Chapter Sixteen: uQamata Reveled
John came into the station in the morning with Anezka. She was torn from the events of the prior night. Reggie was always good to her. She knew the neighborhood had slated him to watch her because of her paranormal oddness, but Reggie just agreed to that so there would be no friction in the close knit community.
“I may be old, and senile at times, Anezka, but I know a good lady, and Hugo was a buddy. You haven’t terrorized the neighborhood, and I don’t think you plan to. Do your psychic stuff, and I’ll hold back the natives, dear.”
Reggie was one of the sweet ones. Even with his absent mindedness, he was better than her other neighbors.
Anezka walked to CSU with John to confirm Reggie’s body.
“Why couldn’t it have been Melody, John? Reggie was Uncle Arthur, and Melody is Misses Kravitz.”
“You can’t choose who gets killed, Anezka. Murderers are random, and evil with no regard to the life they take. All we know is the motive. We’ll never know the reason to commit such an inhuman action,” John said as they walked down the hall.
They got to CSU, and walked in to see Bellagio working on the used steak knife.
“Do you have anything, Bellagio?” John announced their presence.
“This guy’s a meticulous murderer. He doused this murder weapon with so much bleach, my eyes are watering from it,” Bellagio said. “Hi, Misses Kranz. I hope the maudlin morbidity of my office doesn’t disturb you. Bellagio Qatar, Simin told me about you, and I’ve seen your results from her cases.”
“This is your job, Mister Qatar. This isn’t a police common area so what’s here is supposed to be here. That’s like being disturbed in the middle of a carnival haunted house. I know this is real, but I’m prepared.”
“Anezka’s tough as nails, Bellagio. She can take anything,” John touted her.
“You didn’t think that at the warehouse with those burned victims earlier,” she said to him.
“That was your first live crime scene. This one is after the fact. The only thing that will freak you out is you know the deceased,” John clarified. “Let’s go see the body, Bellagio.”
Bellagio got up from his examining table, and had them follow him to the viewing room. Reggie was there under a sheet in the other room.
“His neck was cleaned with that same bleach so that room has a peculiar smell of sterile death. The door’s unlocked, you can go in.”
They went in, and Bellagio followed. He had never seen Anezka’s mystics before, and he wanted to see her method. He walked over to the body, and pulled the sheet back.
Anezka saw Reggie, and began to tear.
“You have to arrest this monster. Reggie wasn’t cruel in any way. He didn’t deserve this.”
John saw her tearing, and offered her a handkerchief.
“Like I told you, your nails are melting.”
Anezka took the cloth, and wiped her eyes. She handed it back to John, and began the touching ritual of finding Marvin’s essence with a deeper conviction than her Shelly reading. In her world, death gave you a better blueprint of the murderer. She began to close her eyes and hum.
Bellagio looked at her, and asked John, “She’s touching his neck, that part’s sterile.”
“Bleach doesn’t wash away auras, Bellagio. Her methods don’t adhere to physical law, watch.”
Anezka stopped humming, and looked at John.
“I have a lot more on Mister Predjin. He’s a Khambatan from the Xhosa tribe of South Africa.” She wrote it down on John’s pad. “He is very meticulous, and he wants us dead to continue his killings he calls vindications.”
“I told you, bleach can’t wash everything away,” John told Bellagio. “What does a Khambatan from the Xhosa tribe mean?”
“I just get the images for interpretation. I tell them, you figure them out. I don’t know Khambatan from gobbledygook. Simin and I do this all the time. I throw them, she detects.”
Just as John realized he had to work in stick not automatic, and truly find out everything about Predjin, Roark came in the other entrance with Reggie’s kids, and grandkid.
“Heads up, John, showtime,” Bellagio said.
His family was at the window watching them, and John turned to Anezka.
“Did you want to talk to his kids?”
Anezka had a tinge of animosity in her voice.
“I think we really need to go. Richard and Edith aren’t fans of mine, and with their lack of visitation, I don’t want their autographs either.”
John put his pad in his pocket. “Okay, we have our information so we can just go. Bellagio, run interference, we’ll leave from your entrance.” John grabbed Anezka’s hand, and waited for Bellagio to go and greet the family.
“The code to unlock the door is eighteen twelve like the overture, I’ll run interference.” Bellagio put on his caring cop look, and walked to the next room to greet Reggie’s children.
After he engaged the family, John took Anezka out of the viewing room. Bellagio was talking to the family as they passed him. They were stopped by Edith’s comment.
“Why is that crazy lady in there with my father?”
Anezka stopped, and John knew there would be fireworks. She turned to Edith.
“I am surprised you remember me from the neighborhood you have abandoned for so long, Edith. Reggie was my neighbor and friend. I was allowed to choose that. You chose as well, and I thought being of his bloodline obligated you to visit the man that gave you life. I am guessing that in our situations friendship is more vital than blood. I am here because he was my friend. I hope you didn’t have to cancel your knitting club to view your father’s body, but at least he can’t bother you anymore.”
Richard spoke up.
“We’re very busy people, and I know our father loved us! He understood how our lives have demanded our time! Don’t put this on us, Misses Kranz! If Dad wasn’t living by you, this would never have happened in the first place! You deal in witchcraft, and Dad was probably killed because of it!”
Edith put her hand on Richard’s arm.
“We don’t need to fight with the crazy one, Dick. We’re here to identify Dad’s body so we can sign the papers. We should just do that.”
Edith’s twenty four year old daughter asked Edith. “I thought you were going to send him to hospice care last month, Mom. He wouldn’t like it, but at least he would be alive enough to grumble about it.”
“Your grand dad was a stubborn old man. He was in WW2 so he knows how to dig in like a wood tick.”
“You do mean he knew, Mom. Let’s get this over with. I just got a text from Harland, and I have to answer him.”
They peered at Anezka as they went into the room with their deceased father.
“Let’s go. You probably won’t see them anymore,” John said as they walked towards the CSU door.
“I just get heated at his children’s callous attitude, and the apple doesn’t fall far. Did you hear her daughter?”
“I’ve been walking beats in New York in my earlier days. Things don’t change. They just put on more stylish clothing. That family is bitter, and needs someone to blame for their absence. You didn’t kill him, Anezka, Predjin did,” John said as he punched in 1812 on the keypad.
They walked though CSU, and John stopped off at the cafeteria.
“I have to get some coffee, and you need somewhere to simmer down. Sit over there until I finish gathering information on the Xhosa tribe, and I’ll come get you.” He pointed to a table in the corner of the room.
“I know I showed you a side of me that I never do, but his children anger me,” she said.
“I’ve seen what you could do when you get angry, and I think you showed impeccable restraint.”
“It wasn’t the time for me to send in killer muffins or commando eyeliner. They need to let Reggie go. I respect him more than making a spectacle at his identification. I’ll wait here.”
Anezka sat, John poured coffee, and left for his desk.
As Anezka sat hungry at the table, she had to get something. She stood, and went to a vending machine. She got a Mamma Franklin’s Danish, and poured her some coffee. She sat back down, and thought of what Edith and Richard said.
Richard’s right. If Reggie wasn’t living by me, he’d be alive right now. Mister Predjin couldn’t assault me because of my devil so he decided to kill the closest to me to send another deadly message. I killed Reggie. My psychic abilities pushed Mister Predjin into doing something heinous. I knew those reporters signed my future contract when they broadcasted my ability live on television. I have to stop this police aid. It has been fine before, but I have never had my ability harm the people I know until now. John, please arrest him.
John went to the KC Police Reference Page on his computer to look up his information. He didn’t want to use the public library reference because he knew hackers could mess with the information just to screw up term papers for struggling college students.
Xhosa, Xhosa… there it is! He thought as he found it.
He read about the customs, history, religion, and the people. He wrote down everything in his notepad so he could remember it all. In order for a detective to apprehend his suspect, he had to know that suspect completely. He had to get into the reason for motive through background.
John was a different homicide detective. He wasn’t the frustrated one getting drunk at a bar because he couldn’t find his suspect. He was painfully systematic with his method of apprehension. Work was his shot of tequila. Investigating calmed him. He knew how to do it.
Roark walked up to him.
“Hey, John, Bellagio just physically met Anezka, and I spoke to him after that exchange in the cadaver viewing area. He said that she was small, but tiny in the Black widow sense. Little, but deadly.”
“I’ve learned not to get her angry because if you do she could destroy you with any insecurity you have, and I don’t want to be mauled with mutant Brussel sprouts,” John said as he finished writing down his information.
“Anezka can be a pit viper when the need arises. The family confirmed the body by signing the papers, and just left. No tears, no nothing. They actually seemed annoyed they had to come down to the station for confirmation.” Roark was miffed.
“I guess you could tell Anezka didn’t like them for a reason. She has always been nice until you intentionally hurt or ignore someone you’re supposed to care about. That flips her switch. She’s in the cafeteria, and I have to get her from listening to those grumpy cops. The Royals lost yesterday, and even if she wasn’t psychic she would still be assaulted by those negative vibes.”
John got up from his desk, told Roark he’d see him later, and walked to the cafeteria.
Anezka was sitting with an unopened danish, and nursing a coffee with a somber look on her face when he walked in.
“Did Arness and Bob get you feeling bad because they were bitchin’ about the Royals losing to the Brewers yesterday?”
“No, John. Baseball doesn’t bother me, Reggie’s children do.”
“They’re gone now, and you probably won’t see them again.” He held up his notepad. “Got the info.”
She perked up.
“That was quick. You must have used the internet.”
“I went to a secure site. The public ones get hacked all the time.” He opened the pad, and read.
The Xhosa people were named that from the originator of the tribe. Their folklore has a profit named Izanuse, and a healer named Inyanga. They also have a praise singer named Imbongi.”
“All of that is interesting, John, but why is Mister Predjin killing?” she asked.
“When investigating you have to know your opponent just like in chess. I need to anticipate his next move, and with his mastery, he won’t fall for a fool’s mate. That’s why I’m telling you all this. Predjin also has a supreme deity called uThixo or uQamata. That deity is based from purity in the tribe. I think Predjin has a warped interpretation of that holy philosophy by slaying the impure in his eyes. He let Shelly go because he thought she was pure, and he made her kill her boyfriend because he wasn’t. This is purely speculation, but it lines up with his actions,” John finished.
“I feel him now, John. Your conjecture is correct. He calls his deity uQamata, and in his warped mind, he’s thinking he’s doing his deity’s request of purity.” Anezka was wondering why she was getting this nuance of confusion after she touched Reggie. “In his mind, he’s vindicating wayward souls.”
“When I catch him, they may put him on death row at Potosi,” John said.
“Whatever happens, justice will be served. Just remember not to go vigilante on him, and shoot him yourself.”
John looked at Anezka in seriousness.
“He almost beat Simin to death. How is that vindicating the lost?”
“Her beating was meant to get your attention to back off. Simin was a casualty for his victory, and with her knowledge of what he liked, he was afraid of her. You can’t kill him because he has a sick mind. Just get him locked up away from society.”
John knew what she said was in his S.O.P. manual, but he beat Simin to near deceased status! He had to be punished for his actions! Rockaway Mental Hospital would just give him three hot’s and a cot for about ten years. Five if his manipulations worked on the doctors. Then he’d be free to reign terror upon the citizens again. Marvin had to go down. John had to provoke him into doing something life threatening to him so he could use deadly force.
“You have never lied to me, John. Don’t start now. I know your essence closer than anyone else because of our intimate contact. I know you’re thinking of a way to kill Mister Predjin, and how to get away with it legally. Just remember, human laws are made by man, ethereal laws are made by nature. You might get off in the human sense, but nature is a bit harsher to your soul.” Anezka knew him too well at this point. She could bring him back to reality before he even decided to perform any physical action.
“He’s going to get away with this even if I arrest him. He’ll have a lawyer that will plead insanity. He’ll never realize his insanity. He’s going to manipulate the doctors, and get off to kill again. This case won’t end when I collar him. Like you said, he won’t stop until he’s dead.” John tried to reason with her.
“John, you always wanted this case to be something you needn’t bother with after the arrest. This case is different. You won’t have a legitimate murder charge or a valid racketeering conviction to put him away for good.”
“That racketeering law I’m thinking about is called RICO, racketeer influence and corrupt organizations. Predjin’s not in racketeering, and doesn’t have an organization, corrupt or otherwise. My Big Apple days crept into my thinking,” he said. “I’m glad I didn’t think of anything dirty about you because my mind is an open book with your ability.”
Anezka looked at him, and smiled.
“If you could be arrested for what goes on in your mind, they would give you lethal injection at Potosi. The second you said you weren’t thinking about me, your subconscious automatically became lascivious. Don’t shoot him, and I might give your subconscious its wish.”
Yep, she did know him.
“Let’s go see Simin, and tell her this will be over soon.” John put his pad back in his pocket.
“When did you see her last?”
“You told me that she would make it through this so I decided not to visit her to let her heal,” John said. “Now that we have positive results, I think her knowing this little tidbit will make her get better quicker.”
They left from the station to visit Simin.
Simin was reading the blotter on her laptop, and saw the Abernathy homicide. She knew Mister Abernathy was Anezka’s next door neighbor, and darkness crept in her mind.
This has to be Predjin’s wet work. Who else would kill a feeble old man other than the person that beat me? Anezka’s security wasn’t something he could override so he went to the closest victim just to let her know to watch her back.
Simin kept thinking darkly when John, and Anezka came into her room.
“Hey kid, how ya doin’?” John asked.
“Hey guys. I’m doing okay. Just want to go home. They finished their diagnosis of me, and found out I have three broken ribs. Predjin’s a relentless bastard,” Simin said as she closed her laptop.
“We almost got your relentless bastard. Marvin’s from South Africa. His tribe is Xhosa, and we found out why he’s killing everybody,” John said.
“Get him quickly, John. He killed Mister Abernathy.”
“You’ve been checking the blotter haven’t you? You should be getting rest,” he said.
“Don’t berate her, John. You’d go stir if you were bed ridden while an investigation you participated in was still active. Hi, Detective Khouri,” Anezka greeted her.
“She’s right, John, and I know about Yeggs as well. If I could move, I’d break him. Why is he killing?”
“The Xhosa people worship a supreme being named uQamata. His religious philosophy is based on purity in the tribe. I speculated Mister Predjin came to this nation to escape Apartheid back then, and carried the philosophy of purity with him. He’s killing the impure in his eyes, Anezka confirmed my hypothesis,” John said.
“You touched Mister Abernathy, and acquired his essence,” Simin presumed.
“I also found out he was from that tribe in South Africa. John did the leg work like we have done so many times before. John is a good detective.” Anezka complimented John.
“I didn’t want to visit you until I had something. Spinning my wheels when you’re trying to get better wouldn’t help your healing,” John said.
“You don’t go for that holistic thing, John. What has gotten into you?” Simin asked.
“I guess Anezka’s influence has gotten into me. She has inadvertently taught me your aura is vital in your survival. A surgery can’t mend those broken ribs. Your body does that, and with no news of any result in catching your attacker, your aura would be put on hold until I bring in positive results,” John explained.
“I told you, you’d like her. I’ve been her friend for years, and her demeanor sticks to you when you work with her.”
Anezka began to blush.
“Thank you, Detective Khouri. This will be over soon.”
Simin smiled at Anezka.
“When you nail him I’m testifying against him. I’ll be mobile before the trial,” Simin told John.
“Bellagio will prep you. He’s been a professional witness for years.”
“This won’t be a professional witness account. Predjin beat me. This will be a victim reclamation eye witness account. Bellagio knows DNA, and I don’t think chromosome counts can help with that,” Simin said. “When you catch him, I’ll make sure he won’t see the sun freely anymore. They’ll put him under the jail.”
A nurse came into her room to see what was happening with Simin. She checked her vitals, and spoke.
“It will be lunchtime in about a minute, Miss Khouri. The orderly is next door now, and he’ll bring in your food.”
That was John’s cue. He spoke as she left.
“Okay, Simin, I’ll let you eat. We’re gonna get outa here.”
“You can stay while I eat, it’s no problem.”
John said, “That’s okay, I’m hungry as well. I didn’t realize it was one already.”
“You can order this famous hospital cuisine. It’s probably warm now, it is lunchtime y’know,” she said.
“Eating this food is the main reason I don’t get shot, kid. I’m good, I have some leftover pierogis at home,” he said not realizing Simin was a detective in her own right, and hadn’t flexed her investigation muscles in a week.
“You don’t usually order pierogis. You’re a pizza guy, why pierogis?”
After all his denying a relationship with Anezka, he put his size thirteen deeply in his mouth.
“I made them, Detective Khouri,” Anezka interrupted. “We don’t order food at my house.”
Simin was slightly surprised.
“I knew I said you’d like her, John, but damn. You’re eating at her house now? I know I’m not a psychic, but I was predicting this course of events when you first met her.”
“You’re recovering, Simin, so you don’t need a verbal battle with me. Let’s just say I was wrong about my preconceptions. The psychic and I are a couple now, the relationship is official.”
“I’d prefer you call me Anezka, Detective Chandless. Being a psychic is what I do, not my name.”
John realized his faux pas, and had to stop his inherent reporting to his partner.
“Sorry, Anezka. My cop thing got in the way. I’m with my partner, and we speak detective jargon all the time.”
“We’re off the clock, John. I’m lying in a hospital bed, and couldn’t be an effective partner now anyway. We aren’t partners now, we’re friends.”
John thought, damn, even when one’s out of commission, women can still double team.
“You’re still my partner, and you’re supposed to have my back.”
If your life is being threatened, I’ll have your back all day, but when your feelings are being hurt because of your stupidity, I’ll compound your head clearing all day.”
Just then the orderly came in with Simin’s lunch tray. On that note, John decided to escape the verbal bludgeoning.
“Okay, Simin, get better. We have to go.”
“And I was having fun irritating you,” she said to him, and then became sincere. “Thanks for stopping by to brighten up my day. Results or no, I still like to see you two.”
“I got tough skin, kid. I was in New York before, and if the goombas couldn’t get to me, you can’t. We’ll see you soon, bye.”
They both said bye, and left for home.