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Inspector Muggins leant back in his chair and took a long drag on his cigar, with the contented air of a man who is paid to do nothing but sit in an office and drink whisky and puff on cigars. Which is exactly what Muggins did. The town Muggins lived in was a quiet one, so there was rarely any need for him to get off his considerable bottom and lumber off to some crime scene. So it came as something of a surprise when the phone rang. So much of a surprise, in fact, that Muggins fell off his chair.
The first thing that appeared above the Inspector’s desk was a shiny, bald head, followed by a pair of beady, piercing eyes, and then a most amazing ginger handlebar moustache, which was finely treated and rather oily. This moustache bristled angrily, and rose a couple of feet as Muggins stood up and brushed himself off. The phone kept ringing, until Muggins picked up the receiver.
He was greeted by a voice, which suggested that the caller was very stressed, and slightly hysterical.
“Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?”
“Inspector Muggins, Police Department” Replied the Inspector, in a practiced, professional calm.
“Quick! A… a murder! !”
“I see. Just stay calm ma’am, I’ll be right over”
“Yes, Inspector. Thank you, Inspector”
There was a click and the line went dead. Muggins picked up his nametag, took one last swig of whisky, threw on his overcoat, and strode out the door. A grey fog was descending over the town of , accompanied by a grey drizzle. Muggins frowned at the sky, and quickened his pace a bit. A scant ray of sunlight caught Muggins’ nametag. “Bill Muggins” it read. “Chief Inspector, Lillydale Police Station”.
Bill halted outside a particularly grand house, painted a gleaming white, which looked a bit pallid through the drizzle. Bill walked up the garden path, and pressed the doorbell. There was the sound of footsteps, and the door opened. A woman’s head poked around the door.
“Hello? Oh, hello Inspector”
“Evening, ma’am. And you are?”
“I’m Mrs. Britchworth, wife of the…late Mr. Britchworth”
A glimmer of recognition crossed Bill’s face.
“Not Paul Britchworth, the politician?”
“Yes, yes that’s right”
“I see. Shall we go in?”
“Hm? Oh… yes, yes”
Bill walked inside, and was briefly impressed by the size and grandeur of the house. His awe was interrupted as Mrs. Britchworth reminded him of the task at hand.
“The murder was committed in the study, which is second on the left. The culprit left a lead pipe behind.”
“I see. Thank you.”
As Bill made his way to the study, he heard several choked sobs. He sighed, and pushed the door open.
Two glazed eyes stared up at the ceiling, as though contemplating some deep thought. A mouth, half-open, trickled blood. A pool of blood lay underneath the man, surrounding him. Bill winced. The man had taken quite a beating. His nose was down where people usually reserve for chins. His jaws were completely smashed, bits of bone stuck out through the skin. The lead pipe that Mrs. Britchworth had alluded to was there, flecks of blood splattered down it. Muggins inspected it. He thought he could see finger marks. He pocketed it. That would be handy as evidence and for clues. Muggins walked over to the body and peered at it closely. His eyes widened in shock and surprise. There was a bullet wound.
As Bill continued to patter around the study, looking for clues, Mrs. Britchworth made the necessary phone calls, to friends and family and suchlike. Most of them had sounded suitably shocked and/or distressed, but one had been different. Spencer, Paul’s brother. His voice had sounded flat, emotionless. Almost as if he had been expecting the whole thing. At the time, Mrs. Britchworth thought nothing of it. But later, she voiced the thought to Bill, who was immediately interested. ‘Had they had any recent fights?’ he had asked. Mrs. Britchworth replied that Spencer had always been a bit jealous of Paul, but they had not had any recent fights.
Bill opened the door to his bedroom and flopped onto his bed. He stared at the ceiling. He frowned at it. It wasn’t a very nice ceiling; with paint flaking and bits of plaster almost falling out. He closed his eyes. He would visit Spencer Britchworth first thing in the morning. And with that thought, he drifted off into a restless sleep.
A small, white car pulled up outside a rickety old house. Its paint was faded with time, and one window was hanging from a single hinge. Bill walked up to the door and rapped sharply. No answer. He knocked again. Still no answer. He looked at the door, sizing it up. The wood was rotted and it didn’t look very strong at all. Bill mustered all his strength, and gave an almighty kick. The door broke, and Bill stepped inside.
A terrible sense of fear and foreboding washed over Muggins as he stepped into a dimly lit hallway. Something was wrong, he could feel it. As he walked further, the sense only increased. When he reached the lounge, the feeling weighed down on him like a piano on his chest. A voice, nasal and high-pitched, penetrated the silence.
“Ah, Inspector Muggins. I’ve been expecting you.”
“Oh? And who’s speaking?” Bill tried to sound calm, but his voice cracked, and his knees quaked. Alarm bells were going off in his brain, screaming at his legs to ‘RUN! RUN! RUN!’, but they wouldn’t obey. Bill was rooted to the spot.
“Who do you think?”
“That’s right. And do you know what I’m going to do to you, Bill?”
“How do you know my name?”
Spencer ignored the question, and continued.
“I’m going to kill you, Bill. And I’m going to enjoy it.”
“Wh… why did you kill Paul?”
“Why? Because I hated him. I always did. He had everything. Brains, looks, money. And what did I have? Unmanageable hair and ingrown toenails. And it was all luck. ALL LUCK!” He roared the last words, his voice breaking into a menacing fury.
“I can’t let you turn me in, Bill. I can’t. I don’t want to go to jail, and it would wreck the whole feeling of revenge. That’s why I’m going to kill you.
Bill’s whole body convulsed at the cold, metallic touch of gun barrel against the back of his neck. He tried to scream, but nothing came out.
A bang, a thud. That’s all anyone heard. When they came to see what happened, all they saw was a body, with blood flowing from a hole in his neck. And, off in the forest behind the house, Spencer Britchworth began to laugh.
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