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The Devil's Cards

By jamescalthorpe47 All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Thriller

Blurb

“What about the last card,” asked William thoughtfully? “Oh that means death, pure and simple,” Harriott responded. “It is not always, so, or course but in this case, with these cards, I can see no other conclusion”. William knew that his mentor had just broken faith with long years of training. He had never known Harriott predict a death before. He also knew that it was against the Law, in Victoria, to predict a death. She knew of William’s connection to the police force and she also knew that George was a serving police officer. The implication was clear; Harriott felt that this final statement had to be made, whatever the consequences. But who was to die, that was the question, William had a funny feeling that it would not be simply another victim. This death was special, maybe personal. Perhaps the killer would change their modus operandi, and kill for preservation, not profit. He could only wait and see who would be the next to die - he did not have to wait for very long.

Prologue

“Emily, dear,” called Classoc, “do come and meet our illustrious guests”.

The young girl detached herself from her playmates and ran quickly towards the house. She looked about six years old, and wore a bright yellow dress. She was a happy child, despite her suffering, and her easy gait belied her traumatic experience.

“Emily,” I would like you to meet Judge Fredrick, who is member of the Council of the White Brotherhood.

“I am honoured to meet you Sir,” said the little girl, shaking the luminary’s proffered hand.

“The honour is all mine,” replied the exalted guest, “for, I hear that you are to become an initiate of the order”.

“Indeed, Sir” Emily responded, “I will get my new dress tomorrow, if all goes well”.

“What colour will you select?” asked the Judge.

“I have no idea,” Emily replied. “Do you have any suggestions?”

“Stay with yellow,” a voice behind her exhorted, “it will be much paler than the one that you are now wearing, but it will enhance your natural talent, that’s for certain”.

Emily turned to see who had spoken, and found she was gazing into the face of a beautiful lady, dressed in white. She seemed quite old, to Emily, maybe forty or so, with long blonde hair and deep blue eyes.

“Emily,” said Classoc, “this is Mrs Deirdre Saches, but you must address her as ‘Madam Chairman’ for she is the Supreme Leader of the Council of the White Brotherhood”.


Thursday, March 7th 1996

It was nearly three months before I next contacted William. I had called at his office a couple of times, only to find that he was out. On the third occasion I left a note pinned to his door, and he phoned me, at home, shortly thereafter.

“How can I help you?” asked William, in his usual, curt, Germanic manner.

“I was hoping to set up another interview,” I replied.

“No time, right now,” William responded, “sorry”.

And with that, he was gone. I looked at the silent phone for quite a while, trying to work out my next move. I knew that William was a busy fellow; he was self-employed, like me. If he did not work, there would be no money coming in. It was only natural that my approach would have been considered as an unwanted distraction. Unfortunately, I could not afford to be dismissed so easily. Writing is a precarious occupation, at the best of times, and my publisher was pressing for my next manuscript, sooner rather than later.

I decided to try my luck with Louise, after all she was, officially, ‘retired,’ though I doubt if either of the Purcell’s could ever be described as retired. I found her at home and, more importantly, looking forward to company. She offered to get me a coffee, and we adjourned to the kitchen. Once the drink was prepared, and the biscuits provided, we sat down to discuss my current predicament.

I explained my dilemma; the publisher’s advance payment was rapidly becoming a distant memory and the royalty cheques, from my previous works, were still few and far between. I either needed to find some alternative source of employment, or make substantial progress with my next work. Louise was very sympathetic; up to a point.

“I can get you started,” she advised, “but you will need William to fill in some of the fine detail, otherwise your story will lack substance”.

“I can work with that,” I replied, enthusiastically. “If we can provide a decent outline, I am sure that my publisher will advance me sufficient funds to finish the project”.

“Very well,” Louise remarked, “then let us begin; I remember the date,” she said, “It was the 5th December 1977. I remember because it was the first day of Hanukkah, one of the principal Jewish holidays. William and I started out at different ends of the country…..

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