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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

“In Memory Lies Truth” Mystery Writing


I regain consciousness in the back of a moving car. My head feels fuzzy, and my vision is blurry. I don’t know how long my consciousness lapsed. There’s a 90% chance I am in a taxi cab and a 50% chance I am here at my own will. At least, I have no memory of being kidnapped. 

I bang on the cab window in front of me and it opens. “Where-re am I going-a.” I can barely form words. I wonder if I’m drunk. 

“518 Dellon Street,” he says in a rude and condescending tone. I am definitely in a taxi cab.  

“Right, sure, good,” I reply. The driver closes the window and I slump back into my seat. I have to clear my head. I don’t like this feeling; maybe I’ve been drugged. I lack all memories of recent history. It looks like mid-afternoon outside, and the last thing I remember was leaving work during what was hopefully yesterday afternoon. It would be really embarrassing if I were to black out for longer than that.    

“We’re here. That will be $15 dollars.” the driver yells back at me. I press my face against the window. 518 Dellon Street is a stunning home; It is a modern home, not more than 10 years old. The facade is made of gray and red metal and is built right on a cliff edge. On a clear day, you can view New York City. The house would cost a fortune if bought now. Its owner, Loux, was lucky enough to buy it from some dumb millennials during the housing crisis. I don’t think he paid more than $50,000 for it.  Loux has told us that if he ever dies he would leave it to one of his friends; he always has hated his family.  I would love to live here.  

“Get out,” the driver yells. I guess the car has stopped. I open the door and attempt to get out of the car, hoping to find firm footing. My legs are dead, but I manage to stay standing. At the same time I arrive, so do others. 

Now I remember why I’m here. My friends and I  from college are having a dinner party. It was planned months ago. All of my friends are the pretentious intellectual types so I better sober up fast.  

“Penelope.” I recognize the voice calling my name.

“Sherry. It’s lovely to see you,” I say managing to string all of my words together coherently. 

“It’s been ages,” Sherry replies. It hasn’t, but she says that every time I see her. I think she perceives time differently than I do. 

“Joaquin, LaMarcus,” Sherry says as she runs over and gives them a hug. Sherry is the type of person who is always excited to see everybody. 

“Penelope,” Joaquin says in his normal suave voice.

“Hi.” I go in for a handshake, but it ends up turning into a hug. I hate when that happens.

“I love the shirt LaMarcus,” I say. He always has the most interesting clothing.

“Thank you. I bought it in China,” he replies. That’s another thing about LaMarcus. He’s always traveling somewhere.

“I’m surprised Loux hasn’t come out to see us yet. Usually, he can’t wait for us to arrive,” Sherry says.

“Maybe he is tired of watching us do our greeting charade,” I reply. 

“You know you love it,” Joaquin snaps.

“Well, let’s go in then. Loux isn’t the type of person to lock the door,” LaMarcus says.

“How would you know that,” Joaquin says.

“He just gives off that vibe,” LaMarcus replies hastily. 

We all walk up the long staircase to the front door. The area between the car park and the porch is well-landscaped with lots of fragrant small pines, and shrubs. Loux never puts any flowers out though. 

“You were right,” Sherry says towards LaMarcus as she opens the door. As we all walk inside everyone takes note of the spectacular surroundings. The house is even more beautiful on the inside. The decor is at least half glass and all stunning. Everything is well-placed and meticulously oriented. Loux is definitely the best interior decorator I know. 

“Loux,” Joaquin says. Everyone starts to disperse in different directions looking for him. I don’t move. One, I am exhausted from climbing those stairs. I still have no idea what happened to me before I got here. Also, I just can’t stop admiring the decor of the entryway.

“Ahh! Oh no!” I hear Sherry scream from in the living room. Immediately my eyes dart toward the door; I’m not sure why? However, my body takes a different turn and moves into the living where Sherry’s scream came from. Within seconds, Joaquin and LaMarcus joined me. When we get there, we all stare at the exact same thing: the corpse of Loux, bloodied and disheveled, laid out for us on the living room floor.

For a moment, it is silent; everyone needs time to take in what they have seen. 

“I can’t believe what I am seeing,” Joaquin says.

“Who could have done this,” LaMarcus follows up. 

“He has no other contacts. He doesn’t know anyone else,” Sherry says barely able to hold back tears.

“You not saying what I think you’re saying?” I inquire.

“I mean, what else could have happened?” she replies. As soon as she says that everyone in the room takes a few steps back from each other.

“That idea is madness. None of us would have done this. We have only been here for 2 minutes. It was probably just a robbery gone wrong,” LaMarcus says.

“I don’t think so,” Joaquin quips in a terrified voice. “Look at the table.” On the table, there is a shattered bottle covered in blood. The shards of glass that broke off it are easily visible in a sporadic fashion surrounding Loux’s corpse.

“ I think we are all being a little too presumptuous,” I say. You could cut the tension in the air with a knife. “I think we should just call the police, and everything will end up okay.”

“What do you mean okay? Loux has been murdered. How is any bit of that okay?” Sherry yells.

“I’m not saying it is, I am just saying we shouldn’t jump to any unfound conclusions,” I say trying to sound as calm as possible. After I am done fuming on the inside over Sherry’s willingness to think one of us murdered Loux, I notice LaMarcus has re-entered the room. I hadn’t even noticed he had left.

“The police can’t be here for 30 minutes. There was an empty car in the middle of the road at the bottom of the hill, and some cars crashed into it. Apparently, it’s blocking the road,” LaMarcus says.

“I remember that car driving up. Drivers these days,” Sherry says in her normal “I want to sound older and wiser than I am” tone.

“So who did it?” Joaquin says plainly. “I mean. I think we all agree by now it’s somebody.” 

“I say it was Penelope. I mean she does really want the house,” Sherry quips. 

“What? You are insane. I think it was none of us. Doesn’t he have maids that clean this place? I mean I don’t know, one of them could be psycho,” I reply.

“I think we need to examine the evidence provided. He was killed with a tequila bottle, and which one of us is the most likely to drink tequila?” As LaMarcus says that all eyes point toward me.   

“Okay, really. I mean, yes, sure I handle my alcohol pretty well, but I think you’re being a little prejudiced,” I say. “If we’re playing the blame game, then I think it was Sherry. She was the one to find him dead.”

“That means nothing,” she replies with a smirk.

“Actually, that means everything. It’s always the person who finds them dead.” I say back in my snarkiest tone possible. 

“This isn’t a murder mystery novel,” Sherry yells in my direction, sending projectile balls of spit into my face. 

“It’s always a murder mystery novel,” I yell trying to be even louder than Sherry.

“What does that even mean,” she yells. At this point, I think we are just trying to out-yell each other.

“I have no idea,” I yell at an ear-drum-bursting level.   

“Could you guys just be quiet? I need to think,” Joaquin yells at us. Everyone goes silent. Joaquin is not the type of person who ever allows higher-level decibels to come out of his mouth. We know that when he yells, it is time to stop talking. 

“Take a look at the bottle. The top is off. Someone drank it before they used it to murder Loux,” Joaquin says. “I don’t see any stains around the body, or on the table which probably means they drank the whole bottle beforehand.”

“That would have killed them,” Sherry says. 

“I mean, if they drank it fast enough they wouldn’t have felt the effects for at least 15 minutes maybe even 30 minutes,” LaMarcus says. I can feel my forehead starting to sweat. I brush them off. I really hope I am not going to have a hot flash. 

“The question is why would they do that? Who would think it was a smart idea to drink an entire bottle of tequila and then murder someone before they lost consciousness? How would they even getaway? And of course, why would they kill Loux?” I ask. At this point, I am really struggling to follow their logic. Whatever I was doing before I arrived really took a toll on my mental capacity. 

“What if they didn’t have to leave?” Joaquin asks. “They could have made it outside and then just got in a car. And also, what does Loux have we all want? This house. Somebody would totally kill over this house. The only question left is why they would intoxicate themselves before they killed somebody?” 

“I don’t know. Maybe it was just a bout of rage. People do crazy things when they are drunk,” I say.

“I think it was more than that. Drinking an entire bottle is not something any when does for fun. There would have to be some sort of intent behind it,” La Marcus says. No one talks for a while. We all turn our heads to look at some object in the room. The police will be here soon. My friends like to think they are smarter than they are. They would like to think solving a murder is something they can do, but the evidence is not there, or at least I don’t see it. 

After about 3 minutes of silence, the most prolonged bout all day, Joaquin finally says something. “We should go wait outside. I think we are all in shock.”

“Ya, maybe. That sounds good,” says LaMarcus. In single-file fashion we all walk out of the living room and exit the house. The mid-afternoon sun is shining brightly, and I can tell the day is going to be quite hot.

“I’m going to need a ride home. I think I took a cab here,” I say.

“What do you mean you think?” LaMarcus inquires.

“I mean I took a cab here,” I reply. After I say that, no one replies. The feelings are coming on now. My head is cleared, and the fact that Loux dead seems to have taken root in my brain. I can tell by the faces of my companions that the same is true for them as well. Nothing will ever be the same again. 

As we reach the driveway, our group starts to disperse. We all walk in different directions, even though none of us really are going anywhere. We are just walking to avoid thinking. The police will do the thinking for us when they arrive. 

I stand at the edge of the driveway, when I hear Sherry from behind me. “Wait, guys. Penelope, you stumbled when you got out of the car. Why?”

I turn in her direction and see the other 2 staring right at me. “I don’t know. I had just woken up.”

“I didn’t recognize the car you came in,” Joaquin says.

“Your right,” LaMarcus says to Joaquin. “You didn’t drive here. I saw the side of the cab. It was from Westfield. That’s like an hour and a half from your home.”

“Where were you before you got here?” Sherry asks.

“I was-as, I was at home,” I reply.

“No, you weren’t,” Joaquin says. “I called your home phone this morning asking if you needed a ride to Loux’s and you didn’t respond.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” I reply.

“Okay, then where were you?” LaMarcus asks.

“I-I don’t know. Okay! But, I didn’t do it. I know I have a problem, but I think I would remember if I committed murder.” I say. After that, no one talks. They just stare at me. In my body, pure terror flows through my bones. I did really want that house. But, I am not insane. I just wish I could remember what happened after I left the house this morning. The last memory I have is getting out of the car on the side of the road. I desperately need to fill in that gap. 

I try to hold a gaze with them, but I can’t stop my eyes from filling with tears. I collapse on the ground. “I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do it.” I start repeating it over and over again, but eventually, the crying drowns out the sound of my voice. My friends continue to stare at me, and the crying mess collapsed on the driveway.

I don’t know what to do. I wish I could just end it all here and now. I wish I could just make all of my problems go away. I can now hear the sirens of police cars in the background. Maybe I will get lucky and they won’t see me when they pull into the driveway. 

I know that won’t happen. I will always be able to deny that I was involved no matter how unlikely the truth of that statement is. Deep down inside me the truth is there, but right now I am in no mood for digging. 

 I look back up and my friends are still staring right at me. Then I notice the balcony on the second floor of the house. The furniture on it is beautiful. Loux was an awesome decorator. 

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