The Second Stabbing of Edmund I

Submitted into Contest #61 in response to: Write about a character who’s obsessed with an era they never lived through.... view prompt

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Funny Mystery Crime

“Considering how terrible all the other props at this medieval fair are…” Grey knelt down beside a corpse with a striking resemblance to Edmund I. “This one is pretty good. Look, the pool of blood is so realistic. What is this… jam?” He stuck a finger in it and tasted it. “Tastes irony. You think they added iron supplements to make it more realistic?”

His younger sister, Violet, dropped her bushel of apples. Half of them rolled into the blood, as she screamed, “That’s not a prop, Grey. That’s George. He’s been stabbed.”

Grey jumped back from the body, tripping over himself and landing in a puff of dry dirt. “That means… I just ate real blood. I’m not gonna like… turn into a vampire, am I?”

Violet slapped her brother’s arms. “We have bigger problems than that.”

Pulling out his phone, Grey said, “Hang on, I’ll call an ambulance.”

Sneaking in from the shadow, a hand stole his phone from his hands.

“What the…” Grey said.

Filip plastered on a shiny, fake smile. “Sorry child, yet there are no ‘strange’ and ‘magical’ devices hither. This is 946 AD. Thou are fortunate I never trial thou for witchcraft.”

“Gimme back my phone, man,” Grey said as he jumped at Filip who was over a foot taller. Grey looked like a puppet being tugged by a string until Filip chucked the phone into a nearby barrel of water.

Dude.”

Violet placed a calming hand on Grey’s shoulder. “It’s fine, Grey. I’ll just use mine.” She kept her left arm as a guard to Filip as she searched her linen dress’s pockets. “Damn, I made this dress and pockets myself just to hold my phone and wallet. Where are they? I had them like ten minutes ago.” Violet glanced at Grey. “I don’t have my phone. Let’s just run to the nearest police station.”

Grey huffed and shoved his hands in his modern, black sweatshirt. “We can’t leave. There’s gates all around here that close once the fair begins. That’s why I haven’t left since I drove you here four hours ago.”

“What? I thought you just wanted to spend time with me…”

“Haha, no.”

Violet turned to Filip, putting on her begging eyes—the same eyes that coerced Grey to driving her to this fair that he’d rather amputate off his index finger than be at. “You’re the fair’s organizer. You’re in charge. Is there any way you could open them early for George?”

“I’m afraid not.”

Violet stomped her foot like a little kid. “Why not?”

“The fair is not over.

Someone behind Filip piped up. “Besides, George was always an attention seeker. He’s even the only one to wear a historical figure cosplay here for attention. No one does that for a reason, but he did for attention. It’s his own fault.”

“Can you cut the victim-shaming and just get him some medical attention?” Grey snapped and knelt beside George, taking his pulse at his neck. “He’s alive, but the pulse is pretty weak. He’ll probably be out for a while. From the looks of it, he’s lost a lot of blood.”

“I’m a doctor,” a plague doctor said. “I’ll take him to the medical tent now for treatment. Nurse, help me carry him.”

Once George, the doctor, and the nurses left for the medical tent, Filip told Grey, “See? All’s taken care of. Thou should’st be moe worried about yourself. You’re not e’en wearing proper clothing.” He gestured to every piece of clothing manufactured by a robot that Grey wore. “We have a supply of spare outfits to rent. Bethink it.”

“That’s all you have to say?” Grey demanded.

“O, an interesting fact about the real Edmund I. He was murdered by a convicted thief named Leofa.”

“That’s not helpful in the slightest.”

Filip shrugged and left. Grey raked his fingers through his hair. “Whatever. I’ve been here too long. I’m so done with this fair. I’m going to the bathroom.”

***

“Guess who found a bloody outfit in the bathroom,” Grey shouted as he walked into the fair’s main grounds, holding a bloody medieval outfit high above his head.

The crowd gawked him, a few gasping in surprise.

“What?” Violet asked, rushing to his side.

Come behind, Filip materialized beside him out of nowhere. “Whence hath thou find that?”

“The bathroom. Were you not listening?” Grey lowered the outfit. “I bet it belonged to George’s stabber. How is he by the way?”

“Receiving the best medical treatment.”

“Good. But do you know what this outfit means?”

“That we have a lead on George’s stabber?” Violet asked, her eyes teeming with excitement at the thought of helping her wounded  friend.

“Yes, and I’m going to be the lead detective.”

Her face soured. “Why? We actually want to solve this case.”

“Rude. I’m missing my Sherlock Holmes convention for this—for your first medieval fair. One way or another, I’m gonna solve a mystery.”

“How doth thou resolve on doing that?” Filip asked.

“Easy. If we’re locked in, so is the stabber,” Grey explained. “And since they ditched this outfit because of George’s blood, that means they had to get another one from the… drum roll, please?”

“What is this drum roll thou speak of?”

Grey rolled his eyes. “I seriously hate it here. Since they couldn’t go out to get one so they got one…”

***

Grey slammed open the door to the rental costume storage room. “From the costume rentals!”

Filip cocked his head to the side. “For what hath he randomly say that just now?”

“Who knows. He’s a little…” Violet whistled while swirling her finger next to her head.

“That’s rude and insensitive, Violet,” Grey snapped. He straightened out his hoodie and mumbled, “Plus it was a totally cool jump cut.”

Violet coughed a “not” into her hand.

“Whatever. Let’s just see the log out sheet for costumes.” He plucked it off the wall. “Here, the only costume that was logged out was a red tunic with striped black hose. I can’t believe only one costume was logged out.”

Violet snorted. “I can’t believe you thought we won’t make our own detailed costumes.”

“You’re right,” Grey cheered with some snark, “I mean what else would you do? Have lives?”

She snarled at him. “Big words coming from a guy that’s been so obsessed with Sherlock Holmes since the seventh grade that he had an entire wall, floor to ceiling, of his books.”

His ear tips red, Grey said, “Enough. Let’s just find everyone who’s wearing a red tunic with striped black hose with no an alibi for when George was stabbed.”

“When was George stabbed?”

“Let’s find that out too.”

***

Violet trotted up to Grey in the main square, one hand holding up her dress up as the other dragged a man dressed as a medieval weaver with long, luscious robes he kept tripping over. “This guy said he saw George, stab-free, around one, according to the sun.”

Splitting his attention from lining up suspects, Grey grinned and said, “Good work. According to my internal clock, it’s been around an hour and a half since we found George with a new hole.” He glanced up at the sun and frowned before ducking and covering his eyes while swearing, “God, that hurt.”

“What’s the time now?”

“Oh, I have no idea. I just remembered while the sun cooked my eyes: I don’t know how to tell time by the sun’s position.”

“Why did you look directly at it then?!” Her voice got an octave higher with every IQ point Grey lost by staring at the sun.

“Relax, I have another idea,” he said, as he finished rubbing his eyes and readjusting. By a fake baker’s shop’s alley, Grey scooped up a stray cat. It hissed and scratched at him as he leaned his face in close to it.

“Oh my god.” Violet covered her mouth with her hand. “Are you going to kiss the cat?”

No. That’s weird. I’m going to find out the time by reading its eyes’ dilation.”

“Yeah, because that’s normal.”

Grey ignored her and the fresh scratch wounds on his face. He made a mental note to visit the medical tent for some antibiotics. “It’s three right now. Which means George was stabbed between one and one thirty. God, did people just watch him bleed on the ground for half an hour?”

“To be fair, not a lot of people like him. I’m like his only friend.”

“What is thy purpose?” Filip came from the shadows again. Grey squinted at the dude, becoming more and more convinced the dude was a shadow-travelling demon with every mysterious appearance. “Why are these people lined up?”

“Well, these red-tunic wearers with striped black hose are my suspects,” Grey said, gesturing to the three people wearing the described outfit and looking like they’d rather not be in a medieval police line up. “You too, Filip. You give me such a murderer vibe.

Filip glared at him, displeased.

“Alright, fine,” Grey caved. “Not you.”

Moving on, Grey rubbed his hands together. “Now, let’s get to the integration. You—” Grey pointed to the man with a huge beard. “Where were you from one to one thirty?”

“Selling bread at my bakery,” the bearded man said, “I’ve been in there all day.”

“Is there anyone who can collaborate with that alibi?”

A dozen people in the crowd held up loaves of freshly baked bread. One of them even threw a loaf at his head.

Hey. Guess you guys really take your fake medieval jobs seriously, huh? Fine.” Grey moved onto the woman with a huge beard in the middle. He got all up in her face for the integration. “You smell of blood, stabber. Where were you?”

“I’m the butcher,” the bearded woman deadpanned. “Of course I smell like blood.”

“Where were you?”

“In my shop, cutting up pigs in the back.”

“Can anyone collaborate with that alibi?”

A fat pig pushed his way to the front of the crowd. He squealed at the woman, tears in his eyes, and a tone to his squeals like he was furious over the slaughter of his brothers.

“Does that count?” Violet whispered to Grey.

“I guess?” Grey said as the pig shook his head, tears flooding the ground. “He looks pretty distraught about it.”

“Oh my god, you don’t think she made him watch do you?”

Grey’s eyes widened as he moved onto the last suspect and tried to push past that thought. “And you sir? Where were you?”

“Having an affair.”

A woman behind him smacked the back of his head while a younger woman waved and blew a kiss. “I’ll be sending you the bill for my divorce lawyer for forcing me to confess.”

“Absolutely not,” Grey said. He took a step back from the three, manically rubbing his chin. “Based on the alibis, I have come to a verdict. You, ma’am—” He pointed at the bearded woman. “—stabbed George.”

“Who?” She asked.

Grey sighed. “The Edmund I impersonator.

“Oh, that guy? Sure, he was annoying and had it coming for wearing that cosplay, but—”

“What does that even mean? Someone said something like that earlier.”

“We don’t dress as real historical figures for a reason.”

“That doesn’t answer the question…”

“Pretty sure it does…”

“Alright, we’re getting off topic. You’re the only one without human witnesses to confirm your story, so you did it.”

From the crowd, someone threw a bloody piece of pork at Grey’s head. “I was with her,” they shouted.

Grey ducked, and growled, “I get it. You don’t have to keep  throwing food at me.”

That didn’t stop them. More and more of the bearded woman’s customers chucked their raw meat at Grey, booing him. “How dare you accuse her,” someone cried.

“Wear real clothes,” another jeered.

“Stop it,” Grey demanded, “Hey, stop it. I get it, I was wrong. What are you gonna do about it?” He taunted. “Put me in the stocks?”

***

They put him in the stocks.

To be more specific, it was Filip who locked him away since he was the only one with the keys to lock and unlock the stocks. And it was not for getting the stabber wrong, but for not wearing the correct clothes. Filip had had enough of historical inaccuracy.

With a grunt, Grey kicked at the dirt, brewing a dirt cloud. “This sucks,” he said.

“You’re telling me,” said the guy in a red tunic with striped black hose next to him.

“Hey, hey.” Grey’s face lit up with new hope. “Where were you between one and one thirty?”

Filip put a firm hand on top of the guy’s stock, glaring at Grey. “He was hither. I put him in the stocks for thievery at noon. Wouldst thou please forbear this frivolousness quest to find the stabber already?” Waving his hand as he left, Filip said coldly, “I have a fair to run. A fair in which thou and thy historical inaccuracies hast no place.”

“Yeah,” the thief sneered. “You don’t belong here.”

“You’re a criminal, you don’t belong here either.”

“At least I’m not wearing historically inaccurate clothing.”

Something snapped in Grey and he caved to the more inhumane parts of him, fueled by fury. Fury from being forced to be here, from being nagged about his outfit, from being pelted with raw, bloody meat. And now, the mockery of this loser. With all his anger, he lightly kicked the thief and said, “Take that!”

As his foot connected to the thief’s side, something tumbled out of his pocket. “Violet’s phone and wallet?” Grey said. “She said she lost that ten minutes before we saw George’s stabbed body.” Realization bitch slapped Grey. “You. You were out of the stocks to steal them in time for George’s stabbing. You’re the stabber.” He broke through the wooden stocks, screaming,  “I did it. I solved the case.”

The thief gawked at him. “How did you break out of the stocks?”

“They’re made of cheap balsa wood. A kitten could break free of them.” He winced. “That being said, these new splinters are a bitch. I wouldn’t do it if I were you.” Lightly, Grey touched his face. “These cat scratches sting pretty bad, too. Man, I should probably get to the medical tent. Plus, I get to tell George’s unconscious body the good news.”

“Hello?” Grey said as he walked into the white medical tent. Plague doctors scurried about.

“Grey,” Filip said. “What is thy doing hither?”

Grey waved his hand around his scratched up, splintered face. “Your stocks are weak.”

“I see.”

“Can I get some medical attention?” He asked. A plague doctor nodded and went to get the necessary supplies. “I solved the stabbing by the way.”

Filip raised an eyebrow. “Thou didst?”

“You did?” Violet asked, popping up behind him after seeing Grey come into the medial tent.

“Yeah, it was the guy in the stocks. His alibi didn’t check out. He stole your phone after being locked up at noon.” Grey handed his sister back her phone and wallet.

“Damn, nice work.”

“There are still two things I don’t get though. One: how he got back into the stocks. Two: why did he stab George.”

“Thou mean Edmund I?” Filip said.

“Yeah whatev—what a minute, you’re the only person who could have got the thief back in the stocks.” His nostrils flared. “You’re the one defended his alibi to me, too. What’s your game, Filip?”

He chuckled. “I’m just trying to keep things historically accurate as any good organizer would.”

We don’t don’t dress as historical figures for a reason

Interesting fact about the real Edmund I. He was murdered by an outlawed, convicted thief named Leofa…

“Do you…” Grey’s words shook as he spoke. “Do you kill people who dressed as historical figures the way those figures died?”

“Of course,” Filip said. “We hast to keep things historically accurate. This era is to be treasured.”

“Here’s your treatment,” a plague doctor said as they attached a leech to Grey’s leg.

Panicking, he scraped it off and jumped back. “Why would you do that?”

“‘tis bloodletting,” Filip said. “‘tis the historically accurate way to treat people.”

“Where’s George?” Grey’s voice cracked with the growing stress. He gripped his sister’s hand and hid her behind him.

“Behind that curtain.”

Pushing it aside, Grey stared at George’s dead body, still in the Edmund I costume, covered in leeches. “He was already suffering from blood loss and you…”

He covered Violet’s eyes with his right hand and pulled out her phone with the other. She choked on silent sobs for her dead friend. “I’m calling the police, you sicko.”

“I’m afraid I can’t let thou doth that. If one of the murders comes to light, they’ll shut down mine fair. How else am I supposed to pay mine respects to such a great era?”

When the phone displayed no cell service, Grey cursed. He met Filip in the eyes. “Are you threatening me? No one here will go for—”

No. He was wrong. Everyone watched him with cautious eyes and the same blank expression that Filip wore. They were all in on it. They all accepted it. They were all obsessed with it.

Curses flying from his mouth, Grey threw the bucket of leeches at the history freaks and ran out the tent, dragging his sister behind him. They sprinted through the fair, and when her corset became too much, he picked her up and kept running. They didn’t stop until they reached the fence. Adrenaline pumping, Grey helped his sister over before climbing over himself.

And they kept running. Once they were far enough, they collapsed on the side of the road, sweating and panting. “We’re never going back there,” Grey declared. “It’s basically a history cult.”

“Agreed. Although, about thirty miles away they have another medieval fair that we could probably make…”

“No. Just no.”

September 30, 2020 02:48

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3 comments

Endellion .
23:09 Jan 30, 2021

Filip is kinda funny. Well written.

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Shannon Ethel
18:49 Oct 05, 2020

I enjoyed the crazy ren fair setting and the way it kind of devolved into a murder mystery. You really feel as exasperated as Grey whenever Filip just ‘materializes’ into the scene. Fun idea.

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Lily Kingston
03:58 Oct 07, 2020

thanks :D

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