The only clue was a black wooden walking stick, capped with silver. There was engraving of some kind in the silver but it was impossible to determine what it said or what it meant. The stick had been left leaning against the the white-washed wall of the room. There was nothing else.
Montclair had lived in this room since arriving in St. Elys three weeks prior to his disappearance. He never left it in the daylight, only slipped out in the dark of night wearing a black trilby hat which matched in color the cape he also wore. No one really saw him leave or knew where he went. He was just a ghostly shadow passing by. Wherever he traveled, he was always back in his room by morning light.
His meals were left on a tray outside the door to his room and though no one saw him open the door, the empty and soiled dishes appeared back in the same place some time later.
This went on for three weeks. Then the food dishes weren’t picked up one day. The landlady knocked repeatedly on the door and called Mr. Montclair’s name but there was no answer. Finally, after calling the town constable to her establishment, the two of them unlocked the door and cautiously entered.
There was nothing. No sign that anyone had ever been living in the room. The only sign of anything out of the ordinary was that silver-capped walking stick leaning against one wall. Montclair was gone. With the exception of the walking stick he left behind it was as if he had never existed, never been there.
The landlady has kept the walking stick, waiting for its owner to return or to write or to call, asking for it. But all these years later, the request has never come. And the man in the cape and the hat known only as Montclair remains a mystery to this day.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
A Magpie Mystery
Magpie Tales are created by writers from around the world after viewing a weekly photo prompt posted by Willow. This is number eleven in the series. After reading and contemplating it, you can find links to view other submissions at Magpie Tales. And now to the mystery.