Disclaimer: Harry Lockhart and Perry Van Shrike are not mine. Valerie Holmes is mine, as is the plot. Valerie Holmes' ringtone is not mine, either.
Author's Notes: This is a scrap from the original first draft of the novel "Diamond in the Rough", which tells the backstory of my original character, Valerie Holmes, and how she came to work for Perry. This scene is not going to be in the final draft of the novel, unfortunately. It just wouldn't work out the way I want it to work out with this scene, so I had to cut it from the novel. However, I thought it would still be a lovely teaser for the novel. The title for this piece comes from the title of the first book in the "Children of the Red King" series by Jenny Nimmo, Midnight for Charlie Bone. I have no idea why, except that it sounded good.
Holmes winced at the sound of Harry's painful gasps for breath.
"Stay here, Harry," she said, a plan taking shape in her mind.
"What?" Harry wheezed, wincing as he jarred his ribs. "Where are you going?"
"Harry, stay here until it's safe, then go straight to the nearest hospital and let Perry know what's happened," Holmes ordered.
"But, Holmes, what about you?" Harry demanded, grabbing her jacket.
"I'll be fine, Harry, as long as you do exactly as I told you to do," Holmes insisted.
Harry wasn't convinced, however, he knew that Holmes knew--or at least, she had a pretty good idea of--what she was doing, so he let go of Holmes' jacket and hid behind a nearby dumpster as his friend boldly stepped out of the alley and whistled.
Harry watched silently as Holmes sprinted away out of sight, two burly men close on her heels, shouting at her to stop.
Then everything fell silent--well, as silent as it ever was in Los Angeles.
Harry waited five minutes, and when nothing else happened, he left the alley and looked around.
He was completely on his own, with no way to get to the nearest hospital, nor any inkling of where the nearest hospital would be.
He nearly had a heart attack when the Ghostbusters theme song started playing from somewhere nearby without warning.
He eventually tracked it down to a cellphone beside the dumpster he had been hiding behind.
On the display was the message "1 MISSED CALL".
Harry hit "OKAY" and he saw that the cellphone belonged to Holmes. She hadn't left him on his own in a strange part of town after all.
He dialed a number he knew by heart and waited.
Perry picked up on the second ring.
"Perry Van Shrike speaking."
"Hey, Perry, it's me, Harry," Harry said.
"Harry? Where's your phone?" the PI demanded.
Harry had to think about that for a moment.
"I don't know, I lost it," he eventually admitted. "But that's not the point."
"Not the point?" Perry echo'd. It was clear from his tone of voice that he suspected that Harry had gotten himself arrested for something stupid like stealing a pack of gum.
But before Perry could get going with his rant, Harry bumped his probably broken ribs and gasped in pain.
"Harry...what was that?"
"You?" Harry could hear Perry's eyebrows cocking.
"Yeah, a couple of thugs jumped me, I don't know where I am."
"Where are the thugs?"
Harry shrugged before he remembered that Perry couldn't see him.
"No idea," he admitted. "Holmes drew them away and I don't know where she is either."
"Holmes?" Perry was starting to get a bad feeling.
"Yeah," Harry confirmed.
"As in our client, Valerie Holmes?"
"Harry, you idiot!" Perry shouted. "Those thugs were hired to kill Miss Holmes! Why didn't you stop her?!"
"She just saved my life," Harry reminded him.