thelizardwriter Alex Saez

Gonzalo is the new junior IT forensic specialist in the small town of Himmelsburg, Germany. He emigrated from his hometown, the cove of Santa Maria in Chile, to live with his wife. However, peculiar crimes begin to trouble the local police and the humble residents of this tranquil place. Now, with the assistance of his boss, Mr. Klein, Gonzalo must uncover the secrets and threats that lurk in the darkness.

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#crime #mystery #horror #detective #thriller
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A Strange Case

It was a chilly day in the picturesque town of Himmelsburg, perched on a hill,surrounded by dense forests and a serene lake called Silbersee. The snowflakes danced gracefully in the air as I rushed to get ready for another day of work. While grabbing a snack of my favorite bread, I engaged in a brief conversation with my wife, Marie. My weary back and legs ached, as they did every morning, but I grabbed my trusty cane and made my way into the kitchen, where Marie awaited.

"Gonzalo, I have some news for you, my darling," Marie exclaimed."Huh? Did the cat decide to use the living room as its personal restroom again? I swear, I can smell something odd," I quipped, raising an eyebrow."Yes, unfortunately, that did happen. But what I mean is, I have something else to share," Marie replied, her voice filled with warmth and anticipation."Alright, go ahead. You're making me nervous now," I said, my curiosity piqued."You're going to be a father... or at least, I believe I'm in the first month of pregnancy," Marie revealed.

A wave of mixed emotions washed over me. While I should have been overjoyed,the thought of passing on my health condition, osteogenesis, to our child filled me with apprehension. Since childhood, I had been burdened with frequent bone fractures and the financial strain of treatment, which often made me feel like more of a liability than a blessing. Sports were always out of the question, and I often felt like a frail old man struggling to keep pace with other children. On the other hand, Marie had dealt with infertility issues and had undergone treatment. I hadn't realized she had succeeded until now.

"You don't look happy. I know you're scared, but we can face this together. Our financial situation is different now, and there's no guarantee that our child will have the same health challenges as you," Marie reassured me, her voice filled with compassion.

"One month? And you didn't tell me earlier?" I questioned, a hint of surprise in my voice.

"I didn't have... I mean, we didn't have much faith in the treatment. It had been almost a year, and I had stopped thinking about it. So, I'm just as surprised as you,darling," Marie explained.

"Oh, God! What are we supposed to do now? Well, I guess I'm going to be a father.But I have to go to work, and it's getting late. Chief Klein will be furious if I'm not on time. You know how punctual he is," I mused, contemplating the challenges ahead.Marie sipped her coffee, engrossed in the television program, as I prepared my thermo for my beloved Mate. While packing my sandwich, Marie muttered to herself:

"And another suspicious accident... God, this town used to be so calm and safe. I hate how the media makes it seem so ordinary," she vented her frustration."They're examining the victim's laptop," I interjected. "The boss must be thrilled. Now they'll have to patrol the entire forest and surrounding areas."It must be noted that the town had experienced a series of peculiar disappearances over the past few months. Although the incidents were not numerous, they had fueled local gossip and speculation.

"The forensic team is examining the body. Hopefully, we'll soon know more," I shared, aware of the growing unease in the community.

As I boarded the bus to the police station, I marveled at the snow-draped trees.Descending the hill, the bus offered a captivating view of the dark, mysterious forest enveloped in a thick fog, contrasting with the serene river valley that stretched beyond the town. Himmelsburg, with its castle-like structure nestled amidst the ancient woods, stood at the border of Austria and Germany. Its ethereal atmosphere exuded a sense of medieval intrigue and mystery.

Arriving just in time at the bustling police department, I found myself surrounded by a flurry of activity. The recent incidents had severely impacted tourism, the mainstay of the town's economy during winter and summer. Peter Klein, my boss, sat in his office, his uniform snugly fitted, a cigarette clutched between his fingers, his substantial belly pushing against his shirt. With his grayish-yellow mustache shifting as he perused the forensic documents, he looked up at me with weary eyes."Hello, Kid. Any progress with the laptop?" Chief Klein greeted me.

"Um, I need to decrypt the laptop, as I discovered yesterday," I replied, somewhat sheepishly."Kid! You have to be quicker. The latest crime scene was a mess. Sometimes you seem mature beyond your years, but other times you're living on the moon!" Chief Klein exclaimed, a mix of frustration and amusement evident in his voice.

"I apologize, sir. Everything feels so strange lately, and I've never worked night shiftsbefore," I explained, seeking his understanding.

"Hahaha!" Chief Klein burst into laughter. "No need to play the victim card. I'm sure you've had your fair share of experiences. By the way, please remember to bring your cane next time. I don't want my IT specialist landing in the hospital again.""Understood, sir," I responded, chastened. "I accidentally left it on the bus. Marie won't be pleased."

Entering the IT lab, I found the laptop and some other equipment already prepared."Oh, man! This laptop is a disaster, Gonzalo. I took out the SSD for you. I just hope it's not damaged; otherwise, this decryption will take longer than I'd like," Ralph, my colleague, commented, taking a sip of his traditional Christmas Punch."Ah, has the Christmas market opened already?" I inquired.

"Dude, seriously? It's December! The market opens at the beginning of the month like always," Ralph chuckled, shaking his head.

With that, I set about my task, connecting the SSD to the PC and initiating the decryption process. Memories of my first encounter with computers flooded my mind. It had happened during my time at a boarding school in Santiago, the capital of Chile. This prestigious institution specialized in nurturing gifted children, and it boasted an expansive campus. Arriving there, I couldn't help but notice the stark contrast between the luxurious surroundings and the simplicity of my previous elementary school. The students spoke differently and seemed like beings from another world. I wasn't particularly fond of the place, but I had limited choices. After all, what options did a ten-year-old with a chronic illness have? It's not like my parents had many alternatives either.

Nevertheless, it was at that school that I discovered my passion for computers. In those days, computers were massive and had limited capabilities, but their inner workings fascinated me. I would spend countless hours disassembling and reassembling their components, eager to understand their secrets. The school curriculum covered a wide range of subjects, and the intensity of the classes was both demanding and exhilarating. Although I shared a room with other students, my true sanctuary was the workshop, where I immersed myself in the world of computer hardware. Gathering discarded components, I slowly built my first personal computer.

Nowadays, we have sleek and portable notebooks, but I've always had a fondness for traditional desktop PCs. However, I can imagine that laptops will continue to evolve and become more powerful with time.

While my PC diligently performs its tasks, I settle into my office with my trusty Debian Laptop, checking emails and browsing the web. Linux is a reliable operating system that allows me to accomplish a wide range of tasks without the burden of malware issues that Windows often faces.

The SSD decryption process is complete, the victim had an Apple laptop and was heading to work in Bayern in his car, or so his family claims. I begin examining his documents, which consist of the usual mundane business files-excel sheets pertaining to accounting, invoices, and so forth.Digging deeper, I explore his more personal files, specifically videos and photos.Among them, I come across family pictures that evoke a profound sense of sympathy, particularly for the children. Losing a father must be an indescribable tragedy.

The videos offer a similar glimpse into the victim's life-family outings, business dinners, and ordinary moments. I meticulously review the metadata of each picture,hoping to find clues in the locations, landscapes, or people captured within. Yet,nothing indicates foul play or a personal vendetta against the victim based solely on the visuals.

Chief Klein enters the room to check on my progress."Have you found the murderer?" he asks, a mix of urgency and frustration in his voice.

"It appears to be an accident, sir. I'm not certain," I reply cautiously."I'm sure it's murder! The frequency of these accidents is highly suspicious. I couldn't care less about what the forensics say!" Chief Klein asserts, his determination unyielding.

"Very well, Chief. At least I can share what I've discovered that may relate to the other cases. I believe I've identified a pattern," I suggest.

"Okay, tell me," he responds, eager for any lead."I've noticed recurring locations in the accidents, suggesting a common hiking area," I explain.

"Hmm, interesting. Let's plan a thorough scan of the surrounding areas and arranges meeting to discuss our findings. Oh, and I almost forgot! Christmas is approaching,and some of our staff will be taking vacation. Unfortunately, we won't have enough personnel for the operation. We'll have to wait for now," Chief Klein laments.

"Yes, sir," I acknowledge, though a nagging feeling in my gut tells me something isn't right.

As the days pass, I prepare to celebrate Christmas with my wife and her family, who hail from Denmark. Our cozy gathering fills my heart with warmth. Marie, my soulmate, is an only child like me, and her loving family embraces me as their own. My mind drifts back to the first time I laid eyes on Marie, her beautiful brown-red curly hair dancing in the wind, her captivating blue eyes and endearing freckles. Later discovered she had endured bullying during her teenage years, but it only enhanced her beauty in my eyes. Our connection was undeniable. It was through a mutual friend, Juan, that we met. Juan, aware of my desire to improve my English, introduced us. Initially, our interactions were shy and awkward,but as our friendship blossomed, I knew deep within that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

When Marie returned to Denmark, I made the decision to leave my studies behindhand follow her. Together, we navigated the uncharted waters of new experiences-from our first kiss to the sacred bond of marriage. Every moment spent with her was pure magic.

Now, as I observe Marie's radiant smile and engaging conversations with her parents, a profound sense of gratitude and love fills my heart. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have found her and to share this Christmas with her and her family.

"What's on your mind, my dear?" Marie asks, breaking my reverie"Nothing," I reply, knowing that words cannot fully express the overwhelming sense of luck and contentment I feel. I'm not one to boast or become too attached, so Keep my emotions contained.

We celebrate Christmas and welcome the arrival of the new year together. Marie's parents, who have traveled from Denmark, stay with us for the duration of their visit.Although it doesn't snow in our region, the deep snow outside creates an atmosphere of wintry wonder. Back in my homeland, snow was a rarity, as we were surrounded by sandy landscapes.

During my childhood, my uncle Pablo would bring us toys from Antofagasta, a city relatively close to our cove. He always managed to choose toys that held special meaning for me and my cousins. One particular toy that captured my heart was Rubik's Cube, which I spent countless hours attempting to solve. Solving puzzles became my coping mechanism for the pain caused by my condition.

Upon returning to work, my boss, Peter, announces a general meeting involving the entire Himmelsburg police department. He forms a team comprising members from various departments, including IT, forensics, scouting, and patrolling. Many of us consider his actions to be an overreaction, but he insists that these cases are not mere accidents. The plan is to discuss the evidence and draw comparisons among the cases, while a special team is assigned to patrol the area in hopes of uncovering more clues.

These incidents began in early 2004, within the region between Bayern and Himmelsburg. The initial case involved a child who went missing during a camping trip organized by their school. Despite an extensive search, all that was found was single shoe. Forensic analysis identified the child through a small bloodstain on one of the shoelaces. Given the shoe's proximity to the river, it was presumed that the child had fallen in and drowned.

The second case involved a female hiker who frequently followed a route near the river. One summer day, she vanished without a trace-no body or discarded clothing was ever found. This particular case has perplexed investigators, as no tangible leads have emerged.

The most recent incident involves a prominent businessman who regularly commutes between Bayern and Himmelsburg. His car was discovered mangled,flipped upside down, seemingly crushed by an external force. The body was found decapitated, with no signs of the head. Investigating his documents and laptop yielded no evidence of personal conflicts or motives.Detective Wagner, dispatched from Berlin, considers all of this a futile endeavor and urges us to focus on finding the missing woman-the primary reason for her assignment.

"There's too much snow, Chief Klein," she argues."We have trained dogs, and our team is prepared," Chief Klein insists."No, we'll initiate the search after the snow subsides," Detective Wagner insists.Chief Klein, though disappointed, remains resolute. His passion for the job is unmatched. During the meeting, my boss gives me a serious look and invites me this office afterward."Kid, I know this goes beyond your IT expertise, but I need to ask you for a favor," he begins.

"Yes, sir? How can I assist you?" I respond, curious yet apprehensive."I need you to conduct your own investigation for me. This will remain strictly between us for now," he reveals.

"Sir, no offense, but I don't have the experience of a detective, and I don't want to interfere with the ongoing investigation," I protest, expressing my concerns."I don't need a private detective; I need an ethical hacker. I will grant you access to case files and information on the victims," he states.I'm taken aback. How does he know about my past, about the things I'm capable of,and what I did back in Chile during my studies?

Mr. Klein takes a deep breath before explaining, "Kid, police departments often work and communicate with each other. You were taken into custody multiple times for disturbing the public order, and assuming you studied computer science, I imagined that you might have ventured into the area of hacking. Whatever the case, that's not important. Let's get to the point of why I need your help."

"When I started working here in my twenties, we had a very similar case. The problem was that these cases kept happening until no more cases were found anymore. And now, it seems like it's starting again. But this time, we have the technology and your skills. We have more tools to use against these criminals," Mr.Klein explains.

He continues, "These cases have been haunting me for quite a while. I couldn't solve them when they first happened, and I've been trying to find answers ever since. But I'm not skilled in all that technical intelligence work. That's where you come in, kid. You have the skills and surely the motivation to solve these cases, and I want to help you do it. But of course, like I said, you'll do the intel, and I can work with the other son fieldwork."

Mr. Klein pauses before adding, "But you have to be careful. These cases are dangerous, and you don't know who or what we're up against. That's why I need you to work with utmost discretion. We don't know what we're up against."I nod slowly, understanding the gravity of the situation. "I see," I say. "I'll be careful,and I'll make sure to work with discretion. But can you give me more information so I can start my research?"Mr. Klein takes out a folder from his desk and hands it to me. "Here, this is everything we have on the cases so far. Study it carefully, and let me know if you find anything new. And remember, we're in this together because it seems that Detective Wagner will not cooperate with us."

25 Juin 2023 00:10 0 Rapport Incorporer Suivre l’histoire
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