Horn is interrogated.
The police had picked up Horn at his place of work and this obviously displeased him immensely. He nearly shouted at Detective Fisher who had picked him up. Fisher told him calmly that either he came with him peacefully or he would have to call for reinforcements. Horn had no choice but to comply.
In the car Horn and Fisher sat silently. Horn was sulking, angry at the police. Finally they arrived at the station and both men got out of the car, with Horn following slowly Detective Fisher. They entered the premises and went directly to the office of Detective Strong who was waiting for them patiently seated in his chair, reviewing the case files and the questions he had for Horn.
“Hello again Mr. Horn,” said Strong as he extended a hand to Horn who shook it rapidly, as if it was a distasteful act that he had to commit.
“I must protest at my arrest, in my place of work of all places. All this was very embarrassing to me. Do you have any idea how embarrassing this was?” Horn said, very much agitated.
Strong had enough experience with suspects that sometimes it was better not to say anything for a moment, just to ease the tension. He wanted to speak with Horn in an open manner and not treat him as a prime suspect, which he was of course.
“Mr. Horn, I am quite sorry for having you picked up at your place of work, but there was another murder and you are connected again, I’m afraid.”
At these words Horn slumped in the chair that was offered to him by Strong and became noticeably quiet again. He was afraid of what the Detective would say next so he said it himself. “It was Madame Belle, right?”
“Yes, I am afraid so. Please, tell me your side of the story. You are now related to the three murders. Where were you that evening?
“I’m afraid that I have no alibis, just as for the other murders. In this case, I went to see her hoping that she could help me, you know, with my shadow.”
“Your shadow? Please explain Mr. Horn as I know nothing about this shadow that you speak about.” said a perplexed Strong.
Horn squirmed on his seat but finally began to tell his tale, and how this shadow of his left him and might be involved with the murders. Detective Strong listened to his tall tale and smiled.
“Ah yes, so your shadow separated from you and might be responsible for the murders.” said Strong, smiling and slumping back in his chair. “Are you going to blame this murder on the shadow as well?” said Strong, looking at him directly.
Horn looked down at his hands, pondering the question in his head. “In my opinion, this has to be the work of this shadow, I can see nothing else. That evening, I went to bed quite angry with Madame Belle. She pocketed the money and did not help me at all. I just wasted my time at her place and she knew that.”
Strong looked at him, still slumped in his chair when he suddenly approached Horn quite closely and told him point-blank. “Mr. Horn, I could have told you that Madame Belle was a fraud, and I am sure anybody in this station could have told you the same thing. In fact, most people out there on the streets could have told you as well that she was a fraud. Only you it seems believed that she could help you.” Again Strong slumped back in his chair, looking at Horn’s face grow more pallid by the minute.
“I know, I know. I should have seen this coming, that she just wanted my money. I was a fool.”
“Now tell me, did you get into a fight over the money, did you try to get it back” said Strong.
“Of course I wanted my money back but she refused and asked me to leave, which I did. But I was quite angry at her.”
“And so you came back in the evening still trying to get your money and in the process you finished her off, right?” Strong was now standing up, with his to hands on his desk, towering over Horn who seemed smaller than ever.
“No, not at all!” cried out Horn. “I did no such thing. I am incapable of murder. It must be my shadow. I was angry and it seems that it can sense my anger and it acts on my impulses.” By that time Horn was on his feet, looking at Strong directly in the eye.
Strong looked at him and then sat down, motioning to Horn to sit down as well. The tension slowly ebbed away, and both men looked at each other again unsure of what would happen next. It was Fisher who had witnessed the outcry who broke the silence.
“So, do we book him for murder?” he asked casually looking at Strong. Strong looked at Horn, who looked as if he was about to jump out of his skin; his face was ghostly white with bloodshot eyes. He was about to faint waiting for the answer.
“No. Mr.Horn is free to go.” he motioned to Horn that he could leave. Horn looked at him but did not seem to believe what he had heard. “But please Mr. Horn, do not leave the city. And do not visit other mediums, it would be a waste of your time and money.”
Horn was so happy at the turn of events that he said nothing in leaving. He simply stood up, turned the knob on the door and left the station, happy to be free.
Fisher waited for Horn to leave before turning towards Strong. “But I don’t understand, he has no alibis and he is directly connected to the three murders. He knew them all.”
“Yes, he did know them all, and he has no alibis, but how did he kill them and with what? And why? And what if he is simply being framed by someone else?” said Strong.
“Or by something else.” said Fisher looking at Strong and smiling.
“Do you really believe that it was his shadow that committed the murders? Really?” Strong looked at him in a dubious way.
“Well there was black smoke noticed in the first murder. Maybe no one noticed the smoke in the other two. Can’t a scientist look into this and investigate. Could it be plausible?” Fisher said.
Strong thought about what Fisher was saying. Maybe a scientist could rule on this. And maybe not. But, it was worth a try and at least he could tell Horn that according to science what he saw and believed was impossible.
“Fine. Call me Professor Curry at Temple University. Ask him if I could see him as soon as possible.”
Fisher zoomed out of the office and went out trying to contact the professor who was a well known scientist known for debunking myths in science. Strong needed to validate or not this strange possibility that Horn was perhaps on to something.