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My Little Mystery Part 8

My Little Mystery Part 8

Stefan and Damon confess their involvement with Mr. Wagner. The first clue is found.

Cricket, Cal, Stefan, Damon and Natasha stood in horrified shock as they witnessed Mr. Wagner’s rented car explode with him in it. He had left them less than a minute before. The car was a ball of flames. Debris rained down on the lawn of the estate. Cal reached for his cell phone and dialed 911. He reported the explosion and fire to the dispatcher who told him to stay away and wait for the police and fire department to arrive. The group of five stood there in stunned silence. In the distance sirens wailed, as the police and fire trucks approached. The vehicles parked down the street and the officers walked to the estate.

“What happened here?” one of the officers asked. The officers were the same ones who were there earlier.

Cal replied, “Mr. Wagner just left the estate, when his car exploded with him in it. We were together standing here on the porch as he left. We were together the whole time after you left earlier.”

“We will have to take individual statements. Is there somewhere we can sit and interview each of you alone?”

“Sure, follow me.” Cal replied as he led the officers into the house. They followed him to the kitchen where they sat at the same table they used earlier.

Cal was the first to be interviewed, followed by Cricket, Stefan, Damon, ending with Natasha. While they waited, they stood huddled together on the porch watching the fire department put out the fire. The fire investigators and bomb technicians combed the area taking pictures and gathering evidence. Each piece was meticulously labeled in plastic envelopes. The group was quiet the whole time not uttering a sound. Damon and Natasha were in shock having witnessed their second explosion with a friend being killed. Stefan stood there bewildered, shaking his head. Cricket went inside to sit in a chair. She had enough excitement for the day. Cal sat with her, holding her hands with her head resting on his chest. Stefan joined them after his interview. Damon and Natasha came in after their interviews too. Natasha sat in Damon’s lap, hugging him tightly, sobbing quietly. It was a good thing the house was large, because they could not leave due to the ongoing investigation. Natasha and Cricket made up the extra beds for Stefan and themselves. Cal prepared a huge meal for the group. They had not eaten since leaving Boston. Stefan and Damon went back onto the porch and huddled together talking about what happened.

Damon asked, “What does this do to Mr. Wagner’s plan to split this group up?”

“I guess the plan is called off.” Replied Stefan. “The group needs to stay together and focused on solving what is going on here. Someone else has entered the picture and is causing all this mayhem. We need to get to the bottom of this and fast.”

“Dinner is ready” called Cal. “Join us in the kitchen. We will eat and discuss what is next to be done.” Stefan and Damon went into the house to join the rest of the group.

Everyone was quiet, as they sat eating dinner. Normally there was a lot of loud banter about the day’s events or future things, today’s events squashed all that. No one felt like talking. When dinner was over Cricket and Natasha removed the dishes and rejoined the group. Damon looked at Stefan and nodded. It was time to reveal what they planned. Damon and Natasha held hands as the group drank coffee and tea.

“Everyone, I have a confession to make, “said Stefan. “Actually Damon and I have a confession. The reason Mr. Wagner was here was to meet with Damon and me. We had a special assignment to assist him in taking over the Bard School Headmaster’s position. The assignment was to break up this tight knit group. We were to get you to separate and move away from each other. It did not matter how it was done, but it had to be done.”

Natasha threw Damon’s hand away and moved next to Cricket, isolating him with Stefan. Cricket and Cal looked on astonished. Everyone was speechless totally caught off guard.

Stefan continued, “The plan did not include any harm to a person or persons in the group. What was to happen was any group activity that occurred was to be disrupted and fail. This action was supposed to pit member against member causing dissension among the ranks. What really happened was quite the opposite. The group got closer and tighter. I got caught up in the group dynamic and told Mr. Wagner that I was through with his plan. Damon fell in love with Natasha and could not fulfill part of the assignment either. We both were victims of this group and the love that is shared here. Mr. Wagner came to see what was really going on and pull us back to him. He failed.”

“Why should we believe you?” cried Natasha in her tearful voice. “I love Damon and he betrayed us. Why did you do it?”

“I was recruited by Mr. Wagner, because I was a lone wolf. At school I had no friends and stayed by myself. I was good in my studies and excelled in every class. Mr. Wagner approached me with a proposition that I could not refuse. If I joined Stefan and helped break up this group, I would be his third in command when he took over. I liked the idea. Little did I know that the spark between Natasha and I would ignite a fire in my heart.” explained Damon.

Cricket sat there contemplating what to say. Cal spoke up, “I get your assignment and all, but why did you help Cricket and I regain control of the company? That doesn’t make sense. You could have let the company fail and Cricket and I would have gone our separate ways. Monica would go with Cricket and the group would be split.” Cricket shook her head in silent agreement.

Stefan replied, “Monica was the wild card. When I met her at the Bard School, there was something there that I could not fathom, a need, a want, a desire to be accepted. She made me feel like a real man. She was vulnerable and I could protect her. She needed and wanted and desired me as I did her. You could say true love was both Damon and my undoing.”

“Now, Monica is gone; as is Mr. Wagner. I have no assignment, but I do have my friends here at least I hope I do. Damon feels the same way. We are both lost and need you to keep us going. So let’s get it together and beat this menace that is causing all this mayhem and destruction.”

Everyone jumped up and hugged each other. All was forgiven and the group was stronger than ever. In the morning they would begin again to investigate what happened and who was behind it. Right now, they all needed rest and a good night’s sleep. Natasha took Damon’s hand and led him to her old room. Cricket and Cal went to his room. Stefan stayed behind to contemplate; what was the best plan of attack for the morning. He took a beer out of the refrigerator, opened it and sat hunched over the kitchen table. The room was dark and it got very cold. Stefan became aware of another presence in the room. It wasn’t a person but a specter, similar to the one he met in Boston. The shimmering vision was there sitting opposite him smiling, oozing love for him. Monica returned.

“Hello, Stefan my love. It was a brave thing you did exposing the treachery of Mr. Wagner. He was a bad man, but did not deserve to die that way. Why did you do it?” the specter asked.

“I … I did… did… didn’t do it. I thought about doing it, but decided Mr. Wagner would die by the discovery of his own treachery. There is someone or some other organization behind these accidents. I have to find out what it is. I know you still love me as I loved you. Can you help us too?”

“Stefan, I am a spirit. What can I do? I can’t lift anything or make a phone call. About all I can do is hang about watching and observing and reporting back to you. I get it now! When you need someone to be spied upon, that will be my job. I can glide through walls and observe unnoticed. I can report back to you what I saw and heard. That is brilliant! Oh, Stefan, I love you and I am so happy I can still be here to help you.”

Stefan was so happy now. Monica was here and helping out. The rest of the group will never know what happened here, but will reap the benefits from it. Stefan lifted his head, Sat up straight, threw his shoulders back and looked about with a newer, stronger reserve to get things done. He drank the rest of his beer, put the bottle in the recycle bin and went outside. He looked around and saw no one there from the police or fire department. They left earlier taking all the evidence and debris with them for analysis.

Stefan stood on the porch looking out over the driveway and connecting road. How did the bomb get triggered he wondered. Someone had to be nearby to see Mr. Wagner get in his car and leave. Where was a good observation point? The moon was shining brightly in the cloudless sky giving Stefan enough light to see the area well. The driveway was open to the road with no curves or obstructions. The columns of the gates stood as silent sentries guarding the house. The iron fence was thin, but strong and ran the whole perimeter of the estate.

Then he saw it. There was a tiny reflection off something in the trees outside the estate across the street; about fifteen feet up off the ground. Monica saw it too. She drifted over to the tree and floated upward to look at the object. She saw it was a small camera attached to the tree aimed at the gate. It surveyed the whole area. It was attached to a control box that had a short antenna attached. It was high enough up to go unnoticed. Someone observed the comings and goings of the estate. It was radio controlled with a transmitter and receiver. It could have been the trigger for the bomb. Monica floated quickly back to Stefan and told him what she saw. He was overjoyed, now they had real proof of another person involved in this mess. He went and got a ladder to retrieve the camera and control box.

Back in the kitchen again, Stefan felt the sense of a small victory. This was the first real clue they had. He wanted to wake up Damon and Cal, but decided they needed rest and had to comfort the women. Monica was by his side beaming at him. She was so happy to be helpful. Stefan’s mind raced at ninety miles a minute thinking about how to get information about the device. He had some ideas, but was clueless how to proceed. The group of investigators was at Cricket’s house. They knew what to do. Maybe he should go there and wake them up with this piece of evidence? No, they were asleep too. The only people awake right now were the security staff at Wolf’s Head Oil. He wondered should he call them. If he did, there would be records kept of what he found. This had to be kept secret. No one must know about it but the group and the investigators. He knew now, what had to be done.

The removal of the camera and control box from its perch set off a series of alarms at the control center. The operator monitoring the planted devices typed commands to the monitor program. A long list of data spewed onto the screen. Someone found the camera outside Cal’s estate. The operator picked up the phone and dialed an unlisted number. At the other end another operator dialed an international number to alert the owner that an event occurred. No verbal exchange happened. The call alone was enough to put the wheels in motion. The next phase of the operation began that night.

Meanwhile, the operator who got the first alarm activated a sequence of events to protect the operation. A series of commands emanated from the control center. Some went to other control centers alerting them of what happened. Those commands raised the threat level alerting them to be more vigilant. Others activated other cameras and recording devices. These devices monitored several locations for activity and reported back. A command sent to the camera and control box Stefan found went unanswered. Stefan took the box apart and removed the battery controlling the device. He suspected there might be a self destruct mechanism in place. Removing the battery short circuited that operation.

Stefan put the device in the oven of the stove. The oven was metal and grounded. Any radio signals sent would not be received through the oven. This prevented the box from being activated or destroyed. It was a common trick used to protect sensitive devices. Stefan felt tired now. His day finally ended. He accomplished something to get the investigation started. They had their first clue. Now it was just a matter of time and resources to solve this dilemma.

Stefan went to the bedroom area with Monica’s specter trailing behind. He looked in each occupied room as he went. Natasha and Damon slept together wrapped in each other’s arms. Cricket and Cal lay spooned together. Stefan smiled and went to his own bedroom. He took off his shoes and lay on top of the bed. Monica lay beside him, looking at his beautiful face. Stefan rolled on his side and quietly and quickly went to sleep. All seemed right with the world and tomorrow was a new day.

While the group slept a lot of activity occurred. Alarms blared continuously in the control center. The self destruct command that was sent was never followed. This triggered a series of events that caused a flurry of activity. Calls were made, more alarms raised. The major result was a lot of people awoke and gathered to discuss the next steps. These discussions occurred through internet video connections from around the world. Several people worried that this was the end of their dynasty. Failure of any one component could mean the doom of the organization. Controls were in place that prevented the destruction. These needed to be activated. After a short discussion, the powers that be felt assured that the proper controls were setup and activated. All internet communications ceased.

A small group of highly trained operatives left the main control center headed to Cal’s house to retrieve the camera and control box. Failure was not an option. If retrieval of the box was easily done, no one would be harmed. Otherwise, the orders were for total annihilation.

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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