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Deadly Nightshade
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M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa

Feb-1-2021 18:51

He stared directly into her emerald green eyes as he set her plate in front of her. By God, she was beautiful. Her smile was almost everything to him, just seeing her smile would turn a bad day completely around. Her pale skin was as soft as her voice which he compared to summer rains.

A pity, he thought to himself, that she has to die, for in her salad, disguised as lettuce leaves were the leaves of a plant, unknown to her, called the deadly nightshade. It was as nightmarish as it sounds.

Almost cherry-like, but similar instructors to the tomato, he disguised the fruit as blueberries. The dressing on the salad was made from the root of the plant, which he harvested at the end of the vegetation period, when the toxins would be the highest.

He watched with a false, realistic smile as she bit into her salad, closing her eyes to savor the sweet flavor of the toxic fruit. Symptoms wouldn't start immediately, but they wouldn't take long.

Once her symptoms started, she knew she'd been poisoned. First came the sweats and hallucinations, then the shortness of breath and trouble breathing, followed by paralysis and moments later, death.

After she had died, he got up and went outside through the back door into the cool night air. He inhaled deeply, the fresh air filling his lungs, then exhaled. He grabbed his shovel from the tool shed, and stabbed the ground.


Jane Brailsford
Jane Brailsford

Feb-6-2021 23:39

Jane was Finished. And yet, was still not what anyone would typically think of as a Lady, especially not here in the rebellious colony. Coming from Europe, having grown up in a house older than the country she found herself in, older even than the city she was currently exploring, made one feel rather...peculiar.

Nevertheless, she was in New York, New York for the first time, unleashed on the world. Her pale face paired with her modest frock and utterly forgettable hat ensured that most glances would slide right off her, and that, in the rare chance she was noticed, that she was utterly undescribable later.

When Jane had first realized that she was too late to make contact with Miss Isabella Valente, she had cursed the headwinds that had delayed the ship. Now, as she stood off to the side of the Met building, which, in Jane's opinion was nothing compared to Teatro di San Carlo or La Scala, both in terms of architecture and competency of the performers, she felt resigned. Her fist assignment, foiled by WIND of all things.

She had, however been warned of the distinct possibility that she would be too late to help Miss Isabella, and been given instruction to find and dispatch whoever was responsible, not only for Miss Isabelle, but for those who had been sent before Jane.

Jane had watched with interest as a car whipped up and stopped just past the Met, and the mis-matched couple she had observed earlier investigating Miss Isabelle's death slid in. She had memorized the sleek, stunning woman and the rather surly, excitable man already, so Jane focused on the driver. It was dark, and Jane could not get a good look at the man, but she thought she would be able to recognize his profile.

It was time to meet her contact. Then she would track down these non-stealthy investigators.

Guy Mauve
Guy Mauve

Feb-7-2021 11:31

**Meanwhile in Guy Mauve's New York apartment**

After soaking in a hot scented luxurious bath and enjoying a long cold shower, Guy Mauve wore his favourite silk robe and relaxed in his living room to tuck into small spread of mini sandwiches prepared by the part-time maid earlier in the afternoon before she left.

He then relaxed, together with a hot steaming cup of his favourite tea, with the current novel he was reading, ‘Murder at the Vicarage’ by an up-and-coming author by the name of Agatha Christie.

After a while he put the book down and day dreamed then thought about the events of the day: The disappearance of Isabella Valente, the interview with policemen, his conversation with that private detective... marc something... and finally his heart to heart with Natalia. His thoughts were then suddenly interrupted -to his surprise- by a knock on the door.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa

Feb-7-2021 20:15

"Guy Mauve," Marc stated, as Guy pulled the door open. "These are my partners, Molly Maltese, and Joseph Zeo. We have some more follow up questions. May we come in?"

Marc didn't wait for an answer before making his way inside.

"Marc? Is it?" Guy asked. "Look, I've already told you everything."

"As I recall," Marc said, "I asked you for names, and you changed the subject to that peppermint tea if yours."

A deafening silence filled the room.

"Guy," Joseph started. " Two other young women and a young boy, who is possibly connected, are missing. You're our only lead."

"First off," Guy objected, "I certainly do not approve of any of you barging into my home like that."

"Then help us."

Guy sat back on his couch and sighed.

"If you know something," Joseph said. "we need you to tell us."

Guy smiled, shaking his head.

"His name is Tony."

"Does Tony have a last name?" Marc asked.

"Valencia. Tony Valencia. He is, truthfully, the last person to see Isabella alive."

"What do you mean?" Marc asked. "Margaret Goodman said you were."

"She doesn't know everything. She can suspect me all she wants," Guy said. "Doesn't mean I'm guilty.".

A good point, Marc thought.

"If I remember correctly," Marc said flipping through his notepad. "You didn't necessarily approve of some of the men she saw. But yet you both had the same taste in men." Marc stated.

Marc fought the hypnosis urge once more. It was an efficient, yet, not exactly an ethical way of obtaining information.

"Mr. Mauve, at this point you're our only suspect. I suggest you help us if you'd like to keep your career in opera." Marc said.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-8-2021 09:12

There was this solid determination in Guy in proving that he was not the culprit, but at the same time, he smelled of agony. Joseph was sure an up and rising talent like Mauve would not be flustered simply because an assortment of PI paid him a visit in the middle of the night. Something else was frustrating him. Valencia… that name sounded familiar. A name that seem to be the source of Mauve’s torment. Then it dawned on Joseph.

“Antonio Valencia?” Joseph broke in, “isn’t he the son of that old Italian shipping tycoon who owns several docks and shipyards in our state?”

Guy shrugged, “I don’t know much of his family’s establishments, but we know he can afford to show everyone a good time. He always calls himself a businessman.” Again, his lips stopped talking but his mind seem to continue to describe so much more.

The air was becoming stuffy in the cozily furnished sitting room. Molly carried a smirk that suggested she may know more about the Valencia family. Marc simply looked ready to pounce. If he was not restrained, he would go bang down on Tony’s door right that instance.

Suddenly everyone’s head turned as they heard a heavy knock on the front door. Guy glanced at his Art Deco clock on the wall. It was past midnight. Apparently he usually don’t have visitors at this late hours. Not to mention twice in a night.

Marc quietly moved his hand towards his trusted revolver. Joseph stood in a blind spot from the door ensuring first strike if the need arise. Molly simply raised an elbow and continued to laze on the Victorian chaise lounge.

Guy opened the door. “Inspector?” Guy blurted out, followed by a look of despondency and shock. Nothing good would come out of this.

“Mr. Guy Mauve, you are now the prime suspect for the disappearances of Isabella Valente and Antonio Valencia, possibly a few others. You need to come with us to the station now.”

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-8-2021 09:19

“Tony Valencia also disappeared?” Marc jumped in, quickly hiding his gun. Joseph also walked out from his hiding spot.

“What have we got here?” The leading inspector poked his head in, followed by two younger officers. It was Barnes, whom Joseph had many dealings with in the past. “Lacrimosa? Zeo? and Ms. Maltese! Blimey, we have a full house here!”

Joseph approached Inspector Barnes, “we are commissioned by Mrs. Valente to look into the disappearance of her daughter. That explains our presence here.”

“But why are you arresting Mr. Mauve?” Marc looked flustered, “from what I know, he’s the one who gave you the lead to Tony. Why would he do that if he’s the culprit?”

“Maybe he knows we will eventually find out that Tony Valencia has also became one of his victims, who has been missing for the past 3 days according to his maids and housekeeper. That’s 5 disappearances in the past month Lacrimosa!”

“You boneheads just isn’t thinking with your brains,” Marc retorted, “actually I’m not even sure if you have any!” There was definitely history between those two.

“Lacrimosa,” Barnes bellowed, “I can charge you with insult of a police officer on duty right—“

“Gentlemen!” Joseph interjected, standing between the two men, feeling the cold draft from the open door, “It’s late, and it’s chilly out. Why don’t Barnes do what he must, and we can deal with the rest tomorrow?” Joseph stared down Marc’s protest, knowing well getting muddled in this arrest would do no one any good.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-8-2021 09:20

Molly raised from the chaise lounge and addressed Mauve, “Guy, do you have a good lawyer?”

Guy cleared his throat, still feeling surreal by the whole ordeal, “Um, Mr. Charles Bennett at Bennett & Croft represent me for all my opera contracts…”

Molly shook her head, “You’re dealing with abduction or even murder charges here darling, your contract lawyers will do you no good.” She picked up Mauve’s telephone to make the call, “I shall send my men to the station tonight. You can deal with the billings later.”

Joseph knew Molly would need to cash in a few favors to get her hot shots over at this time of the night, but Molly was that kind of dame to pull through when the need arises.

So Tony also disappeared, Joseph thought. 3 female, 2 men. No one would be able to contain that many people without leaking a few traces. This did not bode well for the abductees; they were most likely gone. There must be a connection between all of them, but how, or who? Given Guy knew two of them, he should be able to piece things together with more information on the other victims.

Guy Mauve seemed genuinely bewildered by the ordeal. The likelihood of him being the killer was low, not impossible, for the benefit of a doubt. Barnes quickly hulled Guy away, the air being impossibly icy this time of the year. Joseph exhaled with steam in his breath, but he was not liking it for once.

Guy Mauve
Guy Mauve

Feb-8-2021 11:46

Guy Mauve was in complete and utter shock. This simply could not be happening. He... a kidnapper or a murderer even! Why that’s simply absurd. Tony Valencia was built like an ox with muscles bulging from every which way. For the police to be so ridiculous to imagine that Guy, a man slender and gentle in every way imaginable, could do any harm to such a beast of a man was simply too ludicrous for words.

However, he was not the kind of man to cause a scene or to protest too much. He nodded to Ms. Maltese knowing that he must step back and let the professionals handle this. He was not frightened but rather annoyed. He was confident in his own innocence but knew he would miss his body lotions, silk robes and face creams however long he must stay in police custody.

As the two policemen approached him, he protested. “I suppose inspector you will allow me the decency of a change of clothes and a small bag of clothing and toiletries. Surely you are not planning to throw a young opera singer amidst seasoned criminals wearing nothing but a light silk robe? I’m appetizing prey for these men in prison as it is!”

The policemen chuckled and allowed Guy to change and come back with a bag of essentials. When Guy Mauve reappeared, he walked calmly towards the detective and managed to slip a small key and note in the pocket of Marc Lacrimosa unnoticed, before completely disappearing from sight with the two policemen.


As soon as the policemen were off, Marc took out the key and the accompanying note, read it and then announced to Molly and Joseph. “Come along you two, back up to Mauve’s apartment we go. It will give me an opportunity to show off my lockpicking skills.”

Guy Mauve
Guy Mauve

Feb-8-2021 11:48

Once the three were inside the apartment, Marc walked directly into Guy Mauve’s bedroom and came out of producing a locked diary. He used the key to unlock and open it. It opened on a specific page towards the middle where naked pictures of Guy Mauve, along with several other women, fell out of it.

“Goodness!” Joseph was unprepared for this.
“Heavens! These are famous actresses from Opera and Broadway!” Molly confirmed. “Why does Guy have all these naked pictures of them and of him.”

Marc read the diary entry from the page from which the pictures fell out. “Today I managed to break into Tony Valencia’s home and retrieve the pictures he has been using to blackmail me and Isabella. I have also retrieved all the others he had in case he was holding them over his other victims’ heads...”

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-9-2021 01:34

Mauve was wise.

The way he wanted to speak but always held his tongue, why he eagerly pointed out to the police that Tony was the last known person Isabella met, and why he was in love with this Tony but dreaded him at the same time… it all added up.

Marc flipped through the small stack of photos. “What a collection,” he whistled.

“So this is what we know so far,” Joseph induced, “Tony was blackmailing these exquiste performers with their exotic photos.” He recognised that leather wrapped handcuff, the single piece of attire Isabella was donning in her photo. At the time it was taken, he wondered if Isabella could fathom what Tony would use it for later.

“Blackmailing them for what? Tony’s already loaded!” Marc questioned.

“Perhaps he was coercing them into providing certain… services…” Joseph trailed off as Molly cleared her throat. Joseph realised how inappropriate it was to say such things in front of a lady.
“Well, we’ve got many suspects now who want to do Tony in,” Molly changed the subject, “but why the others? Why was Tony the last person and not the first to go missing?”

“First of all, I do hope Tony will be the last, but how do we know it’d stop there? We first thought Isabella was the last.” Joseph mused, “and to answer you question, maybe they were test subjects.”

“Joseph,” Molly tsked, “you are my friend but sometimes your mind frightens me…”

“Tony is a hard man to get to. I’ve seen a photo of him in the paper once. Antonio Valencia is well built and quite powerful, to say the least. It wouldn’t be easy to bring someone like him down so easily.”

“So you’re saying…” Marc inquired.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Feb-9-2021 01:35

“I’m just saying we don’t know enough to draw any conclusion yet. There are so many leads. Thank goodness there are three of us.”

At the back of his mind, Joseph sensed that there were more than just the three of them there. Someone was watching them. The lanky detective had no solid proof, could not see, hear or smell anyone else; it was simply a nagging sensation he wasn’t able to shove away.

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