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The Secret Adventurer's Club (Part 7)

Joe Spivey's picture
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The four treasure hunters ran back into the saloon area. The stairs leading up to the balcony were in the corners adjacent to the main entrance, one for each side.

“Casp an’ me will do this side. You two do the other.” They split into their pairs and thundered up the stairs to the waiting bedrooms. Finny grabbed Casper’s arm. “You start at this end and I’ll start at the other an’ we’ll meet in the middle.”

Casper’s face paled.

“Um. I think we should stay together?”

It came out as a question but the look on his face turned into more of a plea. Finny relented.

“Okay. Fine.”

Together they raced down the balcony to the farthest door. On the opposite balcony Onetooth and Worms were already inside the first bedroom and by the sound of their shouts and the crashes it appeared they were having a good time.

The door they came to wasn’t locked but inside it was dark and gloomy and smelled bad too. There was no way Casper was going to go first so Finny led the way. It took a few moments for their eyes to get accustomed to the dim light inside the room but when they did, Finny’s heart sank. The crowded bunk beds, piles of dirty clothes and scant furniture didn’t scream there was a fortune to be found here. Nevertheless, at least it wasn’t all smashed up so they set about looking.

The search was carried out by fingertip and with screwed up noses. Everything stank of unwashed bodies, cigarette smoke and stale alcohol. Whoever lived here, Finny decided, needed an appointment with an orphanage scrubbing brush.

There was only one small set of drawers in the carpet-less room. It had a cracked mirror and its top was crowded with an overflowing ashtray surrounded by lots of empty booze bottles. It had two drawers and they were full of ladies underwear and makeup things, some of the later Finny could only guess at what they were for. Nothing of any value though, although you wouldn’t think so the way Casper was holding on for far too long to a pair of knickers that no way would keep your bum warm on a cold night. Finny snatched them out of his hand, thrust them back into the drawer and slammed it shut. She gave Casper a hard stare and held it until he mumbled something and turned away to look under the mattress of one of the bunks.

Finny did the same with the bunks on her side of the room and found a little collection of personal belongings. Nothing much. A book, which she immediately stuffed into the waistband of her trousers. A small bottle of perfume, which made Finny gag. Some pad things like some of the older girls had back in the dormitory, these joined the book because Finny reckoned she would be able to trade those, no problem. And lastly a framed photograph. Finny took it over to the door to look at it.

It was a family. Mom, Dad and a little girl about Finny’s own age. It was faded and had a big crease down the middle where it had likely been folded up to go in a pocket. Finny looked at them for a while, taking in the details. It looked like it was taken at a farm. They looked happy. Finny’s face set and then she pulled the picture from the black frame and dropped it on the floor to see if there was anything hidden behind it. Well, that’s what she told herself anyway.

There wasn’t. But it was then that she noticed that the frame was too heavy to be plastic. She scratched at it with her finger, and black paint came away revealing bare white metal underneath. Most likely aluminium, she thought, but then remembered Joe showing her a book about silver and how silver had these special little marks on them that told you it was silver, how old it was, who made it, what year and even sometimes how good it was. She didn’t quite understand but Joe showed her on her own locket. Sure enough, almost hidden around the rim of the locket were some of the strange little marks. So, still in the lighted doorway, Finny examined the picture frame closely. There, on the back in a corner she found the same sort of marks like in Joe’s book and on her locket. She felt a self-congratulary tingle of excitement and stuffed the frame away with her other finds.

For his part, Casper found a whole box of the pad things and some almost new lipsticks that were better than any of the old and broken stuff in the drawer. Happy then, they moved onto the next room. Once out onto the balcony Finny looked across to where Onetooth and Worms were each carrying armloads of ladies’ clothes to a growing pile near the stairs. She shook her head and then led Casper to the waiting door.


Hyle Troy's picture

( loving the story.   very poignant in parts ..

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

Abyss's picture

(( Good story!  Kepp it up.  Was chuckleing as I woundered what would happen if Abyss was in the building on an assigment to retrive something "important" for a ranking Traveler.

Joe Spivey's picture

((I think that would be, well, let's just say 'messy' and leave it at that. Mind you, Finny is nothing if not resourceful...

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Abyss's picture

(( Absolutely. I was thinking more in the "They see him, but he does not see them" setup.  Mass slaughter of kids is only called for on Public transport. :)

Joe Spivey's picture

((I like the idea, but the timing is all wrong unfortunately. These events are happening only a few days after the raid on Diamond Lil's. Aunt Lucy would not consider retrieving the item unless she absolutely has to. For example, if her current little 'venture' were to fail and she then had no choice. Aunt Lucy's storyline is at least a couple of weeks later than The Secret Adventurer's Club, possibly even as much as a month. By now, Diamond Lil's would be under new management and refurbished as a different line of business than Lucy's brothel. Not to worry though, Finny and the item are earmarked for a future story.

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

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