The Troubled Writer
The note is written on parchment.
That is to say, not paper. Noteworthy as this particular article is clearly the oldest out of those found, and yet it looks to have been handled with a higher degree of care. It was found in the victim's hand, but appears to have been previously stuck to the wall with the others (made apparent by the visible patch of wallpaper of the same size as the parchment, almost directly at the centre of the articles).
Cross-analysis confirms the note was not written by the victim, though his is the only DNA found on it.
Other articles largely consist of newspaper clippings, photographs (mostly of nondescript buildings, some of gravestones and tombs, and some featuring groups of men – their faces seem to have been intentionally blurred or marred), and pages from science and medicine journals.
Frequently dispersed across the wall are other, more recent notes – confirmed to be composed by the victim. These annotations provide names, telephone numbers and addresses (attempts to make contact with the persons behind these details lead only to dead ends and claims of ignorance).
All articles are inter-connected by string, yet it is difficult to determine a cohesive pattern or time line. The newspaper extracts discuss events from as early as the 1800's up to present day, and – though sporadic in their content- most pertain to strange occurrences and sightings in small towns and villages, failed or abandoned expeditions into the Amazon rainforest, and the sudden disappearances of several prestigious scholars, doctors and scientists within the last century.
The victim was a 33-year-old male, whose published
science-fiction work had gained him some degree of notoriety. None of his
friends or relatives were able to offer any insight into possible enemies or
Contacting the victim's publishing agent revealed he was previously in the midst of writing a heavily sponsored, career-significant novel – until one day when he informed them he would be discontinuing the work, and subsequently refused all further contact. His agent remarks that the victim's voice, heard only through brief telephone exchanges, had sounded “anxious and troubled”.
Speaking to neighbours of the victim revealed audible disturbances on and around the time of his death. The resident living in the apartment below remarked how she could hear abnormal sounds coming from the victim's residence, which largely included scratching and scraping, as well as infrequent footsteps – which she regarded as being too light-footed to belong to the victim (at best, the ear-witness can place these occurrences taking place between the 5th and 22nd of October – the three weeks prior to the victim's death). The neighbour fervently insists that these footsteps seemed to occur most prominently when the victim was known to be out, adding to the notion that he was not the cause of them.
This neighbour also described a time when she, along with the building's manager, took action to speak to the victim about these concerns. She remarks how, upon being confronted with the news that noises had been heard in his apartment whilst he was away, the victim had become very visually disturbed, and had spent the remainder of the exchange saying very little and constantly looking over his shoulder, back into his apartment (a follow-up with the building manager confirms this conference had taken place, with the manager further adding that the victim “looked like he'd been told he had a week to live”).
On the night of the incident, several neighbours reported
hearing the victim shouting as if he were in the midst of an argument, between
the hours of 21:00 and 22:00. No one within earshot was initially able to hear who
the victim had been arguing with, which gave them the impression that he was
conversing on the phone.
However, as the shouting reached its peak, the resident living below remarked on how she had heard the footsteps once more, only this time much louder – she describes them as sounding as if they were coming from all over the apartment, as if a dozen children were racing back and forth. This is allegedly when the final cause for concern was made, as the neighbour heard one last, panicked shout from the victim, and then shortly a resounding thump. Whilst on the phone to the authorities to report a possible emergency in the building, the resident remarks hearing the strange footsteps again, but slower than usual, walking across the apartment.
The victim's body was found on the 25th of
October, face-down in the living area (which appears to have been turned into a
makeshift study), directly in front of the wall of newspaper extracts. The
markings on the floor and the inclination of the corpse suggests that his final
efforts consisted of dragging himself to this wall and retrieving the
aforementioned note. It appears, however, that he had succumbed to his wounds
before he had a chance to further examine the article, as his arm was still
stretched out before him.
Initial reports from the officers who first arrived on the scene state that they were unable to determine a CoD – there were no visible lacerations and the victim had not bled. No obvious signs of struggle were reported. However, autopsy reports reveal severe internal damage to the victim's torso area: his ribcage had been broken in several places, and the majority of his organs had been forcibly compressed.
Within the official police report, it is remarked that the investigation into the cause of death is “still ongoing”. No mention of the footsteps is made.
Aside from the ambiguity of how the victim met his end, there
remains one other troubling question left unanswered in relation to this
investigation. Upon studying the articles and notes further, it is obvious that
the root of the victim's efforts stemmed from the note written on parchment –
or, more specifically, the original text which the note makes reference to.
What is discernible is that this text was an old book, possibly centuries old,
and was linked in some way to everything the victim had collected, noted and
stuck upon his wall.
Conclusions could be drawn that this book was possibly some kind of journal or manual, containing elements of mythical or supernatural material – although this is purely speculation, as many of the notes made by the victim consist of references to unknown aspects. The book was never found and, like the matter of the unknown footsteps, little mention is made of it in any official filings.
Below are reproductions of some key articles found within the crime scene, concluding with the note found clutched by the victim.
[Article 1: The following is an extract from a newspaper from a small southern town. The title, date and upper-half of the accompanying photo are all missing.]
It has been several days now since the discovery of the crime of grave-robbery in the Askondale Cemetery. The perpetrators remain at large, and it remains unclear exactly what has been taken from the defiled tombs. The Williamson family are offering a cash reward for any information leading to the capture of the criminals responsible, and urge any persons with knowledge to come forward. When interviewed and questioned about what the criminals may have been searching for, James Williamson had this to say: “Ours is a bloodline which dates back as far as the inception of this town – and further. My ancestors were fervent collectors of rare volumes and publications, and I don't doubt this is what these people were looking for when they committed their atrocities. I am not however aware of any such materials having been buried with any of our family, I cannot however
[The article has been ripped up to this point, and so ends here.]
[Article 2: The following is a short extract torn from a science journal – the whole passage has been highlighted in yellow pen]
… however, that such tomes, which may have provided more insight into this kind of phenomena, have gone missing from their archives. Though largely discredited in modern medicine, certain manuals of alchemy have proved to question what we now know to be fact, and hint at evidence of knowledge that no man could possibly possess in such crude scientific times.
[Article 3: The following is the note, scrawled on parchment, found in the hand of the victim]
My Friend. You are fortunate. Here is printed wealth, beyond any measure, accumulated from the start. It is yours to claim, wield, donate or destroy.
I leave no instructions or guidance. My time is short. I am being hunted, even now. I am trapped.
I pray your luck extends beyond this discovery. There is important work to be done here.
It has ruined me, ruined everything, yet I regret nothing.
p.s. Ignore the noises at night; they are mostly innocuous, when denied attention.