The news spread like wildfire. Characters stood in pairs or small groups, aghast that one of their own was no longer with them. It was almost beyond comprehension.
Humpty-Dumpty was dead. Doctor Foster, who was making plans to visit the city of Gloucester, confirmed what was already obvious to all.
Early gossip recorded that all the Kings Men - who had been first on the scene of the accident - had been unable to revive the fallen popular character. Then rumours began to surface that Humpty’s demise might not have been as clear-cut as had been assumed.
Unable to resist the groundswell of anger and suspicion that gripped Toytown, PC Plod initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Humpty-Dumpty’s death. He learned that Little Bo-Peep had been busy attending to her sheep with Simple Simon at her side. Little Jack Horner, was in his corner. Jack and Jill only heard the sad news when they came down from the top of the hill with the pail of water they’d collected.
Old Mother Hubbard and the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe gossiped and speculated as to who could be responsible for the crime. The Three Little Pigs cowered together, more afraid than when the Big Bad Wolf attacked them. Further afield, Miss Muffett and Boy Blue whispered conspiratorially, making plans to leave Toytown should things get any worse. Hansel and Gretel, visiting Toytown for the first time, immediately made plans to return home as soon as they could.
The three Billy-Goats Gruff were less sentimental about Humpty’s passing. Their combined thinking was that if had been accident it was one that was coming anyway and if it had been caused by another’s hand then that person had done Toytown a favour. Similar, though less harsh, sentiments were expressed in other Toytown streets.
The Gingerbread Man was inconsolable and cried so long and so hard that he had to be sedated for his own safety, whilst Mary Contrary and Little Boy Blue secreted themselves in a darkened room and did not emerge until long after night had fallen…
Unable to make any headway on his own, PC Plod called for an inquest to be held. A coroner from the larger town of Playville swept into town and deposited himself in the grandest room of Toytown’s town hall. He questioned everybody that PC Plod had questioned, and heard the same answers. After a week of sitting, listening and deliberating the coroner declared that “Humpty-Dumpty had been unlawfully killed by person or persons unknown”.
The clamour was almost deafening. It frightened the Three Blind Mice. None of them had been called to give evidence to the court. If anybody had asked, the Mice could have given them vital information. Because they were sightless, people assumed they had nothing to contribute to the case.
Blind they might be, but there was nothing wrong whatsoever with their hearing -- and what they heard the day Humpty-Dumpty died was something they would take to their graves…
Author Notes: This story is the result of a competition between myself and a good friend. It was my challenge to write a 500-word story on the theme of 'Witness'. This is what I came up with :-)