Friday, November 29, 2013

Jack Nimble Mysteries, Part 2: House-fires & Mailboxes

Apologies for the highlighting across most of this post, the computer is taking issue with this post for some reason.

-T Granger


“Ten past one,” the man called Solomon announced, clasping the pocket watch closed again and returning it to his pocket, “A new day begins, filled with new hopes and opportunities.”

“That’s great, Solomon,” said the man in black, “but our office is still burning.”

It was still raining. The skies above were nothing but clouds from which poured the torrents of water that broke on the streets of the city below in a steady, rolling thunder. Nevertheless, the building was still on fire.

Blazing hot and bright even in the rain, the flames burnt along every beam and board of the house, scorching the brickwork black with smoke. The fire crew worked steadily but slowly as they attempted to beat back the fire. Hoses jetted arcs of colorless water into the midst of the flame, but so far there seemed to be no effect.

A few of the trees along the street had caught fire and looked ready to spread the fire further through the houses before the firemen dealt out the axes. The trees now lay discarded in the street, swept aside to make room for the fire engines, all ablaze with Authority lights.

Amidst it all, the two men watched from out in the street under an umbrella as their apartment burned.

“Kind of makes you wish you had a marshmallow, doesn’t it?” asked the man in black, one hand wedged into a clinging pocket, the other gripping the handle of the large umbrella they sheltered under.

“I would guess that this might have something to do with our investigations last night on the South Side” the man called Solomon said, running a gloved finger along one horn absent-mindedly, “your thoughts, Jack?”

“Perhaps a bit of chocolate too,” the man in black mused, “and a graham cracker or four.”

“A valid point,” continued Solomon scratching his chin with a bony finger, “it’s not necessarily from the current culprit, could be from another source. Unrelated arson perhaps, or even another criminal pattern, possibilities abound.”

“And maybe even a handful of hotdogs to toast on the fire, mmMm.”

“True, such motives can never be ruled out until all is caught and handcuffed.”

“On the other hand, perhaps a few strips of bacon would be nice also.”

“Do you really think, I can scarcely credit such a hunch.”

“Yes, some bacon would be quite nice.”

“Well, if you say so.”

“On the other hand-“

“Yes, I might have left the oven on.”

Before long, the fire was extinguished completely. The small office building stood dark and skeletal, gutted of all but its brick framework by the fire.

Now dark and all but deserted at this late hour, the streets stretched long and dark. At lengthy intervals along the roads, the dark thickened into the heavy yellow morasses of light cast by the streetlamps.

If you had been standing out on the sidewalk, in the dank stretch of black between one streetlamp and the next right in front of the charred burnt building, you might just have noticed the two men standing there, but it isn’t likely.

“Time for a search would you say?” this from the man in the black suit; Jack.

“Definitely” answered Solomon .

In unison the two men stepped forward and around the rearing wall of blackened brickwork that was all that was left of the front wall. In unison the sharp white lights of two flashlights stabbed out to pierce the dark around the two men. In unison the lights fell upon all that was left of the old building; utter rubbish.

“Exactly what do you expect us to find in here?” came Jack’s voice, overturning with his foot a small set of drawers, now warped and charred by the fire, its little drawers hanging out like the teeth of an old man.

“Clues,” came Solomon’s reply, shoveling through the splintered shards of an ancient and costly looking lamp, “Perhaps something left behind by the arsonist, whomever they were.”

From out of the darkness there came an orchestral popping of knees and one of the flashlight beams dipped lower to the ashes strewn heavy and thick across the ground. A hand sheathed in a black glove dug into the ash illuminated by the light and emerged clasping a long and battered leather bound handle of some sort. Disappearing from the beam of light, the gloved hand drew the handle upwards until it was at last revealed at length to be attached to a vicious looking medieval broadsword, its blade and cross tree now blackened with the smoke, and with several of the leather straps bound about the hilt snapped by the heat.

“A clue do you suppose?”

“No. Remember tenant 9b’s ‘collection’.”

“Ah, yes.”

With a shearing of ash and charred wood, the sword blade was shoved into the ground and the flashlights moved on about their respective search.

Over the next half hour, several more disturbing objects were unearthed among the ashes including, but not limited to, a honey badger preserved in formaldehyde, a briefcase full of hundred dollar bills, which the two men estimated as fake, and a blackened human skull, which they estimated as quite real. Unfortunately, all of these artifacts could be easily traced to the other tenants who had once had a place in the old office building.

It was therefore some time before the two men came upon an artifact of actual interest to them. Half submerged in the flaky gray ash beneath a stack of lovingly framed Victoria’s Secret catalog covers (estimated property of tenant 12c) sat an heavy metal mailbox, chained shut and clasped tight with a heavy padlock. Hanging from the chain was a heavy, simply made metal key.

Like carrion swooping in towards a wounded animal, the twin flashlight beams converged on the mailbox and the two men behind them studied it closely.

“A padlocked mailbox,” observed Jack.

Inside a building,” added  Solomon, “with its key to boot no less.”

“A clue?”

“I’d say, it’s a safe bet.”

            One of the flashlight beams was suddenly adjusted and a gloved hand made its way into the light, took hold of the key and placed it in the padlock.

            “Only one way to find out, really,” came Jack’s voice.

            The key turned in the lock.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jack Nimble Mysteries, Part 1, The Tiger in the Lane

This short-story is the first of a series I hope to be able to keep up for some time, I've only written a bit on it so far so suffice it to say that I'll learn as much about the characters with each new issue as you will.
Despite the thundering skies above, the scene in the street had a certain peace to it.
Lying at an angle unnatural to the living, the broken body of the tiger reclined in death in the street, tail snaking off to the gutter, paws, or those few it had left, lying splayed out on the concrete. Rain thundered down from on high to meet the pavement with an almighty roar.

Yellow cordon tape, blazing bright and gold in the light of the streetlamps, formed a ragged square, like a frame when the story within has escaped. In stark contrast with the reflective pennants of tape, the two men standing within the square of sagging yellow tape, seemed to absorb light rather than reflect it. Their hats buckled against the onslaught of the rain from above and their clothes clung to their forms like wet toilet paper. Black toilet paper.

“Not much left of him, is there?”

A forlorn cigarette, still clinging to its last vestiges of glowing life, drooped from the lips of the speaker. As the man spoke, the cigarette jounced and flared into a brief pinprick of red light before subsiding once more into smoldering ennui. From the nostrils above curled an exhale of colorless smoke.

The man who had spoken, was dressed drably in grey, which you might have realized at a glance if he had not been standing out in the rain for the past hour and thusly had his suit, hat and coat drenched black by the downpour. He had the air of an undertaker about him, intensely somber and possessing of respect to be respected. He had a face like the cusp of gray ash left in the hearth after a long, bright fire, a religiously polished black cane and a pair of round black wire-rimmed glasses perched on the bridge of a lengthy nose. He also had hooves.

“Not really, no” replied the other man. This man wore black, made still blacker by the rain. His coat, trousers, shoes and leather gloves all utterly drenched, giving him the air of a skeleton caught out in the rain on his way to a fancy dress party.

The dark hat he wore had, against all odds, withstood the downpour so far. It perched stolidly atop the man’s head, rainwater draining off of its rim onto the street in disturbing profusion.

“Still,” he continued, not taking his eyes from the crumpled corpse in the rain, “not surprising after the means of death.”

“You’re quite sure it was murder?” the undertaker asked, eyes trained on the body.

“I don’t call an exploding pen natural death, Solomon.”

“Well, neither would I, but suicide cannot be ruled out quite yet, can it?”

“No, but mining the pens and pencils usually isn’t the way suicides go. Usually it’s mundane sort of stuff, a dive off a building, cleaning fluids in the soup, driving an oil tanker into a building construction.”

“Don’t talk about that last one.”

“Sorry, I forgot.”

“Past cases aside, shall we return to the matter at hand?”

“Absolutely, like to take a closer look?”

“Might as well.”

A shaft of white light lanced out, shearing the darkness in two and shining down on the corpse of the tiger. The sight was not a pleasant one.

The undertaker’s legs bent. In two places. Unsurprising in goat’s legs. He crouched wetly beside the body, examining the corpse.

“They have the pen still?”

“What’s left of it,” replied the man in black, waving the flashlight he held in a resigned sort of gesture. Raindrops plunged through the beam of light towards the pavement as though tired of life.

“It did explode, there isn’t much to search for clues if that’s what you mean.”

“Pity” said the undertaker, flexing his trouser clad goat’s legs and rising from his sitting position, “well, there isn’t much else to be seen here. We might as well leave the rest to the Authorities. Fancy a coffee?”

“Not terribly.”

“A brandy then, from the office.”

“Lead on,” the man in black replied.

As they turned to depart the ragged square of tape, the man in black turned to look back at the body. It lay forlorn and skinny, drummed by the onslaught of the rain. Then he switched off the flashlight and followed his companion beyond the boundaries of the tape and into the thronging masses of flashing blue-white lights and rushing forms in the rain. Soon he and his strange friend were lost to sight, veiled by the rain and the crowd.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Total and Unconditional Reset

Sorry about the long lapse in posting. The poems and stuff sort of just dried up and since that was what I originally made this blog about, I lost hope for a while. This is why I am now completely altering this blog. It will no longer be just about poetry, or just about a certain set of short-stories. From now on, this blog will be about all of my stories, both short, long and unfinished, and any poems I may be able to work in edgeways! i may also try to wedge a drawing or two in here every now and then.
Also, I think I'll change this backdrop, kind of dreary.
Anyway, from now on, this blog's name changes too, I will call it:

Story Zoo

Or maybe something else, but I'm definitely flipping the reset switch on the blog. I just hope it actually works. Anyway, so long until the next time.

 -T. Granger

Monday, June 24, 2013

Tales of Darren, Part the 4th: And Then at Last Did Darren Leave

Sir Darren's sword cut high and low,
Seeking to smite the beast a blow,
The monstrous Dragon's coils dark,
Evaded bearing the blade's mark,
Across the plain the sounds of battle,
Steel blade screams and scales a'rattle,
Rung clear and loud into the sky,
As nature stood on and watched by,
And then at last the Dragon lunged,
And Darren into its maw plunged,
The Dragon roared its victory,
Its breath ablaze for all to see,
Yet then the Dragon's calling ceased,
As it felt pains from its last feast,
The spiked armor of the knight,
Inside himself now proved a blight,
And now as the Dragon did writhe,
Brave Darren's sword through its hide scythed,
And then cut for the knight a way,
Out into the bright light of day,
The Dragon could then stand no more
And with a final anguished roar,
It crumpled down unto the ground,
Leaving Darren bruised but sound,
And then at last did Darren leave,
This land that did his eyes bereave,
The Dragon killed his oath fulfilled,
The perished townsfolk free

~The End~

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Faerie Tale Medley Announcement

Dear Readers,
As I may not have told you yet, I shall be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this July, but that is only part of this post. The Novel I shall be writing on shall be a collection of the Faerie Tale Medleys. Therefore, I am suspending all Faerie Tale Medleys until the end of July.
Goodbye until the next,
-T. Granger

Monday, June 17, 2013

Roses are Red Contest

Dear Readers,
Below is my first poetry contest. Though I may change the way these things are conducted over time, the current format is this. I shall write the first few lines of a poem, and the contestants (meaning just about anybody who reads this contest) submit their ideas for the last line in the comment box. When all the suggestions have come in, I sort through them, and post the poem completed with the best last line.


Roses are Red and Violets are Blue,
If you Love me, than please tell me true,
Sunflowers are Golden, some Rose are too,

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tales of Darren, Part the 3rd: The Dragon Clashed in War with Man

Therein he lay all fevered hot,
Alive on borrowed time not bought,
It seemed as though he were to die,
As he did on sickbed lie,
And then the sickness from him passed,
As though it never meant to last,
And Darren leapt up to his feet,
Prepared to now the Dragon meet,

Now with his health fully regained,
Darren was loathe there to remain,
Yet Darren stayed in the town still,
Not for lack of strength or will,
But on account of his own scheme,
To best the Dragon from the stream,
Brave Darren had the blacksmith pound,
A suit of sturdy armor sound,
A suit covered in piercing spikes,
A suit that none had seen the likes,
And thereby armed with sword in hand,
Brave Darren trekked across the land,
To that place where a town had been,
To where he had the Dragon seen,
And still across the plain the stream,
Did smoke and froth and boil and steam,
As water ran across the hide,
Of the black Dragon there inside,
Brave Darren strode across the field,
 Gripping tight his sword to wield,
And came upon the the riverbank,
The waters with Drake sulfur stank,
And Darren called out with voice loud,
"Come forth to be by my blade bowed!"
And then up from the wat'ry depth,
The Dragon of pure black now crept,
Its coils dark, from water wet,
Its gaze on Darren firmly set,
And now the beast came fully out,
Its coils churning all about,
And it was then that Darren lunged,
And thrust his blade out for the plunge,
Yet the Dragon moved on past,
Its coils twisting steely fast,
And Darren was then in its hold,
All bound about with sinews cold,
Yet as the beast tightened its grip,
The armor spikes did its flesh rip,
And then the beast did its hold loose,
To save itself from such abuse,
And Darren dropped then to the ground,
His body sore yet wholly sound,
Then donning his dark spiky helm,
He faced odds that did overwhelm,
The Dragon reared its ugly head,
Above the knight far overhead,
And bellowed with a fearsome wroth,
And spewed a breath all fiery froth,
The sky above alight with dawn,
Looked down this battle then upon,
And as sun rose from horizon,
The Dragon clashed in war with man,

~To be Concluded~