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My Little Mystery Part 7

My Little Mystery Part 7

Cricket is found. The group reunites and faces Mr. Wagner about what happened.

As Cal sat with Cricket and listened to her story about the tragedy, Stefan half listened. His mind and body overcome with grief and the feeling of a great loss. His one true love was gone, ripped from his heart, mind and soul. Why did this happen? Who could be this cruel? He knew he had to find the killer or killers and confront them. He was a trained killer himself. He killed people, supposedly bad people for a living; were they all bad or had some been innocent like Monica? His mind swirled with questions, as it flooded with thoughts of what to do. He got up from beside Cricket's bed and wordlessly, silently and stealthily left the room. He walked with a heavy heart, tears running down his somber face. Tears for the only person in his life, he ever really loved, Monica. Her death weighed heavily on his heart and soul.

Several hours later, Stefan found himself wandering aimlessly along the streets of Boston. He looked down and discovered there were yellow footprints painted on the sidewalk. He stumbled upon one of the most famous aspects of Boston's personality, 'The Freedom Trail.' Many years ago to boost tourism and raise awareness of the city's rich history, they painted footprints to guide people on a walking tour of Boston's historical sites, Old North Church, Bunker Hill, Fanueil Hall. The footprints ran around the city. Fascinated, Stefan followed the footprints on a walk of discovery, not of Boston's history, but of what had to happen next. He felt stronger, with a resolve to root out and destroy this evil menace. An evil menace followed and doggedly kept putting stumbling blocks in the group's lives. Now he intended to find and destroy that menace at all cost. Stefan stopped; he stood outside an old cemetery where several prominent figures in Boston's history were buried. He sat down on a bench carved from a block of granite. He sat there thinking. What should be done next? Will Cricket, Cal, Natasha and Damon accept his ideas? He had to find out, but first he needed to meet someone. That someone arrived a few hours ago on a private plane from Switzerland.

Stefan heard someone. He turned to see who was there. Instead he saw a shimmering spectre of a human being which resembled Monica in real life. He knew that was impossible, Monica was dead taken from him and life. He heard the rustling of the leaves, and the voice he longed to hear. "Stefan, my love, my man, my rock, why do you mourn me so? I am here; I will always be here beside you. I love you and will never leave. It is time to get up, gather with the others and confront this evil. I don't know who it is yet, but will assist you any way I can. Just remember one thing for me? I love you and nothing in heaven or on earth will break our bond of love. Now get up and find the others!" Stefan stood up and with a grim resolve hailed an oncoming cab. Before he gathered the group together, he must talk with the lone figure from Switzerland. He took the cab to the Westin hotel where the new visitor stayed. Stefan had a new purpose in living, a new resolve; Monica was still with him in spirit at least. Things looked far better than they did several hours ago.

With a spring to his step, Stefan entered the Westin, went to a house phone and called the operator to get put through to the newly arrived guest.

The phone rang once and was answered immediately. Mr. Wagner said, "Ah, Stefan, you have finally decided to join me in assuming your rightful position with me."

Stefan quietly, with a venomous voice replied, "Not on your life. Why did she have to die? We could have married, brought down the group and helped you win your prize. But NO, you had other plans. Well, I have quit your small army and vowed to defeat you."

"Now, Stefan, be reasonable. To reach our objective a little blood had to be spilled. It was not my intention to murder anyone, just maim and torture them, maybe."

"It is too late to stop me. I am going to the group and expose your insideous plan. If you think, I won't, then you better leave now and go back to the Bard School or is it now The Wagner School of Evil?" Stefan slammed the phone down, turned, stormed out of the hotel, hailed a cab and went back to the hospital. In his mind Stefan thought Mr. Wagner to be a true fogger of the worst kind.

At the hospital Damon and Natasha visited Cricket. She was in good spirits. All her friends but one wanted to see her. Cricket thought, why does Stefan not return? Is there something I did to make him hate me, or is the loss of Monica too great? I must get out of here so we can solve all that happened to us. Where was the doctor?

A commotion occurred outside Cricket's room. The nurse's voice loudly protested, "Only two visitors at a time sir... sir!" Stefan burst into the room. He looked agitated, but strong in his resolve. He strode quickly to her side and grabbed her hand.

"Monica came and visited me last night. She told how you stopped to answer your phone just before the blast. She also told me that when your phone rang, so did the detonator of the bomb. So it looks like your phone may have been cloned and used to trigger the blast. Now how do we prove that and follow the lead back to who bought the phone?"

“I don’t know, but we need to get me out of here and start the full investigation into what is going on. Can you find the doctor or a nurse to get me released? I need some clothes and a way to get out of here too.”

Stefan ran from the room; grabbed Cal, Damon and Natasha; told them to get the car ready. Everyone ran to their assigned tasks. Stefan found the doctor and a nurse. He brought them to Cricket’s room and held them captive until she was released. In less than fifteen minutes the group started driving back to New York City content that they knew what happened. Now they were ready to find who did it. They raced back to the city. Everyone sat in the car excited to be finally able to resolve the mess.

Little did they know that Mr. Wagner had taken off from Boston and landed in New York long before them. He planned a special reception for the group when they got home. It was to take place at Cal’s house and would send a message loud and clear to all. The only factor Mr. Wagner could not control was the time when they got there. It really did not matter. If they died so be it. If they were hurt even better. The message would be sent anyway. Mr. Wagner sat outside Cal’s house gloating over what he did. When the accident happened nothing would be left of the house. Everything got destroyed. An investigation would reveal a serious gas leak that went undetected because they were out of town for a few days. It was a common occurrence in these old Long Island estates. The gas mains were old and leaky. Fires broke out constantly until the utility company fixed the pipes.

What Mr. Wagner had not anticipated was that Cricket had a gas leak detection system installed in the house along with an intruder alert system. When he tampered with the pipes both systems triggered an alarm at Wolf’s Head Oil’s security office and the alarm company. The security office triggered another failsafe that locked down the house and grounds to trap anyone inside. Mr. Wagner did not know this, but he became a prisoner in the death chamber area he created. The police dispatched a patrol car and the fire department sent two engines to check things out in case a fire erupted. Mr. Wagner heard the sirens of the approaching emergency vehicles. He tried to escape the estate. The gates prevented his exit; the walls electrified. He had trapped himself; what was he to do? He thought for a few minutes. There was an easy solution. He decided to tell the truth, well almost. He met the police at the gate, explained that he was a former teacher of the group’s and accidentally got caught because he shook a door too hard. As for the gas leak that happened all the time.

As the group drove to New York City, Cal’s cell phone rang. It was security. They called to tell him that an incident occurred at his home. The police were there and reported that a Mr. Wagner got trapped by the security system. Security scanned the tapes recorded outside and inside the estate. They saw Mr. Wagner tampering with the gas pipes and breaking into the estate. Security asked Cal if he wanted t press charges. Cal thought for a few seconds and replied, “no, but have the police retain Mr. Wagner at the estate. They were about thirty minutes away. He would deal with the problem.” He hung up and looked at the others in the car with him. His look was one of confusion. Why was Mr. Wagner here? What prompted this surprise visit? This just added more questions with no answers. The mystery deepened.

“I wonder how Mr. Wagner knew Monica was dead and why is he here?” asked Cricket. “We know he monitored the training of Damon and Natasha. He may be here to check on it personally, but why now?”

Cal replied, “Let’s wait until we get to the estate and talk to the police and fire department,

before accusing Mr. Wagner of any wrong doing. This is America where you are presumed innocent before being found guilty.”

An uneasy feeling spread through the car the closer they got to the estate. Stefan felt very strange, because of his relationship with Mr. Wagner. Damon also felt that he would be betrayed too. The rest of the group thought about other things. The police and fire department greeted the group at the gates of the estate. The house was safe to enter. The fire department vented the leaking gas from the building and shut of the main supply. The police retained Mr. Wagner and released him into Cal’s custody. The group thanked the responders and watched them leave before doing anything else. When they had left, the group turned to face Mr. Wagner, who was all smiles.

“Well, this is a fine mess. I come on an unexpected visit to assess the training and get greeted by the local constable and fire brigade. What else can happen? I was so sorry to hear about Monica’s death. She was a good friend and companion to all of you. She will be really missed,” said Mr. Wagner.

“That she will,” said Cricket.

They knew he was lying, but could not prove it. They went into the house and sat in the kitchen, drinking wine and soda. Conversation was light for a while but slowly returned to the training accident. “Why did you have a rescue team set up when the accident occurred?” asked Cal.

“We had been having some problems with the particular detonator you used. It sometimes misfired prematurely, thus injuring or killing anyone nearby. I also called Cricket to warn her of the danger. I hung up when I heard the explosion; rather than hold on, knowing what happened. I got a call from the rescue team captain telling me that they had Monica and Cricket, asking where to take them. I knew that Boston had the best burn trauma center in the area. So I instructed them to take them there. I am sorry that Monica did not make it.”

That explanation took some of the sting out of the incident, but still did not make anyone feel good. They wanted to know how the defective detonator was released to them. Cal still had the investigation team standing by. They would have this new information and evaluate it all. Cricket was suspicious, as was Cal. Stefan was very quiet through this whole affair. He kept looking at Mr. Wagner with hate in his eyes. Cricket and Natasha noticed Stefan’s looks. Damon sat there listening to all the banter, not saying a word.

“Mr. Wagner, we would like you to go back to the school now. We need time to grieve and decide what is to be done next. Damon and Natasha can go back with you too. We will let you know when they can come back, if ever.” Cricket told him.

“I agree it is time to go.” said Cal.

Stefan sat there quietly relieved. Damon and Natasha loudly protested having to leave. Mr. Wagner suggested, “I will go back to the school. Damon and Natasha can stay here. Their education is over now. They will be graduated and placed in your care and employ. When the time is right, I will return and we will discuss the next steps for your group here.”

In his mind, Mr. Wagner felt he was off the hook for now. Now he had to get Stefan back in the fold. The trap had failed due to his lack of being aware of the surroundings. That would not happen again. Worse than that, there was another factor at play here. Something was really amiss. Everything he had done was only to hurt the integrity of the group, not kill anyone. There was another force at work here. One that no one knew existed. There was another person or organization at work sabotaging this operation.

Stefan got up from the table went over to Mr. Wagner and shook his hand. Cal did the same. Mr. Wagner stood up to leave. Cricket came over and hugged him. Damon shook his hand and Natasha hugged him. Mr. Wagner put on his coat and walked to the door followed by the group of now five ex-students. They stood on the porch saying their goodbye. Mr. Wagner got into his car, fastened his seatbelt and waved to the assembled group. He started the car and headed out of the estate. As soon as he drove out the gate onto the main road, there was a deafening explosion as his car blew up. Mr. Wagner was killed and the car totally destroyed.

How could this happen? Who was behind these “accidents”? Was there someone else who had a problem with the group or a member of it? The group stood on the porch in shock. This recent event added more questions than they had answers. Something or someone was out to do some serious harm now. The game had turned deadly and the stakes were now much higher.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Cal Erickson, aka frogprince

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