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Mystery Crime Drama

“New case, Noëlla.” Thump. A stack of files in a manilla folder lands on the desk in front of me, sending my papers flying. Great. Now my spotless office has papers everywhere. I huff and look up to glare at my boss’ departing back.

“No case summary?” He turns back, talking a few strides into the office and closing the door behind him. That’s the good thing about being one of the top-ranking detectives in our firm, I get an office to myself, unlike others such as Otto and Schorlek who have to share one. It gives the privacy and thinking space one needs when uncovering confidential cases.

“Young woman, aged in mid-twenties. Her name is Ennia Brown,” Ennia Brown? The Ennia Brown I rescued from a dark alley a year ago? I turn back to him, nodding in acknowledgement. “She’s reported claims of stalking and attempted murder.” Interesting.

“Any reason why I was given the case instead of the others?” I might be a Detective Chief Superintendent in our firm, but there should be plenty of others qualified to take this case, especially those in his ‘Inner Circle’ who don’t have other things such as helping to run the faculty to do.

“Celine’s in Egypt, Henrich’s in Germany, Jericho’s sick and Manuel, Maxim and Molino are... busy. I don’t want anybody else but the best detectives for this case, it’s pretty serious and there’s little evidence at this stage. Only the best could pull it off.” He pauses, “Oh, and the client specifically asked for you. Make the Anary Faralis Detective Agency proud Nöella.” Then he departs, leaving me to ponder the case. That still leaves Jane and Danni unaccounted for and I have no doubt he knew that. But what’s happened to Ennia since that night in the alley? I told her to contact me if anything was amiss and I’ve talked to her since then, but it’s been precisely thirteen months, two weeks and sixteen hours since I rescued her from the alley and the incidents date back at least two years. Why now?


~~~


It was eight-thirty in the evening and I’d stayed back at work a bit longer to finish up writing a case report. The weather was miserable, having rained just minutes before and the cobblestones were slick with water. A yellowed glow came from the rustic street lamps along the pavement, limning the edges of my briefcase with gold. Then I heard the scuffles, the thud and the scream. Alarmed, I raced towards the sound, approaching silently as to not raise any alarm. It came from the far reaches of an alleyway, that from experience I knew to be a dead end. The scream sounded female, the grunt that followed was male. 


I peered into the alleyway, to see an auburn-haired female struggling against a bulky, dark-haired male’s solid grip. She was pinned to the wall and the brute was touching her in awful places, pulling at her clothing and drawing a dagger as she fought back. She stilled at the sight of the knife and knowing her chances were slim I slipped silently down the alleyway. Within moments I had my arms around the brute’s neck and a foot hooked behind his ankle. He slashed with the knife and without a second thought, I’d kicked it from his grasp. With the brute pinned on the ground and his neck held in submission, I choked the air out of his lungs, enough to render him unconscious but no further.


Quickly, I picked up my briefcase, glancing up to the young woman before me. She still hadn’t run.

“Are you alright?”

“I’m o-okay I suppose. Thank you.” She looked away down the alley. “Will he be okay?”

“He’s just unconscious. He’ll wake up in a few minutes so we should head off. Do you need somewhere to stay?” She shook her head, but her eyes were distant. I shouldered off my coat, wrapping it around her shivering form. “C’mon girl, let’s get you somewhere safe. We’ll get you nice and warm.” Within five minutes I’d directed her to a nearby hotel, had her swaddled in blankets and a cup of hot cocoa before her. She was too shaken to ask her any questions, but I could only assume what had happened. I remained with her for as long as I could, heading off home before my flatmate would worry about me. As I stood to leave, I retrieved a business card from my briefcase.

“If you need anything, hun, just give me a call. I’m happy to help any time you need it.” I slipped it onto the table in front of her and quietly let myself out. The card on the table before her read:


DCS. Miss Noëlla Anderson

~Anary Feralis Detective Agency~

Ph: 0427 738 813

Email: noellaa@afda.org


~~~


Peeking my head into Schorlek Kühn and Otto Schuster’s office, it comes as no surprise that Otto is playing video games and Schorlek is sitting on the windowsill reading a book.

“New case, fellas. Briefing in my office in ten.” An acknowledging grunt from Schorlek.

“But I’m in the middle of the boss level Noëllaaa. If you make me go now I’ll lose ALL my progress.” Otto whines.

“Suck it up, Otto. I’ve given you ten minutes, that’s enough. You shouldn’t be playing video games anyway, you know that.” He whines again and I leave them to their activities, returning to my office.


Ten minutes later, Schorlek enters my office, dragging a sullen Otto behind him by the wrist. We discuss the case, examining the details given and the evidence provided both photographed and in hardcopy. Schorlek and I figure out a plan forward while Otto sulks; he’ll confirm the DNA sample while I trace emails and calls to Ennia, then we’ll interview neighbours and retrieve security footage, then assemble the evidence and incriminate the offender.


~~~


“What did you find?” I ask my coworkers.

“DNA specimen confirmed,” Schorlek says curtly.

“Insights, Mr Kühn?”

“There were a few sets of DNA on the letter, including Ennia’s own, but I narrowed down the suspect list to two brothers; Avery and Scott Lancaster, and another man called Jeremiah Hayes, they’re the ones that fit Miss Brown’s description. Mr Hayes is suspected to be a friend of the two brothers, he could be involved with the case.” Schorlek Kühn sites back at his chair and glances at Otto Schuster, the other detective on my team for this case. 

“Anything new, Mr Schuster?”

“Quit the formalities, please. Nothing new, but I have a question. Schorlek, were both brothers’ DNA on the letter?”

“Indeterminate.”

“Why?”

“Unconfirmed.”

“Well, I personally think the brothers are twins. Just saying.”

“Any evidence Otto?”

“No. Search the database though, I get the feeling they are.” I search the database, and sure enough, they’re twins, paternal twins at that.

“Huh, look at that. Otto was right. They’re identical twins. Which explains why it’s determinate; they have the same DNA.” Schorlek nods and Otto grins smugly. “Well, fellas. Guess we have our list of suspects. I traced the anonymous threat emails and calls to Miss Brown to Avery Lancaster’s house and areas that he’s reportedly visited. Oh and it’s not listed in the case, but after she was cornered in the lane, the ID card was found on the unconscious man and it said ‘Avery P. Lancaster’, precisely the person all our other evidence has pointed to.” Other evidence such as him being one of Ennia’s ex-boyfriends and being one of Ennia’s suggestions of the suspect.

“That Avery guy must be some sorta creep, considering the things on that file,” Otto commented. “I wonder what his middle name is. Peter?”

“More like ‘p’ for ‘psychopath’,” I mumble under my breath.

“Psychopath starts with ‘s’ idiot!” Otto says, turning to Schorlek. He puts his hands up, trying to tell Otto it wasn’t him but Otto gives him a sceptical look.

“Dumbass, it starts with ‘p’.” Schorlek mumbles, glancing back at me.

“Meeting over.” I get up to leave as they start to squabble. “Psychopath starts with ‘p’, Otto. You should’ve learnt that in high school,” I say, leaving Schorlek’s relieved face and Otto’s infuriated expression behind me.


~~~


Walking door to door in Avery Lancaster’s neighbourhood, Schorlek, Otto and I have found very little. The young family that lives across the road said that he’s a nice guy that tends to keep to himself but they’d only moved in recently so could not provide much detail. The lesbian couple and the old man living either side didn’t know anything of interest. Overall, there wasn’t too much evidence that they could provide, but they agreed to let us view their security feeds that had a view of his house. That only leaves interviewing Avery himself.


Knock knock. The hollow sound reverberates through my fist as I knock on Avery Lacaster’s front door.

“Good morning, is there anything I can do for you?” Avery’s puzzled face steps out from behind the door.

“Yes sir. I am Detective Chief Superintendent Noëlla Anderson, and these are my colleagues Otto Schuster and Schorlek Kühn. We would like to talk to you for a minute if that’s okay with you?”

“Uh, of course. Is anything wrong, Miss?” He looks genuinely oblivious and concerned, and I’m nearly convinced. He could be a great actor.

“We’ll speak inside please.”

“Was it my brother? I told him that rock adventure was a bad idea.” I raise a brow. 

“Your brother is fine. If we may?” He lets us in, leading us through impeccably neat rooms and into the dining room. It’s business time.


“Do you know why we’re here Mr Lancaster?”

“If it’s not my brother being a doofus, then no, I don’t. Should I know?”

“Perhaps. We are here to ask you a few questions about Ennia Brown.” Brief pain flickers through his expression.

“Is Ennia okay?” He says, barely a whisper.

“Considering what’s been happening in her life lately, she is doing rather well. You wouldn’t happen to know anything about her recent activity, would you?”

“No, I don’t. I haven’t spoken to her since we broke up and I haven’t seen her since.”

“Hm, interesting. Did you know that she’s filed a case for stalking and attempted murder with the AFDA?”

“She.. what?”

“You are the prime suspect, and all the evidence leads to you, so if you could tell us the truth that would be greatly appreciated.” He nods. “Now tell me again, when did you last see her.”

“About two years ago, we went out with a few friends but I didn’t really talk to her. It was still awkward from the breakup.”

“Right. Was anything of notice said?”

“Scott said she was hot. Ennia ignored me most of the evening, but no, nothing of notice.”

“Now why did you and Ennia break up?”

“She was going to study overseas and my grandmother had just died, so the timing wasn’t great for either of us. It pained us both greatly, but we knew it was the best for both of us. Neither of us have been in a relationship since, at least as far as I’m aware.”

“Would you be jealous if another guy showed interest in her?”

“No, I would respect Ennia’s decision to move on. She deserves to enjoy her life.”

“Oh come on,” Otto bursts out, “Quit the sappiness. If you haven’t seen her in two years then explain why one year ago, she was attacked in a dark alley by a man fitting your description wielding a knife. A man, I might add, that had an ID card with the name ‘Avery Lancaster’ on it.” 

“Or why your name was encoded into a death threat letter to Ennia?” Schorlek adds.

“And why the threatening calls and emails were traced back to your very house?” Avery gets paler and paler with every question as if realising that he has no way out, realising that he didn’t hide his tracks well enough and he was caught.

“I- I don’t understand what you mean.”

“You hear what we said, Mr Lancaster. Your DNA was found on the letter, and there are all these other cases of evidence. Do you mind if we have a look around?” We show him our search warrant and he nods solemnly. Avery leads us around the house showing us through the different rooms of his house. There’s nothing much of notice in any of the places we search, this guy is pretty good at hiding his evidence. 


“And this is the guest bedroom. My brother keeps some of his stuff here sometimes.” We nod and have a poke around. We’re just about to finish up when I spot a discarded plastic bag in the wardrobe.

“What’s that Mr Lancaster?”

“I don’t know. Some of my brother’s stuff. He visits sometimes and keeps some stuff here. I don’t monitor his stuff, this room is the only place I allow him to put his stuff wherever he wants and I won’t clean it up.”

“May we look inside?”

“Of course.”

We open the bag curiously, with our latex gloves on as not to disturb the possible specimens. The bag opens to reveal a pair of worn woollen fingerless gloves, a roll of sticky tape, an ID card bearing Avery’s details and a few folded pieces of paper. Schorlek pulls out one of the pieces of paper and reads it aloud

“For my dearest Ennia. Really, I thought you’d have noticed by now. Our connection is true and I love you dearly. Must you always hide from me? Show me what you can do in bed. Can you do that? Otherwise, I will finish what I started that night in the alley, if I can’t have you, no one can. Terror upon you, shall you not oblige. Take what you want from me, but I will always prevail, do not fail me. Love from your dearest, I miss you.”

“Dark much? But that sounds an awful lot like a jealous lover’s letter. Did you write this Mr Lancaster?” Avery shakes his head, and his face is deathly pale from fear. Fear for Ennia or fear for himself? “Well you have a lot of evidence against you sir, I would recommend you start telling the truth or you’ll be imprisoned for lying to authoritative figures. Understood?”

“I only wish to tell you the truth, Ma’am. I did not know that letter was here, nor do I know who wrote it.”

“May we take it for evidence?”

“Of course Ma’am,” And with that, Otto, Schorlek and I take our leave, sealing the evidence in decontaminated specimen bags and leaving Avery’s ashen face behind.


~~~


“So. What do you think of our adventure today? Avery’s house sure was suspicious.”

“Yeah, I think we have enough evidence now,” Otto adds.

“I think Avery is innocent,” Schorlek murmurs under his breath. I cut my glare across the table to him.

What? Did I hear that correctly?” Otto shrugs. “You do understand, Schorlek, that EVERY SINGLE piece of evidence we have points to Avery Lancaster.”

“But maybe that’s what the criminal wants us to think. Everything points to Avery, but if he truly did it, there would be some degree of a cover-up. This is all in the open. It’s too easy. Mr Lancaster’s DNA is on every specimen, his ‘pining’ for a lost love threaded through threat letters, class and emails all traced to his house, a house his brother visits often. Think, Noëlla, think.”

“Are you saying it was Avery’s brother, Scott, that is doing this? What would be his motive though? It makes no sense Schorlek. It’s obvious it was Avery.”

“Check the cams for the night of the alley attack.”

I pull up the feeds from various residents’ security cameras and go back to the date of the attack. We watch as a car pulls up in front of Avery’s house and Avery gets out, knocking on the front door- Must be Scott, I conclude, and sure enough, a second Avery greets him at the door. They go inside, and about an hour later, one of the Lancaster twins comes out holding a plastic bag and there’s a lump under his hoodie near his hip. The knife he pulled on Ennia. Turning up the audio we hear a voice yell from inside the house. “Can you get me milk while you’re at the supermarket? Thanks! See ya, Scott.” Scott comes outside and gets into one of the cars that’d been parked outside before he’d arrived, presumably Avery’s and drives off. Why didn’t he take his own? We skip ahead to the dates of the emails and calls from Avery’s house and Scott had visited on every single one of them.


“Didn’t Avery mention something about Scott having the hots for Ennia? And he seemed pretty concerned for her,” Otto suggests but Schorlek and I’s attention is elsewhere. The letter. The realisation dawns on both of us and as I peer over his shoulder I notice something I hadn’t when he’d read it out. Each sentence is on a new line and the first letter of every sentence forms another message: FROM SCOTT L. My face slackens with the realisation.

“Do you see it Schorlek?” He nods solemnly. It all makes sense. Their DNA is the same, being twins, Scott tried to avert the attention from him, turning it on his identical twin, but ultimately his diversions failed. He’s been found out.

“Otto. It was Scott. The letters and the ID card prove it. It was Scott.” I murmur.

“So it was actually Scott C Lancaster, the evil side to his angelic brother Avery,” Otto says in an exaggerated scheming voice. “Seems to me like his initial was a foretelling; ‘C’ for cri-mi-nal,” He smirks, and we all burst out laughing, the relief enveloping me that Ennia would finally be safe and that we’d done it.


December 19, 2020 04:31

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9 comments

04:33 Dec 19, 2020

Hello! This story is kinda inspired by the movie Enola Holmes, I liked the idea of two-sided evidence pointing thoroughly to one character and then turns out there's a quirk that means it's another character. Enola Holmes? I mean yeah you should watch it if you want, it's on Netflix I think. I researched some pretty peculiar things for this story, so my FBI agent behind the camera might be a little concerned ;) The ending feels a little.. short but um oh well I hope it's okay, let me know if you have suggestions for me to adjust it. I h...

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08:55 Jan 03, 2021

I was literally sensing Enola Holmes vibes the whole time, and then I saw your comment and just internally went, "AW YES I GOT IT RIGHT!" My favourite part was, [“More like ‘p’ for ‘psychopath’,” I mumble under my breath.] I couldn't help but laugh at that. Wonderful work as always, my friend! :D

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07:53 Jan 06, 2021

Ahahaha yes! I’m glad the Enola Holmes theme came through ;) and yes, that was one of my favourite parts too. i actually wrote that before coming up with the twins names ahaha. Thanks for the feedback ily <3

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08:03 Jan 06, 2021

No problem <3

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Hi Zoe! Happy new year, it's been awhile since I've read your stories so I wanted to check it out! Wow, as always great work! Amazing, it was really interesting twist in the ending, I didn't expect it! Again wonderful story! Mind checking mine out:) Thanks!

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06:47 Jan 02, 2021

Hiya Varsha! Happy new year to you too! I’m glad you think the ending was a twist.. i thought it might be a bit too predictable 🙊 i’ll check your story out when I can, but as i mentioned in my bio i don’t rlly have much internet til February so i might not be able to until then. Which story did u want me to read? Thanks, Zoé

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Hi Zoe! Thank you!!! I see, u mind checking out any of my latest stories? Thanks!

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07:35 Jan 06, 2021

of course :)

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