The Amulet of Dreymus Foul

Here we go. The first chapter of the first story. I'm so nervous.

Chapter 1.

Valkyrie sighed as she watched the black silhouette move stealthily towards the house. She had been crouched behind an old stone wall for three hours now. There was nothing she hated more than having to wait. She looked up at the sky as the clouds moved across the moon. The last thing she needed was it to rain. She didn't need to be grumpy and soaked.

Valkyrie turned her attention back to the house. The silhouetted figure had disappeared, presumably entering his home. Why she had to sit here and watch was beyond her. When Skulduggery had informed her that a stake-out would be occurring, she'd assumed he'd be with her. That she'd have someone to talk to. Or at least annoy. What he'd neglected to tell her was that she was the look-out, while he broke in and took what they needed. Valkyrie frowned. Skulduggery would pay for that, in some subtle way. Maybe she'd hide his hat.

She was drawing patterns in the dirt when a bright flash caught her eye. Valkyrie glanced up sharply and saw a tall, slim figure standing on the roof. That was the signal. Not for her to do anything; it meant Skulduggery was about to break in. She frowned again. Had she been demoted? Skulduggery had seemed a little... Off with her recently. Surely he knew hiding behind a wall was not part of her skill set. She made a mental note to ask him when all this was done.

A silly little part of her was glad she was out here though. This place gave Valkyrie the creeps. The house sat on a hill in the outskirts of Roarhaven. It was thatch, and thoroughly run down. The front porch creaked with the gentlest of breezes and the shadows it cast reminded her of monsters in the closet. There was no life within a one kilometre radius, except for one bare tree in the front yard. Somewhere in the distance an owl screeched. Or was it something else? Valkyrie allowed herself a moment to shiver and then pulled herself together. No wonder Skulduggery wanted her outside if she was frightened of a house.

Just as she was shaking her head mentally chastening herself, two shots went off and something smashed inside the house. Pushing all irrational fears aside, Valkyrie leapt over the wall and ran up the garden path. The porch betrayed her every step as she inched towards the front door. Skulduggery had taught her never to run guns blazing into a fight. It was better to keep a safe distance, taking measure of your opponent and all the variables.

Turning the door handle painfully slowly, Valkyrie opened the front door. The first thing that hit her was the smell. The ceiling was cracked and leaking, the walls covered in dry rot and their wallpaper peeling. As for the carpet... Valkyrie took a cautious step forward. It wasn't carpet. It was moss growing through the floorboards. She had a feeling that the rot and decay were now the only things holding the house together.

Thankful that her boots were water-proof she began to look around for any signs of a struggle. She crept down the corridor, her hand splayed in front of her, checking for any disturbances in the air. Satisfied that at least the corridor was empty, Valkyrie entered one of the rooms. She walk into the kitchen and before she could even register the man sprawled beneath the refrigerator, Skulduggery stepped in behind her.

"I thought I said you were the look-out." He said as he began to look through cupboards. Valkyrie turned to face him in the gloom, still keeping an eye on the unconscious man.

"I heard shots. I thought you might need a hand. What are you looking for?" She asked as he pulled open a drawer. Cutlery clinked as Skulduggery shut it.

"The amulet." He answered as he moved to what could only be the pantry.

"Why would the amulet be in there?" She motioned to the cupboard he had just opened as a bag of decades old flour fell to the floor.

"People are known to keep their secrets in the unlikeliest of places, Valkyrie. Specifically, the more obvious the place, the safer they are. Or so people think. I once had an Uncle who kept his private journal on the bookshelf in his sitting room. Imagine my Aunt's surprise when instead of her cookery book, she was reading her husband's deepest, darkest secrets. In the space of thirty seconds, an 80 year marriage was ruined. He had been feeding her cooking to the dog."
Valkyrie knew better than to encourage this story, but she couldn't resist.

"What did she do? I can't imagine she was too impressed."

"No. She wasn't. She cooked my Uncle."

Valkyrie stared at the back of Skulduggery's skull.

"She didn't. Unless. Hang on, was she the mother of your cannibal cousin? You know, the one that ate himself to escape capture."

Skulduggery looked up at her, and tilted his head.

"A cousin that ate himself? Honestly Valkyrie I don't know where you come up with these ridiculous ideas." He pulled open a lid of rancid jam and peered into it. Valkyrie scowled at him. She knew she shouldn't have asked.

Skulduggery pulled off his glove and put his hand into the jar. After a few seconds of searching, his hand came out, fingers clasped around a bronze chain with a locket dripping in rancid jam.

"What did I tell you? The obvious places." Skulduggery stated cheerfully.

Valkyrie was about to ask just how exactly a jar of jam was an obvious hiding place when the man on the floor roared and pushed the fridge off himself. Skulduggery tucked the locket into the inside pocket of his jacket, and pulled out his gun.

"Now, Dreymus. I really don't want to have to shoot you again. So why don't you do everyone a favour and lie back down while my partner and I leave."

Valkyrie noticed two bullet holes in Dreymus' shirt, below his shoulder. Dreymus didn't answer Skulduggery, instead propelling himself forward by displacing air, head-butting Skulduggery in the chest. Valkyrie rolled out the way as the men went head first through the door way. Valkyrie quickly got up and followed them into the living room.

"Not one to talk, are you?" Skulduggery grunted as he snapped his palms, throwing Dreymus straight into a Grand Piano, with a rather musical clunk. Dreymus picked himself up and went to charge through Skulduggery again, but tripped as shadows snaked around his ankles. Valkyrie flicked her wrist and sent him flying into a bookshelf. Dreymus tried to stand up but Skulduggery kicked him hard in the face and pulled out his gun once more.

"I said I didn't want to shoot you again. Not that I wouldn't. Don't test my patience Dreymus. I'm in no mood to be tested."

Valkyrie glanced at Skulduggery and noted the lack of emotion in his voice. She held her breath. Maybe he was angry at everyone, not just her.

"You have my locket. Leave me be." Rasped Dreymus, sweat starting to trickle down his weathered face. "Let me live out the rest of my days in peace. I have nothing to fight for any more."

When Skulduggery's hand still hadn't wavered, Valkyrie nudged him. Surely there was no need to kill the man. They had already beaten him up and taken his trinket. Skulduggery glanced at her slightly, and then lowered the gun. He tipped his hat to Dreymus.

"Thank you for your assistance, it's been most helpful. Also, you may need new jam."

He began to walk out the room and Valkyrie turned to follow. She heard a rush of air and looked back at the old man. The bookshelf had splintered when he had been thrown into it, and now those splinters were making straight for her head. Valkyrie felt an arm tighten around her waist and pull her out of the way. One sliver of wood brushed her hair as it passed. Skulduggery gripped her close, gun pointing at Dreymus again.

"I warned you not to test my patience." He said, pulled the trigger and Valkyrie's ring turned to ice.

Okay! So I think that went alright. Yeah? No? Anyway. I wanted to make Skulduggery really dark and moody in this story. I'm not sure how many chapters they'll be. Or what exactly how the storyline is going to pan out... :/ One thing I AM sure of is that there will be Valduggery. 3