summer writing challenge entry
Amateur
CHAPTER
1
A mystery to solve
Detective? You want to be a detective? “ Tara shouted at me, her eyes wide “Seriously? Out of all the jobs you could choose from, you choose a detective?” I said nothing. “Have you been reading too many Sherlock Holmes books?” Tara was now laughing in disbelief.
“What’s wrong with being a detective?” I asked, not really liking her attitude towards my dream job.
“Detectives belong in murder mystery books! You’re not going to get any of that in real life, you know that right?” I scowled at my cousin, who was sitting in a bed opposite mine.
“Of course you do! Now, all I have to do is study criminal justice, along with a bit of private investigation. It’s a real job, Tara!”
“Pfff, you would know!”
“I’m not a child anymore! And you’re only one year older than me! Besides, I’ve researched everything. There’s a handy thing called the internet, you know.”
“But that one year older means I’ve experienced the real world. You’ve only just graduated from high school. Amelie, the real world isn’t like the books. And it’s definitely not like detective stories.” I glared at her.
“Well, you’re being supportive. I thought you were my friend, but now you’ve gone all authoritative and I don’t like it.” I folded my arms and turned my back to her, probably looking like a sulking child but I didn’t care. I heard Tara walking across the room to my bed where I was sitting.
“I am your friend. But friends shouldn’t lie to each other,” she said, putting her hand on my shoulder. I shook it off.
“Whatever. I’ll get my detective career and find myself a nice mystery to solve and prove you wrong.” I got up from my bed, pushed past her to the light switch. “You know, sometimes I wish we had separate rooms.” I flicked the switch and climbed back into bed.
“Ha! You were the one who wanted to share a room with us, you know, ‘best buddies’!” Tara replied, teasingly.
“Well, normally you aren’t all bossy and disapproving.”
“Well that’s not my fault, is it now.”
“Shut up.” I snapped, pulling the covers over my head.
“Goodnight!” Tara replied in a sickly-sweet voice. I scowled, but before I knew it I was asleep and dreaming of becoming a successful detective, and proving my older cousin wrong.
“Wake up! Get dressed! The police are here and want to talk to you, Amelie!” My aunt knocked at the door, waking me up.
“Wait, WHAT?!” I bolted upright.
“Josephine Wilson was found dead last night.” Tara replied in a bland voice, seemingly already dressed and ready.
WHAT?! “ I literally shouted, as I threw of the covers and jumped out of bed to get dressed. Within a minute I was talking to the police.
“Hi Amelie, I’m D.I. Tones and I’m hear to interview you about the murder of Josephine Smith. I believe you two knew each other?” said the police officer, turning on the video cam.
“Yes, we were close friends and in the same class.”
“Do you know about the murder?”
“Well I do now,”
“Before we started this conversation,” he rolled his eyes and scowled at me.
“No,”
“Sure?”
“Did you hear me scream “what” upstairs?”
“Touché,” he acknowledged, before looking back at his notes “Where were you last night at around nine?”
“In my room with my cousin Tara, my aunt can also confirm that,”
“Ok, thank you Amelie,” he said, turning off the recorder and getting up. I looked at him, surprised.
“Is that it?” I furrowed my forehead in confusion.
“Is that what? You expected more?”
“Yes,” I replied, but Tones said nothing, just picked up his camera and walked to the door.
“Thank you, Ms Baker,” and with that he left. I got up from the table I had been sitting at and pulled on my coat.
“Where are you off to?” came Tara’s voice from the kitchen as she was finishing her breakfast.
“Don’t you remember our conversation last night? I told you I’d find a mystery to solve and here it is! Besides, she’s my friend, and judging by the way that guy “interviewed” me, I don’t think they have, or will, get very far.”
“But-“
“I’m going to the crime scene,” I said, before closing the front door and walking in the direction of Josephine’s house. And moments after I heard the hurried footsteps of Tara following me, and I couldn’t help smirking.
Much to my surprise, there weren’t many police officers on the crime scene, only Tones himself, and we could easily slip in and hide. Josephine lay on the floor next to her bed, in pyjamas.
“She collapsed on the way to climbing into bed,” I whispered to Tara, who looked at me bewildered.
“How do you know that?”
“She’s in pyjamas, and the curtains were closed,”
“But the curtains are wide open,”
“But Josephine never ties them back. She always leaves them hanging. The police must’ve opened them.” At that moment, Tones entered the room, and we ducked behind the wardrobe. He glanced at the body, then wrote something down on a clipboard, and left the room. Some police detective, I thought, taking a closer look at the body. Her expression was pained, so unlikely to be a sudden death. That eliminated shooting, a blow to the head... but what could cause a slow death? I paused, and racked my brain. Then I got it. Poison. “Let’s go downstairs and talk to Mrs Smith,” I whispered, beckoning Tara and cautiously sneaking out of the room and down the stairs. Outside in the garden, I could see her. I opened the door, and walked over to her. “Um, Mrs Smith, sorry to disturb you,” I started, suddenly feeling guilty when I saw her teary face “What was the last thing Josephine ate last night?” I heard Tara approach me from behind, and Mrs Smith sniffed.
“Supper,” she replied quietly.
“And who has been in your house since the meal was served?”
“Only the police,” she whispered between sniffs “They did a security check last night, while we were eating and we had to show them around.”
“Do you mind if we look for clues downstairs? I’m, I mean we’re, doing some little investigations of our own.”
“That’s fine,” she said, then turned her back, clearly not in the mood for more conversation. I made my way to the door, but Tara stopped me.
“Can you not stop telling me your thoughts?” she actually looked sincere about this whole detective business “You’re actually not bad at this, but I’m worse than you.” I smiled and nodded, then carried on into the house and into the kitchen, which was attached to the dining room.
“Look for anything suspicious or abnormal. In particular, we’re looking for a small bottle that could have contained poison, liquid or a pill, but liquid is easier to disguise in a meal.” Tara searched the kitchen, I searched the dining table.
“Uh... Amelie, did Josephine take liquid medicine? Or any of her family for that matter?” Tara asked. I paused.
“No, her mum took tablets, her dad had eczema cream but no solutions or liquids. Why?”
“Come see this,” she said, holding a tiny bottle, with only a label. “Doesn’t tell us what it is though,” I read the label and smiled.
“This is one very stupid murderer,”
“What? Why?”
“He left the brand label on, and besides,” I paused and looked at Tara’s confused face “Any smart person would know to dispose of the bottle in the first place,”
“So what now?”
“Let’s go and talk to the local pharmacist, that’s where the bottle came from.”
I walked into the pharmacy, suddenly becoming nervous when I realised what I was doing. I was about to question a fully-grown man about a murder, which implies I’m accusing him of being involved. It was a small shop, with just a small counter and a few shelves of make-up, oils, bandages and plasters next to it. The guy behind the counter looked at me.
“Hi... um, I would like to ask...” I started, but my voice quickly faded due to the annoying lump in my throat.
“It’s a personal question, so you won’t need your medicines.” Tara snapped, filling in for me. I looked her gratefully.
“So... are you implying that you want to come into the back room?” he looked at us both confused.
“A bit of privacy would be appreciated.” Tara replied, authoritatively. I never thought I would be glad of her ability to be authoritative, but I was. The guy hesitated, then nodded and walked into the corridor behind the counter, and we followed. Once inside the back room, he shut the door and sat down at the table. We sat down opposite and I smiled inwardly when I realised the lump in my throat had gone and I no longer felt nervous. I pulled the bottle out of my pocket and placed it on the table. He looked at it, but his expression remained blank and he said nothing.
“My friend Josephine Smith was murdered yesterday, and the police are doing a rubbish job at investigating it, so my cousin Tara and I are doing our own investigation.” I paused, and he scowled slightly “During said investigation, we found this bottle on the crime scene. Explain.” The man chuckled slightly.
“Isn’t it obvious? It’s just an ordinary medicine bottle!” I frowned.
“Except it isn’t. I know my friend, and I know her family. None of them take liquid medicine.”
“Who said it contained liquid medicine?” I frowned at the man’s stubbornness, opened the bottle and flipped it upside down, allowing a drop to land on the table. The drop fizzed away, leaving a tiny dent in the wood. “Liquid. And not just any liquid, acid. And very strong acid judging by the dent it’s just left in the table.” The man frowned.
“So you’re accusing me of murdering Josephine?” He asked, his expression stern.
“Correction, we’re accusing you of being involved in the killing process, which could include murdering her.” I replied bluntly. The man paused, then got up from his chair and walked towards the door. I gasped. No, we couldn’t lose a suspect. “No! Please don’t go away! Sorry if I was too-“
“I’m not going anywhere,” he replied quietly, pulling keys out of his pocket and locking the door. “But neither are you,” I furrowed my forehead in confusion as he walked back to the table. He placed his keys back in his pocket, and reached for something else. I gasped as he pointed it at me.
A gun.

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