#4
A WORLD OF CLUE – PART 4
 
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BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Monsieur Alphonse Brunette waits in the Stables, pacing back and forth. He looks over at the horses. There are three horses in a stable built for two dozen. Monsieur Brunette trips as he paces the long walkway. He bends over and picks up a heavy, iron Horseshoe from the hay covered wooden slats between his feet.
 
The sliding metal door to the Carriage House opens and Fraulein Bloom rushes to his arms. She embraces him tightly and kisses him on the neck and cheek.
 
“No. None of that.” Monsieur Brunette dismisses her, “We need to strategize.”
 
“I’m sorry.” Fraulein Bloom pulls back, “I just missed you so much.”
 
“You’ll miss me more when I’m dead.” Monsieur Brunette says
 
“Don’t joke about something like that!” Fraulein Bloom gasps
 
“Rose shot me.” Monsieur Brunette says, “She was running a fortune-telling shop in Budapest. I figured it was just a cover-up business. It wasn’t. She is very serious about her Tarot Cards and crystals. She pulls out a pocket pistol and shot me in the shoulder.”
 
“I feel like there is more to it than that.” Fraulein Bloom says
 
“I took her crystal pendant.” Monsieur Brunette pulls a silk black pouch from his pocket
 
“Why did you steal from her?” Fraulein Bloom takes the pouch and pours the pendant into her hand, “It’s beautiful.”
 
“I didn’t steal it for you.” Monsieur Brunette takes it back, “I stole it to use as bait. I know she’ll come to find it. She put up a nasty fight when I took it from her. If she’s as good as a psychic as she claims to be, she’ll find me. If not, I’m sure I’ll find what I’m looking for without her.”
 
“Why do you need Rose at Blackwell Grange in the first place?” asks Fraulein Bloom
 
“She’ll lead me to the two members of this family that are being kept alive in secret.” Monsieur Brunette puts the crystal pendant back into the silk pouch, “Which leads to the main reason for our meeting. Why the hell did you send me to Budapest I they are alive somewhere near Blackwell Grange?”
 
“Alphonse, I’ve only been here for a short time.” Fraulein Bloom defends herself, “I don’t know anything about the second floor of the mansion. I only see the Kitchen and Dining Room on most days.”
 
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TRAIN BOUND FOR CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Mrs. Patricia Peacock stares out the window as the New England countryside whizzes by. The sun is bright and the birds are plentiful.
 
“Pull the shade down.” Miss Vivienne Scarlet covers her eyes, “The train turned and the sun is in my eyes.”
 
Mrs. Peacock pulls down the shade.
 
“I’m thinking about ordering something to drink.” Mrs. Peacock slides open the door to their compartment, “Stewardess!”
 
A young woman comes over to Mrs. Peacock.
 
“We’ll take three mimosas and your brunch special.” Mrs. Peacock smiles cheerfully.
 
Miss Scarlet pulls out her cigarette box as Mrs. Peacock closes the sliding door.
 
“Absolutely not!” Mrs. Peacock protests, “I don’t want you smoking up the air in our compartment.”
 
“Where am I supposed to go?” asks Miss Scarlet
 
“We are the last compartment in our train car.” Mrs. Peacock says, “You can step out between the trains.”
 
“You can’t be serious!” Miss Scarlet looks over at Mr. Clay in disbelief
 
“There’s a rail.” Mr. Clay shrugs, “It’s fairly safe.”
 
Miss Scarlet stands up, “Very well.”
 
“Do you want me to come with you?” Mr. Clay offers
 
Miss Scarlet leaves without an answer.
 
“I don’t know what you see in her.” Mrs. Peacock smirks, eyeing the young blonde’s muscular arms, “How long do you suppose she’ll be gone.”
 
“I told you we aren’t doing anything this weekend. I need to be there for Vivienne” Mr. Clay says
 
“The weekend hasn’t started.” Mrs. Peacock slides her hand onto his leg
 
“No,” Mr. Clay shakes off her hand, “I’m starting to think that we shouldn’t do anything at all.”
 
“What?” Mrs. Peacock instantly becomes hurt
 
“I just,” Mr. Clay stops and sighs deeply, “I think Vivienne and I have something real.”
 
“Darling, that’s rich!” Mrs. Peacock snorts, “You are just confused. Things will be back to normal as soon as we get back to Arlington Grange.”
 
“That’s just the thing.” Mr. Clay says, “If I get this job that Dr. Black is trying to help me get, I don’t think I’ll be coming back to Arlington Grange. I don’t think Vivienne will either.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Miss Brenda Dove sits in the Lounge on the bench of the white grand piano. She is staring intently at her engagement ring. Yvette Ardoise enters the room with a feather duster.
 
“Oh, Miss Dove,” Yvette jumps, “I didn’t see you in here. I’ll come back later.”
 
“It’s alright, Yvette.” Miss Dove says, “I was just thinking – probably for a little too long.”
 
“Is something the matter?” Yvette picks up a Candlestick and dusts it lightly
 
“Of course!” Miss Dove becomes irritated, “Isn’t it obvious? I saw someone in my room last night.”
 
“That is what Mrs. White said,” Yvette replies with a  neutral tone
 
“Nurse Silver and Mr. Ash don’t believe me.” Miss Dove says, “They think I had too much wine at dinner. Mr. Ash even suggested that I’d been drinking around the time I saw the intruder.”
 
“Were you?” asks Yvette
 
“Are you serious? This is ridiculous! I’ve put in all this time at Blackwell Grange and still, nobody trusts me.” Miss Dove laughs to herself, “I feel like I am in genuine danger and everyone around me is trying to justify it and make excuses for it. No, Yvette, I wasn’t drunk.”
 
Yvette is silent.
 
“Aren’t you the least bit concerned?” Miss Dove asks, “Even slightly?”
 
Yvette sets the Candlestick back down, “I don’t know. Blackwell Grange is not my home. I see strangers all the time. I am used to unfamiliar faces and strange business friends.”
 
“That is not the same at all.” Miss Dove says
 
“My English is not zee best.” Yvette produces a thicker French accent than usual
 
“You know something, don’t you?” Miss Dove stares blankly at the young girl
 
“I think the intruder you saw might be a surprise guest that Dr. Black has invited.” Yvette bites her lip
 
“Surprise guest?” Miss Dove’s face turns bright red, “Everything about this weekend is a surprise. I don’t know what’s going on at all. I don’t know who is coming. I don’t know what to expect. Who is this surprise guest, Yvette? How do you know about him?”
 
“He was in the Gate House beneath the Servant’s Quarters last night.” Yvette puts up her hands defensively, “Fraulein Bloom seemed to know him very well.”
 
“I can’t deal with this right now.” Miss Dove stands up and rushes to the door of the Lounge.
 
◄♦♦♦►
           
In his bedroom on the Second Floor, John Boddy sits on the edge his bed. There is a framed photograph of his parents on the sheet beside him.
 
The door slowly opens and Miss Dove enters the room.
 
“Couldn’t you at least knock?” John asks
 
“I’m sorry.” Miss Dove says, “Can I borrow something?”
 
“What?” John asks
 
Miss Dove goes over to the top drawer of his bureau and pulls out a long, shiny, silver Revolver .
 
“How’d you know about that?” John asks
 
“I know about everything.” Miss Dove aims the Revolver at her reflection in the mirror, “Can I borrow it?”
 
“For what?” John asks
 
“I need it for protection.” Miss Dove says, “No one believes me about the intruder. Please, I just want to keep it until the weekend is over. I won’t break it.”
 
“It belonged to my father.” John stares at it
 
“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important.” Miss Dove softens her voice, coming over to the John with the maternal warmth he desires, “I just want to feel safe.”
 
“Give it back Sunday morning.” John says, “If nothing has happened, then nothing is likely going to happen at all.”
 
“Thank you!” Miss Dove hugs him tightly
 
The seventeen-year-old holds his hands in the air, uncertain where they should lie. With hesitation and a slow grip, he hugs Miss Dove back.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
COUNTRY ROAD – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Mr. Thallo Green and Madame Rose sit silently staring out opposite windows. The driver is humming an off-key repetitive song. Mr. Green checks his watch again.
 
“This business friend you are meeting,” Madame Rose speaks, “Is he –”
 
“I’m not talking to you about that.” Mr. Green says matter-of-factly
 
“Well, I had to try to break the ice somehow.” Madame Rose says
 
“Meaningless conversation is meaningless.” Mr. Green says flatly, “Now unless you have some delightful tale of your Budapest adventures to share with myself and our driver, I’d like to get a small nap.”
 
Mr. Green turns and leans his head against the window.
 
Madame Rose watches as Mr. Green puts his suitcase between the two of them to get his legs comfortable. Madame Rose eyes the suitcase with curiosity. She knows the chances of Mr. Green being a sound sleeper are not in her favor. The bumpy road, however, seems to the perfect opportunity to attempt to open it. The driver is so focused on his humming and driving that he doesn’t notice as Madame Rose begins to unfasten the straps on the suitcase. Mr. Green has slowly begun to snore against the window.
 
Madame Rose unfastens both straps and slowly peeks inside. She instantly sees the shiny metal of Mr. Green’s pistol. Her heart begins to thump in her chest as she recalls pulling the trigger in Budapest.
 
Before she has time to think about it or even process the possible ramifications of her actions, Madame Rose takes the Pistol from the suitcase and secures the leather straps.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
TRAIN BOUND FOR CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Miss Scarlet stands on the back of the first class train car, smoking her cigarette against the rail. She stares down at the gap between the first and second class train cars as the flicker of wood and metal tracks zip by. With each passing moment, she becomes angrier and angrier at her stepmother. She doesn’t know why she is angry but she knows that she is meant to be angry. The thought of Mrs. Peacock drives her to immediate anger.
 
“She stole my father from me.” Miss Scarlet reminds herself, for the six-hundredth time, “She thinks she is perfect. She got lucky and married the only five men who ever tolerated her.”
 
The unpleasant man from the Train Depot appears at the door of the second class train car. Miss Scarlet instantly is flooded with a different source of anger, but still a red-hot anger.
 
“Enjoy the fine sweets and champagne while it last.” He taunts, “There isn’t anyone around to protect you now.”
 
“Have you always had issues with your temper, or is it just from the disappointment of your pitiful life?” Miss Scarlet takes a hard drag off her cigarette.
 
The unpleasant man grinds his teeth, grabs her by the blonde curls and tries to drags her across the gap between the train cars. Miss Scarlet stabs the burning tip of her cigarette and smashes it against his arm. He groans in pain as she pulls out of his grasp. Several strains of platinum blonde hair are torn from her head, clutched in the man’s fist.
 
“You little bitch.” He hisses, touching the blistering skin from the cigarette burn. He puts one leg over the gap and lunges for Miss Scarlet.
 
She quickly steps away, fearing what will happen to her next. His eyes are full of fire and senseless aggression.
 
The train curves around a mountain and the unpleasant man slips. Miss Scarlet watches in horror as he slips between the first and second class train cars. She turns away, barely able to hear the screams of anguish that the man lets out as he is run over and dragged beneath the train. The powerful locomotive cuts through the man like a hot knife, without hesitation or even the slightest deferral.
 
Miss Scarlet stands on the first class platform in disbelief. It all happened so fast she can hardly express any emotion. She reaches up to her stinging head and touches it with hesitation. It is then that she sees the blood splattered on the metalwork around the base of the platform.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Professor Peter Plum enters the Conservatory with the Lead Pipe in his grasp. He is instantly greeted by unusual silence. He glances over to the metal bird cage where the parrot usual squawks, shrieks, and recites his memorized mimics.
 
Dr. Hugh Black enters the Conservatory from the behind many vines against the brick exterior wall.
 
“Where is the parrot?” asks Professor Plum
 
“In the secret passage.” Dr. Black says pointing towards the vines, “I buried him behind some bricks in the tunnels.”
 
“In god’s name, why did you kill that bird?” Professor Plum crosses his arms
 
“Old birds remember things.” Dr. Black says
 
“Are there going to be any old birds at the party?” asks Professor Plum
 
Dr. Black smiles with a hum, “Nurse Silver has been instructed that you and she are to stay out of the Crypt until the guests have departed.”
 
“You can instruct Nurse Silver as you please.” Professor Plum says, “Whose orders she follows is up to her.”
 
“Dear brother, I implore you,” Dr. Black reaches into his pocket and retrieves a bottle containing a clear substance, “Behave this weekend and I’ll give it to you.”
 
“If you had access to this much,” Professor Plum snatches the bottle and begins reading it, “Why didn’t you give it to me sooner.”
 
“No tests. No procedures. Nothing.” Dr. Black watches Professor Plum tuck the bottle into his pocket.
 
“I’ll only check on him in the middle of the night when he is fed.” Professor Plum says
 
“You can do whatever you want with that serum as soon as the guests are off the premise.” Dr. Black says
 
“I said I’ll only check on him!” Professor Plum snaps, “What more do you want from me?”
 
“Just try and get along with everyone.” Dr. Black says, “No one likes a know-it-all.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the woods around Blackwell Grange, Colonel Michael Mustard walks quietly with a Shotgun held at the ready. By his jodhpurs and jungle hat, it is apparent that he is hunting.
 
He hears a twig snap behind him.
 
With a quick turn, he aims the Shotgun directly in the face of Emily Peach .
 
“Don’t shoot. It’s me.” Miss Peach whimpers
 
Colonel Mustard lowers the shotgun.
 
“Oh, my stars! I thought I was gonna kick the bucket for a second.” Miss Peach catches her breath
 
“Why are you following me?” asks Colonel Mustard
 
“I thought maybe you were heading to the pasture.” Miss Peach says innocently
 
“The pasture is near the Stables.” Colonel Mustard says, “This is north of the Rose Garden.”
 
“Oh. I must have gotten turned around. Are you out here hunting?” Miss Peach asks with a big smile
 
“Yes.” Colonel Mustard answers shortly
 
“Why do you have a shotgun instead of a rifle?” Miss Peach points
 
“Miss Peach,” Colonel Mustard comes close, “I don’t know why you are here or what you are up to, but I do know that you are not here to meet your father.”
 
“I offered you breakfast and even shared my feelings about my father.” Miss Peach puts her hand over her heart, “Why would you say something like that?”
 
“Because there is something fake about you.” Colonel Mustard says
 
Monsieur Alphonse Brunette knocks Colonel Mustard over the head with a Horseshoe.
 
“Oh my gosh! Is he okay?” asks Miss Peach
 
“He’ll be fine. I didn’t get him that hard.” Monsieur Brunette says, “Leave the shotgun. Don’t touch a thing. Go back inside and stay there. I’ll take it from here.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Dining Room, Mrs. White polishes the wooden table with a cloth rag. Mr. Ash stands in the doorway observing her.
 
“I’ve never seen you clean the table that slowly.” Mr. Ash says, “You know it needs to be done a certain way or the wood will be ruined.”
 
Mr. Ash takes the cleaner and the rag from Mrs. White.
 
“I’m sorry, Reggie.” Mrs. White sits down at the table while Mr. Ash polishes the surface.
 
“What has you feeling down?” Mr. Ash asks
 
“Dr. Black doesn’t remember that we had a boy.” Mrs. White says
 
“Are you planning on telling Dr. Black the truth?” Mr. Ash asks, “Do you know how he’ll react if he knows that you kept that baby close?”
 
“The same way everyone else is reacting about Miss Peach.” Mrs. White says
 
“Lord Gray will kill you.” Mr. Ash says, “He may be old and hobble around on a cane, but he is very deadly when he is angry.”
 
“I know Lord Gray and I know his secrets.” Mrs. White says, “Lord Gray and I used to be very close. I know him better than Dr. Black.”
 
“You can’t tell Dr. Black the truth.” Mr. Ash says, “Not now. There is too much going on. You’ll only add more fuel to the fire. Wait until after the wedding.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
TRAIN BOUND FOR CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
Miss Scarlet comes back to the train car with a quiet, expressionless face.
 
“We were starting to wonder if you fell off.” Mr. Clay jokes
 
Miss Scarlet flinches, “I’m sorry. I had two.”
 
“Are you alright?” Mr. Clay senses something in her voice
 
“I’m fine.” Miss Scarlet says
 
“Surprisingly you got back before the food.” Mrs. Peacock crosses her arms
 
“It’s like any other restaurant.” Mr. Clay says, “The meal is disappointing but it took so long so we eat it anyway.”
 
“I could eat a horse.” Mrs. Peacock declares, holding her stomach
 
“I knew I should have packed tuna sandwiches.” Mr. Clay says
 
“You should have vocalized this idea.” Mrs. Peacock says, “I would have ensured we brought them for instances like this.”
 
“Wouldn’t that be hilarious?” Mr. Clay nudges Miss Scarlet, “We would be sitting here eating when they brought us our food because we got tired of waiting.”
 
Miss Scarlet silently looks out the window at the racing countryside.
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Miss Peach enters the Ballroom through the glass doors near the back of the room. She races through the empty room and into the Hall. She nods politely to Professor Plum, who comes out of the Conservatory.
 
“Breakfast was delicious.” Professor Plum smiles at Miss Peach, “It’ll be nice having you around to shake things up.”
 
“Ya’ll have been so welcoming,” Miss Peach chuckles, “It’s the least I could do.”
 
“Tell me,” Professor Plum puts his arm around her shoulder, “Where do you come from. That southern accent of yours has me thinking Alabama or Mississippi.”
 
“Alabama.” Miss Peach says, “I live with Aunt Honey on the Carrot Farm.”
 
“Carrot Farm?” Professor Plum laughs snidely, “How delightful!”
 
“Aunt Honey and Uncle Henry took care of me in Dr. Black’s absence.” Miss Peach says
 
“It must be terribly bleak living on a carrot farm.” Professor Plum takes out his wooden pipe and begins to fill it with tobacco.
 
“It wasn’t bleak too long ago.” Miss Peach says sadly, “I fell in love with a farmhand when I was seventeen. His name was Hunter. He was so handsome.”
 
“I’m sorry to say there aren’t any handsome gentlemen around here.” Professor Plum adjusts his glasses.
 
“Hunter was everything to me.” Miss Peach goes on, “He was everything I needed. I don’t need mansions and diamonds – just someone that looks at life with the same eyes as me.”
 
“What happened to Hunter?” asks Professor Plum
 
“He died.” Miss Peach says, closing her eyes and sitting down on a hall chair, “I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the emotions were still this fresh.”
 
Professor Plum watches as Miss Peach wipes away her tears.
 
“But life goes on.” Miss Peach says, “You just never expect someone as young as you to die so suddenly.”
 
“What took him?” Professor Plum asks
 
“Fever,” Miss Peach answers, “One day we were sitting on the roof of the barn watching the sun set; the next day his temperature was so high that the sheets were soaking in his sweat.”
 
Miss Dove interrupts them by coming from the other end of the Hall.
 
“Peter, I need you to talk to –” Miss Dove stops short as she sees Miss Peach composing herself
 
“I’ll talk to you later.” Miss Peach looks at Professor Plum
 
“Are you alright?” Miss Dove asks
 
“Yes,” Miss Peach says, climbing the stairs, “I’m going to lie down.”
 
“I’ll come up to get you at tea time if you aren’t down by then.” Miss Dove says
 
“Thank you,” Miss Peach reaches the top of the stairs. She walks to her room and pushes the door open slowly. She lies down on the bed and begins to cry.
 
“What am I doing here?” Miss Peach rolls over and pushes her curly hair out of her face. She stands up and locks the bedroom door and windows. She pulls the curtains shut and quickly checks the closet and under the bed.
 
Once completely alone she undresses and lies naked, in the dark, on her bed. There are welts, scars, and bruises all over her body. Some are old and permanent, others are fresh and tender.
 
 TO BE CONTINUED