This story takes place two weeks after "The Holiday Incident". I have not been able to update that story because the laptop the story was on was damaged and had to be sent for repair. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this story.

Phil Stands Accused

I did not know what it was or why it was so but it seemed like our group had a knack for getting into trouble - involving death. Only two weeks since our return from the horrendous holiday, cut short by two deaths and several injuries including one to myself, and here I was talking on the phone with Phil who had become a suspect of a murder at his colleagues' house.

"Don't worry Phil," I said into the phone, "I'll grab hold of Adrian as soon as I can and be there with him."

"Thanks Peter," he replied. "Adrian's phone is usually busy and I was only allowed one call. So, I decided to get to Adrian through you. Hope you didn't mind the intrusion."

"Hey, come on now. Don't talk like that. I'd never mind a call from a friend, certainly not in a matter like this. Keep a cool head. We'll come to the police station and clear things up."

As soon as Phil hung up the phone, I dialled Adrian's number. It was busy, as expected. He was growing more and more popular with each new case he solved. As a result, he was always getting calls and emails asking for his help. I left him a voicemail and went to the kitchen to make me a cup of coffee. I never drank tea and coffee was an occassional thing. I drank it usually when I was tensed, just as I was right now.

I had finshed drinking the coffee and was washing the cup when the phone rang. I ran to pick it up.


"Hey, I got your voicemail." It was Adrian. "What's this with Phil a suspect and all? What happened?"

"Well basically, Phil was attending a small birthday party at his colleagues' house when the lights went out suddenly. When the lights came back on, the birthday boy was dead, stabbed in the neck with a small knife."

"And Phil is a suspect because?"

"He was standing next to the victim at all times. There's one other suspect."

"Only two suspects?"

"Well, they're the major suspects. They were standing on either side of the dead."

"That's bad. I'll be heading over to the police station. Will you come?"

"Hell, of course! Phil's been suspected of a murder, why wouldn't I be there?"

"See you there then."

I had tried to get a hold of Antei but his mobile was switched off. Charlie was away in another state with his family, recovering from his injuries (a stab in his abdomen) he had received while on the holiday mentioned was unsurprisingly uninterested.

"Phil's the suspect!" I had exclaimed on the phone.

"And Adrian's the detective who'll be taking over the case. As long as it's him, you don't have to worry and neither do I. Tell Phil to take it easy too. I'm sure Adrian will crack the case in no time," he had replied.

Well, I thought it was good that Michael had such faith in Adrian but still his nonchalancy in the matter unnerved me.

I could hear Adrian arguing with someone as I walked into the police station. I was not surprised to find out that it was Cuthbert.

"You know I can't do that Adrian. phil has to stay here until the investigation is complete," Cuth was saying adamantly.

"I told you Cuth, Phil would never do such a thing. I've known him for over twelve years!"

I just stood there silently, watching them. Neither of them noticed me.

"Well perhaps you didn't know him well enough." Cuthbert was losing patience.

"I have a Ph.D in psychology for god's sake! I can tell if a person is murderous or not. And Phil is not that type."

Phil was nowhere in the room. Was he being interrogated?

"I can understand what you're trying to say but the law doesn't take such things to account. You need facts to prove his innocence."

"Let me join this case then. I will prove Phil innocent and find the culprit."

"Alright alright. You could have asked in the beginning. We wouldn't have to argue like this."

I decided it was time they noticed me. "So you guys done?" I asked.

Both of them turned towards me, startled. "Oh, Peter. Hey. How long you been here?" Cuth asked.

"Long enough," I said and turned to Adrian. "It's been a long time since I saw you lose your temper like that. It's them, isn't it?"

"What? No! What are you talking-"

"Their disappearance was the reason you became a detective so you could find them. Or at least find out what happened."

"Yes, but what's that got to do with this?"

I sighed. "Look, you may act all cool and stuff on the outside but we know all too well that you still mourn those two. And you don't want to lose any of us, the way you lost them. That's why you lost your temper."

"What are you talking about Peter?" Cuth asked, confused.

"Nothing important," Adrian answered. "It's a personal thing."

Just then, Phil and another man stepped in the room, followed by a police officer. Phil's sudden arrival diffused the tension. The moment he saw us, his eyes lit up.

"I knew I could count on you two!" he exclaimed.

"Sir," the police officer behind Phil said, addressing Cuthbert, "Their interrogation is complete."

"Thank you constable," Cuth replied.

"Ah Cuth," Adrian said, "Since you have put me on the case, may I interrogate them myself?"

"There's no need for that, I'm sure the official interrogation has been recorded. You can use-"

"It's not the same as direct interrogation," Adrian interrupted. Then he stared at Cuth. "May I?"

"Eh, what the hell. Go ahead."

The interrogation was shortlived as Adrian asked Phil and the other guy (his name was Lance) only what had happened immediately before and after the incident.

Apparently, after having a small party outside on the lawn of the house, they had proceeded into the house at around nine at night. All of the people present were seated around a long table. Instead being seated at the top of the table, the victim (Damon) had taken a seat at the middle of the table. After the cake had been brought and Damon had blown the candles, the light had suddenly gone out. At that moment, in the sudden darkness (both Phil's and Lance' account matched), they had heard a grunt and a thud as something (it was clear now that it was Damon) hit the table. Someone had taken out their mobile phone and used the light to see what had happened. To their horror, they found Damon spasming on the ground, a knife in his neck and blood gushing out from the wound at an alarming rate. The ambulance was promptly called. But by the time they arrived, Damon was dead.

"They think one of us did it simply because we were standing next to Damon," Phil complained.

"I sure didn't kill him," Lance declared. "It must be you."

"Hey! Stop accusing me! You don't have any proof against me. It could well be you!"

"Calm down, both of you. Mr. Lance, as Phil said, you shouldn't go around accusing others just like that. You need proof," Adrian turned to Phil. "I'll bail you out."

"What about me?" Lance asked.

"Well, unless you can find someone to pay for your bail money, looks like you'll be staying here. Enjoy the food."

Any reviews would be much appreciated.