Gothic 25: Presence

Model, Woman, Shadows, Model, Model

He thought he saw her upon the stair

But when he looked back she wasn’t there

“An illusion,” he thought, “A trick of the light”

After all it was at night

But the next day – in the rear view mirror

“Was that her again?” getting nearer

How could it be – that there was this presence?

He had been so careful

To hide the evidence

He headed back to where the body lay

The grave was untouched covered in clay

But the visions continued

She appeared repeatedly

He had to to know – had to go and see

So with shovel in hand

He turned the soil

The smell alone made him recoil

But the evidence was clear,

His guilt to attest

Just as the police arrived

And made the arrest


That Case (Part 2)

Noir, Evidence, Murder, Offense, Investigation, Police

Виктория Бородинова at Pixabay

“Okay, I know you must have seen the file,” Detective Kowalsky said, “or you wouldn’t be here.”

“Yes, but is there anything you didn’t write?  Any details that you left out, or that seemed out of place, or suspicions you couldn’t substantiate?” Bridges asked.

“More that you want to know,” the old policeman responded followed by a subdued snort.

“Is there something funny?” Bridges asked.

“Not haha funny,” Kowalsky said.

“Come on Curt, what aren’t you telling me?”

“Okay, I’ll take it back to the beginning,” Kowalsky said.

Detective Lieutenant Bridges took out his iPhone and began recording as the old man cleared his throat and sat back on his bed.

“We got a call of a suspected homicide at the old Buttons Bar.  By the time I got there the forensics boys had already tagged everything.  Katherine “Kate” Delano, aged thirty-four was there on the floor.  Her eyes still staring.  Looked like she had tried to phone someone, though no number had been dialed.  She also had a fully loaded pistol.”

“Yeah, I knew about the phone and the gun.  Could someone have phoned her?” Bridges asked.

“Phone company said there were no calls in or out that whole weekend,” Kowalsky replied.  “Her prints were on the receiver though, and on the gun.  On the silencer too, for that matter.”

“Silencer?” Bridges questioned.

“I thought you would have noticed it in the photos. Our Ms. Delano was anything but ‘sugar and spice.’  I still have never worked out why she didn’t shoot or if she just didn’t see it coming.  She was known to be crack shot, and not just on the range – though we were never able to pin anything on her.”

“Snuck up on from behind?” Bridges suggested.

“Doesn’t fit the crime scene, she was aiming at something,” the older cop replied.

“So assailant was known to her?”

“It’s possible, but she didn’t seem to be the trusting type,” Kowalsky observed.  “Whatever the case though, there wasn’t a mark on her body.  Not so much as a print or stray hair.  But she was dead enough.  Coroner said it was like she was frozen to death, but not hypothermia.  Her heart was frozen.  Not a heart-attack – her damn heart was like a block of ice.”

“That’s what I found concerning and it’s why I’ve come to see you.  I’ve got a new ‘unexplained’ in the same neighbourhood, same cause of death, and twenty-five years and just two buildings separating the cases.”


(to be continued)




Sunday Writing Prompt – Choosing your Context: Concerning

Number Six


Google images

It was another drizzly grey morning in London.  To make matters worse Detective Inspector Manning was still suffering the effects of a hangover.

As he approached the police tape which cordoned off the alleyway, he was met by his sergeant, Tina Long.

“What do we have, Long?” he asked as she lifted the tape for him.

“It’s a female, and it’s the same m.o., her arms have been removed at the shoulders.  Morning shift at the cafe found her in the skip.”

“Have the techies found anything?”

“Not yet, Sir. They’re just getting started,” Sergeant Long replied.

Manning looked-on as the forensic team in their protective suits investigated the alley.  If this was the same perpetrator that would make six.  This was the first victim to be found south of the river, however, and he was hoping he didn’t have a copycat on his hands.

All of the victims were nearly identical.  They were tall – at just about six feet in height, and the first five all measured 34- 24- 34.  This perp definitely had a type.

“Inspector Manning,” one of the Forensics Squad called.

Manning made his way to the masked investigator.

“It’s just like the others,” the technician reported.  “Both arms and the cranial micro chips have been removed.”

“Damn,” said the DI.

He longed for the days when being on the cyber crime squad meant dealing with computer fraud.  Nothing had prepared him for some sicko murdering Androids.




Photo Challenge #305

Company Discipline

Black Cinema, Suspense, Man, Knight, Old


Artie Capello grew up on the mean streets.  At ten, he was arrested for stealing fruit from the stand in front of the corner store, and subsequently found himself in Borough Children’s  Home.  There he was found to have an uncanny aptitude for math, and he was taken under the wing of one of the tutors, Angelo Giliotti, a distant relation of the Taliferro Family.

Angelo made sure the young math wiz finished high school, and then college, getting a degree in accountancy.  Through it all, Artie never got past he feeling of needing to “make it on his own,” no matter what means were necessary.   For Artie, Artie needed to be number one.  Criminality was not outside the possibilities he would employ.

Angelo’s motives had been far from altruistic as well.  Just as Artie was graduating from university, Dino Taliferro, chief lieutenant to Bernardo “Big Bernie” Taliferro came around on his annual recruiting drive for “the family firm.”   Artie’s skills and ambition seemed a perfect fit, and he was soon working as one of the family’s bookkeepers.  His main job was the launder monies through the family’s many construction firms rather than to disclose the “less savoury” true origins of the funds.

Artie’s ambitions soon got the better of him, however.  Within months he was siphoning off a percentage for himself, always recorded into the ledgers as the purchase of housing shingles.  He reasoned that no one would be the wiser – for such relatively small amounts would be hard to notice, especially among the purchases of building firms.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.  Big Bernie didn’t get to the top by being careless.  He regularly had “legitimate” accountants scrutinise the books, and then report back to him any irregularities.

It was late on a Thursday evening, just as Artie was closing up shop for the day, when “Little Paulie” and Tito “Bouncer” Teppista arrived at the office.  The two had come to “politely question” the errant accountant about the shingles orders.  Before he knew what had happened, Artie found himself being held over the ledge of the building by his ankles.  Big Bernie had ordered that they take care of the fiddler, on the roof.


Christine’s Daily Writing Prompt: Fiddler on the Roof



The Origami Incident

Image result for mafia with tommy gun

Louie was just trying to break the boredom.  He hated babysitting the boss’ little sister.  Why couldn’t he get one of the important jobs like Lefty and Bruno got.  But no – he had to entertain the kid.

It might have been because he didn’t exactly fit the “gangster” mold.  He was gawky and nearly six foot – six.  His suit always seemed a little too short for him, and he had a baby face.  No he was no tough guy, but he was starting to see a trend in the way the other members of the gang made fun of him behind his back.  “The Nanny,” that’s what they called him – Louie DeCampo the au pair.

Margaretta seemed to enjoy his company though, and for a fourteen-year-old she wasn’t a bad kid.  It was just that the “body guarding” as the boss called it was so mind numbing sometimes.

The boss’ sister was equally frustrated with his omphaloskepsis.  She wanted some fun, and this hotel room offered nothing that appealed to her.

“I’m bored,” Margaretta said.

“What do you want me to do about it?” Louie challenged.

“Anything, just give me a little excitement,” she retorted.

Louie pulled a sheet of hotel stationery from the desk and folded it into a paper airplane, and threw it at the teenager.

She squealed and knocked it aside with a cushion, and it flew out the window.

“Do it again,” she said.

He folded another piece, and it again was deflected out the window.  In all she was able to block or destroy six of the projectiles.

“Another,” she demanded.

“But we are out of paper,” Louie explained.

Then go get some of them back, she said nodding towards the fire escape.

Louie was actually enjoying the sport, so stepped out of the window to collect the fallen planes.

As he descended he came face to face with Hairlip McGuirk from the Irish mob.  He stood there with a paper airplane stuck in his hat band and several others around his feet.  He looked at Louie with utter disdain.

Freeze,” the big Irishman ordered.  Now, hug the wall.

“But I was . . . ” Louie started to explain.

But it was to no avail.  McGuirk cocked his Tommy gun and said, “Eat lead!”

What a bittersweet end for the Nanny, just when he was starting to enjoy his work.



Wordle #148

Omphaloskepsis (navel-gazing is contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation)
Paper Airplane



The Dragoon



Image: Pixabay

The Dragoon

Lieutenant Oliver Kirkpatrick of the Royal Dragoons approached a little farmstead near Torhout, a little before sunset.   He was tired and wanted to settle down for a meal and a good night’s sleep.  He assured himself that the Belgian farmer would treat him to both.  After all he was a representative of the British crown, and was carrying important dispatches from General Ross to London.

Kirkpatrick was so sure of himself and the importance of his mission, that he didn’t even approach the farmhouse, but went straight to the barn to stable his horse.  He entered the dark interior, and was surprised to find what he assumed to be the farmer fast asleep in the hay.

The officer stood over the man and kicked him in the boots. “Wake up, and help me with my horse,” he said in poorly pronounced Dutch.

The man woke, and stretched, and then heaved as if he were going to be ill.

“Are you drunk, Man?” Kirkpatrick questioned irritably.

The tall pale peasant blinked again and said, “Walloon.”

“Ah, that’s it, is it?” the officer of Dragoons said in English.  “Are you drunk?” he said in French which was heavily accented with an Irish lilt.

“No, no, not drunk,” the dark eyed man replied in French.

“I need to stable my horse, and to be fed.  Do you understand?” Kirkpatrick asked.

“Yes, yes,” the man replied as it got progressively darker outside.  “Please come with me.”

The tall peasant led the man into farmhouse, and plopped a chair down in front of the table.

“Why a lone Englishman?” the peasant asked.

“I’m Irish actually,” the officer replied, “The Royal Dragoons of Ireland, and I am on my way to Ostend.”

“Ostend?” the man said, cutting thick slices of cold roasted meat and placing it before the Lieutenant.

“Yes, there will be a ship there waiting to take me to England.”

“Sounds important,” the man said with an emphasis calculated to sound impressed.

“Yes, but I shouldn’t say any more about it,” the Dragoon said.

The peasant opened a bottle of wine, and then took a glass and went to stand next to the officer to pour him a portion.  As the Dragoon emptied the glass, Patrick Malone grabbed the man’s skull with both hands and gave a terrific twist.  Malone was amazed at how easily the man’s neck snapped.

Malone pushed the body out of the chair and sat down and poured himself a glass of wine.  He then reached down and pulled the packet of letters from the man’s pouch.  He finished the glass of wine, and poured himself another as he familiarised himself with the pouches contents.

An Irish Dragoon, now imagine that, Malone thought to himself as he stripped the uniform from the man and began to dress himself in it.  A little short, but the boots should cover that up, he thought.

He then carried the officer to the bedchamber and dropped it on to the bed next to the naked corpse of a woman of about forty.  “You two have a lovely evening now,” Malone said wryly. “I think her husband will be back from market tomorrow.  It is a sad thing for a husband to hang for killing his wife and her lover.”

Malone went back to the barn and prepared the Dragoon’s horse for the road.  He then spurred it onto to road to Ostend.

“Lieutenant Fitzpatrick, of the Royal Irish,” he rehearsed as made his way to the waiting ship, and England beyond.