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Unbetaed conceptual crack I have to somehow get out of my head.

Title: The Case of the Haunted Detective

Although I have in many opportunities commented on my friend's talent for disguise, I have kept from my public notes the true depth of his theatrical skills. Of all the characters he has ever "composed" for the benefit of both those who would consult and those who must suffer him, the most elaborate is without a doubt his well-known persona as a coldly rational empiricist guided solely by the evidence of his physical senses.

Granting his almost superhumanly keen intellect, vast erudition, and natural perceptiveness, he is most emphatically not the machine-like calculator that my tales have, at his request, so forcefully delineated.

Because it annoys the Ghost, my friend, that's why, is the only explanation I have been given, and if I must judge by the thunderous visage of the specter only the two of us can see — and who will only talk to him — there is some truth to this. There's no love lost between the deceased king and his ever-delaying avenger, despite the terrible strength of their sworn oath: once my friend his *sure* of the Ghost's good-will by his supernatural aid in the lawful solution of other crimes, and not a day before, will he take justice by his hand and slay the man he wordlessly fears is his true father by blood.

I believe my friend will never willing tackle this final problem, and I think even the somewhat obtuse Ghost has finally understood it and shifted the focus of his hatred to his own son. He subjects him to such horrid invective every night that only the enforced sleep of opium grants my friend some bad semblance of respite. This would be worry enough and more than enough for one who cares for him as much as I do, but we've been informed minutes ago that she (only one of that gender, other than his mother, seems to enter his thoughts) has taken her own life. I don't know if this is the Ghost's doing, or simply another tragic incident in my friend's life, so intimately bound to crime and blood, but I fear some dark game is afoot.

In front of me stands the Ghost, not caring to attempt to read my words as I write them or to hide his disdain. Is it my own fear and hatred tricking my eyes, or do his ghostly lips carry the ghost of an smile? Has he seen future murder with the certainty with which he has proved to us a thousand times he can see past ones?

I don't know what my friend's next actions will be. It is at times like this when I wish his mind truly had what it affects to in public, a detachment bordering on madness. All I can do is prepare my weapon and be ready for his call.

.finis.

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