Ch. 2

Mathias woke up lazily the next morning to a pleasant dream. He stumbled out of bed, hungover from earlier. He had wandered in around 5 a.m. and opened up a bottle of whiskey, only half of it was left now. He knew why he drank, he couldn't get her voice out of his head "Leon" she seemed to say into his ears. Leon, the other man, Mathias was glad to be rid of him, a sneaking snickering counselor at a community college. Mathias had wondered what she saw in him when he first found out that they were involved with each other. He turned on the news to see if there was any mention of his frivolity earlier in the morning. he scanned the channels, listening for words like "Two bodies" or "Murder suicide" but it yielded nothing.

Mathias put a shirt on and went to the door for his paper, the sun was abnormally bright and Mathias squinted until he closed the door. Even the paper was reverently reticent about what happened in the wee hours. Were the police on their day off? Mathias began to pace around the kitchen nervously, was this a bad sign? Should he go back and make sure? No, he had a plan and he was going to stick to it. He picked up his telephone and dialed the number.

"Basin City Police Department." Said the man on the other end. Mathias took a deep breath, just like he planned "Hello, My name is Mathias Hall, I want to file a missing persons report."

"Hold while I connect you with Detective Brady."

"Thank you."

The phone played soothing piano music for 4 minutes before-

"Brady."

"Hi, My name is Mathias Hall, my wife didn't come home last night and I want to file a missing persons report."

"OK, one second."

Detective Brady was looking for something to write with.

"Alright, what's you're wife's name?"

"Britney Hall." He spelled it out for him.

"When was the last time you saw your wife?"

"Last night, around 9:30, we had an argument and she stormed off."

"Typically we have to wait 24 hours before we file a report like this."

"I know but she left her medication behind, she needs it every day."

"What's the medication for?"

"Bi-Polar disorder."

"How serious would you say her condition is?"

"Serious enough to need daily medication I guess." It was a stupid question, Mathias was just playing his part.

"Does your wife have any family in the area? A relative?"

"No, it's just us here."

"OK, do you have any idea where your wife may have gone?"

Another stupid question, the Detective didn't want to have this conversation but he was trying to do his job.

"No, if I knew that I'd be there instead of on the phone with you."

"Just covering all the bases Mr. Hall, if she turns up within the next 11 hours let us know."

"And if not?"

"We'll file the report and do everything we can to find her."

Mathias sighed with false relief "OK, thank you detective."

"Goodbye." Click. Another step completed, Mathias finished his coffee and set his paper down. There were many parts to play, his character was going to wear many hats today. Mathias stepped into his bathroom and turned on the shower, he gave his face a quick once over with his electric shaver while the water warmed up. He thought he was handling this all very well. He stepped into the shower and let the water run over him, He was strangely calm about the whole thing, what exactly did that mean? Was he crazy? Was something like this bound to happen? Had a ruthless and calculating killer always lurked inside Mathias Hall and was just now given liberty to exercise his homicidal habits?

Mathias shut the water off and stepped out, toweling himself off as he made his way to his room. He selected clothes that were totally ordinary and got dressed. Mathias mused about the conversation he had with the detective who was 'just covering all the bases.' He sounded tired. No, he sounded weary, weary of humanity constantly giving him a reason to lose faith in it. Mathias smiled a small smile as he picked up his keys and a garbage bag and headed out the door.

Mathias went to his car and opened the trunk, he placed the garbage bag inside and checked to make sure he had the two gallon gas tank as well, he was an eagle scout and always believed in being prepared. Once on a road trip to Yosemite his car had run out of gas, he waited for an hour and a half for a tow truck to show up with gasoline to put in his car. He vowed never to be unprepared like that again. Satisfied, Mathias closed the trunk and started the car.

The trees thinned out as he drove further and further into the badlands, a mere 35 minute drive until he considered himself completely and totally alone. He pulled on to a dirt road and followed it for 2 and a half miles until he came to a metal garbage can turned on it's side. He stopped the car and got out, remotely opening the trunk. He removed the gas can and garbage bag and closed the trunk. Mathias couldn't stop wondering about why the news didn't mention anything, he didn't like the feeling he had about it. What disturbed Mathias even more was that he seemed to be handling the stress of murder pretty well, in the movies this is where a first time killer would make a mistake and give himself away, the policeman in the designer sunglasses would say his quippy line and the case would be wrapped up with a bow on top. Not now, not in real life. Mathias set the trash can right side up and dumped a good amount of gasoline in the bottom of the container. He then dumped the contents of the bag out into the can; a black sweatshirt, dark sweat pants, black socks and a pair of old sneakers he never managed to throw away. Until now that is. Shaking the bag and stuffing in into the can Mathias poured the remaining gasoline in the can. "Goodbye." He whispered softly as he struck a match and lit the entire book on fire. He paused for a moment, only a moment and thought about what he was doing before he tossed the flaming matches into the garbage can. The fire didn't shoot high like it does in the movies, it started slowly and then built it's way up. His bloody clothes burned easily and Mathias was almost sad he didn't bring marshmallows to roast. He smiled a small smile and walked back to his car. "You cover your bases detective, I'll cover mine." He said to himself as he drove away, another 35 minutes back into town.