“Wow, what do you think this means?” said Jane.
“That I may be making a mistake. No use looking for them. They were gone the minute they threw this.”
“Is it about that case you're working on?”
“I think so, but really Jane, I shouldn't talk about it!” I said.
I looked at the window. How on earth could I afford repairing that? Jane tried to snatch the letter from my hand, but took it and put it in mt coat pocket.
“You had better get dressed, Jane. I am.”
Jane pouted slightly and got up. We got our clothes on nearly as quickly as we had gotten them off.
“I still think fucking on your fathers desk was hot!” grinned Jane.
“Oh, come one! Don't you think about anything else? I just got a death threath for Gods sake!”
I sat helplessly down in the big, black leather chair at the desk, and Jane came over and hugged me slightly.
“Don't worry. I'm sure it's just some punks! It will be fine!”
She kissed my neck.
“There was another girl working at Newcombe's hotel, did you know her?”
“What do you mean? There are eight of us, the cook, the cooks assistant and the caretaker.”
“A Miss Johnson I believe.”
“Oh, yeah! Ellen! Ellen Johnson! I haven't seen her in a couple of weeks!”
“It's my understanding that Mr. Newcomb gave Miss Johnson something to deliver.”
“Yes, I remember. I was there when he told her. It was to St. James's Square. You see, she knew to place best of all of us. She has an aunt or something, who's rather rich in that area. Poor Ellen! She always talked so much of her and visited her! You see, she hoped that aunt would leave her poor nice some money if she was really good to her! If you ask me, she will never see a penny! Those rich folks cling to their money!”
“Hmm.. She went there often you said?”
“Yeah, she even bragged to Philly and I, that she had been given her own key! She said she would take us, I bet she never will! A liar! That's what she is!”
“Jane, I think you had better go now. I have work to do.”
Jane pouted and walked arrogantly towards the door, but then turned and said, “You'll come and see me soon won't you?”
“Sure,” I said and she closed the door with a smile.
I took the letter out of my pocket and felt it between my fingers. There was something really strange going on. Why would Mr. Lacey threaten me away from finding his money? Didn't he want them? It just didn't add up. I thought about the faces in the street someone had alerted the letter writer to my presence, but they didn't know who I was, did they?
I got up and investigated my father's office. The cabinets were half full. There was scotch in the bar, and books on the shelf. The room was rather large and everything was in the far end. There were three windows. One of which now sported a nice hole. I knew this was because the very first few meters of the room had once been separated from the rest by an artificial wall. In the narrow 'first' room there had been a secretary. I could't remember her name.
I walked to wards a second door. I had no idea where that lead. When I entered I was rather shocked. There was a huge blackboard on the wall and numerous newspaperarticles hang on the walls. The was a table, two chair and a typewriter.
“So this was were you did your thinking,” I said to myself.
Then my eyes fell upon one of the many things he had written on the board:
'and followed to the victims house? 21:38 Pm
I didn't even have a victim, but somehow this rang a bell. If Ellen Johnson was alive, where wold she go? Home? What about the aunts house? It was not far from St. James's Square and Jane said she had her own key. I decided it was the best place to start.
I taped a newspaper over the hole and locked the door behind me, before going out to hail a cab. Not that I could really afford it, and I remebered as I got out to a larger street. Luckily I was able to catch a ride with a milkman.
When I finally arrived I had no idea where to go. I began walking down the street looking for someone to ask a few questions. I couldn't ask the rich folks, for I myself looked less than respectable and I new they would not even stop to look at me.
The streets were much cleaner here. The afternoon sun was shining and I felt quite at ease. This was the sort of place I had imagined myself to be once succesful. Then I would have the whole family up to visit and they would all be so surprised and proud.
I imagined my brother Val whistling nonchalantly and compliment my furniture. My fourteen year old sister Karen would squeal and run around my place, destroying the carpets with her shoes. She would curse in french for since she was five when we left England, she was more french than English. My father would say little, but I would know what he meant to say.
I smiled to myself, but suddently I was brought back from my daydream by the sound of humming. Confused, I looked around until I realised that it came from above me. I look up and saw a redhead beauty leaning slightly out an open window. She didn't see me, but continued humming to everything and nothing.
“Hello, there! Miss! I don't mean to interrupt, you have such a lovely voice, but I am lost and looking for an address. Do you by any chance know this neighbourhood well?”
She stopped and looked down at me. I noticed her hair was in an updo covered by a maids cap. A few renegade locks fell softly down her face.
“Hello, Sir! Yes, I would think I do! I serve in this house! Since it is my time off, let me come down! It is unmannerly to shout at eachother!”
I nodded and she disappeared. Shotly dereafter the frontdoor opened, and she stepped out on the pavement.
She was an about the same height as Jane – maybe a centimeter taller. She had less ass, but unlike Jane a very nice bosom. Her face was slender with high cheek bones and a few freckles. Her eyes were dark grey and she had dimples when she smiled.
“Hello, Miss!” I greeted her.
“Hello, Sir! How can I help you?” she replied.
“Well, you wouldn't happen to know a girl named Ellen Johnson, would you?”
“No, Sir! I'm sorry, Sir! Did you lose your sweetheart?” she teased.
“No, she's not my sweetheart. I am looking the appartment where her old aunt lives.”
“Oh, well, what a shame! I don't know her. Why would you go around asking anyway? Could you not have asked them for the address?”
“Erh.. No. You see.. I'm a private detective and I am investergating a case involving Miss Johnson.”
“Well, you sure do not sound very much like a detective,” she said. “You sound more like a thief or something.”
“I'm new to this,” I replied. “Miss, please! I am not a criminal. I really need to find her.”
“I don't know any Ellen Johnson, but I do know an old lady living by herself. Phillipa Johnson.”
“That has to be her,” I said.
“Allright, I'll take you there!” said the maid.
“What? No! Just give me the address!”
“No. I'm going to see that you are who you say you are. Besides I'm done for the day and I need some diversion. Let me get my coat.”
I didn't have time to react before she had gone inside for her coat. She came back out with an olivegreen coat over her maids uniform, and she locked the door.
“So, what's your name anyway, Mr.?” she asked.
“Ira Wakefield. A pleasure to meet you!” I replied. “And what's your name?”
“Alice Kite,” said she.
Even though I had only just met her, I offered her my arm. I had somehow taken a liking to her. She took my arm and together, Alice and I walked towards the home of Phillipa Johnson.
Àlice was only moderately talkative, and I liked that about her. People stared a little as we walked by. They probably thought we were lovers.
“Is it far?” I asked.
“Not much,” she replied.
“So how long have you been a maid?”
“Since I was sixteen I guess.”
“Well, that does really answer my question, when I don't know your age does it?” I grinned.
“I'm eighteen. Is this an interrogation? Then how old are you Mr. Wakefield?” she answered with a smile.
“Twenty-two. I am twenty-two.”
“Oh! And then you're already a detective? My, Oh my! You're busy!”
“Well, I just returned from France. I'm taking over my fathers old offices. Going in his footsteps, you could say.”
“Is he still in France?” she asked.
“Yes. My brother and sister too!”
“And your mother?” Alice inquired.
“She's dead,” I said with a mild tremble in my voice.
“Oh! I'm sorry too hear! Mine is too, you know! I'm all alone. I guess I'm staying a maid.”
“How did she die?” I asked.
“By her own hand – or bottle you could say. The gin took her in the end. There it is! We're here!”
I looked up at the building and rang the doorbell.
“Have you visited her?” I asked.
“No, but she used to come to tea with lord and lady of the house!”
The door opened and it was the caretaker.
“Goodafternoon, Sir! I'm here to see Miss Phillipa Johnson.”
“She lives up on third, but the lady is in Bath. She has been for a few weeks, Sir! I'm afraid you've waisted your time.”
He was about the door again, when I said:
“I'm sorry, but you see it is in fact Miss Johnson's niece we have come to see. She has her own key.”
“Ellen? She's a good kid. We've played carts sometimes. I honestly don't know if she is there, but you had better have a look. Go right up! Third floor, Sir!”
“Goodbye,” I turned and said to Alice.
“What no! I'm coming too!” said she. “Now it's finally getting exciting. What do you even need to see her about?”
“Alright, come then, but she's probably not even there.”
We made our way up the stairs. Here they were polished and clean white. At the third floor, the sign on the door indeed said, 'Miss Phillipa Johnson.' I knocked on the door, and Alice and I waited patiently. There was no reply. I knocked again. Still there was nothing. I was about to tell Alice, that we were done here, when I noticed that the door handle was pushed a little down, which was odd. I tried the handle, and to our surprise the door was open!
I opened the door and we carefully stepped inside.
“Hello? Miss Johnson? Is there anybody here?” I called out.
We walked into the living room and I turned to Alice to say we had better leave, when she suddenly screamed at the top of her lungs. I held her tightly in my arms as I stared down at the rotting, mutilated, body of whom I could only presume to be Ellen Johnson.
This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than Lushstories.com
with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.
<a href="http://www.lushstories.com/stories/novels/the-wakefield-cases-the-licentious-2.aspx">The Wakefield Cases; The Licentious Life Of Mr. Lacey, Part 3</a>