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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4. Pet Hates Revealed

I hesitated, and Westby raised an eyebrow at me. “Well?” he pressed, a smile playing on his features.

“Let me see. I do not like long walks – and despite this, I walked all the way here. I am opposed to people with massive egos, and those who think themselves better than others. I prefer to sleep, and consider myself to be fairly lazy. I prefer not to be woken in the early hours, but I will happily stay up late. Also, I am not incredibly favourable of animals, and I do not smoke.” I took a breath, and then sighed. “Do you take issue with any of these?”

Westby shook his head and smiled. “I take issue with none, although, may I ask for a clarification?”
I nodded.

“When you say you do not smoke, does that mean you dislike those who do?” he asked. “I may be able to deduce many things, but of course, sometimes a clear answer requires investigation. I am not infallible.”

“I am not against smokers, but I prefer that they either smoke near a window or outside,” I replied, already wondering if he was asking because he smoked, or he was going to have guests who did.

“Ah, wonderful. No problems there then. Now, allow me to point out the things about me that may annoy you, and highlight the things that annoy me.” Westby stood up and walked over to the bay window, which looked out to the Pleasure District. “I am in the habit of playing the violin, especially when deep in thought, which is often. If my playing frustrates you…” He paused, though did not turn. His pause continued, and I realised he was expecting a response.

“I myself play the cello,” I replied. “I was considering selling it, however.”

“Don’t.”

“I shall not. A violin, if well played, is a beautiful thing to hear,” I explained. “Therefore, if you are a skilled violin player, I shall not be frustrated.”

“I am indeed a skilful player,” Westby continued. “I do, on occasion, have moments of egotism, though these are few and far between – in fact…” He gazed out as in deep in reminiscence. “I usually only have these moments after cracking a case, and as I only take those more interesting, these moments are rare.”

I regarded him with interest. He was indeed an interesting man, who clearly thought only good of himself, though not to such an extent that he put himself before others.

“Ah, I have distracted myself. Where was I?” He pondered for a moment, tapping his chin. “Ah, yes! I, also, can be lazy. Not so lazy that I will sleep all day, but lazy as in I will sit for great lengths of time, simply thinking, or perhaps reading if I feel the need. Similarly, some days I will sit for hours on end, not speaking whatsoever, and on these days I beg you not to think of me as rude. I will simply be considering something important.” He turned and faced me. “Are you opposed to any of these?”

I shook my head, though did not speak, curious as to whether he had anything more to say.

“Ah, yes. One last thing, George. I do smoke, and that is why I was concerned that maybe you disliked smokers,” Westby added, smiling. He moved back to the seat. “When will you be moving your possessions in, George?”

“Oh, as soon as possible, I should think,” I replied, wandering across the room to the mantelpiece. “I just need to arrange it.”

“No need. I have contacted the hotel and the removal company,” Westby remarked with a smirk.

“Your possessions are being boxed, most likely as we speak.”

“You were that sure I would move in?” I asked, an eyebrow raised.

“Oh, yes. In fact, I chose I would wait for you to arrive before choosing a room. I am not selfish, and as you are…crippled – psychosomatic as it may be – I decided that you could choose your room. If you wish…” He smiled. “You may take the room at the top of the stairs.” I was unsure if he expected the response I gave, but the seemingly knowing smile that appeared on his face after my answer suggested he had.

“I’ll take the one further along. It will…It will allow me to exercise it.”

Westby nodded, stood up, and disappeared into the kitchen. A moment later, he reappeared carrying a relatively large box. “Of course, I had a box ready with my possessions. Excuse me one moment.” He disappeared up the stairs, and the sound of light footsteps sounded above me. I waited patiently for him to reappear. When he did, he was smiling, and stood in the doorway between the living room and the stairs. “The toilet is downstairs,” he said, suddenly, the trace of a smile on his face. “Just so you know.”

“Thanks.”

He nodded. “You’re welcome. I suggest you get the door.”

“What?”

Knock knock knock.

Westby smiled and stepped back. I made my way out of the room and down the stairs, towards the door. Upon reaching it, I opened the door, and was confronted by a man dressed in blue overalls.

“Good afternoon,” said the man, a fake smile upon his face. “Are you Mr. Malcolm?”

Of course. Westby had contacted them before I had revealed I had a doctorate. “Dr. Malcolm, yes. Can I help?”

“We have your possessions from the hotel. Would you like us to bring them in?”

“Oh. Just place them at the bottom of the stairs if you please,” I instructed. “I’ll sort them later.”

The removal man nodded, and I heard him sigh with relief – clearly he did not want to carry boxes, no matter how light, very far.

It didn’t take him long, as my possessions were limited in number, and he was soon gone. Once he had left, I closed the door and carried a box up both sets of stairs and into my new bedroom.

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