Chapter 9: A Hasty Defeat

I crave a release. Not a simple release, mind you.  A release that posses far more adequate and essential segments of a delicate sense of happiness. A release so exquisite that my mind will become soothed in a sea of serenity. Not only does the desire for flesh create a feeling of animosity, but it also proceeds to camouflage my true temperament.

The big question is always, when will I stop? A jest of an inquiry I am sure but an important one nonetheless. I highly doubt I can stop and perhaps that is down to a sheer lack of free will. Is it I that controls my actions or my actions that control me?

As I analyse what I have done and what I wish to do, I come to notice that my life seems like one big game of chess: as I move one piece, another is moved to counter what I have previously done. Over the years it hasn’t became too difficult however, recently I have observed a mass number of counters that hinder my movement.

I knew that, from the very beginning, that to proceed to engage in cannibalism would be a tremendously colossal task.

It would involve planning, caution, the ability to detect what cannot be detected.

The skill almost helps you develop a sixth sense. It is rather difficult to describe, especially when my time runs thin, but the sense allows one to become aware of all things hidden. As though an individual posses a constant sight into the future.

One admires the grandiose façade of a predator. It injects constant adrenaline into you and elevates your mood to new heights.

Detective

I was excited as much as I was eager, to spring my trap and reveal who the cannibal really was. It built up a wild sensation inside of me that continued to grow and I knew, for whenever I gave it thought it ensured great happiness, that the ultimate conclusion of this case would ease my sleepless nights.

There were no doubts in my mind on who the killer was. I was convinced. I tried placing the clues I had gathered, around the other suspects but they did not fit. Like when you place a jigsaw piece in the wrong slot. The motive was also becoming more and more clear each day. The more seconds, minutes, hours and days I poured into this cultivating investigation, the more the motive became apparent.

I had been foolish to have taken so long to uncover the truth but now I just needed some solid evidence to ensure my conviction.

One morning I was walking across Cobden bridge. It was a beautiful morning and the air was fresh and elegant.

The bridge was old yet beautiful. It stretched across the river Itchen.

Those who walked upon its smooth stoned surface before mid-day would be greeted by an enormous breeze that would sweep in from the South. At one end was a gentleman’s boat club that peeled off to the left of the bridge and sat on the water banks. At the other end was a social club accompanied by a few shops. The bridge then, received much traffic but nonetheless, it was still a charming walk.

As I took a left on to Manor Farm road, a small boy was stood on top of a box holding a yellow newspaper in his hand. He was surrounded by several men and women who were in deep gossip with one another.

“Oi Oi! The Daily Telegraph!” He yelled as more people began to gather round.

“Crazed cannibal almost caught says lead detective!”

My plan was simple. The previous night, I had written to all major news publications telling them of my latest exploits. I had made it clear that the case would soon come to an end and that I was nearing the desired result. I had put in a plea for this information to be plastered as a headline for tomorrow’s paper. My intention for this was to draw the cannibal out and make him feel threatened. People do such drastic things when put under sudden pressure.

I hailed a cab from further down the street and made my way back to the police station whilst I mulled over my notes.

I entered my room only to find David Schmuck standing at the foot of my desk.

I gently and slowly bowed my head, closed my door behind me and as my gaze rose to his face, I noticed he possessed an aroma of eagerness about him. I asked him if he wanted to sit but he remained determined to stay standing as I offered a couple more times.

I however, sat as my legs had begun to feel slightly weakened.

“Is it true?” He asked.

“Are you close to finding the killer?”

I observed, as was only natural, that his hands were sweating ever so gently. The sweat ran deep into the hairs on his arms as he brushed them to remove the moisture from his hands. Despite his slight limp I saw that he was very subtly rocking on the balls of his feet. His breathing had quickened and despite his obvious fidgeting, his eyes remained fixed on me.

“I assume you’ve read the tabloids, no?” I said as I sensed a sudden tension enter the room.

He said nothing but instead, offered a gentle nod.

“Good. Then you are aware of the cases progress. It is true I am almost towards the end and all will be revealed in due time” I said as I sat in my chair and leaned back, letting the sun from behind me pound on my desk.

“But how certain are you?” He asked and this time his posture becoming more corrupt.

“Very sure. May I ask why you are so tense Mr Schmuck? Sit. Have a drink” I offered. He refused and bid me a good day. He left soon after. It was a strange visit and something that had intrigued me greatly. What it didn’t do however, was shake my conviction. There was not much to do until tomorrow night when my plan would commence.

I took up a piece of parchment, my fountain pen and a singular guinea from my back pocket. I wrote the following contents:

Dear Mr Walsh,

As I am sure you have come to realise by now, this case of mine will soon come to an end. It has been a most fortuitous few days and recent developments have allowed me to make swift progress into unveiling this criminal.

There are but a few more undertakings that I must see to before I conclude my business in this matter. As of tomorrow night, I will be searching around your premises on Priory Rd. I am almost certain there are but a couple more inquiries I need to make, and cranny’s that I need to search, before my mind is fully made.

Within this letter is a single guinea. This is mere pocket change to someone like you I am sure, but please take it as compensation for my presence.

Yours truly,

Detective William Percy Morgan

I rested my pen next to me and waited for a minute or so for the ink to dry. I took the letter, sealed it inside an envelope and sent it off immediately.

For the rest of my day, I sat in silence. I ignored all knocks on my office door as I stared out at the street in front of my window. I did not eat or sleep or drink throughout the whole day. My mind was too fixated on events that were soon to transpire. I sat back in my chair, my legs spread out, my head dipped so that my chin rested on my chest and my hands interlocked with one another as they rested on my lap.

Time is a precious commodity that many disregard. It is a treasure that those with physical wealth do not cherish.

It was not long until the evening of my plan had come around. I left the station with a clear mind but an empty stomach. My heart was a thundering beast but I assured myself that the plan was efficient enough.

I arrived at the fishery and all was quiet. The streets were empty and there was not a soul to be seen. There was little light present save the odd flicker from lamps at the gates of the fishery.

I walked around slowly; my hands placed behind my back. My gaze went on its own adventure as I scoured the area. There was no sound either. It was a threatening quiet and made me feel slightly vulnerable but I knew I was capable.

What many did not know about me was that I was well-taught in aikido. Boxing and other forms of martial arts never really interested me. However, a few years back, during a small-scale case where someone had lost a ring, I came across a rather strange and older man. Long story short, he was a traveller. A monk from Japan. We got to talking and he told me stories of the ancient samurai and their martial arts. It was a massive interest to me and he spent the next half a year teaching me whenever I had spare time.

I was thinking of that monk. Wondering how he was and what he could be doing right now. Soon though, my thoughts were interrupted when I heard a second set of footsteps from nearby. As I stopped walking, so did the individual.

I took a deep breath. Closed my eyes and concentrated my hearing.

I deafened out the odd gust of wind. Silenced my breathing. All I could hear was my own heartbeat thumping against my chest at a steady pace.

After a minute or so I heard a gentle set of lungs. From nearby I heard a man’s breath. Shallow and ominous. I was being followed.

As I went to turn round, I was tackled to the ground by none other than Daniel Walsh.

We struggled for some time. I was able to get in a few right hooks to his body but nothing moved this hunk of a man. I felt his weight begin to crush my pelvis but I was able to put my lips together and let out an echoing whistle.

It was at that moment officer Blake came charging round the corner, baton in hand. He swung at Daniel which sent him hurling to the ground. Together we put him in bindings and carried him off to the station.

I looked at him. The man I had been chasing for a few days now, the cannibal that eluded me in the shadows whispering fears into the people that passed him by. I said nothing and nor did he. He sat glued to his chair, chained to the table in front of him. I attempted to hone my gaze and look within his tainted and devoured soul. Capturing him was one task but understanding his mindset was a whole new experiment entirely. What is the motive behind a mind so torn and twisted they resort to the most inhumane ways to get what their hearts truly desire?

I took a seat in front of him and it wasn’t long until officer Blake, followed by Zimmerman and Schmuck, entered the room.

It was a abnormal moment filled with countless instances of queer stares. I felt as though each person in the room was quietly judging the remainder, or that they were still trying to connect the dots. My mind preferred the latter.

“You caught me then” Daniel said as he leaned back on his chair, as far as his bindings would allow him. He smiled for a moment as his eyes washed the table and made their way up to match my own. This man I had first met a few days ago had now begun to emit a whole new aura. He gave a minacious glare at those stood around me and raised an eyebrow.

“And why are they here?” he asked in a low and grumbling voice.

“I am about to reveal to you how I caught you and the process I had taken in eliminating other suspects. It is quite simple. I heavily desired those closely involved to be present. Officer Blake, if you may?”

Blake had locked the door and then proceeded to take out a notebook and pencil. He was my scribe for this matter.

I leaned forward and took a deep breath. My moment of satisfaction was here and I was going to enjoy it.

“First, may I draw your attention to the very first crime scene in which commenced this investigation? Abbotts Way, Portswood. In between two houses you left a rather large mess. What we had found was what had remained of poor Kyle. Only a torso with a singular arm was left. It was revolting and most sickening. A nightmare in the flesh! What first strook me as odd was that there was more blood in the street than what surrounded the body. This indicated that the body had been moved. Why? You wanted to send a message to his family am I right? But you didn’t want the body to be found so soon as to pin the trail on you so early. But then that creates another question, why did you want to send a message? I inquired at the household of Kyle. Ben. Young and innocent Ben.”

The mention of the name made Daniels ears twitch.

“You employed him for a short time. After a brief look into his medical records and a simple chat with his mother, I found that he had developed pneumonia. What’s more is that ever since his death, Kyle blamed YOU. This sent him crazy. He harassed you daily. So, it was only suitable to, not only settle your animalistic hunger, but to rid your presence of this new-found nuisance also!”

He chuckled to himself. But that tint of laughter was disguised by a violent glare.

“Clever. Impressive even. Though tell me detective, how can you be so sure that this was me? That, despite the events that transpired, it was definitely I that killed him?”

“I am glad you asked for I am not finished! Let our attention stay with dear Kyle for a moment more. Upon examination during the autopsy, thanks to my good friend and colleague Dr Ibravitch, we noticed that the stab wounds were precise. They lead straight into the lung and aorta. At the time of this discovery, I did not know anyone who was proficient in using a blade. Truth be told, this was a clue that baffled me up until the other day when I helped you with your luggage! In the midst of your things, I noticed a book on human anatomy borrowed from the Southampton central library. That is no mere coincidence but I can tell that is not enough to satisfy you nor is it I! So, let’s move on to the second victim. Louis Roosevelt. Now this is where it gets exciting!”

Zimmerman edged forward and cleared his throat.

“His luggage?” he asked.

“But why were you helping him with his luggage?”

“Oh, that is pretty funny actually sir! He was moving into your office!” I sensed the clear confusion so I continued in my explanation.

“At first we thought it Zimmerman who was the killer. Well! He was clearly framed to me but most saw him as an easy target. The simple option. But hear this, I do not settle for simple. Kyle was strong and fit. Look at Zimmerman, apologies sir, but he does not have the strength to subdue such a man! The same can be said for Louis. It would require someone far bigger and strong to accomplish such a task. You for example. First, we must identify why exactly Louis was killed. Was it jealousy, lust, power? The most common reasons that drive a man to crime as these are…it was none of them. It was purely revenge. A grudge carried on for many years.  A grudge that remained in pure daylight for all those to see but no one noticed.”

“And what grudge is that?” Daniel asked. This time there was no smile. There was only emptiness.

“A few years back, Zimmerman lost your company a substantial amount of money, did he not? You told me yourself. £50 if I recall. £50 is quite a lot of money for a company to lose.”

Daniel now radiated a forceful energy of sheer anger.

The room almost felt as though it had gotten smaller and a small part of me felt vulnerable; worried that his bindings would not be enough.

“You never really let go of that. It was something you carried with you for many years to come. You wanted rid of Zimmerman. You were extremely clever about the execution of your plan, however. You could have simply just killed him. Lead him away like you did with Kyle. But you needed a way to frame Zimmerman to dissuade us from ever thinking it was you. Louis was employed at your fishery before he began his employment at the horse hooves factory on Highfield lane. What’s more, he was employed at roughly the same time you hired Zimmerman. You knew of Louis and the fact he no longer worked at your establishment made him an easy choice for your next victim. You knew his strengths and weaknesses. You followed him home one night, closely. You noticed he was walking with someone else. Danny Craig. His dearest and closest friend. On the night of Louis’s murder, when Danny left, he noticed his friend was being followed. Close to him was an old looking man…with a limp. And who else do we know that possesses a limp? David Schmuck. The entire reason Louis left your workplace was because of David. They had a bitter rivalry since he first started working there. You knew this.”

“You took on the persona and posture of David, knowing you were being watched. You killed Louis, hid the body in Zimmerman’s house and the rest is self-explanatory. This was particularly easy for you as you knew when Zimmerman was away for work. You are his boss after all.”

Officer Blake paused writing for a moment and proposed a important question.

“Sorry sir. I found it rather convincing for David to be the killer. As you said, the man in the street had a bent and old-looking posture with a limp. Then there was that time the other day where you found him in your office all nervous looking. Bloody ol’ suspicious if you ask me! Especially ‘cus of the questions he was asking.”

“You are not to blame for such an accusation Blake. With a limp and the thin body of here David, there is no way he would have been able to attack, kill and drag Louis all the way to Zimmerman’s house. The reason he was so desperate for the killer to be caught was very simple. Money. David had his suspicions that Daniel was the cannibal. If Daniel were no longer in the picture, he’d be fired. Zimmerman would become the owner and David…the manager. Higher position, higher salary.”

David shied away in the corner of the room.

“I should also mention that both victims were intoxicated at the time of their death. This made them easy prey. Clever planning and, despite this man’s corrupt and iniquitous actions, this Daniel Walsh is an intelligent man.”

He was soon escorted out of the room by another few bobbies and David then limped over to me, shaking my hand.

“I’m still so astounded at how you did all this. So clever yet so young!” he relayed to me.

“Enjoy your position as manager Mr Schmuck. Try to keep it in good stead” I said.

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