Chapter 8: A Bitter Rivalry

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your god will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.”  Revelation 1:17.

I have never been a religious man though one would be foolish to not praise merit to its works. For when I explore religions out of pure interest, it stands to be spellbinding when read in depth. The stories of which these religions spin offer mankind a chance of redemption. They possess rules and regulations for those to abide by in which to gain entry into a better after-life.

In no religion however, are rules that our society abide by mentioned. What we deem as wrong or morally incorrect is not stated as such in religions.

So, does that justify my own actions? Am I wrong for doing what I do? Nowhere in the bible for example, is it stated that the consumption of human flesh is wrong. It is a law that us humans created. The laws which government implemented upon our nation have been crafted by ourselves. Are we in a position to say what is right and wrong?

Take theft for example. What makes that wrong in society’s eyes? Whose authority is it to say theft should not be allowed?

I often ponder this thought as I always have to carry out my acts in tremendous secrecy. I like to picture a world in which humans are not bound by religions or laws. A world where every man, woman and child are free to do what their hearts desire.

Some may think of this as a chaotic and aggressive society. A world where man is in charge of their actions and not John Russell of number 10 Downing Street.

I like to think of this as a heavenly sort of world where freedom is a dominant and integral part of everyday life.

It will not be long when I commence my plan in removing William Percy Morgan from the picture but first, I need to take the eyes away from me as I fear him getting close. I have already seen to that but now it is only a matter of time until things are set in motion.

I feel hungry. A great temptation has covered me recently and my eyes fly through the streets like a desperate child in search of sweets.

This hunger scratches at my mind like an individual locked away in a asylum. All I seek is the sweet sensation of the carving of human meat and the removal of detective William Percy Morgan.

Detective

It was your typical working-class house. 3 windows on the front: a living room window and two bedrooms at the top. The glass was a dimly tinted green and dust had begun to paint itself across every panel. Each brick was a different shade of red. Some were crimson and some were carmine and yet, to my surprise, none of them looked stable or reliable. In fact, the house itself looked as though it was on its last legs.

The front garden was not large though nor was it small. The fence was pointing in all directions and the wood had begun to chip away at the tops. The grass was sprouting and unkept and the stone staircase which resided next to it that lead up to the front door, was un-even and slightly difficult to walk upon.

This is where the most recent victim, Louis Roosevelt, had lived before he met his tragic demise. It pained me that another life had been taken and that I was not quick enough to stop it. I had two reasons to solve this case. The first was that it was my job and I hated seeing lives being unnecessarily taken from the world. Plucked away like a pigeon scavenging for a worm or a crumb of bread. The other however, was much more personal.

Some may even go as far as to call me selfish and greedy. Perhaps even cold hearted.

I desired to solve this case just to show everyone just how clever I was. I was desperate to stand out for a multitude of reasons such as my precocious talent for observation and unique inordinate ability of riddle solving. Becoming a detective at such an early age was rather easy, alas I wanted more. I wanted to leave a legacy.

I knocked on and was greeted by a small child who looked as ill as a man riddled with plague and stress. Despite his young age, he was very well dressed and yet the bags under his eyes gave me nightmares for days to come. I asked if there was an adult in the house but the kid said nothing. Instead, I was forced to endure a very uncomforting stare. I asked again in hopes that this lifeless shell of a child would respond though my efforts were in vain. I mentioned the name Louis Roosevelt and it was this very name that triggered a spark in the child.

Though a reaction was a welcoming change, the spark was of a negative one. The child began to cry and slammed the door in my face. A most strange reaction.

There seemed to be no alley into the back garden and the door was now locked. I banged on a few times and my anger started to get the better of me.

For each knock from my fist became louder and lower. I called out to the child a few times as I still heard his muffled cries in the hallway.

My knocking would have persisted for a number of hours as I was desperate, and determined, for answers. Though I heard a soothing and feminine voice from behind me. It was accompanied by soft foot steps on the cobble stair case.

I turned to see a very short and stocky woman holding a basket of fruit in one hand and a rather old-looking bonnet in the other. Her clothes were dark and mature, slightly aged, and yet her face was of a different tone.

Her lips were of the brightest pink, her eyes the colour of the ocean and her flushed cheeks combatted the dark nature of the street we were on. Her hair was of a magnificent golden colour and it blew gently in the frequent breeze.

“And who might you be?” She asked with an empty smile.

“My name is detective William Percy Morgan from Portswood station.”

She looked me up and down, observing my clothes and face. It was an unusual sensation to be on the receiving end of this process.

“Are you here in regards to my husband?” She asked as she flew past me and proceeded to unlock the door with her key.

“I am. I have news and a few questions” I replied.

I sensed no grief. I observed no tears.

“Come in detective” she said as she threw her bonnet on a hat rack next to her.

I followed her in and was once again stared at by the young boy who sat on the stairs in his beige coloured shorts and stripy jumper.

It wasn’t long until I found myself sat in the kitchen on a small and round dining table as the woman pottered about cleaning.

“He is dead. I know this. Tommy knows this. So, I pray you bring news that alters our moods detective” she said. She was still yet to show some kind of emotional torment. There was none, however.  

“Forgive me ma’am, but you do not seem distraught. May I ask why?” I said as I relaxed in my chair.

“Louis was a good man. A sensible man. There are not many men of his stature and honour around. He made it home every night without fail. Be it from a night of drinking or a night of working, he was always home eventually. I have not seen him in a day or two and now a detective shows up at my house. It is evident that Louis is now dead” she wailed as she planted herself on the chair opposite me.

“That doesn’t answer my question I’m afraid. Why do you not seem sad about it?”

“In this world, women don’t have the privilege of being weak. We find ourselves too reliant on men and too dependent on their abilities. Louis was a remarkable man and I tell you now, my heart weighs heavy for him. But I do not have the opportunity of showing weakness when I am now a single mother. I have to be strong. Independent.”

This woman’s fortitude was astounding and it accompanied her beauty tremendously.

I took the next few minutes to tell her what she already knew, but by supplying the details in which made it all the clearer. After I was done, I then proceeded to take out my notebook and ask her but a few questions.

It was going to be a difficult inquiry. A tug at the heart strings.

“Danny was his closest friend I understand. Did you know much about him?”

“Quite a bit. He often came round with Louis after work for a spot of tea or something to eat. We may look poor but myself and Louis always made sure our pantry was fully stocked. I was aware Danny was a single man. No children. He lived alone. Though that never seemed to bother him.”

“How often would you say Danny and Louis went out drinking?”

“Oh! Not a great deal. Twice a week at most. Like I said, he always made sure to come home on time.”

“How long had Louis worked at the factory for would you say?”

“A year or two. Him and Danny were friends before they started working together you must understand! Louis worked at a fishery before he got the job at the factory.”

“The one on Priory Road?”

“Indeed.”

“How long for?”

“3 years give or take.”

“I see. Would you say Louis enjoyed his time working there?”

“Oh, not at all! He was always rubbing up the wrong tree. Too proud you see. Always had something to say. The way they treated him was abominable. The manager, well, he never saw that strange character. The owner was always on his back. I will also never forget that David Schmuck. The odd man with a limp. The whole 3 years Louis worked there; he would often return on an evening with a vast array of hateful words about the man! There was a time David threatened to get Louis fired if he didn’t do as he said. Ha! As if he could!”

“Do you have any idea what caused this rivalry between the two?”

“No idea. I just know that the two hated one another. I am almost certain that was the sole reason Louis left.”

“Rivalry is often a bitter war between two men. Thank you miss. You have been most helpful.”

As I stood up and tucked my notebook away in my breast pocket, she grabbed me by my wrist and cast a pair of watery eyes in my direction.

“Pardon my language, but bring this bastard to justice” she said with a voice of pure controlled rage.

I said nought but we both communicated with each other with the power of understanding.

I left the house and began to wonder the empty streets that decorated Southampton. It was too easy and too simple to say that David Schmuck was the killer. I would need to resort to a process of elimination and I felt as though I had sufficient facts to do so. It was now just a case of connecting the dots.

I decided to visit the fishery in hopes of talking with Daniel Walsh to clear up a few things which I will admit, still left me puzzled and dazed. When I got there however, I noticed mister Walsh standing near some trunks that were on a cab.

“Ah detective!” He called out as he approached me with a staggered impression.

“May I ask where you are going?” I quizzed him as I took deep notice of his belongings.

“Nowhere! In fact, I am moving here!”

“You…have decided to live at your company?”

“No! Dear god no, my boy. But, as you know, I am here often. I have decided I may as well take over Zimmerman’s office.”

“He is not the killer” I said. As I did it unleashed a storm of silence.

“He isn’t? But the blood, the corpse? I had been told by a bobby. You see, I needed to know as he is my manager after all.”

“I believe he has been framed mister Walsh.”

Silence had returned. His face seemed pale for a brief moment until the sun caught his eyes and his mood had restored.

“Well, that is promising! I can have my dear friend working for me again! See here detective, mind helping me carry my luggage up to the office nonetheless?”

I nodded my head and took hold of a rather heavy black, leather case. It was slightly ajar but I managed not to drop anything.

As I placed the trunk down, a book fell out.

A book on the anatomy of the human body.

It startled me at first but when I opened it, I observed that it had been borrowed from the Southampton central library. What was an even greater mystery however, was that it was borrowed under the name David Schmuck.

I heard footsteps behind me so I quickly packed it away and soon left the premises after wishing mister Walsh a good day.

On the way back to the station I was joined by officer Blake.

“So, sir, how goes the investigation?” He asked enthusiastically.

“Very well my fellow. Very well indeed” I said with a smile.

I looked at him with a luxurious and confident grin.

“Very well as I now know who the cannibal is!”

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