Jan 31, 2013

Black as midnight on a moonless night (by Omar Kamal)...Part.3


Once they arrived on the scene of the crime, the inspector walked hastily towards the body. It was another young man, this time 29 years of age; David Lachaise.
“Open his shirt!” said the inspector to a police officer with a serious and determined voice.
The inspector’s mind could not absorb what he had just seen. On the chest of the young man, the exact same X sign was marked at his heart. The inspector thus came to the realisation that this was no longer a mere murder case; he was now on the chase for a serial killer, whom he needed to stop before any further victims fell.
“Send the body to the laboratory for the autopsy immediately; we haven’t a minute to loose!” said the inspector to the police officer. He then turned to Valerie and said; “Valerie, I want you to gather every detail you can about this man. I want to know everything about his life; private, professional, educational; family. Everything!”
As the night slowly set itself in, the inspector sat waiting impatiently the result of the autopsy and Valerie’s research. He drifted away into his thoughts as he tried to imagine what could the X mark possibly indicate, and how could he stop this killer before striking again. A knock at the door awoke him from his moment of mind drifting. The doctor came in and in his hand the report.
“Doctor, please tell me, what have you found?”
“Well inspector, it’s practically the same case. The man was 29 years old; the time of death was once again between 11PM and 1AM. The same means of death, which I suppose was induced by a syringe filled with air, into the artery. Once again; we found some sleeping substance in his system, in addition to consumption of alcohol in relatively high amounts. As for the X mark, it is done in exactly the same manner, most probably even with the same knife, as the depth of the wound, and its width, are the same.”
“Have you found any signs of any sexual activity from that night on the body?”
“None whatsoever sir” replied the doctor.
The inspector thanked the doctor for his report, and just as the man left the office room, Valerie walked in with the result of her research.
“Ah Valerie, just the person I needed to see. Please enlighten me with the results of your research.”
“Inspector, I have gathered all the information I could get from the system, and I questioned the flatmate, and here is what I know about our victim. David Lachaise comes from a middle class family; he was raised to be independent and self-sufficient. He studied medicine and was working in the same time while studying to finance his living. Upon graduation, he managed to find a job as an assistant in a private practice in town, where he was working until now. He is a hard working young man, and everybody in the practice praises him for his devotion and intelligence. In his private life; he seems to be very easy to live with, according to his flatmate; he is very well organized and clean, and very respectful of personal space. He is single and was never married. His flatmate claims that despite having had many relationships, David never passed the threshold of six months with any girl. It seems he is frightened of the idea of commitment.”
The inspector stood up and walked around the office as he lit a cigarette, and said; “this is quite interesting. We have two victims of different social and educational backgrounds, but both are successful in their professional lives and manage to live well it seems out of their jobs. Yet both of them are unstable in their emotional life, but they are not necessarily victims of heartbreaks, they are rather unable to commit. But where does that lead us with knowing who the killer is and why do they murder them? And what is that X mark?”
A moment of silence passed, which seemed to Valerie as an eternity as she watched the inspector dive into his thoughts. Suddenly, the inspector turned towards her and said; “Valerie, I want you to find out the favourite places where those two young men hung out; their favourite bar, coffee shop, restaurant, club, anything. And I want to know if they have been to any of them on the night of the murder, and if yes, were they with someone.”
Hours passed as Valerie researched; questioned and gathered information from all corners and all sides. She had not remembered a single case where she had worked this much, but most importantly, she could not remember a single case that the inspector was so enthusiastic to resolve as this one. Despite the tragedy of the murders, it seemed the inspector was happier than he had ever been. As if the challenge of cracking a case was the fuel for his life, the source of satisfaction and energy to move forward. He was as a new born man.

As the inspector walked into the office the next morning, Valerie intercepted him to brief him with the information she succeeded in gathering.
“Good morning Valerie, tell me what have you found?”
“Sir, I have found the favourite places of the two young men. Our first victim, Jeremy, was a regular of a brasserie in Neuilly called Chez Marcel. He was seen entering there on the night of his death at about six in the evening with a young lady. The lady is described as about 165cm tall, shoulder length brunette wavy hair, fair white skin and in her mid-twenties. I had a sketch made of her portrait if you would like to see it” Valerie handed the inspector the sketch and continued explaining; “they were then seen leaving the brasserie together sometime before ten in the evening. They were also seen hoping in his car, a Mini Cooper S, and leave the area. This same car was found on the scene of the crime in Neuilly, we identified the license plaque, and it is confirmed to be the victim’s car.”
“Very well, and for the second victim” asked the inspector.
“David Lachaise’s favourite place was an Italian restaurant in Saint Michel called Bella Napoli. He went there at least once a week, sometimes more. On the night of his death, he was seen walking in with a young girl; her description fits exactly the description of the girl who was with the first victim. They also arrived at the restaurant at about six in the evening and left a bit before ten. But it seems in this case they took the metro, but we do not know where they got off.”
Inspector Leveuf sat down at his desk and rolled a cigarette in absolute silence. Valerie stood there awaiting comments or instructions, but no words came out of the inspector’s mouth. He lay back on his chair, lit his cigarette and took a first puff. As he blew the smoke out, his eyes drifted up to the ceiling as if following the ascending smoke. The silence was finally broken as the inspector looked at Valerie and said; “All the indications seem to point out at that young girl as the potential killer. It is too much of a coincidence for her to be seen with both victims in both crime scenes two nights in a raw. In addition to that, the means of killing seems to fit a female killer. It would be very difficult for a girl with this description to struggle with fit young men like our two victims.”
The inspector took another puff of his cigarette, got up from his chair and started walking around the office while explaining:

“I believe that the crime most probably happened in this way; the young girl somehow meets the victim somewhere some days before, they look at one another, she attracts his attention, they flirt a bit. Eventually she gets a date with him. As most men, he will take her to his favourite place, to share with her the moment, but also to show off his new conquest in a familiar space where people know him. They sit, they eat, maybe drink some wine. After more than three hours spent in that place, they move; possibly to his place, maybe to her place. I would assume to her place, where she can feel more comfortable to get to the act. The autopsy proved that no sexual action was taken during the nights of the murder, in other words, our killer did not let herself go with the young men. She probably takes them to her place, offers an additional drink, in which she slips some sleeping pill or powder. The victim drinks and immediately falls into a deep sleep. Once she is sure that the young man is asleep, she injects his artery in the neck with a large syringe filled with air; death is immediate. She then undresses the victim, gently carves the X on the chest at the heart, then puts his clothes back on and carries the body and leaves it where we found the victim.”
The inspector walked towards the window in his office and watched the streets outside as the cars drifted back and forth in absolute urban frenzy. He turned to Valerie and said; “Our mission now is to identify this girl before she strikes again. We don’t know much about who she is, so we need to somehow track her down. I want double patrols all around town, and I want tripled patrols in Neuilly and Saint Michel; she might decide to revisit the scene.”

Inspector Leveuf sat and smoked another cigarette. He looked at the sketch of the killer and wondered to himself; how could such an innocent and sweet looking girl become such a brutal killer? What happened in her life that led her to this vengeful mentality? The inspector couldn’t even imagine an answer, but he knew that time would bring the answers to him as the case unravelled itself.

*****

Jan 10, 2013

Black as midnight on a moonless night (by Omar Kamal)...Part.2


Valerie walked into her office the next morning around seven as per her usual schedule. She was full of energy and ready to work on cracking this mysterious case. As she walked towards her office room, she passed in front of Inspector Leveuf’s office and noticed the lights were on. She walked slowly towards the office, preparing her gun in case there was an intruder as she knew that Inspector Leveuf never came before nine by any means! She opened the door and aimed her gun as she walked in. “Inspector Leveuf! You scared me! What are you doing here so early?”
Inspector Leveuf looked at Valerie and with a smile that she had never seen before said: “Oh why good morning Valerie! I trust you had a good night sleep? I have been here since 6AM trying to get some additional information on our victim.”
“Any success?” wondered Valerie.
“Of course, sit down I will make you a coffee and tell you what I found out about him.” said the inspector.
“Here you go” said the inspector as he handed the coffee to Valerie and went on explaining: “our victim, Jeremy Deschamps, comes from a well off family. His father was a judge, and he himself studied law and graduated nine years ago, at which point with the help of his family, he opened his private practice with two of his university friends. The practice seems to be going quite well as they each specialise in a different area of cases; Jeremy himself specialises in divorce cases. He is single and never married. He does seem to be a bad boy though, or at least use to be; at age 19 he was arrested for illegal possession and use of marijuana, but thanks to the intervention of his father, he ended up only paying a fine. I have already asked for his colleagues from the practice to come over to the office so we can get some additional information.”
“This is quite impressive inspector. I didn’t think this case would interest you that much.” said Valerie in a surprised tone.
Inspector Leveuf smiled and told her; “I am just doing my job my dear.”

About an hour later, a man presented himself at Inspector Leveuf’s office. He was introduced as the partner of Jeremy, Ismail Diouf; a young French man of Senegalese origins. Inspector Leveuf welcomed him in and offered him a seat and a refreshment to calm the man’s nerves down. It was obvious from the young man’s face that the issue was too much for him to handle, but the inspector needed him as calm as possible so that he can manage to get the information he needs out of him.
“So tell me Mister Diouf, how was your colleague Jeremy at work, both on the professional and personal level?” asked the inspector in a stable and determined tone.
Ismail sipped on his drink and tried to gather his thoughts as he answered the question:
“Well, on the personal level, Jeremy was always a light spirit. He would always make us laugh and lighten up the atmosphere, even when the situation in the practice became quite tense due to complicated cases and daily work stress. But despite this light spirit, he still took his work very seriously and devoted himself to the furthest extent when working on a case.”
“Did he get very many cases?” asked the inspector.
“He did yes; he actually had the most cases of us all. Divorce is quite a common thing nowadays.”
“Were his clients mostly men or women, or both equally?”
“He did have some male clients, but the overwhelming majority of his clients were women filing for a divorce.”
“Very well. What age range were these women?”
“There were some middle aged women, but the majority were young women under their thirties. Quite beautiful ladies too.”
“Ah, that is interesting” exclaimed the inspector; “What was Jeremy like with women? Was he somewhat of a playboy?”
“Very much so sir. He was always very popular among the women since we were in university. He never had any trouble to get the girl he wanted. He almost didn't even need to try.”
“Did he have a girlfriend that we could possibly contact and get more information?”
“No sir. Jeremy was single. He did not believe in commitment or even marriage for that matter. Ever since we started with the practice, he lost faith in commitment and has not had a single stable relationship in the past years. He just spends his time jumping from one adventure to the next.”
“What about his clients? Has he had any affairs with any of them?”
“I believe he may have had a few, sir, but I am not sure. He had so many stories and adventures in the past years, it was difficult to follow.”
“What about your other colleague, where is he?”
“Fran├žois, he is out of the country sir, on vacation. He will be back in two weeks.”
“One last question Mister Diouf, do you know of any enemies Jeremy may have? Anybody who would wanted to see him dead?”
“No sir, Jeremy never had any enemies. He is very careful in his relations with people and has always been very respectful.”
“Very well Mister Diouf, that will be all for now” said the inspector with a smile; “if we would need anything further, I will let you know. And I am very sorry for your loss; we will do our best to solve this case catch the perpetrator.”
As Inspector Leveuf walked towards his office room after seeing the young Ismail out, Valerie dashed towards him with her usual energy.
“Sir, we have another dead body, this time in Saint Michel.”
The inspector’s eyes opened wide; “let’s go Valerie. There is no time to waste!”

*****

Jan 8, 2013

Black as midnight on a moonless night (by Omar Kamal)...Part.1


Sitting behind his wooden desk and a pile of papers in his Paris office, Inspector Jacques Leveuf lit his early morning cigarette which he had the habit of smoking with his coffee to start his day. No food or nutrition was needed in this man’s morning; the sole rolled cigarette and the well prepared espresso were enough to put him back on track to crack the toughest mysteries and roughest cases the police would meet. But the past months had been a sequence of eternal boredom for Inspector Leveuf as no “juicy cases” as he described them had come to his office lately, but this winter Monday was like no other, for on this day, all would turn around.
As Inspector Leveuf sipped on his last drop of espresso and enjoyed the last puff of his cigarette, his assistant, Miss Valerie Carion came rushing into the office. Valerie was a young and beautiful girl from the small town of Aix-en-Provence. Small in size but strong in personality; her baby face and small blonde curls gave an innocent look that hid an imposing and determined character. A very ambitious girl, she had great success in her university and later her professional career which led her to rapidly reach the post of assistant inspector in Paris. But despite her high intelligence and ambitions, Inspector Leveuf still believed that she was an overly excited young girl who expected too much out of her job.
“Inspector; you must come quickly” cried the young girl with immense energy.
With his usual calm and serenity, Inspector Leveuf asked Valerie to calm down and sit to explain what is going on exactly. He did not expect her to surprise him or impress him with the case she had in hand as he had grown accustomed to her overreaction on every event and suspected that this time was no different than all the previous ones.
In her continued excitement, Valerie explained to the inspector that the body of a young man was found dead in the early morning in the area of Neuilly. She explained that no signs of any struggle or injuries were visible on the body and that no eye witness saw any events related to this death during the night. All the residents of the area claimed that it was a calm night and no noise was heard at any moment that would indicate any fight or accident had taken place.
“The young man may have died from natural causes. Possibly a heart attack from drugs or anything of the sort” answered the inspector in a calm and uninterested voice.
“That is true sir, but don’t you think we should check it, there might be more to it than it seems” replied Valerie in her continued enthusiasm for the case.
After discussion, Inspector Leveuf finally agreed to go down to the crime scene and take care of the investigation.

Rushing through the streets of Paris, the two finally arrived at the crime scene. Inspector Leveuf got a briefing of the information gathered until this point. The young man’s name was Jeremy Deschamps. A handsome young man of 31 years of age, he worked as a lawyer in a private practice with two colleagues, one of them identified the body to the police. Inspector Leveuf rolled a cigarette while he watched the ambulance carry the body to move it to the laboratory for examination. His mind continued to drift away, wondering until when he could keep the patience in this job where no new events take place, where excitement flies out the window like a young bird flying free of its nest. He continued to believe that the autopsy would reach the conclusion that the young man died of natural causes, and the case would be closed as hundreds others that have passed casually in front if the inspector’s eyes.
The hours of the day passed as if years, Inspector Leveuf felt he was getting older and older with every tick of the clock. Just as he prepared himself to leave his office and go back home, Valerie came rushing into his office with a look on her eyes he had never seen before. For the first time since she had started working with him, he saw in her eyes a mixture of fear and surprise. Her face looked as if she had seen the face of God himself. Unable to hold back his enthusiasm to such a look, Inspector Leveuf grabbed Valerie from the shoulders and shook her while asking her: “what is the matter Valerie? What happened?”
Out of breath, Valerie struggled to form her sentence: “autopsy result…must see…quickly!”

Inspector Leveuf and Valerie rushed down to the laboratory to see the autopsy result. As they entered the room and approached the doctor who was standing next to the body, Inspector Leveuf could not believe his eyes. On the body, carved on the chest of the young man, right at the heart, was the letter X. What did that mean? How did it get there? Why was it done? Hundreds of questions raced through the inspector’s head like a buffalo stampede. He could not make heads or tails out of it. As he listened to the doctor’s report, he could not take his eyes off the X mark.
The doctor explained; “the man, 31 years old, died sometime between 11PM and 1AM. The cause of death is arterial air embolism in quite large amount. We found traces of a sleeping substance, probably administered through a drink. We do not know at this point if the sleeping substance was self-administered or not, but there was traces of alcohol consumption as well, in relatively large amount, so he may have been with people drinking during the evening. The X mark was made with a very sharp and small knife, probably a kitchen knife. It was carefully done so as not to cut too deep, which is why there wasn’t much blood flow”
“Was his shirt torn?” asked the inspector.
“Excuse me sir?” replied the doctor.
The inspector turned and looked towards the doctor, repeating his question; “was the shirt torn at the area of the X mark or not?”
“No sir, the shirt was absolutely intact” explained the doctor.
Intrigued by what he just saw, Inspector Leveuf walked out of the laboratory, thoughtful and lost. He turned to Valerie, and with a determined voice he said; “Valerie, this case is now officially a murder case. I will see you early tomorrow morning. Go home and get some rest, we are going to have a lot of work in the morning. Goodnight.”

*****

Black as midnight on a moonless night…Intro

In one of my strange evening, I was challenged by a friend of mine to write a story within only 8 hours. I was given 5 headline sentences, based on which I would imagine and create a whole story  I chose the sentence saying "Black as midnight on a moonless night" as it seemed to me the most intriguing and most inspiring sentence of all those given to me. I sat and start preparing my story; creating the characters  the plot and the full scenario, and by the early morning, I had written a short detective story which I will be sharing with you in the coming posts.




Jan 1, 2013

The Night


As the sun bids us farewell with its rays caressing our face
The night comes slowly along and takes its place
The moon rises and shines bright in the darkened sky
Like a woman in her full beauty, with her sweet smile she catches your eye
The glowing stars scatter above our heads
Like the warm blankets laying silently upon our beds
As the maniac city calmly goes to sleep
A creative army marches in the night so deep
In the darkness, their vision awakens
Their hearts run, their souls are free and their minds shaken
Sounds, images, gestures, and a flood of words
Fill the silence like migrating flocks of birds
Wisdom flows on the still ground of the land
Water shakes, trees dance and their rhythm beats on the sand
The night is young, and their minds float in it
They move, they shake, they jump, they cannot sit
The creative army gently marches by your side
The night comes to an end, but tomorrow once again they shall ride.