Such is my desire to be in a real life detective story, I turned a pretty mundane incident with my downstairs neighbour into an elaborate net of suspense, intrigue and potentially... Murder.
Except there was no murder. There was sort of a mystery, but I think I made it out to be a lot more mysterious than it was.
Let me set the scene. First of all, this is my downstairs neighbour, not to be confused with Upstairs_One, late-night harpsichord mover. There are 6 flats in our block, 2 on each level. This is important because Upstairs_Two plays a part (Upstairs_One does not feature. She was too busy with her various 10pm-1am activities).
We went out of a Saturday evening (not my choice, I would have preferred to stay in watching detective shows) and noticed that Downstairs's inside door was open (they have french doors that open onto the road also, as they are on the ground floor). A little odd. The next morning, it was still open. Odder, we thought.
We knocked, and shouted in, and even got our paw prints everywhere by actually going into the hall to have a nose around. Upstairs_Two heard the commotion and came down to see what was up, and uselessly added their own fingerprints to the scene by poking into the hall too. No sign of life, except... a load of kittens.
Luckily the kittens somewhat explained the smell, which previous to this we had assumed was a dead body. But why was the door open for 2 days? Why would they leave tiny kittens? Why hadn't we seen Downstairs's car for the past week, now that we thought of it?
We called the guards. It's really embarrassing to call the guards. Unless you're staring at a blood-stained corpse in your bathtub you always feel like you're overreacting. They had a poke around anyway. They asked were they students because the place was such an unbelievable tip. No burglar could create that much mess. I thought it was one non-student and two students but I wasn't sure. I was sure, however, that it wasn't always a tip. The guards said there was only one room they couldn't open. That was obviously the room with the body. They said just leave it a few days and see.
Then things got odder. There was no sign of life for the next day, and we worried about the tiny kittens. Then a couple of days later, the light was on in the sitting room. We snuck outside to have a look, pretending we were slick detectives, unnecessarily shouting "COVER ME" and diving between mailbox and hedge, but couldn't see anyone. The next day, the lights were off. Someone had been there.
We left a note on the inside door saying we were a bit concerned and could they call us when they got back. Next day, note was gone. But no call. The lights continued to go on and off. We knocked pretty much every day and got no answer.
"I'm going to have a look into the window of that locked bedroom," I texted Upstairs_Two who I'm sure looked at her phone thinking "why the hell did I give this person my number?". The curtains were half pulled and we couldn't really see anything. Inconclusive, I wrote in my notebook of Clues.
I continued to text my musings to Upstairs_Two, who had completely lost interest but did humour me for a while. One day, I saw two men in the sitting room. I knew it was definitely 3 girls who lived there, but at least they were probably feeding the cats.
I tried calling security but they wouldn't put me through to the landlord. They said they'd tell the landlord and give them my number but they never called me back.
So what happened? Girl murdered by her two roomates who then leave the place in a panic? All three kidnapped when the house is ransacked? Upstairs_Two actually involved, hence her apparent disinterest? Kittens eat 3 full-size humans?
No. None of them. The main non-student girl, as it turns out, had been away for about 3 months. When she came back she found the place in that type of disgusting state only students can achieve. The students had left the door open and freaked out when the police were around so were hiding from us every time we tried to knock. Fortunately they were still feeding the kittens. The mysterious men were just a load of other students who were freeloading, as students are want to do.
We found this out when the girl returned and came to tell us. The next day, there were 2 sad looking girls carrying boxes of stuff out to their Mum's car. Serves them right. Though I did enjoy the mystery.