Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Danger is Not My Middle Name #20
All detective movies finish in a drawing room. This is where the detective has assembled all the suspects, witnesses and assorted sidekicks into one room. A hush falls over the crowd as he starts to speak and untangle the twisted web of the mystery.
The conclusion of this story takes place in a tiny car…one I suspect Europeans did not design with humans in mind. I was in the back seat with my knees braced to my chest, trying not to look like an accordion…or sound like one for that matter.
“You’re Greta?” I asked, a little wheezy from the lack of oxygen.
“I’m the voice you heard on the phone. Yes. I needed to bring you into the case,” she said.
I smiled my most world-weary smile. “Because I was the first detective you saw?”
She shook her head. “No. I just said that because I wanted you to stop calling me ‘Toots.’ You have a special quality to you. Something we needed.”
Pretty much every overweight Dungeons and Dragons player has a genetic predisposition to getting suspicious when a pretty girl tells them they’re ‘special.’ Comments like that are usually followed by ‘So do you want a date?’”
But she was nodding, looking me directly in the eyes. I noticed her eyes, one blue and the other green, were large and round and so very sincere. There was a little dimple that moved at the lower corner of her mouth when she spoke that made me very glad my knees were pressed against my chest.
“When I was looking for help, I simply passed my hand over the phone book and my finger came down on your name.”
I settled back. “I get it. Sure. Coincidence.”
She shook her head emphatically. “No. Guidance. Destiny. You were supposed to be here. Without you, we could never have recovered the coin.”
Gerald was nodding.
“He already had the coin,” I pointed out.
She was nodding too. “Yes. You were chosen to help. Without you, he would never have made it out alive….plus you found the secret door no one else could find. Something happened in there…in the chapel, right?”
I remembered the strange sense of following the music to the keystone. I nodded.
“How did Gerald get in?” I asked.
She laughed. So did Gerald – which was not a pleasant sound.
“He was captured at the end of our fight. We knew we were losing. He surrendered, hopefully to be taken into their lair and very hopefully get the coin. Which he did. But he had no way to get out. Until you came along to unlock the door.
“We agreed beforehand that if the battle should appear lost, for me to meet him here. And I have been here every day since. Waiting.”
She finished with a smile, a flash of white teeth and something that almost approached shyness.
“So you followed me, and pretended to be Greta, because you didn’t think I could get the job done,” I said.
She thought about it and then nodded. “Well…would you have trusted you?”
Finally I nodded back, smiling.
“Do you know what happened to me in the chapel?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No. But I know it was destined to happen.”
I told her about the vision (okay…I felt a little silly using the word ‘vision’ but there was no other way to describe it) of the man of fire.
She exchanged a sharp look with Gerald. Their eyes were talking to each other. In the end she shook her head.
“Strong suspicions. Nothing’s certain.” She stopped talking and looked me square in the eyes. “The driver, this McGee person, was sent by them. The Stokers must have intercepted our message to you.”
“He would have killed you and taken the coin,” said Gerald.
I gulped, which was difficult because my mouth was suddenly very dry. I turned and looked at Jennifer for a long moment and she looked back at me. We both knew something heavy was blowing in the breeze. Finally she spoke: “I hope you will stick around long enough so we can figure it out…together.”
I half laughed, half snorted. “You want me to?”
Her face was suddenly serious. She nodded. “Stay with us. Work with us. Become a Keeper.”
My jaw dropped and my heart was already setting up all the many reasons we should tell her to forget the whole thing.
“You want me to hunt vampires? With you?”
She nodded. “With us.”
I thought about it. My life flashed before my eyes. I thought about returning to an empty office, friendless and client challenged. I though about what an eternity of thinking about her and wondering how things WOULD have been with her. The decision was made.
“Jennifer,” I growled. “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
“We’ll always have Glasgow,” said Gerald, laughing and it didn’t so bad this time.
“Here’s looking at you, kid,” said Jennifer.
We all were laughing .I knew I was with my people. The fact that we hunt vampires for a living? That’s just a bonus.
So that’s it for Mr. Diamond for the moment. Thank you all for your kind attention, your comments and your patience with someone who insisted on writing a story on a photography blog.