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A Mystery In Silence

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   In the dazzling city of London, there was once a mystery that shook the whole of Britain. Yes, I am talking about the infamous case nicknamed ‘A Mystery In Silence’ known far and wide for its unique way of committing a crime, but did you know that it was not solved by any ordinary law officer or any forensics. It was solved by none other than London’s greatest detective who works as a private eye and calls himself ‘Asatro’. Did you know that still to this day, his real name is a much bigger mystery to me than the AMIS case? By the way, my name is Oliver Smith, London’s Metropolitan Police Agency’s, First Division Inspector and the story’s deuteragonist and narrator. This is the story of how Asatro works with a common police inspector a.k.a. with me to solve one of the most puzzling case of our time and restore our lost honor.

   In the police reports the actual name of the case is ‘AMIS’ short for ‘A Mystery In Silence’ but for the simplicity of telling this story, I am changing it to the name of Case A. Now let me fill you up on the details of the case without any further ado. This case is about the most famous and richest magician of all of Britain, Lucas Hill, found dead in his secret thinking room. His mansion is pretty big but he never lives in it. He has a secret thinking room outside of his mansion on his property where he only thinks of ideas and to keep himself safe if any intruder ever comes to assassinate him in his mansion. Let his secret thinking room be ‘Y’. There’s an abandoned shed only a few meters away from his mansion and after entering it we can see that there’s a staircase leading to a digitally locked door underground. Let the digitally locked room be ‘X’. The room which was protected by a digital lock with was so difficult to crack that even our top-notch hackers took full three hours to crack it and open the door to room X. From the officer’s point of view, it was impossible for any normal human being to open it without a passcode. The room X was like a tunnel to the actual room Y, there was nothing in the room X, no lights, no decorations, no furniture, nothing. The room only consists of an opening door to it and an entry door to room Y. Next comes the actual room Y. The door to room Y was locked by a simple key and lock mechanism but still our locksmith couldn’t crack open it within an hour. This only state that any ordinary man or woman cannot even enter his room let alone killing him without his very permission. Finally, after a few hours of hardship we can have a look at the mysterious room Y and to our surprise the room was just like room X except for a single 10-Watt Philips T bulb to generate the necessary light and a lone sofa chair at the middle of the room. There was nothing else in the room, not even any personal belonging. With this we completed the tour of the place the crime took place. Now we start with the actual case, so buckle up! 

   Lucas was found dead on the 29th of December, 2019 by the police force who were called by Lucas’s wife, Emily Hill, saying that Lucas was not responding to her phone texts and also not giving her the passcode to let her in so she became paranoid and dialed 999. Soon the police came and cracked open all the doors which took them almost 7 hours with the whole police force on their side. Upon entering the room, they say Lucas siting in a fetal position at the far-right corner of the room in his dead dried body and the key to the door inside his shirt pocket. The autopsy showed that Lucas had died by starvation on the 27th of December, there were traces of the drug, Lorazepam in his blood stream, other than that, there were no indications of physical harm inflicted on his body. He was last seen on the morning of 22nd when he entered his thinking room, never to return alive again. It was widely known in the media that Lucas uses lorazepam to sleep and heal his anxiety so it was thought that he committed suicide by starving himself and used the drug to pass away peacefully. But now the question arises that why would the most famous and wealthiest magician commit suicide in his golden ripe age of 25. Investigation resulted in no depressing cause that can lead to his deteriorating mental health and the answer was still a mystery to them and countless others. The police wanted to close the case but the media and general public were against it and so ultimately it was decided that the case cannot be closed until the reason to his suicide is specified or if murdered, how was he killed. In total if we take all the possibilities then we get two scenarios, Scene 1: Lucas committed suicide and that’s the end of it, Scene 2: if Lucas was murdered then we have three new mysteries, number 1: how and why did Lucas end up like that, number 2: How did the murderer got in and out of room Y if the key was in Lucas’s pocket the whole time, number 3: how did the murderer got in through the digital locked door to room X. It felt like a ghost or a fairy passed through the physical doors and killed him in such a shocking manner. For two whole months the case continued but to no success. The public were heavily criticizing the police for their inability to solve the case and the media was roasting the whole police system almost every day. So, we the police had to finally take of the help of the man who can solve it, yes, I mean Asatro. I had previously worked with him on another case so I was tasked with the job of his assistant. If there’s anyone who can solve this case in all of London, then its Asatro.  

   Asatro is an ordinary private eye but has no fixed office. In the past there were many times when he solved the cases which even left our best police detectives to scratch their heads. He is by no means an ordinary person and when the police, at their final stage, asks his help, he merrily takes on the case and is given the whole assistance. His prices are cheap too, and that’s a plus point for us considering the countless difficult cases that he solves for us. There are only two ways to track down Asatro, one is by calling him using the bait of an interesting and unique case and the other is by finding him at his favorite dining place, 21 Balcombe St, Marylebone, London NW1 6HE, United Kingdom, at 3:00 pm sharp. Normally I would go with the second option and wait for him at the place but this time, to my surprise, he was already present at the dining. He was waiting for me and as soon as I greeted him, he asked me for the files. He had the curious look on his eyes and looked like a lion ready to leap for action. He was still wearing the same outfit as always, a large black top hat, a blue jacket with sleeves rolled up, a cravat and a pair of light blue cyan shorts held up by a belt with an elaborate flower-design buckle, and the touch of his bold attitude to face any struggle on his path. After reading the files for 15 minutes he sighed and said, “It’s clearly a murder”. I was confused and astonished at the same time. I immediately asked him about the reason for that statement and why he declared it a murder instead of a simple suicide. But he just got up and said, “that’s what we are going to investigate now”. I knew at once that it means for me to follow him and that the case would be an interesting one. Luckily, I had my lunch before setting out to meet him.

   On our way to Lucas’s mansion, Asatro and I had a talk about the case. He explained to me why he believes it to be a murder. First of all, he had no reason to commit suicide, secondly, the process of starving oneself just to commit suicide feels odd, plus the painful way of dying by starvation does not fit well with a person who was leading such a happy and luxurious lifestyle, he could have just taken a poison pill and not suffer aimlessly. Thirdly, the odd position of his sitting as seen from the picture in the report files puzzles him. There’s a chance he was working too hard and forgot to eat and rest, as a result he died via starvation and self-neglection. But that’s not possible because of his sitting position, what magic work requires you to sit in a fetal position at the far-right corner of the room? None, simply none. This rules out the possibility of death by an accident. If one wants to die then he/she wants to be the most comfortable during their final act and die a quick death. Even if he had committed a horrible deed, it can be seen from his living conditions and behavior that he either feels no remorse or had already forgotten about it. Even if someone accuses him of some horrible deed, he is just too powerful to escape any law and live normally. So, I see no reason for him to commit such an act. All of these are opposite to what Lucas did, he was either placed like that after death or something scarier happened to him. Asatro already did some research and saw that Lucas was not an emotional type of man so we can rule out the possibility of guilt feeling. In short, he was murdered and placed like that and through rigor mortis, he became like that. Now the question that remains is how was it done and who is the culprit? For the sake of finding these question’s answers, Asatro and I came to the mansion to interrogate the only people capable of committing this murder. 

   The idea of Lucas spending most of his time in his thinking room Y was unknown to almost all the people who had known him or previously heard of him. So, the number of resulted to only three people, Lucas’s wife Emily Hill, his best friend David Young and his father Elliot Hill. Asatro had already called them before hand so the interrogation went quick and smooth except for the fact that all of them had alibis. Don’t ask me how did he got his hands on their personal phone numbers before I even approached him with the reports, because just like always, I am completely clueless about it. The first person who was interrogated was Emily Hill. Emily was actually not present during the time when Lucas died, she was on a trip to Switzerland from the 24th to 28th of December. She went on her private jet and so her pilot who flew her could vouch for her. She only took her trolly bag and other basic necessities and left her to enjoy her vacation, then again on the 27th, her pilot came, picked her up and returned back to the mansion on 28th. David was the next person, he was also not present when Lucas died, he went on a business trip to New Zealand with his coworkers on the 23rd and returned on the 30th. His co-workers can vouch for him. Lastly, we interrogated Mr. Elliot. He was 89 of age and can barely stand without a wheelchair, probably too weak to even kill a fly, but he still had an alibi. He was in his room during the whole period of Lucas’s death and his discovery. His maid can vouch for him. With this we were in a deadlock. All of them had solid alibis and it couldn’t have been the work of an outsider because of the tough security and countless CCTV cameras guarding the property twenty-four hours a day. So, was it actually a case of suicide or the work of a revengeful ghost who attacked our poor magician and made his life disappear?

   Asatro recorded everything and started writing something on his pocket notepad. I asked him to show but he ignored my request, maybe he was too focused to pay attention to my call or I am just too insignificant for him to notice me. After two minutes he asked me to gather information about Lucas like his behavior before dying, how long was he present inside the room, who he had met last, et cetra. I looked around and found nothing extraordinary. He was living like any other normal person but his attitude was nothing like a man wanting to commit suicide. I was useless but Asatro had a smile on his face when we meet but he refused to tell me why, at least this time he refused me in words and not by ignoring my existence. Next, we went to the underground rooms below the shed to look for some clues. For the next six hours Asatro did nothing but use his giant magnifying glass to examine all the rooms. He was looking around the rooms like a maniac, sometimes he would look on two legs and other times on all four legs, like a big cockroach all around the rooms. I was already tired after the first hour and slept in the shed for the rest of the time period. I wanted to help too but there’s little to nothing that I could possibly contribute to his investigation so I left him alone in peace.  I know that the forensics have already scanned the whole place down but I believe that Asatro can find something which will definitely help us catch the culprit. I have seen him work before so I know that he is better than any detective in all of London, no, in all of Britain, so much so that he can be called the next Sherlock Holmes. Maybe I am bragging too much like a proud mother showing off her perfect son to the whole world for them to notice him and admire his work, but believe me, everything that I say in this story is just as accurate as your love for mysteries. After almost six hours, he wakes me up from my sweet nap and asks me to call all the suspects with the mandatory officers tomorrow, first thing in the morning to arrest the culprit. Yes, Asatro has solved the unsolvable case. 

   It was early in the morning and the tension was set in the room. All the police force was given to Asatro to carry out the judgement of the case. Everyone was present in the shed at 9:00 am sharp like promised and Asatro started explaining. He first gave the reasoning behind the purpose of taking Mr. Lucas Hill’s case as a murder like he told me before on our way to the mansion the previous day. But he added the fact that the quantity of lorazepam in his body exceeds the healthy dose of intaking it by a long stretch. Then David said, “Maybe he took too many of those drugs to make himself stable and reduce the pain, no sane person will measure a drug before taking it to die”. “Looks like I wasn’t able to make you understand my statement, let me make it simpler and detailed”, said Asatro, “Heavy doses of Lorazepam is enough to make you sleep like a baby for a long time but after that the side effects will take over, I did some research and the after effects mainly include nausea, abdominal pain, intense vomiting and seizures. If he woke up after taking the drug then Lucas must have barfed at least once during the six days in room Y from 22nd to 27th of December during the time he was alive but there was not even a speck of dirt in both the rooms let alone detecting any bodily wastes. So, I come to the conclusion that someone was constantly drugging him through a syringe injecting, the drug lorazepam directly into his blood stream to prevent him from waking up. As a result, Lucas died via starvation during his sleep without any sort of consciousness.” The whole room including the suspects, police officers like me and higher up were surprised and astonished at his deduction. He not only proved that the case was a murder but also found the murder weapon only by using the police autopsy report. A true genius indeed but the show is still not over. Mr. Elliot then asked a question, “Then Mr. Detective who killed my son if all the three suspects were away from Lucas during his dying times, even the household maids and servants don’t know about his secret place “. He said, “To answer that I need you all to look at the Lucas’s sitting posture when the police found his dead body. He was sitting in the fetal position which is both odd and rare. Why would one sit like that during their death? Also he had no reason to do so, then why? Its simple, because he was neither killed in this room nor anywhere near his property! “. It was way too much information for everyone to digest at that moment. We were speechless and could not question anything but simply listen to his reasoning. He then proceeded to state his reasoning after giving us a few seconds to gasp. He continued, “Yes, you heard me correctly, the murder took place at a different location and the corpse was later returned here to create the culprit’s perfect alibi. It was a clever move I must say”. With this he crushed all of their alibis and made them new suspects. He resumed, “the fetal position of Lucas is playing a bigger role here. He was placed at the corner of the room to make it seem like he died in that depressed state but its false, so what is its importance?” he looked at me while he said that, indicating that I must answer his question or at least try. His direct question took me by surprise but like always, I couldn’t answer that. He then proceeded to answer his own question, “ Suppose you are carrying a body in a box and after killing it you put it back inside the box, then after a while you will see that the body has hardened and it cannot be reshaped like before, when he was alive. So, you are stuck with a dead body in the shape which he took when he was sitting or lying inside the box. Rigor mortis takes place immediately after death and the body hardened when he was inside the box taking the shape which he had inside the box. In short Lucas died and rigor mortis hardened his body when he was inside something and with that, we can identify the container in which Lucas was carried by examining his iconic fetal position. Emily took a trolly bag and a hand bag to Switzerland and David took a wildcraft Rucksack backpack with him to New Zealand. Mr. Elliot was under constant surveillance so he is out of the suspect list. So where can one constantly keep him hidden, can freely inject the deadly drug and makes Lucas tale up that fetal position while being hidden inside something?”. All of us were trying to think and that’s when it hit me.

“INSIDE THE TROLLY OF EMILY HILL! SHE COULD HAVE KEPT A CLOSE LOOK ON HIM AND COULD INJECT HIM THE DRUG ANYTIME SHE WANTS BECAUSE OF HER PRIVATE JET!”, I shouted like a crazy man when I realized the truth.

“Yes, good job on getting that inspector Oliver”, said Asatro, “It went something like this. On the night of 22nd after Lucas went to room Y, Emily texted him something confidential and managed to make her meet Lucas inside his room Y. After getting the pass code she opened the door but left it open. Then she went inside and talked with Lucas regarding that confidential matter until he fell asleep due to the presence of lorazepam in his morning food in small doses. It’s not difficult to put something in someone’s food when you are the head or in this case, the headmistress. He then carried his body all the way to his room and kept him asleep inside his trolly. She also left the digital door opened for it to be used again when she returns. He was inside that trolly bag when Emily went to Switzerland and he was still inside it even after his death. On the 28th after she came back, she went inside that room at night and left his corpse at a corner to make her alibi perfect. He also placed it in such a depressing manner which ultimately makes one think that he committed suicide out of trauma or some sorrow. Then she used the previously left opened digital lock of room X to escape and closed it to reactivate the lock. I asked around and found that nobody went near the shed during the time Emily was out through the cameras. David was out of country and Mr. Eliot was too weak to carry out that plan. Everything points towards Emily, her timing, her luggage and even her conduct, so, it’s safe to conclude that Emily is the culprit”. 

   We couldn’t believe that someone can deduce this much just from a report and a piece of picture…. truly marvelous. We all looked at Emily and were surprised to see her sweating buckets. She was silent the whole time but now we could see her confidence breaking. She suddenly started acting mad and revolted saying, “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE. THEN TELL ME THE HOW DID I MANAGED TO LOCK THE DOOR TO ROOM Y WITHOUT THE KEY. TRY TO REMEMBER THAT THE KEY WAS INSIDE THE POCKET OF HIS SHIRT. ALSO TELL ME THE CONFIDENTIAL MATTER WITH WHICH I BAITED HIM INTO LETTING ME INDSIDE HIS ROOM, COME ON ANSWER ME!”. 

   I could feel a slight heaviness from her speech, maybe it’s a super power that I got while working as a police inspector. One thing’s clear as day and night though, its that Emily is afraid and her nerves are on edge. 

   Asatro replied serenely, “The trick to the second door is difficult to explain by speech. Its better to show you the practical explanation rather than listen to my boring lecture. Let’s go to the mystery door then, shall we?”. 

   We all followed him to the door like he asked and patiently waited for his explanation. Asatro took a few seconds to observe the door and then started to talk. He said, “To demonstrate this trick, I need an assistant. Mr. Oliver please become my helper for this part and come stand here”.

I happily complied and stood beside him. I could see all the people in the room looking at me and it somehow made me pressurized especially the nervous look on Emily’s face. I wonder how Asatro manages to deduce anything with this much of pressure from everyone.

He then starts, “As everyone can see, the door handle is on the right-hand side and the hinges holding the door in place is on the left-hand side like any typical opening door. It looks and feels like an ordinary door but in reality, it’s a magic door. Lucas Hill was murdered using this magic door and now I am going to perform that same magic trick Infront of all of you. So, to perform it, we first need to close the door. Inspector Oliver lock the door using the key”.

“Alright”, I said. 

 “Now move toward the door hinges and remove the pin holding the leaf and knuckle of the hinge together. Just pull the pin from the top and it should come off easily. Do this on all the three door hinges”, he said.

“Ok”, I did as he asked me and the pin came off like magic. So, like that all the three hinges were unattached.

“Now try to open the door from the hinge side. It should rotate from left to right and work as a door”. 

Like he said, the door opened from the left side and could act as an entry way inside the room without any key. The lock on that door was specifically designed to act as a pivot for the door it opened and closed. With this, he solved the mystery behind the door. The trick was not in the room but in the door. I couldn’t control my laughter and let out a chuckle. I must say that this was the best magic trick that I saw and probably the last one too, from Asatro.

“So, Emily, you are Lucas’s wife and close enough, to learn of this trick from him. You first took the key and locked the door from outside, then you used the trick to open it from the other side and went in to put the key back inside his shirt pocket. Then you assembled the door back with the reattached hinges and went out through that previously opened digital lock from 22nd night. Finally, you locked that last door and went out of the shed, straight back to your room. No one even goes near that abandoned shed so your footsteps are practically untraceable. When I saw the CCTV footage, I didn’t saw anyone going in or coming out of the shed, but I saw a one sec glitch at around 11:00pm and 11:46pm. Everyone knows that it happens only when you substitute the ongoing CCTV camera recording with another prerecorded video. I asked around the mansion and found that Emily is the first person who reviews the previous day’s CCTV recordings to see if everything’s alright or not. She could have easily replaced the recording from that period with another recording taken previously before the 28th night. The police were probably too lazy to even notice it and so it got excluded from the reports. Thus, creating the perfect murder scenario and makes her the victim who lost her dear husband. Now tell me, am I correct, Ms. Emily?”, asked Asatro.

Emily froze where she stood and showed no signs of resist or argued back. Even she knew that she had already lost and her time was up. She couldn’t even think to answer him, the fear had gotten inside her head.

Asatro then continued to say, “If we check your check your trolly bag, we will definitely find the evidence in the form of any body related part like hair strands, drool, sweat, et cetra. Also, I did some research on you before the police came to me for help. I know that you were a nurse a few years back and your brother worked as a magician at the Leadenhall Market near the real Diagon Alley. You were proud of your brother for making it quite big in the magic industry but it soon changed when your bother joined Lucas as his disciples. Lucas was actually never the one creating his magic tricks, it was his disciples who he exploited to gain fame for himself. In short Lucas grew at the price of his innocent disciples and your dear brother happens to be one of them. He used your brother to grow more fame and, in the end, after squeezing out all of his talent, Lucas threw him out like a trash and started giving horrible remarks to his magic show. Even after firing him from his show, Lucas constantly downgraded him and started spreading rumors about him ‘stealing Lucas’s tricks’ to outgrow him. After a while nobody came to his magic shows anymore and his fans became his haters. He became unemployed and took huge loans, ultimately driving him insane to commit suicide on the 27th of December. You could have killed Lucas anytime but you waited for the perfect day. So, on the 27th you killed him on your brother’s death anniversary to avenge your brother. So, did I say it correct?”.

We all listened but couldn’t do anything. Emily finally broke into tears and accepted her loss. She confessed to everything right on the spot. She told us, “Yes… it was me; I killed that worthless scum and freed my brother’s lingering revengeful soul. He can finally be free. I came into the Hill household just with the cause of making him suffer but somewhere along the path I thought of giving him a second chance. That’s why on the 22nd night I called him out using my brother’s death and got inside his room. I would have forgiven him if he just apologized but what came out of his rotten mouth was the final blow to my patience. He simply told me that he couldn’t even remember his face, let alone his name! That was the final straw, I killed him after the drug took its effect and the rest is exactly like you explained. My rage outgrew my affection and he lost his life. Mr. Detective I admit my loss, you win. Officers, take me away now”.

With that we arrested her and the case was finally solved. I still can’t believe that the case which baffled the whole country was finally solved and now we, police officers can rise our heads again. The curse has been lifted and we got back our honour. We could not have solved it without the help of Asatro. When we were parting, I asked him, “Asatro why don’t you join any investigation or intelligence and security agencies? You are the best of the best; then why do you not settle down and grow with an outstanding team?”. He looked at me with a smile and answered, “I would rather stay as a private eye and solve only the best cases than work under someone and solve nothing. Right now, I’m going to get pissed. Care to join me?”. 

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2 thoughts on “A Mystery In Silence

  1. Spoiler alert:

    Will the criminal not get caught at checking area in the airport? 🤔

  2. Fabulous story.
    Really read a great short story after ages