Crime File

He imagined he was a young boy, but he knew he was an old man. The toaster  squawked at him, “Have faith. Don’t let small setbacks destroy the mission.”  Talking appliances were very disconcerting — they all seemed to know more than he did — “he” being Adamine Krator, a detective from Red City who was called upon to solve what appeared to be a crime of passion. So far none of the clues made sense. The body was cold. Too much had already been compromised. Investigators pillaged the scene like termites; searching for the illusive link-pin that would put everything in perspective. The problem was that everything reflected back on itself in a recursive loop. Adamine, as usual, held himself responsible. He was a child when he first started to search for clues. He was in a dark theater dreaming about being in the movie that flickered on the screen about a strange machine that had a brain. He remembered being jolted out of his reverie by a disturbance in the audience. It was a feeling that would haunt him for the rest of his life: the feeling that something alien had stepped out of the movie screen to take possession of everyone in the theater.  Every case Krator worked on was somehow connected to that dark possession. He never found the source of the infection — it remained a mystery that grew deeper as the detective grew older. Each year that passed was like a death sentence, limiting the time he had left to solve the case. Each year his senses became increasingly numb and he felt debilitated. His mental acumen, once as sharp and shiny as polished silica, began to dull and he no longer made the brilliant deductions he was once famous for. His reputation was beginning to tarnish. Adamine learned to accommodate to the changes he experienced. He learned to act with a professional demeanor and maintain a certain authority — in truth, he was no longer physically fit and no longer mentally quick. He learned to read lips to accommodate the creeping loss of hearing. His slight-of-hand did not always work because he could no longer depend on his memory.  He forgot names. Sometimes common words would elude him and he’d stammer. Criminals in Red City took advantage of Krator’s failings and easily escaped the clutches of the erstwhile lawman. Krator felt forced to leave his home in Red City and move across time to another city where his reputation would not be in jeopardy. People were not so astute in his new world. Adamine created a new persona to fit-in with standards of taste and decorum. Officials began to consider him an expert in the field of criminal investigation — they didn’t realize they were seeing a mere shadow of the man who once lived in Red City. The toaster kept yammering at Krator’s back, “You can’t disguise the truth. The truth is toast.”  In the movie, a bomb exploded. People scattered like debris in a windstorm.  (to be continued)

Traveler

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