The motive of the bicycle thief became very clear! It got torn apart so someone could make a sign, a sign that read: The human race must get destroyed! The lettering had clearly gotten spelled out in blood! I searched all around the tree that the sign rested on, but I didn’t see any sign of a dead body or injured victim. I did see another set of footprints by the tree of what looked like wide fitting boots, so I suspected that the powerful magian had sent the Fay to steal the bike and bring it back to that spot. I couldn’t figure out why he or she had to use the bike instead of branches or literally anything else, but I did feel vindicated knowing that my gut instinct about this case had proven itself correct! At the very least, my petty theft case had just gotten upgraded to vandalism or possibly even menacing! If that turned out to be real blood, it could mean something higher than that! I called for forensics to come back me up in order to find out what exactly I was dealing with!
As investigators combed through the forest, both Chief Mazarine and Sandra arrived on the scene. Sandra asked me, “Did they find anything else?”
Before I could answer, one of the forensic investigators came up to me and let me know, “We found this in a pile of leaves by that tree.” He used his wand to float a wallet in front of us. He took out the contents and explained, “All we found inside was some cash.” He reassembled it and went on, “We found a pool a semen next to it. The DNA from it didn’t match the blood on the sign but we found some trace DNA on the sign that did match the semen.”
“Wow, so our vandal is involved in prostitution!” I thought out loud. I know it may seem a little crazy that I got so excited about the possibility of a horrible crime, but the prospect of finally getting a chance to tackle a challenge made me excited! I yearned for this day for so long, and my eyes practically sparkled now that I got to do something I had always dreamt about!
Chief Mazarine had other plans. After he politely dismissed the forensic investigator, he told me, “Good job on finding your missing bicycle! Now, head on back to the station to get a new case!”
My heart plummeted! I had worked so hard to get to this point, and I couldn’t believe he wanted to take this opportunity that I had waited my whole life for! “But… This is my case!”
“You did well, kid!” Chief Mazarine regarded me. “But I’m not about to have a rookie detective take on a high level case!”
“But I did everything right!” I cried. “I can do this!”
Chief Mazarine remained adamant on his point. “You don’t have enough experience to do prostitutes!”
I argued, “How am I supposed o get more experience if I don’t get to try? Please! I can handle prostitutes!”
“Look, I know you’re eager to do prostitutes,” Chief Mazarine leveled with me, “I certainly wanted to do prostitutes when I was your age too, but you’re just too inexperienced to handle prostitutes!”
“I learned enough in school to know how to do prostitutes now!” I countered. Some of the investigators were giving us funny stares, so I barked, “What are you looking at?” They all pretended like they hadn’t heard our conversation and went back to business.
Before Chief Mazarine could broach the subject again, Sandra jumped in, “I’ll help her! If it gets too complicated for her, I’ll take over. Keep her on the case, sir! It’s her first one, don’t take it away from her!”
A sweep of gratitude surged through me for her having my back like that! I really hoped that it would have an effect on Chief Mazarine. He arched his head and groaned uncomfortably. “This breaks our training regiment!”
Sandra pointed out, “It breaks tradition, but it doesn’t break protocol! Give her a chance! If she messes up, then she can wait a while for another shot, but bit if she does well, maybe she can skip all the small crimes and dive right into the high ones! We could use more people on those!”
Chief Mazarine reluctantly relented, “Alright, alright! You can work this case together! If you don’t produce results, you’ll both be back on petty crimes faster than you can say Je ne pourrai plus jamais travailler dans cette ville!”
As he walked to the car, I remarked under my breath, “I can’t say that now!”
Sandra laughed, but then she turned to me and said seriously, “My career’s on the line, so don’t let me down!”
I assured her, “I have no intentions to!” And with that, we both smiled at each other in understanding and got to work.
My excitement began to surge again as we ran both DNA samples through our database. I know it sounds a little strange to be over the moon about some blood and semen, but they were vital clues to my case, an important case that I felt eager to solve! If I did, it could mean better assignments going forward. Plus, if the Fay Folks were involved, as we suspected, then I would have gotten my chance to battle them once and for all. I heard such horror stories about them, but in my professional life, I hadn’t seen any that seemed so dangerous. I pondered about whether or not they did that on purpose. I mean, the whole point of their operation was to lure people into sin so that they couldn’t get into Heaven or Hell, so they probably were pretty low-key with their activities to gain people’s trust, I theorized. Even though I almost never saw them commit any serious crimes, I felt sure that they were up to something far more nefarious than met the eye! Even if the blood from that sign turned out to come from someone who supplied it voluntarily, their motive for doing so couldn’t have possibly been innocent! So much about this case roused my curiosity, and I couldn’t wait to get the results back!
“The sperm came back negative for anyone on file,” Sandra announced. “Maybe hiring this prostitute was their first crime.”
“Or their first time getting caught,” I mentioned. “If they were present for that bloodshed, how innocent could they be?”
Sandra pointed a finger at me and acknowledged my logic, “Very good!” I grinned, and then she informed me, “The blood came back to Reed Radley, who’s got priors for… shockingly enough, prostitution.”
I leaned in over her shoulder to look at his profile. “Let’s see… He’s a mattress salesman at a store in downtown Anaknock… Hey, I think it’s right by the store my husband works at!”
Sandra’s interest peaked a bit higher. “Oh, perfect! Maybe he’s seen something relevant to our case!” I agreed, and as we headed out, I felt a little uncomfortable talking to Ben in a work capacity. He never seemed too thrilled with the idea of me becoming a detective, so I didn’t feel too sure about whether or not he’d totally cooperate or not. I thought that, in the end, he would do the right thing and give us a hint to something pertinent in solving our case.
We found out that Reed Radley’s job was right next door to pet supply chain where Ben worked! I peeked inside Ben’s store as we passed it, but all I saw was another clerk helping a customer. I found it a bit odd since I knew he got scheduled to work until six that day, so he should have been in there. I reasoned that he must have been in the back doing inventory or something, so I thought nothing more of it as we went in to talk to Reed Radley’s boss. He didn’t tell us much except that Reed hadn’t been into work for a few days. He only had a couple of more sick days left, so if he didn’t show up soon, he’d fire him. Apparently it wasn’t the first time that Mister Radley had pulled a stunt like that, so he didn’t find it so unusual. He didn’t see anything noteworthy about his behavior at work either. When he got to the point where he tried selling us a mattress, we decided to end the conversation and go next door to talk to Ben.
When Sandra and I went up to the counter, he noticed that the that clerk’s name tag indicated that we were talking to the manager, which saved us some time by not having to have someone contact him. The manager inquired, “Can I help you?”
We flashed our badges, and I introduced us, “We’re with the Slygow County detective bureau. We need to talk to Ben.”
“Ben called in sick today,” the manager told us.
“He did?” I reacted in surprise. “He’s not sick!”
The manager raised an eyebrow. “How do you know?”
I clarified, “Oh, sorry! I’m Ben’s wife.”
“Oh!” The manager gasped in relief. “I’m glad he’s alright.”
“That remains to be seen after I talk to him about calling out!” I sort of kidded. I know we hadn’t been super communicative lately, but he crossed a line by this blatant lie! “Anyway, have you happened to have seen anything strange going on next door?”
The manager shook his head. “Not really. Why?”
I responded to his query, “We’re looking for one of his employees, Reed Radley. Do you know him?”
“I’m afraid not.” The manager’s eyes darted to a growing line forming behind us.
“Thank you for your time!” I excused us.
Before we headed out the door, he called, “Nice to meet you, Missus Cassius!”
I froze, and then I corrected him, “It’s Vidette. I didn’t take his last name.”
His brow furrowed, and he appeared as though he wanted to ask about my reason for that, but his customer required his attention, so we walked out. As we headed to the car, Sandra gingerly questioned, “It’s probably none of my business, but why didn’t you…?”
“I dunno.” I shrugged. I just didn’t like the sound of Shannon Cassius. It would’ve felt like I had two first names or something.” I could tell she was analyzing my motives behind that decision, and at that time, I didn’t have any real answers, so I changed the subject, “Do you have Reed Radley’s address?”
“Right here!” She pulled out her cellphone as we got into my vehicle and headed out.
When we knocked on the door of Reed Radley’s apartment, no one answered. One of his neighbor’s said that he hadn’t been home for days. That gave us probable cause to obtain a warrant. The landlord let us inside, and on the surface, everything seemed so normal. Typical bachelor pad with mismatched furniture and clutter everywhere, nothing suggested any kind of struggle. We used our wands to sift through his things. As I moved some papers underneath a girly lamp in the living room, I stumbled across a phone number…