Ten Little Scoundrels

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One Found the Future

All the exits were locked, the nine; Smith, Edward, Jessica, Bobby, Scott, Liz, Darren, Barry, and Josh trapped with a madman changing them. All they knew was one of the nine of them were out to transform them all, and had turned Josh's friend Sophie into a fish, who know swam in the fountain of the manor. All nine had split up in an attempt to escape, but had only sealed their fates.

Scott began to wander the halls of the manor, shaking and nervously watching every corner. He walked as quietly as possible, even leaving his shoes behind. As he approached a corner, he had hit someone else. Scott jumped and screamed in fear, falling to the ground.

"Get up kiddo, you're fine." Liz said holding out her hand to help Scott up.

"S-sorry, this alterationist business has be a bit jumpy..." Scott said, accepting her hand and getting up.

"We're all a bit shaken, but I think it might help if we stay together." Liz recommended.

"For now, but I can't trust you. Not until this is all over. I'll only stay by your side for now..." Scott found himself fumbling words.

"Hey! I'm only helping you because you looked terrified. Sorry for trying to help." Liz replied annoyed.

"S-sorry! It's just I'm shaken up about the whole thing; the one time I'm not late to the party it's one I should have skipped out on!"

"Can't say I blame you kid, I don't think this is going well for anyone, especially Josh..." Liz found sympathy in her voice. "But let's stick together and find this 'alterastionist' as soon as we can!"

"Right, I'll stick by your side. There has to be a way out through the basement perhaps?" Scott suggested.

"What? We can't leave without finding this guy! He could be transforming more people!" Liz replied sternly.

"And what if you're tricking me? What if your the alterationist!" Scott called out pointing his finger at her.

"Then why wouldn't I have changed you by now?" Liz rebutted annoyed.

"Maybe you're trying to make me trust you! Then strike when you can! Sorry, I'm out of here!" Scott said as he ran off.

"Idiot." Liz sighed under her breath as she continued through the halls.

Bobby and Jessica were both together, standing around after attempting to break out through the back door past the dinner. Both scared, they took that to their marriage and relationship status.

"I told you this was a horrible idea! You just have to control everything don't you?" Bobby yelled at his wife Jessica.

"Like I knew this would happen! You're the one who won't put fourth the effort to fix the marriage!"

"If we don't get out of this mess we won't be in a marriage! We'll be rats or something!" Bobby shouted turning away from his wife.

"You know as well as I do that if we don't stick together; there's no hope for either of us. If we separate then this alterationist fellow will have us on a silver platter!" Jessica defended.

"There you go again! Acting like you know everything! I'm sick of it! You're putting so much weight onto my shoulders! I have enough stress because of this situation as it is! You're nagging isn't helping!" Bobby said starting to walk away from Jessica.

"Where are you going?" Jessica yelled to Bobby.

"Away from you. I'd rather be turned into a rhino or what have you than be with you right now!" Bobby said angrily as he left the room.

"Fine! I'll go find someone who cares about making it out of here!" Jessica retorted, turning the other way and going into the library.
Edward and Smith and adventured to the front doors. They believed it would be the simplest way of escaping. Edward attempted to open the door, but it was locked shut. He tried to pull it open with all his might to no avail, but he kept going.

"First these strangers show up to my house, from invites not of my writing! Then that lass turns into a giant fish! What is going on Edward! Is this your doing?" Smith said furiously as Edward tried to open the door with all his weight.

"Why on Earth would I do that? I hate when guests are around, especially uninvited! I don't even know these people! Let alone want a nice giant fish to take care of!" Edward defend as he let his grip off the door, taking a rest.

"Why have you stopped? Do you wish to get transformed as well!?' Smith yelled.

Edward looked at Smith with disgust. "Are you saying that you are the alterationist?" he asked sternly staring down Smith.

"Are you daft? Of course not! I don't want pets to wander the halls. I don't want the alterationst to alter us you imbecile!" Smith scoffed. "I should fire you for that assumption!"

"Please do, because I'd love to be able to actually enjoy my life should I make it out of this. Although I wouldn't mind seeing you in the same boat as fish girl." Edward said maliciously to Smith.

"How dare you!" Smith scoffed. "I brought you up when no one else would! Leave my sight this instance!"

"It will be my pleasure. I hope to see you flopping around on the ground next!" Edward yelled as he walked away, leaving Smith alone.

"Don't come crawling back once this is over! And if you're the alterationist I'll be sure to end you!" Smith yelled out to him, but Edward was already long gone.

Josh and Barry were both walking around together. Barry, being someone who had lost someone he'd love, figured it would be best to console Josh after losing Sophie. The two had went to the library.

"There's got to be something around here about transformation." Josh commented as he scavenged through books.

"Yeah, I'll help you bud." Barry said with sympathy in his voice, joining Josh's scavenging. "I was looking forward to retirement, but I don't want to be getting away from everything like this..."

"We can talk just keep looking." Josh said. "Where did you work anyways?" Josh asked a bit curios, but panic still in his voice.

"A few places. The longest was a a toy company. Used to make beanie babies. Maybe if we make it out I can give one to you." he says with a smile.

"Thanks, but I'm good. A little weary considering what's going on."

"Fair enough. Remember you don't want to hold grudges, it'll lead you no where."

"I think I have the right to hold a grudge after what happened with Soph-" Josh stopped. "We're not alone." Josh whispered.

"Is it the alterationist?" Barry whispered.

"How would I know? Keep it down, don't want them to hear us." Josh said.

"You know I've always been here right? Just didn't feel a need to chime in." Darren spoke up.

"And that was a good idea?" Josh said skeptically.

"Well, the library would be the best way of learning what's going on here. From what happened with Smith back there, I can only assume he is the alterationist. His butler didn't know we were even coming." There has to be a book in here somewhere on it." Darren explained.

"Fair play. Find anything?" Josh opened up.

"Perhaps, there's this strange book I found right now, "Ten Little Scoundrels." There's ten of us. Whether or not we're scoundrels I can't say, but it adds up." Darren said examining the book.

"Have you read it at all?" Barry chimed in.

"No, net yet, though now is better than never." Darren said, opening the book. Suddenly a huge white light glowed out from the book, shining on Darren's face.

"Get back!" Barry said, grabbing Josh's arm as the two gained reasonable distance from Darren and the book.

Darren's body began to morph. He dropped the book down, it vanished as it hit the floor. Darren's body became circular, as a brim formed around his waist and grew up, his body turning into black felt. His arms and legs slowly began retreating into the new fabric that was his body, slowly getting closer and closer to the ground. Soon, his limbs had melted away into his black felt, becoming a hat with a head sticking out at the top. Darren tried to scream out, unable to as his head began shrink into the hat, his voice box gone. He only had a look of horror as the rest of his head melts into the hat, leaving just that behind; a black top hat. The light dimmed down and Darren, now an immobile hat sat there.

"He's a hat. A hat. He's not even alive anymore!" Josh panicked.

Barry began to walk up to the hat. He picked it up and examined it. The inside of it was hollow, everything about Darren was pure hat. "It's an expensive top hat too." Barry let out monotonously. Barry put the hat down on a nearby table as Josh walked over.

"Wait, what's this?" Josh said, noticing a small opening on Darren's brim. He put a finger in it, and it began to open slowly. "Whoa!" Josh let out, pulling his finger away quickly and stepping back.

"Ten Little Scoundrels." A voice identical to Darren's came from the hat.

"That was the name of the poem! Is it going to read it?" Barry said curious.

Darren began to recite a poem.

"Ten Little Scoundrels arrived to dine,
One's luck flopped and then there were nine.

Nine Little Scoundrels, they'd taken the bait.
One found the future, and then there were eight.

Eight little Scoundrels, victim to a leaven,
One broke the scale, and then there were seven.

Seven Little Scoundrels, three out of the mix,
One got let out, and then there were six.

Six Little Scoundrels, trying to survive,
One was free, and then there were five.

Five Little Scoundrels, one settled their score,
One got too hot, and then there were four.

Four Little Scoundrels, All wanted to be free,
One's past caught up to them, and then there were three.

Three Little Scoundrels, at their last clue,
One went to hide, and then there were two.

Two Little Scoundrels. the Alterationist had his fun,
He was defeated.

And then there was one." Darren finished reading. As the brim shut, he became a fully inanimate hat yet again.

"What does it mean?" Josh said. "Are...are we the scoundrels?" he stuttered.

"Wait...I might be onto something..." Barry pondered aloud.

"What is it?" Josh asked intrigued.

"Well, think about it. 'One's luck flopped,' like a fish. There were ten of us, and Sophie was the first to be transformed, quite unlucky no?"

"So you're saying everything is planned? The alterationist knew that she would turn first?" Josh replied with skepticism.

"Yeah. And 'found the future?' Darren found out the hints of what will happen to the rest of us!"

"But...that means that there is only one who will escape..." Josh replied, looking skeptically at Barry, backing away.

"Oh come on! You don't really think I'm the alterationist do you?" Barry said shaking his head.

"You deciphered that code way too fast, and you were way too happy with helping me find books, one of which turned Darren into a talking hat."

"I didn't know one of the books would do that! They were planted here because the alterationist had to have known we'd been here." Barry defended himself. "And my retirement plan doesn't involve ending the normal lives of others."

"Whether or not that's true or not, if that poem is right, I'm going to be the 'And then there was one!'" Joshua said, running away from the library.

"Thinks he'll be able to soar free. Unbelievable." Barry sighed shaking his head. He went over to the hat, rubbing the top.

"I'm so sorry Darren. If I knew this would have happened, I'd have taken the fall. Rest well." Barry said, leaving the hat behind as he left the library in the opposite direction as Josh.

One Found The Future.

And Then There Were Eight.

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