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Thursday, August 4, 2011

This is the prologue to the Sherlock Holmes novel I've written a large chunk of but am nowhere near finishing. Some day...

San Francisco, 1895

She lay on her back, naked, eyes closed. There was no trace of motion anywhere on the small platform and she seemed serene, at peace. Her legs extended straight out, hands crossed over her milky breasts. With a little wishful thinking, one might suppose that the hands were joined together in prayer. Her long, dark-brown hair radiated outwards, covering the rough planks like a gossamer cloth. The floor surrounding her was layered deeply with dust and scraps of paper. Odd-sized blocks of wood were scattered about haphazardly, except for a larger pair that had been carefully placed. They were propped up beneath her head, which had fallen slightly to the left. Great care had been taken to lay her out just so. Loving hands must have arranged her in this lonely room.

The shutters were closed, but narrow beams of light filtered through in a few places where the old wood was split and separated by the often seemingly unrelenting rains from the bay. The water had beaten upon the timbers until they had surrendered before nature’s irresistible force. The surrounding gloom caused her body to glow a faintly luminescent white, as if she were a ghost at rest. But there was no sign that she would soon arise. Her breast did not move and no whisper of a breath escaped her parted lips. The woman was absolutely still in her repose. The tower would not be haunted by the sprit of this beautiful corpse.

Once an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, the young woman had become the Angel of the Belfry. She had been buried not down in the cold, dark earth, but up in the sky; her sightless gaze towards heaven.

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