Violet

The town of Winchester is filled with many quirks and oddities. Between authors who played at crime scenes and undertakers who wished they were alive, D. I. Knighton is never short of things to investigate. A pall is cast over the town, however, when a sudden rash of killings spread throughout. Will the detective be able to solve the mystery before one of her loved ones becomes the next target?

(Comments, constructive criticism, and theories are welcome and appreciated!)

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8. VII

     Violet never visited Josephine for the same reason she never read any of the professor's books. She thought they would be filled with the same exuberant nature as their owner. So to see that she lived in a normal brownstone on the better side of town was a bit of a shock. She had expected her friend to live in anything from a castle to a hole in the wall, not something this...normal.

     “Your face says that you were expecting something different,” Josephine smirked knowingly. She opened the door which Violet noted was unlocked and led them into the lit lobby.

     “It's just so...bland,” Violet admitted.

     She expected Josephine to be offended by the statement, but she seemed almost proud as she took Violet's coat and added it with hers on the rack.

     “An artist doesn't paint on a masterpiece, dear detective.”

     It was times like those that Violet didn't believe Josephine when she said that she was only twenty-five. No one that young could have a world view as she did.

     “Jo?”

     The author brightened at the sudden call of her name, and she turned to Violet.

     “It's time you met my mechanic.”

 

***

 

     Adam O' Lorman was far too young to spark Josephine's interest. He was tall but thin, and he only really had a mind for machines. It was what drew her to him, and what had led her to take him under her wing when he aged out of his orphanage. She thought of him as a little brother and like any good older sister, she wished only for his happiness. She had helped him to find an apartment of his own, and she had introduced him to better paying clients who would normally have never given him a second glance. Without her, he would have probably have died in the streets weeks after being released from Laura Hope. He knew he owed her, even if she promised him that they were even. So if the eccentric Miss Adderdale told him to remain where he was, he would. Even if that meant staring down a Law detective inspector.

     “You're Josephine's mechanic?” Violet asked as she accepted the cup of tea offered to her by an elderly maid. That, she expected. She knew first-hand Josephine's disdain for servants. Violet couldn't understand why considering her maids were paid well and most upper-class citizens considered them as family.

     “I am.”

     She noted his lyrical accent and could understand Josephine's fear that he might be the next target. If the killer was targeting foreigners who were close to her, his accent would be a dead giveaway.

     “I would be lost without Adam. He's worked miracles in this house,” Josephine stated mildly while staring down into her own tea. Adam's expression lightened a bit before he laughed.

     “You never have anything for me to fix. Last week you complained about your coffee grinder and the only problem was that you couldn't figure out how to turn it on.”

     Josephine appeared indignant for a fraction of a second before she nodded.

     “Miracles.”

     Violet found the two amusing, but she decided to excuse herself to call Christian and tell him where they were. He should have made it home about an hour ago, and she hated to think him worried. Worse, she didn't want him having an episode because of today.

     Like the rest of her house, Josephine's calling room was astoundingly plain. It was bathed in warm colors, but the only decoration was a tiny metal music box that sat beside the phone. Violet wound it up and listened as she dialed the number.

     The song was solemn and lonely. Though the notes were cold and unfamiliar, the melody was oddly enthralling. She kept her finger over the last number, her eyes distant as she continued to listen to the song. When it was over, she was unaware how much time had passed.

     “It's called 'Diciembre.'”

     Violet dropped the phone, startled. She turned to see Adam watching her through the doorway.

     Away from the glow of Josephine, Adam seemed as distant as the music box's song, and the change was disturbing.

     “It's a Spanish lullaby,” he continued. He made no move to enter, but he still seemed to fill the room somehow. Even though his eyes were fixed on hers, he seemed miles away somehow.

     “It's beautiful,” Violet offered, but it seemed Adam didn't hear her. He wore a blank expression before pointing at the fallen receiver.

     “I'll charge you for the repairs if you've broken that. There's a good reason why things in Jo's house never break,” he stated before suddenly turning and leaving her alone again.

     Violet was strangely relieved that Adam had interrupted her that way. It made sense that Josephine would have an acquaintance that odd, and it put her somewhat at ease in this too-plain house. She redialed the number.

 

***

 

     The Law must think her laughable. Marquess Millie Rumblefellow had called down to the local precinct to know who had been assigned to her case, only to find that it was D. I. Knighton. The same detective that she had seen in the papers on occasion.

     She was a hero in the eyes of Winchester, thought of in almost the same respect as the nobility. She had yet to be assigned to a murder case that she hadn't been able to solve. She was admirable. But she was a woman. If Millie wanted a woman to find her bracelet, she'd have searched for that mechanic on her own. A woman could be swayed by his words and fall for his lovely accent.

     Not that she thought his accent was lovely.

     It was horrid. Absolutely awful.

     If someone lived in Winchester, they should sound like it. Even the nobility spoke in the slight drawl that came with living in the cold city. There should be a law against such a sing-song-y tone. She would try to make it happen.

     No.

     She would find a way to outlaw that mechanic if it killed her. At the least, she would have him imprisoned for the theft of her bracelet. It had been a special gift from one of her father's new friends as a memento to new beginnings. He was supposed to have been at the social, but she had wandered away before he had made his entrance. She hadn't thought much about the gift until it was stolen, but she couldn't face the man without it. It just felt wrong for some reason. So she continued to plan ways of punishing the mechanic who had managed to make things awkward in her own home.

     The marquess had been so deep in thought, she had almost missed the bloody knife she stepped on....

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