The roaring fire cast shadows of flickering light on the walls. Duke Henningsbridge leaned in as he opened the flue to the chimney. As he stood up, the edged point of a steel fire poker slashed through him. Blood seeped from his mouth as he fell lifelessly to the floor.
When James Knight entered the room, he was greeted by his new partner, Jonathan Kroy. He led him into the bedroom where the body lay. They both stared down at the mutilated man.
“You would think once would be enough! When a man is dead, he’s dead! I don’t think one more stab wound would make a difference.” Jonathan remarked. “Obviously this person didn’t care. He would still
have a face if they were the least bit sane.” James replied. “Do you think this murder is connected to the others?” Kroy asked. “If I knew that, this guy wouldn’t be dead!” James dropped the conversation and wondered over to the window beside the bed. He noticed that there were two glasses of champaign on the night stand. James thought it was odd that only one of the glasses was still full. His thoughts were interrupted by P.C. Mason. “Excuse me Inspector Knight, but there is someone here who would like to speak to you.” Mason said. He led Knight and Kroy downstairs to the parlor. Sitting on the davenport was a petite young woman. She was completely still. Her expression was one of frozen terror.
Knight sat down next to the young woman while Kroy sent the other men out of the room. “How did you know Duke Henningsbridge?” Knight asked. The young woman remained quiet. She only stared vacantly at the floor. “Please Miss? You have to tell us what you know or saw. Anything you know could help us find out who did this!” Jonathan replied as he knelt down in front of her. The young woman looked up at Knight. She swallowed hard and attempted to speak. “There is not much I can tell you. Duke Henningsbridge gave me the evening off.” Her voice shook with fear as she spoke to the detectives. “Did he usually let you take an evening off?” Kroy asked. “It wasn’t like him to give me a night off. I was surprised when he came to me and said that he did not need me for anything tonight and that I should go home.” She replied. “Why do you think he sent you home so early?” James asked suspiciously. “I can not say. He was a reclusive man. He hardly ever spoke to me about anything.”
“Do you know if he was expecting anyone? A business associate, a relative, a woman?” James hinted. The young woman began to blush. “I took it upon myself to stay out of his private affairs.” She replied softly. James got up from the davenport. “I think that’s all the information we need for the time being. If you think of anything else don’t be afraid to let us know.” James handed the chamber maid his card. Kroy and Knight left the crime scene shortly after.