I'm not really a morning person. Nine or ten in the morning is sufficient, before that, I'm useless. I detest coffee and sugary foods make me jittery. Being self-employed doesn't require a routine, crack-of-dawn kind of schedule. It simply demands many long hours, heart-felt dedication and will-power not to be distracted at an inopportune time. Especially in my line of work. I am a researcher, primarily of crime. Believe it or not, a creative crime researcher can make themselves indispensible to their clients; therefore, my paycheck is more than justified. Not to mention the job is the best excuse to continue my quest of owning every major crime work, whether fact or fiction, in book form and adorning my walls. By the way, I am always on the lookout for any volumes about my beloved Master Detective to add to my ever-growing collection.
Couriers were nothing new around my house. On an average day, I could see upwards of five or six trudging up the driveway, skirting the chain link fence with the large auburn shepherd-mix guarding it. Not that he would ever hurt anyone, but the image is useful at times. Soft snow was beginning to fall, quite early this time of year. The inclement weather meant delays around the city, a late delivery was no exception. That was why I thought nothing of the doorbell ringing around eight in the evening. After I untangled myself from the fluffy mass of dog body, I was quite surprised to find the courier's dark form disappearing into the swirling whiteness of the storm. It was customary that I sign for the package, but he had simply left it for me on the porch.
As I bent down to pick it up, I realized the heft of the padded envelope was quite heavy for the usual delivery. A brief rustle of the materials inside the package was indicative of paper, and a lot of it. Possibly a manuscript. I gave the envelope a cursory glance. New but of an average quality, deeply padded, no postal or courier markings - not even a tracking barcode or number. Now that was quite odd. It was as if someone wanted me to receive the parcel and in good condition, considering the padding, but did not want it traced. I shook my head curtly as I walked back into the den where my furry companion had usurped the warm place I had left upon the couch when I went to the door. I shooed him off the couch, to which he responded with a low growl of displeasure, but he settled himself on the hardwood floor and rested his head on my feet.
I had to be over-analyzing the situation. Many things could have gone wrong in the courier's office today, not to mention the cold, icy weather. Crushing the envelope gently in my hands, much like a child would a present at Christmas, I felt around the outisde to see if I could deduce what was in the package. It crunched and crinkled a bit as I shifted it in my hands; however, I wasn't quite certain if the sounds I heard was the object itself or simply packing material. Turning it over I looked at the seal, moderately heavy glue, reinforced with striated tape. I had a difficult time getting past the tape, which I figured was more for the security of letting the recipient know of tampering than of actually securing the parcel. After finally removing the adhesive and unfastening the flap, I opened the enveloped and tipped it upside down, dumping its contents unceremoniously into my lap. Out fell sheafs of ancient foolscap scrawled with a spidery hand faded from once black to an ashy gray. I shook the envelope vigorously to determine if there was any sort of enclosed correspondence that would indicate the identity of the sender, but to no avail.
I then turned my attention to the writing upon the aged paper. Almost illegible at points, the letters were tight, but lacking any sort of form, as if the writer had not been through a formal handwriting course while in grade school. The strokes leaned slightly, indicated that the author was most likely right handed, while the darkness and boldness of the lines showed an impulse to press heavily upon the paper - a strong personality, if not a bit on the mercurial side. The ink was not a modern one, to my trained eye, and probably written with a fountain pen, a singularity in its own right. But the title is what truly caught my attention....
"The Mind Of A Killer"
by Sherlock Holmes