Carlisle was ecstatic with his new enlightenment. The only question was, where was Henry Bradford, and what did he want with arsenic, acetaminophen and three needles? His thoughts were racing with a mix of anticipation and sheer excitement. He ran down the hallway, to the top of the stairs and surveyed the living room. Only his family remained, the guest was gone. He noticed that a small box was sitting unopened on the piano bench. He headed down stairs to take a look at it. Alice noticed her father's curiosity, and began to explain.
"Jack gave it to me, but he told me not to open until morning." Alice's eyes were shining with excitement. Carlisle could tell that she wanted to open it that very second.
"That was nice of him. Any reason?"
"No. He was just being kind." Alice replied as she picked up the small box and placed it on a bookshelf on the other side of the room.
With his curiosity being served, Carlisle headed back up to his office, with more ideas budding quickly in his head.
As he walked up the hallway, Edward exited his room and followed his father back to his office.
"Slow down, I can hardly keep up with your thoughts." He said, slightly astounded by his father's erratic train of thought.
"Edward, I think I have the answer to this baffling mystery."
"Really? Just by sitting down and thinking? Excellent work Poirot." Edward said cynically. "Since when do you become a detective?"
"What do you think medical work is? One makes a detailed observation, finds clues, and uses those clues to find a solution, a diagnosis to be precise."
"Oh, I see." Edward said. "What is the answer to this mystery?"
"Well, I 'm not exactly sure, but I think there may be another vampire in our small vicinity."
Edward arched his eyebrow. "Don't you think we would have noticed?"
Once Edward spoke, Carlisle experienced another epiphany, just as spontaneous as the last. There was silence for a moment between the two.
"We wouldn't have…We never did." Carlisle said as he ran his hand through his thick blond hair. "I've been so blind. Edward, I must say that your intuition has never failed you."
"I'm not following."
"May I ask you a question?"
"Can I ask one first?"
"Yes, go on."
"Are you insane?"
"No, but I hate to say that I will be dealing with someone who is. Anyways, what would you say if I told you that we know the murderer of Joanna Cartlette and Victoria?"
"What?" Edward said in brief abashment.
"Let me explain my theory." Carlisle said as he crossed his arms. "In the past week we have experienced a string of strange events from murders to theft cases. I have reason to believe that all of these events are related. I believe that I know who murdered Joanna Cartlette, a werewolf and Victoria, to be exact, it is not Jasper."
"I could believe you when it comes to Victoria and that hound, but Joanna? What about Alice's vision? She distinctly saw Jasper. How do you explain that?" Edward questioned. "She's never been wrong before."
"And she never will be. It's all quite simple, and I curse myself for not realizing it earlier. Alice usually sees her visions from the perspective of the person who is experiencing the event. She was concerned because she was having visions that were different. The truth was that she couldn't detect the presence of another vampire, so automatically, she assumed that it was Jasper's decisions that she was viewing. This vampire whose actions she was seeing has a special gift. He can blend, and appear almost undetected by other vampires. It seems as though he also has the ability to 'borrow' the powers of other vampires. This may sound crazy; I have learned this from observation. Do you follow?" Carlisle asked.
"Are you saying that someone 'stole' Jasper's abilities to be charismatic? That's too strange."
"I am completely serious."
"The only vampire like that I know would be….." Edward paused. "Jack Moreau. I never liked him, but I wouldn't have guessed, he was too close to being suspected."
"I must say that seems to be all part of his plan." Carlisle said. An urgent tone was making its way into his voice. "I also have reason to believe that Jasper is in danger…." Before Carlisle could finish, Alice came in to the office.
"I've just had a vision." She spoke quickly and seriously. "I saw your intern, Mr. Lawrence, I think he's going to poison someone, he had arsenic."
"He's not planning on poisoning anyone, he's running an errand. However, someone is going to use that arsenic for deadly purposes…." Carlisle stopped for a moment. "Where was he headed? Can you see it?"
Alice grabbed a sheet of paper from Carlisle's printer and a pencil from his desk. She elegantly folded her petit figure on the floor and closed her eyes. For a moment she did nothing, but then she began to draw a picture of the setting. Thankfully, a house and a street sign told Carlisle of the ex-intern's location. He was at 166 Pine Road.
"I want you all to stay here, I'm going after him." Carlisle said sternly.
"What? You can't go alone!" Edward said, slightly raising his voice.
"I shall, and you will come only if I call you." Carlisle said, sounding strangely parental. He didn't have time to explain his actions, but he assumed that what he was about to face could endanger his family.
Carlisle left the house with little explanation for the rest of his family. He got in his car and headed towards his destination.
The small street was only a short distance away form Silbert University. The houses that lined the street were designed to look like Victorian style houses, but smaller. They looked new, but he could tell they were meant to appear old and authentic.
Quickly Carlisle found 166 and parked his car on the other side of the street. He made his way up the steps and turned the doorknob. It was unlocked. Willingly, Carlisle opened the door and stepped inside.
The interior was also made to look Victorian. There was a small chandelier that hung down on the entry way, and a straight set of rich wooden stairs that lead to a second floor which greeted him into the ghostly abode. He imagined that with some light, the house would be wonderful. However, light was not the only thing missing. From what he could see of the house, there was hardly any furniture; giving of the feeling that no one lived there. A sudden groan came from the room next to him. Carlisle stood still for a moment, and then went in search of the source of the noise. He found Gregory Lawrence lying on a nineteenth century French style sofa unconscious. There was a bruise forming on the top of his head, giving Carlisle the notion that Gregory had been hit very hard. He kneeled down and checked Mr. Lawrence's pulse.
"He's fine Dr. Cullen; I haven't killed him…yet." A familiar voice spoke from behind him. Carlisle rose slowly and turned around.
"It's nice to see you again tonight Mr. Moreau, or may I call you Mr. Bradford?"
"Very clever Dr. Cullen, I see you've got me figured out."
"I believe I have." Carlisle said calmly. "Why did you kill Joanna Cartlett?"
A sinister smile spread across Bradford's face. "Let me show you something Dr. Cullen." A few strands of his light brown hair fell into his face as he lead Carlisle into what would have been the kitchen.
There were various chemistry instruments carefully arranged on the counter, along with several chemicals and specimens lined up very precisely. Carlisle spotted two of his needles and his sample of arsenic.
"The Cartlette family is very wealthy, and they used to fund the well renowned chemistry department at Silbert University. I happened to be one of the most prestigious students, benefiting the most from their generous grants. We were making so much progress in research….. Then they stopped, and cut off the funds, do know why Dr. Cullen?"
"Please explain." Carlisle asked calmly.
"Two other things attracted their attention. One was the biology department at another, larger, college, and the other was for your hospital."
"The new Emergency room and Trauma center saves many lives a year thanks to their generosity." Carlisle said defensively.
"Yes, but so did your old one."
"This is true." Carlisle said, trying not to argue.
"I feel as though no one ever understood my genius, accept for one person."
"Veronique Bidumordeau?" Carlisle asked.
"Yes, very good Dr. Cullen. I underestimated you."
"To make things clear, you killed Joanna, and then let a snake bite her so that the evidence would point towards something else."
"Right again, however, I knew you were the pathologist, and that you would know the truth. Because of that, I let my presence be known to your son, and he followed me. He came at just the rights moment, exactly how I had planned. Right after I'd bitten her, he tried to save her. At that moment, I stabbed him with my own clever invention, a vampire sedative."
"I'm guessing what you gave him was a smaller dose of what you gave to Victoria." Carlisle said. "Then you got the werewolves looking in the wrong direction by making it appear as though Jasper ran away due to guilt, because you knew I would reluctantly suspect him."
"Again, you are correct. You're very smart Dr. Cullen, but I still remained one step ahead of you this entire time. I only messed with those idiotic dogs to make you confused, and keep you busy."
"Just as most organized criminals do."
"This is true. You probably want to know why I killed Victoria also."
Mr. Bradford smiled again, but this time with a sense of accomplishment.
"You see, after I had posed as a journalist, and made my way into your family's inner circle, I became great friends with your daughter. I would like to give a partial thanks to your other son's charismatic skills; they seem to work for me very well."
Carlisle began to feel very angry that this man had played Alice. "She trusted you." He said, letting only a small amount of his anger be audible in his voice.
"That was the beauty of it. I knew she would be devastated over the loss of her dear friend; I had planned it that way. With her information, I was able to know what you were thinking, and I was able to remain ahead of you. I had seen Victoria before, and I befriended her also. She had been watching you for a while, so I used her and information about her from Alice. You should thank me, because she was planning on killing that human friend of yours. She gave me information about you also. Unfortunately, her need to kill that girl was getting in my way, and she was of no further use to me. I tested my newest invention, and killed her. At that point, I was enjoying your confusion. I set it up so that the blame would fall on your trusted intern; apparently you were following my plan exactly. It was rather amusing."
"So you wanted my tools to make Mr. Lawrence my prime suspect?"
"Was he not? I seem to have succeeded. I wanted your tools for my own purposes, Mr. Lawrence was only my tool to receive them. He was a good dog, he did exactly what I said with out question."
"He stole the arsenic on the day of the outbreak, that must have set back your plans." Carlisle said. Another smile crossed Mr. Bradford's face.
"Quite on the contrary Dr. Cullen. I brought in the bacteria."
Carlisle's face surely showed his shock. This was one thing that he had not predicted.
"You wouldn't have expected that, I knew it. I started it on a few people at first, so that it would seem more natural, then I contaminated the water fountains at the convention center. Once a few people drank from it, the bacteria began to spread on its own." Carlisle remembered the water that the woman with the spring time dress was drinking. It must have come from the fountain.
"While you were caught up with the outbreak, it gave your intern just enough time to find the key to your chemical cabinet and take the arsenic. I told him to put the acetaminophen there and get it later, but I did this intentionally. I knew that you would notice that before you would see the missing arsenic. It was far more obvious. This way you would assume that he had not completed his attempt to steal from you. I actually just wanted to confuse you further. I find it rather amusing to mess with your head."
"What did you want the arsenic for?" Was all that Carlisle could manage to say after hearing Mr. Bradford's account. This man was brilliant, but he was crazy, he was insane.
"I've been trying for a long time now, to create an easy way to kill a vampire. Burning them is much too hard. My first creation was a sedative for them; by making it stronger I could kill them. It's a synthetic blend of vampire venom and various hemolytic toxins. I was surprised it worked so well. The reason I wanted this vampire poison, was for power and control. I wanted to be able to control whether they would live of die. Just like I can with the delicate lives of humans."
"Because you could never have complete control of yourself." Carlisle said.
"Perhaps. You sound like a psychiatrist, and I have heard many of them in my days."
"May I ask you a question?" Carlisle asked.
"Why not, I've told you everything else already."
"What have you done with Jasper?"
"Oh, yes, him." Mr. Bradford said with a sneer as he walked into the room where Gregory laid unconscious on the sofa. "He's upstairs, in fact I haven't given him a sedative in quite a while. I assume he should be fully conscious."
Carlisle found Mr. Bradford's manner too calm and too revealing. There was something going on that he wasn't realizing. Then, Mr. Bradford spoke.
"I don't want to kill you Dr. Cullen."
"That's good." Carlisle said calmly. He noticed that Mr. Bradford was standing very close to Gregory's sleeping body.
"I know you want to deal with me though, but I am afraid that I don't have time for that, so I'm going to give you a choice."
Before Carlisle could do anything, Mr. Bradford pulled a needle from his pocket and stuck it into Gregory's arm.
"Mr. Lawrence will die in twenty minutes. However, there is an antidote; it's in the box I gave to Alice. So, you can chase me down, or you can save this man. I might add…that Jasper should be coming around shortly, so good luck."
Before Carlisle could say anything, Henry Bradford escaped out the door. Carlisle knew his choice though. He looked at his watch, a minute had already passed, and his house was not as close as he would have liked. He would have to do some serious speeding. He ran up the stairs and found Jasper in the first room he looked in. He was sitting in a Victorian style parlor chair, with a bewildered expression on his face. Mr. Bradford truly had everything planed and timed to work out.
"Jasper?" He said shaking his son slightly. Three minutes.
"Huh?" Jasper replied. "I'll kill you, you blasted….Carlisle what are you doing here?"
"Come with me, we only have a short amount of time, I'll explain everything when we get home." Carlisle said urgently. Jasper nodded in agreement.
"Are you alright?" Carlisle added, just to make sure that Bradford hadn't pulled any other tricks on him.
"Yes, I think so." Jasper replied as he stood up.
"Then let's go."
The two ran down the stairs. At that point six minutes had been used up.
Carlisle picked up Gregory Lawrence and took him to his car. Due to the lack of time, Carlisle loaded him rather quickly into the back seat, and then scurried into the driver's side. Jasper sat in the front next to him. Eight minutes had passed.
The ride home was quick and silent. The early hours of the morning allowed for easy speeding down the road. In a normal situation, Carlisle would have never gone too far over the posted speed limit.
Once they reached the Cullen house hold, Carlisle quickly stopped his car and retrieved the unconscious body from the back seat. He only had four minutes to spare.
He dropped Gregory on a couch in their living room and called out for Alice.
"Alice, I need that box!" He exclaimed, still maintaining an overall calm composure. This was something that only Carlisle Cullen could manage to do.
Alice hurried over, overjoyed to see Jasper but shocked to see Mr. Lawrence in his current state. She retrieved the unopened box and handed it to Carlisle.
He opened it quickly, retrieving a small injection needle filled with fluid. He stabbed the needle into one of the main arteries of Gregory's arm.
"He should be safe now." Carlisle said as he took the empty needle from Gregory's arm. Alice held the empty box in her hand along with a small slip of paper. She handed it to Carlisle. The slip read in an elegant script.
"You almost caught me. Perhaps we will meet again some day.
That morning everyone rejoiced in having Jasper back. It was a great relief for everyone, especially Carlisle to know that he was safe. Gregory was sent home with little memory of the night's previous incidents, and he was slightly confused as to how he ended up at the Cullen household. He was told that he tripped and hit his head very hard. The part about his poisoning was skipped.
Jasper was filled in on everything that happened while he was gone, and of all the trouble the family went through.. During the recap of the week, Carlisle noticed that Alice had left. He found her leaning against the window of her bedroom, with her face pressed against it. Carlisle sat down next to her.
"What are you thinking about?" He asked.
"I trusted him." She said softly, her expression didn't change.
"We all did." He said, putting his hand on her shoulder to comfort her.
"I should have listened to Edward, but I thought that Jack was different. How could I have been so stupid?"
"Don't feel discouraged, it's over now. He deceived us all, and the best thing you can do is become a stronger person. Life gives us illusions and realities, and it's up to us to sort them out."
She smiled a little. "Thanks for the advice. You're not going to go after him are you?"
"Not now, but I think justice needs to be served."
"When will that be?" Alice asked.
"I don't know for sure."
The two were silent for a moment, as a sudden burst of sunlight flooded through the window. The warm rays radiated both of them and illuminated small flecks of dust floating through the air. As they sat there in brief tranquility, Carlisle smiled, because for the moment, it wasn't raining.
Note from the Author: There will be a sequel, so keep your eyes open for my next installment! Thank you so much for reading!