Here is the Link to the Prologue, Chapter 1, Chapter 2, and Chapter 3.
Hanson went out and got Caden. It was often at night or the next day before he would get around to interviewing the victim, when the beat's work slowed down, but with Captain Driggs running the case, he saw little point to wait, the police wouldn’t be making much progress.
Once back into the house they went to Caden’s study. It was clear this is where Caden was used to working and Hanson wanted him as comfortable as possible. Caden took his usual spot behind the large desk. The office was large and impressive. It was clearly designed to portray success with it’s expensive internal elements. These included dark wood crown molding and matching dark wood wainscoting. The desk was a large oak desk that faced the entrance and backed up against the windows that faced out to the side yard. Hanson had walked this room earlier and was happy to be having the interview here. Taking the victim back to headquarters was always an option, but fresh victims were so lost and perplexed that getting information out of them was difficult even in the most comfortable of circumstances.
“Thanks for letting us ask you a few questions Caden,” Hanson paced the room as he spoke. “Caden, I am Detective Hanson and this is my partner, Trout.”
“I don’t understand?”
“I know, Trout is a weird name, but that’s not why we are here.”
“No, I don’t understand why there are detectives? I thought that when you died, people or at least someone knows what happened.”
“Caden, you are going to find out that in many instances life after death isn’t what you expected, and maybe someone does know everything, but I don’t, so I have to figure it out, and I would appreciate your help. Can you help us?”
“How do I know you are real detectives?” Caden asked.
“I do have a fancy badge, but unless you’re impressed with such things, which I doubt, then you will have to believe me. But I promise you, your best chance at solving this thing is working with us. Unless you already know what happened, then your best chance of justice is with us.”
“Do I have to answer your questions?”
“No, but I can make your time with us uncomfortable if you don’t.”
“Is that a threat?” Caden raised his voice.
Hanson remained calm. “No, I just want to be honest with you. I do have the power to detain you but I’d rather not.”
Caden nodded, “Okay, go ahead with your questions.”
Hanson wasted no time getting to it. “Did you kill yourself?”
“No, I can see it looks like that, but no, I had no reason to kill myself, I was happy, I mean mostly happy.”
“You can guess my next question, why mostly?”
Caden shrugged his shoulders slightly, “Everyone has issues, right?”
“Right. What were yours.” Trout was surprised how focused and forceful Hanson was. He would have tried to break the ice by asking what he did for a living or something; But he had to admit it seemed very effective.
“Well.” Caden paused, no one liked going into their issues, but Hanson didn’t let the pause worry him. He stood above Caden with focus and a look which conveyed that Caden could take his time but Hanson wasn’t going anywhere so he might as well tell, “My wife and I have been fighting more, she was stressed about something but wouldn’t tell me what.”
“Perhaps because of your dog's disappearance and death.”
“So you guys do know something. No, she started acting funny before Mildred disappeared and Munchies died.”
“Maybe she suspected you had an affair?”
Caden was clearly offended, “I never had an affair.”
“That’s not what the note said.”
“In front of you is a screen.” As soon as Hanson mentioned it, Caden looked and his visor appeared. “The note on your screen, was in front of your body.”
Caden read it carefully. “I didn’t write this.”
“Is it in your handwriting?”
He looked closely. The note was in cursive, that alone was somewhat incriminating, he was about the only person he knew who still wrote in cursive. He was no handwriting expert but if he had glanced at it he would have assumed it was a note in his hand. “It looks a lot like my writing.”
“Was it your gun in your hand? Again, look at the screen.”
Caden looked down at the photo of the gun in his lifeless hand. Attempting to get past the surreal feeling of looking at one’s own body he answered, “Yes, it is my gun.” Caden was no fool and quickly began to realize how it was beginning to look. “I swear, I did not kill myself, not on purpose at least.” It was his turn to ask something, and looking to Hanson he asked,
“Maybe someone broke in?” .
“Not that I could see. I did notice your security system. How long have you had it?”
“Years, I got it shortly after we moved here,” Caden answered.
“Did it go off last night?”
“No, not that I heard.”
“All the doors and windows were hooked to it?”
“What about the doggy door behind your seat?”
Sure enough behind the large office chair, barely noticeable, was a doggy door. Caden looked down and somewhat sorrowfully said, “No, it wasn’t. I was always worried about security but we wanted the dogs to freely come and go, having a doggie door in the front door was too big a security risk, so I installed this one in my study. It is behind the bushes so it can’t be seen from the outside and my chair usually hides it from my clients view.”
“You said to me when we first met that you knew this would happen, but you didn’t think it would be like this. What did you mean?”
“I’ve always been worried about invaders, hence the dogs, the security system and the gun. I had always felt it might happen. Recently I could barely sleep, so my wife convinced me to start taking a sleeping pill. But when I was under the fog of those stupid pills I’d hear things and be unable to get up. So, I refused to take it last night. She tried to talk me into it but I put my foot down. Sure enough, I heard something and got my gun and went downstairs. I searched everywhere but no one was here. I sat down on the couch for a while and must have fallen asleep, next thing I knew I was looking at myself, dead.
“Did you see anyone else, after you died?”
“No, I didn’t. At least not at first. I didn’t know what to do, so I ran outside and a lady was walking by, or at least I assume that is why she was there. I asked her to call for help and shortly after that my dead family started showing up. And then shortly after that, you two appeared.”
Hanson was thinking and probably taking notes, thought Trout. He realized he was probably supposed to be taking notes as well but assumed Hanson had it covered. Trout could see a change in Hanson as he was pulled out of his deep thought and was now ready to move from direct questions to more general.
“What did you do for a living?” Hanson asked.
“Financial Advisor. I had both individual and company clients.”
“Were you successful?”
“I guess that depends on your definition, but I did alright.”
“What was your net worth?”
“5-6 Million. Why? Does that help over here? I always heard that you can’t take it with you.
“That part about death is true.” Hanson said with a smile. He was glad to see Caden was joking. “I assume the money goes to your wife.”
“Actually, No.” Hanson was full of surprise, regret now poured over his body. He hadn’t even hinted to the beats that they ask about inheritance, his only thought had been life insurance and after he got the beat to ask about that he had dropped it. If only he had gotten out that someone else got the money perhaps he could have gotten the investigation opened up. While Hanson bemoaned his error, Caden continued, “A few months back my wife’s parents died, leaving her quite wealthy in her own right. So we decided to keep our money separate and if either of us died we’d leave the money to our favorite charity, Canine Hope.”
“And what do they do?”
“They not only save abused dogs throughout the US, but are a lobbying group that helps promote protection of canines throughout the world. They were recently successful in getting anti-dog fighting laws in several countries. It’s something we are both passionate about, or at least I was?”
“You can still be passionate about it.” Hanson kindly added. Caden smiled. Hanson continued, “Well Caden, that's all the questions I have, no doubt more family has shown up, you are welcome to go visit them.”
“Actually can I ask you a few questions?” Trout asked from behind Hanson.
Caden and Hanson had almost forgotten about Trout. But Hanson was happy to see some initiative.
“Do you know someone named Tom?’
“Tom? I know several.”
“Your wife called one after your death. Do you know who that might have been?”
“Yeah. My lousy brother-in-law. My wife is really attached to him and calls him once and awhile. She visited him a few months back but luckily for me I haven’t had to see him in years. He spent 5 years in prison for some drug conviction and is now on parole in a few counties over. I was worried once he got off he’d show up here. Daisy had a really hard time ever telling him no.”
“Do you know who Riley might be?”
“Riley? I’m not sure, that could be his kid. He got a girl pregnant prior to going to prison.”
“He mentioned Jim. Do you know who that would be?”
“Jim? There is a Jim who I work with from Canine Hope, he’s the CEO. He was working with me because he didn’t like the charity's last financial advisor and so was trying to convince the board to use me. They had just agreed, I signed the contract to run the account on Friday. But if she was talking to my Brother-in-law I am not sure why she’d talk about Jim. I don’t think the two knew each other.”
Hanson was pleased with his new partner’s line of questioning and decided he wanted to jump back in with his own, “Have you looked over the accounts yet?”
Hanson looked to Trout to continue but Trout replied, “That is all I’ve got.” and he stood.
Hanson began to exit, “Thanks for working with us. You are free to go. We will be in touch if we need anything else.”
“Where do I go?” Caden asked.
“Wherever you want.” Hanson replied.
“Where do I stay?”
“Again, wherever you want. But if you are willing to keep an eye on what is going on around here it may be helpful to us. We will be in touch. Goodbye.”
Hanson put his hand on Trout's shoulder and they instantly appeared in the side yard in front of the bushes that obstructed the view of the doggie door.
“You need to warn me before you zip my body to some new location.” Trout argued as he tried to place where he was.
“Sorry.” Hanson said with absolutely no sincerity. He was already looking around the bushes. “Sounds like you staying back with the wife was fairly fruitful.” Hanson was on his knees looking at the dirt around the bushes.
“Yeah, she seemed very concerned about Tom. She seemed to wonder if he had been there. She said…”
“I know,” Hanson cut him off. “I read your notes. Good job.”
“So given what Caden said, what do you think?” Trout asked. Hanson was so intently looking at the ground that Trout decided to continue on his own. “I’ll tell you what I think, I assume this Tom was here and he didn’t want Daisy telling the police. They may look into it and find out that this Tom doesn’t like his brother-in-law anymore than his brother-in-law likes him, and so he took care of him.”
“Perhaps. Or maybe he didn’t want Daisy to mention it to the police because he would be violating his parole and end up back in jail.”
“That could be it also. Either way, I say we track him down and ask him a few questions.”
“Good idea. Just one problem, he isn’t dead, and trust me, they don’t look kindly on you bringing people over to our side just for an interview.”
“Have you done that?” Trout asked.
Hanson looked up towards Trout in a manner that clearly said, ‘I’m not talking about it.’ Then he turned and began crawling behind the bush.
“Any sign that someone entered through the doggie door?”
“Hard to say, if they did, they would have had to crawl through and would not be on their feet at all, so no prints. These marks could be made by someone crawling through but I couldn’t say for sure.” Hanson worked his way out of the bush.
“So, where to next?” Trout asked.
“I think we need to spend some time with our new friend at Canine Hope, but as much as I hate to say it, I think we better go pay a visit to my favorite precinct first.”
Here is Chapter 5