once he felt in control. It was the absurd office of an owner who tried too hard to feel like an artist.
“Hello, I’m Tom Hancock, what can I do for you?”
A stern and suspicious look, this man had already dealt with other fans, Charles would have to play it subtle. First the obvious bait, then a switch.
“I heard a talented young pianist performed here.”
“What do you want from her?”
Very suspicious, Charles adopted a laid back tone and delivered:
“Right now, nothing, I’m just coming back from the hospital where I was treated, I’ve yet to see her play. I work for the city hall, office for events and culture, I heard she was quite good, and we often hire students and amateur artists for budget reasons. I want to assess if we can have her in our portfolio.”
Tom softened at once.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know you just came out of the hospital, we had some problems with Morgan, many asked me if they could find her, and not to grab a drink, believe me. Take a seat.”
Charles obliged. Tom was in the middle of opening mail, open envelopes littered the desk, did hipsters avoid electronic mail?
“Really? I heard similar story but gave it no credit,” Charles said.
“What do you mean?”
Making up stories on the fly:
“She apparently had a previous job before this one that she dropped due to threats. I didn’t think it would be that serious.”
“If you had seen how that bunch of perverts looked at her.”
Perverts, ridiculous. Charles wanted to share something greater with her. Sex could not satiate his drive.
“That changes the situation.”
Tom had dropped his suspicions and was talking freely now.
“I thought that by putting her in a show surrounded with other musicians she would fare better. But what you describe sounds closer to stalkers, what she needs is the police.”
“Seems so, she’s harassed every time she plays piano, that’s not random. It won’t stop until the authorities are contacted.”
Charles was improvising in full now, guessing a story that matched his own delirium. Tom swallowed bait, hook and sinker.
“You’re right, but she isn’t here anymore.”
“Bourkas, you know that big shot from the sport hall? They had a talk, he should know more. Look, if I can help you in any way...”
“It should be fine, I have public officials for that.”
“Speaking of officials, can I see your professional card?”
“I’m still officially in sick leave, I don’t have it on me.”
So he wasn’t that gullible, Charles gave him a diplomatic look, he could not prevent his eyelid to tremble. Tom saw it. Both stiffened up, understanding the nature of the man they were talking to, waiting for the enemy’s reaction. Tom grabbed the phone, Charles nabbed the paper knife and planted it deep in Tom’s Adam’s apple.
He twisted, heard gurgles, held his dying body and hoped the cleaning crew didn’t hear them. Blood ran down his hand as he gently lay his victim on the desk. The paper knife stayed in the dead man’s throat, Charles’s traces were already everywhere, it made no difference.
“We have him.”
Hyacinth erected his little finger, licked it, and planted it inside Freddy’s left ear.
“The lead we wanted, it’s in Grenoble.”
His colleague leaned towards the computer, a recent complaint filed by a young piano enthusiast was on display.
...The victim, Morgan Maero, stated that Bourkas slapped her and would have kept his physical assault ongoing if she hadn’t resisted and subsequently fled.
It should be noted that the plaintive described many spectators who, after a show she took an active part in, approached her aggressively.
The plaintiff focused on their faces, insisting that they all showed similarities such as: mannerism, uncontrolled movements...
Freddy yawned and leaned back.
“Grenoble, that’s out of our jurisdiction, call the local force.”
“And explain to them that both musicians and spectators are going to die for no reasons during a concert?”
“Who’s going to believe us? We still don’t know how the killer is proceeding.”
“We don’t even know if there is a killer.”
“15 people don’t die together from a cardiac arrest just like that.”
“And you want to leave your post to investigate outside of your jurisdiction, just like that?”
“Watch your tone, Freddy. And yes, if we don’t, they will all end up dead without a witness, I want to know how he does it and I will find out.”
“We might lose our jobs, boss, and you would not be my boss anymore, boss.”
“You could lose the most interesting case of your career. Tomorrow morning.”
“By car or train?”