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  • Marie Minzlaff

A Silent Scream: Part One

“Miss Birchley? No, I’m sorry, but she is not receiving visitors at the moment,” the butler said politely. The butler closed the door.

Miss Emily Robinson had the same cold, uneasy feeling that had settled in her stomach ever since she had seen Cordelia, her best friend since childhood, hanging on the arm of the handsome stranger at the party. At first, she had been delighted, as she had seemed happier than Emily had ever seen her, but her delight turned into disquiet when her friend started shutting herself off from everyone, including her. She turned and started to make her way down the long driveway.

Three days later, the village was buzzing with the events of the previous night. A bloodcurdling scream, a locked door... and the friendly young heiress was found dead. Miss Cordelia Birchley was dead.

Emily sprinted up the driveway fifteen minutes later. She hammered on the door until the butler opened it again, but this time his aura of calmness was gone. His eyes were red and swollen from weeping and, seeing this, Emily knew with a terrible certainty that what she had feared was true.

“Please tell me it’s not true. She can’t be gone!”

“I’m so sorry.”

“She's really gone?”

He nodded.

“May I see her?”

“Not now, the police are still investigating. The forensics team is still examining the room.”

“When is the inquest?”

“I’m not sure. Would you like to see her fiancé though? He may be able to offer you a few words of comfort. He has been a pillar of support for us all ever since they found...”

He trailed off, leaving the words hanging unsaid in the air between them.

“Yes, I would like to see him actually,” she said grimly. She needed to talk to him and find out why Cordelia had been hiding away from everything and everyone recently.

“Come on in.”

Emily made her way down the hall to the parlour. Today the usually quiet house was bustling with activity; policeman were everywhere. Emily turned away, she didn‘t want to see them, they made things seem too real, too brutal. She still couldn’t believe it.

“Greetings, Miss Robinson.”

The parlour was a beautiful, expensive looking room. Heavy curtains hung at the arched windows, and a polished desk graced the far corner of the room. Two leather Chesterfield sofas sat on either side of a walnut wood coffee table, and a Persian carpet added a touch of exquisite colour in the room.

Emily stared at the masculine figure sitting on the sofa with dislike and mistrust written clearly in her gaze.

“Good morning, Master Beckenham. I see you are not overly distraught at the untimely death of our mutual friend?”

“I suppose I can't quite believe it yet, you know?”

“Yes, I know what you mean.” She was still desperately wishing that it is just a mistake, that maybe Cordelia wasn’t dead.

“Oh, I'm so sorry. Where are my manners? Please, sit,” He waved his hand at the sofa facing him, “so, now tell me why you wanted to see me, of all people.”

“What do you mean?”

He leaned forwards, resting his hands on the table separating them.

“Don't pretend you don’t dislike me. We both know you did not come here just to make small talk. So, why are you here?”

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