Murder at the Masquerade: An RP Stage Short
(The same idea as the Harlequin Short, only the murder does not have to happen right away; this one is very loosely structured. Happy RPing, and ANYONE is welcome to join.)
"Well this is quaint." Molly Maltese said approvingly, adjusting her mask with a flick of her wrist. "I wonder who shall be the first to uncover my identity; I took a great many pains to disguise myself this evening."
"I hardly recognized you, ma'am." Her driver said politely, and Molly threw him a benevolent grin.
"I really do look quite striking with black hair, don't you think?" she asked, and he nodded. She leaned forward to check the mirror again. She had gone to the stylist and had her hair dyed a sleek, shiny black, and had deep finger-waves done to frame her face. A large peacock fascinator clung to her hair just above her elaborately twisted bun, launching a spray of exotic feathers behind her to match her peacock-detailed gold mask. Only her quirky red-lipped smirk was even faintly recognizable.
"This will be fun." she said as she climbed out of the car and adjusted her floor-length red-and-gold satin gown. Fluted beads jangled gently around the swooping neckline. She wrapped a white fur stole around her shoulders and moved inside, showing her invitation to the doorman. Immediately she was asked to dance by several young me in dashing black masks.
Marc still had his black mask on as he approached Talia Rune from behind. "What are we dealing with here?" She muttered to herself.
"A very good question indeed, Miss," Marc said and she jumped. Quickly, she swiveled around to find herself face to face with Marc.
"And who might you be?" She asked.
"I am detective Marc Lacrimosa. One of the handful of detectives investigating this crime scene. And who are you?"
"I am Talia Rune. Also a sleuth." She replied.
"Indeed.." Marc said with a pause. He looked up and saw Jack Billings standing on her other side.
"Jack Billings, I'd advise you to leave. I doubt you have business here..unless of course you are the murderer."
Before Jack could reply, Marc took Talia and pulled her off to the side and told her quietly, "I advise you to stay away from him..he brings nothing but trouble," Marc said.
Then Marc turned around to find the others.
"NEXT!" Vulkie shouted and the next man came up. As she carefully "searched" the man, she looked at her fellow detectives who also searched the people.
"NEXT!" Vulkie shouted and as she looked in the man's face, she made a groan. "Jack Billings. Long time no see. How's the kneecaps?" Vulkie said, taunting Billings
Billings smiled back at her. "Fine, fine. You've made it very clear that time dear. I suggest you better watch your steps, or else..." Billings replied, allowing Vulkie to search him.
"Seems like you're clean. Off you go. I'll let Molly know you were here" Vulkie said, grinning. Billings nodded. "I'm already looking forward for a small conversation with her. Gah, it has been such a long time. I remember well, the old days and such..." Billings said, but Vulkie cut him short.
"Spare me your life story Billings. Buzz off. I've got searching to do" Vulkie said and Billings went off.
"NEXT!" Vulkie shouted and the next male came up. Just then, Vulkie heard a scream.
"Joseph, come with me!" Vulkie shouted and they went outside. A woman pointed to something that laid in the dark, on the ground.
"Damn it. Looks like a stiff one" Joseph said, lighting a cigarette.
"Let's see for ourselves" Vulkie said and both detectives walked to the body. A woman, shot three times in her chest.
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" a man asked.
As Vulkie looked around, she saw it was a guest. "I beg your pardon, sir?" Vulkie said and Joseph looked up.
"Ah, the dead... Such a.... interesting thing.... You know, I was always fascinated by the death of people... How one woman can die at the hands, of a.... killer..." the man said, dreaming and sinking away in his thoughts.
"Never mind him. Must be a lunatic or so..." Vulkie said and Joseph looked around for clues....
"Like the our hostess of this masquerade, this lady was shot at close range." Zeo remarked as he knelt down to remove her mask. At the back of his mind, he wondered how the killer recognize his targets while everyone had their masks on. Were they mere random killings?
As the latest victim's veil was removed, Zeo had no doubt that the targets were intentional. The decease in front of him was none other than Lady Federick's sister. The killer could possibly have history with this family.
Zeo inhaled his Chesterfield deeply and then snuffed it on the ground. He then stood up and barked the order to his bureau staff: No one were allowed to leave the premises of the Opera house. Agents at all entrances, exits and the perimeter were to execute the directives without fail, regardless of the status of the guest.
"The wounds are fresh, and none of my staff had seen everyone leave. That means the killer is still amongst us. Everyone's a suspect. Vulkie, can you go check on that strange man who mentioned about dancing with the devil? I need to get everyone inside the main hall, which should help prevent anyone else from dying." Zeo left Vulkie and returned to the main hall, while half of his team held their positions to prevent anyone from leaving, and the other half ushered everyone back to the main dance hall.
Zeo noticed some crushed rose pedals scattered around the dance floor. It was possible that the man they were looking for had already changed his disguise. The thin detective spotted Molly from across the dance hall. She scrutinized him with a look of disguise. He had no idea why the woman held such hatred towards him. Zeo sighed, knowing full well that he had to face his aversion. It was his job to personally examine everyone whom were accused as being the killer.
Every step he took seemed heavier then the previous. Just as he was about 6 feet from Molly, the light in the hall suddenly went off.
As Vulkie marched into the main hall, she saw the man who whispered to her about dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight. "You, sir, over there!" Vulkie shouted and pointed at the man. Immediately, the man began to run and Vulkie rushed behind him.
Suddenly, the lights went out and Vulkie was blinded for a few seconds.
"Damn. Not now!" Vulkie thought and tried to look around. Everyone was looking around, only the moonlight was visible through the large windows of glass.
Suddenly, a voice cackled through a box.
"Hahahahaha.... You are all welcome at my party, dear friends. I have a thing or two up my sleeve, so don't try to figure out where I am. I may be amongst you, I may be at the security hall. Hell, I may even be in the garden outside...." the man said.
"You son of a b*tch! You show yourself this moment instantly!" Marc shouted and the man cackled again.
"Oh, but Mr. Lacrimosa... Yes, I know your name... All of you, I know your names.... Miss Maltese, Mr. Zeo, Miss Nouson..." the man said
Vulkie swallowed. "He knows my name..." Vulkie thought. "He knows everyone's name.... It must be a familiar person then...." Vulkie immediately thought.
"I'm going to the fusebox outside!" a guest said. "Let's see if we can get the lights back on" another guest said.
The man laughed and everyone heard him again, through the whole main hall. "There's no escape..... the lights are out, for all of you.... For I have the best plan of the century" the man said and just then, the sound was cut off.
"He's left!" Vulkie shouted and just then, Molly shouted : "Let's all meet at the podium!"
All the detectives made their way to the podium. Only one was missing.
"Where's Joseph?!" Marc yelled and no one could reply on that question....
Zeo and another agent headed for the fuse box while the killer was still talking in the main hall. He had to act quickly, before the killer had a chance in the dark. His other agent who was supposed to protect Lady Frederick was still missing, so he was not taking any chances and got someone to accompany him.
The agent Railey and Zeo quickly went around to the back of the building. "Damn it!" the agent said.
"What is it?" Zeo questioned. His eye sight had never been good in the dark, especially since the car crash which almost took away his vision. He had trained acute hearing during the ordeal in its place.
"The fuse box, it's beyond repair."
Zeo stood and thought quickly. "We need light. Railey, you go and collect as many flashlights as you can and return them to the main hall quickly, I'm going to return to the dance hall to make sure everyone's alright."
Railey took the order and quickly headed for the exit. As Zeo trotted back to the Opera House entrance, he could hear a few people talking, coming in his direction. He supposed others had also thought about restoring the fuse box and were coming around.
Just then, right before Zeo was about to turn the corner and meet the group, he heard a very faint ruffling sound behind him. It was so soft, that anyone else would probably have missed it. Zeo turned around and saw a shadow holding up a gun at him. He ducked just in time as the person fired, barely missing him. The gun was armed with a silencer. Zeo drew his own revolver and fired, but also missed his target in the dark.
His gun shot rung in the air, and the group behind him stirred. Zeo could hear people running towards them as the shadow quickly disappeared.
"Zeo!" Molly shouted, groping along the wall. She had seen him run off to find a fusebox, presumably, and had suddenly been struck with dread. Better safe than sorry, she thought.
But sorry it was.
For Molly's foot connected with a still-warm side, and she flew over the body of Joseph Zeo.
"Jesus Christ!" she shouted, and leaned forward to assess the damage. But it was no use; he had taken two to the chest. Overcome with emotion, she closed his eyes and stood.
"Vulkie...I need to find Vulkie..." she said to herself, and plunged into the darkness, gun drawn.
Marc came up behind Molly at the scene where Joseph Zeo lay dead. He stood there in silence as Molly closed Zeo's eyes.
As Molly plunged into Darkness, gun drawn, Marc took the risk of following her. "Molly," Marc shouted after her. She turned gun drawn, seeing only the outline of Marc. "Don't move you son of a bitch!" She yelled.
"Molly, it's Marc." Marc said.
Marc sighed. "If I were the killer, I would be somewhere else. You can't go after Vulkie alone. Hopefully she's still alive. When we get the rest of the group of people together, I have something I need to share with you all. I grabbed the gun that you had earlier, unbeknown to you, and analyzed it for finger prints. I think I know who the killer is."
"You did WHAT?! You had better start explaining!" She screamed at him.
"Fine," Marc said. "You se the gun down earlier after the first murder. I picked it up and looked over it for finger prints, and found Jack Billing's finger prints."
"That son of a-"
"No time for words, Molly, we need to find Vulkie before the killer strikes again."
The two made off into the dark.
"People, everyone, please! Calm down" Vulkie shouted in the microphone. The killer only took the lights out, but not the rest of all electricity.
"I'm sure Mr. Zeo will be back any moment now and the party will go on" Vulkie said. Just then, Molly and Marc burst into the room, going to the podium
Molly whispered in Vulkie's ear : "Zeo's dead. Shot in the chest by the killer. We just missed him..."
Vulkie's lips trembled a bit, as she was thinking of what to say.
"Ehmmm, people... I'm afraid I have some bad news..." Vulkie began.
Immediately, a man shouted : "What kind of bad news? We have to stay here longer?"
"No sir, that's not the bad news.... The bad news is.... Detective, I mean, Federal Agent Joseph Zeo has been murdered" Vulkie said, looking face down as tears flowed down her face.
She fell to the ground with her knees, holding her hands before her face. "Not Joseph.... Not Joseph...." Vulkie murmered over and over....
Over..... and over..... and over....
Molly patted her on the shoulder. "Come on Vulkie. We'll get that killer. Be strong and brave..." she said, looking at her with a fierce stare. Vulkie nodded and with the back of her hand, she got rid of the tears.
"I suggest you all stay here. The federal agents here will secure you, while we go look for the killer. Whoever trespasses, will be shot from now on. No exclusions or such" Vulkie said
Everyone let out a roar and began to yell. Vulkie took her gun out and fired a bullet into the roof. "That's enough! A good friend of mine died today! So shut the hell up!" Vulkie shouted.
Silence.... Total silence in the room.... Until the voice of the killer cackled through the box, followed by a laugh...
From the time the lights went out, Talia had spent most of her time trying to soothe some of the more hysterical guests. As she was helping an older lady to find her companion and sit the down, she heard a woman's voice through the speakers: "People, everyone, please! Calm down"
When she heard that Agent Zeo had been murdered, Talia immediately made her way to the stage.
Under the sinister laughter booming through the room she reached the group of detectives, where she recognized Marc from earlier that evening.
"Mr. Lacrimosa, I am terribly sorry for the loss of your friend. I wanted to offer my assistance to catch whoever did this."
"Well, Miss. You seem to have been conveniently absent during all of this. But I guess we could use all the help we can get."
Talia nodded her head slightly. "I understand your scepticism and I wouldn't expect anything less, but I do believe it is best if we try to help each other out here."
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