Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

25 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

“I have sand in places no man should,” Merlyn grumbled. But he was smiling as he patted Alan’s fine ass and then reached for their discarded clothing.

“Next time we bring a blanket, but for now we just rinse off.” Alan got up and raced to the water’s edge.

“No way are you getting me in this,” Merlyn said, joining him and testing the water with his foot. “I’ll freeze my dick off.”

Alan laughed cheerfully. “Can’t have that now can we. I like it right where it is.”

“Me too, so you can take the plunge but me, I’ll just watch thanks. And for heaven’s sake be careful. It’s really too dark for swimming.”

“Aww, you do care.” Alan cupped Merlyn’s face in his hands, giving him a quick kiss, and then without warning put his arms around him and walked him into the water, dunking him under as soon as it hit mid-thigh.

“You… you…” Merlyn sputtered seconds later as he grabbed Alan’s offered hand, yanking him down into the water beside him.

“It got you rinsed off,” Alan said, grinning.

“And frozen to the bone.” Merlyn was on his feet and back on shore seconds later, Alan right behind him.

They dressed quickly, shivering the whole time, and then Alan snagged the carrier bag and they ran to the car. As Merlyn pulled out, heading back up the lane, he turned on the car’s heater. By the time they reached the highway they were warmed up enough that their teeth stopped chattering.

“If you ever do that again,” Merlyn growled.

“I won’t, I promise. Blue is not a good color on you when it's your lips. At least you didn’t actually freeze your dick off.”

Merlyn chuckled. “I was worried for a minute there. Now, where do you live so I can drop you off home before your boss actually misses you and throws a fit?”

“Just leave me at the library.”

“Alan, come on.”

“Please, don’t argue.”

Alan looked so somber that Merlyn didn’t have the heart to press the issue. “Alright, but someday you’re going to have to let me take you back to your place. When you trust me enough.”

“I trust you, I swear I do. It’s just... Like I told you, it’s complicated.”

Merlyn nodded, resting his hand on Alan’s thigh. He smiled slightly when Alan covered it with his to keep it there. Too soon they were back in the city. Merlyn was tempted to try one more time to get Alan to let him drive him home but decided he didn’t want to end what had been a wonderful night by arguing the point. Instead he drove to the library, turning off the car. Then he ran his knuckles along Alan’s jaw as he asked, “When will I see you again?”

“Soon, I promise,” the young man replied before tugging Merlyn’s beard with a grin, pulling him close enough that they could kiss. “I’ll miss you,” he whispered against Merlyn’s lips. “Be careful, please.”

“I intend to be. I’m not going to do anything that will keep us apart if I can help it.”

Alan nodded, kissing him one more time before getting out of the car. “I’ll call you.”

“You had better, because I have no clue how to get hold of you.”

“I will.” Alan crossed his heart. “I swear.”

Sunday, April 27, 2014

24 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

“If I wasn’t hungry before I’m more than starving now,” Merlyn said, tracing one finger down the center of Alan’s chest to the base of his now soft cock. “Sated and starving.”

“Isn’t that what they call an oxymoron or something?” Alan replied, looking up at Merlyn with twinkling eyes.

“Probably, but it’s still the truth.” He leaned in to kiss Alan yet again before sitting up. Reaching back he found the bag of food, dragging it to them. “We have…” he opened it to check, “sandwiches, potato salad, somewhat warm sodas and fruit.”

“Are you going to feed me?”

Merlyn rolled his eyes. “I think I did that already, rascal.”

“I’d consider that hors d'oeuvres. Now I need real food. Wait a minute. Rascal?”

“Rascal, as in someone who’s playful and mischievous.”

“I’ll accept that.” Alan sat up and dug into the bag for a couple of sandwiches, handing one to Merlyn before leaning against his shoulder. They ate in companionable silence, their free arms around each other.

As the sun began to set, the water in the bay turned crimson and slowly darkened to match the night sky. The two men lay back, watching the stars appear.

“I could stay here forever,” Merlyn murmured. “No cares, no worries.”

Alan turned in his arms to look at him. “What worries?” he asked as he scanned Merlyn’s face.

“Just… things.”

“Merlyn, tell me, please. I want to know everything about you.”

“I doubt that you do, really.”

Alan smacked Merlyn’s shoulder angrily. “Do not tell me what I want and don’t want. I’m not a child that you have to keep things from, even if you still think I’m too young for you. So out with it, what’s going on that you don’t think I should know?”

Merlyn smiled wanly, rubbing his shoulder. “There seems to be a distinct possibility that I’ll be arrested for the murder of my best friend.”

“You have to be kidding me! No way! Why would anyone…” Alan paused, frowning. “Best friend as in lover?”

“No, a real, honest to god friend who meant the world to me. Someone shot him and it’s beginning to look like I have both the motive and the opportunity, as the cops would put it.” When Alan asked Merlyn told him the whole story.

As soon as he’d finished Alan said, “Then we just have to find this mysterious man don’t we?”

“’We’ are doing nothing of the sort. I’m leaving it to the police. At least the detective in charge of the case seems to believe me and she’s doing the best she can to find the real killer.”


“No ‘buts’, Alan, I’m leaving it in her capable hands.”

“They had better be capable because I don’t want to loose you now that I can be with you.”

“If I have my way you can always be with me. At least when your boss gives you time off,” Merlyn added when he remembered the restrictions on Alan’s life. “How did you manage that today?”

“He was busy with other things so, well, I sort of snuck away.”

Merlyn looked at him, worry in his eyes. “Are you going to be in trouble for doing that?” 

“Nothing I can’t handle,” Alan replied as he quickly changed the focus of the conversation by playfully pushing Merlyn back down on the sand, straddling him before he could sit up again. “Now I’m going to have my wicked way with you.”

Friday, April 25, 2014

23 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

“Where exactly are you taking me?” Merlyn asked as Alan got into the car.

“Some place I think you’ll like. I hope.” He smiled before telling Merlyn to head onto the highway.

“If it’s special to you then I know I will.”

Alan leaned his head back, looking at Merlyn. “You’re very trusting, running off with me after only one meeting.”

“The same applies to you. After all I’m the one driving. I could kidnap you, take you to my hideaway and have my wicked way with you.”

Alan grinned. “Oh, would you. Please.”

“I don’t know. You sound awfully eager.”

“You have no idea.” Alan’s voice turned husky as he leaned over to place a kiss on Merlyn’s cheek. “I hate these things,” he grumbled, banging a fist down on the console that separated them. 

Merlyn chuckled. “If I’d known you planned on doing this I’d have taken my truck when I went shopping instead of the car.”

“You have a truck too? Oh, get off there.”

“Whoa, give me a bit more notice,” Merlyn grumbled as he swerved across two lanes of traffic to make it to the exit. “I think you just aged me a year.”

“Sorry.” Alan looked at him contritely.

“It’s alright.” Merlyn patted his thigh, leaving his hand there as they pulled up to a red light. “Now which way?”

Alan gave him instructions and a few minutes later they were pulling off the road onto an unpaved lane. Ahead of them Merlyn could see the bay, the wind stirring up the water into whitecaps. At Alan’s insistence he stopped just before the trees gave way to a low, rocky cliff. When they got out of the car Merlyn handed Alan the carrier bag with their supper, and then followed as the young man led him down the cliff to a tiny, sandy cove.

“I love this place. No one seems to have found it but me.” Alan put the bag down and then stripped off his T-shirt, that Merlyn suddenly realized was the same one he’d been wearing the night before. “Warm sun, cool breeze, water and solitude. It’s perfect isn’t it?”

“Incredibly so,” Merlyn agree as he watched the play of muscles across Alan’s chest.

“Now you.” Alan didn’t wait for Merlyn to act, instead reaching for the hem of his shirt, swiftly pulling it over his head and tossing it onto the bag. “I knew it,” he said as his eyes raked over Merlyn’s torso in admiration.

Merlyn laughed to cover his embarrassment at Alan’s scrutiny. “So you’re not going to throw me back and go fishing for someone else?”

“Not even,” Alan said very softly as he ran his hands slowly down Merlyn’s arms before gripping his hands, pulling him closer. “You’re a keeper for sure.”

“And you are totally crazy. You could find someone much…”

Merlyn didn’t get a chance to finish his sentence as Alan claimed his mouth with a long, slow kiss.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

22 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

By early evening Merlyn had finished the fourth of his ‘Club’ series of sculptures. Looking at them he felt a sense of accomplishment. They were good, at least in his estimation. He had two more planned and he’d start on one of them tomorrow. Now he needed a break. Taking out his cell he checked for messages, sighing when he saw there weren’t any.

“I guess you changed your mind,” he said under his breath as he pocketed the cell and headed downstairs.

A quick check of his kitchen told him he desperately needed to go shopping so, after changing out of his work clothes into a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, he took off for his favorite grocery store. He was halfway there when he felt his cell vibrate. Hoping against hope he answered.

“See, I told you I’d call.”


“Yes.” There was a soft chuckle before Alan asked, “Are you busy right now?”

“Heading to the grocery store. Would you like to come over for supper?”

There was a brief pause before Alan said, “I promised to show you my special place. If you want.”

“I want. Tell you what, I’ll pick up something for us to eat, that is unless this place is a club or … whatever.”

“It’s not. Are you certain? About the food I mean, because we can picnic there.”

“Absolutely. Do you want me to pick you up?”

“Yes. Umm, do you know where the Athenaeum Library is?”

“You bet. I’ll be there in half an hour or less.”

“I’ll be the one pacing impatiently until you get here.” Alan laughed. “Just in case you’ve forgotten what I look like.”

“Believe me I know exactly what you look like. After all I do have a few sketches of you.”

“And you need them in order to remember me? I think my feelings are hurt.”

“Not at all! I remember you in vivid detail, trust me on that. Okay, I’m at the store. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”

“I’ll be here. Hurry. I miss you.”

“After less than twenty-four hours?” Merlyn asked before realizing Alan had hung up. “I’ve missed you too,” he murmured to the dead phone.

Monday, April 21, 2014

21 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

The detective tapped her lip as she stared at Merlyn. “You see, that’s another problem, he did change his will, about a month before his death. Until then his mother was his sole heir other than a few small bequests, one of which was to you.”

“So you think I influenced him somehow to make me half-heir and then I killed him to get my hands on the money. Wouldn’t that have been rather stupid on my part?”

She nodded. “Exactly what I told my captain. He… ceded the point a bit, but you are still on the top of the list of Mr Weber’s potential killers.”

“Just who else is on the list if I may ask?”

“Your mysterious man who sent Mr Weber the message of course, and the man who will own the gallery once the will is probated. He only made the list because the gallery is worth a fair amount on its own.”

“My money’s on him,” Merlyn muttered morosely. When the detective arched an eyebrow he shook his head. “Just kidding. I don’t think he’d hurt a fly, to say the least of planning and executing a murder.” He crossed the room to stare out the window for a few long moments before turning back to look at her. “So what happens now? Are you here to arrest me?”

“If I were I’d have done that the minute I walked in the door. Honestly, I came by to see what your reaction would be to what I’ve told you. As I said, I didn’t think you were the killer. I still don’t, which means I have to find out who is.”

“And until then I have this hanging over my head and every cop in the city keeping an eye on me to make sure I don’t strike again somewhere.”

She chuckled. “It won’t be that bad I promise you, but yes, your life will be under a microscope. By the way we did find that cab driver and he confirms that he brought you home from the club. Of course that was early enough that you could have taken off again to meet Mr Weber at the gallery and kill him.”

“That’s what I don’t understand. Why was he there in the first place at that hour? Did our mysterious man want something that he kept there and if so, what?

“One possibility is the he was shot when he was leaving, not as he arrived but according to the manager nothing was taken.”

“That he knows of. I’m sure Alton had papers, contracts, what have you and maybe one of them is what the killer was after.”

“A possibility, yes,” she replied after a moment’s consideration. “I think I need to go back and have another word with the manager. Have him check the files.” She started towards the door. “I presume you’ve heard nothing more from your stalker, for lack of a better word?”

“Nope. I’m hoping that was a one-time thing. I just wish I knew what he was trying to tell me.”

“Not to ‘the dark side’ go,” she intoned in a passable imitation of Yoda.

Merlyn snorted softly. “A possibility I suppose. I’m not planning on it, trust me.”

“I hope not,” she replied with a smile as she left, closing the door behind her.

Once she was gone Merlyn collapsed on the sofa as the reality of what she’d told him took over in full force. “Damn it, Alt,” he muttered, “what on earth possessed you to do that?” He sat there for a long while, his mind whirling, wondering what he could possibly do to make things right in his world again. That brought his thoughts to Alan, causing him to smile. At least there was one bright light in his life. If the young man actually called of course. He had promised he would, but then as Merlyn well knew, promises were meant to be broken. With a sigh he got up and headed to the studio. At least there he could work and get his mind off of his problems.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

20 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

“Mr. Knight we need to talk. I’ll be at your place in twenty minutes.”

Merlyn frowned at the tightness in Detective Jonas’ voice. “I’ll be here. Can you tell me what this is about?”

“When I get there.”

After she hung up Merlyn stared at the phone. He’d been about to go upstairs and get to work but that apparently wasn’t going to happen just yet. He noticed he had two voice mails, both from numbers he didn’t recognize. He checked the first one, hoping against hope it was from Alan, sighing when he saw it was a message from a potential customer instead. He supposed they’d gotten his number from the man who managed Alton’s gallery, and that made him wonder once again who would be taking it over. Checking the second voice mail he had a feeling he’d be finding out quite soon. The message was from a lawyer, saying that Alton’s will would go to through probate soon and asking Merlyn to call at his earliest convenience.

Dialing the number the lawyer had left, Merlyn identified himself to the woman who answered and was immediately put through to the lawyer. Five minutes later Merlyn hung up, still not believing what he’d been told. He’d known that Alton was well-to-do but had had no concept of how rich the man really was. The lawyer had told him that Alton’s estate had been split equally between Alton’s mother and Merlyn, other than a few bequests to some friends and employees and the transfer of the gallery’s ownership to the man who had managed it for Alton. The final result was that Merlyn stood to inherit close to a million dollars.

“Unbelievable,” he murmured yet again as he snapped his phone shut. “What the hell am I going to do with that kind of money? And why did you do that Alt? It’s not like I need it.”

The sound of the doorbell broke into his thoughts. When he opened the door he found Detective Jonas standing there. She walked past him into the living room before turning to give him a hard look.

“You didn’t tell me you stood to inherit a fortune from Mr Weber.”

“I didn’t know until just now, but why does that matter?”

“Because, Mr Knight, it gives you a hell of a motive for his murder.”

He looked at her in shock. “You have to be kidding me.”

“I’m not saying I think you killed him, but as my captain pointed out, you’re the one who stands to gain the most from his death other than his mother.”

“Damn it, I don’t need the money. I’m hardly heading to the poorhouse without it, detective. Fell free to check my financial records if you don’t believe me.”

She smiled tightly. “We will. The problem is, as far as my captain sees it, you now have both motive and opportunity. You have no alibi and you’re the only one who knew about the supposed message that Mr Weber got while the two of you were at that club. Well the only one other than Mr Gunther and he’s conveniently dead as well.”

“So I’m supposed to be some sort of mass murderer?” he said angrily. “That’s all I need right now. I just lost the best friend I ever had and you think I killed him for his money. Damn it I didn’t even know about the will and if I had I’d have made him change it.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

19 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

Merlyn collapsed against the railing at one side of the dance floor. “I’m too old for this,” he muttered.

“No you are not!” Alan leaned against the railing looking at him. “You’re not at all. You did very well actually for someone with two left feet.”

Merlyn chuckled quietly. “That bad huh?” 

“Well…” Alan turned his attention to the dance floor. “See that guy over there in the pink tank and slacks. He makes you look like the winner on DWTS.”

“Okay, so maybe I’m not quite as bad as him, and I dress better.”

Alan nodded, eyeing him as he had been on and off for most of the evening. When Merlyn cocked an eyebrow Alan gave a slight shake of his head as he grabbed Merlyn’s hand. “Slow dance. I bet you’re good at those.”

Allowing himself to be pulled back onto the dance floor again, Merlyn froze when Alan put his arms around his neck, swaying against him. For the other dances they’d kept a reasonable distance apart while Alan had taught him the steps and the moves, rarely touching except when Alan had insisted on putting an arm around his waist to guide him through what Merlyn came to think of as a routine.

Unwilling to push Alan away, really unwilling when he realized how nice it felt to have him this close, Merlyn wrapped his arms around Alan’s waist. The music was slow, the tempo almost sensual. They moved with it and, for the first time since the disastrous ending of his relationship with Elliot, Merlyn realized how much he had missed the sensation of having a man in his arms.

Don’t kid yourself, this is nothing more than a bored kid being nice to an old man for the evening. Once it’s over he’ll go home and promptly forget all about me.

As if reading his mind Alan murmured against his ear, “This is the best time I’ve had in forever. I wish the night would never end.”

Merlyn pulled back enough to stare at him in surprise. “You’re not serious.”

“I… I am. But I know it will. End that is. You think I’m too young.”

“I think nothing of the sort. Well, okay maybe a bit. I don’t understand why you’re willing to spend time with me when the room is full of men who are much closer to your age. Men I’m sure would love to have your attention focused on them.”

“But they aren’t you,” Alan replied sincerely, his gazes locking on Merlyn. “I knew the minute I saw you that I wanted you… I mean to get to know you.” He reddened and buried his face in Merlyn’s shoulder.

Merlyn was stunned at that revelation. “Are you serious?” he asked, putting his fingers under Alan’s chin to make him raise his head and look at him.

“Will you laugh if I say I am?”

“Now why would I do that? I’m surprised and honored that you feel that way.” Merlyn winced. “That’s a very ‘old man’ kind of statement isn’t it?”

“Only if you’re trying to placate me.” Alan toyed with Merlyn’s beard, twisting a short strand of it between his fingers. “Otherwise I’ll take it the way you meant it.” He tugged slightly and Merlyn leaned in until their lips met. Alan kissed him, sighing softly when Merlyn returned it. 

“I would love to take you home with me,” Merlyn murmured a few minutes later. His arms were wrapped around Alan as they stood on the club’s patio looking out across the bay.

Alan turned his head slightly to look at Merlyn, replying softly. “I wish I could.”

“Oh. Well, it was just a thought.”

Turning completely around in Merlyn’s arms Alan shook his head. “It’s not what you’re thinking. I honestly wish I could but I can’t. I have someplace I have to be soon. And, before you ask I don’t have anyone else in my life. It’s just... it’s complicated. I work for an older man, and I mean much older. He let’s me take time off for myself sometimes, but in return he expects me to be back at a certain time.”

Merlyn nodded. “So you’re his live-in caregiver or some such.”

“More like a servant. But that’s all I am.” He sighed, resting his head against Merlyn’s. “Maybe, if you want, I can arrange some time off again soon and we can meet somewhere?”

Grasping at that suggestion Merlyn smiled, kissing his temple. “Somewhere where I can do the drawing I promised you. My place or… wherever you’d feel comfortable.”

“I know the perfect spot! Only I won’t tell you. I want it to be a surprise.”

Merlyn almost laughed. Alan was practically bouncing in anticipation. “Here, let me give you my number. You can call any time. It’s not as if I’m locked into a schedule that can’t be changed.”

“Unlike me.” Alan smiled when Merlyn wrote the number on the back of one of the sketches he done of him before handing it to him. He tucked it very carefully into the pocket of his jacket. “I guess we should be leaving now. I think they’re closing and I do have to get back.”

“Do you need a lift?”

“No. I have my own transportation but thank you.” Alan tangled his fingers in Merlyn’s beard. “I like this,” he said with a grin. “You can’t get away until I kiss you.”

“As if I’d want to.”

Cupping the back of Alan’s head Merlyn took control, kissing Alan hard, almost desperately. When the young man opened to him, he ravaged his mouth, savoring the taste and feel of him. Alan responded with equal fervor, dropping his hands to Merlyn’s back and then his ass, melding their bodies. Merlyn’s cock hardened and he felt Alan’s pressing against his crotch. He wanted nothing more than to fall to his knees right then and there, to free it, taste it, devour it. 

Alan broke away, groaning. “I have to go,” he said hoarsely. “But next time…” After giving Merlyn one more desperate, hungry kiss he strode quickly away, stopping at the door just long enough to say, “Next time, I promise.” Then he was gone.

Monday, April 14, 2014

18 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

With his meal a thing of recent history, Merlyn leaned back in his chair, putting one foot on the vacant seat next to him as he enjoyed the Irish coffee he’d ordered. A warm breeze smelling of the ocean, combined with a clear view of the bay on one side and the interior of the club on the other, had him more relaxed than he had been in he didn’t remember how long.

Closing his eyes he let the music wash over him, tapping his foot in time its beat.

“It’s a wonderful evening for… anything.” Merlyn’s opened his eyes slowly. The man standing beside him smiled. “It is you know. An evening ripe with possibilities.”

It was the same young man Merlyn had admired earlier on the dance floor. His dark, sun-streaked hair was moist with perspiration and his tight T-shirt clung to well-defined muscles. Again Merlyn had the vague feeling he had seen him somewhere before. Possibly, he thought, at the dance club he and Alton had visited a few weeks ago. A shadow crossed his face at that thought.

“If I’m bothering you I’ll leave,” the young man said with a tinge of lost hope.

Shaking off the brief flash of melancholy Merlyn said, “No, stay.” Taking his foot off the chair he nodded for the young man to sit.

When he had, draping the jacket he’d had slung over his shoulder onto the back of the chair, he introduced himself. “I’m Alan. Well actually Ailín, if you want to get technical, but everyone calls me Alan.”

Ailín? It sounds Irish. I’m Merlyn.”

“Irish-Gaelic. A family name I’ve been told from eons ago.” He glanced into the club for a moment before saying, “Merlin, like the magician?”

“Yes, but with a ‘y’ not an ‘i’. My mother wanted me to be different from the rest of the herd so to speak.” Merlyn chuckled. “She got her wish in spades.”

“I like it, it makes you sound mystical.” Alan leaned back, a grin lighting his face. “So, the usual pick-up line, what brings you to a place like this?”

“The food mostly, I was starving and wanted to get out of the house. You on the other hand don’t have to tell me why you’re here, you like to dance.”

Alan’s grin widened. “Big time. Don’t you?”

Merlyn shrugged. “I’m not terribly good at it so I watch and enjoy and sketch if I find a worthy subject.”

“You’re an artist?”

“I’m a sculptor,” Merlyn replied in answer to Alan’s question. “I work mainly in marble, thought sometimes I do smaller pieces in clay.”

“This sounds conceited but did you do any sketches of me?” Alan looked both hopeful and shy when he asked.

“A couple.” Taking the pad from his pocket Merlyn showed the young man what he’d drawn.

“You’re good!”

“I had a good subject.”

“Could you… do you..?” Alan’s face reddened. “I’m being pushy, I’m sorry. We don’t even know each other.”

Merlyn smiled in amusement. “Take it from an old man, you’ll never get what you want if you don’t ask.”

“You’re not old. Maybe,” Alan studied him, “twenty-nine, thirty?”

“Not a bad guess for a kid.”

“I’ll have you know I’m twenty-four and counting, thank you very much.”

“As I said, a kid.” Merlyn patted Alan’s thigh without thinking and quickly pulled his hand back. “So what was you were trying to ask me?”

“Nothing. It was just a silly idea.”

“Alan,” Merlyn said sternly, “spit it out.”

“Okay, do you ever use models or do you just work from sketches?” The words came tumbling out in a rush.

“From sketches and imagination. After all I don’t think anyone would want to pose for days or weeks at a time while I tried to capture their image in a huge block of marble.”

“But you’d draw me if you thought I’d make a good subject?”

“I have already.” Merlyn tapped the sketchpad.

“Oh, yeah. Could you do a full drawing of me, not just a sketch? I’ll pay you for it.”

Merlyn looked at him and laughed. “Alan you probably couldn’t afford my prices but,” he continued when the young man’s face fell, “I’ll make you a deal. We go inside and you teach me to dance, or try to because I have two left feet, and I’ll do a full-blown drawing in exchange.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Just a brief note:

As some of you may know, Silver Publishing has closed. 

I have my rights back to all my books that were there. Slowly but surely I plan on trying to find new homes for at least some of them. Of course, being me, I will also continue writing, and submitting... somewhere. I promise to keep you updated. 

Thank you to everyone who has been kind enough to read at least a few of them. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

17 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

Okay, I’m officially going over the edge  It was the third time in the last hour that Merlyn thought that. This time, he spun around because he felt as if someone was watching him. The lights in the studio were all blazing, leaving no corner unlit, so he could see he was alone and yet the feeling persisted. That’s it; I need to get out of here.

After wrapping and storing the clay piece he was working on and cleaning up, he turned off the studio lights. As he left the room he again had the feeling of being observed. A quick check of the short hall and the stairs revealed nothing, so, closing the door behind him he headed down to his bedroom. By the time he got there he’d managed to shake the feeling.

I’m spooked because of the roses and Alt’s murder, that’s all there is to it. I’m letting my imagination run wild.

After showering he stood in the middle of the bedroom trying to decide what he wanted to do. He could take the simple route and just go out to dinner he supposed, or he could really get his mind off of things and hit up a club. Then again he could combine the two. There was one club he and Alton had gone to a couple of years ago where the food was edible and the music almost bearable. He could find a dark corner, sit back and try to let go of some of the tensions that had been plaguing him for the last couple of weeks. Then he could come back home and actually get some decent work done on his ‘Club’ series of sculptures.

With that decided he got dressed, eschewing the leather pants in favor of a pair of nice dress slacks and a soft cotton shirt. After pulling his hair back into the pewter clasp that Alton had given him years ago, he checked the full-length mirror on the closet door. He passed muster he decided so he gathered up his keys and wallet and left, making certain the security alarm was on.

Fifteen minutes later he’d parked his car and was entering the club. Dim lighting and danceable, decent music greeted him as he strolled towards the bar. He planned on getting a drink first and then finding a table, maybe one on the patio balcony overlooking the bay as the evening promised to stay warm. From there he could watch the men dancing and still remain separated from the crowd.

The bartender greeted him like a long lost friend. Merlyn found that amusing as it had been over two years since he’d last been here. Once he had his whiskey sour in hand he turned to watch the dance floor. Most of the men were paired off but there were, as always, a few who danced alone just for the enjoyment of it or to show off in hopes of catching someone’s eye. Putting his drink down, Merlyn took out his ever-present pad and did a few quick sketches. One man especially caught his attention. Young, well built, and for some reason vaguely familiar, the man danced with reckless abandon, obviously caught up in the music. After dashing off several sketches of him Merlyn closed the pad, pocketed it, picked up his drink and went in search of a free table so that he could eat in peace and relative quiet.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

16 - There dwells a spirit, waiting to be released

“You’re positive you don’t recognize the handwriting?” Detective Jonas said as she carefully inserted the note into a clear plastic evidence envelope.

“Positive.” Merlyn looked up at her from his seat on the sofa.

“And there’s no way someone could have gotten inside to deliver it and the flowers?”

“Isn’t that what your people are checking?” he replied somewhat acerbically.

“Yes.” She looked over as one of the policemen came into the room.

“The house is sealed tighter than a drum,” he told her. “And the alarm system is in working condition.”

“That’s not possible,” Merlyn growled.

“I’m sorry, sir, but possible or not it’s the truth. Unless you gave someone a key to the house, and security code, no one could have gotten in here.”

“Does anyone have those?” the detective asked as she sat down at the other end of the sofa.

“Only Alton and I don’t think he counts,” he replied tightly, staring down at his hands. “Oh, and the cleaning service but somehow I doubt one of their people did this.”

“What about the man you were involved with? Elliot?”

“Elliot, yes. And no, I changed the locks and the code three times since he left. I’m hardly likely to have kept things the same no matter what. I’m not an idiot.” His voice rose in anger.

“Calm down, I was just making certain.”

“I know. Sorry. I’m just a bit on edge here. Did Alton have his keys when you… when he was found?”

“He did, but it might be worth you’re taking a look at them to see if yours is still on the keyring.”

Merlyn nodded. “Even if it is that still doesn’t explain the security system being on. I guess a clever thief would know how to bypass it, but nothing was taken. It was just those left here.” He gestured towards the wilting roses.

“Those plus the contents of the note are worrying.”

“Worrying? The whole thing is down right scary if you ask me. I don’t like being threatened no matter what the reason, and this smacks of it. Although I suppose I could think positive. Whoever left the roses didn’t try to kill me, and god knows that would have been easy enough.”

“As a cop I shouldn’t even be asking this, but do you have a gun or some other weapon here for protection?”

“Sure, I have a dozen of them scattered around the house,” Merlyn replied sarcastically. “Detective, I don’t even know how to use one. Damn. I’m an artist, not a thug.”

“I understand. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do unless there’s more than just a veiled threat. I suggest you keep your phone with you at all times, double check that the security system is on, and if you even suspect something’s not right, call 911.”

“Serve and protect huh? Well if that’s the best you can suggest then…” Merlyn sighed. “Sorry, that was uncalled for. You will let me know if you find out anything from the note I hope.”

“Of course.” She patted his shoulder before heading to the door. “And I’m serious. If you even think something is off kilter you’re to call. Until we find Mr Weber’s killer, you’re not to take any chances.”

“I won’t. I promise.”