Evan Caulder started writing about unsolved crimes when he was young. His boyhood dreams of becoming a police officer where initially dashed by his poor eyesight and profound asthma. After “life” happened a few times, his hopes of his becoming any kind of investigator faded into the background, waiting for a chance to shine like the odd man out at a high school prom.
The writing stuck though, it was a good solid habit, like smoking he supposed. He could give it up, but why? He trolled through magazines, newspapers and endless Internet pages seeking out and cataloguing the various details of various crimes. He’d developed quite a collection of well documented cold case files that some small part of him still hoped he might have a hand in solving one day. His records were meticulous, in his mind.
He probably had what the police had overall, but what set his information apart, he felt, was the way he organized his documentation. Every page was built off a basic three column template. Dates and titled evidence to the left, details and descriptions in the middle and his unique ‘patented’ brand of insight and supposition related to the details, in his special form of short hand, on the left.
He had no special education, or measured mental agility that would help him solve these crimes. He wasn’t Sherlock Holmes or anything. He didn’t pretend to be. He did have a good brain and was convinced that his way of looking at, and interpreting case facts and circumstances would make him competitive and an asset to any crime team. When he matched his information against that of many closed cases he followed, his interpretations and predictions led him to the primary suspect about 92 percent faster than the authorities.
Few people knew of his ‘hobby.’ He kept mostly to himself in a small apartment in Kensington. He had yet to share any of his information with authorities because he felt if he ever did, he would have one shot at it, and it had to be a good one. It would be way too easy to brush him off and keep him at bay. He never even really considered the possibility until he started following the A case.
The A Case, as the media called it, was unique in that it was happening in his own backyard. Kensington was a medium-sized city emerging from the deeper woods of Western Virginia. Someone was killing people in and around town at about one every one or two weeks. Tensions were high and the tasty morsel the media decided release as a possible motive is that the killer wrote a letter A on the forehead of each victim. It was an odd clue to leave behind, until someone surmised that the victims, six in total so far, were mostly unsavory characters. They surmised that the A stood for absolved and that the murders where the work of some vigilante.
The A Case killer was a hero to those wronged by the victims and a menace to the rest who found the theory weak. Evan followed the case closely from the moment it broke. There was some validity to the vigilante theory, but there was something missing. A bigger piece of the puzzle yet to be realized was out there. He felt it tugging at him a bit, gut it was still too far for him to fully embrace.