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Skeletons Without Halos 8

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.

Skeletons, Halos Optional

Welcome back to our continuing tale of mayhem and mystery. In our last chapter Nicky got drafted by Chester to be his eyes and ears in the underworld. But does the boss who seems to know about events before they happen need the help, or is he setting Nicky up to fall?

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 to enhance your reading of tonight's little tale. If you own the copyright and want additional credit and links or the video removed, please let me know.

Missed a chapter? You’ll find links to the entire story below, my way of saying thanks to my loyal readers. You’ll also get a chance to sound off in a poll and comments. Now on with our show!

Your Music For Tonight's Tale of Mystery and Mayhem

Cause For Alarm!

She's Not Going To Be A Sob Sister

I had no idea where we could go next, but Cynthia has a spot in the city, underneath one of the older buildings. She instructed the driver to pull into the underground garage connected to her hideout and we were greeted by armed guards who invited him to stay as her guest at gunpoint. The cabbie nodded and went along quietly enough.

“Won’t someone notice him missing? A wife or kids?” I asked after we’d gotten settled and I’d shared my theory. Cynthia gave me a pitying look.

“Did you forget what town you are in? Skeletons go missing every day and are never found.” She said. She’d dressed, though she was still steamed at me for barking orders at her and missed her hat and boots but I didn’t care and she knew it. “What made you save me?” She asked and it was my turn to give her a pitying look.

“All citizens have the same rights, Cynthia. Even the bosses.” From her glare I got the idea I shouldn’t ever call her Cynthia again, but she let it slide. “That and I was too late to save Chester. At least I could save one of you.” I said then walked off to my small room.

There was a knock as I got settled in with a cheap novel. “Yeah?” I asked. “It’s open.” I said and then the door opened and Vicky came in.

“How are you holding up?” She asked.

I shook my head, fighting my sudden tears back. “I’m fine. I’m being selfish, but I’m fine.”

“It’s not selfish to miss the man you love.” She said gently.

“We may be overrun by the living and I’m worried about a cheap hood who never cared for me.” I laughed sadly through my tears. I calmed myself down, vowing to not fall apart like some sob sister and followed her out to meet with Cynthia who was discretely contacting the other bosses for a meeting.

Cynthia gave me a troubled look. “You all right?”

“Fine.” I lied and she nodded her approval. I had to stay tough until the war with the living bosses was over and then I could have myself a nice long cry.

Skeletons Without Halos

Cynthia sure doesn't have one.
Cynthia sure doesn't have one.

Not A Scout Troop Meeting

The bosses had Vicky and I sit in on the meeting, most of them interested in how I’d figured out the living were muscling in on their turf. “It’s the chief. I know what he looks like, but I’d swear he’s flesh and blood. He grabs at places in pain he ought not to be grabbing at, and he gets migraines, just like anyone who got the operations would.”

Vicky nodded. “The operation to hide out there and then to change back was terrible, worst cranium ache ever.”

One of the bosses, a smaller skeleton I’d never met looked unconvinced. “And how do we know you ain’t in on it, Fleshy? Maybe you were iced to be the perfect eyes and ears for the living.” He reached inside his suit but the was a loud bang and everyone jumped and turned their attention to Cynthia.

“She works for me now. You hurt any of my women and I’ll turn you into bone meal, Dicey.”

The bosses all cringed and Dicey nodded his apology. “I was only foolin’.” He tried and she cocked the hammer back.

Vicky cleared her throat and Cynthia reluctantly put her heater away. “Any word on Chester?” Vicky asked and no one knew anything. Which was odd given that we were with the powers that be. “Anything?” She asked and a towering skeleton in a red zoot suit and hat took a drag on his cigarette before answering.

“Chief’s got him.” He confirmed. “Made us all antsy, thinking maybe he arranged his own capture.” He looked at me for several long beats then smiled. “But I can smell a good cop from a mile away. She wouldn’t be here if she thought he was the brains behind all of this.”

“I think it’s the Chief. Or he’s the man here to set it up. But we’re all set to be iced. They won’t settle for sharing the turf, they’ll want it all. I’ve got a plan, but I don’t think Vicky’s going to like it. If you all trust me, I’ll make some calls. I can do it here in front of you if you like.”

Cynthia, now the acting boss gave the go ahead and I dug out my mobile. It took a while for my man to answer but eventually I heard his wheezing voice on the line. “Yeah, what do you want now?”

“Activate the boxes.”

“Are you crazy, Nicky? I do that and the only cop I ever liked is history. Ain’t gonna do it.”

“We’ve been overrun by the living and the best way to take them out is to get them all at once. Activate the boxes and bring me the control, Max. We’re throwing a party and the pinatas are going to break open all at once.”

I hung up and the bosses were all staring at me quietly. “I push that button and everything flesh and blood goes away for good.”

“That includes you. I won’t let you do it.” Vicky protested and I shook my head.

“What kind of unlife would I have here, Vicky? I’m the last good girl standing. Besides, I hear the great beyond is lovely this time of year.” And with that I left them to ponder the little black boxes that had been popping up all over town.

Great Guy

Gone, But Not Forgotten

Poor Chester. I actually liked the mug.
Poor Chester. I actually liked the mug.

To Catch A Chief

I called the Chief next. “I think you’ve got something of mine.” I said and he laughed.

“Yeah, I do. And if you are a smart girl you’ll walk away.”

“I’ve never been known for my smarts. What do you want?”

There was a long pause. “Don’t be stupid, Nicky, walk away.”

“Tell your bosses I want him back. Tonight. Meet me with him at midnight.” I said and hung up, knowing he’d take the bait.

Still On Vicky's Mind

And rightly so. Our Chester is unforgettable.
And rightly so. Our Chester is unforgettable.

Go Walking At Midnight

That midnight I went alone and met the Chief outside of the police station. The wet streets reflected the neon lights of the city and it would have been pretty had Chester not been bound to a chair that was suspended off a streetlight above a vat of what looked like acid. The Chief had his hand on the rope that had been tied off and was clearly ready to drop him.

“Walk away, Nicky! This is your final warning! I’ve got no desire to harm another living soul.” The Chief barked as I walked calmly towards him, taking slow, steady breaths. “You hear me? One step closer and your boyfriend takes an acid bath.” I stopped and looked at Chester.

His suit was torn and he looked worse for wear. “Been painting the town, have we? I asked then shook my head in mock sadness. “Always knew you were stepping out on me.”

“Actually been working up the courage to make an honest woman out of you.” He said and my heart melted.

He would propose right before I die. I thought.

“I’d like that.” I said. “I sincerely would. But aren’t boxes usually involved in proposals?” I slipped the box out on my trench coat pocket, and showed the button to both men. “There are lots of pretty boxes around town. Once I push this the problem of the living posing as skeletons goes away. Everything flesh and blood, disguised or not is history.”

The Chief looked at me. “You’re one of us, don’t do anything stupid.” He said and I grinned at him.

“Wrong. I was always out of breath in your office because old habits die hard and I was always in a rush to get there. I’ve been breathing this whole time just to buy time.” I said as a dull hum started to fill the air. “There we go. I press this button and everything flesh and blood, whether it’s hiding as a skeleton or not, goes.”

“That means you too.” The Chief said and took a step closer but I shook my head. A car tore around the corner and Cynthia and Vicky got out and ran towards us.

“Nicky, no!” Vicky yelled but I kept my gaze on the Chief who was trying to edge towards me.

“Wise woman once told me I was one the side of the angels, about time I meet them.” I put my thumb on the button and he froze. “And a wise man once said something you should have known. Never trust a dame.” I said with a grin, then pressed the button.

Is It Curtains For Nicky?

You heard the lady, seems like there was no way out for her this time.

See results

Goodbye, Nicky

I actually liked our Nicky, nice girl and a good cop after all. But pressing that button seems to be pretty much it.

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