The Story of Silence

Silence Mourner is like every other person out there, but not every person is like Silence.

The story starts in the small, Italian village of Paura where Father Demetre finds a four-year-old boy in the snow beside three fresh graves. A mystery surrounds the boy, who is he? What was he doing out there alone in the cold? How did he get there? Whose graves are they? And finally, why can the boy no longer speak? Faced with these problems, Father Demetre takes the boy in and with the help of the village doctor, they care for him until a stranger from New York comes to claim him.

Now named Silence Mourner, follow this boy's road to manhood in the distant city of New York where he has slowly come to forget his secret, but his silence serving as a reminder that it should never be told. Now faced with a girl from his youth who is determined to bring it into the light, will it stay concealed, or will his desire to remember bring it all out?

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13. Chapter 13

Sunday, March 12th, 3:00 AM:

A phone rang in the bedroom of Inspector James Holland, known to every officer of the entire police force in the country, as Dastardious Hollow.

A hand reached out from under the large pile of sheets on the bed, and picking up the phone from the bedside table placed it against the side of the head that had emerged.

‘Hello?’ growled Dastardious sleepily as he reached out another hand and turned on the lamp beside his bed, sitting up as he did so. He was a handsome man, in a tough fierce way, and he didn’t look to be the sort of man you would trifle with. His hair was dark brown which matched his eyes, which were still closed even though he was awake.

As he listened to the nervous voice on the other end of the line he grinned broadly, the light from his lamp illuminating only part of his face, making it appear strange and wicked.

It was his name that brought about how people talked to him. Well, it was his reputation that brought upon the name, and everybody dreaded hearing his name because it meant that the actual person was close behind.

Dastardious Hollow was known all over the station not for the fact that he got results, or how he got results and solved cases, but for the fact that he once cracked.

It was a long story and he was supposedly better now, but the memory of how he acted and the appearance he gave off still was enough to make most of the station fear that he wasn’t actually better and that they would be next.

After the…accident…that killed his wife and daughter, Dastardious lost it. He decided that he didn’t care about whether he lived or died, or if any of the people he knew lived or died. So when he got called in to help with a hostage situation, he went straight to the source of the trouble with the aim in mind to put a stop to it or die trying.

With the seven hostages in peril of losing their lives and the killer starting to lose his head with the tension of a cop ignoring his cries to stop and heading towards him, the cops on the ground had to act and rush in. This resulted in not only the death of Dastardious’s partner, Jimmy Craig, who Dastardious shot himself so that Craig wouldn’t drag him away, but in the death of the killer and his seven hostages.

After that Dastardious was brought in and arrested for recklessness in the call of duty, and murder. Despite being the best, the Commissioner had to let him go and he was taken to Stateside Penitentiary where he was kept under the close watch of various doctors for two years.

As the amount of unsolved crimes grew higher and higher the Commissioner couldn’t bear to be without his best man and ordered Dastardious’s release.

After the end of a careful interview with him the Commissioner decided that Dastardious could return, and promoted him back to his old rank of Inspector.

They started calling him ‘Dastardious Hollow’ when it became apparent that he had come back to the force a dastard and seemed to hold not a care in the world for anyone or thing.

So unlike the Commissioner who was happy on having Dastardious back, the station wasn’t as Dastardious seemed to blame and hate everybody. They’ve all been on tight terms since with every one of the opinion that Dastardious would one day crack again, as he sometimes showed signs of doing. The questions being when, and who would suffer next from being in the way?

So Dastardious liked his nickname, he felt it spoke true of what he was, and so did everybody else. He didn’t mind it when people called him ‘Dastardious’, in fact he preferred it to his real name.

‘Suck it up, Whimsy, and just read me the damn order!’ Dastardious barked suddenly into the phone, tired of hearing Officer Paul Whimsy on the other end of the line stuttering nervously. He sat up further in bed and opened his eyes as Officer Whimsy reached the point of the conversation.

Pulling out a pen and a sheet of paper from a drawer he wrote down the address that he had just been told.

‘All right,’ he replied, all sleep gone from his voice as he dropped the pen and glanced at the watch on his wrist. ‘Give me half an hour. And the scene had better be as it was found!’

He dropped the phone back down onto the table, and pulling the covers back, hopped out of bed. He stretched, and then moved off into the bathroom, returning a short moment later and started pulling on some clothes. Picking up his phone and keys and the address from the table he left his room.

In the early hours of the morning it was quiet as he drove to the address he had tapped to his window. As he drove through the near empty streets he didn’t think of it as being early morning because it was still dark. For him, early didn’t come till after the sun had been up for five hours.

Pulling his car into the street that Whimsy had told him to go to he drove down it slowly. He pulled to a stop a couple of houses down from the scene of the crime and turned off the engine.

It was easy to pick the house since it had been cornered off by yellow tape, and there were officers standing around to make sure that no-one got through that wasn’t allowed to. Various police cars and a couple of vans were also parked on the street, and one silver Mitsubishi that Dastardious recognised.

Opening his door he stepped out into the cool, wet morning and started surveying the houses on the street. They were all the same, he noted. All with one car garages, two stories and a short driveway up from the street and a bit of lawn on the front. Each house had a fence separating each property from the next, low enough with enough footholds for a man to climb over.

As he was dressed in plain clothes, an officer behind the tape stopped him as he made to go under it.

‘No persons behind this line, sir. Please turn around and head back to your car. There is nothing to see here,’ the officer told him blankly.

Surprise crossed Dastardious’s face as the officer held out a hand against his chest to prevent him moving any further forward, he wasn’t used to being mistaken for a civilian. He looked down at the hand on his chest, and then at the face of the officer, a grim look on his face that told the man to remove his hand this instant.

The officer slowly lowered his hand as Dastardious reached into his pocket and pulled out his badge. He flashed it in front of the man’s face, noting with an evil smile the officer’s face droop with horror as he read the name on the badge.

Dastardious then bent underneath the tape which the man held up and continued up the path to the door, still grinning as he imagined what the officer was probably thinking right at the moment. He could have made the young officers life even harder by saying something, but he was tired and there was a job to do.

Turning the handle of the front door, which turned without resisting, he opened the door and walked in. Inside the hall light was on and Dastardious followed it along to where he could see another light shining up from a room underneath a set of stairs. He pulled open the other door and looked down; he could see a grey concrete floor with four long, thin brown tables resting upon it. From where he stood he couldn’t see what was on the tables, but as he headed down the wooden steps he could see they were covered in various tools and glass bottles. Some pieces of machinery lay scattered around in positions among the tools and glass bottles, all clean and looking brand new.

Walking over he gave the machinery a closer look, but was unable to figure out what it was used for. It looked like some sort of computer, but none that he’d ever seen before, and there was no monitor for it.

Shrugging, he turned away and surveyed the rest of the room, noting that the other people in the room hadn’t noticed him walk in. Either that or they were just ignoring me, he thought as he caught sight of a man across the room busy writing in a notepad, he recognised the man to be Inspector Charles Emerson Earl.

‘What’ve we got, Earl?’ Dastardious asked, ignoring the now sudden interest as people noticed him as he walked over. He presumed that as Earl was another inspector like himself that he was the person in charge for the moment.

Earl looked up from his pad in surprise at hearing Dastardious’s voice.

‘I didn’t hear you come in, you only just arrived?’ he asked as he flicked his notepad shut and tucked it away into a breast pocket.

Dastardious nodded and continued walking past, heading for a closed, metal door on the other side of the basement.

‘Careful!’ called Earl behind him as he started to turn the handle on the door. ‘It’s not a pretty sigh-‘

Dastardious heard Earl start to call after him as he pushed open the door and entered.

The room hadn’t been cleaned as it had only been discovered, so everything was just as it had been found. The putrid smell of two bodies -male and female- that lay spread out on the tables in the middle of the room was overpowering in the air.

By the looks of it the bodies had been dissected, cut open down the chest and had their insides removed. On closer look you could see their inside sitting in glass jars, the jars were sitting on a separate table on wheels near to the bodies.

Both bodies were naked with leather straps for keeping them down on their feet, and their hands which had been placed above their heads. Their eyes gazed unseeing up and seemed to stare at Earl as he walked in.

‘Is this what I’ve been called in for?’ asked Dastardious, standing off to Earl’s right.

Earl turned at the sound of Dastardious’s voice; he’d forgotten that Dastardious was even in the room because the bodies had taken his attention. And he was shocked to see him leaning casually against one of the bloodstained wall, calmly smoking a cigar.

He nodded dumbly, still in shock. He had expected Dastardious to run out shortly after entering the room and throw up, after all, everyone else had. He hadn’t expected to find the man leaning against the bloody wall, obviously not caring, and smoking a cigar.

‘Huh,’ muttered Dastardious, taking his cigar out of his mouth and placing it into the parted lips of the male body before pushing past Earl and leaving the room.

Earl watched Dastardious’s retreating back with a little surprise; he hadn’t expected him to just leave either.

‘Aren’t you going to stay?’ he called after Dastardious as he hurried after him.

‘And do what?’ was the reply from up the stairs.

‘Find out what’s going on!’ cried Earl as he finally caught up with Dastardious.

‘I already know what’s going on, and that family in there ain’t doing much!’

‘But aren’t you shocked at such a crime, Dastardious? Something like this doesn’t happen that often.’

‘Well the last time it happened…’ Dastardious stopped and paused, ‘I’m fairly certain I was there.’ He resumed walking until he was out of the house, bending under the tape which the same officer held up as soon as he saw him coming.

‘Call in Caprice, I know he’s back in town and he does this sort of investigation more than I do. I’m more the sort of ‘chase the bad guys, shoot ‘em down when they don’t obey my orders and go home and have a drink’ person,’ he continued to Earl.

‘Caprice is busy, and you do get to chase bad guys in this case!’ Earl had to run to keep up with Dastardious’s long strides. He was shorter than Dastardious, and so Dastardious had to look down when he stopped in the middle of the road, much to the annoyance of a driver that had just backed out of his driveway and wanted to leave. The driver beeped at them but Dastardious ignored him.

‘Listen, Earl, I heard the owner of this house died yesterday, and as those bodies were inside his house, I’m guessing he committed the murders. Now, if he’s dead, I cannot chase after him. I won’t chase after a guy who won’t respond when I shoot him in the chest!’

The driver of the Ute continued to beep and Dastardious gave him the finger.

‘Unfortunately, Dastardious, you’ve already been assigned to this case as per request by another officer.’

‘What?!’ cried Dastardious angrily, ‘who?’

‘Me!’ replied Earl.

‘Why?’ asked Dastardious, at a loss to think that somebody would actually request him to take over an investigation.

‘I have had enough of this sort of thing! Bloody bodies everywhere you look. Suspects and witnesses unwilling to cooperate! I’ve had enough. I’m going on holiday and somebody needs to be on the case. You get results -though your methods can be quite unorthodox sometimes- so I suggested you. The DA agreed.’

Dastardious glared at him, puffing silently on his cigar while he thought. Finally he let out a sigh of defeat and a cloud of smoke.

‘Fine. What’s been done so far?’

‘You’ll need to check with Kingstains, he’s in charge of the bodies, he should be looking at them now, other than that, nothing.’

‘Great!’ Dastardious exclaimed, even angrier now than he had been before. ‘Nothing’s even been done!’ He sighed again. ‘All right, anything else I need to know?’

Earl nodded and proceeded to tell him about the break-in, Simon Finnegan, the room upstairs and how the room in the basement had been discovered.

Dastardious nodded when Earl had finished. ‘Okay, I got it.’

‘Good, have fun with it,’ Earl told him, giving the driver of the Ute a quick glance as the man started to hop out from his car to walk over. He turned back and gave Dastardious a curt nod. ‘Good luck,’ he said and then hurried off to his silver Mitsubishi.

Dastardious stood in the damp street, gazing after his retreating body in annoyance at having been placed on a simple murder investigation. And his body and mind hurt was starting to hurt. He tried to ignore it but it was starting to spread through his body, burning him like a fire inside he couldn’t contain. He scratched his left arm irritably. He needed to get home quick, or at least to his car, he always kept a supple hidden under the seat.

The driver walked up to him.

‘I’ve been honking my horn for ages trying to get your attention to get off the damn road!’ He yelled angrily at Dastardious.

Dastardious turned and glared at the man.

‘This is not a good time, mate,’ he told him quietly, ‘now, get lost, you loser.’

‘Why you-!’ The man bunched his hand into a fist and fired a punch at Dastardious.

Dastardious grabbed the arm before it had chance to make contact with his face, and twisted it behind the man’s back. He then spun the man around and ran him forwards until they had reached the car and slammed the man down onto the hood of the car. The man swore and cried out for Dastardious to release him.

Dastardious ignored his pleas and leant down and whispered into the man’s ear.

‘I could break your arm off I’m in such a mood, and if you ever dare to try and punch me again, by golly I will break it and every bone in your hand. This is a threat, and if you go to the police with it, well, tell ‘em it was Dastardious. You won’t get far with your complaint.’ He released the man and strode off to his car, ignoring the man yelling after him.

He reached his car and fumbled with getting the key into the lock because his hands were shaking so much. It finally fitted in and he unlocked the car and hopped in, rolling up the sleeve of his shirt on his left arm after making sure that the driver of the Ute had gone past. Then he reached under the seat for the secret compartment that held his special box.

His breathing quickened and his skin started to become agitated as his fingers fumbled at the metal clasp. He finally got the box open and pulled out the syringe and one of the tiny bottles of clear liquid inside. He emptied the bottle into the syringe and then injected the liquid into his arm. Releasing a sigh of relief, he let his arm fall to his side as he relaxed back into the driver’s seat as the drug took its toll. He sat there for a minute or two enjoying the relief he felt, forgetting momentarily about his surroundings and the load of work that lay before him.

Then somewhere in his mind the haze started to clear and he remembered. He replaced the empty bottle and syringe back into the box, and slid it into the secret compartment. He took another breath to compose himself; he let it out and then headed back to the house.

Dastardious passed through the tape once again and entered the house, the sound of movement and voices were coming from below.

They’d already placed the bodies onto a couple of stretchers and had covered them up for shipping back to the office by the time he’d entered the basement.

He found John Kingstains, the forensic scientist in charge standing over in the eastern corner of the sub-room talking to a couple of men that he didn’t recognise.

‘I see you’ve found another dead guy,’ Dastardious commented just out of something to say as he stopped by Kingstains’s side. He didn’t have anything else to say, he had momentarily forgotten what he was even there for. It was the drugs fault, it messed with his brain, but it felt oh so good. He shook his head in an effort to shake away the lingering fog. He vaguely remembered some questions that he needed to ask, but Kingstains seemed to be ignoring him.

Kingstains finished up his conversation with the other two men of his team and then turned to the waiting Dastardious.

‘Dead ‘guys’,’ he replied to Dastardious’s comment. He walked over to the foot of the stairs and called up for somebody to come down and take away the bodies; then he returned to Dastardious’s side. ‘In fact a male and female,’ he corrected himself.

Dastardious just nodded his head, his head was clearing and he was starting to feel peaceful. It seemed to be taking longer each dose; he’d have to up it.

He was jolted awake as Kingstains poked him hard with the tip of his pen.

‘Are you all right, Dastardious?’ he asked concerned.

Dastardious hurriedly nodded his head. ‘I’m good.’ He cleared his throat. ‘What’s going on?’ he asked, pushing past Kingstains and lifting up the end of the sheet that covered the man’s face. The man’s eyes were still staring up at the ceiling; no-one had considered closing his eyes. He replaced the sheet when a couple of men came down the stairs and lifted up the stretcher and took it away.

‘What do you mean? They’re taking away the bodies,’ Kingstains told him as he watched carefully as Dastardious walked around the room, examining the floor.

‘I mean what do you have so far?’ Dastardious rephrased his question, straightening up he fiddled with one of the tools on the bench.

‘They’re a man and woman, married; you can tell by the pale skin on each of their wedding finger’s where rings have sat. I can’t tell you at the moment if they’re married to each other. They’ve both been surgically taken apart by unskilled hands and had their insides removed and carefully placed in jars. Death seems to have been from their hearts shutting down, I think they were both alive when they were cut open. It’s quite possible that they were drugged to keep quiet, and that the cause of death was their waking up in the middle of it and finding their bodies cut open. I’ll call you once we’ve got more to tell you. Then you can start doing all that stuff you do with investigating murders. Which is what you’ve got to do in case you’ve forgotten,’ Kingstains told him. ‘You’re looking a bit lost.’

‘I know what I’m supposed to do,’ Dastardious growled, angry at Kingstains for noticing him looking lost. The fact that he was an addict from his year in the hospital was Dastardious’s special secret, only he knew about it and so far he’d kept it that way. He hated people nosing into his business, which just angered him more knowing that he was letting off a reason for Kingstains to ask questions.

‘But I can’t do anything until you’ve given me the information about them. I mean, I already know who did the murders, and there is nothing I can do about that ‘cause he’s already dead!’

‘Well, once I know I’ll tell you, okay?’ replied Kingstains gently. ‘I think you should also get some rest as soon as you can, you look like you need it.’ He left Dastardious standing alone in the blood splattered room and marched out of the basement after the rest of his crew.

Dastardious sighed with relief at knowing that Kingstains only thought he was acting sleepy, not because of other reasons. Dastardious was wide awake now; nothing would get him back to sleep.

Now all he had to do was wait for those under him to tell him what they had found and then for him to piece it all together. The main question ‘why were they killed?’ had to be answered. But other questions were also in Dastardious’s head. Who was Joseph Amerigo? Why was Simon Finnegan trying to burgle the place? Why were there two dead people down in Amerigo’s basement? What was the motive for the murder? And was his death murder, or an accident? Well, that was why he was on the job, he’d find out.

He pulled out his phone and dialed the secretary at the Information Center at work; he didn’t care that she would be in bed. He didn’t have a team to tell what to do, he was his own team.

‘I want everything you can find on one Joseph Amerigo, deceased,’ he spoke the moment she had answered, ‘and one Simon Finnegan, still living, and in the custody of the police. As soon as you’ve got it send it to me in an E-mail or a folder or whatever so that I can read it in my own leisure.’ He finished the call without even waiting for her to answer him in anything else besides ‘hello’, and snapped shut his phone and dropped it into his pocket.

Remembering being told of the room in which Simon Finnegan had assaulted the officer, he decided he would check it out. There were things of interest in it so he’d been told. He found the stairs and headed up. Next he found the bedroom and a short moment later stood in the secret room admiring the weapons selection. They had all been catalogued earlier and would be shipped off for further examination later that day.

Dastardious examined the weapons for himself. Most of them were expensive and hard to get, others weren’t so, and they were all illegal to own without a special licence. He quit examining the weapons and moved over to the book case. This was something that interested him more than the guns. Dastardious liked books; he would read whenever he had the time, which he didn’t always have.

Like most of the weapons, some of the books were expensive and probably hard to get. They were old, they were all old Dastardious noted, and he reckoned there was maybe a million dollars or more just in those books. There weren’t many in the shelves, maybe one hundred books in one shelf, and they weren’t all full shelves. There were huge gaps which at a closer look at some of the books; Dastardious decided the spaces were for the rest in the series.

One book out of all of them really caught Dastardious’s eye. It was black, and in between thin and really thick. It was a reasonable size for a book. It sat alone, a whole shelf to itself which Dastardious thought was rather strange. There were no markings on it and the first few pages were bare, with only the date written up in the right hand corner of the page. The date was the same for each page and it wasn’t till the fifth page that the date started changing, and still the pages remained blank.

Dastardious carried the book out of the room and then stuffed it into his coat so that no one would notice him taking it out of the house before heading back to his car. He slid into the seat of his car and placed it down onto the passenger’s seat. It was definitely something interesting to look into.

It was nearly 4:30 when he arrived at his office and handed the book over to ‘the foreign boys’ as Dastardious called those that worked in Forensics. They promised to let him know what they found as soon as they could. He also found on his desk in his office two folders titled Joseph Amerigoand Simon Finnegan.Finnegan’s folder didn’t really interest him at the moment, but Amerigo’s, on the other hand, did.

Kingstains walked in a couple of hours later to find Dastardious bent over a folder and muttering things under his breath, and giving off the occasional whistle.

‘Found something interesting?’ he asked.

Dastardious didn’t jump at the sudden sound of voice, instead he glanced up, his eyes blank of anything that would betray what he had been reading.

‘Do you want something?’ he asked coldly as Kingstains hadn’t said anything else. ‘Or are you just here to watch when you should be doing something?’

Kingstains ignored the last part. ‘Yes, I’ve written a report of my diagnostic of the victims.’ He placed a folder onto Dastardious’s desk; who took it and flipped through it before placing it back down on his desk.

‘Anything else?’ Dastardious asked.

‘I’m presuming you mean about the book?’

Dastardious nodded.

‘We’re still working that out. If it’s been written in secret ink we’ll crack it,’ Kingstains told him confidently.

‘I want that book cracked as soon as possible; if that book holds what I think it holds, well…’ Dastardious’s voice trailed off with a whistle.

‘What do you think it holds?’

Dastardious smiled knowingly, ‘The answers to a lot of unsolved cases.’ He turned back to reading the file he had been reading before.

Kingstains turned and left when Dastardious made no more comment about the book. Dastardious looked up and watched him leave with blank eyes. His thoughts were elsewhere.

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