Hidden note: The Winchester Mad Bombings Case

Osaka

"Good morning, Wammy-San!" L greeted his benefactor when he saw him again.

—I notice you've been reading about Japanese honorifics —the gentleman replied.

—I have finished all the books, and discovered many interesting things. I am eager to show you my progress.

—That will be later, because this Saturday we are going to enjoy a picnic in the countryside, and we will have so much fun exploding bombs.

The inventor and his protege toured by the shops of chemicals in Winchester, acquiring materials and comparing the bills with the one they already had. No one remembered having sold hazardous ingredients to a handsome man, or to an alcoholic; for sure, that purchase was made outside the district. Then they went to a wooded area where Wammy laid a blanket and provided delicious desserts and drinks.

—Please tell me something, little one. Lorenzo looked like you even a little bit?

—He had big eyes and a nose similar to mine, but he's ugly while I'm cute.

At that moment, a mastiff jumped out of the bushes and ran past them.

—Have you guessed why I was called dog thief, Wammy-San?

—I had forgotten about that. Why was that?

—It's simple: I memorized the name, appearance and address of all dogs in the area; thus, if I saw one outside its house, it was easy to capture and return. It's too bad that my efficiency seemed suspicious.

—You are truly amazing.

When they finished eating, penetrated to the depths of the forest and began to build the explosive.

—We'll create a very small one, because I don't want to risk you —the adult explained—. I just need to figure out how complicate is to manufacture a bomb like the ones that have been used.

—Let's do it discreetly, because I suspect someone follow us.

—Why didn't you say that before?

—You were already too nervous, plus I'm not sure, I just have that feeling.

—Then pull out the rifle I have in that suitcase. I'll teach you to use it.

Quillsh wrote: "Looking at L loading my gun I had a feeling of tenderness. I knew a boy with such intelligence could become an angel or a devil, depending on how he was raised. Then I realized that already trusted him completely, and even considered him a son to whom I wanted to convey my experience. His aim was good, but he hated loud noises; when we activate the bomb, he shuddered a bit, but then came to watch it burn. "

I wanted to overshadow the detective, so I took advantage of his absence to investigate on my own. I went to the public records building, and found that three people were enrolled as "Robert Gibbs" and two other persons had the name "Leopold Blummer", but their ages didn't fit with our suspect. About Lorenzo there was no data. When I returned home, the cook informed me that we had not received any calls. We expected some Japanese would understand the meaning of our ad and communicate, so I felt very nervous about reciting the phrase that my boss had taught me: "Watashitachiha, anata no tenwabangō or kiroku Gengo no anata no intapurita sugu or anata or yobidashimasu.[1]" Fortunately, nobody used our number for pranks, perhaps because it seemed like it was us who were mocking.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at the circus in the company of the orphans; although sometimes they threw the ball over my plants, I had fond with them. Sometimes I thought about applying to direct the house, but also kept hoping that my boss took me with him when he returned to London. However, I knew he would prefer L over me as long as he was available. In order to calm my anger, I burnt some pieces of my rival's puzzles.

When the great inventor returned from his walk, he exclaimed with satisfaction:

—Guess who drove the car back, Roger!

—I have no idea —I lied.

—It was L, and also he learned to shoot and make bombs.

—Well, if he's so clever, it may be appropriate to send him to study abroad.

—That won't be necessary: I'll hire the best tutors for him and the other kids. On Monday, a languages teacher will start coming.

—That's a relief, because I've been very nervous about the call, which indeed, we did not receive. On another subject, I clarified something about our enemies —I declared proudly.

—What did you find out?

—They weren't born here or they use pseudonyms, and also the police informed that they've never worked with anyone named Lorenzo.

—It was odd that an alcoholic could be a cop.

—Also found another interesting thing: Law means "Ley" in Spanish.

—Then the woman in the portrait could be L's mother! Well, I think it's time to tell him the truth. Where did he go?

—He went to his bedroom.

Quillsh went upstairs to see his protege, and found him cutting a piece of white cardboard.

—What are you doing? —he asked, crouching beside him.

—I'm creating my own puzzles, so I can easily replace the pieces if Roger robs me again.

—I don't understand why you two can't get along, but we'll talk about that later; now we should discuss a more important topic.

—I listen.

—What would you do if your father was alive?

—He's dead. There's no point in thinking about it.

—Have you considered the possibility that your mom has lied?

—She wouldn't betray me; I am now more possitive than ever. Remember you didn't want to hear about my discoveries, Wammy-San?

—Just wanted you to relax a few hours. I'll gladly hear you now.

L ran to take a notebook and opened it to a page full of kanji.

—Look here: the word "Disneyland" in Japanese is written in katakana system[2], so you might think it's just a bunch of sounds, but if we compare the symbols against the strokes that originated them, we can find some elements that seem to describe an address[3]. I am inclined to think that it is number 21 on the street Aldo Moro in San Buono, Italy. Now you understand? Mom has never lied, but spoke using codes.

Wammy rubbed his forehead and sighed with deep anxiety.

—Listen, little one, your mother is not called Law, neither your name is L —he declared while drawing a new kanji[4].

—What a curious symbol! It has an L at the end —the boy remarked.

—This ideogram is used to write "Rei", a name that sounds like "Ley", which in Spanish means "Law". It's a code: your mom's name is Rei.

— But L is actually my name, she swore it.

—I don't think so. The original embroidery should have contained the complete ideogram, but for some reason the first part unstitched. That sweater was feminine and probably belonged to your mother, who all the time has mocked you. I'm sorry to tell you this.

L froze a moment, but then was filled with anger.

—That's a lie! How dare you say that? I see I was wrong about you, Mr. Wammy! You are a despicable person!

The boy ran to the door, but Quillsh managed to catch his arm.

—I don't want to hurt you, but it is unfair that you live deceived. You should know that we put a message about you in the Japanese media, but no one has contacted us.

The creature left the room hurriedly after biting my boss' hand. Just then the phone rang, and I was so surprised picking it up that I cried: a call from Japan! Then L rolled down the stairs and fainted.

We spent the morning in the hospital. Quillsh required medical attention as well, as his health had deteriorated for so many frights. The doctors were unable to make the child regaining consciousness, but when I told them he had at least seven days without sleep, they left him alone. Anyway he should stand still because he got a sprained ankle.

Finally at home, we contacted the phone company, and we find out that the mysterious call came from Suita, specifically from the Osaka University Hospital. It was made by a woman, who sobbed and hung up before I could recite my phrase.

Originally my boss would be in charge of the situation, but he didn't want to be apart from his protege, so on that day, I boarded a plane to Asia. Fortunately I was accompanied by the professor Peter Salvin, who would serve as my interpreter. He was a nice guy, used to move around the world; without his help, I would have been lost for sure. It took more than twelve hours to get in Tokyo, and we arrived very tired, so we decided to sleep there.

On that same Sunday the "Enniskillen bombings" happened, which killed eleven people and injured sixty-three others during a ceremony to commemorate British soldiers dead during the war. Although the attack was in Northern Ireland, Quillsh could not help but relate it to the happened in Winchester. It was a pity that L was out of service! He wanted to see him wake up, yet was very afraid of his reaction, because he might go away forever. Wammy knew him for only a week, but he cannot longer imagine his life without the child.

When at last we were in Osaka, I was amazed by the modernity and beauty of the city. I had never left my country, but Salvin had walked in that metropolis on several occasions, and it was not difficult for him to take me to the hospital of the university. The complex was conspicuous by its cleanliness and was full of people moving with effective sync. We headed to the main office to report our case to an elderly nurse, who replied that during the morning when the call was made, there were a dozen nurses, including practitioners. We request permission to question the girls, but the old woman refused, saying we weren't policemen and simply promised to investigate the matter to punish the responsible for what she considered a joke. I walked to the exit, disappointed for traveled such a long way for nothing, but Peter said we should stay a little longer, just to observe. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack; any woman could be L's mother. Then I tried to think like a detective: if we received the call after nine, in the other side should have been around five. Nurses who work at that time would begin his shift at about eight in the evening. I told Salvin to go sightseing and return in the evening, and I felt very proud when he praised my reasoning.

Meanwhile, in Wammy's House, L awoke. Quillsh hastened to put an ice pack on his ankle, but the boy did not flinch. Her huge eyes open were the only sign that he was conscious.

—How do you feel? —his caregiver asked, but got no response, so he decided to be sincere:

—You have every right to be angry. I'm sorry I spoke of your mother in such a mean way. If you wish, I'll never mention it, but please don't go. You will be exposed to many dangers wandering alone, and I don't want anything bad happen to you. This institution is your home and you can stay here as long as you wish. If you cannot stand to see me here, I will return to London, just ask.

During the speech, L didn't react, but eventually that scoundrel dared to say:

—May I ask Mr. Ruvie to go away?

Despite those discord words, Quillsh was delighted to hear him speak.

—You'd be bored without Roger. Don't you have fun annoying him?

—I guess you're right, Wammy-San. By the way, let me apologize too. I shouldn't have hurt you.

—That's in the past. Are we friends again?

—Sure. I appreciate your honesty to say things, though you are not always right.

—From now on we will continue the investigation as you wish.

—Thanks. Let's focus on locating Lorenzo. Maybe he will lead us to Mom and Mr. Gibbs.

—Right now Roger is in Osaka investigating the call.

—That fool won't find out anything. We should have gone instead.

—When you're completely recovered, we will travel to anywhere you want. I promise.

I hate to admit it, but L was right: I miserably failed. When we returned to the hospital, we watched the nurses, who entered one by one without even looking at us. In the end, a very short girl with a troubled countenance appeared, who made me think of the sobbing woman, so I asked Salvin to call her, but she indicated by signs bearing hurry and disappeared into an office. Surely we bothered her, because in short a guard evicted us from the place. I resigned to leave her alone because she was ugly, and L had said his mother was beautiful… I should have insisted.

We spent Tuesday touring bustling shopping centers, asking for women who buy Clayton's albums, but every person thought we were crazy. Back at the hotel we search the phonebook for citizens named Rei, and discovered that we couldn't have phoned them all even if we stayed there another week. Meanwhile, our comrades had a very productive day: L was analyzing photos and maps, trying to retrace the route that his mother and he followed in his escape, while Wammy was researching about Mihael Jackson through magazines and Internet.

—The artist sang in Japan almost two months ago, specifically in Yokohama —the inventor informed.

—It would be weird that Mom knew about that concert with five years in advance, but that's not impossible.

—Maybe she has a way to contact with the artist. Perhaps one of his representatives was your dad.

—We need more specific data.

Quillsh kept searching in silence, but after a while he dared to ask:

—You think Rei is the girl in the cartoon?

—There's a very high chance; in fact, I should have reasoned it before. But surely, she posed for that portrait just for friendship. Mom is an upright woman and never would have gotten involved with a guy like Lorenzo. On another subject, have you heard from Miss Elizabeth?

Wammy tried to communicate with the lady, but no one answered the line. He kept trying many times throughout the afternoon, with the same result, so he decided that the next day would go to see the woman in person.

By then, it was already known that the deaths of the memorial had been responsibility of the IRA[5], and authorities were very attentive to avoid more terrorism. A security operation was also deployed in Winchester, so people were confident albeit Wednesdays. Quillsh walked around the shops of downtown looking for a gift for his loved one, when he suddenly saw an ad with a photo of her: Elizabeth would give a concert at the cultural forum that same day at 1:00 PM. The gentleman was very perplexed for not being invited, but still checked his watch and discovered that it was past time. Ralph drove real quickly trying to recover the lost time, but the street that led to the site was one-way, and they got behind a car that was moving very slowly. The stage was located in a small courtyard allowing visibility from the outside. Quillsh noticed that the audience filled every seat, but nobody was on the stage, so he thought that the pianist made a pause. Just in front of the theater, the car that preceded stopped, and the driver threw a grenade. A cloud of tear gas enveloped the scene, while those present began to run. Ralph managed to close the windows in time to avoid the smoke, but Quillsh abandoned the vehicle and rushed into the disaster, shouting the name of Elizabeth till fainting.

When he awoke, was in the lions' mansion, connected to an oxygen tank.

—Your woman wasn't in the theater, Wammy-San —L snapped.

—Where am I? In the orphanage?

—No. This is your home. Both of us survived an attack.

—What about Elizabeth? Where is she?

—All I know is she didn't come to her recital.

—What happened to the others?

—Nobody died, because the terrorist used only a dissuasive weapon. The theater was contaminated, but not burned.

—His car was a white Volkswagen Gol, but I couldn't see the plates.

—Did you see if he was Mr. Gibbs or the crippled guy?

—I had no time, the guy ran like a bat out of hell.

At that time Ralph entered with a tray full of drugs.

—It's good to see you already awake, Mr. Wammy: it's time for your eye drops. Today I will be your nurse —his driver laughed.

Adults proceeded with treatment, and then went to sleep. L stayed all night reading in a corner of the room.

In Osaka we were running out of ideas. Peter pretended to have a sharp pain to be hospitalized, but all we got was a box of aspirin because he was a terrible actor. Then I asked my partner to step on my finger, but he did it with too much strength, so I got a real broken bone. Once set in plaster, I got into the office where the attendance lists were, but I chose to take only half to my companion, who to translate them just to find these were from the boys' team.

It was necessary to create another stupid strategy: we ordered to hand over a package of food to the hospital on behalf of Rei, but the operator also asked for a surname, and Peter said, "Toriyama" because it was the first thing that came to his mind. We didn't expect the dealer to announce the package only by the last name, so a fat Doctor got it. We had to retire injured and defeated.

In England, they also suffered. Wammy asked Collingwood for help to locate his beloved lady, and the inspector found that the residence Melbourne was alone since Sunday. The search also revealed that Thomas's personal things were gone, but not his niece's, but there were no signs of robbery or struggle. Members of the staff of servants claimed to have been suddenly fired since Saturday. To make matters worse, Quillsh father suffered a stroke and was in intensive care. Tears betrayed the great inventor.

—Looks like I'm doomed to lose what I love —he sobbed.

—Calm down, Wammy-San. While we are not dead, we are still alive. You have to recover to visit your dad —L advised.

—As soon as Roger gets back, I'll go to London, and I'd like you to investigate Elizabeth's whereabout, but please watch your ankle and refrain from mad actions.

At that time the door was knocked and a man voice shouted, "Police!" The boy hid under the bed while Ralph went to the entrance. Quillsh also wanted to see what was happening, and was very surprised to see a black horse walking through his garden.

—What is this animal doing here? —he exclaimed.

—That's the same we want to know. It was stolen yesterday afternoon, —an official said.

—Then take it with its owner. If necessary, I will pay a fine. I have too many problems to worry about something so absurd.

Wammy drew a check and went back inside. His protege stared at him with regretful face.

—What did you do, little one?

—I was going to return it, I swear.

—Do you like to ride?

—I just learned yesterday. I don't want to make you upset again, but if we go to Wammy's House, you'll understand what happened.

L was not exaggerating: the orphanage was a mess. The children had poured tar and feathers everywhere, and couldn't fully wash the stains. When Clara the cook saw me come in, she exclaimed:

—Thanks to god you finally return, Mr. Ruvie! It seems that only you can keep quiet these savages.

The orphans looked at me embarrassed, and helped me carry my bags to my room. When they explained the whole disaster was caused chasing our hated enemy, I told them I wouldn't punish them, as long as everything was clean before Quillsh' return; however, there was no time for anything, because at that very moment my boss arrived with the detective.

—See, Wammy-San? —L pointed—. I knocked five, because I could use only one leg, and the others ambushed me outside. To save me, I had to borrow the horse.

The accused ones ran to hide in their rooms. I approached my friend and gave him a hug.

—How are you feeling, Quillsh? I heard about the theater incident.

—That was nothing. My father is very ill and Elizabeth disappeared.

—But she had a great time! —I laughed.

—What do you say?

—I ran into her in Osaka! He attended Clayton's concert last Monday!

I explained that while we were in line to buy the tickets to go back to U.K., the woman who was ahead of us threw some coins, and to return them, Peter realized that she was Miss Melbourne, whom he knew through his pianist niece. During the flight, they were talking about the new attack. I couldn't believe that was already internationally known, but she explained that a reporter had hovered for Winchester from the Delight incident.

As soon as Wammy finished hearing my story, he got into his car and drove himself to the Melbourne house. L didn't try to stop him, but he moved in leaps into the kitchen and told me: "Could you bring me my books, please? Today I will study here." I could not refuse, because he was injured. Opening the door to his room, a bucket of ice water fell on my head, and upon entering, I found skating soap. I had fallen into the trap that the guys prepared for him.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth was preparing coffee for Quillsh.

—I hope this tastes good; as you can see, there's not cook or maid or anyone else. Now that I'll take care of everything, I prefer to hire trusty people.

—Mr. Thomas deserved rest. Good thing finally he decided to retire —the gentleman said.

—Exactly. All of us will enter a new era.

—May I ask you something, miss?

—Of course, my friend, as long as we avoid annoying issues. At last we met and would be a waste to talk about sad things.

—Please excuse the question. Why didn't you invite me to your concert?

—Oh, I'm really sorry! I was so excited to see Clayton that I forgot everything else.

—Are you his fan?

—Who is not?

—If you have told me before, wouldn't have needed to go to Japan. I have tickets for the show of Dunsfold.

—For Real? I wouldn't mind seeing him twice!

—Nothing would please me more than to go along with you —Quillsh declared, blushing.

The lady turned serious and played with her hair nervously. My boss looked deeply at her and rose from the couch.

—Miss Melbourne, I ... I love you! —he declared, and fled taking with him the cup of coffee.

[1] We'll record your pone number and a speaker of your language will call you back soon.

[2] ディズニーランド

[3]天 heaven 伊 Italy 須 Nee good 尓 you 止 stop

[4] 礼

[5] Irish Republican Army


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