An Alternate Universe
A/N: First of all, I'd like to say that 'And Then There Were None' is one of my all-time favourite novels and I love the ending as much as the next person and I would be very displeased if it actually ended this way (not to mention it would be waaaaaaayyy longer than necessary and would turn into a detective/romance story); this is simply an exercise of my imagination and there's nothing wrong with using your imagination, right? Disclaimer: Nothing related to 'And Then There Were None' belongs to me and if there is a point where I get the temptation to refer to 1930's movies and books, or to modern-day songs, I do not own any of them either! PS SPOILERS!
A figure watched with hungry eyes through the window down at the two doomed figures on the beach. The fools! They were playing right into his trap, as he had intended all along. Now it was a matter of who would win out first. His money was on the girl. While researching his victims' pasts, he had found out that she was quite intelligent and capable of getting out of any unpleasant situation without a scratch on her face. Besides, when two animals were forced to compete for survival, it was often the female species that won.
Ah, but what if the man won? Highly unlikely, since he used brawns rather than brains to defeat his enemies, but what if he won? Then the hanging plan would have to go a bit differently…he had no doubt the girl's guilt and mental instability would drive her to do it; the man, on the other hand, would be a bit more difficult. Although neither the man nor the girl would be in a fit mental condition, the man had little to no guilt for his sin, so perhaps he would have to take matters into his own hands…
Wait. What was that in the background at sea? No! It couldn't be! But it was—he was looking at a boat that was slowly moving closer to the island. Now everything would fall to pieces!
The figure sighed. He didn't want to do it, but the boat seemed to be getting closer, so he really had no choice.
Lombard laughed. He said, "So that's it, is it Vera?"
Vera said, "There's no one on the island—no one at all. Except us two…" Her voice was a whisper—nothing more.
Lombard said, "Precisely. So we know where we are, don't we?"
Vera said, "How was it worked—that trick with the marble bear?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "A conjuring trick, my dear—a very good one…"
Their eyes met again. Vera thought, Why did I never see his face properly before. A wolf—that's what it is—a wolf's face…Those horrible teeth…Her thoughts were suddenly in interrupted by something that caught her eye. Was that really—no, it couldn't be; her mind was probably just playing a cruel trick on her—as it had many times this weekend—but she took a closer look and sure enough, there it was: The boat was coming.
"What are you staring at—oh," said Lombard, when he saw the boat, too. He turned to Vera and said, "Now, let's make a deal, my good girl: You tell the boatman the truth, and I'll speak in favour of you in court. How's that sound?"
"As long as you do the same," replied Vera coolly.
Lombard clenched Vera's wrist tightly and hissed, "Just to make sure you don't try to run away, my dear."
Suddenly, Vera's heartbeat was taking up a much quicker pace. He wouldn't dare try to kill her when the boat was within view, would he?
The two stood there, dumbly gazing out at the boat, which slowly grew closer and closer...
The figure silently pushed the door open and closed it behind him. He was going to take the sneaky approach. Oh, he knew trying to quickly kill off his two, final intended victims would be useless at this point, but he was going to make his grand entrance as soon as the boat arrived and he would not allow them to take him to the gallows, either...
At last, the boat arrived. Fred Narracott, who had just stopped the boat, was now climbing out and saw Lombard and Vera standing on the beach. "Oh, hello you two!" he cheerfully said. "My instincts were telling me, 'something must be amiss; I don't care what the instructions were; I have to come out at once'! And when I saw the distress signal halfway throw coming here, it turned out I was right! It's a good thing the sea suddenly calmed down overnight; otherwise, I would've had to wait a bit longer! So, would either of you care to explain the situation?"
"Neither of them can," said a familiar voice. "But I can."
Lombard and Vera slowly turned around...and were shocked to see Judge Wargrave alive! Lombard was so shocked, he let go of Vera's wrist.
"You!" they gasped.
"But—how is this possible?!" burst out Vera.
"Yes, aren't you supposed to be dead?" questioned Lombard.
A smile curled on Wargrave's lips. "You thought I was dead," he mused. "All because Dr. Armstrong, a respected figure in society, told you I was dead. Then again, that's how our society works: They're willing to believe anything a respected figure tells them. This was Dr. Armstrong's fatal mistake. He was willing to believe me when I told him I had concocted a plan to catch the unknown murderer: I would pretend to be the next victim and move about the house to spy on whom I wished. A gunshot and some red mud on the forehead was all it took to fool the two of you. The red robe and wig were my own personal touch, out of my own vanity."
Fred, who was quite confused over what was going on, felt compelled to ask, "Er...are the other guests ready?"
"They'll not be coming," said the insane judge. "I killed them during the course of the weekend. You see, I've had a lust to kill ever since I was a lad. Only my strong sense of justice helped me restrain myself: I've always believed that the innocent should be spared, and the guilty punished. It was for this reason that I adopted the law as my profession. Even so, I still felt unsatisfied, for there were cases of deliberate murder, cases wherein I knew the accused to be guilty from their mannerisms and facial expressions...and yet the evidence was such that they could never be convicted.
"And then one day, quite suddenly, the solution came to me...I would punish those that the law could not touch! I would gather nine people from various walks of life who had at one time or another in their lives committed a murder that was untouchable by law. Then, I would kill each of them off one by one in accordance to a childish rhyme that was read out to me as a boy: The rhyme of the Ten Little Indians. Something about the rhyme fascinated me: The inexorable diminishment—the sense of inevitability..."
Here, the judge paused for dramatic effect, to catch his breath. Suddenly, Vera felt quite scared. Here was a man whom she thought was perfectly sane upon their first meeting, a man whom she and Philip had had dinner with three times...and all this time, she had been sitting across the murderer.
Wargrave continued: "I will not go into detail as to how I collected my victims, but I will mention that I was convinced of the guilt of every one of them. Even so, I still needed a tenth victim. And this victim's name was Isaac Morris, a shady little dope peddler."
Now it was Lombard's turn to tense up. Isaac Morris...that damnable Jew boy...he knew.
"During all of this, I received my own death sentence. Rather than go down the way of the mundane patient with a complete loss of human dignity, I resolved instead to go down with a blaze of excitement. I would live before I died.
"I will not take up time explaining the mechanics of the actual crime; Mr. Lombard and Miss Claythorne will explain to you, I am sure. If not, then a mortician will explain how each victim died. But I will tell you more about Morris: To acquire the island, using the man Morris to cover my tracks, was easy enough. He was an expert in that sort of thing. Tabulating the information I had collected about my prospective victims, I was able to concoct a suitable bait for each. For instance, Miss Claythorne," his eyes looked straight into Vera's, making her freeze to the spot, "received a letter telling her she had been employed as Mrs. Owen's secretary. Ever since the summer of Cyril Hamilton's drowning," (Vera grimaced, causing the judge's smile to spread maliciously) "she has been trying to keep herself busy by applying for a temporary secretarial post during the holidays, so when she got the letter telling her to report to Indian Island, who was she to say no?
"And Mr. Lombard," this time, his eyes shifted over to Lombard who felt uncharacteristically afraid, "has participated in quasi-legal activities. He has a reputation for being unafraid of taking big risks and is willing to do whatever is necessary for his own survival, which is why, when Isaac Morris approached him with a hundred guineas in exchange for going to Indian Island to meet up with Mr. Owen, he gladly took the proposal with no questions."
Now, his eyes shifted to the ocean, and he seemed to be half-talking to himself as he spoke: "Morris was already accounted for. He suffered from indigestion. Before leaving London I gave him a capsule to take last thing at night which had, I said, done wonders for my own gastric juices. He accepted it unhesitatingly—the man was a slight hypochondriac. I had no fear that he would leave any compromising documents or memoranda behind. He was not that sort of man. And now, here we are."
Wargrave glared at Fred. "My masterpiece was nearly complete, had it not been for your interruption."
"My instincts told me something wasn't right the moment I dropped everyone off at Indian Island, and they kept bugging me throughout the weekend and wouldn't leave me alone, so I finally decided to just drop by and check on everyone to get rid of the feeling," said Fred defensively. "Now, I see my instincts were right!"
Wargrave laughed an evil laugh. "Indeed they were! Before we say our final goodbyes, I will say this: I refuse to be taken to the police and be hanged in public square, allowing everyone to laugh at the irony of a hanging judge meeting the same fate. Instead, I shall go down with a bang." He stretched out a hand and told Lombard in a manner similar to speaking to a child who wouldn't share the toys, "Give me your revolver, Mr. Lombard."
Lombard hesitantly put one hand in his pocket, and slowly pulled out the revolver...
But whether he was going to give it to the judge or shoot him with it was unknown, for at that moment, Vera snatched the revolver out of Lombard's hand, whipped it in Wargrave's direction and, without any hesitations or second thoughts, emptied the gun's contents right into Wargrave, causing him to collapse on top of Dr. Armstrong.
The gun fell out of Vera's hands and onto the ground. She collapsed the ground in tears. Lombard only stood there, shaking. Neither one of them could believe it. It was over? No more terror, no more fear? No more constantly looking over their shoulders, wondering which of the guests would kill them in their sleep?
Fred didn't know what to say. He had imagined a lot of things that could've happened, but he never imagined this. This would undoubtedly be a story he'd be telling to his eight-year-old son later that night. There was only thing that came to mind, but he felt it a bit inappropriate. It would be comical under any other circumstances, but it was clear these two people had been through a lot of trauma during the weekend and such a comment would be inappropriate. And yet, he couldn't allow the silence to go on any longer: "How about we go back up and get your luggage?"
"NO!" shrieked Vera. She sprang up and ran all the way to the docks and climbed into the boat. She sobbed, "Just take me back to the mainland, please! I never want to go inside that house ever again!"
Lombard could only walk up to the boat, silent and sombre.
"Very well," shrugged the boatman. "I'll get it."
"NO!" shrieked Vera again. "Just take us back! Get it later!"
Even though it would mean two trips, Fred decided to obey this poor woman's wishes. By now, Lombard was already in the boat. Fred got back into the boat and began to take off, hoping Mr. Lombard and Miss Claythorne would eventually be able to leave the nightmare-ish events of Indian Island behind them.
PS I'm not sure how fair making the ocean calmer is, but hey, AU stands for 'Alternate Universe' as in 'this is what COULD HAVE happened' as in 'the ocean was calmer in THIS universe'.