See How They Run 2022 – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2022 film See How They Run.


The story tries really hard to be clever and referential while still respecting the genre. It’s not a spoof or an homage, but some sort of clever combination. The great thing is that it works on all levels. Everything is laid out in the intro narration and I was still pleasantly surprised.

Score: 1


The main detective characters are clichés brought to life. They’d be almost boring if it wasn’t for the quality and charm of the actors. Unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to the whole cast, which is populated by a checklist of quirky film noir characters.

Score: 0.5


The dialogue is a combination of period and modern and was a little jarring at times. It was however very clever and well thought out.

Score: 0.5

Visuals and Music

The director and cinematographer must have been big fans of Hitchcock and Anderson. It mostly worked as a mashup, but lacked originality and felt a little forced.

The music was strong but unmemorable.

Score: 0.5


This movie was a mystery lover’s good time. All the adults loved it, but the kids found it slow and talky. I will re-watch this one.

Score: 1


An excellent homage/comedy to the mystery genre, Christie in particular, and a fun movie. Its odd directorial choices are held together by the impressive acting from the leads.

Final Score: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Totally Killer – JenEric Movie Review

How This Works – Read Other Reviews

Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 2023 film Totally Killer.


A fascinating homage to both time travel and slasher movies. The story is well thought-out and avoids a lot of over explanation of time travel.

Score: 1


The characters are an interesting mish-mash of tropes. The 1987 group seem cartoony at first, but then remind me heavily of the way people behaved in my high school years (ten years later but still similar).

They managed to have a nice balance between the façade of the character and who they really are, using the quiet moments after the murders for character depth.

Score: 1


The dialogue is peppered with science fiction references and digs at the innocence of the eighties. The complete insensitivity of 1980s vs the much more progressive ideas of the 2020’s.

There’s also a few really funny lines.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The visuals were not as stylised as I feel they should have been, but the sets, costumes, and makeup were perfect.

I would have liked more music from the time period and the score was little bland.

Score: 0.5


The movie is a lot of fun and fits great with both time travel and slasher films. It’s not scary but I still wouldn’t watch it with the kids. It’s first and foremost a dark comedy and works great in that sense.

Score: 1


A dark comedy with time travel, generational humour, and lots of 80’s nostalgia. It’s fun, funny, and a great mash up of the two genres.

Final Score: 4.5 Stars out of 5

History, Hero Worship, and Being Problematic

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

There has been a lot of talk about taking down monuments and changing names. Mostly this is due to things the people have done that are horrifying.

Removing the name or monuments to these people has been likened to sanitizing our history or hiding the horrors of our past.

The whole debate is complicated by the fact that most of these people have also done good things. So do we let one mistake destroy the legacy of a great historical figure?

Vintage still life. Vintage compass lies on an ancient world map in 1565.

History is a very human practice. It’s not a science and relies on what people wrote down and what they chose to leave out. Walt Disney smoked like a chimney but you’d never know from his pictures at the parks or the official videos. It’s possible that future generations will never know.

To get an idea how much we can confuse and conflate history have a look at this video.

Columbus was a genocidal idiot, yet I bet most people didn’t know that.

History is messy and the moment you start worshiping someone you start ignoring the bad they did. Very few historical figures are perfect and it’s important to remember. If we ignore the bad that historical figures did, we risk repeating it.

We also have to not go too far the other way and forget the good that they have done (not Columbus, he’s horrible). It’s a common practice now to demonize people for things they’ve done or said in their past. It’s important to balance out what people did with how they tried to make amends and how they grew. Just because someone was a dick doesn’t mean they didn’t change.

My Opinion

Having a statue in a public space, having your name on a street or building is an honour. If the historical figure has done something horrible (Genocide, mass murder, slavery, etc) move their statue to a museum with the proper, balanced, historical information. Or take their name off and replace it with something more innocent or someone more worthy. Leave a plaque explaining the old name and why it was changed.


Later days,


Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 12: Conclusion

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11

Dropping the bin and running, Riko felt so stupid. She’d left Kate alone and unarmed, other than a baseball bat.

The sand and smoke made running awkward and painful in equal measures. It felt like it took her a month to get to where she’d left Kate, and she fully expected to find the woman dead in her wheelchair.

“Take that, you asshole.” Riko heard Kate’s yell followed by a metal thunk and yelp of pain. The wind turned and the smoke moved towards the inside of the island, letting Riko see what had happened. A man was laying down cradling his head and Kate was glowering over him wielding the baseball bat.

“Kate, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I might be in a wheelchair but I’m also an Olympic athlete.” Giving Riko a sad smile, she said, “Your partner’s an asshole.”

The man laying on the ground was Ethan. His arm was still attached, but without his fathers watch. Taking her handcuffs out of her back pocket, Riko cuffed him to an old stump of a tree. He was unconscious.

After a few minutes of resting, she got some water from the lake and threw it in his face. He woke with a start.

“Why, Ethan? Why?”

Smiling he shook his head saying, “Not how? Really, you won’t give me the satisfaction of telling you how I bested the amazing Riko Dulac?”

Holding back the tears that were stinging her eyes, she shook her head and asked again, “Why?”

“Fine. I’ll monologue for you. This is revenge, pure and simple revenge. You are all terrible people and the planet is better off without you.”

When he didn’t continue, Kate laughed, “If anyone has reason to hate this group it would be me.” She pointed at her legs.

“At least you’re still alive. The merciless teasing and horrible things you all did to my sister made her kill herself. Do you know what it’s like watching someone you love change completely?”

“Yes,” Riko said unable to hide the crack in her voice.

Ignoring her he continued, “She went from a happy inquisitive girl to a depressed and angry one.”

“Kingsley was your sister? She killed herself?” Riko asked completely blindsided.

“Yes, and you didn’t even notice. Protector of the school, moral compass, bully slayer… All high and mighty and blind to everyone but her friends pain.”

“Why did you wait so long?” Kate asked.

“Revenge is a best served cold.”

“Fine. Now that you’ve told us why, tell us how. Do you have some sort of magic powers?” Riko said sarcastically. There was no way he could have sent the texts, move the bodies, set up the traps, and everything else.

His only reply was to smile. She slapped him. She couldn’t help it. She started to shake him. His smile only widened. She was getting ready to punch him when he finally spoke, “I don’t have magic powers. I have partner.” He looked over her shoulder.

She turned just in time to see a sword come out of Kate’s chest. Standing behind Kate with a crazed look was Allison. “You didn’t really think you had the brains or the resources to pull this off, did you?”

“Allison?” Riko’s head spun and she watched the light die in Kate’s eyes.

Struggling to get the sword out of Kate, Allison grunted. She finally gave up and took a shotgun out from a sling on her back.

“Yes. Poor little boring Allison. Did you forget about me again? Like the time I was supposed to tutor you in math and you never showed up? Or the time you, Zane, and I were going to go see Narnia together? Or maybe that time I was supposed to get a ride with you to the grad party? Ring a bell?”

“I’m sorry, Allison. I didn’t realize…”

“NO!” Allison yelled, “You didn’t care! And when I saw what you all did to poor Kingsley, I knew you had to pay. It took me years to get the money to buy this island and put cameras everywhere. Finding Ethan was a nice bonus.”


“Did I make it look like you had no signal? My app has an extra layer. I can activate it and it take over your phone. Making it look like you have no signal. It then only allows texts from me to get through. And you were all dumb enough to install it.”

“Wow. We must have been horrible to have you go through all this trouble,” Riko said. She was still angry, but she was also guilty and exhausted.

“I don’t want your pity, bitch!” Allison snickered and then added, “I want you to die.” She raised the shotgun at Riko. “Any last words?”

Riko recognized the shotgun and hesitated before saying, “Don’t do it. I–”

Cutting her off again, Allison said, “I don’t care,” and pulled the trigger. The shotgun, the same that Riko had rigged to backfire in the hotel, backfired and shot Allison in the chest.

Ethan started giggling at the sight. He didn’t stop as Riko took her phone and deleted Allison’s app. Then she restarted the phone for good measure and when it turned back on, she had five percent battery, but she had signal. She called 911 and explained where she was and babbled what had happened.

Still giggling, Ethan started bashing his head against the tree stump he was tied to. Riko tried to care, she tried to feel indignant that he was trying to escape justice, but instead she just felt numb. When he stopped moving she reached over and felt his neck. He was still alive, barely.

In her numb state, she was relieved he would face justice but she couldn’t help feeling that the entire thing was partly her fault.

Help me write 2017’s serial story and vote for the
2017 Serial Story – You Vote, I Write

If you enjoyed Wargrave Island why not read previous years serial stories: 

2014 – The Ridiculous Adventures of Felix Felicis
The story of a man who likes things neat and organized and gets dragged across time and space.

2015 – Only Human
The story of an ordinary-ish human, who enrols in Monster University to find her sister’s killer, but finds love and friendship instead.

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 11

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

“You’ve been crying a hell of a lot,” Sandrine said, sounding callous to Riko. “I mean, sure, all our friends are dying in ridiculous ways, we’re trapped on an island in the middle of lake Ontario, oh, and we don’t know why. But seriously, buck up girl.”

Riko wanted to be angry, she wanted to rage at Sandrine for being a bitch, but all she could do was see the ridiculousness of the situation. Her tears stopped and she grabbed one of the large plastic containers of gasoline next to Sandrine and said, “Let’s get this over with and burn the killer out.”

Both Kate and Sandrine took containers and started spraying it around different areas. The island wasn’t big, and a third of it was already burning because of the house exploding.

Kate had a harder time moving around in the wet grass with her wheelchair so the others moved further off to get more of the small forest. They made sure not to get too far away from each other, always keeping at least one of the others in view at all times.

After splashing eight containers of gas, they moved to the shore and Sandrine threw a match at the grass. Riko watched as the match flew in a perfect arc and she worried that the grass would be to wet to catch. When the match hit the ground nothing happened for a moment and then it caught fire.

The fire snaked out from the grass towards the forest like a wave. The wetness didn’t stop the fire but it did cause more smoke. Even on the gravel shore they had trouble breathing.

“What do we do now?” Kate asked between coughs.

“We need to get upwind to not suffocate,” Sandrine answered. Just as she said that, the wind picked up and started blowing the smoke away from them.

“Finally some luck,” Riko took a deep breath of fresh air.

A dark shadow in the smoke ran across the field away from them.

“I’m going to kill them,” Sandrine said and ran into the smoke.

“Sandrine, you moron. You’ll suffocate before you get to them,” Kate’s words were lost to the roar of the fire. When Sandrine disappeared into the smoke, Kate added, “She’d going to die in there.”

“I’m starting to think we’re all going to die on this island.” Riko sat and sighed. It seemed completely useless. Whoever they were fighting had fate or luck or something on their side. There were only two of them left and the island was on fire. “Might as well accept our fates.”

“So what? We should just throw ourselves into the lake and die?” Kate’s face was red and her brow furrowed. “No. I’m not going to let this killer get me easily. I’m going to make sure they either pay for what they did or I’ll make them work for it.”

When Riko gave her a tired look, Kate sighed and added, “You never know, maybe Sandrine will succeed, she’s one tough woman.”

As if it had been timed, a gunshot echoed over the roar of the fire. Then another and another. Riko counted them out. “That must be the gun Ethan had left for me. It had fifteen rounds, those, and the earlier ones that Blane shot.”

“Did the fire set them off?”

“No they would have been faster and some would have gone off at the same time.”


They both sat in silence, covering their mouths when the wind turned towards them.

Riko’s tears dried up and she kept reliving each of the murders. Over and over she saw her friends die. She felt she deserved to re-watch each incident. She should have been able to stop it.

They silence was broken by their cellphones.

Twelve naughty kittens all trapped on an island; they’re all going to die for certain.
The first betrayed love for cash; now she’s ash.
To violence and hate the second clung; now he’s hung.
To gossip the third fixated; now she’s been asphyxiated.
The fourth preferred those who were incapacitated, now it’s his turn to be penetrated.
The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn.
The sixth was a model citizen, a spy; and not Canadian but Russian.
The seventh wasn’t what he seemed, he was but a dream within a dream.
Eight and Nine didn’t give a damn, so they died by their own hand.
Ten loved crime, it was her life and destiny, but she ran out of time.

“What the hell do these even mean!” Kate’s voice cracked in fear part way through the exclamation.

“I don’t know…” Riko re-read the text over and over again. Finally she said, “I think the killer is trying to punish us for our crimes.”

Kate snorted, “That would make sense if you weren’t here. I mean you’ve never done anything wrong.”

“I’m not perfect…” Riko trailed off.

“It’s almost noon and I’m starting to get hungry. We didn’t exactly have time for breakfast. We buried some food last night. I think it was near the docks. It’s a little fuzzy,” Kate smirked.

Standing up, Riko waited for Kate.

Gesturing at her chair Kate said, “I can’t make it far in this gravel. Plus, the docks were on fire. Look under where they used to be, in a metal box. Hurry. I don’t like being alone.”

“I can push you–”

“It would take ten times longer for us both to go. Go. I’ll be fine.” Kate patted the baseball bat on her lap.

Riko nodded and headed out to get the food. She followed the shore until she reached the burnt husk of the dock. It was black and still smoldering. The wet and cold had done nothing to stop if from burning. She easily found the metal bin that had the food and had to fight to get it open. It had warped from the fire.

Inside were some basics, and instead of deciding what to bring, she pulled, with her good arm, the entire bin towards where she’d left Kate.

Mid-way back, her phone rang with a text: You left poor Kate alone? I thought you were smarter than that…

Read Next

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 10

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

A cold wind blew into the kitchen, waking up Riko who’d tried hard to stay awake but failed. It was no surprise she’d been exhausted and working on adrenaline, which wasn’t sustainable. Sandrine, Blane, Zane, and Kate were all unconscious on the floor, the bottles of tequila laying empty between them.

The breeze carried the scent of fresh air that comes the day after a rain storm. The breeze reminded Riko of her summers camping. Wait… where was the breeze coming from?

Pulling out her gun, Riko stood, looking over the metal island they’d overturned the night before. The door to the dining room was open and two large barrels had been placed in the middle of the dining room. There was something with wires on top of it.

“Guys wake up!” Riko yelled. The others drowsily started to wake. “BOMB!”

The other four woke up quickly after that. “What? Really?” Sandrine sounded annoyed more than worried as she lifted Kate into her wheelchair.

They left by the kitchen’s back door, and starting running over the smooth field towards the forest that was behind the hotel. They almost made it to the treeline when their cellphones rang. As they rang, an explosion rocked the hotel. Gouts of flame erupted from the roof in multiple places.

It took a few seconds for the shock wave of heat and debris to reach them. Riko turned to look at the explosion and barely had time to see a piece of glass, the size of a butter knife, flying towards her. She tried to move out of its way, but it embedded itself into her right forearm.

It took all her self control to not rip it out of the arm.

“Holy shit,” Zane turned white then green as he rushed to a bush to puke.

Blane was much calmer and came up to her saying, “Don’t touch it. Let me look.” He held her arm still and looked at it.

Shooting flames of pain raced up her arm as he poked and prodded at it.

“Can you flex your hand?” She could but it hurt like crazy. “I don’t think it hit an artery. We should get it out but without bandages or antiseptic I really don’t want to.” He ripped a piece of his shirt off and wrapped it around the glass and her arm. She knew it was to prevent it from moving and causing more damage. “There was a first aid kit in the boathouse.”

“That’s on the other side of the flaming building,” Kate said sounding exasperated and winded. “It might be a flat field but it’s not exactly easy.”

“I know this is what people say in horror movies when I stop watching, but we should split up,” Blane said.

“She needs to be patched up,” Zane agreed, after wiping his mouth.

“I’ll stay with Kate,” Sandrine offered.

“Me too,” added Zane. “We’ll head to the garage and look for gas to burn the rest of this place down.”

Blane looked like he was going to argue but instead he leaned over and pecked Zane on the lips. He said, “Don’t die,” and turned around towards the burning house.

“Are you sure?” asked Riko as they walked towards the path that would lead them by the burning house and to the boathouse. “I could get the kit and bring it back.”

“No. I’m not letting you go alone when there’s a psycho out there.” Seeing her raised eyebrow, he continued, “I wouldn’t let anyone go alone and I won’t let anyone else die.”

They walked in paranoid silence expecting every breeze or rustle to be the killer. “You really don’t think it’s Ethan do you?” asked Blane.

“No. I’ve worked with him for years and he’s been fair, almost to a fault. He wouldn’t just start to kill people.” She didn’t sound convinced even to herself.

“At this point I really don’t care who. I mostly want to know why.”

“I don’t know. It must have something to do with high school.”

“Do you think it’s something to do with the grad party? It keeps coming back up,” Blane sighed.

The two of them stopped and at the same time said, “Kingsley.”

Riko continued with, “She hated us for that night and not inviting her. This seems a little excessive.”

“Unless we wiped out their entire family, any motive would seem excessive.”

The boathouse was filled with gardening tools and boat paraphernalia. An old motor was on a cart in the corner with its propellers in the air.

The first aid kit was on the wall and Blane pulled it off, quickly taking things out. Riko turned her head away, not wanting to see what he did.

When he said, “This will hurt.” She braced herself and tried not to clench her arm. The pain was blinding and caused a roaring in her ears.

Her vision cleared but the roaring didn’t. The engine across the boathouse had turned on and was slowly moving towards them. She reached, with her good arm, for the gun, but she jarred her bad one and dropped the gun.

Blane finished wrapping her arm, took a rake and pushed the engine into the water. It sputtered and sunk.

“Where did you get a gun?” Blane asked.

“It was Ethan’s,” she replied and told him about where she’d found it.

“Seriously? What if he tinkered with it or something?”

“He wouldn’t,” she started, but remembered that he’d been the one to teach her how to cause a gun to backfire. He’d done it to teach her how to make sure her weapon was safe and she hadn’t checked this one.

She picked up the gun and looked it over. It seemed clean. “It’s fine. Lets get back to the others.” She tried to put it back in her belt and flinched.

“I’ll take it,” he said forcibly. She didn’t argue. With her arm now in a sling and bandage, she was useless with a gun.

As they walked back, the fire had started to smoke and with almost no wind to blow it away, it was impossible to see more than a few feet away.

They were nearly next to the house when a dark shadow ran towards them in the smoke. Blane gestured towards the left to avoid the figure just as they heard a loud clicking noise. He’d stepped on a landmine. He gestured for her to leave.

“I’m not leaving you,” she said. The person in the smoke seemed to be holding a bat or something else similar.

“I’m already dead. Get out of here.” He lifted the gun and aimed it at the shadow.

Riko kissed him on the cheek and ran the other way. As she ran, she heard multiple gunshots followed shortly by yet another explosion. She raced back to where the others had been. They weren’t there and she made her way to the garage. Standing outside the garage were Sandrine and Kate.

When she came close enough, Kate asked, “Where’s Blane?”

“He stepped on a landmine…” Riko cried quietly, she was tired of crying for her friends.

“And where’s Zane? When we heard a boat motor, he went out to find you.” Riko started to sob when she saw that they were both holding baseball bats like the shadow in the smoke.

Read Next

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 9

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8

“Yes, this is the right room,” replied Riko as she gently touched Zoe’s arm.

“How can you be so calm? We’re all going to die. I don’t want to die. Why is this happening. Oh god. Oh god. Someone took the bodies.” Zoe started to hyperventilate.

With a big sigh, Sandrine slapped Zoe in the face. “Calm down!”

Zoe swore and punched Sandrine in the nose before turning around and running for the stairs.

“Why’d you do that?” asked Riko.

“It works in the movies,” Sandrine replied as she put pressure on her bloody nose.

Riko turned and ran after Zoe who was running for her room. “Zoe, stop please.”

At her room, Zoe turned to Riko and said, “I’m not dying on their terms. I’ll die on my own. I’m swimming out.”

“We’re in the middle of a storm. Let’s talk about it again in the morning when things have cleared up. Then we’ll see about making a raft or something.”

Looking calmed Zoe turned the doorknob of her room. “Ok, but I need some thicker clothes now it’s cold.” They were all still damp from the rain. Zoe finished opening her door looked inside and screamed. Her scream was cut short by a gunshot.

Riko looked away but couldn’t get the sight out of her mind. She threw herself at the wall next to the door and peeked around, maybe she could get a glimpse of the shooter.

Around the corner she saw a shotgun mounted on a tripod with string and a complicated pulley system; another trap. Riko collapsed against the wall. She felt numb or maybe she didn’t care anymore, she wasn’t sure.

“Zoe. No.” Kate rolled up to Riko and just swore. Sandrine joined her.

“We need to find a place to bunker down and defend ourselves until tomorrow,” Riko’s voice sounded flat, even to herself.

“Then what do we do?” demanded Kate.

“We burn this place and the entire island to the ground.” Sandrine’s eyes were filled with mischief. “If the killer can’t hide or plant traps than they can’t kill anyone else. Plus the fire will get someone’s attention.”

They all sat or stood there, next to the body of their friend and digested the thought in silence. When their phones rang they all jumped.

The eighth pretended to be a reporter but the bribes were more important to her.

“She was a Vlogger not a journalist you stupid…” Sandrine yelled a few more profanities into her phone.

Standing up, Riko said, “We need a place that can easily be defended and we need food.”

“The kitchen is a galley with only two ways in or out. We could easily fortify there, assuming there aren’t any traps already set,” Kate suggested.

“Where are Zane and Blaine?” Riko panicked.

“They’re waiting at the elevator to make sure no one does anything to it.”

“Ok. Go to them and get to the kitchen. I’m going to leave a surprise for the murderer.” Riko waved off their protests.

The shotgun was the double barreled kind that were so popular with farmers in television shows. She knew the kind and had worked with them before. She checked and both barrels were empty. Looking around the room, she found some bits and pieces to block the barrels far enough in that the shells would still fit but the gun wouldn’t fire properly. If she was lucky, it would backfire on the shooter. If she wasn’t, it would still misfire.

She knew there was a chance that the killer was watching everything she did, but if they weren’t, this would give her an advantage.

As she left the room she wondered if Ethan had been lying when he said he hadn’t brought a gun. She hadn’t brought hers since she never carried when she wasn’t on duty, but he always seemed to have a gun.

She unlocked the shared door, pushed it, and moved off to the side. When nothing happened she entered his room. It was a mess. His clothes were everywhere as if someone had ransacked it. She found the hotel safe smashed open on the bed.

There was no way he’d have left a gun in the safe if he thought he’d need it. She went to the washroom and checked under the toilet tank cover. It was the place that most people hid their money or drugs and they would make jokes about leaving each other notes there if they were ever in trouble.

Under the tank cover was a plastic bag with his handgun and a note. The note said, “Just in case I don’t make it. Kill the asshole.”

She laughed, changed, and put the gun into the small of her back. Its weight gave her hope; she knew it was false hope but it was better than nothing.

When she turned the corner to into the kitchen, a knife flew by her head barely missing her. She threw herself down and yelled, “Who’s there?”

“Riko?” Zane’s voice asked.


“You have to announce yourself girl, you’re way too quiet.” He was drunk. She could tell by the slurring.

When she stood up she saw that they’d made a barricade from one of the metal islands and had locked the door to the outside. They were all in the small galley kitchen on blankets and pillows passing around a bottle of tequila and a few lemons.

“Tomorrow we burn the place to the ground. Tonight we drink!” announced Sandrine as she took a shot.

Riko shook her head when the bottle came to her. She was determined not to let anyone else die and she needed to be sober for that.

“Any coffee left?” she asked. It was going to be a long night.

Read Next

Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 8

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Everyone but Riko ran back to the relative safety of the hotel. She just stood there, her tears merging with the torrential flow of rain over her body. The lightning danced over Lake Ontario and each set of thunder mimicked her heartache.

One of the flashes of light was reflected by something on the beach near her. She walked towards in zombie-like in her grief. She’d crossed the beach before she realized how stupid she’d been. There was no way to tell if the killer had placed more mines.

When she found what was reflecting, she gagged and sobbed simultaneously. It was Ethan’s father’s watch. Cracked down the middle and stopped at the time of his death. The watch was still attached to his arm. She assumed it was his arm. It was burnt beyond recognition and not attached to the rest of his body.

There were various other body parts strewn, as if by a careless child, all over the beach. Her first instinct was to collect all the pieces. She didn’t. Instead she turned around and walked towards the hotel in the same fugue like state as she’d walked onto the beach.

His dying words to her were that he loved her. She hadn’t known. She’d loved him since they’d been paired together two years ago.

The others had congregated in the ballroom. When she walked in, Zoe went over to her and gave her a towel. She was shaking but she wasn’t sure if it was the cold or the trauma.

“Sit down… I’ll get you a hot chocolate,” Zoe rushed out of the room.

Riko guessed they’d gotten over their fear of being poisoned and let out a little giggle. They all looked around awkwardly, none of them meeting her eyes. Curiosity pulled her from her grief and she asked, “What’s up?”

“Sandrine has a theory but you’re not going to like it…” Zane looked almost guilty.

“We have enough of the killer playing games… what’s your theory?”

All their phones started ringing and the screens around the ballroom roared to life. The showed the growing, gruesome, and irritatingly vague poem:

Twelve naughty kittens all trapped on an island; they’re all going to die for certain.
The first betrayed love for cash; now she’s ash.
To violence and hate the second clung; now he’s hung.
To gossip the third fixated; now she’s been asphyxiated.
The fourth preferred those who were incapacitated, now it’s his turn to be penetrated.
The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn.
The sixth was a model citizen, a spy; and not Canadian but Russian.
The seventh wasn’t what he seemed; he was but a dream within a dream.

“That was written by someone who doesn’t understand poetry, or truly hates it.” Zoe said it, probably intending it to be a joke.

“Sandrine, what’s your theory?” Riko asked. She didn’t want anyone else to die and she didn’t want to die. Her survival instinct was paired with a pang of guilt, should she really be thinking about this sort of thing when so many others had died? Shouldn’t she be in a state of shock longer? She pushed away those feelings and concentrated on trying to save everyone.

“I don’t think he’s dead!”


“Ethan… I think he faked his death.”


“The poem says ‘Twelve Naughty Kittens’ but we were thirteen. That means one of us isn’t part of this or one of us is the killer.”

“Ok, but why Ethan?” Riko tried to hide the defensiveness in her voice.

“As a cop he has the training, he wasn’t always with the group, and there’s no way to make sure he died.”

“I saw his body. At least parts of it. His arm was still wearing the watch his father gave him…”

“It still makes sense to me that it’s him. I can’t imagine anyone in this room could do it; it has to be someone who faked their death. Ethan was the only one who wasn’t supposed to be here.”

Zoe sighed and said, “It can’t be Kate, unless she’s faking her paralysis. The boathouse isn’t accessible. I can’t believe you’re behind it.” She pointed at Riko.

Kate nodded. “And let’s be real. There’s no way in hell Zane and Blane would kill everyone. This is way too tacky for them. Same with Zoe.”

They all looked at Sandrine who lifted her hands up and said, “Hey. If I wanted you dead, I wouldn’t go through all this trouble. There’s also no money to be made here. It makes no sense.”

“Jonathan died so far at sea that we couldn’t see him,” Zoe said, her face paler than normal. “What about him?”

“Maybe,” Sandrine said. “I don’t think it’s Arun. We saw him die.”

“We didn’t see Abe die but it would be hard to fake. Maybe Alison?” suggested Zoe, moving a cup towards Riko.

Riko reached out and took the cup that Zoe had been holding in front of her and took a drink. It was mostly liqueur with a little hot chocolate. It made her feel warmer inside. She said, “I don’t think it’s Abe. That would be too hard to fake.”

“Bodies!” exclaimed Blane. “The bodies.” He looked around like everyone was being dumb. “We can eliminate anyone who’s still dead upstairs.”

In an almost choreographed movement, the six moved towards the stairs and elevator.

Stopping in front of the elevator, Kate shrugged. There was no other way for her to get up to the first floor in her wheelchair.

“We’ll go up with her,” offered Zane despite Blane’s horrified look.

Sandrine, Zoe, and Riko walked up the stairs. Riko took comfort in the warmth of her drink. She was still wet. The hotel seemed even more eerie, if possible, than it had before.

They reached the door to the makeshift morgue and Riko opened it. A blast of icy air flowed from the room making her shiver. She fumbled for the lights.

The room was pristine, not only were there no bodies but there was no smell, and the room had been made up perfectly.

“This is the right room… Right?” asked Zoe, the familiar sound of panic entering her voice.

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Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 7

List of Characters | Part 1| Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

Blane and Zane both swore at the same moment, Zoe started to softly weep, Sandrine and Riko just stared at Arun’s body.

“This place is booby-trapped. That’s bullshit!” Zane voice held a small amount of panic but by this time they’d all seen so much death it was starting to feel natural.

Riko was numb. The reassurance she’d been clinging to, that they would be rescued soon, faded and she was starting to wonder if they’d survive. The feeling of impending death didn’t fill her with fear, just a sense of loss. She’d spent her entire life trying to help people but now she was completely helpless. Who would hate them so much that they’d torture them? Who could be this hateful? Who could be so crazy?

“It was me!” Sandrine yelled and collapsed to the floor, sobbing.

“What?” asked Riko.

“I hit Kate. I was so angry and…” Sandrine drifted off still sobbing.

Rolling over to Sandrine, Kate put her hand on her and said, “It’s ok, Kate. You didn’t do it. Jonathan came to me a few years ago and told me everything.”

“He what?”

“Yeah he told me he woke up drunk in his car after the party with a dent in the front. He said he drove into me when he was so drunk he couldn’t remember.”

“That’s not what happened…” Sandrine took a deep breath. “I took his keys while he was asleep and I drove off. I was just so angry and stupid. That little snoop Kingsley had caught Arun and I…” She drifted off.

Zoe looked over and said, “But that was the night he gave me the promise ring. You Bitch!” Zane and Blane held her in place as she yelled at Sandrine.

“I know that’s why I was so pissed. I didn’t want anyone finding out.”

“You were so angry you drove someone else’s car? While drunk?” Kate didn’t sound angry, she sounded disbelieving.

Nodding, Sandrine looked up at Kate and said, “I’m sorry.”

“You’re an idiot. Why the hell are you telling me now?” Kate gave a bemused smile.

“We’re all going to die.” Sandrine giggled a little. The fear and barely controlled hysteria behind the giggle spoke to how Riko was feeling.

“Look at me Kate. I’ve fought with my body, society, and gravity since the accident. I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I refuse to let it end here like this. We need to figure out if it’s one of us or if it’s someone else, find the person and beat the shit out of them. Ok?”

Sniffing, Sandrine replied, “I’d like to beat someone up.”

“There’s the badass I know. Now, who do you think is doing this?” Kate looked at Riko. The authority in Kate’s voice snapped her out of her self-pity.

“I think it’s Allison. She has the tech knowledge and the body we assume is her is too burned to be sure.”

“That’s a good theory. Any other ideas?” Kate took over the group in the same way she’d taken over all group projects or sports teams, with confidence and determination.

“It’s Ethan…” Zoe’s eyes were still filled with tears and she spoke looking at Arun’s corpse.

“Why?” asked Kate.

“He’s the only plus one who came. All the others conveniently couldn’t make it. He’s not one of us and he creeps me out.”

Kate nodded and asked, “Riko, did anything come up for Ethan?”

“Yeah, he told me he had been offered a special assignment.”

“Why didn’t he take it?” asked Kate.

Zane rolled his eyes and said, “Isn’t it obvious? The boy is madly in love with her and she with him.”

Everyone looked at Riko and she blushed not knowing what to say.

They threw around a few more suggestions including Kingsley, the girl who’d tried to film them at the party, but nothing concrete presented itself. Zane and Riko brought Arun’s body up to the makeshift morgue while the group argued it was a government experiment.

They were on their way back when they heard yelling from outside. They ran down the stairs towards the beach. Standing in the sand in only his underwear and wristwatch, a gunmetal timepiece that had belonged to his father, was Ethan.

The sun was setting over the island and the sky was on fire with red and purple. The air was crisp and smelled of salt water. Riko couldn’t help but think how beautiful the island would be if it hadn’t been one large tomb.

“Stay off the beach!” He was yelling at Blane, Zane, and Sandrine that looked like the wanted to run to him but everyone seemed frozen in place.

It took Riko a few moments before she realized why no one was moving forward. There was a glint of silver metal under Ethan’s foot and even at twenty or so metres away she knew what it was.

“Ethan,” She gasped before saying, “Let me try and help.” She’d taken basic bomb training.

“NO!” Ethan shouted. “I know you have some training but this beach is littered with other landmines.”

“I have to do something.” A strong breeze blew at her suddenly and the overwhelming smells of ozone and petrichor assaulted her nose.

“There’s nothing you can do for me, I’m already dead.” His words caused her chest to become tighter. “but promise you’ll catch the bastard and make them pay for this.”

“I love you.” Her words were barely a whisper so she repeated them. “I love you, Ethan.”

Smiling he replied, “I love you too,” as he stepped off the landmine.

“No!” she yelled as a loud explosion rocked the quiet of the evening and a ball of fiery energy engulfed Ethan. She ran forward but was held back by several sets of hands.

A second loud crack assaulted her ears and it started to rain hard.

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Wargrave Island (Serial Story) Part 6

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The boat was engulfed in flames and all they could do is watch.

“It’s not sinking. I’m going to swim it,” Ethan said moving for the shore.

“Don’t be stupid. That’s too far away.” Arun sounded like he was in shock, his words were monotone and said without emphasis.

“If he was thrown clear, I have to make sure he doesn’t drown.” Ethan made it clear that he was going.

“That’s really far…” Zoe didn’t sound convinced Ethan could make it.

“I’ve been swimming my whole life. I competed before becoming a cop. I’ll be fine.”

“I’ll go with you.” Riko hated water, but was starting to hate this island even more. She moved to follow him and he pulled her into a hug. He was warm despite the coolness and she felt better while he held her.

“I’ll be fine. I’ll take a life jacket in case I need it. Stay here and take care of the others.” He said loudly enough for everyone to hear before leaning closer and whispering, “Find out which one is doing this.”

She nodded at him and watched him walk away before turning to those left and saying, “Okay, everyone into the kitchen. It’s time to figure this out.”

The seven of them; Riko, Kate, Zane, Blane, Zoe, Sandrine, and Arun; all sat around the large dining table. For a long time no one spoke. They all just alternated between staring at each other and the television with the morbid poem.

Twelve naughty kittens all trapped on an island; they’re all going to die for certain.
The first betrayed love for cash; now she’s ash.
To violence and hate the second clung; now he’s hung.
To gossip the third fixated; now she’s been asphyxiated.
The fourth preferred those who were incapacitated, now it’s his turn to be penetrated.
The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn.

“Everyone who’s died did something the killer thought was bad,” Sandrine sounded annoyed.

“Seems a little disproportionate to have gossip and sexual assault on the same list. I mean I’ve made more than my share of people angry.” Zane wanted to be tough but Riko could hear the fear in his voice. “It’s not like crown attorneys make a lot of friends.”

“What the hell!” Arun jumped out of his seat and walked towards the far wall. The wall had a large chalk board surrounded by yellow orange wallpaper.

Following him to the chalkboard Riko asked, “What is it?”

“I swear I saw a blinking red light. Someone’s filming us.” Arun yelled as if he were trying to scare whoever was behind the chalkboard. “You’re setting us up and I’m going to find out why.”

“Arun, I didn’t see anything.”

The two of them stood in front of the chalkboard.

Just as Riko was turning around she saw a flicker of a red light. “Shut the curtains and turn off the lights.” A shiver ran through her as she continued to look at the blank black board.

The light was easily seen in the dark.

“What kind of bad horror movie bullshit is this?” Sandrine’s voice cracked in anger. Walking into the kitchen she came back with a large hammer used for tenderizing meat. Like all the kitchen utensils, it had a solid metal design.

“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Riko said as Sandrine started bashing at the chalkboard. The board splintered where she hit it and after three hard hits from someone who worked construction their entire adult life, it shattered.

The wall behind the chalk board was made of solid metal except for a small three centimetre hole that hid a small camera. Sandrine held up the camera and said, “I’ll find you and I’ll make sure you suffer for what you’ve done. You sick…” she continued with a long line of profanities that made Riko a little uncomfortable.

When she was done, Sandrine put the camera on a table and smashed it with her hammer.

Laughing awkwardly, Arun said, “This sort of reminds me of that party we had senior year.” When everyone looked at them blankly he explained, “It was the night before Kate…” he trailed off but they all knew he meant the night before Kate was hit by a drunk driver while jogging. “Anyway, remember we found that supper awkward kid—”

“Kingsley,” growled Sandrine.

Zoe’s parents had several hectares of land and she’d thrown a huge pre-graduation party. Everyone in their class had been invited. It was one of the few nights that Riko regretted. They’d all gotten drunk and she’d spent a good part of the night making out with Jonathan. Her chest felt tighter as she remembered he was dead.

While Riko only made out with Jonathan, others had done much worse. Some of the pairings that night destroyed relationships and started fights.

A girl in junior year had snuck in with a camcorder and recorded a lot before Sandrine found her. Sandrine had freaked out and thrown the camera into the fire. She’d yelled and said some terrible things to the girl before attacking her. It had taken three of them to pull Sandrine off of her.

“What ever happened to her?” Arun asked, voicing Riko’s thoughts.

“Who cares? That little snoop deserved worse than I gave her.” Sandrine’s voice was softer, but still filled with venom.

“Why is this wall metal?” Arun asked, leaning against the wall.

The silver necklace around Riko’s neck started to feel heavy. The small dolphin pendant her father had given her came out of her shirt and seemed to float towards the metal wall.

Kate’s wheelchair started stuttering towards the wall despite being locked in place. Everyone at the table got up as the silverware started rattling.

The metal hammer Sandrine had left on the table started to move towards the wall, scraping against the table.

Almost as if everything in the room decided to move at once. All the metal knick-knacks, the silverware, and pieces of the large chandelier took flight, moving as one large group towards the metal wall.

Both Riko and Sandrine dove, both for the hammer and to avoid the flying detritus. They missed the hammer and it took to the air, flying straight at Arun. He was pelted by several pieces of metal, forks embedded themselves into him, but it was the hammer that killed him; its head hit him in his neck and pinned him to the wall.

There was a sickening crack as the bulk of the metal pushed on him, crushing his body.

Riko felt her neck burn and the chain snapped off. It was just another pain combined with the multiple bruises and cuts caused by flying metal.

A large crack marked the end of the magnetic effect.

The cacophony of metal falling to the ground almost covered the sick wet thump of Arun’s crushed body falling lifelessly to the ground.

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