Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
SHLivernois would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

A Funny Thing Happened in the Morgue

By SHLivernois All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Fantasy

Footsteps in the Dark

Gaspard Ouimet didn't know he was being followed.

At 2 a.m. on the Rue des Rondeaux, Gaspard strolled past the stone wall that enclosed Pére Lachaise with his head down, his figure popping into the streetlights' sharp white beams, then sinking back into shadow. He hummed the "Masquerade Waltz" on the way, his voice and footsteps his only company.

Gaspard loved noise - the distant buzz of a radio, or the hushed conversations of neighbors at his favorite café. For with silence came thinking. Humming the notes of the "Masquerade" helped him forget things - and there was much to forget.

His figure slid through a couple more streetlights, and he hummed a few more bars. In the shadows behind him, three figures lurked at a distance, but Gaspard couldn't hear them over the sound of his own voice. Casually, he slipped a silver pocket watch from a fold in his wool overcoat; his eyebrows arched as he flipped it open, evidently surprised at the time.

Gaspard often lost track of the hour - time meant little to him. And brandishing valuables on a dark city street didn't strike him as dangerous. For not only did he believe himself alone, but he wasn't afraid - not of the dark or the dangers hidden within it.

Gaspard snapped the watch shut and buried it in his pocket without concern. A couple more bars of the "Masquerade" drifted from his throat into the damp Paris night, and his walk continued. Meanwhile, his tail removed itself from shadow to follow him more closely.

A sharp wind blew open his overcoat, its cold hands pressing through his shirt. Gaspard closed his eyes and smiled. He adored winter - the briskness of the air, the dusting of snow on the trees, the warmth of blazing fires. This night's chill reminded him of a thousand winters, spent in Belgrade, Montana, Glasgow, the Yukon and countless more. Their memories made him smile again.

Until, behind him, someone coughed - the rattling, wet cough of a smoker. Gaspard stopped the "Masquerade," unfinished, and turned an ear to the silent night air. Finally, he picked out three sets of footsteps, rushed and graceless and inching closer by the second. In a flash, he knew he wouldn't make it home - at least not easily.

Footsteps had chased him in the dark before. He recalled the stabbing in 1403, the hanging in 1798 and the suicides 150, 80 and 50 years ago. So he was prepared and, more unusually, not the least bit alarmed by this latest threat.

On the swell of another sharp breeze, Gaspard detected his attackers' scent - of sweat, cigar smoke and cheap cologne.

"Here we go."

Even as their footsteps hastened, Gaspard kept his easy pace until a crude weapon rapped him on the back of the head. His stroll turned into a springing leap and he fell forward, elbows first, the impact sending shots of fire up his arms. Gaspard winced and retracted into a fetal ball on the cold, wet asphalt as his head rang with pain, half his body illuminated in the spotlight of a street lamp. The attackers ringed around him beyond the light and he cried out as a foot met his stomach. As he gasped for breath, the men growled to each other in rapid French.

"Gentlemen, gentlemen ..." Gaspard raised his arms in a sign of peace. "Why are you doing this? If you require money or any of my possessions, you are welcome to them. There is no need for violence."

His pleas went unheard and a fist struck his side, the last word forced out of his body in a huff. Its force, and the realization that he would meet another end - his first in Paris - brought a gagging and hacking Gaspard to his back.

"There are better ways, my good men," he stuttered. "I am happy to help with your needs..."

Another punch shut him up. Gaspard couldn't distinguish arm from leg as each struck him on the chest, sides and belly, his grunts and weak moans disturbing the once quiet night. After a minute of this, he gave up the fight and just lay there, waiting for the end to come.

A second later, Gaspard spied the knife from the corner of his eye, its point catching a white beam of light as its wielder peeled away from the others, his steps casual and uncaring. The man knelt before him and muttered something in French as he trailed the knife lightly across Gaspard's neck.

Gaspard didn't flinch.

"Oh, a beheading is it? Good luck, my good sir."

The world went black once again.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Further Recommendations

Jean Tryon: As a beta, I found this story outstanding!! Plot, grammar, phraseology, etc Rachel gives us it all. She takes the story into the future from where due South ends. She is an exacting and thoughtful author.

Schaelz: I was intrigued from the second I started reading, and it kept my interest the whole way through. Chelsea has a way with words that will enchant you until the very end. She is very poetic with the way she mixes genres and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The main character is also very relat...

Prasino45: Hi! I happen to see your updated chapter on FF.NET!It happened to be about you coming onto Inkitt with this story! I've been a fan for a while! I'm a scqualphie writer myself. I ship them HARD! Love this story! I'm gonna do a reread as you said you changed some things! Glad we both made the switc...

MavisMcQueen: "To Live Again" is a well crafted, highly engaging, heart vibrating tale surrounding our favorite Elven King. The author will keep you engrossed until the very end and by that time you will feel so strongly for Clara and the other characters that you will never want it to end...like ever. Thrandu...

Jenn Deering: This is a go-to story for when you're needing a little happiness in your life. It's well-crafted, and characters are true to their show-selves. The pace is right, there are minimal grammatical errors, and the plot is fresh.

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

Lauren Suzmeyan-Raine: I'm so glad you found a place to post your stories. I was horrified when I saw yours had been taken down, they are definitely the best 'reading' stories I've ever read. And I've made it my business to read every one I can. Well done.Lauren

summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...

Animeviewer: It is one of the best stories I've ever read. This story will have you riding a roller coaster of emotions and nearly dying to know what happens next.You will get very attached to the characters and in my case I relate well with some of their very traumatic or emotional experiences, Just Juliet f...

More Recommendations

Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral stories!
Iosaghar

FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"

The Cyneweard

Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."

This story wasn't for you ?
Look at our most viral story!
Spectra

Ro-Ange Olson: "Loved it and couldn't put it down. I really hope there is a sequel. Well written and the plot really moves forward."