Things don't always go as you would want them to go. I looked at the dead body of 26 year old Carol Fisher. She had been mutilated by someone. Stabbed a total of seven times and then shot once in the head. The local police knew who the killer was. The problem was finding him. They had a name. They had proof. They had physical evidence that linked him to the crime and witness evidence. It was enough evidence to put him a way for life.
I was worned that he is a master of disguises. He can disapper with the blink-of-an-eye.
Detective Thomas McDonald looked at me when I was finished examining the body. "I heard about your reputation around here."
"What about it?" I asked
"If you can catch our killer, Charles Craig, I can promise a handsome reward." he replied.
I thought about it. Money. I needed money real bad. I was behind on rent for both my apartment and my office. Money is good.
"Fine. I'll take it," I said and I left back for my office. I reviewed the background and case file of Mr. Craig. This wasn't going to be easy, that was for sure. I decided to make a phone call to a few friends of mine to see if they would be interested in making some decent money in helping to find a killer who could blend in to even the smaller crowds.
It was dark and there was nothing I could do for the night. I'd have to start in the morning. So I went home for the night to get some sleep. The next morning, went to my office to make a call to a few friends to see if they'd be interested in making a few dollars in helping to find this killer.
I was angry enough but this made it worse. I put my pistol away and walked out into the hallway. I was angry enough to punch a hole in the wall. But I didn't. We had already caused enough damage by kicking in the damage.
As we left the hotel, we had nothing, once again. It was like starting over from the begining. All we had was his alter ego, Bucky Ingham.
We made our way back into the streets of London. All around us, crowds of people swarmed the streets. Any one of them could be craig.
I pulled out my pipe and began to hold it in my mouth thinking deeply when I noticed a clean cut looking man watching me from the other side of the street. I took a step. Just as I stepped off the side walk, another person walked in front of the man. When the person passed, the man was gone.
It could only be one person. It was Craig, who had yet again, disappeared right in front of me.
I turned to the gang who stared at me with blank looks on their faces.
"What now?" Molly asked.
I had not one idea.
"I don't know, Molly....I don't know," I said. I looked at them all. They were tired and exausted. I could see it in their faces.
"What do you say we get some sleep, and begin again tomorrow?" I said.
They all nodded and we went back into the hotel to get some rooms for the night. The next day was going to be a long day and we had to be ready.
I woke up early, and very hungry. I knew Marc wanted us all to stay together but one everyone was sound asleep and two London is my town. This is where I live. I know London like the back of my hand.
As I made my way down the hall. I could hear Heim snoring loudly.
I headed down to the lobby and met the concierge Pierre Bagot a old friend of mine. " Pierre tell my friends I went to Chez Fromage to get a bite to eat." I told him.
" Mr. Cain, I have a note here for you please sir take it." Pierre told me handing me a small envelope.
I opened the note on my way out the door.
I know you and your friends are searching for a man in the city. You know that I hold you in high regards. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.
I knew my friends over in the Hand could help me but I didnt want go there with out Marc's permission. So I headed off to the restraunt.
After all you gotta eat. And I was starving.
Molly watched Charlie go from where she had ducked around the corner. She wondered what the note had said. He had glanced around after reading it rather suspiciously.
She watched him walk off and thought. If Vulkie had betrayed them, it was just made startlingly clear that Charlie could too. She resolved to keep an eye on him, but she wouldnt bring it up to the others just yet. Instead she pulled her jacket close around her and started towards the gates of Buckingham Palace, the feeling she was being watched already raising the hairs on the back of her neck.
**The rain is pouring down hard. You are in a trench in the middle of a field. In this trench around you, are two hundred other people; military personel whom you have trained with. Just a few undred feet away from your trench, there is another one. That trench in particular, belongs to the enemy. As you lean up against the trench wall facing the enemy, you hear that sound. The shriek of a whistle; the call to battle. All around you, hundreds of other people climb out of the trench and begin to charge the enemy.
You climb out with your rifle in your hand and begin to charge, screaming a battle cry as you and the other men run. All around you machine guns belch and bombs explode. People are falling all around you. Half way to the other trench, a bomb explodes lifting you off the ground hurtling you, about fifteen feet. Everything is swallowed up in darkness.**
I awoke with a start the next morning. I was dreaming. A flashback from the great world war. I was breathing heavily and sweating when I woke up. For sometime now, I had been having these flashbacks in my dreams. I'm not sure if they were trying to say something to me.
Now that I was awake, I couldn't go back to sleep. I decided to clean up and get dressed. I grabbed my coat and my fedora and made my way down the hallway. As I walked down, I heard Heimlich snoring and I chuckled to myself at the thought of him in a deep sleep like that. I wasn't going to wake anyone up. I was going to wait for them.
Feeling hungry, I decided to go into the cafe here in the hotel and grab a bite to eat and get the paper and read the daily news. As I rounded the corner, I nearly bumped into Molly.
"Molly..what are you doing up so early?" I asked sounding surprised.
"I'm an early riser," She replied with a smile. Then she asked, "The question is, what are you doing up so early?"
"I'm an early riser too," I lied. I couldn't tell her that I was in the war. I had some age on her and the last thing that I knew she wanted to hear was a war story.
"I'm on my way into the hotel's cafe for some breakfast and a cup of tea. Would you care to join me?" I asked, "The others are still asleep and I'm not going to wake them. I figured I'd wait until they all wake up and come down here before we start going over the plan for today."
"Sure," Molly replied. "I can go for some breakfast."
We made our way into the cafe to eat. It felt good for once to get my mind off of the case and get some decent food. I didn't know if Molly felt the same way or not, but she seemed happy enough to get some good food when we sat down to eat.
"It seems like ages since I had a proper sit-down meal," Molly laughed, sipping her tea. "This case has eaten up so much time."
She absent-mindedly picked apart a scone, her eyes searching the crowds around them with vague unease. When Marc raised an eyebrow at her questioningly, she smiled and waved a hand in the air.
"I feel like I'm being watched all the time now." she chuckled. "I guess being a detective does that to you."
She gave another look around then tucked her hair behind her ear. "So how are you holding up, Marc? You've got to be just as stressed out, even more, than the rest of us....what with the police breathing down your neck and all."
Molly popped a piece of scone into her mouth and winked brightly at Marc. "Plus, you're a terrible liar with the whole 'early riser' thing. I could use the bags under your eyes to make a sleeping bag. So something else is clearly bothering you. You can talk to me about it if you like." She grinned. "I'm a good listener, or so I hear."
"So how are you holding up, Marc? You've got to be just as stressed out, even more, than the rest of us....what with the police breathing down your neck and all" Molly said.
In truth, I was exausted. But when Molly told me I was horrible liar, that made me laugh deep down inside. As a child, I never was a good liar. It wasn't something I liked to do. I was always honest.
"You wouldn't be interested in what's bothering me," I said to her.
"Want to try me?" She replied with a smirk.
I could only laugh at the look on her face.
So I told her about my dream. I told her about how these flashbacks from the war had started coming back. I didn't know what it meant, or if it was trying to say something. I was actually surprised about how well she listened.
She wasn't lying when she said "I'm good listener, or so I hear". I finished telling her about my dream and when I looked into her face, I saw an intrigued look; as though she was very interested. I opened my mouth to say something when Heimlich came in.
"I do hope you both don't mind me interrupting, but do you mind if I join you?" He asked.
"Not at all," I said cheerfully. He pulled up another chair and sat down next to me. And we began to converse happily, as though we weren't working on this case. As I had said before, it felt good to have decent meal and not have to think about this case for a while.
Molly gestured for Heimlich to sit and signaled the waiter. However, the bright inquisitive blue eyes she turned on Marc told him that the conversation they'd been having was far from over.
"You snore like an oncoming train, were you aware, Heimlich dear?" Molly asked, slouching down in her chair and letting her head fall back. They had chosen an outside table because it was a nice day, and the sunlight glinted in her unusual coppery waves as they tumbled freely over the back of the chair. She put her feet up on the fourth chair. Cracking one eye open, she noticed an older woman at a nearby table looking scandalized at her slim legs balanced on the chair in such a matter. She crossed her ankles, and when the lady did not look away, she hissed at her.
The woman got up and marched huffily away.
"Now Molly, do try not to incite a riot among the natives." Heim said scoldingly, and Molly waved a hand airily.
"Chock it up to joie de vivre, my dear Mr. Von Victor." she said, popping a strawberry in her mouth from the fruit bowl. "I would suggest we go over case details but there are shockingly few so maybe we ought to just enjoy ourselves for the moment."
She opened her eyes suddenly. "Oh yes. There is one matter, I mentioned to Marc that my...ah, ex husband hired Charles Craig to assassinate me. As our man seems to be focusing all his attentions on evading us, I think Billings is having me followed."
With her limited artistic abilities, she had rendered a fairly good sketch of the man she'd seen on the boat, and she showed it to both of them. "If you happen to see him, shoot him dead or bring him to me to question, whichever you prefer."
She flashed her signature grin and closed her eyes once more. "Now that that bit of unpleasantness is out of the way, I think we ought to see how close we can get to the palace. I have a hunch about Craig, and a desire to see where royalty resides. It'll be ridiculously difficult but I know there are ways it can be done..."
Meanwhile.....I waited at Chez Fromage for over a hour.....none of my friends showed up.
" Hmm wonder what is keeping them?" I thought to myself.
" Well I had better get back. Thanks for the wonderful meal." I told the waiter as I was getting up to leave.
On my way out the door I noticed a man with a beard watching me. But it wasnt something you would notice if you werent looking for it.
I turned towards the strange man...." Is this Craig?" I thought. I had never seen him before in person.
"If its Craig he'll run." I decided as I started making my way to the mans table.
True to form he got up and ran out the back I gave chase but he lost me in the back alleys behind the resturaunt. I went back inside and there on the table was a note addressed to Marc.
I headed back to the hotel note in hand.....
As we ate breakfast and discussed life matters, Nellie came down and joined us. All we were missing was Charlie.
"I wonder how long Charlie is going to stay asleep," Nellie said after a while.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know, but if he isn't down here in about fifteen minutes, I'm going to go wake him up. We have a long day ahead of us." I said.
"Let him sleep for a while," Heimlich replied quietly, "I think I speak for everyone when I say that we need rest. YOU need rest, Marc. You have dark rings and bags under your eyes," he continued,"I can tell just by looking at you that you had some sort of nightmare last night. In my opinion, I think we should rest today and look over the case files."
I closed my eyes and rubbed them with my index finger and thumb on my right hand. Everyone was looking at me waiting for me to reply. I didn't know what to say. Heimlich was right. I was stressed out. I was tired and exausted. I pulled out my pipe, put a little bit of tobacco in it, lit it and began to puff on it. After a moment of silence I looked up at Heimlich.
"You're right," I said, "I have been pretty exausted these past few days."
Nellie and Molly both nodded in agreement. Just as I started to put up my pipe, Charlie rounded the corner of the building to see us sitting out side.
The look on his face was as surprised to see us eating outside as we were to see him coming around the corner. In his hand, there was a piece of paper.
"Charlie? Do you mind telling me what you are doing?" I said. He opend his mouth to reply when I cut him off.
"It doesn't matter. I'm tired and wore out from chasing Craig."
A look of relief swamped over his face as he sat down next to Heimlich. He handed me the note that had my name on it. This note could only be fromone person; Charles Craig. (Conin..)
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