Stepping on the gas, I make my way to the latest crime scene. Tom called me at 6 o’clock this morning telling me that another victim was found. The strange thing is, I cannot seem to figure this person out. He kills for the fun of it, though I know something must drive him to it, these women are just victims of opportunity.
I speed past the four ways, hoping not to cause an accident. Some car hoots at me as I put my foot down further. I am late, because I just had to stop for coffee and cigarettes. I listen to my phone ring.
“Who would be calling me?” I ask myself, as I already know the answer.
“Tom!” I exclaim into the receiver.
“Where are you?” His strong voice frightens me when he is angry.
“I was in the other side of town, hold on; you will see me in a moment.” I say with a smile as I honk at a truck that does not want to give me space to pass.
“Who are you honking at?” I cannot help but wonder why he cares, I do think he is cute in a rugged and rough way, but Tom looks for someone mature. He is one of those few men that actually want to settle down and have a family.
“I’m around the corner!” I brake too late and drift on the dirt road leaving dust all over. Being myself, I forgot that the window is open. Dust settles down in my car and I am left coughing.
“Violet Hills!” I hear Tom shout over the phone.
“Calm down.” I say into the receiver as I climb out of my car. He is standing at the crime scene tape watching me with those narrow disapproving eyes. I give him a cocky smile. I walk over, ducking under the tape and lighting a cigarette.
“You should quit that!”
“Quit what?” He shakes his head as I pretend not to know what he is talking about. I take in the surroundings as the morning sun falls on my skin. Someone taps on my shoulder and I jump around.
“What the hell?” I stare into Claire Stirling’s young and beautiful face. She smiles at me. I always wondered what her story is. A few years ago, she joined the force as a rookie. She was damn good at her job and then Tom and the chief saw her potential. She is still a rookie, but now the title is detective.
“Sorry, did I scare you?” She pushes past me into the caravan, which is today’s crime scene. “You know, that is why no one wants to be your partner.” She turns her head to see my expression.
“You don’t know what you are talking about.” I give her a nudge from behind. “And I bet you would love to be my partner.” I smile as I find this rather amusing.
“In your dreams Hills.”
“I’m hurt!” I exclaim upon entering the caravan.
The inside of the caravan is bright white; the windows are painted white, all the cupboards, sheets and even the floor. The inside of the small toilet is also white; whoever lives here must be really messed up. Getting closer I see that the body is covered with a white silk like sheet.
“That is new.” I point towards the body.
“Think it is safe to say that she was not killed here.” Tom says in a low voice. He is known for pointing out the obvious, but that still does not stop him. I guess that is his way of dealing with things. I once caught him talking to himself.
“Why would the killer change his M.O?” Claire looks at me as if I am the one with all the answers. I shrug at her then turn to Tom. He is looking at something that is under the bed. I follow his eyes.
“It looks like a paper.” He kneels down and picks it up carefully. “The whole set up might be different, but he left another note.” Tom opens it up to read it.
“What does it say?” I am eager to know, but Tom reads it in silence then puts it in an evidence bag. “That’s not fair.” I pout.
“Just do your job, you’ll find out later what the letter says.”
“I’ll do what I do best.” I look at him then turn away.
“What is that? Annoy people and break the rules?” A uniform officer asks from the entrance of the caravan. I push him out of the way.
“Screw you Don!”
“Don’t you remember, we already did?” He says with a smirk.
“I do and I regret every moment of it!” I leave him silent behind me.
Not too far from the crime scene tape I see a man looking shocked and scared arguing with an officer. I walk closer to hear them speak.
“You don’t understand. That is my caravan.” His voice shakes as he speaks. I take a second to study him. He is too well groomed to be living in a caravan, but then again. That would explain the fact that everything is white.
“Excuse me sir.” I duck underneath the tape. “My name is detective Violet Hills, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions?” He frowns at me then nods.
“Sure.” I show the officer that he may leave.
“You say you live here?” I point to the caravan behind me.
“No, I don’t.” I look confused at him.
“But you just told the officer that this is your caravan?”
“It is mine, I own it, but I don’t live in it!” The fear leaves his voice.
“I don’t understand, do you rent it out?” It is strange to hear that someone might own a caravan and rent it out. Usually someone rents out an apartment or a summer home, but this is new to me.
“My sister, she lives in it.”
“And when last did you hear from her?” He pauses as he tries to think.
“I don’t know, maybe a week ago.”
“Is it normal for you to not hear from her in a long period of time?”
“Yes, I usually just hear from her when she needs money.” He pauses then talks again. “She just does things for the fun of it.” I frown at him, not giving him a reply. “She’s into drugs and partying, that is why she stayed here.” I see his eyes tearing up. “Is that my sister in there?”
“What is your sister’s name?” Tom is behind me now.
“Melony.” He takes a breath. “Melony Armstrong.”
I turn to see the expression on Tom’s face; it tells me that our victims name is the same as the sisters. Tom looks down at his feet then at the small notebook in his hand.
“I’m so sorry sir, but the identity on the victim is Melony’s.” Tom gives him a sympathetic look. “As soon as the medical examiner is done I’ll let you verify.” Tom looks up at me then back at him.
“I don’t believe this.”
“Sir, do you know who your sister use to hang out with?” He shakes his head as tears start to stream down his face.
“She was the only family member I had left.”
My phone rings and I take a step away from them to answer it.
“What are you wearing?”
“Fred, how many times have I told you not to call me when I am working?” I turn to look at Tom, but he is still talking to the victim’s brother.
“Come on babe, when I woke up this morning you were gone.”
“Don’t call me that!” I hiss, hating it when he calls me that.
“Why not, we have been dating for three weeks!” His mood changes. I do not know why I am always attracted to the bad boys, the ones with the aggressive attitude. As I listen to Fred talk about what a great time he had last night, something attracts my attention. It is a white Hemi Plymouth; from this distance, I would say it is a 1970 model. I start to walk towards the car. The windows are tinted, but I can see the driver’s window is rolled down half way.
“I have to call you back.” I put down the phone not waiting for Fred to say anything ells. I see the driver’s bright royal blue eyes watching my every step.
“Excuse me sir.” I call out to him, but he rolls up the window and I listen to the roar of the Hemi as he starts it. Before I can do anything ells, he spins off, leaving me standing in the dust.
“Shit, that was not nice.” I say aloud as I try to wave the dust away from my face. Coughing I walk back to the caravan. The medical examiner is bringing out the body on a gurney. As they reach the van Tom and the brother walks closer, Tom unzips the bag a little. I watch the brother’s reaction as he looks at the body. He shakes his head and walks away. Tom looks back towards me and Claire, whom I did not notice appear behind me, and shakes his head.
“What is that all about?” She asks in a quiet, kind voice.
“Think you should go ask your partner that!” My phone vibrates in my pocket, but I ignore it. Fred is probably angry and texting me that he is angry.
“You have sand in your hair.” Claire touches my hair. “What did you do? Roll around in the ground?” She laughs at her little joke.
“Some blue eye guy in a Hemi left me standing in the dust.” She looks confused then smiles again.
“Wow, a guy that can resist you!” I hit her playfully on the arm as we start to walk towards our cars. “Why don’t you want a partner?” Claire’s voice turns serious.
“Why would you think that I don’t want a partner?”
“I have never seen you with one for more than a couple of weeks.” Taking out a cigarette, I smile at her.
“That is because I always get a partner I am attracted to.” I offer her a smoke and she takes it. “That is probably why I’m glad you are not my partner.” I see her slightly blush as she looks away.
“Claire, I’m just messing with you.” I give her a slight nudge on the shoulder. Still she does not look at me.
Fuck what have I done? I always flirt with her, hell, I always flirt with everyone. Shit!
I stand next to her trying to figure out how to salve the situation.
“I this really weird dream last night.” This intrigues her and she looks at me with a spark in her eyes.
“I was on this playground, surrounded by kids, which is strange, but they were not talking to me or interacting with me. They were singing ‘it’s raining, it’s pouring, and the old man is snoring’. I stood up and walked towards them, when I got close a small blond girl turn around, pointed at me and started to laugh. The rest of the kids joined in laughing out of their stomachs, pointing towards me. Then they started chanting, freak, freak, you’re a freak.”
Claire looks at me with a sad look on her face. “That is not a nice dream.” She touches my shoulder as a take a last drag from my cigarette.
“That is just it, I don’t know, it felt so real, as if I had experience it in my life.”
“Are you saying that it felt more like a memory than a dream?”
“I don’t know.” I step on my cigarette as Tom walks towards us.
“You will never believe this!” He smiles at us, small notebook still in his hand.
“That is not his sister?” I say without feeling.
“How did you know?” His face turns hard again.
“I like it when you are upset with me Tom, it turns me on.” I see Claire blush again. “I figured by the look on his face that it was not his sister, almost had a slightly relieve look on his face.”
“He could have been relieved that his sister is dead!” I feel a debate coming! I smile at the thought. Tom always has to be right and when he is not he always finds a reason why.
“Well then I have to go to the acting school he is attending.” I smile as I walk away from them.
“Where are you going?” I turn my head back to them slightly.
“I’m hungry, I need food.” I unlock my car. “Sunday or not, I’ll see you guys later.” I start the car and drive off slowly, for some reason.
I drive to the supermarket feeling more agitated than hungry. In the time it took me to drive from the crime scene to the shop, Fred has called me five times. I did not answer and I take it by the fact that he left me voice messages and a bunch of text messages that he is angry.
Parking my Honda s2000 far from the entrance, I find a trolley and walk in. There is almost no one inside and I find it a bit more than creepy. The isle where they keep the readymade food is packed with boxes so I pass it and head to the frozen food isle. There I am disappointed as well.
“What the hell?” I talk to myself not knowing what I am going to eat. I walk to another isle and get some chips and cold drinks. From a distance, I hear a little girl crying. Being curious and all I walk to the sound of the crying. I see a little girl sitting on her knees in the middle of an aisle. I slowly make my way over to her.
“What is wrong?” I ask in a low and kind voice. She says nothing as I bed down to get a connection with her. “Hey, are you all right?” I touch her shoulder. She looks up at me. Her eyes bloodshot red from all the crying. “Oh sweetie, what is wrong?” She looks away again, not saying anything. Not knowing what to do, I stand up and look around. Her mother has to be here somewhere! I think to myself.
“You should not be here!” I hear a deep voice behind me. I turn around to find no one behind me. When I turn back to the girl she is gone.
“What the hell?” I say under my breath. “That is weird!”
Taking my food I walk to the till to pay for it. The woman at the only open till looks at me with dead eyes. “Will that be all?” She asks dryly. I look around to decide. “Give me a packed of cigarettes.” I pause then decide to add. “Stuyvesant.” She frowns a bit then stands up to get me the smokes. I feel paranoid as if someone is watching me. I turn around and see a tall man walking out of the supermarket hand in hand with a little girl, but not any little girl. The one who was crying earlier.
I leave my stuff and follow them. What if he is a kidnapper and she is one of his victims. Outside I see them entering a white Hemi Plymouth. That is the same car! My thoughts get the better of me as I feel a hand on me.
“You still want this?” The woman from the till still has no emotion on her face.
“Yeah, sorry.” I walk back and pay for the stuff.
Confused and rather unhappy I drive to the office. What is wrong with this place? Ever since I can remember this city has been filled with weird and creepy people. My phone rings again, but I notice that it is not Fred calling. Relieved I answer it.
“Where are you?” Claire asks sounding rather irritated.
“Why do you care?” I put gas to the flames.
“Violet just come to the office!” She gives me an order as if she is allowed to do it.
“I am on my way boss.” I joke, knowing it is going to piss her off just a little more. “What is wrong by the way?” I listen as she sighs.
“We received another letter.”
“That is odd!”
“You have no idea, just get here.” She puts down the phone before I can add anything. I step on the gas and fly through the traffic.
No more than five minutes later I stop at the 4th precinct, my work. For a Sunday the place is packed and I can only imagine why. Last night there was a fight at one of the biggest most popular clubs know to our little slice of heaven.
“What is wrong?” I ask Claire from behind. She jumps around with a shocked look on her face.
“I just spoke to you!”
“You got here fast!” She is starting to get some of Tom’s annoying habits.
“And your problem is?” She shakes her head at me.
“Follow me.” I follow her to the elevator. She pushes the 11th button and I stand next to her in silence. She clears her throat and looks at me nervously.
“Claire do you want to tell or ask me something?” Our eyes meet for only a second.
“Well, um.” She is nervous and I wonder if it has anything to do with the new letter we received. “I was wondering.” She stops herself right there.
“You can talk to me.” I touch her arm slightly, not knowing that it was going to cause her to turn to me. She looks me deep in the eyes, but says nothing. She comes closer and I feel her heart beat fast.
“What’s up?” I try to step away from her, not ready for another complication at work. She looks sad and hurt at me. “Claire!” I want to say more, but the elevator door opens and someone gets in with us. We continue standing in silence as we ride the four floors left before the 11th floor.
Outside of the elevator, we walk in silence to where one of the labs is.
“CSU found something on the latest letter.” Claire speaks as if she has nothing bothering her, nothing she wanted to tell me just minutes ago.
“What is it?”
“She wouldn’t tell me over the phone.” I stop dead in my track. “What is wrong?” Claire turns to me.
“She?” I raise my brows in questioning.
“Don’t tell me the two of you still have this little grudge of yours going on?” I nod slightly at her as fear rises in me.
“She tried to kill me, or don’t you remember?” Claire nods at me.
“I’m sure she has gotten over it by now!” She turns around and walks off.
“Okay Violet just take a deep breath, you can do this!” I tell myself as I take a step towards the lab. Stopping in the doorway, I feel all the eyes on me. Tom is standing next to her and Claire is looking through a microscope.
“So glad you could join us.” Tom says as he smiles.
“You look like you’ve seen a ghost, Hills.” She walks closer and as she puts out her hand to shake mine I flinch a bit, giving everyone ammo to use against me. “Don’t tell me you are still afraid of me.” She frowns sadly.
“Amy Sinclair, you tried to kill me.”
“I had a good reason.” She smiles shyly at me.
“What might that be?”
“You stole my boyfriend!” Her face hardens.
“I kissed your boyfriend that is all!” I take a step back.
“As much as I would like to see another cat fight, now is not the time!” Tom interjects. I look at him then back at Amy. She is smiling at me again and I cannot help but wonder why she did not succeed in killing me four months ago, she has all the knowledge.
“Guys, this is bad.” Claire steps away from the microscope with a horrid look on her face. It is a rare thing to see Claire Stirling scared or afraid.
“What the hell has gotten you so rattled?” I walk towards her knowing that I will not understand anything I see through the microscope.
“Ha! Violet, do you really think you will understand that?” I dare not look at them with a face as red as those ripe tomatoes I hoped to cook today. “I’ll just take you out of your misery and tell you what that is.”
I take a step back and almost back into the table with glass instruments on. Careful Hills, you do not want to break anything in here! The voice in my head speaks the truth.
“I found human and animal DNA. I also found traces of some sort of feline; I am running it now to narrow it down. But the real shocker is.” She pauses as if to ad dramatic effect.
“Just tell me would you?” I look into her eyes to find the source of her sadistic smile and hatred of me, but I see nothing, she is cold, or at least just hiding her true feelings in front of me.
“Semen!” I frown as she ends the sentence there.
“That is the real shocker; you found semen on the latest letter that was sent to us?” The room grows as the silence thickens the atmosphere between Amy and me. “I would think that sex or at least some sexual frustration has to be linked to these cases!” I feel frustrated and angry. Why am I the only one questioning her, am I the only one who does not understand this?
“That is true, detective Hills, but this is not only human semen.” Once again, she ends her sentence midair and I am left wondering.
“So are you saying that it is mixed with something?”
“Not something, it is mixed with animal semen!”
In shock I take a step back and crash into the table, I warned myself about.
“That is just,” I swallow hard, trying not to imagine what the psych would have gone through to accomplish this, or why he would do this. “Fucking gross!” I manage to say without throwing up. Amy smiles at me, she knew I would react this way. “You knew this would freak me out!” I think of strangling her, but just keep my eyes on her instead.
“You are too predictable detective.”
“Screw you Amy!” I shout.
“I heard you go both ways, but no thank you!” I take a step forward ready to hit her, but Claire steps in between us.
“Enough!” I look around to see Tom already gone. “We have work to do.”
Claire leads me out of Amy’s lab. Without warning, she stops and pushes me through a door leading to the stairs.
“What was that all about?”
“Nothing you should worry about!” I find it redundant to talk to her about anything except the work, she is not my partner, but she might be the closest I have to a partner.
“Hills!” She rarely uses my last name when we are not at a crime scene or with witnesses. “Talk to me!”
“Amy and I use to be friend.” I sigh. “I try to tell her more than once that her boyfriend tried to get with me, but she did not listen.” I sigh again, wondering why I allowed our friendship to go to waste. “She caught him kissing me and went crazy.” I watch Claire nod.
“And then she tried to kill you?”
“She said that I ruined her life and she wanted to make me pay.” I feel the seriousness in my eyes and hear the pain in my voice and that makes me a hundred percent sure that Claire can see it too.
“I’m so sorry that you lost a friend.” I give her a little smile and open the door so that we can return to the third floor where our offices are located.
Inside the elevator she looks at me again. I turn to her, agitated and a little afraid.
“What is it?”
“How come that grossed you out in the lab?”
“What do you mean?”
“You get around a lot and I know you are not shy, so why did the”
I decide to interrupt her, I know exactly where she is going with this.
“Whoa, okay I know what you are talking about.”
“Then why did it get to you?”
“It is nothing!” She rolls her eyes at me and I can’t help but smile at her.
“I just can’t imagine doing that, in what mind sent you have to be to do that. I just can’t imagine what must have been going through his mind when he did that, and that is what is creeping me out.”
“Oh good, for a second there I thought you got grossed out by” and again I cut her off.
“Maybe there should be boundaries in this relationship of ours.”
“Is that supposed to mean something?” She asks all innocent.
“Yes, there should be a line that we do not cross.”
“No I was talking about the way you said relationship.” I shake my head as my phone rings. Irritated I reject the call and put the phone back in my pocket.
“Who was that?”
“Unknown caller.” We reach our desks and I sigh as I see a big envelope lying on it. Tom walks toward us with a smirk on his face. I sigh again and sit down. I hate it when he smiles like that, it always makes me wonder what is going on in that head of his, and I have learned by now that woman should not know what goes on in man’s minds and vice versa.
“What are you smiling about?”
“I have some good news.”
“What is that?” I listen to the two of them speak. Sometimes I think it is a good thing that I do not have a partner and other days I wish I had one.
“We can call it a day.” He walks over and pats my shoulder. “You can go home to your boy toy now, Hills.” I shrug my shoulder away from him as he gives me a little soft giggle.
“He is a friend, not my boy toy!” I stand up angry and stomp away from them.
Reaching my house, I notice my front door standing wide open. “What the hell?” I say under my breath as I climb out of my car. Without thinking, I take my service weapon out of it holster. Gun out I slowly walk in. With all my senses in overdrive, I listen to every noise my house makes.
If I catch you in my house
My thoughts are interrupted with a sound coming from upstairs. Not rushing anything I walk past the kitchen. The fridge door is open as well as the microwave door. I leave it open as I climb the steps to the second floor.
The stairs crack as I step on each of them. At the top of the stairs I hear a door slam close left of me, turning towards it, a door slams to the right of me. “What the hell?” I say again, this time not realizing how loud I said it. Before I could choose a direction to go in the power goes out and I am left standing in the dark. I try to use my cell phone as a light then without any warning I am pushed to the ground and someone runs past me. Everything goes black as I hear the front door slam shut.
“Violet!” My head spins as someone calls out to me.
“Wake up Violet!” The voice grows louder.
“Violet Hills!” I open my eyes, but see no one.
“You are losing your mind!” I look around me, but everything is dark. Trying to remember what happened I shake my head. This cannot be happening again! I walk until I feel a wall. In the distance, I see a shimmer of light. It is an exit sign and outside the streetlights is one. Turning around I notice that I am at a warehouse. This is not right. The last thing I remember is an intruder at my house. How did I end up here?
Walking back to my house in the rain I try to answer the question, but I fail to come up with any rational explanation.
My house’s power is still out, but so is the neighbor’s. This should be interesting. I smile to myself as I lock the front door and go to the kitchen to poor myself a glass of wine. I take out my phone. It is eleven o’clock and the weather seems to be getting worse. I take a seat on the couch and before I know it, I drift off to sleep.
I start to dream a very disturbing dream.
I’m in a castle, running around trying to find a way out, it is like a maze inside and someone is chasing me. I am unable to get a good look at the man, his voice is rough and has a slightly sarcastic tone to it. He keeps on telling me to run and I imagine he has a smile on his face as he plays this little game with me.
“Run little mouse, run!” He shouts as fear runs through me. I make a wrong turn and fall down a big hole. I keep on falling and just as I hit the ground, my cell phone rings and I wake up with a big fright. It is still raining outside and the time is 03:00 am.
I answer the phone and notice that Claire sounds terrified.
“What is wrong?” I wonder why she would phone me and not Tom.
“Is it possible for you to come to my house as soon as possible?”
“You are so polite.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“I would just have said, come to my house.”
“Will that get you here?”
“Yes.” I say with a smile.
“Violet Hills, come to my house.” She hesitates. “Please.”
Even though I loosened her up, I still hear the panic in her voice.
“I’m on my way.” I put the phone down and jump into jeans and a t-shirt.
Driving to her house I get lost. “Shit!” I exclaim aloud. I have only been to her house once before and that was when I followed them. Making a pit stop at the nearest gas station, I phone Claire to get some directions. She gives them to me and I am relieved to realize that I was not far off. Claire lives in flat on the fourth floor of a well-known apartment building. It is not very safe, but she likes it there. Taking the stairs to her apartment, I remember that I forgot to take my cigarettes.
I knock three times, but she does not open the door. Maybe I am at the wrong door. I think to myself as I knock again.
“Claire open up, it is me!”
The door swings open and I stand facing a large man holding a baseball bat. His face is hard and his eyes sharp. I frown at him. Claire is not dating anyone. He grips the bat tighter with his one hand, displaying his frustration and anger. Shit! Violet you are at the wrong door! I take a small step back as I realize this.
“I am so sorry; I must have the wrong apartment.” I give him a little smile as he groans at me then slam the door in my face. Twenty five, Claire is in number, I walk a few door down, thirty.
Before I can get the chance to knock, the door opens. Claire stares at me with a smile on her face. I smile back and wait for her to invite me in. She takes a step back and allows me to enter. Just as I walk past her, she lets out a slight laugh.
“First you get lost and then you knock at the wrong door.” I take a seat, choosing to ignore her. There is a moment of silence as I watch her watching me. She breaks the eye contact.
“Would you like some coffee?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” I smile at her again as her face turns red.
“Sorry, my mind wonders.”
“I noticed.” I walk towards her. “Want to talk about it?” I touch her shoulder.
“I don’t think that would help.”
“Why not?” I whisper in her ear. Claire says nothing as I feel her heart beat faster. She seems to be nervous, hell; whenever she is alone with me, she seems nervous. “Claire.” I say slowly, still behind her. She turns around and we stand face to face. “Is there something you want to tell me?” I hold her gaze.
She bites her lower lip then drops her eyes. I take her chin and lift it up until I can see her eyes again. This cannot be why she called me over here at three in the morning.
“I, I have to give you something.” She whispers. I stay quiet, allowing her some space and time. She closes the small gab between us. “It is important.” Her lips so close to me, I feel her warm breath on my neck. “But it is in the other room.” She steps back, turns around and walks away. That was not strange at all. I can’t seem to figure her out. She is rather mysterious.
“Claire?” I say her name without thinking as I follow her to the small living room. She has an A4 size envelope in her hands. “What is this?” She hands it to me.
“This came for you.”
“Why would it be sent to you if it was for me?” We stand in silence as the question was rhetorical. I take the envelope from her and find a seat again. It is light and thin.
“How do you know it is for me?”
“There.” She points to the other side of the envelope. “It’s your name.”
“So weird.” I say aloud.
“Exactly what I was thinking.” I look up at her.
“You said that it is so weird and I agree.”
“Did I say that out loud?” She looks confused at me.
“Is everything all right?” Claire has a worried look on her face as she sits next to me on the couch. Coffee, cigarettes. My mind wonders, so I put the envelope down and retrieve my coffee from the kitchen. The room is cold and quiet as we sit next to each other, but facing forward.
“Violet?” I feel her eyes on me.
“Do you want to smoke?”
“That would be great.” I turn and look at her. She is smiling again.
“I haven’t seen you go this long without smoking.”
“I think I forgot mine.” She frowns a bit.
“My whole night has been a blur.” She nods in understanding as she gets the packet of smokes and offers one to me.
“Thank you.” I smile before walking to the window.
“You want to talk about it?”
“Talk about what?” I exhale out the window.
“Nah, I’m all right.” I look out at the dark sky. It has stopped raining.
“Okay.” I watch her as she walks to the window.
Standing in silence we smoke, both looking out the window. Suddenly I notice that she is standing closer to me. Not that I care, but in order to spare her feelings I decide to stand still and pretend not to notice, yet.
You should not do this Violet.
My conscience likes to but in, but I think he is right. I work with Claire and I do not want to do anything to mess it up. Why would she like me?
“It’s getting cold.”
“It has been cold since the rain started.”
“I know, but with the open window and all.”
“How ’bout more coffee?”
I watch her walk to the kitchen. She does not look upset, but with her, no one can be sure. Sitting down I feel a chill run down my spine.
“This is bad.” I say aloud, again not noticing it.
I open the envelope. Inside are a letter and a bunch of photos. I fold the letter open and read it slowly.
Dear Detective Hills,
I hope you like the work I have done. The theme is YOU.
See you later.
Putting it down I take a look at the photos. Well, he was not lying, the theme is me. The entire stack of photos is off me. This is fucking weird.
“What are those?” Claire places the coffee on the table in front of me.
“Photos of me!” I say matter of fact.
“Let me see?” I give the photos I have looked at to her.
“These are from this morning!” She hesitates. “I mean yesterday.”
“Read the letter!”
I look at the rest of the photos, some of them I can’t even say when they were taken. Counting the ones in my hand, I estimate that he has taken about fifty five photos of me. That is gross!
“Why would this guy be obsessed with you?”
“That is a good question.”
“You are attractive and everything, but you don’t fit the profile.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“I didn’t mean to upset you.” I feel her eyes on me.
“You did not upset me.” I put the letter and the photos back in the envelope. “This guy is just creepy and it has been a long day.” I stand up after taking a last sip of my coffee. “I should get back to my house.”
“It’s late.” Claire stands up as well. “Stay.”
“You scared?” I smile at her. “Or is there another reason?” I wink at her then walk back to the kitchen. “You know what.” I turn to her.
“I’ll stay, but only if.” I pause to see her reaction.
She walks towards me, puts her hand on my shoulder and lean in. “If?” She whispers into my ear. I am stunned and shocked by what she just did. Claire leaves me standing there not able to say a word. “Well?” She smiles at me again.
“I’ll take the couch.” I point out and quickly walk towards it.
“Non sense I’ll take it!” I listen as she walks toward me again.
“I’m not taking your bed.” I softly shove her away from me.
“Well, then we have to find an easy outcome.” Her smile confuses me.
What are you all about?
After arguing for a while and playfully tickling and shoving each other, we decide that we would share her bed. We walk in silence towards her room. It is nothing out of the ordinary, which surprises me. I gracefully turn around as she takes off her pants and climb into be at the side that was already unmade.
“Are you shy Violet?”
“Nothing, just get some rest.” Her friendly happy mood is gone as she turns to her side, facing away from me. I take my jeans off and climb into the bed, it is cold and I shiver for a few minutes.
“Claire.” I whisper, wonder why she is upset with me. “Claire.” I say again and the quietness makes me think that she is sleeping. “Thank you.” I whisper as I turn on my side and look at the closed window. I start to shiver again. Just ignore it, it will go away. I try to convince myself as I feel Claire move and suddenly her hand comes around my waist. Feeling her warmth, I stop shivering.
I fell asleep not long after that and started to dream.
I am in the shopping Centre where I saw that little girl, she is here and I run after her, she is crying again and I want to help her, I reach her and when she looks up her face is that man I saw. He stands up and grabs me on my arm, I try to run away, but he has me in a tight grip. I shout and pull to get loose, I ask for help, but I am alone in the shop. I grab my gun out of its holster and point it at him. He gets scared and runs away. I run after him and end up back in the castle that is a maze. I run trying to find my way out, but cannot get to a door. I stop at a mirror and see my own reflection and there behind me is this man again. I reach for my gun again, but when I pull the trigger, water comes out of the gun. I start to run away from him and he laughs at me, I can hear him say run little mouse run. I run as fast as I can, but end up in the same room every time. In the room is a clown sitting on a rocking chair, looking at me smiling. I turn around to go out the door again and it is gone, in its place is as mirror. I look in the mirror, but do not see my own reflection, this time I see the little girl’s reflection. Grabbing me from behind are two cold hands and only the sound of laughter. I shout and suddenly I am awake again.
I sit up in the bed, sweat running down my forehead.
“Bad dream?” Claire looks at me with worried eyes.
“Something like that.” I say, still a little out of breath. My heart is racing and it feels like I got an anxiety attack from my dream.
“Do you want to talk about it?” I look at the time then at her.
“I’m fine, but thanks.” I smile at her, trying to look convincing. I pick up my phone and see that I have a bunch of messages and missed calls.
“That is odd.”
“What?” Claire asks as she sits up.
“Tom has been looking for me.”
“What?” I widen my eyes at her. “That is odd.” She looks away then back at me. She tugs at my arm with a smile. “Maybe he likes you.” I laugh at her words as I get out of the bed and walk towards her bathroom. I quickly look back and see that she is following me with her eyes. Closing the door behind me, I realize that I did not put my pants on. Idiot!
“Do you want some coffee?” I hear Claire ask from the other side of the door.
“That would be great thanks.” I listen to her walk away, then start to read my text messages. Why didn’t I hear my phone? I have three messages from Tom. The first one reads where you are. The second one says, Violet! Where are you? Moreover, the third one says; if you are fine and with Claire just let us know, let me know. After finishing in the bathroom, I put my pants on and walk to the kitchen where I smell freshly made coffee.
“Tom is worried about me.”
“Why?” She hands me a cup.
“The messages only say to let him know if I am fine, he does not say why he wants to know if I am fine.”
“Then call him.” I watch her light a cigarette and offer it to me. I take it from her and nod my head with a smile as a thank you. I walk to the window again, not wanting the whole place to smell like smoke. I am not even sure that she is allowed to smoke inside the apartment.
“I should go home first.”
“Let me come with you.”
“Sure, why not.” I smile at her, but for once, I actually feel worried.
Driving to my house, I wonder why Claire did not want to ride in the same car, but then again, it might come off as strange if we’re seen together. My thoughts fly out of the window as I reach my street and see police cars parked in front of my house. I spot Tom’s car as well. I almost jump out of the car and run towards him.
“What the fuck is going on here?” I shout as many emotions go through me.
“Hills, why didn’t you answer your phone or text me back?”
“I don’t have airtime.” I smile at him.
“Don’t play!” I see the anger on his face. “I was worried.”
“What happened?” We both turn around as we watch Claire walking towards us. “Why are you all at my house?”
“A neighbor called it in.”
“Called what in?”
“A male neighbor called and said that he heard a car pull up, a door swing open, shouting and then gunshots.”
“Point me in the direction of that neighbor.” Anger runs through me.
“Can’t.” Tom frowns as he flips through a few pages in a notebook he always has with him. “Upon interviewing the closest neighbors, we did not find anyone who admitted to calling the police. And none of them heard any of those things.”
“This is ridicules.” I throw my hands down like a little child throwing a temper tantrum. “I don’t have time for this!” I push past him and walk into my house. The place is a mess. All the drawers are pulled open, papers thrown all over the place.
“This is not good.” Claire points out the obvious behind me.
“Who would do this?” I ask slightly under my breath.
“This might help with an answer.” Tom hands me an envelope that looks just like the one that was delivered to Claire. I sigh as I take it from him.
“This is not good.” Claire says as Tom frowns.
“Why do you say that?” He looks confused at the two of us. “Claire what happened that I do not know of?” He sounds sincere and caring as he follows us. I lead them to my study, which, surprise, is also a mess.
“There is something you should know.” I close the door behind him. “I think you should sit down.” I pull out the chair to him.
“What is it?”
“This is not the first time I received an envelope like this.” I lift up the envelope. “The reason I was not home this morning is because I was at Claire’s.” I take a moment to make sure he is paying attention. “An envelope looking like this got delivered to her apartment sometime in the night.” Tom stands up and starts to paste through my small and messy home office.
“Why didn’t you tell me this earlier?”
“It is not your problem!”
“So you get Claire involved, but not me?” He looks upset and yet still worried. I motion for him to sit down again. Claire still has not said a word and so I turn to her to see how she is holding up. Her eyes are grey and sad. She looks at Tom, then at me. Just as our eyes meet, she looks back at the ground.
“I did not ask him to involve Claire, I would not put any of you in this position.”
“Him?” Tom looks concerned at Claire, who is still looking at the ground.
“Chase?” He stands up again just to sit right back down. “What the hell is going on here?” His hands go straight to his head. “Why would he send you envelopes?” I feel bad for getting them involved even if it was unknowingly. There is a reason I don’t have a partner and they should not get involved in my shit.
“You two should go, I will handle this on my own.” I reach out to open the door.
“No!” Claire shouts. “You cannot take him on all on your own.”
“I cannot ask you to put your lives in danger.” My voice is loud, but steady. “Just because some psycho has an interest in me!” I walk closer to her. “I will not allow you.” It feels like the world around me is moving in slow motion as my voice lowers and I reach her. Our eyes meet once again.
“That is not your decision to make.” She touches my arm. “He chose to involve us.” She looks at Tom. “Now we are in this.” Tom stands up and steps next to us. “Together.” I break myself free from this caring moment.
“Is there nothing I can say to change your mind?” They both shake their heads. Suddenly the door swings open.
“Baby, are you all right?” He embraces me in his arms and kisses my forehead. “I was so worried.” I push myself away from him.
“I’m fine Fred.” I turn away, hoping he would get the picture.
“It’s James.” I jump around to look at him.
“James?” I ask surprised.
“Are you sleeping with Fred as well?” He is angry as he grabs me by the arm. “I told you, you are mine!” He pulls me away from the others.
“Look, James, you do not own me.” I look at him with no fear. “No one can own me.” I give him a cocky smile and turn to walk away.
“You think you are above all this emotional stuff.” He shouts after me. “But you are not, Violet, you are just as human as the rest of us!” I keep on walking as his voice fades away. Outside I light a cigarette and watch everyone doing their own thing. Some officer to my right is dusting for prints and sneezing every minute. He sees me looking at him.
“What are you looking at?” I ask him and he turns back to what he was doing without anything to say. Sissy, I think to myself.
“I think you should come in.” Tom whispers from behind. “You need to see this.” I throw the cigarette away and follow him up to my room. He closes the door behind me. My room is exactly like I remember leaving it.
“What should I see?” I lift my arms as I look around a bit. “I see nothing wrong.” Tom pushes me to my closet and opens up the doors. On the inside of the closet door there are words written in red.
“Please tell me that is blood.”
“Why blood?” Tom sounds confused again.
“If it is lipstick then the psycho brought it with him.”
“How so?” I take a step closer so smell it as Tom stands perfectly still in the same position.
“I do not have lipstick and if I did, I would not were that kind of red.” I smile at him again. My day is getting better with every step I take. Tom shakes his head at me. “It smells like nothing to me.” I walk out of my room. “Let’s go see what is in the envelope.” I walk back to my home office, not noticing that Tom did not follow. I see Claire sitting at my desk watching a black computer screen.
“What are you looking at?” She jumps up and turns around looking seriously frightened. “Oh shit, did I scare you?” I laugh at her. “Don’t look so angry, you did it to me the other day.” I take the envelope and open it. Insider I see a letter and a GPS system. The letter reads.
Dear Detective Hills,
I hope you do not mind me going through your stuff. I just had to know what you know about me.
I saw that you do not have much information about me and since I have been doing this for quite some time I thought I would help you to get to know me better.
I have set some directions into the GPS for you. If you follow them, you will find some answers you seek.
Good luck, I truly hope you do not get lost and try not to go alone; those roads can get scary.
“That might just be a trap.” Claire states as she stands next to me.
“Trap or not, I am going.” I smile at her, excited for some strange reason.
“Then let me come with you.” I shake my head.
“I can’t, what if it is a trap?” She smiles as our eyes meet.
“Then we will deal with it.”
“We should have told Tom at least where we are going.” Claire sounds worried as we follow the GPS to an unknown place. I do not know why she decided to come with me, she is not afraid and she is good at what she does, but she is not my partner. We have been driving for thirty minutes since we dodged Tom back at my house. I did not think it would be necessary to let anyone know what is going on, this is my fight.
“You are a strange one to figure out.” She turns the radio off.
“Why would you say that?” I reach out to turn the radio on again.
“I just find it hard to figure you out.” She accepts the answer and we continue driving in silence. As we pass some farms, a cold shiver runs through me. I shake it off and decide to ignore it. The animals on the farms look so calm and at peace.
“I think, when I retire, I’m going to live on a farm.” I listen to Claire laugh uncontrollably. “Why are you laughing?”
“Violet Hills, you are an adrenaline junkie.”
“And your point is?”
“You would not last a day on a farm.” She pauses. “Unless there is like a racing track and a bunch of activities that will keep you busy and active.” She stops to think again. “You get the idea.”
“Sure.” I continue looking out the window as we make a left turn onto a dirt road with tall trees on both sides. “Whoa, this is not scary at all.” I say sarcastically. The trees are so tall I cannot see the sky from where I am sitting.
“Do you think we should stop?”
“And do what? Run home with our tales between our legs.” I glance over at Claire. “Nah, we will be fine.” I wink at her and look back out the window. “How long have we been driving?” I look at my watch to see that it is broken.
“About an hour and a half.”
“I’m getting tired of sitting, how about you step on the gas.”
“I’m not going to speed.”
“Then let me do it!”
“See, you are an adrenaline junkie.”
“What does that have to do with anything?” I feel restless and uneasy.
“When things aren’t going fast you get restless.”
“Funny that is how I feel.”
“Proving my point.”
“Please, just let me drive.” Claire stops the car and opens the door.
“Fine, drive, just don’t kill us.” I smile at her as I jump into the driver’s seat.
“Thank you.” She nods as she puts her seatbelt on.
I start the car and ease into it, I don’t want to scare Claire into never talking to me again. As the car reaches fifty and I shift into third gear I step on the pedal. Now it is my time to shine. I think to myself as another shiver goes down my spine. Again I chose to ignore it. What could possibly go wrong?
“There!” Claire points forward to something that looks no bigger than a rock in the road. “I see something.” I squint my eyes to try to make out what it is. If I slow down now I might avoid an accident, but then I will also lose this pace.
“What is that?” Claire speaks as I focus on the road. I hear her say something ells, but I am not paying enough attention to her to answer. “It looks like a house.” She exclaims, as we get closer to the object, now not so small anymore.
“It is a house.” I say under my breath. The GPS says something and then Claire repeats it, still I am not paying any attention. I stop the car with a jerk in front of a big steel gate. Claire and I get out at the same time.
“It looks like a house straight of a horror movie.” I exclaim aloud without noticing.
“Don’t tell me Violet is afraid of a horror movie?” I turn to Claire shocked.
“What?” I pause, thinking. “No, I just don’t like them.” Claire starts to laugh.
“So, that is your great weakness.” I ignore her as we open the gate and enter the premises on foot. Claire is two steps behind me. I turn to look at her. She does not look scared, but cautious instead. She frowns and shrugs at me, trying to get me to leave her alone. We stop in front of a door, on the door is a plate and on the plate there are words engraved on.
“Welcome to the Canaris’s home.” She reads aloud.
“That’s fucking weird.” I exclaim as I take the handle of the door to open it up. “At least they did not say, death to whomever enters.” The door creaks as I open it. “Someone should give this door some oil.” I open it fully with a thud and turn to see if Claire is going to enter. She follows me, but leaves the door open behind her.
“Wow!” I exclaim in excitement. “They should seriously consider hiring a maid or ten!” I laugh at myself. The furniture are covered with material, it might be white linen, but with all the dust over it I may be wrong.
“Do you think Chase used to live here?” Claire turns to me.
“That is a good question.” There are no more windows, all the glass has been smashed. Leaves are all over the floor. Not too far from where we are standing I see a rat. “Fuck!” I exclaim as it runs past us.
“Rats!” Claire laughs as she walks away from me.
“Why are you laughing?” She does not answer me as she continues to walk on. I follow her, but only to get an answer. “Why did you laugh?” I ask again, but it is as if she does not hear me. “Claire!” I exclaim as she finally stops and turns around to face me. The smile has faded from her face.
“This house is too big.” I follow her eyes. “We need to split up.”
“And do what?” She shrugs then turns away again. “What are we doing here?” I ask myself aloud. I know I jumped at the opportunity to go on a mysterious quest, but maybe I did not think the plan through.
“Just look for something that can tell us more about Chase.” I hear Claire say from a distance. As I walk to the kitchen I start to wonder, what can tell us more about Chase, what do we know about him so far? The kitchen is in just as bad shape as the part of the house that we saw coming in. Counter tops are broken, the sink is ripped out and thrown on the ground, all the windows are shattered and on a far wall, I notice some writing. Filled with curiosity I walk closer. I feel my heart beat loudly in my chest as an ice cold shiver runs through me. Stop ignoring it! It feels like someone is watching me.
“Violet.” I hear my name called from a distance. I jump around at the feel of a hand touching me, but there is no one behind me. “Violet.” Again, I hear someone calling me, but it is not Claire, this voice is young. I walk out of the kitchen trying to follow the voice, it sounds like it is coming from upstairs somewhere. The steps crack and the wind howl as I make my way to the first floor. Turning right I see someone in a room few feet away from me. I push the door open hoping the sound would not alert the person inside, but as I pop my head in, I stare at an empty room.
“Violet.” I hear someone calling me from downstairs. I walk down fast skipping a few steps. As I reach the last step, my foot falls through. “Shit!” I exclaim as I hear someone calling me again. I try to get my foot free, but it feels like it is stuck on something underneath the step. “Claire?” I decide to swallow my pride and call out for help. “Claire.” I call out again, hearing no reply, instead I hear my name being called again. Angry and slightly pissed I pull my foot out and land on my back with a loud thud. “Fuck!” I shout.
I expect to see Claire running towards me with a worried look on her face, but nothing happens. Suddenly a rat runs over my arm. I jump up and run to a room that might have been a dining room at one point in life. “I hate rats.” I whisper to myself. “You should not be here!” Someone says behind me. I jump around, but there is only a couple of leafs, being navigated by the wind. I shake my head as something catches my eye. On the right side of a half broken stool I see an envelope. This envelope looks exactly like the other two that was sent to me. I walk closer and notice that there is no dust on this broken stool, but there is on the envelope. I blow off some of the dust and find that there is something written on top of it. In black bold letters stands the word private. I see a letter lying comfortably underneath where the envelope was. Frustrated I open the letter.
Dear Detective Hills,
How do you like the house? My grandfather build it for his wife when they first came to this country.
That is not important now, what important is, is for you to find out who I am.
Inside one of these rooms is someone who will tell you a lot about me.
Try not to stay after dark.
“Did you find anything?” I jump around at the sound of Claire’s voice.
“You scared me.” She frowns at me.
“Sorry, that was not part of the plan.”
“What was the plan then?”