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Secrets At Samhain: A Caper in Ireland
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-27-2011 09:35

"Darlings, its terribly good to see you." Amelia de Maltesse known as Molly to her inner circle began, taking a seat at the head of the decadent art nouveau table that crowned her dining room. "I do declare its been a while since we reunited- I daresay some of us have gotten into the most delicious ventures in that time."

There were appreciative murmurs all around the table, and a few jokes besides. She waited a moment with a coy smile on her lips, running her fingers absently through her rich waves of auburn hair. When the room had quieted somewhat, she produced a slim folder and placed it delicately on the table before her.

"The reason why I called you all here today is I have had the most interesting case offer from a rather desperate fellow in Scotland. He is the caretaker of a castle in Ireland. Excuse me for thinking the man is already quite a dunderhead- he's had several psychics tour the premises in an effort to discern the curious activity there and come up with nothing. The parish police have investigated a strange murder that recently occurred there but have come up with nothing."

"You're saying this place is believed haunted?" a voice rose from the friendly din of the dining room.

"It would appear so." Molly looked down at the file and tapped a slim fingernail upon it. "More like, it may be a series of elaborate pranks designed to drive the castles denizens away. There is a footnote in here about a vast treasure hidden somewhere on the grounds in the 12th century, and the recent discovery of a priceless gold cup has stirred up local interest and treasure hunters."

"Cursed treasure, of course." said another voice. Molly threw a quick grin.

"Naturally." She ran her fingers through her hair once again. "It isn't our usual case. However, all expenses are paid for our travel and the caretaker seems quite desperate for our professional opinion. The murder has put quite a damper on things as well.

Replies

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Oct-27-2011 10:58

There were several replies. A few raised their hands but most simply tipped their head or rub their chins. Molly read the signals like the back of her hand. She knew how her old friends operated, and understood who were interested in this case.

Zeo needed an escape to his current problems, and this proved to be better than he could plan himself. Besides, he heard many times the beer there tastes genuinely superb.

Zeo took the slim folder containing his distraction for a quick study. His eyes narrowed as he saw the photograph of the teenage boy's corpse. He took a mental note to find out more about this boy when they're there, especially the friends he usually kept. He then took out his pen and copied the symbols on the boy's body into his note book. A visit to the occult section in the library before they depart was on his agenda.

When all other essential particulars were exchanged, such as the date and time when they should set sail, Zeo left Molly's home and started making preparations.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Oct-28-2011 07:24

Like the others around the table, Riza nodded her assent. “I would be delighted,” she said, allowing herself a small smirk. It had been quite a while since she had had such an interesting case pop up. She liked a challenge: solving a mystery in a foreign country with no contacts was going to be interesting. Plus, the prospect of a good strong drink and the opportunity to utilize her newly-acquired “skills” was just too tempting.

Having been off the radar for quite some time, even to her closest friends, it appeared that a profound change had overcome Riza. Miss Hawkeye sat at the table not in her trademark leather outfit with matching stilettos, but in a rather elegant, form-fitting, two-piece suit colored a deep royal purple. Her hair was cut just above shoulder length, and styled so that it covered one eye and gave her a mysterious look. She had attracted quite a few glances as she entered Molly’s house, and could feel the burn of several pairs of eyes on her right at the moment. But not one person had said a thing about her drastic change. Riza liked to think it was because they were too scared to.

Pulling over the folder that Joseph had put aside, she glanced at the photograph of the boy. She raised an eyebrow but didn’t say anything about it. She closed it and passed it to her right. “My dear Molly, when do we leave?” she said in a pleasant, soft voice.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Oct-28-2011 09:54

Marc sat near the end of the table opposite of where Molly sat and two seats away from his long time friend Joseph Zeo. When he first heard of the case, he jumped. Perhaps a little too quick, but then again, he was always quick to jump. Almost like when someone said "Shoot now, ask questions later." He furiously took notes as Molly spoke.

"You're saying this place is haunted?" someone asked. Marc's thoughts drifted in an out of the briefing, and he started thinking of the Irish whiskey that he just could not wait to get his hands on. Then she said something about treasure.

"Cursed treasure, of course," he said. He didn't want to look at the photograph but did anyways. After Riza set the photo to her right, he reached across the table and took it from someone else who was reaching for it.

The muttered something under their breath that he ignored. The symbols were new to Marc. Of all the murders he had seen, never had he seen anything like this. His mind filled with thoughts and he scribbled down more notes. "Possible satanic symbols?" he wrote. He copied a couple of them down in his notebook then closed it and put it in his pocket.

When the date and time to leave was said, Marc nodded and left to get home and make preparations.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-28-2011 10:20

"Two days from now, at precisely 7 o'clock in the morning. I have secured 4 staterooms, 2 each for the journey. More can be added later. In the meantime I think you have got the notion in your heads that this case requires some research. If you would be dears and report any findings to me. Now I must call our man Findlay back and iron out the details of lodgings and transportation too and from the dock. I shall contact each of you in turn with information I secure. Fair?" Molly asked, and received assent.

One by one her guests filed out the door, but Molly reached out and stopped Riza. "Darling, I've been meaning to say your new look is fabulous. Very flattering. Dont try to stab me for saying that, my gun is in a very accessible place."

With a good-natured wink she released her and turned her head when her French maid Vivi called her softly.

"Monsieur Beelleengs has phoned." she said softly, and with a nod to her guests, Molly excused herself to take the phone.

"Jack." she said by way of greeting, and heard a familiar chortle at the other end.

"Molly, whats this matter I heard you speaking of?" he asked. Molly smiled coyly.

"We've a case in Ireland. Itll take me away for a few days- make the appropriate stories to cover me, wont you dear?"

"I'll see what I can do."

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Oct-29-2011 09:45

"I hope the fog clears soon." Marc gazed into the thick cool air around the pier from the deck. It was impossible to identify their whereabout besides the salty scent in the air and distant chants of the seagulls. Both detectives boarded their ride early. It will be another half hour before the ship set sail.

"Even if it doesn't, these mists will part us as the ship leaves the shores." Zeo assured. The cigarette smoke he exhaled struggled to get out but finally melted into the dense fog as one. "A very fitting beginning for our case, don't you think?" The thin man allowed a slight smirk on his lips.

Marc only nodded. The frown between his brows did not disappear, however. Solemnly he took out his small notebook and flipped to the pages where he scribbled the symbols from the boy's body. "I asked around about these. There were acquaintances of mine who knew about these 'practices'. What i heard did not bode well." Marc then told his old friend what he has heard.

"That's one way to look at it," Zeo replied, "but i also found some other explanations from the library. This inverted pentagonal star with the circle around it," Zeo pointed at the most prominent symbol on Marc's note book, "can either be tbe connections to the five elements in nature, or as you said, the image of the goat's head, the ancient symbol for sacrifice. I found similar duel meaning for the rest of the symbols as well. Let's take these to Molly, I think she should be on board by now."

Both men melted into the dense air as they headed in the direction of their quarters.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-29-2011 10:09

A knock came at Molly's door and she looked up from unpacking her sleek suitcase.
"Enter." she called and the door swung open to reveal Marc and Joseph Zeo in the doorway. She smiled warmly and extended a hand to each. Both men gallantly leaned over and grazed the back of her hand with their lips smiling as everybody said their hellos.
"I figured I'd get a head-start on unpacking." Molly said pleasantly, seating herself on the edge of the small bed. "Have you gentlemen found anything worth note yet?"
Both men in turn provided the leads they had concerning the symbols. Molly listened intently, hearing the possibilities and dual meanings of each symbol.
"Most interesting. I did in fact notice something curious, you see the stones set strategically at points around the corpse- at first they faded into the background and so escaped my notice. But if you look closely, each has cross-hatching on them- series of lines. I inquired of a professor friend of mine who identified it as Ogham, an ancient Celtic alphabet prominently used by the Druids. That points to the sacrifice being perhaps of a Druidic rite, or at the very least set up to look like one by someone very knowledgeable. When we get to Ireland, we shall have to see how deeply this tradition is ingrained into those around the castle so we may suss out our suspect. Not to mention the rampant paranormal goings-on the caretaker claims. Probably a bunch of hogwash but-"

Suddenly the lights went out with a faint zap, causing Molly to gasp. A pause, and then with a weak flicker the lights came back on. She cleared her throat to conceal her nerves.

"Silly ship electricity, I hope we won't have to deal with that the whole way." She said, hoping no one noticed her voice was an octave higher than usual.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Oct-29-2011 10:51

Sufficiently satisfied with her lodgings, Riza turned to look out her window. Expecting to see once more the dense fog which had pervaded the air since early that morning, she gave a small start when instead she saw a man, or at least what appeared to be the outline of a man, staring back at her from a few feet beyond the window. Immediately wrenching her door open, and simultaneously pulling out a small knife from her bosom, she turned toward where the man had been, ready to strike. But there was no one there.

Looking all around but seeing no sign of anyone, Riza composed herself and continued to walk along the deck in a rather more hurried fashion, until she heard some voices behind a closed door. That was Molly’s room. She knocked, and upon hearing, “Come in,” she entered and closed the door firmly behind her.

“What’s the knife for?” Joseph queried at once, staring at Riza’s hand.

“Knife?” Riza said, looking down. “Oh nothing, just thought I saw something,” she said nonchalantly, stowing it away. As the three filled her in on what they had been discussing, Riza perched on the corner of the bed with a thoughtful look on her face. When they finished, she said slowly, “I may not know much about these symbols you’ve researched, but…I can tell you one thing for sure. Those markings which were cut into the boy? They were made by a stone.”

“A stone?” Marc said doubtfully. “It looks more like they were carved in with some sort of knife.”

“No, it was a stone, a sharpened one. Trust me, dear, I know my weapons,” Riza added. “If you pull out that picture, you’ll see what I mean. Look very closely and you can see not just straight cuts, but also notice that the flesh along the sides of those cuts is slightly indented even where it has swollen.” They all gathered to look.

“Is there any way we could get a closer look at that body when we get there?” she asked Molly, who appeared to look a little paler than usual.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Oct-30-2011 07:03

Joseph Zeo just remembered why he seldom take sea faring journeys, or better put, the damming nausea reminded him why.

Two days into the cruise and he could no longer go anywhere, stuck in his bed with a vomit bag beside him. Zeo ordered food to be brought in to his room, only to have eaten a quarter of the meals before everything came back out again. He told no one of this weakness of his, of course, and only insisted that he needed time to reflect on the case, as if they had a lot of go through already, which was far from facts.

Indeed, all they had so far was a long to-do list from corpse examination to interrogation of everyone involved... interrogations? No, that should be interview and investigation... The illness was truly getting to his head.

Zeo was seeing things as well. Stranger looking at him from the mirror, from the reflection at the window, from the glass of water by his bedside... His eyesight was playing tricks on him, Zeo concluded. Damn nausea! Why did he ever agree to go to Ireland in the first place. He was beginning to curse the day he was born. All Zeo wished for was that the passage would end quickly, but each hour seemed to stretch into centuries...

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-30-2011 11:13

Molly swallowed forcefully and collected herself. "I'm not entirely sure, Riza. That does fall under the Gardai's jurisdiction."

At the blank look, Molly smiled. "An Garda Síochána. The police force of Ireland. I'm not sure if they still have the body, or indeed would let us investigate. As internationals, the lines do get a bit sticky, but we'll have to see what we can do. Now, I suggest we all retire to our rooms and unpack, we do have a long journey ahead of us and plenty of time to discuss."

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Oct-30-2011 11:31

"Zeo." Molly gave a knock and an urgent hiss at her friends door. "Zeo! Open the door!"

She heard a groan, indistinct muttering and then the door flew open, where she was greeted by a very disheveled and pale Joseph Zeo. His state surprised her a bit, and she paused from her panic for a moment to assess. "Are you quite all right?"

"What is it, Molly?" Joseph asked gruffly, leaning his head on the doorjamb. Molly bit her lip and brushed him back.
"Let me in, I've had quite a scare." she whispered and closed the door behind her. Joseph seated himself on the edge of his bed and fixed her with a curious look. Rather than her usual self-assured self Molly appeared positively anxious and was wringing her hands. Her hair was dishevelled and her pale face bore none of her usual sophisticated makeup, making her look almost childlike.

"Joseph have you been...I don't know..."she looked down at her hands. "Seeing anything, or hearing noises or...well, like whispers?"

Joseph said nothing, just raised a brow. Molly continued. "I had the strangest...sensation I guess. I was in my room just now, getting ready to retire for the night, when all of a sudden the room was gripped by the most piercing cold. I tried to rise to find a jacket but it was as if I were very tired all of a sudden, very sluggish, as if...my moves were not entirely my own. I looked into the mirror and then for a moment, my reflection was mine, but not mine, as if it were someone else and I heard ...well...chanting. And the scariest part of all Joseph, I started to think about...leaping overboard, and thinking how nice it would be to just sink down into the waves, relaxing, let cares and worries eke away..."

Her voice faded away and she stared at the wall, her porcelain brow troubled.

"I may be a bit arrogant, you know, but I don't think one of my faults is suicidal. " she said finally. "I can't help feeling there is something terribly wrong with this case!"

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