Donnerstag, 2. Februar 2012
The early Byrd
This was originally a language learning crime story (with vocabulary and exercises) I wrote and it was more than twice as long. I think a lot of its charm got lost cutting it down to 600 words but it quite nicely fit the Story Dam prompt, so I thought I'd share it. I left out the very end to leave it open who the perp was so you can guess in the comments. I'll reveal who it was in the comments later and add a spoiler alert. :D
The early Byrd
“There you go, Inspector,” Miss Fitz handed Inspector Byrd the cup.
“Thank you, dear,” he smiled. Since his retirement, he often visited his neighbour who never tired of his police stories. “What do you say about the post office on Fulton being closed. Isn’t it an outrage?”
Miss Fitz looked surprised. “I hadn’t heard.”
“It was in the papers,” Inspector Byrd said.
“I haven’t been getting my paper. Wouldn’t you know, it gets stolen right from my letterbox!”
A spark of criminological enthusiasm animated the Inspector.
“Are you quite sure? It would have to be someone in the house! Would you kindly get me a pen and paper? We need to draw up a list of suspects.”
“How exciting,” chimed Miss Fitz.
“Let’s see. Eight parties in the building. Not counting us, that’s six suspects. Starting at the top: Mr Slacker, student.”
“He looks just the type, doesn’t he?” Miss Fitz cut in. “Long hair…and an earring!”
“We need motive, Miss Fitz. Mr Slacker may well have one. Students are always a little short of funds. Mr Khan I think we can rule out.”
“Why is that?” Miss Fitz looked puzzled.
“He’s a newsagent. Kind of odd for him to steal a paper, don’t you think?”
“Why, of course! You are so very clever, dear Inspector.”
“Across the landing from me,” he continued, “there’s Mrs Stenton, single mother.”
“You can strike her out.” Miss Fitz looked smug. “She gets her own.”
“Which leaves us with the Eldridges and Mr Tyson on the first floor,” the Inspector said, “When does the paper usually arrive?”
“Round about six,” said Miss Fitz.
“That would also rule out Mr Tyson the greengrocer,” the Inspector mused. “He leaves at the crack of dawn.”
“That leaves Mr Sloan, the caretaker,” Miss Fitz concluded.
The Inspector looked up. “If we aren’t mistaken, our count of suspects is down to three.”
Inspector Byrd was roused by the alarm. He scrambled out of bed. Carefully he crept out onto the landing and snuck down the dark stairs. Hiding behind the cellar door he looked out into the hallway.
After what seemed like an eternity, the light went on and steps could be heard coming down. Mr Tyson, the greengrocer, the Inspector thought.
He smiled smugly. It was indeed Mr Tyson leaving for work.
A while later, the paper arrived. Now was the time to be alert. The Inspector grew more and more impatient when suddenly the light snapped on again. He caught his breath peering out from behind the door. Steps overhead. Top floor.
“Mr Khan or Mr Slacker.” The steps hurried down the last flight of stairs; energetic, taking two steps at a time.
“Mr Slacker.” The Inspector was certain.
Indeed, the student’s untidy mop of hair appeared. There! He reached for the paper, pulled it out of the letterbox and cast a glance at the front page. Inspector Byrd was just about to jump out, when the young man neatly folded the paper and put it back.
The house went dark again.
A door creaked on the ground floor. Perhaps Mr Sloan. But…the Inspector looked positively puzzled. How odd - the wrong direction. He waited for the light to come on again. Nothing. Instead, the patter of feet. Bare feet. Now this was peculiar.
Squinting, the Inspector could make out a white form moving down the hall.
Pat, pat, pat.
Most definitely the sound of naked feet on the stone floor. The figure moved to the letterboxes. A scraping noise and the silent rustling of paper.
Pat, pat, pat. Moving closer. But that was…impossible!