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Old 09-19-2022, 06:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm currently working on submissions for a Halloween short story collection for another forum, and will (if yiz can be bothered) share the stories here. But I would like to ask others to contribute, if anyone likes to. All you need do is write a story with a horror/scary theme, some link to Halloween. Doesn't have to be novel-length, anything up to 3,000 - 5,000 words acceptable, but in no way do you have to come up to that limit. A few hundred words is fine if that's what you want to do. If Mondo is still around, love to see what you could do for the spooky season. Frown, I know you can write, and Ori, if you're out there, we need you. I know there are other undiscovered authors here. SGR, you're a good writer, I know that. I'm sure there are others. Now's the time.

Anyone interested let me know. I've no idea how it's going to turn out, but it might be fun.

Now running. Contents page here
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Old 09-19-2022, 08:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When's the deadline?

I'll have to do some thinking on it, but if I can come up with a concept/idea I like, I'll submit something.
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Old 09-20-2022, 06:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Meh, I guess have yours posted by Oct 30/31. Let's put a posting period of say from Oct 10 to 31, in case like me there's a bunch to post. Be glad to see some of your fiction, SGR; I reckon you're an author looking for a story.

FYI themes, if anyone is stuck, just off the top of my head:

Monsters (vampires. witches, werewolves, zombies etc)
Pumpkin attack (?) (See the Simpsons)
Magic
Murder
Inanimate objects coming alive
Spooky locations (haunted houses, graveyards, IRS office...)
Evil children
Non-evil children
Deadly party games (ducking for poisoned apples etc)
Bonfires
Fireworks
Estranged lovers meeting at masked ball
Alien invasions
Odd neighbours
What's he building?
Time travel
Medical procedures gone horribly wrong
Ghosts
Scary shops
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Old 09-20-2022, 02:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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It's been years since I've written anything approaching fiction (unless you count the nonsense I post here of course). Besides not yet having an idea that excites me, I'm also a bit stumped about what narrative viewpoint/perspective I should use. I guess I'd figure it out as I get writing.

Some great themes there, although there's a distinct lack of Bigfoot in that list.
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Old 09-20-2022, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Bigfoot goes trick-or-treating? I like it! Go for it! Narrative can be whatever you like. So far I've written nine, and of those three are first-person, so it's completely up to you.
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Old 09-20-2022, 03:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll figure out something
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Old 10-01-2022, 09:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Dancing Round the Bonfire: Spooky Stories and Tales of Terror for the Scary Season

Submissions remain open; I'm just going to start posting my own work now. Feel free to drop a story in and I'll add it to the contents page.

CONTENTS


Homeward, or, Where's Ripley When You Need Her?
Marked
Gentlemen's Club
Coming Back to Life
Boss of Bosses
Support Group
Not One of Us
Star-crossed

A Grave Injustice: A Sherlock Holmes Story
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Old 10-01-2022, 09:43 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Homeward, or, Where's Ripley When You Need Her?

Beating hard against the wind, the ship's sails filled as the bark tacked to port. The storm screamed its fury at the vessel, the roiling sea doing its best to swamp the decks. Huge frothy white breakers came surging up over the sides, like the grasping, questing hands of some enormous sea beast beneath. The sky was hard and dark, the stars glittering like baleful staring eyes as the ship made its way nor-by-nor'west, the island dwindling to the size of a small rock in the distance. The remaining crew members shivered, and not only from the lashing rain which seemed to have decided that if the ship could not be drowned from below then it would be drowned from above. Carsten jerked a thumb back in the direction of the rapidly-receding atoll.

“Fucking dusky maidens, my arse!” he grumped to Deveraux, who was trying to splice the mainbrace, or some damn thing. “An island Paradise, that's what he promised us! And what did we get?”

The Frenchman ignored him. The question did not require an answer; they all knew what they had got. Those that had survived, that was. But he had his own problems, small and insignificant as they seemed now.
Deveraux had not the first idea how to be a seaman, much less splice a mainbrace, whatever that was. He had sneaked aboard the ship when it docked at Marseilles. After what they had all faced, he now wondered if he might have been better throwing himself on the tender mercies of Jacques Dupont. The man wasn't known as “The Guillotine” for nothing, of course, and he took a very dim view of those who could not pay, but at least it would have been quick.

It certainly had not been quick for those they had been forced to leave behind.
O'Donnell was, as usual, drunk in the hold, and of no use to anyone, but he was alive. A burden, yes, and one they could barely afford as they fled from that horror, but there was no way Captain Harrison was going to have left him back... he shuddered, a cold hand running down his spine ... there.

Nobody deserved that.

Of course, Harrison wasn't the captain, but the acting captain. The last he had seen of Captain Grayson, the man had been standing on the shore like some titan, holding them off as they approached like a black cloud. He had one of those new flintlocks, take down a maneater at fifty paces. But these maneaters were not to be stopped. The bullets seemed to have no effect on them as they pressed forward.

Mentally, he doffed his hat, though he wore none. Captains traditionally go down with their ships. Grayson had gone down, but not with his ship. The last glimpse Deveraux had had of him was forever now seared into his memory, the man surrounded by a black cloud of bodies, shots, and a scream that would haunt him to his dying days.

But the captain had bought their escape with his life, and the jolly boat was halfway to the ship before the creatures turned towards them. Thank the good Lord in Heaven, he thought, that they seemed afraid of the water and could not pursue them.

He thought of the men left behind. All dead now, of course.
Or at least, he fervently hoped so.

His thoughts returned to O'Donnell. The man had a good excuse to be off his face, though in fairness he seldom needed one. But this time he did. They all did. Matter of fact, Deveraux thought, it was a wonder they weren't all nine sheets to the wind after what they had gone through.

As soon as they reached port, he intended to remedy that situation. Alchohol would not block out the horrible things he had seen back there on that cursed island – nothing would: he would most likely live with those memories for the rest of his days. They would come screaming out of his dreams and reach for him in the night, and he, a man who did not scare easy and who had many enemies, though none of them alive, would cry like a newborn.
No, drink would not take away the events of the past three days. But it would help dull the horror.
Maybe.

He could never have believed such things existed.
Nobody could.

Down in the hold, O'Donnell could.

When they had shoved him down into the darkness to sober up, his head had felt like it was splitting.
That was no longer a metaphor.
The Irishman was no longer drunk, nor would he ever be.

But something was.

His cries, never audible above the shriek of the wind and the groaning of the ship's timbers anyway, went unheard, and now the only sound was a horrible crunching, slurping, sucking.

Red eyes gleamed malevolently in the darkness as the ship lurched towards home.
The snap of a human bone. Gnawing sounds.

Soon, they would all believe.
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Old 10-03-2022, 08:09 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Marked

What the hell was she doing here, I wondered? I couldn't even remember letting her in to the house. This early-stage Alzheimer's is a bitch. Forget your own name.

I mentally shook myself and tried to look more closely at her, without seeming to.

There was something almost doll-like about her, now I thought about it: her skin was like porcelain, her cheeks just a little too perfectly-made up, the exact amount of rouge on the sweet apple curves, the lipstick carefully applied; she had never once gone outside the line of her lips, nor had she got the merest spot on her straight white teeth, which showed only as she daintily nibbled at the biscuit on the plate in front of her.

Dainty,
Doll-like.
Perfect make-up.

She was like some sort of ideal of a woman – a girl, really – someone's perfect fantasy, every line and curve perfect, every hair in place.

But then there was the smell.

I tried to identify it but could not, and I certainly did not want to remark upon it. Maybe she just liked to wear an unusual perfume, and who was I to challenge that? But the smell was odd, and it certainly did not smell like any perfume I've ever sniffed. Oh, I would know: in my youth I was quite the ladies' man. Don't remember dating anyone as young as her though. Couldn't be over, what, sixteen? I mean, I used to like 'em young, but not that young!

The problem of the aroma coming from my charming visitor took a back seat as anger began to simmer in me, and my thoughts drifted back to my usual hobby horse. Who the hell was this bastard anyway? Who had it in for me so badly that he was tracking down my former girlfriends and killing them? My own hand began to shake. I balled it into a fist, hoping she would not see.

Why did I care if she saw? What did it matter?
Who was she?
I couldn't remember.
But somehow I felt I should.

Lots I should remember. Couldn't tell you what I did yesterday.
Was that important?
Something told me it was.

My thoughts went back to the killer.

How the hell had he got into my house?

He had though; for ten years I had received a photograph – pictures I took of my lovers, pictures he had stolen – with a red X across the face. Every year, on the exact anniversary of the death of the only woman I had ever truly loved.

How the fuck did he know?

For years the mystery had occupied me, till I could think of nothing else. I felt I was missing something, something important. Something obvious. It was like those times – and we've all experienced them – when you search everywhere for the car keys and they turn out to be in your pocket all along.

But the solution to this dilemma would not be found in my pocket.
It haunted every waking moment, and stalked my dreams.

Sometimes I forgot, of course. This disease will do that to you. I suppose they were the merciful times. But they never lasted.

Nights, I could see the bastard. Oh, not his face, of course; that was always shrouded, or turned away from me, or blurred, or not in shot. But his hand. I could see his hand. Not a young man's hand; quite meaty, no distinguishing tattoos or scars. That kind of thing only happens on TV.

I would watch him take that damn red Sharpie, slowly and with what seemed to me like sexual excitement put the soft nib on the right-hand corner of one of the photos, draw it almost lovingly down to the opposite, bottom corner, then repeat the process on the other side till he had marked a thick red x across a face I had once loved.

And then, it just stopped. No more waking up on that day, that awful day, and dreading the clack of the letterbox. No more staggering downstairs, half-asleep, knowing what would be waiting for me on the mat. No more hands shaking as I opened the envelope, wondering which one of them it would be this year.

Again the question, the feeling of some crisis having been reached, some vital part of the jigsaw fitting into place.

I realised my visitor was looking at a picture on the sideboard, the one I'd kept from the funeral. The only one he hadn't got his rotten hands on. He couldn't deface this with his nasty red marker.

But there was something in her eyes. What was it? A flicker of... recognition? Impossible. Lana was in the ground before this kid was even a twinkle in her father's eye, never mind born.

Why did she look so familiar, this girl?

I looked again, my eyes drawn towards the faded photograph. Silently, I cursed the cancer that had taken her. I realised suddenly how seldom I had looked at that picture, really looked. Maybe it was just too painful. I turned my eyes back to the girl sitting across from me.

And then I saw it.
The resemblance.
The same eyes, the same half-bitter smile, the way she held her cup with the little finger poised just so.
It was like looking at my wife.

But... but that was impossible. She couldn't look like... she couldn't be...

My brain seemed to squirm in my head, like a trapped animal. Something was trying to surface, something in the back of my mind, shrouded now by time and by the Alzheimer's, something I did not want to face.

What the hell was it?
And hard on the heels of that question, another.
What was that smell?
Glue? Was it glue? Disinfectant?
Furniture polish?

Yeah, right, I thought. A divorced guy of sixty-six using furniture polish. Next I'll be carrying a feather duster and wearing an apron!

That smell again.
So sharp, so acrid.
Air freshener?

No, I'm allergic to most brands and I don't use them. Sets me off sneezing for hours. Fucking things. And it was a cinch she hadn't come in wearing a Magic Tree around that slim, pretty neck.
Not air freshener then.

It was as if she had read my mind.

“Formaldehyde.” She spoke the word without a trace of inflection, a hint of emotion, almost as if it meant nothing to her, or she didn't know what it meant.

“Excuse me?”

“Formaldehyde,” she repeated, just the barest hint of sharpness in her tone. I realised her voice was familiar too, but I couldn't place it. “That smell you're wondering about. It's formaldehyde.”

I stared. What the hell...?

“They use it,” she told me, her eyes never once leaving mine, and I felt trapped by her penetrating gaze, “to preserve bodies. Dead bodies.”

I still couldn't speak. That dreaded, terrible thing I had pushed to the dustiest corners of my mind was stirring, stretching, like a cat waking up.
I could feel its sharp claws reaching for me.

“Do you know what it's like,” she asked, a world of hurt in her eyes, “to be embalmed?”

A howling, roaring noise was in my ears. It felt like my head was about to explode. The room was spinning.

Her voice was sad, full of pity, but also bitter recrimination.

“All so that you wouldn't have to remember what you had done.”

I made no reply. Off somewhere in the distance, seemingly miles away, I could hear a loud knocking. I wondered if it was my heart.
But I knew, deep down, it was not.
Somehow, I found my voice.

“She – she was in such pain... I... I couldn't ... I couldn't...”

I realised I was babbling. She wasn't looking at me, her eyes fixed on the picture, as if communing with it.

“You've believed that for so long you've convinced yourself it's true.” Her voice was hard, sharp.

“It is true.” Mine was sulky, pettish.

She indicated the photo.

“Look at it,” she said, all but a command. “Look at the back. You remember speaking those words?”

I did. I thought. They sounded like mine. Inscribed in flowing black ink across the white/yellow card, her eulogy, or part of it.

Lana was such a beautiful person, and so forgiving. I know she's even forgiven her killer.

Her killer.

“I – I didn't mean to...”

The words sounded hollow, even to me. An empty excuse. A lie?

“And then... when you came in and... and saw... and I tried... oh god I tried to push you out of the room... I forgot how close the stairs were... oh god! Oh god!”

I hung my head. The words continued to tumble out of me in a torrent.

“You were so.. I couldn't ... not like that... I asked them... I told them.. make her... make her like she was. Make her...” I breathed the last word. “Perfect.”

“Perfect.” She repeated the word. Still she refused to look at me. Her voice was calm, dead, cold.
“Your perfect little doll.”

And now, her head swivelled, as if on a pivot, and she stared directly at me. For the barest fraction of a moment, there was something soft in her eyes. Then it was gone.

“They suspected you, but they could never prove it. Smothering doesn't leave a mark, does it? You'd know, of course. You got so much practice at it afterwards. Ten years, a new attempt at a substitute for her every year. But none of them could ever replace her, could they?”

Slitted, yellow eyes blinked open, oriented on me.
A sharp hiss.


“So you had to kill them.”

And the cat sprang, and it was no longer a cat but a tiger, slavering mouth full of sharp fangs, huge talons reaching to rend and tear my soul, rip the truth from me.

“And then, as some sort of sick anniversary present I suppose,” she went on, still not looking at me, “you sent those pictures to her, as if that proved you still loved her.”

As the Alzheimer's receded for a moment, everything was clear. Horribly clear.

I was standing in the hall, looking at one of the envelopes which had just popped through the door and plopped almost soundlessly onto the mat.
Reading the address.

Lana Maxford, 12 Oakely Gardens, London SW12.
Lana.
Not Brian.

“You've been sick for a long time,” she told me. “ Even before the Alzheimer's.” She paused, looking out the window. “Do you remember yesterday?” she asked. “How you went to the police to confess? They're out there now,” she told me, as I realised what the sound I had been hearing was. “They're digging up the garden. They're going to find her, and all those other women.”

She reached out and touched me. An electric jolt coursed through my body, as if I had grasped live wire. I found myself flung across the room, hit the wall hard.

“Daddy...”


When I opened my eyes she was gone.
As I lay on my back, I was dimly aware that something had fallen out of my pocket.
I reached for it, closed my fingers around it, drew it to me.
The door exploded inwards, armed officers were dragging me to my feet.
The red Sharpie dropped from my hand, clattering on the hardwood floor.

A blue-gloved hand snapped it up. I heard the whisper of an evidence bag being popped open.

“Brian Maxford,” a voice was saying, “you are under arrest for the murder of Lara and Amy Maxford, and ten other women. You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be taken down and used in evidence. Do you understand?”

I nodded dumbly. I understood all right.

Finally, I understood.
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Old 10-06-2022, 10:12 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Gentlemen's Club

It had been with exceeding difficulty that he had resisted looking at his pocketwatch, but Barrett knew this would have drawn unwelcome attention to him, and that was the last thing he wanted. There was Sir Nicholas, his tall shiny top hat nodding as he listened to that fool Johnson, talking about quarter returns and expected growth. Sir Nicholas never took off his hat. Nobody knew why. Even when the London summer baked the stones outside and made the windows like magnifying lenses and all of them insects, he sat there, unbothered, his tie unloosened (so nobody else would dare loosen theirs), his collar buttoned up to the neck, his hat always on his head, and never so much as a bead of sweat on his smooth, bland face.

How could he stick the heat? Even during last year's terrible drought, when the very flowers in the gardens had been dying, when even the churches allowed their doors to stand open during services that the congregation might not faint, not a window would he allow opened. Then, as now, no evidence showed of the awful, draining heat, the steam coming up in thick clouds from the dry cracked streets, and Sir Nicholas gave not the slightest indication he was bothered.

The meeting was at an end. Barrett moved with the others towards the door, all but bowing their way out of the boardroom, as if leaving the presence of a king. He was just beginning to dare to think that he had made it when he heard the dreaded words that turned his spine to ice and his legs to jelly.

“One moment, if you please, Barrett.”

Shoulders slumped, he turned to face the chairman. Sir Nicholas Faust was, to be blunt, a huge man. The suit he wore seemed to be straining at the seams, ready to burst, as if there was not a tailor in all of London who could make a suit capable of containing his immense bulk. A prizefighter would have seemed small and frail beside the giant chairman of First Mutual Bank, and Cuthbert Barrett, inventory officer, felt positively minute in his presence.
It wasn't just his size though, he realised. Sir Nicholas made everyone feel small; the way he spoke to them, the way he looked at them, the way he treated them. As if they were a lower form of life.

“Yes, Sir?”

The words had to fight their way out of his mouth, as if they would have much rather stayed where they were. Sir Nicholas tapped the table meaningfully.
“Take a seat, Barrett.” It was not an invitation. Somehow, Barrett's wobbly legs got him to the table where he more fell into than sat on a chair. He felt sure the chairman could hear the thumping of his heart, loud enough in his own ears to drown out the pealing of the bell from the church down the road as it sonorously declared the hour of four.

Sir Nicholas looked at him, with that flat, cold, alien gaze that could reduce the strongest of men to a shivering wreck. Barrett felt like a fish wriggling on a line. The face of Sir Nicholas Faust seemed to fill up all available space.
“It won't do, Barrett.”

Barrett shook his head in agreement. Sir Nicholas leaned back in his chair.
“How did you expect,” he asked, after what seemed hours, but was merely a moment, “to get away with it?”

Of course it all came flooding out then, in a babble of words – apologies, excuses, the bills, the loans, his newborn baby, the price of this, the price of that, working for such low wages. The dam had broken, after months of being held back, and now Cuthbert Barrett's entire, miserable, pitiable life washed over Sir Nicholas like a torrent of mediocrity, despair and pity. The chairman listened with a face of stone.

“These are mere excuses, Barrett.”

There was no arguing. None was expected. He nodded.
“Yes Sir.”

Sir Nicholas stood, his powerful figure looming over Barrett like Tower Bridge over a steam tug.

“Of course, you realise you have left me no recourse.”

Desperation clutched at Barrett, and though he knew it was of no use, he threw himself literally on the ground at the feet of his master. Surely His Majesty would show mercy?

Was he really that desperate, to entertain such thoughts?

“Please, Sir Nicholas! I cannot afford to lose my position!” There were tears – actual tears – standing in his eyes as he pleaded, like a man who stands on the gallows and looks for a miracle to save him. “Dismissed without a reference, I will never find work again. It will be,” he dropped his voice in terror, “the workhouse for my family and I.”

To his utter amazement, and then hot, burning terror, Sir Nicholas was removing his top hat.

Too late, the unfortunate clerk realised why Sir Nicholas never took it off.
And now it was no illusion. The chairman really did fill all space, blocking out the light as he leaned down.

“I do not believe,” he assured the clerk as an awful grin split his face, “that we will have any need to trouble the workhouse.”
****************
The brougham jolted along the dimly-lit streets, the cobbles shiny with rain. Sir Nicholas tapped at the roof with his cane, and the carriage came to a halt. A moment later a small, rat-faced man emerged out of the shadows of a nearby alley, looked right and left. A policeman on his beat was slowly strolling down the road, his cape slick with rain and a most unpleasant look on his face. The rat-faced man waited till the constable had passed, then darted quickly up to the brougham. The window wound down, Sir Nicholas glared out.

“The box on the back. Be quick about it, man.”

The rat-faced man nodded, a greedy look in his eyes. He slid to the back of the brougham, located the box, untied it and hefted it on his wiry back. Sir Nicholas watched him go, then tapped the roof again and the carriage moved off.

Having reached his hovel, the rat-faced man opened the box, peering inside, his eyes wide. What a haul, he told himself.

For a moment, a small doubt pricked what was left of his gin-addled brain. Was it possible these were... human bones?

Then greed took over again, and the gin shop beckoned.

What did it matter if they were? Gentlemen have odd collecting habits, and if Mister 'igh-an'-Mighty didn't want them no more, Tommy down the rag and bone would. He'd pay a pretty penny for bones this good.
**********************
After a long day, it was good to relax at the Club. It was the only place he could drop the pretence, be himself. Sir Nicholas shook the rain from his coat, handed it to Jones, who took it away to hang it in the cloak room. Sir Nicholas's hat he carried in his other hand.

Sir Nicholas entered the clubroom, and immediately his horns became entangled in the low-hanging chandelier.

“Dash it all!” he snapped. “Have they not moved that blessed thing yet? This is the third time this month!”

Angrily, he shook his powerful head, bringing the chandelier crashing down to the ground where it exploded in a thousand shining fragments. A servant ran forward with brush and pan, and Remington watched him with an air of cold disdain such as only butlers can muster.

“I'm rather afraid, Sir Nicholas,” he said in that deferential tone their class have that can yet somehow be insulting, “that it is somewhat problematic getting tradesmen to come here. Word has got around,” he looked directly at the chairman, “that none who enter ever leave again.”

Sir Nicholas for once looked slightly abashed.

“It was only four,” he said, somewhat defensively. Remington gave a sniff, which could have been interpreted, were they of the same social class, as a snort of derision.

Knowing the butler, it probably was.

“Eight, at last count, Sir Nicholas,” he corrected the chairman. “Nine, if you include that apprentice.”

Sir Nicholas shrugged his massive shoulders. And found himself entangled in another chandelier.

“Oh now really!” he exploded, as, indeed, did the chandelier as he shook it free. “This is intolerable! One cannot even move in one's own club without being caught in – in – what is this thing, anyway?” He hunkered down to try to make sense of the fragments, but it was like looking at jigsaw pieces without benefit of a picture of the completed puzzle.

“It's called a chandelier, Sir.” Remington's voice betrayed a hint of sharpness, and Sir Nicholas caught it.

“I know what it's called, Remington,” he rumbled dangerously, in a voice that would have had his board members diving out the windows, notwithstanding that the board room was on the sixth floor. “I meant, what is the confounded thing for?

Remington shrugged. “You would have to ask His Lordship.” He sniffed again. “I only work here.” And he walked off, somehow managing to radiate both impertinence and impeccable politeness.

Baron Gould looked up from the evening paper.

“I believe it is for what they call – oh, what is the word these humans use? Ambivalence? No that's not it.” His long, curved horns vibrated on his head as he frowned, and his tail could be just seen lashing behind the arm of the leather armchair he sat in. He snapped taloned fingers. “Ambience!” he declared. “Ambience. Yes, that's it. Gives the place a sense of ambience.”
Sir Nicholas, taking the chair opposite him and accepting the Financial Times from the servant, sat back and lit his pipe. As he puffed out a cloud of thick green smoke, he shook his head.

“And what, pray,” he asked, “is this ambience, of which you speak, Baron?”
Gould shrugged, his wings rustling on his back. He wriggled, like a man with an itch just out of reach.

“I'll be damned if I know, old boy!” He returned to his newspaper, and, not for the first time, Sir Nicholas cursed the trendy Lord Monroe. Why this obsession with humans, he wondered? This was the one place they could all be themselves, take off the mask, so to speak. The one place they did not have to pretend. Shielded from prying human eyes, nobody got in here who did not belong, because nobody who did not belong knew of the existence of the place.
Other than those tradesmen.

Which was why it had been necessary, he reminded himself, to dispose of them.

It had nothing to do, he had stressed to the other members, during the hearing, with how delicious they were.

But times were, he knew, changing. The world was on the cusp of a new century again, and that always meant trouble. every new era, his kind had more trouble fitting in, hiding away in society. People were getting suspicious. Which was why this new fellow he was meeting, for whom he had vouched, though he was not a member, might be the answer to his problems.

“Only the best organs, you are quite certain?”

His contact nodded. He had had to pull quite some strings to allow a human enter – or more to the point, to allow him leave again alive – but this chap intrigued him.

“Quality stuff, Your Worship,” the man assured him. “Soaked in gin, they is. You'll love the taste, I can promise yer.” Sir Nicholas studied him. He was tall, gaunt, grey in the face, yet there was something in the eyes that drew him to the man. His eyes. It was his eyes. They reminded him of his own.
The eyes of a demon.

“I cannot afford to be involved in a scandal, you do understand? Our association must remain entirely secret.”

“You're payin' me enough that I'd not squeal were I 'ung up by me goolies,” the other assured him. Sir Nicholas winced at the gutter slang, but needs must.

“Anyways,” went on the human, “They's all just whores, y'see? Ain't nobody cares for no whores. You just leave it to old Jack. I'll keep you supplied, I will.”

When the man had departed, Sir Nicholas Faust sat back and puffed on his pipe. A contented grin spread across his features. Something told him that human was going to be very useful to him.

Yes. Very useful indeed.
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