The Caress of Delphi

It's a repost. Hopefully, i'll add some more to it


4. Act I, Scene 2

Scene 2.




Twenty years after the murders.


Detective inspector JOHNSON is seated in his office, reading a newspaper tediously. He is a man, perhaps in his thirties, though he looks much older. He appears to be waiting for someone.


The office is well-furnished. There is a door directly to the right of him, and a single square window to the central back of the room. There is a wooden chair in front of it. His desk is aligned to the right wall – which has a large green board on it, pinned with notices and newspaper articles – and he is seated behind it on a chair similar to the one by the window. The floor is covered with a green rug over the brown carpeted floor. The walls are painted a similar brown to the carpet.




JOHNSON [humming to himself]: …And if only:

The oyster of the earth,

Could produce but one pearl,

I would have never doubted her intent!

But is to fade such joy, such mirth;

And quickly, quickly does evil unfurl –

Thus, we have much to lament!


[Enter LEWIS, his assistant, hurriedly, with a sheaf of papers in his hands]


Ah! Lewis! Finally, you’ve come. Do tell me you have some–


LEWIS [looking up from the papers]: Blimey, Inspector, I’ll never understand why you took up this bloomin’ case again! It’s been twenty years! For goodness’ sake, by the tail of Beelzebub – there’s a reason they call it a mystery!


JOHNSON [aside]: Where do they find people like this? [aloud] Come, come, Lewis. It’s a crime that cannot go unpunished. A whole building attacked by a single murderess.


LEWIS: Yes, but so is the murder and defilement of prostitutes! You gonna go and hunt down Jack the Ripper?


JOHNSON [curtly]: If there were any possibility he was alive, then perhaps. [Pause] Show me what you have, my boy.


LEWIS: Jus’ got these back from the records of the officers that held the interrogations [he passes JOHNSON the papers], if this doesn’t get you to drop the case, Inspector, nothin’ will.


JOHNSON [reading to himself, with some amazement]: This… This can’t be right.


LEWIS: We’re looking for a ghost, Inspector!


JOHNSON: No identity? No fingerprints? No hair-samples? [he puts the papers down and rises from his seat] But how can this be?


LEWIS [shrugging]: The officers said that the witnesses said that she had no hair on her head, and her face was a mask of red, with the eyes and teeth still in place. Like the skin had been peeled off. They said her fingers were weird – didn’t have no tips. Like they’d been cut off, or something. Whatever evidence there is, is that people were actually murdered. The blood is theirs, not hers! But there’s not been a whisper of evidence anywhere.


JOHNSON [thinking]: So everyone in that building was just killed?


LEWIS: Well, yes. [pause] Well, maybe not everyone.




LEWIS: Occupant of the top most apartment wasn’t in. When they searched the place, all they could find were ashes. Everywhere, like. And the fire-alarms in that apartment had been put out, so no-one would know if a fire had been started there. No-one recalls a fire or smelling smoke. But the forensics say that there was a fire started the night of the murders or the day before.


JOHNSON: So it could have been her then? The resident of the top-most apartment? She could have been the murderess?


LEWIS [shakes his head]: Witnesses say she’d been taken into care, three weeks prior to the murders. Apparently, she wasn’t right in the head. Poor love lost her parents, and she lost her mind over it. Or that’s what they’ve said anyway.








JOHNSON: Where is she now?


LEWIS: Oh, come on! You can’t be–


JOHNSON [angrily]: I said: Where is she?


LEWIS [sighs and is resigned]: In a lunatic asylum, just up the street.


JOHNSON [walking around the table and passed LEWIS]: Onward, then.








END OF Scene 2.

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