The Singer – The Sequel


Yesterday I wrote a short story based on this picture and the word ‘Sultry’ in response to the challenge set by Laura M Bailey on her blog  – See the link below:

I had a few very encouraging comments from my blogging friends that they wanted to hear a bit more of the story, and so here is the sequel.

I hope you enjoy it:

The Singer – Part Two

He pulled on his raincoat as he stepped out of the nightclub. It was still raining heavily, so he turned up his collar and stood with his back against the brick wall. The guttering provided enough of a shelter from the rain for him to light his cigarette. He could still hear her voice, slightly muffled, from inside the building. She was singing another old classic, “That’ Old Black Magic”. It reminded him of the spell she had cast over him when he’d first laid eyes on her.

‘How many years had it been?’ he pondered as he took a puff of the cigarette. ‘Must be ten years ago now.’

Her hair had been shorter then, and blonde. She wore less makeup back then too.

It had been at his local fair. He’d gone along because he’d had nothing better to do and there were usually opportunities to be had whenever crowds gathered. His ordinary appearance became a camouflage in those sorts of places and he enjoyed the anonymity and the advantages that gave.

She’d been singing then too. A Cole Porter song “I’ve got you under my Skin”. He felt her reach across that crowd to him. She was singing to him and him alone. He fell instantly in love with her. She had won his heart.

He had found out a little bit about her. She was a local girl who loved to sing. He sent her flowers and chocolates. He even sent her a valentine card. They even went on a date to an Italian restaurant. Then she turned cold toward him, sent back his letters and refused to see him when he turned up at the bar she worked at. How could she entice him one minute then reject him the next? He couldn’t take that rejection. She even went so far as to go to the police and get a court injunction on him. He wasn’t going to give up that easily. He managed to get into her apartment one night. He only wanted to talk, just to explain himself, he loved her. She had to understand that. He wouldn’t have hit her if she hadn’t screamed.

So he spent a few weeks in jail. That didn’t bother him, it wasn’t his first stint, but when he came out she’d gone. Moved away. He had been hunting for her ever since.

Now, he’d found her, at last.

He took the cigarette end out of his mouth and threw it on the floor then crushed it to pieces with his heel.

He walked down the alley behind the club and found the rear entrance unlocked. No one was around. He jumped when a metal trashcan fell making a loud clang that echoed in that narrow alley, but it was just an alley cat. Like him, really, he smiled at that though.

He opened the door into a dark space that was clearly used for storage. There was a room with a gold star on it with ‘Claudia Van Horn’ emblazoned across it.

He could hear her still singing on stage. Her rich, throaty voice was belting out the finale of her final number. Carefully he crouched down behind a large crate of beer to wait patiently for her to finish.

It wasn’t long before he heard the roar of the audience, giving her a standing ovation and saw her stumble rather listlessly back to her dressing room, closing the door behind her.

Like a panther, he leapt from the shadows and within moments had slipped into her room. The nightclub was closing and the customers were making a racket as they finished their drinks. Some of the crowd were attempting to copy the songs they’d heard. It was a raucous din, but it played into his hands.

She was seated in her chair in front of the mirror and hadn’t heard him open the door but when it clicked shut she turned around.

He stood there with the belt from his raincoat in his hands and just stared.

This close he realised the makeup was even heavier than he thought. The years had changed her face slightly; her features were no longer quite as fine, still attractive, but not as youthful as they once had been.

Her mouth fell open and she gasped his name “Joe?”

“That’s right honey, it’s Joe. It’s so nice to see you after all this time, Christina. You thought by changing your name you could escape me? We were meant to be. When will you accept that?”

She tensed as he started walking towards her pulling his belt tightly between his fists.

“What are you going to do Joe?” she said, quietly. He knew he didn’t have long before she would scream. He had to act quickly.

“I can’t bear the thought of you running away from me again. You won’t run away this time” He said and pounced.

Her leg came up hard and caught him between the legs.

He screamed and fell to the floor and then the dressing room door slammed open and a female police officer stood there with a gun pointed at him. “Freeze” She shouted.

Then Christina laughed coarsely and reached up and grabbed her long red hair. It came off in her hands. It was a wig.

He realised that he had been wrong, it wasn’t Christina at all.

The policewoman kept her gun pointed at him with her right hand and with her left removed her cap, revealing short blonde hair and the face that was etched in his dreams, this was Christina.

“You didn’t know I had a younger brother? Meet Clay, he’s a drag artist. Oh, and I’m a police officer now. I knew you’d be after me again someday and I decided that rather keep running in fear, I was going to get you. I joined the police to help save other women from people like you and I knew one day I would see you again and I wanted to make damn sure I was ready. I reckon that’s Strike Three.” She turned to two other police officers standing outside and said: “Book him boys”.

The End.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 13/November/2018

Valentine, heart, fair



The Guests Arrive for Tea – A Murder Mystery Continues

I started writing a murder mystery some time ago, we are almost at the end now.

If you’d like to read this story from the beginning, click on this link:


The Guests arrive for Tea

Having refreshed herself with a cup of tea and one of Mrs Buscombe’s excellent Egg mayonnaise sandwiches, Audrey decided to change her clothes. She had been roused out of bed early that morning by a telephone call from Sir Alfred Thorpe. It had been to see the dead body of a poor young man, Christopher Copeland, who had apparently committed suicide, having also confessed to murder.

That could well have been the end of the whole investigation. Although it did not satisfy her. Not in the slightest. It may well have provided an explanation for Claudia Halifax’s murder, but it still did not explain the death of her own Maid, Elsie. Elsie had been a nice girl, a trifle naïve and it appeared she was a bit swayed by gifts and trinkets, but that wasn’t a bad thing. She was sure that the suicide and confession of that poor young man had been part of a wicked and insidious ploy to shift the focus away from the real culprit.

She changed into a wrap-around dress in a pale lavender colour and having rearranged her hair she went back downstairs to await her guests. She was just at the bottom of the stairs when the doorbell rang. She checked her watch, it was just past three-thirty, far too early for the guests she’d invited for afternoon tea. As she was crossing the hall, she answered the door herself.

Standing there, in his civilian clothes of dark grey tweed, was Constable Jones.

“May I have a word with you, Lady Patterson?” He asked politely but with a distinct tone of anxiety about it.

“Yes, of course, Constable, come this way.” She led him into the drawing-room and sat down in her sofa and pointed him towards a chair.

“Thank you. I’m not on duty, it’s just Caradoc Jones. I wanted to make a confession to you, if you don’t mind.”

“You wish to make a confession? Are you going to tell me what you were doing on the Thursday night when Elsie was murdered?”

Caradoc Jones’ face went bright red “Erm, yes, yes I was. How did you know?”

“Because, Mr Jones, I went to the Cinema on Thursday evening myself and saw, not ‘Angel over Islington’ which didn’t start showing until the following weekend, but Dial M for Murder. I knew then that you lied to me. What were you doing? Had you been following Elsie?”

“Not then. I admit I had been following Elsie, after she chucked me over. I wanted to know what she was doing, who she was seeing, but gradually, I began to realise that I didn’t care anymore. That Thursday I was in the company of Mavis Pruitt. She’s the Maid at number 33. We’re engaged to be married now.”

“That all seems rather sudden Mr Jones. Elsie’s only been dead two weeks.”

“Yes, well I’ve always been quite friendly with Mavis, even before Elsie come on the scene. Elsie, she was a fair girl, very pretty and at first she seemed really keen on me, so Mavis just faded into the background, you see?”

“Yes, I see and after Elsie chucked you she suddenly came back into the foreground again, is that it?”

“Well, yes, not right away. At first, I was cut up about it, I admit it, I used to follow her around. I saw the odd glimpse of the person she’d chucked me for. Then I got over it. Mavis made me realise she was the one for me all along.”

Audrey wasn’t altogether interested in Constable Jones’ love life, something he’d said just caught her attention.

“You say you managed to catch a glimpse of the man Elsie was with? Why didn’t you tell Sir Alfred that? What was the man like? Was he tall and blond?”

“I only caught a brief glimpse of him, He was a toff, fancy clothes. He wasn’t tall, he was stocky. I didn’t see his hair, he had a top hat on.”

“Was he Old, or Young?”

“It was hard to say, I only saw him from a distance and from behind. He did have an unusual way of walking though, sort of hunched like.”

“Do you think you’d recognise him if you saw him again?”

“Well, I might. Why, what did you have in mind?”

“I am having a gathering in a short while. A few people will be arriving and I want you to sit in the morning room, which over looks the street and observe my guests as they arrive, then come and tell me if any of them could have been the man you saw in the park with Elsie.”

“Well, I suppose, if you think it may help.”

“It will make amends for not coming forward with this information sooner. I will forget all about it, if you help me.”

She put her plan into action and placed Constable Jones in the morning room from where he should be able to see everyone arrive.

Audrey had just sat back down in the morning room when the doorbell rang again.

Alice announced Sir Alfred who followed her in, still looking quite sheepish.

“Alf, if you would be so kind as to sit here next to me. You’re the first to arrive.”

Sir Alfred manoeuvred across the room with his cane. He was smartly dressed, with his dark grey suit. She hadn’t really noticed much until now, but he had a distinctive walk. He was slightly hunched over and walked with a rolling gait, possibly caused by arthritic trouble, but it looked almost like the walk of someone who’d spent their life at sea and had to adjust to the movement of a ship. That wasn’t the case of course. Sir Alfred had spent his life working in police and achieved the rank of Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan police.

Sir Alfred lowered himself onto the sofa next to her with an audible gasp.

At exactly Four thirty the doorbell rang and Alice announced the arrival of Lord Halifax. He wore a very formal black suit and had a dour expression on his face.

“Now, Lady Patterson, I would be grateful if you could explain why you have invited me. You mentioned having acquired something?”

“Oh, please don’t let’s be in too much of a hurry. We can at least be civil. I have ordered some tea and there is one more person left to arrive. Please take a seat.”

Audrey indicated a chair by the window, which Lord Halifax lowered himself into. He was older than her, about the same age as Sir Alfred, but he seemed more agile for his age. He sat bolt upright in the chair.

Alice brought in the sandwiches and began serving the tea. There was no point in waiting any longer.

Nearly the End


Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 28/August/2018