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
"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
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
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
"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
Sunday, August 15, 2010
"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
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
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Monday, August 02, 2010
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."