Pieces of the Puzzle
Fern woke, covered in a cold sweat. She knew something had woken her, but she just didn’t know if it was a noise or a dream. Suddenly she heard someone coming rapidly up the stairs. She got ready to fight. Just then her co-worker, Addison, burst through the door.
“Crap, Addison! You scared the living daylights out of me!” She leaned back in her bed with a sigh.
“I’m sorry, Miss, but I have urgent news!”
“By all means, what could possibly be the matter at this hour in the morning?”
“There was a murder at the Wintersond Palace!”
The castle, which was seven stories tall, was positioned on top of a mountain to keep away enemies. Below it was a roaring waterfall, 200 feet high. They walked up the narrow bridge to the castle; the only way in and out. As they walked to the castle, the summer breeze ruffled their hair. Fern knocked at the heavy wooden doors and Mr. Green opened them.
“Detective King! Just in time! My witness is in the main sitting area. Please come in and sit down. I will bring you a cup of tea,” said Mr. Green, the owner of the castle. He motioned for them to come in.
“Thank you, Mr. Green. Please call me Fern. May I ask who was murdered?”
“Mr. James Wilson was killed. He was a successful businessman and my business partner.
“Thank you, Mr. Green. I shall take some sugar in my tea.” Mr. Green pointed them in the direction of the main sitting room and headed off to the kitchen. Fern and Addison proceeded to the main sitting room.
“I want to know everything about the witness and the victim: history, family and weaknesses,” Fern said under her breath. “I need to know who was awake when the murder took place. I want to know all of the secret passageways in the castle - every single one.”
The duo reached the main lobby and found a middle-aged man sitting in a chair. He was still in his pajamas. He had slippers on that seemed to be on the wrong feet. Very interesting, Fern thought. She wrote the date and information into her notebook. She took a chair opposite the witness, with Addison right by her side.
“Good morning Mr…?”
“Clark. Henry Clark.”
“Good morning, Mr. Clark. I hear that you witnessed the murder of Mr. James Willson. Can you tell me what you saw?”
“Yes. I saw him stumbling around a corner in the hallway. He appeared to have been pushed. He fell to the floor with a thud.”
“Where did he fall? On his back or front? Down some stairs?”
Mr. Clark thought for a second, then he said, “He stumbled forward, then stopped, turned around and fell backwards onto the stone floor.”
“What is your relation to the castle? Why are you here?”
“I am a waiter. I serve food to Mr. Green and his guests.”
“Thank you for your time.”
Fern pondered this information. She wondered if someone had hit Mr. Willson on the back of the head. Unfortunately, evidence may have been tainted due to the fact that he fell backwards. She wasn’t sure she trusted him, he didn’t sound too convincing. She wrote the information down in her notebook. She stood up and Addison followed suit. When they had walked halfway down the hall, she told Addison that she wanted to inspect the body.
“I want to know what the murder weapon is and if we can locate it.”
Addison nodded and the two of them went to find Mr. Green, who was in the kitchen talking to the head chef. Fern knocked at the kitchen door and the two of them abruptly stopped talking. Strange, thought Fern. Very strange indeed. Fern pushed the door further open and saw Mr. Green sitting in a chair beside a table while the head chef finished washing dishes.
“Excuse me, I’d like to ask you a few questions. Have you moved the body yet? I’d like to inspect the body, please. Did you find the murder weapon?”
“We didn’t touch the body but there was no weapon at the scene, so no… we don’t know what was used to murder poor James.”
“Can you please show me to the body? I’d like to inspect it.”
“Of course! Right this way.” Fern and Addison followed Mr. Green down the winding halls. They walked for about five minutes until they came to the body. Fern put on some rubber gloves and handed a pair to Addison. The body was lying in a pool of blood. It looked like the wound was in his neck. As Mr. Clark had said, he was lying on his back. Fern got down on her knees and flipped the body over to inspect the wound. It was definitely made by a large knife. She had seen this type of cut before.
She worked quickly, gathering evidence. She photographed the scene and the body. There was also a shoeprint in the blood. When she got up, Addison had found some evidence as well.
She motioned to Addison to finish his work and stood. Mr. Green was standing by a window, looking out over the horizon.
“What kind of business was Mr. Willson in?”
“He was a merchant. He bought and sold items to foreign countries.”
“Were you also in that line of business?”
“Yes, we did many transactions together.”
“Fern, I have gathered the evidence. Would you like to leave now and go back to our lab?” Addison questioned.
“Yes, we should get going, but we will be back,” Fern promised Mr. Green.
“Will you stay for a cup of tea? I promised you one earlier and would love your company,” Mr. Green said, in a pleading tone.
“Alright. Just one cup,” Fern said. The trio walked back to the kitchen. The head chef was there, prepping food for the evening meal.
“May I make some suggestions on the type of tea? We have nothing but the finest.” Both Fern and Addison agreed. Mr. Green said Fern should have the winter mint and Addison should have their homemade, peppermint candy. Fern and Addison were both pleased with their selections. Mr. Green went to tell the chef to prepare their tea. When they were finished, Fern and Addison stood up to leave. Addison gasped in pain and held his side. He stumbled forward and fell to the floor.
“Call the doctor!” Mr. Green shouted and they heard the chef run from the kitchen.
“Addison! Addison, can you hear me?!” Fern cried. She had never seen anything like this. Was he allergic to anything in the tea? Addison groaned and clutched his side. The doctor rushed in moments later with a stretcher; the chef at his side. Fern helped Mr. Green and the doctor lift Addison onto the stretcher and rushed out of the kitchen. The cook and Fern stood alone in the kitchen.
“What is your name,” Fern asked the chef.
“My name is Hazle Wood. I have been cooking here for 10 years, and I have fallen in love with this place,” she said with a warm smile.
“How long have you known Mr. Green?”
“We used to do business together, but I fell in love with cooking, so I decided to to work for him. You are staying, aren’t you? Since your friend is in a terrible condition?”
“Yes, thank you, Hazle. Do you have any spare clothes I could borrow?”
“Of course! We have plenty. I will show you to your room.” The two of them talked all of the way to Fern’s room, bonding right away. When they got to the room, she set her supplies on the table, then went immediately to the hospital wing. She saw Mr. Green coming out and asked him if Addison was alright.
“He is unconscious right now, but he will be awake tomorrow. That was a close call. Is he allergic to anything?”
“No, not that I know of. I’ve never asked.” This troubled her that she didn’t know if he was allergic to anything. She should have known this, and decided that she should ask him about it when he woke up.
She went back to her room to review what she and Addison had found at the crime scene. She dumped all of the contents out of her bag and onto a table. There was a vial of Mr. Willson’s blood and the photographs. The pictures were of a piece of chipped floor and his finger. The picture of his finger seemed to be his ring finger, and the ring was missing. That’s what probably caused the crack in the floor, but where is the ring? thought Fern. She didn’t see a ring at the scene and Addison probably didn’t either, that’s why he took a picture of it. She studied the evidence thoroughly, putting Mr. Willson’s sample of blood into a tester to see if he had been poisoned. The results turned out negative; he wasn’t poisoned.
I am so tired, she thought. I will just take a little nap and sleep on the matter. She lied down on the soft mattress and fell sound asleep.
“Wake up! Wake up!” Fern bolted upright in her bed, automatically getting into a fighting position. Then she remembered where she was. She looked at the intruder to find that it was Mr. Green.
“Oh heaven above, are you deaf? Addison is up!! Get up!” Fern threw on a robe and ran off in the direction of the hospital wing. They ran the whole way there and burst through the open door to find Addison lying on his back, awake.
“Addison! Don’t do that again! You scared the living daylights out of me!”
“Sorry, I must have had an allergic reaction to something in that tea.” Addison sat more upright in his bed. “Did you look through the evidence?”
“Of course,” Fern replied with a wink. Addison replied with the same gesture. That was their secret code to say I’ll talk to you later. Both of them knew she would be back later that evening.
“I am actually really tired. I think I’ll get some sleep.” Fern knew he wanted to be left alone until later that day.
Mr. Green nodded and escorted Fern out of the room.
“I am going to go talk with Hazle.” She went off to find the chef who was in the kitchen washing dishes.
“Good afternoon, Hazle!” Fern said. The chef jumped and turned around.
“My God Fern, you scared me! What are you doing here?”
“I was just stopped into say hi.” She went to sit down at the coffee table and motioned for the cook to do the same.
“Ah, I guess I can take a break from washing. Do you want coffee?”
“Yes, please.” Fern sat down and looked up to see the chef putting something on her finger. Must be a wedding ring, thought Fern. Hazle returned moments later with two coffees. As she set them down, Fern caught a glimpse of of Hazle’s ring - it was gold and had a circular diamond in the middle. Hmmm, I wonder if that is Mr. Willson’s ring… She wasn’t wearing it before. Fern wondered. I have to get a look at it, but how? Fern thought she could walk Hazle back to her room, come back and take it when she fell asleep.
Later that evening, Fern and Hazletalked for almost two hours and then went to the library. Bythe time they were finished, they were bothexhausted from reading. Fern proceeded in escorting Hazle to her room. Shewaited outside for an hour, and then went inside. Fern seized the ring and went back to where she had left the finger. It was a perfect match! She ran to the hospital wing to go tell Addison. When she got there, he was still asleep. Not wanting to wake him up, she stepped out onto the balcony. She looked over the mountains and stared at the moon. It was in the shape of a curved knife. Just then Fern had memories bombarding her thoughts. The night of the murder, Hazle was washing a large knife. Her hands were red. The ring on her finger. The missing ring on Mr. Willson’s hand. How nice she was to Fern. The shoeprint- it couldn’t have been the witness because it was the right foot. The poisoned tea. Oh God, it’s, it’s… Fern quickly wrote what she just discovered in her notebook. She had found the murderer.
“Hello, Fern.” Fern whipped around to find Hazle standing behind her. She had a large culinary knife in her hand.
“It was you,” Fern said. “But why?”
“Mr. Willson decided to leave me high and dry for another girl. We loved each other and he just left. But it doesn’t matter because Mr. Green and I got our revenge.” But while Hazle was ranting on, Fern was taking notes in her notebook. Hazle didn’t even notice.
“Why Mr. Green? He was Mr. Clark’s business partner,” Fern asked. She wanted to get as much information as possible.
“He and Mr. Clark were in the mafia together; but Mr. Clark wanted out and we didn’t want him talking.” By now, Fern had written everything in her notebook.
“It’s too bad you have to die. You seemed like a good person.” Just then Hazle lunged at Fern with wild eyes. Fern dodged the knife, and ran toward the door.
“Addison!” Fern screamed as Hazle yanked her backwards. Fern sought to struggle, but Hazle grabbed her with immense strength. Her Iron grasp locked Fern in place. Hazle’s back was against the railing, the knife to Fern’s throat. The warm breeze playing with their hair as they stood, covered in cold sweat.
“Now, It’s time for you to die, Fern King” Hazle said with a smirk. Just then Addison shuffled out.
“Say goodbye to your friend,” Hazle said with an evil grin.
“Say goodbye to the both of us,” Fern replied with a laugh. Then Fern threw herself, with Hazle, over the railing. As she plunged to the waters below, Fern threw her notebook over the railing to Addison. It landed safely on the balcony.
A week later, Addison was better. Mr. Green was arrested for the murder of Mr. Willson with the help of Ferns notebook. They ended up finding Hazel’s body, but Fern was never found.
Addison decided to keep working as a detective under Fern’s business. One day, when Addison was coming home from a long, stressful day at work, he went into his apartment and found the door unlocked. He pulled out his gun and slowly went inside. He saw someone sitting on the couch.
“W-Who's there?” Addison said with less confidence then he hoped.
“You didn’t really think I was dead, did you?”
“Fern? Is that you?” Addison said in utter disbelief.