Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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2. TWEED-LE

 

CHAPTER ONE - TWEED-LE

LUCAS

Lucas wore a tweed coat. Not to mimic his last name, which was unfortunately Tweedle, but because he wanted to. It made him look distinguished, more than the glasses and barely there stubble did. He supposed it made him look sophisticated, if sophistication also wore elderly converse, jeans, and messy dark hair.

But he was a private investigator, he didn’t have to look professional and high societal all the time, although wearing a suit made him feel utterly fantastic. In fact, he owned his own office, so that was even less reason to look all there.

When he was seven he wanted to be prime minister. When he was ten he wanted to be a policeman. When he was twelve he wanted to be a scientist. At the age of fourteen it was a forensic scientist. At sixteen it was FBI. It was only at eighteen that he knew that he wanted to be an investigator.

But it wasn’t until he was in his twenties that he worked for an old private investigator and inherited the office space when Mr. McClellan retired well into his eighties.

Lucas also inherited two thirds of a team, one which he would add to when he changed the name and finally found his footing as a private investigator.

Left Hand Private Investigators was his child, the thing he had reared from birth, and he was goddamn proud of it. 

It was a challenge to dig into people’s lives, and to rifle through the boxes that they had shoved in other boxes – not literally of course – was both enlightening and sobering.

The building itself was one of the only buildings in Britain which had a fire escape. Lucas believed it was because of the fact that 96 Emberly Lane was owned by a former American who loved America like she had carried it to her rainy home in her pocket. The fire escape was usually used for pondering and smoking, a habit that Lucas himself didn’t have but one that most of his team did.

He didn’t blame them with some of the cases that they had.

Speaking of his team on the fire escape – Farren Bull was leaning on the first fire escape, a cigarette held softly in between two of his fingertips. It was almost as though Farren was afraid that he’d drop it onto the wet pavement a floor below. Knowing Farren, the orange butt was enough to keep him awake and alert, and keeping it between his fingers was the only thing he could do.

Their last case had been grim to say the least, a missing child, a young girl of only five years old who was snatched off a roundabout in Durham. They had been too late. A crying, yelling mother was on Farren’s shoulder by the end of the fourth day they had been in the city.

“You alright boss?” Farren called down, leaning mockingly against the red, rusted railing.

Lucas didn’t realise that he had been standing on the slicked stones staring at Farren blankly as his thoughts swept around like tumbleweeds.

“Get back to work Bull,” he muttered upwards and consulted the clouds for a moment, they were edging on a slate grey hours away from raining. Then he decided that he’d been outside for long enough, the cold leaking in past the collar of his coat.

“Technically we don’t have any work to get back to,” Farren called back before Lucas entered the building, “You ordered that two week holiday thing once we got back to Newcastle.”

Check and mate, Farren. Check and Mate.

“There’s always paperwork to be done,” Lucas rumbled and opened the embellished doorway. The glass was lettered with bronze calligraphy reading Left Hand Private Investigators, along with their address and phone number in smaller print.

Inside was warmer than the outside, but since it was Britain that wasn’t a hard job to do. It may have been early afternoon and Lucas may have had fourteen hours of sleep, but at that moment the coat rack looked like a hunch back with five heads. He shook off the dregs of delirium and shuffled to the coffee machine. He relied on it too much, so much so that the teal soup mug was repurposed as a coffee mug and chipped from overuse. Just the fumes from the coffee was enough to make his eyes roll slightly.

“I’m glad to see you in the office boss,” a voice called from the top of the stairs, Kayleigh Anderson was their secretary. Secretary was a rather loose term if you asked him, especially since she decided what cases were prioritised over others and she kept them afloat more than he ever could. That was partially due to her cast iron will and tall high heels.

“You know how I feel about the b-word,” Lucas grumbled, moving past the office that Kayleigh usually inhabited as he forced himself up the stairs.

“But you love us anyway,” Kayleigh smiled and waved a stack of envelopes at him. She disappeared up to the last flight of stairs, the third floor where the library stood. They called it the Pondering Library, because it was where most of the thinking was done, since the fire escapes was where the panicked thoughts took place, and where the frustrated arguments happened too.

Lucas didn’t bother to chase after her, he’d only get forced back downstairs by sheer submission. He entered the main room where the other members of the team really lived. Shawna Lee, the financial expert, Edward Brown the computer god, and James Nettle muscle man and defender.

They were either sat with a laptop or a book, all at the hexagonally arranged desks in the centre of the room.

Edward looked up, his eyes bright without the glasses that usually framed them, “You have a good holiday Boss?”

Lucas ignored the slurred sentence and the annoying title.

“Yeah... you?” Lucas trailed off and watched as the other man jabbered on like a bird about how his girlfriend had taken him on a getaway to London to the theatre.

In truth, Lucas had spent his two week break walking around town aimlessly, watching polluted waters lap at shores and relying on the endlessness of the planetarium to make him float.

After gruelling cases, like the one they had just had, he liked to be on his own, where his mind could tread water before more cases pulled him under and across again.

Farren emerged back from the fire escape with smoke still clinging to his suit. Farren was the only one that demanded to wear two parts of a three piece suit despite Lucas’s note that no specific uniform was needed. But Farren had been part of the old team and being four years senior to Lucas, Mr. McClellan’s wisdom had been engraved onto his bones.  

“There was a package in the mail for you today Boss,” he mentioned as he sat recklessly in a chair that had been wonky for nigh on a month. It was sure to collapse and Lucas didn’t know how it didn’t underneath Farren’s weight. “It’s on your desk for you.”

Lucas wasn’t surprised when no one else in the team looked up from their projects. Paperwork was a bitch and even Lucas knew it. The difference between Lucas and the team however, was that Lucas lived in the office and paperwork was part of his nightly regiment.

The living in the office part was not a metaphor either. His office joined on to the third floor, a small apartment that Lucas called home after going up another flight of stairs. He’d had it since he first began working for Mr. McClellan when he was young and in need of money and a roof over his head. But the offer came with a roof and a private fire escape so Lucas didn’t grumble at the old man’s suggestion.

His office was a cubby hole off the library, large enough to be suitable and small enough to be roomy. He waved at Kayleigh on the way in, her ginger hair rolled into a bun as she burrowed her nose in the pages of some book or another, and he saw the package from the doorway.

His office door was always open, the door to his room however, was always locked.

The package sat innocently on the desk, looking like something from Amazon or Etsy. The label was hand written, something stark but plain. It was heavy, not paperwork or what they usually got.

Lucas was curious, he had to admit to that. A knife to the seal was like pinching a nose after a nosebleed. Bubble wrap furthered his curiosity and the inner child within him was awakened. Suppressing the urge to pop the bubbles one by one, he moved the sheets out of the way to reveal another box.

This package was a Russian doll, except the outer box was plain and the next box was decorated in postage stamps.

Each postage stamp was different, but Denmark’s was more evident. Déjà vu hit him like a train, slow moving at the start and then speeding to frightening heights.

This box used to belong under beds and comforters, kicked under in childish rage and then drunken nights. His hands shut down but moved to the clasps on either side.

This was something that he had never done before.

But he knew. The familiarity of it all was startling and shocking and like a lightning strike to his hands. The lid gave way, snapping back with the loudness of silence.

A CD, two key chains, more postage stamps, train tickets and a clump of hair. A clump of bloody brown hair, curled up into a sailors knot.

A deadly, chaotic package, like a blasphemous blast.

Lucas Tweedle stuttered, not in a literal sense but in a metaphorical sense. His hands grasped the fingertips of ghosts, his feet walked the roads of hell, and his eyes saw a teenager with a gap-toothed smile swallowed behind braces and purple lipstick.

That was all. 

 

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