And it’s (nearly) here

So finally, Dear Reader, we can explain all the Dreamtime Damsels malarkey. For here is the precious tome itself…

Including a story featuring the marvellous Miss Henderson as well as many stories from our friends, available Sep 25 – we heartily, excitedly and proudly recommend it.

The Paris Awakening: Air Part 3

Pie Air Chap 3 processed

There had been shouting for a little while now. Phlebotomous and Osvold had come out from their room when they heard Miss Henderson, Sabine and Morag return. Sabine had proudly placed a large meat pie on the table and then they had discovered a note. The note was from Sir John explaining that he and Marie would be away for a few days. That was when things started to go wrong.

Phlebotomous and Osvold had sat quietly whilst everyone had discussed the matter. It was difficult for Phlebotomous to understand exactly what was transpiring. He was aware there were some subtle aspects of human communication that he missed. He wasn’t quite sure, for example, why Miss Henderson’s eyes always seemed to roll back whenever Sabine spoke. Or why Sabine often talked when Miss Henderson was trying to say something.

At first the discussion seemed to focus on what they would do next, with some people thinking it would be a good idea to go and find either Sir John, Marie or Emile. That conversation had somehow changed into one where everyone tried to guess why Marie and Sir John had left. Once again Phlebotomous felt sure he missed something as Miss Henderson and Sabine seemed to start all of their sentences saying, “perhaps if you had…” whilst Morag had repeated, “ladies, please”. Then the shouting had started.

The shouting had continued for some time until Morag had surprised everyone by barking. Phlebotomous couldn’t recall her ever doing that before. She had then explained that it would be much better for everyone if they focussed on solving problems rather than arguing with each other which everyone had agreed was very true. There had been some quiet then and Miss Henderson had muttered something about how she thought she knew how to solve one problem and then there had been more shouting.

After a little while, and some more barking, everyone was quiet and staring at the floor. Phlebotomous was looking down to see what was catching their interest when Emile walked into the church. A few seconds later there was more shouting.

Finally, this last bout of shouting came to a halt and once again everyone looked at the floor. After a quick glance down, Phlebotomous felt that he should add something to the conversation.

“I think the pie might be cold,” he said. Three pairs of human eyes and one pair of dog’s eyes looked over at him with a look of utter confusion.

“This one,” said Phlebotomous pointing at the pie to help clarify. Osvold leaned into him.

“Good point,” he whispered in his ear.

“I don’t have much appetite,” said Emile glumly.

“Nor should you, you dog,” said Sabine.

‘There’s nothing wrong with dogs,” said Miss Henderson.

“Please,” said Morag, “everyone. We have to get past this, we have to try to find the next part of the key and we have to find Clackprattle and Pook.”

“And the acrobat,” said Phlebotomous. Again everyone looked confused at him.

“It’s a sort of person who jumps and does tricks,” he said to explain, “usually in a circus.”

Emile slapped himself on the forehead and swore which made Osvold jump.

“Of course, I saw this earlier and didn’t think of it,” Emile said. He pulled out a newspaper and flipped rapidly through it. He then slapped the paper down and pointed at an article.

“Artist de kirk retroove mort?” read Miss Henderson. Sabine gasped.

“Circus performer found dead,” said Emile. “Quite a coincidence n’est pas?”

The Paris Awakening: Initiation Part 13

stairspp

After returning to their hotel late at night, Sir John and Marie were at the bottom of the stairs and climbing up to their room.

“I noticed you omitted some aspects of our story,” said Sir John, casually.

“I was… it felt right,” said Marie. “I didn’t want to send them totally crazy.”

“Excuse me, monsieur,” said a voice from below.

“Yes,” said Sir John as the receptionist appeared at the foot of the stairs.

“Monsieur Jennings, I forget to tell you. There was a man here to see you,” he said.

“Oh, who?” said Sir John.

“He did not say his name, but he did say he’d wait. That was some time ago,” said the receptionist.

“Is he still here?” said Sir John. “What did he look like?”

“He was short, wore a hood and had a foreign accent, I mean, not French,” said the receptionist. “I didn’t see him go, but he’s no longer here. I suppose he must have left, but he didn’t leave a card or note.”

“I see,” said Sir John. “Well, thank you anyway.”

“My pleasure to help,” said the man and left.

“Very helpful,” said Sir John. He turned back up the stairs to see Marie looking back at him with a distracted expression.

“It’s not that at all,” she said. “If I am honest, I didn’t want him to know. To know about me. I’m worried what will happen, what he will say.”

“He’s a good friend,” said Sir John gently. “I’m sure he’d understand. Be impressed, even.”

“I think so too, and… I hope so,” she said. “But I’m still afraid.”

Sir John took his wife’s hand.

“Then we will wait,” he said, “and tell him together when you’re ready.”

Marie smiled then suddenly frowned.

“What was that?” she said.

“What?” said Sir John.

“From upstairs,” whispered Marie. “From our floor, I heard a sound.”

“Well it’s a hotel,” said Sir John, whispering too, “that shouldn’t be so strange.”

“In the rooms, yes,” said Marie. “This was in the corridor. I hear someone breathing.”

She crept up the last few steps as quietly as possible then turned at the top.

Venir!” she said and there was a high pitched squawking noise. A slender, hooded man ran up the corridor and stopped dead in front of her. His hood fell back to reveal a frightened pale face which made another squawking noise. Sir John appeared at the top of the stairs.

“Phlebotomous?” he said.

“He-hello,” said the vampire.

“Mr Bosch,” said Marie. “What are you doing here?”

“I was just passing?” ventured Phlebotomous.

“In Paris?” said Sir John.

“They are having auditions for some exposition next year,” said Phlebotomous. “I brought some of my inventions.”

“Why are you skulking around the hotel,” said Marie. “You gave me a fright.”

“I’m sorry, but it got too sunny in the lobby and I wanted to see my old friends,” he said then opened his arms wide and grinned.

Sir John shook his hand and Marie tapped the other.

“Well, yes, very nice to see you, Phlebotomous, but we’ve had rather a long day. We’d better get to our room,” said Sir John.

“Of course, of course,” said Phlebotomous, who then looked as his feet.

“Is your accomodation far?” said Marie.

“Not too far…” said Phlebotomous. “It is rather late, though. There might be thieves or murderers out there.”

“You’re a vampire,” said Sir John. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”

The vampire looked nervously out the window and Sir John sighed.

“There’s a chaise-longue in the room, you may stay there for tonight,” he said and Phlebotomous smiled.