Posts Tagged ‘Twitter Prompt’

Time Goes By

January 11, 2020

Mariel was walking down the streets of Carrena, every few steps she spun her parasol on her shoulder. It was a sunny day and she had a new dress and she was on vacation from adventuring. The rest of the team had scattered to the winds so Mariel was on her own. A lot of them had gone back to visit their families and touch base with their lives outside of fighting monsters and gathering treasure. Mariel had no family anymore. She was the tragic backstory type of adventurer. Her parents were magical researchers but had meddled with something wrong and they had detonated the tower they had lived in. Mariel had been flung across town and it was a miracle that she had survived at such a young age. One of her pointy ears had been singed off permanently which led to a lifetime of artfully arranged long hair.

Fifty years had passed quickly since they were just a blink of an eye for a young elf. Still, she could barely remember her parents’ faces and it had been a long time since she had been anywhere remotely near her home in the Bremid Empire. She had chosen instead to visit Carrena. She had grown up far from cities in her small town and she had gotten a taste for city life and especially city fashion while on adventures with her new family. They had been in Carrena the previous year battling a death cult down in the sewers. Not the best memories but when they had emerged from the blood and fouled water, the colors in the city had been so bright. They had hit several pubs in the city and had caroused for two straight nights on the King’s coin.

She had bought a new dress the morning they had left and she promised herself that she would return. Now she had paid for a week at the Deer’s Head and she was just having fun shopping and exploring the city. There were no dangers to confront and she was enjoying having some time to herself. She had spent her day reading a romance story by the famous Fountains of Umberlee’s Daughters. It had been so relaxing but now she was starting to get hungry again and there were no more snacks in her bag of colding. She also thought she could do with a glass or two of black wine. She was looking forward to the warmth of a good fire and a luxurious silk sleeping gown.

That’s when she saw it. It was a teddy bear lying in the gutter, leaned up against the curb like he had just been taking a little rest. He had certainly seen better days. He was tattered and burned as if the bear had been set on fire, flung against a wall, and then fallen into a bucket of water and stayed there for a while. The thing was, Mariel knew the poor gentleman’s name and she found herself whispering it.

“Mullo,” she muttered and a shiver ran up her spine.

She took her parasol off of her shoulder and held in front of her. She whispered a few words and she felt magic surge into the parasol. She looked through the thin silk which was her version of the Detect Magic spell. Through the veil of her parasol, the bear was lit up like a bonfire. The thing was radiating vast amounts of magic. The magic looked different from anything she had ever seen before. Every so often it would distort and then flicker as if it was not fully there. She reached into her bag and pulled out a pair of gloves and picked the bear up. Without a doubt it was Mullo. How had he gotten clear across the world? Was it the magic from that night?

She had not remembered when she had started walking again. She had not remembered when she had started crying. She had put the parasol away in her bag but she was still clutching Mullo. She walked through the taproom of The Wolf Moon and up to her room. She set Mullo down on the dresser and reached into the top drawer for her sending stone.
She didn’t think, she just poured her will into it and called out two countries over and deep under the earth.

“Luther,” she called out in her mind. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to interrupt.”

“Mariel?” Luther’s voice sounded in her head. “It’s no bother. You sound distressed.”

“I found Mullo,” she said, trying to slow her breathing.

“Who’s Mullo?” Luther asked. The dwarf sounded understandably confused.

“My childhood teddy bear,” Mariel said. “Magic brought him here. Maybe…”

“Maybe you could find them?” Luther asked. The question was patronizing or mocking but filled with the cautious hope that Mariel had not yet allowed herself.

“Maybe,” Mariel said. “What do I do?”

“Stay put,” Luther said. “Find out what you can while I assemble the team. We’ll be there soon.”

“I don’t want to interrupt their vacation,” Mariel said.

“This is important to you,” Luther said. “We’re a family. It’s important to us too. You’ll see.”

“Thank you, Luther,” Mariel said softly.

“No problem,” he said. “See you soon.”

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The Christmas Killer

January 4, 2020

Marla took a deep drag of her cigarette and coughed before tossing it to the pavement and stamping it out. She had barely stumbled out of bed just thirty minutes before. It was New Year’s Day and the party had been out of control the night before. She had lost count of how many glasses of egg nog she had had and that was long before the champagne even showed up. She had thrown on some shades in order to hide bloodshot eyes and had done the best she could with her hair and makeup. An investigative reporter had to look professional. Apparently, there were no days off for a true professional even though she wanted to spend the day hovering near her toilet. Ah well.

The paper had not sent over a photographer which was either an oversight or a budget cutback. The Spotlight was always being overshadowed by the Tribune and television so things were getting a little tight back at the office. The accounting department was getting increasingly testy. So, Marla was surreptitiously snapping pictures with her cell phone from behind the police tape. It looked grim. Cops at crime scenes always looked grim but this one looked particularly bad. Everybody was walking around either ashen-faced or pissed. Not a single cop was lax in their duties guarding the crime scene. Marla suspected she knew what the cause of it all was.

It was the Christmas Killer. It had been more than a week since the killings had begun. On Christmas Eve, a young woman had been found dead in an alleyway. She had been stabbed in the carotid artery and had bled out. It had not been pretty. What was curious is that the deed had been done with a simple candy cane. It had been sharpened to a point and driven deep. It had certainly put an extra chill in the air just before Christmas. The next day there was a very similar killer only this time the victim was male and the target was their femoral artery. Christmas Day in broad daylight. Every day since then there had been another bloody killing, all done with the same sharpened sweet. It was a baffling serial killer case because there did not seem to be a pattern with the victims.

So far, Marla had been at every crime scene but she had gotten very few details. After the first two kills, the cops had done well clamping down on any information they had. Though, the killings kept happening so they must not have had much of an idea yet either. It was frightening that a killer like that could work with impunity in a big city. It made anybody a target. It was a fact that Marla knew all too well. She had made a point of never being alone in the open wherever she went. She moved through crowds and attended parties. Safety in numbers had been her hope as it had been the hope of a lot of people during the last week.

Marla spotted a familiar face near the police tape so she headed in that direction. She had already tried flagging down an officer or detective for a comment. None of them would comment but she had not really expected them to. At one point, like at other crime scenes, she had shouted at them the question of whether it had been the Christmas Killer. The flinch she had seen in one officer had told her all she had needed to know. She moved over toward Rick Friedman who looked almost as hungover as she did.

“Hey Rick,” Marla said. “What’s a private investigator like you doing here? Can’t you see the professionals are already on the case?” She smirked, loving to tease even her closest friends.

Rick sighed. “Good morning, Marla,” he said. “You know very well that I’m a professional. I’m at least as good at sniffing out the facts as you are.”

“Only too true,” Marla said. “I’ll give the devil his due but seriously what are you doing here? I wouldn’t peg you as a rubbernecker.”

“I’m here for the same reason as you and the cops are here,” Rick said. “I want to help figure out who keeps doing this.”

Marla’s eyebrows went up. “You had the same hunch that I did, huh?” she asked. “The Christmas Killer strikes again.”

“I did,” Rick said. “Two of the families have hired me to assist with the investigation.”

“The cops must not be happy with that,” Marla said. “You’re making as many friends as I am.”

“No,” Rick said. “They’re not going to be happy that I’m snooping around but maybe I can see something if I look from an outside angle. Which brings me to why I’m glad that I ran into you.”

Marla smiled. “Aw shucks,” she said. “Why are you glad to see me?”

“I have a proposal for you, Marla,” Rick said.

Marla laughed softly. “I’ve already been married, Rick,” she said. “It didn’t work out.”

Rick smiled. “No,” he said. “I suggest a team-up. You and me. We try to figure some stuff out.”

“Are you for real?” Marla asked.

“I am,” Rick said. “However, I have one caveat.”

“Only one?” Marla asked. “Brave man.”

“Whatever you get, you keep out of the paper until the guy is caught,” Rick said.

“Deal,” Marla said. “For an exclusive, I can stay quiet for a little while but we should really get to work.”

“Agreed,” Rick said.


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