Lost: Chapter the First

Chapter 1
Tuesday November 16, 1869
“Please… I am begging you…” the woman whimpered. Her face was bloodied from a fresh cut, her hair knotted and dirty, her dress torn and covered in dirt and blood from another cut underneath her ribcage.
Despite her cries, the violent character continued to drag her through the cold.
She burst into tears, “Please… I did not do anything… Please… let me go…”
He simply continued to drag her, “Oh, but you did.” His voice was low and menacing.
“No… no.”
Perhaps he figured he had dragged her far enough because he let go of the upper arm he was pulling her by. She fell weakly to the dirt.
The man knelt down beside her and gently touched the side of her face.
“Leo…please. I love you… and you love me. Let me go… Please…” the woman continued to beg.
He did not answer her, continuing to run his hand over her cheek, “Why could you not listen to me, my love?”
“I am sorry. I will listen to you… I promise. I will do what you say…”
For a brief moment, it looked as if she had convinced him and that he really would let her free. But only for a brief moment.
“You had your chance, my love. I cannot risk you giving up my safety again,” the man spoke in an apologetic tone.
At this point, the woman understood that she had not the power to convince him. She knew that she had only seconds left before her time would be finished. She sobbed, hot tears soaking her pretty face and said a final prayer in her head. Her eyes closed tightly.
The man lifted her body into his arms and began singing a song as he lifted his knife and plunged it down violently.
There was one last fateful cry before the sobbing ceased.

There was a sudden pain, followed by a feeling of terrible despair and hopelessness in her chest. She gasped as a chill spread through her spine. She prayed hard, hoping with all she had that it was not so. Yet at the same time she knew that there was no use – it was done.
Analise Chaplin covered her mouth with her hand and collapsed to the floor.

One of the maids flew into the room, “Miss Chaplin!”
She looked up; hardly seeing the maid, “Summon the Inspector.”

David Lovell blinked, forced awake from his brief dozing by the footman, James.
“I am sorry to disturb you, sir, but there is a man at the door. He says that Miss Analise Chaplin has urgently requested your services. He says he will accompany you back to her home in his carriage. What would you like me to tell him?”
Hearing this, Lovell stood up from his sitting position in the chair behind his desk.
“Tell him that I will go with him,” Lovell replied.
“Do you wish for me to come with you, sir?”
“No, that is fine.”
James nodded in understanding.
“Thank you, James,” he said.
Quickly, Lovell dressed into a pair of trousers and sleeved shirt with a vest. As he walked through the door, he grabbed a top hat and trench coat. Miss Chaplin’s carriage waited on the street outside the gothic wrought iron gate in front of his home.

The stable boy came around to open the door and Lovell stepped into the darkness to look up at the face of a familiar townhouse. The door at the top of the steps opened voluntarily revealing the butler.
“Welcome, Inspector,” he greeted, removing Lovell’s hat and coat, “My mistress awaits you in the parlor.”
Lovell made his way through the house he knew so well to the parlor. He noticed Analise Chaplin in her favorite armchair in the corner of the room next to the window. It was the only set of drapery in the entire house that was seldom open to reveal the city outside. Now, it was opened, and Miss Chaplin was staring into the dark night, probably caught up in the vast, unknown world that lay inside her head, as was usual.
At the sound of his entrance, she turned her face to him. He had not known what he would see when she did, for every time there was some sort of different emotion in her deep, dark blue eyes. This time, he saw a combination of fear, sadness, and despair. A small flicker of anger was also there.
He rushed to her side, “What has happened?”
Her eyes met his. “She is dead…” her voice broke as she spoke the words.
Lovell stumbled backward, “No…”
Miss Chaplin stared into her lap.
“No!” He fell back into the couch and placed a hand on his forehead, “We have failed!”
“Shut up…” the lady was in no mood to hear it.
Lovell ignored this, “What did you sense?”
“That she was dead.”
“Of course,” he said impatiently, standing and pacing the perimeter of the room.
“All I know is it is done. Her life is over.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Now you doubt me,” her tone remained calm, expressionless.
“I will not believe that I have failed,” Lovell’s voice quivered.
“We have all failed,” at the sound of her own words, she nearly wept.
“Do you have any idea where she is?”
“You know that that is not how it all happens. Now sit down before I must revive you of your life.”
He groaned, but did as she said. “She could be anywhere.”
“No, she would not have been taken far. She may have been under control of a criminal mastermind, but he could not have ventured far out of the city. We last saw her only yesterday afternoon. The morning was old and dying when I found her gone from her ransacked home.”
She recalled the torn wallpaper and dark trim, the broken banister, the furniture toppled over, the broken china and vases. Her friend had put up a fight, but so had they.
“What do we do now?” Lovell sounded like a lost child.
“We put this murderer to justice, and never stop until we have succeeded,” Miss Chaplin answered simply.
“For Gemma Easton,” Lovell announced passionately.
“For Gemma Easton,” Chaplin repeated.

Wednesday November 17, 1869
The sun had not yet risen when Lovell and his men went out on their search. His eyes were swollen from fatigue and he could have used a shave. Stress was carved into his face, making him look much older than usual.
“Middle class, light brown hair, soft blue eyes, about 5’5” in height,” Lovell described the victim to his men, who walked groggily behind him. He held tightly to the leash of his bloodhound.
“This lady could be anywhere, by now, Inspector,” one of the men grumbled.
The previous afternoon, they had done the same thing, searching London inside and out for any sign of a middle class woman with auburn hair, soft blue eyes, and 5’5” in height. They had lost hope – even the Inspector, though he would never admit it – and wished to be free of the cold outdoors.
“Which is why we continue to search,” Lovell replied dryly. He halted and turned to look at his men, “Adams and Wadsworth, you take the East End. Richards and Holt, you take the inner part of the city and try and see if you can find anything else in the lady’s house. Lincoln and Carlsen, take the borders. If you find something, great. If you do not, keep looking.”
“What will you be doing, Inspector, in case we must find you?” a man asked.
“That is surely not a matter that concerns you. Meet back at the Yard by noon, and we will discuss more,” the Inspector announced.
With this, the men split off into various directions in pairs, grumbling to one another obnoxiously.
Lovell assigned himself to the outer skirts of the city, hence began to search its perimeters with the help of his canine companion.
Behind him, he heard the ground crunch and leaves rustle. The bloodhound stopped and sniffed the air, his tail standing straight in the air. Lovell halted and spun around. All was still. Suddenly, he felt a presence behind his back. The canine wagged his tail and whined excitedly.
“I can not say whether it was a good or bad idea that you sent those hooligans off,” the woman’s voice was playful, yet serious.
Lovell relaxed, turning to face his friend who wore a hooded black cloak, “Good morning again, Miss Chaplin. Must you always make sure that my procedures are absolutely perfect?”
“If I was Leopold Fletcher I would have killed you already, and your funeral would be the next,” Analise Chaplin said, patting the dog’s head with her elegant hand.
“You underestimate my skills and the skills of my most faithful companion, my lady,” a smile was beginning to spread over his face.
She laughed, “Do I? When you send all of your men off, leaving yourself all alone with no protection but a little bloodhound here while a killer is on the loose? If you call that skill…”
“O, please, Miss Chaplin. You are insulting her. She could take any sort of criminal,” Lovell stroked bloodhound’s head protectively.
She raised an eyebrow; “I have worked with you for how long now? Believe me, dear Inspector, you would be dead.”
Lovell sighed, “You must wish to assist me then?”
“I followed you this far because you require my assistance.”
“You really should get another officer. One more would make an even number. Then, I would never have to worry about you wandering off on your own, getting yourself into trouble.”
“Why should I consider finding another man, if I know that you will come to my aid every time?”
Chaplin bit the inside of her cheek to hide the grin that was about to crack through her serious expression, “This is the last time I will come.”
“You said that the last time you came.”
She could no longer hide her smile.
Lovell noted her expression behind the hood of her cloak and gave a grin himself.
“You will most likely end up having to search the entire city yourself, considering the loyalty that your men have shown. They are truly unreliable,” she spoke through her smile.
He sighed, “They have probably all gone home to their wives by now.”
“We had better get started, then.”

The bloodhound’s nose was glued to the ground as she pulled the Inspector and Miss Chaplin behind her.
“She has picked up something…” Lovell observed.
Chaplin hoped so, yet at the same time, she was not sure if she wanted to find something. Perhaps it was because of the fact that she was not quite sure what exactly she would see. She feared finding the mutilated remains of her friend. It was true that she had seen many things in her life that she would rather have not seen, but this she feared the most. This was not simply some person that she had never met, whom she had been instructed to find. This was someone whom she had known since she was a young lady attending a dreadful academy for girls coming of age. This was one of the only people who had ever been kind to her and been her friend in her twenty-three years of life.
She looked up to the dark, cloudy sky.
“More snow,” said she.
“I really think she has found something!” Lovell ignored Miss Chaplin’s statement; his voice was growing louder with both excitement and fear. Chaplin knew he was feeling the exact same way as her.
She reached up to touch the dead branch on a tree that still had traces of snow on it from the last storm, “Probably a crust of bread or the skin of a fruit.”
“I am being serious, my dear Miss Chaplin.”
“So am I.”
The canine suddenly bolted through a patch of thick bushes, startling Lovell who was dragged in an unexpected direction, still clinging to the bloodhound’s leash.
Chaplin sighed and stepped carefully through the frozen bushes. Lovell had probably snagged parts of his police uniform and possibly scratched himself on a branch with how fast that dog had yanked him through those bushes.
Lovell’s back was facing her. His body was rigid. The canine stood at his side, whining and moving her tail quickly from side to side.
“Inspector?” she called to him, moving to his side.
On the ground in front of them were a ring and a torn piece of fabric. The dirt was stained red from fresh blood.
Chaplin knelt down beside the evidence. She lifted the golden ring into her gloved palm as she squatted on top of the stain.
She was dragged. This was obvious, as the killer had not cared to cover the marks embedded into the dirt. There was no boot print. Easton’s body had erased those as she was dragged behind the killer. It seemed for quite a long way. She was frightened, aware that darkness would come soon. She sobbed and begged to be free, but none paid any attention. Then, she was in a strong, almost comforting embrace as she shut her eyes, listening to a final melody.
Chaplin opened her eyes.
“She died here.”
“Any knowledge of where we may find her?” Lovell choked as he regained consciousness of his surroundings.
She shook her head and exchanged her focus to the piece of light blue fabric.
“This is from her favorite dress. She wore it often,” a small, slight smile curved the ends of her lips as she recalled the memories. Quicker than it had come, though, it had vanished without a trace.
“The blue one. Yes, I remember,” his eyes seemed to be seeing something else besides the trees and bushes before him and the woman kneeling in front of him.
“Now we must find her,” said Chaplin.
Lovell arrived back to the present, “That will be a highly difficult task.”
“The killer would not have taken her too far from the place which he took her life. He would not have had great time to do so,” she observed.
He sighed, “Why can those visions of yours not show you the things we actually are in dire need to know?”
The lady glared up at him, “Why do you consistently find the need to insult me?”
Lovell sighed once again, this time apologetically, “I am sorry.” He swept his palm over his forehead tiredly.
“We will sweep this entire city and beyond to find her, until at last we have done our parts,” her voice was piercing. She stood and brushed past he and the canine.
“Forgive me. I am on edge,” his voice quivered with exhaustion.
“Rest then, and spare me of your irritability.”
“You and I both know it is not so simple.”
“Well let’s find her then.”

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