|By Waters Deep|
By Zeorymer. 12/08/10, 06:34 am
|This story is a continuation/sequel to Murder at the Manor, which you should probably read before this one.|
Last time, the readers failed to stop the murderer. But fear not, for you shall have another chance. If you think you know who did it, and how, PM me your explanation, and if it is correct, the story will finish early on a ... less dead note.
Hints and Tips to the Mystery Genre
If you are not interested in solving the crime, just enjoy the story. Feel free to discuss in the thread who you think might be the murderer/s and how they are doing it C:
By Waters Deep -1-
- Quote :
- They say the police investigation was sloppy. The killer got away because they paid out the cops. The forensics missed something. The lawyers got away with murder. It's a conspiracy. It's got to be.
Where is my husband?
Why are they dead.
Rain. The wipers are going as fast as they can and I can still barely see the road. The headlights show only the water crashing in front of me.
Where is my wife?
Why are they dead.
Thirteen bodies. Poisoned, suffocated, drowned, stabbed, shot bodies.
It was a conspiracy. We should have stopped them. We should have known.
Where is my boyfriend? Girlfriend? Child?
Why didn't you get a conviction?
Why are they dead.
I slow down to check the map, but it's the next left, not this one. A car passes me. I hope they know where they are going.
News. Scandal. Outrage. Apologies.
But it's never enough.
Why are they dead.
It's never a question. The police they say, the police should know. It's been a week. How can there be no leads?
This turn? I can't really see the sign, but the GPS is telling me it's the right one.
Some of the families hired their own detectives. The police must be hiding something. They claimed we tampered with the crime scene. These were clues the police discarded. These were clues we missed. This evidence was wasting everyone's time, because the real facts were here.
Why are they dead.
It's a conspiracy.
The police are useless.
Rubbish. We knew who did it. And that was the worst part.
I wish the radio is this car worked. Stupid rental.
The phone call I had made had been copied and checked, again and again. Even authenticated by the girl's own parents, much to their grief. This girl, Kit, claimed that eight people had died. She had shot a ninth, a woman named Selene, who she thought was the killer. At the time, that had made sense. If there had only be two survivors, one could naturally assume she was the murderer.
Then she was dead. I remember those two shots.
We called the coastguard again, and made haste. When they arrived at the pier, they explained to us the situation back at the precinct.
I, a younger member of the team, didn't arrive until later the next day. At that time, the crime scenes had been tagged and photographed countless times, and forensics was already busy comparing samples. Thirteen bodies had been bagged and were being prepared for transport.
Matching up the scenes with the phone call, I checked them out, followed by someone from forensics, who introduced himself to me as Stuart. A stabbing, a drowning, a poisoning. A man who had been given sleeping pills had been strangled in his sleep.
But the fifth crime scene had no corpse. Stuart explained that the blood I saw on the floor was jam, and that the room, while trashed, showed no sign of a struggle. They had recovered a knife blade hidden behind the bed, snapped off from it's handle.
I didn't need to hear any more explanation. According to the phone call, this was the murder of the one who called herself Alicia.
The next five were, one speared by a sword, two who still had swords in them when they were found, and the last two, as I had already known, had been shot.
It certainly looked like a serial killing. And it wasn't altogether too hard to find a killer. Alicia Fenbrook certainly left evidence that she had been here, and the phone call certainly named her as the “victim” of the fifth crime scene. In fact, from there it should have been easy.
We detained Ms Fenbrook. She called her lawyer. And then it got difficult.
I wasn't there, but I heard the details later the same night when Stuart rang me. He thought I would have wanted to know. Apparently, DNA evidence counted for nothing, because seeing as she lived there, it could easily have been everywhere.
“The phone call” I said, “the one naming her as a victim. How are they going to explain away that as well?”
“They have two explanations Miles, can you believe it?”
“Two? Go on.”
“The first, being that there was another person who called herself Alicia. Kit herself didn't know her last name. Unfortunately, as it is, it's completely possible.”
“...” Well. It's not like I hadn't thought of that possibility myself. It would have been easy to frame Alicia or her husband simply by doing a little research. However, no matter how possible, there had been no evidence of anyone being on the island other than the people whose corpses we had already recovered.
“And the second being that Kit was the killer, blamed it on her, and killed herself.”
“....What? But that's impossible. You couldn't shoot yourself twice like that, the gunshot wounds don't match the story.”
“Yeah, we explained that to them. But, as I said, the first explanation can still be true. I should warn you though, it gets worse.”
“How can it get worse?”
“She has an alibi. Several, apparently.”
I swore. She had been arrested on suspicion in the afternoon, which gave us just over a day left to hold her as a suspect. Basically, if we couldn't get any hard evidence that she did it by then, we'd have to let her go.
That wasn't the problem of course. The problem was the 'several' alibis. Each would require manpower and time to check out, co-ordinate stories, and find if any of them were lying. If we failed to do this by the time she got released, then Alicia could just leave to a country we couldn't extradite from.
Essentially the wall the police have run into is this; either we release her because we have no evidence at that time, or we charge her with murder, and hope to have the evidence necessary by the time it's required. And while the second option sounds better, if we fail to find any evidence, then we'll have to pay compensation and apologize for wasting the time of a high-powered socialite.
“You still there?” Oops. Nearly forgot that I was talking to Stuart.
“Yeah. Thinking it through.”
“In case you didn't know, they haven't found the murder weapon used to kill Selene and Kit. Richard's gun. We're searching the water nearby, but I have to say, we're not hopeful about finding anything.”
I didn't need to hear that. I did know that it had been the murder weapon already, and considering the size and publicity of this serial killing, it didn't surprise me that the killer had hidden the murder weapon. In fact, even if we had found it, it would have probably been wiped to have only the incorrect prints on it anyway.
“And... Richard's phone is missing. It's been switched off, so we can't triangulate it. At this point, we assume it was dumped into the ocean.”
Alicia was released, and the tabloids exploded. The investigation was left open and I was assigned to head it, but that was for show. We held no real hope to pin the crime on Alicia, we lacked evidence. After all the tragedy and damage, we still managed to lack evidence.
Journalists simultaneously blamed her, and claimed she was framed. Families began to blame the police for not catching the killer, and I who had been put in charge, was the one who had to field all those questions. And the papers eventually began running some sly personal attacks against me, claiming that 21 was too young to be a detective and lead an investigation, that my investigation must have missed something, that our research was narrow or corrupted or some other junk. I had been briefed on what I was allowed to share and what not, and that only helped make it worse.
Private detectives were called in by families wanting answers. These guys were horrible people, only caring about how much they were getting paid and what they could spend while “investigating”. They blamed everyone, drew conclusions that couldn't exist, and one even fabricated 'evidence found at the scene of the crime'. Each time they found something, I would get harassed again.
That's not to say I wasn't still investigating myself. Her motive was plain; reduce the property value of the island with a serial killing, buy it off her ex-husband, and then mine the gold she had discovered herself. Alicia claimed to have had the funds necessary without reducing the value, but, she was the main suspect.
The odd bit about the gold, was that the cyanide used for testing samples for the presence of it was found at the scene of the crime by the dig site. Alicia didn't buy the island until after the murders. Was it possible that she killed them not just to lower the value, but to force her ex-husband to sell before he knew the true value of the estate?
I followed the trail made by the cyanide, which was purchased from a supplier called Industrial Chemicals Ltd. I spoke to the manager over the phone, and he told me there was nothing at all strange about ordering cyanide to test for gold. When I asked him to search Fenbrook in his sales database however, the search returned nothing. So instead, he searched by the size of the order, which was in my notes from the crime scene investigation.
Where normally the computer would have filled in the name of the purchaser and the rep who made the sale, it just noted special order. Upon searching, and finding the hard copy of the order however, the manager told me it was signed by one of the owners, Frederick Werthmann, but that he had purchased it himself.
I thanked the manager for his time, and started going through what files the police had on Werthmann.
I had been driving for about four hours now, to the last known address of Frederick Werthmann. With each hour the rain had more-or-less doubled, and now that I was only a short distance from Werthmann's self-titled estate, it was an absolute downpour. On the seat next to me was some of my notes, and a set of house keys.
House keys because Werthmann had been declared legally dead two years ago. The house had passed ownership to a man named Radley James, of no acquaintance apparently with the deceased. Normally this would not have warranted a house visit, one could see how a dead man would be a dead end for an investigation.
However, three days ago, Richard's cell phone had been turned on temporarily, and the police had triangulated its location within four kilometers. The Werthmann Estate was the only building in that area.
And now the rain was coming down heavily, and the only person I had seen since the town 30 minutes ago was a car who had passed me, presumably on the way to the quarry that was a further 20 minutes past the estate. The estate was close, and I wasn't sure whether it would be better to find something, or nothing at all.
There was a car with hazard lights flashing on the side of the road. Sighing, I pulled over behind it. The rain pounded me as I got out of the car, walked over to the driver's door and knocked on the window, which wound down to reveal a man sitting behind the wheel and a female passenger beside him.
“You guys all right?” Silly question, I know.
“Car's stuffed mate” replied the man. “Couldn't give us a lift back to town?”
“Well...” Immediately I'm on the back foot. It's getting late as it is, I don't really want to get another hour behind schedule.
“No good?” asked the woman. Now I feel bad.
“Look, if you don't mind a detour on the way, I can take you back. I'm late as it is, and if you understand, ferrying you back to town would put me another hour behind schedule.”
“You're not going to the quarry are you?” asked the man. “Although, if you are...”
“No, actually, I'm going to the Werthmann estate for a quick uhh... visit.”
“C'mon James. You really want to sit here all night? Thanks, we'll take the offer.”
I stood back to allow the man, I mean James, out of the car. I'm glad they decided quickly. The rain is soaking through my clothes already, and I haven't been outside for two minutes yet. We dashed back to my car, and the two of them piled into the backseat. Doors shut, engine started, and I was off again.
“So, you're a copper then Miles?” James had been flicking through my notes in the backseat.
“Yes.” I wasn't really impressed him looking through my notes for my name, seeing as how my badge was hanging off the rear vision mirror in plain sight.
“The Fenbrook case huh. Nice to see someone is still investigating, I suppose.”
“It's my job.”
“Who do you think did it?” asked the woman with James, who had introduced herself as Sarah.
“Everyone has their opinions” I deflected.
“But what about your opinion Miles? Off the record of course.” I'll assume she was smiling when she said that.
“Personally... I think Alicia did it.”
“Who cares?” remarked James. “It doesn't affect any of us.”
“Quiet James, it's his job. Miles Ryder, you sound like a man who would go a long distance for something. You are the kind of person who wants to see it resolved, have the murderer locked away right?”
I laughed. “Yes, you could say that.”
The GPS beeped, and I turned left into the Estate. It had no fence of any kind, but I suppose it wouldn't need it, being the only house for a good half-hour it probably owned all the land between the town and the quarry.
The house grew bigger as we drove closer. Get in, have a look, drive these two back to town, have dinner, stay at a motel. That was the plan.
So why on earth was there a van parked outside a house nobody lived in?
Winner of the Team Spirit Award
Number of posts : 201
Age : 30
Location : Auckland, New Zealand
Transforms into : Plot Device
Gender : Male
Registration date : 2009-09-07
|Re: By Waters Deep|
By Zeorymer. 20/08/10, 07:23 am
|By Waters Deep -2-|
- Quote :
- I pulled up beside the van, which was parked outside the front deck. It was white, or possibly grey, and appeared to be unmarked.
I reached my hand out towards the back seat. “Can you pass one of those papers and that pen clipped to the front?” James complied and I marked down the numberplate. It may be we worth checking out later.
“OK. I'm going to check out this van, then head inside. When I've done.. what I came here to do, then I'll take you two back to town.”
“Can we come inside too?” asked Sarah. “We've been sitting in cars for about two hours now, no offense.”
I fished around on the passenger seat through my stuff, found the plastic bag with the house key inside and passed it to Sarah. “Don't go in too far, and I need that key back.”
“How come you have a key?”
“Nobody lives there right now” I explained, “at least, no one should be.”
“And if there is?” said James. Huh, didn't expect him to be concerned.
“Then there would be a police officer very interested in talking to them, right Mr Ryder?” Sarah smiled, then opened her door. The sound of heavy rain immediately filled the car instead of just the dull plunking off raindrops on the roof. James sighed, and left with her.
I hope the house really is empty.
Sarah and James ran through the rain, on to the front deck, unlocked the door and disappeared from view. I watched the front door for a bit, then looked to my right at my first challenge.
The van. Unmarked meant it was a rental, or privately owned. The numberplate might be fake, but I doubt it; if I didn't want to be caught I wouldn't run around with a fake registration, that just becomes unnecessary attention.
The driveway extends beyond where I've stopped, and I can see a smaller building. It's probably a garage, which would mean that the van is parked here because it doesn't belong to this property.
The driver and passenger seats are empty, but it is a van, there is room in the back... better check it out.
I grabbed my phone from the hands-free, my badge and the paper with the numberplate written on it and shoved them into a pocket. It was time to brave the weather.
The rain drenched me almost immediately when I got out of the car. I ran over to the van and double-checked the front seats through the widow, but there really was nobody there. I moved to where the side door was and knocked on it three times. About four seconds later I opened the door to reveal three men and a woman mid-discussion inside a van full of camera equipment and computers.
“But if we do it all tonight, it won't matter at all” said one of the men.
The woman sighed. “You know if we don't finish tonight it'll be difficult to sync shots of it raining with ones where it isn't.”
“I hope I'm not interrupting anything important” I said from the door.
“No, we were just leaving” said the woman to me, then turned to one of the men. “C'mon Aaron, lets get the preliminary stuff over and done with.” The woman, and the man I assume was Aaron, grabbed a large TV camera and got out of the van. I stepped aside to let them pass, and they headed off into the house.
“Hey you, you like being wet? Get in here.”
I obliged. Maybe it was because he was older and his voice seemed to command respect, or maybe it was because I was glad to be getting out of the rain.
“I'm Wolf, this mop here is Kane” He gestured to the man sitting beside him, and I now saw that he had headphones on and wasn't really following the conversation. Wolf elbowed him, he turned to me, grunted, then went back to staring a hole in the side of the van.
“Can I ask what you would be doing out here in the middle of nowhere on a night like this?”
I don't really think it would be wise to say I am following a lead on a serial murderer. “I'm detective Miles Ryder investigating this area based on a confidential tip-off.” I flashed him my police badge.
Wolf looked at me for a few seconds. “...Rumbled. Far too soon. I was hoping to at least get all the inside shots...” He elbowed Kane again. “Go get Holly and Aaron back, we're packing up.” Kane sighed and began to get up.
“Hold on” I said, and pointed to Kane, “You, stay there.” I looked back at Wolf.
“What are you talking about?”
“Do you know the television show 'Ghost Watch'?” Wolf asked me.
“I can't say I do. I don't watch a lot of TV.”
“Oh.” Wolf seemed disappointed. “How about I start from the beginning?”
“Whatever beginning you think seems reasonable.”
“I did a few nature docos for the station. I wasn't the presenter, or the narrator, just the guy behind the scenes who directed everything.”
Kane looks bored. I'm sure it's because he's heard this story before. If he is even listening.
“The public, they flock to the presenter. The presenter gets interviewed, and credited in the tabloid. I don't but, but the people who matter, the exec's, they know. So they say to me 'Wolf, as you know, the other networks are all on about this haunted, paranormal stuff. We need a show to go against them in the same vein, we're wondering if you could do it.' And I agree, it's work.”
“This would be Ghost Watch?”
“Yeah. The producers handed me a crew and we filmed a moderately successful first season last year. I say moderate, but obviously that's because we weren't the first show to do it.”
“We go to old, haunted houses and set up cameras and stuff. Interview people about it. Spend a night inside to see if we can get any ghosts on film. It can be quite exciting. I mean, check out the equipment in here. We've got x-rays, thermal imaging cameras, motion detectors, all sorts of useful things.”
“Ever see any ghosts though?”
“Oh yes, I'm quite the believer, or I wouldn't have agreed to this. Although, production and editing often add things that we didn't originally observe... which kind of pisses me off. But we've had some success with capturing ghosts on recording equipment.... Oh, I see it on your face. You're a sceptic.”
“That's not really what I'm here to discuss with you Mr...?”
“Stone. Wolf Stone.”
“Right... Well Mr Stone, it's not really my business to believe in ghosts. I need evidence.”
“Yes, yes, I understand. It is your job Mr Ryder.” Wolf laughed.
You said you already filmed a first season. Why are you here then?”
“Recently I got asked to start filming the second season. It's in my contract. They've given me a new crew to work with though, so, I'm not sure ratings will increase from this.”
“Understandable... I suppose? I don't really know enough to comment. Anyway, this place is haunted? It wouldn't have been my first pick of location.”
“I assure Mr Ryder, it wasn't mine either. But we did use up a lot of famous haunted locations in the first season, so now it's down to local ghost stories.”
“Right... so back to my first question I suppose... why are you packing up because I'm here?”
“Well, we don't really have permission to be here. Technically, this is trespassing. You turn up saying you got tipped off, we get kicked out and fined a large sum, and I get told off and have my pay cut.”
“I'm not here to arrest you Mr Stone. I'm here on an unrelated matter to your TV show.”
“Yeah but, when you get back you'll have to file a report right? It'll have you meeting us in it, I'm sure.”
“Look, I'm not interested in arresting you for checking an abandoned house out. Look, I'll finish up what I've got to do here, take those two back to town, and come back and supervise for the rest of the night to make sure you're not trying to burn the place down or nick anything.” There goes my night.
“Oh, I picked up two people whose car had broken down. I'm taking them back to town after I finish what I came here for.”
“I won't ask any more Mr Ryder, it's nothing I need to know. Well, why don't we head inside then? I'm sure we both have work that can't wait. Kane, you coming?”
Kane shrugged. “I don't have to set up any gear just yet, I'll just be in here.” He thumbed his music player, probably turning the volume back up.
“Back through the rain Mr Ryder. Off we go.”
“Miles is just fine you know.”
Wolf and I dashed through the rain and through the open front door. From inside the hall, doors were open to my left and right past the entrance and light was streaming into the hall.
To my left was the living room, for Sarah and James were inside stretched out on couch and floor talking quietly.
James saw me in the hall and called out. “Miles, how long until our ride?”
“About fifteen more minutes I should think. Toss me the key.” Sarah reached into her pocket, and tossed me the key in it's plastic bag. “Cheers.” I closed the door and turned back to Wolf, holding the key in my other hand. Something wasn't right.
“Wolf, how were you going to get in?”
“Hmm? What do you mean?”
“This key I'm holding, I picked this up from the council to get into this house. And, I know Sarah unlocked the door before Holly left the van. How were you going to get inside without me?”
Wolf grinned sheepishly at me. I nearly laughed at it. “We uhh... well no use hiding it. We might have just broken in.”
I sighed. “You can be very lucky Wolf.” He laughed.
I looked through the door on the right of the hall to see a dining table, and probably a dining room. Holly was directing Aaron at what to point the camera at.
'Wolf, should we be talking while they are filming?”
“Miles, don't worry about it. Firstly, they haven't got any equipment in there for recording sound efficiently, and secondly, they are just taking preliminary shots of all the rooms that we can voice-over in editing later. The real live filming... well, it won't start until you get back I suppose.”
“Right...well, if you'll excuse me, I need to make a phone call.”
“No problem Miles, you know where to find me after all!” He smiled and headed into the dining room, presumably to talk to Holly or Aaron about something.
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed the precinct.
“Hey Miles! It's Stuart. How can I help you tonight.”
“Stuart? What? I wasn't expecting you.”
“Neither! But I got rotated to 'tech support' tonight.”
“Is that what they are calling it now?”
“Pretty much. Still, beats listening to Erika complain about what I'm doing wrong 24/7. How can I help?”
“Two things, if you can. I need to know who this numberplate is registered to.” I told him the numberplate.
“No problem, I can do that. And the other thing.”
“Well, the power is on here.”
“And that's unusual? I would think most houses have power.”
“And this is why you don't get a raise Stuart. Think a bit. Nobody lives here. The power shouldn't be connected.”
“I suppose that is odd. But I don't see yet what I'm supposed to do. Ring the power company to tell them to turn it off?”
“No... just find out who is paying the power bill. That should be enough information for now.”
“Alright, I can do that. Did you find your murderer yet?”
“No Stuart, I only just got here. I'm hoping to find the phone, not the murderer. I value my life.”
“Well, good luck then.”
“Cheers Stuart. Be quick about it.” I hung up. I hope he doesn't screw up, I was expecting Matthew to be on the other end of that line, and he's reliable. Oh well. I'll make do.
Cold wind made the hair on my neck stand up, and I realized I hadn't shut the front door. One last look at the two vehicles parked outside, then I shut the door. And then checked that it didn't auto-lock, but thankfully it didn't.
I turned around and Holly was there.
“You, you're staying for the live shooting?”
“I guess I am.”
She looked me up and down, tapping her chin and thinking to herself.
“Is there a problem?” I asked. Definitely looked like she had one.
“Kind of... we can't say you're a local, because you certainly aren't one, but you don't look like you work at the quarry either...”
“Darling, for the filming, we need you to have a character. You are going to be on TV, can't have you be yourself too much.”
“Isn't this a reality show though?”
“We're filming ghosts, Mr...”
“Ryder. Miles Ryder.”
“You sound like a man who would go a long way for something Miles.” Holly winked at me.
“So I hear. You were saying about ghosts?”
“Yes, well, ghosts aren't exactly reality television. It's more... fiction, wouldn't you say?”
“I don't believe in ghosts if that's what you're saying.”
“I wonder if we could run you as an out-of-town paranormal sceptic... specially called in. We'll give you a fake name and credentials of course.”
“Excuse me? Does Wolf know you're doing this?”
“Of course he knows darling, this is television. It would be awkward for viewers if a cop turns up one episode to watch us, but not the rest.... I suppose this means we'll have to run sceptics in other locations, but that's not too big a problem.” It seemed as though she was talking more to herself than to me. “I'm sure we can get one of the editing team to do it...”
I checked my watch. 6:15. This was going to be one long night.
“Shall I give you a quick fact list about the house and area?” Holly was talking to me again. Wow. She seemed to slip between thinking aloud and conversation so naturally.
“It can wait. I'll be back in about 30 to... 45 minutes.
Holly nodded. “The live shooting won't begin until about 8pm anyway, you don't have to rush.” Nearly two hours? Maybe I could grab something to eat before I returned.
Holly turned and went back into the dining room. I opened the door to the living room and whistled at Sarah and James.
“Your ride is leaving now. Coming?”
“Of course...” James looked irritated., but that wasn't really surprising I suppose. He probably had plans that had been all ruined by this detour.
The three of us ran back through the rain and piled haphazardly into my car. Lights flared, engine started, and we were off, back onto the main road and driving through the night.
I had only been driving a few minutes when I saw what happened to the road and threw my foot hard onto the brake pedal. The tires screeched on the wet road and the car slid to a stop.
“What's wrong?” asked Sarah from the back seat. “I think we parked a bit further from here.”
“Look” I said, pointed at the road in front of me. Or, what was in front of me.
James opened his door, and so did I. The sound of rain could be heard, but this time, there was a more deafening sound. The sound of rapidly moving water.
“I'm sure I parked beyond this dip” said James, “I don't want to find out my car got washed away by that. Oh god I'm sure I parked beyond this dip.”
Looking did us no further good, and we both got back into the car. Sarah asked us what we saw. I answered.
“The road is blocked Sarah. It's just a river right now.”
“So what do we do?”
“I suppose we go back to the Werthmann Estate and spend the night there. We can't cross this while it's still raining at any rate.”
Sarah sighed and leaned back in the seat. James kicked the chair of the passenger seat.
“Don't do that.”
Winner of the Team Spirit Award
Number of posts : 201
Age : 30
Location : Auckland, New Zealand
Transforms into : Plot Device
Gender : Male
Registration date : 2009-09-07