Chapter 13

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Hor had gotten nowhere with the Sying case. Nothing had panned out so far. The filter he used to scan past cases didn't find anything yet and was very unlikely to find something after this long. Walter didn't reach out with anything that could help either. Hor spoke with him that morning, and the scientist promised he'd been making progress. Yet, due to the complexity of the evidence they found and lack of additional substance to examine, it was going to take longer.

Not knowing what else to do, he went back to the Sying residence. His backlog had been piling up with new cases on top of the ones he'd already had before. He tried to make progress on those but couldn't stop thinking about this case. The mysteriousness of it all, coupled with an absolute lack of evidence, ate at him. Coming back to the apartment was a clear sign of desperation. He had access to the entire scan of the place, could visit it from the comfort of his office chair. But somehow physically being in the space where the crime took place made him hope it would help divine some shred of evidence or lead that didn't jump at him before.

There was no response to his door ping. After a moment, Hor signaled his CSF override code, and the door opened. Surprisingly, Wendall hadn't returned yet. From a quick scan of the place, it didn't seem like anyone had been there for a while. Hor quickly checked with the missing person system. The top entry was for Wendall Sying. He looked at the details and could see the kid's friend - Fai Roberts had filed it on the day she came to visit him at HQ. Hor also checked on the filter he'd set up for any sighting of Wendall. He linked it to the missing person entry and expanded it to include arrest and death reports. That way, any inkling would send him a high-priority alert.

After searching the apartment and finding nothing that could tell him something new, Hor stood in the living room and closed his eyes. He cleared his head, waiting for something to just pop at him - nothing. It was useless; by now, they would have found it if there was anything to discover. Hor cursed to himself and left the apartment. He walked toward the street when an older man sitting on a bench in the middle of the groomed cul-de-sac called "Hey, you CSF?". The man was probably in his late 70s, early 80s. Hor approached, "Yes. Detective Hor Fackel. What can I do for you?" Hor asked politely, even though he was in a hurry back to HQ. 'Community first' rang in his head.

"Have you found anything? Was it suicide like they said?" the man asked. "I'm afraid I can't discuss an ongoing case," Hor replied and almost turned to go when the old man's intent stare pushed the hunch button in his gut. He didn't think the man had just been motivated by neighborly curiosity anymore. Hor moved closer. "If there's anything you can tell me about that evening. If you've seen anything suspicious, it can be of real help." The neighbor now seemed fidgety, his eyes jumped from Hor to the ground and then toward the Sying apartment, then back down.

"Listen, I was drinking that night, well, like most nights, I had quite a few you see. So it was probably nothing. forget about it." Hor's skin tingled. "Sir, what is your name?" he asked and tried to keep his composure. "L...Leo, Leo Rollings. I didn't mean to bother you det- "
"Not at all Mr. Rollings, just tell me what you saw, I'm sure it can be useful." Hor tried to sound patient. "Well... see, I was drinking like I said, and my wife got angry and told me to go walk it off. But I didn't actually go anywhere. I climbed onto the roof of our building..." He pointed up to the flat roof and at the attached ladder on the side of the short apartment building. "...and continued drinking. Later it was already dark, and I was about to climb down, you see, and that's when I saw them..."

The man looked around furtively. "You saw who? Who did you see?" Hor could barely hold himself from shouting. "Two of them, you see, there was a thin man or woman, I'm not sure, he, she, was very thin and with long white hair and there was this... this shadow-man. It's stupid, I told you, I must have been hallucinating." the man looked at the floor again. "Shadow-man?" Hor didn't know what to make of that. The man was probably not completely right in the head, but he was all Hor had. "hmm, yes, it looked like the shape of a man, but it was like he was wearing shadows, all dark and flowing about, it gave me the chills. I fell back, and by the time I got up, they were gone."

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