Bleakly Three: Hannah


In all honesty I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into his office. I’d heard everything about him- that he was insane. That he talked to himself. That he suffered delusions of grandeur and persecution.

That he was the fucking best.

So I opened the door (marked in bold “Thomas Bleakly, PI”) and the smell hit me. Stopped me dead in my tracks, eyes watering. It smelled like someone had poured four cans of Lysol behind a filing cabinet and installed air fresheners in every outlet in the room. And under all that, cigarette smoke.

The office was austere and well-lit. His desk was empty, save for a handful of notecards and a cell phone. The walls were bare and it seemed like the carpet sucked the sound out of the air. And for all that, the room was full to the brim, because he was at the center of it.

If his room was monochrome, he was Technicolor. He was slouched over his desk, sucking on an unlit cigarette and drumming his fingers furiously.  He wore a faded t-shirt (the design was some comic-book hero) under a brown jacket… and he was wearing a hat. Men haven’t worn hats in almost seventy years, and there he is, looking like he stole that thing from Indiana Jones or Sam Spade. To be honest, in retrospect I could say he looked like he was in a band.

I noticed all of that minutes after I noticed his eyes, though. These blue eyes, I had the feeling was he was looking through me, not at me- hell, who knows what or who he saw.

“I need help,” I managed before I realized that opening my mouth had been a mistake. Everything I’d eat that day would taste of Lysol. His eyes focused on me all of a sudden and I felt a warm chill hit every nerve in my body, and suddenly the chemical tang he’d infused his room with for whatever damnable reason was the least of my worries. I could tell just looking at him that he wasn’t just searching my appearance- he was searching my memories, evaluating my emotions. And, for the first time in a month, I felt safe.

“Sorry, what’d you say?” he folded his hands in front of his face- he wasn’t drumming his fingers anymore but he seemed incapable of ever staying completely still. “I was- I was lost in thoughts, lost in thoughts and secrets and you look like you think you’re in danger ma’am.”

He was the weirdest fucker I’d ever seen- but he was right. I started putting the story together in my head… and everything that’d happened hit me all at once. My cool was gone. My cover was blown. There and then was my last and only chance to be free and dammit I started crying.

I stopped crying a few seconds later, as he’d leapt over his desk and pushed tissues into my hands. I haven’t the slightest why he felt it necessary to keep tissues close at hand that day, but his kinetic urgency and his precognition unsettled me enough to leave me stunned and tearless.

With a fantastically inappropriate grin he chucked my chin, winked, and said “Well, darlin’, what’s your story?”

So I told him.


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