Vulture Among Eagles, Part One


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons is consensual and approved by everyone involved. Enloe Eagle’s Eye discourages the use of the content of this fictional work as a means to ridicule, harass, or demean any staff members. 

It was a quiet afternoon at Enloe High School, as only eight teachers and one administrator were on campus that day. Each teacher went through their own daily routine of morning classes, grading, and office hours. That is, every teacher but one.

At 2:04 PM, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Ogren, Coach Brown, Ms. Price, Mr. Shuford, Mr. Miller, Dr. Lyerly, and Mr. Martin each received a text from Ms. Sawyer asking them to assemble in the atrium for a quick morale boost and some yoga, as one can expect from a right-thinking administrator. Mr. Miller, who had been looking over assignments and enjoying a nice fall scented candle, left his classroom in the 2700s hall to see Mr. Shuford and Ms. Price already heading to the atrium. When the three of them arrived, they discovered Ms. Sawyer’s body dead on the floor of the lower atrium, with Mr. Martin standing above it in a panic. 

“Thank goodness you’re here,” Mr. Martin gasped when he saw Shuford, Price, and Miller. “I had just gotten a text to meet her in the atrium, but when I arrived–”

“We received the text too,” Price said. Shuford seemed a little worse for wear, and paced the atrium with his head in his hands. 

“Did you see anyone else around? Anyone who could’ve done this?” Miller asked. His hands, which had been shaking violently a moment before, were stuffed in his pockets. Mr. Martin, on the brink of tears, solemnly shook his head.

The four teachers heard a pair of voices echoing through the atrium, so they went up to greet them and deliver the terrible news. The newcomers were Dr. Lyerly and Mr. Wilson. Upon hearing of the murder, the latter, clutching a copy of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile, stepped forward to inspect the scene, but he quickly retreated to the atrium’s middle level. Murder investigations are not quite so enticing in real life. 

Dr. Lyerly, not having the stomach for something so gruesome, moved to find a trash can with which to dispose of a sandwich he had quite enjoyed mere hours beforehand. The need to vomit up his lunch was momentarily forgotten, however, by the discovery of a pair of black cotton gloves in the garbage. He gingerly pulled them out and brandished them at his fellow companions as Coach Brown jogged in through the exterior door of the 1600s hallway.

“Lyerly, do you really need gloves right now? It’s 75 degrees out,” Brown joked, oblivious to the situation at hand.

Shuford stopped his pacing for a moment. “Coach Brown, a woman just died and you have the audacity to make a joke?”

 Brown’s face fell as he took in the scene before him. “What happened?” He whispered, his previously easy-going demeanor stripped away in a matter of seconds.

All eyes turned to Mr. Martin (the first to arrive), some inquisitive, others accusatory. He shifted uneasily on his feet, then turned back to the body. As he examined the body, the rest of the teachers, led by resident mystery buff Mr. Wilson and avid Among Us player Dr. Lyerly, busied themselves by trying to find abandoned clues throughout the atrium. As Mr. Martin concluded his examination, they reconvened to present the facts of the case as follows:

  1. Ms. Sawyer had major wounds that indicate falling from a great height, and a series of smaller bruises and fractures, presumably acquired from rolling down the stairs.
  2. There were no other wounds on the body, and a shocked expression frozen on her face suggested that she was attacked from behind and thrown from the top level of the atrium.
  3. The gloves Lyerly had discovered in the trash earlier appeared to be relatively new and undamaged
  4. Mr. Wilson spotted a silver whistle dangling from a broken cord on the top level of the atrium.
  5. After a thorough search, it was determined that Ms. Sawyer’s cell phone was nowhere to be found, but a deck of playing cards was discovered in one of her pockets.

“So what does this all mean?” Miller asked, turning the card deck over in his hands and glancing around.

Price scoffed. “It means we need to call the police. Martin should have called them immediately, we’ve been wasting our time running around looking for clues.”

Martin stepped back from Ms. Sawyer and raised his hands. “I didn’t get there much quicker than you did, Price. Sue me for having normal emotions about seeing a coworker dead on the floor! For all we know, it could have been you that killed her, you’re always trying to show us your sleight of hand and magic tricks and–” he gestured to the cards Miller was holding, “–those were found on her body.”

“Don’t turn this back on me Martin, you know how guilty you look right now.”

Shuford stepped between the quarreling pair. “Hey, let’s be reasonable here. We should take this slowly. We don’t know when the murder took place but we do know the suspects. We’re the only people that have been on campus all day.”

Brown straightened. “Are you saying you seriously think it’s one of us?”

“It has to be, the door sensors would have gone off if someone else had entered the building.” Mr. Wilson reasoned. “One of us murdered Ms. Sawyer, but now all of our fingerprints are on the evidence.” Mr. Miller frantically dropped the deck of cards as Wilson continued, “The more time we spend without having called the police, the more guilty we seem.”

Price looked around. “Wilson’s right, if we call the police now we’ll all go down together. Is that really what we want? We have families and lives to get back to after this. I think the best thing we can do now is try to solve it ourselves, so if anyone wants to confess, now’s a great time to do it.”

The group endured an uneasy moment of silence, not a single teacher willing to meet another’s eye. Eventually, Lyerly cleared his throat and squared his shoulders. “Well, if no one’s  interested in confessing just yet I suggest we start from the top. When was the last time she was seen alive?”

“I was talking to her about virtual learning in the main office during lunch,” Brown offered. “I went to the East Building around 12:30 to sort equipment in the gym and I haven’t seen her since.”

Mr. Martin raised his hand. “She came to my classroom around 1:00 while I was cleaning up some beakers that had been knocked over asking if I’d seen her phone anywhere. I hadn’t. She also asked for some Advil, but I ran out of it earlier today. Did anyone else see her after that?”

They all shook their heads. “Well, now we know it happened some time between 1:00 and 2:04, because that’s when we got the text, right?” Wilson said, checking his phone. “We should each go around and say what we did this afternoon to piece together what could’ve happened.” The teachers muttered in agreement. “Does anyone want to go first?”

Lyerly nodded. “I spent my lunch period answering emails and checking the stocks in my classroom. Around 12:25 I left my room to stretch my legs and I passed Coach Brown coming from the main office a few minutes later. I got back to my room around 12:30 and stayed there for office hours the rest of the afternoon. When I got the text to meet in the atrium, I ran into Mr. Wilson outside the library and you all know how it goes from there. As you can see, I have nothing to hide.”

“I can go next if no one else wants to,” Miller said. “I also stayed in my classroom for most of the day. During lunch, I went to Martin’s classroom to discuss an upcoming project we’re planning to combine two of our classes for a week. We call it ‘Phy-Civics’–”

“Ci-Physics,” Martin interjected.

“–the title is a work in progress right now,” Miller amended. “I believe he gave me the last of his Advil while I was there. I left his room around 12:20, but on my way out the door I ran into a shelf of beakers and chemicals and other sciency materials and they all fell on the floor. I tried to stay and help but he told me not to worry about it. I got back to my classroom around 12:35 because on the way I took my lunch bag back to my car. The only other time I left my room was at 1:45 to grab some papers I had printed to the 2700 hallway’s teacher’s lounge. Through his classroom door, I could hear Shuford teaching, though I’m not sure how he could talk over the loud music Ms. Price was playing in her room. Once I got back to my classroom, I lit a candle and got to work on some grading.” 

Brown cleared his throat. “I already told you most of my day so far. After talking to Sawyer I went straight to the East Gym, passing Lyerly in the hallway. I stayed there organizing until I got the text. At one point, I heard someone come in through the breezeway door and go up to the roof but I never saw who it was. A little while later, I heard the roof door open again, but none of the exterior doors opened after that. I dismissed it then, but now I’m not sure.”

“I went out to lunch today,” Shuford said. “I left around 11:50 and got back to my classroom at 12:35. Around 12:40 heard Price close her door. A few minutes after that I went to the bathroom, but for the rest of the afternoon I stayed in my room recording philosophy lectures and talking to kids during office hours. That’s pretty much my whole day.”

“I thought philosophy got taken off the roster this year,” Ms. Price said, brow furrowed. 

Shuford nodded. “You’re right, it was voted on a few months ago by the administration. A few students emailed me over the summer about taking it online, so I make lectures for them when I have the time.”

“I guess I can go now,” Price said. “I was in my room pretty much all afternoon listening to music and grading. Like Shuford said, I closed my door around 12:40 because there was a weird smell in the hallway. After that, I couldn’t hear anything going on outside my room. Not a lot of kids came to my office hours today, so I spent some time looking for free online versions of the books my english classes are going to be reading and looking over newspaper articles my students had written. Shuford met me in my room right after I got the text from Sawyer and we walked with Miller to the atrium.”

“Is that all you have to say, Ms. Price?” Wilson asked. Price nodded, so Wilson took a deep breath and then began his story. “I was in my classroom dusting and testing the pianos until 12:30. I went out to my car to grab my lunch, closing the classroom door behind me, but when I got back, my door was open and a speaker was missing. When I was looking for it in the West Gym Lobby, I could hear Ms. Price and Ms. Sawyer talking near the main office.”

Lyerly jerked his head up. “Come to think of it, I heard that too. Why didn’t you mention it earlier, Price?”

All eyes were on Ms. Price, who merely shrugged dismissively. “I didn’t think it was that important to mention. She was seen alive later than that by Martin, so it wasn’t that big of a deal.”

Wilson raised his eyebrows, but continued relaying his schedule. “I didn’t find the speaker, but I figured it would turn up eventually. Around 1:20, I went to the library to see if there were any murder mystery novels that I hadn’t read yet.” He flashed the cover of the book he’d been holding. “I got the text while I was there and I met Lyerly on the way to the atrium.”

“I guess that leaves me,” said Mr. Martin. “Miller came to my room around 11:50 to talk about Ci-Physics–”


 “–and left at 12:20, like he said. After that, I spent about an hour and a half trying to sort through all the stuff he knocked on the ground. As I mentioned earlier, Ms. Sawyer came to visit around 1:00 looking for her phone and some Advil. At about 1:15 I heard someone go out the exterior door on the 1600s hallway, but I didn’t think much of it because…” he stopped, lost in thought, and then froze. “We aren’t the only ones at Enloe, Mr. Ogren is here too. I emailed him to go check the chemical levels in the pool on top of the East Building around 12:45 and he responded at 12:53 saying he would. Has anyone else seen him since?”

The teachers looked at each other, dumbfounded. How had they forgotten him? 


That brings us to the end of Vulture Among Eagles, Part One. We leave off with a multitude of questions and very few answers. Where is Mr. Ogren? Who stole Mr. Wilson’s speaker? Where is Ms. Sawyer’s phone, and who killed her? Find out more next Saturday in Vulture Among Eagles, Part Two.