Tilly Moncrief – nemesis of Cat Lucifer – carnage revisited.


As far as cellars went, the cellar beneath the Windsor Hotel wasn’t a bad one. Running beneath the hotel, the cellar was equal in length and width of the establishment, the timber and stone lined walls leading to a ceiling nearly eight feet above the floor; well coopered barrels filled with beer but mostly spirits took up two thirds of the kerosene lamp lit floor, damp had yet to enter. A run down, heavily scarred twelve seat jarrah table was the focal point of, and dominated, the remainder of the space two storey’s beneath Lucifer’s Brothel.  It was currently surrounded by men varying between mean faced jockey, and seven foot, twenty five stone muscle bound behemoth. Seated at the head of the table sat Cat Lucifer; flanked to her right lounged her inseparable confidante and assistant, Antoinette O’Hare, a one legged ex-prostitute from the grim Toulouse streets of her birth.

Born of a consumptive French mother, and an Irish sometime stand over-man/villain father, Antoinette had been raised on sweat and corruption and dirt and poverty; growing old young when the Great War left a crater of her multigenerational inhabited flat, on a picturesque spring afternoon. Antoinette had been stealing food at the time of the bombing of her home, and returned to find firemen, dust, and little else not long after the artillery guns fell silent. From that moment on, orphaned and alone, she raised herself on wit and anger filled hatred; hatred at the life she lead and the life left to her aged ten years and seven months. The loss of her lower right leg to a closely discharged German Mauser round when she was thirteen compounded the iron hard rage within her further. Living from the streets in fetid squalor through to the end of the war. In 1919 Antoinette fled France, and believing she was boarding a ship to America, a somewhat perplexed Antoinette docked in Fremantle, Australia, in the early months of 1920 with a stolen passport, matching identity, a Cossack short sword, and looted cash and jewellery from some of the grandest houses in France. Her short sword, and her wielding of it, soon became a thing of legend on Fremantle’s docks and places of dubious repute, quickly elevating her reputation as one to be avoided and revered at the same time. Tonight she was dressed in labourer’s trousers, shirt, soft cap and boots, remaining as shrewd and cunning as she had ever been. Her only fear in life was Cat Lucifer, Perth’s rivalled and unbeatable architect to Perth’s seedy and corrupt underbelly.

Cat, like Antoinette, was dressed in a similar fashion. Raised in Glasgow, she was harder than the city was known for; whippet thin, six feet one inch short, arms and legs resembling plaited wire, with a gut like a washboard and a chest better suited for ironing on, Cat Lucifer dominated every room and environment she entered. Her long face was not an unattractive match to her red hair and strawberries and cream complexion. However, spectacularly green eyes blazing near manic fury and a fine white scar running from her hairline, across her left eye, ending at her chin stopped all to encounter her firmly in their tracks. Oxford English Dictionaries might have written their definition of ‘psychopath’ specifically about Cat; a woman of no empathy some may initially have called ‘cruel’ until they fell upon her immense and unbendable hatred for all of humanity. It was then that they retracted the term, replacing it more accurately with ‘wicked’.

Standing, stamping her feet on the sawdust covered floor, Cat slammed her twenty-eight year old scarred fist with the fury of an angered Norse god against the weathered table top.

“The slag Tilly Moncrief has stolen from me,” battering all around her with her angry Scots brogue, “what is mine an’ all, an’ I wants it back.”

“I want her brought to my feet alive and passably coherent.  Although just how alive is irrelevant. Air in her lungs and words to fill her mouth will be enough.”

Whilst the contents of the theft were unknown to all bar Antoinette, those at her subterranean table knew well enough of Lucifer’s temper and resultant fury not to ask.

“The first time she has stolen from me is the last. She’ll be holed up atop the National down in Freo. but she will be no easy catch. Bring her to me by Thursday night, or head to sea and never return, the choice is yours.” With a nod Cat finished her tirade, all the men stood or stooped as the case may have been, slowly, quietly, making for the heavy jarrah stairwell on the western wall of the cellar. None look at one another, nor did they cast a look in Cat’s direction.

Gazing at her prosthetic, ignoring Cat and her anger, “I’ve got woodworm in my leg again,” said Antoinette quietly to herself. Cat stormed away.

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