Edith had no idea what to expect once she crossed the threshold. That echo she experienced moments ago did a lot to fan the flames of her imagination. Surely, such an armed force would come as a response to an illegal operation?
So, imagine her surprise when she walked into a normal and mundane apartment, at least for someone who lived and breathed during Edith’s heyday. The living room contained a few pieces of tasteful art, and while expensive, they evoked no emotional reaction. On the other hand, an entire wall had been dedicated to a collection of books which impressed her, at least until a brief perusal revealed the truth: a lawyer lived here.
Next to the fireplace, she noticed a simple wooden desk. On top, there was a typewriter, something she learned to use early on at the Tower. Women of the Tower were expected to blend in, and back then, secretary was a common profession for women.
“That thing is older than I am,” Edith said while her fingers glided over the keys.
Edith noted there was a distinct lack of technology here. She saw people walking around with tiny devices. There were storefronts that showcased bigger screens filled with vivid imagery. It all seemed to be universally available.
“So why is none of that here?” Edith asked.
That question slipped from her mind once she set eyes on a manuscript. She read the title, The Portrait, and made a note to investigate it later. At that moment, it seemed more prudent to finish searching this apartment.
The kitchen was easy to clear, and as a bonus, Edith was able to secure a series of well-balanced knives, suitable for throwing. These were quickly secured around her thighs using sponges as sheaths and keep them in place.
Since her dress flowed freely around her generous hips, their presence was nearly invisible. Sure if someone was paying a great deal of attention to her legs, they might notice them, but most would focus on her bust or behind.
She also managed to acquire a few larger knives. Those were stashed away in her purse, enabling her to be more effective at hand to hand combat.
While the master bedroom was straight ahead, Edith first stopped by a guest room. This room had been converted for use as a studio and reeked of paint. There were also other tools lying about, that she recognised for use in stone carving. All around, there were ample works to be found, and while some were quite good, others were better suited for the garbage chute.
An easel stood in the corner, one covered by a white sheet. It appeared to be staged, even a bit contrived, so Edith became suspicious. None of her senses uncovered any hidden mechanisms connected to the easel, nor anything embedded in the walls. Given how low key the rest of this home was, she half-expected it to be a tableau mort. Edith learned long ago to never underestimate the ability of the quiet ones to unleash hell on earth.
A portrait of a gruesome murder or the dismemberment of a corpse would have been easier to deal with. In the foreground, there was a woman of unimaginable beauty: long hair that was black as onyx, intense green eyes, sharp facial features, and a body that could have been sculpted by a master artist. The curves of her body were still there despite an attire designed to make her look boyish, just like any other self-respecting flapper of her day.
There was also something suggestive about that girl’s smile, an invitation to take her hand and enter a world of pleasures people only dreamed of. Edith had always been drawn to women, desired them, and found it hard to resist the call.
“Obviously,” Edith said. “She was more successful with you than I ever was…”
In the lady’s wake, stood a woman she knew well. She was taller, sported a bobbed dark-brown coiffure, elfin ears and steel-grey eyes. Edith had spent many an hour committing every detail of that face and body to memory. She even recognised her trademark smile, the one used to advertise just how cocky she really was.
Edith touched the canvas longingly, while a lone tear ran down her cheek before whispering, “Clara.”
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!