Sanguine Town: Westby Ravensdale - The Lady in Grey

Westby Ravensdale is an eccentric private investigator in Sanguine Town with an ability that sets him apart from all others. He is capable of analysing a situation and coming up with an answer in seconds, making the secret weapon of both the Police and the Hunters...no matter how much he may frustrate them. With his helpful companion, George Malcolm, Westby faces up to any and all fascinating cases, bringing his unique methods to play. --- "The Lady in Grey" is the first in a series of Westby Ravensdale stories. George Malcolm is introduced to the detective, and is thrown head first into a case involving a mysterious spectral lady. --- Confession: Inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Largely a placement of Sherlock into a Supernatural setting. --- Thanks to Christie_xx for the cover drawing.

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16. Case Closed

Westby and I were sat in Francesca’s house when Doyle, accompanied by three officers, arrived at the house.

“It’s time for you to go,” Westby said to the Lady in Grey. “Before you go, though…just tell me how you killed him.”

I sat with them as she recounted her story, leaving Doyle outside just for the moment.

Francesca lifted her veil, revealing a pale face with black eyeliner and lipstick. “It was easy, really. I went into his apartment and told him we needed to talk. As I thought, he was nervous about it, but we sat down together anyway. I distracted him for a while, wrapping the gun in my shawl and preparing myself. Eventually our conversation started to dwindle, so I stood up, pulled out the gun and fired. Afterwards, I just put it in his hand, left, and put a seal on the door to keep it closed.”

Westby smiled. “But you put it in the wrong hand.”

“What?” she exclaimed.

At this point, amused by her shocked face, I went to let Doyle in.

I opened the door to him, and he smiled through at me. “Ah, Dr. Malcolm? Is Westby okay?”

“Very much so,” I replied. “He’s distracting the Lady in Grey with some light chatter.”

“Westby’s not one for light chatter,” Doyle said, chuckling. “Well, let’s go see this witch.”

I let him pass, and then followed him into her living room, where she sat in the chair, head in her hands.

“I can’t believe I forgot about that,” I heard her mutter.

“Can we be going, Westby?” I asked. “It’s getting dark, and I honestly don’t like this city at night.”

“Of course, my friend. Just one more thing before we start walking,” Westby replied.

“Walking?” I exclaimed.

“Taxis don’t really drive up here,” Westby explained. “But do not be worried. I can look after myself and you.”

I nodded, remembering the way Westby had disarmed Francesca.

Westby and I bid farewell to Doyle and his men, watching as he locked a strange-looking pair of handcuffs – most likely ones borrowed from the Hunters – around Francesca’s hands.

Once outside the house, I saw a black car pull up nearby. The back door opened and a very familiar-looking man stepped out. He wore a red waistcoat, white shirt, black blazer, black tie and black trousers, and stood, leaning against the car.

“Hello!” he shouted.

I pointed at him and grabbed Westby. “That’s…that’s the guy…”

“I know who he is,” Westby said rather monotonously. He headed towards the car, and I followed closely, a little unsure what was going on.

“Didn’t think I’d see you again,” Westby said, frowning.

“Then what are you doing out at night? You know that’s when we roam,” the man asked. He laughed at this comment, and I stood, confused.

“What do you want?” Westby stared at the man, his eyes boring into his skull.

“I was just checking up on you. I hear from you so rarely nowadays.” He peered over Westby’s shoulder and looked at me. “Can you get him to call me more, George?” he asked.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on,” I said, shaking my head slightly.

“Oh, dear brother. You didn’t tell him about me?” the man asked.

“Wait…brother?” I inquired, becoming increasingly confused by the second.

Westby sighed. “Yes. George Malcolm, meet Abercrombie Ravensdale.”

“We have met,” I commented.

“And he refrained from biting you?” Westby asked, winking at Abercrombie, who frowned.

“Biting?” I asked, and then I came to a realisation. Something happened. Avoidance of sunlight. Biting. It all made sense. “Your brother is a vampire?”

Westby and Abercrombie shushed me simultaneously, and then gave each other funny looks.

“Yes, he is. He was turned a few years ago, and since then I haven’t really talked to him,” Westby explained.

“I have no idea why. I’m from the Vampire Houses, so I’m very civilised. I only drink the artificial stuff,” Abercrombie added, displeased by his brother’s attitude. As if on cue, and pale hand reached out of the car and handed Abercrombie a glass of red liquid that, for all its colour and viscosity, was not real blood. He took a gulp and smiled. “Well, I see you handled this case well. As usual. I’ll call you, soon. And if I get no reply…well, I’ll call our friend George.”

“He’s my friend. Not yours,” Westby said, snapping in the calmest way possible.

Abercrombie smiled at me, and I saw the vague trace of his fangs. “Until next time.” He dropped back into the car, closed the door, and then waved goodbye.

Westby and I glanced at each other, and then laughed – more out of relief he was gone, I think.

“Case closed,” he said, making a sudden change of subject.

We started walking away from the house in the direction of the city’s lights.

“At last. Finally I can go back to work and get some sleep,” I replied, chuckling.

“Until the next case, of course. You were remarkably helpful,” Westby said, adjusting his coat and looking up. “Rain’s on its way.”

“What?” But as I asked, raindrops started to fall, and I saw Westby lift up an umbrella – where he’d been hiding it, I don’t know – and open it, sheltering us.

“Thank you,” I said.

“Oh, I only brought this for me.”

I frowned at him, and then laughed. “I’m actually glad to have met you.”

“And I you.”

And we walked into the city, forgetting about the rain as we headed home after closing the first case of my life.

But we both knew it would not be the last.

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