Written by: Rebecca Yap Jia Xin (22-O1), Tan Le Kai, (21-I4)
Designed by: Alexia Teo (22-U1)
Harry Shelby was a name that everyone knew and loved. Dubbed the greatest detective of his time, Shelby was hailed by all as the epitome of justice. There was never a case he could not solve. Headline after headline praised him as England’s finest bloodhound, a man who hunted down criminals relentlessly once he caught their foul scent and tore them down in the name of justice.
And one such game just happened to be afoot.
“My God, I can’t believe they came at my Lizzy! My lovely wife!” He seethed as he stood at the heart of the crime scene. The victim’s body lay face down motionless in a pool of blood in the middle of their residence, surrounded by a flurry of stray papers as well as furniture that was knocked over. The curtains were torn and the windows were smashed in, setting up the obvious break-in point of the murderer.
The victim’s blood had seeped into the carpet below them, causing Shelby to scrunch up his nose in disgust as a misplaced step of his led to a sickening squelch. The furniture around the room was strewn about, indicating the panicked struggle of the victim, which Shelby pointed out to the attending policemen. He methodically combed the scene, taking bloodstained prints from the windowsill as well as taking note of the slashes on the body that showed the weapon used.
He crouched around the body and examined the floor for traces of the elusive murderer when something shiny caught his eye.
“How are you able to stay so calm, sir? Surely the death of your wife must affect you somewhat.”
Just as the evidence had come to his attention, Shelby glanced towards the side of the room where a young policeman came forward, clutching his hat in his hands in respect. Shelby’s face softened and for a moment he looked more like a grieving widower than a confident detective. Shelby plucked his own hat from his head with heavy hands.
“I miss my wife dearly and with all of my heart,” the widower shook his head. “But I must do what justice calls me to do—that is to do my upmost best to catch the blasted murderer so that I can save England from the same fate my poor wife suffered.”
The policemen nodded in respect and Shelby smiled, placing his hat back on his crown and shoving his hands in his pockets. The young policeman proceeded to salute him.
Unbeknownst to the two officers, Shelby thumbed the rim of the small button he had fetched from the ground earlier.
It was about a centimetre and a half wide in diameter and had a dull grey colour. His mind leapt into action, browsing through his mental catalogue of years of fashion magazines and passersby’s clothing before stopping abruptly at a single article of clothing.
Not even ten minutes after he had stepped out of the crime scene, he already knew where the killer’s haunt would be.
“Factory 7”， Shelby uttered, having arrived after a short trek down to reach just before sunset. He had been very careful to ensure that the policemen had not followed him along. He needed the killer all to himself. Illuminated by evening light, Shelby discerned a man sitting perfectly still in the warehouse, which had long been out of function, alone.
“So you’ve found me, Shelby,” the man said in a nonchalant tone.
Shelby was unfazed by the comment as he walked into the warehouse with an air of arrogance, strolling straight towards the killer.
“Oh the old detective’s walk! How delightable! It’s a perfect crime!” the killer banters light-heartedly.
Shelby walked on until he was no less than a foot away from the man and reached into his pocket, startling the man slightly, who appeared to wince subtly and reached into his own pocket as well, eyeing Shelby intently. As the man drew his pistol, Shelby drew his iconic pipe and began to smoke as the man burst into hysterical laughter and sets his pistol aside.
“You’re classical as always Shelby! You never fail to delight me! How about you tell me, good sir, how did you solve the crime?” mocked the killer.
“Well, for starters, it was easy to plug myself into the case of my own wife, a case that in all circumstances will appear to any person as one of great concern to me, easily drawing sympathy to allow my access to the crime scene. Hence, it was easy for me to collect all the evidence I needed. Or should I say, the only evidence I needed. Here, I have the iconic factory worker’s pin, and from the pristine condition of the pin, it was easy to deduce that the worker must not have done much dirty work, which led me straight to Factory 7, the packaging section of the factory.”
The killer, understandably, was annoyed, both by the cigarette smoke Shelby was puffing out and his rambling. He, however, did not want to interrupt the detective and reached into his pocket to smoke along with the detective. It was rude to interrupt a detective’s moment.
“However,” the detective continued. “It is far from a perfect crime. For a perfect crime will have no loose ends hanging, especially not one desperate for cash and is shown to be a cold-hearted killer…”
There was silence for a moment.
Then, like a chain reaction, a spark went off in the killer, the instinctive motion where his right hand reached into his left jacket, feeling for something, something he desperately needed…
Alas, he dropped down, slumped to the floor. A bullet had pierced the killer’s chest.
“You were my Watson. Dumb and impressionable, but most importantly unquestioning, doing as I said. Your only fault is that I am too cautious of a man to trust anyone. Perhaps, down the road, I will see you in hell. But, for now the greatest detective alive has got unpleasant work to do,” Shelby declared, staring straight into Watson’s eyes.
Watson stared back, his eyes betraying his soul, showing mixed emotions of anger, betrayal, guilt, sadness and regret… before silent acceptance of his fate, as one bullet after another was fired, until four bullet holes covered the man’s face. Putting his gloves on, Shelby carefully removed all the bullets from the man with his tool kit, along with the man’s gun, keys and ring. Finally, he pushed a large shelf onto his torso and head, hearing intently for the sound that was distinct to the sound of a cracking skull. He enjoyed that sound, the killer had disrespected the great Shelby afterall. After a simple clean up, Shelby took a black trash bag out of the warehouse, tired after a day of detective work and ready to go home for a hot shower.
After all, he would have to appear in front of the press yet again as the brilliant detective Shelby tomorrow morning.