This week, the prompts were: "All that glitters is not gold," or use: tiger, default, thread or use a pig in a poke or "Coffee, tea or me?" or use crawdads in an imaginative way or use the element of surprise or use a windmill or a Google search gone bad.
Last week, as you'll recall from the latest chapter of Stan and Ollie, something's wrong with Ollie and Stan's going crazy trying to figure it out and help him. He told Xylina to get some brandy. Will it help? Find out in episode #20. Don't forget to visit all the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Stan and Ollie #20
I’m so surprised that without thinking I stand, losing my contact with Ollie. Instantly the ghost disappears. I peer into the seemingly empty corner for a few seconds, until it hits me what I’ve done. I replace one hand gently on Ollie’s arm, while I fumble in my pocket for the glasses and manage to put them into place. While Ollie can see the dead unaided, I either have to be in contact with him or wear the special glasses he made for me.
Much better. I can see Consuelo again.
She seems mistier than I last remember. Far less solid, if that’s even the right word to use for someone who isn’t actually of this world.
She raises one hand, aims an accusatory finger in my direction. “What have you done with Eggy?” she wails.
Jesus. Like I don’t have enough going on, now I have to add a whiney ghost to the list? This is just too much.
If it wasn’t for her, we would never have come to Nowhere Mississippi. And Ollie would not be lying there as he is. I am not in the mood to deal with this shit. Client or not.
Anger surges through me, mingling with my sorrow, combining into an ugly force of my own making. At this moment, I am no one to fuck with.
“Last seen, he was at the church with his precious pastor!” I snap. “Why don’t you go there too? Or you can go to hell, for that matter. This is all your fault. If it wasn’t for you…”
I feel a light touch upon my hand, and my first thought is that Xylina is interfering for reasons of her own. It isn’t until I hear her gasp that I realize it’s not her. I turn to find Ollie, half-risen in the bed.
“Stan,” he murmurs, so faintly I can barely hear him.
Everything else is instantly forgotten.
“Ollie.” I breathe his name gingerly, as if afraid to speak too loudly. His beautiful eyes are open, gazing into mine, but they seem less blue than they should. He must be expending too much energy, I fret.
“Lie down, lie down,” I urge him. He shakes his head at my request.
“Hold me,” he pleads. How can I refuse? Carefully, I wrap my arms about him, take him into my embrace, hoping to infuse some of my strength into him.
“Oh Ollie,” I murmur into his ear. “Oh baby, I was so worried. You had me so scared.”
“I’m sor—” I cut off his attempted apology with a kiss. Gentle, not passionate. Tender and loving. And heartfelt.
“You’re back, that’s all that matters. You’re here.” I’m vaguely aware that Xylina has morphed into her cat form, and is curled up against his other side. I don’t even care. I’m too happy to be jealous.
Reluctantly, I pull back a little to survey his visage. He seems far too pale for my liking. I press the back of my hand against his forehead. He’s not warm. That’s something. But then again, he’s an alien, what do I know?
“What happened to you?” Much as I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, or muddy the waters, I really need to know what happened and why, to better handle future occurrences, if any. “What do you remember?”
He grips my hand tightly—his knuckles turning white with his effort—and for a moment I fear he’s about to pass out again. “The road… I saw…”
“What about the road?” I prompt him, kneeling on the bed, sliding my arm about his waist, careful not to disturb our joined hands. “Where is the road?”
“Not far,” he whispers. “Near the door. The water… The evil…” His voice is fading more and more with each word.
“Shhh, shhh, it’s all right. I’m here,” I attempt to soothe him. I feel him suddenly relax in my grasp, as if his efforts have wearied him, and I gently lay him back upon the bed.
“Stan,” he whispers, beckoning me closer. “Please… don’t yell at Consuelo. We have to… help her.”
My heart constricts at his words. Even after suffering a near-death experience—or whatever it was—his first thoughts are for someone else. Damn do-gooding alien.
What is someone so sweet doing with someone like me, I ask you.
I take a deep breath, hold it for a moment and slowly release it once again. “I’m sorry,” I murmur with all the sincerity in my heart. He grasps my hand and presses a kiss upon it, followed by a weak smile.
“I know you are. It’s not your fault.”
“What is wrong with him?” I almost jump at the proximity of the voice. I hadn’t noticed her approach. Consuelo stands just beside me, looking mournfully at my better half.
Determined not to lose my temper—again—I focus on Ollie, as I offer the truth. “I don’t know. I’m sorry I yelled at you, Consuelo. Maybe you can help us, yes?”
“Help you?” Her voice drips with doubt.
“Do you know Pastor Robinson?”
“Will? Of course I do.” There’s something in her voice. I turn my head to regard her. She’s frowning.
“What’s wrong?” I query.
“I… don’t… know. I feel funny,” she frets. “When can I see Egbert?”
“The road.” I hear Ollie whisper, and I try to phrase that as a question, like I’m playing some form of Jeopardy. Closing my eyes, I picture what he showed me before.
“Do you know a country road that’s near to the church, and near to water too?” I know, we’re in the middle of Nowhere Mississippi. Place probably abounds with country roads.
“There’s a very nice road that runs by the creek. It’s by the church. Sometimes we picnic there. Eggy and me. Sometimes just me.”
Ollie’s attempting to sit up again, against my advice.
“We have to go there,” he murmurs, distraught. “Before it’s too late.”
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!