The silence after the flick of the light switch seemed to go on forever.
Then, Nate found himself breaking the ringing silence. “Wh...what...?” Was all he managed to get out as he stared at the lifeless corpse.
Casey, the Superhuman Singer, was dead...?
“How...?!” Brayden exclaimed, his voice shaking.
“H-how long has he been in here?!” Bruce shrieked.
“Mark’s not here! He must’ve done this!” Randy exclaimed angrily, his hands balled into fists.
Then, the familiar ding-dong-ding-dong that came right before the dreadful announcement blared through the mansion.
“A body has been discovered!” Dimitris’ voice declared. “After a short amount of time for investigation, we will hold a household trial!”
“We...we need to get him out of there...” Nate said quietly, his body numb with shock.
Leroy grimly walked over to the hot tub and grabbed Casey’s body, pulling the head and arms out of the water, making the calm flat water ripple to life, and gently set Casey’s body on the floor.
Water dripped down Casey’s face and hair onto the floor, and Nate kept staring at it in shock.
Casey hadn’t been the smartest person around, but he was always enthusiastic and could always seem to find a way to cheer someone up. Now, he was lying dead on the floor in front of Nate.
“Someone...someone just straight up drowned him, didn’t they?!” Josh exclaimed angrily.
“I-It’s even worse when there are no wounds on the body!” Greg whimpered.
“I think we all know who did this,” Mike growled.
“Oh, I believe that would be me?”
Everyone parted out of the way to see Mark standing in the doorway, calm and mellow as usual.
“Just in time!” Brayden growled.
Mark stepped inside and glanced over at Casey. “Hm, so that’s who the announcement was for...it’s quite a shame, really. Casey seemed to have a fair amount of hope. Hard to see him killing anybody, although it was half because he doubted himself, which I consider a mild act of despa-”
“Will you SHUT UP already?!” Leroy yelled. “WHO CARES about your hope and despair! Casey’s DEAD! People are still killing! And you weren’t even present! What do you have to say for yourself?! Did you kill Casey!?”
Mark looked up at Leroy, his smile gone but his calm expression still present. “I suppose no one would believe any lie I try to tell here. Haha, it’s not like I could lie anyway, I can’t lie to save my life, and you Superhumans would see right past it, anyway...”
“Did you kill him or not?!” Randy snarled, pointing to the dead body lying peacefully on the floor by the hot tub.
Mark went on. “I can only tell the truth here, anyway, so I will admit to you all that I was not here because I was busy exploring the fourth floor.”
Everyone stared at Mark.
“So...YOU took the paper?!” Greg said accusingly.
Mark chuckled. “I didn’t take the paper, because I didn’t need the paper, Greg.”’
Nate frowned. “Then do you mean...you were the one who had known about the fourth floor in the first place?!”
Mark nodded. “That’s right! Your talent should be Superhuman ...haha, I don’t know the word for someone who catches onto things quickly.”
“Then who’s the one who knew about it that died?” Josh asked.
“I don’t know. I am very sorry,” Mark apologized. “They can’t do anything now, however. Haha, because they’re dead.”
“Don’t worry, Mark,” Bruce growled. “We’ll start investigating, and we’ll prove it was you. It has to be you!”
Mark smiled. “If that is what you believe. Be sure to look for clues, then. I will go search elsewhere; I can feel your tension anyway.” With that, Mark casually left the Lounge.
“I swear, I’d kill him if it weren’t for our circumstances,” Leroy growled.
“We need to investigate,” Bruce said determinedly. Everyone exchanged glances and nodded, then split up.
Nate decided to investigate Casey’s body, no matter how much it scared him.
Casey’s body seemed to be in perfect condition; there were no visible wounds anywhere on his body. His face, hair, and arms were wet from being face-down in the water, but the rest was dry.
Brayden knelt down near Nate to investigate Casey’s body, too.
“His upper body is hot,” Brayden said, putting a hand on Casey’s shoulder. “But his lower body’s cold,” he acknowledged, moving his hand to Casey’s knee.
“That must’ve been from being in the hot tub, right?” Nate asked.
Brayden nodded. “And by the looks of it...he was drowned, but his face says different.”
“What do you mean?” Nate asked.
Brayden pointed to Casey’s face. “Well, look at him! He doesn’t seem scared or upset or anything, but someone drowning would be in a clear state of panic, right?”
Nate nodded and hesitantly reached out, taking Casey’s shades and pulling them off his face.
Seeing Casey’s face was even more disturbing-but Nate could see what Brayden was getting at. Casey’s face was completely blank, and his eyes were closed. It looked exactly like he was sleeping.
“You’re right...” Nate muttered. He went to put Casey’s shades back on but paused when something caught his eye. “Hm? What’s this?” he asked, turning the shades to the side.
On one of the ends of the arms of the glasses were two small white letters, “ST.”
“ST?” Brayden asked. Nate shrugged and carefully put Casey’s shades back on.
“Hey guys, I think I found something!” Randy called, and everyone looked up.
Randy was standing near the garbage can, holding up a glass bottle. There was a small amount of light blue liquid left in the bottle.
“Where was that?” Josh asked.
“In the bottom of the trash can,” Randy explained. “I learned from the last trial that you should check trash cans for clues.”
“Then what’s in that bottle?” Mike asked.
Randy shrugged and began to drink from the bottle.
“Oh gosh, don’t drink it!” Greg exclaimed. “What if it’s poison or something?”
“Well, there was only a little drop in there, anyway, so it probably wouldn’t do much, right?” Randy asked.
“Well, what’d it do?” Bruce asked.
Randy shrugged. “I don’t feel anything.”
Nate stared at Randy. Something seemed different now that he had drunk the potion, but he didn’t know what...
He stared until he realized that he could somewhat see what was behind Randy.
“Randy...you’re becoming a bit transparent,” Nate said.
“What?” Randy exclaimed. He looked down. “Oh, cool! It’s a potion of invisibility.”
“An invisibility potion?” Brayden asked. “That means the culprit was using that. They could have been right under our noses and we wouldn’t even know!”
Everyone exchanged fearful glasses.
“There’re no potions anywhere I know,” Bruce said. “Does that mean the potions are...?”
“On the fourth floor?” Mark asked. “Yes, that is correct.”
“Take us there, then!” Leroy demanded.
Mark smiled. “No.”
“Um...why?” Greg asked.
“Because I don’t want to,” Mark replied.
Josh glared at him. “What’s up there that we’re not supposed to see?”
Mike sighed. “Just let it go. We’re not getting anywhere with this idiot.”
Josh nodded solemnly, still glaring at Mark.
Leroy suddenly frowned, his nose twitching.
“Leroy, what’s wrong?” Nate asked.
“Something...smells off,” Leroy replied, walking towards Casey’s body.
Randy sighed. “Leroy, it’s a...dead body. Of course, it’s gonna smell off.”
Leroy shook his head. “No, it’s not the smell of death...”
Everyone watched in confusion as Leroy opened Casey’s mouth.
“That’s where it’s coming from...”Leroy muttered.
“What is it?” Brayden asked.
Leroy stood up. “Casey smells slightly of poison. The scent was stronger when I opened his mouth. And there’s blood in his mouth, too, like he was coughing it up. Casey was poisoned.”
“So the culprit must have gotten a vial of poison, too!” Bruce exclaimed.
“Oh, man. This is bad. This is really bad,” Leroy muttered fearfully.
“I’m gonna go search for clues somewhere else,” Josh said, his voice shaking slightly.
“Me too,” Bruce added.
“And me!” Greg chimed in.
And soon, all the houseguests had gone to search elsewhere.
“Maybe Malcolm could help us?” Leroy suggested as they headed down to the fourth floor.
“Yeah, maybe he saw something,” Bruce agreed.
“Who saw something?” Suiko asked.
“Oh great, it’s you,” Mike sighed.
“Yup!” Suiko said with a smirk. “No need to fear, your favorite fruity serial killer is here!”
“Alright, let’s split up,” Randy said. “Half of us go to Malcolm, the other half check the Dining Hall, and Casey’s room, if it’s open.”
Everyone nodded in agreement, and Nate went with the group to the Dining Hall.
“Let’s check Casey’s room first,” Nate suggested and pushed on the door.
The door creaked open.
“It’s unlocked...” Brayden muttered.
“Is that good or bad...?” Bruce asked.
Nate took a step inside and looked around. Nothing seemed out of place at all. The bed was made, the room clean.
“That’s odd. Nothing’s here,” Leroy said.
“Maybe if we go through drawers and stuff?” Nate suggested.
“Worth a shot,” Bruce said with a shrug.
They quickly checked Casey’s room over, looking in the bathroom, under the bed, in the drawers, but nothing.
“The only thing that could be considered ‘weird’ here is...six pairs of shades in this drawer?” Bruce said, pulling out a drawer in the nightstand.
Six pairs of sunglasses were lined up neatly next to each other. There was an empty space at the end of the row as if another pair had once been there.
“Didn’t Casey mention that he had a pair for every day of the week?” Brayden asked.
Nate nodded. “Yeah, at Bill’s trial.”
“But there’re only six pairs,” Leroy pointed out.
“Well, he’s obviously wearing the seventh pair,” Brayden said.
Besides the shades, there weren’t any real clues in Casey’s room, so they decided to try the Dining Room next. Nate hoped there would be some clues leading towards the culprit this time, not just the crime.