Chapter 1 | 10 Million Dollar Girl
It was a hot sunny day in a town named Aldspring. Femi Achard, a woman in her twenties, enters a two-floored apartment with yellow barricade tape in the front door. It was a crime scene.
“Master Sergeant, you’re here. Alithir is in the morgue checking the victim.” Lim said when he saw Femi walking towards his direction.
“Good. Anyways, how did you know that we should get involve with this case?” Femi asked while checking the file handed by a police officer beside Lim.
She is referring to the involvement of Matter Association Police.
“This victim named Dane Custa. He is normal but his wife, Jacklyn Custa, has a matter. Last month, the couple had a fight causing Dane and her daughter to move here.”
Femi looks at the photo clipped in the file. A photo of a happy family.
“Earlier this morning, their neighbor, Mrs. Salena Beatson is looking for the victim’s daughter, Hanyah Custa, because she usually visits Mrs. Beatson to teach her how to cook. But the door was left open so she enters and saw the victim sleeping in the dinning table. She tries to wake him up but she was horrified when she say him all dried up and dead. The autopsy result shows that all his blood was drained from his body. No wounds have been found.”
Femi inspected the table. There were two plates and glasses in the table. In the seat, where the victim’s mark was drawn, the plate has a smashed doughnut. Across to it is another plate with uneaten doughnut.
“The victim was drugged through the doughnut then he was dried up causing his death. I asked one of my men to visit every doughnut store around the area with the same brand.”
“Where is his daughter?”
“She is no where to be found.”
“Does she possess a matter?”
“There were no data about it. She was adopted by the family four years ago and there are no records of her having one.”
“She was on her way back here from a trip. She said there is a business trip and she haven’t been here.”
“Sir, Mrs. Custa is here.” A policeman escorted a woman in her thirties inside.
“Where is my husband? Where is daughter? That b*tch, she ran away with him and this happens!” she outraged.
“You’re husband was already in the morgue for autopsy, Mrs. Custa.”
“What? Then why did you asked me to be here? I need to see my husband!”
“We need to get things done and his mother approved his autopsy. I am Police Master Sergeant Femi Achard from the Criminal Investigation Group. I would like to ask you about your husband.”
“Why are we doing it here? Are we supposed to talk that in prison?”
“Yes but it would be nice if we talk about it here.”
“Master Sergeant, Alithir is done.” Lim shows her the message from his phone.
“I see. Thank you, Lieutenant. Let’s finish this right away.”
The three of them, Femi, Lim, and Jacklyn Custa, were gathered in the apartment’s living room while some police was in the door listening to them.
“Mrs. Custa, where are you during the crime?” Lim asked.
“I was in a business trip. Where is Hanyah? She should be here.” Jacklyn said.
“We already know her whereabouts, Mrs. Custa.” Femi said. “But we are here for your interrogation.”
“W-Where is she? She should be here in this investigation. She’s with my husband. They hide away from me so she should be here.”
“Why did they ran away?” Femi asked.
“We had a fight about keeping Hanyah. He is so obsessed with that child even though we are having our own baby. I’ve been suspecting their relationship. My husband became cold to me last year and the two of them became close.”
“Does your daughter have any reason to kill your husband?” Lim asked while taking notes of everything she said.
“Yes. Maybe she’s done with him because he resigned from his job and stay in this shabby apartment. She is a spoiled girl. She always gets what she wants. And how could they live away from me without money?!”
“Then how would you explain this?” Femi showed a picture of her from a CCTV camera buying a box of doughnut. “Mrs. Custa, you ditch your business trip earlier this morning after knowing this place. You bough your husband’s favorite doughnut to show him that you want their back.”
“W-What are you talking about? I was on the trip! I can prove that!”
“Your matter is water. It is weaker than normal but you can definitely drain someone’s blood if you drugged them. The autopsy showed that he was drugged before his blood was drained.”
“How could you accused me for killing my husband?! Then how can you explain the mess in this house? Hanyah probably killed my husband and took his valuables!”
“Mrs. Custa, how could your daughter rob your husband if he locked her somewhere before you came?”
“Did she said that?! And you believed in her?! That b*tch!”
“They runaway because you get pregnant. Mr. Custa knows that he is infertile despite of the fact that you keep the truth from him. In addition, you would like to sell your sickly daughter to start a new family. Mr. Custa knew that you would still sell here so he asked you to leave but you already know that would happen so you sprinkle a drug in the doughnut. You tried to find her but you can’t find her here so you killed your husband then leave cause you know that she will come out because she has no where to go.”
“Nonsense! How could you prove that?!”
“You’re wise enough to clean your fingerprints but I think you didn’t know that the police will refer this case to the Matter Association. I saw what you did just by touching you. And too bad, even though you disguised yourself, there are still CCTV cameras showing how you change your clothes and buy doughnuts. Explain yourself in the police station, Mrs. Custa.”
Jacklyn keeps on denying the truth about the murder but the police under Matter Association took her. Femi and Lim headed to Mr. Custa’s bedroom and see Alithir taking out a 16-years old girl out of a basement.
“How is she?”
“She passed out. The oxygen is low downstairs. The victim said that he left her earlier this morning after he receives a call that her wife knew this place.” Alithir said.
He put Hanyah in the stretcher. Then the rescuer immediately checked her.
“And why are you here with Otho?”
“Bet me. That guy personally asked him to save his daughter. He is very emotional knowing that he died living his daughter alone.” Otho shows Femi a piece of paper. “Her father leaves this note. This is unbelievable.”
Femi froze after reading the note and look at Hanyah who is still unconscious. She blinked several times and reread it.
“This girl has a…”
I would like to entrust you my sweet daughter.
My wife is pregnant but I am infertile. And she wants to sell my daughter in the black market. They are looking for a child with tattoo on her nape. She is all I had. I am all she had. Please tell her I will always love her no matter what she is.
Please do not allow my wife nor our family to have Hanyah. Please help her.
PS. My wife said that Hanyah has a 10 million dollar reward money.
When Femi mentally regain her composure, she looks at Alithir. “Ali? This note…”
“Sorry, Fem. I told him that you are handling the case. So he asked me if he could write a letter before he can finally rest in peace.”
“No… I mean I just can’t believe my eyes.”
“And to confirm if his statement if its true, here’s what I’ve found.” Otho showed her laptop screen to Femi.
In the screen is a picture of a child with a very short and the tattoo—1937-13-11 on her nape. She could be mistaken as a boy because of her haircut.
“She was 10 years old in the picture. No name. It is said that she possesses a matter but they didn’t identify it. They need her alive.” Otho said. “Oh and I can’t trace who posted these.”
“This tattoo is quiet familiar.” Femi said and check Hanyah’s nape to confirm it.
Hanyah has a font size 15 tattoo of 1937-13-11 in her nape. It is below her hairline so it is not that visible. She touched it that makes her shiver. Her matter activated seeing the past 24 hours of Hanyah but aside from that, she recognized the tattoo.
“Is there any problem?” Alithir asked.
“Her father promised to get her out once her mother left. He waited and she got the idea of what happened after she saw you.”
Femi walked out of the apartment and called the Matter Association. After a few ring, Philip answered.
[Master Sergeant? What is it? Are you done with the case? I know that its an easy one for you.]
“Yes, Lieutenant? But the victim’s daughter has a number tattoo on her nape similar to ‘that’ unsolved case.”
[This is interesting.]
“Prior to that, the wife killed her husband who is hiding her because she wants the reward money in the black market. The child has a 10 million dollar reward on her head.”
[Then, I’ll have to see that child in person.]