"The house on the left. Just park the car in front." Senior Merit instructed, pointing to the most attention-seeking house, not because of its beauty but because of it's very dull, eerie, quiet aura that pushed the people's eyes away from it voluntarily. "We're here."
Warren shut off the car, looking at the house on the side. It was a Mid-Century Modern Style, a beautiful one probably before, if not only lack of life now, if it did not turned into a haunted one probably because of not having been occupied, cleaned, and visited by anyone for so long. The greenery creepers growing continuously and not had been pulled out and garnished that it surrounded the house's wall. The metal gate also grew rusty.
They went out of the car, the sound of the closing door echoing because of the silent neighborhood. Senior Merit walking to stand beside Warren who looked curious while peering at the gloomy house.
"Whose house is this, sir?" Warren asked. following the senior who was walking towards the gate and shaking it. The gate was high, more than six feet, with pointed ends that forbid thieves to go through the house, and so it was secured.
Senior Merit shifted to the smaller gate where the lock was. He tried opening it, but to no avail, he looked at the lock and tried unlocking it with his bare hands, but to no avail, of course.
"Warren, get the small axe on the compartment." He instructed while cutting off the creeper and grasses dangling on the gate that hinders him to see the lock fully.
Warren ran back to the car, opening the compartment and saw the axe on the side together with other materials that Warren didn't know what for and guessed that those were always been there. He took the axe with a red head and wooden handle and swirled it on his hand, testing how light it was before giving it to the senior.
The senior immediately, without further ado and warning, hit the metal gate with full force, shocking Warren in the process. The sound echoed in the whole neighborhood, well it felt like every sound, even the silent ones will be heard. He didn't know why there was almost no one going out of their houses, and why the whole neighborhood was so silent, that he could imagine the places in those horror movies he watched that the place was where the phantoms resided.
Senior Merit stopped from wrecking the gate upon feeling the presence on his back going closer until he was clutching his shoulder tightly. He looked over his shoulder, seeing Warren looking back and forth the path anxiously like he was being vigilant and nervous on his surrounding.
"What are you doing, Valore? Get off of me." He irritatedly commanded, shaking his shoulder to take the hands holding him like his life depended on it. "Did you see someone?"
Warren scooted closer to him, shaking his head slowly. "No, sir. I just feel like someone wearing a white dress with long hair covering her face and flying would show herself in no time and would kill us."
Senior Merit huffed, face-palming at what he just heard. He didn't expect that this man with a well-built body like he could break anyone's bone would be scared of a non-existent ghost that only the product of people's minds.
"Why don't you continue this so we could get in now?" He asked, shoving the axe to him to which the young lad unwillingly took. "Just break the lock."
"But the inside looks scarier than here?" Warren hesitantly asked.
"Just do what I say!" He exclaimed, about to hit his head but Warren proceeded on breaking the lock, in just one forceful hit. Senior Merit blinked, couldn't process what had just happened that his effort of hitting the lock multiple times broke with Warren's one hit, note that he was only using his one hand.
"It's open now, sir," Warren announced, walking back to the car to put back the tool inside. "Are we going in?"
"Of course." Senior Merit replied, pushing the gate open but had a hard time due to the creepers.
"Whose house is this again, sir?"
"Mury Kramer's my former assistant."
Warren fell silent. wanted to cheer because they were finally moving ahead to his task and finally had the progress he was looking for but the eerie feeling and goosebumps he felt while walking to the old double door was scaring him. He couldn't do anything but walk close to him as they veered at the dead man's house.
Senior Merit held the knob and twisted it, but as expected, it was locked. What would you expect from a house with the owner being dead for a long time? Of course, his relatives would lock it.
"How are we going inside, sir?"
Instead of answering, he started moving around, looking up and down. "I've been here often before, and he always locked his door for some reason and I kept on complaining about it, so to stop me, he thought of putting a spare key," He crouched down, found the old pot with dried leaves and flower, and pushed it aside, revealing the key wrapped in a small evidence plastic bag. "under the pot beside his door that only me knows."
He took it out from its plastic and unlocked the door, creaking as soon as it opened. Senior Merit walked inside, looking around the nearly empty place. Warren hesitantly stepped his foot inside, roaming his eyes around the dark, cold, and smelled like a cabinet that never had been opened.
"I hope his things were still in his room." The senior said, walking towards the stairs. But looked back at Warren. "Close the door. I don't want anyone to think we're stealing something."
Warren followed, running back to the door and closed it in a rush in fear that he might be left alone and see something on the first floor. He ran back upstairs, following Senior Merit, that he completely missed the paper that fell above the small table on the side that settled on the floor when blown by the wind when he ran.
He walked into the room where the door was opened, he found Senior Merit standing in the middle of the completely compacted room, there was a lot of papers and things scattered on the floor, the room was also full of cobwebs and other insects that he saw a mice running at the corner.
"What should we do now, sir?" He asked, crouching on the floor when he found a picture. "Is this you and him?"
Senior Merit looked at the picture he was holding, his eyes squinted and forehead creased as he carefully examined the picture, it was him and Mury, laughing at the picture and upon what he remembered, it was when they were talking about an officer higher than them who slipped while going out of the station.
But then something was wrong with the whole picture itself. It was taken from afar, to the station's parking specifically, there was also captured as well the roof of a car.
Like it was taken secretly.
"We were the only ones here as far as I could remember. That's why we were laughing over the higher rank officer because we know no one is watching." He explained, he turned the picture to the back and saw something scribbled there with a red pen.
"Senior Deputy Commissioner Theodore Merit. I kid. I wife. Your director."
"Why did he write your information?" Warren asked curiously, roaming her eyes around more. "Oh, there's another one!"
Warren walked to the side and picked up the picture, but only to freeze upon seeing the image clearly. He looked at Senior Merit who was curiously looking at him, he hesitantly handed it to him.
"What's wrong-" Same as Warren, he froze. Even made him almost lose his balance upon seeing the picture.
It was his family's picture, Mrs. Merit was on the side and Senior Merit was on the other, both happily looking down and holding T's hands as they swayed him in the air. However, there was nothing wrong with that picture if not only they were included, but that was not the case, it was also secretly captured, with a hand holding a g*n pointing to the family. When he looked at the back, there was another note written in red.
"They are easy to assassinate. I only need three bullets to take them down. Fix your life choices, Kramer, do what you needed to do."
"Sir." Warren called when the picture he was looking at suddenly got crumpled slowly by slowly, as the senior's hand was shaking. He looked up at him and found that he was crying. "Sir."
"I was the one they used to blackmail him." He sobbed, "I knew Mury, he wouldn't do such a thing without a reason. He's too kind and considerate to be involved in crimes like this. And knowing that he did it to save me and my family was too heartbreaking on my part."
Warren teared up as well. He had the softest heart among the agents, he didn't like seeing anyone cry because that would only make him cry too. He patted his shoulder while frowning, trying hard to push back his tears.
"I even thought he betrayed me, made my family hated him when all he did was to protect me."
"It's not your fault, sir. You didn't know." Warren comforted, just turning his back at him, and roamed around the room while he listened to the man mourning to his friend.
Walking to the table beside his bed, where lampshade, books, papers were piled on there, His eyes darted upward, feeling the whiff of the cold wind from the window... a closed one. So he wondered where that wind came from. His eyes went up again, landing his gaze to the window with a small hole and cracked that at first Warren thought was a cobweb, but it actually was a hole from a bullet. He's so sure.
"Sir, you have to see this."