“Morning David”, James waved gleefully.
“Morning”, his mouth was wide open, and his nose wrinkled.
“Did you even sleep last night?” James asked as he saw David rubbing his eyes.
“Well, kinda slept.”
“Come on, you haven’t slept for days.”
“Is it?” David replied as he scratched his chin and placed his yellow jacket on the chair.
“I think I’ve solved the case.”
James was pleasantly surprised. His eyes glowed.
“Haha, almost there, but there’s this one thing that never lets me sleep.”
James ‘s cat-who-got-the-cream expression dropped faster than a mob informer in an elevator shaft.
“The after-8pm drama. “
“Oh that. They say Mr.Brown didn’t allow them in, and told them not to disturb him for twenty minutes. Which basically leads to a conclusion that he was alive till- nine pm.”
“Which is not the conclusion. He wasn’t alive at all.” David said as he put his new pen between his teeth.
James raised his eyebrows. “I don’t understand this at all. He was speaking! How can a dead man communicate? “
“Mr. James, if you carefully pay attention to the script, you’ll understand something.”
“Understand what ?”
“You’ll know soon.”
“Ah. You always leave things incomplete.”
A few minutes later, the final round of investigation begun.
“Did anyone see you entering the cabin or coming out ?”
“No.” Jason replied.
Dittos for the rest five of them too.
David was not surprised at all.
It was 9am.
“So, what do you all think about this ?”
Silence. All of them simply stared at each other. The faces were as pale as a sheet of paper. Jason, as usual, emotionless. They kept staring at the object David was pointing at.
“We don’t know Sir.” Hannah spoke after a two minute pause. James stood at one corner, his arms folded. He couldn’t completely get was David was saying.
“You’ll know in sometime”, David said brushing his perfectly gelled hair.
A couple of hours later-
“The game’s up” James quipped as he shot the members seated on the first three chairs a private glance.
“You’ll know.” David said as Alicia couldn’t finish her sentence.
They were motionless, while David rustled through his pages and sighed.
“Lemme start. This murder has been committed by two people. Hannah and Alicia, you needn’t worry at all. It’s very, very clever. Epitome of smartness. But not smart enough to not leave any clues. I’ll name the killers soon. Just listen.”
All of them leant forward, with their arms crossed, legs hammering the floor.
David continued. “X went in the cabin twice. While ‘it’ mentioned the first time, ‘it’ failed to undercover ‘its’ own lie. So-“
“You mean ‘it’ ?” Hannah asked curiously.
“Ignoring the gender aspect.“
She nodded. David resumed. “X had entered the cabin twice after 7:30 pm. The second time he’s killed Mr.Brown. And as you had seen, there were three knives on the victim’s back. It’s stabbed once. And later, ‘Y’ has entered. I don’t want to refer to the gender aspect now. I’ll refer to it as ‘it’. ‘X’ and ‘Y’ have planned to do this together. Thank you, Ms.Hannah. ‘Y’ had stabbed the victim. ‘It’ has had a spat with Mr.Brown. Two stabs. Set alright. Now, let’s come to the third stab. It was by neither of the forementioned, but by the witness. Let’s call it ‘Z’. No significance to the gender again. ‘It’ has witnessed this crime, but had failed to put it in words as ‘it’ was threatened by ‘X’ and ‘Y’. And ‘Z’ was forced to stab the victim on the back. And the crux of this happening is that the order of entry in the cabin is X,Z and Y. Does my theory make any sense ?” David asked as he took a long breath.
All of them nodded in unison.
“Now let’s go by names. Jason had entered the cabin at 7:10 pm and left in a few minutes. And Alicia had gone in and exited earlier. And Hannah, you went in at 7pm and left immediately. Now, Lisa had entered the cabin at 7:25 pm. And the thing is no one had seen her go in and come out. By the way, she didn’t come out. She stayed in and murdered Mr.Brown. Unfortunately, Mitchell had entered and witnessed the crime. He panicked and was about to call the cops but was threatened by Lisa. And after a few minutes, Shane had entered. He was too ashamed to be in front of his own brother, but it’s human nature to give up on certain things for something else. And they had threatened him too severely that he agreed not to disclose things.”
All of them gasped. They were shook. And all of them stared at Lisa and Shane. They were guilty, and it was hard to not accept it.
“Lemme finish. Now all of you might be wondering when you knocked on the victim’s door before leaving home. Mr.Brown was already dead by that time. But you heard him saying his signature dialogue-‘Don’t disturb me for twenty minutes.’ Howzzat possible ? It was really clever. “
David pointed towards the object placed on the table again. “Do you what’s this used for?”
Six heads moved up and down with perfect coordination.
“Good. Gramophone, as you all know, is a device used for mechanical recording and reproduction of sound. Quite sometime ago, the killers have recorded the victim saying his signature dialogue a few times. And they have timed it in such a way that it’s played in an interval of say, two minutes, or maybe, even lesser, after every twenty minutes. So every time you knock the door, Mr.Brown would be talking, no matter whether he was dead or alive. Smart, isn’t it ? And Lisa and Shane hadn’t knocked the door only to inform the victim that they had to leave, but also to check whether their plans had worked perfectly.”
The entire room was in perfect silence. They could hear the rustling of trees, the bees humming outside, and David’s pen scratching the white sheet of paper.
“And Shane, you’re really good at covering up things.”
“Now tell me,both of you, what’s the motive behind this well planned murder?”
“I-I was -okay-for years-he-the-victim was harassing me verbally as I was introduced to this company by Mr.Jason, and at one point of time, they both had a lot of problems. And he even threatened me to throw me out. I liked Lisa. I still like her.Shane liked her too. So one day I shared my issues with her. She too was disappointed with him. So we decided to think of an alternate plan. Shane overheard it. He told this to Mr.Brown. And he called us over and threatened again. I was angry with Shane too. But he was not of any trouble. After repeated humiliations and embarrassment, we wanted to get rid of him.”
Mitchell broke down. So did Lisa. After a few minutes, David closed the case by saying, “You both will be accused for murder, and Shane, you will accused for lying.”
No response. James smiled.
“Quite a case.”
“Yeah. Glad I could connect the dots.”
“When’s the hearing ?”
“This week. Most probably.”