The ringing of a telephone – the kind with a real bell – came faintly from behind the door. The phone itself was on a simple wooden desk in the back office of the two-room suite; fire-engine red with a rotary dial, and accompanied by a number of papers and pens.
The slim figure standing by a window in said back office turned towards the phone at the sound, watching it quietly as it rang once, then once again, then a third time. On the fourth ring, he – or she, it was difficult to tell – finally stepped over to the desk and picked up the phone.
“Peregrine Falcon, detective for hire, what can I solve for you today?”
Peregrine Falcon looked no more than twenty five, somewhere between a pretty young man and a sharp young woman with a voice that danced nimbly across the line between light tenor and rich contralto. Pale skin, equally pale platinum blonde curls (trimmed short), and a pair of eyes which were much nearer lavender than blue completed an overall odd appearance.
In contrast, the detective was dressed traditionally in a simple button-down shirt, a dark blue waistcoat and matching necktie, a pair of trousers, and laced-up black leather boots (which, despite their thick soles and tall heels, couldn’t quite make up for a height of five foot two).
“Hey Perry, you’re never gonna guess what just happened!”
The man on the other end of the line was Jeremy Thompson and would, if asked, cheerfully tell you he was Peregrine’s best friend. (The sentiment was rarely reciprocated.)
“Ah, Jeremy. Good evening to you as well.”
“Something just drove my car into a wall! It’s a total wreck.”
Peregrine’s eyes narrowed. “Something?”
“Yes, something,” Jeremy mimicked. “If it was a someone I’d just let the police handle it, but invisible things driving cars into buildings seems more your kind of thing, you know?”
“Invisible– why don’t you just tell me what happened.” Peregrine sat down, leaning back against the desk chair.
“So, me and Clarette had just walked outside – hey have you met Clarette? She’s amazing. Absolutely gorgeous, comes from the northern colonies, you should hear her accent, it’s–”
“Right, right. So we were just walking up to Daniella–”
“Jeremy, the car?”
“I know! Daniella! The car!”
“…Of course. Go on.” Peregrine cast a beseeching look up at the ceiling.
“We walk up to the car – the one I just got after saving for months and months – and she’s sitting right where I parked her, completely empty, when out of nowhere the engine roars and she goes shooting forward, up the sidewalk, and BAM! Into the wall and a million pieces!”
“You are absolutely sure there was no one visible in the vehicle at all?”
“Absolutely sure. But somebody must’ve done it, and they owe me a new car!”
Peregrine hummed softly. “I’ll be there shortly.”
“Wait, Perry, the police already–”
The telephone receiver made a satisfying clunk as it fell back in its cradle. Peregrine made straight for the door, grabbing the cap and coat on the rack along the way.
“–roped it off…” In a payphone booth across town, Jeremy looked ruefully down at the receiver as it emitted a droning dial tone. Hanging it back up, he stepped out onto the sidewalk and made his way back over to the growing mass of people and police officers surrounding the cordoned-off car wreck.
to be continued…