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Skeletons Without Halos 3

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.

Bullets And Being Dead

Welcome back to the thrilling adventures of Nicky and Vicky. A lot has happened to the ladies in the past two chapters, what with them becoming partners, and stumbling onto a lead that could change the land of the dead for good. And what about our Nicky? Is she dead, undead? No one seems to know for sure but someone seems intent of sending her six feet under. Again.

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

Your Music For This Evening's Tale

Snuggled Up With The Enemy

I was nestled safely in Vicky’s lap and felt her skeletal arms go around me from behind hugging me into her ribs. I giggled and blushed and she clasped me tighter. “Aw, Vicky, I never knew you felt this way.” I said and she squeezed tighter in response. So tight I could hardly draw a breath. Then everything was blackness and I was swimming up through it to come to tied in a chair.

That explained the dream I reckoned but I couldn’t remember getting there and my head was blazing like I’d been hit with a sap. Sure enough, the skeleton who’d been using us for target practice not so long ago came into view, thumping a leather sap in his gloved hand. “Remember telling me you’d send me back to my boss in pieces?” He asked, his voice conversational-like. “Well, you ain’t got no boss, so maybe I’ll just ship your pieces back to the land of the living where you belong.”

“I’m not alive!” I growled. “And where’s Vicky?” I asked.

“Your sweetie’s right behind you and what do you mean not alive, you got a pulse, don’t you?” He asked coming closer. I resisted the temptation to bite him then watched puzzlement as he felt my neck and got no pulse. “Pardon my reach.” He murmured and let his hand drift down to my chest. Still nothing. “Well, if that don’t beat all.” He murmured. “You have my distinct apologies. You’re one of us, after all.”

I wanted to tell him there was no way I was anything like him, but he seemed to be getting warm towards me. “Vicky?” I asked again.

“Behind you.” I heard her voice faintly. “I could have told you she wasn’t alive. I’d hoped she was. I didn’t want to believe how she came here.”

“How?” Our captor asked, then set about freeing us. “Name’s Chester, by the way, and again, you have my most profuse apologies.” He said.

“Cement overshoes.” Vicky and I said at the same time and he winced in sympathy.

“No fooling? Same way I got put on ice.” He smiled at me fondly. “Now you ladies are obviously free to object, but I could use some partners to figure out who has been feeding me the bad information.”

I exchanged glances with Victoria who nodded. “Agreed. What changed your mind, Chester?”

Chester took a cigar out of his suit coat pocket, clipped and lit it, then took a big drag before replying. “I’m the boss. And when my employees feed me bad information, I like to find out why.”

Skeletons Without Halos

In the land of the dead, few skeletons wear halos.
In the land of the dead, few skeletons wear halos.

A Boss With A Heart Of Gold

From then on we were under Chester’s protection and it turned out he was the boss of bosses, and oddly enough, Reba had given us his number. He kept an eye on the ways in and out of many lands and he hadn’t liked the idea of a new boss moving in and making the move possible without giving him a cut of the profits.

“You know how sometime’s a guy just vanishes?” He asked as we walked into his opulent office and I nodded. “Often, to be fair, he met with an unfortunate fate. But sometimes, if the price is right, he comes here, all in one piece.” He offered us coffee and we accepted. “Now that, you see, is my territory.”

“Like the police?” Vicky asked and Chester nodded.

“Right you are, my dove. But it isn’t all bad. You’ll notice crime in my turf runs to petty things, pilfering and the like. I don’t like it when skeletons start bumping one another off. It hurts my businesses.”

That’s when it hit me. I was looking at Chester “Big Mouth” Norton. Once the most powerful bosses of my time he’d mouthed off once too often, feeling above the law and the other bosses had thrown him a swimming party late one night. “That’s right, that’s right.” He nodded proudly.

“So, how can we help?” Victoria asked. “It isn’t as if the criminal element will speak to us.”

“They will to her.” He nodded towards me. “One of the more exotic fruits we bring over is, well, you know.”

“Companions for the gentlemen?” I asked and he nodded. And I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like the next part of his plan one bit.

Chester Revealed

So he's the one behind all this? Well, he's still a handsome mug.
So he's the one behind all this? Well, he's still a handsome mug.

Singing Like A Bird

I liked it even less when I looked at myself in the mirror backstage at a night club. I just had to sing a few songs and mingle, seeing what I could find out and my own mother wouldn’t have recognized me at that point. “I look like a cheap broad.” I sighed.

“That’s the point.” Vicky said. “Don’t worry, I’ll be in the club, mingling. What could possibly go wrong?”

Plenty. I thought.

The Criminal Revealed

And what a criminal he is.
And what a criminal he is.

Lights Out

And it did, right out of the gate. I hadn’t even started my first number when the spotlight blinded me, forcing me to take several steps back, right into an open trap door, and although I wheeled my arms frantically I fell through screaming bloody murder to land hard on what felt like a mattress.

I tried to rise and felt a powerful sock in my jaw and the lights went out.

She's Not Bad, Just Written That Way

I came to gradually, wishing people would stop hitting me. I wasn’t tied to a chair at least, but the room I was in was black and despite what you the living think I couldn’t see jack over squat. I stayed silent, intent on waiting out my captor. Or that was my plan. I felt a gloved hand caress my hair and let out an involuntary shriek as I jumped to my feet and twisted around to face my captor.

I heard an oily chuckle and froze. I knew that voice and couldn’t place it. “Been a long time, Nicky. And you seem to have more lives than a cat.” He said and I felt his gloved hands on my shoulders.

How is this guy moving this fast? I wondered.

“Yeah, well, you know me. Fast on my feet.” I said and I heard that laughter again that made my insides tie up in knots.

“Yeah, real fast. You couldn’t walk away from me fast enough, could you?” He asked, his voice going bitter and I felt my stomach drop. “I loved you and you threw it back in my face!” He roared and I didn’t dare move.

It figures my crazy exlover would die and find me, I thought. It figures.

“So, it’s been you all along?” I asked playing for time.

“Yeah, yeah, like you’d care.” His voice was hurt and in spite of myself my heart broke.

“We were good together, weren’t we?” I asked and his laughter came again, but softer this time.

“We were. And you promised me forever and then you walked away. You said you loved me.”

“I did. I couldn’t go on the way we were. You know how it would have ended. We can’t help coming from different worlds.” I winced at the words, they sounded like a cheap radio melodrama, but they did the trick.

“You think so? You think I wouldn’t have given up everything for you, Nicky? Walked away from a life of crime? Do you know how hard it’s been seeing you, being so close to you and not touching you?” He asked. Then Chester had me in his arms and was kissing me teeth to lips and I gave into that kiss.

Liking Our Star Crossed Lovers?

Well, that was a surprise to me as well, but what do you think?

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