Just Your Basic Mystery

By Saffron Stiegmann

You know when I said that I’d be okay to die? I meant like in 40 years when I’m old, not when I’m 23. I look at my body just sitting there with a stupid expression of shock. I thought that if I died I would look at peace in my bed, looking like an icon. Not on the couch with a bowl of chips with my hair that hasn’t been washed in my stained sweatpants. I know you are screaming “get on with the point,” but I got murdered. I feel like I get to be vain for a few seconds, okay? This isn’t my ideal Saturday.

You may ask yourself, “Murdered? Huh? Who killed you? Friend? Family? Lover? The guy down the street who keeps stealing your newspapers?” 

Well, I’m gonna be honest; I’m not the most observant and, the moment I was shot, I was watching Detective Richard Poole reveal the murderer in Death in Paradise. So the timing wasn’t amazing. I guess that’s for me to figure out if I want to pass along? That’s what ghosts have to do, right? Like they have to figure out their own murder and haunt the person till they pee their pants?

I sit and finish watching my show till someone finds my poor body. Don’t look at me like that, it’s not like I have any other good ideas. Unfortunately for me that’s like two days later, on a Monday of all things. When my friend Amber stumbles across my body, she doesn’t even look phased. It’s like she knew that my dumb ass would be the first to die. She just simply pulls out her phone and calls the police.

In the crime shows the police arrive super quickly, not like mine, who barely arrive before noon. “I think it’s a murder,” says one with cup of coffee. Of course it’s a murder! I have a gunshot wound right there! 

“Do you know anyone who would kill her?”asks the one with your typical handlebar mustache. 

“I don’t believe so, she wasn’t really the hateable type,” Amber says, giving me an ego boost. “But she’s not the brightest, so maybe she accidentally got herself into some trouble,” she finishes, shooting a different type of bullet into my heart.  

The police officers start looking around my apartment, even walking into “THE room.” You may ask yourself, “why is it called THE room?” Well… let’s just say it’s a room in the back with some questionable things. I’m pretty sure if I went in there now I could finally solve the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle. Luckily for me they quickly cast it off as no one could go through THE room and not be heard. 

They finally go through my room, clearly not looking deeply because I notice the scratch marks on my tiles around my bed. Hmmm…someone moved my bed.  I try to move it back but to no avail. There also is a small box on my dresser, which I assume I would also phase through. It seems that I am cursed only to interact with things that are inherently gross looking. This whole ghost thing is kind of inconvenient. Each of the letters has stains of something I don’t want to know. The first one reads: 

“My dearest: I watch you from afar. Your hair is a blazing sun and your eyes are made from the purest stones. Your voice in the shower is as sweet as a confused duck. You dance like a giraffe on new legs.  I know that if we were to meet you would allow me to kiss and touch you.”

I stopped reading at that line because whoever wrote this has read too many trashy love novels. The rest of the box was almost all love notes expect one. There was a quote that I surprisingly recognized to be from Shakespeare:

Death lies on her like an untimely frost

Upon the sweetest flower of all the field.

What does this even mean? That she’s pretty even when dead? What’s this supposed to be, a reference to Dracula? I put the notes and quote back onto my desk and float back into the main room where the police officers debriefed my friend. 

“We, unfortunately, can’t find any signs of a break in nor any evidence that someone had ill intent. We will have someone run an autopsy to help open this case wide open,” they say.

I can feel my eyes roll out of my head. Where is my Sherlock when I need him?

All three leave my house, leaving me alone to actually find clues. I look around my kitchen and notice that my favorite mug is missing from the sink, which is a shame because it wasn’t cheap. My toothbrush is also missing, along with a pair of socks. I can’t blame the police for missing the small things, but also how could they miss the broken window in “THE room”? I’m glad I’m dead because I’m afraid I would’ve drowned trying to swim across the room. The window is a small 2 ft by 3 ft and I can barely slip through it normally. When I peek outside, the bushes look crushed with a small trail of leaves leading “Into the UNKNOWN.. .INTO THE UNKNOWWWN…”

Gosh dang it, that song likes to creep into my mind at all moments. Sigh….. you get the point. There is a trail for me to follow that, fingers crossed, doesn’t lead to a witch in the woods. 

Blah blah I follow the leaves, nothing really important. What do you want, all the details? Go read an Agatha Christie book. I’m not here for your entertainment. 

After some snooping around I finally have discovered who the murderer is. What do you mean “slow my roll”? I’m bored telling the whole story; I’m skipping to the exciting parts. Fine! You’re sick, I’ll humor you. 

Basically the leaves bring me to this apartment that is pretty poor looking. Because I’m a ghost I cheat my way around the whole locked door thing. The apartment looks like no one lives here: filled with nick nacks and clean enough to see my reflection. The bedroom is filled with photos of someone I’d hoped to never see again; one who still haunts my nightmares and apparently my afterlife. Me. My face. My hair. My eyes. This is a shrine to me and I hate it with all my being. I’m not an idol nor BTS, so I do not understand the obsession. 

I find my favorite mug. How dare they defile my favorite thing. Looking around the apartment, I find one photo. One photo that isn’t me……… a photo of….of….of…. I’m building some pointless tension…..a photo that is….a dog. I’m putting this dog down as my main suspect. I know the eyes of this lab look innocent, but I can’t leave anything out of the picture. I scourge the rest of the apartment to find more of my things. I feel dirty just walking around here. If you guys have some bleach, please share.  

To my luck the apartment only has a few pieces of mail that weren’t mine.  One is addressed to a Mr. Zachary Creepypants. Very fitting. I feel no remorse going through this letter. It’s only even. 

“Dear Zachary: We regret to inform you but you are being charged with arrest for a list of crimes stated down below: larceny, breaking into private property, disobeying a restraining order and assault.Please go to the courtroom on May 19, 2021, for your trial. If you fail to show up we will assume you are guilty and we will send officers to detain you.”

May 19 was last Saturday. The day I bit the grave. I think you are going to have to revise that list and add murder. 

I found an unfinished letter Zach wrote addressed to Elizabeth on St. Neptune Lane. It’s not much but it’s a possible clue. 

The beach is quiet and deserted, with a billion footprints leading in all directions. I do see dog prints, which I believe belong to that lab. He is my main suspect after all. They lead me to a dead end, so it’s my job to find out why. Did the dog get picked up? Did the dog learn how to climb steep rocks? Or possibly (my favorite theory) the dog used his ears as wings like Dumbo. 

With no real clues or leads left, I decide to sit staring into the ocean asking the real questions. Will my hair get wet? How deep can I go? Can I swim as a ghost? What?! This is how I cope with things. Distraction is an amazing tool. You should try. 

Fine, I’ll get up and look around. Why do I have to do all the hard work? You’re so needy. 

The main thing I’ve been dismissing as a stupid clue is the trees. They have cuts running all along the side, with the top all messed up. At the top of a tree which I personally don’t like, there was a mess of coconuts and a poorly done camp, which fits my idea of how Zach or the dog lived their lives.

I don’t have to go far from the camp to find a man that looks grizzly and unkept. “Hi, my precious!” he says, looking at me. He blows me a kiss. 

“Mr. Creepshow?” I say as a whisper to myself. 

He nods. If I were to guess, I’d say he can see and hear me. Is it another rule to be a ghost that whoever killed you can interact with you so that you can haunt them?  

“Did you kill me?” I could feel the question slip out.

“Yes,” says the murderer, looking at me in the eyes with an awful smile, sending chills down my spine. 

“Why did you do it!?” I ask.

 “I wanted to make sure that no one got you. You are a flower never to be picked, he replies.

 Man, I really wish I was deaf just so I didn’t have to hear that. 

“Well I think that’s stupid!” I say. 

Impressive right? I had to pull really deep down to find that soul wrenching line.

“I’m not stupid. I was doing it for you,” he says.

“You murdered me for me? Um, that sounds pretty dumb,” I say.

“Yes, trust me it was for your good. You won’t ever be hurt by a man who can never love you. You will forever be perfect and beautiful. If you live, you age. Isn’t this better?” he says, reaching out to me with a needy look. “Please, let me hold you, my dearest.” 

“No, you can’t touch me. You, in fact, have no right to even speak to me. You are deranged and messed up. I hope that you can get some mental help!” I yell. 

“I…I….,” he looks mortified, like I crushed his world, which I think is brilliant. 

I don’t know if he got arrested because I said what I needed to say and I had some kind of peace. 

-The End

“Wait,” you’re asking, “that’s the conclusion? That’s where you’re leaving it?”

 Um, yeah. I’m not going to tie it in a nice little bow. That’s so cliche. You go do your own research and decide if the police got the guy. 

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