Please excuse any typo. I typed this whole thing on my iPad so ... stuff ...
Of all the cases that Adrian had taken or was handed, this one was perhaps the saddest one. Why? Because it involved the murder of a kid, a child who was no more than eight years old. Cause of death: poisoning. Her name was Michelle. She was in a friend's birthday party when it had happened. A little boy had run crying to his mother to tell him that Michelle was 'making funny noises and something soapy is coming outta her mouth!'. The woman, Lara, had immediately raised alarm and rushed to find Michelle. She had found her motionless on the carpet, surrounded by her school friends; some were crying while some were trying to wake her up. A packet of strawberry juice lay on the carpet near the dead girl's hand. An ambulance and the police were promptly called. The packet of juice was immediately sent for an investigation. It was discovered that the juice was poisoned. The police wasted no time in spending all the children to the hospital for a precautionary check up while confiscating all other juice packets remaining in the house and sending it for inspection as well.
Adrian was called by Cuthbert to see if he could help.
"Although I doubt you can," Cuth said.
"And why is that?" Adrian asked.
I, Peter, as usual had tagged along with Adrian. I didn't have the brains he did (and he was nowhere near close to Michael's intelligence) but I wasn't exactly dull either. I had helped him on several cases and now Cuth did not mind whenever I was with Adrian on a case. In fact, the stout inspector had started trusting me now.
"The forensics department thoroughly examined the juice packet. No traces of any external piercing on the packet were found. Not even on the small aluminium piece on the packet from which the drinking straw is inserted."
"So it stands to reason that the juice was already contaminated. From the time it was bought," I said.
"So why'd you call me then?" Adrian asked.
"I don't know. You have this ability to discover the most vital informations from the tiniest detail. And I don't think a juice company would go around poisoning it's product at random. That's just too unlikely."
"Unless a worker suddenly went mad and decided to do so," I said.
"Yeah, but what are the chances of that?" Cuth asked.
"Not large but not insignificant either. Has there been any similar incident involving the same company?"
"None that I know of. We checked. This incident is the first of it's kind."
"Well that stands in the company's favor. So, this Lara, can I talk to her?"
"I'm afraid you can't. She's is in a catatonic state on the hospital. She couldn't handle the death of an eight year old child in front of her. We did a background check on her - when she was eleven years old, she witnessed her brother of ten die in a car accident right before her eyes. Apparently, the poor woman still hasn't gotten over it."
"And now a similar trauma will haunt most of the children who were present in that party."
"Do you suppose Lara did it? You know, to inflict her trauma onto others?" I asked.
"Don't think so. I don't know if it is her but I do know a person would never do it for such a reason," Adrian said. "I'd like to talk to the children who witnessed the death firsthand."
"Are you sure Adrian?" I asked.
"I'll be gentle. Don't forget, I am a psychologist," Adrian answered.
"Talk to the kids? I think I can arrange that," Cuth said. "I'll give you a call tonight."
"Thank you Cuth."
"It's sad eh," I said. Adrian and I were walking home together. My car was at the garage for repair. Apparently, there was something wrong with the valves in the engine. Or so the mechanic had said. Either way, I couldn't ride it for another two to three days. Adrian's car was deep down under a lake outside the town (don't ask how). Antei couldn't drive us; he was bedridden with flu. Michael had no license. Phil was rather busy for the weekend and Charlie was still not back.
"Yeah. A young child, whose life has only just begun does not deserve to die, much less to be murdered," Adrian said.
"So, how'd interrogating the children go?" Only Adrian had been given to permission to talk to the children. I had waited outside, bored with nothing to do but play games on my mobile.
"Well, I interrogated each child individually. There were differences in their accounts but one detail matched perfectly. Michelle's father, had brought the packets of juice in a bag. The children had taken the juices at random."
"So Michelle was a random victim?"
"Yes. Anyone could have died. It just turned out to be Michelle."
"The murderer must be mad. Killing a child for no reason. Not that killing someone is good, much less a child. But still. The child died for nothing."
"I'm heading over to the forensics lab at the police headquarters. You wanna come?" Adrian asked.
"I can't. I have a lot of work to finish today. And also the novel - oh, the novel! I wish the people over at Apple would fix my laptop quickly. It's already been a month."
"Well, I'm sure you will get it back soon." Adrian waved to a taxi. "I'll see you later then." I nodded as Adrian climbed into the taxi and it rode off.