Angus retrieved a blanket from the attic, wrapped up Scott’s body, and carried it downstairs to the main office. He slept there to keep it safe from scavengers, while the others slept in the General Store. A few hours later, they were awakened by and met with the curator: Prof. John P. Marshall.
Investigators – “There were several issues with the museum that were causing problems. We’ve fixed them, along with also resolving the major issue.”
Marshall – “Well then, I believe we agreed on $5000 immediate payment (Annie cleared her throat loudly, trying to drown out the professor’s voice) and 5% of the museum’s future profits. Now, let’s take a look at the damages.”
He began listing items with estimated repair/replacement costs:
- side door entrance torn off the hinges: $50
- bullet holes in the 1st floor and Aquarium wood flooring: $100
- theft of items from the Cobbler shop: $250
- African Vulture Fly and one egg: Non-replaceable
- Ape woman taxidermy repair: $25
- Navajo Witch and dolls: Priceless, original purchase of $7500
Marshall – “So, it appears that the damages are in excess of the $5000 agreed upon fee, and the remaining balance can be taken …”
But before he could complete the sentence, Angus broke in tersely: “The Navajo Witch was an evil demon that had captured the souls of 4 young girls and has been tormenting them for decades. Certainly you are not saying that you approve of this and wanted us to let her continue to torture…”
Angus was interrupted by Elmer: “Hopi witch! She was not Navajo, although the girls were.” He continued with a slightly more diplomatic manner, but continued to describe the numerous paranormal objects and events the group had encountered."
The curator became agitated, denying the reality of it without dismissing the possibility entirely: “I don’t believe in such things. However, there were problems, and you are experts – which is why we hired you. So, let’s say the Navajo Witch had to be destroyed…”
Elmer – “Hopi!!!”
Marshall – “Well, then, there is the very important matter of the death. I’ve notified the authorities, and Inspector Petri will be here shortly to ask you some questions.”
“The ape woman came to life and killed him,” Angus blurted out. “And if you had …” – (Angus was very angry, blaming Scott’s death on the curator’s failure to provide them with more information at the beginning of the investigation.)
Marshall – “Preposterous! Looks more like you felt the need to drag the ape off the display, and now you’re trying to blame some ‘accident’ on some sort of ‘supernatural animation’ of the thing.”
“Look,” Douglas interjected. “Do you want us to tell you what really happened, or tell you something that both you and the Inspector will believe?”
This caught the curator off guard. After thinking a few moments, he whispered a shaky reply: “I think the latter may be best.”
Douglas – “We needed to move the ape to see what was behind it. Scott lost his footing due to the creature’s weight, and fell with the beast landing on top of him. His head hit the floor violently, cracking open his skull and causing his immediate death.”
The explanation satisfied both the curator and the Inspector. The curator took Annie aside to sign extensively legalesed paperwork regarding the 5% profit share, and explain that the $5000 would be wired to her account in Fairfield within the next couple days.
Before leaving, the investigators took a quick look at the cobbler shop – it was completely empty and immaculately cleaned from floor to ceiling. Upon entering the carriage home, they noted an antique oak box sitting on the seat. When Angus reached to open the lid, his hand was slapped firmly by Mr. Loughman, who now appeared seated atop the box and scolding him: “Lookie lookie, must’nt touch what isn’t ours!”
With that, they headed back to Fairfield.