Chapter 20: A clue finally arose

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Max slumped onto the couch, ignoring two officers standing ominously over him. Their limbs were tensed tightly, like they were waiting for a confrontation to arise. They had not said much on the ride home. Their enraged pupils constantly looking in the rear view mirror spoke subconsciously for them. The animosity was palpable. It would take only one aggressive word, even a misplaced look and a fight would erupt in seconds. These officers were just waiting for any reason to bash their prisoner senseless. A paranoia ate Max up, so he almost felt empty.

"You can go now," he requested, "you don't need to babysit me."

"We'll be right out the front," one of them growled, "two other officers are watching the back, so don't try and go anywhere. Don't give us any reason to shoot you."

"I'm staying right here," Max revealed, "I have no interest in leaving."

"Good," the officer continued, "we have cut the phone line as well. You will stay here, until we receive word from Hardy."

Max's voice rose in pitch.

"You know it's illegal to keep me here?" he revealed, "I haven't been charged with anything."

His aggression was matched by the officer, who took a hostile step forwards.

"Just be thankful you're here," he suggested, "you could be rotting in a cell somewhere."

"What about my lawyer? I should be able to contact him. I have rights."

A red tinge colored the officer's cheeks, revealing anger.

"I'm just following orders," he admitted, his tone growing darker, "if you start making trouble I'm sure that you will find yourself locked away in a dark hole. My advice to you is to shut your mouth and behave yourself. Things could get much worse very quickly."

Max failed to answer this time, causing the officer to take one last distasteful look at him, before turning and leaving the room. A loud bang echoed from the front door, leaving the DA finally alone.

His mind suddenly ran rampant. A few thoughts and feelings rushed forward in waves, like a heavy swell was coming in. Max had so many questions without answers that his brain struggled to cope with the onslaught of activity. His predicament was no longer occupying his thoughts, however, it was instead discrepancies at Magnifique's house taking center stage. He had not given them much thought at the time, but they were now standing out, like a lightning strike. A lot of things did not make sense, causing an unease in his stomach.

Where had Magnifique gone during the fight? She had vanished into thin air, only to reappear moments later. It was like a magician had made her disappear from the room and brought her back for the appeal of some audience. This lady had skills in clairvoyance and witchery, but magic was not one of them.

What had Magnifique and Gerrard been talking about? Their conversation was strange and Max remembered the words, like they had just been uttered, "how did we miss this on the cameras." They had all just witnessed the men approaching on the computer screen, so the words did not make sense. The cameras had provided them with an edge, taking away the attacker's advantage. If Magnifique had said, "how did I not see this in a vision," then it would be understandable, but her choice of phrase was weird at the time. This was only a small discrepancy, but it required further investigation.

Why was the camera room so small? The house was fitted with an expensive security system installed around its barriers. It had eight different types of cameras guarding them, costing probably over one-hundred-thousand dollars to install. This place was also used to entice future clients which Gerrard had proudly told them about, yet it was all run off a very cheap computer with only one screen. There should be ten monitors full of switches, gadgets and nobs everywhere, like you would see in an upmarket building or skyscraper to match the grandeur of outside. A single apple computer with a dodgy screen just did not cut it. This discrepancy did not reek of laziness or cost cutting, but rather deception and misdirection. Did another room exist in the house? This was the only acceptable explanation for these three discrepancies.

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