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Skeletons Without Halos 2

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.

Is It Curtains For Them Both?

Welcome to the continuing adventures of our lady detectives Victoria Palatine, otherwise known as Vicky, and her beautiful partner Nicky, who became fish food with cement overshoes and ended up in the land of the dead. Only there’s a problem, being the only flesh and blood citizen has made her a target. A living target or an undead one, she’s not too keen to find out which and trying to avoid the deadly solutions on hand.

In our last tale we met the pair, and if you didn’t read it, you can find it here. And now the gals are in real hot water or should we say lead? Read on to find out what happens to the sleuths and if they can survive their predicament, or will it be curtains for them both?

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

Your Music For This Evening's Tale Of Mystery and Mayhem

Lead Showers

A bullet whizzed by and I ducked back into the alley in time to watch fragments of brick explode from the old building. “What’s he packing, a howitzer?” I yelled to Victoria who was desperately struggling with her purse so she could return fire. But the catch stayed willfully closed as a barrage of hot lead started to rain down on us and I regretted forgetting my own heater at home. I drug her further into the alley and saw it was a dead end.

“Great.” I said then mumbled a curse as the shooting stopped. Whoever it was out there had us trapped and he knew it. Sure enough, he stepped into the entrance of the alley, and I could make out the distinctive outline of a tommy gun dangling casually in one hand. The cigar clenched in his skeletal jaws flared and as he stepped into the alley I could make out the distinctive pinstripe suit and fedora the mobster wore.

“Why don’t you step away, Victoria?” He asked quietly as he took his cigar from his jaws. “I ain’t here for you, dollface. Just for the live one.” He tilted his head at me.

“Why?” She asked boldly and he took another drag on his cigar before answering.

“There are parties who feel it is unnatural to have a flesh and blood among us. What if the rest of them hear about it and start getting bright ideas? What if they start coming here and taking over?” He put the cigar back in his mouth and raised his tommy gun. He jerked his head to the side giving Victoria free passage and she went quietly enough.

But as she passed she accidentally bumped him with her bag and I fought down a hopeful smile. “Hey, you, with the gun!” I said and he swiveled his skull to me, just the chance Victoria needed to drop him with a smart chop to the back of the spinal column.

I whistled my appreciation and then got the honors of cuffing him. “Who is this mug?” I asked and she shrugged.

“That I do not know, Nicky. But if the mobs are calling in muscle this is getting serious.”

“But I’m already dead! I just have no desire to test out that theory.” I said as we hauled him to the Jag and stuffed him in the trunk. He roused slightly and glared at me.

“Don’t get any bright ideas or I’m sending you back to your boss in pieces.” I growled, and grabbed the tire iron for good measure. He glared at me defiantly.

“You just try it, you ugly broad and I’ll-” Wham! Victoria hit him with a haymaker that dropped him again. I shook my head and smiled in admiration as she slammed the trunk on him.

“No one talks to my partner like that.” She said, clearly pleased with herself. “Let’s drop him off to cool his heels and then we can stop for breakfast.” I nodded. It had been the second false alarm we’d gotten, this time a call directly from the Chief. Either he was dirty or we had a big operation after me.

Skeletons Without Halos

Is the Chief dirty?
Is the Chief dirty?

Partners For Unlife

I looked at Vicky as she drove. Always the elegant Victorian lady detective, I still wasn’t sure why she’d chosen me. She liked tea parties and although I didn’t drink any more than she did I knew my way around the seedier parts of the city.

“You know...” I began but she stopped me with a glare.

“If the situation were reversed would you leave me to my fate?” She asked and I shook my head.

“Then that’s all I’ll hear of it.”

“But I’m putting you in danger, and the Chief-”

“Can go hang himself.” She said. “From here on out we are independent of the force. It’s clear they don’t care one way or another about either of us.” She said and I grinned at her.

“Welcome to the wonderful world of privates eyes, Dollface.” I sassed and she swatted me a good one.

Temptation Edges Closer

Who is our mystery skeleton?
Who is our mystery skeleton?

Footloose And Fancy Free

We’d dropped our bad guy off still woozy and turned in our resignations. The Chief nodded in a way that made me think it was a good move and he knew more than he was letting on. “Well, what are you waiting for? Get lost.” He growled and we left, both of us bubbling with excitement as he’d given us the best lead he could.

“Well, we know now the police are compromised.” Victoria said cheerfully as we drove to the café she liked. “And we know the chief has done all he can for us. I wonder what they have on him to make him hop to?” She mused.

“Maybe nothing, maybe they threatened his family.” I said and she’d nodded. I’d been under the mistaken impression the dead couldn’t die, but the skeletons feared being destroyed, and I guessed it made sense. Dead or not, it would be a horrible way to spend eternity.

Vicky agreed with me as we sat down to breakfast and I caught her longing look at the doughnuts on the counter. At my nod that’s what she ordered, then she went on when the waitress had walked away. “Being turned into bone meal, burnt, there are ways to take a skeleton out for good.”

“Then what happens?” I asked and she shrugged.

“I’m not sure. We go somewhere, just as we came here, but it isn’t a place anyone’s ever come back from. How many skeletons have you seen walking around the world of the living?” She asked.

The waitress pouring our coffee and setting out our doughnuts snapped her gum and answered for me. “Sure we can go back and the great beyond ain’t nothing, I’ve been there twice myself.” I looked at her nametag.

“Really, Reba? What’s it like since that seems to be my final destination.” She chuckled and put her hand on my shoulder.

“You ain’t got no heartbeat and I’ve noticed you only breathe when you remember to, like the rest of us.” She said and I had to admit she was right. My heart didn’t beat and my blood didn’t flow, yet I healed from any injuries I got just fine.

“We can go back if we know the right people.” She said, slipping a torn piece of paper with a phone number on the table. “And we can go beyond and back again too.” She gave us a wink and sashayed off and I wondered just how big the case was getting.

Just Another Hitman?

Just a mug, or something more?
Just a mug, or something more?

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Well, Vicky and Nicky almost got iced and sent to the great beyond. Are all the cops dirty? Why is the mob so afraid of a takeover by the living? And can our sleuths make it as private eyes? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out more.

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