‘Dora’s been missing for two whole days!’ cried the Inspector nervously pacing up and down. ‘Where could she be?’
‘We’ve interrogated the Mr. Remy, sir,’ said PC Henry entering the Inspector’s office. ‘He was with her last.’
‘What did he say?’ wailed the Inspector.
‘He said that the last thing he remembered was feeling heavily sleepy and he also recalled Dora screaming “Inspector!”’
‘She called out to him,’ said the Inspector thoughtfully. ‘He is after all the former Inspector. Someone must have appeared on the scene and conked Mr. Remy on the head. He must have passed out. Then that same someone must have pulled Dora away.’
‘Are you sure she wasn’t calling for you?’ asked Henry doubtfully.
‘Why would she call her husband “Inspector”?’ asked the Inspector, scornfully. ‘Yes, even though she is a detective in my department. And anyway, I was nowhere near the old castle. I thought you were ready to become Inspector after me but I see you still have much to learn sonny.’
‘Old castle? Did anyone inspect the scene?’ asked Henry, whipping out his notebook.
‘No we’ve all been so busy on the case of the diamonds. Dora was with Mr. Remy in that castle to see if, by any chance, the stones were hidden there.’
‘Well,’ said Henry, scratching his head. ‘Are you free now? You could go to hunt for her. I have to work on some stolen bicycle affair. See you.’
He slipped out of the room. Meanwhile, the Inspector, Mr. Cream, had decided to go to the old castle and search for his wife. If he didn’t find her then he could at least complete the search she went on or at the least, find some clues.
Once he was at the castle, he pulled out a torch, ready to look for clues that lead to either Dora or the diamonds. He pushed open the large wooden doors and a colony of bats flew out, screeching. Mr. Cream yelped, and quite uncertainly, stepped inside the castle. He was now in a passage that went a long way back with plenty of doors leading off from the walls. He was about to, very reluctantly, push one of the doors open, when the whole corridor suddenly lit up and a man walked straight up to the Inspector.
Mr. Cream was so shocked by this sudden lighting and now an appearance by this old friend of his was just too much. He opened his mouth to ask what his friend was doing in the creepy old castle and whether he saw the abrupt light burst but he was beat to it.
‘Well, well, well,’ said the man. ‘Look who we have here. Mr. Cream, the goody two-shoes, Mr. Remy’s favourite. If only you hadn’t solved that case first, I would’ve been the Inspector not you.’
The Inspector was stunned into speechlessness. This was not the speech he was expecting. ‘What are you talking about my dear…?’
‘Hush,’ interrupted the man. ‘No names to be mentioned. I know that you are here hunting for your wife and the precious stones. I know where these items lie. And I know that you shall soon join them!’
With that the lights died down again and the man vanished into the shadows. Mr. Cream looked around in bewilderment, his eyes adjusting to the now-dark corridor. Had all that actually just happened? He wasn’t sure until he heard a growl. It was a growl that curdled blood, froze bones, left a person silly with fear. It seemed to come from the underworld, the places of dark, evil spirits and from every place unearthly. And then he saw it. It crawled out of the shadows, its teeth bared. Mr. Cream tried to back off but bumped into a wall. And then it leapt, lashing out with a knife. The cry that escaped the Inspector’s lips echoed for miles around.
‘But what happened?’
‘Mr. Cream was last seen outside Cliff-top Castle,’ said Mr. Remy. He was pacing up and down in Mr. Cream’s office. PC Henry watched him, his eyes moving back and forth, following the old inspector. ‘And then a cry was heard about 15 minutes later.’
‘So who is going to be the Inspector now?’ Henry enquired.
‘I shall take the position until we find someone worthy to become the Inspector,’ replied Mr. Remy firmly.
PC Henry’s eyes lit up with hope, ‘Mr. Cream did say that he thought I was ready to become Inspector after him.’ And after a second thought he added: ‘But then I asked a silly question and he said I wasn’t ready.’
A shadow slipped away from outside the office door.
‘What were you doing at the time Mr. Remy?’
‘Oh,’ the old inspector scratched his rough chin thoughtfully. ‘If I remember right, I was asleep. I came back from shopping, changed into my house clothes and fell asleep in my old armchair. I meant to do some Sudoku puzzles though. And I never usually fall asleep while doing Sudoku. And the funny thing was, when I woke up, my clothes were dusty.’
‘Well that’s weird,’ muttered Henry, scribbling down notes. He looked at Mr. Remy with a really attentive look on his face. ‘You know Inspector. I think you’ve been hypnotised.’
‘I’ve been what?’ asked Mr. Remy in astonishment.
‘Never mind, I’ll explain later. Just come to the armour museum this evening will you?’ Henry got up and made his way to the door. ‘Meet me in the knights section.’
‘Okay,’ said Mr. Remy unsurely.
‘Oh, and Mr. Remy,’ called Henry from the door, his voice dramatically lowered. ‘Don’t let anyone look you in the eyes.’
And with that Henry left the room and a mystified Mr. Remy behind. Henry walked down the corridor and bumped into Sergeant Charles. He was senior to Henry and had stood for the elections of being Inspector twice before. He looked pretty young and was very active but was much older than he looked. He was in fact, even older than Mr. Remy, who was about fifty-six.
‘Hi, Henry,’ smiled Charles. ‘What’s the hurry?’
‘Mr. Charles,’ Henry cried in relief. ‘Just the person I need. Can we go to your office to chat? It’s urgent.’
‘Sure,’ said Charles, leading the way.
Soon the officers were tucked away in Charles’ room. Henry began, ‘Mr. Charles, you know what happened to Mr. Cream and his wife. They disappeared at Cliff Top Castle. But I think they were killed!’
‘And why do you think this?’ asked Charles, leaning forward.
‘Mr. Remy was asleep both the times Dora and Mr. Cream were last seen. I think he wasn’t really asleep. I think that someone Mind-Boggled him both the days and got him to go kill them.’
‘What do you mean, Mind Boggled?’ asked the Sergeant, frowning.
‘Oh, Mr. Charles!’ Henry felt like saying in an exasperated voice, ‘You’ve got to keep up with the times,’ but instead said in a patient voice, ‘Mind Boggled! You know when someone looks deeply into your eyes and for the rest of the day they have control over you? Unless you have a piece of metal anywhere on at any time of the day? And they know exactly what the person they have control over is thinking?’
‘Uh huh,’ said Charles, one eyebrow raised. ‘Well, I know now.’
‘Anyway, Mr. Remy told me how he woke up to find his clothes dirty and…’
‘Let that alone,’ snapped Charles suddenly. ‘We need to protect Mr. Remy. Continue with your plan to take him to the armoury okay? To get him a helmet from the souvenir shop.’
‘Good. Then I’ll be the Inspector in his absence.’
Henry saluted and marched out of the office. He went to Mr. Remy and filled him on the details. Mr. Remy almost wept when he was told that he was the one who had killed the couple, even though it was against his will.
That evening Henry and Mr. Remy went walking to the museum. Henry was chattering away, ‘The Mind Boggler must be someone who hates you Mr. Cream and Dora.’
‘I know of no such person. You know Henry, I’ve never actually been to the museum,’ said the Inspector, not really thinking.
‘Hold on. The museum,’ said Henry to himself. ‘I didn’t mention it to Charles. Yet he seemed to know that I was going there. I only told the Inspector…That can’t mean Charles is the…!’
At that very moment, the Inspector’s eyes turned red. Henry noticed immediately. Then he gave a growl and started drooling like a very hungry wolf.
‘Oh no,’ thought Henry. ‘This can’t be good!’
Mr. Remy leaped at him. They were in a lone street with high compound walls on either side and only a soft-drink vending machine and an overflowing trash can to watch the fight. Henry leapt out of the way in the nick of time. Mr. Remy rammed hard into one wall. He turned round and growled again.
Henry was backing away slowly but then his back touched the wall. He was trapped! The wolf in Mr. Remy was slowly closing in. Henry looked around helplessly and then saw the trash can. It was overflowing with empty soda cans from the vending machine. Mr. Remy gave a final growl and then leaped. As quick as a flask of lightning, Henry grabbed a can and rammed it at the Inspector’s head. Mr. Remy only managed to get a scratch in before coming back to his senses.
‘Henry,’ he gasped. ‘What in the world? Why are you bleeding?’
‘It was you,’ panted Henry. ‘You went all wolf-y and lunged at me. You were Mind Boggled again. Look, I want you to hold this to your head at all times okay?’ He held up he can. ‘As long as you have metal to your head you are safe. I need to go back to the Police Station immediately.’
‘Okay,’ said the Inspector.
Henry left him to go to the museum alone and hurried to the Police Station. He hoped Charles hadn’t caused a lot of havoc yet. ‘Charles!’ he shouted bursting into his office. ‘There you are, you coward. How could you?’
‘So you figured it out finally eh?’ said Charles, getting up slowly. ‘Let me explain. I, as you may know, am much older than I appear. I shall not reveal my age but to go on: I have stood for the position of Inspector three times. First Kevin got the better of me.’
He picked up a dart from his table and flung it at his door. For the first time Henry noticed that there were photographs of men in police uniform. The dart had hit an elderly looking man on the forehead. Henry recognised three other people on the door.
Charles saw the look of horror on his face and continued, ‘You must be wondering why Mr. Remy’s picture’s on there with your parents’ hmm? Your loveable, everyone’s-favourite father Mr. Cream and his soppy wife Chief Detective Dora. The pathetic pair that decided to make their son wear iron earrings.’
Henry’s right hand reached up to touch his metal ear studs. He pulled down again and it reached for his side. ‘You do realise,’ he spat. ‘That although I am only a constable, I have a gun. No favouritism shown by my father of course.’
Charles scowled at him but went on, ‘Well, although Kevin got the post of Inspector, he didn’t last very long. I think you can guess why,’ he smirked. ‘Then I was up for being Inspector again. Against Mr. Remy. He was a clever one. I didn’t get him alone for a minute but I did manage to hypnotise him into retiring early. I was standing for the position again. Dora was my girlfriend at the time. But as soon as your father got the post, she left me for him. Stupid, petty female.’
He picked up three darts and hurled them at the door at the same time. They all hit their targets. ‘I managed to get rid of your parents using Remy. I would’ve made him kill himself too but I wanted him to get rid of one last person.’
He pulled out a knife from his belt and with all his fury, lobbed it at the wall just behind Henry. Henry turned around uncertainly and gasped. For on the wall was a picture of him and the knife was wedged in his forehead.
‘I tried to get rid of you about half an hour back but it looks like you managed to get some metal on his head,’ sneered Charles, getting closer to Henry with each word. ‘So, it looks like I’ll have to do it myself!’
He pulled out another knife from somewhere and lashed out at Henry, catching him on the arm. Henry pulled out his gun and fired aimlessly. It hit Charles foot and he cried out in pain, but showed no sign of giving up. He flung the knife at Henry but this time Henry managed to jump out of the way.
His arm was aching and he was beginning to feel faint. Summoning the last of his energy, he lifted his left leg and brought it down heavily on the back of the neck of the already staggering Charles. Charles fell to the floor heavily. Henry sank down beside him and put the gun to his head.
‘Any last words?’ he asked sarcastically.
‘I tried to hypnotise you yesterday,’ puffed Charles, thinking quickly and trying to give himself some time. ‘But it didn’t work. Why is this?’
Henry caught the plan and grinned slyly, ‘I have pathetic parents that decided to make me wear iron earrings, remember?’
And with that Henry pulled the trigger.