DANIEL! DANIEL WHERE ARE YOU!? I am running around the warehouse to the back, I slip on some gravel. As I slip and my perspective is growing closer to the ground in front of me I glance at some tire tracks left in the sandy gravel. I can't be bothered with tire tracks right now. Daniel is hurt.
I hastily get to my feet again and rush over to Daniel curled up near the wall. His back is bleeding. "DANIEL! Are you okay?" Gushing really. His shirt has been ripped to shreds from a whip. I have seen the same injury in a indigenous village while I was in South America. An aggressive farmer was punishing a boy who stole during a harvest. The boy barely lived. "Talk to me Daniel!" I have my hand on his cold shoulder. "Daniel, look at me!" I am carefully slapping his cheeks which are also red with blood. His hair is soaking in puddle of blood. He opens his eyes slowly. "Thank God! Daniel. Can you hear me? Who did this to you?" His stare is glazed over. "Daniel I am going to help you to your feet." I put my jacket over his shoulders. It doesn't quite fit. His shoulders are a bit broad for it. I am just trying to keep it covered. He isn't standing very well. "You need to lay down."
Daniel tries to speak, "Gei ty offs."
"Don't worry about talking. You need to rest. I'll call Dr. Kayson and we will get you all stitched up."
Daniel stops all entirely, "NO. You need to do it. There is something I need you to know."
"What do I need to know?" I can see that this is important.
"You need to know what he said." Taking a deep, painful breath. "He said that the Rose is not white. It's time to lose its petals and have it's history uncovered." He takes in more air, this time coughing up some blood. "He said everything you want to know starts from the roots and the Rose is where you will start." He topples to the ground.
I help him back to his feet. "Daniel, who did this to you? Who said these things?"
"I'm sorry brother. I am so sorry for everything. I will tell you everything once I have rested."
"Let me help you. Does your office have a first aid kit?" Our parents put me through medical school to become a successful doctor. I never wanted to be a doctor. It feels like they just have a separate plan for me.
We get to the office. I fill the bath with warm water. I threw some salt in the water to help sanitize. While it fills I get the first aid kit out. I am just cleaning out the wounds a bit before the bath does it. I get him stripped down and help him to the bath. "This will sting but it will help." He screams a roar of pain but doesn't stop till he is completely under the water. I cringe at seeing the blood seeping from every gash and slit in his mangeld body. I sit down on the toilet.
What's going on? I don't understand. Has my life been a lie? My parents. The boat. We used to go to all these fantastic places with that boat. All the loving memories. How is Daniel involved? What are they doing? Large cash sums and ivory? Who is this guy? How does he know anything? The Rose is where I start, but it starts from the roots. Well, thats not difficult. My parents are the roots. Or the boat is the roots and its also the rose where I start. What am I starting? What's going on?
Daniel emerges with a gasp and a groan of pain. "Help me out."
"Ya, I need to sow you up before you lose any more blood." The water is practically more blood now than water. Just the thought of sowing his skin back together makes shivers go down my spine. I don't like thinking about blood or anything to do with the job of a surgeon. "Put on some pants. I don't need to sow anything up down there." I hand him a pair of old jeans that were kept in the filing cabinet. I caught a glimpse of a folder with 'WHITE ROSE' written across the tab in the same drawer. I make a mental note of it. I need to look at those files.
My needle goes through the flesh so easily. It's repulsive. I don't bother counting the number of stitches it takes. I just keep going. I wash away the remaining blood and apply an ointment to help heal. I have to wrap his entire torso in gauze. "You need to lay down for a while. Rest. You can tell me everything later." I help him to a shabby, old bed shoved in the corner of the office.
I sneak the 'WHITE ROSE' folder out of the filing cabinet and slide it into my shirt. I go out side. I can see the remainders of the yacht being pulled up by two tug boats just out of the harbor. I loved that boat. We took it to France to visit some family friends when I was young. I'd never been so happy and seasick on a trip before. My father would have to map the boats route and this one time when he tried to teach me how, I vomited just focusing on a map. It will have to come into harbor, there is nowhere else around to take that out. The boat lifts are just down the dock. I remembered the tire tracks from earlier.
The pattern is strange. I can't put my finger on it. They almost look normal, but they aren't. I take my notebook out and start sketching them. This is what I like to do. I like figuring things out. Not writing prescriptions and putting organs back in their cadavers. While I'm waiting for the boat to come into the dock, I jot down everything that I know so far; the crow, the letters, the boat, my parents, Daniel, Wallace is being held for ransom for a newspaper article,.... thats not much. Well, I have the boat's logs. I will be able to see where it has been. I take the file out of my shirt. I open it. There is an envelope inside, not a single record. It has the Crow on it. My heart is starting to race. I quickly open the envelope and there is a paper inside but, it's not for me. Well it is. It's the whole article written out that he wants me to publish. The title reads, "SCANDAL: FLAMING ROSE." I quickly scan it, "the White Rose is owned by a mysterious, French family." "The family name has not yet been released." Why would he not reveal the name? My name. Why is he waiting? "Smuggling rare artifacts all over the world." "sceme for over 40 years" "Witnesses say the boat had a family member on board during the explosion." Is that supposed to be Daniel?
I fold up the article and put it in my notebook. The yacht, what's left anyway, is being lifted out of the water. Water is pouring out of the small windows towards the bottom. "Sir! Sir, My name is Albert Moray. I am a journalist. I am here to investigate the boat here." I reach my hand out to shake his.
"No one can investigate the boat until police release it." Ignoring my offer of a hand shake.
"I'll be really quick." I take a few steps towards the boat.
Grabbing my arm, the burly man said, "Sir you can't get on this boat."
"Alright. Alright. Can I just look around the outside? I won't even touch the boat."
"Don't get in the boat." He says sternly and lets go of my arm turning to talk to another worker.
As I look around the boat. I can see an opening in the bottom. I take a closer look at the charred wood and the gap. I can see something glint in there. It's metallic. The hole isn't big enough for my arm to reach inside. I take a glance over both shoulders. No one is watching me. I swiftly raise myself into the boat and duck down incase anyone is looking. All there is left of the boat is the bottom half. I scamped to where the glint came from. There is nothing here. I have to be able to get lower. I run my hands all over the floor looking for something, anything, a latch, a gap, a loose board. Nothing. If I can't open it I will have to break it. I grab the emergency axe. I take one big swing at the floor and the entire floor just collapses. I am sitting in a pile of gold. There is a metal container too. I quickly grab the container and a few coins then hurry off the boat. They must have heard this noise. I am standing up as, "Hey I told you not to touch the boat!"
"Sorry sir. It just collapsed. I'll grab my suitcase here and just leave." I picked up the metal container as my suitcase.
"You better! Get out of here! You are ruining the scene."
All I can think is, 'Well, actually its my family yacht. I can do what I want.' I just take this opportunity and get back to Daniel.
Daniel is still asleep. I unlatch the box and there is just another letter inside. I open it. There is a picture of an gorgeous, victorian house. It looks familiar, but I don't quite know from where. On the back was instructions to get to the house. My next clue must be there. I shove that in my notebook. Daniel takes a loud snore. He is sound asleep. I take out the coins out of my pocket. There is a picture imprinted on them, but its difficult to make it out. The fire must have melted them a bit. I draw them in my notebook regardless and how and where I found them.
"Daniel." I touch his shoulder. "Daniel."
He stirs and says, "You need to take my gun."
"You have a gun?!"
"Technically I never had it. I registered it under your name."
"They wouldn't give me a gun. So, I registered under your name. You are so much more.. responsible."
"Whatever. If it's under my name then I will take it."
"Do you know how to shoot?"
"Just point and shoot. Breathe. Don't forget to breathe. You will be fine."
"Sure. Where is this thing?"
He looks around quizzically. "Its in the refrigerator."
"How did it get there?"
"I was with a woman and I didn't want to frighten her with it, so I stowed it in there." He turns back around and goes back to sleep.
"I guess I will leave. Call Dr. Kayson when you wake up. You need some medicine."
He replies a groggy, "Sure."
"You can keep the jacket." Its soaked in his blood anyway.