Chapter 9:

A Story Of Love

Ludicy - Reaching Out

The old lady lives just a street down from where Daniel is. As he checks his phone, he notices it's already noon. The prospect of possibly getting some homemade cookies tickled his heart with the excitement of a little child. After entertaining that train of thought for a while, he's in front of the house. Upon buzzing the bell, the old lady opens the door. She looks just like you'd imagine a grandmother. She's short, has grey hair and a warm smile. Her weathered face is riddled with gentle wrinkles that make her warm smile stand out more. With a gentle, sheepish tone, she asks Daniel who he is. He proceeds to explain that Parks had sent him and points out the pin on his collar. As she notices the pin, her smile brightens, and she introduces herself as Astrid and invites Daniel in for some refreshments. Daniel was somewhat bewildered by her not asking about the blood on his hands or around his pocket but didn't ask about it. She led him to a humble kitchen with a hardwood dining table. He washed his hands before sitting down at the table. Astrid walks into the room with a platter in her hands. Daniel stands up to help her with it, but she shakes her head in protest, making him back down. She sets the platter on the dining table and serves tea and cookies. Daniel starts with: "Thank you for your hospitality. I was sent by Mr. Parks, and he also gave me this silver pin on my collar. He said you'd called the police station about your husband going missing. Can you tell me a bit more about that?" Astrid's facial expression changes a little as she speaks: "Ah yes, I used to watch over little Mikey when he was a small child. He seems to be doing well on his own, being the chief of the police station and all. Since he sent you, he must think you're worth trusting. Very well, I will tell you about my husband. Olaf and I met while I was studying abroad in Sweden. He was a real charmer back in the day, you know. We've had many joyous memories together. For example, we got married in Iran 50 years ago. The sunset over the Gulf of Oman was unbelievably beautiful, yet Olaf kept looking at my face the entire time. He can act so innocent at times. Sorry, I went on a bit of a tangent. Let me get back to the reason why you're here. Olaf went missing yesterday morning. He would go on a stroll through the park every morning on his way to buy the day's newspaper. Sometimes he would stop to talk to some acquaintance at the park and come home a little later than usual, but he would always come back by 9 am. That's why I called Mikey when it was noon and Olaf was nowhere to be seen. He hadn't even said he would be gone for longer than usual when leaving." "Could you please provide a recent picture of Olaf so I can give it to Mr. Parks and start looking around for him myself? It would be a great help." Daniel replies. Astrid nods gently and stands up to go and get a picture from her photo album in the bedroom. Daniel sips on his tea while waiting for her to come back. She comes into the room after a few minutes have passed. She sits down and hands the picture to Daniel. The moment Daniel sets his eyes on the picture, his stomach drops. His face goes pale and he feels a cold sweat building up on the back of his neck as he notices the unique silver hair and grey mustache with black stripes combination. "Thank you, this will be a great help to us. In fact, I have a feeling I've already seen this gentleman somewhere before. Is it alright if I consult with Mr. Parks and then get back to you regarding the matter?" Daniel proposes. Astrid starts thanking him profusely and tells him to do whatever he believes necessary, just as long as her beloved Olaf is found. She sends him off with kind words of encouragement and thanks. As he is leaving the old lady's house, Daniel is in a really crappy mood. He recognized Olaf as the old man he saw at the park earlier the moment he saw the picture, but he just couldn't bear to tell the poor old lady that her husband was likely murdered while on his morning walk. His heart wouldn't be able to handle the pain of having to be the one to give her such bad news. What made it even worse was the fact that it seemed to Daniel as if the pair was still madly in love even after so many years together. Even after settling down and giving up their adventurous lifestyle, the love between them never wavered or grew stale. "I wish I can also be like that with somebody in the future. It seems like a really fulfilling life." Daniel thought. While thinking that, the image of Alex randomly popped into his mind. Does he have romantic feelings for Alex after all? But that couldn't be. He never thought about it that way. Is it because of what she said to him in the kitchen? It may be. She seems to have found such an interest in him without him noticing. But then again, what if this is all just in his head? Lost in his thought, he made his way to the so-called resistance team Parks had told him about.