The clock ticked ever on in the otherwise silent hall of records where Emma and Greg lay in a makeshift den made up of their discarded clothes underneath the large oaken table in the middle of the hall. Greg kissed Emma lightly on her shoulder and let his hand run slowly down her arm to rest on her hip.
“We better get dressed and make our way to the professors home as they will be wondering where we have got to by now.” Emma smiled and sighed as she spoke softly.
“You’re right I suppose.” Greg replied his voice tinged slightly with a sombre tone.
The sounds of echoing footsteps coming from up above them made Emma whisper loudly
“The security guard!” she finished with an exclamation and grabbed for her blouse all the while expecting the guard to come wandering in on them. Greg laughed quietly and slid from underneath the desk before finally standing up; his toned physique was outlined by the moonlight streaming through the window as he stretched.
Reaching over he slowly pulled his jeans and socks on then finished by slipping his shirt and shoes on before walking around the desk to Emma who was struggling to steady herself and place her foot in one of her high heeled shoes. Reaching out he slipped his arm around her waist steadying her and allowing Emma to slip her shoe on then as she looked up at him he pulled her close to him and kissed her long and hard. She felt herself relax into him and inhaled deeply as if trying to absorb the essence of her man as she laid her head upon his chest. With one strong arm wrapped around his new found love Greg carefully slipped his phone from out of his pocket and scrolled through the phone directory within until he came across the number for his inspector. Softly pressing the dial key he held it up to his ear expecting an answer from his commanding officer but after a minute the call disconnected with an automated voice informing him his call could not be connected at this time. It was a similar response when he scrolled through and dialled the number he had been given for the professor. Perplexed he slipped his phone back into his pocket and hugged Emma one last time. She heard the quiet ringing tone coming from his phone as he tried to dial someone but mostly she could just feel the warmth and strength of his body as she nestled against him and Emma was only half listening at first when Greg began to speak to her.
“I can’t reach either the chief inspector or the professor.” Greg said as he looked at Emma with a quizzical look upon his face.
Stepping back from him she turned and smiled before gathering up the paperwork pertaining to Cain that they had discovered and spoke in a hushed tone
“Have you any missed calls from either of them? How long have we been here?”
She finished stacking the papers and slid them into the folder she had been carrying and adjusted her skirt one final time before looking at him with an earnest expression on her face and saying
“We should go.”
Greg scanned his phone for any missed calls but could find none.
“I have no missed calls and I can’t raise either of them which is unusual.” Pushing open the large glass door leading into the foyer of the main hall Emma pressed the button to call the elevator. The clock ticked again in the silence and Emma stifled a nervous laugh then glanced at Greg who smiled back at her. The two new lovers leant in together and just as their lips touched the elevator pinged and the doors slowly began to open causing them to abruptly turn away from one another and stand almost to attention like two naughty school children being caught in the act.
“Ah finally done are we then?” The guard inquired in a gruff voice as his hand hovered over the elevator controls whilst Emma and Greg stepped in to stand beside him. As Greg engaged the security guard in conversation Emma ran her fingers through her tousled hair smoothing it out as best she could in as discrete a manner as possible when a pleasant tingling shiver swept through her and she smiled a discrete smile to herself. The elevator pinged again and soon they bid farewell to the guard and hurried to their car once more.
The moon hung high in the night sky like a priceless jewelled pearl hanging from a necklace its beauty lighting the world beneath it. Emma couldn’t help but stare into the shadows differently than she had several hours ago; somehow to her they seemed more alive. More than once she caught herself peering into the gloomy corner of a building waiting for the shadow to come to life but nothing did and her hand touched the car handle as Greg hit the key fob causing the car to flash in response; the door yielded to her touch and she slipped into the seat and quickly shut the door behind her.
Greg slipped the key into the car but before he could turn the ignition they both heard a noise coming from behind them; someone or something was in the back of the car with them.
Emma froze and looked at Greg out of the corner of her eyes his hand reached across and grasped hers. His other hand slowly tilting the drivers mirror across to see what was in the back seat; staring back at him were a pair of feral predatory eyes surrounded by dark fur. Its mouth opened wide displaying razor sharp fangs as it stretched from its slumber on the back seat; it had obviously been waiting for them to return and now at full stretch its claws like deadly hooks unfurled from its body it moved towards them. Without warning it leaped upon Emma; its sharp claws giving it purchase as it fell upon her. She screamed in terror as her assailant descended upon her.
Greg laughed partly with relief and partly from seeing Emma screaming hysterically as a black cat sat in her lap its tail swishing slowly from side to side its emerald green eyes starting up at her.
“It’s not funny!” Emma glared at Greg as she spoke then laughed as she stroked the cat; as she did so it began to purr rhythmically.
“Where did you come from you handsome man?” asked Emma as she talked to her furry assailant.
“I’m pretty sure that’s the same cat that was at the chapel earlier; it must have snuck in the car when we left there.
I bet it belongs to the chaplain. We can drop it off on route back to the professors.” Greg said as he absently stroked the miniature black panther.
“I think first though we should swing by the address we have for Cain on the way and see if the inspector needs a hand. It’s not out of the way and I don’t like the fact that we can’t reach either him or the professor.” He said in earnest as he began to buckle up.
Emma nodded in agreement and added “I’d like to take a look around his house myself anyway and if this is all linked; his home could be a forensic gold mine” She said with the slight hint of excitement creeping into her voice.
“Hold on to Mr Whiskers there then” Greg said as he smiled and turned the key in the ignition.
“Mr. Whiskers?” Emma asked quizzically.
“Is that really the best name you can come up with for our first child?” Emma teased as she heard Greg cough and reply “What? I mean. I.” His voice trailed off as he failed to find the words he needed to reply.
Emma laughed out loud and kissed the black cat gently before turning and smiling at Greg.
“Mr. Whiskers it is then” She said warmly.
Greg laughed nervously before slipping the car into gear and pulling away. The drive was uneventful and at this time of the night the streets were mostly deserted in London but never the less Mr. Whiskers sat in Emma’s lap with his paws firmly fixed on the dashboard watching the world flash past in wonderment; occasionally glancing back at Emma as she stroked him.
“This must be the place and look that’s the Governors car there” Greg pointed to the inspectors car parked opposite Cain’s address as he pulled up a short distance behind it and parked up. Once again Greg tried calling Chief Inspector John Williams but the call simply would not connect. Slipping his phone back into his pocket he was about to open his door when he remembered the cat. As he turned to look at it he could see himself reflected in its emerald orbs; which were as large as saucers reflecting both him and the moonlight in its eyes.
“I have an idea; you keep hold of the cat and I’ll get out of the car then I’ll distract him over this side through the window and you get out. Sound like a plan?” Greg posed his idea to Emma who replied quickly with
“Mr. Whiskers and I will happily wait for you here while you go find John if you like?” She pulled the lapels up on her coat and didn’t envy the prospect of leaving the car for the cold night air outside.
Greg was about to get out of the car when Emma suddenly said
“Oh wait I want to have a look around Cain’s place anyway. Sorry Mr. Whiskers but you are going to have to stay here for now” Emma spun the cat around and looked as earnestly at it as she could while informing the cat it would be staying in the car.
Greg let the window down slightly on his driver’s door and then got out from the car closing it carefully behind him then Emma placed Mr. Whiskers on the driver’s seat and Greg tapped on the window to get its attention. Certain that the cat’s attention was fully focused on Greg she released her belt buckle and slowly pulled on the latch to open the door all the while watching the cat as it pawed at the window which Greg was behind. However; the moment Emma opened her door Mr. Whiskers twisted around with the agility that only a cat is born with and slipped out of the car and between her legs before she had the chance to close the door.
“Noooo! Come back Mr. Whiskers!” Cried Emma as the cat melted into the shadows of the night and before either of them could move it was gone. Emma shut the car door and looked over at Greg rather sheepishly who was stood at the other side grinning.
“What are you going to tell the chaplain? Isn’t it a sin to lose a priests cat?” Greg teased Emma and laughed.
“You are so not funny Mr. Laurence.” Walking around the car Emma scowled at him and playfully slapped his arm. Taking hold of Emma he gazed into her eyes and said
“You know I really; really like you Miss Colbeck”
Emma smiled and replied
“I know” she couldn’t help but sigh a little as she spoke.
They kissed briefly before walking towards Cain’s house which stood looming before them. Greg reached the door first but unlike his Inspector before him found it firmly closed.
Removing his torch from his belt he shone it through the tall glass panels in the door illuminating the hallway but could see no one or nothing inside. Turning to Emma he replaced his torch upon his belt before saying
“He must have left but why is his car still here? There are no lights on inside and no signs anybody has been around tonight. I’m liking this whole situation less and less.” His voice was touched with genuine concern for his colleague and mentor.
Emma nodded as she pulled the collar of her coat up even tighter than before in an effort to shield herself from the chill night air.
“Can’t you just break in? I mean probable cause and all that?” asked Emma.
“Probable cause of what? For all I know the inspector’s car wouldn’t start again and the professor came and picked him up on his way home and they are both there now drinking bourbon and talking about the good old days. I break down some old ladies door in the middle of the night and scare her half to death and I’m working nights for the rest of my natural life.” Greg ran his hands through his hair in frustration as he finished talking.
“You’re really not going to like this but look up” Emma said as she pointed upwards towards the first floor window sill. Perched on the ledge of the window was Mr. Whiskers looking down at them his green eyes almost glowing in the translucent moonlight. With a swish of his tail he leapt up to the small open upper part of the window and squeezed his body inside the house.
“You have got to be kidding me!” Greg exclaimed as he watched in disbelief as their four legged burglar slipped into the house. Emma smiled at him and asked mischievously “Do you think he will open the door for us?”
“I can see the headline now. Police steal priest’s cat and let it loose in old ladies house who in turn is scared to death as she wakes to find a hairy beast looking over her.” Greg let his hand slide down his face and sighed.
“I am about to do something here that is a trade secret in the burglary squad and amongst every good burglar out there. You can’t ever tell anyone about this; promise me?” Greg looked at Emma as he spoke in deadly serious tone.
“I promise” Emma made the scouts salute as she spoke.
Greg pulled from inside his jacket a slender sheet of plastic curved at both ends and positioned his foot at the base of the door then lent on it just enough to slip the curved tip of the sheet into the door frame centred at the locking mechanism. Emma watched on transfixed like a child watching a magic trick for the first time. Pushing his foot hard against the door Greg slid the sheet in further then pressing his weight once more against the door he pressed the sheet further until he heard the latch click and the door gave way.
“You are indeed a man of many talents” Emma smiled at Greg as she walked past him into hallway.
“Do you remember red riding hood? Didn’t the old lady in that story get eaten by a wolf? Let’s hope Mr. Wiskers is curled up in the old ladies lap and not on the menu.” Emma casually mused out loud as she stood in the hallway a few feet from Greg. Slipping his torch from his belt Greg shone it past Emma along the entrance hall as he slipped his burglars tool away and quietly closed the door once more.
“shhhhh” Greg breathed as he heard a noise from the landing above and he flicked his torch off. The two of them were suddenly plunged into darkness as their eyes adjusted to the lack of light. Emma moved back to Greg and they both stood huddled close together their breathing shallow as they stared at the top of the stairs waiting for whatever was above them on the landing to emerge. Soft padded foot falls landed upon the wooden floor boards above them until finally they came to a rest at the top of the stairs. Greg shone his torch at the head of the stairs and sitting there his tail slowly swishing was once again Mr. Whiskers. Greg and Emma both breathed a sigh of relief but almost immediately caught their breath again as they heard another noise from beneath them. It was like a muffled sound of something being dragged or moved and then it was gone again. Breathing once more the two of them spoke huddled together in hushed tones.
“Did you hear that?” Emma asked quietly.
“Yes” Greg replied as he shone his torch along the hallway and the two of them quietly made their way to what appeared to be a doorway.
“Do you think this leads down into the basement?” Emma whispered as she peered at the door in front of them. Greg reached out to turn the handle when Emma placed her hand on his and asked
“Are you sure?”
“It’s the only way to be sure; come on we will be fine” Greg replied before opening the door and stepping onto the narrow landing which led down a flight of stairs. Shining his torch down the stairs they both made their way carefully down them; it was just as they reached the bottom of the stairs that the smell first hit them. It was the same smell that lingers in an abattoir; the smell that comes from freshly butchered animals. Emma raised her fingers to her mouth and took hold of Greg’s arm
“That smell, what is it?” She asked as she tried not to inhale too deeply.
“I don’t know but that door over there looks to be the only other way to go from here.” Greg replied as he swung his torch highlighting the doorway. As they approached the doorway they could see a faint light emanating from beneath it and there was that sound again and it was clearly being made by whatever was behind the door. Greg ran his hand along the door until he found an old iron bound lock and handle; as he twisted it slowly he felt the latch come free and with a gentle tug the door slid towards him. Greg winced as he heard the door creak and he stopped pulling it hoping no one had heard the noise before holding his breath once more and pulling it completely open; thankfully it yielded without further complaint and silence fell upon the two explorers once more. Handing his torch to Emma he slipped his baton from his belt and slowly extended it to its full length then cautiously the pair of them stepped into the room beyond the door. As their eyes adjusted to the lighting in the room which was being provided by flickering lamps attached to the walls their sense of smell was assaulted once again by the over powering smell of fresh meat. Standing a few feet in the room with their eyes now adjusted they peered into the gloom and could make out the form of a misshapen table at one end of the room; it became apparent to them that the noise of movement they had been hearing had stopped. Whatever it was making the noise they had been following had stopped when they entered the room and they both started to get the feeling that whatever it was had now firmly focused its attention on them. Emma took a step in front of Greg and began to sweep the room with the torch illuminating the dark corners. As the beam swept across one side it lit up several alcoves which appeared to have steel gratings set in them. The light from the torch carried on across the wall onto the adjoining one which again was set with more alcoves and gratings but as the light hit the centre alcove something within it reacted to the intrusive bright light. Whatever was in the centre alcove slowly turned to face them having been interrupted from its grisly meal; rising from its hunched position on the floor as it did so. Emma screamed as the torch light illuminated one of Cain’s children; it stood at over eight feet tall towering over both of the intruders that had stepped into its lair. Blood dripped from its fangs and claws and the severed head of Inspector John Williams was clutched in its mighty clawed hand. From out of the alcoves on either side of the room came two more of Cain’s children their claws glistening in the lamp light as they looked with anticipation upon their next meal. Greg and Emma were trapped in the wolves’ lair with seemingly no time to escape before they would be set upon and devoured like John had been before them. The werewolf from the centre alcove casually tossed the severed head of John Williams towards Greg and Emma as it slowly advanced towards them while its siblings began to circle around them.