Characters: The Doctor/Agatha Christie
Spoilers: 4.07, 'The Unicorn and the Wasp'
Word Count: 1,527
Author's Notes: I can't get enough Agatha. Apologies for the very long wait in between parts, it shan't happen again.
Previous Parts: Part One, Part Two, and Part Three
The question of the murder weapon was one that should've been answered simply but was, in fact, more complex than I first thought.
The wound on the young woman's forehead was not as simple as a blunt object or a knife or a gunshot, it was small and precise. The Doctor told me he wanted to get a mould casting of it. The idea seemed absolutely absurd at first until I realized that the casting would give us a perfect interpretation of what the weapon looked like.
He and I sat in the dining cart as he fixed up the paste. I worked on our notes, keeping track of each of our many suspects was far from easy. Especially with that mysterious man grinning so madly as he worked. He loved the chase, the thrill of it. I wanted to despise him for his excitement, after all there was a young woman dead in the boxcar. All the same, I found the excitement increasingly endearing.
"You're very good at what you do," I said to him. "I dare say I wouldn't have thought to make a casting of the girl's injury."
"Well, it's more of a nouveau concept. I'm sure it'll get more popular as the years in investigation roll on. They're---uh, we're still all rather new to science." He looked over the edge of his glasses at me and gave me one of those grins that makes my stomach do somersaults.
"And you, Mrs. Christie, are very good at what you do. Best criminal investigative mind in the world, oh, but I knew you would be."
He talked such wonderful nonsense at times and this was only one of them. "Whatever made you think I would be? I'm just a writer."
"No, but you're brilliant." He moved to perhaps take my hand, but his sleeve ended up in the paste he'd been working on, ruining the lot and his suit jacket. "Well. Blimey."
I couldn't help it. Perhaps it was the exhaustion from the day or the absurdity of seeing the brilliant investigator making such a mess while attempting to compliment me, but I began to laugh. It wasn't restrained by any means; a high-pitched giggle. I giggled, and I suppose that should've been embarrassing all by itself but when I began to grasp control of my hysterics I could see the Doctor was laughing as well.
He was not nearly as young as I had thought. His eyes had tired creases around them that were emphasized rather sharply as he laughed. And those eyes. Those dark, old eyes. He truly was handsome; if I had not thought so before (which I had) I certainly did now.
"So, Doctor, tell me what your little grey cells think," I inquired. "What suspects have you whittled out?"
"Not sure yet," he admitted. "They've all got opportunity, now that we know the time of death isn't the time of discovery."
"What about that scream?" I asked. "It was what drew us both out, was it not?"
"Yeah," the Doctor's eyebrows scrunched together. "That scream is odd. Female, definitely. The train's engines muffled it. Still, once we talk to the suspects again, we'll be able to figure out who it might've been."
"Simply by listening to their voice?" I had to admit the idea was impressive. To not only recall the scream but to be able to compare it to mere spoken word? Of course, I had been ahead of myself.
The Doctor looked slightly embarrassed. "Actually, I thought we might be able to figure out a reason to make them scream. You know, mouse runs across the feet or something."
"You're mad," I said, and I don't doubt my expression informed him of my opinion if my words didn't. "We can't just make the women on this train scream!"
He was undeterred, though. "Well, we can't find out who screamed if we can't hear the scream again!"
If the Doctor had wished to hear the scream, apparently there was a shooting star that night as in that moment a high-pitched wail came from the other side of the train. There was no mistaking it, that was the voice that we had heard, the one that brought us both out to the hall that night.
In a split instant the Doctor and I were both on our feet and running towards the sound. The Doctor was significantly faster, but I dare say I kept my time with him. We followed the sound to the farthest boxcar on the train, where Mr. Morose stood, a bow and arrow pointed at Miss Eleanor. She cowered against the wall, terrified.
"What's going on in here?" Behind us was the obese Baron, red-faced from the effort of running.
Without hesitation, Mr. Morose loosed his arrow and it stuck the floor near Miss Eleanor's feet. No, not the floor, but a very large rat that appeared to be gnawing on the chair on which she stood.
"Sorry about that, old chaps," Mr. Morose said, slicking back his moustache and lowering his arrow. "Didn't mean to frighten you all. Young girl was just a bit terrified, isn't that right, Lassie?"
Miss Eleanor nodded stiffly and allowed Morose to assist her down. "I-I'm so sorry," she curtsied. "I was startled by the creature, is all."
Everyone seemed to nod in agreement and leave, but the Doctor kept his eyes on Miss Eleanor. There was no doubt in either of our minds, it seemed, that the young girl was the one who screamed, not Miss Hynes. But why would she scream? More importantly, why would she run away without telling anyone of her discovery?
"I think we have our next interview subject," the Doctor said, stepping aside to allow Mr. Morose to leave.
"Not quite," I interjected. I stepped over to the dead rat and took hold of the end of the arrow, pulling it out. "Does the end of this look at all familiar?"
Not a typical arrowhead, the tip on the championship archer's arrows were thin and rounded, made for shooting at targets instead of creatures. Had his shot with the rat not been so true, it would've dealt a far less aggravated damage than an ordinary arrowhead might've. But applied to the tender flesh of the human temple…
"See what I said, Agatha? Brilliant."
The suspects began to retire to bed if they had not already. The Doctor and I stayed late, working first on the mould of Miss Hynes's wound and then heading back to the kitchens to speak to Miss Eleanor.
"She's retired for the evening," the irritable Mr. Corinara (who stood in during the evening for Mr. Bredrard, it appeared) said, crossing his arms. "We don't generally have need of our servers at this hour. Unless you wish a specific meal, in which case I would be only too glad to wake her."
The Doctor and I shook our heads. "That's not necessary," he said. "Just a few questions, though. Where was Miss Eleanor---"
"During the discovery of Miss Hynes's body?" Mr. Corinara let out a chuckle. The laughter made me ill. What humor could be found out of a question such as ours? "It's something we've all asked of everyone. What motive could we have for the murder? Who might've thought to kill such a lovely young woman. Miss Eleanor was, as usual, late for her duties."
"Mr. Bredrard did say she was a daydreamer," I said, adding these notes to my already expansive list.
This was apparently extremely funny to Mr. Corinara. He broke into a full belly laugh that brought tears to his eyes. "Daydreaming," he said in between breaths. "So funny for Mr. Bredrard to bring it up. You see, it a code among the staff."
"A code?" the Doctor raised an eyebrow. "For what?"
"A servant seeking more than they can. An affair with a passenger, perhaps? I imagine that is where Miss Eleanor is right now. Playing to her fantasies that will never, ever be recognized."
"She had a lover among the passengers?" I asked. This was an interesting development. Could that be why Mr. Morose was so quick to assist her? Or why she seemed so shy to speak to both the Doctor and myself?
"She was not a subtle woman," Mr. Corinara said. "I don't know where she procured a tube of lipstick, but she did not manage to rub it all off before arriving for her duties on more than one occasion. People like us don't waste our meager earnings on frivolities like the guests." There was no small amount of irritation in the man's voice and I had no doubt that it was directed entirely towards me.
The Doctor noticed it as well, and he put a hand to the small of my back to steer me from the kitchens. The small touch might've been more thrilling if my blood was not boiling with irritation and confusion.
"Now, that is a development," he whispered to me as we parted.
"Do you think she's covering for someone?" I asked.
"I think the only question we have now is, for whom."