“Anyone know where you could find a, uh, stake?” Bruce asked.
“I think the culprit made the stake themselves,” Brayden stated. “They must have been keen on destroying the evidence.”
“How did they make it, then?” Seto asked.
“Well...there‘s a wooden chair in everyone’s room, right? The stake could have been made from one of the legs,” Brayden pointed out.
“Ah...good point,” Randy admitted. “So then how did they make it a full-fledged stake that could go through Bill’s entire torso?”
“Hm...I think I know,” Leroy claimed. “When we explored Bill‘s room, there was a clean kitchen knife under the bed. We thought it had been Bill’s for self-defense, although it didn‘t help him much, it could have been what the culprit used to sharpen the chair leg into a stake. They must have accidentally dropped it in Bill’s room.”
Nate nodded. “That fits...but still, what‘s up with Bill‘s message? It obviously reads ASE, not ESA, because of the backward letters S and E.”
“Yeah, and what’s the point of the message anyway?” Mike asked. “I mean, from the trail of blood it was obvious that Bill was able to drag himself down the hallway from his room, where, judging by the scene, he was most likely attacked. I don‘t even think the culprit intended for him to live, and thought Bill was dead when he left to go burn the stake.”
“I...I think I know why,” Bruce said quietly. “You see...I think after the murderer left Bill‘s room after attacking him, thinking he had killed Bill, Bill started to drag himself out of his room, with one final goal set on his mind: to warn us.”
“Despite the stab wounds in his body, he tried to stay alive for as long as he could, while the murderer was away and he was capable of moving, even if it was just dragging himself down the hallway. He was so close to the Dining Hall when he must have realized he wouldn‘t be making it, so that’s when he decided to write out the name of the culprit on his arm instead-however, it got smudged and his arm turned over, sticking the message to the floor, leaving his intentional message of ‘CASEY‘ with ‘ASE.”’
Everyone was silent as they tried to process this. Bill had always been somewhat annoying and odd, but he was always bright and cheery. His last moments, the only thing he had in mind was to help his friends. He helped his friends until the very end.
“Dang,” Thomas muttered quietly, looking down.
“But wait,” Randy said, breaking the silence. “You said that Bill wrote the word CASEY. However, I thought we had confirmed with proof that Casey wasn‘t the culprit?”
Bruce nodded. “No, Casey is definitely not the culprit. But why Bill wrote his name down, I think I know...I think the murderer was somehow disguised as Casey in an attempt to frame him!”
“Disguised as Casey? How?!” Peter asked.
Seto joined in eagerly. “Well, all they needed to do was look as much like Casey as possible. They most likely did this in case there were witnesses, which there were, or Bill was somehow able to reveal the culprit himself, which he kind of was. The culprit‘s been very cautious, haven’t they?”
“And then it leaves us down to three suspects: Josh, Mike and Peter,” Bruce finished.
“What?! But Mike and I confirmed-” Josh was cut off by Nate.
“Yeah, you might have seen them leave their rooms but did you see them enter it? They could have just gone to their room seconds before, returning from their murder, and you wouldn‘t have known. This goes for Peter, too.”
Thomas chuckled. “Yeah, that’s pretty clever...and they didn‘t even know for sure if there would be witnesses or clues of some sort, but they still went out of their way to look like Casey, in case there were. And, there were witnesses indeed!”
“So...I have a question for you, Matt,” Brayden asked.
“Do you...is there some sort of...feature you have to change your appearance in any way?”
Matt looked taken aback, then began to look angered and annoyed. “What do you mean, ‘features’?! Just because I‘m a robot doesn‘t mean I come with a built-in calculator or anything, if that’s what you‘ve been thinking! I‘m just a normal guy who also happens to have a robot body! I won‘t stand for this discrimination, fish!”
Brayden looked ready to jump over his podium to get over to Matt on the other side of the circle. “Fish?! I happen to be an amphibian! You‘d better watch your language there, or I-”
“Oh, shut up you two,” Thomas scolded. “I’m guessing that’s a no for your question, Brayden. Matt obviously didn‘t pull off the Casey disguise. Then there‘s Josh, but even if he doesn‘t have his helmet anymore, he’s still got that blue spacesuit going for him-which wouldn‘t really help him pull off a ‘Casey’ appearance.”
Seto nodded. “So...that leaves us with one suspect left... someone who looks somewhat like Casey, and could even resemble him closer if he tried...it could only be you, Peter!”
Peter‘s eyes widened in a state of panic for a second as everyone stared at him, awaiting some sort of rebuttal. Instead, his face and shoulders relaxed, and he gave a small chuckle.
“That‘s pretty clever of you,” he noted. “But think about it. Yes, Casey and I both wear similar clothes and amulets, for whatever reason-”
“I know, right? So I wasn‘t the only one who noticed!” Casey exclaimed.
“-But I‘m not an exact replica of Casey himself,” Peter continued. “You see, Casey seems to always wear shades. I don’t own shades. Was the person you saw wearing shades, Greg?”
Greg nodded. “Definitely.” He thought out loud. “And you could easily mess your hair up a bit to make it look like Casey’s.”
Peter seemed very determined. “If I had stabbed Bill, wouldn‘t there be blood all over me?!”
Mark thought for a moment. “There was a bloody bedsheet in Bill‘s room. What if you just protected yourself with that?” Peter was silent.
“There you have it,” Seto said, turning to Peter once more. “That‘s all I think we needed.”
“Alright, so then let‘s make a Climax Inference!” Nate exclaimed and began.
“Our culprit was probably planning to murder disguised as Casey for some time beforehand. And when they saw three people leave separately on their own while everyone else was in one location, they knew they had the perfect chance!” So, the culprit left the Dining Hall, using the excuse of going to bed, and retrieved the stake, cloth, and glasses from their room they had probably kept there beforehand for when the time came. I don’t think the culprit was directly targeting Bill; perhaps, he was the only one out of the three people in their rooms with the door unlocked.”
“The culprit went into Bill’s room and grabbed the sheet off of the bed to protect themselves from any blood splatters when they stabbed Bill with the stake before he could react. The culprit messily threw the bloody sheet back on the bed, and left the room, with Bill bleeding out against a corner of the wall. The culprit had most likely though Bill was dead... but he wasn’t. Bill had enough strength to drag himself out into the hallway, then try to write the culprit‘s name in his own blood on his arm before it was too late. However, Bill had thought his murderer had been Casey, so that’s what he tried to write on his arm. He died thinking Casey had killed him.”
While that happened, the culprit hurriedly went down the opposite way, accidentally dropping their cloth without realizing it. They went past the Alchemy Room, unaware of the fact that a very important witness was there. In the Living Room on the second floor, they threw their stake in the fireplace, hid the glasses somewhere, and rushed back to their bedroom, prepared to rush out in fake shock when everyone else found Bill‘s body, even if it wasn‘t in the place they expected.”
That person...is you, Peter! “ Nate finished.
Peter was silent as all eyes were fixed on him.
“Cat got your tongue?” Brayden asked.
Peter still said nothing as he examined everyone’s faces in the room. Then, he gave a small smile, tilting his head slightly. “Hm. I admit it, then,” he said in a voice too cheerful for his situation.
“You...admit you killed Bill?” Greg exclaimed.
Peter nodded with a warm smile. “Yes. I killed our friend Bill,” Peter replied.
Peter chuckled. “Isn’t it obvious? I want to leave the mansion.”
“Y-you‘re too calm about this!” Jerome exclaimed, startled.
“I’m not calm. I‘m accepting my fate,” Peter explained lightly. “I did my best. I failed. It’s over now, and I will be executed for you all to continue this game. As long as I believe that I tried my best, then I won, even if I‘ll suffer some ironic death in two minutes.”
Everyone was silent.
“But...everything will be okay...yeah, I‘ll be fine...” Peter muttered, a weird look in his eyes. Nate suddenly wondered if Peter had gone...partially insane?
Peter gave a small laugh. “I’m sorry I killed Bill. He just happened to be unlucky. This isn‘t the best way to think about it, but I just brought you all two steps closer to winning. Hopefully, Bill will forgive me when I see him soon, and together we can happily welcome whoever comes next to the other side with us, Ivan, and Trevor! So, good luck to everyone. I‘ll see you all on the other side. Now, I believe it’s time for you all to vote for me to die.”
Everyone, with a sick and terrible feeling inside, cast their votes.
The wall opened up again, and the giant slot machine appeared again. All three slots spun then came to a stop on a picture of Peter. Confetti blasted out, and the word GUILTY flashed brightly.
“Hehe, yep! I have a great execution for the Superhuman Fighter!” Dimitris declared.
The button with the small screen on the metal box to which it was connected rose up from the ground in front of Dimitris. He pulled out a mallet and eagerly hit the button.
A red, black and white pixelated scene appeared on the screen. Again, there was a Dimitris sprite, but this time accompanied by a Peter sprite. “GAME OVER,” the screen read as the Dimitris sprite dragged the Peter sprite away. “Peter has been found guilty. His punishment will now begin.”
Peter was standing alone in the wide gray room where Ivan’s execution had been. He was holding a polished dagger, probably made of quartz, in one hand. He looked determined and afraid.
Everyone else was watching, terrified, from behind the large metal gates on the far side of the room.
A faint rumbling could be heard as four doors opened up from the walls, and tons of hideously mutated humans began to pour out.
Peter gave a half-smile and leaped into action. Powerful and agile, he sliced groups of mutants at a time, treating his quartz dagger like the most powerful weapon there was.
Even though his Superhuman Talent of Fighting meant he was hacking his way through things at an amazing pace, the creatures just kept on coming through the doors.
Mutant after mutant, Peter slashed so fast he was almost a blur. Despite his Superhuman feats, the mutants never stopped coming.
Peter whipped around, full speed while holding his dagger out to stab a horde of mutants in front of him, but the moment the dagger touched the mutant, it snapped in half, the sound ringing through the entire room.
Time seemed to slow down as the blade of the broken dagger flew off the mutant and landed somewhere with a ting.
Peter stared at the handle of his broken dagger in shock for a second, then tossed it to the side, sadly closing his eyes, allowing himself to be overcome by the horde. His screams echoed inside the chamber, and then faded to nothingness as his twelve friends watched helplessly.