Ashes to Ashes

Ashes to ashes


As he waited in the doorway of the old warehouse, he remembered a conversation he'd had with his uncle, one night, as a young child. He could picture it vividly.

'Why does the moon remind you of the Bone Man uncle Frank?
'
Frank, face hidden from the moonlight, had cast a faint shadow on the bedroom wall.

'They slipped into Liverpool on small ships, steered by the light of the moon. The human cargo had endured rough and stormy seas, many were left weakened by the journey. Promised a better life. As they disembarked the Bone Man lined them up in the moonlight, segregated the healthy from the weak. The weak were unpaid, worked to death. Cheap labour. The healthy were herded to a warehouse at the dock.'

Frank made a slashing motion, with his hand on his neck.

 'He sold their organs for research, stored their bones in trunks, that was how he was discovered. The sculpture outside your house is in memory of the dead.' 

James still felt the nausea rise in his stomach, even though he'd later discovered that the sculpture, 'A Case History', was nothing to do with the Bone Man. 

The story was real though, and it had started again.
In the police he was put on the team investigating the trafficking, disappearances, murders, mutilations, every clue led to a dead end. For years it had given him sleepless nights, then came a lightbulb moment, sparked by something his wife had said after vacuuming their
hall. 

He knew he should mention his suspicions to another officer, but if he was wrong...

He saw the lights go out, waited 10 minutes to make sure the building would be empty, before breaking a window to get in.
He was about to vomit into his handkerchief, when Frank found him snooping in his workshop.
Frank made ash from bones.
'Why Frank?'

'Ash is saleable, it has so many uses. No point trying to hide the bones.'

He picked up a carving knife and lunged at his nephew.


James still had the smell of burning in his nostrils as he stepped into their hall, closing the front door behind him.
He brushed down his jacket, and checked the carpet for ash, it wouldn't do for his wife to notice it when she vacuumed this time.