Bright Dark

Theo Darke works a devilishly hard case involving rich, corrupt businessmen who live in the shadowy underworld of illegal arms sales, drugs and human trafficking. From Europe to America, he traces the case with his unusual friend and partner, Mia Chain.

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4. The Nature Of Evil

 

Theo stepped out of the old taxi which looked too grand for the airport but fit in perfectly with the quaint, wealth-ridden suburb where the bay was situated. Across the road amongst a rising and moving clutch of dark-suited men with sodden stares, stood Matteo apparently trying to ride the wave of tension that floated on the wind. 

There was a woman who had puffy eyes and skinny arms smoking desperately, whilst leaning into the wind and a clump of green bush, she was aloof and cast aside. A bunch of grey cars had stuck themselves onto the grim backdrop. In the sunlight, the gun metal, red and black paints that they possessed would have looked good but in the cloying, wet rain they looked dirty and too bright. Matteo pushed his way past the gesticulating crowd and walked purposefully towards Mia who had a look of mild distaste on her face. Her make up was striking and she looked like an artists idea of a surreal fashionista with blue brocade and black streaks around her eyes. Theo was still mutedly casual. 

"Ah! Mia! Theo!" Matteo was overjoyed and his face showed worry amongst the happiness. He forced himself to relax. The body hadn't moved. The room was smelling of dead bodies. 

"Show me," Theo said eagerly as if death was something he relished. Matteo nodded and led him into the glass fronted house. It was cold and empty, all it's life had been sucked away. 

Mia gagged and shoved a tissue over her face as she walked into the room. 

Rufus was face down, there was congealed blood on the floor and the room was like a freezer. Theo squatted and peered at it. 

"There's a hole here, bullet," Mia's voice rang out in panic and gentle persuasion. Theo looked at it and frowned. 

"That didn't kill him," he said firmly. Matteo looked at him in confusion. 

"But...the bullet?" he seemed to think the whole thing would be easy. So did Theo but there was a niggling doubt in his head. Rufus was rich, rich people had enemies. Even his wife could easily have shot him. But he wasn't shot. 

Theo pointed at the hilt of a small, jewelled dagger buried in the folds of his coat. "Look..." 

The room and the people in it gasped collectively. Mia's eyes went wide and huge. Matteo cursed in Italian. 

"Did anybody look at this room properly? Who saw him last? Who was with him?" Theo was sounding more and more irritated, and Mia was becoming more alarmed that he'd launch into one of his raging monologues about criminal investigation. 

Matteo stepped back and shook his head. "It was early, okay? His wife rings me at six! She is screaming, crying...so what do I do?" 

"Matteo, we've had a long day," says Mia suddenly looking at Theo meaningfully. "Show us to the hotel why don't you?" 

Matteo nodded. 

 

**

It was after a hot shower that Theo decided to indulge in some vanilla ice cream. The only complaint he had was that he was sharing a suite with Mia.

She traipsed around in the short, soft hotel dressing gown, put product into her hair and laid out a number of fruit and herbal moisturisers which she gazed at for a long while. 

"Do you really want to do this?" she asked suddenly. Theo spooned some ice cream into his mouth and grinned lazily. 

"Yes...or we wouldn't be here," he replied. She looked at him and pulled out a mound of lotion that smelled of coconut. 

"They're criminals you know," she said to him. Theo nodded. 

"I don't care...I have a job: solving crime," he kept eating relentlessly. She glanced at him sideways, her face empty of make up. 

"Yes but they're criminals themselves...don't tell me you're naive enough to think that they're money is legit," she said with a lopsided smile. 

"It isn't legit, but I don't care," said Theo standing up. "And now I'm going to bed..." he looked at the sofa longingly. Mia stared at him as coconut permeated the whole room with its harsh and gentle smell. 

"There's a bed," she said. 

Theo ignored her and rang room service. Several minutes later, a woman with a bunch of blankets arrived. 

That's when Mia's phone rang and a private number announced itself. 

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