Chapter 2 - Amy

The worn-in Buick Lesabre sailed down the empty highway with the windows down and the speakers blaring “I want a girl with a short skirt and a loooooong jacket”. The air conditioner had crapped out years ago, but the car still ran like a beast so Theo still drove it like one. His left hand tapped the faded tan body of the Lesabre to the beat of the song and his right hand repeatedly raised to his tie, tugged at the knot, then lowered back to the steering wheel. The heat made his ‘mandatory’ dress agonizingly uncomfortable, he hated taking jobs for uppity rich snobs. Well, until he saw the look on Dorris’ face when she cashed the checks, that is. Solving this case would keep that look on her face for the rest of the year, plus it was infinitely more interesting than anything else waiting for his attention, so he guessed he could deal with the tweed monstrosity currently squeezing the life from him a little longer.

The patient and victim, Mitchell A. Walcott was in the most secure area of the Shady Acres Behavioral Facility, which was a locked seclusion room on the top floor, with security personnel and cameras in every corner, yet he’d died, with no witnesses or evidence to speak of, from a small puncture to his heart. The impossibility of the case is what drew Theo, he was so sick of catching cheaters, there was no fun in it anymore he needed a case with some substance and challenge, then he could go back to outing dirtbags for a few coins a pop.

His hand raised, yet again, to his necktie adjusting the knot, to no avail. As uncomfortable as it was, his attire could only keep his mind from the case for so long, especially as he pulled into the long magnolia tree-lined drive of Shady Acres. The drive was about half a mile long, Theo assumed that the design was to ensure the citizens of Crescent felt more secure by keeping the patients out of view. Whatever the mentality behind the design of the facility, it was astonishing. The giant red-brick facility sat in the middle of the most breathtaking garden Theo had ever seen.

There were as many plants as he could name, and a multitude more. There were all of your everyday plants that could be found in any nursery, but then there were some plants that Theo could have sworn were from some alien planet. Their vines twisted along the gnawed lower branches of the magnolia trees and flaunted giant bright purple flowers with strange lime green swirls covering the petals. He imagined that the vines were strong enough to swing from, and for a split second considered testing his theory. Under the vines were a diverse array of grass and moss. They were in every shade of green, yellow, orange, and red and some even seemed to emit glitter if Theo didn’t look directly at them. The last time he could remember being in this much awe was when he was a kid, and magic existed.