Time

Is it possible to do the impossible...with a time limit?

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1. Prologue

Time. The most annoying thing in the universe. Without it, life would be impossible, but probably better. So why did it always seem to fly faster at the most inconvenient times? Why did it speed up when you were enjoying yourself...or even looking vaguely interested? And why did it never get fined for breaking the national speed limit and confusing several musicians?

These were the thoughts going through the mind of the ninety-nine year old Samantha Taylor's mind whilst she was on her death bed, having lived to peacefully die of old age - unlike the murder victims whose cases she had solved during her long lifetime. If she could have done more to help the aforementioned victims, she would have...but she had done everything her position had allowed at the time: solved the mysteries, arrested the criminal(s), and said something along the lines of "I'm sorry for your loss". It was very frustrating.

For her entire life, Samantha had been a Detective working at the Department for the Discovery and Apprehension of Highly Dangerous Criminals - the DDAHDC for short, although its employees soon took to calling it the DDAC (the Department for the Discovery and Apprehension of Criminals), as even the 'correctly' shortened version was long-winded. Although she was always very modest, she knew that she had been the best detective they had...and now she was dying.

Her time was running out...fast.

***

"Miss Taylor?"

A friendly, yet concerned, voice interrupted her thoughts. Samantha turned her head, and saw one of the hospital's nurses standing by her bed, looking kindly at her.

"What?" Samantha asked, her voice blurred with exhaustion.

"There's someone here to visit you." The nurse, whose name was Becky, explained.

Samantha perked up all of a sudden.

"Who is it?" She asked.

"I have no idea. He refused to tell me."

Mr Robinson. Samantha thought. Even when he's visiting an old friend/employee in hospital, he's still obsessed with secrecy. He won't even say his name. That's crazy.

"Are you going to be alright if I bring him in?" Becky asked, "He looked pretty anxious to see you."

"Yes." Samantha replied.

The nurse left the room.

I wonder why he was so anxious to see me? I''m not really anyone special. I was a good detective, but that can't be the reason.

The nurse returned, accompanied by a tall, black haired man, wearing a suit, dark glasses, and a long, black cloak.

Mr Robinson.

He had always been like this, for longer than Samantha had known him...and she had known him for 84 years, ever since she had, as a year 10 student, solved an extremely complicated mystery, that the DDAHDC had been trying to solve for over three years, in a five minute break between Geography and English Language revision prior to her year 10 mock exams. He figured that black would blend into the background, attracting less attention. On the contrary, hardly anybody wears that much black, so he always tended to stick out like a sore thumb in a crowd.

He walked over, and sat on the small, wooden chair by the bed.

"Hello, Sam," He said.

He had always called her Sam, which she liked, as hearing people saying Samantha all the time does get rather tedious.

"Hello, Benedict." She echoed, "Why are you here?"

Most of the time, Sam called him Ben, but, seeing as she knew that she could die any minute, Sam decided to use his full name for once.

He looked surprised, then spoke.

"I have, as your former employer, just been told that...that..." He seemed to be struggling to say those morbid, ultimate words. I didn't blame him.

"I'm going to die." Samantha finished for him, and the look on his face as he nodded in response was unbearable to look at, so she closed her eyes until it went away. When she opened them again, he was looking at her as if she was being weird. Samantha sighed.

"I knew I had to visit you before you died. You were always my favourite, and best, detective. I know that things are, obviously, difficult for you at the moment, without me in the way. However, I felt it was the right thing to do. Is it alright, or do you want me to leave?" He continued.

"No, it's alright, please don't leave." Sam blurted out.

"OK."

"Could you tell me a story?" Sam asked, before her cheeks exploded in a bright red flame, and she looked embarrassed.

"Of course, if you want. Do you remember your...tenth case? The Phynnian Family Case?"

"Oh yes, I remember. We only just did it in time. It was such a relief afterwards."

"Well, I never really quite understood it, to be honest. Could you explain it to me?" He asked, rather sheepishly.

"How about you tell me the story, and I fill in the gaps?" The ancient detective suggested.

"OK."

***

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