Entry A-4 “Detective Venus — I”


Hello. My name is Venus Cogneau. I am investigating a weird classmate I have and I think it will be interesting and important to find out her secrets. Her name is Elise Paisley and she looks like this:

A crudely drawn image of elise

Today I will be asking some people who are close to Elise about her. I hope you enjoy this story.

First I am going to interview our school teacher Ms. Cabby. She is called an assistant teacher but we don’t have any regular teacher so it makes no sense. I have asked her about this before and she said “The real teacher went away and won’t be coming back”. She looked sad so she must miss the real teacher. Anyway this is not important to the interview so I will move on.

Crudely drawn image of Cabalkiller, captioned 'This is what Ms. Cabby looks like!'

It was a Thursday at lunchtime and Ms. Cabby was free so I asked her if it was ok to interview her earlier. I stepped up to the door of the empty classroom next to our normal one and I felt unusual and anxious. I wondered what kind of secrets Ms. Cabby will have about Elise. Speaking of Elise, I sometimes saw her in the empty classroom with Ms. Cabby so I especially asked to interview her in that room to help her jog her memory (We will see if it works!).

“Now for the first question of the interview, Ms. Cabby” I said with a strong look. “What do you think of Elise Paisley?” Ms. Cabby put her hand on her chin and smiled and looked around the room and then looked back at me. Then she said “Elise is a kind girl and a wonderful student. She tries hard and participates well in class”. She looked like she was telling the truth so I trusted what she had to say.

“Okay” I continued “What do you do with Elise in this classroom?” Ms. Cabby didn’t look around this time and said “Oh, Elise likes to talk with me outside of class time to make sure her understanding of what we learned that day is correct. Sometimes she talks to me about her thoughts or whats going on in her life”. This sounds like it could be a clue to some of Elise’s secrets so I asked for more. “Whats going on in her life then?”

Ms. Cabby went quiet for a long time which was very suspicious. After 2 minutes and 44 seconds (I timed it) she said “Elise is... having a hard time fitting in with the other students and also seems to have some difficulties outside of school”. Ms. Cabby was definitely keeping some details from me so I asked “What is her home life like then?” She quickly said “Oh I don’t think I’m really allowed to say... Elise seems to have a special relationship with me” which made me feel frustrated and strange. I get that feeling sometimes when I think about Elise and all the mysteries surrounding her. But it sounded like I couldn’t get any more information out of Ms. Cabby so I decided not to ask any more questions. “Okay then that concludes the interview, thank you Ms. Cabby” I said.

The interview with Ms. Cabby didn’t solve any mysteries about Elise. It did give some clues though. To me it sounds like Cabby is protecting Elise’s secrets but still said some things about what the secrets are kind of like. For the next interviews I should ask about what Elise is like outside of school. We will see if that works out later.

The next person I interviewed was another person in our class. I noticed that he walks home from school in the same direction as Elise so I thought he might know something about her or live near her. I interviewed him on Friday during lunch. He was playing on the monkey bars when I found him because I forgot to give a place to meet up for the interview when I asked the day before. His name is Jonas Whitney and this is what he looks like:

Crudely drawn image of Jonas

Since the most important clue I had so far was to ask about what Elise is like outside of school that’s what I started with. “Hi Jonas” I said. “Do you spend time with Elise after school?” He responded “Oh this is what you wanted to interview me about? No, the most we do is we start walking home down the same first 2 or 3 streets”. This told me that Jonas may not be so helpful for my investigation after all. “That’s ok” I said back. “What do you think of Elise then?”

Jonas thought about it for 34 seconds said “Elise is... weird. One time I was on the monkey bars and she went up and asked me what my name is. I told her and she said that’s wrong. I heard she hits some other kids sometimes but never gets in trouble for it. I try to not be around her alone just in case she doesn’t like me...”

This is all true. Elise says weird things to people all the time and sometimes gets in trouble for hitting people. I thought Elise talked to Jonas more because they both walk home together but I guess the only people Elise talks to a lot are me and Ms. Cabby. Just to make sure I asked “Jonas do you know who else Elise talks to besides me and Ms. Cabby?”

Jonas said back “Oh she sometimes gets picked up by her sister Meridian. They seem pretty close”. This is a very good clue and I immediately knew that I would interview Elise’s sister Meridian next. “Ok thank you for the interview answers Jonas” I said and went to go figure out how I will be able to interview Meridian.

After some time I remembered that my mom sometimes helps out with the families of the other students. Sometimes people who aren’t just the parents of our class (like uncles or siblings) help out instead. I thought to myself, this could be how to do it. When I got home I asked her if she saw Meridian ever when she helped out and she said she did. I told her about this investigation project and she agreed to set up an interview with me and Meridian on Sunday. I couldn’t do it that day because I was going to bake cookies with mom, and I couldn’t do it the next day because me and mom were going to go to the park and go shopping. She set it up to be at a restaurant for lunch on Sunday. I am looking forward to see what mysteries Meridian will solve about Elise.

Venus stepped up onto the strip-mall’s sidewalk from the cool asphalt of the parking lot. “GRAND OPENING”, read the huge sign in the window of the new Tex-Mex restaurant in town. For a split second, as Venus walked up to the door and reached up to pull it open impatiently as her mother trailed behind her, she thought she spotted Elise sitting at a booth inside. She froze up. Her eyes shut hard and opened again just before her mom reached the door. No one was there.

“Come on, sweetie,” Venus’s mother Eudoxia spoke in a sing-songy voice as she opened the door over Venus. The two of them stepped inside, Venus still tense from the shock. She thought only of the last time she saw Elise out of the corner of her eye at the opposite end of the school hallway. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. I hate you. Elise waved at her. You make me lose the words. I hate you. I’m going to find out and then show everyone. I hate you. You destroyed everything I had. I hate you. I hate you.

Elise turned away and walked out of the hallway, leaving Venus alone. She felt an adult’s hand push her forward suddenly. “Don’t get nervous now, sweetheart, look - Meridian is right there, see?” Eudoxia pointed towards Meridian’s slightly hunched figure seated in the corner of an inside booth visible from the doorway of the Tex-Mex joint, opposite where Venus had surely just seen Elise. “O-oh, right...” Venus blinked hard a few more times to try to bring herself out of her own head. She took another step forward at last. “Yeah.”

I was really nervous for my interview with Meridian when I got to the restaurant. She was not as easy to talk to as Ms. Cabby or Jonas. I went on though. “Hi Meridian” I said. “Can you tell me what Elise is like at home?” Meridian looked really worried. She looked at my mom and then back at me. I forgot my watch so I couldn’t time how long it was but she was quiet for a long time before she finished thinking. She said “Elise is a handful but she never truly has bad intentions”.

This is frustrating to hear. It didn’t solve anything at all! I asked another question. “Ok, do you know why Elise does what she does?” Meridian looked even more confused and said “What does Elise do? Why do you think I know that?” It made me wonder why it seems like no one but me and Jonas know about Elise’s weird stuff and why only I want to investigate it. Then I realized that maybe Elise is only really weird around me. I said “She does weird stuff around me and I thought she does it around you too”. Meridian said back “What kind of weird stuff?”

I couldn’t answer that so I decided to ask a different question to see what else Meridian knows. I asked Meridian “What does Elise think about me?” Even if Elise only does the stuff she does to me then she still might talk about it to Meridian. She thought about it for a little bit again and said “Maybe you should ask her this yourself” and smiled at me. She looked tired and I started to think that the interview was a lot for her so I said “Ok thank you Meridian I’ll do that. That’s all I have for the interview”.

The interview with Meridian didn’t feel like I got any closer to finding out Elise’s secrets but I did. I found out that Elise only does weird things around my class and that a lot of it she only does to me. From here I figured out that the only way to solve the mysteries around Elise are to talk to her myself and get closer to her. Next time we will see how that goes!

Cabalkiller Suicidegirl Deathweeping tapped the bottoms of the papers containing Venus’s essay against her dining room table to straighten them. She jotted down some corrections for the last few paragraphs in red pen. “Venus’s submission was pretty cute,” she noted, twirling the wire of her landline around her finger and shifting to keep the phone itself resting comfortably between her shoulder and ear.

A voice sounds out from the other end of the line: “Oh yeah? Sounds like this one wasn’t a slog to get through then, huh.” It’s Ester Jackson, Cabby’s childhood best friend.

“No, it was actually pretty pleasant instead,” Cabalkiller replied, penning some general praise at the top of the first page and filling out the rubric, smiling. Most students just wrote about their daily lives for the assignment; Venus refreshingly always goes the extra mile.

Cabby capped her grading pen and slammed it down next to the pile of essays, Venus’s now freshly adorning the top. Done. Completed. Finished at last. She took the phone into her hand and leaned back in her chair, stretching. “Oh, is that all of them?” Ester remarked inadvertently to the kitchen ceiling.

Cabalkiller brought the phone back to her ear. “What was that?”

“I just asked if you’re done grading now.”

“Oh. Yeah, I am.” Cabby tried to think of some conversation topic to force herself out of work mode. Her plans with Ester came to mind. “Are you excited to hang out tomorrow?”

“Hell yeah I am. That tape I rented looks like it’ll be a blast, plus I’ve never baked anything before.” Ester chuckled somewhere between eagerly and nervously.

Cabby assured, “Yeah! It’ll be fun.” Already the tension from work was leaving her body. Tomorrow was going to be great.

Venus's essay atop a stack of papers, grading comments strewn about it, on a table next to Cabby's landline