'What are you doing?' 'Making muffins,' said Anka. 'Ooh,' said Lemona, smiling, 'what kind?' 'Apple.' Lemona paused for a moment. 'Apple muffins?' 'Yes.' 'Okay.' 'Is it that?' asked Anka. 'Um..no. I would just have preferred chocolate, that's all.' 'So would I. But I'm trying to be healthy.' Lemona turned her attention back to the notepad, and continued to write down her thoughts. After a few moments, she spoke to Anka, who had now put he muffins in the oven. 'Can I take some with me?' 'Wait... for him?' Lemona smiled. 'Of course.' 'Hmm. I'm not sure I approve of that.' 'It's fine. I'm just going to leave him some. He likes muffins.' Anka sighed. 'Okay then.' And so, half an hour later, Lemona found herself taking a brisk walk to the heart of the city, six apple muffins in tow. She walked all the way past 667 Dark Avenue, and didn't stop walking until she reached Miserable Meals, where she stopped for a quick coffee. Then she headed to the roof She set up base at her lookout tower. There was a telescope, and three different sets of binoculars. He hadn't left his office all day, he was clearly busy. As the hours passed by, Lemona simply sat and waited for something interesting to happen. And it was a very long wait. By around 2 in the afternoon, she was joined by a fully black cat, and she stroked it behind the ears. She decided tot try a muffin, ad it was delicious (of course). But then, there was finally some activity, but not the kind she had hoped for. Hermes had climbed up the fire escape, and walked up to the office, and he knocked on the door. 'I know you're in there,' he shouted. 'Please, let's just talk about this.' He banged on the door repeatedly. This annoyed Lemona, especially because it scared the cat away. 'I promise nobody will know,' Hermes shouted again. Eventually he seemed to give up, and he walked back to the fire escape and descended. Not to long after, Lemona finally had the moment she had been waiting for. He opened the door to his office, and stepped outside. He was wearing the same clothes he always wore when he went to be here. Why did he always wear exactly the same clothes? There was no point in following him. Not now. Not if he was going to see her. Angrily, she packed up her things, broken back into the private elevator, and headed home.
She had spent the rest of the day curled up in bed, crying, not knowing what she should do next. So when she was woken by a sudden knocking on the door, she was surprised to see it was already nearly evening. She pulled herself out of bed. Whoever was at the door kept knocking, and neither Anka nor Mister M seemed to be answering. When she opened the door, she was surprised to see Lucas standing there clearly distraught. 'What's wrong?' she asked him. 'I've done something really bad.' 'What?' 'I can't say, but I dont know what to do or what to-' 'Hey, you should come in' Lucas looked around, scared, as if he was being followed. 'Okay.' So he came inside and told Lemona exactly what had happened.
A few hours later, Lemona woke up in the entrance hall of 667 Dark Avenue. She didn't remember what had happened, but her head hurt like hell. She looked up, and could see the glass chandelier straight above her. Looking around, she saw she was lying on the front desk, and she picked herself up and called out. 'Hello?' she said, 'Anyone?' But there was silence. She walked over to the front door, only to find it locked. Lemona looked for any sign of Sixteen, but he was nowhere to be found. 'I guess it's just me then,' she said to herself. And then there was a blood curdling scream. It seemed to be coming from the swimming pool or near it. Lemona bounced up the stairs, and down the corridor on the right hand side, then down another set of stairs, left, right, right, and then up another set of stairs. She found herself standing in a dimly lit corridor. Linda's body was slumped against the wall. It was her who had screamed. Something bad had happened here. She had to get help. She pulled out her phone and dialed the first person whose name to her mind Thankfully he answered his phone. 'Lemona, what are you doing?' said Dante. 'I need your help.' 'Well, I'm a little busy at the moment.' 'It's Linda. She's dead. Someone attacked her or something or...' 'Linda's dead?' said dante 'Okay, thanks.' 'Wait, what should I do?' she shouted. But it was too late, he had hung up. Lemona began to panic, not knowing what to do. But then she heard a noise. She turned around, and saw the wolf standing behind her. And then it was her turn to scream.
'Who was it?' 'I'm not telling you.' 'Who was it?' 'I'm not telling you.' 'Who was it?; 'I'm not telling you.' 'You know,' said Bee, 'you really are annoying sometimes.' 'Thank you.' 'That wasn't a compliment. Why won't you tell me?' 'Because it isn't my place. As a private detective, I shouldn't interfere in my colleagues' personal lives,' said Sherry Ann. 'And as my apprentice, i feel this is an adequate task for you to undertake as part of your training.' Bee sighed. 'Well you aren't exactly much of a mentor' 'Apologies, my work at LITMUS has been much more problematic than i had originally foreseen. However, once the holiday season is over I will have a lot more time on my hands.' 'Why? What does that mean?' Sherry Ann smiled, rising from the table. 'The clues are all there. I expect you should be able to piece them together. But it doesn't matter. I have to talk to Linda about some pressing matter' 'I have to go anyway. I have a very important meeting myself.' 'Oh, really?' 'You said I should do some investigating. So that's what I'm about to do!' Interesting, she thought, Bee STILL thinks it was Sophie. She's wrong of course. Everybody was wrong.
She walked from Miserable Meals, straight to LITMUS, and straight to the 308th floor, and to terry's desk Terry was already at his desk. Teleram had managed to sneak in again,' he said. 'All this time he doesn't realise we know what he's doing?' Sherry Ann smiled. 'Have you asked Linda about Bandit yet?' 'No,' he said, 'I thought we should wait and see what Dante has to say on the matter. Speaking of which, have you heard from him lately?' 'No,' she lied. 'I wonder if he'll come to the party.' 'He will.' 'Yeah, especially if she's there.' 'She won't be there.' 'Um..right,' said Terry, 'anyway, the boss wants to talk to you.' Sherry Ann turned and knocked on the door to Linda's office. 'Come in,' said Linda from inside, and Sherry Ann walked in. 'Hello,' said Linda. 'What do you want?' 'I need your advice.' 'About what?' said Sherry Ann, hopefully. 'The diamonds.' Oh great, thought Sherry Ann. This again. 'The theft,' continued Linda. 'Do you know who stole them?' But the diamonds don't matter, thought Sherry Ann. Something much more important is already happening and you don't even realise. As soon as the pointless conversation was over, Sherry Ann took an early lunch and headed back to her apartment. So, Linda was still far too concerned with the diamonds for her own good. This was a problem. She opened the door to her apzrtment, and BSam was still standing there. 'Well,' he said, 'what did she say?' 'I haven't told her yet.' 'Why?' 'Because she's too concerned with the diamonds still, we have to do this on our own.' 'But we can't do this on our own,' he said. 'We have to same BSam.' 'I told you, my name isn't BSam. Its Aang.'
And then she woke up in the library. She had been prepared for this of course, and the first thing she did was phone Bandit. 'Hey Sherry,' he said, 'so it happened.' 'Yes. Of course it happened. Did you deal with Teleram?' 'Yep. Just like you asked.' 'Good. Then we can go ahead as planned. Meet me at the check-in desk at' 'Who are you talking to?' said a voice from the room. Sherry Ann had thought she was alone, but she was wrong. 'Umm,' said Sherry Ann, 'A friend.' 'Oh,' said Terry. 'Who is that?' said Bandit. 'Nobody. I'll talk to you later,' said Sherry Ann, hanging up. 'What friend? Was it Bee?' asked Terry. 'No,' said Sherry Ann, standing up, 'it wasn't.' 'Are you okay?' he asked. 'Yeah, I'm fine' 'How did you know?' Sherry Ann's heart froze. 'How did I know what?' she said coolly. 'Counterpoint' Sherry Ann walked towards Terry 'I didn't know.' 'You're lying,' said Terry, smirking. And he stabbed her.
'Who was it?' 'I'm not telling you.' 'Who was it?' 'I'm not telling you.' 'Who was it?; 'I'm not telling you.' 'You know,' said Bee, 'you really are annoying sometimes.' 'Thank you.' 'That wasn't a compliment. Why won't you tell me?' 'Because it isn't my place. As a private detective, I shouldn't interfere in my colleagues' personal lives,' said Sherry Ann. 'And as my apprentice, i feel this is an adequate task for you to undertake as part of your training.'
^ real life
Sherry Ann walked towards Terry 'I didn't know.' 'You're lying,' said Terry, smirking. And he stabbed her.
Sixteen woke at 2am. Okay, so it was a bit earlier than normal, but he had a busier day than normal. He got out of bed, showered, dressed, and ate a quick breakfast before driving to 667 Dark Avenue. When he arrived, Teleram was already there. But then he would be, because he lived there. 'Hey Sixteen,' said Teleram. 'Hey Teleram,' said Sixteen. 'You're in early.' 'You're awake early' 'I'm not. I'm up late. I'm just going to bed. You're here to prepare for the party?' 'Of course.' Teleram smiled. 'Have fun' 'Oh, I will.' And Sixteen, of course, did. He spent the next seven and a half hours cleaning all 667 rooms of 667 Dark Avenue. First he cleaned the dining room, then the kitchen, then the second kitchen, the third kitchen, the lounge, and the fourth kitchen. Then he dusted down the books in the library, filled the pool with new water, and then he vacuumed the stairs, and then other stairs, and then other stairs, and then he polished the chandelier, washed the window, and put new candles in the candle holders. Then he cleaned the bathrooms, the game rooms, the sitting rooms, the standing rooms, the television rooms, the vision rooms, the music rooms, the function rooms, the room with no function, and finally the bedrooms, where he woke a particularly hungover Sophie, and told her to go home. By that time it was 11am, and Sixteen realised he needed to go shopping for groceries.
It was a chilly day, so Sixteen wore a coat and two scarves as he walked to the grocery store. Sixteen had been provided a very thorough list by Tragedy, and it took him ages to find most of the items. He saw Willis, who seemed to be texting on his phone. 'Hey,' he said to him. 'Hi,' said Willis, 'or hello.' Finally he paid for all the food, which came to an astonishing £789. 'What?' said Sixteen. 'That's an awful lot of money!' There was a horrible laughing behind Sixteen. He turned around to see who it was. 'Oh,' said Sixteen, 'you.' 'Yes,' said Bandit. 'Why are you laughing?' '789 pounds.' 'Yeah, so?' 'Pounds? Not dollars?' Bandit laughed again. 'I keep telling you. This isn't real.' Bandit walked off, ad Sixteen ignored what he had said and paid the man the money. On his way out fo the store he bumped into Rellim, who also seemed to be texting. 'Hey,' he said. She said nothing. Rude, thought Sixteen
Sixteen spent most of the afternoon cooking a fabulous 20 course dinner for later that evening. He was only interrupted briefly when Mister M and Terry requested the use of one of the function rooms, to which Sixteen willingly obliged. The 20 courses were each fiendishly difficult to make, and involved much expertise, which Sixteen did not have. Nevertheless, he resolved to successfully make, bake, and create all 20 courses. And so, later that evening, all 20 courses were laid out in splendor, Sixteen waited in the entrance hall, ready for the first guests to arrive. Except... they didn't. it was 9.00pm, and nobody had turned up. Tragedy appeared at 9.15pm, and he seemed angry that nobody was there. He told Sixteen to call him once others had arrived. It was 9.26pm until someone finally arrived. It was Bee. 'Hey Sixteen,' she said, walking hurriedly past him, and taking a drink from the table. 'Hey Bee.' She walked straight past him without another word, and into the party room. A few minutes later, Dante arrived. 'Hello Sixteen,' said Dante. He was wearing the same clothes as always. 'I apologise for being late.' 'It's okay, everyone seems to be late' 'Is Tragedy upset?' 'He seems um....normal.' 'So he is upset. Well, I hope you'll be joining us. I'll buy you a drink.' 'That won't be necessary,' he said, smiling. 'I have far too much work to be doing. Dante shook Sixteen's hand. 'Don't we all?' and he went through to the party room.
After that, the guests began to appear much more rapidly, and the various members of 667 arrived. Lemona and Lucas arrived together, and they seemed both to be very worried. Next to arrive was Betsy, who seemed even more worried if that was possible. BSam and Pandora turned up next. They seemed concerned. Sherry Ann then arrived, then Willis, and then Linda, who asked him if he'd seen anything suspicious. It was near 10 when Terry came running down the street, terrified of missing the festivities ahead. As the night wore on, the party seemed to grow louder from inside 667. Sixteen glanced at his watch once more, unsure if he should continue waiting for people to turn up, but before he could decide whether or not to go inside, Sophie turned up, with Charlie not too far behind. 'Are you okay?' said Sixteen, concerned. But she must have been too wrapped up in her thoughts to realise he had spoken to her. 'Hey Charlie,' he said. 'Hellos Sixteen,' he said, smiling. 'You look happy.' 'I am' He smiled a huge smile. 'It's gonna be a helluva party' A few minutes later Hermes arrived, and he looked the most worried of all.
Sixteen was up to lock the doors for the night when he heard a shout coming from the end of the street. 'Wait!' It was Anka. She ran as fast as she could down the path 'Wait wait wait!' Sixteen laughed 'Hey, it's okay. Even if I'd locked the door you could still have used your keycard.' 'I couldn't,' she said, 'I lost mine.' 'Oh dear. Well it's alright, you got here just in time.' Anka brushed a few flakes of snow out of her hair. She looked extremely nervous. 'Well?' said Sixteen, beckoning inside She stood there for another moment, almost as if she didn't want to go inside at all. Whilst Anka was waiting, Sixteen could hear the noise of chatter and music coming from deep inside 667. He could see the snow beginning to rise higher and higher outside. 'I'm sorry,' said Anka. 'For what?; Sixteen looked at Anka. She looked like she wanted to tell him something very important, but also like she was embarrassed about it. 'Is something wrong?' he asked. 'You can tell me if you want.' She opened her mouth as if to speak, but no noise came out. She closed it again, before opening it once more 'I'm sorry for wasting your time,' she said finally, and she walked inside.
It was now 10.15pm. Everyone was here except for Mister M and Pen. Well, it would have to do, Sixteen decided. He locked the doors behind him, and went in and joined the party.
And then it happened
Sixteen woke up in a darkened corridor. He had absolutely no idea where he was or how he had gotten there. He pulled himself up, and realised he could see somebody standing next to him. 'Hello?' he called out. 'Who is it?' Whoever the person was, they were clearly shocked to see he was awake and they ran down the corridor and out of sight. Sixteen pulled himself up, and felt along the side of the walls, and found the handle of a door. He pushed it open He suddenly found himself inside the library. The sudden light hurt his eyes, but after a few seconds his vision cleared, and he went and sat down on a chair nearest to him. After a few more seconds he realised he could hear voices. There were people talking. He stood up and walked towards the voices, but then there was a gunshot. Sixteen froze. Something really bad was happening here. He should leave. He should really really leave. Despite what his brain was telling him, Sixteen found himself walking to where the noise had come from. He rounded a corner and Sherry Ann stumbled into him. 'Sherry? What happened?' 'I've been shot' 'What? Oh my god! Where's Betsy, maybe she can help fix you up and -' 'No. It's too late for me. You have to find Hermes. You have to tell him that.. that' But then it was too late. She was dead. Sixteen didn't know what he had to tell Hermes, but he thought the best thing to do now would be to find him. But then there was a shattering from the far corner of the library. And Sixteen realised that whoever had shot Sherry Ann was still in the room. He got up and ran towards the door. The gun fired again, but he had already shut the door behind him. He leant against the door for a minute and caught his breath, but then he heard a blood chilling scream coming from not too far away, and he found himself running once more. His run slowed to a walk, and he began his way back to the main entrance. Even in the dark he knew this place by heart. After all, Tragedy had tested him enough times. 'Sixteen?' said a voice. 'Charlie?' said Sixteen. 'What's going on?' said Charlie 'I have no idea.' 'Who was that screaming?' asked Charlie 'I have no idea,' said Sixteen again. And then there was another scream. 'Who was THAT screaming?' said Charlie once more. 'Look, I need to find Betsy. I don't suppose you've seen her, have you?' Sixteen shook his head, but then realised that would be no good in the dark. 'No, I haven't.' 'Good,' said charlie, smiling. 'I mean, okay.' And he walked off. Sixteen realised how stupid it had been of him not to mention Sherry Ann, but that didn't matter now, and he kept walking back to the entrance hall.
When he arrived there, he was surprised to see someone climbing up a ladder to the large chandelier. In the darkness he couldn't make out who it was, but in the daylight it would help him work out why they were doing such an odd thing. He squinted, trying to see if he could make out who the person was. 'Sixteen,' said someone from behind him. Sixteen let out a small shriek of surprise 'Oh, Anka.' He turned around and smiled. 'You made me ju-' He stopped mid sentence. Anka was a mess. Her clothes were torn, her hair was untidy, and blood seeping down the side of her face, and she was crying. 'Anka, what happened to you?' 'I'm sorry,' she said through her tears. 'I'm so so sorry Sixteen. But I have no choice.' 'No choice about what?' he asked. But then he found out. She plunged the knife deep into his stomach, and she turned and ran.
The shock hit Sixteen so hard that he didn't even realise what was happening as he clamber up the stairs. As the blood ran down his body, he stumbled over to the shut window and opened it once more. He looked out and he could see a strange green light shining on the snow. Mister M was running along the path, late as usual. Sixteen realised there was a bathroom next to him. He knocked on the door to check it wasn't occupied. 'Hello?' he said. 'Come in Sixteen, it's me.' said Hermes. He opened the door and stumbled inside 'I...ah... had a bit of an accident.' 'Oh my word.' said Hermes, shocked. 'Here, sit down,' he said, and pointed to the floor. 'There's a first aid kit in here somewhere.' 'That's okay,' said Sixteen, echoing Sherry Ann's words. 'It's a bit late for that.' 'But how did this happen?' he said. 'It was an accident.' 'What kind of accident?' Well I was stabbed.' 'By who?' For a minute Sixteen had to think. The shock had made him forget for a second. He said 'Anka.' 'What?' said Hermes, shocked. 'But why would she do that?' 'I don't know.' He gasped in pain. 'But she did.' 'Stay here. Let me get help. DON'T move,' Hermes said, rushing out of the room.
But Hermes never did get help. In Sixteen's final moments he realised that he hadn't told Hermes that Sherry Ann had been shot. And now he would never know who that person in the library was. Not that it mattered anyway. It seemed to Sixteen, as he died, that he finally understood what Bandit meant. This was America. Nothing could cost any amount of pounds, it would be dollars. It was a small mistake, of course. But this world was full of small mistakes. Because none of it was real. Everybody here was fooling themselves. 667 Dark Avenue is nothing more than a collective of dark and lonely souls trying to live a life they never could. But none of this was real. He understood that now. And none of it mattered.
Pen's phone rang for what seemed like the hundredth time. He checked his wristwatch. It was 9.30. He might as well get up. He looked to see who was calling him this time. It was Bee. He didn't answer. He pulled himself out of bed, and went downstairs to get some breakfast. So.... what next? He should never have confronted her. If he'd kept himself to himself then none of this would have happened. So he had no choice. He supposed it made sense if he phoned his family and tried to go home. But Pen never went home. Because there was someone in his kitchen. 'Bee?' 'Buzz,' she said. She looked like something terrible had happened to her, and then it had happened several more times. Her clothes were torn, her legs were covered in bruises, and she looked exhausted. 'What happened?' he asked. 'I fell from a balcony.' She was sitting at the table eating toast. 'And now I'm eating toast.' 'How did you fall from a balcony?' 'I was running and I didn't look where I was going.' 'Why were you running?' 'Because the police were after me.' 'Why were the police after you?' 'Because I'm wanted for attempted murder.' 'Why are you wanted for attempted murder?' 'Probably because I attempted to murder someone.' Pen had to sit down. 'That's an awful lot of information to deal with in one minute.' 'Try being me. I've had all with and I'm still not over it.' 'What happened exactly?' Bee raised an eyebrow. 'Haven't you been watching the news?' 'Why?' said Pen. 'Well it's all over the news.'' 'What is?' Bee finished her toast. 'I've left the crusts, I hope you don't mind. I find them positively boring. I need a place to crash for a few days. Is it okay if I stay here?' 'Yeah, sure. I'm going out of town for a while anyway Bee laughed. 'No you're not. Nobody's going out of town.' 'Why?' asked Pen again. 'Watch the news, Pen. You should have come to the party. You missed out.'