“Did you find him?” My mother came outside to ask me. For a moment, I froze. With the shocking nature of this discovery, I had trouble believing it myself, and I hadn’t considered how I would tell her. I’ve had to give people bad news about their cases before, but this felt different. Telling civilians what happened to their loved one was never easy, but at least they had a clue that their family member or close friend had been involved in something dangerous. My mom had no idea that something was wrong until she saw me reacting to it! “What’s going on? Is Wade okay?”
“Wade is…” I had a hard time getting the words out. The truth hadn’t even full set in for me yet! But I knew I had to tell her something, especially with the knowledge I had of his dark intentions. My police instincts started to kick in, and I knew I had to take action! I didn’t want to discuss classified details out in the open in case anyone, namely my new top suspect, overheard how much I knew, so I directed my mother, “Let’s discuss it inside.” My mom’s concern heightened by this request, but she detected the amount of urgency the situation required by the one of my voice, so she complied.
Once we both returned inside our home and I shut the door behind me, I suggested to my mother, “Maybe you should sit down for this.”
She didn’t move far from the doorway, and I could tell from the way she stood that she surmised that something dreadful had occurred. “Just tell me what’s going on. Is he hurt?” she inquired.
“Not yet,” I replied. She looked surprised and confused to hear me say that, so I took a deep breath and revealed, “I’ve been trying to solve a serial murder case, and it looks like Wade did it!”
“Wade?” my mom echoed back to me. She clearly found the news as astonishing as I did, and I could tell she wanted to deny it, but with the somber expression on my face, she attempted to accept this fact. “Are you sure?”
I confirmed to her, “Very sure. His profile matches the killer’s! Neither of us knew the real Wade. He’s not morbidly obese, and he doesn’t talk with a southern accent. He’s not the bumbling fool he pretended to be, he’s actually very intelligent. And he doesn’t just hate eastern Europeans, he hates all human beings!”
My mother probed, “Is that why he kills them?”
“Sort of.” I explained, “He’s trying to destroy the world, Mom. He’s getting very close, and I’ve gotta stop him before it’s too late!”
“So what are you gonna do?” she asked.
I answered very honestly, “That’s a good question!”
I mulled it all over for a bit in order to think of my next move, but before I could think of anything, I heard my phone vibrate from my coat pocket. I picked it up and noticed several messages from Sandra. The first couple had a very casual tone to it, but without my reply, she obviously began to grow more worried. I had forgotten that I hadn’t updated her in a while, and so much had developed since we last spoke! As far as she knew, I went to that banquet and tried to wry information out of Aidan, and I certainly owed her an explanation, but I couldn’t fit everything into a text! I couldn’t call her right now either, not with a potential confrontation in the works, so I simply wrote: ‘Something happened, call you later!’ That response would only increase her anxiety, but at least she would know I’m still conscious! It comforted me somewhat that her instincts were in tune with my situation and her feelings let her know that something went wrong, but I couldn’t fill her in right then, not until I figured out where Wade was heading to!
I glanced at the time on my phone, and I noticed it grew close to sunrise. If Wade hadn’t seen me out there, which I didn’t think he had, then he would probably return to the house to put on the fat suit and maintain the ruse of the innocent hillbilly. If he hadn’t become cognizant of my awareness of his actions yet, then he would likely come through the front door totally unsuspecting. If that did happen, then it would make for an easy opportunity to ambush him! I instructed to my mother, “Get behind the couch!”
We both crouched on the other side of the sofa, and my mom wondered, “What’s happening?”
I whispered, “Shh! I need to hear him come in!” I rested my elbows on an end table and pointed my wand at the front door. I expected him to come in at any second, after all, my mother and I could have woken up early for whatever reason, and I really mentally prepared myself for the spell I would have had to to use to take him down. The longer I waited, the more my adrenaline pumped! I hoped that I could get the upper hand on him right away, but I also prepared myself for a lengthy fight. Now that I knew Wade was my suspect, I realized that he had quite formidable magical skills, so I knew I couldn’t underestimate him! After several minutes had passed by and the sun had started to come up, I started to wonder if I should call for backup or not. I could see the orange hue of the sky had reached a deeper level of saturation, and it made me ponder if he meant to return home at all…
All of a sudden, we heard a know on the door. Both my mom and I jumped, and my heart started to race rapidly. We hadn’t locked the door, so I didn’t think that Wade would knock unless he somehow figured out my plan and attempted to lure me away from cover. I slowly crept towards the window, contemplating who Wade might have sent to the door. A Fay? A police officer? A delivery driver? My nerves were on fire as I slowly peeked out the window…
“Who is it?” my mother softly queried.
“Stay down!” I walked over to the door with my wand hidden behind my back. I steeled myself up, and then I burst open the door…
It was Travis, who, once again, questioned, “Where’s my bike?”
After I searched the perimeter to make sure Wade hadn’t sent this poor boy to me as bait, I let him know, “Now’s not a good time!”
“Why’d you say a hooker stole it?” Travis challenged me.
“Not now!” I hissed. I needed him to go away in case Wade showed back up, I didn’t want his life to get endangered! Assuming Wade did decide to turn up, anyways. If he didn’t come back, then I needed to figure out what to do next, and this kid sure made it hard to think!
Travis persisted, “You said you were still looking, why aren’t you still looking? Why can’t you find it? Why would you-?”
I almost blew up at him again, but fortunately, his mom came running over and scolded him, “Travis, I told you to drop it! Why are you always bothering this nice-?” She took one look at me and then changed her conversation completely. “What’s going on?”
“I can’t…” I almost said that I couldn’t tell her, but her presence gave me an idea. “Get inside! Quick!” Travis and his mother dashed into the house, and his mom gave me her fullest attention. “Do you still know how to do that spell to keep certain people out of your house?”
“Course I do!” she affirmed. “Why?”
I entreated her, “Do me a favor, block Wade from coming back in here! You see…”
She agreed before I could finish my sentence, “No problem!”
“Wait, don’t you wanna know why?” I puzzled at her readiness to do such an atypical task.
“Don’t care why,” she stated, “He’s an asshole, he doesn’t deserve to come back!”
I got the impression that something may have transpired between the two of them, but I didn’t have time to ask. I hurried to my room and grabbed my purse. I then ran to the other bedroom and grabbed the first piece of dirty laundry that I recognized as his. When I came out into the living room again, my mother probed, “What are you doing with Wade’s underwear?”
I grimaced and stuffed it into my purse so I wouldn’t have to keep touching it. “I need it for evidence.” I rummaged through my wallet, pulled out a business card, and handed it to my mom. “I’m going to the station. If I don’t come back within a couple of hours, call Detective Nason. Once the house is sealed, don’t leave, and definitely don’t talk to Wade!” I gave her a hug and swiftly expressed, “Stay safe!”
Although my mother seemed bewildered, she agreed to comply. On my way out, Travis’s mother wished me, “Good luck!” I curtly nodded as I rushed to my car.
Prior to arriving, I wondered if anyone would have turned up to work on a Sunday, especially with Chief Mazarine stressing how most of us needed to cool it down with our overtime. When I walked in, I expected to find a quiet, mostly empty office, and instead, I stumbled into a cacophony of tumult! My colleagues were dashing everywhere, making a lot of harried phone calls, and chasing the various objects that they inadvertently tossed all over. I found Chief Mazarine standing near the break room staring blankly into the cubicles, and if I didn’t have an emergency to deal with, I wouldn’t have bothered him. I had no choice, so I gingerly approached him and tentatively spoke, “Chief?”
“Oh, Detective Vidette! I didn’t realize we called you in for this! Did one of those damn crime scenes match your case again?” Chief Mazarine surveyed.
“No, I-.” I started to explain the crisis at hand, but I couldn’t help but solicit, “What’s going on?”
Chief Mazarine filled me in, “The Fays are going on a crime spree! Nearly everyone on the force has come in to help with it, and we’re probably gonna need more than that! I don’t understand what’s going on with them! I guess they think this f’ing eclipse or whatever it is has given them a right to act like nihilists! I dunno, but our resources are getting stretched to the max! Well, since you’re here, could you hop on the phone and-?”
I interrupted him, “There’s no time for that, sir! I think I found my killer, and he’s-!”
“You found the guy?” Chief Mazarine gazed at me in shock. “Who is he? How’d you find him?”
“Well, he’s my mom’s husband, Wade.” Before he could question me on why I believed he did it, I summarized my findings for him, “He’s been lying to us about his identity! He wears a fat suit and acts like a total moron, but really, he’s an intelligent man with the same body type as the man we saw on the surveillance tape! He disappeared from the house in the middle of the night, and I tried to find him using a footprints spell, and he didn’t leave anything behind! When I found him outside, he was in the triangle talking to dark figures that sounded like Fays! They were planning something big! We gotta stop them before-!”
Chief Mazarine reacted doubtfully, “Please tell me you have more evidence than that!”
“What?” I couldn’t believe he didn’t accept my theory after all of the evidence that I presented to him! “What more do you need?”
“I need something we can present to the jury and get a conviction this time,” Chief Mazarine bluntly remarked. “We gave them circumstantial evidence in Dahlia’s trial, and look what happened! The defense is gonna jump all over the holes in your story! All of those things could get written off as coincidences! He could have been planning anything at that time of day! Like fishing or hunting are usually early morning activities.”
I acknowledged, “He has mentioned hunting for his restaurant’s stock before.”
Chief Mazarine responded, “Yeah, exactly! And don’t hunters sometimes do a footprint removal spell to gain more a stealth advantage?”
“That’s what he told my mom he did it for.. But what about the fat suit?” I argued.
“Having a weird fetish doesn’t make you guilty,” Chief Mazarine shrugged that off, and he could see that I was about to debate him further, so he cut me off with, “What about the bail money? The suspect is said to have paid a lot of money to bail Dahlia out. Does your stepdad make enough money to do that?”
That thought hadn’t occurred to me until right then. I felt sure that Wade had found a way to do it, but I had no proof. He lived in a trailer park and paid the lot rent through the scant amount he made at the Roadkill Diner, so I couldn’t explain where he would have gotten the money. “Well, not that I know of, but-!”
“And how is it that you could live with someone and not have any idea that he’s up to something like that until now?” Chief Mazarine accosted me. “Don’t you think his defense attorney will wanna know that?”
“Most serial killers operate without their family or roommates knowing it!” I refuted his insinuation. “If it was obvious what they were up to, no killer would become serial, would they?” Chief Mazarine didn’t have an answer for that, so I went on, “”And I do have more evidence than just my word! Look!” I pulled out Wade’s underwear from my purse, which made Chief Mazarine practically gag. “All we have to do is test his DNA with-!”
Chief Mazarine ordered, “Put that thing away! You can’t just test someone’s DNA without their consent or a warrant! And unless you have a way to find more evidence, we-.”
I proposed, “We could send a team to the Ploutonion. He’s there right now!”
“How do you know?” Chief Mazarine queried.
“Look at the sky!” I exclaimed. “The enclosure around the Fate Particle is breaking! He’s trying to induce the apocalypse! We have to go in now! We don’t have much time left!”
Chief Mazarine denied that idea. “Absolutely not! Even if I did have some free hands right now, the Ploutonion is out of our jurisdiction. Plus, I’m not about to use precious resources on a lunatic conclusion like that! You actually bought into that apocalypse crap that Dahlia was spewing?”
I waved my hands towards the window in the break room. “Look at the sky! This isn’t natural! Isn’t it obvious that-?”
“That’s enough!” Chief Mazarine barked. “See, this is why I didn’t want you helping with Detective Nason’s case! You’re not ready!”
“But… This is my case!” My heart stopped when he mentioned that. It couldn’t have been true! Sandra always treated it like it was my investigation, and I felt that I had proven myself capable of handling it, so I didn’t think he would have assigned it to anyone else. And yet, something about his tone made me think he told me the truth.
Chief Mazarine elucidated, “Do you really think I’d make a rookie detective the lead on a serial murder case? You don’t have the experience to handle it, and this little spat proves it! As soon as these Fay Folks settle down, you’re going back to petty crimes! Now, make yourself useful or go home!”
He stormed back into his office, and I stood there as still as a statue for a minute. It really hurt me get demoted like that, especially when I knew I was completely right! I wandered over to the break room window and glanced out at the horizon. The skies were getting worse right before my eyes! How could he deny what was happening? At that moment, I knew I was my mother’s daughter; just like she said, sometimes the law is just dumb, I bitterly thought! I knew what I had to do, but before I went rogue, I had to take care of a personal matter…