Because of Browning

Poetry and physics combine as DI Agnetha King investigates arson that was much more than a fire and a murder that might have occurred accidentally. She must use all her knowledge to unearth a selection of guilty parties.

Grains of smoke moved erratically as Detective King stepped into the room. She ducked her head with some pride to avoid the charred remains of a falling beam. The room stank of oil and flames, but what clearly laid itself out to the DI was the shaft of light that dripped in from a gash in the wall.

Oxygen, still invisible to the eye. Smoke grains, seen because of the light that chose to reflect itself off them.

“Evidence...” she whispered. Indeed, all evidence pointed to the motions of the smoke. If the grains were moving erratically, something must have been there to cause them, to lead the flow of the air in their broad direction. As general as it was, she knew that her summations had a flicker of truth about them: that the air molecules, disturbed, were moving haphazardly, too.

When the DI looked up, the glint of silver stood out of the broken rafters- a weapon, hidden in plain sight, more dangerous than the fire that had been started to bring the blade into the open. It swung in an arc, just waiting; for whom, she could not know, but the blade sharpened with every turn. And, as well, as the shimmers, the light revealed one clue more:

The rope had been burnt. The rope from which the knife dived down.

“Roll!” she cried to the uniformed-figures behind her, throwing herself onto the floor as she did so. The DI felt the final buffet of air as the sharp piece of mental landed, point-down, about half a metre away from her face. The burnt ruins of the building immediately swallowed up the weapon, despite all the woman’s grappling to snatch it as further evidence.

Agnetha swore. It was all in a day’s work for her to end up being threatened by the ghost of a villain already gone.

The End

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