One Hell of a Party
Shelby sat crouched in the bushes as she had done for almost a year now. Every night, since last November, she’d skulk down dark old lanes, darting from shadow to shadow in an effort see her idol at work; the cat burglar Le Bec. Shelby would sneak into theaters during the day, napping and dreaming along with her screen heroes. When she grew up she was going to be Robin Hood.
“Maid Marian is for girls who went to school,” she would think.
But no character played by Errol Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks could hold a candle to Le Bec. Le Bec had the advantage of being real. Shelby would sit, unseen and observe, learning.
Tonight, Le Bec sat crouched on the the ledge of a third storey window. The house belonged to the Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Tulane, Giles Parker. Le Bec had overheard a conversation Parker was having at a recent social gathering to celebrate the re-election of Verne Sturgis to the Louisiana Circuit Court of Appeals. The exchange concerned the relocation of an artifact of great power to Parker’s house. Le Bec remembered Parker sounding reluctant, but was eventually brow beaten by Judge Sturgis who seemed keen to have it relocated from his home.
“We drew the lots, Parker. It’s your turn to house the Jade Peregrine,” Sturgis growled. Continue reading
Who’ll Stop the Rain?
Pietro pulled Cletus along, who was stumbling to keep up. More humanoid fishmen began emerging from the water closer and closer to them. Pietro darted to avoid them, losing his grip on Cletus. Cletus pulled out his crossbows and began firing his exploding vials at the approaching fishmen as he backed away. Pietro darted between them jabbing them with his daggers and kicking their legs out from under them. The fishmen began emerging from the floodwaters en masse and charging toward them. Bartolo appeared and charged past Cletus and Pietro barrelling through the fishmen front line, scattering them. The fishmen converged on him. He grabbed one by the leg and began bludgeoning the others with its body. As Bartolo swung his weaponized fishman, its harpoon was impaling others and adding them to the mass, whose harpoons in turn snagged more fishmen until Bartolo was swinging a flail made of fishmen. After clearing several of them, Bartolo grabbed Cletus and threw him over his shoulder.
“Head back, Pietro!” Bartolo yelled. “I’m right behind you.” Continue reading
J’ai dormi sous l’eau
Ray, Abby and Cletus drifted through a merchant lined London street. Ray was draped in his leper costume. Cletus pulled his coat tight and buried his face in his collar. Abby had stuffed her hair into a hat and acquired a pair of trousers, through possibly larcenous means, between here and Glastonbury. She told people her name was Abe. The journey to London was uneventful, save for the highwayman who ended up shooting himself in the thigh before he was able to finish his opening threat. The weather was cooperative as well, but now, as they shambled through the streets searching for an affordable ferry to Calais, the sky was taking on a grim pallor. An occasional swollen droplet would thump one of them on the head. The streets began to take on the particular odor of a loaded chamber pot. A scream cut above the din of the milling throng. Like a school of minnows, the crowd moved toward the disturbance. In a slip of street, between a tavern and a brothel, the swarm descended on the lifeless body of the tavern matron with several stab wounds to her torso.