The Intrepids

Case of the TBD, Chapter 8

The Journey to Ankara

The team hires Irfan to lead them to the mountains. They hire two trucks, the first truck has the guide, Molly, Rama and Rex. The second truck is driven by Clara, with Alex and Lark in it.

We drive uneventfully to the Little Village with the Long Name just as the sun is setting. Irfan says he planned this as a way-station as the headsman’s brother is married to his cousin’s something or other. We are welcomed as honored guests.

We are offered food and some mint tea and some glasses and some sugar and offers raku (which is sorta like gin). The liquor is strong and pretty good.

Dinner proceeds without incident. Another Turkish gentlemen, Faruq Baz, in western clothes comes over and makes small talk about why we’re here, and does not veil his contempt for the local area and its denizens.

After dinner we retire to the widow’s house where we are staying and drift off to sleep. Then, in the middle of the night, a SCREAM! From the third room…

We bust into the room (still locked) and find that Mr. Baz (from earlier) is sprawled out on the bed, death with his throat slashed open and blood every where. It seems to be a locked room mystery — the only other entrance is a window which is closed (and we’re on the second floor). Then the widow shows up and starts screaming “Murder!” and not so subtly accuses us. She goes “running” out the front door calling for help and/or the police!

Molly, Rama, and Clara go downstairs and attempt to head off the mob with the pitchforks. Rex and Alex investigate. Alex sees nothing of any significance – it’s clear that Baz could not have inflicted his own wounds, but there is no trace of anyone else having been in the room. She then tries to look through his things for any mysterious vibes – she finds some “tainted money” and then the “police” arrive.

The police consist of an older gentlemen in various states of military uniforms who is not terribly thrilled at being woken up at this time of night. Some looking around and questioning of the women, he examines the scene and then asks us which of us would like to confess to the murder… There is some discussion and some threats of Turkish jail (the opposite of Turkish Delight), and Clara manages to get him to reconsider and he changes things to “just don’t leave town.”

Alex decides to get a reading off the body before they take Mr. Baz away… She gets a vision of his last moments. Which play out rather the way you think they would, darkness, struggling, more darkness. Oh, and some garlic breath. But that’s about all she learned.

Most of us go back to bed… Alex is troubled, however, so she decides to keep investigating. She determines that the blade that made the cuts was not particularly large, but was very sharp (like a straight razor). The locks and window don’t seem to have been tampered with, but she does find a small bit of fishing line that doesn’t seem to go with anything else in the room. Finally she found a small piece of paper that contains a copy of the same map we have shoved down inside the box spring. Alex and the Lark have a short conversation about who could have pulled this whole thing off.

We get up the next morning. We have a tasty breakfast (the widow is a good hostess even if she now thinks us all murderers) and then Rex takes a look around the outside of the building. He notices a small bit of roofing tile on the ground and makes sure the guard following him notices it as well.

When the constable shows up thereafter he asks the widow if she has a ladder, and once one is located, he sends the guard up on the roof. He cries out triumphantly and returns to the ground with fishing line. The locked room mystery becoming less so, the constable is relaxing his opinion that we are dangerous assassins and believes we might be allowed to leave town sometime after he wraps up his case…

Alex updates the rest of the Intrepids on her nighttime investigations.

Around mid-day three desert riders show up. They head to the meeting house. Clara suggests we head there for lunch. The team sees the head man go in, look around the room then call his men in, where they sit down for tea. The team sits down and the proprietor offers very nice lamb stew and other food. Molly asks the man who the other strangers are, and if he knew the dead man. The proprietor explains the new man is the leader of his clan. He had seen the dead man drive through on his motorcycle a few weeks earlier.

Soon a man drive up in a car, wearing western clothes, but with a fez. He is followed by graduate students. The two men glance at each other, but clearly pretend not to. The professor calls to the proprietor by name and sits down. Lunch continues with no contact between the two men. There is the sound of children playing and banging outside, and soon a Sufi man with bells on comes in. He does not look at the other strangers. He sits down and the proprietor brings him mint tea (lots of mint tea going on).

Molly and Alex get up and decide to talk to the professor. He greets them in English. “Did you just come in today?” says Molly. “Yes, we just got in from Istanbul,” he replies, “What brings you to the the little Town with the Long Name?” Cryptic conversation commences.

Next Molly and Alex go to talk to the Sufi mystic. He is very happy… If you thought the last conversation was odd, this one would knock it right out of the park.

The desert group leaves. We dispatch the Lark to keep stealthy tabs on them.

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JMazur

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