Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Secret of the Desert

“Are you sure this is the right place?” said renowned private investigator, Blanche Carter.
“Yeah, it says so right here…Room 113, Isis Hotel” her assistant Bruce said, waving a paper at her.
“Alright, I believe you, let’s stop wasting day-light and find out why we’re here.”
Together they went inside the rather nice hotel. Its furnishings, while not exactly fancy, were new and contemporary. It looked like an average hotel, that is, except for the large painting above the front desk.
“What in the world...” started Blanche after seeing the artistic monstrosity, a confused look crossing her face.
“It looks like an ancient sword fight between two creepy things?”
“You know Bruce, sometimes I wonder why I hired you…It’s the battle between the ancient Egyptian gods Set and Osiris. The story goes that Set, the evil god of chaos, hacked his brother Osiris to bits and scattered the parts all over the desert.” Blanches said, casting Bruce a wary look.
Bruce shriveled his face in disgust. “They sure don’t teach you that in history class.”
Blanche rolled her eyes. “Well they should, but what I would like to know is why they have picture of that hanging on the wall in a hotel. Oh well, that’s not why we’re here. Off to room 113!”
They made their way to the front desk. A bored-looking man was reading a tabloid. He looked up when he heard them come closer and sighed.
“Welcome to Isis Hotel, can I help you?” he said in a heavy middle-eastern accent.
“Yes, I’m Detective Blanche Carter and this is my assistant Bruce Walker. We’re here to see a Mr. Ausar Massri in room 113. It’s important that we see him immediately.” She said, whipping out a detective badge.
“Who am I to stop you? It’s the last one down this hall.” The clerk said pointing to a well-light hall way.
The hall way seemed to go on forever but finally they reached 113. Blanche sensed something was wrong immediately, the door was cracked open.
“Man, I hope we’re not too late.” Blanche pulled her hand gun out as she opened the door silently.
Bruce got his weapon out as well and followed Blanche into the room.
The hotel room had been completely destroyed. Tables and dressers had been knocked over. Glass had been broken, the sheets ripped, pillows had spewed feathers, and blood dotted the carpet.
“Oh my heavens…Bruce, call the authorities while I secure the place.”
Bruce left wordlessly as Blanche continued to scan the place. She made her way into the bathroom. Compared to the bedroom, it was night and day. The bathroom was spotless. In fact, she noticed that it seemed no one had stayed her at all. The complimentary soap and shampoo were still in their containers and not even a tooth brush had been brought.
“I guess someone hadn’t stayed long. Either that or it was intentional.” She thought.
When she was satisfied that the place was vacant, she started analyzing the room.
“I can’t tell if this has been faked or if there really was a struggle. It’ll be hard to know for sure until that blood can be analyzed.”
A bang at the door put Blanche on her toes. She hesitated and then moved closer to the door. The door opened and in walked 4 FBI members.
“Secure the scene gentlemen!” the tallest, burliest one shouted, and then he turned to Blanche. “Who are you and what are you doing here?!” He stood so close to her that she could smell what he had eaten for lunch.
Blanche would not be intimidated; she looked him in the eye and said: “I am Blanche Carter, Detective. I was hired by Ausar Massri; the man I assume was our victim. It was my assistant who informed you of this misfortune. I’m afraid I was never able to me with my client; our appointment was for 5 minutes ago.”
The FBI agent immediately pulled himself up taller. Blanche was known all over the world for her detective skills. “Sorry, you know how it is, can’t be too trusting. Everyone’s a suspect…get my drift?” He said, eyeing Blanche.
Blanche was extremely attractive with her slim physique and tall stature. She had high cheekbones and startling blue eyes. Her hair, unlike the prediction of her name, was raven colored. It was pulled back in a tight bun, but you could still see that it was glossy and smooth. She was wearing a black form-fitting bomber jacket, dark washed skinny jeans, and black shiny boots. All together, she looked the very picture of a secret agent.
“Yes, I “get your drift”. Now leave me be so I can try and solve this case.”
The agent, though perhaps not the brightest, realized that he was receiving the cold shoulder and went off to examine a blood spot.
“Men” Blanche grumbled with a frustrated sigh.
Bruce sidled up alongside her; “You know boss, you can’t really blame him, women like you aren’t usually doing detective work.”
“Back to work Bruce”
His statement intrigued Blanche; in the 2 years that had worked together she had never analyzed Bruce. She looked over at him. He was still just a kid, not more than 25 years old. He had light brown hair, in sore need of a haircut, and hazel eyes. He was the boy next door, attractive in an innocent way.
“Alright, enough analyzing, time to solve what may be a murder.” She whispered to herself.
“Um, excuse me, Miss. Carter.”
Blanche looked up to see it was the FBI agent again.
“What?” she spit out.
“My team has found something…It seems to be, a human hand.”
Blanche paled but asked “Where?”
“I’ll take you to it. It was discovered under a bloody piece of rug; wrapped in a linen cloth.”
In a corner near the bathroom door was the huddle of agents. One saw them approaching and lifted up what he was holding: a human hand in a plastic evidence bag.
Blanche took the bag and examined the hand somewhat. “Gruesome, it looks like it’s been severed by a sharp object. It was most likely a crime of rage. The question is, where’s the rest of him? Send it to forensics; see if they can identify the victim. Let me know of the results as soon as possible. Aussar Massri could still be alive.”
While Blanche was gifted at detective work, she was not an expert at forensics. She let the squints do their job while she focused on catching the perpetrator.
When the room had been thoroughly searched, Blanche decided it was time to head out. Her first stop was to talk to Auset Massri, Aussar’s wife. The Massri home was 2 hours away in a suburban neighborhood. It was a large home, richly decorated.
Bruce rang the door bell, no one answered. He rang again, still nothing. “Well, it looks like no one’s home.”
Blanche peered in through the glass sides of the front door. “But the lights are all on and there’s a car in the drive way. Let’s just try the door, see if it’s open…”
She reached to turn the door knob, but unbeknownst to her it already was open. “I don’t like the look of this…” She said as she pulled out her hand gun. “Stay behind me Bruce.”
Inside, it was a mess, similar to Aussar’s room, glass was broken and there were scatterings of blood on the white carpet.
“God, please don’t let us be too late. Bruce, you check that side of the house. I’ll cover the kitchen and the back.”
Before she went any further, Blanche pulled out her cell phone and called the FBI.
“This Blanche Carter, I’m requesting back-up. We have another victim. I am over at the Massri home.”
Back-up was on its way so Blanche continued to search for possible evidence, anything to lead her to the possible killer.  
That’s when she saw it, a rather large puddle of blood by the edge of the carpet.
“Please don’t let this be what I think it is…” She said, lifting it up.
Underneath was a linen cloth, perhaps identical to the one found at the hotel. In the linen cloth, another human hand.
All of a sudden, the door bell rang.
Blanche startled “Who in the world could that be?”
She placed the hand down, grabbed her gun, and went to get the door. Blanche put the gun in her pocket, just in case it was merely a civilian. No one in the neighborhood need know yet a crime had possibly been committed here.
Bruce had heard the door as well and entered the same time as Blanche.
“What’s going on? Who’s at the door? I didn’t find anything out of the ordinary.”
“How should I know? Look through that window and see if you can spot the person at the door.”
“Alright, alright” Bruce did what he was told. “It looks like a middle-eastern lady.”
The door bell rang again. This time a woman’s voice accompanied it.
“Auset? Are you there?” The woman said.
Blanche carefully opened the door.
The woman looked puzzled. “Excuse me, who are you and why are you in my brother and sister-in-laws’ house?”
“I’m Detective Blanche Carter; this is my assistant Bruce Walker. I’m afraid we came here to talk to Auset Massri but we found the house in this disarray.” She said, showing the woman her badge.
“Are Auset and Aussar okay? My name is Anat, my husband Seth is Aussar’s brother. We live right next door.”
“We don’t know right now. I’m afraid I can’t discuss it with you either. They could be in grave danger though. Do you mind if we ask you some questions?”
“I don’t see why not, if you think it will help them.”
“Yes, the information you have may be vital. We need to wait until the FBI arrive, until then you may relax and try to think of something that may be of use.” Blanche said.
Blanche pulled Bruce aside. “I don’t like her. She was here too fast, she’s too nice. I don’t like this whole business with the hands. It’s repulsive and bloody. I just want to find Auset and Aussar, preferably alive.”
“Whoa Blanche, calm her down. I can understand what you mean. The hand thing is creeping me out too; just don’t lose your head. We need to be nice to Anat so that she will be nice to us. Maybe she can lead us to them. You suspect her, don’t let her catch on.”
“Thanks Bruce, I should know better than this. Why don’t we head over to Anat’s house and search for a potential weapon while we question her? If the criminal is prideful enough they hide it right out in the open.” Blanche was back to her old self, ready and raring to go.
After the FBI team arrived, Bruce and Blanche both approached Anat. Blanche was the first to speak: “Anat, do you mind if we question you at your house?”
Anat’s face paled for a second but she didn’t skip a beat. “No of course not, let’s go now.”
The trio walked next door to Anat’s large home. When they were in Blanche and Bruce were amazed at the vast collection of Egyptian art. The place was richly decorated Mediterranean style.
“Some place you got here huh?” Blanche said.
“Yes, yes, my husband likes to be reminded of his homeland.” Anat said. She moved towards the couch “Shall we sit down?”
The questioning was just about to begin when a man came through the front door. He seemed to be a very unpleasant man, though good-looking. He was also tall and muscular.
“Anat!” he shouted.
“Must be Seth” thought Blanche.
Anat shuddered; you could see she and her husband did not get along.
“I am in here, we have guests.”
This news, instead of making Seth hospitable, made him angrier. He stormed into the room.
“Who are you?” He demanded.
Blanche was not intimidated. “I am Blanche Carter; I am here with the FBI on the case of a possible double homicide. The victims could be your brother and sister-in-law. Now that I think about it…Do you mind if my partner and I have a look around?”
Seth became rather smug then. “Not at all…” He seemed to hiss like a snake. 
“Alright, we will then.”
Blanche and Bruce searched the mansion. They didn’t find anything too unusual, in fact the place looked barely lived in. When they reached the last room, Blanche was a little disappointed. Seth seemed like a good candidate for murder.
“I’m getting frustrated…” said Bruce, leaning up against the wall.
Suddenly, as if by magic, a door appeared and swung open in the wall.
“What in the world…Oh my gosh! It’s a secret room!” Bruce said.
“Bruce, stay out here and keep guard. I’m going in.”
She pulled out her gun and slowly went into the secret room. Before she went too far, she got out her phone and let the FBI know she needed back up.
A dark hallway led to a small dingy room. There were blood droplets on the floor.
“Lord, please don’t let me be too late.” She prayed.
There on the ground were two people, a man and a woman. She guessed it was Aussar and Auset. She went over slowly to them. When she reached them to knelt down and felt the man’s pulse. He was still alive, just bloody probably from his cut off hand. Any longer and he would have bled to death. She felt the woman’s pulse and she too was still alive. They were both unconscious. Both were missing their right hands.
The FBI came in like a storm, they apprehended Anat and Seth. Then they rescued Auset and Aussar, airlifting them to the nearest hospital. The paramedics said they were in critical condition but that they should survive.
“So it was the brother and sister-in-law after all? Crazy stuff, hidden rooms…” Bruce said.
“Two murders prevented because of you. Good work kid.” Blanche said to Bruce, nudging his shoulder.
“Thanks boss.” Bruce replied with a smile. 

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