Here is part 3 of our story. If you’ve not read the first two parts, you can find them here:
And now part 3…
Beyond Good and Evil
To him who feels himself preordained to contemplation and not to belief, all believers are too noisy and obtrusive; he guards against them. — Friedrich Nietzsche
“Laertes,” Nietzsche said as he stepped into the office hidden beyond a bookcase in the library of his modest home. The room was empty except for a modest desk beneath a wall covered with nine computer monitors.
“Yes, Alex,” a disembodied voice emanated from speakers mounted on either side of the monitors. The voice sounded strange with a tremolo distortion and the hint of a Greek accent.
Nietzsche’s true identity, known only to Laertes, was Alexander Reed. Alex was not concerned Laertes would reveal this fact as they shared a symbiotic relationship and common goals, though for different purposes.
“Did they find the package?” Alex asked as he took a seat at the desk.
“Yes,” Laertes replied.
A video appeared on one of the screens, which showed Detectives Baldwin and James as they retrieved the package at James Monroe’s Tomb.
“Interesting,” Alex said after he watched for a few moments. “The Baldwin woman is not as obtuse as I initially thought.”
“And you have now become her new interest,” Laertes replied.
Another screen on the wall flickered with images and a dossier of Detective Kara Baldwin. An audio file played and recounted the conversation Baldwin and James had before they left to investigate the cemetery.
“No. I’m going to catch a monster,” Laertes played the clip a few times, analyzing the voice pattern.
Alex pursed his lips a moment, “I knew she wouldn’t let my existence remain anonymous.”
“She is very ambitious, as you can imagine” Laertes remarked. “The inflection in her voice indicates that she is determined to prove something.”
“Not unusual with female detectives, especially in a field dominated by males,” Alex leaned back in his chair, and stared at the picture of Kara Baldwin, hands folded under his chin. “She’s endured a troubled childhood, perhaps an absent or dismissive father. Every relationship she has ever engaged in has ended in failure. I would venture to say she’s given up on that part of her life. This would explain a great many things.”
“Shall I issue a warning of some variety?” Laertes asked.
Alex contemplated the images on the screen for a few silent moments, then shook his head, a smirk curled the right side of his mouth.
“In a few moments,” he responded coldly. “I shall also pay her a visit. She is interesting, this one. She has that certain indigo glimmer in her aura. But I can’t know until I’ve actually seen her with my own eyes.”
“And what will that change?”
“Nothing really,” Alex remarked dismissively. “However, she may be the only useful person in that department. The rest of her slack-jawed, dimwitted cohorts don’t exhibit the same level the personal ambition as she. That makes her perfect bait, despite her flawed sense of empathy.”
“Precisely,” Alex said. “Ambition can lead to corruption. Someone as angry and driven as Detective Baldwin is very prone to making a wrong decision for the sake of the ‘greater good'”
“Of course, yet he has eluded us at every turn thus far,” Laertes reminded.
“I am well aware of that, Laertes,” Alex quipped. “Now, show me the case file on the Tyler murders. “
All of the images and information about Detective Baldwin disappeared. Images of a murdered family, as well as a plethora of documents and newspaper articles filled all nine screens.
“John Tyler,” Alex said to himself as he looked at the picture of a man. “So very foolish of you to think you could invoke such things.”
The images on the screen depicted John and Wilma Tyler with their three children – a boy and two girls – brutally slain in a ritualistic manner.
“I do agree that this is his work,” Laertes said.
“Yes, and the two buffoons they convicted were merely pawns,” Alex said. “There was absolutely no motive or ties to the Tyler family. It just punctuates my assertions on the incompetency of this lamentable police department. The manner in which they were killed clearly suggests he controlled their actions to ensure the proper execution of the ritual.”
“Indeed, eating of the soul requires strict adherence to the will of the Celestial Ones,” Laertes acquiesced. “Yet, the police labeled it a home invasion.”
“Despite the fact they found no personal possessions missing. Tyler must have been in possession of something no one would think to look for. Perhaps The Keystone.” Alex folded his hands under his chin once more in contemplation.
“That would make proper sense,” Laertes said. “And once delivered, Apoyllon provided an anonymous tip, which I am unable to find in the police database.”
“Of course, he would have expunged it himself,” Alex said. “Is there anyone living in the house presently?”
“No, it remains vacant. It seems that the brutality of the murder has stricken fear into any prospective buyer. It is abandoned and falling into disrepair quickly, due to its age.”
“It has nothing to do with the murders, it is the residual presence of Apollyon.” Alex sat forward and looked closely at the crime scene photos. “Brilliant, I shall pay a visit this evening and see if I can sense it. If I am right, we may be nearing the end of a very long quest. I doubt very seriously Baldwin will uncover my clue today, so this evening is the best time to perform an investigation”
“She and her partner are still trying to decipher the message you left,” Laertes reassured.
“Continue monitoring them,” Alex said. “But before I leave, let me dictate a warning to our friends at Richmond PD.”
Chief White entered the situation room, Detective Baldwin following behind, eyes cast down. As she took her place next to her partner, the Chief held up a printed email.
“Anyone else want to get their ass chewed today?” He asked through gritted teeth. “It seems Nietzsche has a mole in our organization. He overheard Baldwin expressing her need to be a cowboy.”
The Chief scanned the room slowly, his gaze stopping on Baldwin. “I want to make myself crystal fucking clear. No one, I mean, no one is to investigate anything about this Nietzsche until I can secure this department. I put in a call to the Feds and they are going to be probing this department to the point you’re gonna to feel like you’re having a body cavity search. And when I do find out who is feeding him information, it will be a federal offense.”
The Chief looked around the room once more before reading the latest letter.
Dear Detective Baldwin and Company,
I told you very clearly that any attempt to uncover my identity would be seen as an act of aggression. As such, I have sent a copy of my first letter to the Richmond Times Dispatch. And, by the time your Chief has finished reading this letter, Pearson will have met with an untimely demise at the hand of a fellow inmate. Pity that, I had hoped that you could prolong his suffering, but that’s over now.
In addition, the clue you found at Hollywood Cemetery, by Detectives Baldwin and James, will be the final clue. You are now left to your own devices to try to catch the true monster that has eluded you for some time now. Unfortunately, that monster is far more destructive to your little town than I ever will. Your ineptitude caused you to fail to see how all things are connected.
I will keep my word, assuming you do not defy me again, that if you are able to solve the case before me I will not claim any further involvement. And this is how we will dance in the coming months.
I apologize for the brevity of this missive, however, I am off to do your job for you once again. You have wasted time, and now time doth waste you.
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us?
“We are so screwed,” Detective James muttered under his breath.
“Beyond words,” the Chief responded. “I have to give a press conference and explain that a sociopath vigilante found the killer of four little girls that we interviewed and investigated, dumb ass. We are all screwed. The mayor already put his foot up my ass and broke it off at the ankle.”
The Chief shook his head in frustration, then looked to Baldwin, “Have you and numb nuts over there deciphered the letter he left.”
“Part of it,” Baldwin responded timidly. “We think it’s a box cipher. But each word has a different box, orientation and he’s salted it with useless letters. But, I think we can have it by tomorrow.”
“What part have you deciphered?” The Chief asked impatiently.
“The Feds will be here tomorrow,” he continued. “I want you to turn it over to their cryptographers unless you have something by the morning. I suggest you and your partner pull an all-nighter. Last thing you need is to be shown up by the Feds and a sociopath.”
The Chief waved a hand dismissively, “Get out of my sight, all of you.”
Baldwin and James quickly left the situation room and retreated to their office.
“Grab your gear, we need to find somewhere private to talk,” Baldwin said.
“Please tell me we’re not going to go looking for this guy again?” Detective James said with no small amount of exasperation in this voice.
“No,” Baldwin replied. “But, I know someone who can figure this out faster than us.”
I hope you enjoyed this next installment in Beyond Good and Evil. Part 4 will be available sometime next week! Thanks for reading!