the other vampire murder case (part two)

This story started here.

When we left the Jinx building, never mind how, we walked back toward the hotel, then my employer turned unexpectedly down a side street and into a bookstore. She waved at the proprietor, an elderly woman who always looked as if she'd been sitting behind that dusty desk for years. We had shopped (and browsed and read) in that store many times, but I knew my employer was after something else today. She led me through the back room (which was so full of piles of books that we could barely squeeze between them) and through a sagging screen door into the back yard.

The yard was quite pleasant, since (in warmer weather) it was used as outdoor seating by a restaurant on the opposite street.

"Who are we eluding?" I whispered as we walked between the tables and up the metal steps to the rear entrance of the restaurant. If the reporters had spotted us, we'd have known about it, so it must have been somebody else.

"The Jinx," she whispered back. We were strolling through the restaurant by then, getting a few strange look because it had appeared as though we were emerging from the rest rooms (and we were sufficiently well known, or at least she was, that people were aware that we had not been in the restaurant).

There weren't many times when we had to lose a possible tail in U-town, but when the situation did come up, we had three big disadvantages. One was that we were both very well-known. Another was that, with her height and her limp, my employer would have been very difficult to disguise.

A couple of times, in our earlier travels, we had tried to disguise her as a man, which in some cultures can provide you with a lot more anonymity and mobility. For someone as tall and thin as she was, it always seemed that this should have worked better than it ever did. At first, we though the problem was her voice, which was quite high and thin. But even when she didn't speak, there was something undeniably female about her.

In any case, the third difficulty was that she was not very mobile. She couldn't climb, and she couldn't walk quickly for very long (and she couldn't run at all).

Our biggest advantage was her incredible memory. She carried a building-by-building map of U-town in her head at all times, a map which she was constantly updating as we walked around and noticed changes. And even I was surprised by the amount of detail in that mental map, such as her observation about the lilacs at Ashford's house.

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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