Chet Flash wuz here Circulation: 91,084,854 Issue: 175 | 28th day of Sleeping, Y7
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The Case of the Invisible Incident: Part Two


by tambourine_chimp

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From the case-files of Kojak_Hommes, Private Eye Lupe…

Great, just super…

     Why, oh why must I always get lumbered with the seemingly impossible cases? I mean, a thief that leaves no tell-tale footprints? Terrific.

     But at least I was going to be paid for my troubles, even if I didn't managed to crack the case (though there would be a hefty bonus if I did, according to my client, a young boy who I couldn't decide whether to like or despise), something I would try my hardest to avoid. If I failed a case this early into my career it would be goodbye PI, and hello hermithood.

     I made that word up, it's kind of like a cross between hermits and a neighborhood…so effectively it's a neighborhood of hermits. But since hermits live on their own it wouldn't really work. Darn…

     Anyways, back to the matter at hand; namely, my reputation on line. I'd have to be extra alert if I was to discover any clues that would either condemn the invisible Shoyru who was thought to be stealing from his owner, or to prove his innocence.

     This important goal stayed in the forefront of my mind all the way to the boy's Neohome, a double-storey brick house with glass windows a-plenty. I got the distinct feeling that it would be like an oven in there during Summer, a fact for which I was glad it was Winter right now.

     As he unlocked the door, I stood back to take in the position of the rooms from the outside. To my direct left was a window looking into what I imagined was the living room, what with five Red Bean Bag Chairs set around a neat-looking fireplace which was still smoldering from its last fire. Directly above that was a bedroom, what with a bed-frame only just appearing above the windowsill, the curtains drawn-back slightly…which suddenly fell closed.

     "Is that the Shoyru's room up there?" I asked, pointing to the now-closed curtains of the bedroom.

     The boy looked up at the window, then to me quizzically. "No," he said, eyebrow raised, "that's my Usul's room…why do you ask?"

     "Oh, it's just that I saw the curtains close all on their own…"

     "Oh, my pets are allowed in each other's rooms," the boy told me with a relieved sigh as he turned back to his front door. "Tony was probably just walking past when he saw you walk up the path and came to the window to have a peek…he's very curious like that."

     "I bet he is," I muttered lowly to myself as I followed the boy into his house, which was still slightly warm from the previous fire. "Tony is the Shoyru's name, I suppose?"

     "Yeah," the boy replied with a smile as he hung-up his coat and scarf, keeping his gloves on. "I don't like all these long and complicated underscored names -"

     "Ahem!" I coughed loudly, staring coldly at him.

     "Most underscored names," he corrected himself quickly, rubbing his hands together and shivering. "Yours is an exception, I like it…but my pets are pretty old, so I managed to get them short names. Do close the door when you're ready, won't you?"

     Doing as I was rather haughtily bid, I sighed and shook my self off. Well, I couldn't take my coat of now, could I? No, so the boy would just have to make do with lumps of snow on his front landing.

     "By the way," I started with false cheerfulness, "what is your name? I can't keep calling you "the boy," can I?"

     "Have you been?" the boy asked suspiciously. "To whom?"

     "No one," I muttered quickly, not wishing to tell him that this case would most likely become another of my owner's stories for the Neopian Times. "Just if I did, you wouldn't like it, would you?"

     "No, I don't suppose I would," he said softly, confusion still evident on his face, "very well, you may call me Cal."

     "Oh, I may, may I?" I replied with a smirk as I followed the boy (I know, I just had to do it once more) to his living room. Looking around, I couldn't see anything that would constitute as a crime scene, let alone a case of anything stolen. "Erm , Cal? Where and what am I supposed to be looking at?"

     "You're so bright," he muttered so darkly I couldn't tell if he was making fun of my new color or just plain and simply being grumpy as he left me to my own devices to fix himself a cup of hot cocoa. "You tell me."

     Taking this as permission to enter the living room, I did so, stepping carefully so as not to knock anything that may be important in the case.

     But was there really a case at all? After all, I couldn't see anything wrong with the place. Maybe Cal was just getting paranoid; maybe he left things around, forgot where he put them, and when he thought they were somewhere where they weren't, he blamed the first thing that could solve his problem. Because if you couldn't see your belongings disappearing, maybe something invisible snatching them away was the first obvious solution that came to young Cal's mind.

     And then I saw something that banished all those thoughts from my mind. It was a small coffee table that stood in the middle of the five Bean Bag Chairs, and on it was a ring no bigger then a saucer…made of crumbs. A closer inspection and a sniff revealed them to actually be cookie crumbs, and chocolate chip ones at that.

     "You had a Cookie Jar here?" I asked Cal as he stepped back into the room, "A full Cookie Jar?"

     "I did," the boy answered glumly, sipping on his piping hot cup of coffee (which I noticed he hadn't asked me for one as well). "That's why I called you, remember? It's been taken while I was in the room."

     "And you didn't see who did it?" I asked skeptically, staring carefully at him with a slightly raised eyebrow.

     "Like I said, I didn't see anyone come in, take it, or leave with it," Cal muttered with a heavy sigh. I sensed he was beginning to doubt me again and my hairs began to stand on end. I wanted to like this guy, I really did, but if his attitude kept up, we'd soon be taking two entirely different paths.

     "Right, just so I'm clear on that," I said, looking around desperately for more clues. Not presented themselves straight away, but no doubt they were there. Maybe they wouldn't just be in the living room, I thought as I walked slowly back out onto the landing. The snow was still there, untouched or pressed-down by footprints, so no one had come down the stairs recently…but a small inkling in the back of my head told me someone was here.

     "You'd be Tony, I presume?" I asked, turning to look up the stairs. There was a sound of fumbling footsteps as the invisible Shoyru took a few steps back before composing himself.

     "Nice one," he laughed nervously, the staircase creaking as he - at least I guess he did - sat down on a step. "Cal told you all about me, then, has he? Told you what he thinks I'm doing to him?"

     "In a sense, yes," I answered evenly, staring straight ahead of me. If you have an invisible pet then you'll know only too well how I felt. I wasn't really sure where the Shoyru was or if he was even still there at all. I don't need to tell you it was very discomforting. "Er…am I looking at you, below you or above you?"

     "You're just about right," Tony answered kindly, shaking a picture frame beside the sixth step up. "See that? That's about eye-level with me…do you believe him, then?"

     "Hmm? Oh, I don't know who or what to believe right now," I muttered, leaning on the stair's banister as I looked up and down the stairway. The picture frame rattled again, and I sighed, "No, I'm not looking for you this time, Tony, I'm just looking in general. For clues and the like…"

     "Clues…? Oh, so you're the PI our owner hired, then," Tony sniffed disdainfully.

     "Yes, I'm afraid I am," I didn't like it when my line of work made people feel uneasy or cold towards me. After all, we all have to do our jobs, right? "Tony, you mention "we" just then? I noticed there were five chairs in the living room, so apart from the Usul I'm guessing there are two other pets?"

     "Nebular the starry Chia and Gloom the shadow Wocky," Tony muttered grimly, as if trying his hardest not to remember them. "And of course there's Cruella the red Usul, who I guess you already knew."

     "Not her name, no, but thanks all the same -"

     "They're trying to frame me, Mister…?"

     "Hommes," I told the space before me with growing concern, "Kojak_Hommes…and what do you mean they're trying to frame you?"

     "One of them is, that's for sure." Tony sniffed glumly, the staircase groaning as he stood up. "I would never steal from Cal, Mr. Hommes. I mean, he may be a bad-tempered kid sometimes, but he's my owner, and looks after me a lot, sometimes more then the other three. I guess they don't like me getting all the attention, and are trying to frame me for something I'd never do!"

     "I'm sure you wouldn't, Tony," I assured him calmly, "I know crooks, and you don't come across as one. I'll try and help you anyway I can…Tony?"

     Silence.

     I didn't need to walk up the stairs to know that Tony had flown off.

To be continued…

 
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Other Episodes


» The Case of the Invisible Incident: Part One
» The Case of the Invisible Incident: Part Three



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