Detective Ray Clark is called for a case involving an animal rights activist
| It felt like just another Thursday night to me as I walked inside the bar. It felt nice to get out of that cold Chicago weather. The weather was terrible most of the year in this city, but it was a small price to pay for the privelege of living in the greatest city known to man. The bar was small and cozy, just a hole in the wall of the lively nightlife this city had to offer. Something about the relaxing atmosphere in this bar was appealing to me. Life was crazy enough the rest of the day, and it felt good to just be able to relax for just a little.
The bartender greeted me with a thin smile and a wave. I ordered my usual, a Bloody Mary, and sat down alone. Being a detective meant that I usually had to deal with the ugly side of people, and quite frankly, when the opportunity presented itself, I chose to be alone.
As I was drinking my Bloody Mary and eavesdropping on a conversation nearby, a woman walked in the door, crying. She had long brown hair, and looked thin enough to be a model. She was taller too, confirming my guess that she was a model. She stopped in the middle of the bar and looked around, expecting to find someone. As she screened the bar, we made eye contact, and she walked towards me. She sat down next to me, and looked at me in silence. Her gray eyes were red and puffy.
"Are you Raymond Clark?" the woman asked, her voice waivering.
I cleared my throat and tried to groom my thick black hair. "Yes I am. Can I help you?"
She looked down at the ground before answering me. "My name is Kendra Pan, and I wanted to hire you."
I would be lying if I said I wasn't shocked. By now, I was used to getting jobs at the bar. For the most part, they were all low-profile jobs, such as a simple burglary, but something about this woman seemed... different. I could tell by the woman's demeanor that she was not looking for help with something as tedious as a simple theft or information on a cheating spouse. I finished my Bloody Mary and looked at the woman.
"What's the job ma'am?"
"Well, it's my husband. He's been... murdered," she said as tears streamed down her face.
I knew words would not comfort this woman. She was clearly devasted by the loss she just encountered. What this woman wanted was justice. Thus why she came to me.
"I'm sorry for you loss. Would you prefer discussing this in a more private location? My office is located just up the road from here," I offered to the woman. I could tell this woman was hesitant to discuss the case in such a public location. She slowly nodded her head and I led her out of the bar.
As we sat down in my office, I couldn't help by feel embarrassed by the mess of paperwork covering my desk. Business had been slow lately, so I was without excuse for the mess. I smiled sheepishly as I tried to organize all the paperwork to one side of the desk. I looked up at Kendra and noticed she was examining my office. There wasn't much to look at; The walls were mostly lined with bookshelves and file cabinets. I placed a picture of a mountain landscape on the far wall, thinking it would bring a good aura to the office, but of course it was so old it was discolored, simply adding to the depressing state of the office. There was also a large plant sitting by the front door, but sadly it did not add any more life or excitement to my office either. I broke the silence and got right to business.
"So you were saying that your husband was murdered. Can you please explain any details as to what happened?" I asked. The poor woman jumped as I caught her off guard.
"Well, we were hosting a small dinner party at our house for a charity event, and late into the night, one of the guests found my husband murdered in the bathroom. I just... I just don't know what happened..." She stopped talking and covered her face. Her sobs filled the room. After a few moments she looked back at me and assured me she was fine.
"Please, continue," she requested.
"Okay. Now what charity was this?" I asked.
"It's called the Animals Rights Society. We focus on animal abuse issues throughout the world. The dinner party was for leaders in the society. My husband and I handle the finances for the organization, and we were unveiling the budget for the upcoming year. We have been working with this organization for several years now."
"Okay, and how many people were at this party?"
"Seven. Three couples and one other individual."
"Off the top of your head, did any of the attendants have animosity towards your husband?"
"Oh absolutely not! Jeremy was loved by all of the members of the ARS. In a way they had to love him; he was their biggest financial donor."
My finger started cramping as I furiously wrote notes down on a notepad. My friends had told me to catch up with the times and use a computer, but I did not trust technology enough with my work. There just seemed to be too many problems when you started using electronics. I took a moment before continuing.
"He was their biggest financial donor?"
"Yes," Kendra responded. "Jeremy was a very successful accountant. He made millions. When the ARS started about nine years ago, Jeremy decided he wanted to financially support the organization. If it wasn't for the millions of dollars he donated, ARS would not be in existence today."
"And when did he start handling the finances for the organization?"
"Almost right away. With his financial expertise, the people in charge of the ARS decided he was the best choice, and he was too. He has made this organization a financial success almost single-handedly."
"So this budget you proposed to the leaders of the ARS, did everyone approve of it?" I asked. So far, she was making her late husband out to be perfect. He may have been perfect to her, but clearly something was missing from all of this.
"Well... almost everyone. The president of the organization did have a minor problem with some of the numbers," Kendra replied.
"What was the problem?"
"Well, he did not like the paycut he was being forced to take. He wanted to find another part of the budget to cut."
I shook my head in disbelief. Some people were just too greedy for their own good.
"And what's his name?"
"Daniel. Daniel Lentz."
"Okay, well if you don't mind, I think we will end things there for now. I will stop by tomorrow to look for any evidence if that's okay."
"Actually," Kendra replied, "If you could stop by now that would be easier. I am having people over tomorrow to handle some financial matters and I don't want them to contaminate anything."
I looked at the clock and groaned quietly. I was tired, but this poor woman was determined to catch her husband's killer. I did not want to discourage her.
"Okay, I will stop by now. I'll just follow you in my car."
Kendra led the way to her house in a new Bentley. Possible scenarios played out in my head as to what may have happened. Based on what she was telling me though, none of them made any sense. This man seemed perfect, especially when it came to money.
As we pulled up to the house, my mouth dropped in amazement. The house was enormous and emaculate. The long driveway was surrounded by large bushes on either side and I noticed a large fountain to the left. Even in the dark night, this house was absolutely gorgeous. The silhouette alone was beautiful.
As we pulled up into the driveway, an explosion rocked my vehicle, causing me to duck behind the steering wheel. I glanced over the steering wheel, to see the once beautiful house had vanished. In its place were bright orange flames. Kendra jumped out of her vehicle and looked out to the house. I ran out of my vehicle and grabbed Kendra, pulling her towards me. Beads of sweat formed on my face as the heat from the flames reached out to us. Kendra broke down into tears and cried into my shoulder. Whoever killed her husband was obviously not done.