Pickled scorpions and the chirography of abductors…

The hunt for Squidgy continues. I’m starting to feel like a proper detective, conducting my investigation in the vein of the fictional greats: Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe. Or Scooby-Doo. Although probably with poorer diction.

Anyway, I soon found the tiger. It turns out that it wasn’t on anyone’s desk, but one of the office bookshelves, so the kidnapper is apparently moving Squidgy around to avoid the chance that I’ll recognise where he sits from the photos. A dead end. Disheartened, I headed home.

When I reached my flat, I found another note nestling amongst the junk mail. The threats were no longer constrained to the workplace. The case had taken a worrying turn.

I’m not sure why we have a pickled scorpion in the office, but I never imagined it would be used to threaten a small spongey man. (I never imagined that I’d type those words either…)

Back to the case. The letter was delivered by Her Majesty’s Royal Mail, the envelope franked from the office machine, and dated March 22nd. The address was scrawled in the same childish writing as the others (the poor pensmanship either an attempt to mask the kidnapper’s true hand, or the result of too little practice; the product of years of communicating solely via the medium of the qwerty keyboard).

I collected my thoughts, idly turning the envelope over and over in my hands as I wondered what kind of monster had written those words. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw something. Holding the envelope up to the light, I could just make out a series of faint indentations on its face, angled to the rest of the writing.

A message. Not intended for me, but for the operator of the franking machine. Instructions on how to send the mail and who should cover the expense; at one point written on a note attached to the outside of the envelope, but written with just enough force to leave a faint imprint below it.

That strange handwriting, the sight of which I had learned to fear, had betrayed the identity of its owner. I had a name.



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