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i am a sixteen years old actress, writer and a novel lover!😂😍
read and enjoy.
Hi. My name is Fiona Adams and unfortunately, what I am about to narrate is all true. This story would leave a permanent scar on you no matter what you are and who you are. So if you feel that you want to know the story of how a once peaceful and productive town like Sapphireview town, home for all, became a territory of fear to all occupants, READ ON. But do not say I didn’t warn you.
It all started on the night of the first day of the summer holiday. When everyone had retired to the comfort of their beds and had drifted to their fairytale land. The only sounds to be heard were the hooting of the owls in the nearby trees, the whistling of the wind, and the sounds of the trees dancing in the moonlight. It was one of those perfect nights in a perfect town filled with perfect people.
On that perfect night, a shadow loomed in the darkness waiting to cause havoc. When the clock struck twelve and the silence was broken by the gongs of the clock tower. That was when the trouble began. A mysterious person ran out from behind the wine warehouse, towards the smiths’ mansion and broke into the building. After a few minutes, the sound of a gunshot echoed throughout the town then the person ran out of the mansion.
At that point, the sound of the gunshot had awakened the small town. Fear gripped everyone’s eyes, the sirens were heard and the pure innocence of the night was defiled. The person who shot the gun was unknown. The reason the person would break into the smiths’ mansion was also unknown. What was known for sure was that the small town of Sapphireview which was once peaceful and quiet would not be the same again.
Truly spoken, the incident of the night before left the town in a state of anarchy and confusion. It practically ruined the summer plans of all the kids in the town because all the parents were freaking out about the safety of their children. By 6 o’clock, the whole neighborhood was filled with reports, journalists, the FBI, and concerned citizens. Instead of the usual sounds of teenagers and kids rushing to the parks or beaches, riding their bikes, playing games, and causing their usual trouble, the sounds of sirens and a crucial curfew were put in place.
Now, this is my favorite part of the story. WHY? This is because this is where I come in. The Smiths’ mansion is right beside my house. When the gunshot was heard, I was in my room wide awake, working on the ideas for a YouTube video I was meant to shoot the next day. The FBI officers came to question my dad on whether or not we saw anything suspicious but we answered in negative- which is true, by the way. Mr. Smith who unfortunately didn’t survive the gunshot wound was mourned adequately by the whole town. His son, Adrian Smith, was invited over to my house to stay with us for the time being. He was unusually quiet and looked so gloomy. Nothing I did could even cheer him up at all. I don’t blame him; it is very tough losing your dad after a year of losing your mother.
The Smiths have been our neighbor for ten years now and throughout the period that I have been friends with Adrian, I have not heard of Mr. Smith engaging in any illegal dealings. The mystery that kept turning in my mind is who exactly would want Mr. Smith dead. Luckily for me, I was able to convince my dad to pick up my best friends from their houses ‘so we can work on our pitch video on a competition we registered for’. This is partially true but the main reason I wanted them to come is so we can work on this mystery case together. A million questions came to my mind about the case which I wrote down for future references. To keep me from running insane, I cleaned out my room, prepared cookies and orange juices for our meeting.
When I had finished setting up the snacks, I ensured that Adrian was away from my room so that he wouldn’t eavesdrop on the conversation. Twenty minutes later, my dad pulled up into the driveway, and at that moment, I could hear the excited chattering of my besties as they ran towards the porch.
“Heyyyyyy!” shouted Iris who was always very competitive and adventurous. She loved mystery novels especially murder ones. “Look whom we have here.” She took my face into her hands and started making repulsive expressions.
“Hey, guys! Why don’t we go upstairs to my room?” I said after managing to free myself from the hard grip of Iris who was popping a bubble gum into her mouth and flipping her waist-length blond hair.
When we got into my room, we started working on the video which took a very short time because I already did it last night. After that, we started talking about the murder case which by the way was started by Vivienne.
“Guys, is it true that Mr. Smith was involved in an illegal business?” Vivienne asked uncertainly.
“What?” I replied unbelievably. “Who told you that?”
“Look I am not sure ok? I just overheard my mom talking to my dad about it.” She answered biting her fingers nervously.
Vivienne is practically the opposite of Iris. Instead of being confident, a fashion diva, a talkative and boy magnet, she was shy, had low self-esteem, gets scared easily, and is always very nervous that she hardly speaks.
“I don’t think so,” I said trying to calm my nerves.
“Well… don’t want to disagree with you Fiona, but I think it is true.” Evelyn butted in.
“Same here though,” Iris added as she took a sip of her orange drink.
“You can’t be serious. I can’t believe you guys would say something like that about Mr. Smith.” I yelled at them in frustration. “He has been very nice to all of us and you all know that.”
“Fiona, you need to calm down ok?” Vivienne requested with a concerned expression on her face.
“I don’t think you know anything about criminals. Even the ones with the most ferocious crimes can be the nicest.” Evelyn stated.
“What do you mean that I should calm down?” I asked staring at Vivienne angrily “last night I heard a terrifying gunshot and the next morning my best friends are trying to convince me that I have been living with a criminal for ten years.”
“Listen, Fiona, I might not understand how you are feeling right now, but we need you to calm down,” Evelyn said.
“Why don’t we end the topic and play a game of cards, all right?” Iris suggested as she took the card stack from her fanny pack.
Ten minutes later, I became calm and relaxed after playing a game of cards with my friends. The truth was that I had expected that inviting my friends over to talk about the whole thing would help but it didn’t. It just made me a whole lot more confused.
After the game, I showed them the list of questions I had written out earlier. They answered very few of them with little or no knowledge of the whole story.
“You know what? I am thinking we should probably speak to Adrian about this.” Iris said chewing another piece of gum.
“Oh…yeah? And tell him what?” I asked, “That we are trying to investigate his father as a criminal mastermind?”
“Of course not, we would just try to talk to him about his stay in the smiths’ mansion,” Evelyn said. “If you don’t want to do it, I can do it myself.”
“No way! I suggest Iris.” I suggested dusting the cookie crumbs from my shirt. “I mean Adrian has had a crush on Iris for like forever.”
“Really?” Iris asked pretending to be flattered. “Fine, I will do it.”
So it was agreed. Iris went to Adrian`s room to speak to him while I secretly prayed that nothing incriminating would come out from this. I watched as Evelyn took out her pocket knife and began to carve her initials on the frame of my bed. Evelyn is what one would call a tom-boy. She was as courageous and as brave as Iris but extremely aggressive which is very helpful because she had the habit of beating up anyone who messes with us. She always dressed like a boy and even acts like one.
We call ourselves F.I.V.E because of the beginning of our names; Fiona, Iris, Vivienne, and Evelyn. Normally, we spend our summer hanging out in Evelyn’s tree house investigating cases like the newspaper thief, the mystery of the stolen bike in the park, etc. those were all small cases but this case is the biggest so far and I am kind of excited about it. When Iris returned, she told us that all Adrian said was that his father manufactured honey and nothing more.
“See?” I said in triumph looking directly at Vivienne. I was secretly excited that nothing bad had come out of this whole thing. Unknown to me, the worst was yet to come. While I was pouring another glass of orange juice, Evelyn made another statement that made me spill it.
“We can search the smiths’ mansion for evidence though!” She said.
“That would have been a good idea but what would we find that the police haven’t found?” Vivienne inquired thoughtfully.
“And the house has been marked a crime scene” I added as we tried to clean up the mess “there is no way whatsoever we would be able to get in. There are journalists not to even mention the FBI agents out there. They even questioned my dad today.”
“Good point!” Iris exclaimed in support.
“Then we go at midnight!” Evelyn stressed frustrated.
“Now you are talking!” Iris told her as she reached out to give her a high five “I am in the mood for some midnight adventure.”
Remember that saying, “the deeper you get into something, the way more difficult it is to get the hell out of it.” Well…. It is so true and we had to find that out the wrong way.
We became so drunk in the ambition to solve this mysterious murder that we lost control of ourselves. In case you are just turning open this part of the book, or you are starting from this chapter because the first part of the book is torn (it happens to me a lot) or whatever reason so far so good, let me give you a brief recap.
Last night, a gunshot was heard echoing around the small town of Sapphireview, in the morning, my neighbor was found dead, right now, we are planning on taking a trip to the crime scene to investigate. As crazy as it sounds, it made a lot of sense to my best friends and not me. This is very weird because I am the most sensible one and most of the time, the sensible one is always exempted from everything. That is pretty much what is happening now though.
Despite how I tried to change their minds by putting a million what-ifs and buts into their heads, my best friends remained adamant. The motive was planted deeply into their minds that uprooting it would be catastrophic.
So it was established.
We all ran downstairs to my dad in the sitting room and convinced him to call their parents to let them stay for a sleepover. An hour later, all the parents were called, arrangements were made, conditions were put in place, and curfews were fixed.
We spent the next few hours skimming, plotting, planning, and strategizing. We already knew the inside and outs of the smiths' mansion because it is an alike version of mine. Plans were made for quick entry, quick or emergency departure, and lookouts. Evelyn was made a lookout for the front entrance while Iris was made the lookout for the back entrance. Vivienne and I would go into the building with flashlights and glow lights to inspect the building.
After a quiet dinner, we all bid my father goodnight, and went into my bedroom “to bed”. We lay in the darkness for what seemed like forever for my dad to turn off the lights. Our hearts beating endlessly and loudly that it was the only thing our ears could hear. A picture of the worst sleepover anyone would ever have.
Two hours later, my father finally turned off the lights in the sitting room, and the rest of the house. He came upstairs and knocked on the door of my room to make sure we were all asleep. When we didn’t reply, he left. After two minutes, the outdoor lights were turned on lighting up the night and creating creepy shadows on the ways of my room.
That was when I knew….. It was time!
My heartbeat was in my mouth with fear, as I beckoned my best friends and together, we put on our hoodies and jackets over our PJs and slipped out of my bedroom window, down the apple tree beside it and we were all outside. We took out the flashlights and glow lights from the backpack we took with us. After waiting a few minutes to be sure that we didn’t wake up my dad by accident, we crept through the backyard and jumped over the fence into the smiths’ mansion.
It was Dark. That was the first thing we noticed about the backyard when we jumped in. Unlike the flood of lights that spewed from the patio of my house, it was opposite at the other end. I didn’t want to say this in front of my besties, but to me, it felt like I had entered into the house of the angel of death. As we flashed our lights around the patio, I saw dry leaves which had fallen from the trees on the ground.
“I don’t know about you guys, but this place gives me the creeps.” Vivienne protested with an edge of fear in her voice.
“Same Vivienne, you aren’t the only one at least.” I soothed her by grabbing her hands with my free arm. “But we have already come a long way so it won’t make much sense to turn back.”
“Yeah let’s just do what we need to do and leave… FAST!” Evelyn directed as she dropped the bag and began to get out the masks and hand gloves.
“What exactly are we looking for here?” Iris inquired speaking for the first time throughout our mission which is very unusual.
“Anything implicating. Check the grounds for footprints guys. Except for ours, of course.” I told Evelyn and Iris who nodded in agreement. Turning to Vivienne, I added, “While as agreed, Vivienne and I would break into the house, and check for documents, concerning Mr. Smiths’ business.”
“Checking for the fingerprints obviously wouldn’t take much time since we know that the only place we have walked on is the patio,” Iris added.
“Actually no!” Evelyn corrected as she gestured towards Vivienne and me “Remember that both of them are going towards the front entrance to get into the house and I am a lookout for the front entrance.”
“Ok guys, we meet at this same spot in ten minutes,” I said as we put on our masks and gloves. “If we aren’t back till then, wait for a few minutes DO NOT go looking for us.”
“Good luck!” I whisper-shouted to them as Vivienne, Evelyn and I ran towards the front entrance with or flashlights leaving Iris who already went to work looking for footprints.
We ran crouching very low and ducking under police tapes. The sounds of the dried leaves crunching under our feet as we ran combined with that of the wind broke the dead silence around the house. When we arrived at the front entrance of the house, Evelyn tossed the equipment bag to me and I dug through it till I found what I was looking for.
I took them out and fixed them into the keyhole of the door and jingled them there. To be very honest, I had very little idea of what I was doing but surprisingly, it worked. I stood back in awe as I watched the door creak open making a creepy and bizarre creaking sound. It reminded me of the horror movies I have watched and I trembled to my spine with fear.
When we stepped into the building, we were met with ANOTHER set of police duct tapes. The sitting room was dark and empty in the most gothic way. I never remembered the sitting room looking so huge. The walls of the sitting room were lined with photographs of the important memories of their family. When we got to the middle of the sitting room, Vivienne screamed. There were bloodstains on the whitewashed rug (which was not white anymore).
“It’s Mr. smith`s bloodstains from the gunshot.” I pointed out using my flashlights to take a closer look. “it's kinda creepy that he didn’t know all those years when he sat on this chair that one day, his blood would be an embellishment on the hearthrug.”
“DON’T! We shouldn’t even be standing here. This is a crime scene.” She said petrified.
“Dude, I am pretty sure this whole house IS a crime scene. Just make sure you touch nothing. Kapish?” I answered.
“Kapish it is!” Vivienne agreed as we made our way to the stairs.
When we got upstairs, identifying the study which Mr. Smith spent all his time finalizing all his business transactions and activities was not difficult. It was like his office in his home. The study smelt of cigarettes and liquor.
“He must love his family members. Especially Adrian” I observed as I looked at the walls of the study. It was no different from the sitting room. The pictures of Adrian from when he was born till the present are arranged on the wall. And get this- he left some space for the future.
We went to work immediately. I fished out the small camcorder my dad got me for my birthday from the equipment bag while Vivienne dived behind the drawers, pulling every handle and taking out every file. I didn’t have time to read any of them though but I took pictures of each one of them- a lot of pictures. As we were working, I secretly thanked myself that we wore gloves if not, well, the FBI would find four interesting sets of fingerprints around the house. That would mean we would spend our senior year in jail.
As we were arranging the files, my eye caught something. I sincerely don’t know why, but I decided to pick the paper up and read it, and thank God I did. It was a letter from Adrian’s uncle, who is Mr. Smith’s brother.
After reading the shocking letter, I stuffed it into my PJs pocket and I pulled Vivienne and we hurried out of there. We pushed our way through the house, careful enough not to accidentally ruin the FBI tapes. When we got to the spot we agreed to meet, we found Evelyn and Iris already worried.
“It’s about time!” she hissed as we walked towards her. She was trying not to sound scared as the tough one in the group. But the truth was that we were all terrified at what we were doing.
“Ten minutes just ended!” I replied rolling my eyes.
“So what did you guys find?” Vivienne asked, “Any footprints anywhere or anything?”
“Nope!” Iris replied “the murderer was just too smart about it. He didn’t even leave a button.”
“Guys sorry to interrupt, but this is not the right place to have this conversation.” I reminded as the vision of the bloodstained hearthrug flooded into my memory bloodcurdling me for the very first time.
In the space of five minutes, we found ourselves in my bedroom again. I let out my breath in relief.
“That was a heck of a night,” I said as I hopped into my bed and lay on it staring at the ceiling.
“So what did you guys find?” Evelyn asked, “You guys sure were in there for a long time.”
“Not much, a few business files and all. We only checked the study remember?” Vivienne said.
She took out the camera from the equipment bag and we watched her load the pictures into her laptop. When she was done, we all crowded her at the study table and looked through them. Nothing suspicious was found among the files.
“Weeellll….. It turns out that Mr. Smith was not in any illegal business.” Evelyn said as she stared at the honey manufacturing company logo.
“So Adrian was right.” Iris said disappointedly “Ugh! This is a blind alley. I mean who would want poor Mr. Smith dead?”
“I think I know,” I answered the rhetorical question. “I saw a letter that was just too incriminating to be taken picture of.”
I took out the letter and placed it on the table. I watched them as they turned their attention to it and read it.
“Mr. Smith owed his brother $2000 which he borrowed from him to support his business. Mr. Smith was unable to pay back. Probably he was passing through some financial difficulties when his wife passed on. His brother sent this letter some months later threatening him to pay.” I stated.
“How do you know all this?” Iris asked turning her attention to me.
“I don’t know.” I shrugged “probably instincts.”
“So, Mr. Smith’s brother killed him?” Evelyn realized as she put down the letter stunned.
“We may not be so sure,” Vivienne said with fear. “What if it is just mere coincidence?”
“She is right.” Iris pointed out as she stared into nothingness. “We can’t go around reporting an innocent man to the FBI.”
“Then I can’t believe I am the person saying this,” I said as the whole crew looked at me “we will have to watch him for a few days, you know keep a close eye on him until we see him do something suspicious.”
“That means we have to speak to your father again tomorrow,” Evelyn stated.
We put away the masks, gloves, and any sign that would indicate that we went out, and tried to get some sleep. The room became very quiet and the only thing that was heard was the sounds of steady breathing. Four best friends with a whole lot of mystery ahead of them.
The next few days went like a blur. Seconds turned into minutes, minutes turned into hours, and hours turned into days. Three days after, we found out the hardest truth of the century; our friend’s uncle was the cold-blooded murderer of his father. Though Vivienne and Iris found it hard to believe, Evelyn and I had a strong feeling that the letter we found proved that Adrian’s uncle had a motive and a hand in the murder of his brother.
Evelyn`s parents volunteered that we use their summer house at the edge of the city for the ‘research we were doing for our competition’. To be very sincere, I felt a little guilty about lying to them in their faces like that, but what had to be done, had to be done right? We were driven to the summer house by Evelyn’s parents’ chauffeur early in the morning after a quick breakfast. Though we preferred to stay there alone, her parents insisted that we stay with the caretaker of the house.
The summer house was the perfect location for our operation this is because it was very close to where Adrian’s uncle lived. We looked up his address on the letter and after lunch, we took off on our bikes to his house. To be honest, I was pretty impressed by what I saw. In my head, I already imagined Mr. Smith’s brother living in a damaged house that those villains live in. But when we got to the house, it was a well-maintained duplex.
We kept a distance from his house and watched for any suspicious movements. After three tiresome hours of watching, he only came out once to trash the garbage. We went back to the summer house starving, disappointed and frustrated all at once. The doubt of Adrian’s uncle being the murderer began to grow in our minds.
The next day yielded the same result. Mr. Smith`s brother took his dog for a walk around the park in the afternoon. We couldn’t ignore the hard-coated truth-Mr. Smith`s brother wasn’t the killer and we were wasting our time. Things seemed uninteresting and fruitless until one night.
On the third night of our stay in the summer house, we were taking a walk around town when we came across a car we recognized as Adrian`s uncle`s car parked near a conservation forest.
Why was the car parked there?
As we came closer to the car to be sure, Evelyn said “why is Adrian’s uncle`s car parked at the front entrance of the conservation forest like this?”
“Maybe he is inside,” I responded squinting into the entrance of the forest expecting to see him.
“Guys, I don’t like the sight of this place. Can we go home now? It is getting kind of late.” Vivienne protested.
“Check if the car door opens,” Iris said with a glint in her eye. I knew already what she was thinking.
“Hell no!” I disagreed “we are not breaking into someone’s car.”
“I agree with Fiona! I mean what if it isn’t even his.” Vivienne said as she looked around with a tense expression on her face.
“It’s his car,” Evelyn confirmed as she looked into her phone. “Some days back, I took a picture of his plate number while we were spying on him as usual. Look, it’s the same.”
“If that’s the case, let’s check it then. The evidence we are looking for may even be inside the car.” Iris insisted peering into the window of the car.
“What makes you think so?” I asked
“Well, for one, he takes the car everywhere he goes and if he killed his brother, he wouldn’t keep the evidence in his house because he fears the FBI would search and find it,” Iris explained rolling her eyes in exasperation. “Now PLEASE may we open it?”
“So you prefer we break into the car of a cold-blooded murderer?” I asked maturely. I didn’t feel right about any of it.
“Oh yeah, of course,” Evelyn and Iris replied in unison. Iris took out her hairpin from her hair and gave it to Evelyn who put it into the keyhole and went to work.
Naturally, Vivienne complained. Since I was left with no choice but to help, I was on the lookout. After a few attempts of rattling the hairpin in the keyhole, she pulled the door and it opened. She slid into the passenger’s seat in front and pressed a button. Instantly, we heard a sound, and she signaled for us to pull the door open.
Iris excitedly pulled the passenger’s seat door at the rear entrance and slipped into the seat drawing me in with her. I didn’t even have time to protest I was already in. We spent time searching the car as Vivienne as usual, kept complaining and urging us to be quick. After a while of searching, Iris called our attention to a box she found beneath the driver’s seat.
We all struggled to force the box open with the hairpin. What a night! With Evelyn swearing under her breath as she wiggled the hairpin in, and Vivienne holding the door open and urging us to come out of the car, Iris saying all this excitement is making her want to pee and me? I don’t remember what I was doing.
Like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t like the idea of breaking into the car. I was regretting it even as I sat on the passenger’s seat with Iris. I wish we never went for a walk, I wish we never saw the car and I wish we never decided to break into the car. Maybe what happened next wouldn’t have happened.
When the box was forced open, Iris let out a gasp of surprise when she looked in. As our heads formed a circle at the top of the box, when we peered into it, panic, fear, and anxiety kicked in. Then the worst thing happened.
Vivienne whispered in a tone that indicated urgency; “Guys he is coming!” as she stared at the shape forming in the darkness.
In a brief matter of seconds, we shut the box, ran out of the car without even bothering to shut the doors, and took off into the night. Our hearts filled with fear and regret as our feet hit the floor as fast as we could make it.
We got home quite late for dinner, to meet a very worried and anxious Miss Briggs. Our caretaker had been waiting for us for over two hours and was thinking of ringing Evelyn`s parents to inform them of our unknown whereabouts. As usual, we had to lie to her that we went to an interview with one of the residents. When we were asked whether we wanted a late-night dinner by Miss Briggs, we declined. Our appetites had been lost beyond retrieval that horrible night.
As we took our flights up the wooden steps to our bedroom, we heard Miss Briggs mutter “I wonder what you would be doing interviewing any residents for?”
“Our real fear has only just begun,” I whispered immediately we stepped into the bedroom and shut the door. “Miss Briggs has started to suspect our ‘research project’” I added making motions with my fingers.
“That is not the real problem at the moment,” Evelyn stressed as she stared at me in awe.
“Like how can that be bothering you right now Fiona?” Iris asked a slight tone of irritation starting to rise.
“We can deal with her later. Trust me.” Evelyn replied as she waved the issue away with one swipe of her palm. “What we need to be thinking about is what we saw in that car.”
“What did you guys see?” Vivienne asked inquisitively.
“We won’t have seen anything if you guys had just listened to Viv and me, and walked away from that car when we told you to” I shrugged accusingly as I took a seat on the couch.
“Well… at least we found what we did. This proves all our suspicion true.” Iris said rolling her eyes.
“What did you guys FIND?” Vivienne hissed again staring at us constantly. “And what does it PROVE?”
To be sincere, I didn’t want to be the one to tell this to Vivienne. She scares easily and she would just literally jump far away from our mission when she hears what happened back there. Hopefully, and unfortunately, my other two besties sensed this and we stared accusingly at one another with the responsibility. Typically, Iris took the bull by the horns.
“Well, we found a gun back in Adrian’s uncle's car.” she said and quickly added, “don’t freak out ok?”
“What?” she screamed. Luckily for us, Evelyn covered her mouth and hushed her on time. Then she started whisper-screaming about how we have gotten ourselves into a whole lot of trouble, we might even die, ya-ria-ria. The usual.
We calmed her down and assured her that nothing of the sort will happen. This if you would agree with me, was a VERY difficult task for us. We decided that it wouldn’t be fair to report him without getting the rigid evidence. Then Iris had an AMAZING idea. She said, “One thing that is very common about criminals that I have read about in books is that when asked unexpected questions, they crack very easy like pistachio nuts.”
“So… you are suggesting…?” Evelyn inquired, nodding in understanding.
“I am suggesting that we go and give him some of our ‘research interview’” she concluded with a devious smile on her face. “You know what I mean? Do you know? You know?”
“Ohh... I get it.” I said after a while of thinking.
“Good idea, but the issue is that he may recognize us from tonight.” Evelyn assumed.
“Yeah, and his guard might be up,” Vivienne added.
“Then we disguise ourselves.” I said in conclusion “it isn’t going to be that difficult will it?”
“And I have the perfect outfits,” Evelyn told us. “And concerning Miss Briggs, I am going to work right away guys.” She added as she picked up her phone and begun to dial her parents' number.
“As usual, I am going to say this is a bad idea.” She said as she grabbed her bathrobe to go for a shower in the bathroom. “But as usual, you would do it anyway.”
“You are coming Viv?” I asked her from the other side of the door.
“Yeah! I have no other choice or do I?” came her muffled reply from the bathroom.
I fell on the sofa with fatigue and almost instantaneously, my eyes shut close and I went to sleep dreaming of guns, Adrian’s uncle, and a court case. Half asleep, I could hear Evelyn crying and complaining about the caretaker; Miss Briggs. One of her many talents is acting if I hadn’t mentioned it before.
The next morning, we woke up to the ringing of cellphones, and the next thing we knew, after breakfast, the house was stormed by Evelyn’s parents. They came in anxious and asked of Evelyn who lied to them in an amazingly convincing way last night that our caretaker does not like us and is making our stay very uncomfortable. The caretaker was stunned and too confused to say a word. Meanwhile, Evelyn continued the charade of the previous night.
When the whole drama was settled and Evelyn’s parents had sent away a crying Miss Briggs out of the house with her end-of-the-month pay, we went to work with our mission. We were already expecting another caretaker by evening and we decided and we would be careful around her so what happened wouldn’t have to repeat itself. If it does, then Evelyn’s parents will be filled with a hell of suspicion.
The attic had a very huge closet where Evelyn stored all the costumes she got from her uncle (who by the way, is a theatre expert). The closet was filled with fake beards, wigs, maid uniforms, airport clothes, even a Romeo and Juliet costume. You just name it. It was like we went to a very weird clothing store and I loved it. We went to work trying out costumes and wigs for an hour and a half.
When we were already done and ready, we were drenched in sweat.
“Who knew trying on outfits would be so exhausting? I always thought it was so much fun.” Iris said ironically.
Leaving the house, I felt like we were movie stars, pretending to be who we are not for a mission. My whole body was blooming with excitement. We decided to take a cab because kids looking as smart as we did shouldn’t take a bike.
Iris was dressed like a news reporter from her favorite movie which I literally can’t remember. Evelyn was dressed like a smart high school student. She parked her shoulder-length brown hair into a bun and held it with a pin. For a girl who loved wearing baggy jeans, the outfit looked good on her for a change. Vivienne dressed like a posh business lady. She wore a long blonde wig and put on make-up. As for me, I dressed as my favorite character from a detective movie, Men in Black. Exactly like a private detective.
The cab stopped in front of Adrian`s uncle`s house (I think right now, I will address Adrian’s uncle as Mr. smith II because calling him by his relationship with Adrian is very long). Anyway, as I was saying, we were dropped off in front of Mr. Smith II`s house. Gathering our courage and morale, we rang the doorbell. Out came a very shabby-looking Mr. Smith II who looked like he had been running about for a whole night. His hair was wet and ruffled with bits of leaves and branches scattered here and there.
“Who are you?” he inquired rudely after a minute of staring at us one after the other.
“Vivienne, are you sure we have the right address?” Iris asked dramatically with a feigned expression of confusion on her face.
“Yes, I am.”
“Then, we are very pleased to meet you, sir. My name is Iris Copper. These are a group of colleagues of mine, we are doing a brief research on our project and we would like to interview you.”
“I am Fiona Adams!”
“While I am Evelyn jones!”
“Certainly not!” he replied “as if I don’t have much on my plate. I will not entertain overdressed guests coming to ask infuriating questions.”
He started to shut the door but was stopped by Iris who stuck her foot at the edge of the door base.
“Sorry to bother you, Mr. Smith, we wouldn’t ask any infuriating questions trust me. We are researching the history of America and I am so sure you know more than we do about it…. taken that you have been here for a longer time than we have.” Iris spoke in a professional tone of voice.
“But if you don’t want to help us, we will take our business somewhere else,” Evelyn added.
“Of course, that will cause huge problems for us because you are at the top of our list.” Iris concluded by blowing bubble gum.
“Um… w-why don’t you all just come in.” a very confused Mr. Smith stammered.
“Why the sudden change of mind though?”
“I don’t want to be an obstacle to knowledge.” He gave a reply as he stood aside and held open the door for us to come in.
“Please sit down and make yourself comfortable while I go clean up. You see, I hadn’t much sleep last night because of four teenagers who decided to break into my car." he recounted scratching his hair as he made his way to what I suppose was the bathroom.
The house wasn’t as impressive as it looked on the outside. The sitting room was furnished in a very scanty way. Two cushions arranged opposite each other, with a center table placed in-between them. There was a broken table lamp on the center table (don’t ask me, I am just narrating doesn’t mean I had an idea. Maybe next time you see Mr. Smith II YOU would do the asking). The furniture arrangement made it seem like he moved into the house in a hurry.
Mr. Smith II joined us in the sitting room after a while, and the interview session started. (Now, I am not going to tell you what conversation we had with Mr. Smith II because if I do, this chapter would be so long and I would bore you to a cold death. For we came with some questions relating to the research we were doing for the competition. Which we asked him first, to keep him calmed down before we start the REAL questions). When we were done asking him the research questions, we started asking him questions related to the case.
(Now, THIS is the part where you need to know). It all started with Evelyn asking; “So how long have you lived in this house.”(Wait!) Or was it with me asking; “do you have any relative living in this town?” (I think it is the second option.)
“No, I do not. Well… I had a brother living with his family a little out of town.”
“You HAD. What happened to him?” (That was Vivienne though).
“Oh! Don’t like talking about it. He died mysteriously from a gunshot some days back.”
“Wow. Didn’t he have any immediate family members? I mean, of course except you.” Evelyn asked taking notes.
“He lost his wife just a year ago but he has a son.” He said mourning fully. “Such a tender age to be left alone in this world.”
“Such a pity that something like this will happen to a good person, I am sorry!”
“How old is he?”
“About 15 years old.” He said as he held back tears.
“We are sorry about that. If you don’t mind me asking, how was the relationship between you and your brother?” I asked (out of curiosity.)
“We were very close. More like twins, you know. As a result of circumstances, we lost contacts.” He said regretfully.
“How do you mean?” I asked him as I handed him a box of tissue.
“As I mentioned earlier, I am a hunter. Back then, in Sapphireview where my brother and I lived, there were no forest reserves for me to carry out my occupation. I had to move over here.”
“I see,” I said and looked at my friends. We all shared the same thought which was Mr. Smith II was not our killer.
We rounded up the interview, thanked him, and left. We took a taxi and had a quiet ride back to the summer house. Our minds unconsciously asking the same questions over and over again without fail.
“Who is Mr. Smith’s murderer?”
Since the main reason for our stay in the summer house was to track down Mr. Smith II, we called Evelyn’s parents who were more than happy to come and get us. Just like the journey from Mr. smith II`s house, we kept silent throughout. On getting home, I unpacked my things and went to bed. I was so tired and angry. I was so sure that I knew Mr. smith`s brother was his brother.
I woke up to the sound of a knock on my bedroom door. When I answered it, Adrian opened the door and stood at the doorway.
“Hey!” I announced.
“Hi! Do you have any spare time? We need to talk.” Adrian asked looking gloomy.
To be very sincere, I wasn’t expecting him to say that. The question caught me completely off-guard that it took me a minute to answer him.
“Y-yeah sure. I was just lying in bed, so basically I am not doing anything at the moment. Come in.”
When I gave him my dresser stool to sit on, he started talking most uncertainly. It was not the way he spoke that frightened me, it was what he said.
“I already know that you and your friends are working on my father`s case.”
“Oh! No, it’s not what you think. See-“
“It’s not what I think Fiona, it’s what I have noticed and I have seen.” He interrupted standing from his seat.
“Then you have noticed something else.” I lied almost immediately “we have been working on our national competition throughout that we have no time to think about working on another crazy mission. Besides this is way bigger than us, it’s a murder case.”
“Don’t try to lie to me Fiona; the first night I stepped into this house, you called your friends in here to have a meeting. Then, all of a sudden Iris comes to ask me the weirdest questions about my father`s job.”
“As if that was not enough clues to put together, they out of the blue decided to stay the night and don’t tell me you had a lot of work to do on your project, because I wouldn’t believe you.” He concluded.
“we-ll we DID have a lot of work to do that night,” I grumbled angrily.
“In my father’s case you mean, in the middle of the night, I stayed up because of my insomnia. I heard and saw you and your friends sneak over the fence into my house.” He said giving me an accusing stare.
“Ok, first of all, WHAT?” I said feigning confusion.
“As if that was not enough, you go on this absurd trip. Which I am very sure was a plan to carry on this crazy investigation of yours.” He added.
“We went to interview the people living in that area for our project. I don’t know why you just refuse to believe me.”
“Maybe it’s just because you are the worst liar of the century. I hacked into your laptop yesterday when you were out, and I checked the website for the competition. Your team has posted nothing. Not even a picture.”
“We are working on something.” I lied again. I wasn’t just going to give up easily. I knew what he was trying to do- he wanted me to break. That was the only way the truth would be out. But I wasn’t willing. Not when we have come this far.
“I will say it again,” I said in the most courageous voice as I stood and looked straight into his brown eyes. “We aren’t doing anything.”
“Fine! But I advise you to stop snooping around.” He answered. He turned and made his way to the door.
“Chill!” I said making him stop in his tracks. “I have quite an investigative question to ask. Where were you when the gunman shot your father?”
“Just out of curiosity!” I shrugged when I noticed the look of suspicion in his eyes.
“For your info, I was in bed,” I answered coldly. In a matter of seconds, he was gone.
The conversation I just had with Adrian was just too weird to be kept to myself. I took my phone and called Evelyn and told her about it.
“Can you imagine Eve? Adrian of all people?” I said my voice barely over a whisper.
“I wouldn’t lie to you Fiona; I am freaked out right now. Do you think we should stop the search and just give up?”
“Hell No! I am not turning back now. We are so close, I can feel it.” I whispered back into the phone.
“Did you say Close? We hardly know who the killer is. We are literally in a blind alley right now. Adrian has a point though.”
“Wait for a second, if Adrian is warning me about the killer, probably he has a clue about who he is.”
“Or she, don’t be so sexist right now.” She muttered under her breath.
“Whatever!” I hissed rolling my eyes “My point is that we should probably search the house again.”
“You told me that Adrian saw us that night right? And if we come over, he would suspect big time.”
“Shush!” I hissed into the phone silencing the surprised Evelyn. I knew she was already pissed. For sure, if she were right beside me, I would be dead meat. “I am trying to think.”
“Be fast about it then, or call me back when you are through.” She replied coldly.
“No, wait! You have a point. We can’t go in the night because Adrian would suspect right? So we would leave in the afternoon. It is better for us and safer.”
“With the police and the news reporters gone….” Evelyn started.
“Nobody will stick their nose into our business.” I concluded smiling “Admit it, I am a genius.”
“Yeah! For once in your life.” She laughed
“Thanks,” I replied sarcastically. “Just text the others and meet me in the park in an hour, OK?”
“On it!” she said before she ended the call.
I opened my room door and peeped into the corridor to see if Adrian was anywhere around. Luckily for me, I heard him and my dad hit it off on a topic about football. I groaned and rolled my eyes “BOYS!” Rushing to my wardrobe, I took my backpack and stuffed the flashlights and a packet of hairpins (just in case), and an energy bar.
I looked into the mirror and brushed my hair and applied a layer of lipstick. Finally, I prepared myself for the New lie I was to tell. I got downstairs and was met with both the faces of my father and Adrian staring at me.
“Hey, Dad! I am off to the park.”
“For?” Adrian asked raising a suspicious eyebrow with his elbow on the kitchen table.
“None of your beeswax, Ok?” I said crudely.
“Seriously Fiona Adams, you didn’t have to be rude about it. It was a very honest question. Now please apologize to Adrian.” He replied looking at me in a hurt and questioning manner.
“Fine, I am sorry!” I said indifferently “now please may I leave?”
“Be back before curfew!” dad called out.
“Sure, sure!” I replied sarcastically as I stepped out through the front door.
I let the warmth of the sun swarm on the surface of my skin as I rode my bike to our next meeting in the park. I had a good feeling about this for some odd reason. I just had a lot of confidence that if we search the mansion, we might find the evidence we need. Sighting Evelyn from a distance, I brought my bike to a halt and watched as she rode towards me. About five minutes later, Vivienne joined us.
“Where is Iris?” I asked scanning the park for her.
“Oh... she is calling now!” Evelyn announced as she stared at her ringing phone.
“Quick! Answer it and put it on speaker please.” I insisted impatiently.
“Hey! Where are you? We are waiting.”
“Actually, I am facing a few difficulties.” She replied
“What difficulty?” I asked taking the phone from Evelyn to speak better.
“Umm…. I just got the weirdest message from Adrian.”
“What`d he say?”
“Well… he told me to stay away from the mystery that we are trying to solve if I don’t want to get hurt.”
Evelyn and I exchanged glares. Did Adrian really men any of these threats he kept warning us about? Or does he have any idea of who killed his father and is trying to give us a clue about it? It didn’t really make sense.
“You know what?” I replied, “just come over immediately and we would talk about it.”
“Yeah girl, we are REALLY running out of time,” Evelyn added.
“Running out of time to do what exactly. I really don’t under…..” (Evelyn ended the call though.)
“Ok! Let’s just wait for her to come over then we tell her everything.”
“Tell her what?” Vivienne asked in a confused tone.
Evelyn and I exchanged glances the second time that day.
“Ugh! This is going to be tough.” I thought “Normally, Iris takes up this very difficult responsibility. And for the first time, she comes late. Sheesh!”
“Umm… look why don’t we talk about this when Iris comes so we can do it for once? Ok?”
Approximately ten minutes later, a scared-looking Iris was seen rounding the corner on her bike.
“It`s about time already, we have been waiting for like forever,” I said.
“Ok guys, start talking. Now!” Iris commanded as she parked her bike.
I told the story of how Adrian confronted me. When I was done, a blanket of silence was spread over us. I started biting my nails in thought.
“Now what?” Vivienne asked. I watched her as she started to hyperventilate.
“Relax! I know what you are already thinking, but I have a different approach.” I comforted “we can’t give in now.”
“So why was this meeting called if I may ask?” Iris said blowing bubble gum.
“We are going to search the mansion again. BUT this time, we are searching in broad daylight.” I said as I held my finger up to prevent Vivienne from interrupting me.
“It sounds better than going in the dark.” Iris pointed out “BUT, this whole Adrian shit is really freaking me out.”
“Look, guys, I am totally working on it.” I convinced desperately “I am pretty sure he is just shaken from the whole incident and all. Adrian will come around.”
“And if he doesn’t, and he carries out those threats?” Vivienne asks
“No, he wouldn’t. I know Adrian. He is just too innocent to do such.” My voice replied.
“Ok girls! Enough talking and more action ‘Cause we are out of time already.” Evelyn warned.