[size20 ‣ ] Suspicions arise after another murder happens and Eugene is once again there for it.
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[left [pic http://i.imgur.com/zLWclse.jpg?1]] [size14 [font "Times" Winifred was gone out of the room, knowing exactly how rude she was being by fleeing like this, and abandoning Eugene to the mercy of the constable. But upon seeing the body of that raven she knew she couldn't let it go.
And so, it was the woman in black who burst from the inn's front door, skirts fisted in a hand, who ran in her lady's boots and leapt rather deftly as the raven swooped down. She caught hold of its body, gloveless hold slipping to its feet and clutching. The bird's protest was loud and full of fluttering feathers as she verily plucked it from the air and grabbed a hand around its wings, pushing the creature underneath her arm, nice and secure.
"There you are!" she greeted, a polite irritation in her tone as she patted the fussing creature on its head. "I've been looking for you," Winifred huffed, feeling her chest constrict underneath her corsets and pressed her free hand to her front, nodding to the greengrocer's horrified look at her.
The word in the village was 'witch' that evening. Catching ravens from the sky, as she did...
"[#00CCFF She's onto you. If I've found you, Anna can't be far behind me. Cheyenne wants to know what you've found out about the attacks,]" came the soft voice of a man through the door. "[#00CCFF Is it Liam? Or...]"
"[B I don't think so,]" Winnie responded.
"[B I can handle this investigation on my own. I said I would write or scry if anything came up. But then again, it's a good thing you're here, isn't it?]" a smile curled her lips as she turned towards the raven haired man with a smile. He looked back at her, seeming to come to terms with the threat in her tone.
That same smile remained across her lips as she gazed at him, and he wasn't certain if she was waiting for him to respond or not. "[B I will solve this case and find whatever little creature is causing it, and then all will be well. If the inspector is so impatient, perhaps she should give me the diadem so that I could utilize this properly, at least.]"
"[#00CCFF You know I can't do that,]" the man responded.
The woman got to her feet suddenly, "[B It's already speaking to me!]" she hissed, her hands curling in front of him as she advanced towards him. "[B I can feel it here now, close. She watches me. It [i felt] you before you even got here. That's how I knew,]" the inspector said, eyes holding a strange intensity in them. "[B It's in my head.]" She uncurled her hands, showing them to him. "[B Don't you see? The whole town can't think I'm crazy if they're going to trust me to investigate. I'm already a woman! What else-]"
Winifred's hands snapped away from the man, curling against herself at the knock at the door. She froze for a moment, wondering if she was shouting. There was the rough call of the raven from the other side of the room as she arose from the chair and went over to the door. She reached for the handle, opening the door slightly and looked out to the pale face of
"[B Eugene?]" she said quietly, her brows arching. She was in no way expecting him to seek her out after she had nearly terrified him earlier that day, especially after his noteworthy comment about her putting him in a noose. As much of a small stir in her that it had conjured. "[B Why- why-]" but his words drew her attention to his hands.
Winifred's hat was off, her dark green blouse the only color against her black attire, coat removed as well. "[B Oh, goodness me,]" she responded, reaching out to carefully take them from him. "[B I hadn't realized, thank you.]"
Winifred's hands had little cuts on them along the fingers as she retrieved the item from him.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Where was he staying? That was a good question. [b "Currently-"] He had to say currently, for he had been all over the place as of late. [b "I have been staying at the church. They've been nice enough to let me stay there while I find somewhere else to stay."] He had been living with a nice couple, for a while, but when one of their children started foaming at the mouth, the wife tripped on some carpet and cracked her head open, and the husband fled town fearing being charged for murder, that changed.
The funny thing was, he didn't cause that one. Perhaps he was trying to get away with something, admist the chaos of death, but got scared.
Scared was the theme of the night. [b "A complicated question, Ms. Blackwood."] He started. [b "I find you a comfort. Here you are, trying to solve these tragedies, and I greatly hope you can. You being here gives me hope that they'll stop-"] He paused finishing off his tea. [b "But I believe anyone would be a little scared, in my position. I'm a suspect, after all, and you could decide my guilt at any moment and put me to the hangman's noose- and that, Ms. Blackwood, is terrifying."]
He followed Winnie's eyes when she looked over, willing himself not to tense up when the man came over. He gave a nod, but couldn't give much else in response. [i "Next."], it hissed. He knew this man. He had a sick little girl at home. He adored her, but still thought women were meant to stay home.
Still, he shouldn't die. He looked away, until he heard Ms. Blackwood speak again. [b "I understand the hunch. I just hope you're able to find the truth and put a stop to this, Ms. Blackwood."]
He frowned at the mention of a murder in a neighboring village, feeling sorrow for the child, but honestly, hearing about something he didn't personally do was...a relief. There were other tragedies, and somehow, that was comforting.
God, he hoped she could stop this.
And then suddenly Ms. Blackwood was leaving in a rush for a...bird? And Eugene was left in confusion, eyes darting around until he noticed her gloves on the table.
Without thinking much he grabbed them, excused himself to the constable, and ran after the woman. [b "Ms. Blackwood! Ms. Blackwood, wait! You forgot your gloves!"] He felt something stop him before he could catch up with the woman.
But she was staying at the Fox and Anchor...he knew this.
Perhaps he could swing by later...give them back.
The constable had an accident on the way home. Eugene felt awful. But there was nothing he could do, except lead Ms. Blackwood to finding it, while keeping his head out of the noose. He asked for Ms. Blackwood's room when he got there, saying he had to return her gloves. Which was true, yes, but he wanted to know if she'd found anything, yet, too. He knocked on the door lightly in rhythm, looking nervously down until it opened. [b "Oh, um, good evening Ms. Blackwood. You'd left your gloves on the table, and I thought now would be a good time to drop them off?"]]]
[size14 [font "Times" Winnie gazed at Eugene as he began to choke up. Her lips pulled down in a little frown as he began to get emotional. There wasn't much on this earth that made this woman uncomfortable, but the tears of other people was one of them. Quick hands went to retrieve the notepad from her pocket and flipped it open, grabbing her pencil. Her eyes dropped down and her lips pursed out a little as she let him... gather himself.
Decay, beside her, immaterial, hovered close. Winifred could smell the scent of rotting plant matter on the creature's hide and body and glanced down gently as she noted the dark impression the creature was making on the carpeting. She exhaled as it became threadbare and barren, and gray. The creature then bumped the table. Now it was Winifred's turn to turn pale as she saw the saucer to her cup take a tumble off of it. Her hand shot out to catch it, exhaling, and placing it back on the table.
"[B Please, be careful,]" she chided the being beside her, feeling heat in her face in frustration.
"[#0c4e15 [B Apology,]]" it responded to her, keeping its voice in her head.
Exhaling, her eyes were brought back to him when he spoke again, explaining their relationship. Her hand moved, noting what he said in shorthand. Again Mr. Bloodworth trailed off and she let him, chewing on his words a moment.
"[B And where are you staying in town, Mr. Bloodworth?]"
Her eyes studied his face in the way Eugene hesitated on his own words, seeming to reconsider them and quirked a brow gently. She hummed in noncomittal acknowledgment of what he was saying and wrote down her doubts. "[B Pity,]" she murmured in response, but set the note aside, folding her hands on the table before herself.
"[B Do I scare you, Mr. Bloodworth?]" Winifred asked, arching her brows at him and tilting her head slightly. "[B It's alright to say so, I'm curious to know.]"
Presently her eyes shifted towards the door of the tea room to see a constable speaking to the attendant. She smiled over at them, noticing their glances in their direction, preemptively greeting the man who then came over towards them. "[+navy Ma'am, sir.]" he greeted, bowing gently to them both.
"[B Hello, constabulary,]" the woman responded with a nod, lacing her fingers in front of herself.
"[+navy I am informed that you were the- uh- "inspector" who arrived on the scene earlier?]"
Winifred's smile stiffened at his lack of belief. She could taste it on his tongue, but said nothing. "[B Why yes.]" She sat back in her seat, smoothing her skirts, and got to her feet. She was tall for a woman, but shorter than the man before her. Her eyes showed no fear as she smiled at him. It was a mean, irritated smile, but so polite and so poised. In her hand was her riding crop. "[B I'm here gaining a statement from Mr. Bloodworth.]"
She turned to Eugene again, upon whom her smile notably softened to her genteel manners again. Winnie pressed a hand to her abdomen and bowed towards him slightly. "[B I seem to be treating this as if it were clearly foul play, Mr. Bloodworth,]" she continued. "[B As I said, I don't have any evidence. Other than a hunch.]" Her smile towards him was mirthless for just a moment.
"[B I'm currently investigating another case in a neighboring village where a child was partially dismembered in a very unfortunate, forest animal attack. Well,]" she seemed to laugh at that. "[B Strangely large animal, if you ask me.]" Winifred looked back at the constable, "[B I suppose it's got me all up in spirits.]"
"[#0c4e15 [B I smell kin,]]" came the voice near her. Immaterial, again.
Winifred started a little, her smile vanishing as her eyes flickered around the room. She smoother her coat over her front and regained her polite smile, looking towards each man.
"[B Pardon me,]" and with that she fished the pocket watch from the chain and glanced at it. "[B gentlemen, I seem to have lost my-]" she glanced up and saw the body of a raven flicker by the window, diving off of its perch into the street below. "[B -bird. My bird.]" and with that, she flashed another smile to them.
"[B I have Mr. Bloodworth's statement right here and I shall bring it to the office within the hour!]"
"[+navy Miss- miss-]" the man protested, turning after her.
"[B Ta!]" Winnie replied simply, and moved towards the door.
She had forgotten her gloves on the table.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 [i "Words I've heard many, many times."] Eugene knew. He knew how it sounded, how it looked...how he was, at the moment, the [i only] suspect. And that by answering the way he did, he'd practically just assured that she was even more suspicious of him now.
[i It] hissed in his eat and all he could do was try and not let his expression show fear. He wanted her to help, yes, but he didn't want to die to get this to stop. And he was sure they'd hang him.
The victim? He'd been doing this so much lately that it took him a moment to remember who it was. But once he did he frowned. [b "Mary Lindberg...she was..."] His voice actually shook as he started. Of course he still felt sorrow over all this, no matter how many it made him kill- he...he truly cared about all of these people.[b "She was one of the first friends I made when I came to town. Um,"] He paused again, needing a second. [b "I come over about once a week and she's been giving me fruit from the tree in the backyard, since I...I'm not nessacarily very well off, here."] He looked down, closing his eyes tightly to avoid crying, although one tear managed to escape anyway. [b "She treated me like I was one of her kids. I can't believe-"] He trailed off.
He took a breath and brushed any tears away from his eyes as he looked back up, taking a sip of his tea as she continued and asked about the girl.
His face paled a bit and his eyes shot back down to his cup. It got angrier and he felt a tightness in his throat, stopping his words before they could come out and replacing them. [b "No, I'm afraid no. I just saw her the once and...she didn't really stand out."]]]
[size14 [font "Times" He wasn't looking at her. Winnie tilted her head a little, leaning towards him with attentiveness in her eyes, to perhaps forge a feeling of more intimacy so he didn't feel the need to speak so loudly. Or because it was kind of rude. And trying to catch his expression. It was the only comfort that she could offer him, the man she was interrogating nearly immediately after the death or someone he claimed to be a close friend of.
When Eugene faced her again, she woman placed a thin, mild smile on her face in acknowledgment of his eye contact, pleased with its return.
"[B Words I've heard many, many times.]" the inspector said, attempting to put a modicum of empathy in her tone as she nodded towards him. "[B As it is, I've no proof if it was a murder or not. I simply said so to get a response from you. And I believe I've got one.]" She held his gaze as she said that.
"[B However,]" she changed the subject quickly, brushing her hands off on her skirt and putting on a smile."[B In order to make this a rather more proper investigation, I believe we should turn part of the conversation to the victim. You said you knew her? What was the nature of your relationship? And her name. I may have avoided asking the constables that, actually.]"
Winnie blinked as she realized that she was being bidden to receive this young man's entire life story. She shifted to settle in, crossing her legs and set her hands in her lap, absently playing with the leather in her fingers. Of all the things she had been expecting from the young man, she wasn't expecting an entire story. He was being strangely forthcoming about these things. But he was in shock, and a great many things came out like that... Was this normal, then? Was he so guilty that he was trying to garner something?
It did occur to her, the details of this story, something about that girl specter. "[B Mr. Bloodworth,]" she began, shifting her position more forward in the chair again; reinserting herself in an active role in the conversation. She closed the distance between them, lowering her voice. "[B I do hope I don't seem insensitive asking, but I'm dreadfully inquisitive about the vision of the specter. The girl.]" her eyes returned to his, arching a brow. "[B Did you recognize her? Have you had any more throughout your life?]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Eugene could only shake his head at the question of seeing his father. Of course he hadn't. He hoped he never would again, but given his luck- or lack thereof- he knew it would happen one day when he was even more down on his luck. He was full of- well...
Misfortune. He looked down at the table as she repeated it, and as she continued. He only looked up at his name, and then continued to glance down.
He knew. He knew how bad it looked. He knew how bad it was. He [i knew] he did it. But what choice did he have? [b "I understand how bad it sounds, Miss Blackwood. It's very clear that I'm the most suspicious here and I will not deny that. I have no proof to back myself up-"] It hated him saying that. [b "But I swear I had no control of the situation. I wouldn't have gone if I'd known it would have ended up like this."] At least there was no proof that it was exactly him, too. Other than the obvious furniture being moved and such- there weren't any fingureprints. None of his, at least. Because the creature covered them. So what proof did she have-?
He blinked at her say something, but she continued normally and he chose to...ignore that? And just focus on answering the question at hands. Even if it was a touchy subject and...hurt a lot. He let out a sigh before explaining. [b "When I was eight. My mother had brought me home a hunting dog so I could start participating in my father's hunting trips. I was excited, I had something that was mine that I even got to give a name- Forest. So I took it on a walk, trying to bond with it. I was so [i happy] for once. But on our walk I saw some child run into the woods alone and- clearly I couldn't let her go in there with the wolves. So I followed after her so I could convince her to go home where it was safe and-"]
He paused. [b "The girl walked off the cliff and the dog started freaking out. She didn't fall. She was just...standing right past the edge. So Forest broke the leash and ran toward her, barking and snarling and-" He was clearly upset about it. [b "It fell."]
He went silent for a moment. She hadn't really asked for the whole story but...he needed to give it. For his own sake. So maybe she could help. Even [i if] it make the demon mad. [b "I spent the next two days out there, too afraid to go home without Forest. The dog had cost my mother a fortune and I feared if I went home my father would kill me. Not only that but...I loved that dog. So I tried to find a way down the cliff,and once I did...it was being eaten by wolves. It was already dead, I knew it but...that's not something for an eight year old child should ever see- the guts of it's beloved pet hanging out of a wolves mouth."]
He sighed, looking down at the table. [b "When I got home, my mother was packing her bags. She'd had enough and was going to live with some woman instead. She was covered in bruises her wrist was swollen and- I didn't blame her, really. But I never could quiet forgive her for leaving me alone with him."] He saw the server come over with their order and stayed quiet until she left and started speaking again once he'd had a sip of tea. [b "It only got worse from there. But- I'd say that's when it started."]
[font "Times" [size14 Winifred's eyes flickered up to his face at the surprising change of tone from Mr. Bloodworth. Was it from irritation, or a sudden boldness that had suddenly summoned out of something interesting? But he reeled back almost as soon as he had spoken, giving her a smile. Winifred's expression of quiet interest changed little, save for her eyes narrowing slightly as her own smile widened just slightly, humming in thought. "[B Pleasure's entirely mine, Mr. Bloodworth.]"
The servor nodded, confirming that they indeed had Lady Grey and turned to ask Winnie. "[B I'll have the same, if it's black.]" she said, unfamiliar with the brand, but it was no problem to be adventurous. "[B And nothing else for me, thank you.]"
[i Abuse,] Winnie thought to herself, tilting her chin up and looking Eugene over a moment. Clean face, so it was something that was meant to be hidden, nor did she see anything that had been telling on his hands for the couple of moments that she could have caught sight of them. "[B You have not seen him in some time, I assume?]" she asked, leaning her chin on her hand gently.
"[B Misfortune?]" the woman repeated, looking interested, but made a point not to look [i too] interested in that. She wanted to say it seemed like she had chosen well, but it was so early. Cases rarely turned out easily. Winnie tilted her head a bit, putting a sympathetic look on her face and laced her fingers. "[B And yet this woman ended up dead.]" The woman brought a hand up, touching her hat a moment to readjust it on her hair, "[B I hope you know what this looks like on the surface, Mr. Bloodworth.]" her dark eyes turned back up to Eugene's gentle face, bringing seriousness into her gaze even as her smile was ever-present. "[B You were the only person in the house at the time, you could have easily followed her up, moved the armoire, any number of things. I have yet to pour over the scene, though the constables will allow my access once I speak to them, but this does not look good for you, sir, and at this time you are the main suspect.]" Winifred looked at him a moment and she sat back a moment, an idea suddenly occurring to her as she glanced over his face. Behind her, the cold presence of her own voice, her own creature that was very, very real hovered over her shoulder.
"[#003300 [B What thinkest thou? I know you are suspicious of him.]]" its breath was immaterial but cold on her skin. Rather that was the way the sensation translated to her, as the creature was immaterial, it was its touch on her being. Winifred had been serving this creature for years on the promise it would keep her alive. It had lost its sight, and so it had to rely on hers. Even ethereal creatures could be disabled. They together completed a single, more than complete being.
"[B Something,]" Winifred murmured before she caught herself answering it out loud. She put a smile back on her face and shifted her position in her seat. "[B When did this phenomenon start?]" Winifred's thoughts began to spin- was he...? Certainly not? There must be a more orthodox explanation.
[right [size11 Upcoming Questions
"[B What is the victim's name/What is your relationship with the victim?]"
"[B Do you know of anyone who would want to hurt your friend?]"
"[B How long have you lived in this area?]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 She was such a beautifully intimidating women. In any other circumstances he could have found himself flirting. But she could get him hanged for this, and he knew to his mouth shut. Besides, he'd just end up running away in the other circumstance anyway. Maybe this one was better; because he couldn't hide from this. He forced a smile and a nervous laugh at her words and followed, then moved in front when gestured to enter first and glanced around, his heart still pounding in his chest. It was so loud. It hissed and it growled and it drained all possible joy from him. He offered a smile to the steward and followed Ms. Blackwood to sit at the table, and made note of how [i nice] everything was here. It was a welcomed chance from the chaos. But it didn't last long.
[b "Ah, yes. The fun part."] The sarcasm in his tone was almost...[i sharp]. But he quickly covered it up with a smile and a small laugh. [b "It is really nice to meet you, Ms. Blackwood. You seem like a wonderful woman."] A wonderful woman who could hopefully stop this, but would likely kill him in the process. He kept his smile despite the fear, until asked about his father. If he never had to talk about that man again it would be too soon. He was just glad the steward stepped in and gave him time to gather the answer. He looked up at Winifred and shook his head, then over at steward. [b "Do you have any lady grey, by chance?"] It was practically the only tea he drank. [b "It would be lovely if I could get a cup of that. And perhaps a scone."] Not that he had much of an appetite after doing what he had but...perhaps his nerves would calm a bit if he had something to pick at.
It was unfortunate that after the steward left he had to get back to interrogation. [b "My father was...is still, probably, a politician. A horrible, lying bastard of a politician, but I feel like all of them are, technically. I haven't paid attention to what he's doing now so I don't know if he's still in the game, but that's what he was when I left. I can't say I've ever been fond of him. He's the reason for at least half of my scars, if not more."] Not that his scars were visible. His father always made sure to stay away from his face. [b "You could have possibly heard about him, if our name is going about again. Or, unfortunately, it could have been because of me. I hate to say it, Ms. Blackwood, especially given the circumstances, but misfortune has seemed to follow me all me life. But I swear I didn't have anything to do with the deaths here. All I did was walk inside and she went upstairs to change into something and...then fell when she tried to come down. I never would've hurt her, or anyone here. I don't want to hurt anyone."] He felt terrible lying about his deeds. He wanted to confess, but not to die. To stop, but not at the cost of his own life. At least the last part was true. He wanted the world to turn to gold; for everyone on it to be happy. Cheesy, pathetic, and impossible, and yet he wanted it terribly. Perhaps it was that kindness that drew the darkness to him. Perhaps it was some sort of family curse. He'd likely never know; he just wanted it to end.]]
[font "Times" [size14 Her dark eyes slid to him, trying to keep herself fro being impressed by an internal, personal warning about flattery being easily turned from the one giving it in response. "[B I'm sure you're wildly popular with women, then, socially. We like hearing of our own import.]" Looking forwards again, the young woman caught the gaze of one of the stewards of the tearoom. She laughed a little, amusement dancing in her eyes. "[B Anyone can be intimidating if they want to be.The basest brute can manage to blackmail, and the highest intellect can resort to physical threats.]"
"[B Bloodworth,]" Winifred repeated vaguely, interest piquing gently at the surname. She had perhaps heard of it before in some other circumstance- wondering which.
Another smile, if grim, crossed her features, as they moved across the tearoom towards their table. An energy was filling her at the thought, coloring her response some. "[B Oh, I think it's delightful. I've my first witness, suspect and another murder in a string of others with the same circumstances.]"
Winifred gestured for Eugene to enter in front of her, smiling graciously. The tearoom itself was in the back of the inn, a large if filled and well lit area that filled the back of the building, a plush, patterned carpet edged in an even more florid pattern at the edges of the room. It was lined with tables, all covered in white, and set with the silvery china. Men and women were dispersed across the area, suited stewards and stewardesses milling where they were needed at the demure raise of a hand, or vigorously crossing the room to return to the kitchens to retrieve their becked foodstuffs.
The stewards approached the couple, quietly greeting them and gesturing towards one of the open tables near the large, sheerly curtained windows. Seeing as it was the back of the building the windows would have otherwise looked out on the alleyways and the back lot, but to let in a sumptuous amount of light despite that and preserve the richness of that natural light they were covered cleverly.
Winifred rounded the table, brushing her hands behind her bustle and perching herself on the chair, adjusting slightly to make herself more steady on the seat and set her riding crop on the surface of the table. The young woman then stripped off the black gloves from her hands and put her napkin on her lap, brusing it flat against the dark of her skirts. "[B Now comes the interragatory part of our conversation, I'm afraid. But at least we're in this lovely place to do it in, by chance?]" An exhalation, calming herself, "[B That all said, it's a delight to meet you.]" Winifred remarked, inclining her head towards the young man. She appreciated his face, gentle, aristocratic features and a nervous, twitching mouth. She didn't know what about it, but it was charming. Perhaps he had an earnest sincerity about himself. In their circumstances it felt a shame to have to try and put that aside outside of her natural inclination, but she tentatively claimed to be smarter than that. "[B What does your father do? I believe I've heard that name floating about in the social ether somewhere before.]"
The steward, waiting patiently, now bowed forwards into their conversation and looked at them each, "[i What can I get for you?]"
Miss Blackwood looked at Eugene again, "[B Do you have an allergy to something?]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 He felt slightly proud that she thought he was smart enough to fake an opinion because he thought it was what he needed to hear. But it was his opinion, nonetheless, and completely true. [b "You flatter me, Ms. Blackwood, but I'm not that smart. I've had that opinion for years. Women are incredibly smart, and I admire the ones that are strong enough to voice that despite it being shunned."] He smiled slightly, but he was still very afraid. [b "They're also intimidating, but that's beside the point."] He followed as she turned, watching her skirt swish behind her. It kept hissing. He did his best to ignore it. He failed. It was scaring him.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 She was thinking as she walked. It was clear. How he wished he knew what she was thinking. How he wished he knew how to end this. How he wished he could end it's grip on him. The situations he kept getting in were horrible...how many were going to die because of his existance? And why did he still not want to give up? He looked down as he walked, keeping an eye on the lady's feet to be his guide.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 Her steps slowly came to a stop, and he paused and looked up. He didn't need an introduction. He knew her name. He'd been told it even before the first accident. He smiled, and shook her hand. [b "Eugene Bloodworth. I would say it's a pleasure to meet you, Ms.Blackwood, but given the circumstances..."] He trailed off. It wasn't mad about him going anymore. [i Given the circumstances you should kill her.] No. No. He had enough control to at least avoid that. Although it did take all of his strength, and it certainly wouldn't make it happy.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 He pulled his hand away, forcing a weak smile. [b "Shall we head inside?"] He'd noticed they were in front of the Fox and Anchor now. He stepped away to open the door for her, and it kept hissing for him to move the rug as she stepped in in order to make her fall into the tile. He took a breath and averted his eyes. Being near her made it louder, angrier. It knew she wanted to stop this and it wasn't happy. He wished it was happy. He wished it was satisfied. He wanted to stop.]]
[font "Times" She gazed at him for a few moments, taking that lull to wonder if he was being disengenuous. It was an inoften thing to find men in this day and age who actually considered those words, believed them. The mother argument was inexorable, but the rest... And his previous comment about strong and intimidating she had to wonder if he was trying to sweeten her disposition towards him.
A mild smile hovered on her mouth as she gazed at him, tilting her head to the side. "[B I cannot very well argue with that.]" She said, tilting her head a little and letting her gaze drift away as she turned. "[B I appreciate your ability to speak about what exactly you think I need to hear. That is a very valuable skill.]" Winifred hummed a note of amusement to herself, gesturing for him to follow and switched the riding crop from one hand to the other. She turned in a swish of skirts and kept her pace slow until he caught up with her.
The young professional wasn't at all convinced neither of his innocence, nor uninvolvement. He was at present her only lead at all whatsoever and was really pleased that he hadn't fought her against the interrogation. With his clear delicacy, she wouldn't refer to it as that unless she [i really] wished to scare him. She wasn't entirely sure yet how to go about this. But her intuition was literally breathing down her neck, its cold presence shifting but nearer to her as she led Eugene towards the Fox and Anchor.
She was coming to the conclusion, based on the lineup of events that she was investigating, that the murders had to have been conducted by someone with an incredibly deft mind for this type of thing, an eye for space. Something a general human being wasn't on average capable of. That meant either she was looking at a deviant, brilliant mind, or something [i else]. Having her own contact with such creatures, feeding off of humans as they did as their sources of sustenance, as they were the only creatures that output enough to offer anything... If so, if that was the case, she needed to find out what kind it was, and what its derivative was. What it sought, what it fed off of*.
"[i I hope you know what you're doing.]" came the deep voice in her head. The young woman's everpresent smile widened slightly, humming in acknowledgement as she glanced down momentarily to the vague glint of her leather lady's boots out from underneath the hem of her skirt. She felt she knew what she was doing and let her shoulder twitch in a shrug.
"[B Well, Mr....]" Winnie trailed off, glancing at him and the manner with which he walked. "[B I'm sorry. I don't think I've properly initiated introductions, I apologize.]" Her steps drew to a secondary halt, her smile widening vaguely as she realized that she could make her first movement into her investigation with this. "[B Officially,]" the young woman began, bringing her hand out and pulling her black leather glove off. She had no idea if he had heard of her or not. Likely not, but who knew. "[B Winifred Blackwood.]"
*[size10 I'm setting something up. It might sound like my character has a grasp on the situation beyond what she should this early in the RP but I swear I'm working off of not that]
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Everytime she spoke he couldn't stop himself from thinking she'd make a lovely friend. It was a horrible, intrusive thought that he wished he could stop. Her pleasantness made the situation even scarier that it already was. And yet his lip twitched up into a smile anyway. [b "It's women that are most important, even if most men are foolish and deny it for their own gain. If not for women none of us would exist, and would be ill-educated. If wise woman speak up, they can make the Earth shake. But fool men would rather silence them so they can rule. Disgusting really."] He cast his eyes to the ground. He wanted to shout, If a wise woman investigated, she might be able to stop this. He wanted to confess everything at this very moment. But he wouldn't. Part of him fear her finding out, because in doing so he might be leading to his own death. And a smaller half was begging to be put down like a mad dog so he could stop causing trouble.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 Perhaps after everything he should have been wishing for death, but he didn't. It was another aspect of his being, he supposed. He was cursed to survive the worst of situations, and yet wish to live anyway. It likely would have been better if he'd despised life and wanted nothing to do with it. None would be harmed by his death. After all, at this point, nobody would mourn him. Everyone he cared about was dead.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 He took a deep breath and ran a hand through his hair, giving the woman a single nod in response to her words. The cursed creature that he'd been stupid enough to trust hissed at this, but there was nothing he could do. He ran over apologies in his head, but he knew it wouldn't be enough to please it. Killing Ms. Blackwood would likely make it happy, but he had just enough strength to deny it that. [b "You are very kind, Ms.Blackwood, and I certainly understand."] The presence practically drowned him, hissing and yelling in displeasure. Eugene had never been a brave man, it was why he gravitated toward stronger people. It took quite a bit of willpower to keep himself from trembling. [b "To the Fox and Anchor then?"] [i Not yet.] It hissed, and all he could respond with was [i I'm sorry. Please don't hurt me.]]]
[font "Times" The young professional smiled at him mildly, "[B Brilliant. I'm simply delighted to hear that you'll join me, sir.]"
He really was a peculiarly interesting sight. Well kept, clean, trimmed, and with one of those faces on a young man that held this boyish, unspoiled charm. But yet it seemed as if it would all fallaround his ears within moments, as if it was such an effort to keep his composure, this facade. As if a house who has been gutted and is being remodeled, left empty, te sun streaming through the windows, but the outside looked entirely the same. He seemed... empty. It made her wonder what his character was like when it really came down to it. They always made her wonder, these poor souls. But compassion was a characteristic well left at home for what she did, and with it the smile that had faded for just a few moments as she considered him settled into its place on her features once again.
She laughed mirthlessly, the shift of manners falling over her as they did him. It was a game that they were playing, it seemed. He was hesitating and trying to say things slowly, deliberately. Strange. He was trying not to sound suspicious. They all did- it didn't mean that he was the culprit, being only the first person that she had seen- and if anything it was an accident save for the peculiar, and unfortunae, circumstances of the disarrayed home. Just nudged enough to make someone comfortable in their home suddenly ostracized and vulnerable- and it had ended one life. This pattern that she had been following had shown that the lot of them wereunfortunate accidents such as that... It was too strange. "[B My, my, what a compliment.]" She considered him for another moment, her eyes drifting down over him, "[B It is few men who are willing to call a woman that. More would criticize the rise of the female intellect.]" Her smile became forced as she said it, holding eye contact with him even as he glanced down away from her. "[B I am glad that you are not one of them.]"
He was peculiar. Gratifyingly so- if she wasn;t interrogating him, playing [i this] game, Winifred felt as if she would have loved the parley with him socially. Pick at the social creature that resided in that cranium of his. Much as she appreciated it, peculiar characters often meant there was something more going on. Darker things. Peculiar personalities, now that sanity has been normalized, meant average circumstances were not at play. Traumas, obscurity, secrets... her profession may focus on those things, but they were difficult things to counter, study, or prevent. To keep the sheep in the fold. And Eugene seemed exactly the sort that she and her brethren would want to draw out of the fold and turn into something more, darker, and stronger. To curb his insight and perhaps make something new out of him. And the journey thence would be most entertaining.
But she had to curb her own enthusiasm to draw him in. Coming on strong had only worked for one young man, as Miss Hackett had discovered, and Winifred had forever envied her for it. But he was a sweet thing, and her brother agreed and liked him very much- a valuable and esteemed member of Blackwood and Hackett.
She heard his voice become thin, the strings of his vocal chords drawn taut with stress, as if he was pressing himself underneath her thumb that was barely raised to him yet. "[B Oh no,]" Winifred said with a smile, blinking at him and tilted her head a little, fingers adjusting their grip on the riding crop in her hands, "[B the Inn has a tea room above it in the Inn proper.]" She let her eyes fall half lidded as she gazed at him, "[B I would be honored if you would allow me to treat you, sir. It sounds like you could use a bit of charity this day.]"
[right [pic http://www.secret-london.co.uk/Pub_Names_files/shapeimage_9.png]] "[B Though retiring for a bit might allow some of those memories to retain themselves and allow you to process them...]" she said, sounding like she was about to concede to him as she glanced around the rest. She would need to see who else would know what had been going on. "[B But it would also, while you are in shock, allow some of them to be silenced, repressed.]" her tawny eyes returned to him, "[B And I haven't the patience for that.]"
Behind her, her own thing, her own presence drew away from her and receded into the shadows, drawing with it her thoughts for a moment as it communicaed to her, making her smile become distant for a moment as she was taken with it.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 She was a beautiful woman. Strong, yet gentle. Loud, yet soft. He soft of...gravitated toward her. She was a very capable woman. Smart. Perhaps even if she couldn't stop it, he would enjoy her company. While he could, at least. He smiled slightly, nodding. [b "Anything I can do to help."] It practically growled in his ears, and it took all of his strength not to flinch, gulp, or whimper. [i Too soft.] In his own head he was cursing, apologizing for having emotions, however ridiculous that was to apologize for. He chewed on the inside of his bottom lip, a nervous habit he'd developed over the years. It hissed, staring up at him. [i You tell her, you're dead.] He didn't understand how something that had seemed so soft could have so much blood lust .]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 It wasn't until Winifred spoke again that he realized he'd been zoning out. Likely bad. Suspicious maybe, but it couldn't be helped when it was this close. He narrowed his eyes for a moment and looked down as the words slowly sunk in enough to be understandable. He smiles nervously, looking back up at her. [b "Seeing the horrible things I've just seen, and then seeing the contrast, a beautiful woman such as yourself, I'm sure any man would be at least a little intimidated, my lady. You are clearly a smart and powerful woman, Miss Blackwood."] He looked down, taking a slightly shaky breath. [b "Fox and Anchor...I will see you there."] [i But not yet.] It was pulling at his puppet strings. It was in charge, and reminding him of it.]]
[font "Poor Richard" [size15 It wasn't a good situation He valued his life. If he displeased it, he was dead. If he didn't speak to Winifred, he was likely also dead. [b "Miss Blackwood, if I may ask,"] The fear was a bit noticeable in his voice, [b "Might I stop for a cup of tea beforehand? If...I have to be honest,"] It growled more, fearing that he'd spill the details even though he wasn't that supid, [b "I am not used to being in the same room as beautiful women and the idea of that is intimidating enough without adding...what just happened; and tea has always been good at calming my nerves. It might be more better for both of us. I might be able to help you better, and heaven knows I want to help. I-I can bring you some, too, if you wish."] He hoped that she wouldn't. It would likely want him to poison hers, and it would take quiet a bit of strength to deny it.]]
[font "Times" Behind her, the figure that had accompanied her entered the house after her and drifted closer to the dying woman. Its disguise as an undertaker. The skeletal face turned down towards the drawn, slack jawed face of the woman as a rattling breath drew from her pale lips. Unseeing eyes gazed at little from where she had crumpled and rolled to the side.
The tall, straight bodied coat that it wore shrouded any more features that it had. Its long, thin arms and gloved hands opened and then softly closed at its sides and it stood very still. There was a whispering murmur that, just barely audible, caressed the air around them before it fell silent and the terrible calm that fell over them, that space left by life now silently given a shroud by death settled over the room of the house. A terrible peace, but at least it had been done softly.
This happened behind Winifred, who barely paid mind to the happening. In her profession it was often she saw this. She had been following the reports of her colleagues, and now it seemed her turn to add to the files. She felt the tiny breath leave and turned her head just slightly back towards the house as Eugene spoke, pausing a moment, taking in the silence and offering her own.
Another moment and her tawny gold brown turned to the young man. She woman gazed at him a little. He wasn't a very big young man, and her height, offered by her ladies boots, brought her up to his if not just a tic more. He had a soft face, drawn somwehat thin, not gaunt per se. And he didn't seem as othered to this- perhaps it was shock. "[B I would be simply delighted if you could indulge me.]" Miss Blackwood said, tilting her head a little. The shadow of her bowler fell over her face a little as she gazed at him.
The being behind her, a powerful, alien feeling that vied with Eugene's unknown entity drew its head up again. Its prerogative finished, it let its body desintegrate into nothing. But its energy was still there, now attaching to Winifred herself.
The thing then spoke in a voiceless tone, as if through varying pressures communication could be drawn. To her ears, deafened by communication, it became a visceral touch of communication from the thing she knew was hovering behind her shoulder. As if invisible fingers were pressing on her nerves, pushing the tissues of her body to this or that feeling. A suggestion. [i Careful.]
It had been with her for some time now. It pressed a feeling of reserve into the marrow of her bones. He was nervous, this young man. She could see that. Perhaps that would make him earnest. There was one of two ways that his nerves could go- tey could stay his tongue, fixing it to the room of his mouth and making it stick and stay and ratche his jaw shut, or it would make him zealous. She would have to nip that before the former became a problem.
Winifred smiled thinly at him, "[B I do hope you don't find me intimidating.]" she said, keeping her voice calm in front of him, but maintaining a conversive tone. "[B I'm staying at the Fox and Anchor.]"
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