Saffron practically sprinted up the stairs, knowing Johnathon would have stuck around the speak to Levi. She was tricking both of them, and she couldn’t bring herself to say anything to her son. She couldn’t stand this place anymore. She loved her family but they were just too… too… too boring. Once in the room, she threw off Johnathon’s coat, scrambling around to get dressed and pack a small bag. She needed both of them to be somewhere where they wouldn’t see her drop from the window. However, in her rush of packing and dressing, she didn’t realize that Levi might stay in his father’s office while his father followed her. She sighed, slinging the bag over her shoulder and unfurling her wings. “Goodbye, my brave men.” She whispered he words quietly, opening the window and taking a few steps back from it. She ran at it at full speed, jumping at the last possible second.
She plummeted to the ground quickly. And then, just when it seemed she was facing her demise – she flew.
Doctor Bianchi knew that his son didn’t approve of how Johnathon was towards his mother, but the truth was, he was that way to everyone, not just Saffron. At times, he was emotionally devoid, and it came from years of forensics research and all the horrors he had witnessed in his years in London. He was always on the forefront of investigating the macabre and unusual, since it was his place as God’s chosen, to see to it that when evil raised its ugly head, he was there to be able to combat it in any manner that he could. So he detached himself from that of his emotive side. Johnathon also suffered from what would term in today’s society as bipolar, and was more passive aggressive if riled. The truth is that if one cares, one feels. And if one feels, one gets hurt.
Stepping out into the foyer, he glanced upstairs, knowing his wife was in one of her moods. Usually he put this down to depression, which he had offered her some of his more unorthodox treatments for, however she denied him at every turn. If one was to say their union was a happy one, they would be kidding themselves. Clearly, his wife had been unhappy for years, and the fact that her husband was not one of the A list, nor a member of the Lord’s club, meant that they often could not afford the luxuries that would have possibly kept this wife entertained. Most women of that era, busied themselves with bridge, gossip, and of course needle point, whilst being read some of the new daring novels, like the one by Dickens. Try as he might to please her, he knew that he would most likely fail. So, this in mind, he slowly trudged up the stairs, rolling up his sleeves, preparing himself to scrub her back.
Johnathon and Saffron’s bedroom
On reaching their room, he couldn’t hear the sound of water splashing, or in fact any sound at all. MIlly was putting away some sheets, when Johnathon glanced over, he quirked a brow at her;
“I thought you would be drawing Mrs Bianchi a bath, Milly.”
“No Sir, she never asked me to do that.”
“Well, if you didn’t then….” The Doctor opened the door, only to see his coat draped across the bed, and the window flung open. The curtains were blowing in the breeze, and there was no sign of Saffron’s small bag near the closet. Stepping into the room, it was now clear, that Saffron had gone. Opening the closet showed that a great many items of hers were missing, along with her bag. The Doctor closed the closet door with a small click and bowed his head, knowing full well what this meant.
Milly poked her head in and saw the Doctor standing there, looking forlorn. She checked about the room, and of course, the bath was empty, and there was no sign of Saffron.
“Oh no…” The Maid cried, looking stricken to think that Mrs Bianchi had fled the family home. She brought up the corner of her apron to her mouth and chewed nervously on the edge, unable to know what to say or think.
The Doctor then moved to the window, staring out into the sky, knowing now, that his wife….had left them. He took a step back and closed the window, locking it with a small catch. He again showed little to no emotion, but inside, his heart was broken. He hadn’t been enough of a man to keep her, and for this…he would pay for the rest of his days.
Outside in the cobblestone lane, a horse and buggy pull up in front of the Bianchi Manor. Having taken the ride down from the Yard, Detective Blaine was hoping to catch the good Doctor at home, before he headed out on his rounds to see some of his incapacitated patients. Blaine knew the Doctor’s schedule religiously, as they were indeed the best of friends, aside from their work together in solving cases, that many other detectives simply give up on.
Stepping out of the buggy, the Detective tips the driver, who tips his hat politely, as the Detective makes his way to the front door. Picking up the mail as he goes, for there is a large wad of bills and other envelopes still on the landing, he then knocks on the door, and waits for it to be answered. Normally, the servants are very prompt in getting the door, but for some reason it is taking longer than usual. The sound of rustling skirts and sniffing is heard, before the maid; Milly, answers the door.
“Forgive me for keeping you, Inspector. The Doctor is in his office.” The maid dropped a curtsy, and offered to take the Detective’s hat and coat. But Reginald realized by the look on her face, that something was very wrong in the Bianchi household.
“Milly, what is it?”
“Please Sir, its not my place to say. Tis best if you speak to the Doctor.” Her voice was almost a whisper, while in the kitchen, you could hear a very angered Cookie, making bread and slamming the dough on the kitchen table.
“Damn woman…how dare she just up and do that to the poor man. Wretched…” there were a few more rather choice words said, that had the poor Maid Milly start to cry. Milly held the door open and gestured for the Doctor’s office, which had the door closed, and this too was unusual. The Detective patted Milly’s shoulder lightly, and went on over to the Doctor’s office, letting himself in.
The sight to meet Reginald’s eyes, was of the Doctor who was seated at his writing desk, toying with a rosary. He was lost deep in thought, his face was unshaven, and his hair like a curly mop which was also unkempt. He didn’t even acknowledge the Detective entering the room, and this left for a long pause of silence, till the Detective placed the pile of mail open Johnathon’s desk.
“Not been keeping up with your bills, John?”
“Do they ever stop sending them, Reg?”
“A question to a question. Ah. Want to tell me why the maid is in tears and Cookie is cursing the daily bread?”
Without batting an eyelid, the Doctor answered.
“Mrs Peabody? Thank heavens. I thought she would never stop with her persistent visits. How is your hand?”
This did get a reaction from the Doctor, who actually bothered to turn his head. Comical as that may have been, under the circumstances it fell flat.
“No, Reg. Not Mrs Peabody, and my hand is fine. It’s Saffron. She left me.”
The Detective appeared stunned, not understanding if he heard that right. His wife left him? The questions and curiosity of the man came to the fore, and he took a seat, not far from where Johnathon was. Truly concerned, he knew that Saffron had been a dour woman, whom he had trouble getting to know. He did know that living with someone like Johnathon, could be difficult, for he was often out at the wee hours, working on cases, or tending to the sick that could not afford quality care anywhere else.
“Why did she leave you, John? I don’t understand.”
“Well, last thing I remember her saying was….she was bored. That, and she asked me to join her in the bath. I guess, I wasn’t fast enough…or exciting. Is that what women want, Reg? Men that are frivolous and romantic? Just when I thought I had women figured out…they go and change.” He tosses down the rosary, and rests his chin on his upturned fist, staring at the bunch of letters and bills.
“Such is life…”
Levi had returned to the foyer after spending a few moments to look for both Sam and Lydia. It seemed as though Lydia had not returned from shopping, and he took it as a good sign that she had found the perfect gift. He knew how the maid liked to barter, and that suited Levi just fine because he wanted the best to give to Sam when he admitted to her how he felt. As he walked around with his hands behind his back, he noticed that a couple of maids looked to be in disarray as they absent-mindedly were dusting a bookshelf. Raising an eyebrow, he walked up to them and gave him a charming smile. “Ladies, what seems to be the problem? Has my father returned from spending time with mother?”
The maids looked at each other awkwardly before the one closest to him mumbled “Sir, it seems you have not heard, but your mother has run off…Your father went to join her and it appears that she is now gone. Some of her clothes are even missing.”
Levi stared at them incredulously before frowning, stepping closer to them. The maids looked hesitant and lowered their heads in case their master went into a rare rage. He did not, however, and gritted his teeth as he asked “Does Father know about this…?” The maids merely nodded in reply and tried to busy themselves with dusting once more. Growling quietly, Levi turned on his heel and stormed into his father’s office.
Stepping into his father’s office to shout at his father, he paused when he noticed the detective. Assuming his manners quickly, as he was a noble Bianchi after all, he smiled politely and bowed his head in greeting. “Hello there, sir. I did not realize my father had company…” Sending his father an agitated look, he continued to speak look at his father but spoke in the direction of the Detective. “It seems our mother has decided to leave us, and Father has failed to mention this to me. I assumed he would be alone in his office mourning.”
Turning to the detective once more, that boyish smile returned as he attempted to use his own charm to cover his anger. Running a hand irritably through his hair, he used his free one to pull his carton of cigarettes out of his breast pocket. Placing it to his lips, he removed his hand from his hair and lit the cigarette. Folding his hands in front of him as he puffed away, he focused on his father’s desk in an attempt to see what he was up to.
First he noticed the rosary beads, and relief washed over him. Perhaps his father was feeling something in regards to his mother’s disappearance. Stepping closer to the desk, he reached down to clasp his father’s shoulder reassuringly. “I’m sure you just wish to keep yourself preoccupied then until we know of her whereabouts.” Removing his hand, Levi then saw the stack of letters and bills his father had not attended to. Chuckling quietly, he picked up the stack and paced around the desk while rifling through the mail. As he passed bill after bill, he noticed a scarlet envelope. Turning it in his hands slowly, he raised an eyebrow and ripped it open. After reading the contents, he chuckle once more and turned to his father. “There is a masquerade ball on Friday, and our audience is requested to join alongside the Roxburgs. It seems there are some urgent news regarding the latest matters in the papers there needs to be discussed.”
Levi passed the invitation to is father and looked up at the detective. “So I assume that is why you are here then?” It seemed the subject of Phoebe was going to be lost into the chaos of this new impending issue, and he realized he might have to be the one to go and attend to the remarkable human. Turning back to is father, he smiled slightly “What can I do to help?”
Regardless of what Levi may have thought of his Father’s relationship or lack of apparent care for his departed wife, the fact was, he had not notified Levi that his mother was in fact gone. It was not that Johnathon did not wish to run and tell him, he did, but there was that side of him that believed to panic and act irrationally was a sign of weakness. Instead, he internalized his sorrow, and did mourn the fact she had no longer wished to be a part of his or his son’s life. If only one was to stare into Johnathon’s eyes would they see the truth behind the expressionless face. Our eyes are the windows to our very souls, and Johnathon’s eyes were indeed haunted by the fact that he could not give his wife what she needed most.
The Detective knew Levi since he was but a young boy, and thought of him like the son he never had. Levi always treated him with such respect whenever he came to visit his Father, and Reginald believed that the future of the Bianchi families good work in the community would only continue with Levi’s drive and compassion for others. When Levi entered the room, he did look to be angered, possibly having only just heard the news about his mother, from of all people, the maids of the household. It would have been more fitting if Johnathon had done the task, but under the circumstances, he was lost in his sorrow. Reginald smiled warmly at Levi, as he entered the room
“Hello there, sir. I did not realize my father had company…”
“It’s quite alright, Young Levi. Your father was just telling me about your Mother.”
The two older men shared a look that was of knowing. It would be hard on Levi of course, that he now would have to live in the house without her, and to put up with his Father’s eccentricities on his own. It would not be surprising at all, for Levi to blame Johnathon for this, especially after the words that they shared before Johnathon went up to make the grim discovery. Levi was of good heart and intentions, as he placed his hand reassuringly upon his father’s shoulder, telling him that he probably wanted to keep himself busy until they find the location of his wife, and Levi’s mother. Johnathon sighed, and then glanced down, unable to hold his son’s gaze.
“Saffron did mean so much, and I fear that I let her down greatly. I am sure that wherever it is she is, she is far happier than here with me. Sometimes, we all need space, and then to seek our purpose in life, we must travel a different path to the one our loved ones are on.”
The Detective felt he was encroaching on a family matter, and moved uncomfortably in his chair, and this was not lost upon Johnathon, who then realized that the Detective must be there on a pressing matter, possibly to do with the Hollow Street murders. Levi had opened the mail and discovered the invitation to the masquerade ball. This had both Johnathon and the Detective interested. The Detective responded to Levi about his question, that the ball invitation, and the matter of Phoebe was the reason for the visit.
“Actually, I am here on police business, concerning a case of a spate of murders in the area, however, the latest victim was one of high society, and I fear that the murderer is not one of the common folk, but rather someone of higher standing.” The invitation to the ball, might be the ticket to get in amongst the glittering set, and perhaps…catch a killer.
Johnathon, drummed his finger tips together and then eyed his son, saying. “Find this Phoebe and bring her here at once. If my suspicions are correct, and she is everything you say she is, Son, she may well be a target.”
Levi could only drop his head in quiet despair as the detective spoke of his mother. He was silent for a few moments, staring at the floor as he continued to puff on his cigarette. It was no secret in the house that he was a mother’s boy, and he was struck to the core with feelings of abandonment. He couldn’t quite grasp why she would leave him to deal with his father’s eccentricities alone, or why she felt that Levi wasn’t enough to bring her enough joy in life. As these thoughts and emotions brewed within him, he listened to his father thoughtfully as Johnathon attempted to offer sympathies. Nodding slowly, he looked up to stare into his father’s eyes. “I wish Mother all the happiness she wishes to find outside of her home.” He was able to glimpse the grief behind his father’s eyes, and that seemed enough to placate him from hounding him further on the subject.
Turning his attentions back to the detective, Levi offered him a warm smile. He had a deep respect for the man and always appreciated that he took some interest in his father’s opinions with cases. As odd as Johnathon was, Levi revered him as a genius and wanted to do all he could to help both the detective and doctor whenever they saw fit. Nodding again, he removed the cigarette from his mouth to hold between his fingers as he resumed pacing. “Ah yes, it’s been all over the papers. Tragic, isn’t it? You would think the press would have enough courtesy to allow the facts to be straight so those could grieve properly.”[/b] Frowning, he took a quick puff and then pulled his hand away from his mouth. He had a high disgust for the press, and found them more of a hindrance than anything. Exhaling slowly, he put his cigarette out on his sleeve and tossed it into the trash near his father’s desk. Looking up at the detective, he raised an eyebrow “You mean, the culprit could be a member of high society? What evidence do you have to support this? Are there signs of skilled medical practice? Perhaps someone has a grudge…”[/center]
Realizing he was over-stepping his boundaries, he put his hands up and smiled sheepishly. “Ah, but it seems I am trying to do your job. Well, I suppose I will make an appearance at this ball, and I offer my services to you both.” Levi turned to give a slight nod to Johnathon. “Of course, father. It would be wise to keep her in our sights if she is indeed the next target.” With that, he gave a polite bow to them both with his hands glasp behind his back before turning to stride out of the room. Grabbing his hat, he placed it on his head and tipped it to the maids as he set off for the library.
(Thread Change to Library)
Levi was a chip off the old block. Asking many questions with how the Detective came up with the suspicions that the serial murderer was actually someone of high standing in the community. The murders had not been isolated to one small part of London, but in fact this was wide spread, so the perpetrators, or killer, had access to a mode of transport. This could well be he had use to a carriage, or was able to somehow get from A to B in a hurry. The Detective removed his hat, and set it down on a side table, then pulled out the first lot of files that were in his satchel. Taking out a folder, he opened it, to show a photograph of one of the murder victims, along with the autopsy report. Johnathon had already viewed these, since he was a part of the investigation, so he allowed the Detective to explain how he came up with his theory.
“The bodies were cut using a surgical implement, that we can be sure of. The cutting strokes, were akin to that used by a trained surgeon or medical officer, one that has been taught, possibly from an English medical university. In order for someone to even get a degree let alone finish medical school requires some financial backing or being from an influential family.”
At this point, Johnathon took out his pipe, and started to pack the end with tobacco, listening intently, every so often, watching to gauge Levi’s reactions. This was not the easiest subject to discuss, in particular such gruesome murders. The Detective continued;
“All the victims have had their chest cavities emptied of their internal organs, which I might add, were cut out in such a manner, that it leads us to believe this was more of a ritualistic style of killing, and that the organs are being used for some black magic practice, or trading the human organs, but for what purpose, I simply don’t understand.”
At this point, Johnathon butts in: “Son, whoever did this, knows everything about the human anatomy, as well as hand picked his victims, for all the women were practically identical in their features, and height. The last victim, the one from the House of Sommerfeld, is where this is now getting worrisome. You see, they are …very much like us.” Johnathon was about to reveal why this latest murder had him so intrigued and worried.
“They are angels, just like us, and the murderer has gone from targeting humans, to angels. This is why I fear for your new friend. The one you say is like Saint Selene. Now, do you understand? If she is here, at least we can keep tabs on her, and if this killer is going to use the ball, as a way to get his hands on female angels…then we need to be there, or rather, you, Levi.”
Having explained everything the men knew to Levi, they both watched him leave, to fetch the girl, while Johnathon smoked his pipe. He glanced down at the day’s paper, and saw the headlines. He then had a cunning plan. There may be someone out there, with their finger on the pulse of the city, who was clued into what was going on, better than him. He caught sight of the lead journalist’s name, and then tossed the paper to Reginald, who caught it on the fly.
“We need to find this….Miss Vivian Westlake. I think she could be an asset to our investigations.”
“Oh no…not her. Johnathon, she is insufferable, cheeky, always at the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Then what are we waiting for?”