Undesirable Sanity

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CHAPTER 9

The moment he laid eyes on Seto, he let out a startled gasp and stumbled backward, leaning against the wall in the hallway.

“Nate?” someone’s voice asked.

It took him a second to recognize it, but he soon realized it was Mark.

“Nate, you’re awake!” Leroy exclaimed.

Nate raised his head, taking one hand off his head. “Yeah...perfect timing, too...” he said sarcastically.

Bruce frowned. “The...the body wasn‘t really found too long ago,” he reported. “The only wound found was a...large gash in the neck.”

Nate nodded in acknowledgment. “You feeling okay? You don‘t look too good,” Mark said, concerned.

Nate shook his head. “Don’t worry about me...we need as many people we can get to investigate, right?”

“You can check out the Study Room if you want, to see if we missed anything,” Brayden offered.

Nate wanted to refuse, but he hesitated. They were all dealing with Mutual Killing here. He was going to have to toughen up around here if he wanted to be any help at all during the trials...right?

“Sure,” Nate agreed, and confidently stepped inside the room.

Nate looked down at Seto’s body in blank shock as he heard everyone’s footsteps fade behind him, most likely going to investigate elsewhere. Seto was slumped against the side of the wall behind the large wooden desk in the room. On the desk was an open book that Seto had probably been reading. The book was, like every other book here, written in Latin, so there was no point in trying to read it.

The only visible wound on Seto was the large gash in his neck. Red blood stained bottom areas of his hood and ran down his chest.

“He really was a great guy, huh?” someone asked behind Nate. He turned around to see Mark, leaning on the side of the desk, looking at Seto with a gloomy expression.

“Y-yeah...” Nate agreed. Had he never left the room?

Mark gave a small smile. “I hope you don’t think I’m being creepy or anything. I didn’t want you to be alone in a room with a dead body. I know I wouldn’t want to be!”

Nate nodded with understanding. “Thanks,” he said.

“Seto was starting to become a good friend of mine, too...he was always pretty smart at the Trials...remember the three of us were the first to discover the first body?” Mark asked.

“Yeah...it was pretty terrifying, but at least we were together when we found it! “ Nate said. He was starting to feel more comfortable, able to look at something other than Seto in the room. “Did you...get any useful information in here?” Nate asked eagerly.

Mark tilted his head and looked up thoughtfully. “Uh...well, there’s this book, for example,” he started, pointing to the open book on the desk in front of him.

Nate raised his eyebrows. “You can read Latin?”

Mark chuckled. “Not the words, only Seto could read that crap. I‘m talking about the physical book itself. The pages are clean; no blood anywhere.”

Nate looked at the book. “You’re right...it doesn‘t have any blood on it. None on the desk, either. In fact...the only place that seems to have blood on it is on the wall or floor that Seto’s leaning or sitting on right now.”

Mark nodded eagerly. “See what I’m getting at? Seto wasn‘t murdered at the desk. It looks like he was murdered against the wall.”

“That seems about right, actually,” Nate agreed. “Was it that clean of a kill?”

“Hm,” Mark grunted uncertainly. “There is another piece of info I found useful here that kind of contradicts my first theory, though,” he said.

“And what’s that?” Nate asked.

Mark pointed to something near Seto. “ Look at what was near him.”

Nate reluctantly glanced back at the corpse as he scanned the area around Seto.

There was the wall he leaned against, slightly stained with blood from where the blood had bled through his hood. The floor, which was also stained from the blood that had run down his cabinet. He was behind the wooden desk, which was also clean, and the nearest bookshelf was also clean. The only other thing he could see near Seto was the small knife that Seto had brought with him. It was also stained with blood.

“Do you see?” Mark asked.

“What, the knife?” Nate replied.

Mark nodded. “The knife is bloody,” Mark pointed out. “What could that only mean?”

Nate thought. “Well...the knife could only be bloody if it had been used to draw blood, right?”

Mark nodded. “Now you’re getting it! Clues are everywhere. Let’s keep looking elsewhere, then. I think we‘re done here. We can’t despair the trial!” He turned around with a small friendly wave and casually walked out of the room.

Nate left the Study Room too and closed the door slowly behind him. When they returned here later, one of their peers missing, Seto’s body would have mysteriously disappeared, just like Trevor’s and Bill’s…

He walked down the short hallway that led back to the Living Room. He passed Brayden as he was walking.

“Did you find any other important clues on the second floor so far?” Nate asked him.

Brayden shrugged. “No, not really. Most of the evidence was in the Study Room. The only other blood found was the blood in the bathroom across the hall.”

Nate’s eyes widened. “There was blood in the bathroom?”

Brayden nodded. “Guess someone forgot to tell you. Sorry. Yeah, not a lot of course. The only blood found there was on a small rag buried at the bottom of the trash can.”

Nate frowned. “It sounds like they were obviously trying to hide evidence. Why wouldn’t they just flush it down the toilet?”

“I was thinking that too,” Brayden nodded. “I think if they were to flush it down, someone could have heard the noise?”

Nate nodded. “That makes sense,” he agreed.

After Brayden walked away, Nate decided to investigate the third floor. He had already been on the first, and as Mark had said, clues were everywhere.

On the third floor, Nate noticed that the hall closet door was open. He decided to go and check it out.

Inside, he saw Josh looking around. A candle had been lit to brighten the room and make an investigation easier.

“Hey, Josh. Is there anything going on here?” Nate asked.

“Hmm...well, I just got here, and I’m not sure if I’m imagining this or not...” Josh explained.

“What? Is something wrong? “ Nate asked.

Josh nodded hesitantly. “I think so...l’m not sure, but when we were in the closet earlier, exploring it, didn’t it look dustier?”

Nate looked around. “Yeah...couldn’t that just be because we had opened the door, and let out some of the dust?” he asked.

Josh shook his head. “No, like some of these cabinets look too clean, don’t you think?”

Nate walked over to a cabinet and inspected it. The surface did look pretty clean. “Almost like someone was wiping the dust off,” he remarked.

Josh nodded in agreement. “Yeah, because if you wanted to open these cabinets, the dust would fly off everywhere. That happened to me when I opened one earlier, remember? But there were just receipts and stuff inside. Why would someone be going through them?”

Nate thought for a moment. “Well...you only opened one cabinet, right? Who said all the cabinets were all filled with useless stuff?”

Josh’s eyes widened in understanding. “Oh, gosh.”

One by one, Nate and Josh opened every clean cabinet. The first one contained leather, feathers, and wool. The second contained dyes Josh had found before. The third was suspiciously empty. And the fourth…

“Aaand, there you go,” Josh sighed.

In the fourth was some tools, such as hammers and wrenches, along with a crowbar sitting on top of the pile, one half covered in unmistakable red blood.

“Whoever used this didn’t really do that good of a job hiding it inside the cabinet,” Nate observed.

“This doesn’t really look like it was what killed Seto,” Josh pointed out. “Seto’s only injury was a slit throat, and a crowbar can‘t do that. Maybe the curved end, but the blood’s mostly in the middle of the bar.”

Nate thought for a moment. “Maybe it was used to knock Seto out by hitting him on the head? But then again, how did the blood get on there if Seto died from the throat slit?”

“I think maybe this was the weapon used on you,” Josh said.

Nate’s eyes widened. “You mean, the weapon that hit me on the head and knocked me out?”

Josh nodded. “That would explain why there’s blood on it, right?”

“True,” Nate agreed. It was strange that he was staring at the item that had almost caused his death.

“I suppose that’s been enough time for the investigation!” Dimitris’ voice boomed through the house. “Let’s make our way over to the elevator, shall we?”

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