The Smithiton Murder is the absolute truth! They are coming. They are coming. I see them. Five assassins…Morlocks!
I fled the scene of the crime and walked all the way back to the moldering docks out of fear the security cameras in the tube stations might pick me up. Then I realized the security cameras of the lobby probably picked me up anyway. I might as well have ridden the trains. My bad foot ached horribly. I slithered into the moldering warehouse. It was dusk. The golden light of dying day hit one rotting wall. It was papered by moldering old advertising of Astel Era products. Brilliantine hair oil. Damascus rugs. Miracle snake oil. Morphine Tonic. I could use some of that to numb my nerves. Antiquated bicycles. Cocaine eye drops. I could use some of that. I have not eaten since morning. Indian muslin. Chinese silk. Laudanum. I could use some of that for my aching foot. The fading light moves as if a spot light along the rotting wall as the sun sinks into the harbor. Different faded advertising appears. The latest kitchen range. Spices. Thingamabobs such as Victorians adored. An ad to attend the wonders of miracle electricity. There is an ad for Wellus House. ‘We only use the very finest ingredients for our weapons of mass destruction.’ As Wellus House is not famous for either humor or irony I can only assume the ad was sincerely meant with pride. Someone at some point pasted an ad for Smith & Weston over it. A competitor for weapons of mass destruction.
I hug my laptop to my chest as I walk up to the moldering advertising of a bygone age. There is another ad for Wellus House. It was a wanted ad for any information about the whereabouts of the most wanted Guttersnipes. Someone had defaced it with the scribble ‘We know who you really are. We know what you really are. Should we tell the world? You are betting no one will believe us. We are desperate enough to tell the truth anyway.’
‘I know who you really are’ a voice rang out. I jump and turn around cringing only to see a homeless man on the stairs. He is swigging from a bottle of whiskey. ‘I know who you really are’ he said again. I realize he is just reading the graffiti left by a desperate Guttersnipe. ‘They died here you know’ the crazy old man said.
‘Who?’ I asked.
‘The Guttersnipes. This is the warehouse where they died you know. See the bullet holes?’ He gestured to another rotting wall where I see a hail of golden light of the sunset streaming through bullet holes. I hug my laptop to my chest. ‘See the dark stains. That is the blood. Go on! Go stand over there!’ the crazy old man said. Dazed, I dutifully go and stand with my back to the bullet riddled wall in the dark stains left by dead bodies as the crazy homeless man stood on the other side of the warehouse and mimed shooting me.
‘I thought it was spontaneous combustion?’ I asked
‘A lot of the goons just had guns so everyone shot everything at everyone’ the crazy old man said. ‘The fire of the poor bastards hit by spontaneous combustion set the others on fire. See the burn marks?’ I looked down to see strange ghostly silhouettes of burned shapes like bodies. I look at the crazy man as if I am about to die. Then he laughs. ‘Come up to my digs sunny boy. You look like you are about to faint.’
He leads the way up rotting wooden stairs to a decayed office. ‘This is where the supervisor of the warehouse used to work’ he explained. It was now his nest. Broken windows were tapped over with cardboard. Fallen file cabinets were tumbled down. There were piles of moldering files all over part of the rotting floor. The old man gestured to the far corner where he had his smelly old mattress along with salvaged water bottles, tin cans of salvaged food, dumpster diving loot of dubious edibleness, and a safety lantern. He lit the lantern and hung it back on the wall. Then he gestured for me to enjoy his penthouse among the ants.
I pull over a rotting chair and sit down and hug my laptop to my chest. The crazy old geezer laughs and reclines on his smelly mattress as if a demigod. Instead of a power suit he wears a smelly old overcoat. Instead of Italian shoes he wears salvaged trainers with holes in the rubber soles. Instead of a Rolex he wears a broken kiddie bracket found while dumpster diving. He grins at me as he scratches his dirty beard. He gestures with his whisky and I take a swig and pass it back to him. He grins and drinks deeply. ‘This was the last headquarters of the Guttersnipes’ he explains as he waves one dirty hand.
‘Have you searched for the lost photograph?’ I asked.
‘What? Who cares. I burn the papers to keep warm. But …..if you are interested in foraging I think the Guttersnipes used that fallen floorboard over there.’ He waves one hand nonchalantly. I hesitate but then I leave the laptop half way across the wreaked room and tug at rotting floorboards. I reach down and pull up moldering bits and pieces of junk. But nothing looks like something left by the Guttersnipes. ‘Over there sunny boy!’ the crazy man laughs. By the wall. I pull up another rotting floorboard and feel among rotting debris.
‘I don’t want to be bitten by a spider!’ I protest.
‘Go on!’ the old man laughed. ‘Anything inside there died a long time ago!’
I keep feeling around like a fool just to prove how brave I am. I am just about to give up when I feel something wrapped on oil cloth. I pull it out. It is old oil cloth tied with moldering twine. I yank off the twine and unwrap the oil cloth. Inside is more oil cloth. I unwrap that. Inside is foil. I carefully peal away the foil. Inside is an old newspaper reporting the Smithiton Massacre. I unwrap two pieces of metal. I turn them over. They are tintypes. The chemicals on the tin has turned. The images were spooky. Unreal. One tintype was of the back of a man’s head. Hair. Some tiny hole. The other tintype is of a face of a man who died violently. Blood pouring out of his mouth. Eyes blown out. The entire top and front of his forehead blown off. The brains tumbling out as if spilling out of a can of beans.
I throw up. Then I shove the foil back over the 1870 photographs of the execution of Smithiton Junior. I shove the mess back inside the oilcloth. I grab my laptop and stand up shaking. Then I sit down and shake. ‘What do I do?’
‘Hell’ the crazy old guy laughs. ‘Who cares?’
‘These are the execution photos of Smithiton Junior!’ I cried. ‘The Guttersnipes were going to turn these over to King Astel to bust Wellus House! What do I do? What should I do?’
‘Hell should I know?’ the crazy old man laughed as he drank his cheap whisky. ‘Why not do what the Guttersnipes were going to do? Bust Wellus House?’
‘How?’ I whispered. But then I check my battery. It was dying fast! I opened my laptop and opened my secret blog. I finish the entries. I type this entry. Then I pull out my iphone and photograph the grisly photographs. I download the iphone to Google and also to my computer. I attach the images to my secret blog. I scan the blog one last time. Everything is here. My favorite advertising. My favorite propaganda. The deal with my boss to infiltrate the Punk Patriots. My expose of the Punk Patriots. My emails to sabotage their propaganda. My exploitation of social media to sell a product called treason for Wellus House. My murders. The last words my boss said before I pushed him off the balcony. Everything. Then I edit out the worse part of the expose of the Punk Patriots. I hit the post button. The blog goes live on WordPress. Then I check my emails. I see one. ‘We know where you are’. I shut off mythic laptop and shove the laptop and the tintypes into the hands of the crazy man. I give him my wallet. Take this to Mr. Pelley at the Havens Telegraph! Now! Please! I beg you! No! Wait!’
We hear noises and turn. There is someone pounding down the warehouse door I had wedged shut. I turn back to the crazy man. ‘Please hid here! They don’t know you are here! They are looking for me! I will distract them! Then take this to the reporter at the Havens Telegraph! Please! Please! Otherwise, no one will believe the blog! This is the hard evidence! Please! Please!’
‘I don’t want to get into trouble!’ the old man cried. He is as scared as I am. I shove the laptop into his shaking hands.
‘I am climbing down the rickety stairs as I hear the sliding door being smashed’ I text on my iphone. ‘The killers are making a lot of noise’ I text as I bash the bottom steps of the rotting stairs to make it appear there was no way up to any place to hide. ‘There is nowhere to hide’ I text as I run to the other side of the empty warehouse. ‘I realize I am standing where the Guttersnipes died. Shot by the goons of Wellus House. The blood stains and burn stains prove they used a weapon that kills by spontaneous combustion’ I text furiously. ‘Google the Wellus House Londinium Robbery by Sikes’ I text furiously. ‘The warehouse is ghostly. Dark. Dank. My killers are busting in. I am using my iphone to text this as the sliding door is smashed open. The door is open now. I smell the night air filling the warehouse. I hear the thugs walking toward me now. They must be from Wellus House. They can see in the dark. They must be the e-amail that said ‘We know where you are’. They must have followed my laptop. But I threw my laptop into the water. So they will never get the evidence they want. If anyone can read this text please know what I have just posted on my blog and Google that the Smithiton Murder is the absolute truth! They are coming. They are coming. I see them. Five assassins. Strange men. Bizarre white hair. Albino almost. Spidery hands. Dark goggles. Gas masks. ‘Grade Two Security’ is pinned to their uniforms. They must be from Wellus House. They are walking across the warehouse toward me. I see one of my killers holding a strange weapon. Some sort of ray gun. He is pointing it at me. You have to believe me. Wellus House is the front for Morloc—————