The Short Stories
The short stories of Judah Lamey,
as well as the Stories of Quillville.
as well as the Stories of Quillville.
The Red Quill
Clutching the scrap of paper in hand, I watched the raven vanish from sight as clouds obscured the half-moon. One note was still attached to the bird’s leg; a message for M. Damon Baker, most likely. Glint likes to keep things on the up and up with the law. Unfortunately for this Lockjaw character, I got the message first. But I’m sure the arm of the law will shed no tears over this case.
“Looks like the other crazies in this town will have to wait, Loki.” I dug a eucalyptus leaf out of my pocket and held it up to the grey ball of fur on my shoulder. Grazing my fingertips with his nails, the koala took it, munching quietly in my ear. Normally, I prefer to work alone, but when a koala turned up on my doorsteps two weeks ago, I couldn’t resist taking him in.
“Alright.” I struck a match and watched the message burn. “We’ve got a thief to catch.”
I cracked my knuckles and we made our way across the rooftops toward Glint’s office. It’s safer this way. Night and day people are up in Quillville. But, writers are always looking down at their laptops or notebooks. They rarely catch a glimpse of me.
Loud talking and the sound of music drifted up from that new comedy club that just opened about two weeks ago. I forget the guy’s name; Lucius? Luminous? It doesn’t really matter. Incidentally, that was about the same time Loki showed up.
A long line crowded the entrance, making me hurry away. Too many people. That and the smell of burnt hamburgers and eucalyptus; worst combination ever. As the clouds clear, moonlight lit the streets below and I finally caught sight of the guy. Of course he was heading for the dark alley leading into the horror district. That’s where all the real trouble has been coming from. I just can’t prove it yet.
No matter. I cracked my knuckles and noiselessly creep down the ladder. “Here, Loki,” I whispered, transferred him to the ladder. “This won’t take long.”
Loki clung to the ladder with one paw, munching away and looking unbothered by the whole scenario. I left him there, running down the cobblestones into darkness.
Lockjaw looked fifty shades of ridiculous as he waddled at top speed, trying to make it to the secret entrance—a manhole at the end of the alley. It would have been fun to watch him try to squeeze into it, but my time was running out.
“Well, well. What do we have here?”
Lockjaw froze and whirled around, sweat streaking down his face and soaking his shirt. “You’re the…” That’s all he got out.
“The Red Quill? And you were expecting the peace keeper.” I held up my hands, shrugging in mock apology. “Sorry. You must be Lockjaw. Although, I doubt that’s your real name. A little too on the lines of Taser Face, isn’t it?”
Lockjaw didn’t answer this time, but took a step back.
“Ah-ah.” I whipped out my secret weapon; a red, feather pen gifted to me by an old friend. “Tell me what I want to know and things might go easier for you.”
Lockjaw’s mouth formed a hard line and I began to think maybe this is where he got his name. His hand moved astonishingly quickly for someone his size. But not quick enough. I ducked and the knife sailed over my head, falling with a clatter on the stones behind me.
“Not smart.” I shook my head and began writing on the ground. Red ink spilled from the pen’s tip, glowing as the words flowed in neat, cursive coils across the stone. I glared up at him. “I’m afraid your story ends here, Lockjaw. I’m writing you out of Quillville. So how’s it going to be? Long and painful, quick and neat…or creative?”
His face twisted in horror as I tapped the pen on my lips pretending to think it over. “I think I’ll go with creative. It’s my personal favorite.”
Before the scream escaped his lips, I had already written what I needed. Lockjaw vanished and with him all evidence of his less than courageous encounter with an agitated kangaroo. The only thing that remained were two blotchy words for the police to find; The End.
I sighed, somewhat disappointed as I tucked my pen away and went back to find Loki. “So much for finding out who is behind the villain infestation.”
I was sure someone was watching me and glanced back down the alley. Nothing. There never was. Whoever was letting nasty things loose in the city was clever and always kept in the shadows. But they would trip up one day and I would be waiting.
Loki tilted his head, looking hungry. I scooped him up, placed him on my shoulder and gave him another handful of eucalyptus leaves. “I guess my work is done for the night,” I mumbled. I doubted anyone would look too closely into what happened to that guy. I climbed back on the roof and started home, curbing my disappointment by thinking of Lockjaw attempting to spar with a beefed-up kangaroo. My chuckle was a little on the villainous side, I admit. But the guy was trying to pass off someone else’s work as his own. A thief of words should never have come to Quillville.
About the Author:
If you liked this story by Anna Bowman (@AEBowman3) her debut novel Black Recluse is out now. Check it out HERE
Here you will find a growing collection of my Short Stories. From pieces I wrote for competitions, to some of my world building stories. Some of the longer ones, will be broken down and released as Chapters.