The Mystery Of The Locked Room
III. Revelation -1
As Brian reached the place, he was deep in thought as to what Jack wanted to know from the testifiers. As he made towards the room where the 4 suspects had been detained, he recapitulated the incident as it took place. First, the maid found the door locked at 8:00 and called the police who then informed Jack of the situation and he caught the suspects at about 8:40 PM from their respective places and had them detained at the station till now. He looked at his watch; it was almost 9 in the morning! The suspects had been at this place for about 12 hours now, waiting for the post-mortem report as the doctor was out-of-town! He called Jack at about 6:30 in the morning. He wondered – even if Mr. Portman was murdered, the murderer must have removed all his traces by then. The post-mortem report hadn’t come in yet .
With a sigh of dissatisfaction he went to the room. It was cold in the morning and his already unappeased mood was exacerbated by it. As he made his way into the room, he saw Mrs. Prescot still under shock as she saw the body first, Mr. Dalton shivering and tensed, while Mr. Polski and Mr. Samuel were chatting about something at a corner. As soon as they saw Brian Mr. Samuel came impulsively forward and in an irked voice questioned “How long are you going to keep us here? It’s already been about 12 hours now! All you say is someone wants to question you! Where is that person now?”
Brian looked at him and in a quivering voice said “Well….umm….you see….”. He was interrupted by Polski who retorted “Let me guess… he is not here yet, isn’t he?” Brian replied in a beseeching tone “Please be patient. He will be here soon. He just had to question a few others about something…” “What do you mean he had to question others? We are the ones he should be questioning, right?” asked Samuel.
‘Damn it! Where are you Jack? Always making me tackle the rough guys!’ cursed Brian as he slowly began to amble the corridor waiting for Jack. Finally, after about 15 minutes, he saw someone resembling Jack making his way into the station. He rushed towards him and yelled “WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG? I was being grilled here by the suspects while it should’ve been the other way round!”
“My most humblest apologies Brian. I was caught in traffic near the signal three blocks down. I had to walk from there. That is why it took me so long” pleaded Jack as they both slowly made their way into the corridors from the entrance.
“Well, did you get any leads yet?”
“What do you think I’ve been up to. huh?” grinned Jack. “But there is still one thing that bothers me….”saying which Jack bumped into a little boy who had come along with his mother to register a case at the station. The boy started crying as he fell down and his balloon left his hands.Jack bent down, apologized to the little boy, gave back his balloon and was about to get up when he suddenly stopped as if he got a back-ache. Jack looked at Brian and gave a satisfied smile as if he just found something very.. very.. interesting! Brian asked “What is it? You look as if you found some worthy treasure!”
“Believe me, I just did!” said Jack emphatically!
Jack wondered what it could be as they opened the door to the detainment room. Jack entered the room with a smile and looked at the suspects one by one as they looked bemused at his smile! He shook hands with each one of them and apologized for the lateness. Mr. Samuel was the first person to speak – “Well, Mr. detective, whatever you want to ask us, please do it fast! We have been waiting for you for a very long time!”
“Of course, it will all be over ………. As soon as the culprit admits it!!!”
Everyone was totally shocked to hear Jack say this. Brian whispered in Jack’s ear “I hope you know what you are doing, my job’s at stake here! Don’t forget that!”
“I’ve got it all under control. Don’t worry. Just trust me on this one “smiled Jack.
“What do you mean the culprit? Wasn’t this a suicide? “asked a baffled Mr. Polski.
“That’s right! We were told that it was a suicide and we were to be released as soon as our alibis were confirmed!” said Mr. Dalton nervously.
“Well gentlemen, it seems you are the only persons who are baffled at this… Mrs. Prescot, don’t you want to add something to this? “inquired Jack.
Mrs. Prescot still under shock replied in a quivering voice “Huh, me? No…….. I am fine…..I am sorry…. I still cannot believe ……. That Mr. Portman would…… kill himself! “
“Well, at least one of them thinks it was a murder!”
Jack’s words pulsed a jolt of fear through all the 3 remaining suspects. “Wait a second….. If this is a murder and you are questioning us for that, does that mean the culprit is amongst us? “asked Mr. Samuel
“Yes! That’s right. A Killer is hidden amongst you!” retorted Jack. “Let’s re-verify everyone’s alibi now…… Mr. Polski – you left at about 7 in the evening to buy groceries at your usual place, but since your car broke down, you reached the mechanic , whose shop is about 30 minutes from Mr. Portman’s place, at about 7:45 PM and then reached the grocery store at about 8:10! Am I correct?”
“Yes! Absolutely. My car broke down a little after I left Mr. Portman’s house. Since I was pushing my car from there ,for about 30 minutes, I reached the mechanic at about 7:45!” replied Mr. Polski
“Or, you could’ve left your car at a place near the mechanic and all you had to do was wait till everyone was gone and finish your dirty work and rush towards the place where you parked it by some other taxi and push it to the mechanic’s shop! Or even the mechanic might be lying!” replied Jack.
“Rubbish! I hated him very badly but not to the extent of killing him! “exclaimed Mr. Polski.
“Alright then, now Mr. Samuel and Dalton – You both left at about 7:15 together and reached a fast food stall at about 7:30 PM and returned home at about 8! Is that correct? “
“Yes. That’s true. We even showed the receipt to your friend and he has verified the same.” Replied Mr. Dalton
“Hmm…very interesting…so…if you both planned this and killed him and escaped with the other’s help! Since no one saw the murder actually taking place, one of you could’ve told the other to come through the window from the outside and pull you out while you used the switch to open the window and the other held it! ” exclaimed Jack.
“That’s just baseless allegation Mr. …” retorted Mr. Samuel
“Jack……Mr. Jack Turner” replied Jack. “True…but it could be a possibility.” smiled Jack.
“Samuel, that is one serious allegation he is pointing at you and it could have been possible too if you wanted to do it…….” Replied Mr. Polski.
“Shut up Polski! If I had wanted to kill that man, I would have done it in public!!! Unlike you, who lost his wife because of poverty caused by him…In fact, you could have done it as well!” retorted Samuel again.
“Now, Mrs. Prescot – U left your place at about 7, reached market at about 7:30 and finally reached Mr. Portman’s place at about 8! Is that correct?”
“Yes….. that is….true…” in a trembling voice answered Mrs. Prescot.
“Hmm…even more interesting ….. you bought groceries at the store at about 7:30 and you have an alibi for the same…but, no one saw you reaching Mr. Portman’s house by foot!!! You could’ve taken a vehicle to get there and that would’ve given you ample time to commit the crime…..” challenged Jack!
“No…please stop……I didn’t do it…I swear to GOD! I hate him…but not so much as to kill him!” said Mrs. Prescot in a slightly elevated tone.
Suddenly silence gloomed all over the place as each of them realized that their alibis were being squashed. The smile on Jack’s face became a grin as the mist began to recede. Jack was onto something.
“So, that’s what it is…The culprit won’t give up yet, huh? Very well, I shall point you out myself!” said Jack with an air of haughtiness.
Not knowing what Jack was up to, Brian buried his face in his hands fearing the worst but, somewhere in his heart he knew he trusted Jack with his life, as his heart beat raced to prepare himself for the final revelation.
A few questions and a request to my dear readers : –
PLEASE ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS if you are reading this story!
Questions: What do you think Jack has found out?
Does he really know who the culprit is?
Or Is he trying to pull his legs and make the culprit confess by himself?
Any clues you came across so far that might help Jack in his final chapter?