Story 52, The Un-Natural Detective Agency, Part One. Urban fantasy mixed with detective mystery. 1120 words.
At last, phase one is complete:
I wrote a story a week for an entire year. I did it. The project is complete!
This is the end. Or really, the start of the end. No more new stories, the updates will only be parts of existing stories that need to be finished. That’s the next phase of this project. Phase two is completion.
Then phase three! Rewrites! But that is for the future. For today, here’s Story 52:
The Un-Natural Detective Agency
“Are you freaking serious!” Reed whined. Fingol, the large black and silver Maine Coon, simply tilted his head in response. The two of them had known each other long enough that this was a clear ‘you doubt me?’ gesture. For emphasis the cat looked around for his pen. A fine tipped black felt with a jury-rigged socket for a claw to slip into, holding the pen steady enough for him to write with. Reed continually mocked as his paw writing was appalling, but Fingol’s grammar was far better than Reed’s. A fact Fingol continually pointed out with excessive smugness.
After a few seconds scratching the note was pushed toward Reed.
“It is worse than you think. Pigeon Don wants to see you, so does the wolf.” Reed sighed. He liked pigeons. Very smart animal the pigeon. What he didn’t like was having to call one don the whole time. Yet the pigeons had protocol, manners, of a kind. Alistair, the wolf, the title given to the lord of dogs, known as the trickster in many mythologies, had few protocols. Certainly nothing Reed could use to his advantage.
“So when? I mean, I’ve had 2 hours sleep in two days, they expect me to see them now?” The cat nodded, flicked off the pen, and bit and licked at the claw and paw. Reed thought about it for a moment, he couldn’t send Fingol, the pigeons distrusted him and the dogs would be a bad idea. Eventually they’d get him but not before he’d blinded and maimed a huge number of them. Another animal war right now was not a good move; especially one his partner had started.
“Alistair first then, where and when?” Reed asked. Fingol, flipped through a few post-it notes and pulled one out. Barely legible, it read ’2am, under Tower Bridge’. Reed checked the time, 1:15, he could easily make it to the City district in time. As long as the Norton decided to work.
“Okay, stay put. I’ll swing by after Alistair. If I’m not back before four call the cavalry.” They didn’t discuss who, after all they didn’t know anyone more powerful than the trickster. Raven had vanished, the crows perhaps, but it would mean owing them a huge favour, and that would be dangerous. Reed pushed these thoughts from his mind, Fingol didn’t seem concerned so he left it at that. He stretched, his chest popped and something in his back complained. He sighed, sleep was for the weak, and the tired. He was both. Still, sleep would have to wait, body grumbling he walked out of the kitchen and into the hall. A few minutes later he was in his leathers, helmet on and pulling the Norton of its stand.
It proved a lucky early morning and the Norton started on the fifth attempt. Reed flipped on the lights, revved the engine to prevent a stall, not that it ever stalled, at least on start up. As part of an agreement between a cluster of spiders and an construction company the Norton’s engine had been altered and fuel tank had been magically set to half full. Forever. This proved handy as it meant less stopping for fuel, but in a practical sense made no difference as the Norton broke down so often that stopping for fuel was never really an issue.
Reed navigated the quiet street of London, drunks, pushers, hookers and cabbies, both legal and non-legal, were the only moving obstacles. The rest were the inanimate issues, of getting to Tower Bridge and the sheer volume of lights and strange one-way streets. Still, he made good time and was five minutes early to see Alistair as he pulled the Norton into the yuppie neighbourhood just before the bridge then turning slowly on the fashionably cobbled street he carefully pulled up at the end of the road.
He balanced his helmet over, or more correctly through, the handlebar, and walked the steps down and turned left to walk under the bridge. With the lack of traffic the bridge was eerily silent. Alistair pushed himself away from the wall and started toward reed. He hadn’t been there a moment before, Reed was sure of that. Perhaps he’d come through the wall, or some kind of invisibility spell, or obfuscation. Whatever, it was beyond Reed’s skills to try and detect anything Alistair could put out. He was old, nearly as old as time.
“Reed.” He said jovially, holding out a manicured hand, his fingernails a little too long. A wide smile showed pure white teeth, a little too sharp to match standard human. Well, Reed thought, at least it was starting politely.
“Alistair, good to see you again.”
“Is it Reed, is it?” Alistair asked in his precise English accent that would shame even a BBC newscaster. An affectation of course, he could do the same in any language.
“Not really, you scare the shit out of me quite frankly.” Reed replied, with a smile. Alistair laughed, his eyes twinkled, then he was holding Reed by the throat, tight enough to know he meant business, but not so tight as to totally prevent Reed breathing. Reed hadn’t sen him move, he was six foot away, then he was on him, he froze.
“Where is, Reed?” Alistair whispered softly.
“What the fucking hell are you talking about, Wolf?” Reed panted out. Holding on tighter still, Alistair pushed him far enough back that he could stare into his eyes. Then Reed was pushed back, he stumbled and fell backwards, he rolled ending on one knee. He stared at Alistair who grinned at him, one of the few times Reed had seen a genuine smile on that face.
“You don’t know?”
“No, I don’t, apparently.”
“Oh Reed, I had assumed you were far more connected than it seems you are.”
“It is a delightful pleasure to disappoint you in any way I can.” Reed replied.
“You are no use to me, investigator. Go, do your thing, investigate. Catch up.” Alistair turned and started to walk back under the bridge and into the shadows.
“You could bloody well tell me and then I’d have something of a head start.” Reed shouted after him.
“Would you believe me?” Alistair’s voice floated back to him.
“Of course not.” Reed said softly. In the distance Alistair laughed briefly and he was gone. Reed picked himself up. Checked the time, and headed to the Norton. Next up, the Pigeon Don. Hopefully he could learn what was going on from them. He pulled on his helmet, and turned the key, the Norton whined. He tried again, more whining. Reed sighed.
“It’s going to be one of those isn’t it.” He said to himself.