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Deal 1287 Preview

You Broke that How?:
What: Mirror
How: Stagnation
Wild: Widget

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Deal 1278: Diploma

Almost lost among the professional certificates hanging on the dingy wall was a hidden gem. A single sheet of vellum, covered in elaborate calligraphy, bearing several signatures of dignitaries, and the seal of the university.

The frame was unassuming, to better fit with the lack of tasteful or current decor.

Dust was on most everything, and somehow a splash of an unknown redish liquid obscured the name of the university, leaving a visitor to uneasily get the impression of a learned but careless person.

Little would they know that the splash was concealing a vastly more prestigious name than would ordinarily be seen in such a dingy setting. Or for that matter, that there was a slight difficulty with the dates and names on the vellum. Not at all that they were incorrect, or that the document was forged. More that neither the document nor its owner bore the appearance one might expect for the age implied by those dates.

Both were remarkably well preserved, but Michel well knew that simply placing that treasured document in plain sight was the best way to preserve it. Nobody would look closely, and those who did would see exactly what they wanted to see. People are funny that way.

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Deal 1270: No body

The scene was a mess. The spreading pool of blood was still able to flow, so whatever happened here was recent. There was no sign of either a body or a struggle. And yet, there was a lot of blood. Too much blood.

It had been found by the roommate, which was suspicious enough. His alibi was about as strong as tissue, but there were other factors. The largest was that the room was locked until he arrived. The windows were painted shut after too many years of just adding a new coat of paint. There were no other doors, and the door was locked when he got home.

He opened the door to find a pool of blood, and panicked.

The blood was all over the floor, and some was on the chair before the small table where a typewriter stood. A real antique beauty of a typewriter, all cast iron frame, black gloss paint, gold leaf details, and chipped white keys with worn black letters.

There was paper in the typewriter, a stack of blank sheets to one side.

No blood on anything above waist height.

No trail of footprints.

Anyone sitting at those keys who started to bleed would have left a trail as they moved around.

And yet, we have no body. No trail. No footprints. No fingerprints.

The paper was blank.

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Deal 1253: Pond thing

The aroma of the pond was the first thing you noticed. Slightly earthy, with strong notes of algae and decay, the aroma set a mood that was hard to ignore. Many hate it. A few love it. Hardly anyone who has stood in a swamp comes away without an opinion.

The pond, although very present in our memory, is not why we were there.

We were after a rare opportunity.

The swampy pond was the perfect place to pursue it.

Despite its stagnant appearance, such ponds are teaming with life. And that life is interesting. It was a similar sample of water that van Leeuwenhoek chose to examine when he invented the microscope. They are breeding grounds for insect larvae, and for the fish and amphibians that feed on them.

This pond was no exception to all of that.

It was a striking example. Dappled sunlight falling through the heavy leaf cover from the moss and lichen laden trees at its border. Signs were there of a long abandoned beaver dam that likely had created the pond when it was new. Someday the pond would be a marshy meadow. Until then, it was a lovely backdrop for our work.

We just weren’t expecting the thing that was looming in the shadows.