In Which a Lady is Somewhat Introduced And A New Story Begins

“The only rest a lady detective gets is what she takes for herself. Whether ‘tis upon a Sunday when washing should be done or on a Wednesday when one might be fortunate enough to entertain a client, the respite must be seized as it will not be given.

It was on a day such as today, whilst I lounged within my office pondering the great mysteries of life and fashion, that she entered the room. She was tempestuous, a veritable goddess of fury. A wronged woman, she demanded-”

The door slammed open and the young woman who was orating with her feet resting atop the desk immediately sprang into a demure pose. The harridan at the door merely quirked an eyebrow, “Telling yourself stories again missy?”

A dramatic pout flashed across the youthful visage, “Well, it’s not as if I get any other excitement in my life. No one will let me detect so I might as well spin tales.”

The eye roll that greeted this complaint was legendary, young people the world over could only hope to project that much disdain. “You are not a detective, you’re a mere office girl and the sooner you get that through your ninnyhammer skull.” The woman stopped and huffed out a breath of frustration, “You’re just trying to distract me again. Here,” her outthrust hand contained a sealed envelope, “Himself is at the club and this needs to get to him soonest. No dawdling, mind!”

A hand darted out and grabbed the item enthusiastically, “I’ll be there before you know it!” The paper was secreted in an inner jacket pocket as she grabbed her pack and slung it across her back. Girding her bifurcated loins she flung open the french doors and leapt from the balcony. Her pack puttered, instigating a burst of adrenaline through her system before it kicked and and she soared off down the street.

She belatedly slid her goggles down and gave herself a talking to. “Why do you rush off before putting on the hood? You know it gives you a rats nest and then Miss Higgenbottom will tut, dear thing.” She sighed and continued to mutter to herself as she whipped down the avenues before reaching her destination.

The building was not ostentatious, but still managed to convey an air of gravitas and authority. She had often thought that if it were a man the building would have a countenance that spoke of constant constipation. She alighted, pushed her goggles up, and politely knocked on the door.

A decorous doorman all kitted out in a fine array of extravagant gold braid answered. He tsked, “Miss Fidelia, you look a fright. If you must fetch Mister Nathaniel here, could you not take a care?” He sighed at her contumelious mien. “I’ll fetch him. It’ll be just a moment just please, don’t start any calamities.”

Her eyes widened, “Augie, I’m hurt! You know I never start trouble!”

His sigh was aggrieved and loud, “Miss Fidelia, please do not play at innocence. I beg of you do not…” He shook his head, “It’s really no use.” The door shut and he went to fetch Nathaniel Erasmus Baldrick Bracegirdle, Detective at Very Large.

In Which Patches is Pissy

Patches transformed into his human form because he simply needed to pace. Of course his natural feline form was superior in all other ways, but unless he wanted Mr. Wickles to notice, that is to assume that he was stalking his annoyance of a duplicitous former faux master…well, the human form had its compensations.

“With every other piece of tomfoolery he’s come out with why would you think this had a possibility of success? How do you know he wouldn’t just latch on to the sparkles and add them to the lizards?!?”

Mr. Wickles hesitated, “Our advisor-”

“Advisor singular? ONE person decided this was a good idea and you just went with it? What kind of cockamamie-”

There was a whipping wind and a stunning burst of light which left Patches blinking for a few moments. When his eyes cleared he discovered he and his erstwhile owner were in the midst of a grand and elaborate library. There were shades of Art Nouveau and Baroque and styles he wasn’t sure had ever actually existed in his world.

As he gaped Mr. Wickles huffily adjust his cuffs, “If you want to complain about the following of wise advice, you can argue with the giver.” With that the man flounced through the ornate doors Patches had just noticed. They closed with a petulant slam and the cat was left alone in the awe-inspiring room. He let his nature take control and transformed into his proper form so as to better assuage his curiosity. He leapt up onto the empty edge of a shelf and began to saunter. His tale twitched with a jaunty rhythm as he followed intriguing smells and leapt from bookcase to bookcase. One scent began to dominate the others and he found himself captivated.

He was making a particularly impressive leap, even for his dashing self, when he suddenly collided with a soft form in midair. He, of course, landed on his feet. Patches groomed himself with a purposeful air as it just wasn’t done for someone to think he might not be doing something he hadn’t absolutely intended to. He glanced up and froze. Across from him was the most glorious cat.

He gazed at her, dumbfounded, as she groomed herself casually. The other cat could be nothing but female, if his nose hadn’t told him then her sheer beauty would have. She was lean. She was graceful. Her face regal. She was, in a word, perfection.

The mystery cat stopped grooming and sat, her tail lashing behind her before curling around to settle in front of her delectable paws. “Patches, I presume.”

Her voice was as charming as the rest of her and he abruptly made a sweeping, feline bow, “I am, but I am more interested in what your name might be, you vision of perfection.”

Her ear twitched, “I’m the individual who hatches cockamamie plans.”

Patches was too entranced to process what she’d said. “There should be paintings of you scattered around the globe so all can appreciate the wonder of your presence,” he purred.

She flicked her tail, “Well, one could say it’s already been done. I posed for the Marshall Islands’ Abyssinian stamp.”

His twitterpated ears caught up a moment later, “You’re the advisor? You? You want me to become a sparkly vampire BOY?!?” She was suddenly a tinge less beautiful in his eyes and his ears went back as his tail fluffed.

 

Coming Soon

The sabbatical ended up going…well…longer than a sabbatical really due to LIFE *shakes fist at heavens*. However, come the end of term we rounded up a couple new to us writers and we’ll see where the insanity takes us.

In which we enter, pursued by a possible paradox

Patches blinked and found himself pushed into his own coat closet by his companions. Decca was peering beneath the door and offering commentary, “Beauty, you shoulda been on stage, your performance is impeccable! Boy’s not too bad either. Nothing on you, of course, my sweet.”

Eugenia preened, “You say the darlingest things!”

Patches hushed the two of them and pushed his ear against the wall. There was the sound of a scuffle, liquid being poured, the strike of a match, and (finally) the slam of a door. He burst from the closet, quickly extinguishing the wastebasket fire that he, that is to say his prior self, had started. Meanwhile, Decca and Eugenia untangled prior-Eugenia from the rope prior-Patches had used to bind her.

Now-Eugenia grasped prior-Eugenia’s hands, “Dear, I’m sorry, but you simply must be burned now.”

Prior-Eugenia sighed, “Timeline?”

“Well, in about an hour you need to be charred and munching on two dreadful men. Don’t worry, they’re actually quite tasty.”

“Needs must, I suppose.”

The two Eugenia’s exited stage left, pursued by a tortoise.

Patches’ erstwhile master sat up with a sigh.

“You were always the fool, how could you be the mastermind?!?”

Dustin pulled himself up, “Well, I suppose Dustin is rather the fool, but the wonderful thing is that everyone knows he’s harmless.” With that ‘Dustin’ pulled off his head…which was actually a mask.

“Mr. … Mr. Wickles?!? You’re the mastermind?”

“Indeed.”

“But you’re harmless, why would you disguise yourself as Dustin?”

“You think of me harmless, but there are many who observe at deeper level and they, they know. My power is a quiet one, but it can move mountains if necessary.”

“But you’re the librarian!!”

“What greater power than books?”

“You dressed up as a ghostly knight to scare some silly teens.”

A disgruntled look settled on Mr. Wickles’ face, “Meddling kids. Just can’t mind their business.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

A sigh huffed out, “Look, the kids were interfering with something very important that could have left them very dead. Not just dead, very dead. Scaring them off was to save their lives. Now could we perhaps focus on the problem at hand? Why’ve you travelled back?”
“I though you had power…”

Mr. Wickles’ glared and his voice rose, “Why should I waste power when you could just tell me?!?”

Patches took a startled step back, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’ll explain!”

“Just tell me why Eugenia brought you back, and brought you here.”

“Decca and I were somehow swept away from a bloody fae battle to a cavern where Fontanello-”

“FONTANELLO?!?” Mr. Wickles’ face turned a rather frightening shade of magenta, “FONTANELLO TOOK YOU?!?”
“Well, I-I’m not quite sure if he took us, we were swept up in a shipment of shaving cream apparently.”

“…Shaving cream.”

“Yes, yes, there was this rather manic little fae named-”
Wickles’ interrupted with a sigh, “Finnegan. My little brother will never cease his japes.”

“Your…brother? But?”

 

 

You just never know what a day will bring

Have you ever seen a vampiress in a polka dot bikini? It is a sight to behold. Patches blinked and stumbled to a halt.

Wot, mate?” Decca craned to see, but the angle was not great from the waistcoat, “Why’d we stop then?”

Eugenia wiggled her fingers coyly, “Yoohoo! Patches!”

The cat sighed and trudged forward, “Eugenia.”

What is wrong with your waistcoat? It’s all,” her hand waved vaguely, “lumpy.”

Eugenia, Decca. Decca, Eugenia,” with that he withdrew the rogueish reptile and set him atop the sand. He sent a worried glance over his shoulder, then surveyed the surrounding terrain. Aside from the dark, brooding stones they’d stumbled from, everything else seemed very…tropical. White sandy beaches, sunlit blue sky, equally blue sea, palm trees…Really, in his current state it was enough to make him disgusted. The terrain should reflect his mood and day, not be so blasted cheery. He turned back to the veiled vampiress and was met with such a sight.

Decca had ducked beneath the veiling and held one of Eugenia’s hands in his claw. He appeared to be declaiming, while Eugenia held a hand against her heart and fluttered her lashes flirtatiously. And…had the turtle just kissed her hand? Patches swatted a fly away from his face and stepped forward, clearing his throat and looking away.

Oh, Patches, wherever did you meet this charming soul? He has the heart of a poet and the tongue of a rascal!”

Patches found himself momentarily speechless as Decca glanced back at him, made eye contact, and winked. “Ah, well, Decca and I only met a short while ago, and…”

Aye, we met in unusual and unfortunate circumstances, but we are fast becoming the closest of mates. Those of us who are…less usual…really need to stick together.”

I hate to interrupt the clearly delightful conversation you two are having,” Patches interjected, “But if we want to live more than a few hours, we really must be on our way.” He attempted a charming smile, but it wasn’t very succesful.

Oh, my. That sounds ominous. What trouble are you two darling boys in?” Eugenia’s voice seemed truly concerned, but Patches was inclined to chalk that one up to Decca’s inexplicable impact on her.

Well, my dove, it seems-” Decca started what sounded to be a flowery speech, but Patches had no time for it.

Fontanello.”

Eugenia pouted, “Oh don’t tell me he’s put one of his deplorable tunnels onto my favourite beach.”

It appears so.”

Well,” she pulled an odd tube out of a basket that sat next to her, “It really is the tackiest to encounter an ex just when you’ve met a charming new gentleman.” She blew into the tube, causing both Decca and Patches to wince, “Oh, I am sorry boys, I’d forgotten.” She gracefully held a hand over her eyes and peered into the distance.

Patches craned to see what she was looking for. A short ways away he saw a cliff and… “Is that a pokemon…leaping off a cliff?!?”

What’s a pokemon, dear?”

In which we find ourselves with something completely different

As he slowly returned to consciousness, Patches was careful to give no sign. It might be called playing possum, but a cat knew how to do it just as well (better, really). His eyes remained closed and he strained his ears to pick out details in the chaos about him. There was Miss Angeline’s voice, the profanities were sounding desperate. Could that be Johnson? The high-pitched cries of the savage, bloody fairies made him want to wrinkle his forehead.

A weight landed on his stomach, he couldn’t help but let out an “oof!”. He cracked his eyes to take a peek and saw Decca on his stomach, wielding a knife. “Oi! Back off ye mangy sprites!” Opening his eyes a little wider, Patches saw a veritable cloud of, well, mangy sprites, hovering around him. Decca slashed his knife about again and the cat caught a glimpse of the manic gleam in his eye, “One or all, I’ll take ye!”

Patches couldn’t understand the screech-y fairy language, but Decca seemed to well enough. The turtle was surprisingly effective with his knife. A fairy darted too close and his claws knocked it askew in the air. “Not so bloody quick!” The cat decided it was a lot simpler to remain “unconscious” and let his apparent ally take care of the dirty work.

His eyes almost closed and focused on what was happening, he almost didn’t hear it above the sounds of the battle happening atop him. Gradually he became aware. It was a strange almost whistling sound. It was a bit like the sound that could sometimes be heard when driving at high speed with the windows down.

The temperature suddenly plummeted, but just as swiftly a warmth, like spring coming out of a frigid winter, arose. Patches had to let his eyes pop open. A mighty wind was coming up about him. The mangy sprites were whipped away and Decca clenched a claw in the cat’s shirt.

“And what’s this then, cat?”

He just shook his head, but had no time for a response. When words might have come an inadvertent screech was there instead. Patches and his passenger were hurled into the air. They didn’t whirl like something from a classic movie, no, they went straight up and then abruptly to the left. The cat kept his eyes wide and alert, but when they went through what seemed to be a wall of dust he was forced to close his eyes. Sight was important, and he didn’t want to lose it.

When next his eyes opened, he found himself lying in a cave with Decca still clutching his shirt. He looked around. It really was quite a nice entryway for a cave, not as rugged as one might expect. It might even be considered…Baroque? His eyes lit on a large pile of boxes nearby. He detached Decca, setting the dazed turtle aside to investigate a bit more thoroughly. Circling the boxes, he spied a label. He blinked and checked again. Sitting before him were 10 cases of…shaving cream?

“Don’t you be messing with me japes!” An indigo man appeared before him. It was clear that the most common adjective used for him must be “wee”.

The cat’s throat cleared, “I am not looking to interfere with any, erm…japes. I am, however, curious as to where my companion,” he gestured at the reviving reptilian punk rocker, “and myself have found ourselves. The how would be nice to know as well.”

Narrowed eyes and a cocked head met his query, “You didn’t mean to arrive yon?”

“No, ‘yon’ was not our goal.”

“Ach, then you must have been caught up in me delivery,” he rubbed his hands together gleefully, “Oh, when me japes quantify and exacerbate by pure chance ’tis a glorious thing!”

“Ah. Yes. Well. Where might we be?”

“Oh, you are in the lair of the dread dragon Fauntleroy. You can call myself by the name of Finnegan, I’ll call yon,” he gestured at Decca, “Brannigan. And you, me boy, shall be…Giles!”

“Ah.”

“Now help me me boys, there’s japes afoot!”

Patches found himself loading boxes of shaving cream onto a cart with very silent wheels. Decca was directed to the top of the pile with a cheery, “Your blade will come in right handy, Brannigan me friend!”

The two confused animals played along. They didn’t know where, besides the lair of a dragon, they were precisely. Since the being who called himself Finnegan had accidentally brought them there, it seemed he was their best chance at a return journey. Patches pushed the cart and Decca kept a sharp eye open.

Soon they found themselves alongside a dragon. With much grimacing and sweeping arm motions, the impish indigo man instructed them in their duties. Decca opened the boxes and handed canisters of shaving cream to the cat who tossed them to Finnegan. In short order, the wee man had filled the dragon’s two foreclaws completely with shaving cream.

A grin split his mischievous face nearly in two and he motioned his minions back. The animals took cover in a sheltered nook and watched as Finnegan floated above the dragon’s nose. A gigantic ostrich plume appeared in his hand which he gently brushed across the giant protuberance before him…