I awoke the next day to bright sunlight streaming through the open curtains of my room.
For one moment I lay perfectly still, oblivious to the night’s events, until, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the white megaphone, discarded and half-hidden under the duvet draping off my bed. I burrowed back into the warmth but could not wipe my mind of the fact that last night I had practically killed someone.
Practically? More like completely killed that poor girl.
Gingerly I lifted my head out the duvet and looked at the ‘weapon’. It was the size of, well, a normal-sized megaphone (that’s about 35cm in length), cylindrical and dirty-white; a smudge of dark red on the phone stopped its theme of being fully white. When I stroked my finger across the smudge, it came off, powdery, onto the digit. I sniffed it: old, yes fairly old, maybe two or three days old…and not the nicest thing I had smelt in my life. A pungent thick and sticky substance that reminded me of the time my brother had kicked his football through my window. Glass had gone everywhere and I had cut my knee quite deep. The smell of blood filled my room for two weeks afterwards and now I had a scar on that right knee… It was painful to think about that day- the stitches I had been given and the smell…what a horrible smell. It didn’t help that the white lump on my knee was a souvenir of events, but the bitter smell of old blood brought all those memories back to me.
So then this was blood? On a megaphone?
Did I do that? I worriedly thought. No, the smudge was at least a day old, meaning that it couldn’t have come from the lady last night. Another worrying thought popped into my head as I recalled what the Detective had said: “Blow to the head, a big object, possibly with blood on it…”
A large object which could knock someone out, with blood on it, left in an unused cupboard with the dead man’s possessions. Could I be holding a clue to Mr. Craig’s murder, the murder weapon itself?
My head hurt with the large amount of information I was currently processing, so I collapsed giddily to the floor, and forced myself not to cry out loud. Once I had recovered, another thought hit me, like a blow to the chest, or, in my situation, a megaphone to the head. That’s when I realised I was probably holding back vital information from the police!
Five minutes later I emerged bleary-eyed and pale-faced into the sunlight of the large hallway. Both my mother’s and brother’s doors were open, and early on a Saturday morning, that was defiantly odd. Coming down the stairs I could see them, through the conservatory’s glass door, at the breakfast table; porridge and a sugar-filled children’s snack. As I reached the bottom of the stairs my mother glanced up from the morning paper and saw me.
“Good morning, sleepy head,” she said with a laugh.
I scowled, ignored that sweetness of the statement and went on to say:
“I’m so tired, I hate oversleeping.”
I grabbed the packet of Shredded Wheat on the side table, the yellow bowl on the dining table, and put the two together to create my breakfast. But, unsurprisingly, I was not hungry.
“I don’t feel well,” I lied, putting a hand to my forehead in mock pain.
“Oh, dear, this ‘murder’ really has left us all shaken…” Muttered my mother.
“Muuuumm,” moaned my pain-of-a-brother Benny, exaggerating every syllable of the word to stretch the length of the table. “A teacher is dead; it’s really not that big a deal…”
Being three and a half years younger than me, my brother certainly didn’t know when to be polite, or even compassionate. I worried for him, for when he would become a teenager- psychiatrists said that’s when boys have the worst trouble controlling emotions, and recognising danger, such as their sister’s fist! I would never really punch my brother- my mother would not let me- and I knew that he was the only boy who really respected me. (I read about those emotions in a book stuffed into a corner of the library. Believe me: when you were as bored and as lonely as me in those dragging lunchtimes, sneaking to the secluded sections of the library had their perks). Thinking about the library made me shiver, so I flicked back to the present and found my family arguing about ‘The Importance of Mr. Craig’s Death’, which certainly didn’t improve my mood. I stormed upstairs to my bedroom; I wouldn’t listen to them talking about this atrocity, but I couldn’t think about anything else. There was this mouse-like nagging voice telling me I needed to find the murderer. The murderer… Oh, my head hurt so much…