On a dark and stormy night at Terelj National Park, a mystery unfolded that could only be solved by a team of expert investigators on a mission.
A group of students enjoying a relaxing night after a day of travel and exploring were gathered in the sitting area of a recreation center at a meditation retreat, owned by a man only known as “The Abbot.” The students chatted, sipped on tea, and snuggled up in blankets to ward off the Mongolian chill, when Debasree came sauntering into the room remarking coolly, “I think someone may have set a fire in the upstairs bathroom.”
The cheerful air in the room suddenly evaporated. Students began to turn to one another, questioning when they had last seen their peers head up the stairs to use the bathroom. Accusations began to fly, and no one stepped forward. It became clear that something had to be done to get to the bottom of the chilling mystery – Who had set the fire, and why? A group of investigators gathered immediately with equipment. Donning their headlamps, the investigators trudged up the stairs, eager to see the scene for themselves.
Dashiell, Aurora, Elaine, Nate, and Eugene immediately split off at the top of the stairs, using their noses to sniff out the source of the flame. In the bathroom, a smoking roll of toilet paper was found, appearing to have been partially submerged in water quite recently.
“It looks like someone was trying to cover this up!” said Dashiell.
Aurora agreed, “Why would someone douse the roll in water without alerting anyone, and why was it left in the sink?”
It became clear that there was more to the story than the investigators had thought.
Following the acrid smell of smoke, Nate and Eugene led the way to the room at the end of the building, where several students were set to sleep that night. On entering the room, the light switch was flicked on and off, but no light appeared. Using their headlamps, the troupe discovered that one light was slightly askew on the ceiling, with grey burn marks surrounding the area where the bulb was detached from its fixture.
“It appears someone has been tampering with the lights! The plot is thickening indeed,” declared Nate.
“What’s going on in my room?” a mysterious voice asked. The detectives whirled around to the sound of the voice, only to find Elmer, who had just come in to grab his headlamp from his bag.
“Elmer, we are conducting an investigation. Is it really necessary for you to be searching for something as trivial as a headlamp?” asked Eugene with disdain.
“No, but I wanted to see what was going on and I do need my headlamp,” replied Elmer with a grin.
The detectives groaned and resumed their search. A box of incense was found lying on the table next to a box of matches, a clue as to the source of the flame.
“Look at this!” Dashiell suddenly exclaimed. The investigators gathered around as he pulled the inner cardboard tube from the pumpkin-hued, peach-scented roll of hygienic tissue, only to find that it was charred completely. How could the roll only have burned from the inside? What was the reasoning behind this? As the questions swirled around in the heads of the detectives, it became clear that this was no mere accident – something was afoot. The investigation simply had to take a more serious turn…
“I think it’s high time we take this to the people. Let’s do some questioning and see what we can find out,” suggested Aurora.
The group agreed, and together they marched down to the rec room, where the group was still gathered. Armed with the evidence discovered upstairs, the detectives demanded the truth, and nothing but the truth.
“Who lit the toilet paper roll on fire, and why was it burned in the middle?” demanded Debasree.
“The roll is wet, which means someone discovered this and tried to cover it up. Who was it?” asked Nate.
As the students and staff looked around, demanding answers and unsure of who could be trusted the group’s gaze drifted down to Moanna, who was seated on the floor with a guilty smile on her face.
“Moanna, was it you?!” cried Lisle.
Moanna merely laughed, and with a tiny nod, enflamed the group’s excitement with the confirmation of the act.
“Why didn’t you say anything before?”
“How did you do it?”
The questions were spewing out quicker than the bowel movements that had destroyed the recreation center’s downstairs toilet only hours before. The group demanded information from Moanna, who eventually complied.
“Conrad, Jim and I were hanging out in the upstairs room when we thought it would be a good idea to light some incense, you know, to chill out,” explained Moanna.
“AND YOU USED A TOILET PAPER ROLL AS THE HOLDER?!” the group yelled in unison.
“Well I needed to put the incense somewhere. I looked around and couldn’t find anything except a roll of toilet paper, and then I wasn’t sure what to do with it afterward, so I stuck it in the bathroom,” the culprit justified.
Coming close to tearing out their hair in exasperation, the students and staff began to yell with frustration and excitement.
It was at this point that a small voice was heard. Turning around, the group saw Ivan, a kindhearted and gentle student who could do no wrong in the eyes of the group.
“Um…I have a confession to make…” Ivan began, as the group listened with bewilderment. “I noticed the toilet paper smoking in the bathroom, but I didn’t do anything about it and instead I just headed back downstairs.”
“YOU WHAT?!” yelled Lisle.
Excited by such a juicy confession, the group began to chatter even louder.
“Conrad, Jim, why didn’t you do anything about this? This building is made mostly of out wood! What if this fire hadn’t been put out? You all would be responsible for our deaths!” Lisle continued to yell.
With that, the group continued to berate the guilty trio until one by one students began to head off to bed, the memory of the great fire incident of 2014 still lingering on their minds.
On a dark and stormy night, a fire was lit, a mystery was solved, and a full moon hung low in the sky over the rocky hills of Terelj National Park.