Things don't always go as you would want them to go. I looked at the dead body of 26 year old Carol Fisher. She had been mutilated by someone. Stabbed a total of seven times and then shot once in the head. The local police knew who the killer was. The problem was finding him. They had a name. They had proof. They had physical evidence that linked him to the crime and witness evidence. It was enough evidence to put him a way for life.
I was worned that he is a master of disguises. He can disapper with the blink-of-an-eye.
Detective Thomas McDonald looked at me when I was finished examining the body. "I heard about your reputation around here."
"What about it?" I asked
"If you can catch our killer, Charles Craig, I can promise a handsome reward." he replied.
I thought about it. Money. I needed money real bad. I was behind on rent for both my apartment and my office. Money is good.
"Fine. I'll take it," I said and I left back for my office. I reviewed the background and case file of Mr. Craig. This wasn't going to be easy, that was for sure. I decided to make a phone call to a few friends of mine to see if they would be interested in making some decent money in helping to find a killer who could blend in to even the smaller crowds.
It was dark and there was nothing I could do for the night. I'd have to start in the morning. So I went home for the night to get some sleep. The next morning, went to my office to make a call to a few friends to see if they'd be interested in making a few dollars in helping to find this killer.
"A source tells me that you've been hanging around Luciano and tipping him off about us-"
"Guys, it's me, Vulkie. You can trust me-"
I cocked the hammer back on my revolver. I wasn't playing games with her. We were after a killer and she was betraying us.
Sweat started to pour down her face. She was nervous. We had her trapped.
"Start talking." Heimlich said from behind me. He slowly approached her.
Vulkie let out a laugh.
"Heim," she said short for Heimlich, "you don't honestly believe-"
"As a matter of fact, I do" he said with out a smile. He didn't have to pull out his gun.
"Start talking!" I yelled.
Vulkie new that the jig was up. She knew she had no other choice to start talking. Luciano wouldn't like it. But we didn't like her betraying us like this.
If there is one thing I hated, it was a traitor. Especially when the traitor was a detective too.
She new that there was no getting out of this and she opened her mouth to speak.
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Vulkie let out a sigh, "It was the money. It was always about the money."
Marc slammed his gun down on the table, "You bitch! You played us all! You came to me and said you wanted in on this!"
Vulkie nodded, "I know," she responded, "and I did, but I... look I'm sure you've been there. You all have connections! You all have played for the money over the justice at some point or another!"
Marc shook his head, "No Vulkie, that's where you're wrong. It's about what's right. It's why we got into this, and I think you've lost your moral compass."
Vulkie looked into the eyes of the detectives around her, she didn't have a single friend in the room. "Heim!" she cried, "You know me! We've worked together so much. You understand don't you?"
Heimlich shook his head, "I suppose I misjudged your character Vulkie. I thought you were a morally sound person, but I've been reading you wrong all along. I'm sorry, but I don't see any way out of this."
Marc leaned over, reached into Vulkie's jacket, and removed her detective's license. "I'll hold onto this," he said coldly, "until you straighten things out."
Vulkie stood up, shaking and began to walk out of the room. She turned towards the others, tears beginning to roll down her face, "What do I do now?" she asked.
The room stayed silent until Molly quietly said, "Something else." With that, Vulkie turned and departed the group, leaving an uneasy feeling among the remaining detectives.
Molly watched Vulkie go, her mouth set in a firm line. The wound over her eye formed a hook shape lined in black, making the glittering hardness of her blue eyes all the more evident.
"I admit I found it suspicious she was able to get to me so fast," Molly mused. "This must be such a disappointment to you all." She stood and picked up a piece of paper.
"We must regroup." she said decisively, picking up a pencil. "Who have we met with, interviewed? Our suspects? Charles Craig sightings; any correlations? Any evidence or clues we've picked up? Our case is in pieces at the moment, we must draw it all together!"
Charlie pulled the picture he had found out of his pocket and set it on the table for all of us to see.
"I found this. Its a picture of Charles Craig and the victim, and on the back..." he flipped it over so that the 117-A was visible.
"What do you think that number could be?" Nellie mused, as they all took in the latest find.
" I'll tell ya Nellie I dont really know just yet. But rest assured I intend to find out." I said. I looked to Marc who was studying the numbers intently.
" Well Molly I do agree with you we need to regroup." I said.
" Wait a minute I've got it!" Marc yelled. "It's a berth number at the peir. See the picture is of Charles and the victim at the peir."
" Your right." Molly said.
" I'm dont know its a long shot." Heim said shaking his head.
"Hey its worth a shot. We got nothing else solid to go on. " I said.
Heim said " Maybe its a....
"Wait!" Molly's voice rang out, and everyone turned to look at her in surprise. She was staring down at the number scrawled on the back of the photograph, her eyes nearly slits.
"If I were Charles Craig I would hide my tracks in plain sight." she said, reaching to look at the picture. "When we look at this number we immediately associate it with the thing closest to it. The pier number. But I would bet you anything it's a false lead. Aren't the safety deposit boxes at the bank numbered in the exact same way?"
Everyone paused at this thought.
"I could be wrong though." she said decisively. "The safest thing to do would be to split up the team and send a half to each location. Unless someone else can think of something because I'll be blunt: we're running out of leads here, and Charles could flee the city any minute."
After Molly was done speaking, there was a stunned silence in my office. I slowly moved around in a circle. I sat down in my chair, and pulled out my pipe. I didn't light it, but I put the end in my mouth. I thought about what Molly said.
Finally after a moment of silence I looked up
"Molly maybe on to something. I think we should split up. There are five us. So there will be an even number of people. Who ever is going to the pier, will go with three people. Who ever is going to the bank to check the deposit boxes will go with two." I said,"Charlie? You, Heimlich, and Nellie, go check the pier. Molly and I will go and check the deposit boxes."
"Can do," Charlie said, "When and where do we meet back?"
I pulled out my pocket watch and opened it. "It's 8:30 am," I said. "We meet back here at noon. That gives us thee and a half hours to get to our destination, find out what we can, and get back here to talk about our findings," I said.
I stood up. My blood was pumping. I was still angry at Vulkie for how she betrayed us like she did. "No body deserts anyone. We all stick together. If anyone comes up with an idea or gets a thought to go check something, then everyone goes with that person. We've already got a bad rep around the area as it is. Too many shots have been fired and we don't need to attract anymore attention to ourselves as it is. Am I understood?" I said.
"We meet back here at noon," I said, "No later, no earlier."
We all left without a word. Molly and I tood my car.
---30 minutes later---
We pulled into the parking lot of the bank. I looked at Molly
"Here we go," I said.
We got out of my car and walked inside.
The pier. Pier 117-A to be exact. Nellie was trying to remember what had happened there before- she knew, just knew, that she had heard something associated with that specific pier before. But what?
Nellie was also doing her best to stay out of Mr. VonVictor's way. Yes, they were on much better terms now- he didn't tell her "Rule number..." anymore, but still, better to stay on his good side. For this reason, she was being much quieter than usual.
Mr. Cain sat in the front passenger seat as Mr. VonVictor drove. Nellie gazed out the windows, watching the city streets as they passed, getting shorter and shorter as they neared the water.
The car pulled smoothly into a parking spot, and the three tumbled out, eager to get to the pier.
Methodically, Molly pulled out her gun and checked the count of bullets. She closed it up and held it low in one hand, pointed towards the floor. She grinned slyly at Marc.
"Never can be too careful."
She went over and had hushed words with Ruby Kinsella, who was frowning. She took a look as Molly pulled out a couple of bills and put them on the ledge. Suddenly all smiles, Kinsella pocketed the money and waved them into a back room.
She bustled around and opened one of the safe deposit boxes, then looked around nervously.
"I'll just be waiting outside." she said, and squeezed past the two detectives as they advanced.
Molly pulled open the box and looked inside. The box was filled with pictures of Carol, and one neat white envelope. She picked it up and opened it. After staring at it for a couple of minutes, she spoke.
"Its an itinerary." she said finally, and showed it to Marc. "The tickets gone, but it's looks like its for a ship bound for London, docking tonight at..."
They both looked at one another and said in unison, "Pier 117-A!"
"We need to get down there!" Marc said, turning on his heel to go. Molly quickly scooped up the contents of the box and fled behind him, breezing past an astonished Kinsella on the way to the car.
"I wish we could warn them!" Molly said as Marc started driving like a bat out of hell, fighting through the city traffic towards the piers. Anxiously, she focused on sorting through the contents of the box, and was surprised when she picked up an envelope addressed to Charles Craig from a J. BILLINGS.
She opened it and saw one single printed sentence on a piece of stationery. The sentence was a jumble of letters and she spent the next 10 minutes decoding it. As they pulled into the pier parking lot, she straightened and read triumphantly, "Target: Molly Maltese Apt 45 Birchwood...HEY! HE IS NOT ALLOWED TO PUT A HIT OUT ON ME!"
Marc threw her a bemused look but said, "er, lets worry about that one later..."
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