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Chapter 1: Lost Cats and Errant Spouses

“Good morning, Paranormal Investigations,” I said in my best give-me-a-case-because-I’m-broke manner.

Snickering came down the line. Okay, I was used to that. It’s what you got when you claimed to investigate the paranormal. I say claimed because I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually investigated something, anything and all my so called paranormal cases tended to have rational explanations, even if cuckolded spouses believed enchantments were the root cause of infidelity I had to enlighten them that infidelity happens, suck it up buddy.

I pressed to end the prank call.

You may think it’s really cool to be proprietor and lead investigator of what amounts to a detective agency, it’s not. I wish I could make it sound glamorous but normally I’m too busy hocking bits of old jewellery to pay the rent. Truth be told, this was not the life I had envisaged for myself. I went to drama school dammit. I was meant to be treading the boards at The Globe as Lady M, Titania - even fairy at the back would’ve done. No, I get lumped with Great Aunt Mildred’s legacy.

The phone rang again. It was Rose, from my office – yes, I have staff! Well, a staff of one unless you count the postman and the guy who hoovers the office building. I once asked Rose why she worked for PI (she had been another inheritance from GA Mildred). “Well it was this or down the Oxfam,” she told me.

Rose was not overly familiar with modern technology and mobile phones were her least favourite device. She thought you had to shout to be heard, when Rose talked on the phone all of Starbucks heard.

“I’m reminding you about your ten thirty!” she bellowed, “Miss X.”

“I know Rose,” I replied, trying not to shout back, “I’m here in Starbucks already.” Most of my meetings were held in Starbucks, my office being a little too... everything you wouldn’t want a client to see: peeling paintwork, soiled ceiling tiles and crappy old furniture. Still, it was cheap – mostly because we were kind of squatters. Lloyds bank had rented most of the building and the landlord had never noticed we did not move out when they did. We had the whole nine storey office complex to ourselves. God bless lackadaisical landlords. That should have been their name really – Lackadaisical Landlords Limited. They were actually Georgiou and Son of Cockfosters, but whatever.

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