Then it began. It started with a loud thumping and bouncing noise on the hood of my car, then another…and another. Soon the roof of my car was being pelted with giant water drops, sent crashing into me and everything else in sight. Traffic stopped, forcing me to go around. I saw bus shelters shattering, and the honking of horns drowned out the sound of people screaming.
I pulled up and went around, as several cars were now stopped and awaiting direction. Both traffic lights were blinking red, and people were left in a state of confusion. The water quickly overwhelmed the streets as water began to flood. I watched as cars pushed through, leaving water waves in their wake…it was as if I was watching the back of a boat.
I pressed on and made my way towards Aidan’s. Medical personnel, fire trucks and other patrol cars began to show up to help mitigate the confusion. Then, as quickly as it arrived, it began to slow down. It was as if the heavens had just opened up and wept…then it was over.
I arrived at Aidan’s house and pulled up outside. Strangely, his house looked fine from the outside and had incurred no damage as a result of the storm. Meanwhile his neighbours seemed to have significant landscape or structural issues. Bizarre.
I knocked on the door and waited. I looked through the window…it was cold out there. I knocked again. I tried turning the knob; it was open.
The house was pristine and beautiful. Immaculate, not a speck of dust to be seen.
“Inspector, what are you doing in my house?”
Aidan looked smartly dressed, wearing a blue, lightly pinstriped suit, and a gold and blue patterned tie. Black expensive Italian leather shoes, his hair cut neatly. He looked to be about 5’11”, and spoke with a slight American accent.
“Sorry to intrude, Mr. Aidan. The front door was open. I came to speak with you…we’ve been trying to reach you, and I…”
Odd. I lost my train of thought. I was going to say something, but it escaped me.
“What are you doing here?”
“I…I wanted to ask you some questions about Tarif and Jacob Cross, two employees of your company, Mr. Aidan.”
“Why, is there some kind of problem?”
“Oh, I had no idea. That’s unfortunate. A terrible loss.”
He appeared to be extremely calm. His stare was hypnotic, his breathing rhythmic.
“We’ve found evidence to suggest that Tarif and Jacob Cross had been embezzling money from Netex…a lot of money.”
“How much money?”
“Two-point-three million, to a number company in the Cayman Islands registered under their name.”
“You weren’t aware of any of this? Was this appropriation of funds recorded on any corporate accounting statements?”
“Of course, but I would have known about a 2.3 million dollar transaction coming from my own company, Ms. Moretti. Don’t you find it odd?”
“I do, actually.”
He should have known about it…maybe he did. I noticed his demeanour changing, exactly on queue with my thoughts of suspicion. My mind was getting foggy now…I blinked and tilted my head slightly, to regain composure. What was I thinking about?
“Ms. Moretti, it seems like you’d better investigate Cross more closely. I’ve always found him a bit odd myself…always helping people the way he does. Almost trying to get information from them, in some…manipulative ploy to gain their trust. Perhaps he’s the one all along who killed Tarif. It makes sense. I mean, as conniving as he is, he probably just got greedy,” he said very confidently. I couldn’t help but agree with him.
“Yeah, it makes sense.”
He was so charming. He spoke in a monotone, but somehow his charisma poured through. I couldn’t help but feel attracted to him.
“I mean honestly, Nancy, doesn’t it make sense that Cross’s in it for the money? My top project managers can account for him stealing company equipment and bringing it home. He’s in direct violation of our non-disclosure agreement, undoubtedly to make some modifications and sell it off to a competing firm somewhere. We’re talking about government projects here, Ms. Moretti.”
“Really…I had no idea. You’ll have to give me the names of your project managers… I’d like to ask them a few questions…”
“In time, Nancy. I think you should consider something else…consider the possibility that Jacob Cross and Tarif are involved in some sort of terrorist agenda. Perhaps they were going to use that money to fund some ridiculous regime change.”
“But there’s no evidence to support that, Mr. Aidan…”
It didn’t matter what he said, I felt compelled to agree with him. I felt very uneasy, as if I was under the influence of some narcotic. Having trouble…focusing. How did he know my first name?
To be continued…