A Thousand Voices
CHAPTER
1
Part 1- The voices
Analyn Solomon stood frigid, knocking only twice on the Chief’s white polished door. It swung open quickly, surprising her. She stepped back quickly, a lock of her long black hair falling into her face and covering her view of the office.
As Analyn moved the piece of hair back in place, her eyes swept the large room, starting on the burly officer next to the door, then the big machine copier in the corner, past the lone window showing the small city’s buildings and later only showing the outskirts of the old village. She stepped towards the window, then stood, transfixed by the view.
“Excuse me?”
Analyn drew in her breath, and straightened her posture on habit, slowly turning around to face the chief.
“What brings you here?” The chief asked, his normally bright, green eyes filled with boredom.
Analyn took in a deep breath. “I’m here to ask about the case,” she said quietly.
“Sit, my dear.”
Analyn stepped forward uncertainly, and pulled out the only chair in front of the desk, sitting in it while making sure to keep her posture straight.
“What do you think qualifies you for Case 249?” He asked innocently. Anger flared up inside Analyn.
She stood up quickly reaching in her bag for her port cache. Her fingers closed around the small object and she whipped it out, pressing the expand button on the side.
Slamming the overfilling folder on his desk, she tried to stare him straight in the eyes but he continued to avoid her gaze. Tears glistened in Analyn’s eyes.
The chief stared at the folder in shock, seeming to debate how to respond.
“You know why I’m here!” Analyn cried. “You know why I qualify.” She struggled to regain her composure, and sat back down slowly, though keeping her hands clenched on his desk.
“We... have discussed this.” The Chief said quietly. “And I don’t want to discuss it again.”
“Why not?”
“Because I’ve told you the reasons why Newham can’t let you, already.” He spoke, confident again.
“But you can!” She said.
“No, I can’t. It’s too dangerous for an amateur detective with so little knowledge.”
Analyn felt her anger rise up again like a flame, but diminished by sadness quickly.
“I’m not an amateur.” She whispered, looking at the port cache on his desk. Full of discovered mysteries. Full of people saved from death, people brought to retribution from crimes. Full of Analyn’s own life.
The chief smiled, sadly, following her gaze to the port cache. “Yes, you are. You can not bring to justice a man, or even a mere servant. Not in this case. Not in any other case.
Analyn felt her tears come back. “ You don’t even care, do you? Like the rest of them.”
“I’m afraid that I can’t answer that question.”
Analyn spun around, and prepared to open the door quickly, but paused. Her hand cradled the brass door knob.
“I can do this.” Analyn spoke quietly. “You know I can do this, so does everyone else. Everyone just denies it because of-“ She paused, and looked back at the chief, and catching him off guard, stared into the his eyes, noticing for the first time the wrinkles, and bits of gray hair appearing on the man.
“Because of Mum.”
“Analyn-“
“No, Father. No.”
“So, what are you going to do?”
Analyn glanced over at Poppy, noticing how her orange-red hair was shining in the sunset.
“I mean, he has no right to do that. Say that. Whatever.” Poppy paused. “Even if he’s my father?” Analyn asked doubtfully.
“Yes, Analyn, especially because he’s your father.” Poppy stopped walking and put her hands on Analyn’s shoulders. “It’s not how a parent should act.”
Analyn let herself smile, knowing bright spirited Poppy would like it.
“You’re right.”
They continued to stroll down the old cobblestone road, kicking a pebble to each other repeatedly.
“On the bright side of things, now you have time to study for mid-year assessment!” Poppy said, smiling.
“Mhm. Cause I totally want to do that.”
“Oh come on, Analyn. They’re important! Did you not hear Professor Bell saying that it’s 30% of our grade?
Analyn felt a blush creep up on her cheeks. “I have more important things to think about.” They strolled past a newspaper stand, showing The Newham Chronicles, now featuring the ministers murder and his missing family.
It happened only a week ago, and Analyn had felt her mind clouded ever since.
She glanced around, and seeing that none of the passerby’s were looking, Analyn grabbed a newspaper out of it’s thin yellow rack. Poppy hadn’t noticed, she was still rambling about the assessment and her grades.
“ On September 12th, the minister was reported missing only hours after he visited Greenwell Prep. At 7 pm that day, he was found dead in his garden, holding no weapon and with a sheen of surprise in his eyes.
It was concluded by Chief Tom Solomon a day later that our faithful minister had indeed been murdered. Furthermore, the ministers wife and children were missing too, and after a complete search of Newham, they could not be found.
Anyone who believes they’re qualified to held solve this devastating case may file a request and arrange a meeting with Chief Tom Solomon.”
Turn to page 3 to find Tom Solomons faithful words on Newhams safety.
Analyn’s brow furrowed. The newspaper didn’t help at all, considering that some people would want to know how the minister was killed, not only that it was a murder.
Suddenly Analyn realized that Poppy was now silent, staring at her intently.
“What?” Analyn asked, embarrassed again.
“I was asking you if Luke Labell seemed suspicious on that day.”
“On what day?” Analyn asked, even though she already knew the answer.
“When the minister was, well... you know.” Poppy paused. “Killed.” She whispered, her bright blue eyes fearful.
Analyn shook her head. Why people in her grade were scared of saying the facts dumbfounded her.
“I don’t know. I don’t care.”
“Honestly, Analyn, you need to pay more attention to boys! It’s no secret that Luke fancy’s you.” Poppy said, cheerful again.
“That’s funny, Poppy. Everyone in this town hates me except for you. And now you’re saying that the Luke Labell likes me.”
Poppy looked at her again. “Yes, Analyn, I’m saying that the Luke Labell likes you,” she echoed.
“Hmm... when have I ever noticed Luke Labell...” Analyn said sarcastically, pretending to be in deep thought at the subject. “Oh, I know! How about neve-“
Poppy snatched the newspaper out of Analyn’s hands. She’d forgotten that she was still holding it.
“You stole this!” She said, waving the old paper in front of Analyn’s eyes.
Analyn chose not to answer, staring straight ahead.
Exasperated, Poppy gave up. There was no use trying to coax Analyn. They walked in silence for a few minutes, until Poppy spoke up.
“Say, Analyn, why would someone want to kill the minister anyways?”
“That’s what I’m trying to find out.”
Analyn breathed quietly, her old black leather boots disrupting the dry leaves of the ministers old garden.
She crept closer to the neatly trimmed edges, readying her escape in case the sound came near. The wailing seemed to draw her in, clearing all the thoughts from her own mind, leaving only a gaping hole. A thousand voices, from young and small to inhuman sounds.
Analyn leapt over the bush, once on the other side. She could still here the wailing coming from the white manor, and was now desperate to get away from it.
She ran along the hedges, seeing the distant cobblestone road out of the corner of her eye. She was closer, but the wailing was still loud and fresh in her mind.
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