PROJECT ANIMA

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Chapter 3

It’s been two days now of interviewing Cynthia’s colleagues and it hasn’t turned up the slightest bit of useful information. I spent hours probing everything they said but nothing leads anywhere and I was slowly starting to lose hope. The full forensic evidence came back with nothing of significance and without that, I truly felt as if I was now grasping at straws.

“Please state your name and position,” I said to the woman seated across from me.

“Will this interview remain confidential?” she asked.

The slight tremble in her voice reignited the flame within me that finally there was going to be a break, something that will lead me in the direction of something that might be crucial. I know getting my hopes up beforehand was a dangerous thing but I’m desperate for a lead.

“What you say to me here and now has to be recorded as possible evidence, but if you are worried about your safety ma’am I can assure you that we will ensure that no harm comes to you.”

“It’s not my safety I’m worried about, I don’t wish to lose my job for what I’m about to tell you. I just got this job about two months ago.”

I leaned forward in my seat now completely focused on the woman, she had me hook, line, and sinker for whatever she was about to share with me.

“Your identity will be kept confidential if what you have to say is vital to this case.”

She sat there silent but her eyes spoke loudly enough, she was battling with herself and deciding if what she had to share was worth the possible risk to her finances and I honestly can’t blame her. Placing yourself in a compromising position that could lose your means of livelihood is enough to scare many individuals shut.

“My name is Paula Higgens, I’m a janitor for the Mercy & Grace juvenile detention facility and this is what I know. The last day before her weekend off when she was killed I overheard her arguing on the phone. I couldn’t tell who it was but there is a rumor amongst us janitors that she was a mistress, shocking I know but that’s not the real shocking part. We think it’s one of the facility's higher-ups.”

I inspected her face closely trying to discern whether what she was saying could be factual or just harmless gossip amongst coworkers, if not this goes against everything even I knew about Cynthia which didn’t surprise me anymore at this point.

“What is the name of this alleged secret partner?”

“It’s not something concrete to be able to pinpoint a name since it’s gossip, but my best guess would be either director Webb or Franc Heinz.”

The name Franc Heinz piqued my interest because the Heinz family is something like royalty in the world. They have their hands in just about any and everything possible there is to make money which makes them pretty untouchable. They were oftentimes the subject of scrutiny due to their sometimes lack of concern with plans for expansions of certain factories they own but there’s no denying the multitude of good they have done.

“The Heinz family is affiliated with the facility?” I asked surprised.

“It seems so, Franc and his father are there quite often from what I’ve seen.”

I was kinda skeptical about that since pretty much every business they own or fund is public information and I couldn’t see the need of hiding such a good investment. Helping children to align themselves on a better path in life doesn’t seem like something to keep under wraps in my eyes.

“Did you see Franc and Dr. Wild together often?”

“Yes, normally having lunch together but that’s not what I’m afraid to tell you. The Friday before the weekend she was killed I was working the night shift and she was looking like shit. She was on a call pacing back and forth in her office going on about how everything was going all wrong.”

“Do you remember anything else about the conversation you overheard?”

“Not really, bits and pieces here and there but I do remember her shattering a glass against the wall, most aggressive I’ve ever seen her. You think that one of them is responsible for her death do you?”

“We can’t leave any stone unchecked Miss. Higgens, I’m sure you understand.”

“Well it sounded like a lover quarrel to me, I remember her saying something along the lines of “I’m telling you he’s the one that got away” sounded like a love triangle to me, must be nice to be that young.”

“Do you remember anything else?”

“Nothing else really besides her endless sobbing. I almost didn’t get a chance to clean her office that night.”

“What time of night was this phone call?”

“Shortly after midnight.”

A road map of possibilities began to form in my head from the new information; crimes of passion aren’t uncommon to be some of the most gruesome incidents known to mankind. A person's heart truly can be a fragile thing, but why murder her if it was just an affair? I really could not understand how the mind of the rich truly operates from their oftentimes larger-than-life egos and their obsession with having everything they desire without consequences but it also could be work-related. There’s a chance she misinterpreted what was meant since it was only Cynthia’s side of the story she heard.

“Thank you very much for your cooperation, Miss Higgens.”

She shook my hand and got up to leave when Mr. Webb walked in, her friendly expression suddenly turned into something cold and aloof as she walked by him to exit the room. I noticed he doesn’t seem to be very well-liked here even though he insists that he is.

“How’s the investigation going?” He asked like a giddy teen. “Any closer to cracking the case.”

“That’s classified,” I responded.

The silence hung there between us as he awkwardly stood there like a child not knowing what to do with his time so I decided to put him to use with a piece of information I got unknowingly from Miss Higgens.

“Have there been changes to the work schedule for the doctors here ?”

“What? No, it's been the same, who told you that nonsense? Was it Miss Higgens?!” He quickly asked.

“No, it wasn’t Miss Higgens.” I got up and felt a slight defensive nature from him. “My name is Matthew Shaw, the husband of the late Olivia Shaw who was a former psychiatrist here before you came in as the new director.”

“Oh.” That was all he could muster up from his otherwise talkative lips.

“So about that schedule, have there been any changes? My wife spoke a bit about how good it would be for the children here and society on a whole if more hours were added.” I lied.

“There neither is nor was such a change.” He said smiling.

“There must be some kind of,”

“There’s no mistake,” he said cutting me off. “If I remember correctly wasn’t her cause of death suicide? Delirium could have been her reason for saying that at the time.”

“My wife wasn’t delirious!” I said rather annoyed.

“I guess we’ll never know, will we? If you’ll excuse me I have some business to attend to.”

----

“Hello, Mr. Webb.” The man said candidly as he answered the phone.

“I think we have a problem, sir.”

“What kind of problem?”

“It’s a possible threat to Project Anima kind of problem sir.”

The man stopped as he was about to open the door to his home. “I’m listening.”

“Olivia Shaw seemed to have shared some work information to her husband, I’m not sure what the full details are but we can’t take any risks. We’re too close to achieving what we want.”

“Thanks for letting me know, I’ll see to it that this matter gets handled. Keep me updated on anything else related to the project.”

“Yes sir.” Mr. Webb said enthusiastically.

The man entered his home and took off his jacket. “Who would have thought I would get the chance to reunite lovers in the afterlife,” he chuckled, “I guess dreams do come true.”

The man began loosening his tie when he felt a needle pierce his neck. “What the hell!” He yelled as he fell to the floor paralyzed.

Jose stepped out of the shadows and stood over the man as he adjusted his gloves. “Sorry to break it to you but nightmares are dreams too.”


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