One of Them

The room was small and cramped. The stench of death filled their noses as they woke from their slumber. They each sat in a corner of the pentagonal room. In the centre, a dead body, covered in blood. None of them were covered in blood. There was no apparent murder weapon in the room. The face had been covered with a burlap sack to mask their identity.

The first to wake was Lawrence, an accountant. The last thing he remembered was heading to work that morning. Now, he was in a dark room with four apparent strangers. He checked his pockets; his phone and belongings had been taken from him. He realised that his hands had been shackled to the wall behind him. There was no escape. There was no visible door to the room. He began to scream for help.

Lawrence’s screaming awoke Abdulla, a receptionist, who just like Lawrence, had been travelling to work that morning. Naturally, she believed Lawrence to be their captor. That was until she realised, he was shackled too. Abdulla was calm and decisive. Her mind was focused on deducing a way to escape. Lawrence on the other hand handled the situation differently. He was an aggressive man and began kicking and screaming to break free.

Another of the group slowly began to wake up. Her name was Chloe, a fitness trainer. Her eyes were instantly drawn to the body in the centre of the room. Much to the contrast of the others, she began screaming and cowering into the corner. Chloe was not logical like Abdulla, or easily angered like Lawrence, she was scared, and understandably so. Her mind could not process the situation.

The final two members of the pentagon woke slowly from their naps. Adam, a drug dealer, and Moira, a retired gardener. Adam remembered dropping off for a client and taking some for himself. He believed the situation was part of his trip and found it wild. Moira remained silent. She did not remember what she was doing before she woke up in the room. Her mind was completely in shock. It had shut itself of from the situation entirely.

Suddenly, a voice rang through the room. ‘You have all been brought here to solve a murder most foul. You all knew the victim in one way or another. Their identity will remain protected. You all had reason to kill them, and one of you took it one step further and carried out the murder. You will be set free when the murderer is discovered. They will remain behind and pay for their crime. The person they killed had powerful connections, ones that do not like to be messed with. We lost a valuable asset today, and we intend to get to the bottom of it’.

‘This is ridiculous,’ Lawrence cried as he kicked the wall. ‘I have not killed anyone. To be accused of such is a disgrace to my character and my reputation’.

‘I know that I did not kill this person’, Abdulla responded. ‘But we must discover which of us did. We need to remove the sack from their head to reveal their identity’. Abdulla struggled forward to the body. Her chains were not long enough to reach. Lawrence was met with the same result. Chloe was still too scared to move. Moira was unresponsive in her corner, and Adam was too focused enjoying his trip to pay attention. Lawrence began to scream at the three unresponsive parties. All three of them ignored him entirely.

Abdulla rose to her feet in a flurry. ‘How dare you raise your voice to these people,’ she bellowed. ‘Anger will not help us get out of this situation any quicker. Do you really believe that they will be willing to speak with you after you scream at them? We need to get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible, and to do that we must all work together’.

Out of the blue Adam rose to his feet. ‘Graham Westbrook,’ he called. Lawrence and Abdulla exchanged a worried glance.

‘How do you know Graham?’ they both chanted in unison.

‘I was his drug dealer,’ Adam mumbled. ‘He’s the only person I can think of that I ever wanted to kill. He always underpaid. He said that I was not worth the full price. When I was out of stock, he would send threatening messages saying he would report me to the police’.

‘I worked at his company for over a year,’ Abdulla began her story. ‘He was a disgusting man. He would constantly critique what I was wearing. I often caught him looking for a little bit too long. One day, he cornered me in the supply cupboard and put his hands all over me. I pushed him away and handed in my resignation. I swore if I ever saw him again I would kill him’.

‘Well that’s brilliant, case closed,’ Lawrence smirked.

‘I don’t think so,’ Abdulla remarked. ‘We haven’t heard your story yet’.

Lawrence sighed. ‘Not much of a story. I was an accountant for him. He stored money in offshore accounts. I was unaware. I was nearly fired. Hate the man, but I have an alibi’.

‘We don’t know when this man was killed,’ Abdulla retorted. ‘How could you be sure of your alibi?’. Lawrence sighed and dodged the question, raising Abdulla’s suspicions further.

Abdulla carefully turned to Moira. ‘Do you know Graham Westbook?’ she asked calmly. Moira carefully looked up at Abdulla’s warm expression.

‘I was his gardner,’ she croaked. ‘He didn’t pay me compensation when he spilled a drink and I broke my hip. I was forced into early retirement because of him. He didn’t give me a penny. I didn’t kill him. I swear. I wouldn’t harm a fly. I couldn’t’.

Abdulla believed her. Lawrence’s cynical mind was not convinced. Time ticked by and the group were no closer to a resolution. They bickered back and forth, and each made up their own minds on who they thought was guilty. They all seemed to forget Chloe was there. She sat in her corner, whimpering as they argued.

‘I have had enough!’ Abdulla screamed at Lawrence as they bickered on. ‘I’m lying down on the floor and pulling that sack off with my feet. One of us is lying. I want you all to look him in the eyes and tell me you’re innocent’.

She carefully dropped to the floor and painfully dragged her feet near the dead body’s head. She painstakingly wrapped her feet around the tip of the sack and gently began to pull. The bag slowly heaved from the corpse and fell to the floor. Abdulla rose to her feet and examined the face.

The reactions of the five were that of shock and horror. They looked down at the corpse and knew they had all been wrong. The body was not that of Graham Westbrook. It was a young man. One they had never seen before. A man that only one of the group recognised. It sent them spiralling into a hysteric fit that they could not get themselves out of.

‘It was me,’ they cried. ‘I did this. I thought nobody would ever find out. He told me he was a recluse. He was threatening to divorce me. I couldn’t take it. I was jealous, he found someone new. So, I took a knife from the kitchen and rammed it into his chest’.

The room was completely in shock. They could not comprehend what they had just heard.

Thank you all for your participation. I apologise to those of you who were innocent. I knew who the culprit was from the beginning. The rest of you were just innocent bystanders in my torturous revenge. I do not know dangerous people. I am the dangerous person’ the voice blared once again.

Suddenly, the shackles on the four innocent people broke loose, and a ladder dropped down from a hatch in the ceiling. They quickly scrambled out of the hatch, leaving the murderer trapped with the body.

When they were alone, the body began to move. He rose to his feet and confronted his killer.

‘Isn’t this perfect?’ he said calmly. ‘You always watch those ridiculous torture films and tell me that they are based on truth. That there are rich people out there who actually perform these acts on people in their expensive torture chambers. Well, you’re right. You married one, and after you thought you murdered me I knew what I had to do. Luckily, I survived your rampage. I knew you would try one of these days. I know you better than most, Adam’.

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