Chapter 4: Death leaves Geneva

Chapter 4: Death leaves Geneva

A Chapter by M.R Steiner

And not a minute too soon


Chapter 4: Death leaves Geneva 

Annika Toten - July 25th 2013 " Tomintoul village


Home at last.


For a while I thought I was going to end up in a cell, if it wasn’t for some really weird circumstances that probably would have been the case.


It got to about 9 in the morning since everything happened. I was still shaking with fear. No one knocked on the door but I could still hear the sirens down below. I was wracking my brain trying to find a way out of this. Then it dawned on me that there was an easy way to hide the evidence. Just post the damn things. If they can take a suicidal bus driver then surely air-mail would be a walk in the park?


The walls rattled from Darla’s constant snoring. She twisted and turned as I slowly opened the door to tiptoe into her room. It went a little too quiet when I grabbed the luggage. I was on edge as its wheels squeaked louder and louder past her bed. My cousin’s face started to twitch and for a moment I thought she was going to wake up. Thankfully she just yawned and rolled over none the wiser. That was the easy part.


The next phase was storing everything away and getting out of the building without being seen. Reception was probably crawling with police so I took the elevator to the parking level.  I felt the queasy hiss pop up in my stomach as I stepped inside and pressed the button, like something terrible was about to happen. First a horde of tourists piled inside, forcing me right to the back. Then two policemen stepped in.


They didn’t see me but I looked over this Australians guys shoulder and saw a clipboard in their hands. It looked like a set of room numbers with mine at the top in red ink.


My problem was that I had to pass these guys in order to get off the elevator. The door dinged whilst the tourists funnelled out into reception, leaving me stood at the back with an expression of guilt.


“Are you okay madam?” said one of the officers in a thick accent.


I pretended to cough and looked down at the ground. “Yes officer I’m just not feeling very well…”


Thank god they didn’t realise who I was. They were actually very helpful when my floor came up. Both smiled and held each side of the door open as I pretended to stagger into the car park.


The place was more or less deserted and led out to an open street. I saw the spot where Thomas hit the ground when I stepped into the light. Dozens of policemen surrounded this white tent as a group of bystanders took photos. Since no one was screaming, I was sure that whatever took of hold of Woodman definitely died in the fall. 


It became clear that I needed to keep the vial safe. If one sip turned Woodman into that thing then just imagine what it could do at a police station?


The city looked so pretty from above. At ground level it was just a concrete maze. It took three different people to tell me where a post office was, one finally directed me to this place next to a high-street. Talking to the workers inside became an uphill battle in itself. Eventually they understood I wanted bubble wrap and a box. It was a bit of a risk to seal my diary, the book and vial all together, unfortunately I only had enough money for one package.


Obviously it worked since I’m writing in this diary right now. How it got here so fast is another strange story that I’ll get into later.


A sense of relief overcame me the moment I saw the box disappear. All I needed to do was sneak the bag back into Darla’s room. But then I realised that with or without all that stuff, I would still have to explain why I was in Kaitlin’s room in the first place.


Crafting a convincing story dominated my thoughts on the walk back to the hotel. That last hour would be all the time I had.


I stepped off the elevator and saw Mrs Sampson in the hallway with those two police officers from before. Each of them took turns knocking on my door whilst repeatedly shouting for me to open up.


Running would have incriminated me. I took a deep breath then staggered towards them with Darla’s bag in tow.


Miss Sampson noticed me before anyone else.


“Annika where have you been?” she asked.


“I’m sorry; I’ve been feeling ill. I went looking for a pharmacy.”


“Okay… but why do you have a suitcase?”


I froze for a moment and pretended to cough. “I’m feeling so run down that I didn’t think I could carry anything back.”


You could tell by the scowl on her face that she knew something was wrong. “Well either way Annika, could we step into your room for a moment, there’s something we need to discuss.”


They all had sympathetic looks on their faces. Miss Sampson sat me down on the bed and held my hand as she delivered the news.


“Annika, were here to ask if you know anything about an incident that occurred last night. You must have seen the police outside, well that’s because I’m afraid that Thomas Woodman is dead…”


I looked away and snatched back my hand. For a moment the whole event rendered me speechless.  “What about Kaitlin, is she safe?”


“Yes but she’s in hospital right now, the doctors say it’s shock.”


“How did it happen?”


That was when their faces shifted to accusing stares.


“Well we were hoping you could answer some questions about that.  The receptionist said a girl matching your description requested their room number before it happened. Do you know anything about that?” she asked.


One of the policemen muttered something to his partner who silently nodded in response. They knew it was me.


“I don’t think I should talk without a lawyer or something.” I felt sick after saying it.


Miss Sampson stood up and gave a horrified look before one of the officers took me away. They led us both to a police car outside reception. Once again my teacher and I were forced to take another ride together.

I could barely control my breathing when we pulled up to the police station. A slow grip of panic pressed against my chest and only grew more intense as we walked inside.


It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t my fault, how could I have predicted what the green stuff could do?


My mind was still spinning with possible explanations, none of which really held up, especially with my teacher sat right next to me. She can smell the lies half a classroom away.


The white box room they put us in seemed to get smaller every second. I looked up from the table and chairs and saw my teacher almost catatonic with shock. On our left was a two way mirror, no doubt the other side filled with people who hoped Miss Sampson could get an easy confession out of me.


“Annika, this might be your only chance, do you want to tell me what happened?” Sampson asked.


The truth was too crazy to believe, I saw what Woodman became. More people would have died if he didn’t fall off that balcony.


“It was Absinthe…” I said it pretty convincingly. “When I got left behind during the tour, I walked around and this homeless guy sold me a bottle.”


“Absinthe?” that twitchy scowl started to emerge. “What absolute crap Annika, you saw what happened in that room didn’t you? The police said the hotel porter had his bones crushed like an anvil fell on him, how do you explain that?”


It was such a stupid thing to say. I thought I was royally screwed.


“Miss Annika C Toten isn’t it?” said a woman at the door.


I turned to see a lady dressed in a blue suit as she stormed into the room and took a seat across from us. She had long dark curly hair, kind of like Miss Sampson’s with more volume and less cheap dye.


“My name is Sonia Evelyn, I am an attaché from the British Embassy and we have been made aware of your situation. Miss Toten, you will be happy to know that you are free to go.” She acted like my teacher wasn’t even there as she spread out a number of documents on the table. “I became certain after listening to your conversation that you have become a victim of a criminal operation, despite assurances from Geneva that the matter had been resolved.”


Miss Sampson’s cheeks turned red with anger as she burst out of her seat. “Excuse me but what does any of this have to do with Thomas’s murder?”


“You see madam; we at the Embassy have been very concerned with batches of tainted Absinth being sold to tourists in recent months. We believe Miss Toten came into contact with such an item despite assurances from Interpol that the people responsible had already been caught. This isn’t the first time one of our citizens has been targeted. Geneva’s governing agency is offering to drop the charges in light of this evidence. There is a condition however that you all leave the country immediately.”


Sampson still knew I was lying, you could tell by her face that the evidence didn’t matter. “Hold on now, you can’t just stop the investigation, a 16 year old boy died last night and his family want answers!”


“Please madam let me assure that we have informed the family of the exceptional circumstances. You have to go now, time is a factor with this decision and there’s already a cab outside.”


“One of my students is still in hospital, I’m not leaving her. Mr MacClannoug is the head of our year and his flight should be arriving in a few hours, he can take the rest home.”


The lady from the embassy smiled then walked off without saying another word. The police seemed to go awfully quiet too. Those officers who brought me in just walked past us like we weren’t even there. I guess they were angrier about the decision than my teacher.


It seemed like fate had given me a chance. Some horrible coincidence just saved me from jail. For a few moments I felt a sense of calm, it almost looked like I was out of the woods. But then I remembered my teacher didn’t believe a word of it.

That moment we stepped into the taxi I knew Miss Sampson was going to explode.  “Annika cut the crap, what happened in that hotel room. You have to tell me for Thomas’s sake?”


She looked like she was going to snap as this unflinching stare was cast in my direction, right before she clutched my hand like a vice. It still kind of hurts after all this time.


“I told you that I brought a bottle of Absinthe and Kaitlin stole it, that’s why I was so edgy on the bus. Thomas drank some and went crazy so I ran onto the balcony and then he just smashed into it. Now let go of my hand!” I recoiled and tried to wiggle my fingers.


“I’m going to find out the truth Annika; I know you’re not telling me the whole story.”


We didn’t say another word as the cab pulled up by the Hotel. I got out as she told the driver to head for the hospital. She was going to talk with Kaitlin. It left me in tears as I ran to my hotel room.


I didn’t mean for any of this happen and now I get all the blame.


What kind of justice is that?


The green liquid would have killed more people if I didn’t hide it. I’m protecting everyone by doing this.


Darla heard me sobbing and knocked on the door a couple of times but I just told her to go away. The last thing I needed was my cousin to pile on the guilt.


For the next few hours I sat there sulking until the phone started to ring. I almost expected to hear Kaitlin’s voice when I pressed the receiver against my ear. Instead it turned out to be reception, saying that our bus to the airport had arrived.


The entire class knew the basics of what happened by then. Not one second went by without them whispering something, even Darla got involved. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, Mr MacClannoug was stood waiting for us at the terminal.


God I hate MacClannoug. Picture your stereotypical balding teacher and combine it with the fattest and most indiscreet pervert you have ever seen and it becomes very clear why I detested him.


That face he pulled through those tiny round glasses as the airport staff patted me down still makes my skin crawl.


“Don’t worry Annika; I told them you’re not a flight risk.” He said it with a grin. “If things get difficult we can always talk.”


Right, talk…. He’s never tried anything, but you can tell by those shifty eyes he was always thinking it.


The flight home was pretty much the same as the bus ride, with me sat alone whilst the rest of the class whispered crap behind my back. MacClannoug was up in First but wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help me anyway. I tried to put some headphones on to distract myself when a sick bag bounced off the top my head. It just had one word scrawled on it, ‘Murderer’.


I rested my eyes and woke up as the tires screeched against the runway of Glasgow airport. Our plane came to a stop at the gate and I could see dozens of anxious parent’s with their faces pressed against the terminal windows. They each rushed to embrace their children when we finally disembarked.


“Dad just text me, he says there’s a taxi waiting for us outside,” said Darla, the first words she’d spoken to me since the hotel.


Typically my father, the great Dr Volkard Toten, couldn’t pry himself from work long enough to pick up his own daughter. You’d think he would have at least wanted to talk? It clouded my thoughts as someone spun me right round on the spot. I had no idea what was going on until a hand slammed against my cheek.


“I know you killed my boy, I don’t care what the police say. I know you killed my Thomas!” It was obviously Woodman’s mother. This woman was more bulbous than her son if you could believe it. Bubbles of snot exploded onto her mouth with each heavy breath. She was so angry that some other parents had to hold her back. “You can’t run for long, your teacher told me the truth!”


Mrs Woodman wouldn’t believe the truth if she saw it first-hand. I just stormed off in a rage.


My life had become a cycle of torture, spaced out with awkward journeys in-between. That cab ride was no different than before, for hours my cousin and I sat looking out of opposite windows until she finally spoke.


“Annika, do you know what happened to my bag?”


“That’s your question?” I couldn’t believe it.


“It’s the only question I think you will answer at the moment; I’ve never seen you like this before.”


“Your bag is back in my hotel room in Geneva, I forgot it okay.”


“So you snuck into my room?”


“Yes Darla, I snuck into your room and took your spare luggage. I hope you understand that it’s not really my biggest problem right now.”


“Why did you need it?”


“Darla, just drop it okay?”


She thinks I did it, nothing else needed to be said. It took away what little joy I got out of seeing home again.


My cousin ran into the house as soon as we pulled up on the drive. The car door gave this glassy crunch when it shut, like she really has problems compared to me right now.


In a way it was still nice to see our home again. My parents bought the farm house when we moved to Tomintoul. It’s reasonably far from the village, so you don’t have to deal with too many idiots. Those old wooden walls used to be red and white but years of neglect turned them brown and grey. The steep roofs were missing panels and let in water every time it rained, but it was my home and I love it.


We have this fluffy black cat named Whisper who usually greets us at the door. He keeps the mouse population down and rarely goes out but this time he was nowhere to be seen. I guess he got bored and decided to go on an adventure? I’m sure I’ll eventually find him asleep somewhere or puking on something I love.

Everything left me so drained that I crawled into bed and went to sleep, safe under the covers.


The doorbell buzzed me awake at about 4 in the morning. I thought it was the police. Instead I opened to door to see a van speeding up the drive. At my feet was the package I sent.

 How the hell did it get here so fast when it’s only been about a day?

I should have been happy but something else was strange about it. Someone replaced the tape.


By the time I got it up to my room I was certain that the bottle would be missing, or that this whole thing was some sort of crazy sting operation. What I found inside was another note.


‘Do not allow this substance to come into contact with your skin. Mix one drop with your own blood and drink the mixture to protect against its harmful effects.

Be VERY careful’




Everything is still safe inside, but now someone is trying to help me? I just wanted to write all this down before I even attempted to open up the red book tomorrow. I’m still too tired and stressed to try right now.


What the hell is happening?

© 2016 M.R Steiner

Author's Note

M.R Steiner
report errors or be taped to Noel Edmonds himself

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very good man very good description and story telling I love what you have so far man keep writing

Posted 6 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

M.R Steiner

6 Years Ago

thank you for keeping up with these :)
This is all turning into something very very bad for Miss Tolkien, what is this strange substance, who left the note in the box, what will happen next?, this story continues to leave me on the edge of my seat as I wait for the nex installment.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 6 Years Ago

M.R Steiner

6 Years Ago

I was originally planning on just putting up the first few chapters but since your enjoying it I'll .. read more

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2 Reviews
Added on August 31, 2016
Last Updated on November 15, 2016
Tags: lovecraft, mary shelley, occult, science fiction, dark, lord byron, mythos, horror, addiction, pain, relapse


M.R Steiner
M.R Steiner

a terrible city, an even more terrible region, United Kingdom

looking for advice and feedback, every critic welcome no matter what, I will thank you :) more..