Strong arrived in less than 15 minutes at Horn’s house and immediately sat down around the kitchen table with Horn and Fisher. “Mr.Horn, you must tell me in details how it came about that one of your shadows separated from you. Its the details that interest me.”
Horn sat back in his chair and smiled at Strong. “So now you believe me, do you? It took a while for this to happen.”
“Your story was fantastic enough from the beginning and I don’t think that you expected someone to believe it outright. It’s just too outlandish. But after all those murders I have to believe you because all the other options are closed. Only this supernatural and fantastic one is open, so please, try to remember all the details and Fisher will note them down and then we will go over them.”
” I gave you all the information at the beginning and you should have believed me right there. Instead we have lost valuable time and now we have several people dead.” said Horn, looking in a accusing way at Strong who looked back at him with a straight but determined face.
“I know Mr. Horn that time was lost at the start, but I had no choice really. The obvious explanations had to be discarded before seriously embarking on the less plausible ones. It was really simply logical to operate in this fashion. Occam’s razor it is called. Among various possibilities that try to explain a phenomena, the one with the fewest assumptions is probably the correct one. Now please proceed.”
“Fine. I’ll start from the beginning. I had finished work but my mind was troubled as I was in conflict with one of my superiors and it weighed heavily on mind. I was walking home in an absent-minded way, looking here and there but nothing more. The sun was about to set and as I looked ahead of me I saw one shadow clearly. But as I turned my head to the left I saw many more shadows, up to 5 or 6 at one point, depending on the light that struck the wall at my left. I was still walking and thinking and looking at the shadows at the left of me on the wall. At one point I stopped to look at the wall and there I could count at least 3 or 4 shadows. And then one of the shadows, the one closest to me simply stopped walking with me. I stopped and retreated to where it was. The shadow looked at me and then stepped out of the wall. It was a real body, but with no eyes. No features except total blackness. It then pointed at me and started to transform itself into a vapor and went up in the sky leaving a trail of black smoke as it disappeared.” said Horn.
“And tell me, has this being ever contacted you again, did it re-visit you afterwords?” said Strong.
“Yes it did, before the last two murders occurred.”
“It is clear to me that since there is a connection between you and the shadow, we must exploit this in some way. Mr. Horn, you must be prepared for the possibility that we might have to induce a comatose state in you to prevent more murders from happening.”
“What? Is this a joke? I will not accept to be in a coma so that the possibility of further deaths can be prevented. I understand that there is a link between me and the shadow, and it seems that my anger is used as fuel by the shadow, but it would be cruel to do this to me. In any case the link is tenuous at best.” said Horn.
“I understand your misgivings,” said Strong. “but I insist that unless we find a solution, that is the only way to prevent more murders due to your anger management problems. I will try to contact more scientists in the hope of finding a solution, but you on the other hand must accept your part of responsibility in all of this. It would only be a last case scenario, that is all Mr. Horn.”
Strong knew that it would be a hard sell to Horn that of putting him in a drug-induced coma, but he had to tell him. Preventing a murderous action by the shadow of Horn was all that mattered. If he had to, Strong was prepared to go in front of a judge and obtain the necessary papers for it but he knew that it might take weeks if not months. Only with the cooperation of Horn could the process be speeded up. But this of course Horn did not need to know.
Horn looked despondent, putting his hands on his head and then rubbing his temples.. He looked at Strong and then at Fisher. Both men were looking at him, expecting him to agree with them about the solution. “Alright. If as a last resort I have to be under sedation for some period of time, I will agree to it but only if there are no other solutions and only for a small amount of time, something like a few days or a week at most.”
This was not the solution that Strong had wanted. He wanted a drug-induced coma lasting as long as the shadow could not be captured and what Horn was offering was no real solution, with the real prospect of Strong being obliged to go to the courts to have something longer applied to Horn. But for now Strong thought it was best to humor Horn.
“Well I’m happy that you agree with me Mr.Horn. It is the only way to prevent more innocent people being killed.”
“So what is the plan to capture this being? Do you even have one?” said Horn, knowing full well that there was no plan except incapacitating him.
“Mr. Horn, I will be working on this problem as soon as I leave your house. My plan is to find some scientists who could explain to me how to capture a being that can turn itself into a vapor and at times be a solid. Maybe a cryogenics spray could do the trick, something that could freeze this being. If we can’t destroy it it must be rendered safe.”
“Well I wish you good luck, because from what I have seen this being is very resourceful and will not be captured easily you know.” said Horn.
“Yes, well, we have no choice but to try. Good day Mr. Horn.” said Strong as he shook Horn’s hand and left with Fisher in tow. It was well into the evening when both men entered their cars. The silence was broken by Fisher who wanted to know how to stop this creature from killing again.
“Look, I really have no idea how to go about it, but I think that some sort of paralyzing gel could do the trick or maybe some sort of electromagnetic field could immobilize it. I will have to investigate further.” said Strong.
“What about Horn, do I stop following him?” asked Fisher.
“Yes. It is clear now that he is not directly involved. I suppose that he is innocent of all those murders as he did not commit them but one of his shadows did. No one would condemn him as a murderer especially as he has alibis for most of them. No jury would convict him as just playing the victim would be sufficient.”
“Very well, what next?” asked Fisher.
“We are going straight to Temple University to meet a physicist, any will do, and expose our problem. Surely they can come up with a scientific solution to this.” said Strong as he sped ahead.