In the aftermath, a silence gracefully settled upon the company. The ticking of the mantelpiece clock, the billowing winds outside, and the unsettled breathing of the guests and their hosts inside; the only noises that passed their soft whisperings across Alexandra’s ears.

She fiddled with a strap of her apron, and played with a loose strand of hair to pass the awkwardness of the hour.

It was then that Alexandra was drawn back to Christophe, ordered always to stand by the drinks, and her mind also drawn back to his comment of the electricity failure as ‘curious’.

“Christophe,” she whispered as she passed him to fetch another glass, “What’s curious?”

He looked around the room furtively, before speaking out the corner of his mouth.

“There was a well-assembled piece of equipment in the outhouse, some kind of time-activated machine that separated the wires from their sockets after an allotted amount of time had passed. Someone in this room wanted the darkness, and they timed the blackout to fit with their needs.”

“And they took the jewels in their created opportunity?” Alexandra whispered, shocked.

“That seems the case,” nodded Christophe. However, he put a finger to his lips and looked back to the table, signalling that Alexandra should continue her serving, unaffected. She turned as he had suggested, and when she turned back, he had gone, hiding himself back under the canopy one sweeping step.

“Well, well…there goes another one of them,” Cynthia smashed her words into the guests’ silence.  

“Indeed,” Mrs. Winters let a small smile creep onto her lips, before she slipped the mask of acting back onto her expressions. “Oh, Heavens, he’s still out there…”

The ‘murderer’ she meant, of course.

The room descended into perpetual silence again, each participant contemplating a horrible death, mostly their own, and each one suspecting all of the others.

Cynthia's voice had dropped when she next spoke:

“He knew something too, like Daphne… He said, didn’t he? Before he…went…he said that there had been a time, and a lady, that’s a motive, indeed. I don’t think he was telling us all he knew…and what if he was about to piece it all together? Or already had?” Her voice grew from a whisper to some volume bearing close to a shout. “I myself do not know anything, in case anybody thought otherwise. Despite the clarity of my speech, I’d like to clarify that I have had no part in any of these murders,” she added.

“You could be lying to protect yourself,” Rhaïd responded, “For all I know, you are actually the murderer. Everybody has a motive, hidden.”

“Watch your tongue!”

Alexandra rolled her eyes. The whole cast, the whole group of the Winters’ acquaintances, were being deadly serious, as though they had forgotten that it was all a game; they now believed every lie, despite the ‘live bodies’ that were watching the action with gleams in their cold, dead eyes. They were not regretting death, for it had created such a scene! The cracks that split through were cracks that appeared throughout each side of the façade.

Mrs. Winters was the cook of it all; she watched this bubbling pot, she stirred it when it needed a little pinch of salt, and she added her own creative spice and emotions.

The End

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