One crime. A hundred suspects. 30 minutes to solve it.
Trouble
CHAPTER
2
The Conclusion
10.54 am
Location: Renner’s Homeroom Class
Felina stared blankly at Renner, unable to comprehend what he had just said.
“How-how...Does that mean...” She mumbled to herself in a low tone.
“Is Helen the one behind this?” Renner spoke his voice expressing his confusion.
“That’s something I’m unsure about too.” Felina replied honestly. “But the evidences of the events seem to point to her.”
“What do you mean?” Renner asked.
“She was the one who spilled the bottle of black ink on you. At first, it seemed like an accident. But look at the ink on the board and the ink on your shirt, both of them are of the same colour. That can’t be a mere coincidence can it?” Felina said slowly, while Renner listened to her intently. “What if she had purposely spilled the ink on you? So that when someone had seen you in front of the white board with your stained shirt and the drawing, it would have really made it seem like you were the one who drew it?”
Renner’s eyes widened as Felina’s deduction started making a lot more sense to him.
“Oh my goodness! Does that mean Helen is the one who tried framing me?” He asked as he ran his fingers through his hair and pulled at it.
Felina straightened and looked him in the eye. “There is a possibility but we need to analyse this further.” She answered truthfully.
“But why?” Renner cried exasperatedly unable to comprehend the revelation. “Why would Helen do such a thing?”
Felina bit her lip and shook her head. “I’m not sure either.” She said and lowered her eyes to the ground.
There was still something very puzzling about what they had just found. Something that she just couldn’t put her finger on.
“I’m going to go and find Helen now -“ Felina heard Renner speak and she immediately raised her hand to cut him off.
“Wait, Renner stop.” She whispered and looked up to face him. “We might be wrong.”
Renner frowned at her words. “What are you saying? The ink and the marker, who else could it be?”
“You’re not looking at the real picture Renner. Think carefully. We are missing an important point.” Felina answered and picked up the papers from the table to study the names Renner had highlighted.
“I don’t get what you’re saying!” Renner exclaimed.
Felina looked up Renner again. “Helen was with us at the cafeteria from 10.35 to 10.38.” She spoke in a low tone as her mind replayed the list of events that had occurred. “The drawing was done within the time 10.30 and 10.40. If Helen had indeed done the deed, she could have only done it from the time between 10.30 and 10.35 because at 10.35, she was with us at the cafeteria.”
“That would be five minutes,” Renner said, knitting his eyebrows together. “But five minutes is too short a time to do a drawing like that.”
Felina nodded. “Not only that, Helen is not from your chemistry class so she must have not been in this room when we were dismissed for break. Renner, do you know what lesson Helen had before break?”
Renner bit his lip and thought for a while and within seconds, his eyes widened and he immediately smacked a hand against his forehead. “Oh my!” He cried.
Felina looked on puzzled at his reaction. “What -“
“Helen’s from Class 2C. Students from Class 2C have chemistry lesson with my class in this homeroom from 9.30 to 10.30 before our break. But Helen doesn’t take Chemistry.” Renner spoke as though he had realised something very important.
“So that would mean, between 9.30 and 10.30, while her class was having a Chemistry, Helen would have had a break?” Felina spoke up.
“Yes!” Renner exclaimed. “Helen usually uses up her break time to work on her art work. She must have gone to the arts room to work on the art work that is due in two days. That explains the bottle of black ink in her hands when she came to cafeteria! She must have used the ink to refill a marker pen to use for the art work.”
Felina rubbed her temple and she let everything Renner had just said sink into her.
“That would mean Helen’s not the culprit.” She spoke while mentally analysing the situation. “If your deduction is true and Helen was in the arts room, there is no possibility that she could have done this. It would take a minimum of five minutes to walk all the way from the arts room to this classroom and if Helen was at the cafeteria at 10.35, there is no chance that she could have drawn the drawing.”
Renner let out sigh and wiped the perspiration on his forehead. “I knew Helen could not have done such a thing!” He said. “She would never do such a thing to me!”
Felina frowned at Renner and smirked slightly. “Says the one who was just about to confront and blame Helen.”
Renner bit his tongue and shot Felina a sheepish look. “That-that was-“ He stuttered before Felina stopped him.
“Leave that aside. But now that we know that Helen did not do this, who else could it be?”
Renner lowered his gaze to the marker in his hands. “If Helen’s marker is here, she must have lost it or she could have lent it to someone.”
Felina’s ears perked up. “Oh my, Renner! That’s a great lead!”
Renner grinned and rubbed the back of his head. “Ah thanks!”
“Do you know someone who borrowed Helen’s marker recently?”
Renner shook his head. “Unfortunately no.”
Before Felina could respond to Renner’s answer, the classroom door swung open and James walked in a with a smile on his face.
“Guys! What’s taking you so long -“ He started before laying his eyes on the whiteboard. His smile immediately turned into a frown and he turned to face Renner in shock.
“Oh my goodness Renner! What have you done?!” James asked fearfully.
Renner immediately started shaking his head. “I didn’t do this James! Someone else is trying to frame me for it!”
James frowned and bit his lip. “What do you mean?”
Realising that explaining the whole situation to James might take too long, Felina immediately spoke up. “There is no time to explain!” She said while turning to face James. “We need to find the real culprit before the class comes in at 11.15!”
She immediately turned to look at Renner. “Renner! I want you to go down and find Helen and ask her if she had lost or lent her to someone recently.” She looked down at his stained shirt and back at him. “And change out of your shirt before leaving.”
Renner nodded his head. “Okay!”
Felina turned to face James. “James I want you to help me pick out the names of those who are in the same chemistry class as you and Renner from this list,” she said handing him the list of names Renner highlighted.
James looked at her with a puzzled look. “I’m very confused at the moment but okay I’ll do as you say.”
Felina licked her lips and nodded. “Thanks James.”
10.59 am
Location: Cafeteria
Renner buttoned the last button on his new shirt and scanned the cafeteria to look for Helen.
He found her sitting at one of the tables at the back of the cafeteria and immediately ran towards towards her.
“Helen!” He cried breathlessly, stopping in front of her table.
Helen looked up from the sandwich she was about to take a bite from with a shocked expression on her face.
“Renner?”
“I need your help!” Renner cried.
Helen knitted her brows in confusion. “Yeah sure. What is it?”
“Did you lend your drawing marker to someone recently?”
Helen shot him a puzzled look. “Yah, but why -“
Renner immediately cut her off. “Who did you lend it to?”
“Alexander Grail. But why do -“
Renner cut her off again. “Thanks Helen. You’ve been of great help but I need to leave now.”
He turned and ran towards the classroom while the name Helen said replayed in his mind. Alexander Grail. The quiet boy who sat behind him in his chemistry class and next to him in his arts class. How could Alexander Grail be behind all of this?
11.00 am
Location: Renner’s Homeroom Class
“There are only three people from this list who are in the same chemistry class as Renner and me.” James spoke turning his eyes away from the list towards Felina.
“And their names are?”
“Justin Brooke, Lana Mc’Lain and Alexander Grail.”
”Do any of them -“ Felina started before Renner ran into the classroom looking flustered.
“It’s Alexander Grail!” He cried.
“What?” James asked immediately.
“Alexander is the one behind this!”
“How do you know?” Felina asked.
“Helen had lent her marker to Alexander! And he is an art student, making him capable of drawing this drawing in 10 minutes. Plus, he also sits behind me during Chemistry class which would mean that when we were all dismissed for break at 10.30, he would have stayed behind to draw the drawing on the board.”
“Oh my goodness!” James exclaimed. “But why would Alexander do such a thing?”
Renner bit his lip and shook his head. “I don’t know but I’m quite sure he must be the culprit.”
Felina frowned. “Renner, you’re not jumping into conclusions again are you?”
“No Felina.” Renner shook his head. “I thought about it well enough. The drawing being of Mr Monroe, the marker being in Alexander’s possession, the timing in which this was done. It all points to him as the culprit.”
“What is the link between Alexander and the drawing being of Mr Monroe?” James asked.
“Do you not see it? Alexander sits behind me during chemistry! He must have overheard our conversation when I told you about how Mr Monroe had warned me for my pranks.” Renner exclaimed.
“You have a point,” Felina said as she rubbed her chin, “But why did he do this?”
“That’s a question only he might be able to answer.”
James turned his wrist to look at the time on his wristwatch. “We have 10 minutes before the class comes in!” He cried as his eyes widened.
Renner sighed and bit his lip harshly. “How am I going to prove that Alexander is behind this in 10 minutes!”
Felina frowned and shook her head. “Don’t panic guys! We need to think calmly to find a good solution.”
“We have 10 minutes! How do we not panic?” James cried.
“Wait. I think I might have a plan.” Renner spoke up.
“What is it?” Felina asked looking at Renner.
“Felina, go to the Principal’s office and bring Mr Monroe here immediately.” Renner said urgently and turned to address James, “James, I want you to get Helen from the Cafeteria and bring her up to the classroom immediately. I’m going to go look for Alexander and bring him here.”
Felina and James looked at each other and nodded. “Sure!”
11.10 am
Location: Renner’s Homeroom Class
Felina, James, Helen and Mr Monroe walked into the classroom with Helen and Mr Monroe incessantly questioning them about what was going on.
“Where is Renner?” Felina asked James, realising that Renner was not in the classroom.
James frowned and shook his head. “I hope he finds Alexan -“
“WHAT IS THIS?” A loud voice bellowed behind them and the two turned to find Mr Monroe looking at the whiteboard with a very angry look on his face.
“Uh-oh!” James whispered while Felina immediately spoke up. “Sir! It’s not what you think!”
Mr Monroe ignored Felina and didn’t turn his eyes away from the board. “I want Mr Collins here right now. He is going to face serious consequences for this.” He gritted, his face turning red with anger.
“Sir no! You are wrong! Renner didn’t do this. Someone else is trying to frame him for all of these pranks!” Felina spoke up immediately trying her best to defend her friend.
Mr Monroe shook his head. “I will not believe that. I want you to bring Mr Collins here right at this instance.”
Just as Felina was about to say another word, Renner rushed into the classroom with his hand clasped around the arm of the small looking boy who was following him in toe.
“Guys! I found him.” Renner cried while trying to catch his breath.
Mr Monroe turned to face Renner with both anger and confusion in his eyes. “Mr Collins...” He started before Renner immediately cut him off.
“Sir, I can explain! This whole thing was done by Alexander! The prank on the football team, the staff’s room and now, this drawing.” He cried before turning to face the boy standing next to him. “Come on Alexander! Tell them what you told me!”
“Is this true Mr Grail?” Mr Monroe asked in a low tone.Alexander pursed his lips and lowered his eyes to the ground.
“Yes sir.” He answered in a meek voice.
“But why?” James was quick to question him.
Alexander let out a small sigh and looked up to face the four who was standing in front of him.
“Because I wanted to be the best.”
“What do you mean?” Both Helen and Felina asked at the same time.
“I was always behind everyone else. In studies, sports and even at making friends. I was never as good as the rest. Everyone was outspoken while I was soft. Everyone was friendly while I was reserved. Everyone was smart while all I could do was draw. Art was the one thing that I could do my best in and be better than anyone else, except for one person. Renner Collins.” He spoke softly.
Mr Monroe and the rest listened intently as he continued to speak. “Art was the only thing I could excel in and I couldn’t stand the fact that even the subject that I could do my best in was being snatched away by someone else. I wanted to be the best and for that, I needed Renner to be out of my way.”
“So you planned to do major pranks and blame them on Renner so that he could be expelled from the school.” Mr Monroe spoke while everyone else looked at him in surprise.
Alexander licked his lips and lowered his head. “Yes sir.” He answered truthfully with visible guilt and embarrassment in his voice.
“Alexander, I sympathise with you for having felt that way but that does not justify your actions of trying to frame Renner. If you wanted to be the best, you should have worked for it and not have resorted to committing such an act. I do hope you have realised your mistake now. I want you to apologize to Renner and meet me in my office in 10 minutes.” Mr Monroe spoke in a rough yet gentle tone.
“Yes sir. I’m sorry for my actions.” Alexander whispered in a low tone.
Mr Monroe turned to face Renner. “Mr Collins, I’m sorry for misunderstanding you. You are free to go now but at the same time, I’ll be still watching over you. So, no more dangerous pranks.”
Renner let out a grin and nodded his head. “Sure sir.”
Mr Monroe smiled. “Good Mr Collins. I’ll take my leave now. Also, please do find a way to wipe the hideous thing off the board before the rest of your class comes in.”
With that, Mr Monroe left the classroom with Alexander following him in toe. Renner turned to look at his friends who were all smiling at him with relief in their eyes.
“Thanks a lot guys! ” He exclaimed and ran over to them.
12.30 pm
Location: Cafeteria
“Woah! That’s quite the story!” Helen exclaimed once James had finished narrating the entire incident to her.
Renner nodded his head in agreement. “It sure was.”
“I’m still surprised at the fact that Alexander was the one behind this.” James said.
Helen immediately nodded her head. “I am too. He’ll be the last person I would have ever suspected. How did you guys manage to figure out that it was him in such a short span of time?”
Renner smiled and flashed Felina a knowing look. “All the credits go to Felina. I couldn’t have done it without her special detective skills.”
“Detective skills eh?” James asked while giving Felina a playful wink.
Felina rolled her eyes lightly and smiled. “It comes from reading a lot of detective novels and you’re welcome Renner. I’m glad I could help you solve the mystery in time.”
Helena grinned at Felina and gave her a light nod. “That’s very cool. Well, now I know who to approach if I ever need any help with solving any future mystery cases.”
“Same here!” James piped up in agreement while Felina shook her head and smiled.
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