“She’s a witch,” said Sir John staring blankly ahead of him.

“Perhaps,” said Symonds, shooting a glance at Phlebotomous, “we’ll finish our conversation at another time.”

He got up to leave and indicated to the vampire, who looked puzzled at him. Just then Mrs Flitwick came in wearing a hat and coat and carrying a suitcase and parasol.

“Oh, Sir Jenkins, I’m terribly sorry and I hope it isn’t inconvenient but my sister in Newcastle has just had one of her turns, and I should really go to her as my other sister is in prison.”

“She’s a witch,” said Sir John staring blankly ahead of him.

“Well, Sir Jenkins, that is a little strong, but my husband says something similar,” said Mrs Flitwick. “I shall enquire amongst my friends and family and see if anyone can come assist with your … particular needs.”

She shot a nervous glance at Phlebotomous and headed out the door with such haste that the case and parasol became stuck in the door. Symonds opened the door for her and they both left.

ff-ch-9-sepia“Quite Quickly!”

“She’s a witch,” said Sir John staring blankly ahead of him.

“So you say!” said Phlebotomous sounding cheerful. “So you keep saying!”

“Actually,” said Sir John, still looking vacant, “you said it first.”

“So I did, silly old Phlebotomous,” laughed the vampire nervously.

“How could I not know?” said Sir John.

“Well, lots of couples don’t know little facts about each other!” said Phlebotomous. “For example my sister didn’t realise for years that her husband disliked herring. It’s very similar to your situation, not knowing your wife was a supernatural creature of immense power.”

“I’m an investigator of the supernatural,” said Sir John, “I mean, I try to find supernatural creatures.”

“And look,” said Phlebotomous, “you succeeded! In fact you married one.”

“She must be laughing at me,” said Sir John.

“When she’s laughing, do tears usually pour down her face?” asked Phlebotomous. Sir John turned to look at him curiously.

“I don’t see a lot of people laughing,” explained Phlebotomous. “Mostly they look nervous … unless I’m demonstrating a device! Actually, they tend to look nervous then as well.”

“No, she doesn’t usually cry when laughing. Why?” said Sir John.

“Then she wasn’t laughing when she ran down the road,” said Phlebotomous.

“She was upset?” asked Sir John.

“When she’s upset, tears pour down her face?” asked Phlebotomous.

“Typically, yes,” said Sir John.

“Then I’d say she was upset,” said Phlebotomous.

A look of horror passed over Sir John’s face.

“Oh, what have I done?” he said. “She probably hoped I would help her, support her, with, with these powers. She was always interested in my research, and no wonder. And I practically threw her out.”

“Actually, I think she ran out,” said Phlebotomous, “quite quickly.”

“It amounts to the same,” said Sir John, “I rejected her. She’ll feel lost, abandoned. I must prepare for her return … oh … if she returns.”

Sir John stood up and opened the door and looked at Phlebotomous.

“Oh, go ahead,” said Phlebotomous. “I’ll wait here.”

“Mr Bosch,” said Sir John, “I need to be alone.”

Phlebotomous got up to leave.

“Well, it was nice having tea with you,” he said. “Well, until that business with the … when I said about … well … I’ll see myself out.”

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 10

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