Murder, they said

The room was empty now, other than the three of them: the detective, his companion and the policeman.

The exhibits of the museum’s grand hall surrounding them, they stared at each other in silence until, eventually, the chief inspector coughed. “I’d best be on my way then. Nice job,” he said, nodding at the detective, then turning on his heels and striding for the exit.

He had almost reached the large double doors when a softly spoken “Oh, Chief Inspector?” brought him up short. He turned and saw the detective and his companion staring at him, the former wearing a look of mocking contempt as he so often did.

“Did you really think that was it?” the detective asked.

“Well, of course,” was the expected reply, and came it did.

In long strides, the detective covered the ground between them, stopping about four paces away, in front of the armour imported from the Czech Republic and on special display.

“You really believed that nonsense about Johnson being the murderer? Of course you didn’t, so it occurs to me to ask why you pretend to believe it.”

There was a muffled exclamation from the companion behind him. “What? But you laid it out so perfectly, and…”

The detective barely glanced back at his friend, but glance he did. And his companion fell silent.

“I know who the real murderer is. You know that don’t you?” the detective asked, and the chief Inspector nodded, slowly.

And together, as if rehearsed, they said simultaneously, with sadness, “it’s you.”

There was a moment’s silence, before they repeated the words, first with determination, and then again in confusion.

Then, again in sync, “No, it’s you. It’s not me! It’s you!

Then voices were raised. And guns were drawn. And shots were fired. And bodies hit the ground.

And that sergeant, is how they both died. No, I don’t know what they were talking about. Of course, I’ll be around if you have any questions. Good night.

                — Excerpted witness statement from XX (identity preserved for this record), previously best known as the companion to the detective, read out at the inquest after witness had left the country, having suddenly inherited a fortune from a previously unknown aunt.

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