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The detective stared at the painting for longer than he intended. It was an extravagant design, several figures crowed around a central focal point; a man standing in fire. His horns gave a good idea of what he was. The crowd bearing weapons and farming tools gave a better idea of what they intended. It was a wonder that such a painting existed.
The plaque said the painting was over two hundred years old, but oddly fitting for now. What caught the detective’s attention was the demons face. It was clouded in darkness, despite being surrounded by fire. The detective sensed eyes although he couldn't see any.
"Detective?" the museum curator asked.
The detective shook off the feeling, chalking it up to just him sensing the curator. The curator was a young man, but there was some stress around the eyes that the detective had only seen on people much older than him. His hair was greased back and as far as he was dressed, it was a pristine suit. The curator took his job seriously enough, which was more than can be said for the other employees who couldn't care how they looked.
"Yes. Can I see the...mural now?" the Detective asked.
"Yes, sorry for the delay. We wanted to properly disguise it for the time being so nobody would panic."
"Most people would just close down the museum."
"Well, this one receives more visitors than most. We're not sure if anyone is hurt or...dead to consider this a crime scene quite yet."
"Someone broke into the museum to leave that message. It violates enough laws to become a crime scene, but I will play along till we find some answers."
The curator looked at me nervously. I could tell he was hoping I would be more cooperative, but officer wasn’t about to let the victim have the advantage. The curator would say anything to make sure there wasn’t a news headline and if there was, he would say all that he could to avoid bad press.
The detective followed the curator to the room in question. It was strange walking amongst the people who had no idea what was going on. Still, it made the job easier. The curator pointed at the wall and sure enough he did a great job of masking the mural. It was blood mural. Red letters forming what the detective could only conclude was Latin. Surrounding it was a large frame.
"Uh...is this really working?" the detective asked as he watched the patrons move past it only lingering for a glance.
"I'm not one comment on the art world, but I know if it has a frame around it, it can pass for art," the curator told me in a whisper.
"Hmm," the detective had to give it to the curator; that was clever thinking.
"So what do you think?"
"I'm not sure what it means. It's Latin right?"
"Indeed, it means, 'To not be'."
"What the hell does that mean?"
The curator sighed. The detective recognized the sigh. It was the same condescending exhaustion that the chief showed at the station. It didn’t take long for a boiling feeling inside of the detective to burn his insides. Still, he let the curator speak. Smug people tend to speak more.
"Clearly it is a reference to Shakespeare. To be or not to be?" the Curator explained. The curator began to explain the possible poetic meanings behind the meaning of the mural. The detective half-listened to the curator, he knew the possible meanings already. Still, the tone of the curator stuck with him.
The detective didn't say anything; he just stared at the mural. It was clearly blood and it was fresh. He could tell from the scent. Given enough time and the blood would rot and everyone would know its foul stench. The detective took a photo with his camera, feeling like a tourist with other people standing beside him.
"Our officers have checked the crime-scene for any evidence,” the detective explained. “Get it cleaned up as soon as possible," the detective told the curator.
"Services are already on their way."
"Good, is there somewhere we can speak privately?"
The two navigated through a staff only door and soon arrived at the curator’s office. The moment the curator walked through the door the detective place a forearm against the back of his neck and pushed him against the wall. The curator gasped in pain and the detective expertly held the curator, not giving him the chance to make any free movements.
"What the hell?"
With a few clicks the curator was in cuffs.
"You're a bad liar so you better get over it, because you're going to be asked a lot of questions."
An hour later the curator was being escorted out of the museum and into a police car. The detective watched the curator who was suddenly calm and silent. He stared out through the police car window at the detective and shrugged with a half-smile. The detective hated the killers like that. That was beside the point now.
A squad of officers had stormed the curator’s apartment and he needed an update. Sure enough the return call buzzed in his pocket. The detective plucked the phone out of his pocket and answered it.
"You found her?" the detective asked over the phone.
"Yes, sir; the apartment is a mess, but we had no problem finding the body."
"Well done. We can finally put this maniac behind bars."
"Not that we needed it. The freak practically admitted it when you questioned him."
"It helps to have a family on our side. Another set of people to prosecute the curator."
"How did you even know?"
"He knew too much and his eyes."
"You can see it in their eyes. All killers have the same eyes, but don’t tell the chief that. I would never hear the end of it if he found out I had a hunch.”
"I won’t, sir. I know how playing by the book slows things down.”
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