Brainteaser #6 – Ransom

Tudor house

Lily is home alone, deep in thought and studying hard for her A-Level English exams. Her parents had left for New Zealand 2 days earlier, her isolated countryside home felt that little bit lonelier and her motivation had slumped, she was desperate to study at her friends – or anywhere else other than here.

To add insult to injury, she had an awful headache and the full-body ache of an impending virus. Nevertheless, she tried to crack on but it’s a dark, stormy night full of whistling winds and unrelenting hailstorms. Concentration just wasn’t coming easy.

Lily sticks the kettle on and ponders life for a few moments, grabbing her phone to message her friend, explaining how she feels ill, very ill. Whilst screengazing, she hears a rather dull thud outside, uncharacteristic of a storm. It sounded close by, but alas, she thought it was most likely the wind.

Turning off the light to go back upstairs to study, Lily feels a leather glove grasp her shoulder. Her scream was cut short as a masked man oppressively covers her mouth.

“Direct me to your father’s safe or you won’t live to see tomorrow.”

“What safe?! I have no idea!” whimpered Lily.

“Do not lie to me, I know what your father does and how rich he is,” said the man.

At this point, the darkness was disturbed by Lily’s phone ringing – her Vengaboys ringtone awkwardly cuts the cold atmosphere – it was her friend. It rang off the first time but she calls again.

Lily said to the man, “it’s my friend, she knows I’m ill with a headache and she’ll worry if I don’t pick it up. She thinks I’m really ill and will worry. She’ll tell someone! I know she will!”

The intruder pondered this as he watched the phone ring somewhat perturbed by Vengaboys ending up as the soundtrack to his dark and sinister robbery – this isn’t what he had envisioned – also thinking to himself that obtaining the safe and leaving the scene might take a while. Maybe he should let her pick it up. With that thought, he relinquished his grip and warned Lily.

“If you say one thing out of line then your headache will be the least of your worries.”

Lily picks up the phone and addresses her friend, she is very agitated and can’t keep still.

“Hey Zoe, not feeling awesome, you know that history textbook you have? Can I borrow it? I think it’d really help me. I’ve done so little revision and I’m starting to panic for Tuesday now so if I can come round and grab it tomorrow, it’d be great!”

Zoe replies simply, “I have an English textbook but I took the history one back to the library,”

Lily says “Oh no! It’s an emergency so tomorrow if you can come ASAP it would be great?… Ok thanks, Zoe.”

After hanging up, the intruder has lost patience and grows increasingly more menacing.

Fearing for her life, Lily agrees to lead him to the safe but says it could be in a couple of different places.

As she checks in her living room cabinets, utility room and dad’s room, time creeps by.

She keeps an eye on the front porch and begins to see blue lights incoming. Bolting for the door, the intruder tries to keep up before Lily busts the door wide open and lets the police in. The man is swiftly cuffed and bundled away.

How did the police know?

When Lily rang Zoe, she alerted her that something wasn’t right by mentioning a history exam – which they’d both done already. Instead, as stated, they were revising for an English exam.

Lily then uses her little finger to muffle the microphone, masking this by acting agitated and wriggly. She blocks out parts of the conversation and instead, Zoe hears:

“Hey Zoe, not feeling awesome, you know that history textbook you have? Help me. Panic. Come round”

Zoe is sufficiently alerted by this point but Lily continues;

“It’s an emergency. Come ASAP.”

Zoe heeded the advice and as Lily stalled the intruder, the police arrived safely on time.

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