Six Sentence Stories is a weekly writers’ challenge hosted by Denise at Girlie on the Edge blog. This week’s cue word is: Remnant
Editor’s note: How the Ticket Master Smiled is a somewhat Agatha Christie-esque story which features not one, not two, but six characters from my previous Sixes. The story also gives some resolve to my mystery trilogy The Unsettled Author. In addition there is a special guest appearance from a character who made her debut at Clark Farley’s The Whitechapel Interlude. My goodness, what a mashup of universes!
The idea to bring together characters from different universes bore fruit from the seeds of a comment by Spira in my last Six The Double Act Switch. He imagined having characters appearing in the neighbouring cabins aboard a cruise ship the very next time Monsiuer Magnifique and his ventriloquial partner Petit Pierre performed live at sea.
Thank you Spira. Thank you also Chris from Luna’s On Line who replied in the same comment thread that this would be a good idea. One of things we can be certain of at Six Sentence Stories is the valuable inspiration and feedback we receive.
Links to the original stories when the characters appear have been made in the text.
How the Ticket Master Smiled
Midnight on the Caribbean cruise ship the Christie Ackroyd, and upon the deck in a pond of blood is a gentleman’s body bereft of his head, wallet and expensive Swiss watch; question, do seagulls fly by night, and if so, will they be tempted to alight by such a grisly dish as this, before the whistle of the watchman alerts the captain to murder on the high seas?
Dear reader, as the gulls feast upon the remnant tendons and tissue of a beheaded man, below deck inside their cabins are a multitude of passengers slipping into a sleep defined by the sway of the ocean and the soft decay of a day sumptuous with sunshine; passengers such as Molly Jane Hardy, who hums long-ago learned songs from a Whitechapel soup kitchen, and dreams of her brother in his flowing brown robes.
And Monsieur Magnifique – settling into his bunk, his partner Petit Pierre watching over him with unblinking eyes and the pernicious smile of a recently-applied new coat of paint; the secret compartment of Pierre’s box is crammed with the glittering takings from this night’s thievery – bravo Monsieur Magnifique, how I wish you sweet dreams and une très belle nuit, thinks Pierre as he claps his little wooden hands and shuffles his feet.
In the next cabin sits the brooding figure of Lillianna, combing her hair in a mirror which does not reflect a single element of her beauty, nor any reflection of her whatsoever, only the tortoiseshell brush which is loop-the-looping the air, and her tidy quarters recently cleaned of the litter and stench of her evening meal; Lillianna thinks – oh what a pretty woman that waitress had been.
In the next cabin pacing about in agitated circles is Eleanora C. Graves, all plot holes right now, at sixes and sevens with her character development, and with a writer’s block as big as an iceberg fit to sink a Titanic; thinks Eleanora in her haze of gin and cigarette smoke – if only I’d taken just a few more manuscripts from her, just enough to tide me over, to keep my fame from fading…
Next door to her is the phantom of Delores Rafferty, smiling gloriously from providence sent, giddy with glee and the fountains of champagne smashing against her ghostly promises to crush the life from Eleanora, ah, how well she recognises that odour in the next cabin; thinks Delores as she prepares to make her entrance – these walls are but a film of mist for me to pass through, and plant a kiss upon the cheek of a murderess, whose hair will turn lily white the second she sees me come for my revenge, revenge… a dish best served cold, as cold as a grave on the ocean bed.
How the Ticket Master Smiled micro-story by Ford 16 June 2021
How the Ticket Master Smiled – PO Liner Strathaird photo, clipart and digital render by Ford