It is mine. A gracious jewel it is and something which I hold with a proverbial amount of gentleness. My eyes are transfixed upon what I hold in my own two hands and dare I say I am aroused by its dazzling light.
I must admit however, it was not a difficult task to pull off. I was expecting some form of confrontation to deceive my progress and hinder my plans.
The only issue I face now is the ability to sell the jewel. Too soon would prove it a tremendously strenuous job to accomplish due to the heat of the recent crime I have committed. Too late and the value of the jewel may begin to drop. It was a moment I had to choose with extreme caution and waiting for the ripe opportunity was no easy matter.
This was only the first part in my plan to bring down those that condemn us to war and violence. The year is 1854. The current date is the 26th September. The Crimean war has been going for roughly a year now and I have witnessed too much bloodshed for one lifetime. A lot of us have. And what do we come back to? For sacrificing our lives and livelihoods? You would expect a heros return, a glorious and most elevating sense of accomplishment whilst being bewildered with flowers and showered with gifts. All servicemen should receive should praises.
Upon my return however, I am threw to the side of the curb like common street trash. Treat like a dog. Looked upon like an old pile of faeces. The Crimean war still rages on, the battle of Alma was a brutal one. So many gave their lives for what most of us believe is a lost cause.
It wasn’t long until my cab pulled up outside of Southampton castle, along with the luxurious neigh it gave and a few quick stamps of its hooves, the horse halted. I threw a couple silvers to the driver and hopped out.
The castle had high yellow-brick walls that seemed so tall they possessed a subtle illusion that they were about to fall down. The sky was a gentle grey but it battled with the dozens of hazy torches that were dotted along the walk way near the merlons. A couple of towers could be seen further down the wall to my left and right; directly in front of me was an opening in the wall that led to the main infrastructure. As I approached the gate, I was greeted by 3 men: constable Blake whom I had recently become quite attached to, detective Murdoc who had quite the opposite effect on me, and whom I assumed was the manager of the establishment.
Detective Murdoc gave me a snarl and a frantic stare. I knew deep down that his provocatively antagonistic nature was bound to me and the fact he knew, too, that I was far superior to him in terms of the mind.
I shook the hand of constable Blake as he introduced me to the manager.
The manager was a tall and thin man; his jaw so sharp it could cut you if you got too close. He was extremely pale and nervous-looking. His hands were a tad darker than the rest of his skin but his eyes were bleached and bloodied. He wore black trousers that were, and I must admit, very well kept. His waistcoat was red with black lapels and faded golden buttons. His voice, as expected, was quite high and shaken.
“Oh I tell you detective, my boss is gonna ‘av my head for this bleeding catastrophe!” He said in a frenzy. I shook his hand too but soon became aware of how much this man was perspiring. After immediately wiping my hands clean with my handkerchief, I began to ask him a few questions.
“Do you mind telling me what happened here?” I asked.
“Well…surely you know? The bleeding news is everywhere” he replied.
“I understand. Though, to gain a true understanding of events one must acquire all its perspectives. So please, relay to me the series of events in which you discovered the jewel had gone missing.”
He wiped his hands some more and brushed back his hair.
“We very rarely ‘av visitors and when we do like, its under strict supervision! I woke up this morning, ‘ad my brekky and all of that good stuff. I soon made my way to the castle; I work mornings usually. When I got here, everyone was in a panic. I was told by one of the guards that the green jewel had been stolen. I shat mysen I did! I didn’t know what to do until one of the guards recommended, I call the council for help. I guess that’s why you’re here now sir.”
“I see. Last night, surrounding the jewel, how many guards were stationed to protect it?”
“Four. Always four. There are dozens surrounding the outside of the castle you see, but only four surround the jewel.”
“And is it always the same four men whom guard this item?”
“I would like to speak to these guards in due time. For now though, please take me to the scene of the crime if you will.”
With a nod and a nervous smile, I was soon lead inside of the castle. The immense and perplexing beauty of the infrastructure and its decorative nature, subdued me. The walls were of both marble and stone, with paintings and artifacts in between each pillar.
Within a couple of minutes, I had arrived at the scene of the crime.
“Now gentleman, watch this young but brilliant detective work. A few minutes of utter silence, please” I said.
I spent a few minutes examining the scene and returned my findings to the 3 waiting beside me.
“Well, sir?” Blake asked in a obvious tone of excitement which I found refreshing.
“The individual you’re looking for is rather heavy, at least 165 pounds, and is very knowledgeable in first aid, has a beard and will have a cut on their left arm.”
Detective Murdoc let out a bellowing cry and flung his arms in the air like a disappointed child.
“Oh, come off it! Do not try and act so high and mighty, boy! I swear you make this up as you go along!” He said to me in a fit of anger.
“I would worry less about my intellectual powers and more about the fact your wife wants to leave you” I replied. He soon began to question as to how I knew.
“Your trousers aren’t pressed. Your ring is missing, you’ve been arguing recently, and in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a note that’s been slipped into your coat pocket. Now hush, fool!”
Murdoc began reading the note alone whilst I turned my attention to the manager and Blake.
“The pieces are all here. Let me explain. The man would have been accustomed to staying hidden; hiding in the shadows. The glass is broken from the inside as the shards lay on the grass outside. So somehow, he would have already been inside when the place closed for the day. Around the window, both on the sill and the floor, there are a few drops of blood. So, we know he was cut, but how do we know it was his left arm? I may draw your attention to the pedestal which the jewel formerly laid upon. There isn’t much dust but, from what little there is, it has only been disturbed on the right side with subtle hints of finger marks. We now know the criminal picked up the jewel with his more dominant hand, his right, and so would have used his only free arm to break the window which caused the bleeding, his left. Just outside the window are footprints in the soil. It was not raining so to cause such noticeable footprints the individual would have to be relatively heavy; at a rough estimate I’d say a minimum of 165 pounds. The cut from the broken glass would have been quite deep and yet, the bleeding stops only a few metres away from the window. This shows his skill at dressing a wound. And finally, the beard. I found a singular hair at the pedestal. Too short and too curly and too thick to be head hair. Now, does that all make sense?”
“I do believe this is the second case I have accompanied you on sir an’ I still don’t believe how you come to such conclusions!” Cried Blake in astonishment.
I attempted to hide my smile of pride but to no avail.
“Well,” I said as I took one last quick glance around the room. “I am off for some tea! I bid you both good day and I will return promptly!”