It had happened again.
A body had been found; a body which had been drained of blood through two puncture marks on the victim’s neck.
Could this be the work of a vicious animal?
There were no such animals in or around the small town of St Andrews, its inhabitants knew. Therefore, a new solution, a more plausible explanation to the problem was making its way around town, overshadowing the rumour of Mr and Mrs Turner wanting to get a divorce.
However, it was a small band of students who were the ones committed to finding the murderer rather than gossiping about it. Being students, they approached the issue as students are usually taught to solve problems – via research.
In their age, a world where the word internet had never even been thought of, this meant going to the library. Consequently, when the exciting project began to feel too much like school work, it meant the leader of their little club, Robert McIntosh – the only one interested enough to keep pursuing this mystery – pestered his friend, Andrew McCoy, who just so happened to be a very conscientious student of the medical profession.
“Surely, you must have come across something similar in one of your studies,” he insisted.
“If you mean the fact that excessive blood loss is fatal, I knew that before I arrived at university.”
“But the puncture marks –”
“Those could have been caused by a number of –”
“Don’t lie to me,” his friend pleaded. “I know you went to see the corpse with one of your professors.”
McCoy eyes widened. “Nobody was to know of this. You must not tell anyone.”
“I promise,” Robert agreed eagerly. “I swear not to tell anyone if you tell me what you found out.”
His friend glanced about as if anyone could have overheard their whispers over the prattle of the nearby students, chattering in-between classes.
“I cannot tell you,” McCoy said. His eyes had the look of a horse about to bolt. Shifting his weight nervously from one foot to the other and back, he continued, “I might lose my scholarship if I did.”
“You never did tell me who it was that awarded you this gracious scholarship.”
“And it is better this way,” McCoy clutched his satchel against his chest. “If you are my friend at all, you will not speak of this matter again, not to me and not to anyone.”
Robert, being an honourable gentleman’s son and having been brought up as such, tried to heed his friend’s request. But he simply could not, especially when he noticed his friend’s behaviour had changed.
McCoy, quieter than ever, would creep from his bed at strange hours of the night and not return until dawn. When Robert enquired whom his secret beau was, McCoy’s eyes widened to such proportions, Robert thought they might pop from their sockets. Stammering McCoy had mumbled something about the library and dashed away.
Therefore, Robert decided, rather than trying to goad his friend out of his mysterious silence, he would follow him the next time he vanished and find out where he went.
The next night, when McCoy had slipped from the room, Robert counted to ten and followed him. McCoy may have thought himself stealthy but his eyesight certainly wasn’t improved by the darkness.
Therefore it was no matter of difficulty for Robert to locate him. All he had to do was listen out for a thud, accompanied by a groan and he knew exactly where his friend had collided with a wall.