I'm glad to hear that. The first six or so chapters were mostly setting up to get the point where we are at now, and the story is about to get fully underway. There are only a few more characters to introduce, two of whom will turn up in chapter seven.
I've settled into a fairly easy forynightly release schedule, one which i hope to keep. I have a lot of story planned, however, so even with keeping to this schedule the story won't finish this year....
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
On a dark and gloomy morning, as the streets began to fill with traffic and noise, one woman was late for work. It was a very important day, and she was a very important woman. She had had a terrible morning. The power had cut out, and her alarm hadn't gone off. There was no hot water, no time, and no excuse. She had dashed half dressed to the car, and drove as fast as she dared, hoping nobody would be too angry with her. She had, of course, crashed. It was nothing to serious, of course – the car she collided with had been stationary, and nobody was hurt. Nevertheless, Violet found herself sat on the pavement, waiting for a recovery vehicle, on today of all days. She was left with no other option. She pulled out her phone and her courage, and called him. 'Hey Bun. Where the heck are you?' 'I'm sorry Mayor Bandit, I was, er, well I was held up.' 'Aw, well we can't have that can we. Whats the problem?' Violet sighed 'I kinda crashed my car.' 'Oh no. Are you okay? Do you need anything?' 'Yeah. I'm fine, I just... I don't know how to get into work today.' 'Hey, hey. Don't you worry about it. I'll send a friend of mine to come pick you up. We couldn't do without you, especially not on a day like today.' Violet smiled 'Thank you, Mayor Bandit' 'Hey, I've told you, just call me Bandy.' 'Sorry, bandy. Thank you,' Yes, today was an important day. Her job was tough, but this were her chance. Pen was arriving today, and when he did, everything had to go well. Everyone had to believe that something good was happening. Everyone had to believe the lie.
'Hello, my name is Linda Rhaldeen, and I am here with your latest breaking news this lunchtime.' 'Today is a big day for the city. As I am speaking Mayor Bandit is currently hosting his first major Press Conference since he assumed office earlier this year. We can now you take there live where our reporter Comet has the very latest for you.' 'Thanks Linda. Well, so far, I think tis fair to say that not a large amount of interesting things have happened so far. Many have been hoping or at least expecting some official response to the latest demonstrations against mayor bandit that have been happening across the city of late, but there has been barely an acknowledgement that these events have even occurred. Instead, there have mostly been reassurances that Bandit will continue to go ahead with his plans to tighten our security and productivity in the future.'
When M returned to the house, he was pleased to see that they weren't too suspicious of the amount of time that he had been at the hospital. After all, why would they be? What would they have to lose if he didn't come back? And, of course, he could hardly have gone to the police. Hermes was sat in the kitchen, looking over the newspaper and sipping from a large mug of coffee, as if he was anyone. But Hermes wasn't just anyone. For more than 50 years, you didn't have to look far through the criminal records to find Hermes name everywhere. His list of crimes only surpassed by his reputation. There were people looking for him everywhere, yet here he was, sat right in front of Mister M, drinking cofee. 'Good morning Luke' said hermes 'What are you reading?' M asked. 'It's a newspaper. It's a summary of the days events from around the globe.' M tried his best to not look amused 'Why are you reading it?' 'Because it interests me. I like to know whats going on, and I like to know what people think. I want to know what lies people are being told, and it amuses me. It amuses me to see what they make of it all, to see how wrong everybody is about this world, how lost and how clueless and how alone they are. Plus I like the crosswords.' A door behind Hermes opened, and in stepped the unidentified man with the long black hair. He had yet to introduce himself, but there was something that seemed so familiar about him that troubled M. 'Where is Zort?' asked the man. 'He's busy.' replied Hermes, who hadn't even looked up from his newspaper. 'Busy? Why?' 'Why do you think? He's going to the press conference this afternoon, he said he'll back later this evening.' 'Fine.' The man, sighed, and walked over to a cupboard and began to search for something to eat. 'Who are you?' M asked 'What?' the man turned and looked him with an expression like M had just punched him in the face. 'Who are you?' M asked again. 'That's on a need to know basis.' 'Well I need to know.' the man snorted. 'I do need to know.' M protested. 'If i'm going to be working with you people then I need to know who it is i'm working with.' 'Maybe you shouldn't be working with us then.' 'Okay children' said Hermes, as he rose from the table whilst folding his newspaper. 'That's enough of this, we need to get going.' 'Going?' asked the man 'Where?' 'We've got work to do, and don't I know it.' 'What work?' asked M Hermes smiled 'This is your lucky day, Luke. It's time for you to see what we do here.'
Everything was going to plan, so why was she so nervous? This was wrong, this was weird. She shouldn't be this nervous. She was a professional. She was good at her job, and she was the best. But this was her big day. Every moment of today, ever speech, every line, had been dutifully prepared. And now there was the unknown. Pen was different to how she had imagined him, but in some ways he was exactly as she had expected. He was tall and gaunt, with long brown hair and dark hollowing eyes. He was wearing a suit that was loose and baggy, and he looked almost his skeletal, his long fingers holding onto a piece of paper which he was reading. His face was drawn into a deep frown, extending all the lines and features of his face. Mostly, he was old. She had kept him company since he had arrived in the city a few hours ago. Despite his age and almost total lack of english, she was aware that he had a great deal of awareness of everything that was going on. 'Its almost time' she said to him.He looked at her and gave a small nod, his expression remaining unchanged. The short speech had been well prepared and rehearsed. Everything was in place. Then something unexpected happened. A Man appeared who Violet had not expected to see, here of all places. His presence was clearly also unexpected to Pen, who was initalliy taken aback, but then embraced his son with open arms, and a smile crossed upon his face. 'You must be Zortegus?' Violet said to the new arrival. 'Yes, it seems I must be.' Zortegus smiled at violet, and took the piece of paper out his fathers hand and begin to read it. 'And what are you doing here?' 'Im here for moral support. My father is most anxious about today. I want to be here to help him.' Violet looked at Pen. She wasn't sure what word she would use to describe him, but anxious was definitely not one of them. 'Do you have permission to be here?' 'Who needs permission? ' Zortegus said and turned and said something to his father in a language Violet didn't understand. 'Its almost time.' violet told them both. 'And we are almost ready.' replied Zortegus, and Pen nodded stiffly in agreement.
'I saw him' said Bee 'Where?' 'He was at the hospital.' 'The Hospital? Why were you at the hospital?' 'My daughter had a... a cut that needed stitching.' 'Is she okay?' 'Yes, she's fine, she... wait, why aren't you more concerned about Mister M?' 'Oh, that doesn't matter.' Lemona leaned back in her chair and smiled 'I spoke to him this morning. Everything's fine, the plan is back on track and in full swing.' 'So why am I here?' Lemona's smile suddenly disappeared, and was replaced by a much more serious expression. There were a few moments silence before Lemona spoke again. 'You've worked for me for many years, Bee, and for all that time I have trusted you completely and honestly.' 'Of course' said bee. 'But I need to have my confidence that what I am about to say to you will never leave this room.' 'You can trust me.' 'Good.' Lemona stood up from her desk and walked around to the other side where Bee was standing. She stopped so she was standing directly in front of Bee, and then she spoke to her in a low, whispering voice. 'I heard a word recently, in an important conversation, a word I'd never heard before. This is something that I'm not used to. And that worried me. And what I want to know is if you have the word too.' 'What word?' bee whispered in reply, 'Cadmus.' Bee thought for a moment, as Lemona waited desperately for her reply. 'I.. I don't immediately recall hearing it.' 'That's not a good enough answer.' 'I'm pretty sure I've never heard it, and even if I have I don't know what it means. If anything comes to mind then I'll-' Suddenly the door to Lemona's office burst open, and Quisby came rushing in shouting 'Ma'am, something's happened.' 'Quisby!' Lemona shouted, in a voice that sounded even louder than it normally would have, due to the whispering that had been occurring previously. 'How dare you interrupt me in my office.' 'I'm sorry, I really am it's just that, well... we thought you might want to see this.' 'See what?' '… I think you should come and see.' Lemona and Bee headed out of the office and followed Quisby over to Anka's desk. She was looking at her computer screen, which was relaying live footage of a press conference being held by Mayor Bandit. That wasn't the interesting thing, however. What was interesting was who else was there with him. 'These have been difficult times' said Mayor Bandit, addressing the crowd 'But these times will soon be over. These last few months have had there ups and downs, but the time has come for a new high, one that will never be beaten. I have plans, yes, great plans, and I can't wait to tell you more about them. But the most interesting thing that I think I have to tell you right you now is this man to my left.' The man was, of course, someone who was known to Lemona, and someone who was most unexpected. 'This man, Mister Fredrick Pen, will be joining me and my team to help try and build a peace for our great city. I look forward to the promise of a better tomorrow.'
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
Oops, I finished this over a week ago but forgot to post. Here it is!
The man was thin, and stank. He smelt like fear, and he looked like he was used to it. The clothes he wore were rugged and torn, and looked older than the streets in which they had found him. 'I have what you asked for,' said the man, in a high pitched squeak of a voice. 'I know you do. But there's something else I need to know as well,' M's accomplice was still unknown to him. The man with the long black hair was holding the thin man against the side of the wall, and M was stood there, watching. 'Two nights ago a girl came to visit you. Did you sell her anything?' 'That's not part of the deal. I don't tell you anything about my customers, and I don't ask you any questions.' The man will the black hair grabbed hold of the other man's shirt collar and yanked hard, strangling him slightly. 'Listen to me Ryan, the terms have changed. Did a girl come to visit you by the name of Trip?' Ryan smiled, revealing a mouth largely bereft of teeth. 'You want to know, don't you? Well maybe I shouldn't tell you... or maybe I will. Maybe if I do you can give me back some of my merchandise.' M wasn't sure where the blade came from, but a knife was suddenly being held against Ryan's throat. 'You either tell me now, or we end the agreement altogether.' Ryan suddenly stopped smiling and let out a small groan. 'Okay, okay. Yes. I know who you're talking about, and yes she visited me like you said.' 'Did you sell her anything?' 'No, I'm not stupid. You've got it all, I promise.' The man handed a small package to ryan, who fell to the ground. 'Come on Luke, we're done here.' Luke followed the man back down the alleyway and onto the streets of the city. 'What was all that about?' he asked. 'You'll understand in time.' M looked around him, and made sure that other than a figure standing a couple of meteres behind them, the street was mostly empty. 'It was drugs, wasn't it, that you took from him.' 'Luke, shut up.' M checked his surroundings once more, but there was nobody else around except for the figure in the distance. He was was dressed in a large black coat and wearing a black hat, and was looking into a shop window. 'Nobody can hear us.' 'You should never be too sure,' said the long haired man, as he and M rounded a corner, and entered into the back of Hermes' car. 'How did it go?' Hermes asked the two of them. The man handed Charlie the brown bag that Ryan had given him. 'Good. Did you ask about the girl?' 'Yes. She'd been there.' 'I see.' M spoke up. 'Who is this 'Trip' person, and why are you asking about her?' 'That,' sighed Hermes, 'is none of your buisness.' 'It is. I'm involved with you know, I want to know what you're doing.' 'You'll find out what you need to know when you need to know it, and right now you need to know nothing. And as for Trip...' Hermes turned around in his seat to face M. 'We are under direct orders from Pepper himself to find out what has happened to her. If you mention her name again, he will find out, and he will kill you.'
'The thing that bothers me,' said Lemona, 'is not so much the fact that he's working with Pen, I'm not surprised that Bandit could stoop so low. The thing that bothers me is that it's so public.' 'He's either ignorant or clever,' said Quisby. 'Or both,' Lemona replied. 'What happens next?' Anka asked. 'Next... We do what we always do. We try our best.' 'Did you know about this?' Quisby asked. 'About Bandit working with Pen. I mean.' 'No, I didn't, I thought perhaps there was some connection, but a far more distant one than this. I knew that Zortegus was involved however...' Lemona glanced at Bee, who was sat sullenly looking at the TV screen. 'Bee,' said Lemona, in her sternest voice. 'Yes?' 'I asked you to look into Zortegus. How did you not find out about this?' 'I... I had no idea.' 'What did you find.' 'I.....I couldn't find much. All I know is that Zortegus has been in the city since the death of Jacob Willis. Does this confirm anything, that Bandit was behind it?' 'I actually wanted to talk to you all about that, as it happens.' Lemona began to pace the length of the room, while Anka, Bee, and Quisby sat at the desk, listening intently. 'I believe that whatever partnership Bandit and Willis had begun to break down, and when that happened Willis knew that he would be killed, and so he engineered his death in such a way that we would become aware of what was happening. The principal thing to this is the package we found in Willis' hotel room. It contains a drug which we've scarcely seen before, and Dante is working his best to uncover its potential, but what we do know is that the only time we've encountered it before is in relation to Pepper's activities. Pepper and Bandit are planning something, something that I hope Mister M will soon be able to tell us, but where Pen fits in the picture is as much a mystery as anything. Willis wanted Bandit and Pepper to fail, and he wanted it bad enough that he died for it. And he was killed by Pen's son. I should have seen this. I should have been prepared.' 'We can't be prepared for everything,' said Quisby. 'I know.' Lemona sighed. 'And it's not enough. Anka, I need to talk to you in my office. I need you to do something for me.' As Lemona turned to go back into her office, Quisby suddenly stood up, as if remembering something. 'I've just remembered something,' he said. 'Something that I should have told you before.' He headed over to his desk and began to rummage through some pages. 'It was when you mentioned Jacob Willis, it jogged something in my memory.' 'What was it?' 'Before her unfortunate death, I did some digging on the background of Elizabeth Miller. Just the normal stuff, y'know, basic background checks. It was mostly routine, nothing of interest, but there was one thing.' 'What was it?' Quisby finally found what he was looking for and headed back over to Lemona. 'A few weeks before Willis' death there was a break in. A window was smashed, but there was no other damage. Elizabeth called the police but she told them that nothing had been taken. I thought I had better look into, so I did. I checked over all the CCTV from the area and I found... well this.' Quisby handed over a low quality grainy camera image of a darkened street, with a man heading in the direction of Elizabeth's department. 'I have enough evidence, I believe, to prove that this was the man who broke in on that night.' 'Who is he?' 'Well, this is where it gets interesting. I don't know.' 'What do you mean you don't know? Every person who has ever set foot in this city is on our records. Come back to me when you find out who he is.' 'But that's the problem, he isn't on our records... at least, not really. I ran the footage through the computer, it's him, Lemona. It's the great unknown.'
The sun was low in the sky, casting a bright red glow over the street. The clouds were like daggers reaching up into the heavens. There was silence, except for a small car which pulled up outside the house. Inside the car, Mister M had come to a realisation. 'I've just realised something,' M told the man with the long black hair. 'What?' 'I've seen your face before, in a photograph, in Elizabeth's apartment. Did you know her?' 'That's none of your business.' 'I knew her, and I know you, that makes it my buisness.' 'Didn't your mother ever teach you to keep your nose out of other people's buisness?'. The man laughed at that, as if he'd made some joke. 'Quiet, children,' said Hermes. 'This is hardly the time for jokes. We have more important issues at hand.' Hermes indicated at the direction of the house, and M noticed that a light was shining out of a window. 'What do you think it is?' the man asked. 'Trouble.' 'You said Zortegus would be back this evening. Is it not him?' 'Look at the door?' The front door of the house had been knocked open, the lock smashed. 'Maybe he forgot his keys.' M suggested. Hermes opened the door to the car and whispered. 'I go in first, you follow.' Hermes stepped out of the car, leaving M alone in the front of the car for a moment, and the moment was all it took. He reached over to Hermes' seat and took it, before stepping out of the car. It was a dance they had clearly done before, as they effortlessly made their way across the stage. Hermes pushed past the front door whilst the man stayed behind him, sticking to the shadows. M went to the window of the front room, where the light was coming from, and crouched down in front of it and waited. A few moments passed, and there was talking. A few moments more and M turned and headed into the house as well. In the entrance hall, still stood in the dying of the light, were two men. One was Zortegus, as had been suggested, but the other was a man Mister M had never met before. He was quite possibly the most ordinary looking man that he had ever set eyes upon. He was neither tall nor short, but not quite average height. He had brown hair of sensible length, and his clothes were entirely unremarkable. His face had an element of agelessness about it, so much so that M was unsure wether to call the man young, or old, or middle aged, or anything. In fact, there was something about the man's basic normality that was almost unsettling, as if he wasn't even real. But then he spoke. 'Good evening, Luke,' said Pepper 'I've been expecting you.'
The Pandora was the most expensive hotel in all of the city. Standing at 101 storeys high, with over 1000 luxury rooms, it was the shining jewel of luxury. To hire a room for one night was expensive, for a week was worth a fortune. Bandit was pulling out all of the stops. Pen and his retinue had the entire building to themselves, and Fredrick himself was staying in the Penthouse apartment. It had been Violet's job for the afternoon to escort Pen to the building and to ensure that he was settled in, and to then help organise... well pretty much everyone and everything. Pen was an important person, and although The Pandora was used to dealing with important people, Pen was something else. This was the future, the new world, and she needed to ensure that everything went smoothly. After speaking with Pen and ensuring that he understood the plans for tomorrow, it was finally time to head back home. It had been a a long day, and she needed her sleep. However, as the elevator pinged and she stepped out into the lobby of the hotel, she was confronted by something she had not expected. 'Hello Violet,' said Anka. Violet grabbed Anka by the arm and quickly pulled them both into the elevator as the doors closed. 'What are you doing?' said Anka, flustered. 'What am I doing? I think you mean what are you doing? What the hell are you doing here?' 'Visiting you of course.' Anka looked over at the control panel. 'What floor are we going to?' 'You're not supposed to visit me, that's the whole point.' 'Well actually I am, I'm here by special request.' Violet was confused 'Request? Requested by who?' Anka smiled. 'By your boss, of course. Who else?' 'What do you want?' 'To catch up and have a sisterly chat, eat chocolate, and moan about men, of course.' 'I don't have time for your stupid little games, I have a job to do.' 'Entertaining mass murderers? I forogt that that was part of your job description.' 'It's not like that, things are different now. Pen has changed.' 'Ah, I see,' said Anka in a deeply sarcastic voice. 'Has he seen the error of his ways?' 'Look, I have better things to do with my time then discuss my morality with you. Do you actually have any reason for being here or not?' 'I do.' Anka smiled. 'I have a message to deliver.' 'Go on then.' It was almost as if Violet had flicked a switch, and suddenly all of the humour and spark disappeared from Anka's eyes. She took a deep breath and brushed her hair out of her eyes, before she spoke again. 'I know what you did, and I know why you did it, but that doesn't matter. The time has come, a time I never thought would happen. A time when I need you more than ever. I am asking you for your help, and I'm sorry, I really am, but if you don't give it to me, then you know what will happen.'
'What were you doing?' Hermes asked him, irritably. 'We thought you were someone dangerous.' 'Perhaps you were right.' Pepper replied. 'But I was checking that you hadn't become lapse in your old age.' 'I'm not old,' replied the dark haired man. 'No, Charlie, you're not. But you're older than me, and that's enough to make me doubt you.' Charlie, thought Mister M. The name meant nothing to him, but it was good to finally put a name to the face. 'Why are you here, then?' asked Hermes. 'This isn't like you, you don't do house visits. You could be seen.' 'I could be, but I'm always careful. Plus I had my good friend Zortegus keeping me safe. But I needed to come here in person.' Pepper turned and looked at Mister M. 'I need to see you.' They were still standing in the hallway of the house and the front door was still open, but even so, there was something almost unnatural about the cold that swept over Mister M's body when Pepper looked at him. His eyes seemed to pierce right into M's very soul, and it made him uncomfortable. Pepper walked over to M like a lion stalking its prey. He stretched out a hand and gently touched the side of M's face, feeling the fresh scars there. For a few moments there was silence in the room, as Pepper examined M like he was nothing but a piece of meat. 'Curious,' Pepper muttered to himself, 'You're a curious thing, Luke. Everything about you just seems to fit, doesn't it?' Pepper smiled, and then took a step back. 'Yes, I like you a lot. Very promising.' 'I don't trust him,' said Charlie. 'Good,' replied Pepper. 'I don't trust you either. And I don't need to. Trust is precious, something that should be earned, not given away freely like a packet of sweet. But I believe. I believe that you will all do what I wish, at least to a satisfactory level. And thats all I need.' As he spoke Pepper never once took his eyes off of Mister M. He was watching him judging him, deciding. 'I believe he can help us,' said Hermes. 'And I trust your judgement,' said Pepper. 'But I didn't just come here to discuss you, Luke.' 'Then why did you come here?' asked Charlie, scornfully. 'I need you to do something for you.' 'Like always?' replied Hermes. 'No, not like always. There is a special package coming tomorrow morning for Mr. Fredrick Pen. It's your job to deliver it to him.'
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
He was quite possibly the most ordinary looking man that he had ever set eyes upon. He was neither tall nor short, but not quite average height. He had brown hair of sensible length, and his clothes were entirely unremarkable. His face had an element of agelessness about it, so much so that M was unsure wether to call the man young, or old, or middle aged, or anything. In fact, there was something about the man's basic normality that was almost unsettling, as if he wasn't even real.
'I don't trust him,' said Charlie. 'Good,' replied Pepper. 'I don't trust you either.'
These are good lines and I like them.
Violet looks like the link between the pepper business and the bandit/pen stuff, but there's so much going on. Sometime when I have more time I'll have to reread and try to follow things more closely. When the chapters come out spaced apart like this, all the pronouns get tricky
The Night had passed long ago, but sleep was yet to come. It was sat on the desk in his room. It was a small thing, only a few crumpled sheets of paper, folded up and placed in an envelope, but it had changed everything. M sat on the edge of the bed, and looked across the envelope. It sat there looking back at him, its mouth beckoning him forward to indulge in its secrets. He had already read enough, though, enough to know what was going on. The rest wasn't his to know. 'My darling Beatrice', the letter had began, and so had M's interest been rapidly caught. He had seen Hermes looking at the letter before, reading through it, hardly ever being separated from it. Each time he had seen it, Mister M have thought the letter one meant for Hermes, most likely orders or instructions of some sort – that was, after all why M had taken it when he'd had the chance. But it turned out the letter was, seemingly, from Hermes himself. M didn't know who Beatrice was, and whether or not the letter would ever reach her. But now he knew much about her. He could not be sure what had happened completely, but the letter spoke of events from long ago, and events which were now aged further by the volatile quality of the letter itself. Hermes had not seen her in a long time. But this was nothing of importance. It was... gossip. What mattered what was Hermes had told her about what he was doing. What mattered was what Hermes and the others had done and what they were going to do. What mattered was why, and what it all meant. M was close, he had thought so, but now he new the truth, there was nothing to stop him. He had all the evidence he needed. M stood from the edge of the bed, and felt a throb of pain in his forehead. The wounds were still fresh, and he knew in his bones they would never heal. In some ways it felt like a lifetime had passed since he had been attacked, even though it was barely a week. It seemed like even longer since he had found himself in deep trouble since he had failed in his investigations to find Pepper, but now he had actually come face to face with him. He was suddenly consumed by a strong sense of drowning, as though he were being pulled underwater by some great monster and struggling for air. The responsibility of everything was weighing on him, and he was being crushed. But now he had the letter. M picked it up from the table, folded it in half, and placed it into his pocket. Not much longer, he thought to himself, and then this wall be over. Not today, though, not yet. He knew the plan, but he did not yet know how far they were, he didn't know how successful they were, and he didn't know how much time he had left. And besides, he had a package to collect.
'You've got a leaf in your hair.' 'It's windy. It's autumn. It happens.' Trip reached up and pulled the leaf out of Sophie's hair, before crumpling it in her hand. 'Thank you,' said Sophie, as she sat down on the bench next to Trip. The Park was modest for one in the centre of the city, and it truth it was simply a few trees and patches of grass. The shadow of the Mayor's office loomed over the treetops, which were beginning to redden. It was mostly empty. It was a windy day, and the first leaves of autumn were beginning to fall from the trees. It was the perfect location for a discrete meet up. 'Why are we here?' Trip asked. 'It's the perfect location for a discrete meet up,' replied Sophie, 'and I need to ask you something.' 'And you needed to ask me in person?' 'No, I just... I thought you'd want to meet me.' Trip smiled. 'Of course I want to meet you. You're just normally so... paranoid.' 'I'm not paranoid.' 'You are.' 'No, really, I'm not. My mum is... difficult at the best of times, and especially with something like this...' 'She's not your boss.' 'Except she is. But listen, that's why I asked you here, it's to do with my mum.' Trip sighed 'Again?' 'I don't mean like that.' 'I feel like every time we see each other all we do is end up talking about your mum, it's getting ridiculous.' 'That's not fair.' 'It is. At least you have a parent who actually cares about you. She might not be the nicest person ever but so what? Why are you so scared about her meeting me?' 'I'm not scared.' Trip laughed. 'You are.' 'No, I'm not scared of her meeting you, I'm scared of you meeting her.' Trip looked confused. 'Why? What do you think I'm going to do?' 'I just... I don't know if you'd... dislike me more.' 'Oh Sophie, don't be silly. If I disliked everyone because of how annoying then their parents were, I'd dislike everyone.' 'Well you do dislike a lot of people.' 'Good Point. But still, Sophie, I like you. I like you a lot. And if even if your mum is half as terrible as you described her to be, that won't make any difference.' 'That's good to know, because she's invited you for dinner this evening. Can you be at my house by 8?'
'Ryan Trimble is dead.' In the dark of the room was difficult to tell, but Lemona noted no change of expression on Lorelai's face. She already knew. 'Do you know who did it?' Lemona asked 'No.' 'Do you know how he died?' 'He was stabbed, you know that. It says so in the report Quisby gave you.' Lemona sighed and sat on the floor directly in front of Lorelai. 'I would appreciate it if you could give me your full attention for a least a moment?' Lorelai stopped typing, and turned to face her mother. 'What is this? Ryan was nothing but a common lowlife, what makes you so interested in his death?' 'He was of interest to us as possibly having connections with some of Pepper's men. His death is suspicious.' 'His death tells us nothing. People die, there isn't always a reason that matters.' 'But there is always a reason, however small.' 'And when I find it I will tell you.' 'I know I will, I'm just... well, I'm impatient.' 'Interesting.' 'Interesting?' 'You seem ruffled.' Lorelai smiled. 'I am. There's too much going on here. I don't know where to turn.' Lemona stood up again and began to pace around the room, just like she always did when she was thinking. 'There was something else I wanted to ask you about.' Lemona picked up a file from an old wooden desk and tossed it on the floor next to Lorelai. 'This has come to my attention in the last few days.' Lorelai barely opened the file before emitting a tsk of annoyance. 'You don't approve?' 'I don't have time for these distractions.' 'It isn't one. This is important.' 'Perhaps, when I've finished investigating the deaths of drug dealers I may turn my attention to it.' 'Lorelai,' Lemona said, in a voice stricter than before. 'This isn't a game. You don't get to make your own choices. You will investigate, and you will give me results, or there will be trouble.' Lorelai stopped typing for the first time in their entire conversation, and lowered her head sullenly. Lemona turned to leave, before remembering something. 'Oh, and one more thing. Do you know what CADMUS is?' Lorelai remained silent for a moment before drawing a deep breath and replying 'I've never heard of it.' Lemona turned and left the penthouse. When she returned to her office she was pleased to find Dante waiting for her there. He was sat on the chair in front of her desk, though one could be forgiven for thinking a large bear had seated itself there instead. He was a tall, large mass of dark thick hair. Any semblance of the person beneath was deeply buried. 'Where have you been?' he asked her. 'I was dealing with something. Have you been waiting long?' 'Not massively. I'm just uncomfortable being here.' 'I'm sorry to have to ask you to come into the office,' Lemona sat herself down opposite Dante. 'I just don't have the time to take the trip across town under the current circumstances. I hope you'll forgive me.' 'I'll forgive you if it turns out it was worth it.' Lemona tried to look Dante in the eyes, but it was far too difficult to tell where they were, so in the end she settled for staring at a point just below the top of his head. 'I wanted to ask you about Pen.' 'Well of course. What do you want to know?' 'I want to know how this happened.' 'What do you mean?' 'You know full well what I mean. For the past 10 years you've spent every second of your ickleing life in hiding because of that man. You assured me that you were watching his every move, that you were making sure we were safe. Clearly you were wrong.' Dante didn't seem as ruffled by this confrontation as Lemona had been anticipating. 'I will admit that this was not something that I had foreseen, yes.' 'Pen and Bandit are working together, our two biggest problems, and you had absolutely no idea?' 'No. Clearly whatever communication they have had together was very well hidden.' 'Is that your only defence?' 'I didn't do my job as well as I could have, I admit, but I'm trying my hardest. Communication is becoming more and more difficult to trace of late.' Lemona groaned. 'Okay, fine. What about now that he's here? We can't investigate Bandit, but there's nothing to stop us tracking Pen as much as we can whilst we've still got the chance.' 'I'm looking it at as quickly as possible. The thing that might help most was if I could get back to my office instead of being called out here.' 'Fine, I'll try and keep this quick. Just two more things.' 'Fire away.' 'First of all, I thought it might interest you to learn that Sherry Ann is still alive.' 'Really? Are you sure?' 'Of course I'm sure. I met her myself.' 'Okay, right. That's good to know. And the second thing?' 'I wanted to check – do you know what CADMUS is?' 'Of course I know what CADMUS is.' Lemona was taken aback. 'Then what is it?'
'You killed him?' 'I had no option.' Trusting Terry was never a good idea, thought Charlie, he's too inexperienced, too much of an unkown. 'You did have options, one of which was not killing him,' Zortegus replied. 'He refused to give me the money. I didn't know what else to do.' Terry was sat in the backseat of the car, Charlie and Zortegus were in the front. This was not an ideal situation to be in, and not just because the air conditioning was broken. 'What did you do with the body?' Charlie asked. 'I left it. I took all of his possessions, I tried to make it look like a robbery.' Terry said. 'Fine, Fine.' replied Zortegus, before turning to Charlie 'So what do we do now?' 'I think that we end this.' 'What does that mean?' asked Terry. 'It means we kill you,' replied Zortegus. 'What, seriously?' Terry squeaked. 'No,' laughed Zortegus, 'of course not.' 'It means you get out of this car and then you never speak to any of us again. You forget that you ever met me or my friend here, or the old guy, or anyone. You go back to your normal ordinary life and you pretend that this never happened. You're just an ordinary person again now, and you forget all about this If you don't, if you tell anyone even the slightest thing about this? Well, officer Craig, then we kill you.' Terry was silent before a moment,before he turned to open the car door. 'Ah-ah,' said Zortegus. 'Aren't we forgetting something?' Terry sighed, reached into his pocket, and handed Zortegus a large was of cash. 'Goodbye Mr. Craig' Said Zortegus. Charlie remained silent. Willis would never have stood for this, Charlie thought to himself, Willis was a professional. But now Willis is gone, and this is what remains. His grand scheme, his final act, and here I am to see it through. With nothing but a bunch of amateurs. 'We must get a move on,' said Zortegus. 'We've got a package to collect.'
They had been at the docks for the most of the afternoon, and Mister M was beginning to grow more and more uncertain with every second. What were they waiting for? The Last light of the day was already beginning to fade, and Mister M was growing impatient. It was hard work pretending to be someone else, and even harder to work with Hermes. He had been stood by the edge of the water for last few minutes, staring out into the ocean. M was leaning against the back of a container, his legs tired from... well, from doing nothing. From the moment they had arrived they had done nothing, nor said anything to one another. All M knew was that they were waiting. He had never been to the docks before, not even once. It was a dark and dismal place, and the salt air burned against the scars on his face. There was a chill in the air that he kenw wasn't just from the sea. Winter was coming. M shifted uncomfortably, moving his weight from one leg to the other. He could taste smoke in his mouth, and he turned. Despite the fact that he was an old, overweight, middle aged man, there was something inexplicably cool about Hermes, as he stood there, smoking, in the dying of the light. M knew the truth, though, about Hermes. And he knew what they were planning. He just had to be patient. A noise distracted Mister M, and he turned to see a car arriving out of the growing darkness. Charlie and Zortegus were inside, and they didn't look happy. 'Luke,' said Hermes 'It's here.' 'Yeah,' said M, but as he looked over at Hermes, he realised he wasn't referring to the car. Emerging out of the darkness was a ship, a boat, a something. M wasn't completely sure. What he could see, however, was a light searching for the lang, shining directly in their direction. Just one single light. 'Hermes,' said Zortegus, as he and Charlie exited the car, 'we need to talk.' 'Not now, I'm busy.' 'I never said you have any option,' replied Zortegus. Hermes sighed and thre his cigarette into the water. 'Fine. What do we need to talk about?' 'We need to talk in private.' 'Will the car do?' 'The car will do nicely.' Hermes walked past Mister M, and he and Zortegus entered, shut the doors, and talked. Charlie and M were alone, watching the boat draw near. Charlie didn't seem to like M (or, more specifically, Luke), and he wasn't really sure why. What had he done that had caused that. 'Why are we waiting?' M asked. 'Wait and see.' 'You could just tell me.' 'Well, patience is a virtue.' M laughed, as if preempting an awkward silence. He doesn't actually know, does he? He's just following orders. The less he knows, the less danger everyone's in. Just like me. M went and stood next to Charlie as the ship begin to stop not to far away from where he was standing. Something splashed into the water, and M asked 'What's going on.' 'I think... someones just jumped overboard.' 'Should we do something? 'Not unless we're told to, no.' M thought for a moment, and he walked over to the edge of the platform. He leaned over the rusted metal handrail and looked down at the waves the below. In the growing darkness he could just about make out a figure heading toward the shore. 'Someone's coming,' he told charlie, he couldn't have seemed less interested if he'd tried. The figure moved closer to the edge of the water, found a ladder, and began to climb up towards them. As they moved nearer, M began to work out some features of who the person was. They were short, and young, dressed all in black clothes to hug the night. They looked to be quite young, younger than him, perhaps not much older than a child. When they finally reach the top and stood level with them, she removed a mask covering her face to reveal her identity. She was young, just as M had thought, but he hadn't thought she was that young. He hadn't seen her in a long time, and he hadn't expected to find her here. She frowned in confusion at M, and spoke before he could do anything to stop her. 'Mister M.' said Tryina, 'What on earth are you doing here?'
"The world, no matter how monstrously it may be threatened, has never been known to succumb entirely." - Daniel Handler
baudelaiire: how do i tag people in quick replies
Jul 2, 2020 20:06:25 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: You must use @ before the person's username.
Jul 2, 2020 23:50:14 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: Note that my username is jeanlucio10. you can check their username by clicking on their names when they are links. You can also go to the members page and search for someone (it is useful to check those who have been online lately).
Jul 2, 2020 23:53:11 GMT -5
klausfan1: what is the meaning of the "10"
Jul 4, 2020 16:24:21 GMT -5
Jean Lúcio: Mental Age
Jul 5, 2020 6:24:57 GMT -5