#11
FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOG – PART 3
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Madame Rose Black stands on the rear balcony of Blackwell Grange. The lake is still covered in fog. The Rose Garden and Crypt are also encased in the thick, white mist. The early afternoon sun has begun to warm up the grounds.
 
“It’s time.” Madame Rose closes her eyes, pulling Mr. Green’s Pistol from her waistband. She gently tosses the Pistol into the soggy lawn below the balcony, “Now come from the woods and take it, sweet brother. It is all for you.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Library, after breakfast, Professor Peter Plum and Lord Alfred Gray sit at the long table. They both talk quietly over a game of chess. Mrs. Patricia Peacock stands at the bookcase trying to select a good read.
 
“I don’t think John should be the heir at all.” Lord Gray says
 
“He has a lot of growing up still to do.” Professor Plum says defensively, “Don’t write him off yet.”
 
“The boy is trouble.” Lord Gray says, “I know a troubled youth when I see one.”
 
“In all fairness, you have a terrible misconception about your own son.” Professor Plum says, “Richard is doing very nicely for his age – a well-established officer of the law.”
 
“I wanted him to be something more than just a glorified constable.” Lord Gray says
 
“Heir to Grayscale’s fortune, perhaps?” Professor Plum takes one of Lord Gray’s chess pieces
 
“I’m leaving the mansion and the money to my daughter, Dina.” Lord Gray says, “She’s a true Gray at heart.”
 
“Is that all?” asks Professor Plum, “There’s nothing more to it?”
 
“Richard isn’t very good with money.” Lord Gray says, “Why else do you think he comes by Blackwell Grange all the time? Hugh Black gives him ridiculous amounts of money for doing simple tasks like walking around the perimeter once or twice.”
 
“He makes us feel safe.” Professor Plum says
 
“Dina shows potential to actually carry our family into greater things.” Lord Gray says
 
“What does she intend to do with her life?” asks Professor Plum
 
“She’s engaged to a young Duke.” Lord Gray says, “They won’t be wed until the Duke turns eighteen.”
 
“How old is this boy?” Professor Plum says, “Can you honestly be proud of your daughter in her mid-twenties seducing a rich teenage boy?”
 
“I’m surprised no leech has tried latching onto John yet.” Lord Gray says
 
Mrs. Peacock’s ears perk up. She selects a book and quickly leaves the Library.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Miss Vivienne Scarlet and Miss Brenda Dove stand on the terrace looking over the Tennis Courts. The fog has mostly lifted, but the trees around the estate are still swallowed in fog.
 
Dr. Hugh Black and Mr. Edward Clay are in the middle of their match. Mr. Clay is winning.
 
“I knew he had nothing to worry about.” Miss Scarlet says with a confident toss of her hair
 
“Yes, I’m sure you and Edward will love the Hotel and all it has to offer to its tenants.” Miss Dove picks a leaf from a potted fern
 
“I don’t think I’ll be going with him.” Miss Scarlet says
 
“I thought I sensed something.” Miss Dove smirks, “Is it another woman?”
 
“Yes,” Miss Scarlet stares at Mr. Clay as he and Dr. Black shake hands.
 
“Keep an eye on Nurse Silver.” Miss Dove warns, “She’s an awful nanny and a lurking vixen.”
 
Dr. Black and Mr. Clay join their respective partners on the Terrace.
 
“I’ll have to play with Colonel Mustard,” Dr. Black puts his arm around Miss Dove, “I wouldn’t want you to think I always lose at tennis.”
 
“I’ve never seen you run around like that.” Miss Dove says, “I almost thought you were too old for that.”
 
“What?” Dr. Black laughs, “I’m at the prime of my life.”
 
“You were a bit of a challenge, I will admit.” Mr. Clay kisses Miss Scarlet on the cheek. She frowns and pulls away.
 
“Well?” Miss Dove turns to Dr. Black, “Does he have the job.”
 
“Absolutely!” Dr. Black beams, “They’ll be happy to receive you and Miss Scarlet on Monday.”
 
Miss Scarlet remains neutral.
 
“That’s amazing!” Mr. Clay takes Dr. Black’s hand, “Thank you so much.”
 
“Vivienne,” Dr. Black turns to Miss Scarlet, “I was wondering if I could have a word with you in my Study.”
 
“Me?” Miss Scarlet’s brow furrows, “What’s this about?”
 
“It’s nothing to worry about.” Dr. Black steps away from Miss Dove, taking Miss Scarlet by the shoulders and leading her into the house.
 
“I wonder what that’s all about.” Mr. Clay asks
 
Miss Dove shrugs.
 
“I suppose I’ll tell Mrs. Peacock.” Mr. Clay says
 
“Edward,” Miss Dove stops him from leaving the Terrace, “She’s planning on leaving you. I just thought you should know so that you are prepared.”
 
Mr. Clay stares at Miss Dove with sad eyes, “Thank you, Brenda.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Dining Room, Mrs. Blanche White wipes down the table. She is wearing a pale gray dress with a white blouse and apron. Her wiry hair is braided down her back.
 
“Lovely, Blanche,” she compliments herself as she steps back to admire the clean, shining surface of the wooden table.
 
John Boddy enters the room with a cross look on his face.
 
“Is everything alright, Master Boddy?” Mrs. White folds the cleaning rag over her arm
 
“Lord Gray constantly finds ways of disrespecting me.” The seventeen-year-old slouches into a side chair underneath a large armory display.
 
“You seem to have a problem with Colonel Mustard, too.” Mrs. White points out, “Do you have something against old men with powerful titles?”
 
“My dispute with Colonel Mustard is reasonable.” John closes his eyes, bringing his family ring to his lips, “He left my parents…”
 
“He left your parents to die in darkest Africa. Yes, yes, I know.” Mrs. White interrupts the boy, “John, we’ve all moved on. I loved your mother. Watching Rose, Hugh, and Margaret grow up in a way was like having children. Remember, their mother, Beatrice died shortly after Margaret was born. Your Uncle Hugh and Aunt Rose grew up without a mother. Your Uncle Peter grew up without a father. It’s time you learn to do the same. It’s been seven years, John. They are dead. You need to move forward.”
 
“It hurts now as much as it did then.” John looks at the smooth black diamond set into his ring
 
“That’s because you let it hurt.” Mrs. White says, “You fuel that pain because it’s the only thing you have left of them.”
 
John looks up at her with tears in his eyes.
 
“I did the same after burying my husband, Winslow.” Mrs. White says, “I had so much anger that I held in my heart. Even after he was gone, I was still finding myself getting angry over things from our marriage.”
 
John closes his eyes and squeezes out the built up tears, “If I let them go, then who am I?”
 
“You are the future of this family.” Mrs. White says, “Hugh and Rose never had any children.”
 
“What about Emily or Fivel.” John says, “Aren’t either of them bound to become heir?”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Miss Emily Peach and Sgt. Richard Gray walk through the Hall of Blackwell Grange, looking at the paintings and portraits that cover the walls.
 
“Is that Hugh’s father?” Miss Peach points to an elderly man in an oil painting
 
“That’s actually Hugh’s grandfather – Benedict Black the Third. He made a lot of expansions onto the mansion.” Sgt. Gray explains
 
“You know a lot about this place.” Miss Peach smiles
 
“Mrs. White is my aunt.” Sgt. Gray says, “I grew up coming to this place several times a year.”
 
“This is the oldest painting, correct?” asks Miss Peach
 
“Yes,” Sgt. Gray and Miss Peach arrive at the large painting above the front door, “Benedict Black the First. He designed Blackwell Grange and the gardens around it. There were tunnels and passageways constructed throughout the mansion and the gardens. I’m not sure the original intentions for the tunnels, but they have been sealed up since,”
 
“Were any of the tunnels left unsealed?” Miss Peach says
 
“A few in the house were hidden behind bookcases or wall paneling.” Sgt. Gray says, “But those may have been more recently boarded up.”
 
“What’s this?” Miss Peach comes over to a large horizontal painting.
 
It is primarily black with red, gold, and white Japanese figures painted within a great battle sequence. The detail is astounding.
 
“It’s beautiful.” Miss Peach says, “I don’t think I noticed it before.”
 
“I don’t think I’ve given it a proper look, either.” Sgt. Gray stands beside her, “It really is magnificent.”
 
Miss Peach glances over at Sgt. Gray. She notices the way he stares at the painting – his soft, gentle eyes scanning the canvas with true interest. Her eyes travel down to his strong jaw and broad shoulders.
 
“Are you seeing anyone?” Miss Peach blurts out suddenly
 
“I’m sorry?” Sgt. Gray chuckles, unsure of what to say or how to react
 
“I was hoping we might be able to spend some time together during my stay in Connecticut.” Miss Peach blushes tragically, “Maybe some activity together away from the mansion and all of this.”
 
“Emily Peach, I would be honored to spend an afternoon with you.” Sgt. Gray smiles
 
“Then it’s settled.” Miss Peach grins from ear to ear, proud of her success
 
Sgt. Gray sheepishly looks away, embarrassed that he didn’t realize she cared for him sooner.
 
“Are you blushing, Sergeant?” Miss Peach notices the red cheeks
 
“I’ve never had a girl approach me before.” Sgt. Gray says turning to her, “I suppose I never thought a girl actually would like me enough to step forward and say something. I’m glad you did.”
 
“Do you think we could sneak away from Blackwell Grange for a few hours?” Miss Peach asks, “Maybe go into town?”
 
“I’m not sure Dr. Black would be happy about that.” Sgt. Gray says
 
“We don’t have to tell him.” Miss Peach winks, “Come on, it will be fun. We’ll be back before he knows we’re gone.”
 
“You are very persistent about this date.” Sgt. Gray smiles
 
“We’ll take my father’s Breezer.” Miss Peach says, “He told me he leaves the keys under the seat and that I could use it whenever I wanted.”
 
“Let’s do it.” Sgt. Gray takes Miss Peach by the hand.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Study, Miss Scarlet sits down on the red chaise lounge as Dr. Black takes his seat behind the large desk.
 
Dr. Black eyes her for a moment. She sits confidently and with a stuck-up attitude.
 
“Your mother asked me to talk to you.” Dr. Black says
 
“Stepmother.” Miss Scarlet corrects him
 
“She says you won’t talk to her.” Dr. Black tries to initiate some conversation with her.
 
“Offer me a ciggy, won’t you?” Miss Scarlet points to the silver cigarette box by the globe.
 
Dr. Black stands up and walks over to the cigarette box. He picks up the gold encased lighter and hands it to her. He opens the cigarette box, allowing her to select one.
 
She runs her long, red nails over each cigarette, selecting the last one.
 
“Thank you, darling.” Miss Scarlet lights it, “Cute lighter. Is it real gold?”
 
“Keep it.” Dr. Black sits back down behind his desk, “I’ve purchased a ruby encased lighter from India and it should be here next week.”
 
“Edward and Patricia are having an affair.” Miss Scarlet exhales large clouds of smoke into the air, “Edward doesn’t know that I know.”
 
“Are you quite certain?” the seriousness in Dr. Black’s tone urges Miss Scarlet to sit up
 
“You and Patricia still talk, don’t you?” Miss Scarlet leans forward
 
“My business with Patricia isn’t of your concern.” Dr. Black says, “None of your beeswax – as the kids say.”
 
“You’re a funny man, Dr. Black.” Miss Scarlet takes a long draw off her cigarette, “Tell me, are you and my stepmother still sleeping together?”
 
Dr. Black doesn’t answer.
 
“I knew there was something going on.” Miss Scarlet rolls her eyes, “That whole dramatic bit in the Lounge and then that scene Miss Dove walked in on in the Ballroom – it was all staged, wasn’t it?”
 
“Vivienne, I hadn’t seen your stepmother in twenty years until last night. We didn’t stage anything” Dr. Black says
 
“Hmm,” Miss Scarlet shrugs, “But am I right? Did she come to see you last night?”
 
“Yes.” Dr. Black answers
 
“And?” Miss Scarlet urges
 
Dr. Black remains silent
 
“You looked rather upset when I said that Edward was sleeping with my stepmother.” Miss Scarlet says, “I take it you and Patricia made up for all the lost time.”
 
“I think you should leave.” Dr. Black stands up suddenly, “Leave the lighter.”
 
Dr. Black’s fists are clenched and his lip is tight. Miss Scarlet smirks at his sudden loss of temper. She stands up and tosses the gold lighter onto the chaise lounge.
 
“You can order people around, but you can’t order your problems to fix themselves.” Miss Scarlet leaves Dr. Black alone in the Study.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In her bedroom, Patricia Peacock finishes changing into a flowing blue summer dress. She steps into a pair of white heels and picks up the book she selected from the Library. Mr. Clay enters the room, uninvited.
 
“Care to knock?” Mrs. Peacock rolls her eyes
 
Mr. Clay rushes over to her and kisses her, grabbing the back of her head. The book falls from Mrs. Peacock’s hands as lust rushes through her body. Loose jewelry falls to the floor as the affection is passionately returned.
 
“I thought we were talking a little break.” Mrs. Peacock manages to get out between wet kisses
 
“Sell Arlington Grange and move into the Hotel with me.” Mr. Clay catches his breath
 
“What?” Mrs. Peacock slowly processes the offer that had been laid out before her. She feels the straps of her summer dress slide down her shoulders as Mr. Clay begins to undress her.
 
“I’ve admired you from afar.” Mr. Clay takes her fingers, kissing them sensually, “I’ve worshiped you up close.”
 
“Edward,” Mrs. Peacock’s voice is trembling with nervousness she hasn’t experienced since her first kiss at the age of fifteen. Her entire body is trembling beyond control. Her mouth is dry and her hands feel numb, “What about Vivienne?”
 
Mr. Clay runs his free hand through her soft, dark brown hair, “She’s planning on leaving me. Besides, I don’t feel with her the same things I feel when I’m with you.” He pauses and stares into Mrs. Peacock’s eyes, “Is this what love feels like?”
 
Tears begin to form in Mrs. Peacock eyes, “You sweet, fair-haired child, what could you know of love?”
 
Mrs. Peacock releases Mr. Clay, only a boy of twenty. The wrinkles around her eyes only enhance her aged appearance. Mrs. Peacock steps back and turns to the mirror, pulling her dress back on.
 
“This isn’t what you want.” Mrs. Peacock shakes her head, “This is how you want to punish Vivienne for not loving you as much as you loved her. She is all you would talk about when we would lay in bed after our tawdry affair.”
 
“She needed me.” Mr. Clay says defensively, “I never cared for her half as much as I tried to. I tried so hard to try to love her and try to make things work for her sake… for our sake. Nurse Silver was right. I’m lying to myself and I need to do what makes me happy.”
 
Mr. Clay grabs Mrs. Peacock forcefully by the back of the neck and begins to kiss her. She struggles, trying to push him off of her, but eventually gives in. She can’t help but enjoy the fervor and energy that never goes away.
 
“I want to wake up next to you without the fear of someone finding out. Our love hasn’t had a chance to blossom and grow.” Mr. Clay hushes her, “Vivienne was nothing more than a boring plaything. She’s begun to doubt me, so I’m done with her. I’m done pretending.”
 
“Darling, I can’t move in with you.” Mrs. Peacock slows him down as he continues to nuzzle her neck, “I wish I could, but I simply can’t.”
 
“Of course you can.” Mr. Clay says
 
“No, I can’t. And I don’t think I can be with you.” Mrs. Peacock sadly holds Mr. Clay tightly as she feels the happiness leave his body. His tight, loving arms, are weak and limp. It is as if his entire world has been crushed beneath Mrs. Peacock’s words.
 
Mr. Clay looks down at his shivering hands, “Patricia, I love…”
 
“No, don’t say it!” Mrs. Peacock hits his chest with her fists, “Don’t! It’ll only hurt worse.”
 
Mr. Clay walks to the door, slouching with his arms wrapped around himself, “I-I just thought I could give you what you wanted.”
 
“You did,” Mrs. Peacock says, “But being here at Blackwell Grange has made me remember what I truly want. Everything I’ve done to myself and those around me in the past twenty years is just the result of me trying to fill the hole in my heart that I was left with when Hugh decided that I wasn’t good enough for him and his goddamn family. But now I remember how much I love Hugh. I can’t even think about leaving this place on Monday. I just need to stay and be a part of this house. I have to be a part of Hugh’s life again.”
 
“Don’t you realize how crazy you sound?” Mr. Clay’s voice is shaky, heartbroken by the reality of Patricia’s rejection, “You are still in love with a man who hurt you. He doesn’t love you. Jesus, Patricia. He has a daughter as old as your break up with him. He now has a fiancée and soon he will have a stepson. How can you possibly think that Hugh and you have any chance of a future together?”
 
“Hugh and I slept together last night.” Mrs. Peacock says with a smile that she quickly hides
 
“You have clearly lost your mind.” Mr. Clay allows the numbness to wash over him, taking the sadness away, “He doesn’t love you. He has a fiancée, they are getting married. You are not part of their life and never will be. You need to leave Hugh alone.”
 
“I’d rather cut your cock off and watch you bleed to death.” Mrs. Peacock yells wildly, “Get out of my bedroom. I never want to see you again.”
 
“Brenda and Hugh are friends of mine now.” Mr. Clay says, “And Brenda is just looking for a reason to get rid of you. I think I found it.”
 
“If you care about me the way you said you did, you’ll stay out of this.” Mrs. Peacock warns, “What you see and what you talk about can be very dangerous around here.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Study, Dr. Hugh Black smokes a cigar, staring out the window as Miles Meadow-Brook enters the room.
 
“I’m sorry, but I’d like some time alone.” Dr. Black turns to see Miles fidgeting with the inside pocket of his suit.
 
Miles pulls out a folded piece of stationary from his pocket and places it on the center of the large desk. Dr. Black snorts with a look of annoyance.
 
“What is it, Miles?” Dr. Black sits down, placing the cigar on the edge of his desk ashtray, “Can’t you tell I’d rather not be disturbed?” Dr. Black unfolds the stationary and reads it quietly to himself. His face instantly twists in anger, “What is the meaning of this? ‘For my entire practice – $1000 each week’ is this some joke? Is this your way of exacting vengeance for what I did to Jane?”
 
“Oh yes,” Miles Meadow-Brook smiles confidently, “Only this is not a joke. I’m blackmailing you.”
 
Dr. Black looks at the stationary and then back up at Mr. Meadow-Brook. He starts laughing hysterically. Dr. Black instantly begins smoking his cigar again, crinkling up the stationary and tossing it behind him. It bounces off the glass window and lands on the carpet.
 
“Oh, that’s a hoot.” Dr. Black stops laughing, “You’ve cheered me up a bit. Thank you, now please leave.”
 
“I’m actually blackmailing you.” Miles persists, “You’ll give me the money.”
 
“Are you serious, Miles?” Dr. Black looks at him, waiting for a response, “Are you actually serious?”
 
“Give me the money or I’ll go to the police about what really happens at Blackwell Grange.” Mr. Meadow-Brook says, trying to sound powerful, “You know all they need is a tiny nudge and they’ll investigate this place thoroughly.”
 
“Goddammit, Miles.” Dr. Black continues to laugh, placing his hand on a decorative obelisk, “Don’t make me bash your brains.”
 
Dr. Black picks up the heavy, obsidian obelisk. Mr. Meadow-Brook backs away.
 
“You are not a blackmailer, Miles.” Dr. Black sets the obelisk back down, “You are not a man of power. Come now. Let me see what you were planning on giving the others.”
 
Dr. Black holds open his hand, waiting for Miles to hand over the other blackmail letters.
 
Mr. Meadow-Brook reluctantly dumps the nine remaining folded pieces of stationary onto the Study desk.
 
“Oh, Miles,” Dr. Black reads a few of them, “They are so vague. These aren’t threatening at all. You might as well write ‘I know everything’ on each of these.”
 
“I have information and demands.” Mr. Meadow-Brook says, “The letters are a formality.”
 
“You are just going to end up getting shot.” Dr. Black says
 
A sudden gunshot pierces a pane of glass on the window facing the Tennis Courts and Gazebo. The bullet buries itself into the thick wood paneling that covers the walls on the other side of the room.
 
Dr. Black instantly gets down to the floor, hiding on the other side of his desk, out of the sight of the window.
 
“Miles, get down.” Dr. Black orders, “Don’t be a complete fool!”
 
Miles ducks down, panting in fear.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Kitchen, Mrs. White frantically comes into the room, meeting Fraulein Bloom by the door.
 
“Olga, I heard a gunshot.” Mrs. White places her hand over her racing heart.
 
“So did I,” Fraulein Bloom frantically rushes over to the back door to lock it
 
“It wasn’t a shotgun.” Mrs. White notes
 
There is the sound of another distant gunshot.
 
“Get away from the windows.” Mrs. White shrieks
 
“Who is doing this?” Fraulein Bloom asks
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Library, Lord Gray has been shot. He whimpers in pain on the floor, holding his bleeding shoulder. Professor Plum stands up in fear, looking over at the broken window and curtains which are now lightly blowing from the outside breeze.
 
“We need to get Nurse Silver.” Professor Plum rushes over to Lord Gray, “Can you walk.”
 
“The bullet got my shoulder, not my knee.” Lord Gray grouchily stands up with the help of his cane and Professor Plum
 
“There is no exit wound.” Professor Plum points to the back of his suit, “We need to get Nurse Silver.”
 
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the upstairs Hallway, Fivel Dove runs frantically down towards the Grand Staircase. A third gunshot is heard. The small boy instantly stops in the center of the staircase and falls down to his knees, cowering in fear.
 
“Fivel?” Mr. Green shouts, coming from his bedroom.
 
Fivel looks up from where he cowers in the center of the staircase. Mr. Green quickly rushes down the staircase and over to the boy, picking him up and carrying him back upstairs. The two of them crouch low, peering between the gaps in the banister that looks over the Hall below.
 
“W-What’s happening?” Fivel is shaking
 
“I’m not sure.” Mr. Green says, “Three gunshots and my own gun is missing.”
 
“Where’s my mom?” the boy asks
 
“I don’t know.” Mr. Green says, “But right now we need to stay quiet and away from big open spaces and windows.”
 
“The Kitchen has high windows,” Fivel says
 
“Alright, that sounds like a plan.” Mr. Green says, “We need to be careful, though. We don’t know if the shooter is inside the mansion or not. Stay low, get to the top of the servant’s stairwell. We’ll come down into the Kitchen and avoid the Hall altogether.”
 
Fivel nods slowly, “Maybe my mom is in the Kitchen.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Study, Dr. Black and Mr. Meadow-Brook both look in the direction of the only door. It is in clear view of the window.
 
“What do we do?” Mr. Meadow-Brook asks
 
“The bookcase,” Dr. Black points to the bookcase in the corner of the room, “Just stay behind the furniture.”
 
“What’s at the bookcase?” Mr. Meadow-Brook asks, “A gun? Are you going to fight back?”
 
“There’s a hidden passage to the Kitchen.” Dr. Black says, “The Kitchen has high stone walls and windows near the ceiling. It’s the safest place to weather storms, maybe it’ll be the safest against a hit man.”
 
Mr. Meadow-Brook and Dr. Black both hurry over to the bookcase as a fourth gunshot is heard. Dr. Black quickly unlocks the hinged bookshelf. The two men slip inside the narrow space between the Study and Library walls.
 
“Watch your step.” Dr. Black says
 
Mr. Meadow-Brook finds the thin steps and climbs down into the damp tunnel beneath the Cellars.
 
“There are some rooms attached to these tunnels that serve as the subbasement.” Dr. Black says, “They mostly only hold old furniture, some wine barrels, and various undesirables that nobody has the heart to throw away.”
 
Mr. Meadow-Brook peers down a dark, watery tunnel which branches off of the gravel-paved tunnel they walk through.
 
“Where does that go?” asks Mr. Meadow-Brook
 
“It used to go to a cabin across the lake.” Dr. Black says, “The tunnel goes directly under the lake and has unfortunately collapsed and flooded. We think we lost a gardener in there. He stopped showing up to work around the same time it collapsed. We never found out, but we’ve always speculated. Tragic way to die.”
 
“How long until we reach the Kitchen?” asks Mr. Meadow-Brook
 
“Just around that corner.” Dr. Black points to the bend in the tunnel where shafts of light come from a small barred air duct.
 
“This is the undercroft beneath the back terrace outside the servant’s entry.” Dr. Black points to the low ceiling, “The ladder is just over there.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Kitchen, Mrs. White and Fraulein Bloom hover by the large range as Mr. Green and Fivel enter the room.
 
“Is everyone okay?” Mr. Green asks
 
“Do you know what’s happening?” Mrs. White asks, frantically
 
“I was hoping you two might know something.” Mr. Green frowns
 
“Ach du lieber Himmel!” Fraulein wrings her hands nervously, “I counted four gunshots.”
 
“So did I.” Fivel nods quickly
 
Dr. Black and Mr. Meadow-Brook come from behind the hinged spice rack.
 
“Whoever is shooting is on the west side of the house.” Dr. Black quickly explains, “The Study window was broken. I can only guess the other three bullets were for the Library, Billiard Room, and Conservatory.”
 
“Where’s my mother?” Fivel asks
 
Dr. Black goes to the door to the Pantry and bolts it.
 
“What are you doing?” Mrs. White asks
 
“No one leaves and no one comes in.” Dr. Black says, “We’ll watch the Secret Passage closely.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Garage, Miss Peach and Sgt. Gray both hide inside between the tool bench and Dr. Black’s dark red Rolls Royce. Sergeant Gray is holding onto a Hammer .
 
“Isn’t that the Hammer Professor Plum had in the Crypt?” Miss Peach points to it, “Did you bring it to Breakfast?”
 
“Now isn’t the time to worry about that.” Sgt. Gray says, carefully checking the window, “Did you see who we are dealing with?”
 
“I only saw a dark shape in the fog around the woods.” Miss Peach says, shaking, “Richard, we have to go before we get shot.”
 
“Can we really just leave the others?” Sgt. Gray bites his lip, “What if they are hurt? I’m an officer.”
 
“Yes, but you aren’t on duty.” Miss Peach grabs his arm in fright, “I don’t want you to die trying to be a hero.”
 
Sgt. Gray sighs, “My father is in there. Your father is in there.”
 
“Richard, I’m scared!” Miss Peach begins to cry, burying her face into Sgt. Gray’s shoulder, “I’ve been unsure of this place since I arrived. You even admitted that you hate this place at nighttime. It’s scary altogether. I just want to go home.”
 
“We aren’t leaving.” Sgt. Gray is firm, “We’d sooner be shot in the Breezer trying to drive out of the Courtyard than risk it staying holed up in here.”
 
“You stay behind the wheel,” Miss Peach sniffles, trying to compose herself, “I’ll get the doors and run quicker than a cat on a hot tin roof. I’ll hop in the passenger seat and you drive as fast as you can.”
 
“The gunshots did seem to fire at random.” Sgt. Gray says, “Hopefully we are dealing with a bad aim.”
 
“Does that mean we’re doing it?” Miss Peach asks anxiously
 
“Alright.” Sgt. Gray agrees, “Let’s get away from this awful place.”
  
TO BE CONTINUED