Readers Gazette Short Stories

Short Story Baffled and Bedazzled, Murder Yet Again

Baffled and Bedazzled, Murder Yet Again by John Pirillo Mystery short story

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“A James Moriarity Story.”
Same old story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl eats boy. Period.

James scratched his mop of hair thoughtfully a moment with the tip of his pen, probably adding some ink to the stains already on his scalp, but at that moment he didn't care. A person had died tragically and he needed to record it before it slept from his memory.

August 21, an auspicious day for Kenneth Anger, a young man dead set on conquering the world with his cleverness and his ability to swift talk any young woman into his inner sanctum. He prided himself on his looks, his sharp mind, and his nose for smelling out the young pretties that he hoped to carve away from their happy niche in life, and add to his list of conquests. Little did he know at that time that as he was carving one niche, someone else was equally as dead set on carving another kind of niche.

“What a beautiful day!” He exclaimed, casting his thick bedcover, which his grandmother had knit for him as a child and he had kept as his good luck for many years now, not just for warmth. He slipped his slender, well proportioned feet into some handmade slippers that had been imported from the Chinas, then slogged his way into the bathroom of the flat he shared with his Jewish roommate, Naier God, an industrious young man, shy and reclusive, who had never dated a single young woman yet, as he neared the ripe old age of eighteen.

“Naier!” He called out.

“Mister Anger?” Came the return reply from the bathroom.

“I need to avail myself of our potty at once.”

“Yes, Mister Anger.”

Naier piled out of the bathroom, slipping on his tattered pants, which he had purchased from a second hand street down Augur Way. A tiny shop that specialized on reselling old clothing and other old things.

He and Naier had both found something they desired there. Naier the pants, and he a lucky charm. It was a young woman, the top half of her body emerged from a body of water, the bottom half invisible. Her face had an inviting smile.

“Were I to meet this one, I would surely fall in love.” Kenneth had exclaimed as he purchased the charm.

The saleswoman, an elderly woman of cracked face and sharp eyes, had given him a piercing stare. “Be careful what you wish for, young man.”

“Oh, I am. I am.” He replied tartly, unmindful of the warning tone of her voice.

She had given him another look, then made a sound of disgust, and handed over the charm as he handed over the cash.

He finished scrubbing his body, then emptied himself, slid into his natty suit he had purchased uptown, putting on the top hat that all gentlemen of station wore, and headed for the flat's door.

Naier had followed him. “When will you return?”

“When I'm through shopping.”

Naier cringed. He knew what that meant and found it instantly distasteful. So much so, that he didn't hide his feelings about it.

Kenneth clapped him hard on the back, causing Naier to fall back in alarm. “Naier, you really do need to get our more.” Then he had clasped the door handle and exited the flat, heading for the docks. He found the women who went there to be easy to talk to, and also...he grinned...more willing.

He reached the docks a bit later than planned, having had to take a more circuitous route to the Wet Bar and Grill, a pub for the locals there, where a young man of his age would be accepted, even if a bit offsetting to the native sailors who frequented the place.

He had settled into his usual corner at that time and noticed an older gentleman seated there. The man was gigantic. He easily towered over all the men in the place, had a strong face, if somewhat rounded, and earnest eyes that seemed to look into a person's soul.

“Good morning, sir.” He had greeted the man, settling opposite him.

“And to you, young man.” The stranger had replied.

“I hear the breakfast here is to die for.” He had told the older man, who looked startled for a moment, then laid aside his mug of tea to rise.

“Pray that not be the case.” The older man had told him. The older man had been James, though young Kenneth knew it not at that time and never would.

James went to another booth and sat down there, and began furiously making notes in a small leather book he carried. It appeared well used, stained and cumbersome, but small enough for a man of his side to handle easily enough.

“Drink sir?” The Barkeeper asked, wiping the table where James had been.

“Who is that man?”

“Oh him? He's investigating a murder case.”

Kenneth's heart skipped a beat for a moment. “Here?”

The Barkeeper smiled, revealing tobacco stained teeth. “Not likely. But on a nearby merchant vessel, the Queen of the Atlantic.”

“Heard of her.” Kenneth acknowledged. “Never thought something like that would occur.”

“Strange thing too.” The Barkeeper said.

“How so?”

“The young sailor who died had been eaten to death.”

Kenneth laughed, taking it as a joke. “Speaking of eating. I'll take my usual and a pint of ale.”

“Coming right up, young man.” The Barkeeper replied, heading for the back.

Kenneth was giving some thought to the conversation when he felt someone sit next to him. How unusual he thought, and then he turned and looked into the most beautiful green eyes he had ever seen. They were large and luminous, as if he were gazing into the depths of the depths of the sea. Her eyebrows were a soft brown and her hair was loose and freely hanging, but in a unique style he had never seen before. Other than that, she looked perfectly normal. And lovable.

At that moment he uttered, much to his dismay. “I think I'm falling in love.”

She blushed, and then put a hand over his. “I hope I am not intruding upon you, but I am quite hungry and new to this town, and hoped you might be able to help me in two ways.”

“Most certainly.” He replied, touching his hat in a friendly gesture.

She dimpled, and then smiled coyly at him.

“Perhaps we could grab something to eat here and bring it with us as you showed me the town?”

“What an excellent idea.” He proclaimed, feeling the web threading before him to capture this n new denizen of feminine treasure.
They took their food and left the Pub. A moment later James came out as well, his eyes on the two of them. At first he started off in a different direction, and then as they continued into the city, he followed at a discrete distance.

“My name is Amberly.” She told Kenneth as he very carefully took her free hand and pressed it with his own. She squeezed back.

“You're a bold one, you are.”

“Seize the treasure is my motto.”

She smiled. “I like that. We're almost there.” She told him slowing.

“Almost where?” He asked in perplexity. He thought they were heading to the park nearby, but instead she guided him back again towards the pier and a lone vessel that was moored there, its flags of an unusual color, laying slack in the lack of a morning breeze.

“What is this way?”

She laughed. “Why our meals of course. I have something wonderful to show you.”

He smiled. “Of course.” His heart skipped a beat, when he saw something a bit unusual in her smile, but he was so dead set on adding her to his list of trophies, that he ignored his intuition, squashing it flat.

She urged him towards the moored ship. He followed, like a lamb to the slaughter. When they proceeded up its gangplank, he became more nervous. “Are you sure you know what you're doing?”

“I always know what I'm doing.” She told him.

As they reached the main deck a huge man with a dark face and menacing brows stepped from the Captain's Cabin. “I'd like you to meet father. He's eager to eat you.”

“You mean meet me, don't you?” He corrected her.

The words no sooner left his lips when a number of other crew members arose from various hiding places and surrounded them. “What's the meaning of this? I'm an important person, you touch me and you'll be punished to the full extent of the law.”

The Captain loomed over him, smiling, revealing very sharp teeth, chiseled to points. “Aye, we'll be punished all right, but not by the likes of you, mortal.” He laughed, and then lunged forward to grab Kenneth.

Kenneth dodged his grasp and ran to the Captain's Cabin and threw himself inside. He slammed the door shut and bolted it. “I'll just wait out this insanity.” He said to himself, his whole body trembling with fear.

“Why, what a pretty young thing we have here.” He heard from behind him. He turned and what had been invisible in the shadows of the dark cabin was a beautiful face, even more so than the young woman.

“This is my lucky day.” He said out loud, congratulating himself on locking himself inside.

“Come to me, young man, I think we need to talk.” The woman ordered him.

He went to her, with fancies of a warm and comfortable dalliance dancing in his heart and mind, but when he got further into the back, she rose slowly higher and higher, revealing that the bottom half of her body had scales like a fish. He cried out in horror as she lunged for him, her mouth open, revealing sharpened teeth.

On the pier James had been following the couple, and saw the altercation. He had come back with Inspector Bloodstone, knowing he couldn't protect the young man by himself. They boarded the ship. The Captain and his crew all leapt from the main deck into the Thames, vanishing into the depths of the waters, with no further sight of them.

The scream came from inside at that moment.

He and the Inspector rushed to the Captain's Door and broke it down. Inside they found a hatch that opened to the waters, open and a large fish's tail slithering through it.

“Bloody Hell!” The Inspector cried out at the sight, then again as he spotted the remains of Kenneth Anger.

James finished his journal entry, and then closed the leather book containing it. He put his hands on his eyes and rubbed them.
He had pieced the tale together from Naier and the young man's propensities from his conquest, his deductive powers and Crystal Palace allowing him to see the entire episode up until the death of the young man.

He had fallen from the Crystal Palace in horror when the young woman's mother had begun eating on young Kenneth, and so now he sat there somberly in the flat that was 221B. Here he shared his work and his companionship with his good friend, John Watson, who had recently lost his best friend, Sherlock Holmes, to a terrible fate.

James rose and looked out on the street below.

“Death come not as a friend to me,
Sheathe thy deadly claws,
Shut thy foul maw
And crawl away.

For you shall bedazzle me, baffle me
And eat my soul no more.”

James thought of the elderly poet, Poe, who had written the verses a moment, and then at the sound of Watson coming up the steps, he turned a cheery smile to his companion to greet him. The past was gone, tomorrow was now.

“Watson!” He greeted as his friend entered.

“You look good.” Watson noted.

“Fresh sea air will do that for a man.” James answered mysteriously.

To see more of John Pirillo's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit John Pirillo's Website.

Images used for the story are from John Pirillo
Sherlock Holmes Statue Picardy Place.

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Short Story written by John

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Same old story. Boy meets girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl eats boy. Period. James scratched his mop of hair thoughtfully a moment with the tip of his pen, probably adding some ink to the stains already on his...

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