I heaved into the back leather armchair in the spare bedroom with my glossy laptop computer, hoping to quickly check my email for anything new. The orb of butter yellow sun hung at a slight angle in the cerulean sky, causing the unsullied emerald leaves to glow with an almost mystical light. The milky grey walls glowed coolly in the effulgence. I spent many pleasurable hours in the woods, debating aspects of my life clinging to thick limbs of the topiaries. I punched in the password to my email, fingers drumming the black and white keys with anticipation. I heard the automated ping! of new mail. Three new messages: my Face Book wall had been commented on, Windows wanted me to update my internet services, and a letter. The address was unfamiliar. I tapped on the open icon to view.

Hey, Ellen!
Carrah, Melany, Daniel, Agatha, and I are having dinner tonight.
The theme is 'Clue'.
Please come dressed as a character and bring one dish to share if you can.
Sorry this is short notice :-(
BTW my parents are out of town…
Hope to see you there!

Evellyn? Evellyn Blair… no. I was never the type of person to be invited to events hosted by the 'in crowd'. I, if I chose to attend, would be three years younger than everyone aside from Agatha, who was six years my superior. Evellyn had a reputation of being the 'in'. The rest of the crowd was Sarah Cabbot and Jake Sammel (who would not be attending to the best of my knowledge), Carrah Wallace, Daniel O'Rialson, Melany Freeman, and Agatha Blair, Evellyn's older sister by two years. I slammed the screen shut harder than I meant to. My hands were trembling slightly. I more or less was obsessed with the 'in crowd'. They were geniuses in school, geeks, and each gorgeous. I had a tendency to clam up when I talked to them, or rather, they talked, and I drank in every syllable. I nearly flew down the hall way and tore down the stairs. Mom was in the kitchen leaning against a granite countertop; the phone was pressed to her ear.
"Mom?" she glared and motioned for me to leave. The harshness was the tone she usually used when I was interrupting.
"Thanks, Cindy, but I'll have to call you back," she hung up the phone with a disappointed click. "All right, what is so important that you had to come interrupt me while I was on the phone?"
"Guess who just invited me over to dinner!"
"Who?" I could tell by the way she looked at me, she didn't expect much; the look was that you would give a whining toddler.
"Evellyn Blair!" I squealed for emphasis.
"Tonight! Agatha, Evellyn, Carrah, Melany, Sarah, Jake, and Daniel are all coming. And Evellyn asked me to please bring, um, some dish to share."
"Great. I'll call Mr. Blai-"
"No! I mean, Mr. and Mrs. Blair are out of town."
"Then this dinner is out of the question!"
"But mom...!" I rolled my eyes.
"No…hmm…" I could tell she was on the edge of consent. I gave her a glance to show my desperation. "Alright," she began reluctantly, " But only if Agatha is there and knows how to contact me."
"What are you bringing?"
"Chips and homemade salsa?"
"Great. Is there anything else you need to do, like RSVP?"
"Yeah. Give me ten minutes." I race upstairs, my feet barely grazing the staircase. I jerked the screen open and waited impatiently for it to load. My fingers clipped over the squares of letters and punched out a reply.

I cannot wait to go!
is it a role play or will we just play the board game?
I will go as Miss White (assuming no one else is) and I will bring salsa.

The antiphon was close to immediate.

Miss White is the only one left.
Melany is Mr. Green
Carrah is Professor Plum
I am Miss Scarlett
Agatha is Miss Peacock
Daniel is Colonel Mustard
Jake and Sarah are appearing.
Thank you!

I let my mind wander. The costumes would be a perfect excuse to show off my geeky creative persona, and I knew I was in for a treat if Agatha was cooking. It was summer break, I was going to an 'in crowd' affair, and I would know for once whodunnit. This was going to be one of the best evenings of my life.

Part One: arrival

I twisted my hat to a slight tilt on my head. My brown hair was curled to my advantage, my blue eyes glistened under a porcelain smooth brow. I allowed a petite black velvet hat to perch just off center. An ebony veil was draped across the brim on the hat and covered my face. It would have concealed my features had it not been fishnet. I had painstakingly constructed my cosmetics to resemble my character. My eyebrows appeared raised and thinly traced in black. My lips, cherry red, curled into a mephistophelian grin. My arms were garbed from fingertip to near shoulder in full length black tulle. The dress was a far cry from my usual fashion. it hugged my form and lacked sleeves or straps. The black mock-velvet item was exquisite; the waist was wrapped in black leather belt with a rhinestone studded clasp. The low marble countertop in the bathroom made me almost an ink stain in the cheerily decorated room. Lavender walls, decals of flowers, and a mess of empty shampoo bottles. I stepped into black stilettos with pointed toes. Before I turned to leave, I fastened a feminine chain of pearls around my neck. A crack of thunder signified a cloudburst was in store. I ambulated down the staircase as unbalanced as a newborn fawn.
"You sure you don't want me to walk you over? I could carry your clutch,"
"Crap! I almost forgot my clutch!" I slipped out of my heels, leaving them in a precise pair on the hardwood floor. "Be right back." I rapidly ascend the staircase. The thick smog grey carpet made a nearly inaudible shush-shush-shush with each foot fall. I saw the clutch laying discontentedly on the bathroom floor, a black hand bag with a pleated front. A brass clasp and thin edge accented my midnight black ensemble. I searched the contents of the purse: a card from the original 'Clue' board game depicting Mrs. White, brilliant red lip stain, a rope tied into a noose (actually a segment of a bulky elastic band so no harm would be done), and my eye glasses. I cantered down the staircase yet again and skidded to a stop in the kitchen. I lay a gloved hand on the smooth stone countertop. I inhaled and exhaled, indulging myself in a rueful smile. Carrah, Melany, Agatha, Evellyn, Daniel, Jake, Sarah my… and me. My heart rate caught up with the dizzying pace of my mind. Mom entered from the laundry room.
"I'll come over and check in at eight, pick you up at ten." I rolled my eyes. She had overprotective habits and I wondered if she still thought that I was six. I gazed at the house across the street. A sepia stone structure stood in my line of vision. The autumnal maroon garage door stood closed, bordered by immaculately groomed shrubbery. A porch light winked on and off over a brick red door. The peaked roof was less foreboding and more of a sign of protection, as if a fortress of old. I glared at the gathering clouds, an uninspiring lifeless shade. I stepped cautiously into my heels and smiled. Mom had set out a large bowl, fragile china; the pattern was made to resemble reptilian scales. Shades of sickly jade and dull pearl were contrasted the brilliant tones on the tomato, pepper, onion, and thin shreds of queso. I was apprehensively excited. My mind danced with images of all the worse possible scenario. But I was happy. Clue? What could possible go awry?