It’s late. I’ve redone it three times, and honestly, I’m still not satisfied. It could be funnier. I left some loose ends. I’m not sure I covered all my bases. It’s also about 300 words longer than the other segments. *sigh*
But a challenge is a challenge.
And Now, I present the conclusion to Murder Most Fowl, an unedited serial story from the unpublished Cera Chronicles. Please excuse the grammar mistakes. This hasn’t been critiqued yet. If you’re just diving into this story, you may want to start with part A.
Zeppelins clouded the sunset sky, like a swarm of bees on a honeycomb. Turbines hummed and buzzed, and swollen bodies bobbed and floated, surprisingly without crashing into each other.
I focused on them instead of the dagger digging the bullet from my shoulder. “You cleaned that thing, right?”
Seth gave a single-shoulder shrug and twisted the blade for a better angle. Ow. And Ew. Not that the germs would hurt me any more than the knife. He extracted the metal slug, and dropped it in Michael’s upturned palm.
We had climbed out of the cavern and now sat in what remained of Graverock. Bits of the town hall were strewn between the bodies of pirates unlucky enough to have crossed paths with Seth and Fues. Townspeople peeked out from windows of the still-standing buildings.
Undertaker Coleman strutted out from one of the shops, his jowls jiggling with each heavy-footed step. He tucked his thumbs into his waistband and looked us over. “Somethin’ tells me you ain’t the marshals.”
I raised an eyebrow and scanned the fallen pirates. “Do you still need the marshals?” I wouldn’t be surprised if the marshals were already dead, given the mortality rate of law enforcement on this world.
Coleman pursed his lips and studied Molly and Joe. “Someone needs to take care of the scoundrels.”
Molly jutted her chin. “I ain’t a scoundrel.” The turducken on her shoulder nodded in avid agreement.
Coleman shook his head. “Don’t know that I can trust the words of a murder.”
Michael cleared his throat. “Then trust the map.” He held it out to demonstrate his point. “This map has some peculiar markings on it. You see this here? I believe these are initials, one set belonging to Deputy Fischer, and the other to Graverock’s former sheriff. They were likely in agreement to share the treasure once it was found. Perry discovered this plan, shot and killed the sheriff—taking his key and framing her husband for the murder—and then pursued killing the deputy to acquire his items. She did not foresee that the deputy had already hid the map and key with his wife for safekeeping, and thus needed to hunt down Molly to achieve her goals. Perry is your real culprit, and we happen to have her bound and gagged right here.” He waved to the cowgirl, who was being held at gunpoint by her husband.
Ah, young love… Maybe they’d reconcile their relationship before Perry’s hanging.
Joe cocked the shotgun.
Or maybe not.
Coleman stared at Michael. “Sounds a bit far fetched to me.”
“Or maybe,” Michael said. “This documents an ancient race of talking birds who fabricated an elaborate ruse to use their supernatural power to take over this world. These scratch-marks are unclear.”
The turducken’s gaze shifted back and forth.
Either way, there was still a treasure underground. I brightened. “That means the treasure belongs to Molly, right?” Cha-ching!
Coleman straightened and scrutinized Molly. “So I hear you’re in the need for a new husband…”
She rolled her eyes and turned her back on him. “Cera, I’d like to help you find your last companion. And now it seems I’ve got the riches to do just that.”
Seth frowned. “Who are we missing?”
“Rin,” I said.
He looked at my stalker, who sat perched on a pilfered gold statue from the cavern. The two birds looked strikingly similar. I looked down at the scratch marks in the dirt just at the statue’s base.
It read: I am Rin.
Being a full-blood elemental, certain worlds sometimes had an effect on Rin–e.g. it transformed him into a non-humanoid shape. We’d have to leave this world for him to change back to his normal form.
I jabbed Rin in his fowl chest. “You could’ve told me who you were.” I felt a bit bad about how many times he’d been “killed”.
He squawked and muttered in a far-too-animated fashion for his usual disposition. No wonder I didn’t recognize him. Rin’s only personality was the lack thereof.
“I think I like you better as a bird.” I yanked one of his tail feathers free. “Hey Michael, want a new quill?”
Rin squawked indignantly. Any world that turned him into something else meant we couldn’t test whatever cure we happened upon, because it might have a different reaction on our home world. No point in wasting any more time here.
Of course, there was one more detail I needed to take care of.
Molly eyed me. “I guess this is goodbye?”
I patted her on the head. “Yes, yes, I know. You’ll miss me, and you’ll never forget me.” I studied her knee-high leather boots. “Tell me, kid, what size shoe do you wear?”
Thanks for reading! If you want to start at the beginning, find it here. Don’t forget to visit other bloggers participating in the A to Z Challenge.
Do you have any criticism? Suggestions? Wild, off-the-wall ideas of “you know what would be funny…?” Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear them.