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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.


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. 

44 comments:

THE BEATY said...

nice great mystery

Star said...

I've just read this and enjoyed it very much. It is amazingly similar to my piece. We are both on the same track.
Star

Catalyst said...

Thanks, Beaty!

Star - And I've read yours and yes we were!

Book Dilettante said...

Montclair is a magician who left his stick and without it cannot get back to Planet Earth! Your piece has my mind working....

Harvee
Thisandthat

Everyday Goddess said...

I love a mystery!

Catalyst said...

Hmm, Harvee, Montclair the Magician...you might have something there.

Goddess - Obviously I guess I do too!

willow said...

Ooo, this has a kind of Gaslight/Dr. Jekyll feel to it, Mr. C. Gave me the willies!

Catalyst said...

Ohh, good!

Kuyerjudd said...

This gave me the goose bumps! Amazing read, Catalyst. Your Mr. Montclair will probably remain in my head for a few days to haunt my dreams with your story. I love it when stories do that.

chiccoreal said...

Very Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-ish! I love murder mysteries, a la Agatha Christie, etc. The Brits certainly usually find their man but not Montclair...? I particularly love the attention to details like the Trilby hat, the cape and St. Elys. (must look these up!). The disappearance remains a mystery forevermore...until the next sequel? (better than Hercules Poirot!). Definitely felt "I was there". Thank-you Cataylst!

christine said...

I thought this a bit sad, he had lived his life in a room and then just his stick was left... poor man! Such an empty life.. good story

Christine

Brian Miller said...

oh i like this one very much...perhaps the magician caught the wrong end of one of his spells...is that brimstone i smell...smiles. nice magpie!

Steve said...

Excellent read. Good on you.

Catalyst said...

Kuyerjudd, chiccoreal, Christine, Brian, Steve - Thank you all! Glad you liked it.

steviewren said...

Such a dashing clue to leave behind for such a mysterious character. He could have been anyone...a opera singer, a famous actor in need of a few incognito weeks or maybe a vampire who decided to move on before he's caught.

Catalyst said...

Steviewren - And we'll never know, will we? ;^{>

Suz said...

Oh how mysterious and good
I "knew" this to be a vampire who must have met his fate of a stake through the heart...
but then again I thought..maybe he lives in the cane and she has no idea why she is so anemic!
good fun good story good read!!

Catalyst said...

Oh, Suz, I like that idea of Montclair living in the cane! Thanks for seeing that!

Lisa said...

Of course, I think vampire immediately.....I have been swept up by the vampire craze. I like the other suggestion that he was victim to his own magic.

See how we can all look at this differently! :)

Great approach.

Catalyst said...

Lisa - Thanks for your comment. I am fascinated by all the interpretations of something I wrote with no idea of what I was thinking!

Lyn said...

Sounds a bit like a vampire I once knew..he too came from a different era..not like the teenage vampires of today!

Jingle said...

got it by unknown reason,
never be able to find its owner,
you leave us thinking and wondering!

excellent magpie!

Catalyst said...

Lyn - I have studiously avoided the "Twilight" fad, though it's author lives less than 80 miles from me, so I really know nothing of these new pretenders to Dracula's throne!

Jingle - I think I was secretly looking for help from all of you to finish my story! But thanks!

Tumblewords: said...

Love an 'unsolved mystery'! Lots to ponder.

Catalyst said...

Thanks, TW!

joanny said...

I feel like I just entered Twilight zone with Sherlock Holmes -- looking for the capped magician.

A delightful read set my imagination working overtime.

Joanny

Catalyst said...

Joanny - I think that's what it was intended to do! Thanks.

Jennifer Morrison said...

Cat you've got me thinking up all kinds of scenarios about the mysterious fella! Great job - what a mood you created. There's got to be something about that cane left behind...

Catalyst said...

Jennifer - If anyone could finish the story, it would be you! Thanks for stopping by.

Jingle said...

http://jingleyanqiu.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/magpie-tale-the-magical-wish/

here is mine,
thank you in advance for reading it.
Happy Tuesday!

Jingle said...

http://itistimetothinkformyself.blogspot.com/2010/04/awards-are-given-to-jingle-by-kathy.html

awards at a different place, thank you for the encouragement.

rel said...

Catalyst,
Oh how fun it is to craft mystery in our heads and share it with an audience. I like it even more when the mystery's solution makes it self know to the writer and they then share it with us.
All this to say; nice job.
rel

sheri... said...

a wonderful magpie tale, sir! i was left aching when i reached the end of the story, wishing someone knew where this secretive man had gone!
thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment for me, awfully nice to see a new face!

Catalyst said...

rel - Oh how I wish I did know the solution to this one. It wrote itself and left me as curious as before.

Sheri - Oh, please, not "sir" but I do answer to Cat-A or Cat or Mr. Cat! Thanks for reading it and your kind comment.

~T~ said...

Intriguing!

Catalyst said...

~T~ Merci!

Anonymous said...

Fascinating. You are really good at intrigue... I look forward to your novel :)

Peter Goulding said...

He was walking down to the all-night grocery store when he was reduced to fine particles of sand by a meteorite catching him full on the head?

little hat said...

It's not your three score and ten alter ego is it? Quietly slipping into another dimension where anything is possible. I don't know what I'm talking about but then again .....

Catalyst said...

Dawn - Thank you but I think the little short vignettes are all I'm capable of.

Peter - Could be, could be!

Little Hat - This also could be!

The Bug said...

I've been accidentally surrounded by vampires lately (in BOOKS - not in real life LOL) so of course that's the first thing I thought. I like Suz's idea a lot!

Catalyst said...

Bug - We can always count on Suz for a unique solution!

Meggie said...

Oh So Excellent! Love this.

Catalyst said...

Meggie - I'm gladl!