Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Jacques Masterpiece Part One

Whistling as he walked down the dimly lit street of Paris, Jacques folded his hands behind his back, his bony fingers grasping the opposing elbow as he whistled a happy tune. The night was fresh with a warm breeze filtering through the air, a hint of lilacs and roses drifting along the wind that brought the gaunt man a sliver of joy.

Truth be told, Jacques was a rather sick man, in more ways than one. For reasons he could not decipher, he couldn’t eat or drink his fill without feeling ill. His complexion had become a deathly pallor that made almost everyone around him view him as a plague victim, or something equally ill.
Sadly, he’d been this way since Mother had died some two years ago. With skin as white as fresh milk, sunken black eyes and yellowed teeth, he couldn’t find a job to call his own and was, thus, a vagrant on the streets of Paris. He could just hear his mother’s voice now, berating him.
“It’s because you’re nothing but a skeleton,” She’d whisper in his ear as he walked, leaning over his shoulder. “Put some meat on those bones and stop all of this art nonsense!”
Art had become Jacques passion since his mother’s death, what few pieces of silver he could gather together he’d spend on canvases and paints, keeping them in the abandoned catacombs beneath Paris from the days of the Roman occupation. While countless homeless made the catacombs their home, none knew the darkened tunnels as well as Jacques, who with high heeled boot and pinstriped suit he would clamber down the tunnels deeper into the limestone quarries like a spider along his web.
Smiling as he heard the chimes from the local church indicating that it was now three in the morning, Jacques decided it was time to get to work. While not overly familiar with this neighborhood, he’d lurked in the alleys often enough to see his target for the evening, to learn where she lived and to discern her habits. A young woman and her daughter, Jacques had watched the widow cradle her baby enough times to know she was perfect for his masterpiece.
“You really think you can get them to help?” Mother hissed in his ear, a scowl marring his features. “Like a nice young lady like that would give you the time of day!”
“Shut up Mother!” Jacques hissed, hand traveling to the small satchel he had looped over his shoulder. Lined with the cleanest rags he could find, as well as a bar of azure wax and a small bottle, Jacques looked around the deserted stretch of street before stepping out onto it, striding to the opposing sidewalk and the woman’s house.
It was a small two-story townhome, quite common in Paris, with a white lattice work going up the side, crawling with flowering ivy. Enjoying the vivid red flowers, Jacques took a few minutes to pluck twenty odd bulbs, dropping them casually into his bag with the movements of a man handling fine china.
Once satisfied, he looked to the door; a solid oak piece of work that Jacques would have little hope of battering down.
Fortunately, that was not his plan.
Hammering on the door as hard as his rakishly thin arms would allow him, he quickly broke off a piece of azure wax and sealed it over the eyehole, blocking line of sight to the outside world from the safety of the house. Pressing his ear to the door, he could hear the faint fumbling and mutterings from within, no doubt the young woman making her decent enough to answer the door.
Smiling, Jacques reached up into the ivy, gripping the wooden latticework, and pulled himself up. Hand over hand he crawled up the lattice until he reached brick, whereupon his thin fingers and strong grip allowed him to continue scaling along the side of the building to the lone window the house held.
Crawling along the wall doggedly, Jacques smile grew even wider as he found the window unlocked. Slipping inside just as he heard the front door open, he looked around the darkened room.
A closet sat against the far wall, a bed in the way. A bassinet held the sleeping baby, which he quickly padded around as he drew closer to the bedroom doorway. The small hall leading to the doorway was narrow and tall, the door slightly ajar. He could hear the young woman from downstairs, cursing as she closed and locked the door.
Smiling, Jacques quickly moved into place.
Marie cursed as she pulled off her terrycloth robe, leaving her purple slip and pajama pants free for the entire world to see. Wiping her index finger against her robe, she wiped off the blue wax she’d found pressed into her peephole.
“Damn Balton boys probably playing jokes again.” She muttered as she moved to turn off her living room lamp. Stretching as she slowly ascended the stairs, Marie sighed wearily from the long day. Young Sarah hadn’t been in a good mood all day, being fussy over every little thing. Walking past the side room where she kept her husband’s old study, Marie pushed open the door to her bedroom, walking into the warm breeze filtering through her open window.
“Odd… I don’t recall leaving that open.” She said as she moved to close it, locking it to make sure it wouldn’t pop open again.
Turning, she moved to the crib that held her daughter, reaching in to run a hand down her daughter’s pudgy cheek as she slept. Turning on her bedside lamp, Marie shed her clothing, leaving herself clad only in her lavender underwear before she crawled beneath the sheets. Contemplating on trying to finish a chapter of the latest novel she’d been reading, she chose to merely go to sleep instead.
“Good night Sarah,” she murmured as she turned off the lamp, rolling over onto her side, her back facing the window.
“Good night Marie,” Came a sibilant reply, causing Marie to snap her eyes open just as a damp cloth was pressed against her face, a slender hand gripping the side of her head as she was forced to breathe in the sweet smelling rag, her eyes growing heavy until she could hardly keep them open.
How long she was out, she couldn’t say. But she awoke the next morning, tucked into bed snugly as if someone had personally seen to it she would be comfortable. Looking around blearily, she noted the novel from her bedside was gone, before panic overtook her.
Throwing the sheets off of herself, she stumbled from the bed over to the empty crib, staring in horror as the small quilt she’d sewn while pregnant with her daughter was neatly folded into a square in the center of the crib. Running out of her room and down the stairs to her living room, she found her purse dumped out on the couch, her wallet open and empty. Ignoring this, she reached for her phone, only to find that the emergency number had already been entered…
Pressing the send button to call the police, she looked around her home, petrified at the idea of what had happened last night, and what could be happening to her daughter right now.


  1. Very nice! Well done. I can't wait to see what happens next.Very gripping piece. I'll definitely be back.
    Happy Coffin Hopping.


  2. An ominous beginning, can't wait for the rest.