Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Most Difficult Puzzle

"Layton's Apprentice Strikes Again"

The Professor's arm trembles under the weight of the job to be done, compounded by the weight of the weapon he carries. The barrel of the high-caliber rifle rests on the windowsill, Layton's trembling hand struggling to steady its aim.

"Every puzzle has a solution."

That was before the puzzle was Luke.

Growing up Luke was always a bit different. He had an unusual kind of inferiority complex that always flared up at the slightest provocation. And let us not even get started on the part about conversing with fauna. Layton had always thought it charming; the untainted aspects of a proud youth, still wrapped in his world of childish wonder. Never had Layton suspected, or at least allowed himself to believe, that those tendencies would only worsen, leading Luke down a dark path.

Luke reached the age of 16 when he took his first life. While trying to solve a mystery concerning a car bomb that meant to assassinate a visiting diplomat from the States, yet left no body, Layton and Luke thought it best to split up to investigate. Luke ended up down a series of alleys in a seedier part of town, and was eventually propositioned by a lady of the evening. Luke, being young, was able to feign an innocent curiosity; the same he had been feigning for the professor for a years. When the lady offered to take him around the back, Luke nodded. She took his hand in her own and guided him, not noticing that his other gripped a stray beer bottle out of a garbage can as she did.

They began to kiss. Then he struck. Repeated blows to the head left their imprint in her skull and her body on the ground. Luke panted heavily, wiping the sweat from his brow. The job was done. His years of puzzle solving came in handy when it came to hiding the evidence.

All of that was two years ago, and officially the murder was never solved.

Layton didn't suspect Luke until the 3rd victim was found. He never had proof, but his keen intuition was starting to kick in. His ability to place things together that most people wouldn't catch was unmatched; except, as it turns out, by his denial. Never being able to find solid proof, and never wanting to believe it true, Layton continued investigating the murders. It wasn't until the most recent one that Luke slipped up. A splash of red on his otherwise pristine blue outfit, explained away as berry jam from tea time, but unmistakable to a seasoned sleuth like Layton. When they found the body two blocks away, he was positive.

Now the Professor stands in a the 3rd story room of a rundown hotel, watching Luke through the sight of his weapon. Luke is speaking to another woman. She smiles at him, swaying in a gentle, seductive manner. He takes her by the hand.

"You have to do this, Layton," he mutters to himself. "A true gentleman cannot allow this monster to live." He began to imagine the headlines.

"Professor Layton trains to murder?!"

"Layton's apprentice strikes again!"

"Questionable relationships raised murderer!"

He could not let that stand. Whether it was his own reputation, or to save lives, Layton would have to argue later why he really did it. First, it must be done. He lines up his shot, just below Luke's blue hat.

Everything is accounted for. The current wind velocity, the lady's position (to minimize risk of harming her), and even the shaky aim. To compensate, Layton takes in a deep breath, his finger squeezing on the trigger.

"Every puzzle..." echoes in his mind just before squeezing the trigger. He let's out a deep sigh.

"... has a solution."

From the Writer: Thank you for taking the time to read this. I want to do more pieces like this in the future; little short fictions based on my crazy and wild interpretations on the video games I love. More of these will likely be coming down the line. How was it? Do you have any constructive feedback to leave? I'd love to hear it. Again, thanks for reading.

-Make it a good one.