Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Puzzle of Hunter Manor- Chapter 15- Stonewalled

As Eudorra entered the dining room for lunch along with her parents, she was surprised to find the room empty, except for Mr. Henson. He smiled jovially as the took their seats and when they looked at him questioningly, he shrugged and said, "I'm sure they'll be along soon."

And come they did! Eudorra couldn't help notice that Annabel's shoe squished as she walked, and Mr. Hawk's pant leg also looked wet. She looked at Gilbert as he entered the room and he gave her a knowing smile and a wink. So, they had solved the first clue at last! She somehow knew that Gilbert had certainly had some fun with his parents as he "helped them" solve the clue. She could only imagine the wild goose chase he could have led them on! She did wonder if they had any idea what the symbol meant. They had seemed to know something of the second symbol, though she didn't know what. The weary, troubled look that had been plaguing them for the last few days seemed to have lightened and they smiled, genuinely smiled for the first time since they had all arrived at the manor.

Lunch was served out and as they were finishing up dessert Mr. Henson cleared his throat, which everyone had learned by now meant they were in for another round of clues. He opened his briefcase as Jared and Marie cleared the table, and took out two envelopes as well as a sheet of paper. He read the paper carefully and handed one envelope to each family. Then he put the paper back into the briefcase and snapped it shut. When he looked up they were all staring at him.

"There was no statement to be read at this time, only directions to hand out the next set of clues on Wednesday at lunch. So there you are, now get to it!" He said this with a smile, but they could tell that he was a bit miffed at them for expecting a statement every time he handed out an envelope.

They looked at each other for a minute, then Eudorra and her parents rose to leave the room with their envelope. She heard a chair shuffle as they left the room, but didn't see whose it was. They walked the familiar serpentine path from the dining room to the sitting room. They all sat down at the table and Eudorra watched in anticipation as her father opened the envelope. He read the letter inside and frowned.

"It says we need to go to the Game Room where we will be put through some kind of test. We can only use what we find in the room to solve it."

Eudorra and her mother stared at him, then shaking his head he stood up and led the way out of the room. They walked the entire way around the top of the hall to the Game Room where they found another paper waiting for them on the table. It read as follows:

"Greetings Mortimer!

In this room is a puzzle that I have had arranged just for you. You will have to find a key hidden somewhere inside this room, and you will have to solve several small puzzles in order to retrieve it. As you have no doubt already read, you can only use the items you find in this room in order to retrieve it. The key opens the cupboard on the left of the mantle. Inside you will find your next solution.

There are clues hidden throughout the room in some conspicuous places. Feel free to poke and prod at the things you see. However keep in mind that everything you touch could be a clue in this puzzle!

Happy hunting, and good luck!


Eudorra looked around the room. There was a pool table, ping pong table, an entire cabinet full of games and an ornate card table for playing games on. In one wall was a fire place, the windows along one wall looked out on a series of fields that started near the manor and ran out over the grounds. Opposite the windows a dart board was hung, and in front of the fire place were a love seat, two chairs, and a short table.

"Not much to go on is it?" said her mother, who was also scanning the room.

"No," Eudorra agreed.

She began walking around the room to see if she had missed anything. She looked in the game cabinet, on and under the ping pong table and the billiard table. There was nothing she could see that she would classify as a clue. Her father was searching around the mantle and chairs, her mother was looking through the game cabinet and looking around the windows. When she circled the pool table for the third time she stopped and stared. There were only four balls on the table and none in the ball return.

She looked at the balls, green, red, yellow, and orange. What could those mean? Her father was feeling along all the paneling next to the fireplace, knocking here and there, trying to find possible hollow spots in the wall. Her mother was shuffling through the games in the cabinet, but didn't seem to be having any luck.

Eudorra walked over to the ping pong table and looked all around over and under it, but came up with nothing. Her mother searched on and under the chairs and table next to the game cabinet, but didn't appear to be making any headway. Her father had moved on to the couch and chairs near the mantle. They continued searching in this manner for over an hour, then sat down on the couch to reread their instructions just as Marie arrived to freshen up the snack table.

"We've spent an hour and found nothing," her father said with a dejected tone in his voice. He threw the two letters down on the table in front of the fire. "What have we missed?"

Eudorra thought hard, but it was her mother who came up with an idea first.

"Perhaps we are looking for the wrong kinds of clues. So far we've dealt with paper and pencil type clues, a physical box. What if what we are looking for are regular, everyday items that are in and of themselves clues?"

"Like the pool balls?" Eudorra asked, "There are only four out on the table, even though there are normally 15!"

"Really! That is interesting," said her mother. "Dear, can you recall anything that wasn't here when you were a child?"

Her father stroked his chin and scratched his head as he looked around the room.

"Well, unfortunately this room has changed quite a bit. It didn't even have a fireplace when I was here before. The carpet is different, even the way the furniture is arranged is different."

"Maybe we need to comb the entire room starting at the floor and working our way up?" her mother suggested.

She and her father agreed, so they got down on their hands and knees and started searching every square inch of carpet all over the entire room. They had been going for a good twenty minutes when her mother gave a gleeful squeak.

"Come here! Come here! I think I found something!" she squealed.

Eudorra joined her mother and father near the wall under the window. There was a standard vent cover there that her mother was pointing at quite excitedly.

"Look down inside!" she said, bouncing with joy.

Eudorra leaned over the floor grate with her father and was stunned to see that down at the very bottom was a key with a large key ring. They took off the vent cover and discovered that it was too deep to reach by hand, but at least now they had an objective! They continued searching the room, this time about 1 foot off the ground, they pushed and pulled on everything and anything that might be a hiding spot for something. They continued in this manner until Eudorra heard her father give a cry of victory near the mantle. She popped her head up just in time to see him release the candlestick he had pulled down on which pivoted back up into place. Next to him on the wall a secret panel opened.

They all gathered around the secret panel and Mortimer swung it open. Inside the panel was a door which was locked with a four digit combination lock.

"Okay, we need a four digit combination," he said after trying the lock to see if it had by some chance been left on the correct combination.

"How about his address?" suggested Angela.

"Worth a try," her father said, and began turning the dials to match the Manor's address. He tried the lock after entering the last digit, but it wouldn't budge. "Nothing," he said frowning.

"Maybe the month and day of this birthday? Or the year he was born? The number of candles on the mantle piece? The number of games in this room? " Angela said rattling off possibilities. Mortimer carefully entered each of them, but nothing worked.

Eudorra looked around the room for anything that might give the correct combination. It looked pretty bleak. Then she saw the pool balls and a thought occurred to her. Pool balls also have NUMBERS on them. She ran over to the pool table and picked up the red ball. "The number 3" she said aloud.

"What?" said her father.

"The red pool ball, it's number 3," she said.

"So?" asked her father.

"So, there are only four balls on the pool table. The rest are locked up in that cabinet over there. Maybe these are the digits we have to use to open the safe!" Eudorra's heart began to thump loudly. So simple and yet so effective. Simon had eliminated all the striped balls which bore double digits, and had only left the four solid balls that were part of the combination.

"Okay, let's give it a go, what order do they go in?" asked her father, as he reached over to pick up the lock once more.

"I don't know." she confessed, the numbers are: 1,3,5,and 6."

Mortimer entered the numbers she had rattled off, "Nothing," he reported.

Eudorra did some quick math in her head. "Four possible digits, with a four digit combination... that is 24 unique combinations."

Her father groaned and rubbed his fingers together to get the blood flowing in them again. After six attempts his fingers were beginning to go numb.

"Here, dear, let me do a couple and give you a break," said his wife handing him a cup of ice from the snack bar. He stuck his fingers into the cup and heaved a sigh of relief.

After several more attempts at the combination, they all hear the utterly joyous click from the lock and they all looked on eagerly as Angela removed the lock and opened the door. At first she thought the cupboard was empty, but then she found a small fishing hook in a plastic sandwich bag at the back.

"Well, there's our hook!" Said Mort with excitement, "Now we just need a line. What was the combination anyway?"

Angela held up the lock and read off, "3,5,1,6."

Eudorra rearranged the balls on the pool table and stared at them.

"Well, what order are they in?" her father asked.

"Red, orange, yellow, green," she said, "They're in rainbow order, or I guess we in the scientific community would say they were organized by wavelength." she added with a grin.

"Let me see," said her father who stood up and walked over to the table. "You're right! Oops!"

He had set down his glass on the edge of the pool table, but it had slid on to the table knocking one of the balls into the corner pocket. They heard it roll for a minute and then hit something and stop. Eudorra went to the other end of the table and looked in the ball return, but it wasn't there.

"It's gone!" she said in alarm.

"Maybe not," said her father picking up one of the other balls. He looked at it for a moment, then dropped it gently into the same pocket and listened as it rolled, collided with the first ball, then skidded to a halt. He quickly dropped the last two balls in, and heard them roll and collide even further down the table. When the stopped the final time Eudorra peeked into the side of the ball return and saw something black wedged between the balls and the side of the return, she reached in and carefully pulled it loose. The balls crashed into the ball return as she held up the small black canister.

"That's an old film canister," said her mother, "we used to have a 35mm camera that used canisters like that to hold the film, didn't we Mort!"

"Yes, that was before everything went digital, you had to wait a week to get your pictures back, and you always had dozens of these empty canisters kicking around. I guess Simon decided to put one to good use."

Eudorra popped the cap off the canister and out fell a silvery tangle of fishing line.

"Well," she said, "Who wants to go fishing for keys first?"

So how was it?

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