XANDER SLOWLY got into the routine of a nine hour day. He slept in a small room located in the far west wing of the police station. His 'bedroom' contained a single, small bed and a desk that was constantly cluttered with papers.
For the first five hours of his day, Xander would work with the other detectives on the case. The rest of his day was spent with his tutor. The tutor was a nice man, his name was Peter Manning, he taught Xander about science and maths. But, most importantly, Peter taught him about the law and about crime; He taught Xander how to draw conclusions quickly and accurately with little evidence or data.
On the first day of Xanders work, however, he spent the entire day being briefed on the current case.
Because of its extreme complexity, they called the case the "What-The-Heck-Does-That-Mean? Case." Although, the name changed quite frequently. This name, in all of its stupidity, was proposed by Eric Vlatt. Needless to say, Eric was the jokester of the group.
The first time Xander met the five detectives and investigators assigned to this case, including Eric Vlatt and Peter Manning, was the day he was first briefed. His first day:
Xander walked through the door of the police station for the first time. Looking around, the place seemed nice. The walls were clad in white paint and fancy paintings. The floor was checker patterned, with black and grey tiles. Many people walked around, all of them had keys jingling from their belts or from their necks and many of them wore businesses clothes. White button-up shits and black bottoms, usually, however, the button-up shirts weren't even buttoned. They wore their clothes in a casual manor, this suggested a very comfortable workplace. Xander liked it so far.
When he was escorted to his room, he found five other people already there. They introduced themselves and then awkwardly shook Xanders hand;
"Hello! My name is Peter Manning,"
"I'm Eric Vlatt, what's up?"
"Good evening, my name is Dave Bere,"
"Hi. I'm Jane Cursaur,"
"Jacob Gunther, how do you do?"
Xander observed their every move from that moment on, he was able to conclude that each of them had their own, quite odd, personality. It was no wonder that the team worked so well, each one of these men and women seemed almost built to work together. Peter Manning, he was the born leader of the group. He took charge easily and used it well. He wasn't exactly a stern man, but to cross him would not be a good thing. Eric Vlatt was the class-clown of the detectives. He was the one that relieved the group of being too pressured. Without Eric, the group would probably begin fighting and start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Dave Bere was a more serious person, he was possibly the only person there that had above average intelligence. However, he seemed incapable of drawing deductions from his observations. This was were Jane Cursaur came in, she was a true Sherlock Holmes when it came to drawing conclusions from accurate data. Even though she was not quite as good as Xander, she was good. Finally, Jacob Gunther. He was the one who specialized in law. He could tell you what was legal and what was not without consulting a single document. No matter the question, he would answer it.
The group functioned like a well-oiled machine.
It was then that they briefed Xander on the "what-the-heck-does-that-mean? case," the case was... complex:
"Okay Xander. So, here's the case. Tell us what you think when I'm done," said Peter; "Four months ago, on the third of January, we found eighteen bodies. The bodies were floating in a small fishing boat, drifting down the Centil River. Their bodies were burnt and there was always a hole, about one centimeter in diameter, right between their collar bones. We do not know the identities of these people but we do know the death dates. Each of them was killed on a different day, they were killed one day at a time, consecutively. Day by day. Then, they were all thrown on a boat sent down the river.
"But, of course, there's more. There have been four similar boats in total, each containing eighteen burnt bodies with holes in their chests. Also, each of the boats had a single hole in the center of the floor. This is all the information. we can give at the moment, later today we will show you the boats that we have and see what you think. But, for now, this is all I can tell you. So, what do you make of it so far?"
Xander thought for a moment, he leaned back in the chair he had taken.
"Well, first of all, there were more murders than just these. And, uh, give me a minute..." Said Xander with his palm set on his left cheek.
At that moment, Dave interrupted his train of thought: "Xander, how do you know there was more murders? We never found any more boats."
"Well, the hole in the bottom of the boats, that was to make sure that the boats sank. You got lucky when you found those four. My bet is that he kills one person per day, and after eighteen are dead, he sends them on a boat. One boat every eighteen days. By this logic, there should have been about seven boats. However, this is assuming that he started killing on January third and I doubt this is true. I would say it is more like nine or ten boats."
The five of them gawked at Xander in awe. Perhaps it was because it was an startling deduction considering his age, and perhaps because he was able to talk so nonchalantly about the death of hundreds of people.
"And, there's more," started Xander, playing into their awe at his deductive abilities. "You said that the bodies were never identified. How, then, did they never report one murder every single day? Shouldn't it be obvious who is dying because they suddenly disappeared? Here's the key: he doesn't kill them immediately. He kidnaps them far in advance; And then, perhaps years later, he kills them. This way, he can hide who he is killing. He could have started kidnapping three years ago, and he is just now getting rid of the bodies."
The looks on the faces turned from shock to complete and total disbelief. Even Eric, who had previously looked rather entertained, looked in complete and total confusion and awe.
Surprisingly, Xander had thought it a rather easy thing to deduce.
After a moment of silence, Jane spoke up; "Xander... how do you know this? We've been on the case for several months now, and, to be completely honest, we haven't many any strides as far as that since... since never, really."
"Well, first of all, I know that they were kidnapped in advance because it would cause some huge trouble to have one person disappear every day. So, perhaps years ago, the killer started to kidnap people, and then, when he had a few hundred to dispose of, he would kill them. One every day. He did this to make sure that your first thoughts were that he found them and then killed them the same day. This is also why he burnt the. so severely, so that you could not identify them."
They all nodded slowly to show that they followed his train of thought.
"And, Xander, are you absolutely positive that you are right about this?" Asked Jane, tentatively. She did not want to anger Xander by showing disbelief in his abilities. The whole team had been told that Xander took much pride in his skills, to contradict this would be a bad move on her part. But, yet, it was hard to believe that this small child could even understand and comprehend the situation, much less analyze and come up with a solution to it.
"Positive." Said Xander, as proudly as he could muster.
At that, Jacob ran off to the computer lab, exclaiming: "Alright! I'll check for a pattern of kidnaps in the past years!"
Eric started running after him. In a mocking tone, he screamed: "Alright! I'll check for a Dr. Pepper inside the fridge!"
The others groaned and rolled their eyes at Eric's stupidity. They then gave their attention back to Xander; "Xander, if you are indeed right about this, then we could be well on our way to finding this guy out."
"Oh, I'm definitely right. But, this isn't gonna get us very far into the case. Perhaps I can help, but this was a rather weak deduction anyways, I can do better!"
Jane smiled kindly at him and walked back to her personal office. Dave went to his office too. Now it was only Peter and Xander in the room. "Good job Xander. I knew it was a good idea to get you on this case!" said Peter with a pleased look in his eyes.
"Thanks Mr. Manning!"
"Please, call me Peter."
Peter smiled at him. Xander smiled back.
Xander knew this was where he belonged; By Peter, working as a detective.
But, yet, he missed his father. After his mother's death, he had grown so close to his father that being away from him was painful. It would be hard to sleep at the police station during the weeks. He missed his dad already to be honest and it was only the first day. Xander may act tough and smart in front of these new people, but, in honesty, he was only eight years old. It was okay to be a child every once in a while.
JONATHAN MARCE stood against the hard, cold wall of his cellar. In front of him sat a boat, filled to the brim with almost twenty bodies. Each of them was crisp and blackened, the only thing you could possibly deduce from them was the small hole below their necks. The boat itself also had a small hole in it, in the center of the boat. Jonathan knew, by tell of his spy, that four of his boats had not sank and were being kept as evidence. He was determined to get this one to sink, so he drilled eight more holes into the bottom of the boat.
He knew, of course, that someone would eventually find these boats at the bottom of the river, but he did not care. For now, they had no reason to suspect that the boats were meant to sink and that they had simply gotten lucky with the four they had found.
It was at this moment that his phone rang, it broke the silence like a ripple in still waters. Jonathan answered it quickly:
"Hello? Who is it?" Questioned John.
"Its me, Peter."
"Oh, my lovely little spy. What has the little blue bird got to tell me today then?"
"The boy. He's smart."
"What boy? Xander? Why, what happened?"
"He knows. He knows that there were more than four boats. He knows that you kidnap them in advance and he knows how you put holes in the bottom and how you kill daily and how you think, John, this kid is a serious threat. Since this case started, I've been suppressing all movement and advancement in the case. But, this kid, he can really rise up."
"... I'll take care of it. For now, try to keep from being noticed. If he finds out about you, this could be... bad."
Jonathan shut his flip phone.
This was bad. The kid knew what he was doing and how he was doing it. This was very, very bad. Jonathan was almost ready to dispose of his little spy at this point, to many failures. And, honestly, Jonathan just wanted to kill someone. But, no. Jonathan must not do this, he must let the man live. He must let Peter grow close to Xander, and then kill him. Hurt him. Break him.
Xander would pay for what he had done.
At this thought, Jonathan gave the signal to his men to push the boat into the river. The extra holes in it would surely keep it from being found immediately by Xander and his little fun-fun-gang.
When the boat had been released, Jonathan closed the gate. He walked away from the river entrance and headed back to his room. The lights were dim where he was and the stone he walked on was cold. The air was also musty. The whole scene was perfect, or so it felt, the perfect crime.
But, yet, Jonathan was getting bored... He wanted to do something fun -something perfectly evil- and he knew the time was coming. Xander would pay and it would happen soon.
Jonathan drew a piece of blank paper from one of the drawers that lined the stone wall. Sitting down in his expensive velvet chair, he began to think of ways to sabotage Xander… What was most important to him? His belongings? No, just stealing from this kid wouldn't stop him from working. The thought of simply killing Xander occurred to Jonathan at that moment, but when he thought about it, he didn't want to kill Xander. Xander was a formidable foe at this point, and for his entire life Jonathan wanted to play with someone who was just as smart as him, and now was his chance. Jonathan wanted to hurt Xander, not kill him, he wanted to play a game with Xander. Like chess, he wanted to take Xanders queen piece, not his king piece. And so, that is what Jonathan planned to do.
The thought still lingered of what he should do to sabotage the boy though, something that wouldn't kill him, just harm him. The boys mother was already dead, this would mean that Xander was especially close to his father.
"Ooh… thats it," Said Jonathan; "His father…"
He began to laugh madly at his idea, and began furiously writing on the paper he had drawn. This would be one fun game. And, as of right now, Jonathan had one good move planned out.