As you'll recall from last week in Trapped in Time II, Vittorio is still missing, and our little band has run across a group of actors, who will escort them to the nearest town. But one of them seems to have his eye on Doll. Hmmm... Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Trapped in Time II: Chapter 3
I guess that we will now be traveling with the acting troupe, at least until we reach the next town. Then we can be rid of them, and good riddance I say.
Shaughnessy’s group consists of four covered wagons, populated by about a dozen or so actors. At least, I assume they are all actors, but it doesn’t really matter to me who or what they are. They set up camp a short distance from us, too close for my taste, but the others seem to welcome their company, so there is little I can say.
Shaughnessy makes a gift to us of a chicken. Or, rather, to me, as I am the appointed chef for our group. Apparently his little troupe is well supplied with food, as he tells us, and wish to share what they have. Especially in light of Vati’s invitation to him to dine with us. What else can I do but graciously accept this gift and roast it for dinner? I suppose I shouldn’t complain so much, but knowing me, I probably will.
This is such a far cry from our dinners in the jungle, in so many ways. I have better utensils to cook with, a proper campfire, and actual spices with which to season the food. I even make a fresh loaf of bread. And yet it tastes no better than what we had before. In fact, I think it tastes worse.
Of course I know why that is. Vittorio is not here and without him, nothing tastes or feels right.
I had hoped that after he ate, Shaughnessey would return to his people, but my hopes are dashed when Vati invites him to stay longer. Now here we are, sitting about the fire, the only light in the dense darkness of the night.
Myron is completely smitten with the Irishman. No, not in that way. He still has Charlie, and they are still very much together. But rather he is fascinated with him because he is an actor. I supposed if circumstances were otherwise, I’d be more interested myself, as both Vittorio and I have a love for the performing arts, whether on the stage or at the theater. But right now I find the man an annoying pain in the ass.
Myron and Charlie sit on one side of Shaughnessey, my father is seated on the other side, while I have removed myself to a spot farther from them, yet still within the radius of the light. “Tell us more stories about being on the road,” the besotted Myron begs, for he has regaled them with anecdotes all during dinner. Places he’s seen, people he’s met, crowned heads of Europe he’s performed for. I think he is full of hot air, but they seem to hang on every word as if it is gospel.
“Have you ever been to Paris?” Myron asks. For some reason, he has the idea that Paris is the cat’s meow of culture in Europe, and all things French are amazing. At least he’s gotten over his obsession with Italian things, if you know what I mean.
“That I have, that I have. Performed for the king. Let me tell you...” And off he goes, rambling about something or the other.
I’m tired of listening. My head and my heart both ache, and his voice, it grates on my nerves. I rise and slip quietly away, far enough so that the sound of his chatter cannot disturb me. I stare up into the sky, at the silent moon, which is close to being full, and I pick out the familiar patterns of the stars. There is Orion’s Belt, and there the Big Dipper. The “Dog Star”, Sirius, gleams brightly. How often have Vittorio and I lain together and stared at this familiar sight?
I sigh, shivering slightly. I should probably return to the warmth of the fire, but I am not ready for that. Not yet.
I hear a snap behind me. On edge, I spin about, my heart in my throat.
“Forgive me, I did not mean to startle you,” Shaughnessey apologizes.
I manage to refrain from growling or snapping out something that would be undoubtedly rude. Instead, I eye him, wondering why he is here and what he wants.
“Your father told me of your loss, Adalbert, and I just wanted to say I’m sorry. I know how it hurts to lose someone.”
“I have not lost him!” I vehemently spit out. “Vittorio is not lost and you do not know what you speak of.”
He holds up his hand in a placating manner. “I seem to have stuck my foot into my mouth, haven’t I?” He takes a step closer to me and I stiffen. “I only want to help. It hurts me to see such a fine young man as yourself in such pain.”
He reaches a hand toward me and I take a step back from him, decidedly uncomfortable at the turn this conversation has taken, as well as his intentions. Who does he think he is? And what does he want from me? We stand frozen in this awkward tableau until I hear my father’s voice calling my name.
“Doll, there you are, I was worried about you.” He looks from me to Shaughnessey, but he doesn’t seem to notice anything odd, and so I say nothing.
“Tomorrow,” Shaughnessey continues, as if nothing untoward has occurred between us, “I shall put a smile on that handsome face.” He winks at me and grins. “And that is a promise you can put in your pipe and smoke.” He laughs and walks away, back toward the fire. My father seems amused. He chuckles.
I, on the other hand, am not.
“Doll, please come back to the fire.” He takes my arm gently. “There may be wild animals.”
I walk back with him, my concern for Vittorio only skyrocketing at that thought. Is he somewhere safe and warm? Is he searching for me too?
to be continued
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Until next time, take care!