PROJECT ANIMA

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Chapter 4


The sounds of the CSI camera snapping pictures of the crime scene felt deafening, something about the moment I’m now standing in made me wonder if I was in over my head with all of this. Franc Heinz was the tragic victim of our murder today but what made it even more puzzling was that he was the suspected secret lover of Cynthia. I hoped in my gut that this was just a freak coincidence. The Heinz family was always business people before anything else so this could also be a case of a deal gone wrong, right? With the wealth and power, they possessed gaining some enemies along the way does not seem uncommon in the slightest.

“I might be in the wrong line of work.” The CSI said pulling me from my thoughts.

“Tell me about it,” I replied as I peered into the empty eye sockets of the victim.

I didn’t know whether to be mortified or impressed by the almost flawless extractions of the victims’ eyes. There wasn’t even the slightest trace of damaged skin around the sockets which shows that the individual knew what they were doing. His genitalia was also removed cleanly in its entirety and was placed in his mouth. That was indeed a horrible way to go but why? Was this supposed to be some sort of message?

“What do you think?” The CSI asked.

“This is personal, but what I don’t understand is why. Sure he and his family were bound to have enemies but why like this? Enemies of corporations aren’t strangers to sending messages but who in their right mind would mess with the Heinz family?”

“Could be his wife because she found out he was being unfaithful, we have seen love lead people to do some unforgivable things before.”

I looked at her puzzled and she just shrugged it off before answering. “Sorry I’ve been watching too many crime of passion documentaries lately.”

“That’s fine, it is indeed true but I think we should withhold the details from the press for now.”

“Why?”

“This whole M.O is almost reminiscent of the murder of Dr. Wild. The last thing we need is the city panicking about a potential serial killer on the loose. We can’t connect a motive between the two murders as yet so these are starting to look like random targets.” I said slightly disturbed by the idea.

“Now that you mention it, this crime scene is pretty much as flawless as the previous one when it comes to covering up their tracks.”

There was no sign of forced entry, nothing of value from the mansion was taken according to the maid who came and found the body this morning. With everything, I knew it all began to point to a third party which would be Franc’s wife but she and the two kids are on vacation. Even so, she could have hired someone to have done it, she found out about the possible affair and hired someone to have them both killed. I wanted to believe that but with such a high profile death there was more to unpack, was it political or business-driven? If so then how does Cynthia tie into all of this?

I stepped out from the scene when I felt my phone vibrating. “Detective Shaw speaking; who is this?”

There was a shuffling sound before I got a response. ‘I’m the answer to the questions plaguing your mind lately.” The unrecognizable voice said.

I closed my eyes and sighed from the growing frustration rising within me because it wasn’t uncommon for anonymous calls to come in and try to provoke us about nonsense.

“I’m sorry but you’re about ten years too late, I could have benefitted from this call back in college,” I said.

“I always liked those who had an eye for humor, such a shame that even if Franc Heinz survived he wouldn’t be able to see it anymore.”

The frustration subsided as concern and confusion quickly replaced it. Sure the news of Franc’s death would be circulating right now but the details should not have been public, maybe I could just be over-analyzing this.

“I’ve got your attention now it seems.” The voice said.

“What do you want?” I asked.

“That’s what I should be asking you, detective. What do you want to know?”

I was never one to indulge in these kinds of calls but with the detail, the person gave I wanted to. I wanted any help from anywhere possible with how overwhelmed I’ve been feeling. Since the beginning of these murders, I felt as if I’ve been dancing along to the tune set by someone else and it was not okay. As a detective I should be the one holding the reigns, maybe it’s just my pride talking but I disliked it. I should follow the leads to eventually discover the truth but this didn’t feel like that.

“Who killed Franc Heinz?” I asked.

“I did.” The voice answered without hesitation.

“Assuming that what you just said is true, why did you do it?”

“He saw the evil that was going on for far too long and did nothing. The Heinz family is the devil that walks amongst us daily. It had to be done.”

His words failed to make sense to me but his psychological state became a bit clearer. I was dealing with someone who possessed a bottomless pit of resentment for the Heinz family. Their generational wealth and power is something to either marvel at or harbor jealously for and that wasn’t an uncommon thing. Their influence ran deep into a lot of things so their connections are pretty much unmatched but when something becomes obsessive there are bound to be individuals who demonize something for attaining wealth.

“As fun as our little conversation has been I think I’ve partaken in your little game long enough.”

“I guess Olivia overestimated your intelligence.” The voice said almost mockingly.

“You keep my wife's name out your god damn mouth!”

“Sorry for striking a nerve, but she has a lot to do with what’s going on. Just think about it Matthew, I know you suspect it too that your wife's death was never suicide. Follow that gut feeling you have been suppressing for the last few years.”

Before I could respond the person hung up the phone, I stood there rattled with disbelief as my throat began to tighten from holding back the impending tears. I felt an awkward onslaught of both pain and a little relief. I was relieved that I was never the failure of a husband I thought myself to be which led his wife to ultimately take her own life but to know that the person responsible for her death was out there somewhere still left a bitter taste in my mouth.

---

I sat there in the waiting room of the nursing home flipping through some magazines while feeling like a fraud. It felt odd that a random phone call was enough to have me back on an original hunch I had from the beginning when my wife had passed but I refrained from it since it didn’t make sense with her alleged cause of death.

With everything that’s going on now, it all seemed disconnected but connected at the same time so there must be a connecting thread I’m not seeing. Something that might be painfully obvious but often overlooked because hiding in plain sight is the best option.

“Please follow me Detective Shaw; Mr. Olmo has agreed to see you.” The nurse said.

I followed her through the building until we entered what seems to be the recreational hall. We carefully walked by the elderly people that were either deep into conversation, watching television, or playing a board game.

“Here he is.” She said stopping at a table, “remember to play nice now Mr. Olmo.” She teased as she walked away.

I stood there looking at Mr. Olmo slumped down in his wheelchair and his oxygen tank beside him, he looked as if he was ready to journey to the other side at any given moment. His thin grey hair barely hid his scalp at this point and he looked tired.

“So are you just going to stand there or you’re going to have a seat young man?” he asked.

“I’m detective,”

“I already know who you’re boy, and I have an idea as to why you are here.”

I took off my jacket and placed it over my seat. “Is that so?”

He adjusted the oxygen tube in his nose. “You’re here for information on my time as the director of Mercy & Grace juvenile facility aren’t you?”
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