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Skeletons Without Halos 12

Updated on February 26, 2016
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Nightcat is a freelance writer who enjoys crafting short stories for her readers in the fantasy, mystery and horror genres.

Well, Maybe One Now Has A Halo

Welcome to the latest installment of “Skeletons Without Halos”. When we last parted company the case had been solved and one of our detectives had left us for the great beyond. But as is often the case, the story wasn’t quite over yet. There is, after all, a wedding to consider, and who knows what trouble could arise between now and then?

As always, all writing and photography are my original work. If borrowing for Internet use a link back and credit where credit is due are appreciated. The video below is to enhance your reading enjoyment only. If you own the copyright and want additional credit and links or the video removed, please let me know.

Your Music For Tonight's Tale Of Mayhem and Mystery

Guess Who's Coming To Breakfast

The weeks flew by as Chester and I planned out every detail of our wedding. I wouldn’t have minded a simple wedding in his office, but he’d always dreamed of a big wedding and he was right; we had to invite all the bosses in town to wish us well, as well as all of our employees, which, when you came to think of it, was most of the town. I wanted Reba and my men there and Chester agreed. “Well, the big day’s coming soon, we only have the cake tasting today and then we’re all set.” Chester said as he escorted me to breakfast in his apartment.

“I can’t wait, Chester. Imagine, us being married.” I said dreamily. I couldn’t help it, I was gaga over the idea and turning to absolute mush over every detail, something Chester seemed to find adorable.

“And it gets even better. You will kindly note that there are three place settings. I didn’t want to say anything and get your hopes up, but I got you the wedding present to beat all wedding presents.” Chester said as he got my seat for me. The doorbell rang and as the chef who had served us was rolling the cart back out, a sight for sore eyes walked in.

“Vicky?” I asked, standing up excitedly. “Vicky? You’re alive?” I asked as I ran to greet her, my hard feelings at her evaporating. I knew she’d only been trying to do the right thing. Vicky smiled hugely as I reached her and hugged me to her so tightly I thought she’d never let go. “But how?” I asked as we separated and I led her to the table.

“Chester arranged it. And don’t worry, Cynthia can’t follow. I am so sorry, Nicky. For the things I said and putting you in danger. I had no idea she was behind everything.”

“It’s OK.” I reassured her. “How could you have known?” Chester’s the one who solved the case. We have him to thank for everything.” I said and he blushed and waved us off.

“Wasn’t anything you girls wouldn’t have done for me.” He said modestly, blushing more and I found the sight adorable.

The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction

Skeletons Without Halos

Well, Vicky is back. That's good, right?
Well, Vicky is back. That's good, right?

To The Bakery

I don’t know how, maybe because she’d never really been in love with me, but Vicky and Chester had made peace. She saw how good he was to me, maybe. And Chester’s next idea didn’t hurt either. “Why not come with us to the cake tasting, Victoria? We could use the help.”

Vicky agreed and joined us in the Rolls. It was odd seeing the two get along, but nice. Something seemed off about my former partner but I couldn’t put my finger on it. She wasn’t quite acting like herself, but I put it down to nerves. Vicky cleared her throat and we looked at her. “I was wondering if either of you know who I would see about opening a business in town.” She asked.

“Depends on who is running the territory, why do you ask?” Chester asked as he fished out a cigar from his suit pocket.

“I was thinking of settling down. Maybe joining the modern era and selling off some of my antiques, a nice little shop was all I had in mind.” Chester smiled fondly. He was a sucker for anything sentimental.

“Sure, sure. We’ll get you fixed up. Ain’t that right, honey bunny?” He asked and I blushed.

“That is it, my sweet.” I agreed and he looked pleased with himself as we pulled up to the bakery.

Looking Pleased With Himself

As well he should. Our Chester is quite a guy.
As well he should. Our Chester is quite a guy.

Cakes and Knives

Sugar, the head pastry chef met us inside, proud that we’d chosen her bakery. “I have several exciting options for you today, vanilla buttercream on hazelnut cake with cream cheese filling. Then there is dark chocolate ganache on a creamy dark chocolate cake with truffle filling. And last but not least-” There was a clatter from the back and she sighed and excused herself.

“I’m guessing a type of lemon cake.” Chester ventured as we each dug in. “And is this lemon curd inside? Interesting.” There was another crash and I was up, drawing my gun. “Hey, it’s just some pots and pans, take it easy.” He said with a laugh but I shook my head and edged towards the counter.

I couldn’t see into the kitchen and was going to walk back when Victoria joined me, her gun in hand. “I thought you were retiring.” I said.

“Old habits die hard.”

I glanced back at Chester, but he just seemed amused by the whole thing and waved us on.

We made our way into the kitchen to find Sugar face down and not moving. A large chef’s knife was sticking out of her back and not the type I remembered being associated with bakeries. I knelt by her as Vicky checked the rest of the kitchen, including the walk in freezer, but her assailant was long gone and her staff had been tied up and tossed in the freezer. As Vicky saw to their rescue Sugar whimpered feebly and I got out my mobile to call an ambulance.

Chester, joining us, whistled. “You see who got the drop on you?” He asked gently as he knelt down beside her and Sugar tried to respond, but could only whisper faintly. “What’s that, dollface?” He asked as we all leaned in closer.

“Behind you.” She managed and we all whipped around expecting an attack, but only heard the front door to the bakery slam. I cursed and ran out to the front and out into the street, but saw no one. I made my way back in as Chester stood, shaking his head sadly.

“It looks like you ladies have a case. Normally a skeleton can shake a stabbing off but she doesn’t look too good.” I swatted him in the arm and glared at him.

“You’re going to be fine, Sugar.” I said reassuringly as I knelt and took her hand in mine. Sugar smiled faintly at me then passed out.

Still Hearing Wedding Bells

Attempted murder or not, the big day will indeed happen.
Attempted murder or not, the big day will indeed happen.

Detectives Again?

Luckily, they got her stable as soon as the paramedics arrived, the police on their tails.

“Gloves, moron.” I said to a rookie who was reaching for the knife. I didn‘t even want to mention that pulling a knife from a victim is never a good idea, skeleton or not. “Or do want to become our prime suspect when we find your bone prints all over it?” I asked.

He nodded cheerfully enough and donned some gloves and reached for the knife again. “Dust for bone prints?” I asked and he made an ‘oh’ with his teeth then waited patiently for a rookie detective to dust it and lift the prints all while Sugar was being carted to safety. I sighed. I don’t know about the land of the living, but in the land of the dead bone prints are as unique as fingerprints are to the living. I watched police photographers and the like swarm in, then we left them to it.

“You taking the case?” Chester asked as we stood in the front of the bakery watching the paramedics load Sugar into the ambulance, the rookie cop eagerly getting in with her, evidence bag at the ready. I shrugged.

“I’m a boss now, Chessie, and the wedding.” I protested.

“Will wait until Sugar is on her feet to attend. Have you tried all her cakes? Here.” He fed me the dark chocolate confection and I swear my eyes crossed in pleasure.

One of the cops came out, cleared his throat politely then was joined by the new chief. “I don’t suppose any of you saw the suspect?” The chief asked hopefully.

“No, did you question the assistants?” I asked.

“We are now, Boss.” He said respectfully then seemed to hesitate. “We could use some help if you’d be gracious enough to look into the matter. Our rookies are pretty clueless.”

“I saw.” I said dryly. “All right, as a personal favor to Sugar, I will. It looks pretty open and shut, wrong type of knife to be in a bakery.”

He looked at me expectantly. “I led a full and exciting life.” I assured him. “And have seen many wondrous things, but never a carving knife meant for meat in a bakery.”

A Puzzling Turn

Chester seemed impressed by my depth of knowledge as we rode back to our complex. “That I would have missed.” He admitted after we’d dropped Vicky off. Strangely she didn’t seem enthused about taking the case and Chester had agreed to become my partner in her stead. “What do you think rattled Victoria, Nicky? It looked like old times when you two went in the back. I thought for sure she was going to be partners with you again.”

“I don’t know. The way she just froze for a moment when we found Sugar back there, I thought they recognized one another.”

“She’s sweet on the sweet maker?”

“Maybe. And maybe she felt guilty. Cynthia’s bone dust but if any boss could figure out a way to keep Vicky from another woman she would.”

Chester nodded his agreement. “Then we have to interview her at some point, but let’s let the rookies get some legwork in first. It’ll do them good.” I nodded my agreement the sat back to close my eyes. I could only hope we found Sugar’s attacker quickly and was not looking forward to interviewing Vicky. I’d heard rumors she’d been seen leaving certain places at odd hours but figured it hadn’t been my business as we hadn’t been serious. And now I could only wonder if Cynthia was managing to nix all future visits from beyond the grave.

Who is behind the attack?

Any idea?

See results

Whodunit?

Well! Is our Vicky a ladies’ woman? And is it Cynthia striking from the beyond or just a rival wanting Sugar out of the way? But why would a chef care about a bakery? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

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