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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15. Chapter 15

Sunday, midmorning:

Midmorning arrived with a break of coffee for Dastardious Hollow, and he felt that he needed it. His desk was now littered with various folders of information about Amerigo and Finnegan, and he was busy sorting through information that may have linked them both together.

As far as he could work out the men had never actually met each other, yet he felt that there should be some sort of connection, like a friend who knew both of them. But all he could gather was that Amerigo was a normal man, who lived a normal life, and Finnegan had a record of multiple charges of robbery, drugs, and a couple of charges of association to murder. Yet Amerigo was the one with the bodies in his basement.

Could they have been planted by Finnegan? Could that have been what he was doing in the house? Nothing had been stolen that they could find, so it did give a reason of why Finnegan had been in the house. But then what was the reason for planting the bodies in the house of a dead man?

Dastardious placed down the piece of paper he was holding and took a sip from his coffee and watched the people on the other side of the glass door move as they went about their business.

He replaced his mug of coffee back over the ring that had been created from an earlier spill, and even though he was on duty and technically not allowed to, he lit a cigar and started to smoke.

As he was taking a puff a messenger walked into his office and placed a letter down onto the desk. Before Dastardious could say anything though, the man swept out of the room without even looking at him.

He took his cigar out of his mouth and placed it in the full ashtray that sat next to a sheet of blotting paper on his desk, and then he eyed the envelope sitting in front of him. He didn’t trust envelopes. They caused paper cuts, which were just as bad as he was in a bad mood. He reached out gingerly to touch it, then drew his hand back and yelled out an order to the officer stationed at the desk outside of his office. The young man walked in nervously and stood to attention.

‘Open this, letter, and tell me what it says,’ commanded Dastardious, leaning back into his chair and replacing his cigar into the corner of his mouth.

The officer picked up the envelope and opened it. Yelping and dropping the letter on the desk as the paper cut into his finger, and a line of blood appeared in the cut. The corners of Dastardious’s mouth twitched upwards in a wicked grin seen through the smoke of his cigar. He knew that would happen.

‘Suck it up, Whimsy, don’t you dare bleed over my desk! And read the letter, I don’t have all day,’ he ordered sharply, enjoying seeing Whimsy quiver as he picked up the letter and proceeded to read aloud what it said. He got barely halfway through before Dastardious jumped to his feet, and with his eyes shining, grabbed his coat and hat hanging near the door and ran out of the room.

Whimsy’s shoulders seemed to droop and he let out a small sigh as he returned the letter to its envelope. He thanked his lucky star that all he’d had to do was open and read a letter, because as bad as a paper cut was, it wasn’t as bad as being in the same room as a cop killer.

Simon Finnegan was seated at a large, metal table in a closed off room. The room’s walls were covered in mirrors so every tiny movement he made he could see from every angle. The door behind him clicked as it was unlocked and then it swung open, and closed and clicked again. Simon didn’t need to turn around to see who had entered; the mirrors reflected every movement of the man as he walked past Simon and seated himself in the chair opposite him, turning on the desk lamp as he did so.

Simon didn’t recognise the man, but the man seemed to know who he was because he started the conversation by saying Simon’s name.

‘So, Simon, is it Finnegan? That’s the name you gave to the police when you were arrested, is that really your name?’

‘I’m not saying anything until I get a lawyer,’ growled Simon. He had been placed in this room shortly after he had been arrested; he hadn’t been allowed to leave the room to go to the bathroom, or do anything. He was too tired for any more questions. Every time he’d been about to sleep someone would come in and ask him a bunch of questions the man before him had just asked.

‘Oh, come now, no need to be awkward. I just want to know if it’s your real name,’ the man replied jovially with a smile.

‘Why don’t you tell me?’

‘Because I asked you to tell me,’ the man replied, his voice turning cold. ‘I’ll ask again. Is Simon Finnegan your real name?’

Simon shrugged casually, ignoring the tone the man had taken. ‘Could be,’ he replied as he stifled a yawn.

The man before him gritted his teeth; Simon could see the temper in him rising. Then the man surprised him by suddenly becoming calm. He sat back in a relaxed manner with one arm over the back of his chair, and by the light of the lamp Simon saw him flash a smile as he flicked through pages of a file that had been placed on the desk earlier.

‘Do you want anything?’ Dastardious asked suddenly, sitting up straight.

Simon blinked, surprised. This man was not like any of the others who’d come by and questioned him.

‘I’m going to get a coffee, I’ll bring you one if you’d like, and then we can continue this chat.’ Dastardious got to his feet without waiting for a reply and left the room.

Simon smiled; he knew what was happening now, he was back on familiar ground. They were trying the ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine on him. But what was weird was that the only question he had been asked had been if Simon Finnegan was his real name.

His eyes roamed the room while he waited for the man to return. He had fully explored it when he’d entered. Of course, he hadn’t left his seat and poked around the mirrors, somebody could be watching on the other side and they might guess that he was nervous if he was checking for bugs and two-way mirrors. He wasn’t really nervous though, they had nothing to stick to him.

The room was square, eight by eight feet, with a table in the middle and two chairs seated at it, one taken up by Simon. A grey tilled floor and grey ceiling gave the room a gloomy look, especially as the main source of light was the lamp on the desk. There was a light on the roof which was on for most of the time, but it had been turned off shortly before the new cop had entered.

A couple of minutes later Dastardious returned carrying two disposable foam cups filled with flat whites. He placed them down on the table and then took his seat. Leaning casually back he took a sip of his coffee.

‘Oh that’s good,’ he murmured as he let out a contented sigh.

‘Now you’re going to tell me, Mr Finnegan,’ he began slowly, ‘what you were doing on the night of the 12th, -it was a Sunday in case you’ve forgotten, this morning- in the house of deceased, Joseph Amerigo.’

‘I repeat, as I have said to the rest of the men you sent in here earlier, I’m not saying anything until I have a lawyer,’ Simon told him, somewhat rattled that instead of another cop he’d received the same one. Maybe this meant that they weren’t going to try ‘Good Cop, Bad Cop’.

‘Lawyers are just as crooked as crooks and policemen. I am a policeman, Mr Finnegan; I have done my fair share of robberies and committed my fair share of murder. I am a crook and I know another one when I see one,’ Dastardious replied calmly, as he took another sip of his coffee. He still held on to the other cup he had brought in with him. ‘Now, will you tell me what you were doing?’

‘I wasn’t doing anything in this guy Amerigo’s place. I was outside of it on my way home and taking a short cut through a neighbouring property when that old man hit me in the guts with that baseball bat of his. And believe me; I will press charges on him. And you for unlawfully arresting me!’ Simon yelled loudly, bringing both hands down hard onto the table with a bang. It shook, vibrating the coffee in the cups.

Dastardious looked at Simon’s hands. They were both handcuffed.

‘I see. Well,’ he began, getting to his feet and handing the other cup of coffee to Simon. ‘I hope you’ve told somebody else about what you were doing that night instead of keeping quiet like you were with me in here.’ He reached the door, and then pulled out the black book and waved it so that Simon caught sight of it.

‘It’s a pity I found the book in the shelf instead of on you,’ he commented sadly as he replaced the book. ‘Enjoy the coffee.’

The door closed behind Simon, but he didn’t hear the click of the lock. A moment later another officer entered and unlocked his handcuffs.

‘All right, sir, you’re free to go. Sorry for any inconveniences.’

Simon rubbed his wrists to get the circulation running as he got to his feet. The officer held open the door for him and Simon left, leaving his cup of coffee untouched.

Of course, Dastardious couldn’t prove that Simon was inside the house and had been the one that had broken in, Simon had been caught outside of it. No-one had seen him enter, and no-one had seen him leave.

Frank Miller had said that he’d seen a light on in the house, and when the police arrived no lights were on. But then that young officer had been knocked on the head in that secret room, so who had done that?

Dastardious knew it must have been Simon, but there was no actual witness to have seen him enter the house or leave it. And that guess that Simon had been looking for the black book was only a guess as well. Dastardious couldn’t prove it, not yet anyway, but the way Simon had looked, the slight widening of his eyes, that proved it for Dastardious that he had been looking for a book. He would just have to find the man that had hired Simon. He didn’t think that Simon would have broken into the house if somebody hadn’t paid him to do it, his file had said that Simon was a hired thief. He would tell somebody what he did and give him a number, and then the news of him would spread like that. He’d been arrested before for things he had been caught at. The problem was where to start?

Dastardious took the elevator back up to his office and shut the door behind him once he’d reached it. He needed to go through the lists of Finnegan’s associates and see if they matched up with any of Amerigo’s. He hadn’t done that yet and he figured that it was a good way to start. Also he needed to get that information about the murdered couple from Kingstains and get to work on that.

It was at moments like this that he wished he had a partner, or a team to lay this work on so he didn’t have so much to do, but then he remembered there were reasons why he didn’t have a partner or a crew. His previous partner had unfortunately died, and teams were too scared to work with him. He’d had one once, shortly after his partner Michael had died, but the team had been too scared to work properly and they had gotten nowhere, so he’d gotten rid of them. They hadn’t trusted him anyway, and he didn’t blame them for that.

The team was still around somewhere, he could probably ask one of them to help him out. He mused over what they would say to him if he asked them to find some information for him as he took his cold coffee to the kitchen area and poured it down the drain.

He imagined they would shut the door in his face, that would be their first reaction, but he actually doubted they would do that. It would have been what they felt like doing, but they wouldn’t really.

Still pondering what they would do if he went to them, he headed back over to the elevator. He needed to see Kingstains, everything else he’d just been learning about Amerigo and Finnegan would have to wait, there were other things he needed to investigate. And who the bodies were might shed previously unseen light on the situation. At least he hoped anyway.

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