The Poisonous Holy Water

I returned home after thirty days of working in the lab when I found an invitation to a chapel service with a written signature - “Rickman” - at the end. I knew Mr. Rickman, he was the rich, arrogant man who notoriously defeated Mr. Ford, a former millionaire.
“Mr. Rickman gave it to me yesterday. I don’t know why he would invite us either,” James, one of my best and smartest friends, explained.
“Wow, I thought you were out of money recently. Well, it turns out that you’ve made some great friendships,” I said sarcastically.
“Great relationship indeed!” he replied, grinning.
The next morning, James and I got up late because our alarm clock didn’t go off. We quickly dressed, hopped on a train, and rushed towards Rickman’s Abbey. I knew we had missed the service, but it would be fine because the only reason for heading down there was to obtain the secret thing that Mr. Rickman had mentioned in his invitation.
We finally arrived.
Surprisingly, people were still gathering around the church, either praying or pointing at the ground. My eyes followed their fingers…a body was lying on the ground!
“Move! Don’t touch the body!” James cried out, dashing towards the crowd. I quickly followed him. When I approached the scene, James stood up, shook his head, and sighed, “No use. Mr. Rickman is dead.” I was so shocked by the news: this man lying on the cold ground was Mr. Rickman! Wasn’t he alive yesterday when he handed James the invitation?
The policemen arrived and took the body away. They collected the evidence: a glass chalice, some orange-colored water, and a nail clipped from the chalice holder’s fingers. I quickly picked up a dark gray towel and handed it to a police officer. The fabric felt wet and there were some rocky stuff in it.
While collecting the results, I started an investigation. I found out that Mr. Rickman fainted as soon as he drank the holy water, the orange liquid that used to be placed in the chalice; the maid holding the chalice made strange expressions and even turned around to face the wall during the service; and Mr. Ford gladly sat next to Mr. Rickman. I decided to question the maid first, the woman with the blue apron who was curled up in a corner.
“Excuse me, madam,” I said. She suddenly raised her head and cried out hysterically, “No, it’s not me! I didn’t kill Mr. Rickman!” And she curled up again, like a volcano that had already used up all its effort erupting that one last time.
“Madam, I’m here to help you. Now, would you please tell me what exactly happened during the service? Do not exclude any details.”
“Will you believe me?” she looked up at me with big doe-like eyes. 
“I will. Nobody would have killed someone in public.”
“Thank you, detective. I saw there were some rocks at the bottom of the holy water. I didn’t want Mr. Rickman to realize that I improperly cleaned the chalice, because that was the second blunder I made today. Oh, he would have fired me!”
“Hold on…the second time?”
“Yes. The first time was when I messed up the towel used to clean the chalice during mass. Fortunately, Mr. Ford helped me find a similar towel from his bag. His hand was oddly sweaty. Anyways, I faced the wall and took the rocks out. It took me a long time to get rid of all of them because they were small and hard to pick up.”
“No further questions. Thank you.” I turned away, ready to find Mr. Ford when the results came in. Just as I expected, there was poison in the liquid and on the towel and on the maid’s nail. There were also some of Mr. Ford’s finger prints on the towel. With this evidence, the police detained the maid.
“Wait!” I shouted, “She isn’t the murderer. It was Mr. Ford. He stained the original fabric and ‘kindly’ offered his toxic towel as a replacement. Then, he got some rocks in his mouth so that he could spit them into the chalice while sipping the holy water. Due to the fear of being fired, the maid immediately and secretly began to clean those rocks out, which would explain her startled expressions and her facing the wall. During the time she spent using the towel, the powder melted into the water and thus made it venomous. Some of the poison was then transferred to her nails. By the way, Mr. Ford also had to make sure that the victim would go after him and thus drink that lethal water, and that was the reason why he ‘gladly’ sat beside Mr. Rickman. By the way, if you want evidence, Mr. Ford,” I stared at his worried and angry face, “some of the poison is in your bag right now. It was too unsafe for you to sprinkle the powder here. So, you used the bag to bring this fatal towel from home. But what you didn’t notice was that when you were taking the towel out, the powder melted into your hand sweat which was then retained in your bag.”
The police arrested Mr. Ford that very minute and the case seemed to be solved, except that I don’t know how Mr. Ford was smart enough to kill Mr. Rickman. I don’t know why Rickman would have such an unnatural signature. I don’t know what went wrong with my high-tech alarm clock that morning. And I don’t know how James went over his finances even before I handed him the money I made from those thirty days of work…






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