On The Rise

There had been no one in the ladies toilets at Ziggy’s Nightclub when she had gone in there. As tempting as it was to go to the one furthest from the door, that was the one which everyone would go to. Instead, she went for the second in from the door and was rewarded with a rather clean cubicle even at ten on a Friday night.

Now there were two women outside likely fixing their makeup as they chatted and she eavesdropped. The reason why she was listening in was simple: At first she thought four women had come in, a pair having a separate conversation. It was only after a little more listening while rooting through her handbag to check her phone for messages that she worked it out.

The pair were conducting two conversations at once.

The one meant for the ears of others was about office politics and that snooty mare in admin lording it over them.

The one they were really focused on was about occurrences being on the rise, higher instances of spectral disruptions bleeding over and increased reports of paranormal activity.

“You sure we should be chatting about this here?” One asked after a moment.

The woman in the cubicle thought she could feel eyes on her through the door.

“The dubbing spell is working fine.” The other replied. “All the mundanes will hear is us gabbing on about someone showing off expensive shoes.”

Mundanes?

“Even so…”

“Fine, fine. You worry too much about these things. We’re at Ziggy’s, Michelle. The chances of finding anyone attuned here is about as likely as Gillian on reception -not- telling evertone who will listen about her begonias.”

Part of her wanted to throw open the cubicle door to ask the pair what they were talking about and why she could hear them. The rest of her locked up, resulting in her staggering against the door with a solid thud.

“Are you okay in there?” The one called Michelle asked.

“Yeah! Ow… just- I got up too fast. Too much to drink.” She lied. Her limbs still felt a little awkward and ungainly as she stumbled out, handbag clutched under one arm, to quickly wash her hands. There was a need to get outside into the crisp night air driving her on.

The brunette and the red-head watched her. She could see two sets of eyes, one questioning and one concerned, in the vanity mirror as she shook the excess water from her hands. Even as she ran them under the hand drier, she felt them observing her.

“Just be sure to pace yourself. Stick to water for a bit, maybe?” The brunette, Michelle, said.

The other laughed. “Nuts. Cold water and salted peanuts are a winning combination.”

Slipping the thin strap of her bag over her shoulder, she gave a noncommittal nod. “I’ll keep it in mind.” She replied, the unsettled feeling in her stomach that had come on quick receding as she exited the toilets and made for the door to the terrace.

 

“You thinking what I’m thinking, Leanne?”

“Our night off and we get dragged into work?” The woman with the curly red hair pulled up into a ponytail sighed, digging out a bracelet made of woven rosemary to slip over her wrist.

Michelle was already pulling small packets of salt from her clutch purse. “Ten quid on Gill not mentioning her begonias or any other bedding plant tomorrow morning.”

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The Spelling Circle

They met every Thursday morning at ten in the little tea shop on the hill. If the weather was good, they’d get one of the outside tables and sit in the sun as they chatted over tea and cakes.

The weather was not so good today. Rain drizzled down and puffy grey clouds covered the sky. The conservatory of the tea room was nice and warm, and one by one the older women filed in after hanging their coats up and setting their umbrellas aside to dry.

“Tangerine Sage.” Mrs Barrett said with a solemn nod as she poured herself a cup. “I swear by it for all my remedies.”

“You and your sage,” Ms Maynard sighed, the spoon she was holding lightly tapping against the inside of her cup as she added the milk. “It’s no good for purification rituals. Rosemary’s the ticket there. Nothing ousts malign spirits like rosemary.”

“No, no, no, no, no. You need yew.” Dr Harris interjected as she joined the table, her greying hair pinned back in a tight bun. “Once you know how to deal with the toxic aspects of the plant it will revolutionize your spells. It cuts the effort needed for a exorcism in half at the very least.”

“The Doctor is only saying that because she has several yew trees in her garden and wants to sell components.” Mrs Talbot spoke up, placing the selection of their usual slices of cakes on the table. “Sea salt is all I need for ridding a home of spirits.”

“Ladies, we will have time for comparative discussions on components later.” Ms Yves declared. She was the eldest of the older ladies in the club, and commanded them to silence with a tap of a cake fork against a plate. “I’ve the minutes of our last meeting and apologies for today, then we have a new addition to welcome.”

Noting where Ms Yves, chairwoman of the Spelling Circle was looking, the four turned their head to spot the new arrival to the village lingering just by the precipice to the conservatory. She was barely out of her teens, blonde with straightened locks and thick rimmed glasses.

Knowing she’d never get them settled to get on with things until she introduced the young woman, Ms Yves sighed and cleared her throat. “Ladies of the Circle, this is Miss Randall, and she has just moved here from London.”

There was a commotion around the table as they shuffled their chairs out to make room, fighting with one another to secure a spot near them for the new blood. With Lady Bessingham away for the moment, Mrs Oakley in hospital for a hip operation, Professor Williams on her luxury cruise, and Ms Sanders excusing herself for feeling under the weather, they had gravitated to a smaller table for this week’s meeting.

“I-it’s nice to meet you all, Ms Yves has told me so much about you.” Miss Randall replied, carefully heading over and taking a seat near Dr Harris. The Spelling Circle were legendary, she had all the books written by members over the years. In fact, getting her library down into the converted almshouse had been the hardest part of her move.

“It’s nice to meet you too.” Mrs Talbot spoke. “Now, the most important question… what cake would you like?”

Stowaway

Another ship at Newquay Docks meant the Human Occupancy Detector team had to do a sweep of the ship. Clad in high-visibility jackets, overalls, steel-toed boots and hard hats with goggles, they wandered through the hold with flashlights in one hand and CO2 monitors in the other. Each probe slid into openings on the massive shipping containers to detect the atmosphere inside. Under the watchful eye of a pair of security guards and some of the crew the four HOD members worked their way along each line of crates.

“All clear.”

“Yeah, nothing here.”

“No suspect emissions.”

“Just finished up my lot. All clear, as well.”

The paperwork was quickly signed and the team departed for their office to finish up for the day. Unloading the vessel wasn’t their responsibility, and with the light fading it would have to wait for the next day.

 

It was one of the crew who heard the creaking hinge of metal. Grabbing a torch from the rack, he followed his ears down one of the rows, only to find one with the door slightly ajar. Muttering under his breath about the ineptitude for HOD teams, he took a walk closer to check that nothing had been removed.

That’s when he saw the pinpricks of red staring at him. Before he could call out a wave of pressure slammed from the front of his skull to the back. His heart pounded, his limbs felt heavy yet so weak… From the shadows a figure stepped out, pale skin with platinum blonde hair, ruby red lips and eyes aglow with a sanguine hue.

“You’re not going to mention this to anyone.” She almost purred, the words flowing into his ears like honey. “You’re just going to turn around, hang your torch up, and clock off.”

More glowing eyes could be seen in the crate behind her, his breathing hoarse as he tried to fight off the fog descending on his senses.

“You didn’t see me.” She said with a smile, then pointed canines playfully bit into her bottom lip as she pouted at him. “You didn’t see them either.”

In spite of himself, he nodded in agreement.

“Good man.” She smiled brightly. “And you’ll be a dear and forget to lock the hold doors?”

It took every ounce of will to shake his head, then she pouted once more and the wave of force assaulting his mind took on a warm, tingling sesnation. “Oh, be nice. You wouldn’t want me to be all trapped in here with no way to get out, would you?”

He shook his head again. It felt like sweat was pouring down his body to gather in his boots.

“So you’ll keep the door unlocked for us?” She asked sweetly.

With a rapid bob, his head nodded.

“Good. Run along then.” The woman waved with just her fingertips, and he was turning and walking back the way he came.

 

“What a nice young man.” The vampire remarked to herself as the crewman departed with a slightly uneven gait. Looking back into the crate, her gaze turned hard. “I told you to wait before opening the crate. Disobey me again and I’ll end you.”

The clan had crossed the Atlantic as stowaways. They could wait a little longer for the coast to clear before disembarking for their new life.

Fleets of Flies

The alleyway was full of the sickly-sweet miasma of rotting garbage. Try as he might to avoid the black bags and strewn trash on the floor, every so often his foot would nudge against a sack. It would take a brief moment before fleets of flies took skywards, swirling about in the alley at being disturbed from feasting and fornicating.

Pressing the back of his hand to his nose dulled the stench a little, replacing it with the clinical odor of powdered nitrile gloves.

It took a bit of a trek down the alley to get into the clearing between buildings where the white tent had already been set up, along with barricades of police tape separating the rest of the world from the crime scene. Dipping into his pockets, he pulled out the blue bags to slip over his shoes.

“Carl.” One of the forensics officers called, carefully stepping around the little numbered plates to meet him. Jenny Ming was relatively new to the job, and her face had a pale cast to it.

“Jenny.” Special Detective Inspector Carl North nodded in return. His face was careworn, his short cut of dark hair greying at the temples. “May I?” He gestured past the tape.

With a nod, she helped lift it a little for him to slip under, a slight groan coming from the detective. “Back troubles?” She asked with a smile of commiseration.

“Age troubles.” He replied, carefully stretching a little as he straightened. “How bad is it?” He pointed to the tent. Carl could feel the unnatural taint in the air causing his skin to goose pimple. She didn’t speak, she just motioned him over to the door through. A quick glance was all he needed before he turned from the scene with a shiver. “You were right to call.”

The body behind him was straight out of a modern horror film, a skeleton that attempted to escape its confines of flesh. Pushing his senses out, he could feel the stain of dark magic on the corpse. It had a peculiar quality, an abruptness to it. At a guess, someone had tried to work a spell above their level and broke it off before the strain killed them. Had it completed there would have just been a pile of skin behind them and a risen horror somewhere else, ready to do their master’s bidding.

Mittens

Mittens was not a dignified name for a guard cat, but the humans insisted on calling him that. Named for the light fur towards each paw, it always irked him when one of the humans took a paw in each hand and waxed lyrical about ‘My kitten Mittens’.

He was hardly a kitten any more, for one thing!

But food usually followed, so he resisted the urge to unsheathe his claws and lash out.

It was the night shift now though, and the humans were tucked up in bed. Mittens nudged his head past each door, checking in on them before padding his way downstairs. As a guard cat, sentry duty was important. All sorts of creatures could get in during the night. Spiders up the pipes, moths flying through the barely opened for ventilation windows on pure chance, and more nefarious intruders.

Most of his guard duty would be spent near his door. The humans called it a flap, but it was a door to Mittens. Or a gate. As he slunk through the night to the kitchen, he saw the door out to the back garden swinging lightly. His posture changed, ears starting to swivel about as he shifted into an alert prowl.

Approaching the flap Mittens could smell dampness. It took a moment to get the trail, then he was heading for just under the washing basket. Nudging a nose under, he breathed deep and could smell the frog, along with something else.

“I know you’re under there.” Mittens hissed, swiping a paw in as far as he could. Movement to the right caught his eye, and the frog was hopping towards the cat flap. The little brown-green amphibian was saddled, a small human about a thumb high riding on its back. Empty sacks were slung on the saddle, no doubt to be filled with stolen food and other things.

Mittens bolted for the pair, claws out and already mid-leap.

The frog-rider turned and struck their tiny hands together. A white stone was held in each palm, as they struck a mighty spark and fizzle of smoke flashed towards Mittens. He brought his paws up to cover his face. When the after-image of the intense spark faded from his vision, the flap was swinging back and forth.

Mittens paced and prowled tirelessly through the house that night. The Min were getting bold.

All That Glitters

Halloween-themed cocktails of dubious taste rushed through his system; the alcohol eroding inhibition. It took him a few drinks to get up the nerve to get on the dance floor, and a few more to start flirting. Enthusiastic if unskilled dancing made his store-rented costume, a Transylvanian Dracula in the style of Christopher Lee’s Dracula, rather stifling. Clutching his ‘Frankenvodka’ in his left hand, he weaved his way out of the crowd of costumed dancers towards the veranda for a touch of fresh Fall air, chilled by the night. It was there that the blonde-haired Dracula met beauty.

 A slender menthol cigarette hung from rose-pink lips, her skin glittering with a light dusting of foil flakes. The little black dress that clung to her in all the right places was trimmed with cobweb lace. The bob of feathered brown hair screamed Nineties chic. And better yet, not the sign of a partner anywhere. Steeling his resolve with a sip of his green drink, he made his approach.

 “I vant to hav a smoke!” He hammed it up with the lousiest accent he could, drawing a chuckle from her as he leaned against the railing she was rested on.

 “Sure thing, Count.” She grinned, plastic fangs showing. Procuring the pack of ten, three missing, from somewhere on her person, she lit another cigarette from her own before passing it across. “Old vampire meets new vampire, right?” She added with a gesture of her glitter-speckled forearms.

 “You’re not a fan of the books are you?” He asked, taking a draw.

 Dark eyes rolled back for a moment. “No, but it’s an easy costume to pull off. Rhiannon, by the way. You?”

 “Aaron, nice to meet you. Welsh, right?”

 She glanced out across the city, the tip of her cigarette flaring red as she inhaled. “Distantly now. But my family likes to recycle the old names.” With eyes darting to her drink, she gestured with her cigarette. “Is that the Frankenvodka?”

 Aaron nodded, taking a sip. “It’s… not great.”

 “It’s too dark a green for one thing. If it’s not great, why are you still drinking it though?”

 Grimacing at the after-taste, Aaron rested the glass on the railing. “Sunk costs fallacy.”

 Stubbing the remains of her cigarette out on the wrought-iron railing, she reached for his hand. “How’s a proper drink sound? My circulation’s shit, feels like my fingers are going to drop off.”

 Aaron’s hand jolted a little at her touch, the cigarette falling from his hand. Driving the heel of his shoe on the tip, he gestured towards the club. “Shall we then? You’ll warm up in no time in there.”

 “One condition.” She grinned. On noting his curious expression, she plucked the drink from his hand and took a sip. Pulling a face, she emptied the rest into a storm drain. “No Frankenvodkas.”

 “… I can live with that.”

 As the night wore on, Aaron’s stamina wore down. The sugary cocktails stopped their boost of energy to concentrate on giving him a dull and throbbing headache. His costume was damp with sweat from dancing, and he sought cool solace on the veranda once more. A large bottle of likely-overpriced mineral water was pressed into his hand by the dark haired girl he’d met there hours earlier.

 “Drink, you’ll have an awful hangover otherwise.” She commanded.

 Pinching the bridge of his nose, Aaron took a long pull from the bottle, the chilled water washing the taste of alcohol away. “I think I’m going to have an awful one of those anyway.”

 “You hold your drink well, in any case.” Rhiannon smiled, her plastic fangs still in place. “Which is why I’m going to be forwards. Want to get out of here? I live a couple of streets away, and the fridge is well-stocked for a Full English breakfast tomorrow that’ll help chase away any hang overs.”

 Aaron’s eyes lit up. “You had me interested before you even mentioned a good fry-up.”

 Arm in arm, the vampire duo pushed and dodged their way out of the nightclub and down the steps to street level. Aaron managed to avoid stumbling over on his cape but would make a mental note to forego one for next Halloween. The pair walked slowly away from the club, stepping over discarded take away boxes and more unpleasant things as they strolled through the city.

 “Imagine if we came across a real vampire while dressed up like this.” Aaron chuckled after a gulp of water. “Think we’d be able to fool one?”

 “I dunno, maybe they have some sort of secret vampire handshake, or a special passphrase.” Rhiannon laughed, her footing slightly unsteady as she dropped from the curb to the road. “It’s not far now, down Rye Way and then into Baker’s Court.” She added with pointing gestures, her glitter sparkling under the fake-tan orange of the sodium-vapour street lights.

 Slipping his hand down to her waist, Aaron cleared his throat before speaking up. “I’ve got a question… will there be fried mushrooms?”

 The burst of laughter from Rhiannon echoed through the street. “You’re already thinking about breakfast? We haven’t even gotten back to mine yet.”

 The blonde man flashed her a cheeky grin as they proceeded into Rye Way, a hand squeezing at her hip. “Well…” he remarked offhandedly, “I need to know how much of an appetite I should work up.”

 The pair’s chuckles reverberated down the alleyway as they went, the shadows behind them stirring and shifting before a lone figure made quick, silent pace after them.

 –

 Special Detective Inspector Carl North walked into Rye Alley with a face like a bleak cliff on a rainy day. Then again, that was the usual expression for the tall, middle aged police officer. Upon the discovery of the bodies the Special Circumstances Investigation Unit had quickly been assigned the case, and the team had been dispatched to the site of the murders. Digging a pack of Polo mints from his coat pockets, the greying-haired detective popped one in his mouth before moving away from the cordon to the forensic tent.

 “Doctor Fishbourne.” He called into the tent.

 “Come in Carl.” A young woman’s voice called in reply.

 Slipping past the white-fabric door, Carl looked down at the red-haired woman sat kneeling by the man’s body. For someone sitting next to a corpse with its neck mauled, she was in high spirits. “Nothing gets you down, does it, Doctor?”

 “The living tend to get me down more than the dead, Carl.” She smiled, flicking her head slightly to swing her dark red ponytail back. “And this one here is definitely dead. Shock from the blood loss, but the perimortem bruising around the mouth and the state of injury in his mouth indicates he was a screamer. From the bruising to the shoulder and around the wrist? Restrained and silenced while the killer fed.”

 “Glad I skipped breakfast.” Carl murmured.

 “You never eat breakfast to begin with. In fact, I think you skip it just so you can say that line” She grinned. “Time of death’s around the two or three AM mark, I’ll get you some better information once I’m back at my lab.”

 Letting the jibe drop, he gestured to the victim. “ID?”

 “One Aaron Mitchell, financial analyst for Stern, Wakeman and West, from the ID left on him. This was only a chomp job, they didn’t even check his pockets.” Doctor Fishbourne stated, picking up an evidence bag with various personal effects in.

 Crunching his mint between his teeth, Carl turned to look at the second body. “And her?”

 “Don’t let the outfit confuse you. No neck injuries, she had the side of her head caved in. If you weren’t sucking on mints, you’d probably smell the mixture on her neck. It’s potent.”

 “I crunched it. Repellent?”

 “It’s definitely not the latest eau de parfum. She was a vampire hunter. Not a great one, obviously.” She commented before wincing, pressing the back of her gloved hand to her forehead. “I wish this one would shut up.”

 “The woman?” Carl asked, stepping around the body of the woman to help the forensic pathologist up.

 “No, the man. He’s an effer, swearing here and there. The woman’s not talking to me at all. Spirit shock. She’s just standing over her body, watching it.” A slight glow was visible in the doctor’s eyes, a faint blue intermingled in her hazel irises.

 “Think you’ll be able to get anything out of them? Once that one’s stopped swearing and this one’s no longer catatonic?” He asked, gesturing at each body in turn.

 The doctor shook her hand uncertainly. “I’m not sure. I’ll stick about here for a little and try something, the woman didn’t have any identification on her. But I think I have something you can work with for the investigation.” Reaching into her box of collected evidence, she pulled out a bagged set of plastic teeth and a smaller pouch of glittering powder.

 “Aaron was the mark. The vamp hunter in the tracksuit must have followed them. I think she’s back in town, it’s her M.O.”

 “Rhiannon?”

 Doctor Fishbourne gritted her teeth, recoiling from some unseen assault. Carl’s hands were there to support her again, preventing the forensic medium from crumpling to the floor. “Kaitlyn?”

 “Yeah. I’m all right. Someone’s just screaming the air blue here.” She grunted, thumbing at the man’s body. “Given the tirade Aaron’s giving… I’d say we’ve made a positive ID. And our mysterious vampire hunter’s looked away from her body too.”

 “Get what you can out of these two here, then get the bodies back to the lab. There’s going to be Halloween parties for the next few days. Sooner we can pull her off the streets, the better.”

Vertex

The vertex of the Rossabel Corporation building provided the perfect loitering spot for her from the torrent of rain lashing across the city. Tucked into an alcove near the helicopter pad, she peered out across the cityscape. Lights from windows and advertising pierced the smoky veil that had settled across the city, her keen eyes able to make out landmarks further than most could through the smog.

There was little to do up there other than watch the city. Her MP3 player was out of charge, her phone for official business only, and her e-book reader left in her other bag at home. Dressed in loose-fitting trousers and a tight black top that showed off plenty of arm, it was more the rain she was sheltering from than the murky humidity that had come with it.

Idly, her tongue probed against one of her long fangs, tip flicking around the tiny indentations hiding the venom canals that delivered a potent anti-coagulant and analgesic to her prey. The iron-tang from her last meal nary an hour ago was still present, causing her to pop a stick of gum in her mouth.

Her sharp ears picked up the helicopter in the distance, well attuned to the distinctive sound of her employers mode of transport. She idled away from the rain for a few minutes more before the wind started to buffet against the area. With impressive acrobatics she flipped and twisted herself up onto the pad to meet Mister Rossabel.

As the doors slid back, she took the umbrella offered to shelter him from the rain. He stood besides her, tall and muscular with a sharp taste in suits and cologne. He offered her his usual friendly smile, taking one of her hands to lay a kiss on.

“Maddy, you look as alive as ever.” He quipped, musing for a moment before adjusting the short crop of blonde hair she had. “We’ll be heading down to the car, I have a business meeting to attend to at a restaurant. Have you eaten, yet?”

“Before I started, Mister Rossabel.” Maddy smiled to him. “I’d not make the mistake of the one who slipped away to bite someone in the bathroom, leaving you unguarded.”

“Of course you wouldn’t. You have a good head on your shoulders.” He replied, starting his walk to the elevator lobby, her at his side with the umbrella held aloft.

“Are you expecting any trouble tonight, Mister Rossabel?” She asked as a matter of interest as they reached the doors, letting him step inside before closing the umbrella and joining him. Her boss was a man of superstition, and to bring his umbrella, open, into a building? That was unthinkable.

“After that excellent bit of work you did at the docks, Maddy? I think the Clan may be looking for some payback. But, that’s what happens when you’re at the top.”

Imperturbable

Teaching Assistant, trainee and all-round sunny-faced woman Tiffany Gregor stood between the party of children she was helping to show around the museum, and the re-animated sabre-toothed tiger that was crouched low in front of them.

As the students, only a few in their double digits, whimpered in fear, Tiffany stood resolute with arms spread out to protect them. She was imperturbable as the tiger snarled, defiant as it rose, and utterly awesome as it lunged.

Dropping her Thermos flask full of tea, her clipboard of names and her museum guide, Tiffany struck out with her hands, a ball of lightning rapidly gathering charge with snapping, fizzling crackles of electricity. Eye to eye, tiger and teacher stared at each other before her gathered power discharged.

A bolt of lightning sunders the air, hurling the ancient beast backwards into a herbivore display. The smell of its chemically-treated fur burning began to waft up from it in dark tendrils of smoke.

“Miss Gregor, that was awesome” A boy, Billy, piped up with as she recovered her things. She flashed him a quick, reassuring smile.

“Thank you, but I need you all to stay close to me. Who knows what other beasts and critters may have sprung to life.” She ordered in calm, authoritative tones. “Hold hands and keep aware. This is not the sort of exciting that a field trip should be!”

– 0 –

“Polo?” SDI Carl North offered the pack to his partner, DS Linda Roberts. The pair were sat in her Ford Mondeo, the engine having just stopped.

“Maybe later.” Linda replied, drawing her keys out of the ignition.

Carl popped the circular mint in his mouth and tucked the pack back into his jacket. “Best take a look at this. Wouldn’t want our victim to go anywhere.”

“If he went over that cliff, I don’t think he’ll be walking anywhere.” Linda replied, slipping out of the car. The local police had already set up a cordon and were speaking to witnesses at the small beauty spot on the coast near Hastings. She watched her grim-faced partner wander over near the edge of the cliff to where a small white dog was sat on its haunches, peering across the ocean. He sat down besides the dog and petted its head. With a sigh, she went to find the officer in charge.

She found her nursing a cup of tea by a police van. “DS Linda Roberts,” she introduced herself, “My Partner, SDI Carl North’s over by the scene of the crime.”

“SIS are here?” The policewoman blinked. “I’m not sure why.”

“You know what SIS are like, they’ll jump on any case that interests them. What’s going on? Much of what I heard was rather sketchy.”

“I’m betting suicide or stupidity.” The woman in charge replied. “We’re collecting witness statements at the moment, but we’re getting a lot of consistent information. Male, mid-thirties. Rucksack over one shoulder, bouquet of flowers in his hand, some people are saying he had an MP3 player going. Just walked straight towards the edge and off it, not a single reaction from him, even as he fell.”

“What’s with the dog my partner’s… doing I don’t know what with.” Linda said with a sidelong look, Carl busy petting and fussing over the furry mutt.

“We’ve got animal control coming over soon to collect it, belonged to the man apparently. Was biting at his trousers and barking as the man walked over. It’s got a collar on, no leash though. If it’s been chipped, we might be able to get some more information on the man.”

“Alright, I’ll go relay that to SDI North. Thank you for your time.”

“No problem, take care by the edge. It’s a long drop.”

“Fool.” Carl said as she approached.

“Excuse me?”

“Not you. This one.” He said with a gesture over the cliff.

“Well, they suspect suicide or an accident, so either way it’s a fair word in some people’s opinions.”

“Not what I meant. Polo?” He offered the pack again, as well as something else.

Linda looked down at the item pressed into her hands, then the dog, then off the cliff. “Carl, what the hell is this?”

“I said already, Linda.” Carl said, sucking air through the hole in his mint. “Fool.”

Author’s Note – Just a snippet today, but it came about after finding and sorting through my Rider-Waite tarot deck. I do love the artwork, from the Minor to the Major Arcana. Don’t ask for a reading though, I’m useless at it.