NP 01 – Twist – The Case

A traditional/digital drawing by me!

A traditional digital drawing by me!

Chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | ToC | Afterthoughts

Well guys, it’s finally here! The first chapter of  Twist. Are you guys excited? Because I honestly am. Enjoy, and give good feedback! Okay, I just realized it wasn’t clear, but people who saw this before I added this sentence might have been confused about the sentence below that was previously italicized. That was not part of my intro blurb but actually part of the story. Sorry if I confused anybody. 

And yeah, I know, traditional digital drawing? Well I combined traditional and digital methods, so what else could I say? Also, I realize that the perspective is a bit off, but what can you do? It’s my first time drawing a Mercedes.

Nobody sees it coming, that’s why it’s the Twist. Well, I managed to see it. Too bad that was the day I died.

“Mr. Aberth.” The sharp voice of the professor echoed through the classroom. Heads turned to look at the recipient of such an address from the strictest professor in the private school. The victim was sitting in the back and slowly raised his head from the textbook he had apparently been engaged in reading.

“Yes, Professor Foster?”

“Since you were so occupied in reading your textbook…” here the professor paused. His queer way of emphasizing every other word was enough to encourage humor, and muffled laughter spread through the room. Nathaniel stared straight ahead as embarrassed heat spread through his body. “…would you be so kind as to educate us on the principles of thermodynamics that we have just discussed?”

“Certainly, sir,” Nathaniel said, rising from his seat. He noticed with grim satisfaction that the Professor looked slightly discomfited at his readiness to answer. “Just for clarification, you did ask me to ‘educate you on the principles of thermodynamics that you had just discussed’, correct?”

“That is correct.”

“Well, that is a simple task. The principles of thermodynamics that you have just discussed are simply what you mentioned in the last– oh, ten minutes or so,” and here Nathaniel made a dismissing gesture with his hand. “Now,” he addressed the class, “I believe we should all face the Professor. I’m sure he has more to say.” And Nathaniel sat down.

Laughter once again spread through the room, but it was cut off when Professor Foster rapped his desk so hard with a ruler that the tiny man actually jumped in his seat.

“Gratitude is extended to you for your inconsequential explanation,” the Professor said, and Nathaniel saw him mark something on a piece of paper; probably an ‘F’. Grades were of no importance to Nathaniel – little was of importance to him – and he shrugged his shoulders.

“Now, Elaina,” Professor Foster said. “Would you please recap on what we have just learned?”

The top student in the school stood up and proceeded to give a summary of Professor Foster’s presentation. At the end of her oration, she sat back down in her seat and turned to give Nathaniel a smug smile. But once again, his head was buried in his textbook, and nothing from the outside world could penetrate the shell he had constructed around himself.

He was not reading the textbook. Instead, hidden behind it, he had the notes he had taken of two murder cases. Nathaniel was an amateur detective, and mysteries of any sort attracted him. In this particular instance, it was a case about a dual killing. The victims were killed by a knife stab from the front, yet there were no signs of a struggle on the body. This indicated they were murdered by somebody they had known, yet when their list of friends had been gone through, none admitted to the murder, and lie tests did not reveal any more information. The bodies had also been surrounded by strange symbols which none could decipher.

Nathaniel had been running these facts through his head over and over again, prioritizing them and deciding what he should base his decisions on, for he was an amateur detective, and had served in the solving of several sensitive cases in the past. This was something new though, as he had never tackled murder. The two victims had been from this class. They were close, Nathaniel recalled reading, dating in fact, but they had been before his time, finishing the course just as he started. The murder case was two years old, and had been closed for a long period; he had only just discovered it a week ago.

He mentally cancelled the ‘list of friends’ point. The victims obviously would have known more people than those who were counted in their circle of friends. Time calculations had estimated that the murders took place around twelve midnight for both bodies. The question was, what were the two doing out so late? They had not been killed on the same night, no, but on consecutive nights, one right after the other. And what was the motive? What reason could the murderer have had for such gruesome killings?

The signs around the crime scene indicated something religious, or ceremonial. Was it possible the two were involved in a cult and had decided to back out causing the leaders to order them killed? These thoughts and many others flooded Nathaniel’s brain, and it was only the professor announcing the end of class that awoke him from his trance-like state of mind.

Physics was the last class of the day, but as his head was in the clouds, it took Nathaniel some time to reach the parking lot where his car was parked. Then he heard somebody cry out, a feminine cry that he recognized. Nathaniel was no hero; he disliked the center of attention, and was a firm believer in the motto that ‘everybody should look out for themselves’, but something made him decide to act out of the ordinary, and he hurried over to the origin of the call.

Elaina was struggling with a football player who seemed to be trying to drag her into his car. Nathaniel stood for a moment, and managed to catch the words “I can walk” from Elaina. Then Nathaniel strode up beside the bully and tapped him on the shoulder.

“What does the school dunce want?” the bully asked. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“What’s fifty-four multiplied by forty-eight?” Nathaniel snapped.

“What?” the football player asked dumbly.

Nathaniel slapped the bully in the face sharply. “Fifty times of forty is two thousand.” Nathaniel used a wrist lock to break his opponent’s hold on Elaina. “Eight times of fifty is four hundred.” Nathaniel kneed the bully in the gut. “Four times of forty is one hundred sixty.” Nathaniel snapped a high kick to his opponent’s face that left a large bruise on one cheek. “Eight times of four is thirty-two.” Then Nathaniel chicken-winged the bully and whispered in his ear: “Add them together and you get two thousand five hundred and ninety-two. Who’s the dunce now?”

“I am,” the student gasped as pain shot from his elbow to his shoulder, and the instant Nathaniel released him, he ran off.

Without a word, Nathaniel began walking to his own car.

“Well aren’t you going to offer me a ride?” Elaina called after him.

“What happened to your BMW?” Nathaniel shouted back, still not turning.

“That dummy slashed my tires.”

“I heard you mention you could walk.”

“Great,” Elaina said to herself as she watched Nathaniel get into his car. She turned away in frustration. “Now what do I do?”

As she said this, a white Mercedes pulled up beside her and the passenger seat’s window rolled down.

“Get in,” Nathaniel said shortly, then barely giving Elaina a chance to close the door, he roared off. “Where do you live? I’ve got things to do and I’m running on a tight schedule.”

“I live at Northpark, the large house on the corner. You seen it?”

“If you’re talking about the pretentious mansion which Creek Road bends around, with an unnecessary amount of showiness, then I’ve seen it.” Nathaniel said shortly.

Elaina was silenced at this unexpected rebuttal, and ceasing attempts at conversation, she began looking around the car instead. A dogeared piece of paper by her feet caught her eye, and she reached down to pick it up. With her typical speedy reading, she consumed the first paragraph before Nathaniel noticed what she was doing and snatched the paper from her.

“You really do love to pry, don’t you?” he said tersely, stopping at a red light.

“So you’re into murder mysteries?” Elaina asked, ignoring Nathaniel’s question. “Wow, and all this time I thought– never mind what I thought. You do know that the lie detector results are terrible right? And the symbols could be made by an insane person.”

“Exactly how much of my notes did you read?” Nathaniel asked sharply.

“Only the first paragraph,” Elaina said.

“So you’re not stupid,” Elaina heard Nathaniel mutter to himself.

“Excuse me?”

“We’ve arrived. Get out.”

“Wait, you haven’t told me why you’re into this,” Elaina said.

“I’m investigating it over break. It’s a hobby of mine, now get out.”

“Can I help you investigate? Please?”

“You sound like a five year old asking for another ice cream cone, and you honestly think your parents would allow you to go all over the place with a random guy from school? Get– out.”

Elaina was silent for a moment, then she said. “I only have one parent, and he’s certain to agree to whatever he thinks will make me happy.”

“That’s the problem with us men,” Nathaniel muttered to himself. “We’re too weak. Here I’m about to break my most treasured principle on the wish that there’s hope for humankind….

“Fine– you can come. I’ll call you when I’m ready. Now get out of my car.”

Tours yruly


16 thoughts on “NP 01 – Twist – The Case

  1. Michael! This is awesome! I loved the opening blurb about the Twist, it drew me in right off the bat and now I reallllly want to read more! You set up the plot really well and gave us a peak at the characters’ personalities. My only suggestion for when Nathaniel picks up Elaina is to give enough time for Nathaniel to get into his car and drive up. I was confused that he had had time to get into his car, turn it on, back it up, and pull up to Elaina in the space of time where she thought “Great, now what do I do?” Maybe just have “Great,” Elaina thought to herself as she watched Nathaniel jump into his Mercedes and pull out of his parking space, “now what do I do?” That might make it clearer =) But I’m loving it so far! Can’t wait for the next chapter!


    • Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad the blurb about the Twist worked, I was kinda nervous about it having never done anything like this before. I’m glad you want to read more, and yeah, I get your suggestion. I was a little worried about that part, and thanks for including a fix. I’ll edit it right away. 😀

      ~Michael Hollingworth
      Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne


  2. This was an excellent way to start off your novella! You made Nathaniel’s character very clear and unique. One thing I would change: when Nathaniel beats up the football player and asks who the dunce is, don’t make the bully respond. His pride was injured and he’s angry, so he wouldn’t allow himself to sound weak. Also, if Elaina is a main character, I would perhaps hint a bit more at her personality.
    Anyway, great job with the first chapter! You set yourself up well and kept the action moving. I’m looking forward to chapter 2 😀
    Anna B.


    • Thanks a lot for the feedback! I’m certainly taking your advice into consideration, but I was just wondering, Nathaniel was supposed to be making it clear to the bully that he wouldn’t let the bully go from the chicken wing until the bully admitted he was the dunce. Please tell me if that wasn’t clear. Also, about Elaina, I would add more to her personality except for the fact that I’m already a little over the page limit, and I want to get as much of Ms. Gaines feedback as possible, though when I come back for a final review of the novella, after it’s all written and done, I might add more about Elaina. Thanks for the feedback once again! 😀

      ~Michael Hollingworth
      Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne


      • You’re welcome=)
        I guess I mistook that bully scene for more of a verbal thing. It makes sense, though, now that you describe it=/ Anyway, good job keeping the first chapter near the page limit. I have a feeling it’ll be difficult for me=P
        Anna B.


        • I see. Well, I don’t know, would there have been anyway I could have made it clearer so that people won’t make the same mistake? Thanks! I can assure you it was hard restricting myself to three pages. I wanted to write so much more!

          ~Michael Hollingworth
          Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne


        • Maybe draw more on the bully’s discomfort compelling him to defeat, and make it clearer when Nathaniel is or isn’t holding onto him. That’s my only suggestion.
          Anna B.


  3. Wow, you got on the first chapter fast! I guess we have been waiting for a while to get started. You’ve done a good job of capturing my attention already and setting the stage for next chapter. About how many pages is this?

    ~Kaytee Green


    • hehehe, yeah, I started writing the instant we ended class. 😀 Glad I’ve got you hooked. It’s about three and a quarter pages, but I attributed the quarter to the formatting of the dialogue.

      ~Michael Hollingworth
      Disce Ferenda Pati – Learn to endure what must be borne


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