Alexander Burke Journal
Journal Entry X01-01: Beginning a New Life.
I finally got a lead on my real parents. Granted, it is only the name of a Law firm in Chicago; but it is more promising than any I have had before. One day Alex, you will solve this puzzle.
Years ago, I was encouraged by my Forensic Professor, Gerald Drake, to keep a journal of my activities. He claimed it would help me focus my thoughts and help me solve problems by reviewing the events in greater detail. I thought he was full of crap then, until I got in the habit of maintaining one. He was still full of crap, but with the occasional good idea.
I keep these on file, in folders addressed to my parents in Ohio. If anything happens to me, they will be forwarded to them so they will know what happened to their adopted baby boy.
I have known from the beginning that I was adopted, and greatly loved. My parents are Simon Thomas Burke and Mary Elizabeth Burke. They have six children, my older siblings: Robert Thomas, Andrew Thomas, Elizabeth Ann, Sarah Elizabeth, Emily Carolyn, and Sheridan Elizabeth. We grew up on a large farm in a small rural farming community in Southwestern Ohio.
As the youngest, I got all the hand-me-downs. I was babied and tormented a lot, that goes without saying. We all slept in small rooms with bunk beds; I got the top bed over Andrew, after Robert left for college. We all got along very well, most of the time. They knew I was different from the beginning. They all have brown hair and brown eyes. I was blessed, as mother said, with medium auburn hair and green eyes. I can only say that I stuck out in family pictures.
It was common knowledge in the community that I was adopted. Small towns are noted for everyone knowing everyone's business and scandals are everywhere. However, no one knew the circumstance of my birth; not even my beloved parents.
Being different was one thing, but as I got older I noticed 'other' differences. I was stronger than the others, I didn't tire as quickly, and I was smarter in school. The family felt that I had an advantage of learning from everyone in the family, something the older siblings didn't have. I think they knew there was more to it than that. There was something 'else'. I had a talent for 'fixing' things, at least that is what dad called it.
We were not well off and we didn't have many possessions. A television and radio were cherished items. The television happened to stop working when I was five years old. We couldn't afford to buy a new one or have this one repaired. It just sat there for weeks. One day while everyone was out doing the chores, I got tired of missing programs. So, I 'examined' it. I 'thought' about it. I 'played' with it. I was tired of its silence. It began to work, picking up stations that it couldn't pick up before - and clearer.
I tinkered with anything else that was broken, with similar results. I was not asked about what happened and I never told anyone. After all, what would a five year old know about these things?
At seven, I heard that we needed to find another well and the drilling company had been unsuccessful in locating one. I remember seeing a program on dowsing and thought that it might be fun to try. I found a birch tree in the back woods, cutting off a branch. I 'examined' it. I 'thought' about it. I 'played' with it. I decided that it was time to try it. I had it lead me to water; I followed its gentle tug from the woods to the area they were trying to dig. I passed the area and went fifty feet north and the branch bent downwards and I knew that this was the spot. I wasn't as careful this time, and Dad saw me. He was talking to the contractor, who nearly dropped his tools when he turned to see me.
Unfortunately, word of this got around. After they drilled at the spot I found and hit a major spring. Dad tried to discourage it, but others contacted him to hire me to help them find other springs. He reluctantly agreed, and only under his supervision. Later, Dad confronted me about the other 'incidents'. I admitted to them and he wanted me to keep it quiet and be more discreet about it. Well, I had to ask what that meant. I soon learned that no one else should know about my 'talents'. It is bad enough that my dowsing was discovered. I didn't mention that I was able to locate missing objects with a dowsing rod as well. Part of what he called being discrete.
In my teens, my talent grew and expanded. My ability to 'find' things was needed. The police were working on a case and were unable to find a missing child. I knew the family and everyone in our town was searching for and was worried about him. I asked his mother for something of his. She knew of my water dowsing and gave me some of his clothes. I cut another branch and focused on finding the boy. Soon, it was pulling me along. I was walking for over three miles, through the woods. I found him. His foot was trapped in an animal trap. Illegal for years, this trap was one left and forgotten. The boy was tired and cold, but not seriously injured. Mostly bruised, and a bone or two broken in his foot. I got him out and carried him back home. He was rushed to the emergency room for treatment and the officials were notified.
My cover was completely blown, but at least the boy was safe. Dad was pleased but concerned about what would happen next. More of the same, unfortunately.
I tried to stay out of trouble in school. I did quite well in classes and in sports. I enjoyed football and baseball. I was an excellent running back and receiver. I took fencing classes in the city for several years, placing high in state competition. I also enjoyed throwing darts.
Growing up on the farm, my typical schedule was: chores, school, sports activities, chores, homework, and practicing fencing or darts. During the summer break, school was replaced by more chores.
Living on a farm, the chores cover a wide range of tasks: plowing, planting, fertilizing, and harvesting. The schedule and type of work depends on the crops involved. There are also the animals to breed and raise; mostly cattle, hogs, sheep, and poultry. Milk cows have to be milked twice a day. Checking the hen houses for eggs and feeding the livestock must be done regularly. Everything must be done daily, regardless of anything else.
I bought a horse and was solely responsible for it. Dad taught me how to ride it, regardless of his dislike of horses. He feels that they are expensive to feed and care for, with little return for the effort. I took on that responsibility, for the joy of riding them.
When I graduated from school, I made preparation for going to college. I was accepted at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana. Dad made it clear that arrangements were made long ago for all of us to go to college. I am the last one. The farm has been split up among the siblings and I never expected to be one of the recipients. My older brothers have been running more of the farm, so Dad could take it easier. Robert has accepted the lions share of the workload, but delegates the responsibilities well and coordinates work for hired help. My sisters are either still in college or married raising their own families now. As far as the farm goes, I am no longer needed.
Dad and my older brothers understand that my path lies somewhere other than farming. I wanted to put my talents to good use. I was going to study Forensics and Computers. Dad understood, he just hoped I could stay out of trouble and keep a low profile. Robert never spoke it out loud, but he thinks that I am abandoning my family responsibilities.
Preparing for college, I sold my horse and anything that I no longer needed or could take with me. I took my fencing saber, my darts, my books, and all of the funds at my disposal. I flew to South Bend and set up an apartment by the University. I opened bank accounts for savings, checking, and a credit card. I bought a small forest green convertible for transportation. Funds were channeled to me through my checking account. I proceeded to earn my degree and become a contributing member of society.
After college, I got a job at a Detective Search Agency. I developed my investigative and search skills, spending over a year in their employ. That is when I encountered the file on the Law firm that I mentioned earlier.
I have gotten into a routine of dress. The Detective Agency is business casual; ties are optional. I never liked them. I wear forest green turtlenecks or crew necks. Black sport jacket, slacks, and boots. I wear very little jewelry: a watch, two emerald rings, and an emerald post earring. They match my eyes. When I am doing footwork, I wear a long black overcoat and fedora - standard gumshoe issue. I was influenced by Sam Spade and Nick Danger, an unlikely combination; but there you have it.
I always carry a packet of tools that are considered illegal, specifically when one is caught using them - to break into places. I am also licensed to carry and conceal a rod, a Walther P5. Easier to conceal than a more powerful .38 or .45. I am well trained in its use, but it is only for show. I'm deadlier with a saber, which I wear under my coat.
My unknown parents, through this aforementioned Law firm, established a trust fund. Money was regularly sent to my adopted parents for child support, more than enough to cover my expenses. Instructions were included to make sure that they send me to any college I plan to attend; then, funds would be available for all their children to attend any college they desired as well. It was also quite explicit to state that I must be trained in fencing and horsemanship; no explanation was given for that. Only Mom and Dad were to know about this. The funds were to discontinue on my twenty-fifth birthday. I am now twenty-two, less than three years before I'm cut off. Less than three years to solve this life long mystery of my true parentage.
No information was given as to the identity of my real parents, just the 'Barimen Group' in Chicago. I noted the name, address, and phone number. I made arrangements for a week off, without pay, of course. I drove to Chicago on Sunday afternoon. Monday morning, I would pay a personal visit to this firm. I am not calling to announce my arrival; I was convinced that would be a bad idea. Besides, I prefer face-to-face meetings to phone calls.
I reached Chicago at 4:00 PM and checked into a motel. After a good nights sleep, I will be ready for my meeting with them. First things first, I dropped by the agency to check out the layout - gathering as much information about the neighborhood from the outside. Sunday is usually a good time for such activity - not many people around to ask a lot of foolish questions or to call the police about suspicious activity.
I drive down the alleyways and note all possible ways in and out of the building - not counting any underground accesses. There is one steel grate to the basement in the back, always nice to be aware of. The building is only 5 stories tall, surrounded by larger ones. The building in the back is 7 stories tall, with a rooftop addition.
I drive to a nearby parking garage and head for the roof. Using my binoculars I check out the roof of the agency building. Nothing of interest there, the roof appears to be quite typical, but on the back quarter of the roof, there are rows of large skylight windows - all dark tinted glass, like the windows to the building itself. My curiosity is aroused as to why so many roof windows are there and why only in the back of the building.
One more look around paid off. The building behind the agency had a rooftop helicopter pad. The heliport office overlooked the agency building, which in turn could be seen from the agency top floor. It seems that this was by design. So the two building are linked, explaining the ground-level grating. I would expect to find an underground passage between the buildings. The building appears to be a warehouse, but all the windows are steel-barred. Except for two large, heavy-duty steel semi-trailer bay doors, there are no doors to this building at all - and no markings of what this building is. There are external cameras mounted all around the back building. That means that my car was probably spotted by their security. It is fortunate that I wasn't walking around the building - that would have even been more suspicious. That also means that the front building is monitored by the surveillance of the rear building, anyone on the roof would be spotted by their cameras. Bad news all the way around.
My earlier checks on the 'Barimen Group' were fruitless. They are registered as a private Law firm that specializes in adoption law and financial Trust funds. The chairwoman of the Barimen Group is listed as a Ms. F. Barimen. Their financial statements are impressive for a private firm. Beyond that, no other information on the company exists. This raises a question. Why would a private Law firm need such elaborate security measures, complete with a heliport? And that is only what is 'outside'.
Satisfied with my preparations, I stopped for dinner at a seafood restaurant. Being raised on a farm, I was spoiled on good home cooking and the best quality beef. So, when I dine out, I prefer to go where I have something completely different: seafood, Cajun, Mexican, Chinese, etc. and if they serve alcohol, even better. After dinner and drinks, I retire for the night - checking out the local news and thinking over my plans for tomorrow, until I fall asleep…
Monday morning, Burke visits "The Barimen Group"…
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