The King of Thieves? Part 2

King of Thieves

Catch up with Part 1

Thadeus had left the palace. He was feeling pretty good about it. That poor sap, Menus, would be filling in for him while he’s out on an adventure. Heck, he might never go back. Let the kid enjoy being king for a while. He can’t do that bad a job, after all.

The moon was glittering high in the midnight sky. Thadeus gazed at it a long time. He had forgotten how beautiful the moon was. Why did it look different from the one he saw out his palace windows?

It’s because he was looking at the moon a free man.

He took a deep breath. The air was clear and cold. It chilled his lungs. Thadeus tightened the rough tunic around his chest as he marched down a narrow street.

There were people about. His kind of people. People that had no place to be, so they were just out in the middle of the night. People who wouldn’t be missed at jobs in the morning. People who wouldn’t mind sharing in a bit of mischief. Or a lot.

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The Very Bad Detective, Part 3

The Very Bad Detective

Catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

Maxwell Brogue stood in the interrogation room. Chained to the table was one Timothy Shanks, a.k.a.: Crooked Timmy. Detective Grimes ceased her pacing when she saw Maxwell. A slight smile grew on her face. The tall Detective Hatts was in a corner, leaning against the wall.

“Oh boy, are you in trouble now, Tim,” Hatts said, straightening up. He walked over to the man in handcuffs. Leaning in, he pointed to Maxwell. “See that man there? He’s the one who busted this case wide open. He found your hammer in the floorboards.”

Crooked Timmy looked up at Maxwell with bloodshot, beady eyes. His expression was hard and violent.

“You wouldn’t be in here right now if it weren’t for him,” Hatts said.

Tim’s face got harder.

“Who are you?” he asked Maxwell.

“This is the city’s finest private detective,” Grimes said. “Max Brogue.”

“Heh, you need a private dick?” Crooked Timmy said. “That’s pretty pathetic, detectives.”

“Keep laughing, Tim,” Hatts said. “A few minutes with Brogue here, you’ll be singing like a bird.”

“Show ‘em what you got, Max,” Grimes said.

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The King of Thieves? Part 1

King of Thieves

Thadeus, the King of Thieves, sat on his gold, ornate throne. It was a gaudy thing, his throne. But it was made of just a portion of his accumulated wealth. Gems, filigree, weapons, and even a bit of leather went into the chair. After three decades of thievery, one has a lot to show for his labors.

It was late at night and Thadeus couldn’t sleep. He stared out a window, watching the moon slowly sink behind the city skyline. The entertainers had come and gone. The women of his harem were asleep… somewhere in the palace. For his many trinkets and toys, the King of Thieves was bored.

Sitting back in his throne, he remembered the good ol’ days. The days when he was a young lad with no coin to speak of. The days when a sharp knife and a distracted mark was all he needed. He never killed his victims, just made sure their purses dropped from their belts with relative ease.

And silence. That’s the key. To be a good thief, you had to be silent.

Which was not the case for the man who was climbing into Thadeus’ throne room. He stumbled through the open window, in full view of the throne. He clanged against a pile of jewels, knocking over a bronze tray. Honestly, this boy needed to get his act together.

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“Longshanks,” A Robert Asher Story

robertasher-longshanks

Longshanks
by Adam Casalino

Robert Asher was sitting up in a tree.  It wasn’t his idea.  Nor was it his idea to handle the awkwardly designed crossbow that was nestled against his shoulder.  He wasn’t a very good shot with the bow; after all, he had only practiced using it for a few hours before he got into the tree.  When he had to use a weapon, he preferred a gun.  Given the circumstances, however, that wouldn’t have worked; bullets don’t come in silver.

Asher shifted his weight in the blind.  The whole tree shook.  For a moment he questioned the wisdom of putting a man of his size twenty feet up an oak.  The hunter who had hastily instructed him on the matter assured Asher it was fine.  At that moment the detective wasn’t so convinced.

He had no way of consulting the old hunter, though: he had been eaten a day ago.

Pulling back his glove, Asher checked his watch.  In the thin gleam of the moonlight he saw that it was two o’clock.  His breath curled away like smoke, fogging up the watch face.  He let the glove fall back over it and looked out at the woods around him.

He was somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains.  Asher wasn’t certain where exactly; he had been moving for days and was sure he crossed state lines more than once.  All he was confident of was that it was night and there was a rancid smell in the air.

It reminded him of blood and feces.  The stench had been growing for the last hour.  Asher was no outdoorsman; he wasn’t familiar with the scents of nature.  But this was not a natural smell.  It was ripe and thick.  He could taste it on his tongue.  It was a smell he knew all too well.

The creature appeared, slowly moving down the slope.  Asher narrowed his eyes as he watched it move.  The creature clung to the ground like a spider.  Its arms and legs were splayed out, making it almost flat.  Asher didn’t believe something that was once a man could bend like that.

Head forward, it slunk from tree to tree.  Asher held his breath and listened.  He heard a low, snuffling sound.  It was searching for his scent.  Asher wondered how the monster could smell anything over its own stench.  But he knew that its sense of smell was preternaturally keen.  It could have picked Asher out from a mile away.

The thing paused by a tree only yards away.  The detective watched as the creature studied the trunk.  The large arms reached out, clamping onto the tree with both hands.  Its breathing grew louder as the creature exerted its strength.  With a crack, the tree broke in half.  Asher watched chunks of truck slide down the mountainside.  The thing hunkered down beside the shattered stump, almost gloating.

Asher laughed to himself.  “Showing off, you son of a bitch?”

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“Blood of the Saint,” A Robert Asher Story

Blood of the Saint

March 7, 1936:

Robert Asher wasn’t feeling well.  His head was throbbing and his vision was blurred.  Every subtle noise would send stabs of pain through his skull.  A glass of Alka-Seltzer was foaming beside his hand.  He absentmindedly rubbed the welt on the side of his face as he glanced at the morning paper.  Last night did not go as planned.

The footsteps screamed at him.  Harsh steps echoed down the hall, doing little to alleviate his condition.  Two sets of patent leather shoes squeaked and snapped at the hardwood floors outside his office.  A third pair was a little more forgiving, stepping lightly behind.  The noise wasn’t helping Asher’s mood.  It got even worse when the feet stopped at his door.

They hesitated before knocking.  Despite the effort to whisper, Asher heard them plainly.

“I don’t know about this, Tom.”

“Don’t be a fool, Patrick.  We came all this way to talk to the man.”

“You can’t really believe what they say about him,” said Tom.  “About what he can do?”

“Of course not,” said Patrick, “but I’m not going back to Washington empty-handed.”

Asher sat up in his chair and focused his eyes on the door.  Washington?  This was getting interesting.  The men called Tom and Patrick continued to bicker, until the third man intervened.

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