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Mystery

Myrilius raised his Staff of Fire towards the Ancient White Dragon and started muttering his incantations. Once finished, his eyes glowed as he brought his Staff down into the ground. He smiled as the flames rippled outwards from him like an apocalyptic tsunami. The ice dragon screeched as it fell from the skies, Myrilius’ party staring in awe as-

“Oh, shoot! My phone’s ringing. I’ll be right back.”

           I left as my friends shouted out complaints. I went into the bathroom and answered the phone call.

           “Hi, this is Westley Roberts. Who is this?”

           There was a solemn pause. “Excuse me, Mr. Roberts, this is the police: would you know a Mr. Arthur leFay, about 16 years old?”

           I gulped. Arthur had been late for D&D. “Yeah, I do. Wh-why?”

           The voice sighed sadly. “We’re afraid that Mr. leFay was involved in… an accident. We’ve already contacted his parents. Please come as quickly as possible.”

           I was rushing out the door before the police officer could state the address.

.          .          .

           I arrived just a couple minutes later. I looked around: I was in front of the Comic Shop, where there were a ton of people swarming around. There were police officers, news reporters, and investigators crowded in the area, as well as an ambulance just starting to drive away. I was escorted by one of the officers to a vehicle, where there was a body under a cloth tarp. I gulped: I wanted so badly to pretend that this wasn’t happening, but my eye kept drifting towards the body. Stupid eyes.

           I kept swallowing, and my mouth felt dry. Finally, I decided that I had to say something.

           “So, um… what happened? Like… how did he…”

           The officer nodded. “Well, we got a call from a young lady who had been driving past that she had just seen someone severely wounded in front of the Comic Shop. We, along with an ambulance came to assist as necessary. When we arrived, we found Mr. leFay splayed out on the sidewalk. As far as we know so far, someone snuck up on him and slit his throat, as there doesn’t seem to be any signs of a brawl: no bruising, no scrapes; no other wounds.”

           I had no idea what to do. There was nothing I could do. I just waited until Arthur’s parents arrived. I tried to console them. I warded off newscasters who were asking about the “Comic Shop Catastrophe”. I finally went home very late at night. I still wasn’t quite processing what had just happened. The next morning, I contacted our D&D group and I started planning. I remembered that one of the officers who was in charge asked that none of us try to “act outside of the law”, but I had to do something. I couldn’t just let my friend down.

           First, I posted on all of my social media that, if anyone had any information pertaining to the murder, to please PM me. Then, I bought a space in the daily paper and put in the same message. Last, I took care of the most important part: wardrobe. I ripped through my closet, then went through my mom’s old stuff. I finally got my perfect outfit put together: a long gray trench coat, my grandpa’s shiny black combat boots, my fingerless leather gloves, and a blue scarf. As soon as I was geared up, I received an anonymous email.

           I saw your ad. Can we talk face to face? Here’s the address for the rendezvous;

           I looked over the address.

           “Well, it’s the only lead that I’ve got so far.”

.          .          .

           I went up to the derelict, hole-in-the-wall bookshop and rapped on the door. No one responded. I tried knocking again, then asking if anyone was there.

           “Ok, I’m just going to come in. Sorry if I’m intruding.”

           I walked in through the door. Suddenly, everything went black.

.          .          .

           When I finally woke up, I almost fainted again.

           “What the heck is going on?!” I screamed.

           I was on an open hilltop, with colorful trees covering the surrounding hillsides. There was a sky-piercing mountain, little towns dotting the forests, probably around a thousand conspicuous evil fortresses (seriously, it looked like you couldn’t toss a d20 without hitting a villain), and the occasional terrifying bird squawk.

I started checking myself to see if anything had been taken. I still had my leather gloves, my boots, my trench coat, my Staff of Fire… I stared for a moment.

Oh, no.

I collapsed again.

.          .          .

 

           I woke up and, finally feeling stable, made my battle plan.

           “So,” I recited to myself. “I will journey towards the nearest village. I will not die. I will ask for directions. I will not die. I will try and get back to my world. I will not die…

           I stopped as I saw a fog start to gather in front of me. It slowly started to gain a form, and then it condensed into someone that I knew so well.

           “Arthur?”

           The apparition grinned, and I couldn’t help but notice that the slit on his throat looked like a second smile. I cackled.

           “Dude. You look like a wanna-be Nearly Headless Nick!”

           Arthur just peered down and nodded. He gestured at me.

           “I know that I look different, but look at you! Heck, you look just like Myrilius!”

           I felt around my head and started squealing.

           “Look at this! I’m an Elf!!!

           I started happy dancing around the hill. Arthur looked expectantly at me. I stopped.

           “Oh, right. Still need to solve the whole ‘you being dead’ thing.”

           Arthur nodded patronizingly. “Yes… if we could solve that, it would be nice.”

.          .          .

           After we had discussed everything, I recapped.

           “So, you don’t know who murdered you, but you think that they are somehow here.”

           “I think so,” Arthur murmured. “But all I’m going on is a gut feeling. Oh…”

           I smirked. “No, don’t worry. I get what you mean. Anyway, where should we go?”

           Before Arthur could respond, there was the sound of light footsteps coming up the hill.

           A young woman walked into view. She waved at us, her burgundy hair flowing past her waist, and her gray shirt bringing out her eyes. I started to feel a little warm. She strolled up to us confidently and smiled. I was definitely feeling warm.

           “Hi.,” she said nonchalantly. “I know this is a little awkward, Myrilius, but I have some information about your friend’s murderer, and I couldn’t think of how else to get you here.”

           Arthur floated over, eyebrow cocked, supposedly handsome grin in place. He looked her in the eye and started wiggling his eyebrows.

           “Hey, lady. I feel like we have a lot in common; we both want to solve my murder… yeah. So, how about dinner tonight?”

           She just ignored him. While he was “sweating through his eyes", she turned back to me.

           “Oh, right. I forgot to introduce myself. My name’s Avery.”

           I looked over her: creamy skin, stunning gray eyes, perfect face, lithe figure, lovely clothing, and…

           “You have a Soul-Stealer blade? Those are so rare! I mean, they’re minor artifacts!”

           She grinned at me, her eyes gleaming. “You know your stuff. But, Myrilius, do you know whose it is?”

           I was about to respond when Arthur sniffed at me, looking very offended.

           I cleared my throat. “Oh, right. Um, so what was the information that you had?”

           She paused for a moment. “Well,” she said calmly. “I’m a wizard, and I specialize in divination. It’s not exact, but I feel that the murderer is in this world.”

           “In fact,” she continued. “I think that we’ll find the murderer at the top of Mount Atlas.”

           She pointed to the giant mountain that was shooting into the sky. I groaned.

           “Well, I guess that we should get going. Up the side of the tallest mountain in the world. To face a known murderer. This’ll be great.”

.          .          .

           After about three or four days of intensive exercise, my body hated me, but we were almost at the top of the mountain.

           “This is it,” I said as we were coming around the bend. “I can’t believe that we’re about to solve the murder. I mean, this is a big moment! Quick, what’s a good one-liner?”

           Arthur looked crest fallen. “I don’t think that that will be necessary.”

           I was confused. “Why? I mean, every detective comes up with a one-”

           Arthur just pointed towards the peak. I looked.

           “How? How is there no one there?”

.          .          .

           I was distraught. I just sat down and clumped forward. I started stuttering.

           “I don’t have any clues. The murderer won’t receive justice. I-I was so sure that we’d finally be able to solve it. And now we’re stuck on the top of a mountain in another world.”

           Arthur suddenly looked very pensive. He was muttering to himself and gesticulating as he floated around. Avery looked disappointed.

           “Everyone,” she said, with tears welling up in her eyes. “I’m so sorry. I got it wrong.”

           Arthur looked at her with an awed stare. He just pointed at her.

           “No. You didn’t get it wrong. We did find the murderer on the peak of Mount Atlas.”

           Avery and I both looked confused.

           “What?”

           Arthur started gesturing emphatically.

           “Don’t you see? Avery is the murderer! It all makes sense: who reported the murder? A young woman. How was I killed? By stealth: a quick slit of the throat. Who-”

           I groaned and flopped my arms down. Arthur just stared at me.

           “What’s the problem?”

           I rolled my eyes as much as I could. I glared at him.

           “Gee, I know Westley’s the detective here, but why don’t I do the coolest revealing monologue ever? Really? Could I at least have this?”

           Arthur sighed and drifted over. He whispered the info into my ear. I stood up and pointed at Avery.

           “You. You murdered Arthur. And you thought that you would get away with it.

           Avery looked underwhelmed.

           “Geez, you two are idiots. And, no, I did not think that I’d get away with it. I could have hidden the body. I could have made it look like he had simply choked. Or had a heart attack.     But no. I left him because I wanted you to come after me.”

           I laughed for a moment.

           “Ha! I knew it: you- say what, now?”

           Her eye started to twitch. She had an exasperated look.

           “How can you have so much power, yet be so painfully stupid? Do you guys even realize what powers the humans of your world have?

You people can create worlds with just a couple words, or a single sketch. And yet you guys remain so oblivious to it. Oh, sure, you have a few who realize what exactly they’ve done; your Rowling, your Riordan, your Pratchett. But most of you just float through life, forgetting or even ignoring the powers that you have. This world is the creation of one of your people. I’m the creation of one of your people. I was just created one night for plot convenience in a story!

I want what your people have: imagination. I want to be able to create things at the blink of an eye. And if you people aren’t going to use it, why shouldn’t I just take your place? That’s when I realized that I could. I have a Soul-Stealer. If I just killed one of you, I could take your place. Once I took them out, I could return in their place a day before they died. It’d be like Arthur never existed; like it had always been me. Then, I realized that if I wanted to leave this world, I had to find someone to replace me. Otherwise, this world would be unbalanced, and I would be sucked straight back in.

So, I set this up, and now you’re going to be stuck here. Have fun!”

I raised my hand. She glared at me.

“What do you want? I just did the monologue, and I was about to exit. You’re ruining the ‘impressive’ factor of this.”

I put my hand down.

“So, how did you make the portal? I thought that you did divination.”

She groaned and pinched the bridge of her nose.

“Oh, good Gaul, do I have to tell you everything? Didn’t you guess by now that I was lying? I’m a planes-walker. Can we get back to the original point?”

Arthur raised his hand.

Avery flopped her head back.

“What?!”

“Um, I don’t know. I just thought that since Westley got to ask a question, I did, too.”

Avery clenched her jaw.

“Whatever. I’m going now. Bye.”

She started creating the portal, a giant, blue, swirling vortex. I gasped and quickly executed my idea. I yelled at Avery.

“Hey!”

“What?”

I raised my Staff of Fire towards her.

“You’re going out in a blaze of glory!”

The last sound she made was a disgusted groan. She was incinerated, the only traces of her existence the portal and the Soul-Stealer.

I raised my hand to high-five Arthur. He was groaning.

“No. Just: no…”

.          .          .

           Well, we returned through the portal, which sent us back a day before Arthur had died. And since there was no longer anyone to murder him, it was almost like it had never happened.

           Almost.

           We went to D&D. After everything was set up, our DM looked at us all seriously.

           “You are on a hillside, when suddenly a young woman comes along. She’s very pretty and has long, burgundy hair. She introduces herself as Avery.”

           Arthur and I looked at each other.

           “Oh, no.

January 17, 2020 18:33

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1 comment

Kara Ohara
02:59 Jan 24, 2020

The pacing was a bit fast, but I liked the easy going narration and the humor. It was a fun read.

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