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The Red Death
“Are you scared of death?” The voice asked.
Edward looked up. Rubbing his numb wrist against the rope that held him, Edward nodded his head.
Six hours ago
“We are unsure of these robberies and murders,” The reporter on the television screen reported, “But Prime Minister John Red has assured the people of London that he will catch the so called ‘Red Death’ before this week is over.”
Leaning back in his red leather chair, Edward Wilson switched off the television and gazed up at the roof. His black leather trench coat covered him like a blanket while a pair of black pants and a gray shirt clung to his body. Picking up a newspaper, he ignored the smell of rotten food, which the landlord had complained to him about and the pile of overdue bills that had no been paid on his table. Scanning the papers, Edward listened as the sound of heavy footsteps approached his door.
“Come in Prime Minister!” Edward called.
The footsteps ceased as the front door of Edward’s apartment slowly opened.
“Hello?” A voice stammered.
Edward looked up from his paper. There, standing in the doorway was a slim man. He wore a black suit that was sheltered by the protective over coat which was over the suit. He had a narrow face which was pale and young. His eyes were that of sea color, calm and serene which complemented his white blonde hair. Next to the man was a woman that had blonde hair and wore a red dress.
“Detective Edward Wilson?” The man asked.
Edward placed the paper down and looked at the man.
“I am he.” Edward said.
Entering the room, the man stumbled over a pile of rotten banana peels and old newspapers. Walking over to Edward, the man held out his hand.
“Hello,” the man cheerfully greeted, “I am…”
“…John Red.” Edward said, bluntly.
Taking back his hand, John looked from the lady who came in with him to Edward.
“How did you know?” John asked.
Reaching down, Edward pulled a newspaper up off the ground and held the front page up to John, who saw his reflection, smiling at himself.
“That was a horrible photo shoot.” John muttered.
“What brings you to my lodgings?” Edward asked.
“He…” the lady began.
Silencing her with his hand raised, John looked at Edward.
“The Red Death.” John stated, “I was told by the local police chief that you are the modern Sherlock Holmes and would be able to solve the case.”
Not paying attention to his words, Edward glanced at the lady, who was scared with fear.
“Edward?” John asked.
Looking up, Edward nodded.
“I will help you.” Edward flatly said.
“How much do I have to pay you?” John asked, pulling out a check book.
“Nothing.” Edward stated.
“Well, that’s very generous of you but…”
“I’m serious, nothing.”
Placing his checkbook back into his pocket, John nodded and looked around the filthy room.
“What do you know about the Red Death?” John asked.
“I know,” Edward grunted, rising from his chair, “That the police are suspecting that the Red Death is a man who has robbed two banks…”
“Which were mine.”
“…And he has murdered five people.”
Edward looked at John and then at the lady.
“Oh, this is my wife,” John cheerfully stated, “Julia.”
The lady nodded and smiled at Edward.
“Greetings.” Edward flatly said.
“Now,” John asked, “Is there anything else that you can see about the Red Death?”
“Every one of his victims was wearing an article of red.”
John nodded and skipped over a pile of newspapers. Cracking his knuckles, John gazed from the floor to Edward; his wife cringed at the sound of his knuckles.
“Shall we leave this place?” John asked.
Edward looked at the wife, who slightly shook her head.
“I prefer to stay here.” Edward stated.
“Detective,” John Red said, sternly, “I believe that you think of me to be a fool…please, let us leave this place.”
Trembling, Julia entered the room and touched John’s arm. Snatching his arm away, John turned to Julia.
“Not now.” He whispered.
“Mr. Red.” Edward growled.
Looking at Edward, John nodded and turned his back to him.
“I do apologize.” John stated.
Rising from the chair, Edward walked over to his bookshelf and calmly placed a small knife in his back right pocket and placed a round magnet in his front right pocket.
“It has been a stressful week.” John stated, trance like.
“Honey,” His wife gently urged, “Please let us go.”
“John,” Edward asked, “What is that matter?”
John looked at Edward and held out a note.
“The Red Death told me to obey these instructions and he also told me not to contact you.”
Opening the note, Edward read:
I respect your position as Prime Minister and I do apologize for the deaths of your closest allies. However, if you want me to stop killing, then meet me at 123 Queens Ave. right next to the docks. Do not go to the famous Detective, Edward Wilson and if you do…I’ll find you.”
Edward placed the letter down and nodded.
“Obviously you disobeyed him?” Edward asked.
“John?” Edward asked, turning around.
Then, everything went black.
“Are you scared of death?” The man asked.
Edward looked up. Rubbing his numb wrist against the rope that held him, Edward nodded his head.
“I know you are.” The man spoke once again.
Opening his eyes, Edward gazed around. Several hours had gone by for the sun was low and the street lights were on. Casting a weak gleam against the fog, each streetlight seemed to float in the air. A dense fog had settled over London, cutting it off from the world. Gazing up, Edward saw that he was a long dock that extended far into the fog. Sounds of water lapping against the dock echoed throughout the air. Moving forward, Edward felt a large hand press against his shoulder.
“The Great Detective!” The voice said once again.
Edward nodded. A screaming pain sprung forth from the left side of his face. Groaning, he tried to move but felt the barrel of a gun against his head.
“You were going to kill me.” The voice said.
Edward tried to speak but the words died in his throat.
“Oh, well,” The voice stated, “I guess all geniuses fail in their life.”
“What do you want from me?” Edward asked.
Laughing, the man stood in front of Edward and snapped his fingers. Immediately, the sound of a lonesome cello solo began to sound throughout the night. Edward watched the man as he held up a wire that had sparks dancing off the end.
“Who are you?” Edward asked, sweat building on his forehead.
Leaning forward, the man held the live wire close to his face. A pale face with eyes which were as calm as the sea stared at him. Messy blonde hair flew out like a madman’s hair. Smiling, John Red glared at Edward.
“I am…” He whispered with a chuckle, “The…Red Death.”
Shoving the live wire into Edward’s gash on his forehead, John Red smiled as Edward grunted in pain shook violently. Pulling the wire from Edward, John looked at his wife, who was in tears. Switching off the small portable radio, she looked at John.
“Now,” John said to Edward, “you will die.”
Another shock brought Edward screaming in pain before being slapped across the face by John. Tossing the wire behind him, John looked to Julia.
“Pistol.” John called.
Crawling over like a dog, Julia handed a small pistol to John. Giggling, John jumped in the air and clapped his hands.
“Yay, me!” John cried, “I get to kill the Greatest Detective in the world!”
“Any last words?” John asked.
“You lose.” Edward growled.
Standing up from the chair, Edward removed the severed rope.
“How?” John stammered, stepped back.
Smiling, Edward held up a small knife which had a round magnet on the end.
“You must pay attention to details.” Edward stated.
“N-no!” John stammered.
Suddenly, John leaped into the air with a shriek. Gazing down, Julia saw that he had stepped on the live wire. Hitting the ground, John dropped the gun and began to fumble around in his pocket.
“Don’t move!” Julia shouted.
John stopped and looked to his left. Edward stopped and looked to his right. Standing there was Julia. In her hands, she held the pistol that John dropped. Anger fueled her soul as she cocked the gun.
“Don’t.” Edward sternly said.
Tears formed in Julia’s eyes as she focused at her husband.
“He was cruel and a abusive…” She growled, “I hate him! He is the devil of land.”
Calmly approaching her, Edward reached his hand out.
“Julia.” Edward calmly said.
Snarling like a dog, John leaped up and shoved Edward into Julia. Running down the dock, John grabbed at his right leg, which screamed out in pain.
Everything happened too fast for Edward to think about.
John was running, Julia raised the pistol, and got him in her sights. Edward watched as her finger tightened around the trigger. BANG! Suddenly, John buckled. His hands rose up into the air as he fell forward into the icy waters underneath the docks.
“No!” Edward shouted.
Racing to the spot where John had fell, Edward stared at the calm waters. Sitting there for a long time, Edward watched and listened for any signs of John…there was none.
Three Days Later
“I still cannot believe that the Red Death was indeed my good man, John Red.” The Queen stated on the television.
Edward looked around his clean apartment. Smiling, he listened as a gentle rain fell outside his open window. Stretching out on his leather chair, Edward felt his back crack.
“Ooh,” He whispered, “That felt good.”
All the bills were paid, with his apologies, and the carpet was replaced with a white fuzzy Italian carpet that complimented nearly everything, but the lights, in the room.
“I assure all my people,” The Queen continued, “That John Red’s wife, who has been admitted to an asylum, is perfectly alright and has given the reporters and I a complete tale of what happened.”
Closing his eyes, Edward listened as the postman, David by name, delivered his daily mail.
“Thank you David.” Edward called.
Rising from his chair, Edward strolled over and picked up his mail. He had just one letter which was in a red envelope. Smiling, he nodded.
“Must be the check from Her Majesty.” Edward assumed.
Opening the letter, Edward froze. Over and over again, he read the two words: