Marie and Sir John were sitting in the drawing room. Marie was working on some crochet and Sir John was reading the Times. He punctuated his reading with noises indicating astonishment, irritation, or pleasure in roughly equal measure. From time to time his hand would creep onto the table between them where there was a selection of biscuits. A biscuit would disappear behind the newspaper and the exclamations would be temporarily modified, if not reduced.

Suddenly there was a knock at the door and Sir John put down the paper and looked at the biscuit pile, which was much reduced.

“We get through these quickly don’t we!” he said to Marie, before turning to the door. “Come in!”

The door opened and the Jennings’ maid came in.

“Excuse me, Sir Jenkins, Mrs Jenkins, but there’s two policemen to see you.”

“It’s Jennings, Mrs Flitwick,” said Sir John gently.

“No,” said Mrs Flitwick, “it’s Dawlish and Symonds. Shall I show them in?”

“Please,” said Sir John, looking deflated.

FF Ch1“Bite Marks?”

The maid showed in the two detectives, who stood awkwardly in the doorway.

“Welcome!” said Sir John, “I am Sir John and this is my wife.”

“Good afternoon, Sir John,” said Dawlish, glancing at Marie. “We’d like to speak to you in a professional capacity.”

“Oh, good!” said Sir John. “Please sit!”

Dawlish and Symonds glanced at each other.

“Should Mr Jennings be present?” asked Symonds.

“I don’t catch you?” said Sir John.

“Jennings and Jennings?” said Dawlish.

“Oh!” said Sir John, “Mrs Jennings is the other Jennings.”

The two detectives both looked shocked.

“This … may not be a suitable topic … for a woman,” said Dawlish.

“Why ever not?” said Sir John. “Mrs Jennings has proved herself more than capable on our paranormal investigations.”

“It concerns murder,” said Symonds, “… of girls. Rather grisly murder.”

“The people murdered are girls?” said Marie.

“Yes, madam,” said Symonds.

“Do you know why these girls were murdered?” said Marie.

“No, madam,” said Symonds.

“Are any girls helping you to find out why?” said Marie.

“No, madam,” said Symonds.

“Have you spoken to any girls about the case at all?” said Marie.

“Again, no, madam,” said Symonds.

“Then maybe a woman will be ‘elpful,” said Marie. “Many of them used to be girls, you know.”

“Actually, now I’m confused,” said Sir John. “If this is murder, then why do you need us. We are primarily, well, we are actually, paranormal investigators.”

Dawlish sighed and sat down.

“I shall explain,” he said. “Then you can decide if you want to help. You see, there is an aspect to these murders that you won’t find in the papers. The girls have two marks on their necks. They look like … bite marks. They have been drained of their blood. And they were all … pure.”

“Pure?” said Sir John.

“As snow,” said Symonds.

Sir John still looked puzzled.

“They were untouched, Sir John,” said Dawlish.

“Their flowers were unplucked,” added Symonds.

“Their ships were unsailed,” continued Dawlish.

Sir John looked confused still, and Marie leaned in and whispered in his ear. He turned red.

“Right, I see, yes, I understand,” he said.

“For the last killing there was a witness, of sorts,” said Symonds. “His testimony is a little suspect, but he told us the killer was tall, very pale, and did not look human.”

“You see now, Sir John, why we want your help,” said Dawlish. “All the evidence suggests we are looking for a tall, pale, inhuman creature that sucks the blood of pure girls.”

“My God!” said Sir John, “a vampire!”

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 2

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