Chapter 3: An Odd Pair

Don’t you find the life of a criminal like a game of cat and mouse? Whilst the convict prances about and does with his or her life as they please, the upholders of the law are always one step behind. Chasing and chasing. Seldom do they ever get one step ahead. The mind of a criminal is complex and revolutionary in its own way.

Whilst society stands as a constant evolution of progress and everchanging regulations, a criminal is always able to discover ways in which to break those regulations. If enough of us were to turn to a life of crime then the world as we know it would deteriorate and crumble to the ground. But perhaps it is just the thought of capture or ongoing surveillance that keeps so many in check and in line.

I, myself however, find the chase exciting. Whenever I am hungry, I dive into an unsuspecting victim until my culinary desires are met. But I ask myself…what is it other than the animalistic instinct of hunger that drives me in what I do? Being chased is electrifying and observing what the police do next always amuses me. They have even turned to the local papers in hopes of appealing to the Southampton populace. Quite a spectacle!

My last meal was left out on the street for all those to observe. A message was to be sent to the family and I am sure by now that this has been accomplished.

The detective in charge of the investigation is a sir William Percy Morgan. I know little of this man but he is to be my toy. It is his mind I will play with like a cat plays with a ball of yarn. I shall toss him another clue soon.

For now however, I wish to see how his mind works.

Detective

The world was not new to cannibalism. It had seen its fair share and despite this, the case shook me down to my core. How could a man or woman be tempted to take the life of another and then take it one step further…and eat them?

I remember reading a story a few years ago in a book that had taken my interest. It had gone over the gruesome events of the Boyd Massacre of 1809. Maori residents killed and ate roughly 70 Europeans on the ship Boyd. This was an open act of violence. Many knew about the events and it struck fear into the hearts of many.

But how do you catch a cannibal that is covert as the eye can discover? Like a black cat in the shadows, it is difficult to unveil the perpetrator.

I cannot deny my excitement when the case first came across my desk. It was a welcome break from dealing with thievery and typical murders in acts of jealousy. Though the longer it went on the heavier my heart felt and I knew if it wasn’t brought to an ultimate conclusion soon, many more lives would be taken.

I had 3 locations to visit but I decided to head to the fishery first as most of the clues pointed this way.

It was mid-day.

The smell of the sea’s inhabitants had infested my nose and made me feel a little nauseous. I was not used to such a foul smell nor did I enjoy the delicacies of which it came from. Walking through the front gates, I took my handkerchief from my coat pocket and held it over my nose. Immediately I felt out of place.

My attire differed tremendously from all of the men that were working on the site. It was difficult to find someone who had a fully sewn pair of trousers or a hat that had not degraded in colour.  

I was soon approached by a tall and thin man who had an annoying tick. He repeatedly bit at his lip and his right eye would often twitch. When he was looking me up and down, I was sceptical about his presence. I observed.

His clothes were worn and grimy. His beard was patchy and not very well kept. He was very thin and if it wasn’t for his baggy grey jacket, I would’ve assumed he was a dead man walking. When he spoke, his voice climbed and dived in pitch after every word.

“Sir, and what is it you want sir?” he asked surprisingly politely and even with a little grace.

I told him I was wishing to speak to the manager and when he led me away, he walked with a slight limp. Along the way (which only lasted 5 minutes or so) he revealed his name and age. Derrick Schmuck, 46 years old. He was apparently the assistant to the fishery manager. What he also revealed was that the manage seldom left his office.

I was lead into a room that felt colder than the outside open air. There was a singular desk and beyond that was a large window that looked out at the site. To my right was a long and strong-looking wardrobe and to my left was a large opened top globe that consisted of various alcoholic beverages.

“Thank you, David” I said as he closed the door behind me. A man then arose from his chair with such speed and robustness, I staggered back in shock.

When he spun round to fix my gaze with his, I expected a violent confrontation but when he manoeuvred around his desk and extended a hand, he offered a warm and gentle smile.

“A pleasure to meet you detective” he said with an ever-going grin on his face.

“How did you know I was a detective?” I asked when I shook his hand and putting my handkerchief away with the other.

“It’s pretty clear my dear fellow” he chuckled to himself.

“It was in the paper. A man cut up and left in an alley of Abbotts way. And now the only well-dressed man on my premises enters my office with a notebook sticking out of his right pocket. You need not show me any identification sir! It is clear why you are here!” he replied. It was comforting to meet someone with such keen observation skills. Though this was not the man I intended to talk to.

“And this is not your office, is it not?” I stated.

“By gods man, what do you mean?” the man asked with a justifiable puzzled face.

“The name on the plaque of the desk is inscribed Mark Zimmerman. A German name by origin if I am not mistaken. I have visited Germany many times and grew accustomed to the accent. Yours is clearly English. You dress very smart sir; I will give you that but your tie is also of English origin. I noticed the famous chequered pattern and the small label on the inside with the name ‘Bros&Co’ an English company. When David left me in here, he seemed hesitant as his eyes flicked back and forth at me and you. He, of course, did not expect to see you in here. Well surely, he would if it was your office? You are a man of some importance clearly shown by your clothes and styled moustache but I do not think you are the manager.”

He began to clap.

“Brilliant! Extraordinary! It is comforting to know we have such capable and head-strong detectives protecting our streets from the criminal underworld. Spiffing!”

He elegantly walked over to the window with his hands behind his back as he hummed to himself.

“May I ask who you are and where the manager is?”

“He will be here shortly. He has been notified of your arrival. My name is Daniel Walsh. I am the owner of this establishment. Mark Zimmerman is the chap I hired to run this place whilst I was away. May I ask why you actually wish to speak with him in relation to your case detective?”

“The man who was murdered worked here. I wish to know more and, as the manager, I assume Mark will know a great deal more.”

“Ah yes, Kyle. It is a shame to hear of his passing” he said to me.

“I never mentioned his name.”

“No? No. I know most of my workers. He hasn’t shown up for some time which is…very unusual for him.”

Before I could inject another line of inquiry, Mark burst through the door in a calm rage.

Scheisse!  The damn delivery of rope and oil is late again! This is the third week in a row.”

He stormed around the room in a quiet rage before planting himself on his chair and breathing in deeply before talking to me.

“I was told a detective was here. But I never expected him to look so young. Tell me son, how old actually are you?”

“24 sir” I replied as I took out my notebook and began my anticipated questions.

“Do you know a Kyle Revel mister Zimmerman?”

He shook his head violently as he licked his dry and parched lips.

“He might have worked here but there are so many workers that I cannot remember them all by name” he said to me. I found it odd that the owner, who was usually away from his business, knew Kyle but the manager did not.

“How many hours do your workers usually work each day?”

“The longest shift that has been handed out was a 9 hour. Most beg and plead for more which I find tedious, but 9 hours is the longest I can afford to give.”

“What are common injuries here?”

He shrugged his shoulders.

“A few broken backs, they tend to fall a lot. Rope burn I suppose.”

I eyed him closely when asking this next question.

“I see you have quite a collection of alcohol in your office. Over there by the globe. Do you ever have guests in here for a drink or two? Port, wine…whiskey?”

He laughed and fiddled with his beard.

“The last guest I had in here was…why sir Walsh himself! Those drinks are bought with the money from my own pocket and I would rather not see them consumed by anyone else.”

“I see. One final question. Can you tell me, in detail, your whereabouts between 8pm yesterday and 8am today please?”

He leaned back on his chair and gently cracked his neck.

“I left the fishery around 10 in the evening. Caught a cab home and began drinking a few glasses of scotch around midnight. I was asleep by 2am and later arrived into work at 10:30 this very morning. I was half an hour late due to not being able to catch a cab you see.”

I smiled and thanked both Zimmerman and Walsh for their time.

They seemed like an odd couple: an Englishman and a German working so closely together. Walsh seemed very educated and possessed a keen eye for detail. He was well mannered, quite tall and I felt as though he knew a lot more than what he was letting on. Mister Zimmerman on the other hand, seemed very reckless in his behaviour. He was easily agitated and seemed to know little about the people who worked for him. I would have more questions for the two later on but one thing was for sure. In my book, they were both suspects.

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