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   Chapter 19 No.19

The Time Saving Agency By Christina Engela Characters: 5221

Updated: 2018-06-29 12:02

Wincing as he remembered his eyebrows, he lit the Bunsen burner and swung the chemistry beaker of water over the red flame to boil. (Power kettle packed up a month ago, metal one melted in an experiment two weeks ago.) He found a cleaner mug and gave it a smear with a suspect-looking cloth reeking of benzene.

"Doctor Gleichstein." Said a voice from behind, just as the smell of smoke assailed his senses again. Gleichstein nearly dropped the teaspoon, spilling fine granules of white sugar on what remained of the carpet.

He turned. A man was standing there, leaning casually against one of the kitchen cupboards, looking a little frazzled. His black hair was standing up straight like he'd swallowed too many batteries recently.

"C-can I help - you?" Asked the old man, hesitating at first to ask more pertinent and direct questions like 'Who are you and more to the point, what the hell are you doing in my house?'

"Why, yes." Said the smiling man. "Tea would be nice thanks, and after that I think a bath would be rather welcome."

"Um – "said Gleichstein, taken aback. "Ze bath's no gut I'm avraid… it's vull off holes. Acid, er – an experiment… Ze shower still vorks though. Ah – mister -?"

"Xyl." Said Xyl, smiling. "Brad Xyl."

* * *

Gary Beck was concerned; Scrooby had dropped him in the deep end – or rather, in an alleyway three miles away from Peggy-Ann's office, with no wheels. It was apparently noon. That would make it strangely enough, two hours before he arrived at the Sheriff's Office that afternoon and had his Out-of-Tim

One or two teenage boys were mimicking the lurching walk of the apparition and terrorizing some of the girls – one of whom screamed and threw a half-brick at them. A few other witnesses were also swearing they had seen the spirit lurching east along Ralleighford Road.

Beck was reasonably certain that this alleged apparition was actually the reason he was here. Foreknowledge was one thing, but he still had no idea where to start looking for this Brad Xyl character. The Chapel seemed the most logical place. Blackened walls, partly melted gold plated fittings and fifty panicked parishioners didn't provide much in the way of clues to his whereabouts. There was one thing that might help, he considered, but it was a long shot – a trail of black footprints leading all the way down the red carpet in the aisle, down the 12 steps outside the church and down the road. He shrugged to himself. It still didn't seem much to go on, but the odds were, he considered – he would most likely find Mr. Xyl on the other end of those footprints.

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