The Haiku Mystery – Part 1 – A Sunday Short Story

Image credit: luca_cent, Olha_Tsiplyar, and Anuta1988 / Twenty20

**A fictional tale**

It was a cold rainy November morning. Last night, Halloween, was exhausting running her nieces around to every door in her Chelsea neighborhood.

Marlee was getting ready to make her four am coffee when came a bang on the door, not a knock that would be too civilized a word for the racket the caller made. She opened the door to a note taped with duct tape to her rain-drenched doorbell. It read:

“A haiku mystery for you Marlee.”

She pulled the note from her doorbell, the fresh morning air and the rain dripping down her fingers waking up her senses to a new day. Marlee closed the door and rushed back to grab her kettle before it began to whistle, lest she awaken Iris. Iris would make quite the fuss for an hour if her snoring was interrupted.

Marlee opened the soggy envelope to find a laminated piece of cardstock on which was printed a haiku written by one of the four haiku masters, Kobayashi Issa. It read:

“Enquiring wren

looking here and looking there

Have you lost your bag?”

Marlee, a fledgling poet herself, when she was not freelancing, locating lost or stolen insured artifacts for Lloyds of London, was intrigued. Nonetheless, with nothing more to go on than a haiku, she could make head nor tails of the “mystery” to which the soggy envelope referred.

That was yesterday.

Today, she received a call from Wendy Eveningstar, her supervisor at Lloyds of London. Apparently, a large priceless painting was stolen from their client’s home in Chelsea, not far from Marlee’s home, in fact. The stolen item was the life-size famous painting of the renowned architect, Sir Christopher Wren.

Oddly, her assignment on this job, in addition to her regular task of locating the stolen item, Marlee also was required to uncover how the item was stolen from a locked room with twenty-four-hour live-monitored camera surveillance.

“I would have to double my fee for this job Wendy.”

“No problem, there is also the matter of the finder’s fee of twenty percent which will be paid to cover your expenses,” replied Wendy.

“Okay then, I will get right on the matter. Who is my contact?”

“We have none. The house was empty at the time. The family uses the home in the Summer, only. Off-site security monitors everything. The security guard on duty watching the cameras has mysteriously disappeared.”

“Authorities went to his last known address,” her supervisor, Wendy continued,

“All that was found in his former flat was a roll of duct tape, no prints were found on it. I have no other information for you. This one is high profile requiring discreet investigative techniques, your specialty. Good luck on this one Marlee.”

Marlee hung up the phone to Iris rolling on the floor playfully trying to grab her tail, and purring loudly. She does that when she senses that Marlee will be out of the house, so she can have the run of the place to herself.

Marlee got up, picked up her large overnight bag with her surveillance equipment case inside, a change of clothes, her handbag, shoes, her car coffee-making kit, and snacks. Her walking stick (which is not really a walking stick) was also poised near her large overnight bag.

She left the automatic feeder for Iris’ meals turned on. Iris’s water bowl was on a drip system to give her fresh water on demand.

Looking down at Iris purring non-stop, Marlee said,

“How do you always know when I am about to head out on surveillance for a few days. I don’t get it. I don’t think you’re a cat at all. Take care of the place, Iris.”

With that said, Marlee left her Chelsea flat, her large overnight bag, slung over her shoulder. As she walked from her home, she unfurled her walking stick into its true form—an umbrella shielding her from the merciless London downpour. Her umbrella/walking stick is also bulletproof. It was a gift, courtesy of British Intelligence MI6.

Just as Marlee, got into her Fiat Mini Cooper, and started its engine, her cellphone rang.

Her call display quipped curtly, “unknown.”

Marlee did what she normally does when she is on a job and she receives a mysterious call. She uses a disposable/burner phone, to contact her favorite nephew Walter, a tech expert formerly with British Telecom.

She dialed. Walter answered, and, as always, he was alert whenever she called.

“Hey, auntie, what you need?”

“I have a call on my regular cellphone, can you trace it?”

“Okay, no problem auntie.”

“Thanks. You know you are my favorite nephew, right.”

“I am your only nephew auntie. Love you too. You are welcome.”

Then, Marlee answered her cellphone,

“Hello?”

“Did you get it?” asked the caller, using a computerized voice synthesizer.

“Who is this?”

“Did you get the haiku?”

“Oh yes, I read it, if that is what you mean.”

“No, did you understand the clue?”

“The clue? To what?”

Then, the caller hung up.

Switching to the disposable phone with Walter still on the line, Marlee asked expectantly,

“Walter, did you get enough for a trace?”

“No, the call was bounced all over Europe. I got nothing for your auntie except…”

“Except what Walter?”

“Except that someone was “watching” my trace of the call, electronically following my keystrokes. It was creepy, I think this is high-level skullduggery, as in secret government trade-craft. Be very careful auntie.”

No sooner did she end the call—Marlee’s car engine shut off, on its own. And to her dismay, the doors which were locked, suddenly and inexplicably, unlocked all at once. She attempted to manually lock the doors, but her efforts failed. She tried starting her car but the electronic display menu, the only thing that still worked in the car, reported that her ignition key’s program was “unknown.”

Suddenly, a looming male figure in a dark trench coat walked out of the shadows towards her passenger-side door. Outside, heavy rain pummeled the street like a hail of bullets pounding the cobblestone. The raindrops bounced off the dark figure’s London Fog coat like it was body armor. Then, with Marlee inside the car watching his every move, he reached out his hand and opened her passenger-side car door.

**To be continued next week**

Published by Suzette Benjamin

Positive thinker, inspirational, writer, faith

46 thoughts on “The Haiku Mystery – Part 1 – A Sunday Short Story

  1. I know you have a genius for Haiku and mystery stories (like the Gem)- now both of them together? No wonder the title immediately drew me in! This has been so wonderful so far. I don’t know if this is a coincidence, but most wonderful mystery stories take place in Britain- Sherlock Holmes’, Hercule Poirot, etc.. So the setting itself is very promising and I’m so so excited to see what comes next! 😃 Loved it!!!
    PS: I love that the central character is female.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow, Sam your comment is amazing. Thank you for your gracious words.
      I agree that the famous mystery stories climb on the pages from England’s streets that is a long tradition going back centuries. You are so right. I love that tradition, so I like using London as a setting for a story.
      I enjoy placing women in the stories. It is a pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. *Iris would make quite the fuss for an hour if her snoring was interrupted.* 😂

    It’s the snoring of the pretty name Iris for me. Such an ancient name. A name that remained for two generations in my family. You really have to have a great intuition or gut feeling at the naming ceremony.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *Wendy Eveningstar*

    Superb surname.

    *“I would have to double my fee for this job Wendy.”*

    Good girl Marlee. Your services shouldn’t come cheap

    *The security guard on duty watching the cameras has mysteriously disappeared.”*

    Well just here it feels like an inside job, but let me carry on reading

    *Iris rolling on the floor playfully trying to grab her tail, and purring loudly*

    Oooo Iris is a PUPPY, you had me there for a moment. With Iris as a puppy you can never go wrong.

    *overnight bag with her surveillance equipment case inside*

    Oh i love this bag and secretly wish it were mine, the thing is this it can only belong to someone who can do the job…unfortunately 😂

    *Her umbrella/walking stick is also bulletproof. A gift, courtesy of British Intelligence MI6.*

    Oh M16 don’t play with their gifts

    *“I am your only nephew auntie. Love you too. You are welcome.”*

    LOLLLLZZZ i love it

    *Have you lost your bag*

    Oh who is the stranger sitting bed her in the frozen Fiat Mini Cooper.

    Riveting stuff, can’t wait for the haiku mystery to unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, your comments are so rich with a wonderful treasure-trove of your discerning perceptions. I love it!!
      Bags and gadgets…always great fun in a mystery…🙂

      So pleased you are enjoying the read, thus far.
      Thank you for your support.
      More story to come…🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🤣bags and gadgets, lol, we all allowed, us outside the espionage fraternity

        Thank you Suzette, it’s so wonderful to be interacting on your mystery series.
        Exciting stuff🙂
        You are most welcome.

        True, Iris is a powerful name.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Enjoy your Sunday to. So far we had a rain- free day.
        As i speak the clouds are gathering overhead
        Making themselves ready for a rain party.
        Have a blessed Sunday too

        Liked by 1 person

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