A killer loose at a Christmas gathering. Who did it, and what twist will turn your stomach at the end?
He walked through the small living room and eyed all of his suspects. Someone in that room was a killer. The Christmas celebration had been brought to an abrupt halt, and he’d been called in to find who did the deed.
He raised his hand and the murmurs around him stilled. “I believe I have discovered the culprit in this case, but there are still unanswered questions.”
He moved over to the grandmother. She was shaking, with her hand still over her chest as she tried to still her heartbeat.
“You arranged for the victim to be seated in the outer room with the younger guests?”
The frail woman nodded, then looked down at her shoes in shame. The detective moved on to one of her three daughters and pointed his finger at her.
“And you, you were in charge of providing the food for those in the outer room? Including the deceased?”
The woman also nodded but held his gaze. Nobody seemed talkative. Not a good sign. Perhaps his assessment had been wrong, and it had been a group effort. He shook his head; impossible.
There was only one responsible.
“Is this going to take much longer? We have other plans tonight.” One of the grandchildren asked from the other end of the room. He spun quickly and moved his finger onto his lips. Pushing the words out from underneath, he raised his voice. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you!” The young man straightened his shoulders and scowled.
“Yeah, that’s why I asked.” His sarcastic tone washed over the detective, and he turned back to his next suspect. The only son was sitting with his wife, and the detective pointed at her.
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“You complained about the noise in the outer room, did you not?”
She shrugged. “I guess.”
“You guess! Well, I think there were various people complaining tonight about the noise in the outer room.”
Turning once again, he moved across the room to the person he was sure had committed the murder. “You were the most angered by what went down tonight, weren’t you!” The girlfriend of the only male grandson let her mouth gape open. She stuttered, not finding the words at his accusation. The boy who had given him lip earlier crossed his arms and scowled harder.
“How dare you!”
He ignored the youngster and continued staring down his opponent. “You lashed out, and killed Steve! You’re the reason he’s dead, aren’t you?”
The girl cowered and glanced around the room at the eyes now focussed on her. Finally, she threw her arms into the air. “Yes, yes it’s true. It was me! I killed him. I’m so sorry.”
The detective stood straighter and crossed his arms, smiling at his win. The rest of the family relaxed slightly and one by one, they left the room and gathered their coats.
The Christmas gathering had been ruined with Steve’s death, but he still felt satisfied. He’d solved the crime.
When all the other guests had left, the young man and woman finally stood. They moved over to their grandmother. The girl took her hand and lowered her voice. “I’m very sorry I killed your parrot. Steve really was a good bird. I honestly didn’t realise he’d get so scared.”
When they too, had gone, the detective moved over to his grandmother and sat beside her.
“What a way to end Christmas. Want me to get rid of the body?” he asked.
The woman turned a wrinkly head towards him and sighed. “Shut up Ted.”
I hope you enjoyed this short story by Christy Grace! For another story, check back every week!
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