“This is he,” said the voice on the other end of the phone line. “What can I do for you?”
“I’m calling about some articles you have published on your website.” Silence. “Mr. Grieger?”
“It’s happened again, hasn’t it?”
“Was there another murder?” Timothy’s voice seemed frantic.
“Uh, yes,” Detective Haus replied, slightly bewildered by the man’s response. “Last night.”
“Was she bled dry?” Now the Detective remained silent. That information hadn’t been leaked to the press. Only those connected to the case would have that information. “Detective, clearly you read my articles. You wouldn’t be calling me if you had any other leads.”
“Can you tell me anything useful, Mr. Greiger?”
“Have you met any of the Rua family, Detective?”
“I have had the pleasure of meeting with Bastian Rua.” Detective Haus responded, confused as to where this conversation was headed.
“All I can tell you is that he is not whom he seems.” A pause, “I’m emailing you a photograph that I think you definitely need to see.”
“What is the photograph of?”
“You’ll understand when you see it,” Timothy explained. “This is all I can do for you, Detective. Please do not bring me into this any further.”
The line went dead.
Detective Haus replaced the phone on the receiver, even more confused than before he placed that call. Flipping open his laptop, he pulled up his email. Sure enough, there was an email from an unknown email address. The subject line just read “Believe it.”
The photograph began to load slowly, from the top down. It was a sepia colored photograph, clearly old. As the photograph came into view, he realized it was an old family portrait. It appeared to be taken in front of the Scarlett Rose and at the bottom in a scribbled hand-writing it read “Rua Clan, Family Home, 1796.”
Detective Haus scanned the faces of the family. Five members, the matriarch sat in the center. The oldest male directly behind her, his hand on her shoulder – Haus assumed he was the patriarch of the family. To his left were two girls: one in her teens, the other looked to be around ten years old. To his right stood the oldest child; a male.
It couldn’t be.
Detective Haus leaned in closer to the screen, bringing the laptop screen forward slightly.
There’s no way.
The face of the eldest child, the face staring back at him from the screen, was none other than Bastian Rua. It wasn’t just a close family resemblance. It was impeccable, an exact copy. That was Bastian.