I came to and it was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. There was no sound except for a drip. It was driving me crazy.
The last thing I remember was leaving the house of one Amie Sue Ozma, recent widow and even more recently engaged to her therapist. I was employed by the estate of her dead husband.
I searched around my immediate area. The floor was wet and gritty. I groped around until I found a leaky faucet sticking out of the wall. I tried to tighten it to stop the drip but it broke off in my hand. I stuck the broken pieces in my pocket and then gave the pipe a yank.
The bricks around it came loose. Light, glorious light, shined through the opening! I tore away madly at the wall. Bricks were flying like dust behind a dirt bike.
I managed to crawl into the space between the walls. It smelled like a basement of a mortuary.
There were wires and pipes twisting and bending all around me. I slid down with my back to a bundle of pipes, gripping wires like vines in the jungle. Finally I came to an opening that could fit through. It led to a vent that opened up into a small room.
I kicked the grid off the vent and dropped into the room. ‘Home free!’ I thought but I was wrong.
There was no door and I couldn’t reach back up to the vent. There was something strange about this room. The walls felt funny. I pounded on the wall and it echoed long and loud. The walls were made of metal but padded with foam.
I could feel ridges in the middle and bolts in the corners. What was this place? I swear I heard a seagull. I had to sit and think. Who would do this to me?
As I pondered which of the many criminals I’d busted over the years that could conceive such as intricate trap, I began to drift off.
I was snapped back to reality by a loud banging on the ceiling. Suddenly, the room began to move.
That is, I began to move along with it I was in some sort of storage container. The container swayed in wide swirls until in landed with a thud. The wall in front of me fell out and I stepped into the darkness.
I was in a cargo hold on a shop. There were other containers like mind all around me. I began to walk in between and around them. They formed long corridors that would bend and curve.
By the time I’d stumbled on the third dead end I realized that I was in a maze.
Maybe this whole deal had all been a maze and I was the muse. “But why?” I thought when I suddenly smelled something familiar, something delicious. That’s when I realized who was doing this to me.
It had to be the Evil chef Mon Oeil. Only he could create such a sophisticated and tantalizing trap. He escaped that day down by the river in Paris but he had never fled my thoughts. I had no choice but to follow the maze to where, I presumed, I’d find Mon Oeil.
I thought about the last thing I remembered. Amie Sue Ozma, that name seemed odd to me. Then it hit me, it was an anagram.
Amie Sue Ozma – Mouse in a Maze. It was all a set up.
As I drew closer the smell of chocolate and truffles became almost overwhelming. I could see the light from his oven.
He was singing and whisking something in a metal bowl. “I see you’ve finally managed to arrive,” he said.
“What do you want with me?” I said. He tossed the bowl down and said, “I have been working on a new recipe for my double chocolate truffle cake but I discovered that there is an ingredient missing.”
Chef Mon Oeil reached over and pulled a lever that shot a spark that juiced up a conductor that powered a super sucking sifter that was pulling me into it.
My hat was first to get sucked in. I’m gonna miss that hat.
As I began to slide into the sifter I reached out and grabbed on to the rail on the oven door but it was too hot to hold.
“You can’t escape my savage sifter!” He shouted, “My machine will grind your bones into a fine powder!”
I pulled a rack of warm croissants down and watched as they were pulverized in the sifter. I thought I was a goner when I suddenly realized that I still had the faucet head in my pocket.
I quickly threw it into the gears of the machine and it grinded to a halt.
I got up, brushed myself off and looked around for the Chef.
“I’ll bake you one day detective! And you’ll be delicious!” He said as he slipped out of the room and locked the door behind him.
At the moment I didn’t care about being locked in again. He had killed my favourite hat. I swore right then and there that I’d find ham and make him pay for that hat.