87 Ashan 716The housing office was quiet and the woman at the front desk had been able to see Malcolm quickly. He sat down in the cold leather chair on one side of the desk and looked across at the elderly woman who was tall and thin with white hair and tired skin. She was wearing a pair of reading glasses with narrow gold frames and thick lenses, shuffling through the papers on her desk. "Blackwood did you say?"
"I believe that's the name, yes."
"You will have to excuse me for a moment, Ser, we have many persons under that name in our records."
"I'm looking for something on a woman and child, husband reported as deceased within the last few arcs, ship sunk out at sea."
The old woman turned a few more pages into the book and ran her finger down the list of names and dates. "Now that you mention it there is one woman here with her husband reported as deceased, our records show that her last address was..."
Malcolm opened his notebook and pushed it across the table. "Would you mind writing it down?"
The house was a small two bedroom place in mid-town, tucked away at the end of a long street nestled amongst a few other houses, each with flower boxes mounted below the windowsills and their doors painted bright, vivid shades of red, blue, and green. The house Malcolm was after had a black front door with the face of a iron lion on the front. The captain knocked on door and stepped back to wait and see if anyone would answer. He listened for any noises coming from within the house but it was a movement in the second story window that caught his attention. With no reply in the moments that followed, Malcolm knocked again and called out, "Mail!"
A woman answered the door with a young boy in her arms and glared at the man. "You don't look like the usual postman that comes through here of an afternoon."
"I apologise for deceiving you, my lady, but I am looking for someone who I know used to live at this address, the Blackwood residence?"
"That's us," she nodded, "who may I ask are you?"
Malcolm's heart sunk, perhaps Marcus had been wrong. "A friend of your husbands, we used to sail together," he lied.
The woman laughed. "Oh, you must be talking about my sister in law, it's my brother you used to sail with then?"
Malcolm stood stunned, maybe he was onto something after all? "Y-yes," he stuttered, "do you have an address for his wife?"
"Hold on, let me find the letter she sent last season."
The captain waited outside and noticed someone upstairs lift the curtains again. He narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better look at the person inside but before he had the chance, the door opened again. Blackwood's sister came out holding an empty envelope with a return address on the back. Malcolm took the envelope and thanked the woman before taking a better look at the address. The text would lead him in the direction of low-town, strange, the man thought, why not just tell him the new address if she was so close, and why would she have to send a letter if she hadn't moved out of the city? Malcolm pressed his thumb to the ink to find that it was still wet... He stopped and looked back at the house, why would she lie?