Do you ever stop to question and wonder as to why the world is the way it is? With all of its shortcomings, there are very few ounces of eccentric grains of happiness that surround us. The world is dark and gloomy and it prevents me from regaining my past self.
I often like to ponder about what could have been. If I had kept those dear to me, if I had never departed for war and if my trust was still integral. I am a changed man and nothing hinders my ongoing burning rage that fuels my beating heart.
Turn back the clock to the year 1812, the brutal and bloody feud between the Americans and ourselves. The war was a catastrophe and the great Whitehouse was burned to the ground. I was born just one year after the war of 1812, which ended in 1815, and had grew to develop a strong hatred towards my father. He had survived of course, but I never had the privilege of getting to know him before the war. I therefor never recall a fond memory of the man. The violence had changed him, according to my mother. He was strict, rude and very demanding. He expected too much of me too soon and always dismissed any achievements I made as a child.
My mother died when I was still quite young. I was 14. 1830 was a troublesome year. My beautiful mother had died, father took to drink, king George the 4th had passed and I felt my life fall away at my fingertips. For a few years in my mid-twenty’s life wasn’t too bad and I managed to save a small fortune. Soon however, came war and poverty and plague.
I wish I knew my father prior to his military career. It saddens me to think that I now resemble his war-torn self.
I just had to depart the crime scene for some food and a spot of tea. A cream cake would have done me nicely and if sleep was to evade my presence for another period of time, food would not.
I arrived at a small café just off the road on Oxford avenue. It was a quaint place with a delicious and luxurious smell of coffee beans imported from the colonies. I entered, ordered my much-desired beverage, and sat at a table in the corner of the room. I flicked through a newspaper from yesterday and skimmed the columns. There was, as I expected, nothing of interest.
I sipped on my tea which ran down my throat so smoothly and gave me a warm buzz in my chest. For a change I decided to divert all thoughts of the case away from my mind as I needed a moment to recuperate. My powerhouse of a brain felt extremely tense and was in desperate need of fun. I heavily enjoyed cases but there was only so much I could take in a short amount of time.
I had some time to myself which I savoured and was even able to receive a few minutes of sleep at my booth.
It was at that moment that I was approached by a timid and dedicated looking man with copper tinted cheeks and fresh blue eyes. He wore burgundy trousers with lines down each knee and a brown blazer with faint black lapels.
“Journalist?” I asked as I opened one eye.
“My oh my! How in the heavens did you gather that?” He replied in a dumfounded tone.
“You walk into this place and head straight for me. No quick glance at the menu, no hesitation in choosing where to sit. You are here to see me, that much is certain. You don’t carry a notebook like most journalists do; smart. You know how police feel about talking to such people. But you need to remember the questions you want to ask, so with no notebook at hand…” I turned over the mans hand and just as I expected, there were a couple of smudged questions written in ink.
“Journalist” I said again.
“That was incredible! I do say sir, for such a young boy, you are quite a clever and most observant fellow!”
“Man. I am a man. Not a boy. Well? You may as well sit and ask the questions you’ve came here to ask.”
He sat, offered a smile which I was too tired to reciprocate, and squinted his eyes as he attempted to read that which was written on his hand.
“So, I’m Michael Washington. Detective, what can you tell me about the broken glass? It was broken from the inside so does this suggest that it may be one of the guards?”
“It intrigues me how you have come to know such a fact! The crime itself did not happen too long ago.”
“News of this magnitude travels quick. I am a journalist after all. Now, the question if you will?”
“It could have been one of the guards. It could have been anyone. The investigation is still a fresh one and all perspectives are yet to be examined and clues are yet to be discovered. It offers many possibilities.”
“Indeed. Why do you think the criminal wanted the jewel?”
“Again, you ask the most peculiar questions! The crime happened but moments ago. Anything could have happened: a murder or even any other item within that building could have been stolen. How do you know that it was the jewel?” His questions began to annoy me but I couldn’t help my rising curiosity into how he came by this information.
“Oh come detective, don’t have me repeat myself! I have told you before, news travels fast.”
This man in front of me gave me an uneasy feeling in my stomach and a constant state of dread surrounded me.
“I have a little riddle for you detective. I trust you’ll find it exciting” said he as he put away his hand under the table.
“What grows but never shrinks? Passes you by multiple times but only once? It surrounds us all but without an aid, you are oblivious to it. What am I?”
I sat puzzled for a moment. He stood up and brushed off his trousers and prepared to leave.
“Well, I am off now. Do get in touch when you have a hunch who the thief is, won’t you?” He smiled and nodded and then left.
My encounter with Michael Washington was a very strange one and I desperately relinquished the divine opportunity to learn more about this man. My brain was on the verge of a menacing meltdown that emitted a dark reckoning of an ongoing intensifying interest. The riddle also thawed away at the crevasse of my mind and, not only did I ponder to the answer of the riddle, but I also debated its significance and if this was an underlying clue.
I decided to follow Mr Washington until I came to the conclusion following him would bring me no relevance. I left a small tip on the table of two silvers and then departed. I looked to my right and immediately identified the timid and thin man whom had previously approached me. He was walking at a rather fast pace but did not look nervous at all.
I followed; blending with the crowds whenever I could. At one point I almost lost him but soon picked up the trail once more.
The first stop he made was at a butcher. From what I observed and gathered; this was of no significance. What did peak my interest however, was when he returned home. He waisted no time in unlocking the door and slamming it behind him as he entered his house.
And then, I watched for a brief moment. Through his window I witnessed, not a man anymore, but a frantic beast entering a wild rage. Mr Washington began cursing and throwing glasses at the wall. What did this mean I did not know? But it was definitely linked.