Happy Hump Day everyone! Welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Briefs, flash fiction brought to you by the authors who call themselves the Wednesday Briefers! This week, the prompts were: "How can you look me in the eye and say...?" or use silk in an original way or use: candy, blossom, serenity or "I knew you were the one when..." or "Hold on there, I'm no..." or "When we were young..." or use a peacock in your tale.
This week marks the end of Stan and Ollie... for now. The mystery is solved, and it's time for me to set them aside and resume them at a later point. But don't worry, I'm working on the first book in the series, and hope to get these two back out as soon as possible. So next week, I'll be starting something new!
Don't forget to see what the other Briefers did this week. Their links follow my tale! And guess what? We have a flash virgin! Enjoy!
Stan and Ollie #24
We leave Xylina hovering over the bent and trembling form of
the pastor. A little water won’t hurt
him; maybe it’ll give him time to reflect on his sins. Before we turn him in to
the local authorities. For right now, though, we have other fish to fry.
I give my partner an inquiring glance and he knows what I’m
asking without my having to vocalize the question. He nods. We gather Egbert
between us, and make our way along the grassy creek bank. This part will be
painful but it must be done.
The minister really didn’t make an attempt to hide her body.
I have to believe the only reason she’s not been found before is that no one
was actually looking for her, assuming her to be a runaway bride. No one except
Egbert, who just didn’t know where to look.
It’s not a pretty sight. Her body lies wedged between some
rocks and a fallen tree, as if caught there, unable to move. Otherwise, I fear
she’d have drifted downstream and far away. Perhaps that was the original plan.
Pastor Robinson’s bad that he didn’t follow through to see what became of his
poor unfortunate victim.
“Consuelo!” Egbert cries out and takes a step toward her,
but we hold him fast between us. No need for a closer look. We can spare him
that much, at least. Besides, what is there is merely the shell of what was,
while the essence is waiting for one final moment with her beloved.
We’ve done this before but, even so, it doesn’t get easier
“Eggy...” comes a voice from behind us, and we turn toward
He still wears my glasses, so we turn him in the proper
direction and he gasps at what he sees.
Consuelo, although no longer a pale shale of her former
self. She is radiant, as she was before death, just more translucent.
“I knew it wasn’t true,” he cries, breaking away from us and
running toward her, arms outstretched, but he runs right through her, and
stumbles in his confusion. He rises to his knees and turns back toward us; I
can see tears of frustration welling in his glistening eyes.
“She is no longer corporeal,” Ollie explains. “You cannot
touch, simply talk.”
I’m worried that he’s going to fall apart and not get the
chance to say good-bye, but he’s made of sterner stuff than I gave him credit
for. He takes a deep breath and regains his feet, brushing off the knees of his
“Oh, my poor Eggy,” Consuelo coos. “I’m so sorry...”
“Oh Consuelo,” he moans. “My beloved...”
Ollie nudges me, and I know at once what he’s saying. I’d
been caught up in the drama of the moment. We need to give them their privacy
for this last encounter. At least it’s the last one on this side of wherever.
We walk back in the direction of Pastor Robinson and Xylina,
who hovers above him, emitting intermittent screeches.
“Think we should let him out?” Ollie asks.
I consider the question for all of two seconds. “Not a
chance. Let the police drag his sorry ass out if they want him.”
That reminds me. I pull out my cell phone, find the number,
and call the Cortez sheriff’s department, giving them the barest details. They
should be here soon. Or what passes as soon in small towns like this one.
I reach for Ollie’s hand, look into his face. I’m not
surprised to find tears rolling down his cheeks. Damn compassionate alien.
Without a word, I draw him into the warmth of my arms, never mind that we’re
both wet up to the knees. This is just as hard on him as it is on them.
Sometimes I wonder if his gift is really a curse. It’s something that didn’t
even exist until he came here to Earth.
“It’ll be okay,” I soothe him, but I know that mere words
are not enough.
"How can you look me in
the eye and say that—” I cut off whatever else he intended to say with my lips.
I kiss him until I feel him
capitulate. He knows I’m right, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.
“We should call Gwin and let
her know we won’t be much longer,” he says once he’s free to breathe once more.
“After we make sure Egbert
will be all right. And after we’re free to go.”
There will be questions, of
course. There always is. But it’s a pretty open-and-shut case. I’m sure they’ll
contact us when it’s time for the trial.
A throat clears behind us,
and we turn. There stand Egbert and Consuelo.
“Guys,” he begins. “Consuelo
explained everything, and I... I want to... to thank you. For... for helping
her. For helping us,” he gulps out.
“Our pleasure,” Ollie
“Thank you so much,”
Consuelo echoes. Her form is thinning, and the edges seem to be alive with cool
blue flames. “Good-bye to you both,” she says and turns to her former fiancé.
“Good-bye, Eggy, and remember I love you. And be happy.” She leans toward him,
ghosting over and through him in a shimmering haze, before her image simply
ceases to be.
Nobody speaks to break the
moment. Nobody except the miscreant, who is unaware of what has happened, and
is still moaning in the middle of the creek.
I hear the distant sound of
sirens, growing closer, and then there’s the usual confusion as we explain what
we know, although not necessarily how we know it. Egbert confirms our story,
accuses the pastor of trying to kill him, and of having killed Consuelo. We
offer to show the sheriff where her poor body lies, but Egbert insists.
“We meet again,” a snarky
voice comments. Why am I not surprised? Does she monitor the police band?
“Be decent, for once, and
let the poor man grieve,” I suggest.
the end... for now...
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Until next time, take care!