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The only light in the room came from a single oil lamp sitting in the center and flickering eerily. Outside, the stormy winds raged, and heavy rain hammered the window, but inside the sewing room, it was silent. Two girls sat on the dusty wooden floor, holding their breath as if waiting for something. They clung to each other, perhaps hoping that if they stayed connected, nothing would hurt them.
“Anna…” Maria’s voice came out in one short breath. “Where’s Laura?”
Anna adjusted her position slightly, still keeping close to her sister. “…She said something about going to check her Ouija board. Not that that’s going to help.”
“She’s been gone a while…we should have gone with her.” Eyes filled with fear turned in the direction of the door. “What if the…murderer got to her?”
Anna did not answer, and the two huddled closer together.
As a bolt of lightning illuminated the room, the door flew open with a bang. A third girl stood in the doorway, the light of the lamp casting strange shadows on her many beads and necklaces.
“Laura-" Maria began in relief, but her sibling cut her off.
“I have consulted the spirits,” Laura began dramatically, “And they have informed me…the murderer is one among us!”
Both girls were speechless, waiting for Laura to continue.
“The murderer…” She raised one finger steadily to point. “…is you, Anna!”
For a moment, Anna said nothing, shock etched on her face. Slowly, she regained her composure, and responded with a smirk. “Heh. Such foolish accusations. You have no proof.”
Unabashed, Laura put her hands on her hips and shot back, “I know you did it! The spirits have never misguided me before!” She was evidently trying to sound ethereal, but she came off as desperate.
“Laura, it’s time you got your head out of the ‘spirit world’ and looked at the facts.” Anna replied coldly. “There’s no way I could have done it.”
“Oh really?” All traces of airiness were gone from Laura’s voice now. “Why don’t you prove it?”
“I can prove it.”
Maria spoke quietly, not quite sure of what she was doing. “I know who did it.” She continued simply.
Again there was silence; Anna sitting with her mouth open, about to say something, and Laura gazing at Maria curiously.
“It was…me.” Maria gulped. “I did it. I killed him.”
All traces of fear and confusion were gone from the sisters’ faces; their faces were blank.
“No, you didn’t.” Laura stated simply.
Anna sighed. “We already decided before that Laura was actually the murderer, remember?’
“Sorry…” Maria grinned sheepishly. “I just felt kinda left out, I wanted to join the conversation somehow…”
“That doesn’t mean you just go declaring yourself murderer!” Anna exclaimed harshly. “That’s against the rules!”
Laura picked up an instruction booklet, “How to Hold a Murder Mystery,” and began flipping through the pages with interest. “It says here that you can say anything you want, and if someone lies about the identity of the murderer, it’s up to the others to figure it out,” she read.
Smirking, Maria added, “See! So it was perfectly fine for me to do that! Now let’s get back to the game!”
Instantly they all got back into character, playing out the type of scene usually found in mystery novels. After all, what better way is there to spend a rainy night than accusing others of murder?