Dr. Helena Slogar was desolate. Her darling, beloved Melissa was dead. It was all that dog’s fault. Balthazar stole Melissa’s teddy bear, Grogar, and then lost him forever. Poor Melissa had been so alone without Grogar that she tried to create a new companion. Brave, sweet Melissa, so independent! So determined to do things on her own, but alas—so young! So innocent! She had accidentally filled the room with poison gas and ran out of air. Dr. Slogar’s only consolation was the knowledge that darling Melissa was with her Grogar now, and her father, of course.
Dr. Slogar was alone now. The last of the Slogar family. She had no one to look after. She did, however, have a purpose. She was going to kill that dog. And claim his fortune, too.
It was not at all difficult to adopt the dog. There was no one left in the Blackwater family to take care of it, and the hound howled for hours every day. Even with the money—held in trust for the dog and overseen by the Blackwater family’s lawyers—there weren’t that many other applicants. Dr. Slogar played on her own loss. They were each the last surviving member of their great families, and she told the lawyers that she thought they might console each other. And then, she had a large house and gardens that would perhaps provide solace for the poor grieving beast as they did for her.
Once Dr. Slogar brought Balthazar home they settled into a routine of long walks in the village in the morning and late afternoon romps in the garden. Balthazar was malnourished and had an infected paw when Dr. Slogar received him, so she took him to the vet regularly for check-ups to ensure he recovered fully. She even bought a grand dog bed and had it installed in her own bedroom so that the dog wouldn’t feel so alone in the night, which was when it most often howled.
The villagers were touched. The vet held her in highest regard. When the Blackwater’s lawyers learned that the dog had ceased to howl in the night, they gladly reimbursed her for the costly dog bed. In fact, after several months the lawyers were so impressed with Dr. Slogar’s obvious devotion to the dog that they released the dog’s funds into her management. It was a large sum, to be sure, but Dr. Slogar was wealthy in her own right and the pittance they were paid to manage the money hardly compensated them for their time.
This suited Dr. Slogar’s plan exactly. There was a reason that Balthazar no longer howled in the evenings. She had taken to sharing her evening cocktail with him. Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, Whiskey Sours. Dr. Slogar had a fondness for rye, and by the time she had gained control of his money, so had the dog.
One evening—a year to the day of darling Melissa’s death, in fact—Dr. Slogar had an engagement in town that kept her away for the evening. When she came home in the early hours of the morning she found the empty whiskey bottle on the library floor and Balthazar dead next to it. He drank too much rye.
Dr. Slogar buried the dog in the family plot next to her darling Melissa on the very anniversary of her funeral. The village grieved for her. The vet sent her flowers, and the Blackwater family lawyers approved Dr. Slogar’s plan to use the dog’s funds to endow a foundation for scientifically minded young women like her darling Melissa. It was what Balthazar would have wanted.
Balthazar was the last of RB’s Blackwater family, so when I killed him off I ended the game. Now we tally the scores. Only dead characters’ points count toward the total, although in this case it doesn’t matter because Professor Slogar had 0 points anyway.
Lord Slogar -45
Professor Helena Slogar 0
Melissa Slogar -40
Elias E. Gorr -5
The Old Dam -25
Cousin Mordecai -10
Willem Stark -5
I’d like to say that I won because I had the last man standing, but of course this is Gloom, and that’s not how it works. We tied because we both ended up with -100 points. It could be worse. I could have lost. But it’s still a fairly unsatisfying ending. I feel rather gloomy about it.