Dear “Mr. White”;

While I would like to be more enthusiastic about the now restored postal service saving us from the potential threat of actually having to speak in person, I find that I am unable to enjoy such simple, innocent things. You see, my enraging fellow, I had been quite prepared to simply offer my usual update on the dealings and affairs of our business associates since your absence and the sudden onset of the snow when a bit of information casually landed before me. No, I was not picking up gossip at the local tea house but I was informed by someone who does some rather fine installation work at the museum that someone has been brought to the house in the woods amid the storm. Someone with a startlingly familiar last name and just happens to look quite like a lovely starlet that had left one of our associates rather put out, shall we say. True, said associate was rather useless and his replacement is all well and picked out for his inevitable lapse in judgement but that is beyond the point. Apparently, she is something to look at though she was rather dour in expression upon her arrival. Sporting some bruising and a bit of smeared makeup, I imagine it was a bumpy ride with the likes of who she is currently holding company with. Again, this is beside the point, however.

Yet another thing that has surfaced this week after the clearing of the streets made way for the mail. Apparently there was a tragic death of a local man and his darling offspring. Quite sudden, the papers were quick to tell me. And wouldn’t you know it, there was a stunning photography of that same starlet on the cover of more than one of the local rags. She looks so very much like someone that hardly anyone would know here. The resemblance is rather uncanny to a particular gent that shall currently go nameless but one I would have every interest in speaking about if not for his continued signing of my reimbursement cheques. Tragic, though, isn’t it? The loss of this mysterious figure that the lady in the photograph seemed to grieve so mournfully? Given the dates when this was apparently done, I should say that it coincides rather well with your own near fatal “illness” as you have called it. Well, I do say, I hope that this rather fatal issue is not the catching sort.

I don’t assume that I understand or even know you that well but for you to be so quiet on such matters is infuriating. Did you not think that I would figure out this particular connection or were you simply hoping that I would ignore it? Perhaps you feel I’m truly that stupid that I might have overlooked these matters. From my associate who saw her, the family in the woods are well aware of her connection to that gent I spoke of before and are rather enraged about her appearance in this part of the world. I suppose they would be about his presence too except for that whole issue of his apparent untimely death, that is. Was this some scheme to get them to chase their tails? According to my other men who have been sniffing around lately, the family is beyond livid and while I haven’t received word of them finding anything of proof yet, this is simply a matter of time and we both know it. When they discover the truth, it will be hell to contend with the likes of them and mark my words, they will come for both of us. While I often wish for your death, I am profoundly angry that I should be robbed of my joy of it while I too am looking down the barrel of the mess this whole thing has created. Truly, of all the infuriating things to come across, this holds as one of the most treasonous I can think of. Though our association is strained at best, I should have you know that I have held up my rancid ends better than any other in my position and even you cannot deny that. I should think that this is worthy of more trust than this and for all that we are forced to share, I assure you that it is the only reason that I remain connected with this whole bloody operation. We cannot have such secrets in a climate such as this because there are too many vultures looking to take over the territories.

Though it pains me greatly to report to you right now, it appears as though our forced entrenchment in these matters is assured as things have become much more difficult over the past while and it happens to be more pressing than the snow. Seems that the record keeping that is being done around town has been a bit more of a concern than it used to be. While I still feel the sting of rejection each time I have failed to catch up with your humbly absent “Mr. Glass”, I will say that it’s a bloody good thing that he’s been a good man with his books. Seems as though the people around here are very concerned where their money has been going. Who is financing things and whether or not certain types can be among the trusted. More of those young men have arrived in town, their numbers swollen to uncomfortable sizes. Seems as though there are some interesting roads to be traveled here and they have become rather territorial about them. It has made connections with certain associates more difficult and some rather difficult alliances may be necessary. And to be perfectly frank, some of those associates that we have in our web now are no longer people we can be as choosy about but it is a means to an end. Much like our other fellow who was so taken with his “starlet”, many of them seem to be in a hurry to meet their maker with their attitudes and their lifestyles. I’ll let you know now that I’ll have no part of any of it as much as possible. Still, our hands will be difficult to keep clean at the end of this and there are some wry characters lurking about these days.

And then there is the issue of Brother Edward and his “family”. They are livid, as you suspected. Utterly outraged and there is a climate here that is best avoided. The regards you had suggested have been sent and why yes, I did send another in my stead. Given how well we get along these days, I could have offered to go myself but I figured that there was no better punishment to give to you for your treachery than to remain alive and earning my share of the benefits of our operation. And you’ll be pleased to know that the young man I sent is fine. He returned quite in one piece and though shaken by what he’d seen, the boy was innocent enough to be left alone. The message back is one that is satisfactory but it does warn that we are best leaving this business to family and family alone. A token of compliance was sent to them in honor of their fallen brother and so far, things have been quiet. Should you read a paper in the next while (not that you clearly have) and find news of a letter bomb having found its way to me, remember that I despise you and always have. I should find myself quite displeased if I should expire without having told you such.

Alas, because of this wretched weather and my insufferable rage, I find I have little else to report on currently. When you deign to plan to do something (if you bother planning anything) about this little problem that I have told you about in regards to the viper currently being held in the woods, I do so hope that you will allow me in on your precious secrets. Until then, I’ll be having tea in the finer rooms around town and trying to find out if anything else might have come up that I was uninformed on.

My coldest regards,

Mr. Gray”

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