Bones: Part Four.

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Gaston unfolded himself to see a tall Gendarme towering above them both.

The following morning, Gaston made his way to the house on Rue Thibaud, with some trepidation. The old butler was not only greedy, but wicked. There was sure to be a beating this time, he thought.

However, the boy was surprised to be met at the front door by whom he presumed to be the master of the house. He was rotund and had the complexion of a man who dined and drank well. His clothes resembled those who frequented the Hôtel Matignon, the great and the good of France. Not that there was anything good about them he pondered further.

“Are you the boy?” He bellowed at Gaston.

“I am indeed my Lord and I have come for your reply.” Gaston’s chest puffed out at the notion of speaking to aristocracy.

“Speak when I permit it scum!” The Marquis shouted, raising his cane above his head. The boy cowered before the monster, closing his eyes and waiting for the sting of the blow. “Get up man. What are you? A coward? It’s the likes of you who lost the war.”

Gaston straightened up trying to stifle a snigger. Despite his fear of a caning he couldn’t help but be amused by the oaf’s stupidity. He wasn’t even born when the likes of him Lost the war to Prussia and ended the Second Empire. He stood his ground and, at the behest of the Marquis, remained silent.

“You’ve come for this, I take it?” The Marquis held out a large white envelope ornately decorated in gold leaf and sealed with blue wax. Gaston nodded. “Speak up man! Are you dumb as well as stupid?” Screamed the tyrant.

“Y-yes my Lord,” the boy stammered, hunching his shoulders. Surely he’d feel the stick before this encounter was over.

“Well here then and be gone with you.” His voice lowered and he held out the package at arms length, turning his head away from the youth.

Gaston took the envelope and was just about to flee when his voice engaged the man, encouraged by his curiosity.

“Please sir, may I ask the whereabouts of your butler?” Immediately, he curled into a ball, knowing he’d crossed the line. This was confirmed by the hand which grabbed his collar. Again he anticipated the sting of the cane.

Nevertheless, no such sensation was forthcoming and instead they were interrupted by a third voice. Gaston unfolded himself to see a tall Gendarme towering above them both.

“Good morning my Lord. May I have a word about one Françoise Crozon, who I understand to be in your employ?” His voice was deep and rich and dominated the other two with its authority.

“Yes officer, what of it? I was just explaining to this young fellow that I haven’t seen him since last evening.” The tone of the Marquis was thin and reedy compared to that of the official.

“I’m afraid I have some bad news. May I come in? Does this boy have an interest in the victim?” The Gendarme replied.

“Victim? No, he was just leaving. Come in, please officer.” With that, he dropped the boy and ushered the big man into the hallway, closing the door behind him. Gaston placed his ear against the glass but the voices became more faint and indistinct. He shoved the envelope into his inside pocket and headed off, grateful for the intervention of the giant policeman.

***

The Marquis invited the Gendarme to sit. The officer folded himself into an armchair like a giant bat preparing to roost.

“Now then my good man. What’s this about Françoise? Has he been harmed? You said victim.”  The aristocrat enquired.

“I’m afraid so my Lord. His body was found in an alley close to the Quai D’Orsay. His throat had been cut.” the officer replied flatly. However the words were not received in the manner in which they were delivered and the other man slumped into his chair, mouth open.

“Strangely enough, he wasn’t robbed. His papers were all intact and there was a five Franc piece on his, erm, person.” The officer continued rubbing his massive square jaw with an equally huge hand.

“What do you mean? On his person? I gave him that Semeuse yesterday,” gasped the Marquis.

“Well, my Lord. It was found in the wound. In his throat, so to speak,” countered the Gendarme. Not for the first time, the colour drained from the shocked features of the Marquis.

1 Comment

  1. Kenneth Childs

    The plot thickens.

    Reply

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