He had grown up without a father. His mother spoke of his biological father in terms of good-for-nothing, son of a bitch, that piece of shit with his mind in his dick because a good brain he had never had or it had to be situated between his legs. All these nicknames didn’t witness of ‘the big love’ between his parents. She had thrown his natural procreator out of the house, during the first months of his tender age. One day she had taken his guitar, together with all his beautiful songs and had thrown them out of the window of the second floor down on the street where he stood before a closed door. The man instantly did take the tip she shouted at him. ‘Hit the Road, Jack’. His father silently disappeared and they had never heard of him again. Considering his own skin color his father had to be a foreigner. It happened sometimes rascals from the neighborhood called him ‘Mongol’ behind his back. The times he personally had heard it, the boy in question hadn’t enjoyed the consequences afterward. He never let people poke fun at him.
So he grew up in a one-parent family. His mother had an underpaid job at a road restaurant as a waitress. Still, they could manage, better than most of the families in the neighborhood who had better jobs. Even better than the couples where both of them worked. These were matters, he didn’t question. His mother chose a good school for him and it was far from cheap. He got regular and enough pocket-money. But as a child he didn’t find this strange. When he got older he understood all these things this better.
One night a few hours after he had gone to bed and couldn’t catch sleep, he heard ‘the noises’ again. As every twelve-year-old boy, he was afraid of ‘the noises’, certainly if he couldn’t name them or couldn’t place them. It wasn’t the first time he heard it. Instead of pulling his eider-down over his head and shutting down his ears as usual, he decided this time to wake his mother. Silently, he glided rather desperately out of his bed in his slippers and went through the corridor of the passage.
There was a light shining under his mother’s bedroom door… and ‘the noises’ seemed to come out of her room. He always would remember the moment that his curiosity became bigger than his fear. A little Pyrrhic victory it seemed afterward. He opened very carefully the door and saw a strange fellow who was lying upon his mother. The man panted like a horse and was as red as a tomato. Both his mother and the heavy breather were stark naked. Obviously he had made too much noise because his mother’s look turned to the bedroom door where she saw him standing still as a little statue, looking at them in an accusatory manner.
Because she was a firm woman, stronger than many men and her visitor seemed to be rather skinny, she hadn’t to make much effort to push the man aside, take her nightgown, put it on and run to the door. This all happened in a series of fluent movements as if she had done this before. He didn’t see the first slap coming. His ear and cheek tickled painfully and he felt the slap vibrating with heat through his jaw. His mother took him roughly by his ear and pulled him this way to his bedroom. There he was dumped on his bed with a strong push.
‘I talk with you later!’ His mother was a woman of few words and it would surprise him if she would elaborate about this situation. After some stumbling and curses, he hardly could understand, the house became silent again. He knew what had happened without further explanation from his mother. Once he had borrowed some magazines from a friend in school with a lot of naked women and men in it who tried all sorts of positions, such as he had seen in the bedroom of his mother.
It had aroused him to look at the pictures in the magazines and his body had reacted in a strange way. Secretly when his mother wasn’t at home, he had played with himself while glancing through the pictures. The view of his mother with this stranger hadn’t the same effect, it was just the opposite. Disgust and even a little hatred welled up out of a deep and dark place in him. So his mother has been just a filthy whore who sold her body to the first man who would put some money on the table.
Suddenly his bedroom door fell open and before he knew it, it rained beatings on him, he in vain tried to avoid. He didn’t cry because he was too angry at his mother. He saw all the corners of his room, tried to run away, but his mother was faster and locked the door. He couldn’t get away now. At a certain moment, they stood there panting as two fighting cocks opposed to each other. The first soften up by the beatings, the other tired of beating.
The wide nightgown of his mother fell open on the top and he saw her big breasts and nipples rising with every heavy breathing. Nonetheless, his pain, he became horny and his mother noticed it. She maliciously laughed, jumped closer and pulled his pajamas down. The blush of shame and humiliation came upon his face and he didn’t dare to say something about it, afraid she would beat him again.
With her head close to his she silently but very explicitly said, ‘Listen close, you little man of me. You will never, listen good,… NEVER, enter my room again without MY permission.’ She glanced at him with an investigating look. ‘If someone asks at school why you have bruises, you’ve stumbled down the stairs tonight and fell.’ She paused a moment to see if he had understood. It was as if she looked at his masculinity, but he thought this would be his imagination that fooled him. He was certainly not a fool and nodded affirmatively while he bit his lips to swallow the pain he felt. Never had he been beaten this way. He never had an erection either while he saw his mother naked.
His mother kept receiving visitors. He wasn’t afraid anymore of ‘the noises’. It was one of the things that belonged. She didn’t come back on this matter, but one year later something happened that completely changed his life at home. Before his mother, despite the fact that she worked in a restaurant, had probably more than once the occasion to drink between services. However, he had never caught her on alcohol abuse. Nowadays he often smelled the faint odor of alcohol on her breath when she arrived home in the evening.
When she was in such a whirl, things became dangerous for him. One day she would give him a box on the ear without reason while another day she cuddled and caressed him as her dearest teddy-bear. The longer this situation lasted, the more it confused him. The less he stood against her schizophrenic behavior, the sooner he could escape from her and her unpredictable temper and lock himself in his bedroom. Then something happened on his fourteenth birthday what damaged the soured mother-child relation still more. It was a turning point in his existence. Sometimes a person is marked by one special moment, a moment he will carry his whole life long as a yoke. It’s a point where as a person your life is fatalistically branded. Everything sends you inescapable at that moment in your life where everything comes together and your future is stipulated for the rest of your life.
Stephen March was very puzzled. He stood literally and figuratively before a closed door. He needed urgently the right key for this virtual door. Behind it would be something personal to find. He knew his half-sister pretty good so that he began realizing that there was a message for him behind that door. Suzy’s key ring laid in his hand with four keys, two of them he didn’t know for what or on what he could use them.
The smallest of them was a common safety key with an electronic transponder that worked with a ‘radio frequency identification tag’. Key makers called it simply an RFID-tag. Probably safe enough, but dating of the latest century. Nothing new under the sun and probably with the new techniques already out of date. In his student days, he once had read a scientific paper of a colleague and had remembered still something about it. It was something that didn’t fit in the normal knowledge of a diplomat, but it had interested him at the moment.
This type of key that hung on Suzy’s key ring was equipped with a passive tag. These toys had no energy source of their own, they utilized the electromagnetic field of a key reader to induce a current in a bobbin, by which the chip in the key was fed. In this way, the code for the lock was read and resulted in a miraculous click and an ‘Open Sesame’. In general, a person bought such a key together with a drill safe lock wit owner certificate.
The second was a larger key in the set of four and a lot older he noticed and was used for a lever tumbler lock. A very beautiful one with an artistic cut head. It fitted probably on an antique cabinet or some other furniture. He’d never know his sister Suzy had a soft spot for antique furniture.
While he forced his brain, he tried also to remember the conversations that could bring clearness in this riddle but he had hardly noticed the surroundings. Maybe the answer he had to search in another place. The solution could also be hidden in the apartment or maybe, openly in one or another room. Maybe he was overlooking it and the answer waited just before his nose to be discovered. Stephen began once again with the entrance and started to search systematically every spot from there.
After several useless attempts, he gave up. The only thing, he had, was a saved game and a nickname. ‘Furious’ and four keys. Four keys? Should it be so obvious, he suddenly thought?
Eagle Eye took a touchpad out of the inside pocket of his coat and logged in by scanning his bionic eye. I read over his shoulder and noticed he made contact between the two pieces of hardware. A list of data appeared with a short description and he tapped a specific line. On the touchpad, images turned up, concerning that day. He pushed a button to run fast forward to arrive at the fragment he liked to show to me and Ji Lang.
‘I’ve just one condition before I show you the particular images of that evening,’ Jérome said while he paused the picture. ‘I’m in if you can make something of this. Myo and Dakai were very good friends of mine. When I needed it, they were there for me. I can only pay back my debt by helping you find the murderer and to judge him the right way. Otherwise, the trip ends here for you?’ Eagle Eye’s smile was warm, but the look in his genuine eye was ice cold. It meant ‘no space for discussion’. It was taking it or leave it. I nodded! First, I had decided that it was probably somewhat overambitious to take this search on my own. A team is what I needed, that could split up the tasks. A team with members, who had each their own sources, so that they could contribute to finding the murderer.
‘Okay then. What you will see is a recording my eye has made of something that has happened at least a hundred meters away from the place I was standing. If you walk out of the Swift and follow the street to T-junction, then three hundred meters to the left, that’s where it all happened. I heard the noise of an autobot at a place I didn’t expect it. Autobots statistically have bad luck or just disappear here. I wouldn’t know why. My eye connected to my reaction zoomed in automatically. The images are sharp enough, but considering the fact it was evening and because the lights left a lot to be desired I couldn’t make much of it. Maybe you can?’ His big thumb pushed on ‘Play’.
I was spellbound by the images on the little screen. Two people were walking in the direction of Eagle Eye. I supposed they were Myo and Dakai. A few seconds later their attention was being caught by something because they stood still. A dark autobot appeared upon the screen and landed beside them. The hatch of the autobot opened and a person came out of it and walked in the direction of the two men. There were some lively movements with the arms and the man pointed at his autobot. Myo and Dakai entered the passenger space while the man smoothly jumped in the driver space and the autobot disappeared out of sight.
‘We found their bodies three days later on the same spot. It was difficult to find out which part belonged to whom. Those images I consciously have not recorded. Terrible to end this way,’ Eagle Eye declared.
‘Can I see a close-up of this man at the autobot?’ I asked.
‘No problem,’ he handed me his touchpad after putting some data in the hardware and feeding it with my eye scan. This way, he told us, I could operate the device myself. Rewind, play, the usual humbug, it was very user-friendly, just as a golden retriever and you didn’t even have to feed it.
I saw a man getting out of the autobot and zoomed in, as far as the device made it possible. This person, coincidence or not, stood on every moment with his back turned to Eagle Eye. I would guess him nine feet tall, black or brown hair – why the lights were so bad there – and my eye caught something important. I looked at Ji and he nodded affirmatively.
The smooth walk of the man tensed like a tiger and still light-footed. The jump in the driver space, fluently as fast streaming water and the speed with which all these movements happened, was a proof of his experience. This wasn’t a trial. What had happened to Myo and Dakai afterward in the passenger space? Were they drugged or had he allured them with an excuse? I suspected at least it wasn’t very good considering the result a few days later.
‘Can you magnify the contrast of this zooming position a little bit?’ I asked Eagle Eye. He took the tablet from me and in a minute he obtained the desired result. I saw the back of a head. Now I could distinguish a few details better than before which were a bit blurry because of the distance. Just below the hair growth, the man had a scar, a line that differed in color with his skin. Maybe about two centimeters long. For the rest… nothing to write home about. I told my conclusions to Ji and Jérome.
‘You have sharp eyes and you use them well too, young lady,’ the man with the white Stetson smiled. Ji nodded approvingly. ‘That I looked over this! It’s not much, but we now have at least some leads.’ Jérome summarized. ‘This kidnapper is a man of medium length, dark hair and with a two-centimeter scar on the back head below the hair growth and he uses a dark autobot to abduct his victims.’ Eagle eye grabbed his Stetson and put him on the table beside him. He brushed the sweat from his bald head with a white handkerchief he magically let appear out of his colorful pants and wondered. ‘We just ask very politely at every dark haired, medium length inhabitant of the New World to show their back head. A common question, isn’t it? Boy, that doesn’t really limit the possibilities.’
If I had to admit, I did expect something more of it. However, it was a start and every beginning was difficult, I comforted myself.
© Rudi J.P. Lejaeghere