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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Combination (Mystery Story) by Zhao Jiayi

Dear all,
Another mystery story for you to read. Jiayi is from 5K if you don't know her well. Her mystery story is really interesting and hers was one of the best in class. She is entering both competitions.
~Part 1~
Title: Combination...
The man cautiously stole a quick glance at his surroundings. Spotting the blinking red light of the security camera nestled in a corner, he grinned, knowing he was prepared for it. He took out a pebble from his pocket and threw it with all his might at the security camera. With a resounding crash, the camera broke into fragments. Glass was strewed all over the carpeted floor. All that was left of the security camera was a few wires dangling in the air. He quickly pocketed the pebble, lest anyone find it and discover his fingerprints. Quietly, he inserted the metal key into the keyhole, and with a twist of the doorknob, he pushed open the heavy metal door and stepped into the room. After closing the door, the man waited, listening for the sound of footsteps. There were none. He heaved a sigh of relief and silently thanked the soundproof doors.
He crept over to the safe at the far end of the room and gingerly turned the combination wheel. With a click, the heavy padlock on the safe opened. Once again, he halted, straining his ears at the slightest noise. After a few minutes, convinced that no one heard the metallic click of the safe opening, he swung open the metal door of the safe and laughed in triumph. Two billion worth of jewels would be his. All those weeks of meticulous planning had paid off. He slid the jewels into the bag. Where could he hide them later? In a closet? That would be too risky. What about hiding them in a blanket and sewing it up. He considered the idea and agreed on it.
He carefully wiped his fingerprints off the safe and closed it. He would have to get rid of the body of the maid later. Heaving the bag over his shoulder, he headed towards a room at the far end of the corridor, with the jewels…
Detective Jones lowered himself into a red plush chair. He glanced at the evening newspaper lying on the table beside him. He was captivated by the headlines written in bold on the first page. It read, “Female Body Found in Thomson River!” He quickly scanned the page, skipping over the irrelevant words. It seemed that a middle – aged woman had drowned in the river. She had been dead for more than five hours when a farmer found her. Till now, she had not been identified. The police was still investigating her case, unconvinced that she had committed suicide.
Detective Jones was deep in thought when the shrill ringing of the doorbell broke his reverie. Startled, he opened the door to find a man on his doorstep. Without waiting for an invitation, the man strode into the living room and sank into an armchair. Detective Jones sat down too, all the time, silently observing his visitor under the light. Perched precariously on the man’s upturned nose was a stiff moustache while his lips were set in a grim line. Although the man behaved arrogantly, the look of anxiety on his face betrayed his earlier confidence.
Detective Jones spoke up, “Sir, is there anything I can do to help you?”
The man rose and began pacing back and forth, muttering to himself. He turned around and faced Detective Jones, declaring, “I am John Burskov, the multi – millionaire who owns the Windower Estate, you may have heard of me?”
Without waiting for a reply, he continued, “Well, my good man, I have been told you are able to solve many difficult crimes and thus, came to you with a most difficult case.”
Detective Jones replied, “I will do my best, sir.”
“You see, my hobby is collecting precious jewels from all around the world. You realize that they are the target of many greedy people. In order to keep them safe, I have a room built specially for me to keep the jewels in. And even so, I dare not risk losing them, hence I hid them in a metal safe. The safe, to be opened, required the correct code to be turned on the combination wheel.” John paused, glancing around the living room to make sure no one was listening.
“The room,” he elaborated, “Has an unbreakable metal door which requires a key to be opened.”
Detective Jones cut in, ‘And where do you keep the key?”
John blinked in surprise at the question. “Funny you should ask, but I entrusted them to my gardener while I was out of town for the past few days. I only returned today from my business trip and discovered someone stole my jewels.” He gave a bellow of rage.
Detective Jones cocked his head to one side before replying, “Do proceed.”
“I also had a security camera planted outside the room. I was sure that no one would be able to steal the jewels but someone did. The security camera was smashed, with what, goodness’ know!”
Detectives Jones interrupted, “Didn’t you hear it?”
John Burskov shook his head. “Oh no! The room had soundproof doors. It also has no windows. The door is the only way in.”
Detective Jones considered it carefully.
John Burskov carried on, “ Somehow, whoever he or she is managed to get my keys and cracked the code. He stole every single jewel, every single jewel! They cost me a mint of money. Insurance cannot cover up all the expenses!” Detective Jones tried to soothe the agitated multi – millionaire down.
John refused to be calmed. “How can I get them back? They are extremely rare, one – of – a – kind! I cannot replace them! I …”
Detective Jones asked, “Will you kindly tell me, sir, who is living with you currently?”
John waved his hand carelessly and answered, “Oh, I lived with my butler, gardener and a maid.”
Detective Jones asked, “Has any strange things happened lately?”
“Recently, my butler is constantly disappearing to goodness’ know where. He say he is fixing his bike. The strangest thing is, my maid disappeared at the same time my jewels went missing.” John responded.
He whipped around, “Do you suppose the robber is her?”
Detective Jones said, “Let’s not jump to conclusion. For all we know, it might just be a coincidence. However, in order to solve the case, I will have to visit your house. Will that suit you?”
The multi – millionaire nodded. “How about tomorrow?”
Detective Jones agreed and saw John Burskov out of the door before retiring to bed, with visions of missing jewels swimming around his head.
~End of Part 1~

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