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Skeletons Without Halos 7

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.

Welcome to the latest thrilling chapter of "Skeletons Without Halos"! Things are heating up as the line between good and bad starts to blur. Who can Nicky trust, if anyone? And who is behind the escalating violence in town? Has Chester finally decided to rule everything or is Cynthia pulling the strings?

Worse still, what kind of land of the dead is she undead in when she can’t trust her own partner? If you’ve missed any of the thrilling chapters the complete chapter list follows tonight’s tale of mystery and mayhem. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the comments section below or by voting.

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 is to enhance your reading experience 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

His Gal Friday

“You want a war?” I asked and he looked at me from under the brim of his hat.

“Maybe.” He teased. “You know me better, Nicky. But I’m going to need eyes and ears I can trust. I need you to keep an eye on Victoria and her honey bunny.”

“You think she’s in on it?”

“Never trust a dame.”

“Thanks, Chester. Thanks a lot.” I said dryly and he grinned. I left him there, feeling three kinds of stupid. Chester always did this. Turned me from a private eye into his little errand girl and darn if I didn’t hop to every time. It was sickening is what it was.

Skeletons Without Halos

But who needs halos when you dwell in the land of the dead?
But who needs halos when you dwell in the land of the dead?

To Ice A Detective

I made the hospital in good time, finding Vicky at Cynthia’s bedside. It was clear they were meant for one another and I envied them that. Chester was just stringing me along until he got bored of me. I knocked softly on the doorframe before entering and the couple looked at me.

“Thanks for protecting Victoria, Nicky. I owe you.” Cynthia managed. “I guess the weasel you work for wants to know if I did it myself?”

“The detective I used to be wants to know.” I said and she smiled faintly.

“You’re on the side of the angels, Nicky.” She said. “If you were a dirty cop you wouldn’t care what any of us did to one another, so long as the boss you worked for was safe. And no, I’m not insane and I’d never endanger Victoria.”

“I know. I also know he’s currently unhappy.” I said and she nodded.

“He is?” Vicky asked. “Are you sure?”

“Had Chester done it the whole house would have went up.” I said and it was true. More or less.

“I can see his appeal.” Vicky said dryly but Cynthia looked thoughtful.

“Gang war?” She asked.

“I imagine.” I said, and something was troubling me, though as I left the pair in peace after a few more words it wouldn’t come to me. Something about Chester though. Something about the whole business of him missing when he’d tried to shoot us, and all the near misses I’d had lately.

I wondered briefly if the lunatic wasn’t behind the window after all as he seemed to have a fine disregard for my safety.

But what could I have done about it? The cops were dirty, Vicky was in Cynthia’s pocket unless she deserved an academy award, and Chester hadn’t done his wining and dining bit on me, meaning he wasn’t actually interested.

I thought back as I saw to coffee at home about what Reba had said about him having me bumped off to bring me over. If that was so and not a line Chester fed her he wanted me there. But why?

Boss of Bosses

Chester's halo would be a bit bent, and cocked at a rakish angel.
Chester's halo would be a bit bent, and cocked at a rakish angel.

The Lonely Detective

I didn’t hear Vicky come in but the next morning she had laid out breakfast for me and left a note saying she’d be at the hospital all day. I frowned. We were partners and I should have put in a token appearance at least. I knew not to go back to Chester with nothing either way and wondered if the chief could help. “Nope,” I told myself out loud. “As Chester obviously walked he likely works for him too.”

Great, keeping talking to yourself, go more crazy. I thought. Then I went crazy and got a cab to the café. Reba didn’t see surprised to see me, and when she poured my coffee she slipped me another note. I knew she could be setting me up so I was careful not to read it until I’d meandered through town and back home.

I looked at it in my room and frowned. “Who profits if the bosses fall?” it read. I looked at it again and thought about it. The citizens obviously as there would be actual law and order, but that was too easy. There wasn’t a bumper crop of clean cops and if the bosses fell even worse could take their place.

“Maybe someone wants to be a hero.” I said to myself. And it suddenly all made sense. Why the bosses ran the town without police interference. They cops weren’t all crooked, they were keeping them busy so they didn’t see what was really going on. And if the mobs feared an influx of the living- “Oh, no, Chester!” I breathed.

Alas, Poor Chester

On The Case

I made his office in record time but was too late. The place was in shambles and his guards were out cold. Chester himself was missing and there wasn’t so much as a ransom note. With no time to spare and feeling panic start to rise in me, I ran into the street and jumped in front of a startled hack. “Hospital! And step on it!" I barked as I got in and he drove so fast the cab left the ground at times and a C-note made him willing to wait in the alleyway behind the hospital, no questions asked.

I tore out of the cab and flew into the hospital, taking the back stairs two at a time, praying I wasn’t too late. I hit Cynthhia‘s closed door with enough force to have knocked out anyone on the other side. “Out the back way, now!” I growled as I hauled Cynthia out of bed, shoving her dress in her bony hands.

“What?” She asked. “How dare you-”

“You want to end up as bone meal? No? Then get moving. Amscray!” I hustled both her and Vicky to the stairwell when the coast was clear, keeping my gun drawn as we ran down the stairs. We made it into the alley behind the hospital, Cynthia wheezing in pain and holding onto Vicky to stand upright.

And as cruel as it felt I pushed them forward and around the corner and into the waiting cab that sped off just as an explosion rocked through the city. “What’s going on?” Vicky asked in alarm.

“It ever occur to you that the bosses in the land of the living might want all the turf for themselves? It’s ready made for them stash black markets goods and to hide out in if all the citizens conveniently die first. ” I said and she could only stare at me in horror as police and ambulance sirens began to wail.

Who is behind it all?

Well, whodunit?

See results

Talk About Your Explosive Endings

Boom! I’ll be hiding under my bed for a while after that chapter! But it looks like the living bosses are getting a bit too greedy. Can those in the land of the dead hold them off or will all the skeletal citizens get eviction notices? And what about Chester? Is our lovable hood on ice?

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