The moon was absent in the sky tonight and it seems that the stars have gone missing too, the owls hooted from every window of the humongous, brick building, in one of tiny, rooms of this building, school supplies were strewn across the white rug and it was a hot spring night so the windows were open. The room was a shade of navy blue with matching curtains covering the windows, a bunk bed was next to a desk that held a computer, textbooks and purses and backpacks were strewn across the ocean blue rug. Two teenage pajama-clad girls were sitting together on a single bed quizzing each other biology questions. It was spring break and the girls decided to strip off their uniforms and wear their casual clothes for the whole break; most of the students were either on vacation trips with their families or relaxing at home while some students decided to sojourn at the school and hang around to finish some schoolwork. To many of the pupils, they felt it really was unnecessary to give assignments over the spring reprieve. Why is it called a spring break if everyone receives boatloads of work? No one would ever find out. Tick! Tock! Tick! Time was flying and it felt like dawn was going to break any minute.
“Amelia, should we get some rest now?” asked one of the girls as she untangled her blonde haystack of hair. “It’s been forever since we slept and I think we studied enough.” The other girl looked at her wooden wall clock to see that the black hands indicated that it was five minutes past midnight.
“Maybe just another twenty minutes.” said Amelia her swollen, bloodshot eyes returned to the textbook. “I mean this really is a major grade and you know how hard Mr. Quattrochi is on the both of us.”
“True. Mr. Quatrochi loves everyone except us and we are always the ones that ‘mess everything up’ but really we can’t stay up in a stifling night like this .”
“But Ola, I really want to pass –“
“Don’t worry we are going to pass those exams, we have been studying for, like, thirty hours, we haven’t ate or slept at all and I think we deserve it.”
“Fine.” sighed Amelia as she shut the textbook and tossed it across the room. They rose from the disaster of a bed and made it good as but they did not bother to clean up the debris that laid on wooly carpet; they would do it as soon as Monday’s classes were over. Just as they were about to go to the bathroom to brush their teeth; the lights in the room had flickered for a minute but then returned to normal. And again, the lights flashed and buzzed, this time, however, it did not just come from their room but the whole building too and then finally all the power shut off and never came back. Everything was pitch black and silence accompanied the blackness for a very long time. The adolescents were too afraid to speak or move and it seemed that the other occupants in the building too, were scared to make any noises. Everything was frozen in time. All of a sudden, there was a sound of muffled screaming. At first it was ear-piercing but then it quickly died away and there was the sound of a body thudding to the floor.
“Amelia?!” screamed Ola. “What’s going on?!” Then, a moment later, there was a racket of a corpse falling to the floor and of plastic glass and metal clunking to the ground.
“Stupid, freaking - “
“INTRUDER! HOUSEBREAKER! SOMEONE HELP!”
“BANG!” And there was a sound of distant, scurrying footsteps down a hallway. The remaining girl in the room traced her hand on the wall to the nearest light switch but the use of many failed attempts of trying to flick the light switch on served as a cruel reminder that there was no electricity in the school. Ola felt her pockets for a cell phone and when she found it she used the screen as a source of illumination. The room revealed thick, round, black glasses that blended in with the junk on the carpet, black cloth with an unfamiliar odor, a and a mark on the wall where the door slammed it and a missing Amelia.
“So you’re saying that while the power was mysteriously cut off, you heard your friend being assaulted, someone running and then you found…” restated a gentleman with a black suit and a silver badge as he showed to Ola two bags both filled with evidence from the previous night, “…these? ”
“Yes” she answered with a shaking voice. The man had straight, ash blonde hair, black eyes with long eyelashes and his chin seemed to be sculpted by Michelangelo. Igar Komar was a detective who participated in all types of mysterious crimes and missing person investigations with years of experience. He may have been a Hungarian native but when he was a year old, his family moved to the United States in hope of a better life. He had always been a good student in school but was a disappointment to his parents since they wanted him to be a doctor but instead he chose to be a criminal investigator. He scribbled down the notes on his clipboard and nodded as a gesture of understanding.
“I will go investigate your dormitory while my partner…” he said as he gestured to a curly, red-headed woman that stood next to him, “…will tell the yearbook committee to look through the photos to see who wears those glasses. Right Meredith? ”
“Right.” his partner nodded. Meredith and the criminal investigator split up in two different directions leaving Ola momentarily alone in the hallway; she sped up with the man’s pace but was left with an awkward silence between him. When the gentleman was searching through the room, she stood in the hallway still as a statue hoping not to mess with anything in the bedroom while he looked for clues. The detective thought over Ola’s story and examined the rubbish left on the carpet, the mark on the wall and anything that was left on the floor and among the books he found a white, studied it for a moment and put it in a Ziploc bag. Komar scratched some more notes on his spiral notebook until he reached a conclusion.
“Ms. Dziuba, according to your story, this room and this sock I found,” spoke the investigator in a business-like manner “ the burglar must have somehow short-circuited the power and attempted to break into this room stealthily by wearing sock; when you walk on a floor with socks, the feet make no sound. Then, they assaulted your friend with this rag by using chloroform. Do you know what chloroform is?”
“It’s a chemical and when a person breathes it they become unconscious. When your friend fainted, the guy tried to drag her or lift her somehow but they tripped over these books and dropped their glasses; apparently, he left behind his sock and their socks were too big for them. Then when you screamed for Amelia Anderson, he made a break for it and slammed the door.”
“Detective Komar,” said a high-pitched female voice - Meredith. “We found a match.”
The dean’s office was gray, lifeless and had little light; the shades from the windows had been shut, the plants were black with death and the paint from the gray walls was chipping. Whenever a student got in trouble, the pale dean and his office made the guilty juvenile even more intimidated, giving him the illusion that he was on death row at an office. There were only three people in the room, Komar, a tan, brunet prosecutor and a squinting teenage boy; he was wearing his cadet blue uniform and had a buzz cut for hairstyle. He was impassive in his facial expression and sat in a comfortable sitting position.
“Do you know why you’re here today?” questioned the prosecutor. The boy shook his head.
“Do you know Amelia Anderson?” he asked again.
“She is in one of my history classes and she is so annoying!” replied the boy with the buzz cut. “She always complains about every little thing, she asks stupid questions and we have some arguments between each other.” The prosecutor leaned towards him with eagerness and elevated interest.
“Igar, would you mind going outside?” he requested. “I need to talk to this young man here.”
“My name is Jacque Lavoie.” said the boy coldly. The men acted like they didn’t hear him; the detective left the room leaving Jacque and the attorney alone in the dim room. The man sat on the white desk and slowly leaned towards the young man.
“Have you and Amelia ever gotten into a physical fight before?”
“What do you two argue about?”
“I don’t remember.”
“Where were you last night when Ms. Anderson has vanished?”
“Well,” Jacque spoke slowly as his eyes shifted to the left. “I remember that I put down my glasses on my desk and I went to take a shower but after I came back from the shower, they were missing; I looked for them everywhere but I couldn’t find them.”
“When was the last time you guys had a dispute?”
“The day before Spring break started, I told her to stop complaining about how much homework she has because we were all getting the same amount and she isn’t the only one who is having it rough until this dork came up and told me to shut up.”
“What happened after that?”
“He tried to take her by the hand and walk her to her next class but she refused him.”
“Did you give her any threats or did she give you any threats?”
“No, all I ever do is to tell her to shut up.”
“Hmm…what was the young man’s name, the one that stood up to you?”
“That’s all I need to know.” concluded the prosecutor. He dismissed the boy to his classes and requested Komar a private talk. He talked to him about how calm Lavoie was and how he hated Amelia. Although, the detective agreed with his statement, he still requested that there would be a search in Lavoie’s room to see if he wasn’t hiding them anywhere in an unusual place. Even though, Lavoie had agreed to the search for his glasses, they weren’t found at all and he had also mentioned that when he came back from the shower he found the window was open and before the shower he had closed it to allow air conditioning.
Later, the law enforcement began questioning Mikołaj Adamczyk, since he was rejected by Anderson. When he sat down on the chair he began to feel queasy, his palms were wet and he kept fiddling with his fingers. As the prosecutor circled around him like a vulture waiting for its prey to die, he kept a cold glare at him and never took his eyes off Adamczyk’s emerald ones.
“I l-loved Amelia, I loved her for three years straight a-and we’ve been good friends.” stammered the boy. “Why are you asking me? What did I do wrong?”
“Get a grip on yourself boy,” the man commanded. “Where were you last night?”
“ I didn’t do it, I was reading a romance novel in my dorm when Amelia vanished at eleven thirty at night.” The man stopped circling him and gave him the death stare.
“Does she love you back?” he asked the boy.
“No, she doesn’t, no, she rejected me a while ago.” he uttered. There was a long silence and the man and the boy were staring into each other’s eyes as if life depended on it. The prosecutor then dismissed Adamczyk and had another talk with Komar. He talked about how strangely and differently he has been acting than Lavoie, the difference between their behaviors. Obviously, one of them was a liar but the law enforcement kept asking the staff of the school about any strange things that had been happening in the school. A janitor named Pamela Melo told them about a huge orange juice explosion that happened in the middle of the cafeteria.
“When I was sitting on the heater at the cafeteria, I put my keys there just for the heck of it because I was bored but then I heard a splash and saw that one of the boys in the cafeteria had popped a balloon full of orange juice.” She rambled on, “ When I was there one of the boys had been pleading and begging that he didn’t do it and he got suspended; when I came back to the heater, my keys were gone.”
“Interesting.” the prosecutor said flatly. “It’s seems we have a thief in this school and it’s the main focus here rather than the kidnapping of an innocent student.”
“No, it’s nothing like that!” she exclaimed “I am only telling you what I know and what has been going on lately.” He gave her a long, cold glare until she down on the floor like the child of a disappointed parent. Melo kept fluttering her sapphire eyes rapidly, playing with her long, blonde hair and her voice sped up after every sentence she said. She jabbered about the latest messes she had to clean and repairs she made to the building but none of them were related to the situation of the kidnapped girl.
"You mentioned earlier that you lost your keys when you went to clean up a spill?" The gray man asked.
"Now why did you leave your keys on the heater?"
"Well, nothing interesting was happening and I got bored so I started playing with them but when the spill happened, I left them there."
"But you couldn't take them with you?"
"I do not know why I did not take them with me," she replied nervously. "It sorta just happened." The room was freezing, dull and silent for a very long time; Melo and the prosecutor were staring at each other in the eyes and they were stone statues sitting in the grayness. The statue of the prosecutor came to life and he scribbled down everything he heard from this woman; the janitor kept holding her pose and she did not seem to be breathing.
"Very well, Pamela Melo." He finally spoke but with a grim tone. " You may go back to work now." As she stood up she kept holding her breath and marched toward the door; she left the room without looking back or letting out so much as a hum or sigh. The prosecutor sat there staring at the wall pondering and looking over his chicken scratch handwriting. Maybe she was not a suspect at all perhaps she was just nervous and fearful of getting arrested. This isn't the first time he saw a person getting all anxious; this happened hundreds of times when he ricocheted questions at intimidated suspects later to be proven innocent. This happened to everyone, young children, teenagers, men and women and even senior citizens alike. On rare occasions he cracked some guilty yet worried convicts. But who leaves their most valuable objects unattended?
Komar seen sitting on a chair with his arms crossed, his face tilted towards his chest and his chest slowly rising up and down. The prosecutor came towards him slowly and was about to shake his shoulder until the detective swiftly raised a hand in a "stop" gesture. He stood up and stretched his limbs with still-closed eyes. The prosecutor understood. A clever way to play possum. Komar could tell from the cold glare that was still etched on the prosecutor's face that Pamela Melo was not to be trusted. He told the detective all about the spill, the unattended keys, a stammering boy, her behavior, everything.
" I will have to play 'I Spy' tonight and gather more volunteers to see what our friends are up to tonight." Said the criminal investigator as he strolled toward the exit doors without looking back at his colleague. The remaining man was standing in the center of the hallway and all was quiet except for the ticking of the clock.
Everyone understood the plan: Meredith and her partners Audrey and Patrick would be surveillance and following Pamela Melo everywhere. If Melo went to a boutique then Meredith would keep watch over her, if Melon went to buy some ice cream at the local supermarket then Meredith would take a break, Audrey would take over and the same strategy would follow with Patrick if the target would move to another location. Igar Komar's other co-workers Sikke and Elsa would follow the same spying method but their target would be Jacque and finally, Komar would watch over Mikołaj. The next day, everyone would switch targets and continue with their work.
Later that evening, Igar Komar was sitting in a Nissan Versa for half an hour with his hands resign on the steering wheel. Two hours ago Mikołaj and Komar’s arrived separately at the Blueside Township Mall (without Mikołaj's knowledge) and less than five minutes later the private eye got out of the car and started following him. The suspect went throughout the mall shopping but he didn't seem to be selling anything suspicious or meeting up with anyone there. All he really did was buy some new stylish clothes and some ice cream.
The detective started his engine but did not drive anywhere. No, not yet. Even though idling was illegal, he couldn't look like he was following the young man. Even detectives have to break some laws to solve the crime right? He didn't need to tell anyone he was idling because solving the abduction of Amelia Anderson was far more important.
The glass doors automatically opened and out came his prey. Mikołaj was finishing a sandwich from Subway and wiping his face with a napkin as he walked to his black Volvo. The Volvo sputtered and came to life; it was slowly driving out of the parking lot and speed up when it came to the highway. The investigator followed. For two hours, the Volvo was heading out of urban grounds and driving towards a wooded and forested path; Komar came out of the car as soon as he reached the path and stalked the black car on foot. When the vehicle finally stopped, then while the adolescent emerged from his car, the investigator his behind a tree fifteen feet away from his objective. Mikołaj leaned on his car, pulled out his smartphone from his pocket and dialed a number.
“Hi, how is my yellow mellow doing?” he teased. “I just called to say, thanks for fixing the electric problem a few nights ago and you will be rewarded tonight.” An icy, cold sweat emerged from Komar’s nape; he stood crouched behind the tree and kept listening.
“Don’t worry, I think they will believe your lost key story and to make sure that the Blueside Township dogs trust you in your tale,” continued Adamczyk “I will get rid of those keys.” So, the prosecutor was right about Melo not telling the whole truth; she might have cleaned up the spill in the cafeteria but she might have had the keys in her pocket all along. Genius! Adamczyk was a clever son of a bitch.
“Did you hear that idiot Jacque screaming ‘WHERE ARE MY GLASSES? YOU KNOW I CAN’T SEE WITHOUT THEM!’” he chuckled as he took out a maroon table cloth with an enormous stain that was darker than the cloth’s original color and a black garbage bag that took them form of a curled up corpse.“I would love to see his reaction if he ever finds out that I stole them.” As Komar sprinted towards him, the murderer was dumping the evidence down an abandoned, disintegrating sewer hole. The running man froze and pulled out a M5A.
“Stop right there!” shouted Komar as he aimed the gun for Adamczyk’s solar plexus. “I’ve seen enough and I am calling reinforcements when I get you.”
“Oh, Detective Komar,” said the monster dreamily “if only you were smart enough to realize that this is the end of your life story. If I can’t have Amelia, then she will have to pay her opinion of me with her life.”
“You said you loved Amelia just yesterday’ why would you kidnap her?”
“Amelia…did not love me back” the monster talked slowly in a voice as smooth as oil “She was one of my best friends and I told her that I would do anything for her if I had to. I loved the way she smiled and played with her hair but every time I tried to hold her hand, she smacked it away from me. She wouldn’t let me caress her … soft…soft, silky hair. She had a nice personality and she was beautiful – ’’
“There are other girls like her – “
“Hush, it’s not polite to interrupt Komar,” remarked Adamczyk with a sarcastic smile. “I asked her if she could go out with me but she refused. I thought to myself ‘Perhaps there was some way to convert her thoughts by taking her away with me and … coax her feelings for me through electrical instruments with some shocking results.’ However when I did, she was too stubborn to change and I ran out of energy and power, so.. I kissed her one more time and then slit her throat. Love hurts doesn’t it?”
“That wasn’t love, that was infatuation. Love lets go even if the heart has to go through a ricochet of bullets!”
“So you say,” finished off Adamczyk.
Both men stood and one waited for the other to react. It was a long, frozen interval of suspicious, silence in the Spring of April. At first, Komar stood still as a statue but then, like a tiger pounces on its prey, he sprung towards Adamczyk aiming his fist for his chin. His opponent grabbed his fist, turned a 360 degree angle and hit his elbow on the man’s shoulder blade. Komar turned and did a roundhouse kick at Adamczyk’s chest which caused him to which resulted in him falling backwards. The detective attempted to cuff him but the guy punched him in the nose in a flash. The monster stood up and attempted to poke his eyes but Komar caught them and started cracking them. Adamczyk flung his hand up in the air with the man’s hand still clenching his causing Komar to stand up. The criminal bobbed his head hard against his enemy’s. The detective let go of his hand and started massaging his own head. He was too distracted to realize that Adamczyk had kicked him in the stomach ensuing him to fall rearward. As Komar lay on the ground, he attempted to stand up and fight but too late, he felt a sharp blade pierce his chest and the world was spinning out of control around him. He could hear Adamczyk insulting him in a distorted voice, darkness was swirling around him and he felt warm, itching friction as he felted himself being dragged along the short grass and dropped in a bottomless hole. He felt hard, flat concrete and piles of rocks and rubbish falling on him but all his pain was fading away. He also saw a round, metal object obscuring all the light in this hole.
“See you in Hell, Detective.”