The house was regular sized, with a well maintained front garden littered with the occasional chew toy. According to Gilbert it had once belonged to their parents, them having lived in it for a short period of time and then only kept it as a summer home they never used. When Ludwig was old enough they gave it to him since he seemed more than capable of looking after a house. They didn't expect Gilbert to move in with his younger brother, but it wasn't like they could do to stop him.
Alfred knocked on the door for what felt like the hundredth time, growing steadily more annoyed. He glanced back just in case someone was there. After all, what was the point in a secret meeting if he was caught?
The door opened suddenly, and standing by the frame was Gilbert. He grinned.
"Are you alone?" he asked in a purposely mysterious way.
"Yep. It's still too early for Arthur to be awake, and I've got Kiku keeping watch on him so that he doesn't leave his bed. I tried getting Francis to do the same, but he's been acting all weird and mopey since Arthur got back from the hospital."
Gilbert nodded, thoughtful. "Right. Well, come in, but don't make too much noise, okay? If the dogs here you then they'll start barking, and that'll wake Luddy and Feli up and they'll want to know what we're doing."
"Got it." Alfred grinned and stepped inside, noting with surprise just how clean everything was. He had always assumed Gilbert was the type of person with a permanent war-zone following him.
"Hey, d'you think we should start including anyone else with this whole secret meeting thing?" Alfred asked as Gilbert shut the door with a click.
"I guess," Gilbert replied. "Like, Kiku and Francis could be a good idea since they're invisible to almost everyone else, and it'd be pretty fun if Francis' anything like I remember. And Arthur seems like a bit of a mystery fan—you think he'd want to help?"
Alfred frowned. "Well, maybe. He's more the kind of person who'd leave this sort of thing to the police, you know?"
Gilbert blinked, then he laughed as if he had heard the funniest joke in the world.
"Wow, he's changed a lot more than I thought," he said, shaking his head. "Well, we can talk about this stuff later. Right now, we've got something much more important to discuss."
Their expressions turned as serious as was possible for the two, and they continued down the hall until Gilbert stopped Alfred in front of a door. It led to the basement, which Gilbert had tried to inconspicuously set up as a sort of meeting room while hoping Ludwig wouldn't notice furniture being taken downstairs. The room obviously hadn't been used for much else, boxes filled with things neither of the two brothers could bring themselves to throw away in one corner and, for some reason, a large mound of Halloween costumes in another—something that looked like a mannequin with shoulder length blond hair was lying on top of the pile in a sparkly red costume. Alfred shrugged to himself, deciding there was probably some reason it, and turned to where Gilbert was standing. A whiteboard had been set up at the front of the room, 'Ideas' written at the top and underlined in black marker-pen. Two chairs were placed around a small table with various newspapers on top. Gilbert had obviously put a lot of thought into this set-up.
"Now that we're here," Gilbert said in a slightly louder voice, possibly thinking that Ludwig wouldn't be able to hear them behind a closed door, "let us us commence the first official meeting of figuring out what the hell is going on with these murders!" He held up the marker-pen as if it was a sword.
Alfred, having taken a seat by this point, couldn't help but grin. Their 'questioning' from a while ago hadn't gone too well, but at least now they could try to get a better idea of what was happening. At the moment it was pretty much the only thing they could do since the police would never listen to theories involving ghosts and, after what happened to Arthur, Feliciano and Lovino had locked the first crime scene and banned anyone from going in there. Trying to find any new evidence in that room would be difficult.
"Okay then!" Gilbert turned to the board and started writing. "First things first—three bodies have shown up so far, and I don't see why whatever's doing this would stop now. The modus operandi is the same for each victim: the only injury found is a slash to the throat, and there were no signs of struggle. The only fingerprints found on the murder weapons belonged to the victim. Each one died alone, with no witnesses. What does this information tell us?"
"It's a ghost," Alfred said immediately.
Gilbert frowned, taping the marker against the board. "Yeah, but it doesn't sound cool when you say it like that. Maybe, 'the true culprit is a spirit from the very depths of Hell!' Or, 'these lives were taken by an undead creature invisible to man!' We can't be awesome detectives if the murderer doesn't sound equally as awesome, you know?"
"Not really." Alfred grinned. "You've been doing some research, right? Have you found anything yet?"
"Well..." Gilbert laughed importantly. "I have indeed done research, reading through ever article I could find on the subject and 'politely asking' my sources what they know. My one-man investigation has told me that...!" He stabbed the pen down on the board. "...there's absolutely nothing connecting the victims."
"Wait, really? Nothing?"
"Yep. They've never even met each other." Gilbert grumbled slightly. "Which means we've got no way of knowing where and who our mystery ghost will strike next... Man, you're the one who knows about this dead stuff! Can't you think of anything?"
Alfred leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms as he thought. "Well," he started, "it's kind of weird if there's really nothing linking the victims. Really insane, angry ghosts don't leave their resting places much, so if people were killed by one of those then sure, they'd probably be random people 'cause random people would be walking through its home and ghosts can get pretty damn territorial. But this thing's been travelling... It's almost like it's actually specifically targeting certain people, and even for a ghost that's weird."
"So, it's not a normal ghost?"
"I guess? Dude, you know I'm not the expert on this sort of thing—Arthur is." Alfred frowned. "Speaking of Arthur... The thing that attacked has to have something to do with the murders, right?"
"Duh. Did Arthur tell you anything about it?"
Alfred shrugged. "He said he just walked into that room without even thinking, and then when the thing attacked him he couldn't see it."
Gilbert almost seemed to be losing interest, tossing the marker in the air and catching it before leaving the pen with a grunt when it fell and rolled to the other side of the room. "So, what? It was behind him? Wow, that's useless."
"No, like, he literally couldn't see it. It was invisible. When he told me that it really freaked me out, 'cause I've always just had the idea that Arthur's been a clairvoy-whatever since he was born, so his ghost seeing powers should be, well, powerful, right? But know we've got a ghost he can't see at all, and the only reason he didn't die is 'cause he was still sensitive to all this spirit stuff enough that he could feel whatever it was wrapping around his neck..." Alfred hadn't realised his tone was growing more frantic, but by the end he managed to catch and calm himself down before he turned borderline hysterical.
"Soooooo, this thingy's, like, on a wavelength normal clairvoyants can't see?" Feliks asked, rubbing his eyes as he stepped towards the two with a yawn. "Wow, that's totally freaky. If its victims can't see ghosts at all, then they'd probably have no idea what was going on until the knife was, like, in their hand."
"Whatever this thing is, it's definitely some sort of ghost," Alfred said.
"Yeah, but a ghost we can't see." Gilbert sighed. "Ugh, this is gonna be way harder than I thought."
Then they blinked. Frowned. Turned their heads.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Gilbert's mouth fell open, pointing a startled finger at Feliks. "Where the hell did you come from?" he yelled, and Alfred slowly realised that the mannequin in the sparkly outfit hadn't been a mannequin at all. Just how long had Feliks been sleeping on that pile of costumes?
"Huh, oh, you know." Feliks shrugged. "The back window was open. I got here a way long while ago, but then no one shows up so I guess I, like, fell asleep."
"Then why are you here?"
"Well, I'd tell you if you'd shut up for, like, five seconds, Gilbert!" Feliks snapped, hands on hips. "Isn't it obvious? I'm investigating. We detectives need to stick together, right? We can have a clue swapping party!"
Gilbert shook his head violently, and he seemed just about ready to drag Feliks out the room kicking and screaming. "Hell no! We're having a super awesome and serious discussion, and only super awesome and serious people can attend. Tell him, Alfred!"
Alfred looked a little surprised. "Huh? Oh, um, sure." He shifted in his seat towards Feliks and said with a growing grin, "Dude, you can stay as long as you like."
With a cheer, Feliks dropped down cross-legged on the floor while Gilbert muttered to himself in a dejected way, earning a laugh from Alfred. There was, of course, a reason for letting Feliks stay besides annoying Gilbert: having someone else who could see ghosts on their side would be useful, and Alfred would accept anyone who truly wanted to catch the killer. Plus, Feliks' ability to break into people's homes could be a great asset.
All the while, Gilbert continued to grumble to himself.
"All right," he said in a way that could almost be considered defeated if it wasn't Gilbert. "Let's see what else we can think of for this whole Casper the Ripper thing."
Hello~ It's been a while XD Sorry this took so long: even though I', on my summer holidays now, I've been finding it oddly hard to get back into writing after having to stop for so long. But, as long as I keep trying I should be able to write more and more chapters ^0^
Not much happened this chapter. I guess you could say it's a light-hearted break from the past few chapters, which were pretty serious XD I think the next chapter will be kind of silly too, but after that the storyline will probably come back and bring things forward :)
(Note: I've gone back and edited the first two chapters. My main goal is to revise up to chapter five, so hopefully that will be done by the time I next update XD)
Well, please review and tell me what you think ^_^