Hospital in Findlay receives an unusual package. Detective Castamerry is on the case...
The night is calm... or at least you could say so after first look. Even if it is really late, the city is still alive. Barely but most of activities during night usually belong to those which you would not find in the daylight.
Who knows, maybe some great robbery is going on right now? Or a common thief trying to enter someone elseâs house and loot it from all valuable belongings? In the very same second in different place drug dealer might be selling his âgoodsâ to some kid who will overdose it next night and will fight for his life in the hospital.
Anyway, not everyone who is outside on such a late hour is a criminal. There are still good people who just going from the place to place dreaming of a warm beds waiting in their home.
That young man nearly running is definitely one of those second one. He walks firmly in the light of nearly rusty old lamps planted here by some politician years ago and still not replaced despite many request by the locals. If he had something forbidden in mind he would hide in shadows like most of typical bad guys. At least those clever ones. There are not so many patrolling police officers in this area but still, better not to be seen if you are up to something prohibited.
He is in the hurry not only because of late hour. Few minutes ago he witnessed a group of drunk teenagers demolishing a bus stop. Unfortunately, he had no phone to call the police and it was way too risky to try to stop them alone. What if one of those kids had a knife, or worse a gun with him? Alcohol especially when consumed by young person might turn off thinking and turn on âI am the best and no need for thinkingâ mode. Just to prove how brave he is he would attack anyone who dared to show up in wrong place and time. So young man backed off and took a detour in area not exactly well known by him.
Going this way wont decrease his journeys time but he knows that it was for the best. Is a risk of getting hurt or at least robbed (like he had something valuable on him) really worth those ten more minutes on the road? Of course not. This young man never belonged to the bravest. Be safe and donât look for any trouble you might not want to have. Words of his mother always appeared in his head in situations like that. As child he wasnât always taken serious by kids around his age. Maybe it was because every day his mother walked with him to school until fatherâs intervention and many tears from him. It may sound quite normal that mothers walk to school with their children, but in his case all of his classmates already were allowed to go on their own to school while he had to wait to his 12 birthday before it happenedâ¦
Lost in not especially happy memories of youth in his parentsâ house the young man keeps walking slower and slower without realizing that his pace is not as fast as it was only few seconds ago. Tonight sky is clear and all of them stars are visible. âWouldnât life be easier if people lived like stars?â He thought. âOnly to appear during night. No jobs, no schools only with one goal. To shine.â
The young man stops on the crossroad. Road is clear, completely no cars so he can cross instantly, but something stops him from doing that.
Itâs not the sky nor the stars which took his attention a while ago but it is something different. Not a thing. A voice.
It comes from behind a large garbage bin standing a few meters from him in the darkness of a small alley, most likely towards someoneâs house or other building. Thatâs not important right now. The voice is weak and quiet but still it is hearable and in addition to young manâs fear it begs for help.
âH-h-h-he-e-lpâ. It is hard to tell how old is that person but clearly it is a male voice. What could happen to him? Is he sick, hurt or maybe even dying? The young man is terrified but he has to at least check on that person. Even without a phone in a pocket and first aid skills he could just shout and pray somebody else hears that and run to the source of the noise.
As long as he has no idea what is going on here, the young man canât save the victim.
With a heart beating in a crazy rhythm he advances towards the garbage bin. âHello?â He asks not sure of himself hoping that the wounded answers or at least give a sound to let his savior locate him in the darkness. But night is dark and silent and most likely full of terrors.
Thinking about what would happen if he had run away, the young man slowly moves and lets the darkness devour him.
After a couple of small and cautious steps his boot meets something that shouldnât be here in
a normal area of a garbage bin. Then suddenly another weak âH-h-he-l-pâ throws the young man nearly into air. He loses his balance and is close to fell down. The voice came from nearby. The voice came from the place he hit with his boot!
Once again he feels an instant urge to run away as fast as possible and donât look back. He would do that but he is so close and a curiosity stops him. âIf I am here I shouldnât leave that poor soul to die. That would be same like if I had killed him on my ownâ. In meantime his sight adapted to the darkness and his vision became good enough to be aware of surrounding. And then he notices the man who needs his help.
With his back on the wall the man sits with the rest of his strength. He is wearing a jacket of impossible to distinguish color. One of his hands is hidden under it and in that place some liquid seems to be leaking. âIs that blood???â the young man froze. âHe must be wounded. I have to inspect it and find help as fast I canâ His head is spinning and his heart starts beating even faster. Like it was going to rip a hole in his chest any second. Despite being frightened the young man keeps moving in direction of the hurt stranger. Itâs too late to turn back.
Everything from now on seems to be in slow motion for him.
His hand reaches woundedâs jacket.
He tries to look under it.
With unexpected for a dying man speed stranger pulls out a soaked rag from beneath his jacket and force it to young manâs face. He attempts to fight back but stranger is stronger and with ease restrains him so there is no way he can escape.
This wasnât necessary. The young man is feeling weaker and weaker because of the substance gagging him rag is soaked. He feels that he is about to lose consciousness. Before it happens he regrets that he fell in ambush only because he wanted to be a hero. For only one timeâ¦
Soon darkness overwhelms him.
Madison Janis, Findlay (Ohio), 17th September 2007 5.54 am
Night shifts in hospitals are not exactly a definition of something easy. Of course, there are nights when absolutely nothing happens, only passing by cars and from time to time some animal making noise outside. But there are other nights, when there is not a second to breathe not to mention doing such activities like reading books or browsing the internet on mobile phone. You never know what can happen. Car crash, burning house, dog bites or more serious illness are only
a couple of things what you can encounter during nights in the hospital.
Madison Janis knew both types of nights very well. 11 years passed since she started working in Findlayâs hospital and none of the nightshifts she had were the same.
Fortunately, this one was rather peaceful. Only that old woman from room 14 wasnât feeling well earlier on. At least it wasnât anything serious. Doctor Jacobs had examined her and gave her something for the sleep. After that the night was quiet.
Waiting for the next shift to appear in the hospital Madison and her best friend and fellow nurse Jane Walton are sitting in cafeteria and drinking tea. They are talking, discussing the whole night from the very beginning.
âIt could be worse tonight, donât you think Mad?â Jane works as a nurse around a year. Until she started working here all knowledge about life in hospital she had from TV shows. It was a great shock for her to see how reality differs from what sheâs seen. In addition to that it was her first night shift. âI told you itâs not so scary. A few coffee cups and you can survive to the dawn.â Madison replies and both of them laughs. âAnd soon we are about to lie in our beds when everyone is having hard time getting up. Isnât it a sweet feeling?â âWell they slept when we were here awakeâ¦â âI have to admit; youâve got a point.â Then the door opens.
âGood morning my ladiesâ Doctor Gregory Jacobs welcomes his nurses. âMorning Doctor. Already heading home?â âNot yet Madison, but soon, hopefully. Itâs been a long night.â âYeah, time for
a napâ Jane drinks the rest from her cup and stands up to refill it.
As doctor Jacobs grabs a donut from the cupboard he seems to remember something and turns to Madison. âBy the way, when I was on the way Iâve seen that post office woke up really early today. Thereâs some letters and a big box. Can you go downstairs and check if thereâs something for me, please?â âSure, no problemâ She answers, knowing that it is only a pretext to have her out of cafeteria. The fact that doctor Jacobs likes nurse Walton is widely known in the hospital. Most likely he wants to spend some time with her alone. Madison has nothing against that. They both are still young, he is 31 and she 29 and both singles. She hopes that eventually they fall in love and maybe even marry in future. Gregory Jacobs would be a good match for Jane, quite handsome and not poor. He can give her best friend a safe future.
When Madison arrives to the lobby she sees that doctor Jacobs was right. There is a nice pile of letters and a box, a big wrapped in a grey paper box. She wonders what could be inside but first the letters.
Most of them had been send to the hospital, not to someone specific. However, a few are for some other nurse andâ¦ One for doctor Jacobs. Madison has no idea whether he expected something important or not but she thinks that she should also check what is in that mysterious package.
She examines it. On touch it is wrapped in a standard paper. Most likely bought in one of numerous shops providing stuff like that. Beneath she can feel a wood, but she is not sure what kind of. Even if she unwrapped it right now she wouldnât be able to tell from what type of tree that wood comes from. Itâs been years since she has forgotten all she knew about trees. There is not many of them in cities.
But thereâs something ominous about this package. Madison is not sure what it is but she feels that something is wrong here. She looks closer and notices that some weird odor is coming from inside. Not sure what it is she starts to look around searching for security guard, Mr. Graham. Presence of the old man would make her feel safer but unfortunately he seems to be not here. Another reason to be worried. He was supposed to be around this area.
âWhat if it is a bomb?â Madisonâs thoughts start going in more and more paranoiac direction. âThereâs nothing written here. I guess I can open it on my own and make sure that it is not a dangerous thing.â
With a characteristic scratchy sound paper easily reveals content of delivery. As Madison expected it is a wooden box. Still there is no way to tell if this package has its addressee.
When she makes sure that she hasnât done anything stupid opening it, Madison draws her ear close to the box and listen. She can hear a rhythmic sound, something reminding her drums played by some kind of orchestra but soon she realizes that it is her own heart working in insane pace. Wondering if she is old enough to have a heart attack she finds her confidence to open that box.
At the beginning it seems to be stuck and all she is doing is scratching the wooden surface with her nails but after a few seconds of struggle she finds a way pry it open.
As soon as Madison removes a top cover she smells an unbearable stench. Unconsciously she covers her nose with her hand and looks insideâ¦
Then she remembers only screamingâ¦
Detective Castamerry, Findlay (Ohio), 17th September 2007 10.03 am
Dark green Chevrolet from mid-90âs arrives at the parking lot of Findlayâs hospital. Even for car old like that it looks clean and shows that its owner cares about it. Thereâs not a single drop of mud, dirt or any other on both fenders not to mention the rest of surfaces and for sure insides.
When the car stops the door opens and the man leaves it. He looks like he is in his 50âs but in fact he is a bit younger. His face is clean shaved, probably done last night. As the man looks for something in his pocket his medium long black hair is being moved by the wind. He takes out a packet of cigarettes, draws one, lights it and heads in direction of the hospital.
For some strange reason they asked in specific for him to investigate this case, which brought him all the way from Columbus to Findlay on this early hour. He dislikes that, but he is only a detective. It is known that a good one for sure, but still he has superiors who tells him what to do.
At the entrance he sees a group of local police officers. One of them is taking photos of something he cannot see from where he stands and others interview hospital staff.
Detective finishes smoking his cigarette and throws away the end into a bin. Wondering if he can get a cup of coffee inside he enters the building.
âSir, are you detective Morgan Castamerry?â He hears right after steps through the door. âYeah. That would be me. Can somebody finally tell me whatâs the damn reason you asked for me?â detective moves his head in direction of the voice and see a young police officer. So young that without a doubt you could say he is new to the job. âItâs quite a complicated matter, sir.â Castamerry sees that his voice lacks of the confidence and hopes that years in police will change that. âI donât know how to start. Maybe you should see yourself, ser. Ask sheriff Blake. He is the one with the camera.â He points on the man Morgan saw taking pictures of something. Then he adds with a shacking voice. âSir Iâll wait here. Hope you donât mind.â And backs away to his place. Glad that he doesnât have to endure a longer company of that boy, detective Castamerry proceeds and looks around hoping to see some more clues of what is going on in here.
As he is getting closer he notices the stench coming from this area. It is rather unpleasant but detective has smelt worse in his life and this one cannot be compared with any of them.
âSheriff?â He asks the man that young man around the door pointed. âOh. Sorry. Iâve lost myself in thoughts for a sec. You must be that detective from Columbus, arenât you?â âDetective Morgan Castamerry, CPD. Can you tell me what is going on here?â âTake a look into that wooden crate on the counter. We left everything how it was found.â âAll locals are so mysterious?â Morgan adds in lower voice and goes to check that mentioned box.
âAll of that because of a box. Whatâs are you hiding little one?â Detective wonders and looks inside expectingâ¦ Well, he is not sure what he even expects, but for sure he wonât find there any fluffy unicorns or dancing dwarfs or at least a cup of coffee.
Wooden crate seems also a source of stink in here. After taking a deep breath detective Castamerry peeks inside.
First thing he sees are dead blue eyes.
Severed human head lies on a some kind of pillow, styled to looks like a statue. It belongs to a young man, around 20. State of the head proves that the person who separated it from the body took care of it as much it was possible. Only those pale eyes and odor reveal that it is in fact a head of a human being. From the distance it could be easy to deceive most of people to take it as a wax figure.
Also, there is a paper placed between his teeth, which one day could be white as a snow, but today death took that color. This paper can be taken as some sort of a leaflet. It is pink and looks quite like it is an ad from one or other supermarket, but no sale offers are printed on it. After a short investigating Morgan sees only a handwritten text. Without a doubt it is the reason why he had been put on this case.
âMake sure that detective Morgan Castamerry sees that.â It says.
The Dark Room
âThe game started. The Game Started. THE GAME STARTED!!!â I had no idea when I started to shout but that wasnât important anyway. âHe is on the case. Thatâs all what matters.â I had problems with thinking. Everything what I thought I kept speaking aloud. âGood that no one can hear me, though.â
I was standing alone in a dark room. Not a single lamp, window or any other source of light. Darkness always helped me focus but this time it was different.
The air in my room was always heavy since I could remember. If there had been light lumps of dust would have been visible like on old school western movies. I wasnât sure whether or not spending a lot of time there was healthy but I didnât care.
My inner eye saw everything clear. HE took the bait. It was only a matter of time until my game could be finished. And thenâ¦
I didnât want to think about what happens next, however I knew that I would be forced to do that in the future. First I had to wait for HIM to puzzle everything out. I wasnât sure how smart HE was. It could be both a fast one or rather slower one, so once again I had to wait to see which pace my game took.
Kidnapping that scared boy wasnât hard. I wanted at least a small challenge. And what I had received? I fucking pissing his pants boy. FUCK THAT. Next time I had to do better. Not some random fucker from the street, but some chosen fucker. Maybe from HIS surrounding? No, not yet. Letâs toy with HIM a bit and then hit him where it would hurt HIM most.
From that moment I had no idea what I was saying, probably from all of that excitement I have been talking nonsense. Walls have ears. Fortunately, not here. I made sure of that. I laughed and felt some of the stress leaving my body. I was calm again. Good.
Trying to strike again would be a stupid thing then. I had to camouflage and became one with shadows. None should know me and I should know everyone.
To achieve that I had already prepared everything, upstairs, waiting for its turn to play in my game. Those items were necessary to learn all I needed.
HE had no idea but we had already met, even recently. I laughed again and I had a reason for that.
I was so happy then. My excitement could ruin everything. Something had to be done about that and I knew what.
Meditation had been always a key to silence my mind. I needed that.
So I sat on the floor and closed my eyes.
I turned my mind off.
I had no idea how long I had been sitting like that, but I knew it was the right thing to do.
Sheriff Blake, Findlay (Ohio), 17th September 2007 10.19 am