Crescent City Creeps #9

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Season of the Witch

As Toli and Delareux approached the office, rehashing the events in the case so far, they saw Barclay leaning hunched against the door holding a large, cylindrical object with one hand on top and the other on the bottom. Under the spotlight of the buzzing, fluorescent street lamp stood a woman with wild black hair, wearing no shoes. She was wearing a dress that looked as if it was grown and harvested rather than woven into Mother Nature’s mocking critique of Victorian fashion. Small red buds sprouted from vines that twisted and wrapped around her dress, or perhaps were the dress itself. The effect would have been lovely and enchanting if the ends of the vines weren’t swaying and probing. Her eyes peered out from under her helter skelter wavy locks and delivered a message of barely tempered impatience.

“A gallon of rum says that’s Winthrop,” Delareux tapped Toli and motioned toward the woman.

Toli looked up from his shoes and saw the woman tapping her foot, arms akimbo. “Case closed, I guess?”

“Where have you been, Delareux? We only have a few hours,” She barked and pointed to the outsized hourglass Barclay was holding. All the sand had drained into the lower chamber. “It ran out,” she chirped to Barclay. “Flip it over.”

Barclay turned the hourglass.

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Crescent City Creeps #8

 

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Hello Hooray

Winston Cross dropped the peregrine into a padded briefcase and snapped it shut. He threw the briefcase into the back seat of his car and opened the driver’s side. Sturgis took three shots at Cross with a revolver. Cross looked like he was in a movie that was getting tangled in the projector and the bullets sailed through him.

Cross frowned at Sturgis and shook his head with more pathos than anger. Like he was confronting a brother who can’t handle his hootch. Sturgis stared frozen and his face fell into involuntary penitence, “I won’t hold that against you, Verne. I can see why you would be so angry. And terrified.” Cross slid into the driver’s seat and tore off.

 

“We have to go after him,” Toli said yanking on Delareux’s jacket.

“Not tonight,” Delareux murmured, watching Cross’s car shrink as it departed.

“What about that guy has you rattled? We’ve seen things walk through walls.”

“It’s like I said, be either corporeal or incorporeal. Not both.”

“What difference does it make?”

“I’m not locking horns with anything that can walk through a wall and put a slug in my gut.”

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Crescent City Creeps #7

 

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Give Up the Ghost

 

Sturgis pulled Parker into a side room away from the attention of the party.

“When did you lose the peregrine?” Sturgis coughed as he whispered and tamped a cigarette on the lid of its gold case.

“It was gone when I went to retrieve it,” Parker stammered. “The tabernacle was empty.”

“Did you set the lock right?”

“I hadn’t opened it since you handed it off to me last night.”

“Did you have a thief in the nigh…wait a second. You don’t think…?”

“Le Bec?”

“That’s right.”

“Doesn’t he return everything he steals?”

“Unless he knows what the peregrine is.”

“How would he know what the peregrine is?”

“I hear he’s pretty spooky. Like a sorcerer or something. What’s the Sleeper’s condition?”

“It’s opened three of its eyes already. It still gazes within, but it’s getting restless.”

“We don’t have much time. Get in touch with the Ghost.”

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Crescent City Creeps #6

 

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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.

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Crescent City Creeps #5

 

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And In The End

 

“What are you playing at?” Delareux grumbled at Rasputin who was holding Toli and him at gunpoint in his lab.

“Thanks to the many fine subjects, yielded by the streets of New Orleans, I’ve have finally perfected a serum that will give me an unstoppable army. Soon the Goblin Liberation Army will administer my Ichor into the water supply and the whole city be a mighty force,” Rasputin flipped a switch and the portraits of Tsar Nicholas II and Alexandra slid up and revealed the preserved corpses of the same, in glass cases, “A force I will use to crush the Soviets, bringing glory back to the Russian Empire, to Tsar Nicholas and his lovely bride Alexandra.”

“You’re insane,” Toli barked, “They’re dead.”

“Is okay,” Rasputin replied, “I know a guy. Now, you two. You’ve been thorns in my side long enough,” he raised his gun to shoot.

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