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Skeletons Without Halos 18

Updated on March 1, 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.

Not all Skeletons Want Halos

Some are just fine without them.
Some are just fine without them.

Wedding Bells Or Passing Bells?

Surprised? So was I. I was sure we’d heard the last of the dashing Chester and the beautiful Nicky, but it would seem their tale isn’t over quite yet. So settle in with a good cup of coffee and get ready for tonight’s tale of mayhem and mystery. Because their wedding night may be their last night in the land of the dead.

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 only to enhance your reading pleasure. If you own the copyright and want additional credit and links or the video removed, please contact me.

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Your Music For Tonight's Tale Of Mystery And Mayhem

Film Noir: Detour

Shots In The Dark

We hadn’t even settled in for our honeymoon night when the lights went out. I heard Chester draw his gun and cock it. “Stay here, Nicky.”

“We’re partners, remember, detective?” I asked and heard him snort. I drew my gun and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I could make out his profile. There was a sharp scream from out in the woods and I jumped, almost tightening my finger on the trigger. I swore my heart was pounding as I watched Chester rise.

“Stay here, I won’t tell you twice.” Chester said. I wanted to argue, but he was swiftly to the door, then out into the night. At least we had the advantage of sharing the darkness with whoever was outside, but as I counted off the seconds Chester was gone, I heard the same chilling laughter I’d heard in the stairwell.

There was the roar of a gun, then silence. Dreadful silence. No scream to indicate he’d hit his target. Unless, of course, Chester had been the one shot. My heart iced over and tears pricked my eyes. Skeletons are fairly hard to kill, but a big enough caliber in the right place and I’d be a widow.

I wanted to run out into the night and avenge him, but I knew better. I hunkered down near the front window, hopefully far enough back that I couldn’t be seen. I could see fog had rolled in with the darkness and thought I heard shuffling coming closer, then silence. I swore I felt my heart pounding and then I nearly screamed as a scratching sound came from the window. A skull pressed itself onto the glass and I fired.

There was the sound of shattering glass and a scream, then running and thrashing fading into the distance as our attacker got away. I ran outside only to hear heavy feet pounding towards me and whirled, but it was Clarence with a shotgun. “Boss! What’s going on?”

“Vicky must have escaped. Nice of no one to notify us.” I said grimly.

Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir

Skeletons Without Halos

Looks Like Vicky won't be earning hers any time soon.
Looks Like Vicky won't be earning hers any time soon.

Generating Danger

Clarence wanted to come with me, but I shook my head. “If she got Chessie, this is not looking good. Get the wife and kids and get out of here.”

“But, Boss!” He protested, clearly hurt.

“Clarence, there’s every chance she could see them as a threat. I’d never forgive myself if anyone else got hurt. Please, get them to safety.” He nodded grimly, then was sprinting back towards his cabin.

I went back inside, deciding to risk a flashlight. If I could get the generator going, I’d have floodlights on my side, or I hoped I would. I hadn’t noticed any when we’d arrived, but there had to be some for my sake. I found a flashlight and sidled back outside, and got to the generator. I set my gun down so I could poke around. I wasn’t an expert, but from the the damage I could make out, the generator was a loss. I heard a gun click behind me and froze.

Murder On The Mind: The Jeff Resnick Mysteries

Who Is That Skeleton?

Are Nicky and Vicky alone, or are they being silently stalked by an unknown skeleton?
Are Nicky and Vicky alone, or are they being silently stalked by an unknown skeleton?

The Kiss Of Death

For a minute there was silence, then a gun poked me in the back of the head. “Start walking. Did he hurt you?”

“No. Nice of you to save me, Vicky.” I said as we started walking back out of the woods and towards the road, the fog swirling around us. The flahslight proved useless so I shut it off and we crawled along at a snail’s pace with only the moon to guide us through the foggy night. I just prayed Clarence and his family had escaped.

“I know he tricked you into marrying him. But it’s all right, I’m here now. Stop.” Vicky said and she turned me around, then was kissing me. I gave in, desperate to convince her I loved her. I intensified the kiss, trying to distract her from the figure I’d seen dart across the path behind her.

“Vicky.” I breathed. “I love you so much, Vicky.” I told her. We parted and her face was lit with happiness for about a second before a shovel caught her in the back of the neck and her head sailed past my shoulder. The rest of her collapsed and I looked at Chester in shock.

“At least she died happy.” He said cheerfully.

Always The, Always Protective

They just don't make them like Chester any more, do they?
They just don't make them like Chester any more, do they?

A Sadness Settles In

“You are one scary mob boss.” I manage as Chester bent down to pick up Vicky’s skull.

“You do realize this is what I do for a living, right?” He teased and we both laughed. “Well, we can have her buried beside Cynthia. Cynthia truly loved her, and maybe in the great beyond they can reconnect.” He handed me her skull and then propped the shovel against a tree and gently and reverently gathered up Vicky’s bones and clothes in his suit jacket.

We carried her back to the cottage, and after lighting some candles and oil lamps, gathered her bones in a blanket and wrapped her up gently. Tears pricked my eyes and Chessie rubbed my shoulders soothingly. “It’s OK to cry. You loved her in your own way. And who knows, maybe in some alternate universe you two are together and happily married.”

I turned and buried my head in his shoulder and he held me as I shook and wept. “Sorry.” I sniffled as I pulled back.

“Don’t you dare be sorry for loving her.” He said firmly. “I saw the interaction between you two. You cared about Victoria, you loved her. And that is nothing to be ashamed of.” He went on more gently. “I have some calls to make. I want to know who got her out here and how no one told us she’d escaped.”

I nodded and stared at the still, blanketed form. I had loved Vicky. I’d even thought I‘d been in love with her, but not the way she’d needed and I hoped that in the great beyond she’d find that love with Cynthia.

Her Hero

Not that Nicky will admit it. Much.
Not that Nicky will admit it. Much.

With The Dawn, Answers

A quick search the next morning proved what I’d thought of during the night. We’d brought Vicky out all by ourselves. She’d hidden in the trunk of the limo, squeezing herself under the carpeting and into the wheel well. She’d been with us the whole time and I hoped for her sake she hadn’t endured hearing Chessie and I cooing at one another. “You still want to stay?” He asked from beside me.

“Of course. I’m not giving up our honeymoon because of this. The police will be out for her and then we can get back to where we left off. Like scolding our men when they don’t listen.” I said mildly and Clarence, standing with us, hung his head.

“I’m not angry. It was brave of you and your family to want to stay and fight.” I said.

“Gee, thanks, Boss. We couldn’t just go off and abandon you. We’ll handle the police, OK?” I nodded and Chessie and I went inside.

“They’ll still want to talk to us, you know.” Chessie said as he saw to coffee. The generator had been fixed, so at least we had some comfort before the police arrived. I accepted a steaming mug, not looking forward to their visit.

“I know.” I said, but when they did question us, it was surprisingly brief. They believed us about the attack and left us to our honeymoon as they gathered evidence to support our story.

I was shaken up, I guess I’d never realized how fragile skeletons were, but at least Chester had escaped harm and for that I was truly grateful. “I was so scared I was going to loose you.” I said, going to Chessie and he took me in his arms and kissed me gently.

I closed my eyes, trying not to think about how feverishly Victoria had kissed me the night before. Chessie seemed to sense my hesitation and pulled back to touch my face gently. “It’s OK. I love you, I will never ever hurt you. Ever.”

“I know. How about when the police leave we go fishing?” I asked and he brightened.

“That, my dear, is a wonderful idea.” He said. And so we did.

Fishing For Tranquility

Chessie seemed relaxed with the excitement over and soon we both had our baited lines in the water. In a seemingly short while Chessie's bobbin disappeared and he was fighting something powerful.

I put down my pole and got the net as he struggled with his catch, whistling as a mighty trout leapt out of the water. Chessie steadily reeled him in and the fish was furious at being caught. Chessie unhooked him and the fish snapped at him in utter defiance. “He’s got spunk.” Chessie said.

“He does.” I said. And without another word we set the magnificent fish free. He was off like a shot, clearly none the worse for wear. “Well, we still have the gift basket. Think I saw smoked salmon in it.” I said brightly and Chessie grinned in reply.

“Now you’re speaking my language.” He agreed, then was escorting me back to the cottage. Chessie stopped me at the door, then leaned in to kiss me gently. “Thanks for coming out for me last night.” He said softly. “Never thought I’d have someone love me that much. Thank you.” I kissed him in reply then we headed in for our supper, content just to be together.

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That Was Some Wedding Night!

Well, there you have it! Hopefully you’ve enjoyed the series so far. If you have any questions or comments, or even suggestions for the story, please leave them below.

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