There are chocolates scattered over the marble tile. Each one is a perfect sphere dusted with fine cocoa powder, but several lie cracked on the floor, revealing peaks of caramel or rum truffle in the middle. DI Orson Blair halts halfway through the kitchen so as not to tread on a stray piece of chocolate and stops to take in the scene.
An engagement ring of white gold and diamond perches in a small black box, and the room was lit only by candles which have now burnt themselves out and are no more than puddles of wax. Under the unforgiving lights of the forensics team, the expensive delicacies on the floor are showing signs of melting. Dark splatters coat the wall behind the engagement ring box, glinting menacingly in the light. Whoever bought the chocolates and the ring was now either in a great deal of trouble or dead, and it was his duty to investigate.
He turns to the baker who had followed him in. Her name was Mrs. Hunyan, and she was the person who had called in 911. She was a small mousy-haired woman, who seemed as if she had never heard anything mean directed at her in her life.
“So, when did you come in this morning,” he asks her, eying her trembling form dubiously.
“Ar-ar-around 6:30 in the morning, be-be-before my staff came i-i-in.” She stammers, clutching her small handbag like it’ll protect her from whatever, or whoever did this.
“Right, and what did you first do?” Orson asks. Carefully avoiding the broken chocolates on the floor, he pulls out a notepad and a pen and looks expectantly at her. When she doesn’t answer, he gets slightly annoyed. This job is annoying enough without having to deal with these sorts of people. “Well?” He prompts gently, although he has a few choice words to say to her. If only that wouldn’t get him kicked off the police force.
“W-w-well, I turned on the l-l-lights, and c-c-came into the ki-ki-kitchen to start b-b-baking bread and s-s-saw this. I im-im-im-imediatly called 911, and d-d-didn’t do anything e-else.” She stammers even more, if that were even possible, and her gaze darts every which way. Sighing softly, Orson closes the notebook and tries to appear friendly and gentle.
“Did you notice anything was missing?” She quickly nods her head yes, again looking everywhere except at him. His gaze sharpens, and he stiffens. Finally, something he could get a lead on.
“Could you describe it for me?” She nods her head no so fast, the inspector expects her head to fly off. Exasperated, he rolls his eyes. “With all due respect, ma’am, how do you expect me to find whatever is missing if you can’t tell me what it is?” She trembles and firmly clamps her lips shut as if she was keeping secret missile plans or something. He snorts softly at that. Imagine if that was the case. “Ok then. Do you have any staff who I can question?” She nods.
“I h-h-have two as-as-asistants.”
“Good. Can you call them here?” She nods and walks out of the kitchen and into the front of the shop. Rolling his eyes so hard, he feels like his eyeballs will fall right out of their sockets, he steps over to the wall and runs his finger over the mysterious dark substance smeared all across it. Sniffing the blob he had collected on his finger, Orson experimentally sticks out his tongue and tastes it.
Dark chocolate sauce. As good as he remembers from when he was a little boy. The question is why is it here? He walks over to the far wall where the engagement ring box is. Slipping on gloves, he takes a magnifying glass out of his pocket and examines the ring. It was a simple and delicate engagement ring with diamonds placed into the white gold band itself. It was understated and minimalist in a classy way. Small splatters of that same dark chocolate sauce covered the top of the band.
Musing, Orson puts his magnifying glass back in his pocket. Lovers, then. The person who was proposing, a male most likely due to the height and arc of the chocolate sauce splatters, must have not gotten the reaction he’d wanted from his proposee.
“Excuse me?” A voice brings him out of his trance. He turns around. A young man is standing on the threshold of the kitchen, nervously taking in the scene.
“I have a few questions for you that I need answers to.”
“Ok, sir. I’ll try my best and answer them as well as I can.” Orson nods approvingly. This was much better. He pulls out his notepad and reads through the questions he’s prepared.
“First off, what’s your name, and what do you do for Mrs. Hunyan at the bakery?”
“Uh, my name is Aric Goede, and I keep Mrs. Hunyan’s financial affiars in order.” Orson scribbles that down.
“Where were you at 6am this morning?”
“Um, I was getting ready for work. I was at home, eating breakfast.” Orson looks at him.
“Do you live with anybody, someone who can confim your alibi?” Aric shook his head, a slightly guilty expression crossing his face. “Alright then, what was your relationship with your boss?” A fleeting expression crosses over Aric’s face at the question, gone so fast Orson isn’t quite certain he didn’t imagine it.
“A pretty good relationship. We didn’t argue about, um, anything.” Orson nods, jotting down notes. He asks a few more questions to Aric, then once he is satisfied with the answers, moves on to the other staff member, Jordan Ubrida, who was Mrs. Hunyan’s clerk. She gives the same answers as Aric did, and Orsen notes how she also flinches slightly at the question about her relationships with her boss, just like Aric. Strange, but not uncommon for most employees.
Finishing up, he walks around the perimeter of the kitchen once more, but upon not finding anything of more interest, he gives up and lets the rest of the police and investigative team start clearing up the room.
The next day, Orsen realizes that he wasn’t able to fully complete a report on the missing thing, whatever it was, so he decides to head back over to the bakery to gather all the loose ends of the fairly boring case. The forensic team found out through DNA evidence that Mrs. Hunyan’s son, Aric, which Orsen thinks should have been one of the first things the man had told him when they had met, was proposing to his long-time girlfriend, Melanie Cord. She had told him, no, and he had gotten violent, throwing the table over and scattering all the chocolates laid around the kitchen.
In Orsen’s private opinion, the man had gotten a reaction he had deserved, having proposed in his mother's bakery kitchen, but of course, Orsen couldn’t very well say that out loud. But the only mystery was what ingredient went missing and why Mrs. Hunyan didn’t want to tell him.
Orsen walks into the bakery and rings the silver bell on the counter. He is surprised when he notices Mrs. Hunyan herself comes out to greet him, he thought that Jordon was her clerk.
“May I just do a little digging around the kitchen?” Orson swears he saw something that looked like fear cross her face, but she nodded and gestured him through to the kitchen. A woman enters the shop behind him, so Mrs. Hunyan moves away to help her out.
The kitchen was much cleaner than when he had entered it the day before. All the chocolate sauce had been wiped off the walls, and the stray chocolates had been cleared away. He assumes that the engagement ring was taken to the station as evidence, and moves toward the back of the room. Walking around, he is examining the pantry for anything suspicious when he notices red smears on the floor under the lip of the cabinet. Crouching down, he rubs his finger in it and studies it. It looks…like blood. Wary now, he tries to calm himself down. Maybe she cut herself and didn’t notice her blood had fallen? But how the hell could her blood have fallen? And under the counter, also. He walks over to the freezers and notes another smear of blood under the lip of the freezer. He dreads what he will find but opens the freezer door anyway.
“What the-!!!” Aric’s dead body slumps out of the freezer, the door no longer supporting the corpse. He dodges out of the way and watches in growing horror and disbelief as Jordon’s corpse falls out after Aric’s and onto the floor. He cautiously steps over the bodies, bile rising in his throat as he notices the gruesome way that they were killed. He peers into the now empty freezer and pulls out a black trash bag. Opening it up, he gasps as he takes in the ingredient that is now illegal to harvest and banned by the government.
The sound of a cocking gun makes him stiffen, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling. He clutches the enormous bag of the illegal ingredient in his hand and slowly turns around with his hands raised.
“Hand over the bag.” Orson blinks in shock. The stammering mousy shopkeeper facade cracks like the chocolate shells under his feet. In her place is a scowling, confidant woman, although he can tell she’s never shot someone before, the way her finger keeps slipping on the trigger.
“It’s an even bigger crime than illegally harvesting this, you know.” He says casually, trying to coerce her into letting go of the gun. She laughs.
“And I suppose you’re going to let me off scot-free if I drop the gun? No chance, DI. Now hand it over, or I shoot.” He laughs harshly.
“Like you killed Jordon? Like you killed your own son? Why, Mrs. Hunyan? What did they know that you didn’t want them to?” He notices how her resolve shakes when he mentions her son and files it away for future reference.
“They were unfortunate enough to stand in my way. They wanted more money than I was willing to give them, and got greedy.” She snarls, taking a step closer. “Now hand me the bag or I swear I’ll shoot.” He shifts his weight, trying to distract her.
“If I may ask, what were you planning on doing with this?” He shakes the bag of the ingredient, and her eyes shoot to it almost hungrily.
“Why else does a poacher shoot an elephant for its ivory?” She says, almost mockingly. “For the money, of course. Do you know how much money that will go for?”
“No I don’t, but neither will you, because your illegal harvesting days are over.” Orson nods to the policeman behind her that he had paged while she was talking, and he forces the gun out of her hands and cuffs her hands behind her back.
A Shocking Discovery in the Seemingly Innocent Baker’s Shop!
Mrs. Alice Hunyan (45) was arrested yesterday for the illegal harvest of ___ and the murders of Ms. Jordon Ubrida (23) and her son Aric Geode (26). She will be sentenced to a life sentence in the Woman’s Correctional Facility, and her shop will be held at auction this Saturday. Head to page 34 for an in-depth interview with DI Orson Blair, whose bravery and dedication in the field led him to the discovery of a lifetime!