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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8. The Mysterious Note

After leaving Dagger Street, Westby and I headed back to our new home. As we were driven back by the taxi driver, I pondered how much had happened in so short a period of time.

I had met this man, Westby Ravensdale, and moved in with him. As soon as my possessions were in the house, Westby had received a phone call, and I had ended up on a murder case with him.

Everything was going so fast for me, and my mind was racing. Westby, meanwhile, seemed to be taking everything in his stride. He was clearly used to this kind of fast-paced life, and I found myself wondering what I had gotten myself involved in.

When we finally reached 52b Parkside, we got out of the taxi and headed inside. I was, once again, left to pay the taxi driver – I had a feeling this was to become a habit, despite my low funds.

“What’s the time?” I asked once we were in the sitting room. I slumped down into an armchair and released a low sigh.

“Hm?” Westby looked at me for a moment, and then looked away. He sat at the desk, the note he had found sitting in front of him – he inspected it carefully, and I could tell he had not heard me.

“Westby!” He looked up properly this time, a frustrated expression on his face. “What is the time?”

“Quarter to nine,” he replied. A moment later he was leaning over the paper once again. He removed a magnifying glass from his coat pocket – having not removed it – and inspected the paper closely.

“I’m going to bed,” I informed him, heading for the stairs.

“Be up early,” he replied, not moving.

“I’m back to work tomorrow,” I said, taking the first step up to my room.

“Oh…” I couldn’t see Westby at this point, so I was unsure of his expression, but his voice sounded mildly disappointed. “Very well. I warn you, though. I will call you if I need your help.”

“You. The amazing Westby Ravensdale. Needing my help?” I scoffed and disappeared up the stairs, not hearing his response – if there was one. I limped to my room, entered, and dropped onto the bed. I observed the unpacked boxes in my room, and reminded myself to unpack them, if I found the time.

Until then, I would settle with getting as much sleep as possible before going to work in the morning.

***

I woke from a restless sleep, dressed in my work clothes – shirt, tie and trousers – and headed downstairs. I found Westby slumped over the desk, breathing deeply, the note clasped between his right forefinger and thumb. I made sure to be quiet, and instinctively searched the cupboards for food of some kind.

Unfortunately, there was no food in the cupboards, so I chose to get what money I had and buy a sandwich on my way to work.

As I took the money, I heard Westby stirring behind me.

“Ah, George!” he exclaimed, sounding surprisingly awake. “Do you want to know about the note?”

“I’m sorry, Westby,” I said. “I need to be going. I have a job.”

“You sound a bit snappy, George,” Westby commented, looking at me intently. “Have I upset you in any way?”

“No, no,” I replied, quickly. “Not at all…yesterday was just a little fast-paced for me. So much activity in so short a time. Forgive me.”

Westby smiled and turned to face me. “No problem, my friend. Go. Go to work. I’ll text the information.”

“You don’t have my…”

“Number? I do, in fact. I got it yesterday at the crime scene. Your pockets need some protecting,” Westby interrupted. He winked and turned away again. “Have a good day.”

I headed down the stairs without a word, grabbed my walking stick and coat, and headed out.

I walked a short way, before resolving to take a taxi to work, with a quick stop to grab a light breakfast.

***

I arrived at work after buying a bacon sandwich from one of the delis near the University, and headed straight for the staff room.

“Welcome back, Dr. Malcolm,” said the headmaster with next to no enthusiasm.

“Philip,” I said back, keeping happiness from my voice. “Which class am I teaching first today?”

Philip looked at my walking stick and scoffed. “You’re teaching biology to the first-years.”

“Wonderful,” I muttered.

The first lesson, of course, proved to be quite boring, and I became frustrated at the tendency of my class to ignore my lesson and instead discuss my leg.

When I received a text from Westby mid-lesson, I was honestly pleased. I opened it, and read the following message:

George,

This is the content of the note I found. I am sure you will agree that it is quite interesting.

‘My dearest William,

I cannot wait to see you again. The last time we were together my heart fluttered more than ever before. I look forward to when we can announce our love, and I pray nothing ever gets in the way.

Yours forever,

Your petal.’

Enjoy your day.

WR

I pocketed my phone and pondered the message.

I was confident that Westby would have worked out that this was a note from a lover, and that she preferred using his name, but used a pet name in messages.

He would also have picked up on the fact that the relationship was a hidden one, and that Mr. Jacobson’s lover wanted to be open about it.

I, personally, was unsure if she was suggesting that something was getting in the way, or if she was simply worried that something would.

Once I got home, I was sure Westby would explain it all.

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