PF Mysteries: The Case of the Midway Man

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PeachFreak
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PF Mysteries: The Case of the Midway Man

Post by PeachFreak »

Hello, everyone. I really hope you're all doing well. I know I haven't really been active here in some time, but I do pop in now and again to lurk. I realized recently that this month marks 13 years since I first joined The Art of Murder, and for that reason, I decided to channel some creativity into something that once gave me a lot of joy, writing mysteries.

Should you feel up to participating, read the story, and once it's finished, you may ask two questions, to two suspects or to just one suspect. Then, make a suggestion. I'll post how many elements are correct, and from there, we continue until we reach the solution and a confession. It's in the style of the Cluedo television show.

Now, this first one is rather long, I'll admit, and I understand if no one feels like reading it right now. But I tried to develop some characters and a setting, and I do hope I'll be able to continue working on these. Below, you'll find a teaser image, a brief synopsis of the episode, and the suspects, weapons, and rooms under suspicion. I will post the first scene shortly, and then the others will follow piece by piece. It's been written completely; I just want to shorten it up to avoid a big block of text.

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The sleepy seaside town of Candlestick Cove has always attracted odd stories: from the frequent reports of extraterrestrials in the night sky, to the vengeful undead marching band haunting the old fairgrounds, to a local colony of stray cats gifted telekinetic abilities during unsavory wartime research. But then again, the town itself was something of a strange assemblage. A failing beachside tourist industry blends with massive manufacturing plants, funnelling smoke into an already cloudy sky, pierced on either side by towering old money mansions. One of these homes belongs to a certain Mrs. Peacock, who, just one year ago, faced the most devastating tragedy a mother ever could, the loss of her only son. The young Michael Peacock tumbled to his death down the hall stairs, and the ripples of his demise seemed to echo through the little town he called home. Enter Dr. Orchid and Professor Plum, scientists who claim they, with an appropriate energy source, can enter other planes of existence, parallel universes adjacent to our own. And from one of these planes, they hypothesize they can pluck Michael Peacock (or at least some version of him) back into our reality. A dangerous demonstration of their research leads to a grisly series of events: a doppelgänger in the rain, a shifting numerical code, and the death of a young laboratory assistant, Miss Esther Drummond. Who killed her? Where? And with what? And were they one of us, or an invader from another world?

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Last edited by PeachFreak on Tue Jun 23, 2020 11:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

Jonathan Green
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by Jonathan Green »

I’ll be interested!
“Really Plum?!” - Mr. Green (Clue VCR, 1985)
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Mr_Suspect88
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by Mr_Suspect88 »

Sounds interesting, I’m in 👍.Also what is the title for Cafe?

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

His full name would be Captain Café.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

coinilius
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by coinilius »

Those cards all look really nice, a great style that you have used!

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Thank you very much! Below, please find the first scene. I will begin posting them one at a time in this thread, and will cue the audience when the story is over. Thank you to anyone who might feel like playing.

Scene 1: In Which a Red Car Arrives at a Mansion

Ink black clouds rolled across the evening sky, swallowing the moon in their ever-encroaching tendrils. But despite the already waning light, Miss Tamsin Scarlet was wearing sunglasses—seated in the handsome red car’s rear as the vehicle made its solitary way down that stretch of seaside road, the oldest road in Candlestick Cove.

Few people knew that the woman had actually been born Thomasina because, well, she told few people. But even in childhood, she had decided the nickname suited her better. Then again, even in younger days, she had carried herself with the same calm, private self-assuredness (about most things) with which she did now.

She was a polished woman, her blouse pressed, her skirt smoothed, almost intimidatingly perfect, like a fashion illustration had found flesh and breathing life. Dark hair neatly framed her face, held back on one side with a pristine silken flower, and a crisp red glove adorned each hand. The complete portrait was one of a woman who took herself seriously and who could perhaps topple a person with a single stare.

But Miss Scarlet reserved those stares, preferring instead anonymity, mystery, and observation. And so, as she so often did, she allowed the glasses to conceal her gaze as she flicked it about, first to the window, then to the driver, then to the small red handbag at her side. Inhaling briefly, she allowed the tiniest unpleasant wrinkle of her lips to break the picture of placidity.

But the summer air had met her nose oppressively. It was pungent, sharp with the bite of salt water and brimming with the usual earthiness that preceded a large storm. So, taking her purse into her lap, Miss Scarlet sought a touch of fire to fight the odor. She brought a cigarette to her lips from a long silver case, and with one quick motion, she set it ablaze with a shimmering gold lighter. Rolling the window down then, she gave a low hum and allowed the smoke to pour outside as it curled from her mouth.

“I regret you returned to this weather, ma’am,” the driver, something of an imposing woman in a well-fitted green suit, remarked. “I wish you could have enjoyed a more welcoming homecoming after such a long trip.”

“I brought this storm with me, Olive,” Miss Scarlet replied dryly, removing the glasses at last to properly meet her chauffeur’s eye in the mirror. She smiled. “It rained the whole time. But then again, it was London, I suppose. And they say that happens there.” In that moment, the first drops of precipitation began to drizzle down. A bizarre twist of placement allowed a stray one to extinguish the cigarette through the open window. It fizzed pathetically before dying in a flurry of wet ash.

At that, Miss Scarlet retreated in something akin to disgust, rolling the glass back into place.

“I wouldn’t know, Miss Scarlet.” The chauffeur offered a polite nod over her shoulder, speaking gruffly as her employer went about trying to relight. Click, click, click. Scarlet tried once, twice, three times, before finding success. “That’s a fascinating lighter, if I may say, ma’am. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one quite like it.”

“A souvenir from my travels. A gift from a friend,” Miss Scarlet said grimly, holding her cigarette between her teeth as she brought the lighter up. She exhaled slowly. And with a finger, she flipped the thing over to reveal a switch that, when pressed, caused a hidden spring blade to reveal itself with a dull metallic woosh. The noise seemed to startle Olive, whose eyes widened at the sight of the knife, but a thoughtful smirk rather immediately crept across her features.

“I’m rather impressed by that, ma’am.”

“One can’t be too careful when it comes to self-defense,” Miss Scarlet continued. “And we cannot trust other people to do it for us, now can we? My one regret is that I haven’t had to pull it yet, but I figure that’s one of the cons of having more friends than enemies.” Satisfied with that explanation, Miss Scarlet hit the switch once more, causing the blade to retreat neatly back inside the device. And just the same, she tucked the lighter securely back into her purse. “But tell me. How have things been since I left?”

“Well, ma’am, your father seems to be in better spirits. What I mean is that...after Dr. Black’s visit, he’s stopped hearing your brother’s voice crying out from beyond the grave in the name of otherworldly revenge.”

Miss Scarlet sighed, as if this conversation was one she’d had too many times. She clicked her tongue distantly, taking a long drag from her cigarette. “It’s a shame really. My own twin, and not once has his phantom whispered in my ear after dark. I’m beginning to take it personally.”

Olive grimaced. “Well, as far as whispers happen to go, ma’am, there have been some about the Peacock place lately. Something’s happening there, and well...I mean, you’ll see.” She leaned forward as the car began to approach a looming cliffside, atop which sat an imposing grey and white mansion in the Victorian style. It spiraled upward in an imposing flurry of painted architectural flourishes that might have looked delicate on any other home. But here, they seemed out of place, testaments to excess.

The ocean below it thrashed violently, sending swirling dark water slamming against the ridge’s rocky wall. But Miss Scarlet’s own attention had been drawn to the building’s roof, where someone had, as of late, installed a towering metallic lightning rod, which pierced the stormy sky like a lance. Wiring and other technological oddities surrounded it like iron orbs rising into the clouds.

“What is that thing?”

“Mrs. Peacock had it installed last week, supposedly at Professor Plum’s request. There’ve been two women I don’t recognize lingering around as well. Nobody’s quite sure what it’s all about, I’m afraid, but the construction was a bit of a ruckus.”

“Looks like some kind of party too,” Miss Scarlet mused, eyes narrowing at the cars which littered the drive. She recognized one or two, but from the current angle, a full view proved a challenge. “Hmm. Pull up, Olive. I think I’ll pay a visit. If something strange is afoot, I really ought to see for myself.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the chauffeur replied without hesitation, cutting the steering wheel sharply to the right. The vehicle’s tires squealed and then croaked as they hit the jagged gravel drive leading to the mansion’s door. It loomed on the horizon, growing close with each moment as if swimming in to swallow them.

“Head home, yes? I’ll call when I’m ready, And see that my luggage is brought in, would you?” Miss Scarlet set about gathering her things, finishing the last of her cigarette. “I’ve a feeling it’s going to be an interesting night.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 2: In Which Some Scientists Show off Their Lab

Blip, blip, blip. The mansion’s lounge—or lounge-boratory, as it were—was abuzz with the steady whirr of electrical currents, sending the various devices around the room beeping, booping, and spinning. Rain was pattering against the heavily draped windows, and the antique, sculptural lamps seemed to flicker, casting obscure shadows over the tall portrait of Paul Revere on the far wall.

However, dominating the space, situated between the two sofas, was a massive metal cube, covered in blinking buttons and shifting meters. Attached to its center was a heavy crank, and sitting atop it was a somewhat out-of-date electrometer, a heavy thing, which a young spectacled woman in a checkered cardigan, Miss Esther Drummond, was pretending to study.

“The storm is growing. It will be time soon,” said a tall woman staring out at the sea, a thick curtain pulled back in her slender grasp. Dr. Lily Azalea Orchid was a woman of science, so she claimed, but one would perhaps not be able to tell upon a cursory glance. After all, neither bookish nor studious, she seemed a person who, conversely, enjoyed being the center of attention. She was clad in a flashy dress of a bold pinkish color, with feathered embellishments around the collar. And her hair was done ornately, piled up behind her head. While the evening seemed rather serious in nature, she seemed to have perhaps arrived for a performance.

“I think I’m all ready, Doctor,” Miss Drummond replied, turning with stooped shoulders. Dr. Orchid quirked her brow, but before she could speak up, the door to the hall was opening to reveal Professor Reginald Plum and Mrs. Eudora Peacock.

The former was a thin, shifty man with thick spectacles and a habit of glancing nervously about in search of an attacker. This was, quite naturally, a remnant from growing up with eight older brothers on a dairy farm, and to this day, his nervous habit was fiddling with his tie (since they were no longer around to put him in bullying chokeholds).

The woman, on the other hand, was an elegant, bejeweled figure who moved in an off-putting, almost spidery way. Each appendage seemed to function independently of one another; a sweeping hand came with a flicking finger and rotating wrist. This was, of course, a practiced habit, one meant to individually highlight each glittering ring and expensive bracelet she wore on a given day.

“Well, you’ve heard of Schrödinger, yes?” Plum asked, furrowing up his brow.

“The awful man who puts cats in boxes? We won’t be having any animal cruelty in this house, Professor. What would the Ornithological Society say about that?”

“No. Well, yes. The point is really that...the hypothesis at work is that when the observer opens the box, reality branches into two paths. In one path, he sees a live cat. In the other, a dead one. And these two realities never intersect but exist simultaneously.”

Mrs. Peacock made a small noise of pretended affirmation, knitting her brow.

“Well, either way, we really cannot thank you enough for your continued patronage of this work, Mrs. Peacock. After so many months of trials, I truly do believe tonight is the night,” Plum smiled, watching as the woman began to survey the room, nose turned upward. She paused at the beeping metal cube, narrowing her eyes.

“Yes, well, I do hope for all our sakes it will be a success, Reggie,” she replied at last, much to the chagrin of the Professor, who seemed to hate being called that. “I would very much like to see results. Otherwise, we’re only playing pretend, yes? And playing pretend on my dime is the worst sort of pretend.” She hummed, and Miss Drummond seemed to duck away from her gaze, falling into quiet attention at Dr. Orchid’s side.

“I assure you we will see results tonight, Mrs. Peacock. My calculations are absolutely correct,” Dr. Orchid herself replied, pursing her lips, apparently unintimidated. “I too reiterate the professor’s gratitude. Despite our triumphs together on this project, the university continues to be...shall we say, stingy with its funding. They call it fringe science, but I promise you, this is all quite real. And we will prove it to the world this very evening.”

Professor Plum nodded in agreement, stepping forward to take Mrs. Peacock’s hand reassuringly into his own. “She’s right, Eudora. Dr. Orchid has made brilliant strides in this field. And ever since young Michael’s accident last year, I’ve...I’ve poured my life into her work. For your sake. I mean, you know the young man was like a son to me.” He was not. “I truly do believe you’ll see your son again tonight.”

Mrs. Peacock’s expression seemed to freeze over at that remark, a crack revealed in her usual mettle. She swallowed. “Yes...well, remind me, how does this contraption work?”

Dr. Orchid spoke up, clearing her throat. “Breaking the veil between our own universe, and the actualities adjacent to it requires an incredible amount of energy. You see, as the Professor explained, they never once touch one other. We must force them to do so. Thus, the lightning storm. In harnessing its power, we will be able to…’open the door,’ shall we say.” She placed a hand on the device.

“The crank is a crude tool, I’ll admit, on an otherwise perfect machine,” Orchid continued. “But once things have begun, it will require near-constant motion to keep the current running. That will be the role of our assistant, Miss Drummond. She’ll be here most of the evening to keep the device operating as it should.” The young woman just about curtsied when she was called out.

“And these supposed...other realities, parallel universes, we will be able to….?” Mrs. Peacock asked, looking up.

“Yes. We will be able to enter one where that tragic fall down the stairs did not take poor Michael’s life,” Professor Plum replied sympathetically. “And from there, we will be able to pluck him right back into our world.” The lights flickered once more as he said this, casting a grim silence over the room. And as if on cue, there was a sudden loud rumble, a piece of equipment in the corner of the room sputtering and dying as the smell of smoke filled the air.

“Oh! It’s that extension again!” Miss Drummond cried, rushing to unplug a retractable cord from the wall. Lifting it in her hands, she unrolled it for a few moments, grimacing and offering an apologetic shrug to the group as the first crackle of thunder filled the air.
Last edited by PeachFreak on Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 3: In Which a Housekeeper Objects to the Diabolical

Mrs. Myrna White was many things: cook, housekeeper, home security system when armed with a rolling pin. But what she was not that evening was calm. Her typical facade of stone had given way to a worried lip and knitted brow. Fidgeting around the stark white kitchen, dressed in a simple, stark white dress, she pulled open a cabinet and began plucking a series of wine glasses from the shelf, setting each on the counter as she went. However, a sudden roll of thunder made her yelp and sent one nearly clattering to the floor—where it was abruptly caught in the handsome outstretched hand of one Mr. Jonah Green.

If Mrs. White was disheveled, the gentleman was dapper, dressed immaculately in a striped suit and freshly polished shoes. A silver watch glittered on his wrist, and an emerald clip shimmered from his exposed tie.

“Are you all right, Mrs. White?” he asked, raising his brow. “We just had the whole house assessed; we can’t go bringing down the value now.” This seemed to have been a wry joke, but Mr. Green had indeed handled all the estate’s business matters for nearly a decade now.

“It’s this storm,” Mrs. White replied with a bit of a huff, taking the offered glass and setting it neatly back amongst the others. She paused to smooth down her apron. “And this whole ridiculous affair. I haven’t been allowed to dust that lounge for days now. Too much costly equipment, they say. As if I’ve ever broken something at work.” But she had; and frequently.

“Yes, well, to tell you the truth, I’m not so sure how to feel about that whole thing either. Mrs. Peacock’s been pouring cash into their little experiments for weeks. And for what? Some kind of looking glass fantasy?” Green grunted in response, moving to sit on a nearby stool. Crossing his arms, he leaned backward against the wall. “But it’s her money, and she pays for my advice. So all I can do is advise.”

Mrs. White paused to watch him, lingering a moment, before moving to uncork a bottle of wine sitting beside the sink. Retrieving a yellowed mug from a separate cabinet, she filled it halfway and began to sip at it as if nursing her shattered nerves. Mr. Green raised an eyebrow at the sight but offered no comment.

“It really makes my skin crawl, Mr. Green,” Myrna added at last. “The whole thing just feels...incorrect. Plucking Master Michael from another world? How can there even be other worlds? And how could it be the same Master Michael that was in our world? It can’t.” Spinning around in a half-circle and finishing her final swig of wine, she made her way to yet another cabinet, where, from among her recipe books, she plucked a heavy gold and silver plated bible.

“What’s that?”

“A present from a former employer. For very, very many years of service,” the woman replied almost defensively, setting the tome down and beginning to flip through its delicately illustrated pages. “Here. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. One heaven; one earth. I see no mention of other earths. But it does mention a soul, and Master Michael’s soul has been reposed, may God give him rest.. So whatever else out there bears his face certainly does not bear that.”

“Well, I hadn’t thought that hard on it, Mrs. White. I imagined the whole thing was mostly just...a game everyone had to get out of their systems. I mean, think about it. Do you really think we’re going to be entering any other worlds tonight? The whole thing will go up in smoke, Mrs. Peacock will toss Orchid out, and that will be that.”

“I hope so, Mr. Green,” the woman replied, closing the book and holding it protectively to her chest. Shaking her head, she moved to close the distance between them and meet the man’s eye. “The Good Book does not exactly mention other earths, no, but it does mention a third dimension. One of hellfire and brimstone and eternal torment. What if they happen to open a door to that one? Those exist, you know. Open portals where the devil can emerge to unleash havoc on our lives. It’s happened before in this town. I swear it.”

Having not thought on this either, Mr. Green paused, craning his head to one side. He answered somewhat dryly. “I wouldn’t know, Mrs. White. But...uh, I’m not so sure things work that way. Our airmen flew pretty high during the war, but one of them found a pair of pearly gates somewhere in the clouds. I don’t think it’s as simple as...well, digging the right hole, you know?”

Mrs. White huffed. “All I know is that if they do manage to pull another Michael Peacock from somewhere, we have no way of knowing who or what he is. So then, tell me, how do we know it’s not something diabolical? Demons have been known to take the forms of our loved ones. To deceive us.” The lights flickered in that moment, and even Mr. Green seemed to shiver at the timing. The two of them froze, looking into the ether as if expecting something to happen.

However, the chime of the doorbell suddenly echoed through the room, breaking the trance that had ensnared them. Mrs. White looked to the ceiling, setting the bible on the nearby countertop.

“Are you expecting anyone else?” Mr. Green asked shortly, glancing over his shoulder to the hall.

“I am certainly not. I wonder who that could be. Unexpected guests on top of it all. It’ll be the death of me. They may need to go pluck themselves another Mrs. White when this evening is through. Excuse me, Mr. Green.” She carried on grumbling of this sort as she left the room, and craning his neck, her gentleman companion watched her go.

Standing a moment later, however, Mr. Green made his way to the forgotten Bible and began to thumb through its crisp well-read pages. Flipping open the cover, though, he lingered a moment.

“Property of Maryellen Boddy on the eve of her Confirmation,” he hummed, shaking his head.
Last edited by PeachFreak on Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

Black
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by Black »

This looks really interesting, love the cards, Willam Dafoe as Plum from Orient Express is perfect, Wendy Richards (R.I.P.) as White I love and even Chalky White as Green

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Thank you, Black. Great eye on recognizing some of the models. I'm very much going for that "modern period show" look with picking folks.

Scene 4: In Which Two Soldiers Privately Conspire

The billiard room was a place of thick carpet, dark wood, and pungent liquor, where a mounted elk head would not have been out of place, were Mrs. Peacock the type of woman to permit such vulgarity. For the moment, its heavy door, carved with images of the four seasons, was closed to the hall. But despite this privacy, the two figures lingering around the games table were still speaking in hushed tones.

The first was Colonel Kurt Mustard, Mrs. Peacock’s nephew—a dashing, almost roguish, man whose boyishness had not been lost with battle. But of course, he had only earned his title from wartime necessity; he had been a Captain before it began. Still, despite this service, he seemed to have discarded, for the moment, the typical structure of his station. From relaxation alone, he had allowed his “folksy holiday” at the seaside manor to grow in his beard. But, in truth, it perhaps made him look more knightly than disheveled.

Still, his partner was all the more manicured, a tall, strapping gentleman, still oozing with military rigidity. He stood at attention, playing with the 8-ball by spinning it around in his palm. Looking at the Colonel in the reflection of an ornate golden mirror, Captain Guillermo Café, as he was called both prior to and following the war, used the opportunity to run a hand through his own dark hair, pushing it purposefully back into place, before speaking up.

“I think you did the right thing by calling me, Kurt,” he said very seriously. “Uncle Sam likes to be the first one in the door, as far as world-changing scientific breakthroughs are concerned.” A smirk tugged at the corner of his lips as he turned back around, raising an eyebrow at the other man.

“Look, I know how foolish all of it sounds,” Mustard retorted. “But you and I both know this country has its fair share of...experiments into the uncanny. When the war ended, they found out the Germans were studying witchcraft, man. Looking for the Holy Grail. Things they could use to turn the tides.” He sighed, sinking into a leatherbound chair. “Wouldn’t alternate realities be just the thing? If that doctor’s drivel is true, there exists a world where I didn’t make it back from overseas. Or you. Or worse yet, our boys lost the whole bloody war. Is that the kind of power you want spilling over into the wrong hands?”

“I’m not sure that power exists, my friend,” Café laughed, tossing the billiard ball back among the others on the table. He crossed his arms. “But...I hear you. And, though, in my official capacity, I can neither confirm nor deny America’s experiments into the uncanny, I’m willing to play along. Just in case.”

Mustard grimaced. “Look, you’re my only in with Washington’s eggheads. Should something go wrong, I trust you’ll push it up the proper chain of command? I don’t have the security clearance one might think.”

“Do you think something will go wrong?”

Kurt bit his lip, offering a gruff shake of his head. “A few days ago, Plum and Orchid and that Drummond woman came around in the afternoon to make sure everything was set up. I don’t know; I had just gotten in. But they did some sort of test run, I think, because I was up in my room, and the power went out.” He paused, narrowing his eyes as he tried to recall. “I remember looking out the window, and I saw Dr. Orchid in the gazebo, looking down at the beach. And then I left to check the fuses. But I ran into her on the stairwell.” Café craned his head to one side, seeming to understand. “There’s no way she could have made it that far in those few seconds. You see what I’m saying?”

“So you think you saw her double then? Some kind of alternate version of her?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have another explanation. Not right now. And if I did see a double, if it was some kind of doppelgänger, that person is very well an invader in our world. Who knows what her motives might be?” The Colonel sighed deeply.

“I didn’t realize,” the Captain replied, features seeming to harden. “I’ll keep a close eye tonight. And...should any parallel universes invade, well, I’m prepared.” Lifting up his jacket, he revealed a pistol holstered on his chest. He patted it with his hand, and Mustard clicked his tongue dismissively.

“Don’t let my aunt see that. As far as she knows, you’re just my army buddy visiting for some fresh sea air. She really does abhor most violence; finds it uncivilized. So, she’ll toss you out into the storm if she thinks you’re going to shoot up the place.”

Captain Café smirked, chuckling to himself. “Don’t worry. As far as anyone needs to know for now, the government included....we’re just chums, you and I. And best case scenario, it’s all a sham, and this doesn’t become an official investigation. Worst case, we have to fight our very selves to the death, but I can take me if you take you.”

The joking smile which followed was less than reassuring, but the chiming of the bell made both men perk their attention to the door. The lights flickered overhead with an electric hum.

“I didn’t know anyone else was coming,” Mustard remarked, standing up as Café made his way to the window. He pulled back the drapes to peer out.

“There’s a red car going back down the hill. Flashy thing.”

“Miss Scarlet,” Kurt replied definitively, stepping forward to have a look for himself. The vehicle itself was enough of a giveaway in their more reserved little hamlet. “A friend. Our families go back a long time in this town. I had thought she was out of the country, but maybe she’s back. Keep an eye on her too, Guillermo. Absolutely nothing gets past her, and she’s rather fiercely protective of my aunt. For good reason, I guess. But that’s a story for another night. I’ve had my fill of wives’ tales for the evening.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 5: In Which Introductions Are Tense

Shuffling through the hall, still muttering to herself about the neverending series of woes that had been her life, Mrs White tugged open the front door to find Miss Scarlet standing on the porch. The younger woman held a black duck-handle umbrella in one hand and her purse in the other, hiding beneath the overhang as the storm picked up around her. But seeing the housekeeper, she allowed her lips to spread into a thin red smile.

“Miss Scarlet! I thought you were overseas,” Myrna cried, pausing for only a moment to register her presence. “Well, now, come in, come in, before you’re soaked to the bone. To what do we owe the pleasure?” There was some layered irritation in this question, but the woman still dutifully took Tamsin’s umbrella and tucked it among the five already in the nearby holder. Peeking momentarily at the darkened sky and the rain now soaking the drive, she shook her head and sealed the door properly shut.

“Thank you, Mrs. White. I only just arrived, but on my drive home, I saw all the commotion. So I thought I might pay a visit. I do hope it’s no imposition.” Scarlet replied in a way that made it clear she both knew it was an imposition and did not care. Stepping further into the foyer and removing her gloves, she looked around and shook some of the chill from her bones as she tucked them neatly into her handbag. “A party tonight?”

“More like a meeting of the minds,” Mrs White replied tersely as the door to the lounge opened to the sound of idle chatter. “Ah! The think tank!” This came under her breath as Professor Plum filed into the room beside Dr. Orchid and Mrs. Peacock, with Miss Drummond following dutifully behind and taking notes in a tiny leatherbound book. Eudora, however, was the one to speak upon noticing the newest arrival.

“Tamsin, dear! Why, I’m just ecstatic you’re here,” Mrs. Peacock smiled, rather immediately shifting into a picture perfect hostess. She spoke in a broad, welcoming voice. “I had called. Well, Mrs. White had called. But your father said you were traveling. But really, I feel much more secure now knowing you’re here.” Saying this, she took Miss Scarlet’s hand into her own, squeezing it with what seemed to be genuine affection. “I do think you ought to be here. Michael would have wanted you to be.”

“Well, I was telling Mrs. White. I only just arrived back in town. My trip ended earlier than expected. But what about Michael now?” Scarlet replied.

“We’ll explain everything. I’m Dr. Orchid,” Orchid cut in, emphasizing her title and extending a hand to shake. However, it was Professor Plum who spoke up after a moment of stunned silence to introduce the young assistant lingering now near the lounge doorway.

“...And, uh, this is Miss Drummond. She’s our laboratory assistant.”

“Laboratory assistant, hm? A meeting of the minds indeed, Mrs. White,” Miss Scarlet answered as she finished shaking Orchid’s hand. Thunder crackled and seemed to shake the very foundations of the home. However, the woman in red seemed unperturbed. “But I was speaking to Mrs. Peacock, Doctor.”

“Oh, they’ll explain it much better than I, Miss Scarlet. It’s all so...technological.”

“And I do think it’s just about that time, don’t you, Professor?” Dr. Orchid chimed in once more. Plum nodded distantly in agreement. “Might we gather everyone? There are some, shall we say, safety matters we might talk through. Miss Drummond has set up a presentation in the dining room.”

Miss Scarlet quirked an eyebrow, but just as she opened her mouth to press the absurdity of the situation further, the door to the billiard room opened to reveal Colonel Mustard and the Captain. They stepped into the hall and joined the others.

“Tamsin! I thought I’d heard your voice after the bell rang,” Kurt replied, offering a cordial nod and pretending it genuinely was a surprise to find her standing there. “Have you met my friend, Captain Guillermo Café? He's visiting for the week. Some of that good old-fashioned sea air.”

“Pleasure, Miss Scarlet,” the man replied politely, offering the woman a small smile. He looked around the room. “Seems like we’ve got a proper party going here. And here I was thinking the rain was going to ruin the night.”

“It’s good to see you as well, Kurt. And to meet you, Captain. But...I think proper reunions will have to wait. We’re all being summoned for some sort of mysterious safety discussion. Isn’t that right, Doctor?” She narrowed her eyes in Orchid’s direction.

“Yes. And we shouldn’t waste any more time. The storm will be reaching its absolute height very soon,” she replied, clapping her hands together. “Please follow me, everyone. To the dining room.”

“Oh! Would you be an absolute darling and serve the wine, Mrs. White? I’d absolutely hate for everyone to be sitting about feeling neglected. And where on earth has Mr. Green gone off to?” Mrs. Peacock said all this hurriedly, moving rather immediately to follow Dr. Orchid as she set off down the hall, heels clacking along the marble floor. Professor Plum looked about almost apologetically, speaking up before moving after them with Miss Drummond in tow.

“Please, everyone. Join us. Everything will be explained. It’s all rather quite necessary.”

Defeated, Miss Scarlet stepped into place beside the Colonel and the Captain, casting a furtive, curious glance at the former. He offered a grimace.

“...Well, I think we ought to play along, don’t you?” Café interjected after a beat, stepping toward the dining room door with something of a wry smirk on his face. “It’s all rather quite necessary.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 6: In Which Everyone Rolls the Dice

In truth, despite the strange tone of the evening, the mansion’s dining room was still a decidedly warm space. Perhaps it was the reddish color of the wallpaper or the golden hue of the chandelier. Or perhaps it was simply the number of people crowded into it (with a humid summer storm raging just outside). Mrs. White and Mr. Green had been the last to arrive and were seated beside one another; the former had not thought to bring a drink for herself and was sour about it.

Miss Scarlet sighed deeply, fishing another cigarette from her purse. And retrieving her lighter, she sparked it up without asking permission, taking a long, slow drag, before turning to her left and offering one to Colonel Mustard. He refused, gritting his teeth. However, to his left, Captain Café accepted with a small nod, setting down his wine glass with a final sip. Miss Scarlet handed the lighter to the Colonel, who passed it on. And once the Captain’s cigarette was ablaze, he slid the thing back down the table to its owner just as Dr. Orchid started to speak.

“Thank you for gathering everyone. We have a lovely crowd tonight, and I want to personally thank you all for being here,” she began, stepping beside a display board that had been set up. “For some months, the Professor and I have been working on a very special project. The majority of it was my own brainchild, of course, but we could not have reached this night without his support.”

Plum smiled politely, clasping his hands behind his back.

“In any case, ladies and gentlemen, history will be made tonight. And I am truly thrilled there are so many witnesses to it. To those newcomers in the room, I suppose I ought to start from the very beginning,” Orchid continued. “I suppose we are all familiar with the work of Schrödinger? The Austrian physicist, Nobel Prize winner. He is known, of course, for a certain thought experiment. A very simple scenario: a cat in a box. A cat that is paradoxically...both dead and alive.”

Mrs. Peacock seemed to shudder at that.

“My hypothesis is that our very existence, in and of itself, by its very nature is not unlike a tree. Each new decision creates with it its own new branch. And so and so forth forever. And so, when the box is open, the fabric of reality...seems to split. On one branch, a living cat. The other, a dead cat. Two possibilities fully realized,” Orchid explained. “For the past several months, Mrs. Peacock has been an invaluable patroness in financing the practical application of this hypothesis. But for all intents and purposes, the subject we’ll be observing is greater than a simple feline.”

“Michael Peacock,” Miss Scarlet chimed in, blowing out a puff of smoke. She raised a challenging eyebrow.

“Precisely. You’ll forgive my vulgarity, but one year ago, Michael Peacock fell to his untimely end down the stairs of this very house. A tragedy,” Dr. Orchid replied. “My goal is that by harnessing the incredible power of the storm now raging outside, we will be able to bring our own unique branch of the tree closer to ones adjacent to it. And ergo, find a parallel universe where that fall did not kill Mr. Peacock. And from there, we will be able to pull him back into our world.”

Lightning flashed, sending shadows across the myriad of expressions across the room: bewilderment, scoffing amusement, nervous terror. Mr. Green loosened his tie, shifting deliberately in his chair. Captain Café, meanwhile, tucked something back into his breast pocket, narrowing his eyes.

“What’s the easel for?” Colonel Mustard was the one to speak up and break the uneasy silence.

“Precautions. If all goes according to plan, there will be a shifting of our very reality in this house tonight,” Professor Plum chimed in. “We may ourselves end up visiting somewhere new, an uncharted world that looks just like the house we’re now in. But different. And so...the proposition is the safety of randomness.”

Taking this cue, Miss Drummond gave a small smile, retrieving a wooden die from her pocket and handing it over to man. She then positioned herself in front of the blank easel board and took up a fountain pen from the table.

“I will pass this die around the room, and each of us will roll it once, creating a random code. Commit it to memory. Because so long as you see that code, you will know you are in the right dining room in the right universe,” the Professor smiled darkly, tossing the die before the group. It collided with the wine tray and gave a metallic clank before landing on a ‘6.’

And so the little game continued, each person taking their turn dutifully, largely because everyone else before them already had. And with each new number, Miss Drummond wrote out the individual’s name and their result with the fountain pen, until, scrawled in black was: Plum, 6, Orchid, 3, Drummond, 6, Peacock, 2, White, 1, Green, 5, Café, 3, Mustard, 2, Scarlet, 2.

Narrowing his eyes, the Captain retrieved a tiny notebook and pencil from his pocket and seemed to write the sequence down—just in case.

“This will stay here all evening. Consider it your failsafe. So long as you find that code, you will know you are in the right place,” Orchid smiled, perhaps delighting in how cryptic the whole affair was. “And now, Professor, Miss Drummond, I believe it is time.”

Outside, the storm seemed to be reaching its peak, and another mighty peal of thunder rattled the house, just as the rain seemed to surge, showering in a crescendo against the dining room window as if to shatter it. A flash of lightning once again illuminated the room.

“The three of us will need the lounge. Privately. Scientific equipment in use, you see. You’re all more than welcome to remain here while we work, but should you feel the need to wander...I urge you not to be alone,” Orchid concluded. “You see, once the universes begin to collide, there’s no telling if someone you let out of your sight is really who you think they are. Or if you might come upon yourself in the dark.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 7: In Which a Guest Demands Further Explanation

Professor Plum stumbled as he made his way into the lounge, his shoe catching the fried retractable cord that had earlier shorted the equipment. Unable to find his footing, he toppled forward with a cry, landing on the carpet with outstretched hands. It was Miss Drummond who immediately ducked down to his aid.

“Are you all right, Professor?” she asked, eyes widening as she helped him up, allowing him to use her shoulder to balance his weight.

“Oh, uh, yes, yes, of course. Mostly just my pride hurt, I think,” the man replied with a simper, shaking his head. Dr. Orchid moved to the window, hiding an amused smirk in her hand. “Would you dispose of that, Miss Drummond? I’d hate for one of us to kill ourselves falling around in the dark.”

“Right away, sir,” the young woman nodded, taking the cord from the floor and disappearing into the hall, shutting the door gingerly behind her.

“Don’t concuss yourself before things have even begun, Professor,” Dr. Orchid said with some mischief. Turning back to face the man, she offered a tight smile. “Quite a lot has gone into tonight; I’d very much like for it to all go according to plan, yes?” Humming, she moved to a nearby table and began shifting through some papers. “Do you think Mrs. Peacock is onboard? I mean, completely?”

“Yes, of course. She’s been funding all this for months now, hasn’t she?” The man furrowed his brow, sinking into a chair beside some blinking mechanism. Removing his glasses, he ran a hand along his brow. “I just...well, I want you to know that I really do believe in this work, Doctor. Your work. Our work. I wouldn’t have involved Mrs. Peacock if I didn't. And I want us to achieve results for her. Real results.”

“That’s what tonight is all about, Professor. Results. Well....that and the financial freedom to continue this work,” Orchid mused. “Mrs. Peacock just needs a taste, proof that it’s not all in vain. That’s all. And she’ll have it. I just wasn’t anticipating that Scarlet woman showing up.”

“I don’t think she’ll be any trouble. And I’m sure she’ll keep Kurt and his friend occupied all night, which is all the better. The last thing we want is them coming to the rescue,” Plum grunted, climbing back to his feet. With a short sigh, he moved to the painting of Paul Revere and began feeling along the frame as if in search of something when the door to the room opened behind him. He turned, expecting to find Miss Drummond, but standing there instead was Mr. Green.

“You really mustn't be in here, sir,” Orchid cut in, making a move as if to shuffle him back into the hall. “I think perhaps you should join the others in the dining room.”

“Everyone left the dining room already, lady. What were we going to do? Sit around playing with the dice?” He responded challengingly, knitting his brow.

“What is it, Jonah? We really do have work to be doing in here,” Professor Plum replied, evidently attempting to diffuse the situation before it escalated.

“Right, well, I just had a quick question. For the two of you. About this whole thing,” Green replied, pointing his finger from Plum to Orchid and then back again. “This tree thing you were talking about. How’s that going to work when you get things going? We’re going to all hop ourselves over to a branch when Michael Peacock didn’t fall down those stairs?”

Orchid sighed, offering a small shake of her head. “Oh, no, Mr. Green. That would be a task far beyond the scope of tonight’s demonstration.”

“But I thought you said we were trying to pull him back into our world?”

“We are,” the Doctor replied with an ambiguous glint. She seemed to be enjoying dangling the riddle in front of him, but extending a hand, she rolled a beckoning finger to her stack of papers. Pulling one off the top, she used a pencil to begin drawing. Following behind her, Mr. Green narrowed his eyes, the Professor coming next to loom over his shoulder.

And a moment later, Dr. Orchid had a rough drawing of a tree branch, jutting off in other directions.

“This is our world,” she said, pointing to a particular extension with the tip of the pencil. “Now, as you recall, every possibility is a new branch. Here, here, here, and here.” Saying this, she began indicating to other points along the diagram.

“Yes, and? What about it?” Mr. Green asked.

“All the way over here, on this branch, Michael Peacock never came to the house that day. Now, you see how far away that is from our current reality? So many things had to occur differently for that happenstance to occur,” Orchid replied. “In this branch perhaps Michael Peacock simply never fell. He was not on the stairs at that moment. Closer, but still rather far from where we are. So you see, Mr. Green, our best course of action is entering the closest possible adjacent actuality. Where perhaps only one or two things transpired differently, you understand?”

In a sudden dramatic surge, she reached behind her head to pull a needle-sharp hairpin from her bun, swinging it down to jab into the paper as a marker, inches away from where her discussion had begun. The two men winced.

“We’re going here,” she added at last. “Michael fell, yes. That was the same. But perhaps he tilted his head ever so slightly, spared himself the killing blow.”

Mr. Green swallowed hard. “I see. So...theoretically, once we find him and bring him here, he could even tell us how he managed to find himself on the bottom of those stairs, yeah?”

“I suppose. But Mrs. Peacock had told me it was a discarded roller skate.” Orchid smirked.

“That’s exactly what happened. I was, uh, just thinking through the logical conclusion,” Green replied rather immediately, straightening his jacket. He inched away from Professor Plum, who had been encroaching on his personal space, just as the door to the hall opened once more.

Miss Drummond appeared, looking surprised to see Mr. Green, but offered a polite smile in his direction.

“And now, Mr. Green, I hope that was satisfactory. But we really must get to work while the storm is peaking,” Dr. Orchid droned on, pulling Miss Drummond by the hand. She rather physically set the young woman at the crank on the central scientific device and bid her begin dutifully turning it over and over. Meters and bulbs seemed to whirr to life just as another flash of lightning streaked across the sky outside.

And nodding his head, Professor Plum wrapped an arm around Mr. Green’s shoulder, guiding him to the door almost reassuringly. And with that, he walked out with him to the hall, slamming the door unceremoniously behind them.
Last edited by PeachFreak on Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 8: In Which Scarlet Reveals an Ill-kept Secret

The desk in Mrs. Peacock’s study was an embellished old thing—heavy, crafted by hand in what she swore was the days of the American Revolution, of which she was a card-carrying daughter. Miss Scarlet tapped her nails along its polished top before striking a few stray typewriter keys; she jolted a bit at a mighty crack of thunder. But she turned back to Captain Café with a smile, evidently trying to hide just how startled she had been.

“It’s a pretty grand old place,” the man said distantly, shrugging his shoulders. He thumbed through a book on submarines someone had left there earlier. “I was, uh, pretty excited when the Colonel invited me. It’s certainly nicer than anywhere else I’ve ever stayed. But to be honest, I do sort of get the feeling folks stick around Mrs. Peacock looking for their cut of it.”

Miss Scarlet let out a scoffing breath. “If that’s directed at me in any way, you’re mistaken, Captain. I happen to be independently wealthy. Quite fortunately.” She stood up and walked over to meet him head-on. “Scarlet Sundries and Playthings: my family’s company. We’re in leisure manufacturing. Cards, board games, chess sets. More lucrative than you might think. And keeps me quite comfortable.”

Café put his hands up in mock arrest, offering a joking smirk. “I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just observing; that’s all. I don’t put a ton of stock in this science-fiction adventure tonight. I have to imagine they’re just, you know, after Mrs. Peacock’s generosity.”

“Well, I fear you’re right about that. It’s ghastly, all of it,” Miss Scarlet sighed, shaking her head. “But for someone who’s not putting stock in it, you certainly were taking a lot of notes. Kurt’s never mentioned you, you know. Not before the war; not after. Why is that?”

“I don’t speak much of him either,” Café retorted, shrugging his shoulders. He flashed his teeth in a wry smirk. “And he’s never mentioned you. Nor did he say you were showing up tonight.”

“Well, I didn’t tell him. I didn’t even know.”

“Then why come?”

Miss Scarlet paused, wrinkling up her mouth. “I’m quite fond of Mrs. Peacock. Our families are rather entwined, I suppose. And when something is afoot, I make it my absolute business to investigate. But at least I’m honest about that.” She trailed off. “You wouldn’t be able to tell from the jewelry and the furs, but life hasn’t been easy for her. Outlived five husbands. No children, except for one, Michael. And then a year ago, some horrible fall. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t quite sure Eudora could really love a man. Not even the Colonel. Tolerate, of course. But she did love her son.”

“So it’s natural she’d...fall into this whole thing, then, yes? Trying to undo the past?” the Captain asked. Taking a step back, he leaned against an end table.

“She’s not some fool if that’s what you think. Unlike the Colonel and his mysterious friends, I mean,” Miss Scarlet grimaced, making her way back to the desk chair and sinking down. “Sure, there was a sort of spiritualism phase. A psychic named Madame Rose who came around, tried to conjure up Michael’s ghost.” Miss Scarlet waved a dismissive hand. “The worst part of this, though, is the Professor’s involvement. Mrs. Peacock trusts him. I’d hate to think this was some sort of con.”

Captain Café gnawed on his lip, seemingly taken aback by this display of sincerity between the jousting. “You really are rather protective of her, hm?”

“I have no choice, Captain. Guillermo. If that is your real name,” she mused. Placing her hands in her lap, she seemed to lean forward despite herself. “Do you want to hear a story?”

“Sure. We’ve got time. And what else can we do but wait for the parallel people, huh?”

“Many years ago, there were two men who worked on the docks in this town. My grandfather. And Rutherford Mustard, Mrs. Peacock’s father,” Miss Scarlet began, speaking in a low voice. She allowed it to fade a moment. “One evening, rainy like this one, they were the last two in a local watering hole when a stranger arrived. A very well-dressed man in a suit with no name and a deck of cards. Now, the two of them are several drinks in already, so when he promises them fortune, longevity, their hearts desires, if they defeat him in a game, they, of course, accept.”

“And do they win?”

“They do. A rough beginning, sure. But by working together, giving up selfish play, they knock the stranger out of the running as quickly as possible,” Miss Scarlet continued. A flash of lightning illuminated her face. Looking to the window, she spoke distantly, as if reminiscing. “And just as the stranger said, fortune came. My grandfather built his games empire. The Mustards built all this.” She vaguely gestured around the room. “But from that moment, our family’s fates were somehow intrinsically linked. Because they had triumphed together, they would fail together as well. And the man in the striped suit would have his due.”

“And they never saw this mysterious man again?” the Captain asked.

“No. But one year ago, when Mrs. Peacock’s son died, so did my own brother. A car accident. So, Captain, you can see why I make this particular home my business. Because the echoes of its halls echo back to me.” She sighed deeply. “Believe me, I know how it sounds. I don’t believe in parallel universes. Or the ghost of Michael Peacock, for that matter. But twenty years ago, they do say the devil stopped in Candlestick Cove.”

“I’m not religious,” Café replied shortly, but even he could not mask the sudden chill that rolled through him and took its determined stake in the room’s shaky silence. Miss Scarlet looked up at him.

“Religious or not, stranger things have happened here. This place seems to attract them. And maybe parallel universes aren’t completely out of the question, after all. But, now I’ve told you one of my little secrets; do you care to return the favor?”

“You mean my presence here tonight, hm? It’s...classified.” The Captain had meant this to sound joking, but in the moment, it came across perhaps all too serious. However, before he could elaborate further, a sudden cry echoed through the house.

“Oh! Come quick! Hurry! It’s brilliance!”

It was the voice of Dr. Orchid, carried from somewhere far off in the mansion. Miss Scarlet and Captain Café locked eyes, and without another moment’s hesitation, they were hurrying toward the door to the hall.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 9: In Which an Invader Appears

The conservatory was a dark, damp room illuminated in that moment only by a tremendous crack of lightning overhead, giving the impression of some kind of electrified birdcage as the flash reflected off the glass windows and the iron bars connecting them. A pair of external doors led to a winding stone path down the ridge, to the beach and the pounding surf, but Dr. Orchid had already thrown them open, expression wild as she stared out into the darkness.

Mrs. White had been the first to arrive upon hearing her cries, but the others soon filed in behind her from the hall, faces a mixture of frantic, curious, and bewildered as they crowded into the doorway and poured into the room.

“What’s happened, Doctor? Why were you shouting?” Mrs. Peacock finally spoke up, shoving her way to the head of the pack. Lips purse, she moved to Dr. Orchid’s side and peered out into the storm as if searching for something in the rain.

“I saw...I saw me. I saw me, Mrs. Peacock.” Orchid let out a heavy breath, as if in disbelief. “And that means it’s worked. It’s all worked.” Raising a slender hand, she pointed to the distance. “There. In the gazebo.”

The group seemed to freeze in that moment, each person jostling those around him or her to try to get a better view. Mr. Green swallowed hard, and the Professor, in trying to find a superior vantage point, nearly went sprawling when his foot connected with a potted plant. However, it was the Colonel who seized command.

“All right. Calm down, everyone. I don’t see anything,” he said firmly, moving to the doorway and blinking out into the night. Captain Café came up beside him, the pair of them apparently falling into some makeshift military stance. They waited.

And as if on cue, another sudden flash of light filled the room. In the split second, they had seen her. And it was unmistakable. There, staring out at the sea from the distant gazebo was a familiar figure, a woman in a pinkish dress, black hair piled behind her head.

“What does she want? Oh, what does she want?” Mrs. White cried, backing away and nearly yelping in horror upon colliding with a carved stone statue of the goddess Persephone.

Meanwhile, the Captain’s eyes widened at the sight of the doppelganger. And despite any prior naysaying, his composure seemed to leave him in that moment, his knees weakening as a sudden lump formed in his gut. He blinked, once, twice, as if he could no longer trust his own sight.

“Everyone remain calm,” he said at last. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. We’re safe in here.” And as if acting on instinct, he patted himself down to retrieve the pistol from his pocket, holding it into the air almost triumphantly as if prepared to go charging down the enemy.

“What is that? How dare you just wave that around in my home?” Mrs. Peacock huffed at the sight of the firearm, clutching her chest and reeling backward. “What do you plan to do? Run out there and shoot Dr. Orchid?”

“Yes. Do you plan to shoot me?” said Doctor added challengingly.

“That’s not Dr. Orchid,” the man replied somewhat defensively, but he was interrupted by the Colonel stepping in front of him.

“What’s wrong with you, man? You don’t pull out a gun in a room full of civilians.” Mustard grunted, and grabbing the Captain’s wrist, he rather swiftly disarmed him, taking the pistol and tucking it into his waistband. “I’ve got it, Aunt Eudora. You won’t be seeing it again.”

He looked from Mrs. Peacock, back to the Captain, then to the group at large, and shaking his head, he suddenly changed course, veering for the hall. While he had not seen it, another flash of lightning colored the room in that moment, and from the vantage point of the conservatory doors, the mysterious figure from the gazebo seemed now to have vanished.

“Where are you going, Kurt?” Miss Scarlet spoke up, stepping aside as the Colonel flung open the cloak closet, pulling his slicker from the rack and throwing it over his shoulders.

“To see who’s out there.” Saying this, the Colonel battled with the arm holes as he fumbled his way through the hall. The lingering crowd seemed to be filing out of the conservatory now, only to stake their place in the kitchen doorway as Mustard passed through in search of a flashlight.

“I’ll come with you,” Captain Café offered as the other man tugged open a cabinet and plucked a torch off the shelf. He flipped the bulb on and shined it directly into the face of Mrs. White, who swatted at it and backed into the pantry door.

“I think you’ve done quite enough, sir,” Mustard replied.

“You musn’t rush out into this storm, Kurt!” Mrs. Peacock said firmly.

“I’ve braved worse.”

And relling out the room to step toward the entryway, shoes pounding against the floor, he pulled an umbrella from the five in the stand and tugged open the door, staring into the torrential rain with a worried brow, suddenly rather self-conscious about having to step into it.

“I’ll...uh, I’ll head her off around the back! Please don’t harm her; she’s a visitor from another world. This is a breakthrough!” Professor Plum called out, still lingering in the conservatory doorway with his glasses on his nose. But without waiting on anyone’s approval, he disappeared back into the room just as the Colonel disappeared outside.

And in the ridiculous seconds that followed, the remaining quests stared about uselessly, as if holding their breaths to listen to the steady pitter patter of water on glass as the storm reached its monumental climax.

“It’s worked then, Doctor? If they find...well, if they find you out there, it means we can find Michael, yes?” Mrs. Peacock asked, moving to clutch the woman’s hand. Orchid opened her mouth as if to reply, suddenly rather bewildered despite her earlier excitement. However, before she could reply, the lights went out, plunging the house into darkness.

Mrs. Peacock yelped, and Miss Scarlet moved to her side. Then came the mightiest roll of thunder yet, and a blinding white light seemed to fill the very house to its core. Mrs. Peacock let out a shriek, and when the moment passed, she was left staring at the stairwell with wide, frightened eyes.

“What is it, Mrs. Peacock?” Tamsin asked gently, eyes adjusting to the new darkness. However, she was interrupted by a door flying open .

“Oh! Oh! Doctor! Doctor! There was a surge!” Miss Drummond appeared suddenly from the lounge, adjusting her spectacles. Her hair was untidy, as if she had been wrapped up in work. Still, she seemed genuinely surprised to see a group had gathered around the hall. “I was turning the crank, and everything just...fizzled.” She gave something of a defeated sigh.

“Have you been in there this whole time?” Mr. Green was the one to ask.

“Of course. The machine requires constant cranking in order to function. Dr. Orchid thought she saw something in the hall and rushed off, but I stayed.”

“Didn’t you hear all the commotion?” Miss Scarlet retorted.

“Again, ma’am, the machine requires constant cranking. Why, if I were to stop, who knows where we’d end up? But really, the surge, Doctor. It’s dangerous.”

“Quite right,” Orchid said firmly. “I will return there and assist you. But first, I must check the code.”

Saying this, she turned and marched to the dining room as Miss Drummond, just about bowing to the group, returned to the lounge. Narrowing his eyes, Café charged after her, butting his way in before she could object and closing the door behind him.

“Mrs. White, will you please get the lights back on? I’m feeling rather woozy.” Mrs. Peacock muttered unsteadily in that moment, looking rather pale. She appeared ready to collapse at any second. And supporting her on one arm, Miss Scarlet sighed, shaking her head.

“Let’s sit down in the study. Mr. Green, would you find her something to drink?” she asked, guiding the other woman across the hall.

“It was Michael. I saw him on the stairs. When the lightning flashed, it was like...it was like we switched worlds,” Mrs. Peacock murmured limply, and with that, the study door swung gingerly closed with a dull thud behind her.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
Highbinder
Posts: 4939
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:54 pm
Location: New York

Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 10: In Which the Lights Come Back on

Mrs. White peeked into the kitchen from the doorway before daring to step foot inside. Waiting a moment, she let out a long breath, swallowing hard, before inching carefully forward, eyes darting to the dishes and glasses cluttering the sink, to the still open wine bottle on the counter, to the looming icebox door, where she wondered perhap if her own evil doppelganger was hiding.

Screwing up her courage, however, she made her uneasy way across the room, just about jogging across the floor, to a tiny cupboard on the back wall. And pulling it open to reveal the fuse box, she set to work, glancing over her shoulder every few moments as she struggled to replace the one that had been fried.

“Ah!” She cried at last as the lamps suddenly sprung back to life, filling the once dark room with a somewhat warmer glow that belied her feelings on the evening thus far. “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’” Placing a hand on her chest, as if to steady her breathing, she then made her way to the recipe cabinet, tugging it open in search of the Bible, which was now nowhere to be found.

Pausing, Mrs. White knit her brow, beginning to spin around in search of the book, tugging open another cabinet and pulling open a seemingly random drawer.

Scene 11: In Which the Code Bears Examination

The glowing bronze hearth in the library was ablaze, casting strange shadows over the three men gathered within its heavy wooden walls, lined from corner to corner with books. Coat draped over a reading table, beside the discarded flashlight, Colonel Mustard warmed his hands by the fire, trying to shake away the chill from the rain clinging to his hair and beard.

Still, he had at least had the sense to don his slicker before venturing out into the storm; the Professor was not quite so lucky. The man had been soaked clean through. His dripping blazer was now hanging from the doorknob, and he seemed to be trying to wipe the condensation from his glasses using his damp tie.

“So you didn’t find anyone?” Captain Café asked. He seemed to be treading carefully, still nursing the wounds left from the admonishment at his earlier display.

“No. No one,” the Colonel replied darkly. “I don’t understand it. We all saw her out there, didn’t we? I don’t think it could have been a trick of the storm.”

“Of course it wasn’t a trick of the storm,” the Professor offered incredulously. “What we saw was a flash. A moment when our universe collided with another. Now, it’s more likely she was a visitor in our world than the other way around, but it’s not impossible she would have been booted out just as quickly as she was let in.”

“So you’re saying this whole thing, it’s real, then, Professor? It worked?” Café asked. Mustard looked up to meet his eye, gauging just how serious the man was being. Café continued, pacing a bit. “I asked Miss Drummond about it, but all she could say was that the machine needs to be cranked.”

“Yes, well, she’s only an assistant. Very bright. Will likely be a formidable researcher when she’s finished her education,” Plum added distantly, running a hand through his dripping hair.

“And you didn’t see her out there either, Professor? You got there first,” Mustard asked.

“No. I wish I had. What an opportunity that would have been, a chance to speak with a person from another world.”

There was a brief knock on the door as he said this, but Miss Scarlet had not waited for a response before tugging it open from the hall. Features set in something like concern, she stood in the doorway now, looking in at the men.

“I’m sorry. I was looking for Mrs. Peacock,” she said. “She wandered off from the study, and I got tired of waiting.”

“She hasn’t been by here,” Colonel Mustard replied, finally stepping back from the fireplace. “Is everything all right?”

“When the power went out, she thought she saw something. It frightened her badly.”

“What did she see?” Professor Plum asked, turning to look over his shoulder.

“Well...to be perfectly honest, she thought she saw Michael. On the stairwell. But it’s been a long night, and with the storm, and the whole...evil gazebo twin, I don’t know if she’s really feeling herself right now.”

Café seemed to visibly shudder at the story, his face falling into a grave portrait of foreboding.

“This whole night has been quite a terrible trip to the circus,” Scarlet added dryly. “I’m going to check the dining room.” With that, she offered a small, if only passingly polite smile as she turned to go.

“I’ll come too,” the Professor replied abruptly. “With all that’s been going on, I do think we ought to check the code. Just to be sure.”

“Suit yourself.” Miss Scarlet passed an uncertain glance from the Colonel to the Captain. Café nodded, moving to lead the way out the room, holding the door for the others as the four of them made their way across the hall, now glowing bright with the chandelier overhead.

And as they made their way into the dining room, they found it standing empty. The table had been cleared, and the fountain pen was nowhere to be seen. By now, the rain also seemed to be giving way. However, the easel still stood properly in place, painted in black ink. Plum, 3, Orchid, 5, Drummond, 6, Peacock, 2, White, 4, Green, 5, Café, 2, Mustard, 2, Scarlet, 2.

The quartet stared in silence a moment, huddled near the door. However, Café spoke up and pierced the quiet.

“It’s changed.”

“It’s changed?” Miss Scarlet asked. “What do you mean it’s changed? No, it hasn’t. That’s what it was.”

“I’m sure of it. I wrote the code down,” the Captain replied, beginning to pat himself down. However, his hand froze on his jacket pocket, and he looked up, mouth falling open. “My notebook’s gone missing.”

“Then how do you know it’s changed, Captain?” Colonel Mustard asked, nostrils flaring.

“I rolled a 3. I’m positive. This says 2.”

“I rolled a 2,” Miss Scarlet replied.

“As did I,” said the Colonel.

“Adjacent universe, right? Just slightly off?” Café added with some bewilderment. “So that would make sense for it just to...change slightly.”

“Well, what about you, Professor? Did you roll a 3?” Miss Scarlet finally continued with some indignation, her patience beginning to wear thin with frustration and dread.

“I..uh...Well….” Plum trailed off, color just about draining from his face. He swallowed hard, taking an uneasy step away from the group.

“Out with it, man,” Mustard cried.

“The ink. When Miss Drummond wrote this, she spilled the black ink on the carpet. So she had to use red. But it’s written here in black.”

“It was never written in red,” Scarlet retorted.

“But yes, yes, it was. For me. It was for me. When I left through the conservatory, I must have passed through...that’s the only way….” the Professor continued, rambling now as he took another defensive step toward the door.

“What are you saying?” Café asked, eyes widening.

“I...uh, I think that when I left, I reentered through a different door, you see? Because I didn’t leave from here. This is not my version of the manor. And you’re not my versions of you. And...if what you’re saying is true, sir. That you rolled a 3, then you’re only a visitor here as well.”
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
Highbinder
Posts: 4939
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 12: In Which an Assistant Has Second Thoughts

Miss Drummond dabbed at her eyes with a pink handkerchief before abruptly blowing her nose. Crumpling it in her grasp and extending her hand, she gently offered it back to Dr. Orchid, who turned up her nose and pretended to be distracted by the electrometer.

The cranking machine sat unattended but still let out an electronic beep every few seconds.

“I don’t know, Doctor. I thought I could do it, but I just feel so terrible. And then that Captain came in here and interrogated me, and we’re quite fortunate the painting had been closed. And poor Mrs. Peacock,” the younger woman sniffed, blowing her nose once more. “I just...I don’t know if I can do it. It’s already gone too far.”

“Are you thinking of deserting ship?” Orchid asked, eyes widening. “But we’ve done so much. You can’t be serious, Miss Drummond.”

“I just...I just keep thinking of my own mother. That, if something dreadful were to happen to me, why, she’d do anything for the opportunity to get me back. And to exploit that feels so much more dreadful.”


“That’s what we’re doing: trying to bring Michael Peacock back. But scientific achievements of such a massive scope naturally require funding. And equipment. And time. Mrs. Peacock just needs a little proof. We know it will eventually work, so there’s no harm in a little smoke and mirrors. For now,” the Doctor replied grimly before seeming to trail off. “You didn’t tell Café anything, did you? I don’t particularly trust that man.”

“Of course not,” Miss Drummond retorted. “But where has the funding gotten us so far? Some theatre equipment?” She huffed a little, smacking the machine with her hand. It let out a hollow echo. “I do believe in this work, Doctor, but are we really making any breakthroughs? Or are we just...enjoying the paycheck? Why, I just couldn’t live with myself. Scamming poor Mrs. Peacock. I just...why, I….”

“Please don’t start wailing again.”

“I need...I need a moment. I’m sorry.” And saying this, Miss Drummond stumbled to her feet and rushed into the hall, disappearing across it into the open billiard room and closing the door behind her. Moving to the lounge doorway, Dr. Orchid watched her go, lips pursed tightly in distaste, before shutting herself back in the room with a loud slam.

Watching this from the hall’s sheltered telephone alcove was Captain Café, speaking in a hushed tone when Mrs. Peacock herself emerged from the conservatory, features rigid with something like fury. Moving across the wide room in a sweeping motion, she stormed to the lounge door, paused, and then backed away, looking around before vanishing into the study.

“Something’s going on. I don’t know what,” Café said softly into the receiver. “I half-expected to come here, and the whole thing be some sort of scam. But odd things are happening. I don’t know who’s who. Or who I am. Or who you are. And that Professor is claiming to be an interdimensional traveler. And I saw that Doctor outside when I knew she was not. Right. Well, I understand what has to be done. I’ll keep you informed, sir.” Saying this, he gently placed the phone back down before stepping out into the room.

And closing his eyes, the Captain allowed an almost meditative sigh to roll through him, easing away some of the evening’s mounting tensions, but when he opened them again, he stared up at the stairwell and blinked a few times as he had noticed something there.

Backing away with his mouth set in a frown, he paused, taking another breath, and pressed himself first against the billiard room doorway, listening quietly to whatever may have been happening inside. Hearing nothing, he moved to the study and did the same.

Scene 13: In Which Mr. Green Finds Some Clues

Mr. Green paced back and forth uneasily in the ballroom, pausing a moment to pluck a few stray keys on the massive grand piano, which was etched with some sort of sea serpent scene, a grim nautical motif matched in the wood of the sofas, the grand cupboard in the corner, and the edges of the dance floor. The little tune Mr. Green hammered out was one he remembered from somewhere, somewhere nostalgic and balmy. But the instrument echoed dimly out-of-tune, causing him to grimace.

And so, stepping away, he moved to the window and pulled back a drape to stare into the storm, which was becoming less violent by the minute. However, catching sight of the gazebo’s edge and the path leading to it from the adjacent conservatory, the man allowed a shudder to roll through him.

In that moment, however, he caught a glimmer of something discarded near the corner: the retractable cord. With a curious knitting of his brow, Mr. Green lifted it up and pulled at it, allowing it to extend to its full length between his hands.

“Huh,” he mused, biting on his lip. Looking around, he did notice, perhaps for the first time, that the space itself seemed to be just slightly off-kilter, as if it had been slightly moved about. And it was then that something fluttering in his vision near a vent caught his attention. Allowing the cord to fall, Mr. Green moved to pick it up: a pink feather.
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

PeachFreak
Highbinder
Posts: 4939
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:54 pm
Location: New York

Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by PeachFreak »

Scene 14: In Which Two Charlatans Fear Betrayal

Professor Plum, still soaked, sat quietly in a corner of the conservatory, staring out the windowed wall at the surf beginning to quiet along the shoreline. He shivered, the fire in the library evidently not having done enough to warm him. Standing from the iron chair in which he had settled, he took a step toward the external doors, craning his neck as if to try to see beyond the horizon.

However, in that moment, he became acutely aware of something shifting behind him, and turning, he watched a section of will hinge open as Dr. Orchid emerged from the secret passage, from which she had been spying on him. By now, she had let her hair down, the pins missing from her prior updo; it hung messily to her shoulders.

“I was looking for you,” she said at last, stepping into the room and gingerly closing the hidden portal behind her. “That Captain was lingering around the hall before, and I didn’t want him to see me leaving the lounge. Because he certainly saw Miss Drummond leaving, and well...if she’s going to put in another appearance tonight, we have to try to keep up the crank charade.”

“Well, we’d best start putting things in motion then, yes?” Plum asked, offering a distant smile. “I do think Café bought the code bit, though. Scarlet and Mustard as well. But we’ll have to change it back to the original without them noticing. Shall we gather everyone somewhere? The library?”

“I don’t know, Professor. I think we may have larger concerns than some dice game right now. Miss Drummond is having second thoughts.”

“You don’t think she’ll tell Mrs. Peacock or anything, do you?” Professor Plum blanched.

“I couldn’t say. She stormed off in quite a state. Blubbering into one of my better handkerchiefs,” the woman replied with a bitter sigh.

“Well, perhaps I can have a word with her. I really do believe she appreciates the importance of this work. And she understands the necessities of money and such.” The Professor nodded, moving for the hall and tugging open the door. Miss Scarlet was already standing there, and she rather immediately fell backward, as if her weight had been pressed against the frame.

“Tamsin!”

“Professor.” Her smile was thin, terse line as she recovered. “Have you managed to figure out what universe you came from yet? Are there ways to test that, Doctor?” She said this coldly.

“I, uh, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Plum wrinkled up his brow, feigning ignorance. “I was outside. I got lost somehow in the dark and only just got back in.”

“Yes, well, of course” Miss Scarlet replied grimly. Dr. Orchid steadied her stance, refusing to cower under the other woman’s gaze, which was now resting solely on her. “Funny. How did my umbrella get in here?” Scarlet added at last, plucking said object from where it had been placed in a potted plant. “Well, I’ll leave you two to whatever it is you’re doing, hm?”

Humming, she turned on her heels and stormed off.

“I think you ought to follow her,” Dr. Orchid chimed in. “I’ll find Miss Drummond. I’m sure I can talk some sense into her.”

Scene 15: In Which We Find a Body

Captain Café moved hurriedly through the hall, pulling open his blazer to reveal the pistol now resting securely in the hidden holster. He patted it, as if for safe keeping, jumping as a hand grabbed his shoulder.

“Ah! Oh, it’s you, Kurt. You know better to sneak up on a man in uniform.” Café grimaced into the face of Colonel Mustard, shaking his head. “In any case, I really do think I ought to be going. I’m expected to report somewhere tonight.”

Saying this, he made a quick move for the cloak closet. However, as he tried to pull it open, the door seemed to rally against him. And so, with a grunt, the man tugged it once more, stumbling backward as it gave way beneath his powerful grip. Thump.

“It’s Dr. Orchid!” Mustard cried as a dark-haired female body in a familiar pink dress fell out face-down onto the floor, landing with a sickening, dull thud—dead.

Café rather immediately dropped to her side, trying to flip her over in search of a pulse. As he did, however, the pinned wig dislodged itself from her head, revealing a mess of stringy brown curls.

“No. It’s not. It’s Miss Drummond. Why, she’s been murdered.”

###

Miss Esther Drummond has met her end at the hands of one of eight suspects, with one of eight weapons, in one of eight rooms of the Peacock place. You must ask two questions of our suspects prior to each suggestion. Once you have made a suggestion, I will tell you how many elements are correct. We continue on this process until we have a winner!
"Like my daddy always says, give me a good neuromuscular poison any day."

Mr_Suspect88
Snoop
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by Mr_Suspect88 »

Hopefully I’m doing this right .....

First question is for Miss Scarlett, Did you ever find Mrs Peacock ?

Second question is for Mr Green, What did you do with the Plated Bible ?

Jonathan Green
Master Detective
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Re: PF Mysteries: The Case of the Adjacent Actuality

Post by Jonathan Green »

Dr. Orchid, where did you first go when searching for Miss Drummond?

Miss Scarlett, where did you go before Dummond’s body was found?
“Really Plum?!” - Mr. Green (Clue VCR, 1985)
IG:https://www.instagram.com/david_rodriguez_art/?hl=en

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