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Old 01-08-2013, 07:01 AM   #16
Agatha Chicken
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[Episode: The Reveal]


Are you sure you're ready to see the hideous visage of this serial killer?

Spoiler:
Are you QUITE sure?

Spoiler:
Are you sitting down?

Spoiler:
This is your last warning!

Spoiler:




Spoiler:
You were warned!


[End of The Reveal]
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:01 AM   #17
Agatha Chicken
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[Episode: Epilogue]

Everyone froze in place .... staring at the open door ... disbelief, shock, incredulity1 written over their silent faces.

BANG!


The door suddenly slammed shut! The lights went out! Only the softly flickering light from the fireplace remained to illuminate the frozen tableau of fear!

*Impossible!*

*That little guy?!*

*Nein! Nein! I served him on a platter!*

*It was the chicken wot done it!*

*His name isn't on my forms anywhere!*

*Who locked the door?*

The babble of voices stopped abruptly when Alex found the light switch and turned on the overhead light2. Heads were swiveling3 rapidly along the circle of bodies and then at each other. No one could believe what their eyes had just revealed to them! But that image was now seared4 indelibly5 onto their souls!

*Why did he do it?*

*How could he do it?*

*Is he nuts?*

*I still haven't found the right category on my forms!*

"SILENCE" thundered Poulet/Marc_liest, stepping up to the fireplace, "Seid still!" He waited until all eyes were once again upon him, puffing out his chest and twirling those imaginary moustaches!

"To comprehend why these terrible crimes were committed, you must understand the psychology of the murderer! Psychology is the key to unraveling6 any crime! Allow me to explain!"

*Explain a bird brain?*

*No way - he's just nuts!*

*Who took my clipboard?*

*Can we eat him after his trial?*

"SILENCE" roared Poulet/Marc_liest again, thumping his fist upon the mantelpiece - where the stockings still hung with their shiny gifts of death. The survivors again turned towards the fireplace, eager for enlightenment, and escape.

"We must imagine in our own minds what this wretched fowl has endured all his life! The ignominy7 of being the runt in the nest8. The childhood humiliations as he failed continually in sports ... and with girls. His notoriety, and shame, after the tragic 'Sky is falling' episode. Being hounded out of town as a result. His loneliness. Even an outstanding college education could not compensate for his personal shortcomings. His only solace9 -- the books he devoured nightly in his lonely roost!"

"Tchh! Tchh! Such a tragic existence! Such silent despair!"

[Tears rolled freely down his listeners' faces -- they never knew!]

"And then ... he discovers the MobileRead community ... where there are other bookish sorts like himself. He dares to join ... and publicly post his thoughts and opinions. His participation is rewarded! You invite him to become a moderator! He now has recognition ... and friends!"

[His rapt audience nods in unison .... Yes! Yes!]

"BUT DID HE? DID HE REALLY?"

"Nein! Nein! The fowl poultry jokes continue! Your community delights in making veiled threats to roast and eat him -- disguised as jokes. He is taunted daily! 'Chicken legs!' 'Bird brain!' 'Tasty chicken!' The abuse never stopped! Did it?"

[All are now hanging their heads low, scuffing at the carpet, ashamed and embarrassed!]

Jellby feverishly flipped through the forms on his new clipboard. "Hmmm.... 'Paranoid poultry' - I don't see it listed here. But you do have indemnity10 for harassment11. Did anyone make an indecent remark to Mr. poohbear_nc? Pinch a drumstick maybe?"

"One more word out of you, and I'll throw you AND your new clipboard into the fireplace." shouted Alex. "Please go on, Hercule."

Poulet continued: "BUT - he endured this abuse ... day after day after day ....

WHY?

Because he thought you were his friends! He thought you liked him! He may have even dreamed that one of you secretly harbored much warmer feelings towards him.

And then .... finally .... came the 'psychological moment'! The final event that tipped him into a murderous rage .... that doomed your comrades ... from which there was no escape. Something snapped within his mind ... and his course was fixed ... upon revenge!"

*pssst* "Hey guys," whispered mtravellerh, "Aren't we missing ..."

*shsssh* "Be quiet! Poulet's not done yet" ravenne hissed.

"Cast your minds back to last night - when you were all gathered happily in the living room, preparing for Christmas Eve celebrations. Go ahead! Picture it in your minds! Can you see it? What do you see? What did HE see?"




"Yes ... you see it now, don't you? The final straw ... the skinny stocking -- too small to hold any gift. When he pointed it out .... did anyone care? Nein ... not even dreams .... "

[No one could even look at each other now .... they knew that THEY were to blame .... not the poor little chicken.]

"Ja! Ja! All this is true! And how do I - Hercule Poulet - know this you ask? How could I possibly deduce the identity of the murderer?"

[Heads nodded silently at this question.]


Alex stepped forward and glared at the preening12 Poulet: "Yes .... just how do you know what happened here tonight? You weren't here .... were you?"

All could sense the menace, and accusation in Alex's strained voice.

He continued: "Maybe it's the German moderators - ganging up - to take over the forum. Look around us -- only the German mods have survived! How do we know that was really poohbear_nc at the door? It was dark ... and you could have used a cardboard cut-out13 to throw that shadow."

Alex glared at mtravellerh: "Do you have any explanations? Or you ravenne? Were you really in the kitchen all the time? Why should I believe anything you say?"

"But Alex! I was on the phone almost all night - alerting Mark_liest and mtravellerh to what was happening here tonight! Wait until you get your phone bill! You'll see the charges for the long distance calls. Hours and hours! I told them everything - in case I was the next victim!" explained ravenne.

"Dumkopfs! It was the identity of victim #1 that gave away the identity of the murderer! I didn't need to be here in person tonight to deduce the identity of your killer. All I needed was accurate information and the use of my large gray cells. Pilotbob continually taunted poor poohbear_nc - endlessly, mercilessly, cruelly. You all repeated pilotbob's cruel words, causing the poor pullet to run crying from the room last night, followed up the stairs by the sounds of laughter ... at his expense. Your fate was sealed."

A hush fell upon the tiny crowd, as they followed the inevitable14 logic of Poulet's words.

*psst* "Hey guys," mtravellerh tried again "Where's ..."

*shush* ravenne hissed again. "Let Poulet finish or we'll never get out of here!"

"It was but the work of a few seconds for poohbear_nc to lock his door, open his window, and partially cut (using the scissors he grabbed from the mantelpiece) through the wire that pilotbob had just strung past his window. We can picture the maniacal smile on his face as he watched pilotbob plunge to his death! His tormentor was dead! By his own wing hand! Dare we imagine that he waved 'bye-bye' to the plummeting pilotbob?"

Everyone shuddered at that horrible image .... but they could all clearly see it ....

*pssst* "Guys!" *SMACK* "Ow!" "Shut up mtravellerh!"

"He had killed once now! Successfully! It would be so easy to kill again, and again, and again, ....."

"But first he had to divert suspicion from15 himself. After all, he was the logical suspect for pilotbob's murder. And he was alone in his room at that time. So, the crafty galliforme cleverly fakes his own murder - knowing that you imbeciles18 would be gullible19 enough to swallow his staged death, and ravenous to devour the evidence! The perfect second crime!"

"While the rest of you were rushing around like chickens with your heads cut off [*groan*], it was child's play for the small but determined poohbear_nc to conceal20 himself, stealing new murder weapons, committing crime after crime, and hiding the evidence ... and himself .... from your bungling21 attempts to solve the mystery."

Everyone stood silently, thinking back over the events of that night. Poulet/Mark_liest was absolutely right! How did they not see it themselves? They were imbeciles!

Poulet/Mark_liest solemnly continued: "And it was the identity of the last victim that confirmed the identity of the murderer as poohbear_nc. dreams had been so very kind to him .... yet she too had laughed at him in the living room. So she had to be punished too! She had to share his pain, and fear, and bewilderment - to endure a night of unanswered questions: why was this happening to her? Why was she singled out to witness this carnage? What would happen to her?"

*psst* *SMACK* "But guys" *SMACK* *OW!*

"So, dreams was the final victim. He played a beautiful love song for her, expressing his devotion, but she only responded with fear and hatred. She had to die. But not by his own hand. He couldn't do it. So he set his final fiendish22 booby trap in the hall and invited dreams to enter into his twisted plan. And then it was over. All were silenced. All were dead. No more taunts. No more false friends. No more pain. Only silence and darkness ... in his murderer's soul."

Poulet/Mark_liest sank heavily onto a chair, inadvertently23 crushing the bogus wishbone. His weary head sank into his hands, exhausted by this display of perspicacious24 prestidigitation25. The others were silent as well, pondering the implications of this revelation.

"GUYS!" shouted mtravellerh. "Hey, everyone, didn't anybody notice?"

THE CHICKEN HAS FLOWN THE COOP!
26


It was true! Everyone had been so mesmerized by Poulet/Mark_liest's masterful explanation - they had forgotten to capture the criminal! Poohbear_nc was gone! The door was locked! They were trapped in a house of death! The dim-witted assistant had noticed something that everyone else had overlooked.

Even Jellby stopped flipping through forms on his clipboard and began to sweat.

"Mein Gott! Mein Gott!' moaned Poulet/Mark_liest softly. "This can only mean one thing ..."

*We're doomed?*

*No dinner?*

*We miss the play-offs?*

*More forms to fill out?*

"Worse" whispered Poulet/Mark_liest .....


Spoiler:

A SEQUEL!


THE END [sort of]

1 incredulity: Ungläubigkeit
2 overhead light: Deckenbeleuchtung
3 to swivel: sich drehen
4 seared: eingebrannt
5 indelibly: unauslöschlich
6 to unravel: enträtseln
7 ignominy: Niederträchtigkeit
8 runt in the nest: kleinstes Tier eines Wurfs
9 solace: Trost
10 indemnity: Entschädigung
11 harassment: Belästigung, Schikanierung
12 preening: selbstgefällig
13 cardboard cut-out: ausgeschnittene Papierfigur
14 inevitable: unausweichlich
15 to divert suspicion from: den Verdacht ablenken von
16 crafty: gewieft
17 galliforme: Hühnervogel
18 imbecile: Schwachkopf
19 gullible: leichtgläubig
20 to conceal oneself: sich verstecken
21 bungling: stümpferhaft
22 fiendish: teuflisch
23 inadvertently: unbeabsichtigt
24 perspicacious: scharfsinnig
25 prestidigitation: Fingerfertigkeit
26 to fly the coop: sich aus dem Staub machen
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:49 AM   #18
poohbear_nc
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[Author's Note]

DISCLAIMER: This is entirely a work of fiction. No moderators were killed, injured, or damaged in real life (except maybe pilotbob - we're still performing CPR). I am NOT a murderer. And, I am NOT edible.

OK, glad that's cleared up.

Now to move on to the closing stuff.

Although the idea for this bizarre plot did arise solely in my twisted brain, I had lots of help shaping it into the final product that you have read, and hopefully enjoyed. This was truly a team effort, one in which all the moderation team participated: Alex, Dr. Drib, HarryT, mtravellerh, pdurrant, WT Sharpe, dreams, Mark_liest, pilotbob, ravenne, Jellby, DaleDe, Nate the Great.

We hope you had as much fun reading, and solving it, as we did creating it for you!

Now, in no particular order:

Thank you Alex! When I mentioned that I was in the mood to write another mystery, you encouraged me to develop one suitable for a contest. Although you subsequently did flee to several European countries that lacked Internet access, you did work tirelessly to obtain sponsors for the prizes. Lots of prizes!

Thank you ravenne and WT Sharpe - for your brilliant art work ideas and animations. I can't even begin to imagine the hours you spent trying to figure out what I had in mind - but you did it! And the final result was splendidly chilling!
Special thanks to the children of ravenne - for drawing my special stocking! And the other ordinary stockings on the mantelpiece. [Keep an eye on them ravenne ....]

Thank you pdurrant and HarryT for your prosodic assistance which transformed a harmless Christmas poem into a paean of murder and death! Thank you DaleDe for adding a poetic touch to my prose, so it would echo the introductory rhythms.

Thank you dreams for your marvelous expertise in adding links, suggesting story additions/changes - all improvements!, and general encouragement as the plot grew completely out of control.

Thank you Jellby for creating "Hercule Poulet", and thank you pdurrant for creating the beautiful "Agatha Chicken" avatar.

Thank you ravenne for your German "annotations" and "footnotes". And thank you Billi for assembling the verses into a narrative of death!

[If any MobileRead member fluent in French, Italian, Spanish, whatever - would like to join us in the next contest to provide language specific "footnotes" - please contact one of the moderators! We'd love to have you!]

Thank you Dr. Drib, HarryT, DaleDe, Nate the Great, Jellby, mtravellerh, pilotbob, Mark_liest - for keeping up with the forums whilst some of us were otherwise preoccupied with getting this show ready for prime time! Spammers have no chance with such a crack team!


And thank you - everybody - the members of MobileRead - for being a wonderful audience! You rock!
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