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"AND""OR"

The Murderous Miracle
A Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Style Mini-Mystery I awakened from my morning slumber and groggily entered the foyer to find Holmes sitting in his chair in a speculative pose while thoughtfully smoking on one of his many pipes. "Good Morning Holmes!, " I said in one of my Cheeriest tones, which wasn't very impressive, due to the fact I am not a morning person "And what wakes you up so early this fine morning?" "Early?" Holmes replied "Why it's nearly noontime, it's you who have been sleeping in! And making an awful racket with that dreadful snoring of yours!" I was struck by a paroxysm of coughing as Holmes' smoke entered my lungs, "Noontime? Nonsense, That pipe must be doing more damage than I thought! It is a tad early for that kind of thing anyway!" said I, a bit less cheerier than before due to Holmes' mindless banter. He only smiled and said "See for yourself,my good man, look through the window onto the common, and tell me what you see..." I did as he told, clearing my eyes, and to my shock I saw the townspeople all about in their daily hustle and bustle which was common to northern London preceding teatime. "Well, it appears you are right! People are at work, conducting their business and the like. I'm awfully sorry, I'm just rather irritable in the morning." "Quite alright my friend, it's understandable, tell me, what else do you see at the window?" Holmes calmly stated. "Well, Nothing out of the ordinary, as I said before, just..wait! There is a crowd of people around a car right next to our doorstep!" I exclaimed. " Is the man a shady character with a dark beard and an umbrella on his shoulder?" Holmes asked. "Why Yes! That describes him perfectly! Who is he and how do you know him?" I asked. "Well,that happens to be Sir Reginald Chaucer of Pottingshire, and also one of the most wealthy men in all of England." said he. "So? What importance is he to us? And why does he happen to be on our doorstep?" I voiced. "He happens to be suspected of the murder of one Friedrich Nietzche because of financial reasons, and is presumably our newest client." Sir Chaucer was a very strange man, very eccentric, those were the first two thoughts to enter my mind, even as he was climbing the stairs to the designated "meeting room". I thought this, not because he was rich, for I do not like to stereotype a man that way, but as he progressed up the stairs occasionally he would pause, mutter something to himself, and go on. Those were not the doings of a sane man. But for every bit that he was strange, I was ten times more intrigued by this man, and in wondering why he was here had piqued my curiosity to the highest mark. But as he came through the door I tried my best to disguise the inquisitive look upon my countenance and took a seat. "Welcome!" my friend called "I assume that you are Sir Reginald Chaucer of Pottingshire?" "Of course I am! Who else would I be? I do hope I haven't come to a drunken sod and not an private detective. At any rate, I don't want to speak here at all, it's too much peasantry for my taste, and I fear I could not stay here long without quickly becoming nauseous." Sir Reginald, who obviously had no need for formal introductions, replied. "Therefore," he continued, cutting off a reply from Holmes "you will come with me to my estate in Pottingshire whether or whether not it pleases you to do so." "But, kind Sir," I interjected "Most of our best work is conceived right here, and you might be interrupting the detective process!" "I did not pay you for your own comfort, but for mine! And if you are the sort of detectives who rely on a certain room for your brain power, I think I'll be looking somewhere else!" Sir Reginald complained. "Don't worry good man," my friend said "It's just that Dr. Watson here is a bit bold for his own good, and I can assure you that such extensive methods need not be taken," And as he saw the look of astonishment on my face he cast a discreet wink my way. "If only," Holmes continued "You would give my friend a few moments to freshen up and get into some proper clothes." "Of course!", Sir Reginald continued, "Do you think I would lower my reputation by riding around with a ruffian? But I'll be waiting in the car, I can't stand to be in this smokepit that you call a home any longer." And with that, our strange client abruptly turned and made his way down the stairs, pausing only to look in the air and mutter something about the condition of his lungs, and wondering aloud which was worse, the smog outside or inside. "Holmes, My good friend!" I stated as soon as I was sure our client was gone, "Where did you find such an impossibly rude, obnoxious, insufferable,and unbearable patron? I mean seriously ol' chap? Can an individual possibly be more intolerable than that?" I asked. "I'm not quite sure my friend Watson" Holmes said "But I fear we'll find out if we aren't dashing to his car in the wink of an eye!" He added with a smile. Sir Reginald's house was more grand than anything I'd ever imagined, but it did not have a comfortable, lived-in environment. It was as if no one had ever lived there and never should, it was a cold, barren place, and seemed more a museum than a place where human beings lived. We were quickly hushed into the main living where both Holmes and I took a seat and Reginald began his tale.. "There is no archaic background, and no asinine fairy-tale to go along with this incident gentlemen. One of my more prestigious competitors who would never enter my house had it not been for the extensive work he has done on my brother, has been murdered, and there is no trace of the murderer elsewhere, so he must be in this house!!" said the aggravated Reginald. "Well," Holmes asked "If the culprit is indeed stalking among the corridors of this very house why have you not called the police?" "I did you dolt! And they came,and they took the body, but could find no sign of the murderer and are searching elsewhere, but I know myself that the culprit could not have left!" Reginald screeched irately. "Well, How can you be so sure? Could you tell us more about this terrible incident? Please try to be as specific as possible." Holmes calmly stated, not deterred in the slightest by the old man's insolence. "Well, it's a very simple and rudimentary story my friend, My rival Doctor Fredrich Nietzche ,now deceased, was headed up towards the library to investigate some latin history or some such nonsense, then I heard only a blood curdling wail and made my way with all haste to the library!" Our client said gruffly. Inwardly I smiled as I imagined the patriarchal man running up the stairs, but stopped my train of thought as I realized I was reaping enjoyment from another man's demise. "Ah, I see," Holmes said "Well who else was here besides yourself? Could the culprit be one of your staff perhaps?" "Impossible, the Staff was gone for the day, and the only other people here were my brother Douglas Arganth Chaucer, and myself." he said. "Well, if it wasn't you, and no one else was here, it had to be your brother Douglas!" I concluded, inwardly gratified at my own simple solution. "Yes, but you forget a simple fact you thick-headed simpleton! My brother is also crippled and incapable of crawling, much less dashing up the stairs, And has been that way since he was 9 and stricken with complete paralyzation, it is a wonder that he wasn't bed-ridden for the rest of his life! Furthermore, he owed his ability to operate the upper-half of his body solely to Doctor Nietzche! For it was he who helped him through rehabilitation! I reached the bottom of the stairs before the murderer could have possibly come down, and there is no other exit from the library." he continued. "Alas, we are truly sorry for your brothers condition," Holmes added, "But since we can easily dismiss him from being the culprit, we should continue on a different note, may we see the crime area?" "Be my guests, the police have searched it several times already though." Reginald said, and led us into the library. ceiling with books of all kinds, literature, history, philosophy, anything the mind could think of. My stomach slightly turned as I saw bloodstains in the carpet, but no other sign of the murder was visible. "This," Reginald Said "Is where the murder took place, I have some other business in town to attend to, so you may search to your hearts delight and perhaps make some sense of this inanity! And don't touch anything valuable! " with that he turned and left downstairs to attend to whatever mindless business he had. "So what do you think Dr. Watson? Do I perhaps see a smile on your face because you have already discovered the culprit of this crime?" Holmes said. "Well, if what he says is true to some extent. The murderer never left, or it's Sir Reginald eliminating one of his competitors, I truly cannot see his crippled brother pulling himself up the stairs and killing Nietzche and then going back down before Sir Reginald reached here!" I inferred. I turned,expecting to see the shock on Holmes' face at my own ability of decoding the mystery. But instead, I saw his smile, and knew at once that my answer was false. "I'm sorry, my good friend, but you are wrong, I investigated the blood stains, and it appears that written in his own blood was a latin symbol '', so I don't believe it is that simple, I am hoping that in your work in the medical profession that you have come across the meaning of that particular symbol?" Holmes asked "Of course! It is a Latin word meaning Beta, and isn't Sir Reginalds company called Beta-Investments? I'll go talk to Douglas,about Sir Reginald's relationship with the Doctor. "Ah, the Latin word 'Beta', how interesting, thank you my dear friend, as usual, you have proved yourself invaluable to our noble cause. I will remain here and further investigate the room, to ensure that everything that could possibly be found was." Holmes said. I raced downstairs, thinking to be on the right track with Reginald, but Douglas' room was unoccupied, And there was hardly a sign of the man ever being there. As I turned to tell return to the library and tell Holmes of my discovery, I was knocked unconcious from behind. I awakened in a small cellar with a small bruise on my head which would definitely smart later. As I remembered what had just transpired, I quickly looked around for a sign of the scoundrel but saw nothing. I needed not to check the door to know that it was locked. I sat down to contemplate my current situation but got no further than being utterly helpless before the doorknob started to turn. I tried to compose myself as best as I could to attack, but I am not the most belligerent of people. The door slowly opened, but behind the door, to my surprise, was not a devilous rogue or some sort of murderous swine, but my good friend Sherlock Holmes! "It's good to see that you're here, I'm sorry that I couldn't have helped you earlier, but I only just found out about this luxurious abode of yours. And then of course I had to help chase Douglas across the lawn." Holmes said, without batting an eye. "What? But Douglas is crippled, Sir Reginald said so himself! And in fact, I was on my way to go talk to him.." My words trailed off as I realized what must have happened.... "You are right in one respect, Douglas WAS crippled, but that was until the recently deceased Doctor Nietzche healed him. It was nothing short of a miracle, but even miracles have their price. Nietzche was charging Douglas a small fortune which Douglas could not afford, so Douglas was forced to plot less than honorable means of gaining the money." Holmes stated. "Such as killing his brother! He knew his brother was rich, and that he would get the money, and no one would ever suspect a crippled man. But, something doesnt make sense, I mean, after Douglas was cured, how could Nietzche charge him?" "Well, there were contracts and such, but I doubt even that would mean too much to a man who had only recently regained the ability to walk. I suppose fear of whatever could be done, could be undone was enough motivation to get Douglas worried." Holmes concluded. "Ok, that makes sense I suppose, but how could you possibly know it was Chaucer? And where he was hiding me?" I asked, still slightly puzzled by Holmes' appearance. "Well, as you were saying, the symbol "" was a Latin symbol meaning before, well, Our friend the Doctor was also looking up some Latin history according to Sir Reginald if you recall. Using those two facts, I simply searched the library for a Latin book, and found a dictionary, and between the pages with the definition for beta, was a full diary written by Dr. Fredrich Nietzche. The diary Encluding everything from Douglas' remarkable recovery, to Douglas' plot to kill his brother. With that knowledge I was alarmed to think that I had sent you into a perilous position. Nietzche had apparently found a diary of Douglas' which had details of his plan, and threatened to release them to Sir Reginald Chaucer unless he was given triple his salary. Douglas had planned to kill his brother and stow the body in here, hoping that perhaps one of the staff would be accused of commiting the crime. For it is public knowledge that he was not fond of his staff. I was only guessing when I supposed he would leave you here." Holmes concluded. "Ah, so it was a plot, within a plot, within a plot!" I stated, pleased with my witticism. "Hmm," Holmes paused thoughtfully "Not really, Not at all, come now, let us go back to our flat, it appears you need some more sleep if you are making feeble jokes such as that one." He laughed, and I laughed along with him, for we had just solved the case, of the Murderous Miracle.

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