The Investigator

Standard

Dr. Taft (6/15/09 10:45P.M.): He had a bullet hole through his back. It was obviously someone that owns a gun.

Professor McHale (6/15/09 11:00P.M.): We can eliminate the girls then.

Duchess Bianca (6/15/09 11:05P.M.): Just because we’re women doesn’t mean we don’t know how to handle a gun. I wouldn’t count your eggs before they hatch.

Professor McHale (6/15/09 11:07P.M.): But if you don’t own a gun how did you acquire one?

Duchess Bianca (6/15/09 11:15P.M.): Anyone of us could’ve taken the gun from someone who owns one. You shouldn’t only be looking at the weapon, even though it is important. You should also look at who was with the stable boy last, and who would have the motive to kill him.

Michelle stared at the computer screen, contemplating the conversation that happened 45 minutes earlier. She processed the investigation thoroughly before typing in her response.

Ms Shelly (6/16/09 12:01A.M.): It was obviously Madame DuPont. She’s well known for seducing men, which is how she could’ve acquired the gun. And he did accidently injure her prize horse which would be a good motive.

Satisfied with her guess, Michelle got up from the computer and went downstairs for a snack. This investigation was probably the hardest yet. Michelle was part of a mystery solving forum. They discussed anything mystery from books to movies and television shows. One section of the board was dedicated to mystery games and the game she was addicted to was The Investigator. It was similar to clue, except the players only had to guess who the killer was. Finishing her bowl of cereal, Michelle headed back upstairs to see if anyone had responded to her guess.

Madame DuPont (6/16/09 12:06A.M.): Well I never! Sure at times I may be a bit… promiscuous and the stable boy did hurt my Bonnie but that doesn’t give me reason enough to kill him. In case you all forgot Miss Lily, the maid, is dating him and she does have quite a temper. I think she was a tad jealous when she caught us together one night, which to me would be perfect reason for her to finally snap. I mean who wouldn’t be jealous of me? My guess is she stole the master’s gun and shot the stable boy.

Sir Byron (6/16/09 12:11A.M.) Congrats Madame DuPont! You cracked the case! Now before the next person PM’s me with an idea I wanted to throw an idea I had out. Would anyone be interested in meeting up at my place one night and playing a live version of this game?

Michelle’s jaw sagged. Quickly she typed back her answer, her hands shaking with excitement

Ms Shelly (6/16/09 12:15A.M.): Of course! That would be awesome! Just say place and time and I’ll be there!

~~*~~

Michelle’s hand shook as she used the door knocker on the old fashioned row home in Philadelphia. She was hoping she had the right house to save her from utter embarrassment. Having the wrong house would be so embarrassing if she wasn’t dressed up as her character, Ms Shelly. She had her hair back in a tight bun and was wearing a Victorian era maroon dress. Michelle let her breath out when a thin blonde girl in a maid outfit answered the door.

“Hello there. You must be Ms Shelly. We’ve been waiting for you.” Opening the door wider, she let Michelle inside. “I’m Miss Lily, the maid. If you would so kindly follow me I’ll lead you downstairs.” Miss Lily led her through a hallway and into the kitchen where a door on the far wall stood ajar. Going through the door and down a flight of stairs, Michelle was shocked by the view. Upstairs looked like any other home, but downstairs was transformed into a Colonial style living room. Everyone was already there, mingling with one another.

“Ah! Ms Shelly!” Turning to her right, Michelle was met with a tall, lean man who was dressed like Sherlock Holmes. “We’re all so glad you could make it. I’m Sir Byron, over by the piano are Professor McHale and Dr. Taft, on the couch are Madame DuPont, Duke Marshall and Duchess Bianca, and over in the corner waiting for Miss Lily is Nathan, the stable boy. Make yourself comfortable and we will begin shortly.” Without another word, Byron stepped around her and went upstairs. Stepping farther into the room, Michelle crossed slowly over to the table, listening to the conversations around her as she went. She didn’t like that she was late to the event. If she had been earlier she wouldn’t have felt so shy and would’ve had more time to get to know everyone. Instead she stood on the far end of the table away from everyone and watched what was going on instead. Just as she gathered enough courage to go over and start a conversation with the group on the couch Sir Byron returned.

“Gather round everyone,” Sir Byron said, clapping his hands together for attention. The group grew silent. “Now,” he continued, “we all know how the game is played. Someone will die. Everyone is a suspect, so trust no one or you may be next.” He sounded so serious, nervous laughter filled the room. Michelle looked around. Several people were listening politely, others looked bored. Everyone was itching to begin. Just as Sir Byron opened his mouth to continue, there was a loud crash. Everyone turned and several people gasped. Professor McHale had collapsed, hitting his head on the corner of the piano as he fell. Bending over him, Dr. Taft checked his vitals.

“He’s dead,” he said astonished and everyone began to murmur.

Smirking, Sir Byron announced, “Let the game begin.”

The room became dead silent. “You must be joking,” Madame DuPont said.

“A man is dead, Byron!” Dr. Taft exclaimed.

“Isn’t that the point of the game? Someone has to die.”

“But not literally!” The room grew quiet again as everyone stared between Byron and Taft.

Byron began to laugh, “Well of course he isn’t really dead.”

“He’s not?” Miss Lily asked.

“Of course not! What do you take me for? I wouldn’t really kill a man for a game. I just slipped a little sleeping draught into the drink he had upon arrival. All it does is lower the pulse so it’s hard to detect, but doesn’t stop it. He’ll be passed out for several hours but he’ll be fine.” The whole room seemed to breathe again. “Now, does anyone have any guesses?”

“He might have been offered food that was laced with something he was allergic to,” Miss Lily guessed.

“He doesn’t look like he was allergic to any food to me,” Madame DuPont replied, receiving glares from several people. “What? It was just an observation.”

“Maybe it was poison,” Nathan suggested.

“Or strangulation,” Byron said.

“Let’s go back to how he was killed later,” Dr. Taft said. “Who would have the motive to kill him?”

~~*~~

Almost two hours had passed since the game began and the only part they figured out was that Professor McHale had been poisoned. To get away for a bit, Michelle excused herself to use the bathroom. Although she was having fun, part of her wanted the game to end so they would be able to have normal conversation.

Her long brown hair cascaded onto her shoulders as she removed the rubber bands that held it back. There were black circles under her eyes. Ripping off a piece of toilet paper she rubbed at the circles hoping it was just her makeup running. When it wouldn’t come off, she threw the crumpled piece of toilet paper toward the trash can, but missed. She retrieved it, and when placing it in the trash she noticed an empty bottle of Tylenol sitting on top. Picking up the bottle, she slipped it into her the only pocket she had on her dress, put up her hair, and went back downstairs. Returning to the group she walked into the middle of an argument.

“This is ridiculous! Someone had to have done it! He didn’t just accidently swallow a bottle of poison,” Duchess Bianca was saying.

“How do we know it wasn’t a suicide?” Madame DuPont replied.

“That’s not the point of the game.”

“Sir Byron,” Michelle said, “where were you when Professor McHale was poisoned?”

Everyone looked up at her. Until this moment, Michelle had kept quiet listening to the accusations instead of creating them.

“I was in the kitchen.”

“What were you doing in there?” she asked, walking closer to him.

“I was making lunch.”

“Was it for Professor McHale?”

“No, it was for myself.”

“Huh, interesting.” Michelle walked toward the middle of the room, knowing that all eyes were on her.

“What’s so interesting about it?”

“Well I was just wondering what else you would use a bottle of Tylenol for.” She removed the empty bottle from her pocket for everyone to see. “Are you sure you didn’t grind a few pills up into a sandwich and give it to Professor McHale?”

Byron began to laugh. Sticking his hand into his coat he pulled out a pistol and aimed it right at Michelle. Miss Lily screamed, and everyone backed away from Byron. “Congrats, Ms Shelly, you guessed right. I killed Professor McHale by grinding up some Tylenol and sprinkled them onto his sandwich. He was the first one here so it was easy to get away with.”

“So he really is dead?” Nathan asked, confused.

“Yes, Professor McHale is dead. Like I said someone had to die to play the game.”

“I thought it was just a sleeping draught,” Madame DuPont said.

“A little fib to get the game rolling, otherwise it would’ve ended before it began.”

“You’re mad!” Duke Marshall yelled. Grabbing Duchess Bianca’s hand he said, “Come Bianca, we’re leaving. I will not associate myself any longer with this crazy person!” He didn’t take more than two steps forward when the gun was turned onto him.

“No one is going anywhere,” Byron said. “You all allowed the poison to take full effect which makes you all accomplices. If anyone tries to turn me in they’ll be turning everyone in.” The gun went off, the bullet buried into Duke Marshall’s leg, as Dr. Taft tackled Byron to the ground.

“Quick! Someone, help me tie him up!” he yelled and everyone, except Duke Marshall and Duchess Bianca, began to help. Miss Lily ran upstairs and called 911. Within 20 minutes the cops and ambulance had arrived and everyone was being questioned. As they were taking Byron away, Michelle told herself she would never go on another forum as long as she lived.

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