As a young boy, he lost his mother to a gun. He sat before her dead body and carried her from the house in his small arms, wearing her silver necklace. As a result, he has grown cold and bitter, stronger and weak.
His landlady’s dead and he saw it all happen right before his eyes – without even being there. Young P.I. Hannibal Musa, a telekinetic survivor of darkness, has to solve her murder. His investigation will take him through the rough and twisted streets of Oasleham City. From decadent, burned churches to crime-ridden neighborhoods, he and his partner will come face-to-face with metaphysical enemies and adverse “allies.”
Chapter 2: The Unsoothing Soothsayer
Hannibal rose to his feet, his face red with frustration. While his body wasn’t wasn’t bruised, his ego had been pricked severely. Sighing, Hannibal opted not to chase the rabbit-masked man who would be long gone by the time he collected himself and instead, turned back toward the apartment complex.
Hannibal reentered the apartment, noting a commotion of voices forming in the upper floors.
“Damn it… they’re gonna call the police… but I need to know… what clues did this guy leave behind?”
Hannibal quickly ventured into the room where Ms. Johnson laid dead. His jaw tightened as he knelt down, the odor of death savagely invading his sense of smell. He ignored both the smell and the memories of the landlady inviting a lonely boy in her apartment for cookies and milk.
“I’m sorry…” whispered Hannibal.
Hannibal looked at her neck and noted that the necklace, an heirloom from her great-grandmother that she always wore, was missing and there were small scratches around her jugular.
“He yanked it off after he killed her…” concluded Hannibal. “That must’ve been all he was able to get before I came rushing in… if I only I were faster…”
Hannibal sighed, shaking his head slightly.
“No point in self-regret… won’t change a thing… What else? What else is there to see?”
Near the body, Hannibal saw a bullet shell on the ground. He reached to pick it up before stopping and remaining motionless in the air. His lip pursed and he retracted his hand, resting his arm on his knee.
“Don’t mess with the evidence… Police will end up suspecting me if I do that. Just observe. Just… observe.”
He bent down until his eye was an inch away from it. His eyeball shifted up and down as he scanned the small object to the best of his abilities.
“A .357 Magnum?” Hannibal rose up and turned around, looking at the gun wound on his landlady’s forehead. “Hm… seems about right.”
The boy then reached behind his back, pulled out his own Mark XIX IMI Desert Eagle and took out a bullet from the cartridge. He bent down again at the bullet shell casing on the floor and compared the sizes.
“Yeah…” said he. “That checks out.”
He placed the bullet back in the gun before placing the gun back behind his back, covered by his coat. After establishing the type of bullet, Hannibal retreated quickly to the doorway, inspecting the door itself. It had boot marks underneath the handle and the side of the doorway, the striker area, had a small hole in it.
“Okay, Rabbit-man,” whispered Hannibal, leaning in close. “So you kick in the door, you shoot a lady but the minute you hear footsteps, you bolt… why?”
“Damn it… the cops.” Hannibal sighed, frustrated and disappointed.
Hannibal instantly assumed a kneeling position beside the woman’s body, setting her head on his lap. He waited until the thumping and stomping of footsteps reached the doorway before activating his crocodile tears. When two policemen entered, shining the light on his face, they instantly softened their stoic faces.
“Please… help me!” cried Hannibal, streams of tears and sobs shining from his face. “Help!”
Hannibal stood outside with the rest of the neighbors beyond the police lines, the red and blue lights flashing in front of his face. The afternoon Sun tried to flicker through the thick clouds, leaving spotted speckles of sunlight scattered on the soggy sidewalks.
“Oh, my God… I can’t believe this happened…”
Hannibal listened to his neighbors murmur their concern and shock over the events that happened while he watched the certified detectives talk on the steps of the complex. His eyes met one of the detectives, the contacts on his eyes giving the detective pause.
“I wanna talk to that young man over there,” said the detective, a middle-aged balding white man.
“Yes, sir,” replied his subordinate.
Hannibal was led under the police tape by an officer and taken before the stern-looking detective.
“Hello… Hannibal, is it?” asked the detective indifferently.
“Yeah,” Hannibal replied with the same tone, smirking at the visible twitch of indignation from his eyebrow, “that’s me.”
The detective cleared his throat. “My name is Charles Conley. Why don’t you tell me about how you found Liliana? Did you see anyone suspicious flee the scene or anything like that?”
“I found her dead on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. I didn’t see anything other than her corpse.”
The man nodded. “So, can you tell me – how close were you to Liliana? We understand she was your landlady but that you two hung out a lot.”
“Yeah, we were pretty tight, I guess. She was kind of like an aunt or something.”
“I see. Tell me, did she have any enemies? Anybody that intended her harm?”
“No, nobody that I could think of. I honestly can’t imagine anyone that would want to hurt her. She was sweet to everyone. Very gentle, nice, and caring.”
“Alright, thank you. Uh, just one more question.”
“Why the…” The detective waved his fingers in front of his eyes.
“Oh…” Hannibal chuckled. “It’s to disguise who I am, detective. I don’t take kindly to people looking into my broken world. That’s all.”
The detective was taken aback by the strange statement and simply nodded before turning away and walking back into the house briskly, eager to put some distance between him and the young man. Hannibal just smirked before turning around and exiting the scene. With his hands resting his coat pocket, the boy lowered his head, letting the tip of his hat shadow his face, and began walking around the town, contemplating the evidence.
“So, what do you make of it, young one?” came a croaky voice.
Hannibal quickly looked to his right to see, in an alleyway, peeking behind a dumpster, was a shrouded lady in the darkness with a hood keeping her hair covered. She wielded an eerie smile and hollow gray eyes. The most alarming facial characteristic was that she looked like a loved one Hannibal knew well.
“Umi?” he whispered in shock.
The woman just cackled before disappearing like a ghost behind the dumpster.
“Wait!” exclaimed Hannibal. He sprinted down the alleyway and around the dumpster to see stairs leading down to a door. His breath heavy, Hannibal cautiously ventured down the stairs and approached the door. He reached for the knob and slowly turned it, the slow creak of the hinges bringing open horrific memories.
Once the door was ajar, he made his way inside and moved around dozens of hanged glittery clothes and featureless, porcelain mannequins.
Startled, Hannibal glanced down at his foot to see a sleek black cat staring up at him with its beady green eyes. They twinkled slightly and with what almost seemed to be a Cheshire smirk, the cat disappeared beyond the suspended clothes.
Breathing to himself, Hannibal allowed a few minutes to calm his nerves before he ventured further, eventually coming upon a doorway with beaded curtains. He walked through it slowly and saw that he was standing in an odd, less dark area, with lights coming from red and yellow lamps on both sides of the room. There was a counter on the other side with all types of items ranging from Ouija boards to tarot cards. In the center of the room was a red hexagonal table with a glass ball sitting on a mount in the center. At the two ends of the table sat two chairs.
“May I help you?”
Hannibal spun around and his eyes widened when he saw an Indian girl, only two years younger than him, wearing the exact same clothing he saw the other woman wearing. She had long black hair that was tied into a ponytail and innocent dark brown eyes.
“Wha-what?” Hannibal stuttered.
“May I help you?” the girl repeated, smiling up at him politely.
“Wha… where’s that lady? The lady that ran in here?”
The girl tilted her head to the side, her brow furrowed. “I… don’t know what you’re talking about, sir. I’m the only one here.”
“And who the hell are you?”
The girl grinned a toothy grin. “My name is Yedibi. Pleased to meet you!”