I’ve decided not to post the The Nietzsche Files on Amazon, but rather continue with the serial story here on the blog. If you’ve not read the first part, you can find it at the link below. This first story is called Beyond Good and Evil. Once this mystery is complete, I will write others.
A word to my Waking Dream fans, these mysteries are directly related to the Waking Dream universe. Some of the characters you will encounter were in the novel and my other short stories. It does not matter if you’ve read the novel or the stories, but this will add spice to the world, and hopefully keep you engaged as I work on the second novel in the Transformation Series, The Unkindness.
Beyond Good and Evil (Part 2)
“Wanderer, who are you? I watch you go on your way, without scorn, without love, with impenetrable eyes – damp and downhearted, like a plumb line that returns unsatisfied from every depth back into the light (what was it looking for down there?), with a breast that does not sigh, with lips that hide their disgust, with a hand that only grips slowly: who are you?” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Chief Ronald White walked into the situation room carrying a case file, his face contorted unnaturally as he suppressed visceral rage at the situation.
“How in the hell does some vigilante access our network without us knowing?” he began.
He cast a fiery gaze over the room at the dumbfounded uniformed officers and detectives. “Anyone?”
“We’ve been hacked?” Officer Jerry Harrison offered.
“We’ve been hacked? Are you fucking kidding me? Of course we have dumb ass,” he shot the officer a glance of utter shock. “Don’t say another word or I’ll pop your head like a pimple.”
He threw the case file on the desk in disgust. “Anyone else have anything stupid to say?”
“It’s not that difficult, Chief,” Detective Kara Baldwin offered cautiously. “We’ve been breached before because of this bullshit IT contract we have with Data Systems, Inc. They aren’t focused on securing our systems, sir. They’re focused on sucking the life out of this city rather than helping us do our jobs better.”
Baldwin was a new detective, and had risen through the ranks quickly with her sharp wit and odd intuitions. The chief hand-picked her for promotion, and as such became his voice of reason. She worked the Allen case and turned up nothing. Harold Pearson was only a brief blip on he radar.
The Chief pinched the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes in frustration. Everyone sat silently as the Chief gained his composure and finally spoke once more.
“Well,” he began. “Our masked man, or Nietzsche as he calls himself, managed to solve five cases in one night. We found four mummified bodies in a hidden crawl space under the house. I’m sure we’ll match them up to other girls that have gone missing over the past two years. Pearson is a janitor at Angler Elementary School. Jesus, didn’t we interview that sadistic fuck?”
“We did, sir,” Detective Baldwin spoke up again. “He was as clean as they come. No priors. A model citizen his entire life. The only oddity about him is that he is highly educated, but chose to be a janitor. However, everyone at the school thought well of him, so we didn’t bother to follow him as a lead. He is a true psychopath with an amazing ability to hide it from others — hiding in plain sight, in fact”
“Obviously, someone found his hiding place,” The Chief said, shooting her a gaze. “Someone figured our mild-mannered janitor was a monster in coveralls.”
“Perhaps it takes one to know one?” Detective Baldwin offered.
“Which brings me to our love note,” The Chief said as he pulled reading glasses from his breast pocket. He began to read the letter Nietzsche left with the victim.
Dear Intrepid Detectives and Officers of Richmond Police Department,
You need not thank me for doing your job for you, it was really quite trivial – a mere distraction from my daily routine. However, your inaction caused my reaction to an ever-growing problem in your quaint little southern town. Be that as it may, I cannot allow these sorts of monsters to corrupt the fabric of our existence. But, the blame does not fall solely on the shoulders of your antiquated deductive processes. It is a systemic problem, and you are merely flies caught in a decayed, abandoned web. Struggle as you may to grasp the entirety of your role to ‘protect and serve’, you have forgotten the most basic of principles. In order to catch a monster, you must be a monster – you must think as they do. It is unfortunate that you are unable to disassociate yourselves from your humanity in a productive way, such as I have. Your emotions are what prevent you from breaking the bonds of the common reality and embracing the true nature of what it means to be alive.
But, I digress. I have provided you enough information on the cell phone to ensure a conviction of Harold Pearson. If he walks free, it will be your failure and I assure you I will communicate this entire ordeal to every media outlet on the planet, exposing your incompetency to the world. So, this one is free, only if you are able to attain a conviction, I shall not expose my role in this investigation.
You needn’t worry about attaining the death penalty. The memento I provided Mr. Pearson will ensure he won’t last a week in prison. It seems no one, even hardened criminals, will suffer the presence of a murderous pedophile. It will only be a matter of time before he takes his first shower among the general populace and that word will still remain, embossed in scarlet across his meaty chest. What a fitting end to a waste of protein, wouldn’t you agree?
Now I must start working on my next case. You have about a week before I solve it. Unfortunately for you, I will not be telling you which one I will be working on. I am offering you a chance at redemption in the eyes of the people of this town. Your best chance at beating me would be to find the man with the cocked hat. He might shed some light on the matter. Perhaps, you’ll begin to understand what it means to ‘protect and serve’, instead of wasting your time on trivial matters and the low hanging fruit.
Lastly, it would be a waste of precious resources trying to investigate my identity. I am watching you all the time. Any attempt to find me would be seen as an act of aggression, and dealt with accordingly. I am not an inherently violent person, nor do I wish to be. I hate dirt under my fingernails, and blood even more. Your perpetrators will only receive what they deserve, and death, no matter how appealing it may be, is not our decision to make. I have looked into the abyss, and it has looked back into me. Do not test the depth of my darkness.
The Chief tossed the letter down on the desk with the rest of the case file and look around the room at the blank faces.
“Garden variety psychopath,” Detective Baldwin said. “He’s screwing with us. This is just a cover for what he’s been up to. A diversion.”
“Oh?” The Chief said. “Is that the best you can think of? He’s saving little girls and branding pedophiles so he can do terrible things elsewhere?”
“It would be the perfect cover, sir,” she insisted amidst the whispers in the room.
“No it wouldn’t, Baldwin. Christ, think before you speak,” The chief barked. “He’s toying with us, yes, but there’s something else at work here and I don’t have the first goddamn clue what that might be.”
Baldwin went to open her mouth but closed it again at the risk of making the situation worse.
“I think we better focus on getting our ducks in a row at the Pearson house and Hollywood Cemetery,” the Chief continued. “Pearson is a non-issue at this point. We have a witness, bodies and enough evidence to bury his ass. I want to know who this Nietzsche is.”
“But, he just said he’s watching,” Detective Jesse James spoke up. “He’s could very well be in this room for all we know. Or works at the department.”
“I doubt that very seriously,” the Chief barked. “No one in this department has that sort of eloquence in their ability to communicate. He, or she, would easily slip up. That sort of disdain for our department would be written all over their face.”
“Not necessarily,” A brown-haired, woman with thick glasses spoke from the back of the room. “I’m also not so sure that he’s a psychopath, either.”
Dr. Amanda Grey served as the department psychiatrist, and she proved herself invaluable in cases such as the one they faced.
“Continue,” the Chief replied.
“Look around the room,” she said with an arched eyebrow. “Do you really know what any of us do when we leave here at night? Do you know who is an alcoholic? Who is beating their wife? Who is secretly gay?”
“I would think those signs would be easy to detect in a department full of detectives, Dr. Grey.”
“I would proceed with caution,” she urged. “If you truly want to know who Nietzsche is, perhaps you should just follow his instructions. He’s a sociopath, and what is more disturbing, is that he knows he is, which is in of itself chilling.”
“Why do you say that?” Detective Baldwin asked.
“Because he has chosen to be a sociopath,” Dr. Grey said flatly. “Listen to his words, everything you need to know is in his letter and the 911 call. When he is finished, you will find him, because he will need to gloat over his superiority. And, it will be a grandiose statement.”
“So basically,” the Chief said after a few moments of silence, “we’re sitting on a ticking time bomb?”
“Exactly,” Dr. Grey responded. “And this one is booby-trapped on levels we can’t even begin to understand.”
“How can you get all that out of an arrogant letter and phone call,” Detective James quipped.
“His wording is precise and has meaning. His actions have meaning. His existence has meaning, as far as he is concerned. He’s not a vigilante, he’s a cold, unwavering crusader. He’s already told you where to look in Hollywood Cemetery.”
“Why do you say that?” the Chief said as he raised his bushy brows.
“The man with the cocked hat,” Dr. Grey said flatly, ” is James Monroe.”
“Baldwin and James,” the Chief said. “I want you to work the cemetery and see what you can find. I’ll let the forensic teams and the uniformed officers clean up at the Pearson house. Don’t screw this up. He’s obviously been looking at our cold case files. Don’t let him beat us to the punch. I don’t want some psycho showing us up, again. Dismissed.”
The room cleared. Detective Baldwin and James went to their shared office.
“I want to get this guy,” Baldwin said as she closed the door.
“Are you looking to get your ass fired your first year as detective?” Detective James asked.
“No. I’m going to catch a monster.” She said as she grabbed keys from her desk. “Let’s roll.”
Until next time, I thank you once again for reading.