Chapter 31 |
The bright voice continued speaking.
“So, someone found the body within those five hours and chopped it up. Isella said that she saw it was cut off from the neck. Then, Isella went back there with me to look at it. However, the room was unusually clean.”
She walked towards the fireplace.
“Summer is almost here, but why is the basement so cold? Is your room alright?”
“I’ve died and lived again many times, but I’m a little surprised about this. It really feels like reality is suddenly turning into a dream. I was so surprised and I was so scared. But when I thought about it again slowly, the answer that came to me became more simple.”
Carynne drew a picture of a woman. One with long hair.
“My situation is a bit unique, isn’t it? No… Don’t look at me like that. Like I said, I keep dying and living again. And I’m telling you—I was so flustered because the corpse suddenly disappeared. But when I thought about it slowly, it became all too simple.”
Carynne continued speaking as she was looking at the graffiti she drew. In fact, the answer was completely common sense that she didn’t need to explain it like this.
Isella had been exhausted from looking for her necklace all day long. And her room was in the middle of the hallway where all the guest rooms were situated.
“She should have entered the fifth room, but she entered the sixth. I thought that room was locked because no one was using it.”
Carynne pointed to the diagram of the corridor with doors on it, all with the same shape. This hallway where guests stayed was entirely uniform and without any unique characteristics to the doors or the rooms. Tom nodded his head.
“So in that room—the sixth room, which was supposed to be empty—that’s where she found this head. What do you think?”
Tom tilted his head when Carynne mentioned the head. Oh, he doesn’t know Nancy. This head she drew was Nancy’s head. Nancy was the only person who had black, curly hair inside the mansion.
“It’s Nancy’s… It’s the dismembered head of the maid I killed.”
She was the only person of color in this mansion.
Carynne moved the drawing of the head. She thought that Nancy had been in Isella’s room—the fifth room—when in fact, the head was in the sixth room.
“So, the corpse must have been in the sixth room. Someone moved it to the room next to Isella’s. But Isella accidentally entered that room instead of hers, and this incident occurred.”
Tom nodded again, though it was evident in his eyes that he was confused about the hallway. All the doors of the mansion were difficult to differentiate because they weren’t numbered.
“Isella accidentally entered the sixth room the first time, and then when she came back there with me, we went into her room, so the corpse wasn’t there. That day… It’s understandable since she was tired. What the, so after solving the mystery, it turned out to be nothing. How boring.”
Carynne looked into the fireplace, where the fire had already been extinguished, and glanced up. Tom imagined that, like in that fairytale, he could become free if only he could push her into that fireplace. The boy killed the wicked witch and escaped.
However, Carynne immediately pulled herself out.
“So then the number of suspects have decreased significantly. Someone strong enough to chop up Nancy into pieces in that short of a period, and also someone who didn’t know that the sixth room wasn’t locked. Not one of the maids, but someone from the servants who came in recently.”
Carynne thought of only three men who were likely candidates. But why did they do this for her? Carynne could think of only one reason—it was because of the man who was the owner of this domain and who could have given them money. Carynne’s father, Lord Hare.
“The reason, well… I’m sure that Father lied. Isn’t it because Father did it for me? Since I’m his daughter… Actually, I don’t know. How far would parents usually go for their children? Since Verdic once killed me for Isella, I guess it’s natural for Father to take care of this for me?”
But why was it that this time, again, the corpse disappeared? It’s strange. Thomas was gone. Along with the corpse that was here, presumably Nancy. When Tom pointed towards the empty fireplace, Carynne shrugged.
“Who knows. Isn’t it possible for anyone to move a corpse for the second time? But the person who entered this unused cellar, removed the first corpse, and then quietly removed the other corpse he found here. I’m sure it’s the same person. Maybe my father planned it, and a few others acted on the plan.”
Silence ensued. Even if he grew up in the harsh streets, he was still young. Actually, Tom couldn’t understand even half of what Carynne was saying. What he could vaguely understand was that not only did she damage a corpse before and killed someone else, but there was someone protecting her. And she wasn’t being punished for killing someone.
So that he could stop thinking, Tom focused on Carynne’s words.
Carynne turned away from the child, touching the wall with her palms. Could he attack Carynne right now? Tom took aim at Carynne’s back. He was smaller and younger than her, but maybe it was possible to pull this off if he were to rush in. He counted inwardly. One…
But she soon turned around. Tom sat down awkwardly again. Fortunately, Carynne didn’t seem to notice that something was amiss with Tom.
“The smoke that rises from here will definitely pass through the kitchen… When I started a fire a few days ago, smoke also came out from that chimney. It means that the fireplaces are connected, right? This hole and that hole are similar. Hey you, you need to apply the ointment before going to bed. Burns are difficult to heal from.”
Who was it exactly that made him like this in the first place? However, Carynne genuinely looked worried. This made Tom feel even more strange.
But regardless of what Tom was feeling, Carynne beckoned the child as she was still fumbling between the gaps in the wall. She looked excited, as though she was a good noble young lady who had taken out snacks for the beggars to eat. He looked at her with expectation.
“I do believe in magic, but… In this case, rather than it being the work of magic or God, it makes more sense that a human did it. I’ve personally experienced something peculiar, so I got even more confused. That was just another way of thinking about it, but look at this.”
Carynne took out something from the gap in the wall and showed it to him.
Tom stared at it for one moment, but as soon as he realized that it was a person’s body part, he flinched back with a groan.
“Two corpses disappeared, but the body parts I’ve hidden still remain.”
So she was sure that someone had cleaned it up.
Tom looked frantically between his dead father’s body part and Carynne’s exposed white teeth as she smiled.
“And, you know?”
Carynne used her fingers to pull something out of the bones. Rotten flesh came out.
“Your father’s down there isn’t big. It’s rotten, but I’m sure of it. The only reason it’s big now is because it’s decayed.”
She had a very certain tone.
It was only after a long time that Tom realized that what she was saying now was a rebuttal to what he told her on the day of the trial.
It was a joke that he couldn’t even laugh about.
* * *
Tom was forced to wake up at dawn because of the cold hand that touched his cheek. Carynne was sitting at the edge of his bed.
“I can’t help it because I’m curious.”
There was a glint in Carynne’s eyes. Those eyes shone sharply in the dark as though they were a beast’s.
“As I thought, it looks like the corpse in the fireplace is Nancy’s, huh?”
Tom urged himself to open his heavy eyelids.
“But even at first glance, it didn’t look like it was just dropped there, right? It didn’t even break into pieces.”
The corpse of a person that had become a lump of coal had been neatly placed there. That was clear. Tom nodded.
“It’s like a funeral was held for her… Did someone call a mortician to sew her back up? As you saw, the bones were neatly together even though the body was burnt to a crisp. If it had been handled like that, then it’s highly likely that your father was dealt with like that, too. Oh hey, that’s a good thing.”
“Isn’t it nice that someone took care of this and even held a funeral?”
His father’s corpse was originally supposed to be left as manure. Carynne sincerely congratulated Tom, and with a shudder, he nodded.
“Anyway, the corpses are gone… Let’s just say that my father ordered someone to clean this up. But you know.”
In an instant, Carynne’s smile vanished. Tom felt nervous. Carynne’s mood changed so many times a day, but she never showed it externally to other people. However, in front of this mute boy, she openly expressed her viciousness—her madness.
The tone of Carynne’s voice grew sharper.
“I killed someone, but wasn’t it too neat?”
She stared blankly into the air.
“His daughter killed someone. So, as a parent and as an individual who had power, he took care of it. It’s possible. I can understand how it’s like that. But you know.”
The loud clenching of her teeth could be heard.
“Without even telling me, without even rumors being whispered amongst the servants, how did he do it. It’s too neat.”
“As if he’s already expecting it.”
Carynne was angry. She tried to hold back her ire. Nails dug into her palms. Blood trickled out. Drops seeped into the bed.
“What does my father know?”
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