Case: Three Blind Mice

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
Private Detective Jacob Algrave's first case leads him into a world of shadows and magic.

Submitted: August 23, 2012

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Submitted: August 23, 2012

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Case:

Three Blind Mice

 

My name is Jacob Algrave and I write these events as they occurred to both keep a record of what occurred and to retain some semblance of my sanity.  I work as a private detective in Tampa, Florida specializing in missing person’s cases, and occasionally I get involved with some cases I should have left alone.  The case I am about to relay was the first case that drew me into the world of shadows, a world superimposed over our own, yet rarely observed by most.  This case had opened my eyes to the reality beyond what can be seen or felt, and more often than not a reality so horrific I wish nothing more than to wipe the images from my mind.

On August 12, 2010, at about 2:30pm –

I received a call from a young woman, she said her name was Amanda Thompson, who inquired if I was available to take on new work.  Mrs. Thompson sounded like she had cried herself hoarse over several days prior to making the call to my office, and I was never one to say no to woman in need.  Besides, I had just lost my downtown office space because work had been so slow and was having trouble finding a way to make rent for my apartment for the month. 

I asked Mrs. Thompson what she needed help with, but she said “they” would rather discuss it with me in person.  I couldn’t help but wonder who “they” were and why she didn’t want to discuss anything over the phone.  I asked her if we could meet at a local coffee shop not far from my apartment.  She agreed and said they would meet me about seven o’clock, I agreed and she hung up the phone.  Seven o’clock gave me plenty of time to do some background work on Mrs. Thompson prior to our meeting.

I checked out her Facebook pages and saw all the normal family comments and photo’s you would expect from a white upper-class family.  However, although she had made almost daily posts to her page regularly, she had not posted or commented in over a week.  Pictures of her son and husband flooded the photo albums and nothing there gave any clue to what kind of disturbance could prompt her to call my office.

I called Gregg Roman, my friend at the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and asked him if he had seen anything about Mrs. Thompson come in over the previous few weeks.  Gregg placed me on hold while he checked the arrest records and complaint files.  After a few minutes Gregg picked up the phone and told me the only thing he had seen was a complaint against a daycare center near her home.  He said the complaint was the daycare center, Future Quests Children’s Academy, was subjecting her child to some kind of toxin that was making her son very ill.  Gregg assured me the compliant was looked into a week ago and nothing turned up.  I thanked Gregg for the information and promised to buy him a drink over the weekend.

August 12, 2010, approximately 7:00pm –

I walked into the coffee shop and immediately saw Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, who I recognized from their Facebook page, sitting at a table near the back with two other couples I didn’t recognize.  I ordered my coffee at the counter, a good strong black coffee because I could already tell it was going to be one of those kinds of meetings.  I took my coffee over to the table and introduced myself to the Thompson’s, they stood and shook my hand as did the other two couples.  Mrs. Thompson introduced the other two couples as the Howards and the O’Connell’s and asked me to have a seat.  I sat down and informed them of my consultation fee of $100 to hear their case prior to accepting it.  Mr. Thompson took out a check book and immediately wrote my check.

I could tell all three couples seemed very distraught over something, something terrible either had happened or was happening to these families.  As I listened to their story I quickly understood what could cause these families to be so upset.  The three families had lost their children to a horrible disease called Progeria over the last week and they were convinced there was more to it than that.  They had been told their kids had suffered from a rare case of, “sudden onset accelerated Progeria,” which caused their bodies to age years in a matter of days.  After several days of intensive care at the hospital their hearts had given out, their four year old bodies unable to cope with the rapid aging.  At that point I wasn’t sure there was anything I could do to help and told the families it was a little beyond my scope of expertise.

Mr. Thompson caught my hand as I went to leave and asked me to hear them out.  As he had just cut me a check, I agreed and listened to the rest of their story.  They informed me the disease was genetic and non-communicable, but all three children had attended the same daycare center, Future Quests Children’s Academy.  I thought that was a bit odd, especially since I had never heard of the disease and it most have been fairly rare to occur, especially in three different families at the same daycare center.  The families said they had gone to the police for help and they believed their children been poisoned or subjected to something that caused their children to suffer from this disease.

I felt a little guilty, and I am still not sure if it was the fact that I was desperate for work or I felt truly bad for these families, but I told them I would take the job and start first thing in the morning.  The families were happy to hear I would look into things and gave me another $500 check for any expenses I would incur, then left me to my coffee.  But the morbid air they had brought in to the coffee shop now clung to me like some kind of thick glue.  I really didn’t like the way this case was looking.

August 13, 2010, approximately 9:20AM –

After sitting in my car for several hours across the street from Future Quest Children’s Academy, watching people come with their children, I decided to go in and start asking some questions.  As I entered I approached the front counter and asked to speak with the owner.  The young Haitian woman working the desk had me wait in the lobby area while she went to find her boss.  While I was waiting I saw some children sitting around a TV watching some annoying children’s sing-along program, but thankfully the children all seem to be having fun and in good health. 

A heavy set woman in her mid to late twenties came up to the front counter and introduced herself as Samantha Vorden, owner of the daycare center.  She appeared to be a very kindly woman and after I identified myself she asked me into her office where we could discuss the issue away from the children, understanding that the kids didn’t need to hear questions about their dead friends.  Mrs. Vorden’s office was small, almost closet sized, and had a few filing cabinets on one wall, a desk on the other and two chairs.  I noticed she had several pictures on her desk of a young bald girl and in a hospital gown smiling and hugging Mrs. Vorden.  I asked about the pictures as an icebreaker, and she smiled, informing me the girl was her daughter who was recovering from Leukemia at a nearby hospital.

I informed Mrs. Vorden I was hired to review her records and check the sanitary standards she was maintaining at her establishment.  Mrs. Vorden was all too eager to show me the files I asked for and gave me a very comprehensive tour of her facility.  The eight classrooms, 70+ students, and fifteen instructors all seemed fairly ordinary for an upscale daycare.  But when we entered the arts and crafts room I couldn’t help but feel uneasy, you know the feeling like someone is watching you and waiting to shoot you in the back.  Only this feeling came from the whole room, no direction, no source, just supreme discomfort. 

As I looked around the room I saw several young children working with cloth, string, stuffing, and markers circled around the young Haitian woman, her name badge read Aalis.  Aalis was showing the children how to make dolls that looked similar, if not a little childish, to the kids who were making them.  I noticed a shelf around the room held many dolls like the ones the children were making.  The small dolls all resembled little Raggedy Ann dolls with drawn on marker faces and names written on their chests like little name badges.  I couldn’t help but feel unsettled with all those eyes watching me, even if most of them were dolls.

Mrs. Vorden finished my tour and told me she was sorry she wouldn’t be able to help me anymore today because she was going to pick up her daughter.  Her statement threw me off a little so I asked about her daughter, whom I thought from our earlier conversation was still in the hospital battling Leukemia.  She smiled and told me her daughter was making a miraculous recovery over the past few days and her cancer was in remission.  Something felt very odd, although I am not sure how to explain it, about the fact that the three children had become ill at about the same time as Mrs. Vorden’s daughter began to recover.  But, regardless of my unsettled nerves, I had nothing to go on at the time so I went on with my business for the day. 

August 14th, 2010, approximately 2:15AM –

I had long since become accustom to long dreamless sleep over the past few years, but that night was different.  I found myself wake, drenched in sweat and hugging my pillow tightly as the nightmares lingered in my mind.  The dream felt so real, and I would have thought it was if not for its surreal and unbelievable nature.

The dream started out much like any other dream would I would imagine.  I had been sitting at the coffee shop with my current employers enjoying a cup of coffee and hearing the details of the job.  Then I began to notice the slight undertone of children chanting in a language I was unfamiliar with hidden within the music.  After a moment I asked the couples at the table if they had noticed it as well. 

All six of my employers stopped talking and looked at me as if in a daze, there jaws slack and expression was utterly emotionless.  The chanting began growing louder as I noticed the music had stopped and the chanting was coming from the unmoving lips of the families I shared the table with.  As I stood up I noticed they were not the only ones who seemed affected by this strange malady, everyone in the shop was chanting and staring at me. 

As the chanting grew to near deafening proportions, the room began spinning at a sickening speed.  The coffee shop and its patrons all became a blur of motion, and when I felt I should have been sick from the violent spinning everything stopped and I found myself somewhere new.  The room looked like a hospital room with a single bed and a young child laying in it.  I recognized the child’s two visitors as Aalis and Mrs. Vorden, leaving me to believe the child had to be Mrs. Vorden’s daughter.

Mrs. Vorden and Aalis were standing on either side of the bed and holding hands over top of the young girl, forming a small circle above the child.  I could see the two women were talking but no noise came from them, or any of the monitors in the room.  As I approached the bed I saw the young girl was asleep and had three small dolls on her chest forming a triangle held within the circle the women’s arms were forming. 

As I came into view of the dolls I stumbled backwards as the ghostly images of my employer’s children suddenly appeared around the bed.  Two of the children, the two boys, were at the head of the bed while the young girl was standing at the end.  The three children looked at me with tears trailing down their ghostly faces.  They began to approach me as I continued to back away, begging them to leave me alone and terror gripping my heart.  As they approached, imploring me for help, I saw them grow old with a frightening speed.  They seemed to age decades in only seconds, their skin growing taught and leathery across their small frames, their hair turning shock white and wrinkles raced across their once beautiful faces. 

Just as they were about to touch me I felt myself come awake and found myself hugging the pillow in the corner of my bedroom.  Needless to say I didn’t fall back to sleep that night, every time my eyes would close I would see those poor kids pleading for my help as they withered away.  I made myself a pot of coffee and started to work on the puzzle I had on the dining room table, which usually calmed my mind.

August 14th, 2010, approximately 9:15AM –

After a brief phone call to Mrs. Thompson to assure her I was on the case and I would let her know if I found any concrete evidence of foul play with their child’s death, I decided to make a few phone calls to the local hospitals about Mrs. Vorden’s daughter.  I pretended to be the concerned uncle over the phone and after a couple of tries I got lucky and found the right hospital.  The nurse at St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital told me she had been discharged late yesterday afternoon and asked when a family member would be by to pick up the rest of her belongings.  I wasn’t sure if it was the dream that made me feel like there was some kind of connection between the three kids and Mrs. Vorden’s daughter or if there was some clue to the case I just hadn’t picked up on yet.  I told the nurse I would be by in an hour to pick up her things.

August 14th, 2010m approximately 10:30AM –

When I arrived at St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital I approached the front desk and asked for Nurse Hayes, the woman I had talk with on the phone earlier.  The volunteer behind the counter made a brief phone call then asked me to have a seat, assuring me that Nurse Hayes would be down shortly.  I sat down and skimmed through an old copy of National Geographic for about ten minutes before Nurse Hayes arrived carrying a small transparent plastic bag containing the young Vorden girl’s belongings.  I signed a fictitious name and took the bag, thanking the nurse for holding it for her. 

I took the bag to my car and placed it in the passenger seat of my Ford Focus and started to drive out of the parking garage.  As I neared the exit I began to feel as if I was being watched and casually checked my mirrors to see if anyone was following me.  I nearly ran into a concrete post when I was startled by the image of the three ghostly children from my dream sitting in the back seat of my car.  I slammed the car into park and turned to see if there was anyone in the back seat.  But it was empty except for a few old magazines I had read last month when I was on a stakeout for a cheating husband case.

Realizing I had probably had some kind of sleep deprivation or something I tried to calm my nerves and regain my composure.  Some small noise or movement caught my attention and I looked at the Vorden girl’s bag of belongings, and I realized with a sudden gripping horror that in the bag, looking directly at me, were the three dolls from my dream.  Only there was something different about them, their eyes and mouths had big black “X’s” sown over them with thick black threads.  I wasn’t one to believe in magic or witchcraft or anything like that, but I knew something was going on and I needed to get some answers before some other kid ends up dead.

August 14th, 2010, approximately 12:20pm –

It took me a while to get through the cross town traffic, but I managed to make it to Future Quests Children’s Academy shortly after lunch.  Before I went into the daycare center I put on my paddle holster and holstered my glock, not that I felt like I was going to be attacked in a daycare center, but with everything that had happened over the past 24 hours I just felt a lot safer with it on.  I through a light plaid over shirt over my usual T-shirt and jeans to conceal my gun and headed up to the front door. 

When I entered I asked the young woman at the desk if Mrs. Vorden or Aalis were in, she informed me they were in a meeting in the back office and she would let them know I was here to speak with them.  The bag started to grow heavy in my hands, not that I was getting tired of holding it mind you, but it actually had seemed to gain a few pounds since I had entered the daycare center.  After a couple of minutes the phone at the front desk rang and the woman said it was ok for me to head back to Mrs. Vorden’s office.  I told the woman I thought I could find my way and headed straight down the hall to her office.

When I opened the door to her closet sized office I noticed the bag had started to grow warm in my hands, I dismissed the feeling thinking I was simply holding it too tightly.  Aalis and Mrs. Vorden were seated and asked me to please come in.  The two women looked only slightly nervous, until I closed the door and they saw the bag in my hands.  I saw the look deer’s get when they are caught by headlights pass over both of them as I dropped the bag on the desk.  I told them that while I didn’t understand what was going on, I knew the two of them were up to something and I wouldn’t let it go.

I could see beads of sweat forming on Mrs. Vorden’s brow as she tried to deny any wrong doing on her part or her staff.  She voiced her opinion quite openly about my accusing her of causing harm to any of her children.  And with the last word she uttered, something happened that to this very day I still do not understand, nor do I think I ever truly will. 

Mrs. Vorden’s voice feel silent, though her lips continued to move and shock spread across her face as she realized she was completely unable to make even the smallest of sounds.  Aalis bolted from her seat and tried for the door behind me.  I pushed her back into her seat and realized she too could not speak as she screamed silently at me. 

I smelled something burning and looked toward the desk, the plastic bag I had brought in was melting and eerie green flames encased the three small dolls I had brought into her office.  The stitching over the dolls’ mouths had burst open and they began to lift off the table, suspending themselves in midair over the desk.  I drew my gun and backed into the corner of the room as my heart raced from the fear coursing through my veins.  My chest and left arm began to hurt with a surprisingly sharp pulsing pain that was completely debilitating.  I was stuck in the corner, unable to flee as I watched in horror as the events over the next few moments transpired.

The green flames surrounding the three dolls began to take shape and form the transparent images of the three ethereal children I had seen in my dreams.  The dolls stayed hovering where the children’s hearts should have been, the black cords over their eyes slowly unwinding on their own.  I glanced toward the two women and saw their eyes turn a milky white color, like watching cataracts grow in fast forward.  The two women screamed silently and clawed at their eyes as if they were on fire.  They slumped down in their seats as if all their strength had been taken from them in an instant. 

In their seats the women’s skin began to turn a sickly brown color and became tough and taught like leather being draw to tightly over something.  As the pain in my chest grew and my vision began to blur, I saw their skin crack across their faces like dried leather and blood, and thicker things best left unsaid, spread down their faces. 

As I finally began to black out I saw the three ghostly children had turned their eyes towards me.  They approached me slowly in the small office and as they were about to touch me I swear I heard a child’s voice say, “thank you mister,” followed by a giggle as I drifted off into the welcoming darkness.

August 15th, 2010, at some point in the late afternoon –

I woke to find myself in a hospital bed with a male nurse drawing my blood.  I was so shocked I jerked away from him; he called for some nurses to come and help him.  A doctor and some nurses ran into the room.  After a few minutes they managed to convince me to calm down and they told me what had happened. 

They told me I was found at the daycare center and that I had a heart attack.  They said that I was very lucky and that I may have been exposed to something at the daycare center that caused it.  When I asked why they would be concerned about an exposure they informed me that two others were found dead on scene.  They wouldn’t tell me the circumstances of their deaths, but did mention I needed to stay for a few days for tests.

Later that night, Gregg Roman came over to visit and asked me some questions about what I could remember.  I told him I couldn’t remember much and the last thing I remembered was heading back to the daycare center to do a little more investigation.  Gregg said the EPA was coming down to check out the daycare for contamination and we joked about how it would be a few days till I could get him the beer I promised.

Later that week-

When I finally got released I found a thank you note from the children’s family and a check in the mail.  Grateful for the money I went inside and sat down to finish my puzzle so I could see what it was, you see I always do puzzles upside-down so that it is a surprise when I finish it.  I lacquered the back with puzzle glue and flipped it over to see what it was.  I was so shocked I fell to my knees as my breath was taken from me and tears streamed down my face.  The puzzle was of three children on a cliff over the ocean, one of which was pointing at the sun setting in the distance.

Case Closed


© Copyright 2017 Edward Clyde. All rights reserved.

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