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By Morgan Standish

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Copyright 2018 By Morgan Standish

All Rights Reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise) without the prior written permission of both the copyright holder and the above publisher of this book.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the Trademarked statuses and Trademarked owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these Trademarks is not authorized, associated with or sponsored by the Trademark owners.

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Chapter 1

I sat in front of his desk just like any other day, tired, irritable and staring intently at my nails. They were painted but as always the paint was chipped and the once sleek black looked like jagged islands in a sea. That’s what it always made me think of anyways. I could be like Penny, I could get shellac but truthfully I’m afraid my fingers will rot off or something horrible.

“Are you even listening to me?” My parent’s lawyer’s question was like a gunshot, sharp and cracking. Clearly, he was used to me but then how could he not be after all he dealt with me on a regular basis. I sighed and looked up at him, older now with greying hair and dark eyes. Slender but not skinny, he looked like one of those nerds in school that kids wanted to be like. He was a good man and put up with my strange moods, which was good because I hated people always telling me that there was something wrong with me or that I didn’t grieve properly. People died around me all the time, and there was nothing I could do. And crying didn’t bring them back.

“Yes,” I replied, I was lying.

“Oh good. What did I say?” He asked with a smile of annoyance and I just rolled my eyes to the window and he sighed. He pulled off his glasses and rubbed his eyes and then he closed the large folder on his desk.

“Maybe another day would suit you better?” He questioned me and I only nodded.

“Really, you could just send me a letter if it would be easier, Jasper,” I reminded him and again he shook his head.

“I need to know you understand the whole thing, my dear,” and he replaced his glasses and smiled at me. “You know this already but with a will, I do like to make sure you fully know what it says. And your aunt and uncle wanted that as well.”

“Right, right, of course. I can come back tomorrow, after the service,” I told him with a wave of my hand and I rose from the comfortable leather chair. He stood up with me and shoved one hand into his pocket. “You will be there?” and he nodded. I grabbed my coat and purse and moved to the door.



“Please, be good this evening,” it was said with the almost belief that I just might listen to his sound advice and really, I really really should. I glanced back over my shoulder and smiled at him.

“Of course,” and then, so he couldn’t try to persuade me further, I left the office. It took only a few minutes to pop down the elevator and then out the door to my waiting car. I thanked Cole for bringing it up so quickly then I hopped in and headed for home. Not a long drive from Yorkville to Spadina but with traffic it was horrid, eventually I made it to the old three storey Victorian house on the corner of North and Bellamy. White brick, large windows and narrow as all hell. My flat was on the top floor. I parked, displayed my permit because there was no where to park other than the street. And without a permit I would receive a very large ticket and be forced to pay an astronomical price. With a heavy sigh I reminded myself yet again that cars were a good thing in the city though I believed truly that that was a lie.

I got out, locked up and headed home. With a sigh, I kicked the door shut and stood with my head resting against the heavy door which separated my lovely home from the dirty stairs.

As I said already it was narrow, small living room with a squishy couch and antique coffee table. A flat-screen TV perched between Billy bookshelves of old books. Then there was a small room which housed my round wooden dinner table, two chairs and a narrow window. Behind this was my kitchen, small and tidy. And down the short hall to a bathroom and bedroom. Small and perfect and bloody expensive given the dimensions but it was all about the location.

I needed hot tea and a chance to sit down and not think about everything that had happened in the last few days. I flicked the old kettle on and reached for a china teacup with a pale pink rose and a blue china tea saucer. I never matched them anymore, something I saw once, and it just made it seem rebellious. I dropped my tea bag in the cup and waited for the kettle to boil. When done I poured the water and puttered around the kitchen. The steeping time came and passed and I dumped the tea bag and took my cup and saucer and sat at the small dinner table. In the center was a well placed square vase with two white Germaniums, they were my favourite but only because roses were too common. I sipped the tea, burned my tongue and placed the cup back on the saucer. My attention was everywhere and yet I could not think of a single thing, and without knowing it I gripped the tiny silver locket around my neck. The only jewellery I would wear because of sentiment. It had belonged to my parents before – well when they were alive. I had found it years later by chance. And now here I was, alone in my kitchen once again, waiting for yet another funeral service. Only this one would be for my darling aunt and her husband. My mother’s twin sister in fact. Both dead, both gone before their time and both loved and perfect and yet I could not find it in myself to cry for them. It was strange, or at least that’s what everyone said but when people died around a person I guess it became less tragic. No, not really, it just seemed stupid to keep crying. Like, oh look, the poor girl lost another person, and she’s crying… again. Crying did nothing.

I sighed and rose from my chair; the sun was sinking and tomorrow promised to be a cold, grey and hateful day. There was really only one thing to do. I grabbed my coat and shoved some cash into my pocket, made sure I had my keys and left. There was a good bar in walking distance, well really it was trash but most of them were. And this was why I paid so much for my tiny flat because this was the location I was in. The bustling hot spot that was Toronto at night. You want to know why people pay so much money to live in dumps in this city it’s because when the sun goes down people don’t really like to be alone, not that they want to be with friends or family. They just want to be with people.

I wanted to be surrounded, lost in the noise and motion of life all around me. I just didn’t want to know a single soul. And this place by my house, well, I didn’t know anyone. It was perfect because I had also left my phone conveniently at home where the incessant ringing would be away from me.

I sat at the bar in this crowded place, well really just hovering near a seat that was being occupied by some half drunk man. I was sort of waiting for him to slump off or fall over and then I would take it. But in the meantime I sipped on my wine and gazed around the place. Lots of people, and a small group at the back who looked slightly guilty of being too young for such an establishment. I could see the waitress eyeing them up too but with their fake ID’s what could she do. So she shrugged and took their orders and I could almost feel their relief and hear their giggles as they realized they would be getting wasted tonight. I sort of missed being young, I still remembered the first time I got so drunk I threw up all over my aunt’s porch and then lied about it the next morning. She knew of course, but then what kid didn’t attempt this? None. It was either in the safety of their own home with their parental hidden stash or like this, in some gaudy bar with fake ID’s and more chance of getting caught.

I'm not sure exactly when I moved to the small booth against the far wall but it was a seat at least. And to be honest I was feeling slightly unsteady on my feet so this was a good thing. I reached for my glass of wine when I became aware of someone close by. I glanced up and noticed a guy standing there with his beer and he was definitely good looking. And he most likely knew this.

"Hey, mind if I join you?" He asked and without waiting for a reply he slid into the seat across from me. I glanced around and could see the place was filling up to almost standing room.

"Nowhere else to sit?" I asked almost seriously. He was quick to smile and take a swig of his beer.

"Nah, I just saw you sitting over here alone and figured you could use the company."

I nodded and took another sip of wine and felt the beginnings of my stomach preparing to heave. I wondered for a moment if there was anything in there to upchuck and then suddenly it was happening. All over the table, about four maybe five glasses of wine and perhaps some of the tea I had drank. I didn't want to look up but I could hear him yell something like "oh shit!" And then I heard a chair hit the ground and I'm pretty sure he disappeared.

Well, I figured it was probably time to go and I could tell from the waitress glaring at me that she agreed. As I slipped passed her I handed her some bills and apologized and then I was out in the night and the air was cool. And fresh and I just wanted to get home and shower.

"You dropped this," some girl said as she shoved something into my hand and walked away. I didn't get the chance to see who she was and I didn't care what I had dropped. I shoved whatever it was into my pocket and headed home.

Chapter 2

There was this incessant beeping in my head, nonstop and I couldn't get it to go away. I lifted my head and spotted that annoying little red lighted clock on my nightstand. My bloody alarm clock and it wouldn't stop and I knew I had to get up. I couldn't be late today and I sure as hell could not show up. No, this was something I had to go to.

I literally rolled out of bed, tripped into the bathroom and took yet another shower. This one I hoped would heal my aching head but it didn't, it was my curse for drinking. I stood in front of the mirror watching as the fog slowly broke up, I had lost track of time for a moment lost in my own thoughts. My hand moved to the sink and I heard the clinking sound of my mother’s locket. I looked down and after a long pause put it back around my neck, it was the last thing I had of her and once it was on it would be forgotten. Sort of like my emotions regarding my life, I thought.

On my way out the door, I think I might have smeared on some makeup. But I did remember to get dressed and I also remembered to eat a piece of toast so I didn't have a recap of last night occur at the funeral or after.

I walked past my dinner table and noticed my almost full tea cup sitting there beside the geraniums. There was something else there too I turned around but I was already almost late. I would have to look later.

I hate funerals. I hate the black and the sympathy. I hate the flowers and the way it always seems to rain. But most of all I hate that somehow it's happening again. Why can't I be invited to a funeral? It seems that the only people dying are the people related to me. No, it isn't sympathy or self pity; it's just a serious concern. And I was only distracted from this line of thought when a black bird perched on top of my aunt’s gravestone. It was a raven, the bird from my nightmares and for a moment my heart sped up. The bird cawed and no one else seemed bothered by that but I nearly jumped. And that bird looked at me and just like in my nightmares I could almost believe it truly saw me. I had to look away and so I looked to the sky.

The sky was a steel grey and the wind threatened rain but none came. It was the perfect, dreary day for a funeral. And here I was standing between two more tombstones as people filed past me whispering their condolences.

I stopped paying attention and suddenly Jasper was beside me.

"Come, Georgiana," I felt his hand under my elbow and I let him lead me to the car which would ensure I made it to the reception.

"Are you alright?" He asked me as he closed the car door.

"Mmhmm," I replied with a forced smile and he nodded.

"I know it's difficult-,”

"I hate funerals," I blurted out before he could say whatever he wanted to say and he looked at me.

"This is important. So if you could just participate, Georgiana. There isn't anyone else to hide behind this time," he reminded me as kindly as possible and again I smiled that forced smile.

"Yes, of course."

A man with black eyes stood beyond the gravestones. He had watched Georgie and he had seen the fear flicker in her eyes when the raven had landed on her aunt's grave stone. He had watched as her breathing quickened and her fists clenched by her side and he had smiled.

We said nothing else as the car made its way to the large house which had been my home when I was growing up. The place I had lived in with my aunt and her husband.

I could remember the summer days and the quiet evenings. Christmas dinners and summer baking in that amazing kitchen. I could hear my aunt's laugh and her husband's jokes. It always smelled like what I figured sunshine must smell like, yellow and bright and happy. Basically it smelled like pine and expensive perfume and cookies. I could have kept the house, though I hadn't listened to a word of Jasper's when he went through their will, I knew they had left the place to me. But in there was too much of them and living there remembering solved nothing. Really it just made me want to forget.

The rain started and it dragged me back to the dreary present. The house looked the same but different and now I had to go back in there.

"Are you ready?" Jasper asked me and I nodded and opened the door.

I walked up that porch that was too familiar and over into the foyer. There were flowers everywhere, all over my aunt's furniture. And there were people everywhere, all in black and their eyes were on me.

I ignored them and made my way to the kitchen, behind the island and poured myself a glass of wine.

"Keep it classy," said a voice behind me and my grip tightened on the wine glass. I know my face contorted with my irritation and my shoulders went stiff as I tried to ignore the man who had spoken. But he wouldn't be deterred.

"You look like shit, you know that," he added as he moved around the island to get a better look at me. His disdain was evident so I figured there was really no point in hiding mine.

"Thank you for your condolences, truly touching," was my witty reply to this arrogant dick. He was a man who claimed to be married though I have yet to meet the poor woman. And his role in my life was that he kept my father's business rolling in the wealth while I slacked off. Or at least it was something to that effect.

It was ironic that the man who killed my parents did it over a mere million they had stolen in a bank robbery. My parents happened to be there that day. If the killer knew he could have taken billions from my father perhaps he might have let them live.

But instead they were killed and I got stuck with this asshole. A man I wouldn't trust my life with but when it came to money he knew a thing or two. Also he loved being rich, or wealthy as he would always correct me. So I left him there in charge and he had to put up with me every once in awhile because the company was for the most part mine. However he loathed my lack of drive and he hated my life style. I'm pretty sure he really thinks I'm a drunk or an alcoholic. Not sure what the difference is but I'm hoping I'm neither.

"Why don't you put the wine down and get out there, like a good girl. You know, let the people know that you give a shit," he chided me in his patronizingly soft voice. That was the other thing; he never talked loudly, never yelled and rarely seemed to show anger. He dressed better than I did, always had his dark hair cut and kept himself clean shaven. He went to the gym regularly, had dinner with clients. Basically he was a walking PR campaign for how perfect he truly was.

I slammed my glass down on the island.

"Why don't you leave me alone? Unlike you I don't care what people think. I'm not here for them," I hissed at him and he shrugged.

"Your problem, Georgie, is that you take everything given to you for granted. One day you're going to wake up and realize you really have nothing left," and before I could grab my wine and fling it at him he slapped his hand over my glass, preventing me from making a scene but most of all preventing me from ruining his far too expensive suit.

"Get out of here!" I demanded in a low voice and this time he actually left me to myself, although he almost took out my tall, slim friend on his way, Penny. She shot him a dirty look and would have made some sort of comment but he wouldn’t have cared and I couldn’t help but observe her eyes sort of linger on his back. I sipped my wine and ignored my suspicions.

“Where the hell have you been?” she demanded as she rounded on me. “I called you about a billion times last night and another twenty this morning. Where were you?” She always sounded like a freaked out mother who had almost caught her kid committing some heinous crime.

I reached for my phone and found my usual pocket for it to be empty, right I had deliberately left it at home the night before so I would have a legitimate excuse for today.

“Ah, right, I don’t have it. I think I forgot it. Probably why I missed all your calls,” I made excuse but Penny in all her perfectness knew me too well.

“You mean you left it at home so you didn’t have to feel guilty for ignoring all the calls and texts,” she corrected me over the rims of her black framed glasses. I nodded obediently.

“Yes yes, this is what I meant,” I replied waving my hand in her face while I sipped my wine. Her eyes widened and she looked hard at me before she spoke next, she clearly wanted to make sure she had my attention.

“Stop drinking.”

I put my glass down at her fierce command like a whipped child and chewed on the inside of my cheek.

“Sorry,” I told her although I really had no real reason to apologize to her but I felt like it would make her less angry with me. Penny angry was like being in the eye of a storm and I hated it. Almost as much as I hated funerals for people related to me. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes like I was having a moment then looked back at her. But her pretty features were still all twisted in irritation with me.

“It doesn’t work on me, idiot,” she reminded me.

“Oh shut up. Also, stop with your face like that or it might stick and then you won’t be prettier than me anymore,” I shot back and she slapped my arm.

“Get out there and start acting like you give a shit-,”

“I do,” I cut her off and she finally relaxed.

“I know. But you need to act like it, for everyone else’s sake,” she told me. “People are worried about what you might get up to.” I listened to her but I didn’t really care maybe I did take everything for granted but I wasn’t about to admit that Abe Wayland had a bloody point.

“People are worried? Or just you and Jasper?” I asked her sourly and she rolled her eyes at me as she forced me out to the living room where the main crowd of people seemed to have gathered. I felt like a magnet as all eyes in the room fell on me, a subtle hush and then people made their way over to tell me how sorry they were. And how tragic and they just couldn’t imagine how I must be feeling and all the while I felt like the air was constricting on me. The room was getting too crowded and hot and I couldn’t breathe properly as I tried to assure them all I would manage. I felt the familiar pounding in my chest and the cold sweat start to drip and I had to find a place where I could breath.

“Excuse me,” I told the latest person of whom I could not for the life of me remember who they were. I extricated myself from the room, spotting Penny away and distracted with Abe. I couldn’t be sure if she was telling him off or the other way around. Two people far too beautiful for the rest of us normal people and they knew it but Penny was just easier to get along with I figured.

I felt like I was gasping for air in a vacuum, I couldn’t just stand there anymore pondering their strangeness. I needed to breathe.

I stumbled outside into the wet and the cold and felt everything reverting to normal. Air flow, oxygen to the brain, my heart slowed down and I had space. I was told these were panic attacks, I called them ‘stop smothering me because I’m an orphan’ attacks. Had a better ring and wasn’t so cliché.

I found the stairs which led to the basement, cold and stone and away at the back of the house so no one would come looking for me there. It’s the same place I had run to all those years ago, during the service for my parents. Only back then I still had Aunt April and Henry, now I really had almost nothing. I dropped my head onto my lap, the same way I had done all those years ago and I could almost hear Aunt April coming down to find me. But she was gone now and all I would have were the memories. And really, that was just a depressing thought. If only there could be something else, if only I could do something to make it better. Too many if only’s and not enough actions to back them up, well I was suddenly tired of death and self pity. I stood up and went back up the stairs, time to go, I told myself.

Chapter 3

Getting home was fairly easy especially considering that I just left, hailed a taxi and got here. I threw my keys on the coffee table and sunk down on the floor by the bay window. The rain was pattering gently and though I was slightly damp I was warm and tired. I could have slept right there but I didn't. Getting up I headed to the kitchen but stopped before I made it there. My old tea was sitting on the dinner table along with those flowers and there was nothing strange about this. It was the letter propped up against the flower vase that caught my attention. The writing was unfamiliar but it was my name on the envelope. I looked around the room but obviously there was no one there. But how? I had my keys with me and I never left spares outside. The windows were locked from the inside. I probably should have been scared and maybe should have considered calling someone. I didn't of course. I grabbed the envelope and tore it open, the letter made no sense and I re-read it to make sure. But there was nothing that I understood about it. Tossing it back on the table I went to bed, still dressed, still in makeup and I slept like the dead.

I dreamed of my parents. It was odd because that had never happened before. They were young like they were when they died and they were happy. I'm pretty sure I was there and I think I was trying to talk to them; they just seemed more intent on hugging me. The rest of the dream sort of faded from my memory when I woke up but that part I could remember. Although it was vague as most dreams go. I sat up and spotted paper on my floor beneath my coat. I picked it up mainly because of all the strange things happening I figured this was just one more weirdness. And it piqued my curiosity.

It was a business card; I knew the name and address although I was pretty sure he never kept a business card. It had fallen out of my coat and I seemed to remember something being handed to me at the bar. I had shoved it into my coat. But why would Lucas Staan have a business card?

I had met him years ago when I was still a kid, a strange coincidence really. He owned a shop which is where I found my mother's locket after she had died. It was a pawn shop and well, he wasn't the most honest of individuals. But he knew things and I used to go back there to ask him questions when I was a kid, he was like my dealer. But not for drugs, never could get into those, too scared I would have a reaction and die. No, I went to him for something far more important. For information. Anything he could tell me about the small gang who had robbed that bank and killed my parents. He never did tell me much but there was that one time he told me to find a killer, to really get a killer you needed a killer. It was something to ponder as a confused twelve year old who just wanted to know why it had to be her parents. Out of all the people there, why them?

And now sitting on the edge of my bed holding his card in my hand I couldn't help but remember him telling me that. It was almost a decade ago and yet I remembered it like it just happened.

What if? I stopped myself from continuing on that thought process. It was a dangerous one and what was it Penny had said, people were worried. People had this strange impression of me because of the darkness which seemed to follow me. And then there was my apparent lack of emotion to go along with it all.

I put the card down and decided a hot shower and hot food would be best.

I got through the shower, tossed some jeans on with a black shirt and grabbed my coat. I headed to the door and paused at the strange letter.

My phone vibrated on the floor and I jumped and then laughed at myself. Okay, I would go get food. I grabbed my phone and headed for the door and then at the last second I spun around and grabbed the letter off the table.

So I would eat and then go pay old Lucas a visit. Who knows maybe he might know why strange letters appeared mysteriously on kitchen tables.

I love walking into a cafe in the morning. Breathing deeply, taking in the smells of hot coffee, bacon and the sugary baked goods that I wasn't supposed to eat. More because of the stomach ache then the calorie intake.

This was my favourite morning place and it was so close to home. Also I find coffee tastes better when you're drinking it out of someone else's cup. And bacon, well bacon tastes good no matter where it is. But I hate cooking it.

"Morning, love," that was Henry, the owner. He waved to me from behind the counter as I tossed my coat over a chair and waved back. "I'll get your coffee."

I smiled and thanked him then sat down and I had been sitting for all of thirty seconds when the door opened and a huffy Penny made her way over to me. I pretended to not hear her and just scrolled through my missed texts. Finally she sat down in the chair across from me.

"You really suck," she informed me as Henry brought us our coffees. "Thank you, Henry," she threw in as he walked away.

"Hi," I said with a smile as I picked up my coffee and took a healthy sip. Yep, that was good coffee! Penny leaned forward in her chair.

"You just left!" She hissed at me and finally I relented.

"I know," I couldn't look at her, really I just hated when people got mad at me and she was livid. "I couldn't breathe. Everyone was so - so -,”

"Concerned? Caring? Wanting to make sure you were okay? Any of those words describing emotion fit?" She hadn't even touched her coffee and she was still leaning over. "I know you are completely incapable of emoting human feelings, Georgie, but you need to pull your head out of your ass and look around. People think you're demented and not in a sad, orphaned child way. You can't just run away from every god damned thing, you know that! You are so reckless and so irresponsible!" She was definitely on a roll. But finally she threw her hands up and sat back still not touching her coffee.

"I know. I'm sorry," I told her. "Why don't you drink your coffee?" She was glaring at me through her glasses. Penny has the hugest blue eyes and when she glares its pretty gnarly. Also she wears a lot of black which off sets the white blond of her perfect hair which was currently in a perfect "messy" bun.

She told me once she thought her eyes should be brown because with blonde hair brown eyes would pop more. I had just laughed. I have brown eyes and trust me they don't pop. They're brown, not hazel although I used to tell people they were. I also used to bleach my hair and tell people I was a blonde. I gave up on that when I turned eighteen though. I'm just your basic brunette who can't messy bun it to save my life. But I can smoky eye it like you wouldn't believe!

"You aren't even listening to me," Penny's voice brought me back to her tirade.

"Okay, I will stop being a little shit, can we eat now?" I was too hungry to keep listening and Henry had brought our food over. And that bacon looked too good. Penny picked up her coffee as a signal that I could eat. She sipped her coffee and slowly I could see her happiness returning.

We ate and kept the rest of the conversation light, we talked about her work. A place she hated but it paid good and she was allowed to wear jeans. She was on her way there soon which meant she wouldn't be hovering around me so I could do what I wanted without her glaring at me.

"What are you doing today?" She asked suddenly, as if she had read my thoughts.

"Have to see Jasper," I told her without looking at her. She seemed to study me for a minute and then she reached into her bag and pulled something out. She seemed to hesitate before placing a brochure down where I would see it.

It was a brochure for a dance school, one which would feed into prestigious companies. I swallowed hard and could almost hear my Aunt's voice.

"You're a dancer, honey, through and through. You always have been and you always will be. So don't worry about today, today will soon be yesterday," it had been after a horrid performance. I had gotten jittery because there were important people in the audience.

I looked up at Penny.

"I just think - you shouldn't stop now," she tried to explain as I chewed on my cheek as I stared at the brochure.

"Just look through it," she said as she threw some money down on the table. She pulled her coat back on and took a last sip of coffee before getting up.

"Yeah," I mumbled.

"I'll call you later," she told me and then she was gone. Clearly this topic made her just as uncomfortable as it made me.

I pushed the brochure away from my line of sight as I tried to ignore the hard memories of Aunt April. She had done so much to ensure I got to dance. I needed to get on with my day, on with the present and I came out here to eat and then go and do something really stupid. I wasn’t about to be deterred by memories. I dropped my own bills and threw my coat back on, took a last swig of coffee and waved to Henry. And then I left. I decided to take the Subway today, it wasn’t a long ride down to Queen St, and I mean really I could walk but I was feeling lazy. So the Subway it was!

Chapter 4

The store was old and the front had an odd assortment of items sitting there, it sort of kept the wrong people away and the right ones, well they sort of knew it was the place for them. Like I did all those years ago when I caught sight of my mother’s locket in the window.

I walked in, the door chimed like it always had and there was Lucas, behind the counter talking to some customer. The place smelled of dust and possibly mildew and it had a stuffy quality to it. And Lucas looked exactly how I remembered him, dark hair, strange blue eyes and a scar right under his left eye giving him a sort of dangerous look. He had an easy smile but it wasn’t the sort which made you feel good and safe. It was the opposite actually. He was not a big man in that he wasn’t heavily built, but he was tallish.

When the door chimed announcing my entrance I saw his eyes flicker in my direction, I saw a shadow creep over his features and was pretty sure I was about to get the boot. And then just like that he smiled that strange smile of his, he flicked his hand at his current customer and straightened up.

“Well well well, I wondered if I would ever see you again. My little Robinson,” that was how he had always referred to me, by my last name. Well it was either that or kid, depending on the mood he had been in. He rubbed his hands together in anticipation, wondering what good news I wanted to sink my teeth into. See, he was exactly like a dealer, he knew my weaknesses and why I had come. The man with him put his hat on and walked by, I caught a quick look at his features and they seemed oddly familiar but I waved it away. The shadows from the brim of his hat had probably thrown everything out of whack.

“It’s been awhile, Lucas,” I agreed as I stepped up to the counter. The glass was dusty and streaked and the carpet was old and yellow and yet I was happy there.

“So, tell me, what can I do for you today?” He asked leaning over the glass.

I opened my mouth to speak and then hesitated as my phone began to vibrate in my pocket, I held up a finger as I pulled it out. It was Jasper, and obviously I was not in his office and I had no real explanation to give him. So there really was no point in answering. I flicked the switch to silence the buzzing and placed the phone out of sight in my pocket. As I did I felt the letter in my pocket, I studied Lucas for a moment and then let the letter go.

“I came across your business card this morning,” I started and he rubbed his nose and straightened up. “Didn’t know you had any of those. Figured it wasn’t something you would want flying about, could end up in the wrong hands, and bring in the wrong sort of people.”

“Don’t have many, you’re right about that and I definitely don’t want the wrong people walking here,” he agreed. “So who gave it to you?”

“Some rando at a bar the other night, said I dropped it – I didn’t of course, probably assumed I was too drunk to know better,” I told him.

“Man or woman?” He asked.

“A woman,” I answered. Hr pushed off from the counter and wandered a bit, seeming to peruse the shelves back there.

“Ever seen her before?”

“Nope,” I told him without hesitating and he looked over at me.

“So, why are you here?” His good humour had vanished now as he toyed with the stolen watch on his wrist.

“My Guardians are dead, Lucas,” I told him, my voice taking on an edge, preparing for the sympathy. Knowing it would never ever come from him but it was an instinct now.


“Car crash,” I continued and he nodded.

“So, your darling Aunt and her handsome beau are gone from this world,” he put his hands together and closed his eyes in fake prayer and then he looked at me. “And now you are back here, the very place you ran to after your parents were shot to death all those years ago.” I felt my mouth beginning to go dry and I chewed on the inside of my cheek as my heart rate began to speed up again. I wanted to speak or maybe I just wanted to get out of there but something held me there. Don’t know what so we’ll call it that sick curiosity that haunts a person before they make the stupidest mistakes of their lives.

Lucas moved back to the counter, I could sense his growing excitement as he placed his hands on the glass. His blue eyes locked onto my own and I wondered if he could hear the blood pounding in my head because it was like a drum going in my ears.

“And let me guess, you’re finally ready,” he said it, the words I had hoped he would never say. And yet the words that I had wanted to hear just to know what my reaction would be. Just so I could say I was strong enough to say no, and to walk away and never come back. I wanted to be the person Aunt April always thought I was. I wanted to be what Penny and Jasper begged me to be. At least that was what I had truly believed for so long but now, standing there before this man. Now with my blood all gone and buried I couldn’t say no. And I knew I had failed them all in that brief moment of revelation. I was not a good person.

“Yes. Yes, Lucas, I’m ready. What do I need to do?” I asked as the blood seemed to speed up and my cold hands grew slick with my own sweat. “How-,” my mouth was so dry I had to swallow again, “-how do I find him? How do I get the man that killed my parents?”

Lucas grinned at me and then he rolled his neck.

“Alright then, Robinson, let’s get you what you need,” and then he did something he had never done before; he moved to the small door in the counter and unlocked it. He beckoned me through and I hesitated, it was my last chance to turn around. I looked back at the door and the street filled with all sorts of people and for the briefest of moments I thought I saw someone. Someone familiar in a feminine brimmed hat with a pretentious flower, she looked like she was out of a time long gone and I could have sworn she was smoking a cigarette. Slowly exhaling and then a tiny smile spread on her over red lipsticked lips. I shivered; it was like a bad omen but to what? Staying or leaving? I shook it off, looked back one more time and she was gone so I figured I might as well stay.

I followed Lucas into the back room, it was too small. And it was crowded with floor to ceiling metal shelves and in the center was a small rickety metal table with no chairs because they just didn’t fit. My hammering heart was still going way too fast; would I die of a heart attack? The thought made me fearful and I considered bolting from the room.

“I think – I think I need to get some air, I need to be able to breathe,” I moved towards the door but he grabbed me by the arm and I looked at him. He was calm and he was not going to let me change my mind.

“Relax, kid, you’re not going to die,” he placated my fears and my brow furrowed sort of confused because my heart rate was slowing down and slowly I took a deep breath in and found to my surprise that I could get air.

“Better?” He asked me with one eyebrow raised and when I nodded, still really confused but clearly not intending to run anymore, he let my arm go. “Good, now, how to find your killer,” he directed my attention back to why I had come. To the one thing which had consumed me for way too long.

“Yes,” I said. I watched him as he moved around the tiny room; he pulled down a thick book and flipped through the pages, finding the one he wanted. He laid it down in front of me and I looked down at the page. It was a receipt for my mother’s locket, he might have been dealing with a criminal but he was meticulous about his admin. I scanned down to find the name of the seller and there it was in red ink. “Waltz,” that was it. I looked up at him.

“That – that could be anyone,” I started to panic and he held up his finger and turned the page.

“Oh no, kid, not just anyone,” the next page was a letter written on a cocktail napkin from a place called The Gent’s Club, I ignored that and tried to read the scrawl below that.

“Careful of Waltz, he’s a mad man and wouldn’t think twice about slitting your throat,” I read the note and shook my head.

“Okay,” again he flipped the page and this time I saw more legitimate paper, it was on some sort of letterhead. I just went straight to the typed out letter.

“Dear Jecko,

“Please keep in mind that though you believe you have found evidence regarding the deaths of a Mr and Mrs Charles Robinson by Waltz, it behooves me to remind you that what you have is dust in a sandstorm. Waltz will not succumb to your threats and you forget that he commands the respect of the Nilan Gang. No one will believe you because you will not live to tell anyone. So consider this a good bye, Jecko.”

“Sincerely, Hector.”

He looked at me almost like he was waiting for something, perhaps some piece of some puzzle to go clinking into place, I don’t know but I was getting frustrated. Finally he sighed.

“Look, kid, it’s never as easy as getting a name when it comes to these sort of things, if that were the case the cops would have grabbed him years ago. Do you know who Jecko was?” I rolled the name around in my head a few times, it did sound familiar but I couldn’t quite place it.

“Detective Ralph Jecko, the very man investigating the bank robbery and of course your parents untimely death in the whole fiasco. He went missing about a year later. Well this letter explains where he probably ended up.”

“Who’s Hector?” I asked. But I didn't ask how Lucas had acquired that letter in the first place.

“Beats me, but this is what I have. It’s called info,” he scratched his nose. “Now look, if you go around the right places and throw a name like Waltz around, believe me you’ll get pointed in the right direction.”

I nodded as I flipped back through the pages.

“Okay, okay, so I should check out this Gent’s Club, see if anyone there knows anything?” Lucas shook his head more in disbelief then in an outright no.

“You go snooping around in a place like that and well – look, kid, you need help. You need someone who knows a thing or two about a killer like Waltz and the Nilan Gang,” he explained.

“Like who?”

“Remember what I told you, you need another killer,” he told me in that matter of fact way that a friend will tell you when you look like an idiot and you actually do. I nodded; of course he was serious but honestly where does someone find a killer? And how do you get them to help you without killing you?

Lucas wagged a finger in my face, I had the urge to grab it and snap it because it was annoying and patronizing and he did it a lot.

“Stop thinking about all the little details, the point, Robinson, is to move quickly. With things like this moving fast and thinking less will be your savior. Now if you’re serious and I’m pretty sure you are then you need to go to a place called The Fallen, it’s sort of a dive. It’s at 14 Isaac Street,” I nodded, memorizing the address because I had left my phone outside on the glass counter.

“The Fallen, nice name,” I commented.

“Mmhmm,” he agreed and then came that annoying finger in my face again. “Oh, and before I forget, kid, don’t go any time before 12 am and try and get there before 6 am. Any other time and you’ll just get the wrong crowd.”

I nodded slowly while looking at him with a sort of confused expression. I seriously considered going before 12 am just to see but giving the circumstances I really didn’t want to screw around with my chances.

“Okay, so The Fallen at 14 Isaac Street, between the hours of 12 am and 6 am,” Lucas grinned, it almost seemed maniacal but I ignored that.

“Now that’s perfect, kid,” he told me and I almost expected him to pat me on the head. I backed out of the room, grabbed my phone and left the store. I put the data into my notes and ignored the missed calls and texts from Jasper and Penny.

Lucas watched as the young Robinson walked down the street, he wasn’t smiling anymore. He watched her search the address on her phone before she left the shelter of his front door and now he rubbed his eyes with his fingers. He was perturbed greatly and it was souring the occasion. Finally he stepped away from the window and moved back behind his glass counter, he picked up his phone and dialed a number and he waited. There was a clunking sound and then he heard a voice, raspy from lack of sleep and too much liquor.

“Yeah,” the word almost didn’t make it through the phone it was so garbled up.

“It’s getting to be that time,” Lucas spoke into the phone and for a moment there was silence and then he heard a cough.

“Are you sure?” Asked the voice, sounding a little clearer.

“Are you really going to ask me that?” Lucas questioned.

“No – old habits die hard. So what’s the plan? You want me to be there?” The voice asked a tad more obediently.

“Yes. But don’t go easy on her. Wouldn’t want her getting suspicious,” the voice gave compliance and Lucas hung up, his good humour was returning.

Chapter 5

I hadn't gone far when I saw a person I very much knew and the last person I wanted to bump into. Abe Wayland. I spun on my heel, nearly smashed into a post and tried to duck into a store. But he was just one of those people that always caught me and I heard him call me. Unfortunately it was loud enough that I couldn't pretend I didn't hear him. Like a guilty child caught with chocolate all over their face I turned to face him. As usual he was dressed in jacket, vest, slim fit pants and a tie with a matching pocket square.

And as always my hair was a disaster, in a braid which was half falling out. Two day old makeup and ripped jeans with a black shirt which I may have pulled out of my dirty laundry basket. I really couldn't remember. But I felt super self conscience none the less.

His eyes did that up and down thing taking in my appearance and looking less than impressed. I swear his eyebrows even lifted. But that was the sort of person he was, he never really let anyone feel good about themselves.

"What are you doing here?" He asked me finally.

"Oh," I tried to think of some sort of excuse and sort of half turned to point to the store I was about to head in to. "I was just grabbing some stuff-,” and I paused and just sort of shut my eyes as a way to hope this moment would vanish.

The one problem with Queen Street is that there are more sex stores then one really knows what to do with. I mean, seriously how many do you need in one bloody area? But here I was standing just outside the door of one. It couldn't have been a Starbucks or I would even have taken a tattoo parlour over this.

I just looked at Abe and shrugged my shoulders, it was me giving up on any excuses and he just nodded.

"Jasper's been looking for you, rather waiting for you. Let's go," he said and I could do nothing but shove my hands into my pockets and follow him to his car. It was a Lexus SUV, nothing too ostentatious. I got in; buckled up because I like to play it safe and I always put my seat belt on. He started the car as I thought about what Lucas had told me.

Isaac Street wasn't far from here; I had Googled it before spotting Abe in the street. I chewed on the inside of my cheek as I thought hard about what my next move would be. I took a deep breath in and then after a moment let it out. Abe glanced at me and made a sound like he was annoyed.

"I didn't ask you to come and get me," I pointed out.

"No, and yet here I am dragging your ass back to where it's supposed to be," he replied irritably as he navigated a tricky turn. "Contrary to popular belief I'm not your fucking babysitter, Georgie. My job is simple; I do all the work so you can slack off for the rest of your damn life. I keep the business afloat; you know that one your parents started. The one they had intended to leave to you!" He was getting worked up; this wasn't our first fight.

"I know what you do, and don't think I don't know how much you take home, you asshole! Because it weren't for my complete lack of interest in the company you wouldn't be rolling in the cash."

He knew I was right but I could tell he wasn't going to acknowledge that fact. I looked out the window and tried to get my thoughts back on track. I knew I was going to take Lucas up on his advice, I also knew it would quite possibly be the dumbest thing I had ever done. But I needed to do it and I needed to not be interrupted. I thought of Penny suddenly. I glanced over at Abe and I could tell from the way his jaw was clenched that he was still pissed.

"You're not going to tell Penny about today are you?" I asked him.

"What? Why would I tell her?" He asked and I just shrugged.

"Don't know - just thought if you see her - later," I sort of stumbled through that explanation trying to watch his reaction at the same time.

He didn't say anything as he pulled over; we were at Jasper's office building. I unbuckled my seat belt and reached for the door and then paused.

"Wait, how did you know where I was?" Abe dropped his head back against his head rest letting out an angry grumble. "I mean you said Jasper was looking for me, did he send you to find me?"

"Get out. I have shit to do," he said the words quietly but they were dripping with his disdain and I figured I should just leave it. I got out and slammed the door. He drove off and I considered going home but I knew Jasper and he would probably call Abe again. I went upstairs and walked into his office; he was on the phone but looked up when he heard his door open.

"Oh good. Here she is, okay I'll talk to you later," and he hung up the phone as I dropped into the leather chair.

"Sorry," I apologized. Jasper smiled and got up from his chair. He poured coffee out for both of us, poured in some cream and handed me mine.

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