With a sigh, Bookworm Hienrichs sat down at the desk in Militia Headquarters, and pulled pen and paper to her. This was not going to be an easy report to write.
The evening started with an explosion across the canal from my residence. I rushed out to discover that the site of the satellite store of Grim Bros. was a smoking, flaming pile of wreckage. Grabbing my firefighting equipment, I rushed to the site, and spent the next few hours fighting the very stubborn blaze. The proprietress informed me that there had been an “unfortunate laboratory accident,” but that no one had been injured in the explosion.
I had finally brought the fire down to a manageable level, and was ready to stand by to watch for flare-ups, when my attention was called to another plume of smoke nearby. Running to that site, I discovered the residence of Miss Queer Hermit was fully ablaze, and evidently had been for some time. It is unfortunate that the larger fire at the Grim Bros. site prevented us from discovering this one.
This fire was easier to deal with, as most of the material that could burn had already burned. I was, however, very concerned about the absence of Miss Hermit from the scene, and began searching the rubble as soon as I possibly could. Unfortunately, the search yielded signs that Miss Hermit had been inside, and had perished in the fire. I gathered what remains I could find, and have interred them in the grave site where the unknown Asian man had been buried this winter, as his body has been removed to be shipped to Japan.
Though I will investigate further, this second fire appears to have been a very unfortunate accident; there are no signs of any unknown person having set this fire to harm Miss Hermit or her possessions.
Bookworm placed the newly-written report with the other Militia reports, then sighed again and rubbed her hand over her face, scrubbing away a few nascent tears. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Mac materialize. ‘Do you think this will work?’ he asked.
“Probably not for long,” she replied softly, “but hopefully long enough. I roasted some pig bones in my fireplace overnight, and placed those with ashes and a few salvaged scraps of identifiable clothing from the ruins into the vase we buried. That should help to lend some verisimilitude, if those after her go so far as to dig it up.”
Mac nodded. ‘I’ll keep an eye on the grave, and let you know if that happens.’
“Thank you, Mac. How are Evie and Tasha?”
‘They’re still quite upset, I’m afraid.’
“Well, remind them that the monthly ball is tonight. If they want to stop by my home, I’ll gladly show them what I’m wearing.”
‘I’ll do that.’ With a wave, Mac faded from her sight.
Bookworm looked one last time at her report, then stood up, ready to take a turn about the city, and to visit the two fire sites to make sure they were still quiet. As she passed the port docks, she looked out to sea.
‘Fair winds, Miss Hermit.’