The Case of the Amazing Accusation
A Shirley Holmes Fan Fiction

by MacGyverMagic
February 24, 2001         9,850 words
a part of the Magical Mystery Series starring Jeffrey Brisbane


Readers are invited to discuss the story in the Means Motive Opportunity Egroup.

DISCLAIMER/ AUTHOR'S NOTE: WHAT MORE IS THERE TO SAY? EVERYONE YOU DON'T KNOW FROM THE SHOW BELONGS TO ME. EVERYONE ELSE TO CREDO AND FOREFRONT. THIS IS THE THIRD PART IN MAGICAL MYSTERIES SERIE. IF YOU WANT TO GET THE WHOLE PICTURE I SUGGEST YOU READ "THE CASE OF THE CRAZY KIDNAPPING" AND "THE CASE OF THE CUNNING CELEBRITY" FIRST, IN THAT ORDER. IN THIS PART OF THE STORY, PART OF JEFFREY'S PAST IS REVEALED. WELL, RUN OUT OF WITTY THINGS TO SAY HERE. JUST HAVE FUN READING

CHAPTER 1: HOW IT GOT STARTED

The only thing in the small room was a square table and four chairs. The room held a scary atmosphere that became more intense as four men entered the room. They each took a seat at the table in total silence. The man that seemed to be the leader reached into to his coat pocket and grabbed a packet of Morley's cigarettes. He wasn't exactly fond of the x-files or something ' he didn't see himself as the cigarette smoking man. He just liked the brand a lot. He took a cigarette from the package and returned the package to his coat pocket. Then he took a gold-plated lighter and lighted his cigarette. He inhaled some smoke and blew it into the lightbulb situated over the table. He also moved the lighter in his free hand in a nervous manner. His face, although barely visible hidden behind the large hat, had an angry expression. Then, he addressed the other men present.

"I'm sad to say that the latest have disappointed me."

One of the men seemed to be surprised. He looked up at his leader like he wanted an explanation. He got it right away.

"80% of our missions are in danger or have already failed because of one person. That person is a threat to our existence and must be taken out of the game." he said.

"Is it a FED? Someone from Interpol? Or maybe just a regular cop?" the man opposite to the leader asked.

"Even worse! It's a kid named Shirley Holmes!" the leader bellowed. The men didn't know whether to laugh or take him seriously. They all suppressed a chuckle. The man to the right of the leader managed to ask something without laughing.

"Holmes? Like in Sherlock Holmes?"

"Indeed." the leader answered. After a pause he continued. "With the same deducting powers of her great grand uncle she has managed to find and catch most of our people and to hand them over to the police. In all that nosy snooping she is assisted by two friends and one of them might be familiar to you." He pushed a button on the side of the table and a projector came from the wall. It switched itself on and projected the image of a boy on the wall on the other side of the room. The leader continued his monologue. "This is Jeffrey Brisbane. His father is the world-renounced magician Lloyd Brisbane, also known as David Gold. His mother Rebecca works at PCR here in Redington and he has a little brother Mark." He paused again to inhale some more smoke. "We encountered him in Australia 5 months ago" He now looked at the man to his left who had been silent until then. "Mr. Brown, I believe you were the one, who messed up that assignment. You were supposed to kill the kid." Mr. Brown shuddered with fear. "I ask you to follow my new plan to the letter and both Miss Holmes and he will be history. You know what happens if you fail"

Mr. Brown's eyes grew in horror, thinking about what his leader would do to him. "I will Mr. Black, I will." Mr. Black showed an evil grin.

"Then, everything will turn out OK."

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 2: SHOCK

Jeffrey knocked the bat on the table in concentration. His younger brother, Mark, was about to hit the small ball towards him. They were playing table tennis in a room filled with sporting equipment. In a corner of the room was a closet filled with all sorts of balls, ranging from golf balls to rugby balls. Behind Mark was a brand new fitness cycle. Only 5 kilometers were cycled with it. It was one of the latest models and it had a sophisticated computer embedded in its white surface. Behind Jeffrey was a device used for lifting halters. It was something that was too complicated to explain. Near the only door to the room was a small cabinet that was filled with towels. They often used those towels to remove sweat from their bodies after an intense workout. Mark served the ball extremely well. It passed just high enough over the net in the middle of the table to get to the other side. But since that was very low Jeffrey couldn't turn the ball back. It bounced off the outer edge of the table and hit the wall behind him. Jeffrey sighed. Even though they had both played professional table tennis back home in Australia, it still felt stupid losing from your little brother.

"OK!" he said, agitated. "21-20. You win." Although it had been a close finish Mark was proud of himself. This was only the second time in his life he had managed to defeat Jeffrey.

Mark smiled at Jeffrey as they both dropped their materials and walked towards the door. Jeffrey got a towel from the cabinet, handed Mark one and buried his face in his own towel. Mark did the same. The difference in age was not relevant to the game in any way. They were both fast, strong and persistent, qualities that are essential to the game. The game had been so fast they were sweating all over their bodies. Jeffrey and Mark removed the sticky shirts from themselves and tried to get the sweat of with the towel.

Jeffrey had a muscular shiny chest. His younger brother, however, didn't seem strong at all. Jeffrey was still guessing where he got his strength and speed for playing table tennis.

Across the side of Mark's chest was a large scar that reminded them of the accident they had a few months. Jeffrey never really told anyone how he felt about it. He talked Mark into going to a party with him. He offered him the seat he usually used when he traveled with the car. The seat behind the driver, that is. Mark accepted. Just three blocks away from the party it happened. Some guy in a black car put the nose of his car in the side of their car. The man got out of his car and ran away. Lloyd had jumped out of the car and followed him, but he had to give up when he lost the man in the crowd. Meanwhile Mark was crying in pain. The memory of the sight still made a quiver go down Jeffrey's spine. His brother had broken his leg and he was covered in glass. Mark had been very lucky. The doctors managed to close the gash in his aorta. If they didn't, he certainly would have died from blood loss. They were too late to treat the damage to his hearing (if they could have). The crash had crushed some essential bones in his ears that couldn't be replaced. The large scar on his chest was the place where the doctors made the incision to operate on his aorta. The man that caused the accident was never found. Jeffrey felt guilty, because he thought he should've been the one in his seat. He tried to do anything to make life nice for his little brother. He refused to believe the fact Mark never blamed him for the accident.

"I'm going to take a shower." Mark signed after tapping Jeffrey on the shoulder. It had brought Jeffrey back from his thoughts.

"Oh, OK!" he just said. Mark left the room and Jeffrey remained there pondering. Suddenly the phone that was on the towel cabinet ringed. It took Jeffrey close to no time to answer.

"Hello, Jeffrey Brisbane." he said after picking up the receiver.

"Quickly! Turn the TV on!" a voice called from the other side. Jeffrey recognized it as Bo's. He seemed to be distressed. Before he could ask what was going on, Bo had broken the connection. Jeffrey decided to do as Bo had asked. He dropped the towel around his neck and sped through the house to the nearest TV and turned it on. A woman in a blue suit appeared.

"-- solved a series of robberies that had Redington in its grip for the last two weeks. The theft of several rare pieces of art seem to have been solved with the arrest of a Sussex Academy student. The police was not available for comment, but we do have a photograph of the suspect." As the picture appeared on the screen Jeffrey fell back in the couch behind him, stunned by what he saw. The woman continued talking as if nothing had happened. "The suspect was found in the house of a miljonair trying to steal his collection of rare coins. Upon searching the house of the suspect part of the stolen art was recovered. Where the rest of the pieces is, is unknown at this time. Other local news today" With shaking hands Jeffrey pushed the off button on the remote control. "This is impossible." he said to himself. He was talking about the picture he saw on the TV. It showed the face of none other than Shirley Holmes.

TO BE CONTINUED.

CHAPTER 3: WHY?

The doorbell rang and after a little while it opened to reveal a bewildered Bo on the front porch. Jeffrey let him in and closed the door behind him. In silence they went to Jeffrey's room to talk.

The room they entered looked messy. Stuff was all over the place, pretty much like it was when they first moved to Redington, but that was just the way Jeffrey liked it. On his desk stood a hi-tech computer. Furthermore the room was filled with papers and curious magic devices. Bo was too shocked about Shirley to show interest in them. Jeffrey sat down in the chair near his desk while Bo dropped down on the bed. For a moment he buried his head in his hands. He tried not to cry, but he was very near to doing just that.

"Why?" he whispered while aiming his eyes up directly at Jeffrey. "Why? I just can't believe she would do such a thing. There has to be a mistake." Suddenly he couldn't take it anymore. He stopped trying and let his tears roll down his cheeks.

"You're right. There has to be." Jeffrey answered. "I haven't known Shirley for long, but I'm sure she would never go out stealing." He sighed. "But what can we do about it?"

"Isn't that obvious?" Bo exploded. "We should go talk to hear her side of the story!" Right after he said it he knew what he had done and spoke to Jeffrey in a much softer voice. "I'm sorry but it's all so frustrating. I never suspected this to happen."

"I know. You're right but the police already think they caught the culprit. Even if we get to talk to her, it will be the question if we can prove her innocence."

Bo gave Jeffrey a probing look. His bright, blue, moist eyes trembled. "I'm her best friend. I owe it to her to try."

********

Mr. Black sat in a big leather chair at his big oak desk. Behind him on the wall was the picture of a 4 enclosed by some wavy lines and curves. He was reading through some confidential files when there was a knock on the door. He safely put the files away in his top desk drawer and locked it with a key. He put the key in his coat pocket.

"Come in!" he yelled at the person on the other side of the door. After a second the door opened to reveal a man in a spotless suit approach the desk. He stopped approximately 2 steps away from it and waited for his leader to speak. The leader spoke indeed. "Welcome, Mr. Brown. Status report?" Mr. Brown looked at his superior in amazement. Didn't he read newspapers? Didn't he watch the news on TV? He decided not to ask questions but answer some instead.

"The mission is going according to plan, sir. Ms. Holmes is arrested by the Redington Police Department. Some detective called Tremain, I believe. He didn't even bother to look for any other evidence. He just barged into the house, found her backpack, arrested the girl and left."

Mr. Black nodded in approval. "Very well." He paused for a moment. "What about her friends?"

At that moment Mr. Brown's cellphone rang. He excused himself and answered the call.

"Yes?" There was a long silence. "Excellent. Continue surveillance and keep me posted." He pushed the off button on the device and replaced it in his pocket. He then returned his attention to Mr. Black with a smile. "I just received word they are seen near the office of the Police Department where Ms. Holmes kept. All is going as planned."

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 4: IN THE POLICE STATION

Shirley was in a small gray room. The only light was from the sun falling through the barred window. She felled miserable, but that was no surprise in this situation. They police had been questioning her for at least 6 straight hours, trying to make her confess to a crime she didn't commit. But since she couldn't explain the gear in her backpack, she stilled remained prime suspect. She was at the table thinking of how her friends and family would feel right now. They were probably just as miserable as she was. She took the blue stone of the necklace Jeffrey gave her a while ago in her hands and rubbed her fingers across it. Where were Bo and Jeffrey?

********

"All we want to do is talk to her!" Bo yelled to the officer behind the desk. The man showed sympathy, but was no help at all.

"Sorry, kid. I can't help you."

"Why not?" Bo asked desperately. The man sighed.

"I have strict orders no to allow any visitors to Ms. Holmes." the man said in his usual professional voice.

Bo was ready to give it up and leave when a familiar figure crossed a corner. "What is this all about?" he asked the officer. But he knew the answer when he saw the two boys. "Leave this up to me, Louis. What harm can they do? She can't tell us less than she's already telling us." Louis got the point and shrugged.

"Well, OK then. But be quick about it. If the chief finds out he's going to kill me'" Tremain patted Louis on the back and turned back to Bo and Jeffrey.

"Let's go." He ushered the boys through the long busy corridors of the building to the room adjacent to the one Shirley was in. Bo and Jeffrey moved to the door. "Just remember, 5 minutes. I risk my job with this." Jeffrey gave him a sympathetic nod and followed Bo into the room. After Jeffrey had closed the door behind him Tremain sighed. "I must be coming down with something." He turned on the microphones in the room with the kids and followed their conversation.

********

Shirley looked up at the door when it opened, anticipating another interview with a police officer.

"Bo!" The two best friends sped towards each other. When they had closed the gap, they wrapped their arms around the other. They hugged, kissed and cried like there was no tomorrow.

In the other room an officer burst in. Tremain swirled around. "Can't you see I'm busy?" he yelled at the person that had disrupted his observation. The young man almost looked like he feared Tremain.

"Sorry sir, but we need some help. That conman you arrested this morning is driving us crazy." Tremain growled. He shot the teenagers one last look through the one-way mirror and turned to his subordinate.

"Fine, just make sure this door is guarded." He pointed at the door to the hallway, while he turned the speakers off again with the other hand. After he did that he followed the young man out of the door, closing it behind him.

Meanwhile Shirley and Bo had managed to let each other go. "What happened out there?" Jeffrey asked, while walking to a chair near the table. Bo and Shirley also took a seat and Shirley started to explain.

"For a few weeks I've been investigating some art thefts in the Redington area."

"Why didn't I know of that?" Bo asked. Shirley shrugged.

"I thought I would make a better chance if I went alone. Was I wrong' Anyway, yesterday afternoon I found out there was going to be a new theft. I heard someone bragging in the Quazar Caf'." Jeffrey winced when Shirley gave her explanation, but it went unnoticed. "So, last I went to that place, hoping I could protect the coins or catch the thieves red-handed. When I got in to see if the stuff was still in there, I forgot to dismantle part of the alarm system. It detected me and I got arrested. I tried to explain to those dimwits, I tried to protect the coins. They just didn't believe me."

"Why didn't you just ask if you could come in?" Jeffrey asked her. Shirley looked at him in disbelief.

"It's obvious you don't know Mr. Forbes. He is overprotective towards his coins. No one may enter the house except his maid and himself. If you try, he makes sure you get arrested." She paused for a moment. "Later I found out the coins had been stolen and that they suspected me of doing so. They even found stuff at my place. Please, help me! I want to get out of here." Just at that moment Tremain came in to guide the boys back to the exit. Bo looked at his watch. Time was always fast when you needed it the most.

"We'll help you." Bo replied instantly, almost whispering. "Trust us."

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 5: THE MILLIONAIRE

Impatiently, Bo knocked on the door of the large house. The house was so big even Jeffrey was impressed. Totally against their expectations, the door wasn't opened by the maid, but by the occupant of the large estate himself. He eyed the two boys with a mean look upon his face. Charles Forbes was 6 feet tall, dressed in a weird blue suit. He wore a lot of shiny rings.

"What do you want?" he snarled.

"We'd like to have a word with you'" Jeffrey started off politely.

"Why?" Forbes snarled again. It was probably not a good idea to mention they were friends of Shirley. Then Bo got a plan and spoke.

"We want to interview you for our school's paper about the way to success." Forbes's face cleared.

"Well ...... I guess it can't hurt anymore. I was robbed recently; nothing much to steal in here anymore. The police come by every 10 minutes. So even trying is useless." Bo and Jeffrey nodded. Forbes opened the door a bit further to let the two fake reporters in. Once they were all in the hall, Forbes closed the door and let them to the living room.

********

"You can't be too careful nowadays. I've had a lot of rotten little thieves around here lately." Bo suppressed the urge to knock the man to the ground. "I should have seen this coming." Forbes sat down in a huge leather chair and made himself comfortable. Like a real reporter, Jeffrey took a notepad and a pen from the pocket in his jacket. He turned over a few pages and started to pace around.

"May I ask what happened?" he asked the millionaire, his pen ready to write. In the mean time Bo took a look at the smashed showcase. It seemed like it was hit with a large blunt object. The tags, that used to be with the valuable coins, were chaotically spread around the showcase. Some were even turned over. The thief must have been in a hurry.

"Of course you may ask what happened. Last night about 1 am, I heard the alarm. I have a panel in my bedroom, so I can see where the alarm was set off. It was right in this room. I came downstairs to see what it was to find a girl." Jeffrey remained calm and kept an innocent look.

"A girl?" he asked, as surprised as he could.

"Yes. She was near the smashed showcase. I immediately called the police. They sent over some officers who were in the area at the time. The officers came in 5 minutes later." Jeffrey showed some curiosity, while Bo searched the rest of the room for clues. Being around Shirley really paid off. Unfortunately, not enough to notice someone was listening at the door.

"What did they find on the girl?"

"Torch, gloves, lock-picking set ........ All the usual stuff for a burglar." Forbes replied. Bo found the alarm both Shirley and Forbes had been talking about. It was still working.

"Wait a minute" Jeffrey said. "Where were your coins?"

"The police sat she had an accomplice who had already taken them outside when she was caught. He's probably long gone by now." The man sighed.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 6: TOUGH GUY

The door of the large mansion closed behind them. Both Bo and Jeffrey let out a long sigh of relief as soon as it had closed.

"Man, I thought that man was never going to stop talking!" Bo said to Jeffrey. Jeffrey rolled his eyes.

"It was harder for me, Bo. I was the one that actually had to take notes. We could have gotten in serious trouble if he had found out we weren't writing an article for the school's newspaper." The two friends walked down the front lawn back towards the road. Suddenly Jeffrey stopped walking. "I think we're being watched." he said. He looked around to find a figure running into an alley. "He went into that alley!" Jeffrey said as he pointed Bo into the right direction. They quickly went over there themselves.

When they entered the alley the found a boy. His age probably was somewhere below 10. He wore a black body-warmer, a pair of jeans that was full of holes and a cap. The bare skin under the holes had traces of dirt on it. The boy was trying to climb over the wall that closed of his exit. Bo grabbed the boy by his feet and pulled him off.

"Wait a minute! We just want to talk to you!" Jeffrey yelled. Bo had gotten the boy down and, with his hands firmly kept behind his back, he led the boy to Jeffrey. The boy struggled with the strength of a strong teen.

"Talk? What are you, the baby police?" he said through his clenched teeth.

"No, we just need some information." Jeffrey replied.

"You're no cops, I don't have to talk to you." the boy said with a firm voice. At this point Jeffrey almost couldn't control his anger anymore. He decided to try one more time.

"A friend of ours is wrongfully accused of robbing Forbes! What did you see?" Jeffrey said more forcefully.

"I already said, I don't have to talk to you. Leave me alone." Jeffrey was about to really lose his temper, until he noticed an expensive, golden watch around the boy's wrist. One look at the face of the watch was enough to see it was a Rolex. Jeffrey grinned.

"And I suppose someone gave you that watch." he said pointing at the expensive device. "If you don't start talking, we're going to turn you in. I'm sure Forbes will be thankful to us for relieving him from his little criminal problem." The boy sighed. He now that there was no way out this time.

"OK, OK. I'll talk." Bo let go of the boy. After he had straightened his body-warmer and his cap he started his story. "I was here last night'I needed some stuff and' well, that rich guy can miss it." He looked down at his feet and started to look more like a scared little kid than a hardened criminal. "Around 11pm there was a huge black car. It drove past the house and a masked man jumped out of it. He ran towards the front door. After that I couldn't see him anymore, it was too dark."

"Are you sure about the time?" Bo asked. The boy grinned.

"With a watch like this? How could I be wrong?"

"Did you see him again?" Jeffrey asked him.

"Yeah. At around 12:30 he came back carrying a small bag in his hand. The car came driving past again, the guy jumped in and they drove off." He paused for a second. "I thought about what I should do. When the cops came, I decided to split."

Jeffrey and Bo thanked the boy and left the alley. "What's so funny?" Bo asked Jeffrey. He had a smile on his face that extended to both ears.

"I got this and I'll return it to the rightful owner." He put his hand in his pocket and took out a shiny object. Bo's jaw fell to the floor.

"You got the watch?" Jeffrey nodded.

"Nice trick, isn't it?" They were interrupted by the voice of a woman. When they looked up they saw a woman running towards them, asking them to wait. Quickly Jeffrey stuffed the watch in his pocket and waited for the woman to arrive'

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 7: THE MAID

Breathing heavily the woman finally stopped in front of the two young detectives. But why? "I know you're not writing for your school newspaper'" she started. Fearfully Bo and Jeffrey exchanged looks.

"I've got no idea what you are talking about." Jeffrey said, acting as if he didn't lie. But the woman didn't leave.

"There is not much time," she continued hastily, "and trust me, if you two are reporters then I'm the Queen of England." The woman had rendered Jeffrey speechless. But Bo was still able to ask questions and he took the chance with both hands.

"What do you want from us?" he asked the stranger.

"No, no, no. It's what you want from me. You did came to Mr. Forbes to prove the innocence of your friend, didn't you?" For the second time that day Bo's jaw dropped.

"How did you know, who are you?" Bo asked after getting his act together.

"I'm sorry. I should have introduced myself. I'm Elisabeth Finch and I work for Mr. Forbes'I overheard you talking to Mr. Forbes and I knew I had to give it to you." she explained. "Just call it a hunch."

"Give us what?" Jeffrey asked, finally able to speak again. Mrs. Finch reached into the pocket of her skirt and handed them an envelope. "I know who really robbed him. Find him and free your friend'Sorry, I have to go." Then she turned and walked back towards the house. Bo and Jeffrey looked at her in amazement. Then she turned and raised something in the air.

"Thanks for finding it. I'll make sure Mr. Forbes gets it back." Jeffrey's pupils widened as he frantically started to search his pockets. The watch wasn't in his pocket anymore. Although it was weird, it was best to return the watch. Otherwise they could have ended up in jail themselves.

"Guess, you're not the only magician out here." Bo grinned. Jeffrey gave him a glare before both boys turned their attention to the envelope. It was blank. Slowly Jeffrey tore it open and reached inside. He touched something and slowly removed it from the envelope.

In his hand was now the picture of a man. And somehow Jeffrey had the feeling he knew him. It just didn't come out. A chill went down his spine and Jeffrey quivered. "Who and where are you?" he muttered to the silent face

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 8: HYPNOSIS

Bo and Jeffrey entered the Holmes residence after Robert had opened the door. Because of his work as a diplomat he usually was a serious guy, but this time there was definitely something wrong. His face was pale and he had to be remembered to greet the boys. They all went into the living room and sat down. Bo looked around nervously. It felt funny to be in Shirley's house without his best friend actually being there with him. There was an odd silence before Shirley's father asked the two boys a question.

"Have you seen Shirley?" Slowly Bo nodded. Robert sighed. "I should have tried to. I just wasn't up to it." He looked directly at Bo now. "How is she?" he asked with hesitation in his voice.

Bo just shrugged. "As good as can be expected, I guess." He paused for a moment before continuing. "But she trusts us to prove her innocence and we don't plan on letting her down."

"Well, I'm afraid I can't help you." Robert Holmes said in his English accent.

"We just want to take a look at Shirley's room and ' we want to have a word with you." Bo turned to Peggy, who was kinda surprised by the announcement. Then she gave him a mild smile.

"Of course dear, anything to help Shirley."

********

Jeffrey carefully opened the door to Shirley's room before he and Bo entered. Robert and Peggy told them that they hadn't been in there for the past 2 days. The only logical conclusion was that only Shirley, the police and the person that tried to frame here had been in there. The police's former presence was evident since the art that had been placed in Shirley's room had been removed. But there was nothing else to see at first. To be sure Bo and Jeffrey thoroughly searched the room. They found nothing'

********

Bo showed Peggy the picture. She examined the facial features of the person in the picture. There was no sign of recognition. Jeffrey nervously paced around the kitchen. He was irritated by the way his mind had abandoned him.

"I just KNOW I've seen that man before. I just can't remember when it was or even where'" Bo shot him a glance to let him know he should sit down. Jeffrey did.

"How can I help. I don't know the man either." Peggy said as she slid the picture back across the table to Bo and Jeffrey.

"You can hypnotize people, right?" Peggy started to understand where Bo was going.

"So you want me to freshen up his memory?" Bo nodded. "Well, it has been a long time ago, but I can still give it a go. Every memory is stored somewhere in there." She pointed at Jeffrey's head. "Let's get it out." For the first time this day, Bo really smiled.

"That's all we ask."

********

Again Brown's cellphone rang. It took him a minute to locate it. He was in a dark place.

"Yes?" he said with a curious tone in his voice as soon as he had pushed the on-button and placed the device to his ear. The other side of the line was silent. "Hello?" Finally there was an answer.

"Eeeh'hello boss, it's us'" one of the thugs on the other side of the line said.

"Good news, I hope?" Brown replied. The man became even more hesitant to talk.

"I'm afraid not boss'.We kinda lost them." The man uttered. Brown instantly exploded.

"YOU WHAT!" The man removed the phone from his ear until his boss was almost done screaming at him. "YOU KINDA LOST THEM? HOW HARD CAN IT BE TO TAIL SOME KIDS?" The man got his last question and answered.

"Well it was not as easy as you think, boss." the man stated. Brown showed his emotion by growling silently. "Those kids took all kinds of shortcuts after they left the police station. We couldn't possibly follow them with the car." he pleaded. Brown still wasn't satisfied.

"WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?" he bellowed. Then he lowered his voice. It was still angry and still sort of loud. "Just make sure you find them! You know the consequences if you don't'"

"Sure, whatever you say boss'" the thug answered quickly. With those final words he pushed the off button on his cellphone and turned to his mate. "You heard the boss, which way?"

"I have a feeling they went that way, Simmons." he stated, while pointing in front of them. Simmons was sure his companion had been thinking. He had always been a man of logic. Without questioning the statement, Simmons started the car and drove off into the direction his fellow criminal had pointed to.

********

"Relax'Relax from the top of your head to the tip of your toes." Peggy said. Bo looked at what was happening with interest.

"Focus your senses only on me. Shut out everything else in the room. Focus on me. As you do, you'll go deeper and deeper in your sleep'a deep, deep sleep."

Jeffrey sat on a couch with his eyes closed. He listened to Shirley's grandmother. Gradually his heavy breathing slowed down. Somehow the voice made him totally relaxed. The next thing he knew, he dropped his head and fell into a deep sleep. "'three, two, one."

Peggy Holmes snapped her fingers. Both she and Bo examined the young Australian that was sitting opposite to them. His head was slightly bowed towards them and his breath was slow and regular.

"Jeffrey, are you here?"

"Yes."

"Please go back in time and try to remember where you saw a bald man before. About 5 feet tall, high forehead, grey eyes and pointy ears." Peggy said, trying to describe the man she saw on the picture before her.

It was silent for a long time, but suddenly Jeffrey seemed to change. Pearls of sweat appeared in his face and his breath seemed to quicken again. Something distressed him.

"What's going on?" Peggy asked concerned she might have done something wrong.

"I'm in a car." Jeffrey responded with a soft voice.

"Is there anyone else with you?" Peggy asked him.

"Yes. I went for a ride with dad and Mark." he said weakly. Peggy shot a questioning glance at Bo.

"His little brother." Bo whispered. Jeffrey pressed his eyes together even though they were already closed.

"Tell me Jeffrey, what's happening?" Peggy said, asked of what the answer might be.

Suddenly Jeffrey opened his eyes and started turning and screaming. "MARK!!! NO!!! He's bleeding; someone please help me!" Shocked by the revelation Peggy and Bo looked at each other, not sure what to do next. Jeffrey lowered himself to another part of the couch like he was pressing on his brother to stop him from bleeding. Then, barely understandable, he whispered something. "Don't worry Mark, I saw who did this. He'll never hurt anyone again." Jeffrey's eyes were moist and tears were running over his cheeks. Peggy who heard him say the words quickly asked him if she had understood him.

"Did the man I asked you about do this?"

Jeffrey clenched his teeth together. "Yes."

"Calm down." Jeffrey closed his eyes again. "When I snap my fingers you'll wake up and be perfectly fine again. You won't remember what happened just now." After counting from one to three, Peggy snapped her fingers. Jeffrey seemed to recover and calm down with every number she spoke. When she snapped her fingers Jeffrey, still groggy, opened his eyes and looked around. He sat back up and let his eyes adjust to the light.

"Slow down, man." Bo said. "You should take a bit of rest." Jeffrey immediately put the idea aside and turned to Peggy.

"How did I do?" he asked, hoping they had gotten a lead. Peggy hesitated. Jeffrey stared at her.

"What is it?"

"I don't know how to tell you this'" she started.

"Come on, spill." Jeffrey urged. "Help Shirley."

After taking a deep breath Peggy decided to tell him what she had found out. "Jeffrey, the man from the picture caused the car accident in which your brother got hurt." Jeffrey's eyes widened in horror.

"No, it can't be'" he uttered. A long silence followed. All three of them were unable to say anything else.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 9: ALONE

The room was still shrouded in a terrifying silence. Jeffrey thought about the crash and the events surrounding it. He couldn't take it anymore. Tears formed in his eyes and he didn't try to hold them back. Peggy and Bo looked at him full of compassion.

"I'm so sorry, Jeffrey," Peggy said compassionately, "but I can't help it. It has already happened" Jeffrey looked up to her, trying to find the right words to express himself. He couldn't. Bo felt sorry for Jeffrey. The message must have dropped like a bomb onto him. He rose from his chair walked to the couch and sat down next to Jeffrey, putting his arm around Jeffrey's shoulders in an attempt to comfort him. Finally, through his sobbing, Jeffrey managed to say something. But he kept his head bowed to the ground.

"I know it's not your fault.....but I just feel so........" Jeffrey ceased. Again he was unable to find the right word to say.

"You mean helpless." Peggy said, completing Jeffrey's sentence. Both Bo and Jeffrey know looked into her direction, stunned. How did she knew how he was feeling? Peggy, like she also knew what they were thinking answered the question before they asked it. "It's just like I felt after Joanna disappeared. We all felt like that. But life has to go on and we all find a way to deal with those things eventually." She paused a minute and used it to look Jeffrey straight in the eyes. "I'm sure you will to." A small smile appeared on her lips as if she was trying to cheer him up. It didn't work the way it should have.

"Can I have a minute on my own, please?" Jeffrey asked, still with a tear-stained face.

"Sure." Peggy answered. She rose from her chair and walked towards the door and ushered Bo to follow her. With a thud the door closed behind them. There was Jeffrey on a stranger's couch in a house he didn't know to well either. Jeffrey dried his eyes using his sleeves. Why wasn't this nightmare still not over? If he was ever going to feel save again it had to end here and now. Then, all of a sudden, a brilliant, yet dangerous idea entered his mind. But after thinking a few minutes he decided it was the only way to do it. He produced his cellphone from a holder on his belt and started to dial a number.

********

After approximately 20 minutes, Jeffrey came out of the room. Bo and Peggy awaited him in the hallway. Jeffrey took Bo aside. The walked a considerable distance away from Peggy. Apparently, the chat they were about to have was private. Peggy saw that Jeffrey whispered something to Bo. Bo jumped up.

"WHAT? Are you crazy?" Jeffrey pushed his finger to his mouth while he made a hissing sound.

"Just trust me. Please!" Bo tapped each foot to the ground in turn while he tried to decide what to do. Since it could help two of his friends, he agreed. They thanked Peggy for her help and walked to the front door, greeting Robert on their way. 2 minutes later they were gone.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 10: CUT OFF

Bo and Jeffrey were cycling next to each other on one of Redington's main roads. On one side of the road there was a high fence, impossible to get over. On the other side were large office buildings, separated from each other only by small alleys that were all a dead end. Behind the fence construction work was going on for yet another office building. Large pieces were directed through the air and placed with extreme accuracy by large yellow cranes with black stripes on the sides. It was Jeffrey who broke their silence.

"You're mad at me, because I like Shirley, aren't you?" he suddenly said. He wanted to straighten this thing out, just in case his plan failed. Bo gave him a surprised, but irritated look and almost crashed into a lamppost because of it. He corrected his mistake just in time.

"No! Where did you get that idea? How many times do I have to tell you we're just good friends?" he asked all at once. Bo was immediately sorry for lying about this again. Jeffrey sighed.

"I just know it. The way you sometimes look at each other..... and it's pretty much written all over your face." he explained. He looked over his shoulder for a short time and then turned back. Jeffrey started to cycle faster and Bo just did the same to keep up with him.

"What? Are you reading my mind too? Just leave it, I don't like her that way." Bo shot back. Damn, why couldn't he just tell him the truth?

"Sorry'" Jeffrey said. He looked back at Bo and noticed the car he'd seen before had come closer to them, but still hadn't made an attempt to pass them. "I think we're being followed." he informed Bo. "We have to go faster." Breathing even more heavily, they increased their speed. Again Jeffrey looked back. The car now came to speed with screeching tires and started to chase them. Jeffrey's heart was panting, as was Bo's. After a few seconds, that seemed to be more like just one second, the car was just 3 feet away from them. The two boys suddenly made a sharp turn and ended up in a dead end alley. They dropped their bikes and tried to grab hold of the rusty, metal emergency staircase above them. But it was too late just 10 seconds later the car came into sight blocking their way back out of the alley. Two muscular men holding nasty looking guns exited the vehicle.

"Get down!" the larger one commanded. Bo and Jeffrey stopped their attempts to reach the staircase. They turned to the two thugs, breathing heavily because of their speedy cycling trying to avoid the same people.

"Finally, we got them!" Simmons said to his companion with a triumphant grin. He waved his gun up in the air. (No one could see it, because the car blocked every view of the alley.) "Hands where I can see 'em please." he commanded. Bo and Jeffrey had no choice but to do as they were asked. Jeffrey's sweaty face, that was already from the physical exertion he had, turned even more crimson as he narrowed his eyes in anger.

"What do you want?" he growled at the man. Bo just sighed, hoping to regain his breath without getting shot for moving. Simmons burst out in laughter.

"What we want?" He poked his mate in the side. "Do you hear that?" The other guy didn't move a muscle. Slowly the sound of Simmons' laughter died out.

"It's not important what we want. It's what Mr. Brown wants that counts." Simmons said mysteriously. Jeffrey still wasn't sure what Simmons meant.

"And why exactly is that?" he asked, fearing the answer. However, the answer surprised him altogether.

"To talk to you!"

"What's with the guns? He could have just asked us'" Simmons smiled again and this time his co-worker joined in, grinning from ear to ear. Simmons waved his gun in the air, not really caring about the safety of his actions.

"These?" he asked. "Just a precaution for people who try to get away' Now follow us'if you treasure your lives." Jeffrey and Bo didn't move. Then Simmons and his mate pointed their guns at the two young detectives.

"Please?" he added in a falsified, polite tone. Thinking it was better to live a bit longer, Bo and Jeffrey got into the car as instructed. Simmons' large and smart co-worker went into the back with them just in case. After Simmons had made sure everything was OK in the back of the car he slammed his door shut and started the engine. A few seconds later they had driven off. The only sign of Bo and Jeffrey ever being in the alley were their abandoned bikes.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 11: SHOWDOWN

The thugs roughly pulled the two junior detectives out of the car. In fact, they were so rough that Bo and Jeffrey tripped and landed face down on the ground.

"Easy! Will you?" Bo yelled at Simmons, the one that had thrown him out. He managed to get back up and also helped Jeffrey to his feet. "We won't talk much if we lose our teeth." He went on angrily, just when the sight of a gun made him shut up.

"Just get in there!" Simmons said, pointing at the warehouse in front of them. "And don't think of running.or you'll be sure to die!" The two thugs grinned evilly. They pointed their guns at the two friends, who decided to do as they were told, again. Slowly, without looking back, Jeffrey and Bo entered the seemingly abandoned building. But they were immediately welcomed by a cold voice after they closed the door..

"Look what we've got here." the man scorned. "Two little boys trying to prove the innocence of their girlfriend." Bo and Jeffrey narrowed their eyes and closed in on the man who was hidden in the shadows.

"Stop right there!" he commanded the friends. They stopped immediately when he said the words.

"I guess we can tell you from here." Bo announced. After a tiny pause he continued. "We know everything. You set up Shirley so you can keep your shady deals going." He held up his notebook. "In here is all the proof we need to get you arrested." Although they couldn't see the man his response seemed to be a calm one.

"Well, I guess I have to kill you then." They heard a click and the man came from the shadows with a gun pointed at Bo. He stood there - frozen to the floor from fear ' unable to move.

"NO!!!!" Jeffrey yelled. However, the man didn't listen. He slowly pulled the trigger and shot Bo in the chest. What followed seemed to be in slow motion. Bo looked down at his chest to find a red circular mark. After that he fell to the floor and didn't move anymore.

Jeffrey had run towards his friend and kneeled besides his motionless body. "YOU ANIMAL!" he shouted. "Why didn't you kill me first?" he asked the man. The man looked at his tear-stained eyes in amusement.

"Because I still want to talk to you." was the icy response. Once again tears welled in Jeffrey's eyes. I don't want to talk to you. There is nothing to say! You almost killed my brother!" he yelled even louder with more anger in his voice. "I'm going to the police and I'm going to tell them everything!"

"No you won't! All your proof is circumstantial. It'll be your word against mine and, of course, I'll deny whatever you say. But just to be on the safe side....." he moved he next bullet in front of the barrel. "I think I'll kill you too." Before he could move, Jeffrey was also shot. The man smiled. "Finally. A job well done." He went over to Jeffrey and placed the gun in his hand to make it look like he killed Bo before he shot himself. Then he walked towards the door Bo and Jeffrey through which Jeffrey and Bo had entered the building.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 12: CONCLUSION

Suddenly a heavy armed police force burst into the warehouse. They circled the man and pointed their weapons at him. As a reflex the man drew another gun. "POLICE! DROP THE GUN!" Tremain yelled. Sweat was dripping from his forehead. The man knew that there was no way out of his situation. He dropped his gun and surrendered. At least it was better than dying of 8 bullets in your body, shot from several angles. Tremain approached him while he holstered his gun and got his cuffs. Some other cops kept the man at gunpoint. Tremain pulled the man's arms on his back and cuffed him.

"You are under arrest for robbery and attempted murder on two minors." he said in a monotone voice. The man just laughed.

"Attempted murder? I'm sorry officer, but I'm afraid you got it all wrong here. It seems to me those kids died in a gunfight amongst themselves." Then he froze unable to speak another word. The two boys that had been lying on the floor for some time now slowly rose. They weren't dead at all.

Jeffrey handed the gun the man had pushed in his hand to an officer and, with Bo at his side, he then moved closer to Tremain and the now captured criminal. "But how?" the cuffed guy uttered. Jeffrey grinned. "It's all in the misdirection. The fact you almost killed my brother left an image of your horrific face in my mind. It just took some hocus-pocus and hypnosis to get it out and link you to the robbery and the framing of Shirley. After we found that out, I called the police and told them everything. They gave us a tape recorder to provide the state with enough evidence when you go on trial." he pulled a tape recorder from his pocket and unbuttoned his jacket "and some bulletproof vests to protect us from any stray bullets. The whole plan worked." Brown's face went crimson. "And I also had a tracker on me, just in case." His face turned serious and tears welled up in his eyes. "You deserve to rot in prison! Because of you, my brother can't hear anything for the rest of his life. Sending you to jail is something I do not only for Shirley, but also for him." When he had stopped speaking he turned away unable to look at the face of the man again. Bo gave him a pat on the back to comfort him.

"You did great, man. Shirley and I are proud of you and I'm sure your brother will be too." Jeffrey looked at his friend sobbing without an end. He just managed to say one word.

"Thanks." he whispered through his sobs. In the mean time the cops had left the building and Tremain, still holding his prisoner, had moved to the door. Ever since the man had found out how Jeffrey got him caught he had been cursing his thugs, who were already arrested outside. He couldn't believe they had underestimated those kids and forgot to search them. He turned to the boys, looking Jeffrey straight in the eye, and spoke some frightening words.

"It's not over kid. It's far from over." he threatened. Tremain pulled him out of the building and put him in the back of a squad car. Bo and Jeffrey hopped in the back of another car. They had to free a friend.

TO BE CONTINUED

CHAPTER 13: THE END

Shirley smiled as she, Bo and Jeffrey stepped into her attic room. "Great detective work! I wouldn't know what I would have done without you two." she praised them. "Just one question." She turned to Jeffrey. "How did you know that Brown guy?" Jeffrey swallowed a lump in his throat and sat down. Shirley and Bo did the same. He took a large breath and started his story.

"F-five months ago when I was still in Australia. I was just, you know, hanging around when I overheard some guys talking about how they were going to rob a museum in Sydney." Shirley kept her eyes on Jeffrey. The story had caught her interest. "Of course, I couldn't let that happen, so I warned the police. The police could prevent the heist from happening, but somehow the criminals found out I was the one that informed the police." An odd silence filled the room. "They tried to kill me." This revelation hit Bo and Shirley were it hurt most. All Shirley's previous interests in the crime were instantly wiped from her mind. She couldn't even imagine what Jeffrey must've been going through. "When I was having a ride with dad and Mark someone crashed into the backseat door at the driver's side of the car. That was the place I usually sat." Again Jeffrey drew a large amount of oxygen into his longs. After a few minutes he exhaled again. For Bo the pieces started to fit together. "But that day I offered my seat to Mark. That's how he got deaf." Jeffrey bowed his head. "It's all my fault. It's all my fault." Shirley and Bo tried to calm him down and convince him otherwise. He couldn't have possibly have foreseen the crash. Could he?

********

In the small, dark room Mr. Black was at the table again, this time accompanied by two of his associates. Mr. Black took another cigarette and lighted it with his golden lighter. He looked around the table, his eyes resting on the empty seat to his left for a minute. The other two men didn't dare speaking before they were asked. With fear they waited for Black to address them. After blowing a perfect circle of smoke he spoke with a menacing voice.

"As you two know, Mr. Brown failed to accomplish his mission, which puts all of us in danger of exposure." Mr. Black rearranged his hat and continued. "Luckily, I found a loyal operative willing to remove that threat for us." Black looked at his watch. "I think we're relieved from our problems for now. Just remember, as long as those kids are still alive, we risk exposure and anyone who fails an easy mission the way Mr. Brown did will end up just like him." The shuddering of the other two men went by unnoticed.

"Nevertheless, this whole experience hasn't left us empty-handed. It has shown that they care deeply for each other and we can exploit that. One day they will pay for their interference. One day they will pay dearly."

********

Jeffrey was in his bed. He held his journal in one hand, a pen in the other, both lit by a single lamp on his bed stand. He wasn't sure what to write. Usually he wrote what he felt, but now he wasn't even sure of that. Suddenly he heard voices in the room next door, the room of his brother. He stopped fooling around with his pen to hear it better.

"Come on, you can do it." the voice of his mother sounded. An awkward silence followed. "Yes, you can. Just believe in yourself." Obviously she was talking to Mark, who signed back. "If you don't try to talk the tickle-monster will get ya." she went on. "Tickle, tickle tickle!!!"

Suddenly a distorted voice sounded. Jeffrey almost couldn't believe his ears. "No, don't!" Jeffrey wondered if he had heard what he thought he heard. Had his brother really spoken without signs for the first time in five months? When he heard both the voice laughing, he knew it really happened. Without any kind of hesitation he put the pen to the paper and started to write.

Finally, I have some luck, something I haven't had in months. Well, maybe coming here was lucky too. Today Mark finally spoke. I have been waiting for that ever since the crash. I think he'll be OK, certainly if we stay here in Redington. I still don't know what's really up between Shirley and Bo, but I will find it out. I learned that they are true friends. Who else would put his life at risk to help me perform a crazy stunt like I did today? I don't want to hurt my friends. It would wash away all the happiness I have right now and I couldn't handle that again. I '

There was a knock on the door. Jeffrey closed his journal and hit his stuff under the bed. "Come in!" His mother's face appeared in the doorway. It was extremely happy. Come on, Mark wants to see you. With a smile on his face, Jeffrey pushed back the blankets, hopped out of bed and went over to her. He gave his mother one last smile visible from the room before he went outside and closed the door behind him.

********

Shirley was just sketching something. The TV played gently on the background. The news came up and as soon as the word art theft fell, Shirley put her pen down, swirled around and turned the volume of the TV-set up. She watches closely to the story on the news that had caught her attention.

"The man that was arrested in warehouse district for the theft of the rare art work in the Redington area that had taken place lately has died in his cell just over an hour ago." Shirley's eyes widened. "The man, Lyle Forsyth, was shot to death by an unknown person." The image on the screen turned to the cell the man had been in. "Apparently, he moved to the wall with his last strength to leave a message." On the wall was a bloody picture. It consisted of a circle with a four in the middle surrounded by some curly lines. The voice of the reporter continued. "The investigators are baffled and have absolutely no clue to the perpetrator at the moment, even though they're sure it was in fact murder. The only question remaining is who did it."

Shirley turned the TV off and turned back to her journal. She took her pen again and, from the top of her head, copied the symbol she had seen on a blank page. Then she turned back to where she had stopped writing before and put her pen to the paper.

The man who started it all just died' Something tells me there is more to this case. He couldn't have framed me all on his own. He must have been part of a larger organization. It's like he told Bo and Jeffrey. This is far from over. I'We still have to be careful. We must be prepared for their next strike. Whenever or wherever that will be.

THE END