The unconscious… or dead, bodies laid around me unmoving.
I held my breath in fear that I would soon permanently lose consciousness… but that time never came.
After recovering from the shock, I immediately rushed towards Mary and grabbed her wrist. She had laid her head down gently, so she couldn’t have any external injuries. I carefully placed my index and middle finger under her thumb. Then, I held my breath.
A gentle pulse of life could be felt rushing through her body, hurrying tirelessly to keep her alive.
I breathed a sigh of relief, but it wasn’t over yet. She still may be in danger and everyone else may be too. Carefully and respectfully, I put my arms around Mary’s back and picked her up off of her chair. She was surprisingly light for her height. I laid her down on her side a little ways away from the table.
After feeling comfortable with her position, I made my way to Amelia. Following the same procedure, I confirmed her pulse before laying her next to Mary.
I sighed again in relief, ‘Whatever happened to everyone wasn’t fatal.’
With newfound confidence, I laid everyone else in the line with Mary. I paid extra care to make sure Lilah didn’t have external injuries due to her fall, but she seemed alright for the most part. If she had landed in an unfortunate position, she could have died. Even if the poison itself wasn’t lethal, the fall certainly had the potential to be.
One by one I carried everyone on my back up the elevator and into their rooms.
It seemed that I had plenty of time while they were asleep, so I bided my time caring for them properly.
I had noticed a mark on Amelia’s forehead, surely from slamming her head into the table, so I wrapped up an ice pack in a towel for her head. I placed it on for her while she was asleep.
Alex took a pretty bad fall too, so I checked to see if he had any injuries but he seemed fine.
Lilah, on the other hand, had taken such a bad fall that she was sure to have gotten hurt. It felt weird to check her for injuries the same way I had Alex, so despite her fall being worse I limited myself to just her arms, hands, and feet. She looked fine at first glance but it became obvious that she had twisted her ankle. To avoid swelling I searched the house for gauze, which I eventually found in the bathroom, and properly wrapped up her ankle. I then made another ice pack wrap and applied it to the injury. Finally, I propped her foot up on the edge of the bed to help with swelling.
Marcus and Mary didn’t have any sort of fall when they passed out so I left them to rest.
Normally I wouldn’t have expected to have the knowledge necessary to do something like check someone for injuries and wrap a twisted ankle, and although it’s not very hard, I have my memory to thank for knowing first aid.
Everyone may have still been poisoned and simply wouldn’t die until later, but there was no way for me to figure that out on the island. There were no police to find fingerprints and no labs to test for poison. Additionally, without knowing what poisoned them, trying to cure them would be dangerous.
After making sure the current situation was as safe as possible, I was left to think. I sat in thought on a chair that I pulled into Mary’s room.
‘How were we poisoned? I know it wasn’t me, so either the murderer poisoned themselves along with everyone else, or there is another person on this island after all. Although, if there was another person on the island, they had to have poisoned the food before we even started making it. Another thing is that I ate the food and drank the cocktails too. So the poison couldn’t have been in the food or drinks anyway… For that matter, why poison everyone in the first place? It’s probably not even lethal. Was the attack pointless?’
That was as far as I got with my attempt at figuring out this mystery. I’m not a genius, or even that intelligent, so I didn’t get far with my thoughts. All I knew were the facts that had come from my memories. Yet, I wasn’t able to draw a conclusion from them.
To be fair though, I wasn’t in much of a hurry and I didn’t struggle with my thoughts. As soon as I felt lost I simply gave up in hopes that Mary could have figured it out for me. So there’s still a chance.
I felt a gentle tug on my sleeve, stirring me from my thoughts. Mary looked up at me with sweet, tired eyes and spoke in a kind, happy voice. One that was relieved and happy to be alive.
‘Is it over?’ She asked.
Even though she spoke with a clear voice, I couldn’t understand the question she was trying to ask, ‘Is what over?’
‘Sorry… I’m dizzy,’ Mary mumbled as she pulled herself up using my arm. Now sitting, she placed her hand on her face and groaned. ‘What… happened?’
‘It seems like we were all poisoned. Although, I wasn’t for some reason,’ As I spoke Mary raised a brow, but then shrugged it off. ‘Everyone else is in their rooms. They’ll probably be waking up soon. Are you able to get up?’
‘Yeah… I’m fine,’ She pushed herself out of bed slowly and carefully. She didn’t seem like herself just yet.
‘Let’s check on the others.’
Together we made our way to Lilah’s room. She was still asleep.
We turned around quietly so as not to wake her, ‘I guess she’s not up yet. We’ll have to try someone el-’
I was cut off by a chuckle coming from the bed, ‘That was a lie.’
Lilah flung herself out of bed as chipper as ever, only to wince in pain as she landed on her injured ankle.
‘Take it easy. You took a nasty fall. Try to stay off of that foot for a while,’ I gave her a thumbs up reassuringly. ‘How long have you been up?’
‘Not long,’ She hopped on one foot beside us. ‘After I woke up, I was still tired so I just laid there.’
‘Well then come with us, we need to check if everyone else is alright. It seems that we were poisoned,’ Mary looked worried that there would be another victim.
‘Don’t worry,’ I patted her shoulder. ‘Everyone is fine. The poison probably isn’t lethal.’
‘… probably?’ She repeated.
‘Well, let’s get going!’
Our exchange prompted a laugh from Lilah who, despite being on one leg, led our walk to the next room. Or in her case, hop.
Several minutes passed before Alex finally awoke. Lilah notified us as soon as it happened. Mary and I simply talked in the hallway waiting for someone else to get up while Lilah waited in Alex’s room. The two of them must’ve gotten close when I wasn’t paying attention.
‘We were poisoned!?’ Alex couldn’t control his voice from the shock.
‘Did you forget?’ I asked. ‘You were the one who said it first, right as you went down.’
He placed his hand on his face and sighed, ‘No… I can’t seem to recall moments before I fell. They’re so hazy.’
‘Yeah,’ Mary confirmed. ‘It’s the same for me.’
‘Me too,’ Added Lilah.
Alex took a deep breath before looking up with irritation, ‘This has gone on long enough. We need to hold a trial and either lock up or kill whoever is doing this. I’m starting to worry about my own future here.’
‘I figured it would come to that,’ Mary folded her arms.
‘Alright, let’s wait in the hall for Amelia and Marcus to wake up. After everyone is ready we can begin the trial,’ I said.
Amelia woke up almost fifteen minutes later. She stumbled out of her room and held her hand on her head in pain. We recapped her on the recent events, but she seemed much more worried than everyone else and grew silent quickly. Then, we all decided to wait in Marcus’ room to be there as soon as he got up.
We sat in Marcus’ room for almost an hour. As each minute passed we grew more and more worried.
‘Just to confirm, Daniel,’ Alex started. ‘You did check to make sure he was alive, right?’
‘Of cour-’ I stopped myself. ‘… I stopped checking pulses after the first two.’
‘Tch,’ He replied in disapproval.
Everyone sat silently for several moments almost as if to say, ‘Who’s going to check?’
Seeing the discomfort on Amelia’s face, I stood up and made my way to Marcus’ bedside. Slowly and carefully I reached out my hand to grab his wrist. The first thing I felt was the cold chill of his skin.
‘No way…’ I couldn’t keep the surprise off of my face. ‘The poison wasn’t pointless after all.’
I swiftly placed my index finger under his thumb to make it certain, but there was no pulse. I removed my finger and pressed it in several different spots to prove to myself that it wasn’t true, but it was far too late.
Amelia turned pale and darted out of the room, into the hallway bathroom. The news would make most people sick.
Mary looked down at the ground and Alex gritted his teeth.
Lilah sighed and bounced out of the room on one foot, ‘I’ll get Amelia. You all head to the cafeteria.’
Following her commands silently, we all went straight to the diner. To think, we would all take commands from even Lilah, the smallest and most untrustworthy out of all of us, without a word because of the sheer tension in the atmosphere.
Everyone sat in the cafeteria, waiting for Amelia and Lilah to return. Nobody spoke a word until they arrived.
They came back several minutes later. Lilah had her arm over Amelia’s shoulder like she was giving her reassurance, but at the same time she used it as a support.
As soon as they took their seats, Alex started us off, ‘Marcus died with no external injuries. He was almost certainly poisoned. We were all poisoned as well. One of us has to be the culprit.’
‘B-but!’ Amelia cut in. ‘What if there was someone else on this island?’
‘Impossible,’ Mary replied. ‘That would only make sense if that person was able to hide from everyone. The odds of them being able to sneak around and commit crimes without anyone noticing is absurd. For instance, when the murderer broke Marcus’ lock they would have had to have done it without passing anyone in the hallways. We know for certain that that crime was committed during the day too, as it was to remove the lock for nighttime.’
Amelia stared at the table in silence, not wanting to believe that one of us was the killer.
‘The poison must have been ingested by us,’ Lilah said. ‘It had to have been at the party because we hadn’t eaten anything else that day. Alex and I didn’t cook, so it couldn’t have been us.’
Alex reiterated, ‘Our suspects for the poisoning must be Mary, Daniel, and Amelia.’
‘Don’t forget Marcus!’ She chuckled.
‘I suppose the possibility is there, but I doubt it,’ Mary said.
We all thought in silence for several moments, not knowing where to continue.
‘Here’s a good question to start with,’ Alex began. ‘How did the murderer not kill us, and themselves? In other words, how did we all eat the same food, but only Marcus died?’
‘That mystery may be the key to solving this,’ Mary said.
‘What if the poison only kills old people?’ Lilah laughed. ‘Or maybe it conflicted with whatever meds he was taking.’
Her nonchalant attitude made Mary slam her hands against the table, ‘Now’s not the time for jokes!’
Alex sighed, ‘Her laughing isn’t a big deal. She had a good point. The poison might have been the same for everyone but simply affected him differently.’
‘So the murderer would have to know what meds he was taking or what would kill an old person?’ Lilah sneered. ‘Doesn’t one of us have some kind of medicine degree?’
All eyes turned to Mary. Her look of anger turned to shock. ‘M-me? Just because I know a little about medicine…’
‘Way to humble yourself,’ Lilah laughed. ‘You’re called the “genius girl” for a reason. These murder plots have been far too good to have come from just anyone. You were one of the people making the food, too.’
Mary didn’t seem to have a rebuttal. She sat silently in deep thought, thinking of a way to get out of this situation.
‘You shouldn’t assume it was her just for that!’ I stood up. ‘Whoever is doing this was clearly targeting Marcus. Anyone can put together a perfect murder plot if it’s for the sake of revenge. They had plenty of time to prepare so I don’t think just being smart means it was her.’
‘So you’re saying it was Amelia then?’ Lilah laughed. Amelia immediately looked up with tears in her eyes. Everything was simply too much for her. ‘Or, if not her, are you saying it was you?’
‘W-well…’ I was at a loss for words.
‘Maybe it’s somehow possible for someone not in the kitchen to have done it…? No… or maybe?’
Amelia looked shocked for a moment and then the tears in her eyes began to flow. She wiped them immediately and looked back down at the table.
‘Amelia, you looked like you had something to say,’ Alex pointed out.
‘No… it was nothing,’ Her eyes darted around before she wiped more tears.
‘These people aren’t your friends!’ Alex yelled. ‘They killed people! One of us is a murderer! You have to say what’s on your mind!’
Amelia stared me in the eyes as more tears poured out. Then she looked at the table and mumbled, ‘Someone could have given Marcus a different poison after he passed out…’
‘Is she saying…?’
‘Oh!’ Lilah smiled. ‘That’s brilliant! The murderer had to be awake for the kill!’
‘N-no!’ I raised my voice instinctually. ‘Why wouldn’t the murderer have just poisoned themselves after so that they woke up with everyone else? That would have been flawless!’
‘While the first murder could have been done by anyone, this crime only has one possible suspect.’
‘Not necessarily,’ Alex cut in.
He continued, ‘Drugging yourself is a dangerous game. They may have been too scared. Not to mention, if their grudge was with Marcus then they may have wanted to check on everyone else to make sure they were alright. After killing Marcus, they made sure their friends were okay, and in doing so the bodies were moved or patched up. If everyone sees that they were helped by someone then they would be more inclined to trust them. But that might have backfired. Alternatively, the murderer could have made themselves obvious, but not certain, to a degree at which you wouldn’t believe they’d make such a simple mistake.’
‘There’s still no evidence!’ I pleaded.
Amelia continued to cry into her arms while everyone else looked at me. Mary looked at me with a mixture of emotions: pity, confusion, anticipation. Alex looked at me with contempt, already having made up his mind. Lilah just sneered at me, getting as much entertainment as she could.
Lilah snickered, ‘Only one person had the capability to commit this crime. Whether it was a well thought out crime is another story. Right now, only one of us could have done it.’
I stared at the people I felt I could call friends, Mary and Amelia. I looked to them desperately for them to come to my defense. I prayed that they would have some miracle evidence to disprove the allegations. In a final attempt I stuttered, ‘T-there has to be another way! Someone else could have done it! It-it must have conflicted with his medications somehow!’
‘How’s this?’ Proposed Alex with a sigh. ‘We don’t know who it is for sure, so let’s think about it tonight. We’ll lock up the potential suspects for the rest of the day to make sure they don’t do anything. Tomorrow, we’ll decide who it was and then we’ll punish them.’
‘P-punish?’ Amelia stuttered. ‘Do we have to? We could just wait for the police to show up-’
Alex elaborated, ‘The murderer needs punished now! They don’t have to die, but we need to do something. When the police show up there may not be enough evidence to prove the murderer did it. So we need to take this into our own hands.’
I sighed and sat back down helplessly, ‘One last thing before I get locked up. Let’s bury Marcus next to William. Over the last few days I grew a new respect for him. He did something that I couldn’t.’
Alex gave me a funny look but replied, ‘Very well. I’ll come with you to relocate his body. Everyone else, go wait in the garden.’
Nobody argued, simply and wordlessly obeying.
We wrapped Marcus up in a blanket and carried him carefully into the garden. The world was incredibly somber, despite it being a cloudless day. The chirping of insects and the rustle of trees continued as usual despite the death of someone I admired. It was as if none of it ever mattered. The world continued on despite the scared, scarred faces of traumatized kids.
Amelia couldn’t even look as we dug the hole for Marcus to lie in. Alex and I found shovels in William’s closet full of gardening supplies. It took us a little over an hour to get an adequate hole dug, but we placed Marcus, still wrapped in a blanket, into the hole. We dug right beside the fountain, next to a small stone and flower that Marcus had placed on top of loose soil, where he had once buried William.
Together, we slowly walked to our rooms. The moments dragged on and each step felt like minutes of silence. A part of me couldn’t get over my anxiety for the future and my discomfort in the present. A feeling that had been so prominent in my life that it stirred something within me.
Eventually, the time came.
‘See you guys later,’ I waved sadly to Amelia and Mary.
Mary waved back, but Amelia couldn’t even look at me. She was undoubtedly guilt-ridden from throwing me under the bus. From her perspective, I probably did seem like the most probable suspect. I could at least hope that her tears were because she felt like she betrayed me, rather than because she felt betrayed.
The story wasn’t over yet.
‘See you,’Alex said as he shut my door behind me and proceeded to screw on a second lock on the outside of the door.
I was alone.
I threw myself onto my bed and wracked my brain for answers.
‘How was it all possible? How was the last murder committed? Why was I left awake? Why didn’t the murderer just put us all to sleep and then kill Marcus, followed by putting themselves to sleep?’
I was swiftly sidetracked by the thought of Marcus and William disappearing like Rose.
‘Rose… If only she were here right now. What would she say? Maybe something like-’
‘“You can do it. I believe in you.”’
‘But, what do you believe in me to do?’
‘“You need to protect the present that you’re living in and secure your future! So, solve it. Solve the mystery. Clear your name! You can do it! It’s something that only you can do. You have to look it over again. You have the catalog of events in your head. Your memories are the key to solving this mystery!”’
‘That’s it… That’s it! I’ll look it all over one more time. No… perhaps that won’t be enough. I’ll replay the events in my head until I finally solve the mystery. If it’s in a memory then I can look over them much faster than they took place. I should be able to recap this story many times before tomorrow. I may not invest emotion into this world, but for the sake of the past that I hold so dearly… For Rose. I’ll try again! I’ll “reread” this “story” one more time. All of the clues are there for me to solve it. So, I’ll try again.’
‘And again.’” I think to myself, waking up from the memory once more.
“I finally understand…” I can’t help but mumble to myself with a grimace. “All I have to do now is interrogate that person at the trial. They hold the final answer.”