Songbird and Peachcat

Prologue: A Detective’s Obsession

I guess you could say I was in the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time depending on the perspective.  Ever since I started investigating rumours of a masked woman riding a monstrous cat after midnight….

At first I was sceptical, figuring another urban legend had started up, or people were having the same delusion. However it turned out the truth was a touch stranger.  Oh but I’m getting ahead of myself, allow me to introduce myself, my name is Stu ‘Stupendous’ Carter and I’m a Detective with the West Midlands Police based in Birmingham, or I was when my story started.

It was around 06:00 in the morning on the 7th of October 2014 when I heard about the first sighting. There had been a series of muggings but when the victims reported the crimes to the police their statements were often incoherent ramblings about monsters, or that they were attacked so fast they didn’t see who had attacked them.

This time, however, the mugger had been interrupted, by who or what I couldn’t say, and according to the attending officer the evidence collected was baffling.  An empty vial which turned out to contain kale juice, and what appeared to be paw prints of an unknown animal. It wasn’t until later that day that I found out the prints belonged to some unidentified big cat. Needless to say the evidence concerning the animal was confusing as there had been no reports of any big cats going missing, nor were there any zoos nearby to where the attempted mugging occurred. The victim wasn’t much help, he was dazed and confused and kept babbling on about peaches, though there were no signs of any fruit near the crime scene.

Now the brass weren’t happy with the lack of information that we were finding out about the muggings, at most we had only determined that they were happening after dark, though the location of each attack had been in a different place within the city centre. It was decided by the Chief Superintendent that a plain clothed detective would patrol near and around the latest scene, and I drew the short straw.

Now I don’t remember much about what happened, what I do remember was feeling an immense pain in my back, and as I crumpled to the floor, a blurred shape reached into my suit pocket, distantly I heard this tremendous yowling, and then all I see is the colour red, I think I heard a female voice shout god damn it, at that point however I was well on my way to unconsciousness. I had just became the latest victim of the mugger.

I woke up on a stretcher, en route to the hospital, from what the paramedics told me an anonymous call had been made saying that a guy had been knocked out beside St Vincent Street Bridge. When I arrived at the hospital, my clothes were taken for the lab to examine, while I was sent to get x-rayed  to see how bad the damage was. Whatever hit me had left bruising along my spine, which made moving rather painful.  This led to a month where I was essentially housebound while I recovered, oh I kept getting updates about the case, though the problem with being the latest victim is that I was no longer allowed to investigate anything connected to the muggings, due to a conflict of interest.

Colleagues did let me know that more paw prints had been found, as well as an unidentified liquid which had been found in a puddle nearby.  Tests carried out on the liquid were inconclusive, something seemed to interfere with the mass spectrometer that the lab used for testing. I was scheduled for a medical check up to see if it was safe for me to go back to work, when I heard the latest news concerning the muggings, we had a witness, or as close to a witness as we could get given the information I was told.

A jogger was out for a midnight run when he heard a scream coming from a nearby underpass, when he went to see what the noise was he saw a dark shape being chased by a red haired woman who appeared to be on the back of the biggest damn cat he ever saw.

Anyway the doctors cleared me for active duty, and to celebrate, the lads at the station took me out to a Lindsey Stirling concert that was being held at the The Institute, we arrived just after the warm up act had started, a cute redhead, I couldn’t tell you much about her as once she started singing people seemed to forget what they were doing, we were all entranced.

The night seemed to pass quickly and before I knew it, me and the lads were heading our separate ways, I was heading across the Great Barr Street canal bridge, when I saw it.

The ugliest thing I ever saw and yet I couldn’t describe it, whatever the thing was though, it was being chased along the path that ran parallel to the canal. I quickly doubled back and dropped down onto the canal path, that’s when I caught the first glimpse of her, whoever she was.

Dressed in green, or was it blue, with waves of red hair radiating down her back, she moved with a dancer’s grace, which looked like it was necessary as whatever it was that she’d been chasing, had decided to stop running.

I watched as she danced out of the way of whatever she was fighting, and I must admit to finding myself a little distracted by the artistry of her movement, which is probably why I wasn’t paying attention when a massive chunk of rock smashed into the ground right beside me. The noise almost deafened me, but that was a secondary concern compared to the splintered bits of rock which had struck me.

I could feel blood start to flow down my leg, and it was because I was inspecting my wounded leg that I stopped paying attention to the fight, I’d been hurt bad, I took my phone out to make a call for help, but it had been a casualty of the exploding rock as much as I had, it was then that I started to get scared, the shock which had up until now been numbing my system was starting to wear off, and I could feel the pain in my leg building.  

It was then I heard a woman’s voice, it sounded way too polite for the mixture of anger, curiosity and sadness I heard.

“God damn it!, you again, not exactly lucky are you”

I got my first good look a her, almost the same height as me, with flowing red hair framing an almost Irish pale face, then I noticed her eyes, a shifting iridescent green surrounded by what appeared to be a tattoo of a bird of some sort.  Her lips were coloured almost the same shade of red as her hair.

As for what she was wearing, it appeared to be a green or was it blue, figure hugging latex top, with a corset like midsection. Coupled with black skin tight leather trousers and knee high shoes.

“Me again? And just how am I unlucky?” I enquired through gritted teeth as I felt as if I’d had a needle shoved into my leg.

“Well, first you get mugged by a Troll, and well…” the redhead replied and then hesitated looking at me with pity.

I was puzzled by her hesitation, though I did notice the pain in my leg had lessened.

“Look I don’t know how to say this, I’m not usually…” she continued nervously.

“You’re not usually what?” I asked, starting to get worried that I wouldn’t get my leg seen to any time soon.

Taking a deep breath, her iridescent eyes looked at me earnestly.

“I’m not usually someone who talks to ghosts”