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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13. Mysterious Visitor

As I left Miss Fox’s house, I pulled out my mobile phone and, after finding Westby’s number, sent him a text outlining what I had found out. It didn’t take him long to reply, and I read the text, which mildly frustrated me.

George. Good work. I’ll you later. I need to take care of some business. Can you go and get us some food? WR.

I looked into the sky, and then at my watch. It was only noon – I would get food later.

First I planned to go home and finally unpack my boxes, which had been sitting unopened for a while now. It was good to have some time on my hands at last, and I planned to take advantage of this.

It was a relatively short walk – thankfully – and I arrived home in little over ten minutes. When I did reach the door, I found it unlocked, so entered cautiously, doubting that Westby would be home, considering his “business”.

“Hello?” I called once I was through the door.

There was some thudding, and I saw a pair of legs come into view, and then, unexpectedly, the landlord, Mr. Hambleton appeared, wearing a flowery shirt and a big grin. “George!” he exclaimed. “Good to see you back. I was just entertaining your guest.”

“Guest?” I inquired, having not expected one whatsoever. My mind did, however, jump to Samuel as the possible guest. However, this assumption was crushed when Mr. Hambleton described the visitor.

“Yes. Pale, skinny, and he looks a bit like Westby. It’s strange, but oh well. I’ll be going now. See you at the end of the month for sure,” he replied. He smiled, and headed to the door. “I hope you and Westby can keep up with the rent for this month.”

“Of course,” I said. “Goodbye Mr. Hambleton.”

“Goodbye.” The door opened, and he was gone within a second.

I sighed and headed up the stairs, curious whom I would find. Upon entering the living room, I saw the thin, pale man. His face was, indeed, similar to Westby’s, and he had curly hair – however, it was longer, and the curls were more prominent. He was wearing black sunglasses and a suit – including a tie, in stark contrast to Westby – and was also sitting in the shade.

“Good afternoon. You are George, correct?” said the visitor in a posh accent that sounded remarkably similar to Westby’s.

I nodded and moved to open the curtains.

“Please don’t!” he exclaimed, desperately. It was a suspicious request, but he was a guest – no matter how uninvited he was – and I always desired to be courteous.

“Very well.” I sat down on the sofa across from him and looked at him carefully. “What do you want?”

“Oh, it’s very simple,” my guest replied. “I want you to tell me what Westby gets up to.”

“You know Westby?” I exclaimed, shocked. Westby had never mentioned anyone other than those I had already met – although, it must be admitted I did not learn about them until the time came to meet them.

“Why, I do. Westby and I have a long history of disagreements, and when…something happened a few years ago, contact pretty much ceased. Now that you are on the scene, I think I can…use you, maybe? You can keep track of what Westby is doing nowadays, and let me know,” my guest replied, leaning back in the armchair and adjusting his glasses. He seemed to look straight across at me, and his face became chillingly expressionless.

“I don’t even know you. Why would I?” I asked as his eyes bore into me.

“I can pay you handsomely. One-million sterling,” my guest replied.

I coughed in disbelief and virtually glared at him. “What?”

“One million,” he repeated.

I ceased my speech as I rolled the figure over in my head. That was a lot of money. It would pay the rent for quite a while, and it would be one less thing to care about. But, even though I hardly knew Westby, he was my housemate, and he had called me his friend. I had always thought of myself as loyal – I was not about to change that opinion of myself.

“Well?”

“I can’t,” I said. “I may not have known him long, but he sees me as his friend, and I could not live with someone I was spying on.”

“Very well. Well, if he asks, tell him his arch enemy was here,” said my guest, standing up and avoiding the light from the window.

“Do people have arch enemies nowadays?”

My guest smiled and bid me farewell. He then headed for the stairs. Before he could make his way out of my house, however, I just had to ask him a question.

“Why didn’t you want me to open the curtains?”

He looked back at me and winked. “Something happened.” As he descended the stairs, I heard him say a few words, though not to me. It seemed as if he was on the phone to someone.
I heard the door open, and guessed he had left.

I sat for a moment, considering what had just happened, and then stood up and went into the kitchen looking for food. My inspection of the fridge and cupboards found nothing worth eating – no one wants to eat mouldy bread.

“Well…Westby did ask me to get some food,” I muttered to myself, grabbing my wallet from the kitchen table. “He better not have my…” Thankfully, my debit card was present, so I headed out of the kitchen and down the stairs. “Once I get some Internet working here, I’ll start ordering groceries, instead of going out to get them.”

And maybe when I got home Westby would have finished his business.

As I reached the door, there was a knock, and I opened it to see a gentleman holding a walking stick – my walking stick.

“Oh, hello. I was hoping someone would be in. You left your walking stick in my taxi this morning, and I’ve only just finished for the day. So…here you go,” he said in a rather gruff voice. He smiled and bid me a good afternoon.

I sighed and threw the stick inside. I didn’t need it now.

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