The Millenium Murders

A Social Fiction – Part I

Evening has drawn its inky velvet curtains across the tapestry of the day. Faint memories of once magnificent stars now dot the skies, keeping only the full moon as their guide in the darkness.

You sit in the back of a black 1920 Citroen AC6, one of Abraham’s private collection and a car that has been in the Marciel family since it was made. The chauffeur, Irvine, drives you towards the Marciel ancestral home, a magnificent gothic mansion set in 120 acres of woodland in the Black Forest in southern Germany. The residence has been home to the family for over 400 years and their history and generosity is noteworthy in the region.

You rest as the comfortable ride soothes many of the bumps out of the road, even though the car is nearly three times your age. The champagne that Abraham has so thoughtfully provided enlivens your spirits and relaxes your nerves. He has finally announced his engagement to you and tonight you are to celebrate the occasion at his home in the company of your closest friends.

You pull into the gravel driveway and the car’s headlights illuminate a hunched figure digging a hole off to the left under the trees. He holds up a hand to shield against the bright beams.

“Was that Jensen?” you ask Irvine.

“Yes, Alexandria,” he tersely replies, continuing up the sweeping driveway.

“What’s he doing at this ungodly hour? Shouldn’t he be helping to prepare the canapés for this evening with the rest of the kitchen staff?” Your almost rhetoric questions are aired more to the champagne glass than to Irvine, but he replies efficiently as usual.

“Hubert passed away this afternoon.”

You take a small, but sharp intake of breath in shock.

“It was unexpected,” he continues, “and Abraham thought it best to bury him quietly and not make a fuss for the evening. Abraham found him lying on the kitchen floor shortly after luncheon.”

“Poor Aby,” you sympathise. “They were so close. Hubert was his favourite. Oh!” you exclaim suddenly remembering something more important, “but how is Sabrina taking it?”

“She is pining heavily. His lordship has been comforting her all afternoon. They are both suffering, but Herr Marciel insisted we proceed with tonight’s celebration.”

You wipe a brief tear from your clear complexion and solemnly twiddle your gold necklace in reflection. “Hubert had so much energy. He was so young too. Only four. I remember the way he used to bound across Longacres eager to see his master. The two of them, I mean Sabie and Hubes.” You pause to wipe another tear. “They use to bound around together their dear little tails wagging.”

“I know fräulein,” soothes Irvine, “I know.”

The car halts languidly at the main entrance to the house and Irvine opens the door for you. You step out into the low fog that has been threatening to descend from the hills for the past few evenings, breaking up the wisps of vapour. You smile briefly, as the vapours swirl briefly like a dust devil and then dissipate.

You notice a few other cars already parked, take a breath to compose yourself and head into the house to freshen up before joining the party.


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