Everyone has secrets. This is one of them that Mrs. Kettlebeck has.
Mrs. Kettlebeck's Deadly Secret
Sorvin ducked behind a large pile of discarded waste as Mrs. Kettlebeck turned and looked almost directly at him. “That was close.”
JaNina crouched right next to Sorvin. “What are we doing at the city dump?”
“Why are you calling it that?” Sorvin could see through a hole in that pile of waste – and saw Mrs. Kettlebeck sifting around another pile.
“According to my mother when our Community was created six hundred years ago that’s what they called it.” JaNina also had a hole to peek through, but he couldn’t see Mrs. Kettlebeck no matter how he looked through it.
“What is Mrs. Kettlebeck doing here?” Sorvin stood up and peeked over a top corner of that pile as Mrs. Kettlebeck moved on to another pile. “She started searching through the garbage cans all over Peacon, and then she came here.”
“She only does it at night too.” JaNina joined Sorvin. “Maybe she’s a Night Demon.”
“I don’t think she’s a Night Demon.” Sorvin and JaNina looked at each other. Then back at where Mrs. Kettlebeck was only a few seconds ago. “Maybe she is one after all.”
Sorvin scanned the discarded waste on his side of the pile, while JaNina looked around her side. It’s JaNina who spotted her first. “There she is.”
JaNina pointed to Mrs. Kettlebeck as she bopped her head above another pile of discarded waste again. “Mrs. Kettlebeck definitely has a secret, and I think we just discovered what it is.”
Hannic, Sorvin’s father, looked around that boutique while Mrs. Kettlebeck helped out a couple there. When Mrs. Kettlebeck finished with that couple she walked up him.
“I hope you’re not offended by this, but I don’t think you’re in the right place.” Mrs. Kettlebeck looked at him from head to foot.
First Hannic glanced at his cloths then at the cloths she had on. Mrs. Kettlebeck looked very elegant, but Hannic appeared to be in old cloths that were several decades old. “I’m at the right place if you are Mrs. Kettlebeck.”
“I’m Mrs. Kettlebeck.” “How can I help you?”
Hannic reached into his pocket and pulled out a thin silver disk, and showed it to Mrs. Kettlebeck. “I’m Head Inspector Hannic, and I’d like to talk to about a problem I have.”
“How can I help you?” Mrs. Kettlebeck started acting very nervous. She kept her eyes everywhere but at Hannic.
“Have you heard there has been another mysterious death?” Hannic asked.
“Yes, I have.” Mrs. Kettlebeck suddenly darted her eyes back to Hannic. “What does that have to do with me?”
“For the past five hundred years Peacon has been the Community to move to if you are one of the super rich.” “About seven months ago the super rich here started dying mysteriously.”
Mrs. Kettlebeck didn’t say anything for about a minute. “I still don’t understand what all this has to do with me.”
“All the deaths have had a knickknack from KettleBeck’s Boutique near them.” Hannic pulled a sealed one out of his other pocket. “Some of them had blood on them – like this one.”
Taking the flexible container from Hannic Mrs. Kettlebeck looked at the knickknack. At first Hannic had been hesitate to give it to her, but the way she handled it he could see he didn’t have to worry about contamination. “Yes, this came from my store.”
Suddenly Mrs. Kettlebeck looked at Hannic sharply. “You don’t think I had anything to do with these deaths – do you?”
Hannic smiled. “I didn’t, but the way you have been acting maybe I should.”
About a week later Mrs. Kettlebeck sat on one side of an oblong metal table, and Hannic on the other side, in a small metal room. “What I want to know is why you did it.”
“I haven’t done anything.” Mrs. Kettlebeck couldn’t keep her eyes on Hannic – again.
“You killed half the super rich in this Community.” Hannic slammed a pile of images an inch thick down onto that table. Then he started spreading them out. “I want to know why you killed them.”
Mrs. Kettlebeck tried to divert her eyes from the images, but
every few seconds she couldn’t. “I didn’t kill anyone.”
“Yes, you did.” Hannic spread the images so that Mrs. Kettlebeck could see each one of them individually.
“I do know these people.” Mrs. Kettlebeck started looking at the images that didn’t look too gruesome. “They have been coming into my place since I opened it eight months ago.”
“My thirteen-year-old son and his ten-year-old friend have been following you for about a month.” Hannic paused to get a re-action from Mrs. Kettlebeck. He didn’t get one. “They are the one who figured out you did it.”
So that’s who I saw at discarded waste a couple of weeks ago. I knew I saw someone. That’s what Mrs. Kettlebeck thought, but to Hannic she said nothing.
“Remember when I came into your place last week.” Hannic didn’t give her a chance to respond. “While you were helping that couple I planted Listeners and Recorders all over your place.”
“I would never do any business in your place – even if I could afford it.” “There’s nothing in there but junk, and I mean that literally because I know where you get your knickknacks.”
“You have a very bad habit of talking to yourself while you are alone.” Once again Hannic didn’t wait for a response. “Only you never said why you were killing them.”
Mrs. Kettlebeck never did tell anyone why she killed them - or how she did it, but I found out anyway. Thanks to Sorvin and JaNina. It may sound a little ridiculous but she killed them because she was super rich too – and she wanted to be the only one on Whallim. How she was going to do that we may never know. Then again maybe Sorvin and JaNina will solve that problem too. That’s what Hannic put in his log when he finally closed that problem.