Mr. Wammy the terrorist
The following weekend, Quillsh went to London in company of Ralph. L and I shook our hands as farewell until the limousine disappeared.
—Could you answer me one thing, Mr. Ruvie? —the kid said, as we walked back into the hospice.
—Why should I, little vermin?
—It would be good to have a truce, at least until Mr. Wammy's health improves.
—Agreed. What did you want to ask me?
—Do you know why Miss Elizabeth didn't come to her recital?
—She said that her flight was canceled. Why do you ask?
—When you ran into her she was buying a ticket, right?
—Yes. What does that matter?
—As far as I know, when a flight is canceled, there's no need to pay again; the airline accommodate the passenger on another plane, am I right?
—That's true. What do you mean?
—That the pianist knew what was going to happen, so she stayed in Osaka as precaution. Perhaps she even knows who is behind the bombs.
—Don't tell that to Mr. Wammy. He has suffered so much lately.
—It's necessary to find out the truth, and he's the only one who can question her.
—But right now he doesn't want to see her. He's so ashamed for his confession.
—He will overcome that soon.
—By the way, do you want to know what I did in Osaka?
—No, I will save you from humiliation. We are at truce.
Edward Wammy stayed at the best hospital in England. His room was a luxury suite, and the best specialists had extreme care with the rich patient. Quillsh found him freshly bathed when he came to see him.
—Good evening, Dad. How do you feel?
The old man, who had been very well, made a suffering expression.
—So, you finally remembered that I exist?
—Please, sir, you musn't get upset —a nurse interjected.
—Leave us alone. This is a matter between father and son —the grumpy patient replied.
The nurse disappeared after announcing they had only ten minutes to talk.
—I've waited so long for you to come, and you almost have to go.
—I'm sorry, Dad. I couldn't leave the orphanage alone.
—Now it turns out that those bastards are more important than your own father!
Quillsh hung his head; he was accustomed to such scenes.
—It's so sad to end my days like this, knowing my fortune will end up in the hands of dirty orphans, because my foolish descendant were not able to maintain the lineage —Edward continued.
—Please respect the memory of Victoria, dad.
—I'm just telling the truth! Even the most miserable people can marry and have babies, but not my successors; I have to die without grandchildren!
His firstborn stated silent, resisting the offenses.
—As always, you don't say anything! Anyway, what could you say, if you caused my loneliness?
Quillsh clenched his fist upon hearing about the issue of Coventry, but said no word.
—If you had regrets about that, you should at least give me a granddaughter to remind your mother, but not happy with socially humiliating me, now you hurt me in business. I know that you are not longer the number one in sales. Because of you I had the heart attack!
His partner didn't hear the rest of the insults; his mind escaped into those woods where he taught L to shoot, feeling they were a family.
—Now you dare to ignore me! You are an ungrateful son, do you hear me? Un-grate-ful!
The nurse finally came when hearing the elderly crying. Quillsh kissed his father on the forehead and left without saying anything; he had the feeling of having awakened from a strange but exciting dream to return to a gray reality. In Winchester, he felt like a human able to have hope, but in London he was simply the stoic Mr. Wammy. He walked around the main streets until their steps took him to the King Cross station, where he paused to reflect. Each person circulating there seemed happier than himself.
The first days without our benefactor were spent in holy peace; everyone in Wammy's House suspended the attacks and enjoyed together the lessons of professor Salvin. I was surprised by how easily I could learn languages, so I started translating classical music pieces to create a choir, and the kids loved the idea.
We were calm until certain dawn when the little detective began to stir things. I was out doing some gardening, but could hear the noise.
—What are you searching at this hour? — I asked.
—Today may be bombings, and I'm sure the target will be the Melbourne residence. I need the phone number of Miss Elizabeth to forewarn her.
—Are you mad? It's five o'clock in the morning!
—I promised Mr. Wammy to take care of her.
—All right, I will call her.
The phone rang many times, until a yawning servant answered. I gave her the warning, and she just said that the security guard would take care of everything. In the distance I could hear a sleepy Elizabeth asking who called, so I decided to hang up.
—At least she's got protection again—I announced to L.
—But if Gibbs is the bodyguard, things get complicated. I have to watch over the house.
—No matter how gifted you are, you alone can't change the world. This time we should have some help from the police.
L sighed agreeing, so I dialed chief Collingwood, but the line was busy. I decided to retry an hour later, and then I had him on the phone. Albert changed his tone of concern for one of kindness when he knew Mr. Wammy was involved in the affair.
—What does my good friend need?
—Miss Melbourne is back, but we fear somebody will try to hurt her.
Collingwood was silent for a moment, and then said quietly:
—I'm going to confide you a secret: Elizabeth is at the police station right now.
—But what happened? She was sleeping at home little time ago!
—It's good to know it, because she is accused of carrying a bomb. Please, Mr. Ruvie, come here and tell me everything.
L wanted to accompany me, but I refused. Since he hadn't rest enough his ankle was still swollen. I finally managed to convince him to stay by promising I would buy a piece of chocolate cake. Already in the police station, Albert led me into a private cubicle.
—Now please explain me why you are afraid —he asked.
—Mr. Wammy hired a private detective to investigate the bombings.
—Doesn't he trust my abilities?
—It's not like that; I meant, the detective is investigating by himself.
—I'd like to talk to him then.
I was pale. I had spoken too much.
—The important thing is he has discovered that the attacks are aimed at Miss Melbourne, so I phoned to warn her very early.
—What time exactly?
—At five o'clock, and she was home, I assure you. Could you tell me why is she considered suspicious?
—I will, if your detective shares his information as well.
Feeling cornered, I said something that would be prophetic:
—Well, he is a very important professional, and nobody knows his location. To stay safe, he never shows his face, but manages everything by telephone. —Collingwood looked at me skeptically, so I had no option but to yield—: Anyway, I suppose he will talk to you if I ask him.
—That's so good, because this case is wierd. You see: this morning, one of my officers was driving home when he saw a woman walking in the shadows of a park. He got out of his car to ask if she was okay, but the lady ran. Following her, my man noticed she was armed and also carried a bomb, so he jumped on her and managed to remove the explosive, but was terribly beaten with a pistol.
—Is he dead? —I asked.
—No, but he ended up in the hospital with significant injuries. He identified his assailant as Elizabeth Melbourne.
—I think our detective would like to question him.
—I can't reveal the identity of my policeman. In fact, this will be kept as secret to avoid popular panic.
—Could I know where that happened?
—In he garden which is one block away from the Melbourne residence. Anyway, Mr. Ruvie, I don't want to waste more of your valuable time. Don't worry about the lady, because she has requested to refuge here all day; your warning did not fall on deaf ears. Thank you very much for being a good citizen.
The news were so exciting, that I returned to the hospice without the promised gift and L became cranky.
—I don't see any cake. I'll have to take some actions.
—I'll buy you triple ration if you come with me now. The park will be full of tracks that only a good bloodhound can find.
—Are you calling me dog, Mr. Ruvie?
—Actually I was trying to make a compliment.
The boy put on his girl costume while I called a taxi. I laughed out loud when I saw him with blonde curls wig and gown with ruffles, but he ignored me and lifted his skirt to board the vehicle.
—You're mistaken, isn't carnival day yet —I continued mocking.
—Cut off the crap. I don't do this because I like, I have to hide from my enemies.
I stopped instantly, realizing he was right; my friendship with Mr. Wammy depended of his safety.
The crime scene was still being guarded by some policemen. It was a medium-sized park, surrounded by lush trees and flowering shrubs, with a court in its center and children's games. There were several kids playing soccer and groups of mothers chatting as they care over them. I carried "the blonde girl" on my back and started exploring.
—I don't see any bloodstains— I said, trying to be smart.
—It's obvious that had been washed. Do you see that part of the floor that looks cleaner? There must have been lying the victim.
L asked me to hover around the periphery of the park until he found something.
—Look there, Mr. Ruvie —he said, pointing at some tyre marks—. The policeman should have applied the brakes with violence here. In this part, the bushes are overgrown.
—And what does that indicate?
—It's difficult to watch inside the park, and at dawn it might be impossible. In fact, the lamp that should illuminate this area is broken.
The detective asked me to take him down and crawled across the floor. Some ladies who passed nearby told him that behavior was not proper for a female, but he ignored them. Then he picked up something small and showed it to me:
—It's a glass fragment —he explained—. They should have swept the other pieces. If you look closely, it is very clean, suggesting that the lamp was recently destroyed.
I scratched my head, because I couldn't get the point, and then he cried: "Back away!" I obeyed instantly, realizing that had been standing on some small reddish spots. My companion spat on them and rubbed the area using the edge of his skirt.
—I need to change clothes urgently —he said with disgust.
We went to a nearby boutique, where I bought for him a ridiculous multicolored dress but he wasn't ashamed to use it. After throwing the dirty outfit in the trash, we got into a coffee shop. L obsessively washed his hands before pouncing on three pieces of cake with extra cream.
—I think we've already found the mad bomber —he said while eating —. I'm ninety percent sure he's the wounded policeman.
—Then let's capture him. I'll visit every hospital looking for the criminal.
—He must not suspect that has been discovered. We still need to know if he has accomplices.
—But we already know there are Gibbs and the crippled one.
—Maybe all of them are actually one single person, a master of disguise.
—We must acusse him, or he will hurt more innocent people.
—That would be useless. His teammates believe in him blindly; they didn't even have doubts about his depositioin.
—And what if he's right and Elizabeth is the one who puts bombs?
—That's absurd; it's obvious that this man wants to implicate her. How could a simple pianist beat a cop? Also, everything in the park indicates that he was lying.
My partner told me a reconstruction of events that matched what we found: "Upon finishing his night shift, the police drove toward Miss Elizabeth's house to put the explosive, but had to brake suddenly when someone appeared in front of him. The intruder knew the most direct way to get from the police station to the residence and set the stage destroying the lamp; covered by darkness, gunpointed the bomber out of the car, then hit him and took the artifact. The wounded bled a little, but didn't lose consciousness, so he followed his assailant to the center of the park, but as there was light, the attacker became enraged and tried to kill him to protect his identity. "
—We still need to find out who the attacker was and why he wanted to steal the bomb.
—All we know is that he had information about his victim. Perhaps he is following orders from someone else.
—My head will explode with so many suspects. I need a break.
—Anyway, we must wait until the following Wednesday. With the beating he got, the police will be hospitalized at least for three weeks. If the bombings stop, we can be sure that he works alone.
While we were trying to make justice, our leader turned his back to problems; he had decided not to return to Winchester and leave Miss Melbourne alone. He would appoint me as director of the orphanage and simply pay someone to search for L's family. He was going to erase the last weeks of his life and move on ... or so he intended, until he saw dark smoke dirtying London's sky: the King Cross station burned uncontrollably. Quillsh rubbed his face with anguish, thinking that disasters would follow him wherever he'd go.
On Thursday night we dined at Wammy's House watching television. We followed the reports about the tragedy in the capital, because we wanted to determine if it had any relationship with our case. L was covering his cupcakes with tons of jam while the others watched in disgust.
—Sugar is for me what cocaine is for Holmes —he simply stated.
The TV show of Nell Bill started, and the little detective choked when hearing that they'll discuss the case of "Mr. Wammy the terrorist."
"Welcome to this new broadcast", the fat host greeted. "This hot program is about a mysterious man who is considered our country's savior. Yeah, hot is the word, because lately he has been surrounded by fires and bombings. We have photos and videos of a reporter who has followed his steps, and you won't believe what you'll see. Don't change the channel, this will be explosive!"
Coming back from commercials, Bill reviewed the incident of the Melbourne factory II and the destruction of the library. He stated that both events had been very beneficial for Quillsh, and even talked about witnesses who saw him smiling with pleasure nearby the ruined places. Then appeared pictures of the burning car, and the guy said: "To avoid suspicion, Mr. Wammy decided to fake an attack against him. Many saw his car being driven erratically before being left in a lonely alley, and interestingly the driver was not there when it exploded." The announcer also said that my boss had mounted the cultural center incident to look as a martyr and regain popularity. We were really angry, but had still not seen the worst: then aired a video that showed Quillsh teaching L how to use a rifle and activating an explosive. The recording had poor quality, but there was no doubt that they were our friends. "These images show that Wammy's House is actually a hotbed of terrorists, where innocents are trained for dishonest purposes." Nell spat. "But the most outrageous thing is that the damn traitor was seen in King Cross two days before the fire. If he was responsible for the tragedy, justice must make him pay. That's all for tonight. Don't forget to tune in tomorrow to find out more celebrity secrets!" There the transmission ended, but not the horror. We felt furious, and L even twisted his spoon. Since then, the detective spent his time connected to the Internet, and the only time he spoke was to ask me for devices that prevented track our phone number and a filter to distort the voice. Meanwhile, the other children and I received visitors that the broadcast brought us with a chorus of angelic voices that belied rumors.
The defamed had not seen the show, but learned of its existence when he was approached by countless reporters. Because the phone didn't stop ringing, he decided to take refuge in the hospital with his father; he couldn't even eat outside as strangers insulted and tried to assault him. The fury of citizenship fell on him.
I wanted to prove the innocence of my friend as soon as possible, so I decided to investigate an issue that L had not touched: the fate of the bomber's white car. Actually it was such an elementary question, that Collingwood had already solved it; when I visited him he told me that the car belonged to the Brightons, an elderly couple that never closed their doors. As also they slept all day long and threw away their keys anywhere, were victims of theft often. At that time, the car was stolen at early morning, and a police reported finding it abandoned just after the attack. The criminal was very careful, because he didn't leave more clues.
I returned to the orphanage proud of my initiative and sarcastically told to L: "It seems that borrowing transports is the trend." He cut my report: "If you refer to the bomber's vehicle, I inform you that I already deduced it was stolen. Now leave me alone, I'm on an important mission. "
To forget the distaste I turned on the TV, but turned it off immediately, as almost all programs spoke of Mr. Wammy's scandal. My poor fellow was shattered by that. I write here his thoughts:
"People say that in this life we all must hit bottom, but at that time I seemed to fall by an infinite abyss. From being an idol, I had become the most abhorrent criminal, sentenced to end up as an outcast. I remembered my beloved L, and I was saddened to realize that sooner or later I would lose him too, because what he needed was education and resources, not an old man trying to alleviate his loneliness with his friendship. Suddenly, the phone interrupted my thoughts, and I literally jumped at the voice of the child, who ordered me to tune channel 13 without even greeting me. On the screen, a grieving Bill Nell appeared retracting from the information he had spread about me; he even claimed that the videos were fake and begged for my forgiveness. When the apology was finished, L said: "I hope you enjoyed. As soon as you can, come back to us." and hung up. I flew out to say goodbye to my father; I could already return to Winchester."