Hello reader-friends. I recently started this site to share serialized fiction in raw form, so that you would have something interesting to read a few days a week. Below is the first installment of my new story series about a former private detective and her daughter. I hope you enjoy it and feel comfortable leaving feedback. More to come on Thursday.
Without further ado . . . The Case of the Mistook Cello, Part 1
Trude eyed the door. The door did not eye her back. Doors don’t eye. They had made it through the security of the abandoned warehouse—hired henchmen were often easy to pick off with a bit of wile, and a bit of brute force—and this door presented the final challenge.
“On the count of three—“ Trude said, nodding to her partner, Jeannette.
“Trude—“ Jeanette whispered.
“Trude . . .”
“Seriously, I don’t think we—“
“Three!” Trude jumped and kicked the large, steel, non-eyeing door. The door did not, of course, budge. “Now . . .” Trude panted, “What were you saying?”
“I think it’s open.” Jeanette leaned forward and turned the knob on the door. It clicked open smoothly. “But I’m quite sure if you wanted to alert them to our presence, you were successful.”
The door swung inward to reveal seven men with guns. Yep, if that had been want she wanted, it was most certainly successful.
“Well well, Ms. Oliver,” a smarmy man with a treacherous mustache stepped forward, and said with grin, “So glad you’ve decided to join us.”
“Well, with invitations like these,” Trude reached into her coat pocket, pulled out a small baggie, and threw it onto the ground, “I wouldn’t dare miss the fete.”
“Not now, Jeannette. We’re bantering.”
“It’s the wrong bag!”
Trude looked down at the abandoned baggie on the floor. It was full of tissues, a sucker, and some bandaids. It was Clair’s emergency feel-happy first aid kit. She dug around in her pockets, locating a second bag and continued as though the mistake had never happened. “With invitations like these, I’d never miss the party.”
“I believe you said fete.” The villain countered.
“Whatever. Give us the Dixons and we’ll leave you to your pestering. What was it this time, Shelton? Taking over the world by overcoming the toy industry and boring assholery?”
Jeannette rolled her eyes. Trude had a distinct ability to make things worse merely by opening her mouth.
“Oh, you can have the Dixons, or should I say, a Dixon, but first, there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
“Oh please let it be a Kennedy.” Trude put her hands to her mouth as though she were a schoolgirl winning prom queen. Her sense of sarcasm was palpable, yet poorly refined.
Shelton shoved a small figure in front of him. Trude was so surprised she didn’t recognize the little person standing in front of her at first, so slender, yet tall for her age.
“Mommy? Can we go home now?”
Standing in front of Shelton, in the flickering fluorescent lights of the warehouse main office, was her eight year old daughter.
“Clair?” Trude dropped to her knees, and Clair started to run towards her.
“Not yet, Ms. Oliver, not yet.” A henchman set his firm, large hand on Clair’s shoulder, stopping her cold. The girl began to cry. Not the quiet cry of someone seasoned in the art of disaster, an adult. She cried like any child kept from her mother.
“What do you want.?”
“Oh nothing.” Shelton smiled. “Nothing at all. You can have, as promised, Mr. Dixon, you may have your daughter, and you may leave.” Shelton lowered his voice to be barely audible. “In a matter of speaking.”
As if on cue, an eighth man came through a side door in the office, leading an elderly man in a bathrobe and duck pajamas by the shoulder.
“Where is Mrs. Dixon?” Jeannette said, her voice quiet, hard to hear over the ventilation system of the abandoned toy warehouse.
“They took her! They took her away!” Mr. Dixon cried out, and tried to fight against the black-clad man holding him steady.
“What did you think you could do with a toy mogul, Shelton?” Trude asked, her time-honored role as private detective intersecting briefly with her near-decade old role as mother.
“And that, Ms. Oliver, was one question to many.” Shelton gave a near-imperceptible nod to his right. Another man—another black-clad, stereotypical, mindless henchman man—raised his gun, and fired. Trude crumpled to the ground in a wave of pain greater than they admit to in the movies.
The men released Clair, released Mr. Dixon, and disappeared through the door. As Trude lost consciousness, the last thing she heard was Clair, sobbing loudly, and screaming, “Mommy.”