Wednesday, January 23, 2019

This Seems Familiar by Francesca Quatro

 "It wasn't good enough that he worshiped her from afar.  Herbert Grayson's desire for Clementine Hurley, reached a fever pitch, leaving him in a state, incompatible with performing everyday life.  So, as often occurs in crimes of passion, he allowed his fantasies to push aside all rational thought and acted like a mad man.

As the Chief Detective Inspector on this most unusual case, it fell to me to unravel the mysterious disappearance of the obsessed, Herbert Grayson.  And, I had to do it before the case exploded publicly, with the supernatural-claptrap surrounding it from the beginning.

For the sake of brevity in this interview, I'll give you the bare-bones of the case."

CDI Remington cleared his throat, stroking either side of his impressive black mustache, as if it was some kind of talisman.  A stern look came over his face, its normally flaccid cheeks, pulled down further, into a deep frown. 
For a man in his late-forties, Remington had the look of a sixty-year-old, retired banker. His great bulk nearly over-flowed the groaning wing chair, as he rearranged himself for his monologue.  His only audience, the reporter from the Daily Gazette, sat behind his desk, pen at the ready.

"Herbert Grayson was unknown to Clementine Hurley, according to her solicitor, though they lived in flats situated directly across from one another.  She is described as a quiet girl of twenty-two and seemingly, has no living family.  Her only companion according to residents of the other six flats in the building, is a large black cat, she keeps without the landlord's knowledge.  Her closest neighbor, a woman named Bette, said Clementine had called the feline, her 'familiar', though she never explained to Bette, what that meant.
Supposedly unbeknown to Clementine, the flat almost directly across from hers, was occupied by a man consumed with lascivious thoughts and unrequited desire for her.  An often deadly combination."

The CDI puffed up with this piece of insight, shared with the bland young reporter taking down his words.  This case already had a long-enough, press-life, according to his Editor, but the young man felt there was something missing here, beside the missing weirdo, Herbert Grayson.

"Herbert Grayson tried everything to capture the lovely Clementine's attention, going so far once, of blocking her way in the hallway.   Witnessed by the vigilant, Bette.  She told me, this attempt earned him a swift kick to the groin, leaving him mewling on the floor.  After all, to Clementine, he was a stranger trying to accost her, and she'd have none of it!

Herbert, naturally knew of the presence of the large, black, feline and began plotting ways he might use Clementine's beloved pet to demonstrate his adoration of her.  Kidnapping the cat was the obvious result of his scheming. 
According to Clementine's Solicitor, the devious scoundrel, Herbert Grayson, broke into the girl's flat during her absence, snatching the cat and returning to his own flat, he waited for her return.

His plan, of course, was to miraculously rescue the kitty for his lovely owner and thereby become her hero.  The plan went well.  The ever-watching neighbor, Bette, testified that she spotted Herbert exiting Clementine's flat with a heavy towel wrapped around something large and squirming.  He went directly to his own flat."

The reporter looked up from his notes and asked, "If Herbert was holding the cat, seeking Clementine's gratitude and attention, why do you think he disappeared after getting what he wanted?"

"Oh, he got what he wanted, alright!  Bette testified Clementine went directly to his door, banging with the flat of her hand and screaming, "You've taken him!  I feel him in there with you!"

Herbert opened the door and Bette and two others, testified Clementine rushed in, only to find the heavy towel had gotten wrapped around the cat's head so tightly, he suffocated.  According to other witnesses from the other flats, Clementine's screams were like the sounds coming from Bedlam on visiting day.

The door to Herbert's flat was thrown shut and everyone in the hallway waited with baited breath after the screams stopped.

When the police arrived, called by the every-present Bette, they found Herbert's flat torn to shreds as if a hurricane had ripped through.  Herbert was nowhere to be found, however, and not one of his neighbors saw him exit."

The reporter asked, "Well, what did they find?"

"A towel laying, on his daybed.  Clementine was the last person to see him and was charged with his disappearance and possible murder.  Well, you've already reported that all charges were dismissed, due to lack of evidence and, well, body!

But I did make one peculiar finding, but it only sparked speculation of paranormal happenings surrounding the case of the missing man."

"What was that?" the reporter saw the CDI's face pale, when he answered.
"When I last interviewed Clementine Hurley in her flat, a large black cat wandered out of the bedroom and jumped into her lap.  They both seemed quite content with one another's company."


Nightingale said...

A very nice post, Francesca.

Diane Burton said...

As always, a unique story.