Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Inspector White took one look at the corpse and stepped outside again for a bit of fresh air.

"Something wrong, Sir?" Sergeant Perkins raised his eyebrows and earned a scowl for his trouble. "Open and shut case, I'd say."

"Now is not the time to make jokes, sergeant." White picked up a face mask and put it on. He normally eschewed then as unnecessary trappings but when dealing with a shredded corpse left in an airtight travel case for several days it became a desirable accoutrement. Besides, Perkins getting to a joke first had rattled him.

He returned to the room. The corpse had been sliced into ribbons and stuffed in a slight bag in an empty house. The estate agent had arrived to show a prospective buyer round and had been moved to open the mysterious bag, an action he now regretted. "Any clues, Sergeant?"

"Not much sir. The place has been wiped clean."

"Just like the last body we found, then. Not a shred of evidence."

"I wouldn't say that Sir." Perkins used a pencil to lift up part of the corpse. "I'd say he's been well shredded."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Service Stop

The bruise was painful to the touch; a livid black and purple, fading to green and yellow at the edges. Emily poked it again, feeling the familiar tingle as the damaged flesh reacted to the pressure. Her smile faded as she fumbled for the arnica, applying the cream in a circular pattern before pulling up her knickers and flushing the loo and leaving the cubical. She crossed to the row of washbasins, gasping as vibrations travelled up her body. She clenched her thighs together and began washing her hands.

"You all right love?" The woman using the next washbasin along spoke to her reflection. "You look a bit peaky. Time of the month?"

"Something like that." Emily nodded at her, shaking her hands free of water droplets as she moved to the hand dryer, then out to her friend, waiting on the concourse.

"All right?" Michael unknowingly echoed the woman in the bathroom. "You were gone a while."

"And who are you to judge how long a lady needs to use the bathroom?"

"Since I became the one holding the key?" He patted his jacket pocket where he carried the means to release the stainless steel chastity belt."

"He gave you that only in case of emergency." Emily stalked toward the double doors leading to the car park. Her egress was arrested by vibrations again, this time so heavy she was forced to lean against the wall of a retail outlet selling fold-up chairs and portable stoves. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing herself to overcome the sensations when what she actually wanted was to ram her hand inside her knickers and bring herself to orgasm.

The sensations faded. Emily opened her eyes to the stares of several strangers on the concourse. They looked away as she challenged their gaze.

"I'm not ready to leave just yet." Michael took hold of her arm. "I haven't perused the food vendors yet. Would you like a sandwich?"

She didn't answer until he thumbed the handset for the remote-controlled vibrator again. Her eyes widened.

He chuckled. "Or would you prefer some meat?"

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


There was a silence.

More than a silence, there was an absence of noise.

Silence is never really absolute. It is filled with breath, wind, the beating of a heart, the hum of the central-heating boiler, the drip of blood from the ceiling. What was here was a complete absence of any sound whatsoever. An absence of noise that would drive a mortal mind mad in seconds and leave them hurling themselves over the banister just to break the silence.

It was broken by Jasfoup taking a long breath of air and letting it all out in a sigh. "Typical. Seventy-nine floors up and still no tea." He peered up the dark stairwell. "Do you think there might be a cafe up there selling tea and small slices of overpriced lemon drizzle cake?"

Devious followed his gaze. "Not really, sir. No."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


"Buy me a drink, sweetie?" The lady looked too old to be a stripper, too haggard to be a mistress, and too clever to be a hooker. I nodded to the barman and he reached for the bourbon. Whatever she was, she was a regular.

I gave her the once-over. The Seaview Hotel in Torquay wouldn't compete with the Savoy but it wasn't exactly a dive, either. "What's a nice place like this doing with a girl like you?"

She wrinkled her nose – at least it matched the rest of her. "I sing here. What's your excuse?"

"Touché." I smiled, raising my glass in a mock toast. "I heard there was a woman who sang so beautifully the angels cried."

She inclined her head. "Once, perhaps. Not any more." She thumped her leg, which rang hollow. "Cancer took it. Too many years of swimming in poisoned water. My voice was part of the sea." She shook her head. "Not any more."

"Pity." I paid for the dinks and picked up my hat. "I only came to bottle angel's tears."

Monday, August 23, 2010

Defending Heresy

Gareth, Duke of Hamilton, stopped short as three men stepped out of the cloister fog, two with swords already drawn. Their dress told him they were French but the swords were of Italian make. A man might change his clothes for the sake of politics but a man who changes his sword so easily is on about to die. These were Italians, then, dressed as Frenchmen.

"What is it you want?" Gareth's voice vanished into the mist, the dressed stone dispersing the tones in all directions. "I've no quarrel with you."

"But we have a quarrel with heretics." The speaker drew his own sword, a heavy hand-and-a-half with a barbed tip.

"You're the Pope's men?" Gareth pulled out his side sword, lighter than his foes' but quicker. he struck up a cautious stance in a DiGrassi seconde. "Why waylay me? I've no interest in politics.

"You're the King's cousin and we need you to take a message to him." The speaker smiled through broken teeth. No courtier this, however pretty his manner. More like a hired thug.

"Tell me then and have done." Gareth's eyes flicked from one of the men to the next. "I will pass on your message. You have my word on it."

"It's not your word we require, but your head. It will be a fine message all of itself." The speaker darted forward, his blade falling in an arc. Gareth dodged to one side, avoiding the blade and bringing his own into a diagonal cut that laid open the speaker's left leg from groin to knee. He collapsed, leaving Gareth with space to avoid the cut from the second swordsman, his side sword parading into prime with a muffled ring of steel-on-steel. He thrust forward, cutting through the swordsman's throat the sever the spine. Two down.

The third Italian fled, leaving Gareth in peace to examine the two fallen assassins. Both wore ragged clothes beneath the livery of the French Guard and the speaker had a coin purse with forty sovereigns. Gareth pocketed them, pleased the cost of his assassination had risen since last year.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Blog suspended for a week - sorry

Jasfoup et al are on holiday in Devon
They'll be back on the 27th.

If you pop back then they'll give you a piece of rock.
(not edible rock, of course, just something cheap and high velocity)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Missing Monarch

Harold took out his jeweller's glass. "A 1960 letter from Saint Paul McCartney to the Corinthians, you say?"

"That's right. Original. I want two hundred quid for it." The man turned and looked out of the door. "Cash." He turned back, beads of sweat forming on his upper lip and forehead.

"It's a fake." Harold stood. "See this stamp on the envelope? That's what we call the missing monarch. The tuppeny stamps weren't inked properly, see, and didn't print the queen's head. The stamp's from 1961, rendering your whole claim puerile. I'll give you thirty quid."

"It's worth two hundred!"

"Then try Music Memorabilia on Westgate. He might overestimate its value."

"Nah. You can have it for fifty quid."

"I said thirty." Harold counted out three ten-pound notes. "Take it or leave it."

"I'll take it." He snatched up the money and left the shop, the door not slamming, thanks to the hydraulic spring.

Harold picked up the phone and dialled Music Memorabilia. "Mike? Harold Waterman from Alexandrian Gold. A bloke's just come in and sold me your stolen McCartney letter." He paused, listening. "Yes... Seventy-five quid."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Probably Bad News

The young woman paused half-way through a step, caught herself and turned. Her nostrils flared as she sought the source of the scent, her head turning this way and that until she zeroed in on the origin.

Dill pointed to Sam "Him, I think you're looking for."

"Well hello." Sam did his best Leslie Phillips impersonation. "Who might you be?"

"Amanda Brinkley." She held out her hand. "I couldn't help noticing your scent..."

"Distinctive, isn't it?" Sam tossed his head to one side. "I call it chair pourrissant. Do you like it?"

"Very much." Amanda took a step forward. "It reminds me of home."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Peter's Flat

The flat, situated on the third floor of one of the buildings on Lichgate, had a feature window with a view the cathedral. It faced west, where the sun lit the minster in the morning and crossed the sky to bathe the flat in its afternoon rays. In the mornings Peter enjoyed the smell of the bakery on the ground floor and in the evenings that of the Indian take-away on Lovatt Street. He'd placed the bed at the exact point to see the building at its best and there was nothing he liked better than to lie, languorous and sated after sex, as the afternoon shadow of the cross sauntered across his bedroom walls.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Emma Daly typed the last few words of her editorial and hit 'send.' Laverstone wouldn't know what hit it when The Times hit the streets tomorrow; her scathing attack on the politics of art would sway the masses in favour of the avant garde statue of Crucifixion in the Arms of a Temple Prostitute instead of the proposed bronze: Unknown Soldier Storming the Gates of Paradise. Who did they think was paying for this anyway? The Arts Council? No. She'd uncovered the bitter truth. It was being paid for by a private individual. Who the Hell was Andantia Waterman, anyway?E

Monday, August 02, 2010

With the Moon in the House of Cheap

Harold put the finishing touches on the altar. "There. All ready. Now give me the hair."

Jasfoup took out his wallet and extracted a single auburn hair, about a foot long. "You did remember to scrub the stone with Damascus oil?"

"Yes." Harold closed his eyes and counted to three. I followed the instructions in the book you gave me to the letter."

"To the letter?" The demon looked momentarily worried. "It was a very old book."

"Obviously I adjusted for archaic spelling. Even I can tell the difference between 'spirit' and 'sprite.'"

"Ah, that's good, because I've only ever done this once and I thought it said 'spittle'. You should have seen the face of the deceased's mother." The demon giggled. "Considering the spell multiplies volume by a thousand she was near drowning in it There was spit everywhere."

Harold shook his head. "Trust me on this. It's fairly basic necromancy. I just have to wait until the moon shines on the altar before I—Ooh! There it is. Give me the hair, quick before it goes behind a cloud."

"Here." Jasfoup draped it over Harold's palm and Harold transferred it to the centre of the alter.

"Right, here we go." Harold held up the book, the light from Jasfoup's torch enough to read by. "Contraho phasmatis illae pilosus mulier ex angulus of novem universitas." He added a pinch of purified salt. "Si vos exsisto sic pius."

"It's working." Jasfoup gripped Harold's arm as a cloud of ectoplasm gathered in the air above the altar. "She's coming back."

"What is it about this particular spirit that fascinates you so much?" Harold stood back and looked at his watch, trying to gauge if he'd get back in time to see the late film. "She should have moved on by now."

"Moved on?" Jasfoup reached out to touch the girl's face as it coalesced. "her essence was dissipated by a demon. She couldn't move on until she was whole again." He smiled at his friend. "Besides, she's a fantastic legal secretary and now she's dead we won't have to pay her."