“And that’s when Marie created a small insect from a stone, attached the golem’s clay to it and let it loose,” said Sir John.

The three members of FOLI sitting in the Jennings’ parlour looked grave at this news, although it occurred to Marie they looked grave at every bit of news. The younger one, Frater Lorem Ipsum, looked slightly nervously at her.

“We had no idea your wife was…” started Frater Magnificus, “talented.”

“It’s a common experience,” said Sir John, “to underestimate her. But I must ask you all to treat this information with the strictest confidence.”

“Sir, we are a secret society with a noble history,” said Frater Magnificus. “If there is one thing we can do, it is keep silent.”

“It’s just I found this in the bookshop,” said Sir John, holding up a book titled “Rites and Ceremonies of the Fraternal Order of the Light Incarnate”. Soror Beatitudinum screamed.

“Frater Lorem Ipsum, avert your eyes!” shouted Frater Magnificus. “Avert your eyes!”

Sir John took the hint and put the book away. Just then the door opened and a short humanoid creature with a white skin and no facial features came in, breathing noisily. Frater Lorem Ipsum jumped up from his chair and the other order members looked shocked. The creature peeled back its face.

“Mr Bosch!” said Sir John, “what a surprise!”

The vampire looked around him. The order members were all standing now and looking aghast.

“If you hear any more, please contact us,” said Frater Magnificus, “we have an urgent … ceremony to attend.”

“We do?” said Soror Beatitudinum.

Frater Magnificus nodded vigorously and the trio left.

“Well…” said Phlebotomous, “how’s the investigation going?”

“It’s been better,” said Sir John, “it seems the objects have slipped through our fingers, but we have managed to find their original owner and a talking dog.”

“Yes, my day’s been busy too…” started Phlebotomous. Just then Miss Henderson came into the room. Phlebotomous flinched as he saw her.

“Telegram for you, Sir Jennings,” she said and passed a note to Sir John. She was carrying a tray with a pot and five cups on it which she took away again.

“Yes, my day has been so busy…” said Phlebotomous but noticed no-one was paying attention.

“it’s an invitation to see Lord Anglestone,” said Sir John. “Apparently, he has some important news on our ‘mutual interest’ that he wants to tell me right away. I shall leave at once.”

aa-ch-10Mon Dieu!

Sir John left the room at haste and shortly after the front door slammed. Miss Henderson returned to the room with a pot and three cups. She pointedly served two cups of tea then left.

“How was your day then Mr Bosch?” said Marie to be polite.

“Well, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you!” he said.

“Go on,” said Marie.

“Really?” said Phlebotomous. He then regaled her with several tales involving dangerously malfunctioning inventions, a case of near asphyxiation with a new sunlight protector, and an unsuccessful attempt to recruit some household staff.

“And the last one ran away as soon as I opened the door,” he concluded.

Marie could feel her heading nodding, even though Miss Henderson had brought in some tea. She felt a tap on her foot and looked down. A small stone smeared with clay was next to her foot.

“Ah,” she said, “my stone bug.”

“I haven’t seen one of those in years!” said Phlebotomous. “Where is your map?”

“Map?” said Marie, “I have to walk the streets to find where he has been.”

“No, you don’t,” said Phlebotomous. “You can use a map and a bit of string to make a pendulum.”

Marie produced a map and tied a bit of yarn to the stone. She held the pendulum over the map and it swirled round in circles before pointing straight at one place on the map.

Mon Dieu!” said Marie. “The place the golem came from, it is Lord Anglestone’s house!”

The Auld Alchemist: Chapter 11

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