The Trekker – July 30, 2014

It seemed like just any other day to Gordon Westerman, in fact it was the day that he learnt an important aspect of his future.

It was the summer of 2025. Gordon Westerman had been out trekking near some mounds in a little known Appalachian area, which were reputed to be haunted by native Americans, when he saw something glistening in the grass not far from the path he’d been walking along. Curious, he went towards the glitter and saw that in fact it was a golden locket. He picked it up and found that it was rather heavy. Placing it in his pocket, he went on his way, feeling he’d been rather lucky to have come across such a precious object and thought nothing more about it.

That evening, in his room at the local guesthouse, after taking a warm shower, he remembered the locket, pulled it out of the pocket of his soiled trousers and began to study it. It was one of those lover’s lockets, with an intricate design, which could be opened. Inside he found two photographs, one of which was of himself, or so it seemed.

The odd thing about the photograph was that he seemed to be in fact older. The face was heavier and there was a lot of grey in the his hair. He was wondering if someone had set him up and if he was the object of some farce. Then he decided that it was probably just a coincidence that the photo resembled him.

He looked carefully at the second photograph. It was the photograph of a youngish looking woman. She’d have been in her late sixties, though why he thought so he couldn’t say. She was a rather handsome woman, if she’d been closer to his own age, he probably would have found her attractive. The next day, he decided to return to the spot where he’d found the locket.

As he arrived near the spot he began to feel uneasy and a little light-headed. There was a peculiar boulder near where the object had been found which he’d remembered from the day before, not far from an ancient mound.  He got off the trail again and started looking around the site, not knowing what he was actually looking for.

After a bit of moving leaves and debris, he found a mouldering heap of bones and two skulls. The skulls were badly damaged, in fact, caved in by some heavy object. He wondered why he hadn’t seen them the day before, they weren’t far from where the locket had been found. He backed off and began to feel rather sick to his stomach and again there was the strange feeling of light-headedness. He quickly got back onto the trail and returned, almost running the whole way, to the guest house.

He told the director what he’d found, who proceeded to call the police once he realized that the tourist was serious. Twenty minutes later a squad car pulled up. Three agents got out of the car, one was a woman who looked to be around twenty or a little more. He liked her walk. As she came closer, his mouth fell open. It was the woman in the photograph he’d found in the locket, only a much younger version. His head began to spin and he felt faint. He decided not to show them the locket.

 

§§§§§

Written for Three Word Wednesday

Three Word Wednesday … May 30, 2014

Vilma Banky - Wikimedia

Vilma Banky – Wikimedia

The Pink Cloche Murder

It was the 2nd of  June of 1998.  She’d come to my office with a peculiar problem, someone had made off with her pink cloche at a cocktail party.  Her name was Madeline Grainge, a feisty socialite, heiress of George Grainge.  She wanted me to find her hat, saying that it was a family heirloom.  It had been her great-grandmother’s who’d been found with that hat on her head after being strangled back in ’35.

I told her that my fee would be € 200.00 a day plus expenses with a retainer of €1000.00. She didn’t even bat an eye, she just wrote the check.  I would have thought that was a bit much to spend myself for an old hat, but hell, she accepted  so I’d found myself with a job.

You might think that high society is something special, but you’d be mistaken.  They are people just like you and me  with all their quirks and meddlesome neurosis.  To tell you the truth, sometimes I think they’re a little stranger than most of us, but then that’s just my opinion.

We decided that I’d take a stab at her circle of friends at the Hotel Royale for aperitifs in the evening.  I walked across the main hall,  went through the cocktail lounge and onto the terrace.  Madeline had been primed on how to introduce me to her clique.  She jumped up from her seat when she saw me with open arms smiling as though we were old, long lost friends.

“Ah, MarieAnge! Dear, it’s been an age!” she gushed. “Come, sit here next to me! Let me introduce you to my friends.”

It was a strange mix.  There was her fiancé, Gabriele DuBois, famous for his tennis skills, horse back riding and general debonaire charm.  Blonde, blue-eyed and fantastic physique, I noted mentally.  A bit of nice eye candy any girl could admire.  He stood up and brought my hand near his lips in the typical genteel non-kiss of the hand of the upper class.

“Enchanté, MarieAnge, I’m surprised we’ve never met, but this is a great pleasure!” he said almost cooing.

Next to him was his grandfather, Michele DuBois, 98 if he was a day, but looked no more than maybe 75.  It’s a miracle what medical science can do when there’s enough money to pay all the magic.  Tall, handsome with pure white hair and steel-blue eyes he had an air of fascination that his grandson could only envy.

There was M. DuBois’ latest “flirt” a TV soubrette of 25, all legs and proud tits…with no class at all. A few other socialites, a tall young man of around 35 whose name happened to be Steven Briggs the American artist and Kurt Heize the famous Ferrari car racer.

We sat around drinking our aperitif and eating hors-d’œuvres, just talking about sweet nothings when I decided to bring up the pink cloche.  Everyone had known that Madeline wore that hat just about everywhere.  It was a sort of fetish with her.

“Ah, Madeline, I see you’ve finally given up on that pink cloche!  It was really about time!”

Silence settled on the table like a deep fog.

“No, I haven’t given it up.  Someone stole it last week-end when I was at a party!”

“I’m sure it must have been one of the servants.” Gabriele added.

“What ever makes you say such a stupid thing Gabriele!” Madeline said testily.

“I myself am d’accord with your friend.  It is long past the time when you should have given that hat up.” Said Michele DuBois “It’s morbid that you wear it, you know that your great-grandmaman was wearing that hat when her body was found.”

“I didn’t know that the hat had such a history!” I said looking at Madeline pretending surprise.

“Yes, it happened in 1935. She was found in a courtyard near a rack of bicycles.  The police never found the killer, though they had many suspects to choose from.  Including you M. DuBois, n’est pas?” There was a catty undertone to her voice.

“I was in love with your grandmother, we were to be married, but then, alas, she chose someone else.  For the police, that seemed to be sufficient to make me a suspect.  What do the police know of love!” the elderly gentleman said sadly.

“I’m so sorry.  I’ve been a monster!” said Madeline, “It just irritates me when I think that she should have died so young.  And my mother, still a tiny baby.”  I had a feeling there was something else behind all this, but she hadn’t given me any info.

Jeanette, the TV soubrette decided she had to go powder her nose right about then and I followed her.  When I got back, Madeline wasn’t there any more.  I was surprised as this hadn’t been a part of our plans.  We were supposed to stick together the whole evening and all have dinner together.

M. DuBois excused himself saying that he was tired and took Jeanette with him.  One by one the other’s excused themselves for one reason or another.  All, except Gabriele DuBois.  He invited me to have dinner with him.  I accepted, but I said I’d take my car to the restaurant.

In the car, I tried to get hold of Madeline but she didn’t answer her cel phone.

We had a lovely meal, ruined only later on when he tried to make a pass at me.  I reminded him that he had a fiancé and left him and the restaurant getting into my Mercedes, and tried to call Madeline again. Again no answer, it was around midnight, when I tried to call her the last time.

The next morning at 6:45,  the call came.  She’d been found strangled in a courtyard near a rack of bicycles, a pink cloche on her head.  I went immediately to the address I’d been furnished by the cop.  When I got there an inspector who I’d met before came up to me.

“She was your client,” the policeman said “We found your contract in her purse.”

“Obviously, she wasn’t robbed. Does the M.E. know when she died?” I asked.

“No, not yet!  What did she hire you for?

“To find that hat that’s on her head. Now I guess I have to find a killer, she was my client.”

 


 

Feisty, adjective: Spirited, spunky, plucky, gutsy, gutty, ballsy.

Meddlesome; adjective: Interfering, meddling, intrusive, prying, busybody, nosy.

Stab, verb: Knife, run through, skewer, spear, bayonet, gore, spike, stick, impale, transfix, pierce, prick, puncture; literary transpierce; lunge, thrust, jab, poke, prod, dig; noun: Knife wound, puncture, incision, prick, cut, perforation; lunge, thrust, jab, poke, prod, dig, punch; twinge, pang, throb, spasm, cramp, dart, prick, flash, thrill; attempt, try, effort, endeavor; guess; informal go, shot, crack, bash, whack.


Written for: Three Word Wednesday :3WW CCCLXX

 

Friday Fictioneers – May 30, 2014

Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast

Copyright -Jennifer Pendergast

The Pink Cloche

Walking through the courtyard I approached the archway that led to the exit.

Madeline Grainge was found dead, strangled, near a row of bicycles. She’d been my client.

Basically a silly job, she’d wanted me to find out who had stolen her pink cloche at a cocktail party.  She was mad about that hat, it was her granny’s, she’d said, who’d been strangled in 1935.

I’d found the culprit, an old geezer of 98 who she’d known all her life, his grandson was her fiancé.

Now, I have a killer to catch. Madeline Grainge, as I said was my client.


Written for Friday Fictioneers May 30, 2014