Serial Fiction: Monument Minders, Chapter Eight

Chapter 8
The Missing Half

“I don’t know.” Thurston patted his friend’s hand. He dreaded what he had to say next, but it was unavoidable. “Forsyth, there’s a problem. It’s already been used.”

Forsyth looked up, and ochre leaked from the corners of his eyes in golden tears that absorbed back into his skin. “How?”

“On a criminal this morning. His name was Maximilian, a thief and impulse murderer.” Homily looked at the screened device that Gurney had given him. It was technically a few years ahead of its time, but carrying around paper files would have been too obvious, and Debtra and Thom would have wanted to see them. As they were addressed to someone who was not an Old Soul, it would have made Debtra suspicious. Bringing her along may have been a mistake. He wondered if, even at his age, he could blame hormones for clouding his judgment.

“Did he survive?”

“Don’t know.” Thurston looked at Forsyth. “But a witness didn’t. The cause of death is still unknown,” he added before Forsyth could ask another question.

Forsyth nodded. “I’ve guarded the device for a hundred and fifty years, and in that time, it has never been used. It would have stored a tremendous amount of energy.” He sighed. “I think I do need some food. Are you tired of pancakes yet?”

Thurston shook his head. “Never.”

Forsyth made a telephone call to the restaurant across the street, and in twenty minutes, their order arrived: two combos of blueberry pancakes, bacon, and coffee. Forsyth’s phone rang, and he nodded even though the person on the other side couldn’t see him.

“Who was that?” Thurston asked.

Forsyth took a deep breath and exhaled through rounded lips. “Things just got worse, much worse.”

“How so?”

“The Splitter isn’t the only thing that’s missing, Thurston. Savedra has disappeared.”

Thurston closed his eyes, the image of the dark-eyed, curly-redheaded beauty coming back to him. She had taken the best part of him, he thought, and even picturing her gave him sensations in his nether regions that not even Debtra had prompted. Yet.

“When?”

“This afternoon. That was her assistant Henry. She didn’t come home from a dinner she was supposed to have attended, and when he called the hosts, he found she hadn’t been there.”

“Damn, damn, damn!” Thurston swallowed around a particularly sharp bit of bacon that had been hiding in his teeth. He brought to mind all the details he could muster.

“I know you want to go after her, Thurston, but your current investigation is more important. You know she can handle herself.”

Thurston took a deep breath. “I’ll take Debtra and skip tomorrow, but you’re right – I can’t leave this investigation, not now!”

Forsyth handed him a business card. “This is Henry’s. He’ll know where to start. He doesn’t know you’re in the Third, but I’m sure he’ll be happy to hear from you.”

“Maybe. Depending on what kind of mood she was when she last talked about me.”

“What are you going to do for the rest of the evening?” Forsyth ambled around the office and picked up papers. Thurston stood and stretched.

“I’m rid of the children for the evening, so I’m going to do what every chaperone dreams.”

“What’s that?”

“Go to the morgue to see what our witness has suffered. I’ll probably be able to figure out the cause of death better than their corpse specialist.”

“She’s called a coroner, Thurston.”

“Right.”

“Just don’t do anything illegal.”

“In what dimension?” Thurston winked, although he felt that his heart cried ochre tears for his Savedra.

“That’s what I’m worried about.”

Author’s Note: Yep, it’s a short section this week. Hubby and I got most of the office packed and moved on Sunday, but I’m exhausted, and I’ve been slammed at my current place. The week I’m taking off to get everything settled in is going to seem like a vacation! I’m also looking forward to catching up on some serial fiction I haven’t been able to read yet. Thanks for your patience!

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