Croonford Detectives Case 18: Santa Clause is coming to town









Author's note: This story is inspired by Santa's Little Helper - A Christmas Story by Moxx of Balhoom on the old Girl Detectives in Trouble site.


Please comment on the story here.


I have no detailed knowledge of how to diffuse an IED so there may be errors.


It was all Mrs. Margaret Summers' decision, she was the one who decided Michelle and her visiting cousin Stacey to be Santa's Little Helpers riding in some vehicle to distribute presents to hospital staff, patients and the homeless in Croonford to try to bring some festive cheer. Chelle wasn't against such acts of giving during the correct holiday season. She was rather against the appearance of the costume which despite being a little tight, the bigger worry was the dress reach around five centimetres above her knee. She was fine with skirts and dresses but was not the Lin Ling 'girly' type, liking such dress that would produce an upskirt.


"Mum," she protested when she showed herself dressed in it. "I can't go out like this, what will my friends say?"


"Nonsense," her mother remarked. "It's fine."


Chelle protested again how the dress might cause a wardrobe malfunction but Mrs Summers simply told her Stacey could help adjust the costume and reminded her it was an act of charity. As Chelle headed back up listening to her sister Catherine playing Jingle Bells in her room, she surmised that her mother sent her on this to 'punish' her after disobeying Mrs. Pearlyn Chan, Lin Ling's mother on their holiday in Penang.


Chelle's thoughts were interrupted as she saw Stacey. Her outfit consisted of a dark red sleeveless dress and the hem of which barely touched the top of her mid-thighs, her legs cased in only 50 denier maroon tights. Stacey was about to zip up her sharp-heeled red and patterned boots when Chelle entered.


"Stace, won't you freeze dressed like that?!"


"Not really, I wore clothes like this coming from Tedford. What..." Chelle explained her need and Stacey swiftly adjusted Chelle's dress but with little change. Chelle thus donned one of her few warmer 80 denier red tights and zipped up her matching boots. This was just in time when the doorbell rang and the pair found a rather fat man dressed wearing a bright red Santa suit. He introduced himself as Henry and the girls raised their eyes at the transport. It was a big brightly decorated fibreglass-wheeled sleigh, driven not by reindeer but by two really decorated white horses.


"Exactly what Santa would ride. And no pollution, saves the climate," he smiled slightly under the fake white beard. Stacey boarded first with Chelle ensuring she entered without any unintentional exposure.


"Have a great day girls," Chelle's mother called. "Remember to return for dinner on time."


Yeah, Michelle thought as she waved. Unless I'll be freezing outside dressed like this, she thought.


As the sleigh moved with the 'clip clop' of the horses, Stacey learnt about what actually happened during Chelle's trip to Penang. "Wow, stopping a nuclear attack."


"More like a dirty bomb," Chelle explained in detail what she learnt from Lin. As Stacey mentioned she would like to meet the other Stacey, Chelle changed the subject, asking her cousin why she suddenly changed her Facebook relationship status from 'Single' to 'In a Relationship' and back to 'Single' within nearly half a week. Stacey was about to answer when they heard a loud splash.


"Lucky the dirty water didn't catch us, eh?" Henry turned. "You helpers want something to warm yourselves up?" Chelle was the first to nod and both girls got thick paper cups of black tea spiced with cinnamon. As Chelle blew the cup to reduce the heat, she gestured for Stacey to answer.


"It's just social media activity. I believe you have your own boyfriend?"


"You didn't answer my question," Chelle replied although the second line was correct. Stacey took a long drink then finally answered. "It was just a fling."


"Just? Come on Stacey, we've always been honest with each other."


"Well...he had finished A Levels but with poor results. So, he tapped with fling ideas which colleges he could and asked me, despite me not even at Year 13, to help him gain entry even to the lowest-ranking universities." Stacey replied, giving a brief description of his looks and took another drink. Chelle further asked how it turned into a relationship.


"He wasn't the generic guy to fall in love with but he showered me with beautiful gifts. That started of fine until he started harassing me with messages on social media and my phone. Even though I blocked him on all accounts, I still received some calls from an unregistered number and after a report to the local police, all contact with him disappeared. So, tell me about yours."


Chelle thought it was a creepy fling but she started telling how she met Mark and as she was getting to how Mark helped the girls with their adventures her arm suddenly started shaking and the contents of the tea spilt on her tights. Chelle failed to emit any sound as her eyes closed and body slouched down. She almost heard the tune of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town before her eyes closed.


"Heemmm, Mppph..." She called later, regaining consciousness and knew she was once again gagged. It was a pretty strong adhesive and the next feeling told her it was a wraparound tape gag, adhering her nicely-combed hair to the back of her head and her cheeks. And I'm bound with cable ties... no it was bands around her wrists and ankles - these were plastic handcuffs. Those bindings above her knees were definitely cable ties. She was lying sideways and also felt like there was a concrete block resting on her head. She had drugged before by that evil Cat girl so attributed the sharp head ache to that. There was however something further - some blocks that she assumed were stuffed presents were wrapped across her breasts.

"Stacmmm..." She called through the gag, trying to twist her body but still felt weak and the pain in her head was still there.


"Ah, my sleeping beauty awakes," Chelle heard a new voice then a figure entered in sight. She blinked and saw the Santa towering over her. His fake beard, and hat were removed and he appeared slimmer than she first saw him. He looked exactly like Stacey's description of...


"Your parents never taught you not to accept a drink from a stranger? Got you and your cousin damn easy." Chelle was about to respond, instead, he picked her up and she struggledas best as she could, asking, "whemmr Stacmmy??"


"Oh, shut your gap," he growled now, drawing a serrated knife and pressed it against her neck. Chelle had faced other deadly weapons before, but with the still throbbing head and her weak body, she fell silent. He made hop more than ten metres, helping her up a spiral staircase. She was greeted with a blast of chilly wind, finding herself on the top of the building. With little resistance, the fake Santa dragged her to the middle where a flagpole stood. Chelle was quickly lashed not with plastic handcuffs or cable ties, but with thick leather bands which Chelle didn't know how they were secured. She assumed that was it then; leaving me to freeze on top of a building. Instead, he widened a slip near her breasts and bending down, she saw it was some device and after clicking some buttons, he re-sealed the slit.


"Now, my dear, enjoy the view, my little helper, or should I say 'helpless.'" he laughed ignoring Chelle's muffled cries of protest and questioning the whereabouts of Stacey. "You will either become an 'Ice Queen' or try not to move hun because you've bomb strapped to your boobs and in an hour, boom!" Chelle shrieked upon hearing she will explode into pieces shortly. As he turned, he added, “got to spend some proper time with Stacey. Oh, nice knickers by the way. Happy Christmas!"


Chelle's mind was in a frenzy with the threat from the ticking bomb around her chest and the knowledge her cousin was kidnapped by her former boyfriend. In additional to know the kidnapper looked up her costume. With the mention that she could not move, she started to scream as best as she could through her gag. From her view, she could she one of the main streets of the town, and continued to cry as loud as she could, trying to attract pedestrians or even passing vehicles. A minute or so later, she spied a pedestrian and as the figure came closer, she saw her classmate, Heather Smiths.


"Heammmth! Heammmth!" She cried in Heather's direction. Heather initially continued walking then Chelle continued to cry until she saw Heather stop. Heather twisted her head and shook it as if clearing it then spotted the figure perched on top of the abandoned building.


"Hey ...who's, oh my gosh, Chelle, what on earth are you doing up..." Heather drew closer and laughed. "On one of your detective adventures again? You kind of deserve it after trussing me up, remember?"


"Heammmth! Sommry! Therm's um bmmb!" Chelle cried back, apologising again for what she was forced to do. Chelle saw Heather stop then draw out her mobile phone. Police sirens next roared and the wider area was secured with more than a dozen police vehicles. During any improvised explosive device (IED) or bomb threat, the police might call in the army explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) unit since they are specialising in disarming such devices. However, the nearest army EOD unit was far away and was on notice for a larger IED threat. The area police did have its own police EOD team which arrived almost at the same time as the normal police vehicles. They quickly scanned the building before they headed up to the roof. Chelle was still crying out through her gag and trying not to shiver as the EOD or 'Expo' team appeared.


A single 1.72m female officer in a thick suit approached Chelle and slowly snipped away the red tape around her hair and cheeks. The teenage detective started yelling about Stacey missing and the bomb continuing to count down.


"Michelle, right? My name is Helen, I need you to calm down, can you?" Chelle did so. "Tell me what you know about the device."


"The captor told me not to move, that's all. I was knocked out for a long time and I only felt it wrapped around me. Please..."


"Try to stay still," Helen odered then cut away the middle of her costume and her raised eyes could be seen through her googles. Turning, she shouted to the other officers, "Widen the cordon and cut off all radio and network transmissions here1" Chelle nearly responded at the knowledge that transmissions could set of the IED but fell silent only to have a gush of wind chill her even more.


"It's ok Michelle, you're going to be fine. Now, I have to perform an all-around examination of the device." She drew closer then moved behind with Chelle expecting her to cut away all the bindings, however that was not the case. "I'm sorry Michelle, the device is as stated: if you move a limb or you’re released one bit, it may go off. It has some really sensitive components and if a human hand touches it, it will also go off. I will be using a robot to disarm it but still will be with you, ok?" Chelle watched as Helen moved backwards and tried not to panic as she heard the device count down. There's no way I'm going to die on this Christmas Season, she thought.


Quickly, a tracked robot rolled up in front of her and extended several arms with claws. "Michelle, it's alright," Chelle saw Helen holding a portable non-electric megaphone. "My robot will unscrew the timer to reveal the interior," Chelle lowered her eyes and saw the timer's panel was removed, placed in a bag and bundles of wires protruded out. The robot's arms separated the various wires reveal red, white, blue and purple. Another robotic arm extended and along with the interior, other arms, the outer rubber coating of the purple wire was removed. The arms stopped then a sharp razor cut away the exposed wire, finally stopping the timer.


Chelle yelped in excitement but then Helen announced there still was a motion sensor to tackle. "You're doing great Michelle," she called. The various arms of the robot shift from disabled timer and worked their way across the exposed device and a camera shot out from the top of one of the arms. It extended the telescopic piece, zooming in on Chelle's left side. The arms carefully avoided from touching Chelle's clothing and then the camera suddenly swirled towards just below her left armpit.


That area of her costume was also sliced open, making Chelle really shiver in response to the blast of cold air. The robot's arms kept widening the gap then after four minutes, the arms stopped and a smaller and thinner needle-like arm protruded and a small disk was swiftly lifted up with the new arm and with a loud 'click', it was inserted inside the gap with Chelle feeling only a gentle touch.


Was that the end? The robot's arms started to retract back down until there was a series of beeps, startling Chelle, thinking it was the end of her of her life. "It's ok, it's ok, just an alarm not connected to the motion senor. No harm Michelle," That's just a little comfort, Chelle grimaced, still wishing her bonds could be removed and wondered where her cousin was taken by that fake Santa. The arms from the EOD robot extended once more and after much probing, the rattling alarm finally stopped.


One arm slowly yanked out a pretty small device and dumped it in a second disposal bag. Only then did the robot retreat and Helen ran forward as fast as her suit allowed and after much cutting and sawing, Chelle was freed from the flag pole.


"Michelle!" her mother ran towards her as Chelle passed the police barrier. There was a tight hug before a police officer pulled her aside for medical check-ups and evidence swapping. It was just before 7 pm when she finally arrived home and as usual, her mother barred her from heading out for any detective work. Chelle indeed was full of lethargy to head back out. She still wanted to discuss about how her mother arranged for the Santa's Little Helper giving and the kidnapping of Stacey but instead locked herself in her bedroom.


"Wow, an IED, I’ve always what to see one. I've thought of building..."


"Lin! It was real, I thought I was really get blown up," Chelle interrupted her classmate and fellow detective.


"Sorry, you caught me up early morning. I saw the news clip."


"Yeah, me as well," Jennifer Thompson added from Paris. Lin was in Hong Kong with her parents with her father on last minute business while Jenn was in Paris with her mother for her French studies project, also enjoy the Christmas season there.


Before Chelle could reply, she received a WhatsApp message from her long-time police ally Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Nicola Heath.


'Patrolling PCs found the actual Santa Claus that was supposed to take you and Stacey to distribute gifts, calling it an actual kidnapping case. Have ordered police checkpoints at all borders, DS Ransom leading the case. Forensics still checking the IED and costume you wore. Will try to keep you updated but it's a very busy time. Nikki.'


Chelle immediately shared it with her friends, having to type it out to Jenn since her hotel Wi-Fi connection wasn't strong. "Ransom, she's never that friendly when we bring cases to her."


There were several beeping noises as the male members of the team, Mark Cadvish and Reinhard Tomas joined the Skype conversation.


"Sorry, was busy with rugby friends. What did I miss?"


Chelle recounted and both boys replied it was 'cool' and Reinhard commenting how he played a computer game where the player had to diffuse IEDs and land mines.


"Stop, stop, stop! Your girlfriend nearly blew up into pieces and probably along with part of Croonford! And my cousin is missing and may also really get killed!"


Both boys quickly apologised then everyone fell silent. "When can you two return here?"


Lin said her dad won't change flights for reasons until it was really critical and Jenn similarly replied -- changing travel from France out was hard during the winter.


"It's up to you two then," Chelle pointed at the boys on her screen.


"What can we do for a kidnapping?" Reinhard would get regret asking that.


"Anything! Just get Stacey back!" Chelle roared.


"Reinhard, get to the headquarters, sort through the gadgets and items and get something made. Mark..." Lin suggested.


"I'll do research on this fake Santa." Mark completed the sentence.


Chelle yawned loudly, said she had to sleep and the conversation ended.


In some unknown location, the sound of duct tape being slowly removed. Once fully removed, a water tumbler was pressed against the lips. Instead of taking a drink, the victim spat out what she could at the captor. A huge argument ensued then finally her messed-up hair was yanked up, and a voice groaned, "open your mouth, my love." The finally mouth parted and something thick was shoved inside. Tape was wound rudely around the cheeks, trapping the item in the victim’s mouth. As the captor walked away pondering what to do next, Stacey Summers yelled,

"Chemmmlle! Chemmmlle!Chemmmlle!"


Chelle woke up with strong recollections of nearly being blown up and drinking the laced tea. After a quick shower and breakfast, she went back online. "Morning hun, I can't find much," Mark greeted his girlfriend, "about that Santa but he sure knew much about creating an IED."


"," came the reply from Reinhard. He cursed in German, then continued,

"Sorry, the Wi-Fi signal in the HQ suddenly dropped. Yeah, no student would have invented a complex device like that."


Chelle pointed out the seniors she first encountered students trapping her with also a IED at the old school science lab, but then remembered that their device was faulty.


"I'll be heading to a store in Telford that sells pyrotechnics stuff. It's not really a place to make a sophisticated..." Reinhard's voice dropped then returned."...device but could be worth a look. I'll be there shortly after I finish up with my new device."

Both Chelle and Mark questioned what that was but Reinhard just smiled.


At Croonford police Criminal Investigation Department (CID), DS Bluebell Ransom was stuck. None of the roadblocked turned up the fake Santa and the missing teenager. She checked again with the various details, but received the constant, 'no joy.' Damnit, she thought, where could they be?


"Ok, at least he's onto something," Mark remarked. "Tell me what Stacey said about this captor." Chelle reiterated Stacey's description of the guy and as much as she remembered what he looked like.


"That could still be a disguise. We rugby players look different with our uniform and gear on. You do have access to her Facebook account?"


Chelle nodded so and started looking through the pictures her cousin posted in the last two weeks. They were typical teenaged girly pictures. "Nothing at first glance, oh someone changed her Facebook status to in a relationship?!"


Back in the unknown location, Stacey was ungagged again with her captor showing her various branded items. She shouted back she didn't need any of these luxury gifts; she wanted to be released and home. "Oh, this home for you, darling," he reached out and stroke her check. Stacey spat again with what saliva she had left but missed him. "It's just you and me," he purred.


"The police will get you! Chelle will find you!" Stacey roared as best as she could.


"Oh, she's lucky not be blown up. Be lucky you're here." Stacey yelped as she was re-gagged in the same way as before.


"That's some good evidence," DS Ransom remarked after Chelle and Mark presented the sudden change in Stacey's Facebook status. Despite having previously given her statement to the immediate officers, Chelle repeated what she heard about Stacey's recent love life to the junior police detective.


"Can I have acccess to the full Facebook account? Our digital team within forensics may be able to trace the digital footprint." Chelle thought and agreed. She then queried about the results of the examination of her costume and the IED. "Progress but no clear results yet. Your team working on any leads?"


This was a change of Ransom's character but Chelle just shook her head and thank the detective. "Just in time;" she told Mark. "Got to head home less mum catches breaking the rules." She did manage to sneak back in, hearing Cliff Richard's version of Mistletoe and Wine as she slid carefully into her bedroom.


Reinhard finally made it to the store after taking the wrong train route - he was more used to European railways.


"No son we don't sell anything beyond fireworks stuff," the heavily tattooed and burly store owner replied with Reinhard having some trouble comprehending due to the thick accent and bushy moustache. "You want to buy some fireworks? Thought it's way past Guy Fawkes." The latest teen detective just asked to see the full range of items on sale. Every firework or even party poppers appeared to look normal in appearance. "Sure, you not interested in buying anything?" Suddenly, they both heard a slight bump. "My pet. Now go back home. Happy Christmas."


"Nothing unusual about that place," Reinhard reported to Chelle via a WhatsApp call.


"Everything so neatly arranged.Managed only by one person."


"Did you see anything unusual?" Chelle queried. Reinhard shook his head.


"Nah but I could go back and probably ask to work for him?"


Chelle shook her head in response and updated him, wondering where Mark was. A minute later, he joined the conversation. "Had to shift to an outside table less I get kicked out of the cafe," Mark called and added he was still looking through Stacey's recent Facebook photos.


"Photos?" Reinhard wondered then was updated on that. "May I have the same copies? I can enlarge or rotate them with Photoshop." He got his request made.


"Not a single sight?" DS Ransom roared as she slammed the phone down and pushed her computer mouse away and locked her screen. She intended to call in more officers but that would require higher authority approval and make the town like a mini-dictatorship - not exactly the greeting for the Christmas season. "What's with the examination on the IED and the girl's costume or the victim's Facebook account?" She called the forensic team.


"Still working on it ma'am," came the Brummy accent.


"Well give me something fast!" Ransom shouted.


Reinhard wasn’t one who liked puzzles but the hordes of pictures from Chelle's was one exception. He enjoyed cropping and exception altering the various picture of Stacey. Girls’ nights' out girly shopping, parties with girls and boys. All normal teenaged girl pictures. He zoomed in on two particular pictures, enhanced their quality and tapped on them.


Stacey had one last argument with her captor or ex-boyfriend then suffered the stuff gag which was void of the stuffing. Through the darkness, she saw him hunch over something that looked like a plastic package. Immediately knowing what she was going to get, she started yelping like a dog. It was only after the threat of his shouts and the feeling of a knife against her throat did she fall silent, wishing she could be rescued now.


Reinhard enlarged a particular picture where Stacey was smiling. He zoomed in on a particular area on her left wrist which was a little blurry. After several minutes, he managed to enhance that section and gasped.


"Chelle, your cousin got luxury gifts from that kidnapper?" Reinhard called and Chelle nodded.


"Well, there's a lady's Rolex in one of her left lower wrist above her own watch. I saw the same watch, exactly the same model lying behind the counter in that pyrotechnics shop. And oh, I now do remember there was a gold necklace there which matches, well almost matches one she wore in a birthday party picture," he shared the cropped and enhanced photos with her.


"Go back down there! It's either him or an accomplice! Wait, get Mark to..." Reinhard had ended the call as he dashed back to the detective's headquarters then ran to take the first train direct to that store.


"Back so fast, son?" The store owner asked. "Decided to buy one of my goodies?"


"I'd like to ask you about..." Reinhard leaned over the counter due to his height and pointed, "about that nice watch and the necklace over there."


"Not for sale. Those belong to me for a private friend."


"How does a single store owner come to own such expensive items?"


"Oh, piss off boy," The store owner replied in an increasingly annoyed tone. "Buy something or get lost."


Reinhard pulled out his phone and remarked. "This picture exactly match the watch while this other picture is similar to the neck..."


The owner bolted and closed a door but Reinhard managed to jump over the counter a second try. Luckily, the door wasn't closed and he found himself in a dirty and crowded with furniture room. The owner now was sprinting across this smaller room so Reinhard reached into his other pocket. Within seconds, the owner was trapped in a large net, screaming and struggling.


DS Ransom frowned after receiving the frantic call from Chelle. She now trusted these teen detectives but the information of expensive gifts and some shop wasn't exactly an actual lead she would pursue. Nevertheless, she still noted it down.


"Get off me! Get off!" The man struggled against the newest gadget and Reinhard who caught his legs. The two of them struggled and the store owner won, getting out of the net.


Meanwhile, Stacey now couldn't see anything in the darkness of the room since the thug cut off all lighting. She knew from previous experience that resisting was possible but she was lethargic, hungry and more importantly, thirsty. Suddenly, the captor approached and ripped away her tape gag. What entered her mouth was a large cotton ball with the end sticking out as a large round of duct tape sealed it into place. The stuffing was so large that it almost forced her mouth apart with her teeth surrounding it.  Stacey could have struggled and kicked at this juncture, but she was drained of any energy. What came next was a thick plastic material around her bra-covered breasts. Stacey could let a small groan and she heard his footsteps disappeared.


"Eh darling, have fun here. What's in your mouth shouldn't be moved much. One move out of position and ya go boom!" He remarked, with an emphasis on the last word. "So, I guess if you're smart, the only way you'll die is from the cold of this area!"


Reinhard thought he had failed as the store owner got up on his knees until another taller and muscular figure tackled the man and held him back down. "Thought you need some help," Mark remarked to his classmate. "Where's that fake Santa? Where's Stacey Summers?" He yelled at the tattooed man.


DS Ransom was about to fix her morning tea when her desk phone light glowed red and buzzed. "Ma'am, forensics. We have a certain fix on the IP address that changed the girl's Facebook status. It's.." Ransom ended the call after hearing the same address Chelle gave her and grabbed her coat and hi-vis vest, as well as yelling for additional PCs to follow her.


The store owner only protested and did not answer the boys' questions until siren blared and DS Ransom appeared. "Boys, get off. You, tell me," She showed her police badge, "where's the missing girl?"


The store owner only protested he was assaulted by teenagers but Ransom read out a list of crimes, so exaggerated that he committed. "Base..ment," he finally answered and she responded by cuffing him.


"Follow me," she ordered one PC while the others held the store owner. After much cutting and pulling, they managed to get the basement and Ransom found herself in the darkest and coldest place ever. As she swung her flashlight across, there was not a figure or in sight, only the sound of water leaking from a pipe. After much search she found Stacey who with tightly bound with plastic handcuffs, cable ties and leather straps to a metal chair at one corner.


"There she is!" Both of them approached then Ransom held her hand.


"Wait, there's something wrapped around her! Move back!" DS Ransom continued. Thank goodness they noticed it. " Get the Expo here ASAP!" Ransom yelled to the nearby PC.


Police Sergeant (PS) Helen Barkson was about to wrap up Christmas presents for her young niece when she got the call. Suited up and arriving with her team, she received a fast update from Ransom. "Clear the whole area, not just the building, at least two blocks away." Both of them were of similar ranks but Ransom deferred to a trained EOD expert.


As normal, Helen introduced herself to calm the now extremely panicking Stacey. IED trigger in the mouth she thought, that's so common to movies but not to any IED. She activated her trusty robot and it crawled up to the restrained girl. The arm with the high-resolution camera zoomed in on the device with Helen respectfully moving away from Stacey's slightly exposed cleavage. It moved up to Stacey’s tape gag and the camera really zoomed in on the wire sticking out of her left side. Stacey thought it was just looking at it but in fact Helen had activated the camera's infrared’s mode to examine what was exactly stuffed inside her mouth. After close examination, Helen realised that the dry mouth of the teenager would activate the material wrapped across her chest.


Helen was used to solving threats under short time but this was really time ticking away. She either had to get the stuffing without triggering the device or remove the tightly wrapped explosives around the girl which also might trigger the device. With one last at the mouth stuffing, she went for it, activating a spray of liquid in one arm of the robot and after much squirting and peeling, the tape came off and the stuffing slowly came off. Stacey could not stop her teeth from clattering together as soon as the gag was removed. Suddenly a buzz sounded, and both Helen and Stacey braced themselves.


"The trigger was faulty?" Lin asked. The whole group was back in their headquarters with the portable heater fixed, freshly made hot chocolate and cinnamon-spiced biscuits provided by Jenn laid on the table. Chelle nodded and DS Ransom's team caught the fake Santa real name Ariel Glenn, who was never a school student but free-lance mercenary who like to prey on young girls. Stacey, after some mental health check-ups was back home but texted Chelle, 'it wasn't scary at all :)'


"Was it? I remember sitting semi-naked almost about to be crushed due to evil Cat-girl and my once-good friend Molly," Jenn remarked.


"Not so much," Chelle half-lied, with Mark massaging her sore wrists and back.


"We've always been through dangers but come out stronger," Lin remarked as the radio finished playing Carol of the Bells and switched to the classic White Christmas.


"All thanks to your gadgets," Mark remarked. "That was an interesting net you made Reinhard."


"I got inspiration from Lin's inventions like the Fishing net and the Lacrosse stick," the junior member answered after chewing on the biscuit. It wasn't as fancy as his mother’s  Pfeffernüsse but still enjoyable.


"That wasn't really a gadget," Chelle pointed out. "Maybe we should have a competition: Who makes the most or better gadgets."


"Oh, I better start locking up the lab here," the 'Q' of the team laughed.


"It's actually quite small for the two of us," Reinhard replied.


"Nothing too small or difficult for any of us. Girls," Chelle raise her cup. "Or boys," she kissed her boyfriend and called for a toast. The teen detectives did so, finishing up. As Chelle as Mark exited both humming Do They Know It's Christmas Time to each other, they failed to spot a hidden photographer.


Michelle, Lin Ling, Jennifer, Mark and Reinhard will return in a story, title not yet confirmed.


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all readers.

The End.







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