The Case of the Almost Abandoned Attic: Caffax
”Another case closed and everyone gets their happily ever after. Good work Caffax!" chimed Jiere, shutting the door behind as they entered Caffax's office. She arranged the case files in order while humming a soft tune to herself.
But Caffax wasn't paying attention to her. He was still in deep thoughts, pacing around the room, frowning. "Something doesn't seem right Jiere. This case was too short. Too easy. I feel like we've missed an important detail but I can't quite put my finger on it."
Jiere stopped him by his shoulders and said with a smile, "You're just overthinking Caffax. You wanted a challenge. But this case was a simple one. Too simple for you. Not every case has to be challenging right? What matters is that you made your clients happy. Aren't you satisfied with that?"
There was something about Jiere that calmed everyone down. Her beautiful pastel features itself were enough to lighten up the mood. Along with that, her ever smiling face added to her charm. No one could disagree with what she said. She was hired as an assistant in the beginning by Caffax but along the course of time, she was his good friend and helped him in many ways. Bringing him back to reality was one of those.
Caffax slowly nodded. "There! Pat yourself on the back, go home and get a good night's sleep. You did well today!" Jiere replied cheerfully, shoving him to the door. She tossed him his jacket, "Off you go! And don't worry, you'll get the challenging case of your dreams someday." She switched off the lights, locked the office and tucked the key in his pocket so that he wouldn't stay at the office again.
Having no other choice, Caffax wished Jiere good night and made his way home. He was alone now with his thoughts. Maybe Jiere was right. The case was simple and he was overthinking too much. He looked around. The streets of Neovia were quiet and dark. It was an unusual hour to be walking down the alley. Caffax observed every silhouette he passed. What if a thief was lurking somewhere? Waiting to pounce on him? Would he hear a scream now? Or maybe catch a shadow of a werelupe that wandered off into the town? What if there was a mad scientist experimenting on mutants underground? So many dangers...so many possibilities. The silence is never silent.
Caffax loved challenges. He grew listening to the tale of woe by the town elders and that's where he found his inspiration to be a private investigator. He was young and it was hard in the beginning to convince people that he was a detective. But his reputation grew with every case he solved and the townsfolk believed that there was no case that Caffax Shadowclaw couldn't solve. There weren't many thefts or crimes now in Neovia, thanks to Caffax. But Caffax missed the thrills and puzzles of a good case. The part of his mind that approached to every case like the thief craved for such a case....
The next day at the office.
Caffax was early and was going through old case files. He scratched his non-existent goatee, a gesture he subconsciously made when he was thinking and nodded in approval reading the solved cases. Suddenly, the door burst open, and in strode Jiere, clutching her jacket as the small gust of chilly morning air followed her inside before she could close the door. The dark jackets never matched her delicate, bright fur but somehow she wore it fashionably. A smile always completed her radiance. But today, she didn't wear her smile. She looked unsure.
"What's the matter Jiere? You seem disturbed by something."
"I think you have a new case Caffax." Caffax's ears straightened hearing the word 'case'.
"But that doesn't explain why you look like you've seen a ghost. And who's the client?"
"That's the thing...." Out of nowhere, a ghost aisha materialized in front of him, scaring him out of his wits. He staggered back but managed to ask, "Aren't...Aren't you the ghost from the abandoned attic? What are you doing here?"
"Yes, she is. I was walking to the office and she came before me on the streets and I nearly screamed. She wanted to meet you and present you a case." explained Jiere. The Ghost Aisha looked around to see if anyone was overhearing them. Satisfied that the three were alone, the Aisha began, "I need your help Mr. Shadowclaw. How should I put it? Well...Someone broke into my attic last night and stole all my goods."
"What?! You had like hundreds of items in that attic of yours! You are telling us that someone managed to get past a ghost like you and rob you?!" Jiere exclaimed. The Aisha nodded. "And its not just someone...its a Neopet. I didn't hear a sound. I stack all my goods in the cabinet and they are enchanted so that only a specific number of items are displayed to potential buyers. Since it was the dead of the night and the time when all Neopets sleep, I decided to take a stroll outside. I'm pretty sure I locked the cabinet. But when I returned, the cabinet was open and every single item was stolen. Even the ones that weren't displayed. The lock had disappeared too. I searched the whole night hoping for some lead. Alas, there were no witnesses and the I'm the only friendly ghost in this town. Using my ghost sense and sources, I couldn't find any clues. So I was hoping that well...maybe, you could help me..."
"A ghost getting robbed...Never thought I'd live to see this day, no offense. But Ms. Ghost, this is something that we can't handl-"
"Of course we'll help ma'am. We will find your culprit." Caffax intervened. He knew that Jiere was staring at him wide-eyed but he ignored her. The Ghost was delighted and extended her hand. Caffax tried shaking her hand but it felt like trying to grab air. "I need to leave now and close down the attic so that I don't have to deal with angry customers. Stop by later and take a look. The place is as it is. And I would greatly appreciate it if you could keep this matter a hush-hush. It's not a good reputation for a ghost you know. Thank you so much for your help." Saying so, the ghost disappeared.
"Are you out of your mind Caffax? How can we possibly help her?"
"Relax Jiere. The only supernatural thing we are dealing with is the Ghost attic-keeper herself. Besides, she mentioned that it was the doing of a Neopet. Whoever has that lock, is our culprit."
"Hmm...I suppose we could give it a shot."
"This is the challenge I was looking for Jiere! I'm not the type of person who believes in intuitions but yesterday, before going to sleep I had a good feeling about today. I can't wait to start on this case. Let's get going!" He stuffed back all the files into his drawer and hurried to get his jacket. Jiere followed, still confused and hesitant. The office was once again quiet. At the bottom of the drawer, lay a shiny lock.