The Paris Awakening: Water Part 6


Emile and Sir John looked up at the statue of Theseus and the Minotaur in the Tulieries garden.

“Wasn’t he at sea for a bit?” said Emile.

“I think so,” said Sir John, “but that seems rather a tenuous link. I sort of imagine something more…”

“Obviously aquatic?” said Emile. “Yes I agree, I don’t think this is it. How many have we seen now?”

“I’ve rather lost count,” said Sir John, “along with enthusiasm.”

He looked around the park at the multitude of people walking about, picking out two women with a dog.

“I don’t think the others have had any success either,” he said.

Emile sighed. “Next one then?” he said.

“You know, I wondered if I might, if I could,” started Sir John. “I mean to say, well I notice you haven’t been at the church so much recently.”

“I have been… busy,” said Emile. “I have an institute to run you know?”

“I just realise that we haven’t really spoken about… what happened,” said Sir John. “When you found out about Marie.”

“Oh God no, you don’t want to talk about my feelings, do you?” said Emile smirking. “We’ll be here all week while you navigate around the topic.”

“Well,” said Sir John, a little deflated. “It seemed to, change things. I know what it’s like to have that surprise. When I first found out it was… things were… there was some awkwardness.”

Emile rolled his eyes.

“You’re English,” he said, “there is awkwardness when you buy of cup of tea in a cafe.”

“Yes but,” continued Sir John, going increasingly pink, “well, it seemed to, erect a sort of barrier between us as friends and, and…”

“You are concerned about my erection now?” said Emile earnestly before bursting into laughter. Sir John went bright red.

“Oh mon Dieu, I’m sorry my friend,” said Emile, wiping his eyes. “I’m being cruel to you. Yes it was a shock, and yes I felt a little hurt that you didn’t tell me. But I understood why. It’s not you two, or even Sabine that’s keeping me away. It’s all of you. It felt like everyone had special secrets and I, whose job is to find special secrets, not only had none, but had no clue about any of yours. It felt… like I had no purpose, I think.”

“You’re my friend,” said Sir John, “You don’t have to have a purpose.”

“Hmm,” said Emile and looked back at the statue. A little smile crept on his face. He lit a cigarette and fell silent.

“We have not seen a single statue with merde on it,” said Miss Henderson, arriving at the scene.

“That’s mer, Miss Henderson,” said Marie, holding the lead with Morag on it.

Emile turned away to stifle a laugh as Miss Henderson looked up at the statue.

“Good Lord!” she said, “Have none of these artists heard of undergarments?”

“It’s not here, is it?” said Morag. “This isn’t the place.”

“I think not,” said Sir John. “We’re back to the drawing board.”

“You know, I can think of someone who might be able to help,” said Marie. “We are not far, why don’t we go speak to Albrecht.”

“Albrecht?” said Emile.

“Ah yes,” said Sir John, looking guilty. “The, er, talking gargoyle.”

Emile threw his arms up in despair.

“What have I ever done to you,” he said to the sky, “to deserve this?”


*Theseus fighting the Minotaur by Étienne-Jules Ramey (French, 1796–1852). Marble, 1826. Original photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

The Paris Awakening: Water Part 5

water 5 mono pp

“A moondial?” said Sir John.

“Yes,” said Phlebotomous excitedly, “just like a sundial tells the time during the day, this does at night. Although it only seems to work well when the moon is full like this evening. It has a compass so you can find out where north is.”

“That’s fascinating I’m sure,” said Sabine, “but we have more pressing….”

“This little green stone shines too,” said Phlebotomous indicating the centre of the compass. “Actually, that seems to happen no matter what phase the moon is in. In fact, if anything it seems to glow more when the moon is waning.”

“Indeed,” said Sabine, “but Mr Bosch…”

“What kind of green?” said Marie, pulling out the necklace her uncle had given her. “A green like this?”

“Yes!” said Phlebotomous. “I think so. Let me bring it over.”

The vampire brought the moondial and compared it to the necklace. As he held the device close to the jewellry the compass needle started spinning wildly.

“That’s strange,” said Phlebotomous. “It didn’t do that before.”

“Ladies, Gentlemen,” said Sabine. “And… other creatures. Surely we must focus on the task in hand? We need to compare the words of the oracle to the potential location of the key piece.”

The slurping sounds from the end of the table stopped and Sir John looked up.

“I rather think Sabine has a point,” he said.

“Yes,” said Marie. “Of course. I’m sorry.”

She absently took off the necklace and left it next to the moondial on the table. The compass needle began to settle down.

“Phlebotomous, Osvold,” said Sir John. “We need your help in deciphering what we learned, well sort of learned, from the Oracle. Tell me, of the potential locations where the next key piece might be, are any of them in a garden? A garden that’s on the riverbank?”

Osvold shuffled over to Phlebotomous and whispered in his ear. Phlebotomous started to speak but Osvold pulled on his coat sleeve and whispered some more.

“The location is supposed to be somewhere where great joy and great sadness have co-existed,” said Phlebotomous.

“Sounds like half of Paris,” said Sabine.

Osvold again tugged on Phlebotomous’ sleeve and whispered to him, shooting nervous glances at the table.

“It’s also a place which has seen a lot of death,” said Phlebotomous.

“Still half of Paris,” said Marie.

Osvold again whispered to Phlebotomous.

“And where something was caged,” said Phlebotomous.

“Again it… ah wait!” said Sabine. “The Tuileries. Louis 16 was held captive there, no?”

“Was he… killed there?” said Sir John.

“No,” said Sabine, “Hmm.”

“There was a massacre there,” said Marie. “The king’s guards, when the garden was stormed.”

“So that… could be it?” said Sir John.

“There are many statues there too,” said Marie. “This thing about the sea, maybe there is one that is somehow nautical.”

“That’s it!” said Sabine. “That must be the place! We go tomorrow!”

Marie leaned back in her chair and exhaled. She glanced down at her necklace and moondial and a small frown formed on her face.

“Wonderful deduction ladies!” said Sir John. “Er, Miss Henderson, is there any more soup?”

The Paris Awakening: Water Part 4


Miss Henderson and Morag sat around the large table in the artists’ church, awaiting the return of the Jennings and Sabine.

“Emile isn’t joining us?” said Morag.

“I believe Mr Plan… Mr Plank… that Emile has opted to spend the evening in his own residence,” said Miss Henderson before leaning and whispering. “I think he has the hump with you know who.”

“Sabine!” exclaimed Morag.

“Yes, obviously that stuck-up…” started Miss Henderson.

“You’re back!” said Morag, standing on Miss Henderson’s foot.

“Indeed we are and what a story we have to tell,” said Sabine sweeping into the church.

Miss Henderson rolled her eyes and looked at Morag, who winked.

Marie and Sir John came in next.

“Is there any food?” said Sir John. “I’m a trifle peckish.”

“Let me see what I can find,” said Miss Henderson, “I know what you’re like when you’re ravished.”

Sabine looked briefly perplexed before sitting at the table.

“Some tea as well would be wonderful,” she said.

Morag could hear Miss Henderson mutter something under her breath. Morag was glad it wasn’t audible to humans.

“So do we know where the next key piece is?” asked Morag to Marie.

“It was so confusing, the oracle spoke in riddles. We stopped on the way back so I could make some notes before I forgot, but even then I’m not sure I have it all.”

Marie produce a piece of paper from her bag and looked at it.

“She said something about a boat on the river, that I would need help from my friends, something about the sea and a garden on Sunday morning,” she said.

“A garden on the river maybe?” said Morag. “Are there any?”

“Pfff,” said Sabine. “Hundreds. We could spend all year looking.”

“We need the list Phlebotomous and Osvold were looking at,” said Sir John. “Maybe we can narrow it down a bit.”

Miss Henderson returned with a cup of tea and a large bowl of soup. She dropped the tea in front of Sabine and then gently placed the soup in front of Sir John.

“Marvellous!” said Sir John and took a big spoonful. Sabine took a sip of her tea then made a noise.

Mon Dieu!” she said. “So strong.”

“That is how English people take their tea,” said Miss Henderson primly.

“No wonder you are all so tense,” said Sabine. “I won’t sleep for a week with this.”

“Are the vampires in?” said Marie hastily.

“I think they went out. They said they’d been waiting for a month to go out,” said Morag.

“Out, like for dinner, out?” said Marie incredulously.

“Since I’m a dog, I cannae shrug,” said Morag, “but if I could, right now I would.”

“I think I saw them on the way in,” said Sabine, “looking at the moon.”

“I’ll check,” said Sir John, pausing briefly from slurping his soup. “Er, in a bit.”

“I’ll go,” said Marie and opened the door. “I see them… Mr Bosch?”

The two vampires came in looking unusually excited.

“We’ve discovered what it is!” said Phlebotomous and everyone turned to look at them.

“The location of the key piece?” said Sir John, wiping soup off his chin.

Phlebotomous looked confused.

“No, this,” he said holding up the strange device Marie’s uncle had given her.

Everyone stared at him with a blank look.

“It’s a moondial!” he said.