Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men - the HubNugget Shadow Knows...

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It was a dark and stormy night...

The driving rain lashed the heavily curtained windows of the dark, imposing mansion. Headlights lit up the long, tree-lined driveway as a car snaked between the twin rows of thinly leafed giants to stop in front of the wide stone steps.

A sliver of light from the window above the courtyard briefly illuminated a cloaked figure emerging from the vehicle. Glancing up, the visitor caught a quick glimpse of a woman, silhouetted against the light as the drapes slid closed.

The front door opened as the visitor dashed up the steps and slipped through the entrance, closing silently behind the retreating figure.

A shot rang out followed by a scream and the sound of a body thudding to the floor. Moments later, the front door was flung wide as the cloaked figure raced down the steps and leaped into the waiting vehicle. Gunning the engine, the driver spun the car around, and sped back down the driveway, disappearing into the rain.

The Real Deal...

8:45 a.m.

P.I. Patty Inglish got the call along with her morning paper. Downing her cup'a Joe she jammed her hat over her curls and hit the street. Her little roadster made good time and she pulled up to the driveway at 13 Black Elm Lane in less time than it took the boys at the precinct to empty the doughnut tray in the lunchroom.

Turning into the drive leading to the mansion, she took note of the squad cars and the Beat Cop guarding the front door.

Climbing out of her roadster she called to him. "What's the news O'Rourke? Cap'n here yet?"

"Patty Inglish, you're a sight for sore eyes! Naw, he's in a meetin' with Mayor Maddie. Says he'll be here in a half hour, give or take. Jonesy's inside with that new precinct photographer, Gals." He winked slyly, "I wouldn't mind a cupp'a Joe from her brim if you get my drift!"

"Sure, O'Rourke, I get your drift. Just make sure nobody from the Press gets in here and let me know the minute the Cap'n arrives." Patty said, taking the steps two at a time.

The Plot Thickens...

"Jonsey!" Hollered Patty, striding into the foyer.

"In here!" Jonesy ripplemaker answered.

Patty followed the sound of her voice, into the drawing room. Under normal circumstances, P.I. Inglish would have taken in her surroundings, but the body lying in a pool of congealed blood was as prominent as an elephant in the room, and commanded her full attention.

A pretty girl with looks as smooth as Dresden china leaned over the body, positioning a bulky camera in her hands. She snapped a couple of pictures, the flashbulbs sounding like popcorn popping on a hot griddle. She nodded to Patty and kept working.

"What have we got Jonesy?" Patty asked, making a bee-line to the body. Jonesy pulled the toothpick out of her mouth and propped her elbow on the fireplace mantle.

"Looks like somebody don't like rich folks. The dame here is HubNugget Hattie," she said pointing at the corpse with her toothpick. "Seems her family was responsible for hosting awards ceremonies for up-and-coming writers with that HubPages Community that sprung up here a few years back. They get some kind of 'Oscar' or something for writing stuff, is what I understand...anyway, before Old man HubNugget died, he had some fancy statues made to give out as awards - Accolades I think he called 'em - and HubNugget Hattie here was the keeper of the 'goods'. Rumor has it that she locked 'em in a vault in the basement and wore the key on a chain around her neck an' never took it off."

A flashbulb popped as if to punctuate Jonesy's statement. Gals looked up from her camera and caught Patty's eye. "She's not wearing a chain...but it looks like she did at one time."

"Maybe that rumor you heard was true, Jonesy," Patty said, looking closely at Hattie's neck. "I wonder if the basement vault exists too. I think we should check it out."

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The Basement Vault...

After the trio located the basement stairs, which were through the kitchen pantry, a quick trip down revealed what Patty had suspected. The vault door was open wide, and judging by the mess on the floor, it had been ransacked.

Gals snapped off a volley of photos before they entered the vault. Jonesy grabbed a handful of papers from one of the shelves and rifled through them. "These look like nominations for the awards thingy," she said. "These ones are for the Games, Toys and Hobbies category. Hmmm...wonder who will win this?"

"I have a better question," Gals said, taking another picture. "What will they get if they win?"

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Which one of this week's Games, Toys, and Hobbies nominees is your favorite?

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The Pressure's On...

They were interrupted by the sound of heavy footsteps coming from the floor above. Jonesy grabbed the rest of the papers and the three of them made their way back upstairs.

"Jonesy, P.I., Gals, where the heck are you?"

Patty and her cohorts cringed at his tone - he didn't sound happy. We're right here Cap'n," Patty said as they walked into the drawing room. "We were just investigating a theory."

"Mayor Maddie wants this case wrapped up tighter than an Egyptian mummy, and fast!" Captain Menayan said. "Miss HubNugget was a huge patron of the arts and a respected member of the community...not to mention, a personal friend of the Mayor herself! I don't care how you do it, just get it solved...yesterday!"

"We're on it Cap'n!" Patty answered, and the trio bolted for the door.

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The Suspects...

After spending the day beating the streets for clues, Patty and Jonesy were going over their notes back at Patty's apartment. Jonesy handed over the rest of the papers she scooped from the vault. "Looks like there were more people involved in this HubNugget awards thing than we figured," she said. "I count three more...guess we have our suspects."

Patty scanned the papers carefully. "You're right, there's Saigon Simone, HubNugget Hattie's personal secretary, ladyjane Gaga, Hattie's cousin, and RedElf HubNuggets, Hattie's sister."

Jonesy stifled a yawn. "I'm going home, I'll meet you at the Precinct in the morning, we can talk to our suspects before lunch and have this thing sewn up in the bag for the Mayor by supper."

*Meanwhile...at Gals' darkroom, ideas were beginning to hatch...*

Gals pinned the last picture to the makeshift clothesline strung from wall to wall. Her good friend, Enelle Lamont watched over her shoulder at the developing images. "So...what's the scoop, Gals?" Enelle asked. "Looks like HubNugget Hattie!"

"It is HubNugget Hattie - someone wanted her dead so they could steal the HubNugget Accolades. I just got off the phone with P.I. Inglish, and she and Jonesy are going to interview the suspects tomorrow morning, and they found another set of nominations - this time for the Entertainment and Media Category."

"And who would they be, these suspects?" Enelle drawled, staring intently at the photographs.

"Her sister, RedElf HubNuggets, her personal secretary, Saigon Simone, and her cousin, ladyjane Gaga. Any one of them could have wanted Hattie dead and inherit the Accolades fortune.

Enelle glanced slyly at her friend and pretended a yawn. "You know, I'm getting awfully sleepy, Gals, maybe it's time to stop for the night and start fresh in the morning." Gals nodded, suddenly very sleepy herself. "Good idea Enelle," she said fighting through a huge yawn, "I'll see you tomorrow."

"Good night, Gals...sleep tight," Enelle purred, and slipped out the door.

Which one of this week's Entertainment and Media nominees is your favorite?

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"Who Knows What Evil Lurks in the Hearts of Men..."

Once safely away from her friend, Enelle stopped at the nearest phone booth and looked up the suspect's addresses. Swiftly donning her guise as the HubNugget Shadow, she sped to the first house on the list.

Quiet as a mouse, she slipped upstairs and caught Saigon Simone relaxing with a glass of milk and reading a manuscript. Using her powers of hypnosis, the HubNugget Shadow badgered, bullied and interrogated the hapless Simone for information about her late employer's habits, family and fortune. The HubNugget Shadow soon discovered that both Hattie's cousin and sibling hated her and both coveted Hattie's fortune.

Leaving Simone with no memory of their conversation, the HubNugget Shadow sped off to the next house on her list...

This time, the side door to the patio was unlocked, and the HubNugget Shadow slipped in, unseen. Her unsuspecting prey lay fast asleep - but not for long! RedElf HubNugget sat bolt upright in bed, peering into the deep shadows of her room. Once again, the HubNugget Shadow brought her powers to bear, quizzing RedElf mercilessly. Poor RedElf had no choice but to point the finger at Hattie's secretary. She admitted to hating her sister, but not enough to kill her.

"After all, we are civilized..." she said. "Mother did raise us to be proper ladies!"

After finally getting the information that she needed, the HubNugget Shadow slid from the room, leaving behind a clouded and befuddled RedElf, who would have no recollection of her late night visitor, 'cept for a swirl of black and red.

The last house on the list was no challenge for the HubNugget Shadow. Stealthily clambering up the garden trellis, she slunk in through the upstairs bathroom window. An argument was in full swing in the room next door, and the HubNugget Shadow opened the door in time to hear a swarthy man holding a gun, threaten ladyjane Gaga.

"I did what none of you pantywaists had the guts to do! I killed that wrinkled up, tight-fisted spinster and stole the Accolade fortune! Now I just have to get rid of the rest of you lily-livered-pansies and leave the country!"

"Don't be so sure of that," purred the HubNugget Shadow. "You have to get by me first!"

"Whose there? I don't see nobody! What game are you playin' ladyjane? This aint gonna stop me! Take that!" The thug hollered, bringing his gun to bear.

Twin flashes of light blazed from the HubNugget Shadow's guns and in seconds, the thug lay dead on the floor. Before ladyjane could open her mouth to scream, the HubNugget Shadow purred again.

"Who was that man? Answer quickly!"

"He..he was the old lady's butler," ladyjane stammered. "He hated Hattie for years, all of us did, but he couldn't stand working for her. He couldn't quit because she threatened to black list him with the Butler Guild, and he would never be able to work anywhere, ever again! He finally couldn't take it and killed her. He told me he stashed the Accolade fortune in the old boat shed at the mansion."

"Call the police and ask to speak to P.I. Inglish. Tell them to wake her up if they have to. Give them your address and wait for her downstairs. Tell her everything you told me," the HubNugget Shadow purred.

Sliding the still smoking guns into the folds of her cloak, the HubNugget Shadow exited the room with only a flash of red and black cape to show she had ever been there.

Epilogue

"That was the strangest case I have ever worked on," P.I. remarked. "Not only was the culprit caught, but the last suspect on our list provided all the answers to questions we didn't get a chance to ask!"

"Did anybody find out who shot the butler?" Gals asked.

"No, nobody had a clear look at him, or her. Just a glimpse of a red and black cape was all anyone remembered seeing." Jonesy said. "Oh, by the way, I found another list of nominations for the Food and Cooking Category...guess the winners will get their Accolades after all."

Patty sighed. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

""The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay.... The Shadow knows!" purred Enelle from a darkened corner of the room. "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha..."

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Comments 24 comments

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 5 years ago from San Francisco

Oh, this was splendid! I do love a good murder mystery.... and this week's nominees are top drawer, too! I've voted... now it's just a matter of waiting to see who wins!


RedElf profile image

RedElf 5 years ago from Canada

This was mahhh-velous, dahling, simply mahhh-velous! Kudos, Enelle - not that I remember much about the adventure...except a flash of red and black - what's that all about, I wonder?

Congrats to all the nominees! It was hard to choose - great crop of picks!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 5 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

It took reading this hub to remember just how good a writer you are, Enelle! I really enjoyed doing so. I'll be sure to read and vote on as many Hubnugget hubs as possible.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

Looks like another case solved in red and black! What evil, indeed. Jonesey and I wish all our cases could work out like this one.

Read and voted and enjoyed completely. Shared and etc. as well. Congratulations to each one of the nominees for their interesting work!

Hi dohn121, wlecome back!


FloraBreenRobison profile image

FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

Ooh, I love the Shadow. Mysteries and suspense take up a lot of my free time. :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America

This was so good I had to read it all again! I love the old mysteries, too.


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I agree with Patty! Enelle, it was a thrilling adventure! Life is so full with these around. :D On my way to read and cheer up the nominees!!! heeee heeee heee Congrats to all the nominees. Have fun with the Hubnuggets!


Gofygure profile image

Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

Thanks for another nomination! These Hubnuggets stories are great, I love reading through them. I'm off to read the other nuggets, great job!


davenmidtown profile image

davenmidtown 5 years ago from Sacramento, California

It is all fun and games until someone threatens the hubneggeteers... voted up... and sharing.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

Absolutely fabulous. I had to read it twice. Loved the mystery.

Voted for my favorite but it was sure hard to choose.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

You are so right davenmidtown, we have to keep our families safe ;)

Thanks Gals! I really enjoyed writing this one :D


ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

Enelle what a great hub and it kept me on the edge of my seat for sure. Great job. Read and voted and of course voted this way up. Cheers.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks lj :) It was so much fun to write, I think I read too many old mystery books when I was young :P


festersporling1 profile image

festersporling1 5 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Love how you bring it all together. Great hub and good luck to all the deserving nominees.


melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

Wow it was really hard to pick out my votes, so many great new hubs! Best of luck to all the awesome new hubbers!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks festersporling1, sure hope you remembered to vote ;)

Melbel, there are a great bunch of nominees, and I find it is hard to just choose one - every week!


Mini Mimi profile image

Mini Mimi 5 years ago from England

Wow thanks for the nomination! Im glad you like the guide! I had fun doing it!


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Congratulations on your nomination! Keep up the writing :D


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

I love the topic! and can't wait to return to read all about the hubnugget candidates. The video is intriguing. :)


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 5 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Hi Denise, the video was a must have! Don't forget to vote before it closes!


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

I enjoyed this hubnugget story immensely. You really have an imaginative mind. We can all enjoy a good mystery.


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 4 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks jeyaramd, this was such a blast to write...maybe there is a mystery novel in the offing LOL :D


bearclawmedia profile image

bearclawmedia 4 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

Very crafty. hehehehe


Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 4 years ago from Canada's 'California' Author

Thanks bearclawmedia - it was just too much fun :D

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