October 31st, 10:32 P.M.
It was an awesome Halloween party, the food was great and Betty was truly enjoying herself. Bethanie “Betty” Sampson was a young and clever woman who worked at some kind of important company, she had long red hair and was wearing an elegant witch costume. Betty was all alone in a corner drinking punch when two women approached her.
“Betty! Long time no see, how have you been?”
“Oh, it’s you Meredith, what a beautiful costume, the black swan, right?”
“Yes, yes, I’m glad you noticed! Oh, by the way, this is Sarah, she’s my colleague at work.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Equally. Now, if you excuse me, I think I had too much punch.”
Meredith Yardley was Bethanie’s childhood friend and they used to be really close, time is a cruel thing though, and they ended up following their own different paths. She was average, and her only trait worthy describing was the gorgeous black swan costume she was wearing, adorned with splendorous black feathers.
On the other hand, Sarah Campbell had a beauty not of this world, and the Venetian mask she was wearing as part of her Juliette costume added even more beauty to her face instead of covering it.
November 1st, 12:01 A.M.
The body was found lying face down in the library of Ingram Manor, the cause of death is unknown, the body shows signs of being shot with a gun, and the face is smashed. Identification is still in process.
“Inspector Lawrence, we have a result.”
October 31st, 10:46 P.M.
“Oh, Louis! Don’t go shouting like that!”
“You’re one to speak! Have you seen Betty around?”
“I saw her a few minutes ago, and then she went to the toilet…”
The man speaking is Louis Partington, he’s Bethanie Sampson’s boyfriend, they are together for 2 years now. Louis works in an associated company to the one Meredith works in, they met by happenstance and became friends, some time later Meredith introduced him to Bethanie and they fell in love almost at first sight.
“So, Louis, let me introduce you to a friend of mine, this is Sarah…”
“Oh, good evening Mrs. Campbell, what a surprise to find you here.”
“I say the same Mr. Partington.”
“So you two already knew each other?”
“Yeah, a few months ago I went to the company and you weren’t there, so Mrs. Campbell was the one who received me. Oh well, Betty doesn’t seem to be coming so soon, then, would you mind conceding me the honor of a dance?”
“M-me?! W-well, I think only one song is fine…”
Meredith watched while the two of them shamelessly went dancing. That’s when she suddenly saw a red-haired woman in the middle of the crowd and, thinking it was Betty, followed her.
“Huh?! I lost track of her completely. Well, it could not be Betty, so it’s better to leave it be.”
November 1st, 12:03 A.M.
“So the corpse belongs to Bethanie Sampson, right?”
“That’s what it seems, judging from the description of the clothes she was wearing and from the guest list, it could only be her.”
“So, are there any specific clues about what could have killed her or who the culprit is?”
“The cause of death remains unknown, but there’s the possibility she was shot and had her face smashed with a flat object. Her clothes were found in disarray but there’s no sign of a struggle, next to it there were a few papers that might have fallen from the desk because of the wind, and, we also found this, a black feather.”
“What’s this? Some sort of message? Or maybe something the culprit had in his or hers clothes? Either way, we have to investigate this further, bring the discoverer of the corpse first, please.”
✶Interview No. 1: Garrett Ward
“So, you’re the one who discovered her body, right? Please tell me the situation the most detailed you can.”
“Well, I was hired as a security for this party, while I was doing my rounds I went to check the library and, just when I opened the door, there she was, lying face down on the floor, I immediately left to call for help, and that’s when we called the police.”
“Could you describe the library, please? Even the smallest details will do. Also, the door was locked when you found the body, isn’t that right?”
“Yes, the door was locked, so I used my master key to unlock it, all security staff in this party have one. About the library, as far as I know there’s only a single door, though in old houses like this it wouldn’t be that uncommon to find hidden passages or anything of the sort, right? The windows all seemed to be closed tightly and I don’t think anyone would be able to use those as an escape route, however I must admit that as soon as I opened the door and saw her body lying there in that awkward position I didn’t stop to analyze the room in much detail, so I could be mistaken in a few details.”
“Do you remember around what time was that?”
“Right before heading to the part where the library is located I checked my watch out of habit, it was 11:37 P.M.”
“Alright, you can go now.”
“Just one more thing, I heard you found a black feather near the body, right? A woman claiming to be her friend was wearing an outfit full of those, maybe you should check on her.”
“We will, thank you for your cooperation.”
✶Interview No. 2: Meredith Yardley
“Lots of people have black feathers on their clothes, it’s not just me, you know?! Besides, why would I even kill Betty? We were good friends, you know?!! We’ve only had minor disagreements, nothing that would end up in cold-blooded murder. The worst thing she ever did to me was to steal my boyfriend, but that was years ago, a long-forgotten past, because that’s Betty, you know?!! She has always been like that, going off from man to man, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ended up killed by a spiteful man, or even by Louis himself!! Oh my!!! Please don’t tell him I said that.”
“Don’t worry Mrs. Yardley, this interview is private.”
“Okay. Louis kinda knew about her, you know, she never really hid it or anything, and that guy who found her, Yard what’s his face is pretty suspicious too, I mean, even if he were doing rounds that’s no reason to go opening locked doors, I bet his finding of the body was just an act to cast away suspicion, I wouldn’t doubt a bit if Betty was getting involved with him and he killed her upon finding she had a boyfriend, but I guess people don’t usually snap like that so poor Louis would end up being the most suspicious one. Poor thing, she made him go through such hard times…”
“You mean Mr. Ward?”
“Yes, that’s it! Ward!”
“Alright then, thanks for your cooperation Mrs. Yardley.”
✶Interview No. 3: Louis Partington
“Could you describe the relationship between you and Mrs. Sampson, Mr. Partington?”
“I’m her boyfriend…I mean, I was. It’s such a tragedy what happened, my poor Betty, she didn’t deserve that.”
“Is it true that you had fights with Mrs. Sampson before? Regarding other men?”
“That Meredith! Yes, it’s true, but I would never kill her for something small like that! I loved Betty and I knew she loved me too, I would never harm her. That Mrs. Campbell could be pretty suspicious on the other hand. I heard from Meredith that a few months ago Mrs. Campbell broke up with her boyfriend because Betty was hitting on her boyfriend, I wouldn’t be surprised if she plotted some sort of revenge.”
“We’ll make sure to check on that, thank you Mr. Partington.”
✶Interview No. 4: Sarah Campbell
“Yes, that’s true, at first I didn’t notice it, but now I can see why she ran off right after meeting me. Who would’ve thought we’d meet in a place like this. But no, I didn’t kill anyone if that’s what you want to know.”
“Anything else you could add?”
“Well, I briefly recognized that man who found her body, Mr. Ward, I think, I remember that I had the impression of being observed, and it was that man, he was staring straight at Mrs. Sampson, it gave me the creeps but I never considered she would show up dead, so I just forgot about it.”
“Alright, thanks for your cooperation Mrs. Campbell.”
Other people were interviewed, and from some of them a curious story sprouted. They say Ingram Manor is haunted by the ghost of Lord Ingram, who has passed away decades ago, leaving no descendants. Many people pointed to the resemblance Bethanie shared with Mrs. Ingram, Lord Ingram’s long-deceased wife, so they speculate Bethanie Sampson was killed by Lord Ingram’s ghost in order to bring his loved one back to his side once again.