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Drag Shergi Mystery 02 - Excerpt

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By chanthar
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With the publicity from the first case, I found myself the object of pointing and whispering rather than praise. I didn’t mind though; as long as I had enough to keep living, it didn’t matter how others thought of me.

I got my next case soon after wandering into my favorite barbershop. The old man has a feather’s touch with a razor, contrasting his grizzled appearance. Somehow, he was still able to hold his body straight after being bent over the chairs for hours on end. His head of hair left something to be desired though – probably because there was barely anything to cover it. He looked down at me with his blue eyes while the razor glided over my skin.

“So, how have you been?” I managed to ask between strokes.

“I’ve been doing just fine,” he replied with a smile. While his arms moved the sleeves of his gray shirt went up. There were remnants of old wounds in his pale skin. “How about you?”

“Business is slow, too slow.”

He chuckled. “You should get into a business like mine. People always need their hair cut. People don’t always need their business or others’ nosed into.”

“Yes, but someone has to when the time comes by.”

“If you’re looking for something, there has been some odd activity down at the cemetery.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, there has been the desecrating of graves and other odd things.” He said with a nod. The blade moved to cut off the last of my stubble. When he brought it back he wiped off the mess on his white apron. “If you’ve got the urge to meddle then you could try that.”

I sat up in the chair. My eyes glanced around the barbershop. There weren’t many other customers in at this time of day. I returned my gaze to the man. “Thanks, Shermon. I’ll check it out.”

He nodded then held his hand out for payment. I set the appropriate amount in his palm along with a couple extra coins. He put the money into a pocket. “Good luck with it, Drag.”

With a smile on my lips, I bobbed my head as I walked out of the barbershop. The sidewalks were easy to manage as it was just after the beginning of the business day. Those who traveled the streets were already indoors; only those who were shopping or running errands for business were outside. A few truant kids sometimes made an appearance, but I didn’t see any today. It was only a half dozen blocks across from the barbershop in the business district towards a little-used section of the residential district. The desolate nature of the area was due to superstitions about cemeteries.

As if trying to contain the inhabitants, a wrought iron fence ran around the perimeter of the grounds. There were many gates, though to enter one had to find a grave-keeper. Due to their features, few made appearances in public. The bad acts that had come from fighting decades ago had left worse impressions of them in the minds of the general populace.

I stopped at the closed gate. My eyes roamed up and down the spires that held both it and the fence up; they looked sturdy enough. I directed my gaze past the bars in search of the elusive figures beyond.

One who noticed me approached the gate. With paper pale skin, black eyes, and silvery hair that spilled in waves around her shoulders she was a perfect example of the grave-keepers’ usual features. Rather than their traditional medieval era garb, this one wore a blue sweat suit over her body. She was quite a bit shorter than me at five foot four inches.

“Hello,” I called.

“Hello,” she replied.

“My name is Drag Shergi. I’m a detective. I heard about the problems you’ve been having. Do you mind if I take a look around?”

While I spoke the woman stared at me. The depth of her gaze was enough to let me know she was trying to see if I was telling the truth by watching me. “My name is Avaron.” She appeared to be in her thirties, a fact I picked up on while she opened the gate.

“Pleased to meet you, Avaron.”

“You may look around. The mausoleums are in the worst shape.”

“Thank you, are there any in particular?”

“Just one.”

There was a hitch in her voice that I couldn’t distinguish exactly which way it went. With a small nod I walked behind her. “Please, take me there.”

She nodded then turned on the heel of her boot. The small woman made her way along the path that led along the graveyard plots. There were many headstones, but not so many building-style graves. At one of the further away places a broken-down looking one appeared. Avaron stepped over a line of bricks to the side. Her fingers rubbed off a layer of dirt from the nameplate.

“Temenuzha.”

She nodded as I read the name there. Her footsteps retreated out of the plot. With a breath taken in then let out she spoke, “The rest is lost. I’ll take my leave now. If you run into trouble then just scream.” With a morbid sort of smile, she retreated down the path.

I shook my head. Though the cemetery was a spooky place, I wouldn’t think it scary enough to make me scream. I walked to the edge of bricks then leaned over to get a closer look. As I did, the sounds of music reached my ears. With a soft blink I glanced around in search of the source.

The sound was rather the opposite of what I would have expected. Instead of a heavy sorrowful dirge, it was a light sweet threnody. The meaning was the same, though the way it was conveyed seemed odd for the scenery.

With another blink, I stepped from the path onto the patchy ground around the mausoleum. My hand stretched out; my fingers brushed over the surface of the nameplate. The touch of flesh to metal made a tingle go down my spine. No, it was more than a tingle; it was more like a shock. I gasped as I took several steps away from the building. My eyes blurred and I put my hand up to rub them. Once my hand dropped away, a new site was in my vision.

Though the mausoleum was still old, the casket that was being pushed into it was new. On top of the lid was a framed picture of a pretty girl barely nineteen years old. She had wavy pale blonde hair cut short around her shoulders. Pretty pale skin with dark purple eyes set in them showed as well. Half a dozen men clustered around the casket as it was set into place.

I looked down at my side as I heard the sound of someone weeping. Clinging to my arm was a woman. She appeared to be about forty-two years old. There was an uncanny resemblance to the girl being buried. My hand went up and then came down to pet through her hair. She didn’t seem to notice my hand as it brushed through her light blonde hair. The curls were bound in tight spirals that fell to her shoulders then were pulled back to fall in twin pigtails down her back. Her height was quite a bit shorter than mine, at five and a half feet tall. She was dressed in an outfit which appeared to be from about forty years ago. The color was all in green, which looked nice in contrast to her blue eyes.

“Claribelle,” I said. The name came out before I could think.

“I just can’t believe it Guilbert. How could this have happened?”

“I don’t believe it either.”

She shook her head. Her fingers continued to cling to my sleeve. Her arms were covered from wrist to shoulder with deep green. The same went over her bust then to her waist. There down to her ankles were green and gold folds of the skirt. Black heels made her seem a little taller than she normally would be. “Our baby is gone.”

I shook my head while I dropped my arm to cling to her. As I looked down I noticed my clothes had changed as well. There was a red vest over a white shirt. Black bands went over my forearms. Deep brown slacks covered my lower body. Brown leather shoes of the same color with copper studs in them were on my feet.

We clung to each other as the child was laid to rest. From what I could gather, she was our daughter. Something very bad had happened, or something that seemed to be very bad had happened. Or perhaps it was just the death of a one’s child that was the very bad thing.

The door of the mausoleum was shut. Against the portal one man lingered the longest. He pressed his forehead against the stones. With a deep sigh, the forty-five year old man turned around again. He had brown hair cut short with longer bangs. Green eyes were downcast in his pale skin. He wore a large red jacket with white embroidery over the place where a lapel would be. Under it were baggy black pants. Then there were brown leather sandals.

Claribelle broke away from my arm. She started towards the man. Then she paused, voice sounding broken as she called out to him, “Jeirgif...”

He looked up. The green in his eyes seemed tainted at the corners with red. The man looked utterly heartbroken. There was something I could tell which made me feel that there was more to it, but he hid it well.

“I’m so sorry, Claribelle.”

She nodded and hurried away from me. Her arms wrapped tightly around his chest. His height was a bit more than hers, at five foot nine inches. The length he clung to her made me feel angry, though I couldn’t entirely tell why. She let go of him then stepped back to my side.

I wrapped my arm around her while I stared at him. I couldn’t put my finger on why, but I felt as though this situation was his fault. There were no words, just a dark gaze from my purple eyes. My head tilted down slightly so I could break my gaze. The brown hair fell across my pale cheeks.

When I looked up again, there was nothing like the scene I had viewed before. It was empty all around. I blinked several times while my hand brushed up through my white hair. It was all so unreal. Why did it happen? There was something wrong, I could tell that much, but why?

“Sir?”

I looked up blearily at the figure that stood before me. My eyes blinked several times. Then I smiled faintly while I waved. “Ah, yes, Avaron?”

“You’ve been standing here for several hours. I thought I should come check on you.”

“Oh, thanks,” I replied as I nodded. My hand rubbed at my forehead. “I’ll have to come back, I think. I’m sorry to be so much trouble.”

“Not at all,” she replied with a slight smile on her pale lips. “I hope you can quiet it down in here.”

“I don’t know whether I will, but I’ll try.” I replied. My feet carried me back onto the path. With her guiding me, I went out from the inside of the graveyard to beyond the fence. From there I waved so I could say goodbye. Then I turned my footsteps back into town.
Threnody in the Mausoleum,
the second book in the Drag Shergi Mystery series

This is just a preview which shows the beginning of the book ... A father reaches from beyond the grave to find his daughter's killer. Drag Shergi gets caught in the middle. Justice will be done somehow, whether in this world or the next

published through Lulu [link]
Published:
© 2008 - 2020 chanthar
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