Funny Mystery Crime

Do you ever feel like you can look back and pinpoint where everything went wrong? Well, I can, most of the time. I know why I'm here. Now I gotta figure out what the heck is happening. I know it all started when Tabitha Miller walked into my office.

Okay, before we go there, it’s back story time!

The voice of Morgan Freeman speaks from above:

“Long ago, a girl was brought into this world, destined for greatness...”

And she probably was, but she's not me. I was awkward, skinny, and plain. I didn't “get the guy,” I was number 3 in my high school class, but I was very good at sports: track and field, tennis, and volleyball.

Okay, you’re thinking: “Why is this important? Get to the point!” Well, patience my friend, I'm getting there. Sheesh!

Straight out of high school I went into the police Academy. I always wanted to be a cop. You know: Protect and Serve. Thanks to my mom, I have a unique name:

Willamena “Will” Icarus Chase. (She was expecting a boy.)

I have an awesome ability: I can see through another’s eye. I think my mom got me off one of those infomercials.

I can see Ron Popeil poking his head in the delivery room and he calls out “but wait, there’s more!”

You’d think that this power advantage would make it easier to get justice.

In Sam Elliott’s voice: (Doesn’t he have the best voice?!)

“Sometimes justice doesn’t get served.”

And that’s a hard lesson to learn as a cop. So, after five years on the force, I resigned. I saw too many victims get the short end of the stick, or none of this proverbial stick people keep talking about.

So, I went out on my own, and I became a Private Investigator. I advertise my specialty as a tracker. And when business is down, I work as a bounty hunter. My name works well for this, too.

I am:

Will I. Chase, Private Eye (Don’t you just love a good pun?)

Now, my ability isn’t as easy as closing my eyes and boom: I can see through the eyes of the FBI’s most wanted who happens to be standing on a street corner, staring at the street sign, waiting to get arrested.

I have a ritual I need to perform, and I need something that belongs to this person to gain their perspective. There are also some restrictions to my power: (Aren’t there always restrictions?)

-I can only see what someone else is doing and clues where they might be, in that exact moment. (No past movements or future ones.)

-I can’t hear anything

-I can't read their mind.

-I can’t look through their eyes for long

-I’ll have to rest for about 10-15 minutes after, the longer I’m in the more rest I need.

There are only three people who know exactly what I can do: my parents and my best friend, Grace. I don’t know what my clients think I can do. Maybe they think I track like a bloodhound. Or, that I stare at the ground with a magnifying glass as I walk around. Or maybe they think that I can waterboard the internet and Google will cry for mommy and spit out their location.

Most of my clients are quite desperate when they come through my door. But Tabitha, she was at her wits end. She needed help finding her stalker.

When she first came in, I was closing early for the day. Grace went home early, not feeling well. I told Tabitha I could give her about an hour, but I couldn’t promise I’d take her case, which she understood.

Her stalker was back. He contacted her again by leaving a picture of her, taken from a distance. (Aren’t they always?) She had previously done everything she could to get away from him:

-She moved out of state

-Changed her appearance (hair style and color)

-Started using a new name (not a legal name-change)

-She cut all contact with her family and friends

“These were all great steps,” I tell her “What makes you think it’s him?”

“Everything started up again,” Tabitha reports, tugging on her hair. “I got this yesterday.” She hands me the photo with a note on the back. It complimented her on the clothes that she purchased an hour before. “I’ve also received:

-Phone calls with heavy breathing

-Pictures taken from a distance left on my windshield

-Packages arriving seconds after I get home

The cops say they can’t do anything because these aren’t crimes. There was no destruction of property or bodily harm.”

“True,” I reply. “Did you have help, either from the police, family/friends or another PI?”

“No. I just ran. I only let my family know in a note that I mailed while I was on the road. It didn’t say where I was going or if I’d be back.”

“Do you have any of these items with you today?” I ask.

“Yes,” Tabitha says as she hands me a large file bag. “Everything is in there, by type and date. I handled everything carefully, without touching it much, and sealed them up. I tried to get the cops to pull fingerprints from them, but they wouldn’t.”

“I can see if there are any prints on these but I won’t be able to run them yet,” I admit. ”I still have some friends on the force who can run them if we get to that point. I’ll need to get your prints so we can rule them out. Do you have any of the items from before you moved?”

“Yes, a few. I threw several away in fear before I talked with the police in Melbourne, AR. They’re in there too, everything’s dated.”

“This is all helpful, Tabitha. If you can leave these with me, I’ll look through them. Can you come in tomorrow afternoon, around 3:30pm? I can tell you what I’ve found and if I’m able to help pursue this farther.”

“Thank you—”

“Please call me Will.

“Will. Thank you, I just want this nightmare to end.”

With it being Saturday, I didn’t head to the office until 12:30pm-ish. I wanted to look at the items that Tabitha left with me before she came in. I own the building and live upstairs. My commute is super easy, though it’s really embarrassing if I get to work late. It’s not like I can blame traffic.

I’m deep into it and don’t notice Grace come in. And she brought breakfast (which I think you can guess!). Yep, doughnuts and coffee! She looks down, over my shoulder.

“Is this the case you dragged me in for,” she quips.

“Yeah, it’s a stalker case. She came in last night,” I say.

“Oh, are we taking up her case?” she asks.

“Yeah, we are. I’m trying to see if his grammar will give us any insight. I want you to comb through this stack of pictures. He wrote letters on the back.”

“Classy guy,” Grace mutters.

“Oh, he gets classier. His grammar is bad and disjointed, so I’m leaning toward an immature, and most likely, young man with severe anger issues. He also sounds like a whiny, entitled little— well you get the point,” I ramble.

“Ah, glad we have change of pace. We don’t get to investigate enough of them,” Grace remarks.

“Ha, right?” I laugh. “I asked her to come back today at 3:30pm. I’d like to let her know what we can do to help. I’m gonna set-up the boards, room four is available. I need to align my thoughts before she gets here,” I continue as I restack some papers.

“Sounds like a plan. I’ll get the paperwork ready.” Grace says as she walks over to the computer.

We work as a seamless team, almost like a choreographed dance. I pull out my print kit and test the latest notes and I get a few good lifts. I label and file them.

“I need you to add a fingerprint waiver too,” I call out.

“You got it,” Grace answers.

I post up the pictures in chronological order. I sit back down and read through more of the letters and notes again. I hear the door open at 3:29pm, on the nose. I poke my head out to tell her to come on back, but she seems to falter a little when she sees Grace at the front desk.

“Hi! You must be Tabitha. We’ve been getting everything set-up,” Grace says in her bubbly way. “Can I get you some coffee? We have doughnuts, too.”

“Yes to the coffee, thanks,” Tabitha says timidly. “But I had my sugar quota for the day with pancakes for breakfast.”

“Please, come on into your case office,” Grace says as she leads her in.

“What’s a case office?” Tabitha wonders as she follows Grace.

“We have these private rooms so our cases don’t get seen by anyone who wanders in,” I say as I turn to look at her.

She stops in the doorway as she sees the evidence her stalker left her, hanging on boards around the room.

“Tabitha, this is my business partner, Grace,” I say as an introduction. “She does everything around here.”

Grace laughs. “Yes, you’d starve without me,” she says. She rolls her eyes as she comes in with the coffee.

“You’ve been busy on this,” Tabitha says as she swallows a lump in her throat. “I didn’t think you’d be this far along,” she says, stunned.

“Grace and I are going to help you get rid of this person. He needs to be caught and stopped—,” I start. Tabitha closes her eyes and a tear rolls down her cheek.

“Thank you,” she whispers. She moves over to sit on the couch and puts her head in her hands.

“Don’t worry,” Grace sits next to her and comforts. “Don’t worry about anything right now. We got you.”

“Grace put together a packet for you,” I sit across from them. “We need to get the paperwork out of the way. It also lists the first steps we plan to take and the payment plan.”

“Oh, I get that,” Tabitha says. “Let’s do this. I’m just glad you believe me and that you’ll help.”

”Will, do you accept a personal check for the deposit?” she asks as she signs the last page.

“Unfortunately no. We take cashier’s checks, MasterCard and Visa credit cards through Square.” Grace interjects. I turn and pull my fingerprint kit out and as I set-up, I glance back at her and she looks uncomfortably at my kit. Her expression changes so quickly, I think I’ve imagined it, and she passes Grace her MasterCard.

“If I could take your fingerprints, we can go over the rest of the plan when Grace comes back,” I say. We walk her through what the next few days will look like.

“The last thing I’ll need from you today is a personal item or belonging. It’s something I might use during my investigation.” (It’s not like I can tell her what it’s really for.)

“Okay, here, does this work?” she asks as she holds up a tube of lip gloss.

“Yes, that’ll work, if you’ve used it before?” I inquire.

“Everyday,” she confirms.

“Great. Now, I want you to go home and relax,” I say. “Take a bath, have a glass of wine, watch a movie, read a book, whatever calms you down. Now, if he leaves you anything new, call us, day or night.” I hand her a card for both Grace and I.

“What if he’s seen me coming here?” she asks as she takes the card.

“Note down any license plate you see reappearing,” Grace says.

“If he’s good enough to know what you buy and when you buy it, then he might know you’ve been here. He hasn’t been violent and his writing patterns illustrate a man who is socially awkward with low confidence. He can only bring himself to talk to you through notes and hang-up phone calls.

“We’ve seen his type before.” I continue. “Be smart, don’t put yourself in vulnerable positions. Go shopping with a friend, have dinners delivered—,“

“But I don’t have friends to shop with,” Tabitha says with a nervous squeak.

“You have us.” Grace says with a smile, “like we said we’re in your corner. Now, I’ll follow you home and make sure you get in safely.”

“Thank you, both of you,” she says with a half-hearted smile. She picks up her bag, and looks down at the cards. “Wait, your Will,” she asks, turning to me “and Grace?” she chuckles as she turns to Grace.

“It’s funny how the world brings people together.” I retort.

After they leave, I pick up the fingerprint sheet and pull out the samples I collected from evidence items to compare. I start the tedious task of manually check fingerprints.

“She’s in for the night,” Grace says when she comes back in. “We stopped to get her dinner and she brought it home. What have you found?” she asks me.

“Not a whole lot.” I confess. “All the lifts I’m pulling match Tabitha.” I reply. “This guy is carful. I don’t know how to stop him at this point, unless he makes a move.”

“Well, that’s an awful thought.” she replies, sounding appalled.

“I know. I don’t like having to think about it. Well, let’s see what we See. I missed lunch and I’m starving. How about I cook up some pasta and chicken?” I ask.

“Yes, please!” Grace replies.

After we’re full to bursting, we prepare to look through another’s eye. Grace starts the setup while I grab the personal belongings. I picked a silk scarf that the stalker left at Tabitha’s door and the lip gloss she gave me. I’ve learned to keep these items in a protected closet and that only I handle them.

When I get in the ritual room, I go behind the partition and change into my robes and I grab my tools. Grace is my life line. She writes down everything I say, even if it doesn’t make sense, and she helps when I break the connection too. I have passed out before, so I need to include Grace in the circle.

In the contract we mention, and go over briefly, that I look at my client’s life and perspective as well as the person they’ve asked us to investigate. Sometimes I’ll look at the client first if I feel like something’s off.

Today, I’m gonna try to connect with the stalker first. After the circle is cast the ritual begins. Now, I’m not going to tell you what I say in the ritual chant. A magician never revels her secrets. So, stop complaining.

As I close my eyes I start to see through A fog and it begins to dissipate:

A kitchen fills the view. A pizza is coming out of the oven. (It’s pepperoni.) Their hands are small. A possible female.

Nice apartment. She turns and we see a wall filled with photos, like a police case board. There’s a picture of man in the middle with a knife sticking out of his forehead.

When I come out of it, I’m lying on the ritual room floor and Grace is patting my face.

“Come on. Time to come back. Let’s go, Will,” Grace says with a quaver in her voice

“I’m back, I’m back.” I say groggily.

“Oh, thank the gods.” She says, “I was going to have to break the circle if you took much longer. What happened?”

“How long have I been out?” I ask, still disoriented.

“Twenty minutes!” she says exasperated.

“What?! That long? What did I say?” I ask in a daze.

““In a kitchen,” “a woman,” “a wall of faces” and “a knife through the face.” It didn’t make much sense.” She says offhanded.

“Yeah, that was the weird part.” I say, still out of it.

“Can I get more of a hint than that?” Grace asks. “Because all of that was weird for me.”

“Well, I’d say we were looking at a female stalker. But why was it a man’s face on the board not Tabitha’s.” I stare off into the middle distance.

“You’re not making sense, Will,” She says, irritated.

“I need to go back in.” I say defiantly, looking Grace in the eyes.

“NO! No, absolutely not, no way. It’s too dangerous,” she says resolutely.

“I have to. Something isn’t adding up.” I retort. “Let’s close the circle and have a glass of wine while I try to sort this through.”

“That, I can get behind.” Grace says eagerly.

I pull out some white zinfandel and two glasses. Grace, slightly out of character, takes a long gulp. We sit in the living room where we’ve laid out the files.

“You know I have to go back in, right?” I blurt into the tense silence. “A man’s life seems to be on the line, along with Tabitha’s.”

“Yes, I get that. But you need to recover,” she says calmly. “I’d like to wait until morning, but I know you’ll overrule me there. Let’s step away and watch a movie or something.”

“Fine,” I groan childishly and stomp my foot for effect.

“You’re nuts, you know that, right?” she jests.

“Yeah,” I stick out my tongue.

A quick three-hour jaunt through Avengers: Endgame and we’re back up in the ritual room.

“We need to know more.” I state. “I didn’t see enough the first time through. If they’re sleeping we won’t be able to get in.” I mention. Grace just nods.

As the fog begins to dissipate:

I’m in a bedroom. The bed has red silk sheets (what a cliché)

They turn toward the closet and as the closet door closes, the reflection of Tabitha looks back at me with a smug smile.

And that’s when everything went wrong.

August 06, 2021 02:15

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