Chapter Three / Lady RavenMature

            Still not particularly affected by the detective’s outburst, Cawker sat back and thought about it.  “Didn’t see her too good.  I was too busy running for my life after she startled us from behind and then phased through the gate like it wasn’t even there.”

            “Phased through?”

            “Like a ghost.”

            Seymour raised his eyebrows.  “Last I checked, we elves were fully corporeal.”

            “I’m just saying what I saw.”

            “Right, right.”  He jotted down a few more near-indecipherable notes.  “So you don’t remember any of her physical features?”

            “I didn’t say that.”  The man ran his tongue over his lips.  “She was tallish.  Thin, but with some curves to her.  Had a white dress on, but it was all ripped and torn, and it didn’t cover much.”

            “Did you notice anything above her shoulders, Mr. Cawker?”

            “Yeah.  She was really pale, and her hair was black, I think.  Or at least very dark.”

            “Straight? Curly? Wavy?”

            “I dunno.  Wavy, I guess.  And she had unnatural red lips—”

            “That,” Seymour interjected, “is called lipstick, Mr. Cawker.”

            “Whatever.  She had bright red lips and blue eyes that glowed.”

            “Glowed?”  He frowned.  “Do you mean they reflected light, like the eyes of a cat, or…?”

            “No.  They cast light of their own, like there were lamps in them.  They weren’t like normal eyes, either.  They didn’t have the little circle in the middle.”

            “No pupils?”

            “Yeah.  Just bright blue, like she was blind or something.”

            Seymour nodded skeptically and scrawled some more on the paper pad.

            “I know it sounds mad,” Cawker said.  “But that’s what I saw”

            “Uh huh.  And do you know where she came from?”

            The man glanced around himself again, as if expecting the woman to appear suddenly in his cell with him.  “Not for certain.  But I think…I think she might have been a raven.”


            “Well, one landed on the gate a few minutes before, and whatsisname—”


            “Yeah, him.  Wilsby didn’t like it sitting there, croaking at us, so he poked at it with his pike, and it flew down into the garden.  Next I looked, the woman was there in the garden and the raven wasn’t.  Look, I know it sounds mad, but—”

            “But that’s what you saw.”  Seymour raised a finger to stop him from proceeding.  “Mr. Cawker, you aren’t by any chance familiar with Ancient Magramish mythology, are you?”

            “Ancient Magramish?  So, from Magramland?”

            “That’s what ‘Magramish’ means, yes.”

            “I’ve never been to Magramland.  Never left Murkintsen, not in my whole life.”

            Seymour was tempted to argue that one needn’t have ever been to a place in order to know things about it, but he refrained.  “So that’s a no, then?”

            “Yeah.  Why?”

            “No particular reason,” he lied, putting away his pen and paper.  “That’s all I’ll be needing from you today, Mr. Cawker.  Thank you for your time.”

            In silence, he followed Inspector Crowlinger back up the stairs to his ground-level office.  His mind was churning, unable to fully process the information it had just received, and his thoughts felt gelatinous and stupid.  He needed some food in his stomach.  Perhaps then he would be able to think.

            “Inspector,” he said as they reached Crowlinger’s office.  “I skipped breakfast this morning, and I don’t think I’ll be of much use until I refuel.  Would you mind if I stepped out for a bite to eat and came back later?”

            “Go ahead.”  Crowlinger glanced at his pocket watch.  “But I’m booked for the rest of the day.  Don’t bother returning until tomorrow.”

            “Very well.”

            “Before you go,” the inspector said, putting a hand on his arm as he turned to leave.  “What was that bit about Ancient Magramish mythology all about?”

            Seymour smiled cryptically.  “Let’s just say I hope to Rezyn that Cawker’s not telling the truth.”

            With that, he shook himself free of Crowlinger’s grasp and strode away before the inspector could press him any further on the matter.

The End

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