This is part two of my story that some have already read.
|“On the weekend I was meant to go out with Stacey but she didn’t answer the door.”
“Oh did she ditch you? Don’t take it too hard man; there are plenty of other women out there to choose from.”
“SHUT UP AND LET ME FINISH!”
A look of fear appeared on his face. I never lose my temper usually and as soon as I saw that look of terror I suddenly felt guilty.
“Sorry Jim. Just let me finish OK?”
“Sure, sorry Tony. Please go on.”
“Well the morning after the police came around to my place and told me… told me that Stacey had been murdered.”
Jim sat there dumb struck for a few seconds but finally found his tongue.
“Oh my god Tony, oh I feel so bad for what I said earlier, no wonder you snapped at me. I’m so sorry. Are there any leads? How did it happen?”
“I can’t tell you that, the police don’t want it getting out.”
“I understand. Can I get you anything? Tea? Coffee? A shot of scotch?”
“A coffee would be great thanks.”
“OK I’ll be back in a minute.”
Jim left and closed the door behind him. When the door closed I grabbed a couple of tissues from the box on top of the filing cabinet and wiped away the tears that were forming. I took a couple of deep breaths and by the time that Jim came back with the coffee I was in control of myself again.
“Thanks Jim, I really needed someone to talk to about all this.”
“No problems. You know that if you need anyone to talk to that I’m here for you. How are you handling the whole situation?”
“I’ve got to admit that I’m not doing so great just at the moment. Every time I think about Stacey I can’t seem to control my emotions. I just feel like bursting into tears.”
“That’s perfectly normal Tony, you’ve just had a huge shock and you were close to the victim and all. Is there anything else you want to talk about?”
I took a sip from my coffee and suddenly I remembered about the weird emails. “Jim you got a Masters in Computer Science before you got your marketing degree didn’t you?”
“Yeah why do you ask?”
“Well I’ve got a couple of emails that there seems to be writing but I can’t see it. I’ve tried everything that I could think of to make the text visible but I can’t seem to figure it out. I was wondering if maybe you knew of some way?”
“That’s an easy one Tony.” Jim replied after a couple of minutes and launched into a detail explanation about what needed to be done.
After a couple of minutes of what like a foreign language to me I had to stop Jim. “Jim this is way beyond my skills. For the last couple of minutes I’ve only understood about three words that you have said.”
“Sorry Tony, I guess I got carried away. It’s not too hard to do but it might be easier if I just made up the programme and put it onto a disk that way all you would need to do would be install it on your computer.”
I couldn’t help but laugh “Jim that sounds like a much better idea.”
“Thanks for listening to me Jim.”
“No problemo Tony, like I told you anytime you need to talk just give me a call.”
“Yeah, I’ll keep that in mind. I think I might take the rest of the day off.”
“Good idea Tony. Do you need anything done?”
“It would be great if you could ring Bob down in Advertising and get our meeting postponed until Wednesday. If he asks why I need it moved just tell him I went home sick.”
“Consider it done.”
“Thanks I’ll see you tomorrow maybe.”
With that I left the office and drove home. I tried all night keep to distract myself so that I wouldn’t think about Stacey but it didn’t work and on a number of occasions I found myself getting depressed about the whole situation. I had an early night after a small meal, as I hadn’t slept well the night before.
The next morning, though I wasn’t feeling like it I dragged myself into the office and got down to business on the perfume account. As I was jotting down some ideas the intercom buzzed.
“Tony, hi. I wasn’t sure if you were going to be in today. Is it OK if I speak to you for a moment?”
“Sure come on in.”
“I’ve got that disk that I promised you. Everything that you need should be on there.”
“Gee that was quick. Thanks for doing it so fast.”
“No problemo, it was a good challenge to make the programme up. How are you doing today?”
“I’d rather not talk about it Jim. I just want to be left alone.”
“Sure Tony I understand. I’ll make sure that you’re not interrupted.”
With that he left the office quietly shutting the door behind him as he left.
I was grateful for the peace and quiet and true to his word no one interrupted me for the entire day. I came up with some fantastic slogans and advertising ideas for the perfume campaign but I still hadn’t come up with a name for it. That was the most frustrating part about the whole campaign but I knew that I’d come up with one when inspiration struck.
By the end of the day I had managed to keep myself busy enough not to think about Stacey but once I stopped working all the thoughts came rushing back. I took a few moments to get a hold of myself and left the office eager to get back home and try out the programme that Jim had come up with.
The drive home seemed to take so much longer than normal. I caught all the red lights and got stuck behind a truck. It probably wasn’t to bad a run but I guess the anticipation made all the little stops along the way make the journey seem twice as long. I walked fast up the drive and went straight to the computer and turned it on. While it was loading I dumped my work clothes in the wash and got changed into a pair of tracksuit pants and a T-shirt. I logged onto the net and waited for my messenger to log in. This was taking a while so I went to the liquor cabinet and poured myself a scotch for liquid courage.
Once logged in I inserted the disc and opened it up. It automatically started to install onto my computer so as it was installing I read the note my assistant had attached on how to use it. According to his instructions all I had to do was drag the email onto the icon on the desktop and a word document would open with the hidden text revealed.
It finished installing. I took a mouthful of scotch and got the first email from Alura out of my inbox and dragged it onto the icon. After a few seconds of waiting a word document opened and slowly line-by-line words that were hidden in the email started to appear. It took about ten minutes until it was finished loading and when it had finally finished I scrolled to the top of the page and started to read it from the top.
The document was ten pages long but the first page was a description of the type of text in the email. It turned out that it was a repetitive animation that flashed at a rate of a million flashes a second. This was something that I had never heard of before and I made a mental note to ask Jim about it when I saw him. I continued to read down the first page and my mind boggled at what sort of person would want to create such a thing. I finished reading the rest of the first page but there was no other information as to how the email was made or by whom. At the bottom of the first page all that was there was the details on size of the text, the type of font used and the colour.
Once I had finished the first page I scrolled down to the second. All that it said was “OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY OBEY” repeated over and over again and it was like this for the next eight pages. Why would anyone want to write an email like this? Very absurd. I went onto the tenth page and all that it had written on it was one line. Just a single statement and then the rest of the page was blank. I read that one line over and over again. It said, “When I call you won’t remember me speaking but what I tell you, you will still do”.
That was so weird I was really starting to freak. I didn’t even think about opening the other email in this programme at that time but I did print out the message and put it into my wall safe.
One question kept going through my head over and over again. Who would want to send me an email like this? It didn’t make sense this was all so weird. I disconnected from the Internet and finished my scotch in one shot.
I turned the computer off and went to have a shower. As I stood under the stream of water I thought I heard a noise. I stuck my head out the shower door to see what the noise was. It was the phone and my first thought was of the email from Alura. I turned the water off, grabbed a towel off the rack and wrapped it around my waist. Leaving a trail of watery footsteps behind me as I crossed the kitchen tiles I cautiously answered the phone.
“Good evening this is Detective Kraft. Is this the residence of Tony Malloy?”
A wave of relief rushed over me, “Hi Detective, Tony speaking. What can I do for you?”
“We were just wondering if we could come by and ask you a few more questions?”
“Sure no problems. I was just in the shower so can you give me ten minutes to get myself presentable before you come round that would be great.”
“That’s fine. We’ll see you soon then. Bye.”
As I hung up the receiver I looked at my wrist and the water that was rolling down my arm. I had nearly forgotten about the bruise but seeing it bruised as it was unsettled me. Although not painful it was becoming a very dark shade of purple. I went back to the bathroom and dried off. As I dressed I grabbed a jumper to put on despite the fact that it was a warm night.
There was a knock at the door as I was finishing getting dressed. I finished pulling the jumper on and walked over to the door. I looked through the peep hole to check who it was and opened the door.
“Good evening officers would you like to come in?”
I let them into the house and closed the door behind them. We went through to the lounge again and sat down. Detective Kraft was the first to speak.
“Thanks for making the time to see us Mr Malloy.”
“Please call me Tony.”
“Tony, right, anyway we just wanted to come round and let you know about the progress we’ve had in the Alice case. Since the other day we’ve received the autopsy report from the coroner. Before I go on I want to warn you what I’m going to say is going to be very upsetting and disturbing for you and at anytime you want me to stop just say so.”
“I will Detective but please just start I need to know what happened. I need to understand why someone would do this to Stacey.”
“From the coroner’s report it appears that the killer took his or her time in killing Stacey. Apparently she was alive for the whole process but was gagged so that she couldn’t scream out for help. From the nature of the wounds it can be seen that she was firstly sliced down the middle and her internal organs carefully lifted out to prolong the pain. By this time she would have gone into shock but would have still been in a great amount of pain. From the time of the first incision until the killer finally slit her throat she was still alive. It was the slit throat that eventually killed her. From start to finish she had suffered three hours of torture.”
“How do you know she wasn’t killed first and then mutilated?”
Constable Klein fielded this question.
“You see by the nature of the clotting around the wounds we are able to determine a timeline of events in the order that they would have occurred.”
Thoroughly revolted I turned to Detective Kraft “What sort of person does these types of things? It’s like something you see in horror films not in real life.”
“You’re right about that. There has never been a case this gruesome before in this state but a psychological profile is being made up to help isolate who the killer might have been. In the mean time we are still going over the scene trying to pick up any bit of evidence that we can.”
“It’s so terrible. I just don’t understand how this could have happened.”
“Neither do we but we’re going to catch this nut, but we need your help to do it. “We’ve got a couple more questions to ask. Do you think you’re up to answering them at the moment?”
“I’ll do my best. I want this guy caught and fast.”
“So the last time that you spoke to Stacey how did she seem. Did she seem to be distracted? Anxious? Acting differently to normal?
“No, she was as happy as ever. I’ve never seen her upset the whole time I’ve known her. When we last spoke she seemed to be really excited about our date.”
Constable Klein scribbled some notes in her notebook as Detective Kraft continued. “Do you know if she was mixed up with some bad stuff?”
“What do you mean by bad stuff?”
“You know drugs, gambling, weird religious cults etc.”
“Not Stacey she hated that sort of thing. She never played the horses and she didn’t drink that much let alone take recreational drugs. How could you think something like that about her?”
Constable Klein looked up from her notebook, “We’re just trying to get some information as to what sort of person she is. If there was a problem with drugs or gambling then it might give us something to go on.”
“Well Stacey wasn’t like that. She was a good, pure person and I don’t want you to make these insinuations about her.”
“It wasn’t a personal attack at her.”
“That doesn’t matter anyone who knew her would tell you the same thing.”
I was starting to get hot under the collar at this point and was about to have another go at Constable Klein but Detective Kraft stepped in.
“Mr Malloy, please regain control of yourself. These are just standard questions. We are trying to build a picture up of the victim so we need to know about every detail of her life.”
I took a couple of breaths, I knew I was over reacting but I couldn’t help it. After all Stacey wasn’t here to defend herself so someone had to.
“Now that you’ve calmed down a bit, there are just a couple more questions that we need to ask and then we can let you enjoy the rest of your night.”
“Okay what are they.”
“Did you know any of her friends? Could you put us in contact with them? Do you know if anyone had a grudge towards her or did she have any enemies?
“No I hadn’t met any of her friends yet and like I told you everyone liked Stacey. She didn’t have an enemy in the world.”
Both officers stood up and closed their notebooks.
“Thanks for your time tonight Mr Malloy. Sorry if we’ve upset you.”
“That’s alright I understand that you were just doing your job. Please keep in touch.”
Detective Kraft shook my hand, “We will. And don’t worry we’ll catch this bastard, whoever he is.”
I closed the door behind them and went straight to the liquor cabinet and got my self a drink. Once I’d poured it I turned off the television and went to lay on my bed and think about everything that had happened in the last week.
Between laying down on my bed reflecting on what had happened to listening to the radio I must have dozed off. I was awoken by my alarm going off the next morning and the first thing I noticed was the smell of scotch in the air. I sat up and looked down at my jumper I saw a huge wet patch. I must have spilt the scotch when I fell asleep.
I got out of bed and took my jumper off. As I opened my bedroom door it smelt like something was burning but I figured it was probably a fire in the valley nearby and I hoped that it wouldn’t affect me getting to work this morning.
I went into the kitchen to fill the kettle for my morning coffee and saw some black marks in the bottom of the sink near the drain. They looked like flakes of charcoal or like the stuff you scrape of the grill after you’ve burnt some toast. I washed them down the drain and filled the kettle and while the kettle was boiling I took a quick shower. After all I didn’t want to go to work smelling of scotch.
I got to work on time and had only been there for about five minutes when the intercom buzzed.
“Tony, Morning. How are you doing today? I just wanted to see if you’d got around to trying out the programme I developed yet. Did it do what you wanted it to do? Were there any problems with it at all?”
For some reason I was reluctant to answer his questions I don’t know why but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to tell him about it so I lied instead.
“Morning Jim, I’m not too bad today. I didn’t get a chance to try it yet but once I do I’ll definitely let you know how everything went.”
“OK Tony, no problemo. Oh Tony remember you’ve got an appointment with Bob from Advertising today for the final approval of the Peterson’s account.”
“Thanks. I’d forgotten about that. I’ll head down there right now. See you later.”
“Hi Bob, sorry I’m late. Are you already to show me what you’ve got?”
“You know it Tony. It’s all set up and I just need your final approval to get the ball rolling.”
“Okay then run me through it.”
Bob started on his planned advertising attack but from the moment he started talking I hadn’t followed a word of what he said. All I could think about was that damned email from Alura. I kept asking myself if it was a hoax or not.
A knock on the desk brought me back to reality, “Yo Tony you still with me man. You looked like you were about a million miles away.”
“Sorry bout that there’s just a bit on my mind. Please keep going I’ve managed to follow most of what you’ve said.”
Bob finished his presentation and I gave it my tick of approval.
With that all organised I went back to my office and attempted to work, not that I got a lot done as I was either jumping every time that the phone would ring or visualising what had happened to Stacey.
By the end of the day my nerves were shot and I was starting to get very paranoid just by being in the office. I decided that for the next couple of days that I would work at home to give myself a chance to recuperate. I picked up all the work I had done on the perfume account and decided I would try to finish it at home where I’d feel more comfortable.
“Jim I can’t really handle being here at the moment so I’m going to take my work home to do.”
“Right Tony. I’ll let the boss know for you.”
“Thanks. Enjoy the rest of your week.”
When I got home I was no more settled than I had been at the office. I unplugged all the phones in the house and I turned off my mobile. I told myself that it was because I didn’t want to be disturbed but deep down inside I knew it was because I was scared.
I turned on the television and cranked it up nice and loud. There wasn’t much on and I can’t remember what it was that I watched but just having the noise in the background was a reassurance to me.
It was late when I finally got undressed and went to bed. As I lay in the darkness I was sure that I wouldn’t be able to sleep but before I knew it the sun was streaming in through my window and as I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes I saw that the time was nearly noon. I panicked for a minute as it was so late but then I remembered that I wasn’t going to be back at the office for the rest of the week.
I lazed in bed for about another half an hour and was just settling in for a nap when there was a knock at the door. I tried to ignore it hoping that it was just a door to door salesman or Jehovah Witnesses and that they would go away so I could have my nap but the knocking persisted. It got to a point where the person was nearly pounding on the door so I got out of bed and put my robe on.
It was the police again. I opened the door and let them in. they took the lead to the lounge room and sat down. I joined them shortly after.
"Good afternoon Mr Malloy, we tried calling you earlier this morning to let you know that we were going to be coming around but we kept getting a message from the operator that your hone was either off the hook or disconnected.”
“Yeah I unplugged it last night. I just needed some peace and quiet and I wanted to get a lot of work done.”
“That’s understandable, we all get like that at some stage.”
Detective Kraft opened his notebook and flipped through it to a clean page.