[size20 ‣ ] Suspicions arise after another murder happens and Eugene is once again there for it.
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[font "Times" [size15 With the bird in her ear, Winnie had to snatch at the creature's face. "[B Nat- stop. Quiet now,]" she instructed it, pinching its beak. It fluttered a bit in potest, and then grew still, one bright, blue eye on the man before it.
The being behind Winifred, standing stolidly as if it had tangible mass in the center of the gathering of constables- at a distance because of the raven, but encircling her a bit nonetheless- filled the space. She shivered a bit as Decay's hands laid on her shoulders. To Eugene, the haunt behind the woman's edges flared over and around her possessively. Long fingers curled over her arms. The raven was ruffled again, calling out and shifting on her shoulder.
Winifred felt the beginnings of a bit of a tired smile at that, as Eugene slid into very employment-oriented listings of his skills. It was... charming, in its way. He was, in his way. Ah, such a shame. Something odd about him was making her smile a bit.
[i Alright, alright, that's enough,] one constable said, advancing toward Eugene.
Winifred put a hand out, stopping him from advancing.
"[B No, give him some credit,]" she said, gesturing to the sobbing gentleman. "[B He's a man begging for his life. He's actually being quite elegant about it, comparatively.]" Winnie nodded to the distraught man before her, something about his tears giving her something. And Cay behind her gave a sort of hollow, echoing rumble of approval.
"[B And, doesn't he have a point? Under my supervision; if I go missing, murdered in the night, you'll know that it is exactly this gentleman who we are after,]" Winifred's brow quirked a bit, seeming to gain back a modicum of her poise from earlier. A bit of a grin spread across her lips as she said it as amusement danced in her eyes. "[B And I am a very difficult woman to kill.]" She held Eugene's gaze.
If it was a challenge he wanted, it would indeed be what he got. She was still on the fence as whether or not she believed this show, but the tight, gripping panic in him was nearly palpable It had been when they were at tea, it had been now. What was odd to her was it seemed suppressed when he had come to her rooms. He had a different energy when he was one on one like that. Something to note, especially at the threshold of this undertaking.
The creature behind her was hovering close. It did that when it was watching, hungry, attentive. Something was taking its attention on Eugene, some form of emotional response. She could feel the sort of warm, rotten give that the thing's body had against her, even immaterial to all else. Its smell curled in her nose as if it were really there- ofdamp moss and old, dusty bones with that gentle, acrid sweetness of decay.
Her riding crop snapped smartly against her skirts to pull herself out of it, the woman drawing herself up a bit and dropping the item to hang by the loop around her wrist. She opened her gloved hands to Eugene.
"[B Come here,]" she beckoned with a curl of her fingers.
With a glance at their audience it seemed he desisted. When he came to her, she took his face in her hands- his skin hot and tacky with tears. "[B Look at him, he's precious begging like this.]"
Winifred turned, hands dropping, though one caught at his arm. She presented him, sweeping a handkerchief out of her pocket for him with a hum. "[B Let's give him one more chance to murder me, shall we? He didn't take it earlier when he visited my hotel room.]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 As the woman got seemed to get unsteady Eugene became filled with dread. They stood looming behind her and Eugene could only feel his neck getting tighter with every passing seconds. So many eyes on him, and there was...something? Some other black form flickering in and out of his vision. There was something else here- besides his spiritual captor- and it was here that Eugene fully processed why he felt Winifred was going to be helpful in this- she was special too. He didn't know in what way but clearly- there was something special about her. The way this figure lurked around her, and around his...she was something of a mystery, like him.
A mystery he might not get to find out. As a raven came down from the window he was left with only more questions and no answers. This was the bird she'd caught the other day, wasn't it? It turned and squaked in the direction of his tormenter- the one behind all of this- and he was left wondering...was she a witch? A medium? What was the woman his possession wanted so badly out of the picture?
At least he had a chance to think, as attention turned away from him and onto the shaky woman. As they crowded her and the upset raven Eugene was left on the outside of the circle, to anxiously watch. Part of him was tempted to run- just run as fast and as far as his feet would carry him and leave town. But he doubted the Spectre would leave him if he did- perhaps it would find a way to kill him- or make him pick it back up with anyone he found. So he didn't run. Besides, with the way the raven squaked at him- he almost expected it to chase him down, if he did attempt to run.
And there was also the matter of Winifred's... sensitivity. She looked tender and vulnerable for just a moment and it filled Eugene with anxiety and concern for her safety. His eyes moved between her, the bird, and the beings behind her until she finally looked at him and spoke.
A trail. His neck felt tight as the words exited her mouth. Even if there was a trail he knew he would be found guilty, put in front of the jury. He was the only suspect. So his eyes looked away from her, fearful and no longer as concerned with the officers watching him; as his body suffered for steady breathing.
[I "Mr. Bloodworth."] He debated running away again, skipping town and coming up with a new name. He looked up at the woman, eyes full despair and tension. [I "If I were to believe you, that there is someone else involved with this. I'm going to need you to be honest with me. Do you understand?"] He nodded quickly, praying he could talk her into this- begging whatever god or goddess or...greater power their was that this would work- that he would be saved from his fate.
But what could he bring? He hesitated for a moment, fighting it's control over his throat to say something- anything- to convince her of his worth. [b "I-I know the most about the victims. I th-think I know a good list of...p-potential victims."] His throat burned like acid as they fought for his tongue. [b "I could help…you know who to put in protection. And try to- to lead you to the actual killer."] Was this enough? She likely figured she could do this on her own- in other circumstances he was sure she could- she carried herself with such power, this woman- that even the cops seemed tense and apprehensive about her. [b "I know the most about them- which...which isn't much but- it's something. A-And I…."] Come on, think of something convincing. [b "I'm very detail oriented- I'm good at...paying attention to things...noticing...small things."]
The eyes were starting to feel like too much around him again. He clammed up, voice getting caught in his throat- though theirs wasn't. [b "And if I'm accompanying you on investigations, you'd have me right there to know I wasn't up to anything."]]]
[font "Times" [size15 Something came over the woman when Eugene used her first name. Her head twitched into a tilt, her face hardening a bit as she looked at him. It felt like a cascade of heat rolled down her body and pooled, simmering, in her stomach; tight; both upset with the informality and signalling something else to her. But what. But what.
That uncomfortable heat only intensified as he continued and she found herself staring at him. And suddenly self conscious of that. Her eyes cut to the men that were standing around Eugene, looking at him. Their faces were incredulous, and bridging on that same outrage, if it could be called that. 'Something was hunting me, framing me' they had probably all heard that plenty of times. And to most, who didn't have Sight, or who had no conscious touch with the supernatural at all, that wasn't plausible. Was it?
To Winifred Blackwood, it was possible, but it was a shaky thing to trust coming from the mouth of someone she was near certain was her murderer. But all of the evidence was circumstantial. That was all she had to go off of was circumstance and a deep, certain gut feeling.
Her eyes snapped back to Eugene as he backed away, the officers choosing to forfeit their superstitions and laughed at the man. Arresting him seemed like a good idea. That would have been her first instinct. Keep him contained, so he can't do this again. But something was raising the hackles on the back of her neck. Something roaring with energy was behind her and it didn't feel exactly right. It wasn't the feeling she got from her patron, no.
She shivered a bit, blinking blankly. "[B I see... I see.]"
To Eugene's gaze, something flickered in and out of sight, near at hand, near that [i thing]. Eugene's thing. It was the vague figure of an individual. The word 'individual' being used her as a means to describe indeed there was a something that had head, shoulders, arms and hands. But it wasn't human, just a suggested shape that resembled one, but so much was wrong with it in the 'human' sense of the resemblance. And with its flickering presence came the strong odor of damp earth, of too-sweet, decaying fruit, and wet stone, the lingering acridity of death on the nose. And over Winifred's skin there was a pale, sickly sheen across her flesh that slid like a membrane around the woman. There was something else here.
Through the window, flew the shape of a raptor. A great, dark carrion bird, a raven with eyes bright white and staring landed squarely on Winifred's shoulder, so large that another foot balanced it on her upper arm. It cried horribly loud; a squalling, yowling cry that sounded nearly like a cat, guttural, pulled fromt the throat of the thing. Its wings stretched, shading her head.
Her face was almost blank, eyes unfocused as she seemed to be struggling with something- a concept, being snuck up on by a large raptor. Or perhaps the vile presence behind her making all of her senses upset. And that was to what the raven turned, calling, crowing, angry squalling at the thin air.
"[B Oh dear,]" she murmured, raising her elbow a bit as the bird stayed unsettled, feathers ruffled, defensive, damning squalls aimed at the thing, at Eugene. There was suddenly enough going on- with sudden, feverish sensations rolling across her back, and the noise, and Eugene's shouting and the police shouting, all of the emotions and the scent of fire and burnt hair and flesh that it all came together and made Winifred shudder. Too much. Too much.
She stood very still, trying not to upset the bird, trying not to crumple and press her hands over her ears, trying not to feel overwhelmed. and looking herself unsteady for just a moment. For the first, unpoised moment Eugene had seen, something was across her face that looked like something vulnerable, tender, as her eyes unfocused. She could taste something on her tongue, something unalive, and the lines on her face just deepened. Her hand went to the animal on her shoulder, as if steadying him, and stroked down across its back.
Concerned murmurs of the police officers turned their attention to the faint, pale woman, and she brushed them off with soft, apologetic thank yous when their approach made the animal on her shoulder upset even more, and made her in turn feel claustrophobic. Her shoulders hunched, upsetting the raven's balance on her.
She waved them away from her, with their crowding concern, with nods of her head and little shooing motions and hushed, soothing, the animal on her shoulder, saying it was alright. It's alright. She focused on that for the time being. She ignored everything else, hand gripping the cane she was leaning on. She had twisted her ankle with her stunt, pulling this bird on her now from the air as she had.
Her eyes returned, presently, to Eugene, as finally the plaintive, chilling calls of the animal quieted some. She breathed a bit easier, eyes now irritated and patientless as she took another, deeper breath.
"[B Gentlemen,]" she said, finally, addressing the room. Her eyes were still on Eugene. "[B No one has said anything about hanging you, Mr. Bloodworth. Even if we find that you are guilty, you would still await trial. There is time.]"
Her eyes fell away again, the woman standing straighter now, petting the animal on her shoulder, hands familiar in their absent motion. Bandaged hands that Eugene had bound himself the previous evening. She felt distinctly put upon all of a sudden with the man's begging. And she could feel the suspicious eyes on her now, with his pleading, his calling her [i special], his want to work together. She tried to swallow the knot of anxiety pulling at her. It didn't matter. Nothing mattered. So what if they feared her? She was worth their attention, she wanted it, she basked in it, in being different, in having what for all intents and purposes looked like familiars, she wanted this. So why was she feeling so small?
"[B Mr. Bloodworth,]" she began, voice calm, reeling back her impatience. Her eyes returned to Eugene, drawing herself to her full height again. Straightening her back. Exhaling slowly. She was bigger than this public embarrassment. "[B If I were to believe you, that there is someone else involved with this. I'm going to need you to be honest with me. Do you understand?]"
Her voice was level, calm, as she held his gaze. "[B What, possibly, would your presence benefit my investigation, sir?]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 He felt he'd be sick, the longer this conversation continued. He didn't know how to answer the question- he [i knew] she wasn't alright, [i no he didn't think to check]. And all eyes were on him. Maybe this was the real game- maybe this is what it really wanted. Maybe it wanted him hung. Winifred looked at him calmly with all the patience and grace in the world and offered help if he could only say [i who].
He opened his mouth to speak and he [i couldn't.] He clenched his fists, his eyes- he [i tried] to fight it. But even if he could overpower it, even this briefly, what would he say? She would not believe him- [#696969 [i "A spirit. A demon. Something- something that you can't see."]] He knew not it's name- he no longer had a solid description as it changed form. He- He had [i nothing] to tell her. He had [i nothing]. Not even a shoulder to cry on- though that stopped no tears from escaping his eyes.
He answered the only way he could- in a cracked voice, saying, [b "I don't [i know]."] He opened his eyes, tears welling up in the corners of his eyes. It was happy with that answer. He wasn't. He tried to keep going. [b "There's- there's [i something], Ms. Blackwood. And I-"] Was it laughing? [b "I want it to stop, Winifred, please I- I know I'm not making sense I just-"] He felt the burning sensation of rope around his neck with every word- the fear of the hangmans noose drawing in closely. [b "I want to- I want to find who's responsible- I want it to stop. I don't...I don't want to die alone, Ms. Blackwood and this person-"] If they could be called that. [b "I fear that's what they want-"]
A laugh from the officers and a step closer and Eugene backed away ever so slightly. [i "I think that's enough, Eugene. You don't need to waste this little lady's time nearly as much as you're doing-"] He sounded friendly at first, apologetic towards Winifred, and then sneered at Eugene. [i "You're here, every time. And you expect us to keep turning a blind eye and let you walk away or [i help]? We leave you alone with this woman for five minutes and you'd probably kill her."]
He tensed. He shrunk. The officer loomed over him and Eugene [i shrunk] in his place. He couldn't respond to this man. He looked to the woman with terror in his eyes, tears threatening to spill. [b "You have to- have to believe me, Ms. Blackwood. I...I want this to stop. I-I would never do anything to hurt these people I- I care for them, Ms. Blackwood- I mourn for them-"] [i "That's it, put your hands behind your back Eugene."]
They didn't really give him a chance to do it himself. [b "Winifred, please-"] The sudden use of her first name was improper, and it was more than the fear of death that loomed over him right now- it smiled behind Ms. Blackwood and...
He'd wrestled control from it before. He didn't know if it's next victim could but- Ms. Blackwood. It [i feared] her. Surely, surely then- she could do something about it- she could stop it. As long as he was there to help. [b "Please- you [i need] to be the one to stop this and I can help. Please. I know you're special I know you can stop it [i you have to believe me! If they hang me I can't help you stop it- these murders [i will] continue. Please, Ms. Blackwood. Let me help you stop them- we can [i stop] them. We can stop it."]]]
[font "Times" [size15 He ran. He ran away. That could mean many things. Fear of being blamed again, if this indeed was incredibly bad luck. Or, it was as she suspected a coverstory for a very suspicious sounding lie. For this incident was the same: he happened to be there in the residence as a guest, the victim hit their head, and he left for help. It was the exact same. And she had a feeling if she looked at other cases it would be that same M.O.
Winifred's head tilted, "[B You didn't think to check if she was alright?]" she asked, voice steady, calm. The officers beside her were quiet. They wanted to know as well. He didn't say he checked in the last incident either. And this, barely a day away from the last death, had the same pattern, same individual.
But suddenly, Eugene wavered. He seemed to break his concentration and looked down, speaking of his own experience.
The woman blinked as he spoke directly to her now, not the investigators. And his words changed from someone to some[i thing]. Specific. She felt a stiffening chill roll down her. Did he have a sense out for her Sight? For her patron? Did he know?
Just outside, the sound of a raven's alarming croak broke the silence as she simply took in his words, trying to think of a response, just as Eugene began to speak to her. This wasn't the time for him to make a ruckus, not when she was suspecting Eugene of Sight. Winifred glanced outside to it, pursing her lips, sucking them inside with thought.
Some of the eyes of the men swiveled to look at her now with the focus being brought to her, as the suspect begged her. She felt their eyes on him and kept her gaze on Eugene, hiding how startled she was by leaning on the cane she had in her hands.
"[B Find who, Mr. Bloodworth? Please tell me,]" she said, voice calm, inclining her head to him, keeping his focus on her. "[B I can help you, if you tell me.]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 It was as Ms. Blackwood aproached him to listen into his questioning that at the question from the night before surfaced in his mind. What, exactly, did he think she could offer him? Other than an early grave, a funeral pyre of sorts, or a hangman noose around his neck?
He didn't truly know. He hadn't thought anyone could help him before- any officer that interviewed him he just lied to- he didn't seek help. Something about her- Ms. Blackwood [i felt] different. He truly felt she could help him-
After all- why would [I it] be so much more afraid of her than anyone else, if that was not the case. Why let Eugene handle the interviews to prove his innocence, unless with her? Why possess him now? Why force him away so it could speak for him, now, with her, if she were not a threat to it?
He was asked the usual questions. [I "What happened in the house? Where were you at that time? What did you hear?"] It answered for him. [b "She- she fell into the- into the fireplace. I was in the kitchen, she asked me to fetch her- fetch her some bread from it. I-I went in to grab it and I heard this...[I loud] crash and peeked out- I...I believe she hit her head and I-I ran to get help."]
Why answer to them, now, with Ms. Blackwood here, if she [I couldn't] help. He needed help, she had to be able to help...
And when it was her turn to question, he wanted to fight back control. But it wasn't letting it's guard down- wasn't letting him [I out].
He eyed the vase, [I it] eyed the vase, and then looked at the woman with concern. [b "I just peaked out long enough to see she was on the floor, I didn't- I didn't [I know] she fell into the fireplace. I didn't know what to do, I can bandage small wounds, but I thought she hit her head. He never hit me in the head-"] A trigger, and then Eugene was back. [B "He never hit me in the head-] He stopped. He paused. He looked down, and took a breath. He didn't like to talk about the abuse. He didn't like the think about it...
And then came dreaded words, and a sinking feeling...he felt his neck itch. [b "I'm being targeted, Ms. Blackwood. I-I said the same last night. Someone- someone- something...is targeting me."] He felt tears in his eyes. Why did he want it to take control again? He was scared. What if he said the wrong thing- he wanted it out of him Whatever it was. It had changed form- last night- he didn't know what it was anymore. But he wanted it out out out- how-
[b "I'll help you find them!"] It was his panicked, desperate offer. [b "If I become your partner in this you can keep an eye on me! And then- and then you'll [I know] it's not me! I'm being targeted Ms. Blackwood-"] He paused, feeling eyes on him, the men around him boring holes into him as he begged this woman for help, as he showed this much... vulnerability. But he couldn't stop he- he needed the help. [b "I need your help, Ms.Blackwood... I don't want anyone to die again. I'm [I scared]. And I- And I know- And-"] Stop stuttering. [b "I know you can help. There's something about you I [I know] you can help. If I help you- you can stop this."]]]
[font "Times" [size15 She inclined her head to him once, slow. Fear indeed. She could feel how he was stopping; tasting words and swallowing them. Bitter, terrifying words, she knew. And she wanted to know what he was thinking. What he was hiding.
Her brows began to knit as he spoke to her. He elucidated on how he feared so greatly he was going to be blamed for this. Well. She tilted her head, a listening gesture, nodding almost imperceptibly. It sounded like a pitch, she realized, partway through. But he was crying superbly. A part of this was devastating him, of course, all this death, all the fear.
But something he was saying was making her attention pique. So specific, the only thing he specified was [i her]. "[B What is it, Mr. Bloodworth, that you think I can offer you?]" she asked, leaning towards him as he bandaged her hands. Her fingers closed around his, stopping his hand for a moment.
Winnie Blackwood ducked in through a collapsed door frame and into the blackened, peeling parlor of the home. Eugene had been detained on the scene, the star witness. Asked dozens of questions, no doubt. She looked between him and the questioning officer, listening in and looking at the notes she was apprised with as she was caught up with the situation. The whole house hadn't gone up, because neighbors had come in and help put out the fire. There was a well nearby.
Her eyes moved over the hearth and then landed on a vase with flowers in the window. She paused, eyeing the clear glass filled with water. She turned back to the young man. "[B Mr. Bloodworth,]" she called to him softly, voice prim. "[B you say you ran- all the way to the police officer's station. Why didn't you tell neighbors about what was going on? They claim they heard a shout, and then showed up, seeing the drapes on fire.]"
"[B And why-]" she stepped towards the vase, tipping it slightly, and showing the water inside. "[B did you make no attempt to put out the fire? Or remove Ms. ___ from the flames, if she was unconscious?]"
Winifred's eyes turned to Eugene, her expression peculiar, specific. She turned towards him so slowly. At first it was like the motion wasn't even there, until you realized her pupils had shifted from one corner of her eye to the other and back, her shoulders had followed. Her figure in black was pointed at full attention towards him. She leaned on that walking stick of hers, hands folded, gloved. Perfect. Poised. Hat impeccable, skirts unblemished and face softly rosy, alive. Those green eyes of hers never moved from him.
"[B I did some research,]" she mused aloud, moving across the ruined parlor. Her feet crunching on ash and cindered wood. "[B Reread over my notes, and I finally got a letter back from an acquaintance.]" She looked to him, face unreadable, calm. "[B Somethign you said occurred to me. You fear being blamed. And, it turns out; every single, mm- [i incident],]" she corrected, tipping her head. An auburn flyaway fell by her ear from her otherwise immaculate hair. "[B Was caused while [i you] were in residence.]"
She let that hang in the air for a moment to see how he would respond. Would he cry again? She wondered, gazing at him, she wondered about that.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Eugene took a small glance around the room as Ms. Blackwood produced the hankerchief, though his eyes fell quickly back to the woman, and the delicate lace edge poking out of her suitcase. He had a personal one he kept, with lace like that. It would have eased him a bit, something vaguely familiar, were this any other situation. But he turned his head and paid it no mind, and as Ms. Blackwood handed over the cloth Eugene gave his hest attempt at a genuine smile and got to work.
But when he [i touched her]...
He felt like holding his breath. He tasted metal, something of malice, his skin felt like tar to him as she gripped his hand. But when she let go he felt like he was breathing in...something... Clearer than air. He froze at her comment, glancing up at the woman with a look of panicked confusion and then [b "Mostly fear, Ms. Blackwood."]
..? He didn't say that. He hadn't even tried to move his lips- he raised his hand only to-
...was this possession? It didn't move. [i "Ms. Blackwood?"] His lips didn't move. And in fact, he himself could move, and could see that in fact, his expression hadnt changed from the same nervous expression is had as he started bandaging her hands. No confusion, no panic as he could feel himself displaying. His body wasn't doing what he was-
...This was possession. And if it could- then what else-
What if it killed her, here? He didn't know it could...oh dear...
[b "There's been so many around town, you know. That's why you're here. I've said before that I'm scared of being blamed for this- [I these] crimes, but it's more than that I-"]
There was a pause, and Eugene looked up at Winifred, a sense of relief for his safety but also fear. Wrestling back control would no doubt have consequences, and there was also a matter of what to say. He gulped, looked down, and closed his eyes. [b "I- I fear-"] Stop stuttering so bad, Eugene. [b "I fear I"m being targeted, Ms. Blackwood. All these- these victims. I cared about them. They took me in when I- when I got here. This suit- it's from the woman that died this morning I-"] He paused for a moment, tightening his eyes to stop tears from falling. He could already feel it was angry. But it was too late to stop them from falling. [b "I don't want people to keep getting hurt. All of my friends are dying Ms. Blackwood and I'm scared. And you might be the only one who can stop people from dying but-"]
He finally looked the woman in the eyes, his own full of tears. [b "What if- whatever is- is doing this...what if it kills you too? Then we can't...you can't...stop it..."]
He gulped, took a second to stabilize himself, and stood. [b "I...I apologize Ms. Blackwood but I need to go-"]
He rushed out without another word.
The next afternoon Ms. Blackwood was called for. A house fire, spread from a woman's skirt after she had tripped and hit her head on the fireplace mantel, and then fallen in. Now, how do you fall into it from that angle? The police had no answers yet. Though they thanked Eugene for running all the way to the station to get them when he heard her fall. A shame about the fire, and the woman- he'd have to find another place to stay-
It told him to consider asking Ms. Blackwood, as she arrived. But he just tensed. More evidence against him. Soon she might say he's a killer. And then that fire- will be around him. Or worse.]]
[size16 [font "Times" Winifred nodded in acknowledgment to Eugene, "[B No, he certainly didn't, but there's only a few ways, unarmed, that one may trap a raven, isn't there?]" she said, sending a glance towards the bird's direction, smiling again at the man before her.
Inside the inn room, there was a basin and pitcher for water, a bed, a bureau with a large mirror above it, a nightstand with a tumbler of water and a glass, Ms. Blackwood's suitcase and train case, and a familiar umbrella leaned against said bureau.
She smiled at him, pleased with his expertise, "[B Brilliant, I appreciate the help.]" And with that she went to said train case and opened it, bringing out a couple of handkerchiefs. Two plain ones, where the lacy edge of a finer one was seen as she shut the case again, offering the pieces to Eugene. They smelled of lavender and herbs. She was careful not to touch him, handing over the pieces without skin contact.
Her dark green eyes were on him as he spoke, a smile spreading over her face again, bemused by his pause, but not mentioning it aloud. "[B I do,]" she responded, hands hesitating before letting him have them.
As soon as Eugene's skin touched hers, Winifred felt the shock of whatever he flooded her with. It was dark, cold, crawling over her back like shivers, and had that metallic tang to it. Something familiar she couldn't place. Her hand gripped his briefly as the vision, of sorts, washed over her, and then she pulled it free for a moment, face wan.
The young woman's eyes were wide, off of him for a moment as she seemed to gather herself, before placing a semblance of that familiar, ever-present smile on her face. "[B You have- a certainly interesting set of things on your mind, Mr. Bloodworth.]" Her voice was soft, quietly between them, folding her hands in her lap with an almost apologetic edge to her smile, keeping her eyes politely from him.
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 [b "I- I suppose that's fair- I can't imagine the raven...would enjoy, um, that sort of thing-"] He had no idea, entirely, what to say to that. What do you say in response to a woman grabbing a raven mid-flight? And why was she even...grabbing the raven to begin with? He figured it wasn't his place to ask, only his place to offer aid and...try and dance his way through this mess- to get help.
When Winifred sad it would be appreciated Eugene let out a nervous laugh, nodding. [b "Yes- and I've bandaged more, with less- handkerchiefs will work fine."] He waited for her to step out of the way and entered, glancing around quickly to see if there was anything else he could use, to treat the wounds. Any alcohol he could dilute, even any water to cleanse them-
[b "You wear your gloves often, don't you, Ms. Blackwood? I- I only ask so I can make sure the bandages don't get in the way. I think if I wrap it right-"] His eyes drifted on her and lingered, a creeping feeling welling up his chest, a darkness lingering there before sliding down in a gulp. [b "It shouldn't get in the way of them."]
As soon as he was given the handkerchiefs, he got to work cleaning and bandaging.]]
[size14 [font "Times" Winifred folded the gloves in her fingers, inclining her head towards him with a smile. He was a soft-spoken man, and it was pleasing to her. She was vividly unimpressed by loud, masculine men. However, the soft, insecure man made her feel rather dominant with how he acted with her. It was pleasing.
Her attention went to her own hands, then, and noted the scratches she hadn't paid yet much attention to. Spreading them, she chuckled, looking up at Eugene again. "[B Oh, yes, well,]" she smiled. "[B that tends to happen when one plucks a raven out of the air. I can say, I would do the same should someone do it to me.]"
However, to her surprise, Eugene asked if he would be allowed to help. Her eyes returned to him, brows arching as she gazed. "[B Oh,]" she responded, feeling of all things a flush of embarrassment now at having the cuts untreated for so long. However, she was more embarrassed at the reason for that. She had very little idea about proper medical treatments.
"[B That actually would be- appreciated,]" she admitted, closing her hands again as she tucked her gloves into her belt. "[B Would you like to come in? I'm afraid all I have is handkerchiefs, would that suffice?]"
[right [pic http://i.imgur.com/hYudHZC.jpg]][font "Poor Richard" [size15 Was that another voice, behind the door? Sure, he had only met Ms. Blackwood this morning, and yet she did not strike Eugene as the type to have guests over, at this hour. Perhaps he read her wrong. And yet there was a...urgentness, in the voice of the woman- part of him- a lot of him, actually- feared it was with the mayor, or someone else of importance. Someone she was telling about his [i guilt]. He put a hand to his neck breifly, shuddering, and removed it quickly when the door opened.
As she took the gloves, he gave a nervous smile and watched her hands- [b "Ah, you're welcome- I figured they would be a terrible thing to lose-"] Should he comment? He looked up, keeping the nervous, uneasy smile he always got in the presence of such women- [b "I don't meant to pester, Ms. Blackwood, but- ah- maybe it's not my place to ask but- are your hands alright?"]
[i Say you'll help and then pour lemon juice on them]. He did his best not to let his expression show what he'd heard. This thing was a vile being, wasn't it? [b "I don't mean to overstep, ma'am, but...perhaps I could assist in bandaging them? I...believe I got fairly good at bandaging things up, when I was growing up..."]
His father sometimes made it necessary...
With this creature growing annoyed with him, he wondered it if it would become a useful skill, again.]]
[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.
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