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Edge of Midnight Monday: Harry’s Dead

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter One – Harry’s Dead

27th October, 1949

“Extra, Extra, read all about it! Dead gumshoe found floating in the bay!”

The paperboy was doing a brisk trade in newsprint that morning, his piping voice only slightly muffled by the cold fog rolling in off the Bay. Must be nice not to care who lives and who dies, so long’s it sells papers and you get your pay packet at the end of the week.

So anyways, my corpse comes bobbing up like a Halloween apple despite the half-ton of lead that Gaunt filled me with, and suddenly I’m headline news.

Must have been a slow news day, I guess.

If I have any regrets, it’s that I’ll never get to finish the cases I was working on, or gut the bastard who put me down. Still, turns out I had friends I never even knew existed, friends who might yet get to the bottom of everything, even if they ain’t doing it out of the kindness of their heart.

Take Jake Bullet, for example; a man you don’t cross without a sterling silver, grade A deathwish. A man who’ll break your arm just for looking at you crosswise. Turns out that he’s got an axe to grind with whoever offed me, too…

Jake’s POV

The name’s Bullet, Jake Bullet. I got news that Harry was dead. Sad, I kinda liked the guy, but shit happens. Then I read it was murder, and it hits home. Murdered. Murdered in his office. Murdered in his office on MY turf. The implications hit harder. Harry was paying me protection, and he’s been killed. I need to get to the bottom of this, and fast, before anyone decides that paying me protection ain’t worth it. I decide I’m going to work on this myself, no delegating something this important!

The boys ask what they can do, so I suggest they go out and have some fun, bring me back some Gaunt teeth, and I head to Harry’s.

Police tape blocks the doorway, and the door’s locked. Harry’s apartment and office are above a liquor store, so i poke my head in and ask Al if he has a key – he does. I let myself in and on my way upstairs I hear a sound round back. Someone might be trying to break in to Harry’s, or get away, so I pick up speed. No need to open Harry’s office door, someone has already helpfully kicked it in for me.

I get into Harry’s office to find a strange man at the window trying to get in. I tell him to go round the front. There’s a knocking at the front door too. Harry seems to be suddenly quite popular. I rummage through his desk drawers, help myself to some of his papers and a derringer before I open the window to ask who that man is. I tell him he can come in, but he better go down and answer the door. I can tell he doesn’t know me, as he ignores my order. Outside the window, on the fire escape, I see the recognisable figure of Miss Shirley Homes. that reminds me, I need to make a visit to her tomorrow to ‘collect’ on her weekly protection payment. I offer her a hand and help her in through the window, watching how she moves, when the banging at the front door distracts me. I walk across the apartment and throw the keys down to whoever is there, tell them to let themselves in. Seems like we’re going to make a party of it.

The strange man identifies himself as Giles, and seems pretty broke up. A friend of Harry’s perhaps, or maybe the murderer returned to make sure there’s no evidence. I turn to watch as Lady Ruby Valentine walks into the room, followed by a man who introduces himself as James Sinclair. He don’t look like much, but she oozes money.

We all seem to have some reason for wanting to find out who killed Harry, so we all look around together. I’m a little surprised at myself that I let them, and haven’t kicked them all out. The presence of the two beautiful dames must have put me off kilter a little. I let them look, but they don’t know I’ve already swiped some of his papers. I don’t mind sharing, but not without looking at them first. I don’t want to hand over anything that Harry might have found out about yours truly!

Shirley Homes, now there’s a dame. I ain’t had much of a chance to jaw with her in the last year but I sure seen her around; quite a sight for sore eyes even if she ain’t a patch on my Eva. Eva…

Shirley’s the kind of sister who knows what she wants and does whatever it takes to get it. Word is she’ll even do the horizontal mambo with a guy if she has to. In fact, word is she pays her weekly “insurance” to Jake Bullet in favours rather than cash. Can’t say I blame the guy; with that sweet keister on offer, five bucks a week’s gotta look like small fry.

Anyway, Shirley’s brother was an old friend of mine from way back, and when he got iced Shirley came around to my office a couple of times to talk things over, to cry on my shoulder and to try and see a way forward without her klutz of a brother around. I guess she remembers the favour I once did her, ’cause she’s straining at the leash to hunt down the guy who offed me. I just hope she won’t get burned by Jake along the way…

Shirley’s POV

It started off as a normal morning, the fog was still thick on the streets and I walked towards my office on Snoops’ Row, coffee in one hand, my oversized handbag in the other, nodding to the familiar faces as I went. I wasn’t really thinking about anything, I had a day of sitting in the office to look forward to, maybe work would come in, maybe it wouldn’t. It’d been a couple of weeks since my last case, so I was hoping more for the in.

Suddenly I heard a name I hadn’t expected, Harry Fontaine, a friend of my brother’s, and another P.I. was all around being cried out by the paper sellers. I tossed a nickel to the nearest one, and right enough on the front page there he was. His body found out in the bay, dumped there like sea garbage. This hit a lilttle too close to home for my liking. Well, while I was off case, I may as well see what I could do.

I wanted to get to his office fast, no doubt anything useful would already have been removed, but I guess a part of me just wanted to see it for myself, as if I needed to see his empty appartment to make it sink in.

As I approached his block I saw a lean, unkempt man trying to open Harry’s front door. I kept my face in the paper and skirted to the back. The fire exit was there, but out of reach. Fortunately there were a couple of crates from the ground floor liquor shop to give me a boost. I climbed up, but still couldn’t make it. Then I became aware of some muttering behind me. The guy from the front door had also come back here, but I recognised him now that I saw the face. I couldn’t put a name to it, but his creepy aura meant I could place him immediately. We’d met years back, on some night out with Josh and Harry. I’m not sure if he recognised me, he barely glanced at my face, but either way I figured what the hey, after climbing on crates I couldn’t exactly explain away what I was doing easily. Using some cane he helped me release the ladder and we climbed up to the first level, although the ladder was funny – some spring mechanism, or is there more to the creep than meets the eye?

I went along the platform, ducking as I passed the window. However, the follower saw someone inside and started banging on the window! I already had my revolver out and pressed myself against the wall as someone approached the window…

I don’t know if it was seeing the other faces from the past, but when I saw Jake through that window suddenly I was right back again, one year ago, when we first met.

It was my first day in the office, and I’d only been there for a few hours, mostly sorting out the filing system. As far as I could figure Jeanine’s job had been to sit around looking pretty for the clients and chewing gum. And that was before she became an active distraction for Watts. I scooted back to the reception desk in the front room when I heard the door knock, and feigned as much nochelance as I could when I invited my first client in. The stocky, broad-jawed man came in, a patent black fedora pulled low over his eyes. I wondered if he was another private dick, until his two goons walked in behind him. The air of menace emanating from the three of them made my heart sink. My first assumption was that they had been hired by the guy responsible for offing my brother, and were now here to tie up the loose ends.
When the broad man started demanding money I had to do a complete 360o. Then I asked who he was. Jake Bullet, running for the local Family. Now it made sense, Watts hadn’t admitted to the racketeering, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The only problem was, I had about two bucks worth of change in my purse, and no access to anything further until the deed transfer changed name. I explained to Bullet that I was new, and neither of the others were around. Like he’d care. Well, I’d taken on this business, I’d better start dealing with its problems… Fortunatly Jake was amenable to being taken into the back office, and I then further convinced him to accept an… alternative to the cash.
Well, we’ve continued with that arrangement for almost a year. Jake must get his pick at the clubs he frequents, I wonder if he’s doing it out of sympathy now. Ah, he probably doesn’t know about Josh and Watts, and even if he did I doubt he’d care.
[Coming soon: Jake's perspective of this flashback]

Jake opened the window and put his hand out, then smiled that easy going half grin of his, inviting me through.

I stepped in ahead of the creepy jibberer and almost balked at the mess. Papers and furniture strewn about, and that wasn’t the worst… It’s a wonder Harry Fontaine had any liquids left in his body. The bullet holes along the wall behind the desk told enough of a story as to what happened. Next thing I know Jake’s trying to get me to answer the knocking on the front door. As tempting as it was to get some fresh air, I had to stay and see if any clues hit me. I had a quick look around, then suddenly the room was full of people.

It turned out that upon finding out about Fontaine’s death we’d all had a reason to be there, including the widow Valentine and the historian James Sinclair. Well, for once I lucked out on timing, seems Sinclair established that I was connected with private investigations, and Ruby hired me on the spot. Nice to have a bit of financial motivation to back up personal curiousity, something all too rare in this job.

As much as I hate snooping in front of an audience I didn’t have much choice this time. I checked as best as I could amongst the blood and chaos, and then lucked out. A couple of clues that could lead to who was responsible for Fontaine’s murder…

In my time as a private dick I guess I’ve worked most types of case, and I’ve dealt with people from all walks of life. Swindling accountants, cheating husbands or wives, purloined jewellery, missing kids; you name it. In every job I took there was something lost; lost property, loss trust, lost people. Missing person cases are often the worst. There’s something disturbing about the way a life can just slip through the cracks, like water trickling between paving slabs and seeping into the ground.

Do you ever think about the past? The time before the war? Sure, I guess we all do. We all know about the Roman empire, the founding of the commonwealth… or do we? Most of us can’t even clearly remember events before ten years ago, except as a half-formed fuzz of details lost in the fog.

James Sinclair; now here’s a guy who spends too much time thinking about the past, with his dusty books and his museum of historical curiosities. He gave me a couple of cases over the last few years, trying to find rare books listed in his back catalogue or whatever.

I liked the guy, so I took on cases I would never have imagined a few years ago. The truth is, the two of us are a lot alike; him on his quest to piece together actual details about the past, the past of the world. Me? I had a more specific past that I was trying to find. Eva.

James’ POV

Ever wondered what a real laughing stock is? Imagine a taxi driver without a cab. A construction worker who’s misplaced his materials. A chef whose ingredients have breezed off.

Now, myself? I go above and beyond all of that, my friend. For I am a historian. And I happen to have lost history.

Bizarre, isn’t it? Anything before the White Light is a mess of faded feelings, a few vague impressions, the odd name here and there. No books to be heard of, no definite articles. No dates, no places, no people. Nothing. And yet, nobody seems to care. Not one number. They’ll just shrug if you point it out, or give a breezy “must’ve slipped my mind”. Good grief.

Harry Fontaine was a decent sort, as far as gumshoes go. Willing to listen to any case, no matter how eccentric. I suppose asking a private eye to track down a book is a little unusual by anyone’s standards, but it was money for little risk in a job that usually comes with an unpleasant amount of consequences. I guess that’s why we hit it off so well- I simply asked him to track down history, and he found bits and pieces, with varying degrees of success. He always told me how much he appreciated those little holidays.

Poor Harry. He didn’t deserve what happened to him. Then again, I don’t suppose anyone does, in this day and age. Everything’s all skewed and off-kilter. I’m sad to say I wasn’t surprised, though. Investigation, especially freelance, is risky any way you slice it. Eventually you’ll step on too many toes, look at someone the wrong way, take a case better left unopened… and before you know it, you’re decorating the surface of the local bay, wearing the classic ensemble of blood and bulletholes. The picture wasn’t the most flattering he’s ever had taken.

Nowadays, fate doesn’t do things by halves. It always has to twist the knife just a little more. So you can imagine how I felt when I found the note Harry sent me in my office. Crumpled and trodden on. Good old Harry, same as always. Apparently his work had been keeping him busy recently, the most recent being a standard divorce case. Same old, same old. Husband seemingly a little hinky- but then, who isn’t, these days? Had the headlines not jumped out and rapped me square between the eyes, I would almost have just smiled at it and got back to fruitlessly piecing shreds of the past together. As it was, it pressed the point home even harder.

I was thinking of heading out there and then to hit the nearest bar and get thoroughly lit when what should draw up outside but a limousine. And not just any limousine, her limousine. Lady Ruby Valentine, patron saint of J. Etheridge Memorial Museum. Saving our livelihood with her donations and curios from far-flung corners of the globe that slip the mind, always happy to peruse the various exhibits and ask all the right questions, knowing the answers just aren’t there. If I’d paid more attention, maybe I would have realised the farce I was acting out day after day sooner.

She had the beauty, the brains, and the bees. A combination many would kill for… or already have.

Given the curator was slowly marinating in his bottle of Jack, and Bill’s ‘condition’ making him unlikely to even so much as look at her, it looked like the honour of laying out the red carpet fell to me. Fairly flew down to the atrium, past nameless exhibits whose history nobody knew and even fewer cared about.

And there she was. A vision in mink and mazuma. People with that much cash exude an aura as powerful as any gaunt’s- the difference in class hits you like the proverbial ton of bricks.

Even her perfume smelled of money.

No sooner had I opened my mouth to excuse the lack of reception then she shut me down- she was here for a specific reason. More specifically, she was here for me. Apparently old Harry had worked a case for her a while back, and she kept in touch every now and then. With him gone, she felt like she needed to talk to his friends- his family being absent, and Eva… well. I can tell you, it’s the stuff those big-budget movies are made of, the way he painted it. In any case, she recalled him mentioning me at some point, and being in the understandably odd profession that I was, I seemed the most reasonable person to talk to. A sensible choice- a few bits of diverting trivia, no matter how vague and fragmented, could help distract between bouts of remembering Harry over the salad and soften the blow somewhat. A wise head, that one.

I believe it was somewhere over the martinis with Lady Valentine– no, Ruby- that the idea of visiting Harry’s old place came up, for old time’s sake- one final look, send him off in our minds, that sort of dingus. No sooner had we left the waitress her tip than we were flying towards Snoops’ Row in record time- say what you want about limousines, they can shift when they need to, and you travel in style.

When we drew up to Harry’s, however, it was apparent that things were not well. The police tape fluttering in tatters around the door said as much. I would have told Ruby to stay in the car, but it was evident that she wouldn’t have any of it- after all that had already happened, any distraction, even a good old-fashioned mystery would have been jumped at. While she pounded on the front door, I headed around the back to investigate a commotion- and finding no less than two people standing around on the fire escape, peering through the windows! Snooping they might have been, but snoopers I’d have bet they weren’t.

I yelled up to them to get away from Harry’s place- the woman yelled back that Harry’s place was further down the road. As if. I told her as much, to which she replied it was her office as well- now, that was just plain unbelievable. Eva was the only woman for Harry, and he sure as anything wouldn’t have started inviting other women around to his place now, no matter how much they’d turn your head.

There was some yelling from the inside of the office, and a window opened, giving me pause for thought- exactly how man people were traipsing around up there? More to the point, how did they get up there in the first place? There was a precarious stack of cardboard boxes under the fire escape, but the ladder would still be unreachable to anyone without something to grab it with.

…or magic. There’s always magic as an explanation. You tend to have to rethink your personal definition of ‘impossible’ when you know people capable of setting your hat on fire with nothing more than a couple of finger wiggles and a mathmatical equation.

Still, I might have been able to reach it, but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it in one piece, what with my leg still being a little stiff. Besides, heights have never held any appeal for me.

So instead, I did the gallant thing. Went back to Ruby, in case the door flew open and the whole gang of them burst out. Came as something as a surprise when the keys were dropped on top of us and we were told to ‘let ourselves in’. And if that seemed crazy enough, it was nothing compared to what was actually up there.

First up, Harry’s office was a mess. Granted, his general filing system involved tossing paper at the cabinets and hoping it landed in a drawer, but this was pushing it. Broken glass all over the floor, overturned furniture, papers and books scattered all over the shop.. and it looked as if someone had been doing some redecorating- in Shades of Harry with a bullethole motif. Made my eyes water just looking at it. Poor guy.

And who else should be leaning against the desk than that renowned celebrity, Jake Bullet, local mob boss. Sized us up as we came in, and you could practically feel the daggers flying as his gaze met Ruby’s. According to him, he had nothing to do with Harry’s death, something I was immediately skeptical of. Still, his story made a kind of sense- no-one got killed in the neighbourhood unless he said so, and Harry was always very careful when it came to paying his bills, as it were. So obviously something like this would reflect badly on his reputation. If Jake didn’t do it, then I pity the man who did, for the few short days he has left- no-one upsets Jake’s ‘business’ and gets clean away with it.

Upon closer inspection, the snooper from earlier really was a snooper. Shirley Homes, Private Eye. Harry mentioned her once or twice in passing, if memory serves, and I’d seen her in the area a few times. Funny- she looked more the type who turned up outside the gumshoe’s doors with a case than a gumshoe herself. I guess turnabout is fair play. As soon as I mentioned her day job, Ruby hired her almost on the spot, after a bit of haggling- seems that she was planning to do a spot of investigation all along.

The other party involved was apparently one Giles Xavier- an eccentric sort, to say the least. Long coat, dark glasses, cane, never meeting the eyes, alternating between a mumble and a yell at a moment’s notice. I knew Harry met some odd people in his line of work, but this one looked as though he’d be going off the track at any moment. Didn’t even know Harry was dead until Jake finally got fed up with his yelling and told him, at which point he just went to pieces.

So far, it looks like we all had some connection to Harry, as well as a pressing need to unravel the mystery wrapped around his demise. I guess he was more popular than he thought- no doubt getting a good chuckle out of the circus in his office by now. Strange how things work, sometimes.

Then as we all started looking to see what little the cops had left, Al, the owner of the liquor store below the apartment came up- just to add to the party atmosphere- and was promptly interrogated by no less than three different people. Then Shirley found a bug in the phone, and Ruby berated the mobster for a purloined sawbuck…

…what a day.

I only ever met one guy in the world who hurt worse than me. This guy had so much pain and rage inside him that it almost blinded him, almost turned him into a monster.

We met in a low-rent bar down near the waterfront, only a stone’s throw away from Snoop’s Row and the dingy office where I recently got plugged. Such a small patch of geography to contain so much history. He was a pale, creepy lookin’ guy, staring into his drink and mumbling incoherently. The bartender was giving him the squints something bad… he’d obviously decided that this was a seriously wrong number. From the way he was keeping his hands under the bar, I reckoned he was only a Central City minute away from whipping out a baseball bat and giving the creep a bum’s rush.

What can I say? I’ve always been an underdog. Something about the way the creep was acting gave me a pang of sympathy, so I went over to him and managed to cajole him into leaving the bar before something serious went down. Fortunately, I don’t think the bruiser behind the counter noticed the fact that Giles’ half-empty whiskey bottle was floating an inch off the bar as we left…

I took Giles back to my place, to the office, and once he’d sobered up a bit with some black coffee percolating through his veins we started talking. Sure, he’s got all the social skills of a parboiled lobster, but underneath it all he’s just hurting, hurtin’ bad.

Like mine, his pain was rooted in the past, like a black splinter driven under the skin until it was a festering, suppurating sore, and it related to his wife and kid. Boy, I could relate. We talked, and although there were uncomfortable pauses, it was a weight off to talk for once about Eva with someone who really understood.

We got to be buddies, and I like to think that I was an anchor in Giles’ life, a source of stability that helped him to hang on. We got to meeting for lunch on a regular basis, and I’d chew the fat with him about some of my cases, the baseball scores, whatever. We kept it light, but we both understood where the other person had been, and where he hoped to go in the future.

Now I’m dead, and Giles is alone again, without a friend in the world. I can only hope that he can find some purpose in finding the leatherback who offed me and then move on with his life. He was doing so well at reining in his addiction to the crunchy numbers that make the universe go round; I can only hope that he doesn’t lose control over it now he’s got nothing to anchor him.

I guess only time will tell, and I sure got plenty of that…

Giles’ POV

Giles sat at their usual table in the corner, smoke drifting across the bar like a midnight fog enveloping the sorrows of the flock. Giles sat and watched life go by, a waitress dropped a plate and as it spiralled towards the ground and shattered into a thousand pieces like his life a tear welled in his eye. Taking a gulp of his whiskey he let the burning liquid wash away his pain, his memories. A clock over the bar chimed, dragging Giles away from his own miserable existence and reminding him of his one remaining friend in this world of darkness. He looked down at his own watch, the soft shadow arced across the 12 like a reaper’s scythe waiting for its time to swing.

Harry was late; like the express train, Harry was never late. The plate finally shattered, bits scattering across the room as Giles stood. He dropped $2 onto the table as he headed for the door, pulling on his coat and smiling to himself as he felt the pull of the world dragging him back down, like a body sinking down into the river after the mob had given its owner some new “shoes”. But the pull of the world didn’t get him down, it was his comfort zone. Knowing he had the power to crush a house like a child would crush an ant meant that it was his friend as well, although a friend who had brought a lot of pain into his life it was a friend who had stayed with him through thick and thin.

Looking up he saw he was standing outside Harry’s place, police tape sprawled across the door like some sort of sick ribbon on a bad present waiting to open. Giles ignored it, he knew Harry was a survivor or was it that he didn’t want to believe it, perhaps his judgement was really impaired and his power had enveloped him like the fog around a coastal crag just waiting for that wreck to come along. The door was locked, realising he could simply pull the door into the ground he began working the math, but that wasn’t a good idea, people didn’t trust “his type”. He shook his head, pitying those who didn’t understand the power of the world he moved to the back of the flats.

Among the dirt of the back alleys he saw a jewel like a nickel hidden in a handful of pennies; she was balanced on some boxes trying to reach the fire escape. A small smile curled the corners of his mouth before it dissapeared. He offered his hand and helped the lady down and pushed the boxes out of the way with his cane, watching them skitter away, pulled to the ground. He smiled and pulled the ladder out of reality, like a flag in the wind suddenly starched into place and watched the ladder float out of place before he tapped it with his cane, releasing the mechanism. Stepping back, the ladder slammed into the floor with enough power to make a butcher proud of anything it hit. The Nickel stepped in front of him, he didn’t argue, he was more concerned about his latening lunch than anything else. Stepping onto the ladder below the nickel he caught a glimpse of red between the lines of white like the sun setting across the bay when the clouds hugged the sky. Commenting on such a good view he told The Nickel to hold on and manipulated the ladder once more, sending it up with ease to rest in its place once more. The Nickel leapt off the top allowing a final glance of the sunset before he stepped off onto the metal escape. The windows were closed and the lights were off, it was dark in there, dark like the shadow of death. Looking in he saw some guy in the room, shadows flickering making it hard to see he called to Harry and tapped on the window oblivious to the guns drawn around him. The guy muttered something about going to the front door, Giles ignored him knowing he would get in one way or the other he let The Nickel enter before he followed and moved into Harry’s room looking for his pal.

The place was a tip, mess everywhere, it was like a bomb had gone off in Harry’s life again, only this time it was for real, Eva hadn’t made this much mess. Heading back out to the room he asked the now swelling collection of people where Harry was, some dame in a fancy coat moved over to him. She moved like his love but he knew it wasn’t. Sights and sounds… he clicked out memories flooding his mind like water leaking out of a bust pipe until through the mist like the fog horn of the harbour ferry he heard the words “Harry is dead”. Snapping out of it he looked about, the odd looking guy from earlier backed her story. Harry was dead, it made sense, he glanced around the room, bullet holes riddled the wall a line flickering across with a splash of red in the middle, death had swung his scythe here and it wasn’t peaceful. The door kicked in glass everywhere. Giles broke down, the pain of being alone washing over him suddenly he felt so heavy. Like the whole world was pulling him down. Then came the kick to the nuts he needed to pull him back from the brink; the others started looting Harry’s stuff, Giles didn’t see or care who it was he wanted to crush them into the ground pull them all into hell with him along with the building they were standing in. Shaking his head he remembered what Harry had said about using his powers in his office. Harry wouldn’t have wanted it this way and Giles knew to respect that even if these others didn’t.

Giles told them to stop their looting, like the guide lights on the pier this got people working, the lady with the moves immediately hired The Nickel to find out what happened, the other two seemed keen to help as well. Turns out The Nickel had more than a few pleasant surprises. Turns out Harry’s phone was bugged. Someone was collecting info on Harry and then it clicked like the express train plunging out of a tunnel into the light.

Harry’s journal… He kept it next to his heart. Eva had torn his old one out, so now he kept something else precious there instead. Giles looked up at the others and smiled.

In a part of town where most of the people can’t afford a car, it’s pretty unusual to see a limo rolling sedately past the trash in the gutter, and it’s even more unusual for said limo to pull up outside my office and for a dame to step out, and for the dame to climb up the stairs to my office is unthinkable.

Despite my expectations that’s exactly what happened one Spring morning, and when Ruby Valentine swept into my office, everything changed. For a few moments even Eva slipped my mind.

After a few moments of conversation I realised that this woman was a dangerous study in contrasts. As cold as ice and twice as slippery, but too hot to handle without scorching your fingers. She set me up with a job, seemed easy enough, investigate her philandering husband and get back to her with the results.

We met a few more times as I went about investigating her husband, and each time the news only got worse for Ruby. She took it well although I could sense emotions bubbling beneath her chilly exterior. I could definitely empathise.

Once the case was over, Ruby swept out of my life as suddenly as she’d entered it, leaving me with a feeling of unsatisfaction. There’d been sparks between us, but nothing ever happened, and I’d learned enough about Ruby during my time working for her that I knew getting involved with her would be like being a moth flying into a flame.

When her husband died I figured Ruby’d got her own back on him and I couldn’t feel any sympathy for the greasy adulterer, but I didn’t really think much more about it, or about her. I thought about her occasionally, but I was sure she’d forgotten about me as soon as the door closed after our last meeting.

The funny thing is, even as the police tape dangled from my apartment door, what should roll down the alley again but a high-class limo? Ruby’s back, with a stake in whoever rubbed me out, and god help anyone who gets in her way.

Ruby’s POV

I thought my problems had ended when Frank died, turns out they were just begininng. The sleuth I hired to investigate Frank , Harry Fontaine was dead. Filled with daylight and washed up on banks of the river. I should have been glad, he knew too much. But somehow I couldn’t get him out of my head.

I knew that it had something to do with the other hunch I had had recently, that something was hinky in our world, some piece of the puzzle was missing and that piece was in the past.

The past was the key, I knew it, as were the warlocks. Although maybe that was just ego talking, being one myself.

I knew I had to get to the bottom of this one, so I called upon one of Harry’s old friends, a historian named James Sinclair to find out what he knew. The museum was well kept, a tribute to a past no one remembers or even cares about. It intrigued me as to what kind of man this friend of Harry’s was. A historian with no history. I suggested over drinks that we go see Harry’s office one last time, maybe find a clue to his death. We slid across to the bad part of town in style, no one ever said frank didn’t know how to spend his money. I glanced out of the window as I sipped my martini, and watched the crowds moving, unaware of the world and mindless. We rolled into snoop’s row and saw trouble, the police tape over Harry’s door broken and blowing in the wind like a flag of surrender. To my suprise there were voices from inside the office, no doubt some goons looking for something to swipe. James decided to look round the back whilst I pounded on the door like a woman possessed.

I was giving up hope when one of the goons dropped the keys down from Harry’s office, it never hurts to ask I guess. These were no ordinary mob of goons. James and I walked up the long stairs to Harry’s office, and found the local head trouble-boy, Jake Bullet, a dame and a hinky man who I had seen with Harry before I was sure. Looks like I lucked out, the dame was a private dick called Shirley. I hired her right then to find who blew down Harry.

Seems it was the right decision, as right away she found something the coppers missed. Seems someone was watching Harry…

Originally authored by: Adam, Alice, Alli, Azrael, Guy, & Skimble


  1. avatar

    Skimble says:

    In case you’re curious, Adam was Giles, Alice was Shirley, Alli was Ruby, Azrael was Jake, Guy was James, and I (Skimble) was the GM and thus wrote Harry’s sections in between the others’ writeups.

  2. Dragon Droppings » Blog Archive » Edge of Midnight Extra: Jake’s Flashback says:

    [...] About Add Post Articles Fiction News Reviews « Edge of Midnight Monday: Harry’s Dead [...]

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