The Haunter and the Haunted #5

The Haunter and the Haunted #5

Read Also: The Haunter and the Haunted #4

Chapter 5: Unmasked

“Oh my! She is just exquisite! Why do I let my guard down around this lady?” Max thought staring at Bridget, who busied herself with a broiled steak. Tired of wearing each other out with stares, Bridget started, “Max! You seem like a busy guy. So I’m going to be brief. There are things going on in this town that you don’t wanna know.” Max looked lost as he stared at her beautiful face. “However”, he commented, “I’m sorry but I don’t follow. What are you talking about?” “Quit being so annoying. I know why you’re in my county. You must’ve noticed that news travels fast around here. Firstly, do you trust your partners?” Now his interest was kindled, as he sat up and asked,” Who!? Matt and Graham? They are not bad.” Irritably, he added, “Cut to the chase. What are you getting at?” Grinning mildly, she answered, “Well, they’ve had some issues with the local council. They were to be removed from office by weekend last week, for unlawful conduct. The victims so far were either sitting members of the same council or their relatives. I don’t need to tell you it’s no coincidence. Someone’s targeting them.” Interrupted by a waiter passing by, they paused their conversation. Getting up to leave, she squeezed Max’s hand and whispered, “I know you’re mad right now but who can you really trust? This info is for your ears only though. By the way, I think you’re cute. I’ll certainly see you around honey.” Watching her exit the eatery, he simply mouthed, “The problem is, I trust nobody and this confirms why!”

Ben Garner was having the worst of days. Milo, his daughter’s cat had gone missing. He spent half the morning searching for it. As if that was not enough. He discovered his soon-to-be divorced wife had a 20-year old lover. Honestly, in Ben’s opinion, it couldn’t get any worse. But how wrong he was… Getting to the Agency, he took the elevator which got stuck halfway. “Technical malfunction”, the technician had said after he spent about an hour in there. Sitting in his office chair, recalling the events of today, he prayed silently for something, anything to take his mind off it all. His cellphone began to ring, startling him. Hearing the caller’s voice, he almost peed his pants. “Max! Oh my God! You’re still alive?”, he teased. Enjoying his old boss’ surprise, Max drawled, “Yea, it’s me. Told you I’ll outlive you. Hahaha. How’s the wife and kid?” Frowning now, Ben retorted, “Can I ignore you please? I’m having a rough day. You know… Don’t wanna talk about it. What’s up?” “I need your help. I’m working a case and i need information on some people. I’m sending the names to you now.” The computer on Ben’s table beeped, indicating an unread mail. “Okay, I just got it.” He asserted. “Anything for you man. You know… We miss you here. We should hang out whenever you’re in —” And Max hung up before he could conclude. “Hate this guy! Take care!”, Ben barked at the phone. Clicking away on his laptop, the chubby man hummed ‘Feel Irie by Lucky Dube’ noisily.

“We’ve got a witness to the last murder!” Matt breathed over the phone. “A what!!” Max exclaimed. “You heard me right. Graham is already on his way there. He asked to call you. A car will be downstairs in few minutes”, Matt said. A million and one questions raced through Max’s mind as he hurried to his driver. But one remained pertinent… “What did this witness see?” His eyes were locked on the bright street lights but he remained oblivious. He had this gut feeling of danger looming. Seeing the squad cars outside the witness’ low rent building, he knew something terrible had gone wrong. “What’s wrong? He asked as he spotted Graham and Matt. “Our witness is dead. It was the last victim’s maid. It was a robbery turned murder. Guess she refused to give the contents of her bag out and got stabbed”, Graham replied. Losing his temper, Max fired back, “convenient for you to say. It was an execution. Someone knew we were coming to talk with her. By the way, judging from this house, she had nothing to offer a thief.” “But some things were stolen, her bag was rummaged and left almost empty. Robbery cases in this part of the county is almost normal. You know these kids”, Matt blurted this time. “You know what! I’m going to see this case till the end. I’m going nowhere. This brute must pay. Also, I don’t trust you two very much these days. Only us three knew about this woman. Someone’s gotta pay.” Inspecting the crime scene, like he was struck by Zeus’ bolt, Max turned back to the two men, yelling, “There’s no sign of a struggle. She wasn’t killed here by just anybody. Someone she knew dumped her body here! Damn!”

Meanwhile, few minutes later. Behind an alley, lurked a shadow, whispering. “I love it when people show their true colors and explode like Max. Feel bad for the old sweet maid though. Well, she had it coming. She was too nosy. It’s almost time, Max! Time for your lesson…”

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