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Skeletons Without Halos 6

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 Romance In The Air?

Welcome to the latest chapter of our story! Things certainly seem to be getting complicated. Is Chester in love with Nicky or is he stringing her along before getting rid of her? It certainly seems strange for him to just let her walk away, or has he?

And what about Vicky and her unknown old flame? Is she going to leave Nicky for her former lover or will the partnership survive in the blossoming underworld of the land of the dead? You’ll have to read on to find out!

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 provided 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 Tonight's Tale Of Mystery and Mayhem

“You’re in love with him!” Vicky teased as we got back in the Jag. “The look on your face! You love him!” She laughed as she drove and I didn’t see how it was funny. Victoria clucked sympathetically. “Don’t worry, if you want to go off sparking with your fellah I imagine you will.”

“And you, this mystery lady of yours?” I asked and she shrugged slightly. “You know we can’t trust Reba, either, right?”

“But she told us-”

“What Chester wanted her to. He was so paranoid he used to do these loyalty tests to people. If they passed he was very kind to them.”

“And if they failed?”

“They were never seen again. All right, let’s say your girl is back, where would she be?”

“She gave me an address.” Victoria admitted.

“Oh ho, she did, did she?” It was my turn to laugh. “You want to go alone?” I asked more gently and she shook her head.

“I want my partner there with me. I still don’t like this, Nicky. As strange as it sounds Charles seems to be the only one we can trust.”

“You think she’s playing him for a patsy?”

“Maybe. There’s something I didn’t tell you about her.” Vicky said as we pulled into a circular drive and up to a mansion. “Cynthia ran a criminal ring back in our time. I just always neglected to capture her.”

“So I see.” I said as we got out, wondering what else I didn’t know about my partner and if my lack of knowledge was about to prove deadly.

Skeletons Without Halos

Will Nicky loose her head over Vicky?
Will Nicky loose her head over Vicky?

Tea And Cyanide

Two armed skeletons in smart dresses and hats escorted us to Cynthia’s office which was a showcase of Victorian opulence. The tall skeleton, dressed much like Victoria stood and greeted us warmly. “Victoria! You’ve come back, and you've brought a guest.” I didn’t object as she came around her desk to embrace Victoria, kissing her teeth to teeth.

I looked away to give them privacy and caught one of the armed guards smirking at me. The kiss seemed to be going on longer than was strictly necessary and I started to get uncomfortable. I pulled at my collar, wishing my fedora hadn’t been ruined. And of course the idea of the ruined fedora only made me more uneasy. What if Vicky had brought me there to make me disappear for good?

Cynthia cleared her throat then walked over to me. “You must be the new partner. Enchanté.” She held out her hand for me to kiss and I did so, wondering what was going on. Cynthia clearly liked seeing people squirm and I didn’t miss the smug look on her face as she went back behind her desk. “Tea?” She offered and I nodded politely.

“That would be lovely, thank you.” I managed as a cart was rolled in with the works. Tea sandwiches and other dainties along with a teapot and cups. I restrained my whistle of appreciation and nodded. If Cynthia was trying to impress me, it was working. Of course, I noted that there was enough for three and unless her staff worked miracles, we had been expected. I wondered for a paranoid moment if Chester had tired of me and thrown me to the wolves.

“Victoria so loves her tea, don’t you darling?” Cynthia said, drawing my attention back to her and Vicky. Vicky for her part looked downright besotted.

So much for loyalty. I thought. When we’d all been served by the maid I wondered if the food had been poisoned but knew we couldn’t refuse. I reckoned if she’d wanted us dead Cynthia was the type of woman who would have had it done with minimum fuss. Putting on a big show was more Chester’s speed, I reflected.

You Can't Keep A Dead Mobster Down

Chester seems one step ahead of everyone else, doesn't he?
Chester seems one step ahead of everyone else, doesn't he?

It's Curtains For Who?

Of course as she’d hardly been hiding I knew Chester knew exactly where we were. And I also knew to play nice until I figured out all the angles. Either Chester was Cynthia’s boss or the two ran different areas, but it was clear he didn’t see her as threatening his business. People who threatened his business tended to end up as horrific examples to those remaining in his good graces.

My gaze went to the large floor to ceiling windows behind Cynthia’s desk. They were ornate and covered with heavy red velvet curtains that were parted to let just enough light in. There was a faint sound from one of the windows like a stone hitting glass and I frowned.

The lovebirds, busy with tea and feeding one another hadn’t noticed it and when I looked at the guards they looked impassive. It came again and I knew enough to not rise to investigate even though it reminded me of something. Hail maybe? I watched the window I thought the sound had come from but although the day had turned stormy the sky was clear. Then it came again and it I realized it wasn’t tapping but cracking.

“Get down!” I roared and the canoodling pair just stared at me as I dove in front of Cynthia’s desk. All the massive floor to ceiling windows behind her desk exploded inwards, and I barely drug a terrified Vicky out of her chair in time. I held her, sheltering her with my body and figuring Cynthia could take care of herself.

Glass rained down around us and I knew from the force of the explosion it hadn’t been a mistake. I watched a huge shard of glass impale itself in the chair where Vicky had sat moments earlier and mine was obliterated as part of a window frame took it out. There was screaming and panic, but I drew my gun as I held Vicky tightly, terrified I’d loose her if she moved.

The guards, recovering from their shock, rushed forward to help their boss and as we rose we saw Cynthia slumped froward, with a huge shard of glass sticking out of her back. I expected her to be just fine, she was a skeleton after all. But she didn’t move. “Call an ambulance.” Vicky managed, then slumped into my arms.

Is Chester Behind Everything?

Oh, Chester. What to do with you?
Oh, Chester. What to do with you?

When Good Detectives Go Bad

The ambulance was called and Cynthia was carted away, barely hanging on to death or whatever skeletons considered it. We were at the crime scene so naturally we did what investigation we could, finding that the windows had been set up with a small device. I frowned as I held the ruined bit of plastic in a gloved hand. “Why this? Why now?” I asked and Vicky looked at me helplessly. “Vicky, think. Why just the windows? If you are going to breach a boss’s defenses wouldn’t you plant a charge powerful enough to do the job right?” I asked and she seemed to come to life.

“You would.” She said with a firm nod. “You wouldn’t expect a second chance, not with Cynthia.” We fell silent and withdrew as the police arrived. That might sound paranoid but we’d both figured out real quick that with so many bosses in town it was hard to know who worked for whom.

We agreed to split up and Vicky went to the hospital and I went back to Chester’s office. He smiled at me as I came in. “As many lives as a cat.” He said, then turned serious as he rose to embrace me. Chester kissed me reassuringly and I was happy for it. The explosion had rattled me good. “What did I say about being careful?” He murmured as he pulled back to look at me, concern on his skeletal features.

“If you and the other bosses have a war going on, I’d have liked to known about it.” I said. Chester looked like I’d hit him.

“Is that what you think?” He asked, letting me go to return to his desk “Am I your prime suspect now?”

“No, but you knew about Cynthia?” I asked and he nodded. “And you sent us to her because?”

“Goodwill gesture. And I want her to think she’s more powerful than she is. Whoever set off that explosion is interfering in my plans and I want them stopped.”

“That might not be easy. We have no idea who to trust at this point. For all we know Cynthia set off the explosion herself.” I said and Chester stopped rummaging around in his desk for a cigar and looked at me.

“Say that again?”

“She could have faked an attack by another boss. Someone that powerful having her windows blasted out? I’m not buying it.” I admitted and he nodded.

“It is possible, of course.” Chester murmured, putting his feet up on his desk, the cigar clearly forgotten. “It is also possible another boss took a swipe at her to see what response they’d get.” Chester looked dreamy and I knew from his expression the violence was only getting started.

Detective or patsy?

Is Nicky still a good detective or in Chester's pocket?

See results

The End Of The Partnership?

Wow, now there is going to be war in the streets? And are both our lady sleuths retiring? What’s the good of being a detective, after all, in a world where crime bosses own everything? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!

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