I sighed, and laid my hands down on my desk, the two dim lamps at either end burning softly, casting a haze over the small avalanche of papers and photographs. None of them were clear; blurry snaps of a man all in black, an old painting I'd managed to aquire from an ancient tome long forgotten about...He wasn't easily seen.
I had dug as deep as I possibly could, and hit the biggest rock so far. This man, this marvel, he couldn't be unravelled. I was the only one trying to bring him down for what he'd done. The case had been put to rest months ago. But I was the one who discovered him. I remember that moment so clearly. I entered the room, saw the blood, and glanced him under his hood as he turned to face me. A dry-looking, dark-skinned face, thin lips and heavy-lidded, blood red eyes. He gave me a smirk, a cheeky wink, and then he was gone. Leaving the assassinated individual to be identified and mourned.
I had three main sources, three main people who had told me what I had now, scrawled on pages, then later neatly written and organised for me to make sense of it. An obnoxious, loud-spoken woman who's daughter was killed by the same man. She described to me his soft black hair, his British descent and his playful nature. She told me he probably wanted me to find him. That didn't explain why I hadn't seen him since. She couldn't give me his whereabouts.
The second was a big, burly man I had been directed towards by practically everyone I showed my sketch to. I was so sure I'd struck gold with this one, for he told me the unbelievable truth. The man I was looking for wasn't a mere assassin- he was so much worse. A serial killer, a feared criminal, practically legend. A dark magician. I had laughed when he said that. But he hadn't. His steely grey eyes bored into mine, and the longer I stayed there, the more he explained, the more I knew he wasn't joking. Magic, sorcery, whatever you wanted to call it...It was real, and my target was the best in the business at using it, and using it for evil. I was excited, fearful, and so hopeful I'd found the man to take me to the killer. But no...He told me he couldn't help me. He told me the man was much too dangerous, and I should drop all of this. his was whom I got his name off of, and he told me what it meant, why it made the hairs on my neck stand up.
The name meant 'Leader of Darkness' in a language long lost to this world, I'd been told. Now that I had a name, I realised the extent to the fame of the man who wore it. I'd walk into a bar, mention the name, only to have people cringe, and refuse to speak to me. Put ads up online, in newspapers, magazines, only to find them rejected or mysteriously deleted without my consent. I stuck up a few posters of my sketch, the name underneath it, and a number to call if sighed. The same night, I returned home to every single poster sitting neatly on my front porch. The one on top had something written on it, in long, loopy writing.
'You are going to get yourself killed.'
The message was part of my evidence, and sat untidily on the desk along with the interviews I conducted. I picked up my most recent one. The one I'd gotten from asking around, from a young man in his twenties- He had given me the most information.
A London man. Tall and thin, a living skeleton. Expert in magic, expert in combat. Murderer. Criminal. Psychopath. Unpredictable and dangerous, not easily provoked to anger but quickly to violence. He had been locked up, years ago, but escaped with a comfortable ease that took everyone by surprise. Better yet, I'd gotten my location. Sydney, Australia. Apparently, the sunset there was serene to him. I couldn't understand how an emotionless freak like that could feel serenity and peace the same way us normal people did.
The flight was long, drawn-out, and it played with my anxiety like a chew-toy. I had to take a private jet, request it from my place of work. I have the guy, I promised them, and he'll be back in shackles. Driving to my hotel room and collapsing into my bed went too quickly for my liking. I couldn't sleep. I shared the city with a cold-blooded killer. My latest source had told me not to go after him. Stressed it. Made me swear. But I didn't care. This guy needed to be brought to justice.
Alarm beeps. Three am. The Devil's hour. Surely, if a killer was on the loose, it'd be at night, and I knew mow much McCain liked to blend with the shadows. Finally, the mystery of this man would be revealed. I roamed the streets quietly, adjusting my bulletproof vest, hand on the hilt of my gun, ready to fire at a second's notice. I searched the main streets, where night life was little, but still existent, then combed the alleyways, the dark twists and turns where shady people did shady things, but none of them were as tall and dark as the reaper himself...None of them were him.
And then...A dead end, and before I could turn and rejoin my path, a chuckle made me pause.
A voice that had been described to me, three times in a row.
"Didn't you read the poster, Mr. Raymond...? Didn't you heed my warning?"
Cold steel on my neck. The gun in my pocket removed, thrown in front of me.
"Never look for me...You'll end up wishing you never did."
I never even got to see his face again. Never got to overpower him, drag him back to the States and pull the answers from behind his crooked smile and crimson eyes. No...The blade drew across my neck, and I died with a thousand questions unraveling from my mind as my life moved on, and ceased to care about the curious, macabre spectacle of a man who took my life.