The Case of the Missing Fines

A bell rang across the playground. A shy brown eyed girl walked to her tutor. Her name was Kathleen Dudley, but everyone called her Cat Duffer. She was thirteen years old and had a very plain sense of style; she never wore make-up and was not in anyway rebellious. Cat had two best friends, their names were Sherlock and Nancy. Sherlock was a fourteen year old boy with skin so deadly pale he looked like a ghost. Nancy was the younger of her two friends, at twelve years old, she had long blonde hair and watched 'EastEnders' virtually everyday.

As Cat joined the line of students, she heard footsteps behind her. Then two hands were placed in front of her eyes.

"Three guesses," said an extremely familiar voice.

"I know it's you, Nancy," Cat said, spinning round to see her friends grinning face.

"Oh no," said Nancy, "that was meant to be a surprise." Cat rolled her eyes. She was starting to get tired of Nancy covering her eyes like this. Then the line shuffled into the classroom and Cat placed her full attention on her teacher.

The sound of the bell echoed through the school corridors. Cat filed out of her classroom.

"Cat?" a voice said next to her. Cat looked around and saw Sherlock standing beside her. "Are you on library duty at break?"

"Yes, why do you ask?" replied Cat, "you know I'm on library duty today, Sherlock." Then Cat hurried off down the corridor to her next lesson.

It was break time, Cat and Nancy walked up to the library and on the way they bumped into Sherlock. The three friends nodded to each other and walked into the library. The school library was well populated with books and there were many different genres to choose from, it was any bookworm's dream. Cat smiled at the librarian and sat down behind the library desk.

"Move over," said a voice next to her. Cat looked up and saw Mona Cattle, a girl who had had a reputation for bullying Cat when she was in year seven. "It's not your day, Cat," Mona added.

"It is my day, look at the timetable." Mona stomped off and just as she was looking at the timetable the librarian arrived.

"What is going on?" she asked Cat.

"Today is my day," answered Mona before Cat had a chance to speak.

The librarian looked at the timetable, "No, today is Cat's day behind the desk," she said.

"I will get my own back, Kathleen Dudley, if it's the last thing I do" Mona hissed, as the librarian turned away.

Cat felt a chill run down her spine. "Mona is such a mean person, just ignore her, Cat," said Nancy from behind her.

"And if Mona does try to get her own back then I'm here," added Sherlock.

Cat looked at her two best friends, who were standing either side of her and knew that they would always have her back, no matter what.

As the bell sounded Cat gathered up her things from behind the desk. Then the librarian came over, "Cat, student librarian meeting today, can you make it?"

Cat turned to face her, brushing her hair out from in front of her eyes, "Yes, I can make it," she replied.

"Excellent," responded the librarian. "See you then."

Sherlock and Nancy were waiting outside for Cat when she left the library. When she came out, Sherlock stepped forward, "Cat, I don't want to make you late, but I would like you to do something for me."

Cat stared right at Sherlock, "What is it?" she replied curiously.

Sherlock smiled as he answered her, "Please, call me Shirley."

Cat did a double take, but then smiled and said, "Got to go now, bye then Nancy and... Shirley."

Sherlock nodded and darted into the classroom whilst Nancy and Cat climbed the stairs to the IT room for the next two lessons. 'First Sherlock wanting to be a girl and now this IT lesson, headache here I come.' Cat thought to herself as her and Nancy proceeded into the IT room.

At lunchtime Cat slowly ate her sandwich and crisps before heading up to the library for the meeting. When she got there she was surprised to see horrified looks on the faces of the student librarians.

"What's happened?" Cat asked upon entering the library.

One of the students, a girl she recognised as Mary Settle who was a bit of a gossip stood up to answer her. "Someone has stolen all the library fines from the desk."

Cat almost dropped her bag when she heard his. She ran out of the library to where she knew Nancy and Sherlock would be waiting and yelled to them. Both of her friends turned and saw the sad expression on Cat's face.

"What's wrong, Cat? What happened?" Nancy asked immediately trying to get to the bottom of things.

"Someone has stolen the library fines from the desk!" Cat answered.

Sherlock looked at both girls who were trying to calm each other down, neither of them doing a particularly good job at it.

"Please, just calm down, we'll find out who-" Sherlock began, but was interrupted by Cat.

"I know who did it," Cat said, "it was Mona, she has an obvious motive to steal the money.

"Hold on," said Sherlock, "We don't know she did this without any evidence."

"Cat!" screamed someone from down the corridor.

Cat turned and ran towards the girl standing there. "Mary!" she called back as she saw the younger girl crying so hard that her faced looked like it had turned into Niagara Falls.

"Oh Cat, the student Librarian said, "if we're not able to recover the fines then all of the student librarians, even if they didn't take them."

The group gasped at hearing this piece of news. No one had expected the school librarian to be that harsh.

"Looks like we have a case on our hands," Sherlock joked, trying his best to lighten the mood.

"Okay then Sherlock, what's your plan then?" Cat asked, feeling slightly better at the thought of doing something.

"It's Shirley." He glared at Cat.

"Sorry, sorry," said Cat rolling her eyes as she spoke,I well and truly forgot that you are now Shirley."

Thanks for apologising."

"No problem," said Cat, "time to get to work."

"First things first, let's check out the crime scene; the library." Sherlock decided.

"Please don't make it sound like CSI" begged Nancy, "it really scares me."

"Okay, I won't mention anything to do with CSI," Sherlock said, smirking at how easily scared the younger girl was.

"I agree with Nancy on that one." Cat said to him.

"Fine," the boy sighed, "let's just go to the library. We're wasting time just standing around here talking."

Soon all three of them were in the library searching for any clues that could lead them to the thief.

"Thank goodness the shelves have not been ransacked" said Cat.

"Where are the fines kept?" asked Sherlock.

"In this drawer, behind the desk." Cat replied, going over to the library desk.

The gang opened the drawer to find nothing but a notepad and a few pens.

"No clues in here." Nancy observed.

"Wait a minute Cat, you've stepped on something," Sherlock pointed out.

Cat stepped aside and saw a dark pink comb lying on the floor. She picked it up and saw some writing, on it was the number 341.

"Sounds like a locker number," said Nancy when Cat read it out to her friends.

"Then let's go find locker 341," Sherlock told the girls.

The friends raced across the playground to another block and searched every floor for locker number 341. On the top floor they were in luck.

"Right, let's check the name tag on the locker," Sherlock said turning towards Cat, who was already in the process of doing so.

It read: Mona Cattle, Year 9.

"I was right." Cat exclaimed, "This is Mona's comb and this is her locker, so she was the thief."

"Well done Cat," Nancy was quick to congratulate her friend.

"Something, isn't quite right here." Sherlock, scratched his chin as he spoke.

"What is it, Sherlock?" Cat asked, not realising her mistake until it was to late.

"Shirley!" Sherlock corrected with an exasperated sigh.

"Sorry, I keep forgetting. What were you going to say...Shirley?"

"Mona has a purple comb, doesn't she? I think that someone in trying to think that Mona stole the money."

"Are you sure?" Asked Nancy worriedly.

"Positive and I think that I have this mystery solved," replied Sherlock a wide smile spreading across his pale face.

"How?" asked Cat.

"Wait and see," came Sherlock's only reply.

The gang hurried back to the library and found the student librarians and the main librarian standing around a table."I think we know who took the fines," said Sherlock as they arrived.

All faces in the room turned to the three friends. "Who?" asked the main librarian.

"We found this at the scene of the crime," began Cat as she held up the pink comb for everyone to see.

"It has the number 341 on it, which is the same number as Mona's locker, "Nancy told everyone.

Everyone turned to look at Mona, who had turned a little red and looked very nervous.

"But," Sherlock continued as everyone turned back to them," this clue was a fake. Someone put Mona's locker number onto their comb, even though Mona has a purple comb."

Mona dug into her pocket and everyone stared again as she held up a light purple comb.

"Therefore we have deduced that Mona is innocent."Announced Cat. "The real pink likes the colour pink and I know only one person in this room who loves the colour pink."

"Who's that?" asked the librarian again.

"Mary, " Cat replied.

Everyone now turned to look at Mary who had turned bright red.

Mary looked up at them, not meeting anybody's eyes. "It was me," she said in a voice that was barely audible, but everyone heard. The entire room gasped at her confession, well almost the entire room.

"Why did you do it?" Sherlock asked the girl.

"I needed the money badly to help my family, my uncle lost his job recently and needed to pay the bills.

"So you decided to steal the library fines to help your family?" Nancy asked.

Mary nodded solemnly.

A few days later the gang heard that Mary had been suspended until the end of term. The money was returned in full and the gang were called heroes by everyone, well everyone who knew about it which wasn't many people, just the student librarians, the main librarian and a few of the English faculty.

Cat and Mona didn't become good friends and everyone did not live happily ever after because this isn't a fairytale.