Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

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

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

John Reed: Seadrias masterfully captures the impressiveness and complex scope that a science fiction novel should provide while carefully crafting an entire universe that will leave a reader in awe from start to finish. The only flaw I could find is that I wish I could have read more. This book is certainly...

Julia Summers PA: Reading this now. It's fun, hilariously fabulous yet taste of what you desire in a unusual read. I will post an actual review when I am finished. But so far loving the flow and the story seems to keep me drawn

ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?

FateFellShort: I have read this story and have followed the writers on tumblr from the beginning. Its a wonderful story. Beautifully written with a really nice pace, that makes it enjoyable to read more than once. For me, fairy tail has very good characters but what the writers have done is give them more depth...

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.

neil101: The best story I have read online in quite some time. The casual violence is tamed down with easy going wit. It reads like a Joe Abercrombie novel .Looking forward to more. Thanks.

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...

Alice Liu: Whoa! I've been wondering how would the Maurauders react to Harry's life and here we go! YOU ARE THE BEST! All the characters are consistent with their personalities shown in the book! I love how you compare Lily with Molly and it's definitely true for her being a mother! I wish Peter comes have ...

rajastreet: I enjoyed this piece! I loved the treatment of time and the premise! Some of the wording seemed a little out of place, but easily overlooked for a good a plot.

More Recommendations

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

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...

LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...

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

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!

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."