For the next days i’m gonna work on some personnal illustrations for children about nap time.
This one is a little dormouse in his drawer, inspirations are latvian clothes and scandinavian wood carving.
More to come.
à suivre, une série d’illustrations jeunesses sur la sieste et les endroits confortables pour faire la sieste. Premier bienheureux : un petit loir avec des inspirations Lettones et scandinaves pour le bois.
Floyd had a tendency to revert to much more coarse language than usual in times of stress, but even Milo had to marvel at the state that Petersen’s home was in.
“You can say that again” he whispered, stunned almost to silence at the sight of the bloodstains strewn around the room and the mess that had been made.
This was clearly not a poison job.
A bookcase on the right of the room had toppled over and a bevvy of literature had been scattered about, some of it stained with blood and with pages torn out by the force of the fall and the struggle that had no doubt taken place. Little tufts of fur on the ground showed clearly the extent of the violence, though the clear trail of blood leading up the stairs through an extensively damaged handrail also made that abundantly obvious.
Worryingly, all the fur seemed to be Petersen’s earthy brown, with nothing to indicate that the attacker had been injured in any way.
“I’ve seen fucking dog attacks cleaner than this” Floyd went on, marvelling at the damage. Milo watched as he went over to the mark on the ground where Petersen’s body would have laid, then saw him look up at the staircase and the shattered banister around the little landing area that connected the staircase to the bedrooms to the ground floor.
It struck Milo as creepy, that the house he found himself in was almost identical in its layout to his own home.
He closed the door behind him, so as to prevent anybody seeing what they were up to, then walked over to Floyd, who by now had gone over to the staircase to investigate the upstairs.
He was careful not to disturb anything that the police had marked as evidence - mostly little scuffs on the floor and bits of fur - as he followed Floyd up the stairs, gasping quietly at the mark in the wall where a sword had clearly dug straight in, and the big, ugly spatter of blood around it.
He had a pretty good idea of how that had happened.
Floyd looked into the room on the right hand side of the landing, but he didn’t do likewise, as he had already deemed that there wasn’t anything of importance in the room. A quick glance into it revealed that the room was a fairly clean bathroom anyway, so Floyd was mostly right to pass it by.
Sure, there might be something important in there, but nothing that really stood out right now. Not when there was a clear and obvious assassination to investigate.
He walked into the bedroom and quickly scanned around for anything that looked important, but found nothing obvious, save for the old sash window, left slightly open.
Floyd went over to examine that, while he inspected the desk that lay behind the door.
“Must have got in through here” came Floyd’s voice from behind him, “bay window over a raised front wall. That’s quite the jump, but I reckon I’d be able to get up there. Once you get up there it’s childsplay to force the window. These old things weren’t exactly made to be super secure.”
“Hard to see any other way in, given the position of the body. I won’t lie, sweetie. I’m freaking out a bit here.”
The desk was nice and tidy - as was the rest of the house that hadn’t been ransacked in the fight - and the papers held there were all well organised in individual files, but looking through them revealed nothing other than the most vague and heavily redacted details of previous exploits, all of which had been assigned so many codenames that even if he did know his operational history, he still wouldn’t have a clue as to what any of it pertained to.
He knew Floyd kept all of his paperwork like this, though he’d never seen it in person.
As much as it comforted him that he could make neither head nor tail of any of the files he could see, it also frustrated him.
Because if he couldn’t understand any of the files, then how could he possibly work out if any of them were missing or got tampered with.
Eventually he stopped searching through the files. In the time it took him to realise that any information stolen from Petersen’s desk would be useless, Floyd had already gone round the whole room, looking at all the marks and everything that seemed out of place.
“Leave it, Milo. Whoever did this wasn’t interested in information. Came in through the window and didn’t exactly dance through like a ballerina. If they wanted his stuff then we wouldn’t have a dead agent downstairs. Or at least, we’d get Petersen’s corpse up here.”
Milo had to agree. There wasn’t much evidence of any kind of fight unfolding in the bedroom, so logic dictated that whatever happened had started either on the landing or on the stairs.
Floyd then came up close to him and lowered his voice, the better to speak earnestly.
“I reckon I know what happened here. Let me run you through this and tell me if anything seems amiss.”
“Alright. Whatever you say” Milo responded and followed Floyd out and down to the staircase, where he stopped just a bit before the first bloodstain, then pointed a couple of steps down, as instruction for him to stand there.
As he got in place, it became quickly clear how the bloodstain and mark on the wall got there.
Floyd took a moment to fully assess the scene he’d recreated, then stepped to the side a little to get a slightly more probable position for the assassin.
“Alright. So clearly Petersen came up here and met his attacker on the stairs; probably right here. If I’m right, our attacker’s already got a sword drawn and the element of surprise. Say I’m an evil assassin guy for a moment, Milo.”
“You’re an evil assassin guy, oh no” he replied, putting a slight sarcastic tone on his delivery.
As dangerous as he knew Floyd could be, he found it very difficult to ever be scared of him.
“Thanks. Now, imagine I’ve come into your house and I just thrust a big sword at you; what’s your immediate reaction?”
In response to his question, Milo raised his left arm in front of him, in order to deflect a theoretical blade with the side of his arm.
It was a dangerous tactic, but a cut in the side of the arm was nowhere near as bad as a blade through the throat. He’d had to do it only twice in his career.
“As I thought.” Floyd said, “say the blade goes through your arm. Right through.”
Milo imagined the motion, then mimicked the result for Floyd’s sake. He nodded in agreement.
“Alright, so assuming a pretty serious arm wound, what’s your next move?”
He suddenly felt worried as he began to grasp just how easily Petersen probably died. The attack that Floyd had begun to unravel to him seemed both entirely possible and - chillingly - exactly what he would do in such a situation.
He looked back and saw there were only a few steps behind him. Under such an attack, level ground would be his first port of call. Get rid of the assailant’s height advantage.
“I’d head down. That way I’ve got away from you and I’ve got more space to fight.”
Floyd nodded his agreement, then followed him down to the landing where Petersen had clearly gone through the guardrail. From here he could see only one real solution.
If he were in Petersen’s situation, the first thing he’d have to do would be to disarm Floyd, and do it fast; full force, maximum aggression.
He felt his heartbeat quicken at the thought.
Floyd again pretended to have a sword pointed at him and Milo noted his proximity to the broken banister, then looked back at his partner as he spoke again.
“So, assuming this where they naturally ended up, my first instinct at this point would be to attempt a fast body or leg strike to slow you down and make it easier. I’m against a big target and I want to keep the pressure on, here. So what’s your reaction?”
Milo thought for a moment, then moved to the side slightly as Floyd slowly advanced, brandishing thin air, then reached out with both hands; one to grab at his swordhand, and the other to grasp at his body.
In reality, he’d have caught his throat, though he suspected Petersen would have done the same.
In their strange embrace, Milo became entirely aware of how Petersen had fallen down to the living room. Floyd pushed against him to simulate the force that the assassin would have come at him with and Milo felt himself going back.
Floyd wasn’t particularly heavy, but with enough speed, he would be more than enough to knock him back.
After that, his own weight would be more than enough to break the banister.
He looked down and saw a large splatter of blood and a mark in the floor; clearly Petersen had fallen back with his aggressor on top of him and their sword had gone right through his body in some area, going as far as to make a mark on the ground, which Floyd had gone down to scrutinise.
“Resin.” Floyd said to himself as he pulled out a tiny fragment of something clear from the little impact mark on the ground. It seemed that the police had missed that little detail, having only marked out the blood and the mark on the floor.
Milo went down to join him and then looked over at another, far messier collection of blood, where most of the fur was to be found.
He looked back to where floyd was and studied the bookcase that had fallen, paying attention to its proximity to the site of the falling blow.
In all likelihood the attacker would have toppled it on Petersen to slow him down.
“Alright, this bit here’s got me stumped” Floyd sighed as he pointed to the area that Milo was standing by “what the fuck happened here?”
He gave him a mournful look, “last resort.” he said.
“Teeth. Throat. Bite. He must’ve been so desperate to try that.”
Floyd looked at him, momentarily appalled that MI6 ever trained their rats to do that, then looked at the pattern of the blood on the floor as Milo pointed to it.
“Petersen would have been in a good position to kill his attacker when he fell from the stairs.” he explained “wounded or not; there’s a mouse on top of him in the perfect position for him to snap their neck like a twig. You’ve seen me do it. Makes sense the assassin got off him as soon as they realised he was still a threat.”
He pointed to the bookcase and Floyd looked horrified.
“That’s when the bookcase went down. They probably wanted to slow him down enough to get a fatal blow in, but clearly he either got out the way or it didn’t work. What happened here was neither pretty nor civilised.”
Milo felt himself shudder as Floyd put into words the sentiment he felt.
“Years of MI6 training and experience and he goes out fighting like he’s fucking feral.”
“Yeah. I think at this point he’d lost enough blood to make him weak; that or so desperate as to throw himself over the attacker without thinking to disarm them. He’d have forced them to the floor and tried to push their head away from him as fast as possible. That’s probably when it was too late.”
Floyd just stayed silent and looked at another mess of blood, clearly ejected with some force, that pointed towards the door.
He caught Floyd’s focus and softly placed a hand on his shoulder, “Clearly the latter, looking at that. Whoever killed him drove it right into his neck.”
From there the trail of blood went towards the door for a short distance, with bloody handprints detailing an agonising crawl, until the blood stopped in the area marked by the police as the point where the body lay.
For a little while, neither of them said anything, but eventually, Floyd broke the silence, suggesting the only possible course of action.
He looked up at him, visibly shaken by the whole thing.
“I need a fucking drink.”
Well that was a bit dramatic, wasn’t it? Who dunnit? What kind of adversary are our dynamic duo up against? Tune in next week!
Speaking of tuning in, why not tune in to a big old link to the whole story so far.