Read Consultant. The Voice in the Dark. Vol. 3 - Chapter 4 online

Chapter 4: Chapter 4

18th February

The frost bit by the ears and cheeks; Victor van Allen raised his collar higher and pulled on his hat lower. He rarely allowed himself to wander aimlessly until night, to spend time without any benefit, but now he needed privacy and a long, long walk.

Since that very night, when Miss Sheridan first spoke to him, she drove into the cafe at least a dozen times, and each time it got worse and worse. It's like taking poison dose by dose, but not dying, but getting used to its action so much that in the end there is an addiction. And you need more and more and more...

Victor kicked a low fluffy snowdrift at the edge of the track. He knew that he could never invite Miss Sheridan for a walk. Who is he and who is she? The daughter of a wealthy manufacturer who is a member of high Blackwhit society — she just laughs! What can he, the son of an emigrant who still speaks with an accent, be able to offer her? Standing behind the counter in a cafe? Count bales of tea and argue with millers? Work every day from morning to night? My God, she doesn't even know what it means to work!

"But why?" Victor thought wistfully. Why couldn't he fall in love with a hard-working, diligent girl who was his equal? Why is it so hard and sweet to remember a gentle chest voice, laughter, huge dark brown eyes, a golden glow on wavy brown hair, an accidental touch of a narrow white hand, from which Victor was getting dark in his eyes. And he can't squeeze her long thin fingers in his hand and whisper "Let's have coffee at the table when everyone is gone?"

She was always cheerful, amiable and laughsome, but who is she really? What lies behind the appearance of the elven princess? What if she's just a dummy? God, how nice it would be if he knew for sure that it was! Then he would have ordered himself not to think about her, not to remember, to turn away when she comes... but Victor already knew that he could not do it. As soon as she comes in, smiles and says: "It's a beautiful day, Mister van Allen! Do you still have some cinnamon cookies?" - and he will forget all the promises made to himself. She wasn't just liked - she stupefied like a drug. And the inebriation after her departure did not go away for a long time, until happy euphoria was replaced by severe anguish.

At a fork in front of a statue symbolizing Freedom, Victor stopped and stared blankly at the two paths. He just wanted to go, not thinking about anything, and not to make any decisions again! The snow behind him crunched under someone's footsteps, and Victor turned sharply. Surely the park keepers were already walking around the park, taking out the delayed revelers... although, frankly, he had no idea what time it was now.

The bare bushes scrubbed the air with skinny branches, the snow laid in heaps at the roots, but van Allen did not notice any park keeper. However, in the thick darkness something like a human figure flickered, but maybe it seemed to him. With a sigh, Victor turned his back to Freedom and strode back to the east gate. In the end, his mother is probably worried. And the others, too...

The snow crunched again, as if someone was following Victor, hiding behind the bushes. Without stopping, van Allen turned around. A vague silhouette moved in the shade of the trees. He almost merged with them, but he was betrayed by a crunch of snow. Victor stopped. The silhouette retreated into the depths of the park. If it's the keeper, he's too shy.

"Hey," the young man called. "Sir? I'm already leaving, don't worry. Um... can you tell me what time it is? I forgot the watch at home."

There was no response. Victor turned away in annoyance and moved to the gate. He was probably trying to find out the time from some homeless mongrel who wandered into the park... the steps rang out again. And these were definitely human steps.

Van Allen looked back again, without slowing down. The trees were somewhat thinned, and now for a moment he could make out a male figure - a short, rather thin, in a fitted coat to his knees. The face can't be seen…

Suddenly he felt unreasonably irritated. What the hell is this tough trailing after him? Does he have nothing more to do? Van Allen turned to him and shouted angrily:

"Hey you! What's the matter?! What do you need?"

Silaet froze. He stood motionless for a couple of seconds, and then suddenly abruptly approached. Everything blurred in Victor's eyes, it rustled in his ears, his head was spinning, and his legs became cottony. From the quite monotonous noise a faint sound stood out, remotely resembling a voice. He said something, but the young man could not make out - what. He shook his head, trying to shake noise from his ears, and suddenly everything stopped. His head was spinning a little, but the obsession vanished without a trace - along with the silhouette.

Victor rubbed his face and eyes with a snowball. Suddenly he heard the same sound - footsteps in the snow, only now they were quickly moving away. Van Allen walked up to the alley along which a mysterious pursuer was following him, and saw deep traces of boots in the snow. Irritation instantly turned into anger, and Victor jumped over a low fence.

Traces led into the depths of the alley, taking to the side and away from the eastern gate. It expanded, passing into the park lane, and soon Victor already seemed that he was wandering through the real forest. Soon, light flickered between the trees, and van Allen instinctively headed toward him. Looking down, the young man noticed that the tracks lead there.

"Maybe this poor fellow just got lost?" Victor thought, already ashamed of his anger. Of course, this type prevented him from thinking about Margaret and, in general, apparently had a small mind, since he could get lost in the park, but... The light flickered and disappeared; there was a faint cry.

Victor started and froze. The silence lasted a couple of minutes; then the light flashed again, trembled and began to move away. Van Allen rushed after it, forgetting about the tracks. He fled, tripping over the roots, trying not to lose sight of the light. Finally he broke through to the path, jumped on it where it was bent by an arc, and understood two things. Firstly, the light was gone; secondly, do not be an idiot to get lost in the park.

Victor stopped, looking around in confusion. He had no idea where he ended up. There was a bench on the bend of the path, and there were no other signs of the area, with the exception of the trees. Van Allen, cursing, went to the path - everything was the same all around, so the direction did not matter. Victor walked for a long time, cursing this stupid impulse, because of which he generally climbed into the alley. Great importance - some man in the park! Ugh!

Finally, the trees on the left parted, and a wall appeared, lined with layered stone. Victor sighed in relief - now he at least knew that the gate was somewhere here. He walked to the path along the wall, dreaming of hot tea, until he caught a vaguely familiar smell. The young man slowed down, sniffed and froze. It was a smell from his youth. He still remembered it - the smell of blood, human insides and fire. The smell of massacre.

Victor took a deep breath and rushed to where this stink oozed. It intensified as van Allen approached the stormy overgrown wisteria near the wall. Someone stamped here before him, leaving bloody prints in the snow. Victor jumped over the white-red mess and parted the branches of wisteria. Everything darkened before him; van Allen staggered back, fell to his knees, and he vomited.


The commissar silently studied the body lying in the snow. In the light of the lanterns, blood seemed to be ink on crumpled white paper. Around the girl, the snow turned into brown porridge, melted by the heat of a cooling body. At the roots of wisteria, a puddle of vomiting spread; two chains of tracks led in different directions - one to the eastern gate, the other - in the opposite direction, to the pond.

Nathan squatted down. The girl was young, judging by her hands, skin and figure; tall, slender, with long wavy hair of brown color. The face was broken with a stone to such a state that Brannon felt sick himself. Everything was sprayed with blood and brain. Several pieces of bone stuck in the thick trunk of the wisteria.

"He reached the pond, sir." Byrne appeared silently on his right. "The murder weapon was drowned again. I sent three guys on the trail. Thank God, at half past one in the night there is no one to trample him."

"Good," Brennon nodded and stood up. "Take care of the body and trace. I'll talk to the guy."

The detective coughed.

"His name will not affect my impartiality," the Commissar added dryly. Byrne stepped aside and climbed under the wisteria, leaving comments to himself.

Victor van Allen sat on the foot of the police carriage and did not take his eyes off the police who surrounded the body. From time to time he swallowed frantically - he was probably still sick. Jen Raiden lurked in the night like a cat guarding a mouse - that is, young van Allen.

"Well, how are you, guy?"

���N-nothing, t-thank you," Victor managed. He looked so pale that Nathan pulled a flask of whiskey from his bosom and handed it to him.

"I don't d-drink," said Van Allen, squeezed his head in his hands and whispered: "It seemed to me that-t she was... that it was M-Margaret... Oh my god!"

"Not only to you," the commissar muttered, although he could already tell by the clothes of the murdered woman that she was a prostitute working on the street.

"But it's not her, is it?" Victor looked at him hopefully.

"No," Brennon flipped through Byrne's notebook. "You told the detective that you walked in the park when you met someone at the Statue of Freedom. After that, you got dizzy, your ears rustled and..."

"I saw what I saw," Victor said firmly; his emphasis increased markedly, and the young man spoke more slowly: "I'm not crazy or drunk. I am responsible for my words. I say what I saw."

Brennon nodded to Jen, and the witch slipped out of the shadow of the police carriage.

"It won't hurt," she purred to Van Allen. "Look in my eyes."

At the same time, she took his hand, felt for a pulse and squeezed slightly. Victor stared into her eyes; gradually, he became absent-minded, and the look in his eyes was as if he was awake. But it lasted only a few seconds - then Victor indignantly started up and tried to pull away.

"Hey! What are you... are you to do?!"

"To make experiments," the witch freed his hand, and from underneath measured him with a long look. A fiery spark flickered in her black eyes, and Victor involuntarily moved away.

"Well?" Brennon asked quietly as Jen pulled him aside. "Is that a spell? Hypnosis?"

"Not really..."

"What do you mean - not really? How can enchantments not be enchantments at all?"

The girl looked from Brennon to Victor and back several times, and finally carefully said:

"It's like hypnosis of a witcher or witch. No spells or enchantments."

"Why didn't it work?"

Jen snorted sarcastically.

"And what do you think? Your van Allen is HER son, nothing will affect him, except for a blow with a crowbar on a head! Even poison. I cannot hypnotize him. You saw it. I barely managed to grab a trace."

"Wait," Nathan frowned. "If you can't handle, then the other witcher, even more will not cope... or not?"

"Actually," Jen said thoughtfully, "it also depends on strength and experience. But the trick is that he was not a witcher."

"How do you know?"

"Easy," the witch shrugged. "You distinguish the smell of chicken from the type of cutlets."


"That!" Jen exclaimed impatiently. "You, humans, when using enchantment, leave a trace that resembles a handprint. A witch or witcher leaves a smell. Not to mention the fact that the trace includes an imprint of the structure of the spell. Which most of us don't use," she emphasized this word, so that the Commissar could quickly realize that she wasn't talking about humans now. "I don't need hypnosis spells. Didn't Longsdale tell you?"

"Not in such details. Where is he, by the way?"

"In the morgue. Works with the skull of the first victim."

"Damn it," Nathan muttered. So it began: the first victim, the second victim ... how many more? "So, to summarize: this critter does not look like a human, but you do not recognize a witcher in him?"


"Undead? Evil spirit?"

"It doesn't smell like them," Jane's brows drew together. "I have no idea what kind of undead or evil spirits would do that. They can bite off the face, tear it off, steal the guise, but why the hell would they break the face with a stone?"

"Too human," Nathan muttered. Are the girls' faces smashed in a fit of rage? Or intends to hide... what exactly? The identity of the murdered? Or what did the killer do to her face?

"Listen," the Commissar said slowly, "and if a certain part of the face is needed for some ritual, then Longsdale will be able to find out from this part - for which?"

"Not really," the witch scratched her illusory beard, and Nathan quickly looked away. "There are many rituals. But we could narrow it down considerably."

"That is, the killer sweeps traces," Brennon concluded.

"Or he's a maniac with fits of rage."

"Does not look like it. You saw the corpse," then the Commissar took some effort. She's a girl, damn it! "No sign of violence, beatings, or injuries. Only a couple of bruises on her hands."

"She could just be hypnotized so she wouldn't kick," Jen said. "There is no hemorrhagic staining on the bones of the first victim. If the killer had stoned a living girl with a stone, then the bones would have been very stained with blood. It is unlikely that this freak changed the method of murder for the second time."

"In short, there is no cause of death, no motive, no suspect," Brennon summed up grimly. "Well, we started the working day."

"Started?" Jen faked. "You are not finished the previous one."

"Don't torment my soul. I will soon forget what the pillow looks like. What's that over there?"

The policeman was running down the path. When he reached Byrne, the guy stopped, panting and puffing. His gaze darted between the detective and Brennon.

"Sir... found... that... This is the park keeper!"

"Who is the park keeper?" Nathan asked sharply.

"The caretaker, sir! The trail leads to his gatehouse. He was sitting there, wiping blood off with snow, when we took him!" the phrases burst out of the policeman abruptly, like the shots of the guns. "Oh! Joyce and Kinnar stayed with him, and I - here, to you!"

"Byrne, Raiden — with me," the commissar ordered. "Sergeant Eyre is in charge. Ruin the crime scene and I'll rip your head off!"


The park keeper sat between the policemen and rubbed his hands with a rag, in which Nathan hardly recognized the pillowcase.

"Here, sir," said Joyce. "He's like that all the time."

"He's been sitting like this since we found him," Kinnar added. "He does not answer questions and does nothing else."

The caretaker was a gaunt, tall old man over sixty. Rare gray hair dangled in shreds from under the cap with the park icon. A uniform coat, frock coat, trousers and boots are all covered in blood and brain stains. On the hands and face - scratches from bone fragments. One, small and white, stuck in a deep scratch across the nose.

"What's wrong with him?" The commissar asked. Jen squatted in front of the old man and put her hands on his wrists. The caretaker did not even move. The witch took his chin, prickly from the gray bristles, and raised his head so that he looked into his eyes.

"Do you think this is it again, sir?" Byrne asked quietly.


"On the other side," the detective said. On his face (on the part capable of expressing something) was reflected annoyance in half with disbelief. Brennon could not blame him - he sometimes wondered if it was time for him to surrender to the nearest cuckoo's nest, and to transfer all matters to Byrne. Of the four detectives, Nathan designated him as his successor. Indeed, damn it, the Commissar of the department of especially grave must have a sober, healthy and rational view of things!

The old man's gaze gradually became meaningful, albeit perplexed; the chaotic manipulations with the rag gradually ceased. The caretaker stared at Jen, turned his eyes to the bloody pillowcase, cried out deafly and dropped it. The witch, without rising, turned to the commissar:

"Deep hypnosis. Complete submission, loss of one's own will, clouding of reason - well, in general, the whole set."

"Ahh my goodness!" the park keeper yelled hoarsely and shied away from a rag. The police grabbed him and he huddled in their hands, knocking over a stool.

"First name, last name," Byrne said, "place of birth and residence, occupation."

"Lord, Lord!" the keeper howled, tearing himself out of the hands of the police, like a madman.

"Does he remember anything?" Brennon asked. The witch shook her head and rose:

"Most likely, nothing. But even without memories he has something to be afraid of."

The commissar looked around: everything in the cramped entrance hall was covered in bloody prints, starting from the door and ending with a basket of dirty linen.

"Enough, enough." Byrne, turning to the old man with his right side, patted his shoulder. "No one will harm you unless you cripple yourself if you twitch like that. You see, the police are already here, and you are protected."

"Oh my God," the old man hissed and limped limp. "How much blood... why am I full of blood? I'm dying? I'm injuring? Again? When?"

"Were you injured? When?"

"During the revolution," the keeper answered, barely moving his tongue. "During the revolution, son..." and he hung unconscious in the hands of the police.

"To the department, sir?" Byrne turned.

"Take him," the Commissar sighed heavily. "Let these two take him, and you look around here," he beckoned the witch behind him and went out. Bloody footprints ran along the way to the park keeper's gatehouse. Brennon headed back to the crime scene.

"He won't remember anything?" He said half-interrogatively. "Even if you work with him?"

"I don't know," Jen answered uncertainly. "Hypnosis is not my strongest side."

"You handled me."

"You did not expect the catch. And then, hypnotizing is one thing, and returning the memory to the victim of hypnosis is another."

"Is this your clansman?" Brennon asked. "Do you recognize the hand?"

"No," the witch snapped irritably. "Not a clansman, I said!"

"Sure? Or are you covering whom?"

"No! Ask Longsdale if you don't believe it!"

"Okay, don't bristle up," said the Commissar, conciliatory, and made a note in his memory about Longsdale. The witch has frowned with resentment. "But if he is not a witcher, not a human, not undead or evil spirit, then what kind of cholera is this?"

"I don't know," Jen said through set teeth, "but this cholera loves tall, slender, dark-haired girls like your Margaret. So in your place I would think about her friend sorcerer. Until it's not too late."


In the morgue it smelled again - all the same unforgettable aroma of boiled bones. True, this time it is much weaker, and, looking around, Brennon instantly realized - why.

"Are you completely f***ed up?!" He barked. Two heads — gray and black-haired, bent over the microspot (or scope, Nathan did not remember) rose at the same time: the science in the person of Kennedy and the magic presented by Longsdale concluded a truce.

"What the hell," the commissar continued, more and more furious, "you cut off the body's head?! What do we show her relatives on identification? A corpse with traces of police arbitrariness?!"

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Молодой человек, - строго сказал Кеннеди, - мы ищем доказательства для вас».</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Какие доказательства могут быть?»</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Собака схватила комиссара за край пальто и потянула его к чудотворному устройству. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Бреннон неохотно подошел.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Видеть?" </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Лонгсдейл освободил его место. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Вот, смотри сюда. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Видите этот след на остатке кости нижней челюсти?</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Ну, я вижу», пробормотал Натан, глядя в окуляр. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"И что?"</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Сравните с дру��ими следами. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Их оставил камень. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Здесь даже несколько каменных сколов застряли в костях ».</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Хммм», сказал комиссар, уже без предыдущего скептицизма. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Они разные."</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Точно!" </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Кеннеди победоносно заключил. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«След на кости нижней челюсти оставлен острым ножом, похожим на скальпель. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Я не могу определить более точно, увы, но вот примерные образцы ». </font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Он вручил Натану коробку с набором хирургических скальпелей.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Хорошо», Бреннон достал один скальпель и положил его на кость. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Ты сделал хорошую работу. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Вот что этот круто�� хотел скрыть.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Он отрезал часть лица жертвы», - сказал Лонгсдейл. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Судя по расположению этого следа, щека, скорее всего, отрезана. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Или часть щеки. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Но я не понимаю почему.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«То есть разрезанные щеки не используются ни в каком магическом ритуале?»</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Консуль��ант покачал головой, Кеннеди яростно фыркнул.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«По крайней мере, этот маньяк не верит в такую ​​ерунду!»</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Иногда используются скальпы, часто глаза, губы или языки, очень редко носы, но щеки ... Я буду просматривать свои книги, но я не уверен, что найду это. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Я никогда не встречал ритуал, в котором были нужны щеки ».</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Прежде чем снова заняться ерундой, - прервал патолог, - спешу сообщить вам, что щека была отрезана после смерти бедной девочки. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Но, к сожалению, причина смерти мне до сих пор неизвестна », - старик презрительно посмотрел на консультанта. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Кеннеди с негодованием отверг магические объяснения.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Поэтому он не заинтересован в мучениях жертв. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Но интересуются щеками. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Лонсдейл, иди ко мне, когда закончишь здесь. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Кеннеди, они приносят тебе второе тело.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Второй?" </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">патолог начал.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Все полностью совпадает с этим», комиссар кивнул на тело, покрытое листом. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Поэтому я не был бы счастлив на вашем месте. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Эти двое явно не последние.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Маньяк», - тихо повторил старик.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">"Он."</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Бреннон нахмурился. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Он не делал различий между обычным сумасшедшим убийцей и тем, кто ранит женщин ради чуда магии - разве что второго будет сложнее поймать. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">По опыту комиссар знал, что они вряд ли смогут повесить этого негодяя, прежде чем он убьет кого-либо еще.</font></font>

<font style="vertical-align: inherit;"><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">«Маргарет», вспомнил Бреннон и тихо вздохнул. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Единственное, что его немного успокоило, это то, что маньяк не охотился за ней лично. </font><font style="vertical-align: inherit;">Он охотится за всеми, кто хоть немного похож на нее.</font></font>

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