Mystery Short Story: Clockwork

Clockwork Cover


Detective Wayne Roberts woke up in a hospital bed. He looked around the room; there are no other people around. He sat up slowly, and notices a sharp pain in his head. He looks down at his clothes and searches through his greasy hair for a bruise. He was wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. He remembered almost nothing. Pieces of the jeans were ripped up and his clothes were thoroughly worn in, and seemed to be falling apart like an abandoned home. He saw a clock on the far side of the room. The clock shows 7:15. He stood up slowly and walked toward the window, walking as if through maple syrup. He pulls the curtain away and sees that night has fallen and it is raining, as if the clouds were weeping.
Pitter-patter, pitter-patter
“7:15, PM” he muttered to himself.
The next thing he noticed was something bulky in his pocket. He reached into his pocket, and out comes an ID card, wallet and a cell phone. The mobile phone was nothing fancy and seemed to be disposable. Although the phone seemed old, the internals of the phone seemed as though they were never touched, there were no contacts, and it was as empty as a backyard on a rainy day. On the ID card there was his name and a few other details about him, such as birth date. In his wallet he finds only 60 pounds and a business card. The name on it was Wayne Roberts, his name. Looking puzzled, he scratches his head and reads the card.
“Government Detective…” He reads, He reads it aloud again just to make sure that he was correct.
He manages to find his address on his ID card. He walks outside looking confused and calls for a taxi. When he finally gets a taxi, he steps out of the rain and gets out his ID card to read the address aloud to the driver.
On his way home, the driver gets into some traffic. “Ugh… London traffic” the driver grumbles.
When Roberts arrives at his apartment, he remembers that he does not have a key, or anything of the sort. After getting upset with himself for spending money to get on a taxi to go somewhere that he cannot even access, he tries to look through the peephole on the door. When stepping up onto the door matt, he notices a bump. He checks under the door matt, and finds a seemingly old key. When Wayne finally arrives at home he sees a large mess all over the apartment, the carpet was barely visible. He has an urge to clean it up and after sitting on the couch for about a minute he gets up and begins to clean the area, putting things wherever he thinks they fit. He turns on the television in his living room, only to find that it is not hooked up to anything. Being tired after cleaning everything, he decides it is not worth plugging in. He headed over to this desk on the other side of his small apartment and finds an old laptop. He opens the laptop to find a dusty keyboard and screen. He presses the power button and after about 5 seconds a blinking light comes on, indicating that it is out of battery. He looks around for the charger and finds it connected to the power but not to the computer. He plugs it in and waits for startup. 5 minutes later, he is on his email trying to remember who he is. He has only one email. It is from the Governmental Detective Service, his apparent workplace. The email begins with:
Dear Detective Roberts,
Please report back to headquarters with your findings. If you do not return as by Thursday, we will report you missing and will have a search team on your trail. For your safety, please return as soon as possible.
Wayne took a glance at the corner of his display. He finds that it is Wednesday. He thinks to himself that he must go tomorrow, and shuts off the computer and tries to sleep. Before he switches off the lights, he checks his alarm clock. The alarm shows 10:32 PM. He sets himself an alarm for 7:10.
The next day he awakes with a start as he finds the alarm to be very loud. He shuts it off, but he notices something odd. The clock shows 7:15.
“Same time as yesterday…” he thinks to himself.
He tries not to think too much of it and makes himself a coffee using the coffee in his small kitchen. When he tastes the coffee it is bitter and he checks the fridge for milk, only to find nothing but leftover cold pizza.
At that instant, he remembers that he has to get to the Detective Headquarters. He does not remember an address at that point, but after struggling to search through his notes, finally finds it and rips a piece of paper off and writes it down. He shoves it in his pocket and catches a taxi. He reads aloud the address, but one street down so that the taxi driver does not actually know where he is. Wayne feels as though he needs to take every precaution. He walks one street up and after showing his ID card multiple times manages to get into the headquarters. He soon finds Jakob, a man in a wheelchair. He seemed to have good upper body strength and seemed like a strict man. He had a rugged face. Wayne approaches him and next thing he knows…
“Roberts! We’ve been waiting for you for three days! Where have you been?” Jakob said. He spoke with an Australian accent.
“Sorry sir, I was sidetracked” replied Roberts. Roberts tried to seem normal as though nothing happened.
“Anyways, we need the information you gathered, follow me here” Jakob said as he brought Roberts into his office.
“So, what information have you gathered?” Jakob said as he brought Roberts into the office.
Roberts replied nervously “Well see sir, I seem to have lost it…”
“What do you mean you lost it? How could you have lost it!” Jakob said sternly.
“Well see, I don’t remember much…” Roberts said.
“What? What do you mean?” Jakob angrily replied.
At this point, Roberts was scared for his job. Jacobs had an expression on his face that gave Roberts the impression that he was not happy with the situation. After speaking more about how Roberts did not remember anything, Jakob finally told him what his objectives were. Jakob told him that a clock worker for the Big Ben known as Mike Glonning went missing recently and had access to vital information as well as keys to rooms that most people did not even know existed. If the keys were in the wrong hands, the holder of the keys could hide anything and cause damage to the Big Ben. Terrorist threats had been happening, and there was a threat that they would bomb Big Ben. Jakob explained all of this and also told him that he needs to locate Mike and find the keys. After that, Wayne set off to start his investigation, for some reason he seemed to have an instinct to head to the Big Ben first. He managed to get into the main clockwork using his Identity and Government Detective privileges. The first step he took into the halls and dark room-like storage spaces was the worst. He smelled oil and heard gears and other noise all around him. The walls were as greasy as pizza. After a while he got used to the smell. He searched around the crime scene. He only seemed to find minor clues. First he found footprints, which obviously belonged to Mike. He took a picture with his phone. After he took the picture he discovered that the pictures were awful and did not show anything but pixels.
He thought to himself “first step…”
He then continued to search for more clues. He found more footprints. Some seemed bigger than others, but he could not tell if they were actually bigger because of the lack of light, until he finally compared them very closely using the dim light of his phone. He noticed that one was slightly bigger and also the tracks that they left were slightly different patterns. He continued to look, but had trouble searching in the dark.
At the second hour of investigation he started questioning his own detection method because of his lack of clues and discoveries. He decided to continue investigating after pondering the question for a few minutes. He decided that for him to be hired he must have decent detection skills. He noticed that his phone battery was not going down at all, and decided he would use it as a flashlight. He began to take a video, but even though nothing was visible, the flash on the camera was active and provided some light. He continued searching around the clockwork. He went down the hall, into some of the rooms, found nothing but some worn beds that seemed to be just as comfortable as the floor and more oil and tools.
He looked through the toolbox to see if there were any others. He shuffled his hands through the toolbox, making a lot of noise.
Clang, clang.
He finally found something that felt wet, but dry. He picked it up to find a medical kit. He quickly searched through it only to find bandages, some disinfectant, and a passport he could barely see. He opened the passport to find the name John Oprentin. John seemed like a normal person, he had long curly hair and looking nothing like any of the people he remembered, not that he remembered anyone. He tucked it into his pocket. He then realized that oil does not dry. He went and revealed the med kit with his small phone flashlight, there had been dried blood on the med kit.
He took note of this and continued. He added John Oprentin to a list of suspects, and he was the only suspect so far.
After walking around in circles for another hour or so, he decided that he should go back to the headquarters to report back his information and research about John Oprentin. He headed out of the clockwork.
As soon as he exited the clockwork, he began walking toward the street to call a taxi. He glanced around him, feeling anything but safe as he entered the taxi.
“Any one of these people could be John Oprentin…” He thought to himself.
When he arrived at the headquarters entrance, he walked though the front door and went to report at the front desk that he had returned.
“Hello,” he said to the receptionist, glancing down at her nametag
“Hi, how can I help you?” said Jennifer.
“I’m here to report to Jakob that I have returned, please tell him that I will be in his office in a few moments,” Wayne replied.
“Name please?” she asked.
“Wayne Roberts.”
“Is that so? I think there is a jacket in the lost and found with your name on it.”
“Really? Thanks,” Wayne said as he headed towards the lost and found box.
He reached into the box. Inside it there was only one piece of clothing. He checked the tag and on it was his name, scribbled with sharpie. He put on the jacket and headed to Jakob’s office.
When he got into the office, Jakob was working on something on a computer. When Roberts walked over he turned off the computer and said
“Roberts, what have you got for me?”
“Well I investigated the Big Ben, and found this,” Roberts said as he retrieved the passport from his pocket and showed it to Jakob.
“A passport…” Jakob said as he took it from Wayne’s hand “John Oprentin…”
“He is my only suspect at this point. I will do some research about him later. I also found some dried blood on a medical kit that I found in one of the rooms”
“Great.” Jakob said and looked at Wayne, waiting for more information.
After an awkward silence, Wayne replied, “Is there a problem, sir?”
“Is that all the information you have!?”
“Well, I could not find much else…” Roberts stammered
“I am running three cases at the moment and I don’t have time for you to just go around without getting any information! We need more evidence! We can’t just suspect someone because of an inconvenience! And as for the blood, it is a medical kit! A common place to find blood! You need to find the clock worker!” Jakob said sternly
“Well sir, it is not as easy as it seems…”
“Enough! Just leave”
Roberts left the room and walked through the hall back out the door of the headquarters.
“How does he expect me to find clues in the dark hallways of clock work by my self! How unreasonable and… and… Why am I doing this anyway? Do I even receive anything in return!?” Roberts thought to himself.
Roberts took yet another taxi back to his home. He took the keys from his jacket pocket and tried them on his apartment door. They did not fit. At that point he remembered that the jacket was from the lost and found. Maybe it wasn’t his after all… He took the keys from under the doormat and unlocked the door.
When he got inside he began researching on John Oprentin. He couldn’t manage find anything. Whenever he tried to search for his name on the internet, nothing came up. Things for other people such as John Stretor or other various names came up but nothing for John Oprentin.
After researching for some more time without results, he decided that he had to investigate the clockwork once more. He had found nothing, and there had to be something. He set off that night at 9:00 PM to piece together the puzzle. He realized that he had no more money to spare for a taxi and walked there.
When he arrived he went into the clockwork, the same way as before, and began searching. He went through the same halls as before. As he was walking down one of the halls he noticed the barbed wire on the side to stop people from entering the clockwork. He leant next to it and examined it as he never saw it before. As he walked around the length of it, he found a piece of what seemed to be denim. He continued on walking around. At the end he went into the only room he had not investigated thoroughly and lit an oil lamp that he found in the room with a match that he found near the lamp. He could finally see. He sat down for a little bit. Then he began looking around. There was nothing on the walls, the ceiling, but when he looked at the floor he noticed something he had not seen in the other rooms. A carpet. He examined the carpet, it seemed old and there was dust around it, but it seemed as though there was no dust on the carpet. It seemed out of place in the middle of the floor, as there were no other decorations in the rest of the clockwork. He moved the carpet out of the way, and under it was a trapdoor. He slowly opened it. As he went down the ladder, what motivated him to continue was his anger towards Jakob. When he got down, he found another section of the clockwork. He walked around for a little bit. It seemed to have a similar structure to the other section, except the difference was that this area was lit with oil lamps all the way along.
He walked around until he finally turned around a corner to find a corpse. The wall across from the corpse had a switch on it that had been pulled. He walked up to the corpse to find a man in uniform. It was Mike. He searched the body for the keys and tried to piece together what went on here. He saw another piece of denim on the barbed wire. He looked down the place that the barbed wire was blocking. It was the excess waste pipe, which led out to the River Thames. Then across the room, his eye caught something silver. He walked over and picked it up. It seemed familiar. It was a silver revolver, and it had something engraved on the side. He walked up to the light to read the engraving. “STREBOR” it read. He now decided that it was definitely Sterbor who killed him, but who was Strebor? He went over back to the corpse. He located the place which the bullet hit Mike. He had been hit on the chest, somewhere near the heart. The corpse glared at him as he investigated further. He examined the corpse some more, found a key loop on Mike’s belt with nothing on it. It was bent, as if someone ripped the keys from his belt. Then he saw it. The whole thing was pieced together. He remembered.
If the letters of Strebor are rearranged, they can become the name Roberts. There was only one suspect he had now, and it was himself. He looked down at his jeans. Little pieces were ripped, he took one of the denim pieces he found and lined it up straight to where his jeans had ripped. He finally remembered what happened.
He remembered how it went. He was on a mission, but could not remember who from or why he was on it. He had gone to take the keys from mike. He headed down the clockwork with a map that had been given to him. He tried to locate Mike, knock him out, take the keys, and then leave safely through the excess waste pipe. As he arrived down, Mike had seen him and tried to run and pull the switch. Mike had been successful in doing so, but Wayne was not about to give up on getting the keys. He remembered pulling the trigger, but being too late to stop Mike. He remembered the sudden fear of being caught as he ran towards the corpse desperately searching for keys. He took the first pair of keys he found and shoved them into his jacket pocket, then tossed his revolver across the room in hopes to get rid of it. He then ran towards the excess waste pipe, and tripped over the barbed wire, and then tumbled down to the river Thames. The last thing he heard before everything went black was the sound of police and security guards rushing into the floor above them. He must have taken the wrong keys. From there, some random citizen could have found him and called an ambulance. The only thing he could not remember was why he was doing this. He then remembered the terrorist organization that was threatening to bomb the Big Ben. He knew now that it was them he was working for. He had remembered being told about the mission now, and everything was so clear.
He now thought about what he should do. He was to turn himself in, go back home and continue as if he never found this out, or he could try to reunite with his organization He then went back home, after disposing of all the evidence and taking the right set of keys, of course…




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Ayush’s Annotations:

Luke’s Annotations:


I think that my story was better because I was informed of the six elements. The elements helped me along with the other planners because they helped me set up a proper mystery without missing out on things. If I had not known the six elements, it would have been harder for me to create a mystery which was actually qualified as a mystery, instead of another genre. I think that since we read other mysteries and identified the elements, I could see what to do and what not to do when writing a mystery story.

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