Reformed burglars never rest
Sleuth About Town
"Brr... I'm cold."
Those were the first words that came out of Elizabeth March's mouth as she entered the hall of the well located house in London. Luckily, the place was warm and cozy.
Empty, too. She wondered were all the servants were.
Well, they'd show up, eventually. She could bet they were in the kitchen, talking and playing cards. She didn't mind. They deserved their rest and some fun.
With that in mind, she moved to the living room, dragged a chair near the fireplace and sat there, just staring at the roaring fire.
Much was in her mind. Her past life as a burglar still haunted her. All the wrong things she had done still lived in her nightmares. The woman let out a tired sigh. All that was in the past now.
She had a new life. An agency. Friends. A new name.
Yes. A new life.
It could be a better one, if she didn't have to carefully hide her past from everyone. She had to mind every word that came out of her mind. Every letter she received. Every phone call...
She sighed and got up, reluctantly.
"Miss Elizabeth March?"
"Yes. Who's there?"
"Just a friend who wants you to know that dreams may shatter like glass..."
"What, what do you..."
He had hung up, and so did she.
She was still standing by the phone, trembling, when she heard the footsteps. She didn't turn around. It was probably just one of the servants. Yes, it was Gerald, her butler.
He had asked something whose meaning she couldn't reach. Maybe how she was.
"Sorry, Gerald. I'm fine. I was talking on the phone, and felt slightly light-headed."
She forced a smile to the man. He smiled back.
"Maybe you should take a bath and rest, ma'am.", the man suggested, carefully.
"Not now. I've got a phone call to make. After that, I'll do what you say."
She watched as the man left the room and picked the phone back up. She dialed a number, hoping the person on the other side was home. (...)
Marc stood in the shadows watching while Joseph Zeo and Tim O'Leary spoke. Before he found O'Leary, he went to his house. There, a someone had told him that O'Leary had gone to the library. When Marc got there it was too late. He saw someone talking to him. He hoped and prayed it wasn't a police office about to make an arrest because he needed some valuable information. The man talking to him turned slightly and Marc's eyes nearly popped out his head.
It was Joseph Zeo. It had been almost a year since Marc had last spoken to him, ever since they met in Delhi (See chase around the world in 80 days). The man growled something at Zeo and left in a hurry. Marc stepped out of the shadows with his fedora covering his face. Zeo approached him and said to Marc, "It's been a while."
Marc looked up and smiled. "You haven't aged a bit since that chase around the world," and the two men shook hands.
"So what brings you out hear to United Kingdom?" Joseph asked.
Marc explained about his most recent case and how after everything that went on, he decided to leave New York for a while.
"I was called the other day and asked to find out who was harrassing this woman named Elizabeth March," Marc told Zeo.
"What were you doing in the shadows?" Joseph asked.
"Well, I was going to talk to Mr. O'Leary until I saw you already talking to him. I figured when you were done, then I could talk to him. But now he's gone. Do you know where he went?" Marc replied.
"You needed to talk to O'Leary? A former Mafia boss of the Green Hand?" Joseph asked sounding surprised.
"Well...yeah..he's a suspect in my case. I had a few questions for him." Marc said.
"He went down to the theatre. If we leave now we can catch him." Joseph said. And the two men left.
It took the better part of the afternoon for the two men to make it back to down town London. On the way, Joseph and Marc caught up on old times telling each other about cases with whack jobs and quacks for clients.
Marc was just as shocked to see Joseph as was Joseph to see Marc. Especially in a case like this. O'Leary had disappeared and went to the theatre where Marc and Joseph headed to pull him out and question him aobut his relationship with Elizabeth March.
With about a block and a half left, the two men ran into Molly and Pierce who seemed to be in a hurry. Marc was surprised to see them leaving the hotel.
He opened his mouth to speak when he heard,
"Four men crossed the street minutes after you left, Miss." the woman gasped. "One vaulted over the fence and just..took her! They took Anna!
"Molly?" Marc asked, "What's going on?"
Molly glanced back over her shoulder, taking in the presence of Marc and his companion.
"Well, sh*t." Molly said resignedly. "The cat's really out of the bag now."
At this point Pierce spoke up. "She's your daughter."
Molly dragged a hand through her hair, then cursed."Yes. Annabelle Christie Mahler is her name. She's 8. Jack didn't know...well, he must now. I should have figured on being watched!"
She rubbed her temples in frustration. "I don't even know where he could be. In any case Marc, you shouldn't concern yourself. You've got a case to solve without my twisted marital affairs interfering."
Molly shook her head, utterly refusing to cry. "I guess...ugh. I've got people to talk to."
And with that she grabbed the nun standing nearby by the elbow and dragged her purposefully towards the orphanage. They had just moved through the front doors when the phone rang. Molly shoved the nun towards the phone.
"Answer it." she said impatiently, and the nun did as she was bid. She listened for a moment, and then handed it to Molly, fear written plainly all over her face. Molly took it and listened to the familiar voice at the other line for a moment.
"Jack, you bastard. What have you done?"she hissed, her voice dripping with malice.
"Temper, temper, Molly. You shouldn't be the one angry, I've been lied to about my own child, after all."
"I never lied. After you torched my apartment and tried to kill me, I figured you probably weren't interested in the domestic life." she spit, and he laughed.
"Tell you what, we'll cut the charming catch-up, and you can come meet me at this address in exchange for the rug-rat. How's that sound?"
Molly motioned for a pen and paper. "That sounds perfect." she said, and meant it.
Address obtained, she took one look at it and grinned. She knew the place quite well; it was one of the places she and Jack had first met. She dropped the paper on the floor and ground it underneath her heel before striding out of the room.
Joseph and Marc looked astonished to Molly and her bodyguard,when Vulkie came around the corner.
"Hiya Marc,Hiya Joseph" Vulkie said and Marc grunted. Joseph said : "What's the matter Marc?".
Marc only replied with : "Long story"
Vulkie took a deap breath and began to explain. As she explained,Joseph's facial expression began to change.
"Joseph,I was working undercover! You've got to understand!" Vulkie said and Joseph nodded. But Marc only sighed. "I don't blame you Vulkie,but it's a terrible thing you did..." Marc said.
"Well,let's go to Molly then." Vulkie said and Joseph shook his head. "Can't do that Vulkie. We've got to talk to a suspect. Tell you what,you follow Molly and Pierce,the bodyguard,and meet us at the hotel..." Joseph said,scribbling an address on a note.
"Thanks..." Vulkie said and she left,to "follow" Molly where she headed.
Molly rushed inside,grabbed a nun and then the telephone rang. Vulkie stayed outside,listening at the door. "That sounds perfect" Molly said and with that,she rushed outside,ignoring Vulkie,who stayed in the dark.
Vulkie went inside the orphanage,discovering a note with an address. "Hold on Molly,I'm coming to help you" Vulkie murmered and left to follow Molly to the address,making sure she was "unnoticed"...
Pierce fell into step with Molly, asking no questions, just offering comfort with his presence. She sighed. Despite the relatively short time she had known them she wished Marc and Charlie were at her side as well; she probably couldn't trust anyone more than she trusted these three men. But, they were in the middle of a case and Molly understood she would simply have to go it alone.
Well, almost alone.
Pierce and Molly both swiveled their heads in unison at the faint scrape of gravel behind them. They looked at each other and spoke in the lowest of undertones.
"A tail already?" Molly asked skeptically. Pierce squinted, and then shook his head.
"No, when you were inside the orphanage a woman approached. She knew Marc, and the other man. Joseph, I believe his name was. She was explaining how she had been a double agent or some such..."
"Then it's Vulkie." Molly said quietly. "I wonder what on earth she's doing...if she winds up to be working for these guys I'll shoot her myself, I swear I will."
"Lets just work on finding your daughter." Pierce soothed, and then asked where they were going. Molly told him willingly enough. The place had been an old hole-in-the-wall bar that she and Jack had first met in. She had heard it had closed a while ago.
"In fact, there it is." she said, raising her eyebrows at an obviously abandoned building. The door was practically falling off its hinges, and the room beyond was utterly black.
Molly and Pierce both nodded at each other and then ducked through the doorway into the darkness.
"Hello, Molly. Brought company, have we?" Molly was blinking, trying to grow accustomed to the light when a shot rang out. Pierce grunted, and thudded to the floor.
"Pierce!" she gasped, feeling around until she hit his shirt, which was rapidly dampening. "Damn it!"
She whirled, gun raised, but Jack only laughed. "Temper temper darling. You wouldn't want to inadvertently wound our darling daughter, would you?"
Sleuth About Town
Elizabeth listened to what everyone had to say, sitting still on her bed. The young woman's face looked pale and tired, and she was desperate for a nap, but she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep. Not without any help.
Her fingers moved into her purse, looking for something. There should be a small bottle of sleeping pills in there. Should be. But they were nowhere to be found.
She let out a soft moan and stood up, fighting an urge to open the door and flee from that room. Taking a few deep breaths, she watched all those people coming in and out. Except for Charlie, of course.
He was stuck in there, just like herself.
As they left the room, she sat on the floor, holding her knees. Unexpectedly, she started speaking, her pale green eyes staring at the wall.
"You know, I've done a whole bunch of wrong stuff in my life. A real lot. Whatever dishonest affair you can think of, I've been involved. From making people talk to bank robberies. Quite sucessfully, by the way. I mean, no one believes, by looking at my mug, that I'd do certain things. But there are things even I wouldn't do, such as blackmailing people. I mean, it's so low. Even for me."
As suddenly as she had started speaking, she stopped and pulled herself up.
"I'd better wash my face and try to calm down. I'm sorry for that little scene.", she muttered, softly.
Marc and Joseph made it to the theater in record timing. They walked inside and found O'Leary sitting in the upper balcony on the left side of the stadium watching anxiously as the large Italian man was singing on the stage.
Joseph and Marc made their way up to the balcony and stood in the shadows. No one could see them unless they walked right in front of them. Behind them was a door and they stood in front of it like a couple of security guards.
"Joseph, when this scene ends and the lights go off, we grab him and take him outside. Make sure he doesn't make a sound." Marc said.
Five minutes later, the scene ended and the lights went off as the stage was being set up for the next scene. In the blink of an eye, the two men made their m0ve grabbing O'Leary and drug him silently outside into the dark alley. It was getting dark ouside. That was good. They could interrogate O'Leary, go back to the hotel and talk to Elizabeth about him.
Joseph threw O'Leary against the wall and O'Leary fell with a "thud". "Mr. O'Leary," Marc said.
"What do you want?" he snarled.
"Oh I just want to know your connection with Elizabeth March."
"Don't play games with me. I'm not in the mood."
"Elizabeth March.....ah yes, an old gangster gone good. Yes, I remember now she sold us out to the FBI a few years ago. I swear if I ever saw her again, I'd..I'd.."
"You'd what?" Joseph asked.
"I'd probably killer her."
"Would you now?" Marc said, "You see, she's been getting strange phone calls from somebody telling her that dreams may shatter like glass. I have spoken to three people whom all three have valid alibies. They couldn't have done it, but now, I think it's you."
O'Leary laughed out loud. "You think it's me? I haven't talked to her in years!"
"Years? I think you're lying," Marc said picking him up, "You and I are going to go for a little walk."
A little walk turned five flights of stairs and Marc picked up O'Leay and dangled him over edge. (Cont..)
"Now, I'm going to ask you, do you have any alibi for two days ago around nine o'clock p.m.? She recieved a phone call with a threatening message."
O'Leary started to sweat as he held on to Marc's arms for dear life. The fall wouldn't kill him, he knew that, but it would break a leg if not, both of them.
"No I dont' have an alibi!" He screamed in fright.
"Did you call her?!" Marc snarled, "Did you threaten her?"
"Why should I tell you? When I do, your just going drop me!"
"No, If you tell admit to doing it, then arrest you."
"But I didn't do it!"
"Liar!" Marc screamed in his face. Every instinct in his gut was telling him that O'Leary was the man who did it. He knew that O'Leary did it. The problem now, was to prove it. Marc let the man go. Tim screamed as he fell and there was gut wrenching "Snap" as the man it the ground breaking his leg. With the instant of the snap, O'Leary screamed out in pain. That was worst interrogation method Marc had ever used during his careers as a police officer and a private detective. But it made him talk. At the same time, O'Leary was hiding something.
Marc and Joseph left. "You're going to leave him there?" Joseph asked.
"Yes, one of his goons will find him and he will be taken to a hosptial where he will stay for while. He's not going anywhere any time soon. They got back to the hotel room and Marc knocked three times in which Charlie answered the door. Inside the room, there was a third man who was introduced as Clift Garrett and the two men, Marc and Clift shook hands. Marc then turned to Elizabeth and asked, "What was your relationship with Tim O'Leary? I think he's the one who has been threatening you."
Molly could see in the dim light now, and she saw that Jack was holding Annabelle in front of him. She leaned limply in the crook of his arm.
"What did you do to her?" Molly asked anxiously, wondering if they had come too late and she was already dead. She wiped her hand on her light blue skirt, leaving a vivid red streak down the length of the material. She edged forward.
"Drop your gun and I'll tell you." Jack said, and thinking only of her child, Molly hastily complied. Jack nodded once, and then grinned cheekily at her. "No need to worry, just a little chloroform."
And with that, he lifted his own pistol and fired.
Pain blazed through Molly's left shoulder and she fell to her knees with a gasp, her other hand reflexively feeling the wound. Blood was already soaking through her jacket rapidly.
"Hm. My aim must be off." Jack said, raising his gun again slowly. Molly cast her eyes at her pistol lying only inches away, but Jack's using her daughter as a shield prevented her from firing...
Sleuth About Town
By the time Marc returned to the hotel room, Elizabeth was already back to her usual calm self. She was lying on her bed, trying to remember more names as to the people who could be blackmailing her.
As she saw Marc, the woman sat on her bed and took a deep breath.
"Tim? No, no, no... I don't think he'd do it. At least, not like that".
She ran her fingers through her hair and tried to light a cigarrette, unsucessfully. Her fingers trembled too much.
She gave up on the cigarrette and crossed her hands on her lap.
"We used to work together, 'bout two years ago, and kept on... socializing after that. Have you got any piece of evidence on him?", she asked, dropping back on the bed with a moan.
"I need to get out of this place, or I'm going insane".
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