Disclaimer: Shirley Holmes and all affiliated characters are courtesy of Credo and Forefront. Everyone else belongs to me. Any questions?

The Case of the Manila Envelope--Prologue
by HA

In a luxurious apartment, a handsome man watched as the die on the ground rolled for a moment. The white piece of plastic finally stopped with a six on top.

He let out a sigh of relief and dared to address the girl before him. "Ha, a six! I'll win no matter what I roll! What's the point of me even rolling?"

Before him, the girl smiled. "The game won't end until you roll."

"Hmph!" The man bent down and scooped up the die. "Well, I'll just roll and put a hole in your head at the same time!" He threw the die at the girl's forehead, and the plastic cube bounced off it and fell to the floor hard. Once the die had settled down, the man looked down. "Ha! A one!" he declared, pointing down at the die to show the girl the single green spiral on it. "Looks like I win, and now...!" His head reached for the kitchen knife he had left on the nearby desk.

"Actually," the girl said, grinning rather wickedly, "you're going to be punished."

"What do you mean?" the man said, his hand barely touching the knife as the girl pointed to the floor. Immediately, his two eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

He had rolled a one; the side with the spiral was present. Unfortunately, he found himself staring at the side lying next to the one.

"Six?" the man gasped in disbelief, his eyes never leaving the split die as he quickly added up the sum of the sides. "I rolled a...seven?"

"You lose!" The girl pointed a gloved finger at the man. "Dark Penalty!"

The last thing the man saw was a pair of glowing yellow eyes glaring at him. Later on, neighbors would tell the police that they thought they had heard a loud scream that immediately stopped.

As her victim collapsed to his knees, the girl searched through the various papers on the nearby desk and found what she was looking for underneath the man's knife. Stuffing it in her coat, she walked towards the apartment door and stopped briefly to look back at the loser of their little game. "Game over," she said, grinning. "Let's see how well you do now," she added as she exited the apartment without looking back.

* * * * *

Thanks to an anonymous tip, the police found the man they'd been looking for. However, the arresting officers were rather surprised at the sight before them in the apartment they were told to look in, and for a while, none of them spoke.

They had been given a picture of the suspect, and it was of a handsome man without any physical flaws. The detective in charge of the case had speculated that and his charming manner were what enabled him to escape conviction for the gruesome crime he had been accused of committing. When the police found him kneeling on the floor, they wondered if they had the right guy.

While the man's basic head shape was unaltered, his once flawless skin was covered with warts and boils. His perfect nose now resembled a toucan's beak, and his hair grew in little wisps shooting out of his scalp.

"What the...?" one officer said, finally breaking the disturbing silence.

The man waved his hands frantically, and as the officers continued to stare at him, he grabbed one of them. Pulling him tightly at the collar and ignoring the other's look of horror, he tried to yell "Help! Help me!" as he shook the policeman as hard as he could.

Unfortunately, it's hard to cry out for help without a mouth.