“She’s dead!” Lucy screams.
“How?” Alex shouts. “How did she die?”
“Did you check her pulse?” Adolf asks.
“Trust me,” Sadiq says. And no one seems to appreciate how fitting his statement is. “I checked twenty times. She’s dead. And I checked the teddy bear too.”
“This isn’t funny!”
“I’m not trying to be funny! I thought maybe her spirit got transferred or something. Never mind.”
Maria is pacing the floor and muttering things in Spanish.
“This can’t be happening,” Adolf says.
“Well, it is,” says Sadiq. “And if we don’t figure out what’s going on, someone else is gonna die next.”
“Do you really think one of us killed her?” Lucy asks, wiping tears off her face.
There’s a moment of silence as everyone in the group looks at each other.
“It wasn’t me.” Adolf puts his hands up in surrender. “I was sleeping on the other side of the room the whole night.
Alex begins to pace the room. “Who was next to her last night?”
No one answers.
“Maybe you should ask who fell asleep last,” Lucy suggests.
Alex stops and looks at everyone. “Well? Who went to sleep last?”
Adolf and Sadiq look at each other and shrug.
“Well, who would want to kill Sophia?” Lucy asks.
“Will you stop asking so many stupid questions?!” Maria suddenly bursts. “It’s Sadiq!”
Everyone goes silent and turns to Sadiq.
“What?” he says, backing away. “Why?”
“Really?” Maria snaps. “Of everyone in here, who’s the most likely to be a terrorist?”
“Whoa!” Alex jumps in. “Watch it, Maria!”
“Well, the way the White House is set up, you’re not exactly high on the popularity chart, either, amiga,” Adolf reminds her.
“She’s Puerto Rican not Mexican,” Sadiq reminds her. “But she has a point.”
“What?” Alex’s head spins in his direction. “What do you mean?”
“I know I didn’t kill Sophia,” Sadiq goes on. “But you’ve gotta admit, I’m not the most innocent looking character in this room.”
“That has nothing to do with it,” Alex argues. “It’s your name. And your name means truthful one. So tell us: did you kill Sophia?”
“I don’t think so,” Sadiq says. “But there’s a dead body and I haven’t been the most honest person before yesterday. Maybe something happened when…” He stops suddenly as his eyes land on Todo, who’s humping Adolf’s leg.
“What?” says Alex. “Maybe something happened when what?”
“Maria,” Sadiq says, and his voice is much more serious than it’s ever been. “What’s your dog’s name?”
“You know his name,” Maria spits at him.
“Todo,” Sadiq responds, ignoring her hostility. “That means “all” in Spanish.”
Maria shrugs. “So?”
“What if…what if…” Sadiq shifts on his feet. “What if Todo is the killer? And he’s trying to kill all of us?”
Everyone looks at the dog, who Adolf has graciously removed from his leg and left panting in the corner of the room.
“You’re accusing my Todo?” Maria shrieks. “You’re the killer!”
“I’m just saying!” Sadiq says, his arms raised.
Alex rubs his hand over his head as he paces.
“He’s the only non-human among us,” Adolf points out. “We don’t know what he actually thinks of Sophia.”
“I second that,” Lucy says.
“Same,” says Alex.
Maria lets out a string of words that can only be assumed to be Puerto Rican expletives.
“Mr. Landlord!” Alex calls. “Mr. Landl—!”
The landlord appears in the living room suddenly, almost as if he’d been standing there the entire time and none of them had seen him.
“We…” Alex steps back a little, recovering from his sudden arrival. “We think that Todo is the killer.”
The landlord looks at the panting dog and a smirk curls onto his face. “Wrong.”
Then he whirls around and leaves before the group can stop him.
“I told you!” Maria screams. “It’s Sadiq!”
“What if we just leave?” Lucy speaks up from her seat. “If this is some kind of spell that’s making one of us a killer, why don’t we just go to another apartment?”
Alex laughs one of those relieved laughs and claps his hands. “You’re a genius, Lucy! Let’s go!”
“Wait,” Sadiq raises his hand. “It can’t be that easy. Our personalities have changed because this guy snapped his fingers and now Sophia is dead. There’s no way we’re gonna just be able to walk out the door.”
“I’ll test it out then,” Adolf says. “If there’s a trap and something happens to me, then you know it’s not safe.”
The others are about to object, but Adolf is walking out the living room before anyone can stop him. They hear him touch the doorknob and an instant later, there’s a crack of electricity and he flies back into the living room and lands on his back, his hair on end.
Sadiq rolls his eyes. “See what I mean?”
But Alex isn’t giving up that easily. He and Adolf try again to open the door, but both are shocked again. And when they try to break the windows, they’re rewarded with the same hair-raising electric punches. Finally, when they decide they don’t want to be barbequed, they sit back down in the living room and try to figure out who’s the killer.
The group goes all day and night interrogating one another. They run the previous night’s events over and over again until finally, exhausted, they fall asleep. But this time, all of them sleep on opposite ends of the room. But unfortunately for them, their caution doesn’t pay off because the next morning, Sadiq is dead.