Her Black Book
It was something I never looked inside, but something I always saw with her, until a few years ago. It was a forbidden object that only a pen in her hand was allowed to add to. It was a container of peace and security for her. It was a black book that seemed more precious to her than all of the treasures that are buried under the layers of the earth.
I never had access to it until a few years ago. I have never dreamt of not opening it until a few years ago. I would never have wished to know its contents if it was a desire that I could trade with a longer life for her. I would have never wanted to read the black book if it meant that she would remain for beyond her ten years.
She was a treasure who treasured everything. She was a person who wished to know more. She was a girl who wanted to achieve. She was a sister who died too early.
Today is a day of making peace with the past. Today is a day to let her go and only keep her memory. Today is the day to open that door of her room and pack her belongings which has been gathering dust for four years. Today is the day of looking at her precious objects, reading the letters addressed to her, and opening her black book.
Her black book is filled with secrets that she knew. Her black book is filled with symbols she understood. Her black book is filled with stories that have been locked with a key that she had always kept to herself. Her black book is the book that contains inscriptions that she could decipher.
Some things will always be buried in the attic. Some people will always be buried in our memories. Some past times will always be buried for remembrance. This black book, her black book, will always be buried in my collection of memories of my sister's short life.
In the physical world, however, it will spend the rest of its existence in a box marred with tears.
There is a strange, relatively new trend among the teenagers. This trend is kin to the trend of writing names, or initials, on a lock and then locking that lock onto a railing, whether it be the railing of a bridge or the railing of something else. The unique thing about this new trend is that instead of writing two names on a lock and leaving it without anyone really knowing whose it is, young people are rather loading information onto a digital paper, more of a plastic, and tying it with a string to the bottom of bridges, door frames, and balconies. No, the teenagers are not using dating sites in this technologically advanced society, they are tying information about themselves to various structures. Information that includes descriptions of their looks, address, likes, dislikes, age, close family, and where they spend most of their time. Some even include a picture of themselves so that you would know exactly how they look. All of this is done in an effort to get a person that may be the person with whom they think that they should spend the rest of their life with.
A logically thinking person would know that this practice is utmostly stupid, and definitely not as romantic as some of the partakers think. That is because no matter what barriers civil servers have put in place to prevent harm to people, these digital boards can give any low-life enough information so that he can be able to do harm, perhaps even unreparable harm as one mass murderer has managed to do. That is right. Teenagers gave enough information for a murderer to kill them and leave without anyone even knowing who the killer is.
But do not think that the victims hand themselves to this murderer on a silver platter, even though they sort of ask to be harmed through their actions. No, it is not that easy, even for him.
In this city, Jansonton, there is a system that he needs to bypass in order to remain undetected and untraceable, a very intricate system. The name of this system is the S. E.R.T.U.I.T.F.S.A.S.P., or the Stupid Eye Reader That Uses Its Technologies For Sensing Alcohol ’Steadof People. I beg your pardon, the actual definition for this acronym is: Smart Eye Reader That Uses Identification Technologies For Safety And Searching Purposes. My reason for being negative about it is that it gets me into trouble quite often, since it usually catches me drunk. In my defense, though, most of the times when it slanders my name is when I am off-duty, which is a time in which an officer should be allowed to drink a bottle or four. But then again, there is a paragraph in the job description that says that police employees should not be drunk at any time since they might be needed and called out, blah, blah and some more things about blah.
Back to the actual system. This system is so intricate and well designed that it can even identify whether pupils are dilating because of light differences, alcohol, or lying. Yes, a smart system definitely. Not only that, this system can tell who you are and what your mental and physical conditions are, it also has your history documented, and gives a very accurate presentation of your personality, so officers know what “buttons” to push to get cooperation. Oh, and it also has your DNA in there as well. All of these types of systems, because there is at least one of these systems in every city in the world, are linked. That means that generally everyone is logged and findable.
Mr. Mass Murderer, however, has bypassed all detection systems, even the old-fashioned humans-on-a-stake-out; he side-stepped forensics; and even managed to keep his DNA out of our hands. We cannot find him. It is as if we are looking for a shadow with a stupid eye scanner. And, in theory, the system should work so well. To you, I might seem conflicted about how I feel about the system, but that is because it sometimes is a helpful system but it has also been a pain. It is a pain that makes sure that I remember about it almost daily with fines that has costed me a lot of money and by also not gift wrapping and handing me every criminal I have searched for during the past few years. It has also caused criminals to become smarter. Now, they are much harder to find, since they think of smart ways to dodge the smart system and that makes it much more complicated to find them. There has even been cases where people have gotten into the system, which is guarded, and have abused it. This includes unauthorized people as well as authorized people, and they have caused a lot of harm. Just a quick side note, do not trust any type of technology and think that you are safe from it. Remember that. Back to the case...
Now, all of the murders of Mr. Mass Murderer have happened here in Jansonton, where the digital papers dangle from bridges and other structures the most. This city is big and living in it in the year 2030 is not a walk in fairyland, unless it is a fairyland that is dominated by an evil queen. And being a detective in this city is even more of a nightmare, especially if you have to hide the fact that you are addicted to the “poisonous substance” called alcohol, and that is what I am.
When I was younger, I always dreamed of being a detective and I was highly motivated to follow that career. I married at twenty and was blessed with a child at twenty-one. Unfortunately, when I was in the last year of detective training, I lost both my wife and daughter in an earthquake. That was when my drinking started. I drank so that I could forget how they looked at me when the ground crumbled beneath them and how I watched them being swallowed by the collapsed half of the building’s debris while I still stood firmly on the half that remained standing. I continued my training, and barely qualified as a detective, not because I was unskilled but rather because of my slight alcohol problem. This “problem” had me under the watchful eye of the police station chief from the moment that I was assigned as a detective. Since then, my alcohol ‘addiction’ has escalated and is still escalating. It is as if I cannot function properly without having swallowed at least two bottles of pure whisky. I once even felt as if I was on the verge of solving a case after gulping down a fourth bottle of whisky, but, alas, I was not and only solved that case two months after that night.
Anyway, back to the current case. This case has the name of ‘The Eraser’, which is what the murderer is being called. Don’t misunderstand. It is not the killer himself that gave himself that name, but rather the Jansonton Head Police Station chief, that same chief that likes to check up on me and my work, especially my progress on my work.
The reason for the name, according to the chief, is that the killer has been like the result of the use of a good eraser, meaning a blank spot. No information whatsoever. This is quite a good description of him, since none of the systems have any information on him, since we cannot search him because we don’t know his name or have a description of him. Not even the locations of where the murders take place can be used, since they happen all over the city! We have nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G...
This case has made my little, miniscule problem with alcohol a slight bit worse, I must confess, but I would go insane otherwise. How can a person leave not even one clue? How can a person commit crimes with a substance that analyzing systems identify as oxygen? Oxygen do not kill people. Right? So, how come every lab that we have contacted and sent blood samples to come back and say that a substance was found in their blood, this is the point you get excited, and then they say that the substance seemed to have a unique chemical formula but then was identified as oxygen? WE ARE HUMANS! WE NEED OXYGEN! Apologies for that, I have not slept in two days and I think that I am suffering from a hangover whilst also suffering from an overdose of alcohol. Oh, and sleep deprivation.
Luckily, I am not on this case alone, or else I would have probably drawn up my own list of information, hung it on a bridge and would have waited for the Eraser to come and relieve me from my misery. No, I am working on this case with two other detectives, namely Gary Janson, no, there is no relationship with the town name; and Zack Walker.
Gary is a very light-hearted, happy-go-lucky fellow. At least that is how the system describes him. He has more of a problem with fast foods, for which he has received more than one warning on. This eating habit of his has rewarded him with dull, brown eyes, made him slightly overweight and has also given him cravings for fast food even in the middle of important briefings.
Zack, on the other hand, is a true casanova and even has the face to match. Or as the system says: A good-looking man who is close to every logical-thinking, appreciative woman’s heart. Yes, the system might give him an elated feeling, but he does not show it, and don’t think that he does not use his charms. When we need to get in somewhere and it has something to do with getting past a woman or distracting her at least, we send him in. That is because, in terms of looks, Gary is the lowest on the scale, then it is me, and then it is Zack who is the highest. He is a ten, I am a four, and Gary is a one. Zack definitely dominates. But he does not even always have to talk to a woman to win her heart, but believe me he can charm a woman immensely with his rich vocabulary and seasoned talking, he sometimes just has to stand on the opposite side of the street.
You would probably like to know how this heart-breaker looks. Well, try to imagine this: black as the night hair that always looks clean and has a shine when a light it close by; his eyes are ice blue; his face... let’s just say that he is handsome; and he is rather tall with broad shoulders and he has slight muscles. Does he have any “bad habits”? No. Except for the fact that he seems to be able to handle smoking a cigar or cigarette if he needs to for an undercover job, which has me suspicious.
Oh, yes. And I am Steven Winterfield. A blonde-haired, green-eyed detective. That should be enough information.
Right now, we are sitting in one of the briefing rooms in the police station. The place smells like whisky, cold chips and burgers. Don’t judge us, we have not been able to go home in a few days. All of us have not been able to sleep at all. This fact shows on my face, on Gary’s face but not on Zack’s for some reason. Whilst my and Gary’s shirts are wrinkled, Zack’s looks as if it just came out of the closet, no fault.
Gary and I are pretty open about our bad habits between the three of us. I have not even bothered to throw the empty bottles away, nor has Gary bothered to throw the empty cartons away. I should be ashamed of myself though, because Zack looks like the one who is the most desperate to solve the case since he keeps on looking at the white board with the info on it, then he checks something on the computer, and then he checks the papers on the table. Sometimes it seems as if he has found a breakthrough, but then he just drops the papers with a sigh and goes back to the white board again. Gary and I, however, are only staring at the heap of papers on the table for at least the last few hours and have only moved slightly when it seems as if Zack is getting excited about something or when we refresh ourselves with our diminishing rations.
I decide to stretch out my legs and walk over to where Zack is standing. Everything floats around a bit, but I finally reach the figure that is clothed in a blue shirt and black pants with a brown strap that holds his holster that rests under his arm. He is the only one of us three that has such a holster. Gary and I prefer our guns at our sides.
“Find anything?” I ask as I gaze at the white board with the letters who are practicing their swimming.
“No.” Zack says and shifts his position so that he is a little further away from me.
“What is wrong?” I frown at him.
“You stink.” Zack answers with slight disdain.
“I think that we should find out why he is killing them.” I say as if I had not heard his remark.
“Maybe he also thinks that it is stupid to put your information out to anyone who wants to, or doesn’t want to, know.” Gary says from where he is still seated.
“Yeah, but you do not have go and kill them.” I answer over my shoulder.
“Perhaps we should take a rest from this room and go to a coffee shop.” Zack says and then he holds his breath and goes over to the window where he permits himself to breath again.
“That sounds good. Are you paying, Zack?” Gary asks.
“I will, like always, but only if you two go and fix yourselves at your home. I will not take such vile smelling, ill-dressed people to a place which I frequent.” Zack says sternly as he goes away from the window and gathers his things, a jacket and bunch of keys.
Zack walks out first and leaves the two of us to get rid of the cartons and bottles. We decide to throw them in the garbage can for now, knowing that we will have to write a report on it later if we are found out, and to lock the door so that the chief cannot get in without having to borrow the janitor’s key set.
“Zack seems a bit moody.” Gary says as he drops the last packet of cold chips in the dustbin.
“Yes, he does, but I would also be if I did not eat or drink anything for a few days and stood most of the time.” I answered as I advance to the door.
If I was out of here and the chief came at this exact moment, then Gary might get all of the blame for the mess, which I do not want. I cannot be on the street, jobless. I have already sold my car and family home just to be able to live and not suffer from alcohol depletion.
After he has locked the door to the room, Gary catches up with me who is quick marching down the hall.
“I think that Zack may be doing the most work on the case.” He says with a huffing and puffing. “He has been the first officer on every scene that involves the Eraser. He seemingly spends most of his intellect and thinking time on the case. He does not allow anything to distract him from the case. He is so focused.”
“Don’t praise him so. Perhaps he is just pretending.” I say even though I feel like all the evidence is there to support Gary’s statements.
Finally, we have left Gary’s apartment, where I also stay in order to save on costs. Even Zack. who seemed clean. went to his house and also cleaned up. He picked us up about thirty minutes after dropping us off and is now seemingly speeding towards our destination, but he is surprisingly obeying every traffic rule, even the speeding limit. His gaze is focused on the road, but his thoughts must to be turning around the case.
“Did you buy this car with last year’s bonus that you received?” Gary asks from the back seat.
Zack does not respond.
“Zack? Did you hear?” I ask and bump him on the shoulder thinking that he must be so lost in his thoughts that he failed to.
“I did hear him, but I think that solving the case is much more important than what I buy with the bonuses that I receive.” Zack answers moodily.
I glance back at Gary and shrug my shoulders before looking at the scenery passing by.
“Okay.” Gary says from the back. “Then, where are we on the case?”
Zack sighs as if he has to explain the same concept to two five-year-olds. Then, he leans forward and flips a switch that puts on the car’s self-driving. Turning around in his turnable driver’s seat, he looks over to me until I have also swung my chair around. Then, he begins with his rundown that he has repeated quite a few times in the past few days.
“Alright. First, the case’s name is ‘The Eraser’...”
“We know that, just give us the evidence.” I stress the word and don’t even try to hide the fact that I am fed up with how he starts the briefings every time.
“We need to know where we are coming from.” Zack says with a death glare directed at me. “So, the case’s name is ‘The Eraser’. It was called that because the criminal erases people from the earth and then erases their information on the papers that they drew up.”
“Why don’t we just wait for another murder, go to where the digital paper is and then catch him when he comes?” I interrupt.
“Actually, that is a good idea...” Gary begins, but is interrupted by Zack.
“No, it is not. The Eraser kills someone randomly and then erases their information. Do you know where almost every teenager in this city has put up their information? No, you don’t. Dumb and stupid idea. Don’t suggest such a thing again.”
“You are being very harsh.” I defend myself.
“You are being very drunk. Your eyes are barely focusing, so you are barely thinking clearly.” He cuts back.
“I don’t know how girls even like you.” I say and look at him with a challenging face.
“The girls that like me usually aren’t constantly under the influence of alcohol, so I do not have to lose my patience with them.” He equals my challenging look and makes me shrink back a bit, though it is barely noticeable.
Zack opens the armrest of the driver’s seat and takes out a case file.
“As I was saying,” he continues and flips through the file, “At every site that a murder has taken place, sometimes even multiple at one time, the victim, or victims, were found dead with no visible causes for the death.” His voice is calm again. “When their blood is sampled, the result sent back is that a substance was found in them that seemed to be different from what is supposed to be in any human’s blood, but upon closer inspection it turns out to be oxygen. Furthermore, we have nothing.” He looks first at Gary and then at me. “So, the thing is that we have generally no evidence,” he stresses the last word, “which is the reason that we are stuck and also the reason why we should think about the case and not about where we are going to order food or when we can have another sip of poison.”
With that, he turns back to the steering wheel and turns the self-driving mode off.
At the mention of it, I suddenly get thirsty. I take the bottle of alcohol, so-called poison, out of my jacket pocket and pull out the cork. As I lift the bottle to my lips, Zack suddenly steps on the brake and brings the car to a halt with a screeching sound from the wheels that echoes far and wide. Then, he grabs the bottle out of my hand, opens his door, gets out and marches around the front of the car to an overloaded garbage can. Once there, he turns the bottle upside down and empties its contents into the can before dropping the bottle in as well.
When he is back in the car, he turns to me.
“What did I just say? I cannot believe that I am stuck with an overstuffer and a drunkard.” He turns to the steering wheel again and puts both of his hands on the black leather. “No drinking or eating in this car.”
After he has stated those words, he starts driving again.
We finally reached the coffee shop, and the first thing I did after getting out of the car was take a gulp of my second, and last, bottle of whisky. But that was about five minutes ago. Currently, Gary and I are sitting at a small table and waiting for Zack who went to order us drinks and cake, but it is taking a bit longer since the girl at the counter seems to be flirting with Zack who is not just leaving but must be flirting back.
“Really annoying.” I say as I turn my back on the two.
“He has the looks, and he is very polite.” Gary says whilst still watching them. “You know, for the last four months, ever since the case was assigned us, you seem to have been very critical of him. Especially when he does what a casanova does, flirt.”
“But he has been very critical of me as well since the case has started. Almost every suggestion that I have made to try and catch the murderer, he has shot down.” I cast another glance over my shoulder at the two at the counter before turning back to Gary.
“He has given evidence to support his statements about why your suggestions wouldn’t work.” Gary twiddles his thumbs.
“But Gary, you know what will happen if we do not solve this case quickly. Remember that it is not Zack who will lose his job, it is you and I. We will be on the street. And he did not give evidence, he gave lousy excuses.” I look over my shoulder again, just in time to see Zack accept a piece of paper from the girl and say a last few words before strolling over to us.
“Her number?” I ask as he sits down in the unoccupied, third chair.
“Yes, of course.” He answers and slips the paper into his shirt pocket.
“If we are not allowed to fill our thoughts with food and alcohol, why are you allowing yourself to fill your thoughts with girls?”
“You know,” Zack leans closer and rests on his forearms, “I can block out a girl, unlike how you can’t block out alcohol. Besides, I asked a few strategic questions about the case, but she couldn’t give me any information.”
“So you took her number instead?”
“Do you have a problem with me, or something?” Zack locks eyes with me. “If you perhaps forgot, we have to solve this quickly.” He pauses and then continues. “Ah, that must be the problem, you are scared that you will lose your job.”
I decide to say nothing and rather stare out of the window at the fancy car standing parked there, Zack’s car.
“I thought you said that you frequent this place?” I hear Gary’s question.
“I do.” Is the answer.
“Then doesn’t that girl know you?” These words from Gary draws my attention and I look over at Zack for his reaction.
“No, she does not. She is standing in for her sister who is on sick leave for a month. She contracted pneumonia.” Zack informs us.
“She gave you that much information?” I ask with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes, she did.”
We step out of the coffee shop. I have my jacket slung over my shoulder; Gary is helping himself to the extra slice of cake that Zack had bought for him at his request; and Zack is busy searching for his car keys in the bunch that he is holding.
At the car, we are just about to get in when a young girl with red hair appears on the other side of the street and calls out to Zack. Zack looks up at her and watches as she crosses the street, then he throws his jacket into the car and waits for her to make the rest of the way over to us.
“Zack, I want to talk to you about...” She begins.
“Let’s talk over there.” He says.
Zack slams the car door, takes the girl around her shoulders and leads her away, putting enough distance between them and us so that we cannot hear what they are saying.
“Who is that?” My question is directed at Gary.
“I don’t know. It must be a girlfriend of his.” Gary says and then ducks into the car to wait there.
“I don’t know. Why did he take her to the side? Also, she seems like she might still be sixteen, perhaps eighteen. He likes girls in their twenties, doesn’t he?” I say with my eyes on the two.
Zack is seeing her off. He pushes her away gently, but she rises to her tip-toes and kisses him. I watch as Zack wraps his arms around her. I wait for them to break their embrace for a few seconds, but then I look away to the top of a nearby skyscraper. I am feeling uncomfortable with them kissing there on the corner of a street, but I also feel awkward watching them kiss.
I don’t notice that the embrace had been broken until Zack plucks open his door and also ducks into the car.
I first look at where they were standing, but the girl has disappeared, and then I also get into the car.
“You seem sour for someone who has just kissed a good-looking girl.” I remark.
Zack doesn’t answer and rather looks back so that he can successfully navigate the reversing. Then, he speeds forward, still wordless.
The heated argument has been going on for several minutes.
“I say we try the stake out. What can go wrong?” I say with a raised voice.
“We can miss the chance to prevent a murder.” Zack says with raging eyes but a controlled voice.
Gary is sitting on one of Zack’s expensive couches and is watching us silently.
“We haven’t been able to prevent any one of the murders, and it is not like we have a tip about where one is going to happen.” I glare at him.
“You know what?” Zack turns away and grabs his coat from the couch on which Gary is sitting. “I have a date to get to. As much as I would not want you to at this moment, would you lock up when the two of you leave?” He asks and throws the keys at me from where he is now standing at the door.
I don’t even attempt to catch them, a bad idea because they hit me squarely on the nose, but Zack does not care. He leaves the house and slams the door behind him.
As soon as Zack’s car disappears out of hearing distance, I grab my jacket and the two, new bottles of whisky from the coffee table. Then, I determinedly walk to the door.
“Where are you going?” Gary asks.
“I am going to have a stake out. If you leave, lock the door behind you.” I say and point at the keys lying on the floor.
I caught the bus to the bridge under which I know hang many teenagers’ info papers. Finally, I was following my own plan. I will wait here, and perhaps the Eraser will come here. Even if he does not commit a murder tonight, I can be on the lookout for anyone suspicious who might come here. Chances are though that he will commit a murder tonight, because he usually commits one every four days, and tonight is the fourth night since the last murder that was committed by him.
The night is cold, and the whisky and jacket are barely keeping me warm. I look around the road that has been abandoned for the night. Nothing has happened, nor have I seen someone since I got here. This might be a stupid idea, and totally fruitless, but at least I was following one of my plans that Zack had shot down.
Since this case started, Zack seemed to have changed. For me, he was always pleasurable to be around, but now I despise the sight of him. But perhaps it has nothing to do with him, but with me. Or perhaps he has been upset with this case since his youngest cousin was the first victim of the Eraser.
What am I thinking about? It must be this headache that has my thoughts drifting to such things. Many people have been hurt by the Eraser’s actions. Many have been changed by them.
To distract me from more of these types of thoughts, I wander toward the digital papers hanging from the bridge’s belly. I casually look through some of them and read some of the information on a few of them. Then, I stop at a particular one as I recognize the face in the photo that is also attached. It is the same girl as the one whom Zack had kissed a few hours before, the red haired one. Interesting. Perhaps she was still looking for love or have not come to take off the info yet. I read through some of the facts that she had decided to list:
I like to walk in old, abandoned factories. It gives me a sense of mystery and excitement.
I like men who are older than me. Especially men in their early thirties.
I laugh dryly as I think about how Zack fits into that last statement.
“You seem to have found your Romeo,” I look up at her name again, “Fiona Blue.”
As I smirk and search for where I was, a jolt runs through me as I hear a night piercing scream.
My police instincts kick in and I immediately run out from under the bridge. The sound has already stopped, but in those few seconds I knew that it came from nearby and that it came from a terrified girl. She must need help, but what if I reach her too late?
In a quick run, I follow the invisible path that the scream had followed to reach me. It originated in a nearby factory that stood dark and seemed empty. I jump through a broken window and come to a halt at the open door that leads into a hallway. There, I reach for my gun at my side and ensure that it will be ready to fire when I need to shoot.
Glancing around the door frame, I look down the hallway. There is no one. I step out and quietly, but swiftly, make my way down the passage. After having passed two doors, I begin hearing a gasping sound of someone who can’t breath and it draws me closer. I pass another door and then look into the one that follows it. On the floor, there is a teenage girl, her familiar features and red hair helps me to identify her at once.
“What happened?” I ask as I reach her.
“He... said that... he is the... Era...ser.” She stammers with eyes half closed and pleading for my help.
I look at her. She is shivering and seems to be in pain as she struggles to find a comfortable way to lie still. I don’t know what the Eraser uses for his killing, but I know that it is definitely not oxygen. Nevertheless, I cannot allow this girl to die from the substance without at least trying to help her. I could do nothing for my wife and daughter, but maybe I can do something for this girl.
Just as I move closer to start compressing her chest, she exhales and does not try to take another breath. Her body’s movements still and the room feels empty since she has left the land of the living. Slowly, I stand up and gaze down at her pretty, youthful face. Some parent is going to miss their beautiful daughter, and I am going to have a very long night of drinking to try and forget this sight.
I feel like sinking down to the floor and beginning my drinking session, but then I remember that the Eraser has a step following the murder of someone, he erases their digital paper. Lucky for me, I saw hers earlier and can reach it in a very short time. The Eraser might already be there, but I might be in time to catch him red-handed.
I take to my heels and race back the way that I had came. Fleeting thoughts of whether or not I should call for backup come and go. No one is going to get here in time. I have to catch him, then I will report the murder, and then I will ask for backup to come and take him away, since I do not have a car here.
I slow down as I get nearer and nearer to the bridge. My gun is still drawn and I now take it in both of my hands. The Eraser is said to be dangerous, I will have to be careful. I am a bit under the influence and it is making the road and buildings sway, so I should definitely be careful.
I am finally in sight of the bridge. I can make out a figure at the particular digital paper in the light that his car’s lights are throwing. He is tall and seems muscular, and he also has a gun that rests in a holster under his arm. I must beware of that. Not under any circumstance should he draw his gun.
I am now close to the car and I glance at the number plate. Suddenly, I freeze and drop my arms. It is Zack’s car. And that is Zack over there erasing the info. Harsh realization sets in. I will have to shoot Zack if he makes an attempt to get away or if he tries to kill me. How could this have happened? What is his motive?
I edge around the car and glance in at the driver’s seat’s open door. On the passenger seat, there is an empty vial and a syringe. I look back at Zack. He is still busy wiping clean the board.
“Raise your hands, Eraser.” I say and rise to my full height.
Zack stops wiping and slowly turns around.
“Steven? Is that you?” He asks with unbelief.
“Yes, it is.”
“What are you doing here?” He drops the cloth, that he was using, to the ground.
“I came here on a stake out, heard a scream, found a girl, and then came back here in an attempt to find the Eraser. And I did.”
“No, you are having a drunken vision.” He says and takes out his police radio. “J.H.P.S.O. Zack Walker reporting a drunken officer at Fellow’s Bridge. He has a gun aimed at me.”
I allow him to send his message, knowing that he is, with his call, sending officers this way in hot pursuit.
“You are in trouble.” He says and smirks.
“I don’t think so, but stay right there.” I smirk back.
Within five minutes, two cars with seven officers along with the chief arrive. The officers draw their guns immediately and aim at me right after they have jumped out of the cars.
“What is going on?” The chief asks and glares at me.
“Chief, Steven came here and suddenly drew a gun on me. I...”
“Sir,” I interrupt, “this is the Eraser.”
My brief words send shock waves through the officers and chief, but Zack remains calm.
“He has been saying that since he drew his gun, chief.” Zack looks as if he is not bothered at all.
“I can prove it.” This has a confused look from Zack focused on me and a raised eyebrow from the chief. “He drove his car here, probably parked it in front of the factory, got out with the girl, entered the factory, injected her with whatever was in the vial that is on his passenger seat, exited the building, came here and started to erase her.”
“You have no..,” Zack begins.
“Your car is going to prove it, Zack. It has a burglar camera in the front, which will especially prove how you were wiping her info, and the vial is on your car seat along with the syringe and it might show what exactly killed all of the victims.” I state frankly.
“Congratulations, Detective Winterfield.” The chief slaps me on the back. “It was Zack. His car camera history and the vial proved it. We even put him in the electric chair and he spoke freely about his misdeeds, his motive, and his method.”
“What did he say, sir?” I ask with interest.
“Well, where would you like me to begin?” He smiles openly.
“At what his motive was, then his method. I don’t have to know about how he exterminated every single teenager. Two-hundred people is a lot.”
“Very well. He said that his cousin, the first victim, followed the trend of putting information out for everyone to see. He tried to get her to stop doing that, but he was unsuccessful in convincing her. Therefore, he murdered her. After she was dead, he began his quest to exterminate the rest of the trend followers. As you and I know, the practice has almost stopped, but some still do it, so he was nearing his goal. Luckily, we stopped him.” The chief takes a breath. “As for his method, he is very smart and he discovered a chemical compound in a lab experiment while he was still in school. He decided to keep the compound’s formula which causes a human’s blood to thicken and thus causes almost all activity in the body to stop. As time passes, the blood becomes normal again, but the victim is already dead.”
“And then it is identified as oxygen?” I ask when the chief stops talking.
“No, no. You see, Zack was aware of where each sample was heading, so he went to the places personally, you know how fast travel is these days, and tampered with the scanning of the vials and ensured that the machines will always read it as oxygen even though the chemical’s structure is different from oxygen. We received that faulty analysis.”
“And I am guessing that we were unable to find the Eraser on the system or his DNA, because Zack was allowed to be on the scenes.”
“Yes. If you remember all of the briefings we had, I usually informed you and Gary that Zack was already on the scene. He was always briefed first and got there first, because we believed him to be the most competent detective of you three.”
“He actually was.” I take a moment to process. “No wonder he always shot down my ideas that we could have used to catch the Eraser.”
“Yes. I am guessing that if he had reached his goal, the Eraser would have just faded out of existence and he would have continued his job.”
“If we did not abandon camera systems, we might have found him on the scenes.” I remark.
“Yes, but you know that cameras can also be tampered with. But we are launching a project to install camera systems.”
“But how did he go to work to get the victims apart from others so that he could inject them?” I look at the chief in expectation.
“Well, he usually either went to the places that they listed as where they hang out a lot, or he made friends with them and then invited them to go to the types of places that they liked to go to, like the last girl liked old, abandoned factories, and that is exactly where he took her.”
There is some silence and then I break it.
“What now, sir?”
“I have a new assignment for you and Gary.”
How would it be if I could live
Without having this addiction?
Perhaps I'll be indestructive,
Or am I inventing fiction?
My life might be so different,
if I weren't so dependent.
If I was able to breath deep,
not in need ev'ry now and then,
but there's no human that can keep
and stand without some oxygen.
Those short moments
with cherry treats,
with music beats,
with sweet comments.
Those pretty times
when freedom rule,
when nothing's cruel,
when a bell chimes.
Those quiet parts
is the winner,
is the inner,
is sweet heart tarts.
Those angry yells
like a shadow,
like poison flow,
like dark, black wells.
a color bold,
a grand love sold,
a bit more weary.
It Is What I Do
For as long as Julie can remember, she has had the ability to understand people, but this is the first person that she cannot understand. This man is just too difficult to understand! What if she is losing her special ability?
Paul snaps his fingers right in front of Julie's face. His green eyes are filled with confusion because of this girl. It is like this woman wants to find a way into his head so that she can predict his thoughts, actions and words. Never in his whole life has he met a person who tried to do this. For him, people are not always predictable. So, why is this girl so set on predicting everyone?
"Please do not snap your fingers in my face." The black-haired girl frowns.
"You seemed to be busy drifting away from the present. Should I have left you to disappear into the dark depths of your mind?"
"Dark depths? I do not have 'dark depths' in my mind." Her voice is filled with irritation.
"Everyone has them. You might not deem them dark, or perhaps you have not discovered them yet."
Julie stares at him for a while before turning away and marching over to the snack table that is at the other side of the room.
Once there, she searches for a treat to help her calm down.
"You irritating, different man!" She whispers while grabbing a chocolate cupcake from a plate.
Julie swings around and stares at the handsome man in front of her.
"I... Oh, I was just... No one." She replies.
"Well, if he is no one, then he should not fill your thoughts." The man smiles.
Taking a bite of the cupcake, Julie thinks for a while before nodding in agreement.
"I am Ron." The man introduces himself and holds out his hand.
"Nice to meet you, Ron. I am Julie."
The first hour of the morning comes and passes, but none of the twenty-year-olds have decided to go to bed.
In a corner, Paul watches everything closely. Two men have slipped out for the third time since midnight to go and smoke; the group of young women are still giggling and whispering at the snack table; the band is playing yet another 80's song; and the girl from earlier, Julie, is still dancing with the same guy, Ron.
Looking away from the two who are dancing, he watches the lonely woman that gave him so much information of quite a couple of people that are present here at the party. Since she gave him information about an hour ago, the woman has been sitting next to the stage and listening to the band.
An idea enters Paul's mind, and he starts walking over to the woman. Though she is not very attractive, she could help him eavesdrop on Julie and Ron.
Having reached the woman, Paul holds out his hand as an invitation to dance.
The woman smiles gratefully and puts her hand in his.
Paul leads her as close as possible to Julie and Ron before turning to her. While dancing, Paul tries to hear what the couple next to them are saying.
"...I like that too." Julie smiles. "In addition to that, I really enjoy watching cooking shows."
Paul shifts the woman in his arms and takes out a small book as unnoticeably as possible.
"What are you doing?" His dance partner asks in a whisper.
"I am trying to create a profile for each of these two people." Paul gestures with his pencil to the couple.
"It is what I do."
The Red Truck
The abandoned, red truck that appeared during the night is still standing at the side of the road when the police car arrives. The two men get out of the car and inspect the truck from afar. On the side of the truck, the word ‘FATE’ is written, but the paint is smeared as if the truck was driven through water while the paint was still wet.
The two officers walk closer to inspect the cab of the truck. The wind is howling around the sides of the vehicle and a soft creaking is produced.
One of the officers opens the driver’s door and glances inside. As should be expected, the inside of the truck looks rather normal. Then, the officer notices something strange. Is that an asthma inhaler? He reaches out and grabs the object from where it was lying on the passenger seat. The officer closes the door again and strolls over to the front of the vehicle to inspect the licence plate.
“Where do you think it comes from?” He asks while straightening up from the plate.
“I don’t know, but I have a strange feeling about it.” The other one answers.
“It comes from outer space!” A villager yells from behind the do-not-cross line. “It came to kill us all!”
Both police officers turn and frown at the man who succeeded in arousing the whole crowd.
“Calm down, calm down! It is a normal truck that someone drove and left here. Nothing to be worried about.” The man at the licence plate assures them.
The villagers do not heed him and start to yell out strange theories.
“Let's see what is in the back.” One officer suggests.
The other man agrees and they walk to the truck’s rear.
When they reach the large double-door, both officers reach to open it. A sound stops them from opening the door, and they look at each other.
“Something is in here.” The one police man states with wide eyes.
The other officer nods and pulls out his gun. Stepping back, he points his weapon at the door. He then nods at the other officer who grabs the door's handles and opens the door.
The two doors swing open and silence follows as everyone stares into the darkness of the truck's interior. Suddenly, something moves again and the truck creaks as if the thing is very heavy. Not waiting another moment, the man at the door jumps back, takes out his gun and joins the other officer.
The creature inside the truck steps into the light and all of the people outside gasp. It climbs out of the truck and light now confirms to everyone what it is. But can it really be? The creature spreads out its large wings and roars loudly. Instantly, chaos breaks out and the villagers start running in all directions. The two officers run and hide behind the police car.
“Isn’t that a... dragon?” One asks when they reach their desitnation.
“Yes, I think so.”
“8, 9, 10... 18. GOODBYE!”
The man steps back and surveys his work.
“Gorgeous! You are absolutely gorgeous, my darlings!” He exclaims and watches the fish swim in a circle in the new pond. “I love you already!”
A voice reaches his ears and he stiffens.
“TRUST! Where are you?!”
Benjamin Trust turns away from his fish and looks around for the owner of the voice, Jim Klinderton.
“Over here!” He replies and sticks up his hand.
Patiently, he waits for the broad-shouldered man to reach him.
“I told you not to take my stuff without asking me!” Jim rips the glass bowl out of Benjamin’s hands.
“You were in the shower and I decided to quickly borrow it.” Benjamin notices that Jim is without a shirt. “Why are you walking around semi-naked?”
“I am going to wring your neck.” Jim sneers and threateningly lifts up the glass bowl.
Benjamin closes his eyes and waits for the impact, but nothing happens. So, he opens them again. To his embarrassment, Jim has not followed through with his attack and has already begun walking away.
“So, you aren’t going to wring my neck?”
Benjamin hardly utters the question before feeling like drowning himself in the pond behind him. A few meters away, Jim turns on his heels and marches back.
“I will gladly do it.” Jim sneers.
“Why do I do and say such stupid things?” Benjamin softly asks himself. “Now, I am going to be made to regret my actions.”
A Little Excursion
“My lord, I advise you to take this seriously. A man does not make death threats and not follow through with them. I think...”
“Hush! You are not paid to think, you are paid to keep me company.”
Lord Finnick Vreshtom’s young face is stern as he gazes out the window at the awakening world.
“Sir, I want to speak boldly, if you will allow me.”
“Yes, Marcus?” Finnick turns to the man.
“Sir, I do not want to go on a hunt with you if there is such a great possibility that I may perish. I value my life and I have things that I want to accomplish in my life before I one day...”
“The deer are galloping around in the woods, Marcus. No one may hunt them except those who are given permission. Soon,” Finnick pauses for effect. “Soon, some may die because the weeds and grasses are not abundant enough to feed them all. Just think,” He puts his arm around Marcus’ neck before wiping away a fake tear. “Just think... if some helpless, young deer is left... without his mother and he wanders around in those dark and merciless woods. And then! Then a dog, or worse, a wolf jumps out from the bushes and that poor, helpless, lonely, grieving... uhm... young, and handsome deer is doomed to death. You would not desire such a fate upon any animal. Right, Marcus?”
“So, you want to go and hunt the poor, helpless, lonely, grieving, young, and handsome deer’s mother before she perhaps die of hunger, sir?”
“As you wish, my lord.”
The sun rises slowly over the trees, but it is greeted with scoffs from the two bandits lurking in the coverage.
“When will he be here?” The one asks while continuing to sharpen his dagger.
“Our friend said that Sir Finnick is going to come hunting and we should expect him at sunrise.”
“You don’t have to call him’Sir Finnick’.” The bandit answers gruffly. “Also, that other man that hired us is not ‘our’ friend. I only have accomplices, foes, allies, and those who hire me, not friends.”
“Have it your way, but just remember that I do not appreciate it when someone is unfair in dividing the loot.”
“What do you take me for? A vagabond?”
The other bandit opens his mouth to answer, but decides that it is wiser to keep it shut.
“Hurry along, lad! We do not have the whole day to reach our destination.” Finnick laughs as he kicks his horse in its sides and it gallops even further ahead.
“My lord! I beg of you not to leave me here alone!”
Marcus waits for an answer, but a deadly silence has suddenly fell upon the forest.
“My lord, where are you?!”