Two Chicago detectives are sent to a small city to investigate the mysterious disappearances of the city’s inhabitants.

 

“I want to show you something.”

Stacey followed Donovan out the house where she led him towards the shed. She threw him some keys.

“Open the shed.”

Once Donovan opened it, he entered into the shed. He saw a tool bench, but it was the only thing in there. In the middle was a small door that lead to the underground.

“Open that door and walk down the stairs.”

“What are you going to do to me?”

“Do you want a bullet in your knee?”

Donovan opened the door. As he stepped down the stairs, the air grew colder. His breath become more visible due to the harsh coldness. When they made it to the bottom, Donovan felt the hard surface even through his shoes. It was very dark until Stacey flipped on the switch which enlighten the room for Donovan to see what was truly hidden. The sight horrified him. Skinned bodies after bodies were piled up on the walls to the point where the entire room could have been composed of flesh. It was a human slaughter house. Donovan slowly turned around to face Stacey.

“It’s beautiful isn’t it? You wanted to see the many places I go in order to clear my mind. Well here it is.”

“That man, in the picture, he was your father wasn’t he?”

“Oh, daddy was a good man. He did the best he could for us, and when mom got sick, it became difficult. When she died, my sister and I were left with a choice: we either run away from our problems, or embrace the chaos. My sister chose to run, literally. She took the missing piece of that photo in my room with her. I stayed, and in those years, my father helped me find a way to live in the tragedy; it was a way for me to laugh at it. We actually helped each other discover our true selves.”

Donovan appeared to be petrified.

“You been doing this since you were a kid?”

“How else are you supposed to become a master of perfection? Children stars master their crafts by the time they become adults. When dad finally died, I had to carry on with the art he left behind, but I wasn’t strong enough to do it on my own. I wanted to find out if that was who I truly was. I thought I wasn’t fit for that profession, so I took on other ventures, but over the years, I found myself wanting that past back. Occasionally I would embrace it again, but I would never go completely in, until recently. That was when I decided to stop playing around with the water, and dive deeply into it. The more kills, the better.”

“You’re insane.”

“No, I’m just a person who is able to retain my childlike spirit of curiosity. With each victim, I discover more of the world. I tried to see that in you, but you just looked at the world one sided in a narrow view. Where’s the excitement in life without constant expedition of finding yourself? Without an endless voyage, lifes becomes boring.”

“You’re not going to get away with this. Even if you kill me, Brand will come.”

“I welcome it. After I finish you, I’ll call her down here and take care of her. I have ways of hiding bodies. Sanders will just put you two with the rest of missing people. It’ll be this cities curse, but more people will come because people seek voyage, and that will bring me more pleasure to my adventure.”

“You’re going to do to me what you did to the others, so sadistically?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll finish you and Brand quick. Goodbye.”

A loud shot was sounded which pierced Stacey’s shoulder causing blood to spurt out. She was shocked to be hit. She turned around and met another bullet that fired into her skull.

“Brand.”

Brand hurried over to Donavan.

“Are you okay?”

“Thanks to you. How did you know to come?”

“I searched more, and found out that the man was Stacey’s father. I started to worry, so I came.”

“I just can’t believe she would do all of this.”

“You never truly know a person.”

Once the funeral concluded, Sanders approached Donovan and Brand.

“This was one hell of a shit storm. Even after what she did, she still deserved a proper police burial. I know it looks bad, but she had to be given one.”

“I understand. She really loved this city, and it loved her. She was an excellent member of the force, maybe the anxiety of her past got to her,” Brand explained.

“At least this case was put to an end. After so many years, it’s over. You two are back to Chicago now?”

“Yeah, that’s it for us. We’re catching the plane tonight. I’m just not quite sure how I am going to remember this place, better or worse.” Donovan declared.

“Well, we will remember your service in a welcomed manner. Thank you, it was a pleasure,” Sanders congratulated before walking away.

“Is this going to be it for you, Donavan?”

“I think so. When we get back to Chicago, the city is going to look different to me. This place has really opened my eyes to a lot of things. It made me realize how much I actually have, and I should be thankful for it. It’s time to appreciate my life more.”

“That’s good to here. I’ll see you at the airport. I want to drive around the city one last time.”

“Sure thing, Brand.”

As Donovan drove to the airport that night, it all made sense to him. He could finally see what Stacey meant about help. It was with people’s help that he was still alive, and there was nothing to be ashamed of. He had his precious life because of the care of others, and he wasn’t going to let it go to waste.

Brand had finishing trailing Stacey’s property with a bottle of gasoline in her hand. When the trail was finished, she lit a match and dropped it. The fire instantly found its way into the house. As Brand watched from outside, the fire tore through the home. She took out the torn photo of Stacey when she was a child and dropped it into the fire trail. She then took out another torn piece and dropped it side by side the other photo which completed the photo. The man, his wife, and two children in the photo were united.

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