Who: Henry Radford, Audrey Singh
Where: Outside the Glass Slipper
When: 31 July 2001, evening
Arithmancers made Henry Radford’s head hurt. They always had. Especially the forsenic types that used equations and algorithms and other incomprehensible shit to predict the patterns of criminals. Henry was half convinced that they were all high functioning sociopaths themselves, but knew better than to say so. They could be testy. And they were useful, he had to admit. They had predicted that the Helga’s Hill arsonist would deviate from pattern, that the events would escalate as they continued. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been able to predict the next attack until after the damage at the Grotto had been done.
But now they felt they’d pinpointed a possible location for the next attack, though the timing seemed to have been thrown off slightly by the chaos at the weekend. Still, he or one of his team were staking out The Glass Slipper at all times, waiting and watching for suspicious behavior.
The place was filled up with the dinner crowd, dressed to the nines, as Henry loitered in the shadows. He felt antsy. He was tired, damn tired, of feeling so impotent. Murder investigations always took time, he knew, but in a small town where damned near everyone had a motive, sifting through the suspects could take ages. He wanted to solve something. He needed a breakthrough. Catching this fire starting bastard might be just the break int he case that he needed.
And more importantly it might restore his floundering faith in his ability as a crime solver. He’d never felt so damned distracted in his life.
Which had nothing to do with any idle gossip or what it might pertain to…
He was shaken away from these thoughts by the approach of a figure dressed all in black. The person appeared to be attempting subtlety but failing. It was hard to hide from a Hit Wizard even for a hardened criminal.
The funny thing was, the person with the hood drawn over their face moved distinctly like a woman. Henry hadn’t anticipated that. He’d had this guy pegged for a man for sure. Men were more often arsonists, after all.
Just proof that crime fighting couldn’t be all about facts and statistics.
He crept towards the woman, waiting carefully for her to do something that would warrant action on his part.
Just before the flames shot from her wand, he heard something that sounded distinctly like a sob. He didn’t have time to contemplate it, however, as he jolted forward, stunning and disarming his target immediately before casting a spell that threw open the doors to the restaurant and shouting for everyone to get out. She’d only managed to light a tree on fire, but it might quickly spread to the building.
He shot cords from his wand, binding the prone woman’s hands and feet, then saw to putting out the flames. A small crowd had gathered by the time he’d finished. He approached the unconscious body, rolling her over and pulling back her hood to reveal the person who had been tormenting Helga’s Hill for almost a month now.
The collective gasp around him was universal.
The arsonist was Audrey Singh.