Last week, as you'll recall, I began the sequel to Trapped in Time. Our gang find themselves in the Old West. But part of their group is missing! And who's the newcomer? Find out in Trapped in Time II: Chapter 2. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers have been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Trapped in Time II: Chapter 2
“Excuse me, sir.” I hear a voice behind me, but I refuse to turn. It’s not Vittorio and that’s all that matters to me. Perhaps I’m not being very sensible, considering we’re in a strange place, and there is no telling whether we’ve landed amid friends... or foes. At the moment I simply do not care.
A hand falls upon my shoulder. I whirl in indignation and shrug it off, gathering myself to chastise this person. But before I can speak a syllable, my father has arrived upon the scene and he takes matters into his own hands. I bite my tongue instead.
“Good day to you, sir,” Vati greets the stranger. The man stands about Vittorio’s height. A redhead he is, with hair the color of fall leaves. And bright green eyes.
“Forgive my intrusion.” He addresses my father, but his gaze is fastened upon me, and I must resist the urge to tell him to go away, he isn’t wanted here. The stranger removes his dusty hat and clasps it in one hand, holding the other toward Vati. “I saw you all from a distance, and I was concerned that perhaps there was trouble here. I can see now that I might have been a wee bit hasty in my judgment.”
“Our only trouble is that we’re a bit lost,” Vati confesses. He takes the man’s hand and shakes it before adding, with a slight laugh. “Irish, are you, young man?”
“Born and bred,” the stranger confesses. “Flynn’s the name. Flynn Shaughnessy.” He turns to me and repeats his hand gesture. I intentionally ignore it. Vati nudges me, but I refuse to budge, and I hear him sigh. The stranger withdraws his hand after a few seconds and no response. “Of the celebrated troupe of Shaughnessy and Cutler, perhaps you’ve heard of us?”
Here we are, lost in the middle of nowhere, with Vittorio God knows where, and he wants to play guessing games?
“Forgive us, we are newcomers,” Vati apologizes. “You are an actor?”
“Indeed I am.” The more he talks, the more obvious his brogue. He swipes his hat through the air before him and bows from the waist, as if he is being received by the king or something. How ridiculous.
“I am Rolf Klein,” Vati introduces himself before indicating me, “and this is my son, Adalbert.”
“A pleasure to meet you both. Perhaps I can be of some help to you, Rolf? And Adalbert...” He gestures his hat in the direction he has come from. “My group is right behind me. I rode ahead to see if I might be able to render assistance. Would you care to travel along with us? Just to the next city,” he hastily interjects. It is on the tip of my tongue to tell him what he can do with his offer of assistance.
“That is most kind of you,” Vati replies.
“It’s not just a matter of convenience, I have to admit. There’s been some trouble in this area. People have been attacked. Which is why I was concerned to see you traveling on foot as you are.”
“How far is the next town?”
“Not far now. Another day or two at most, in our wagons.” Again, I find him staring at me. I can’t help but think that if Vittorio was here, he would have sharp words for this arrogant Arschloch. “We’re to perform there. The troupe, that is. For how long, I cannot say. As long as people are willing to pay for our craft.” He grins again. I find his smile decidedly disconcerting.
“What is the name of the town, Mr. Shaughnessy?”
“Please, call me Flynn.”
“Flynn, then,” Vati accedes to the man’s request.
“Whistling Wind. An unusual name, I know, and a colorful one.”
“That it is,” Vati agrees. “Since you have been so kind, I must insist that you be our guest for dinner tonight.”
What? I jerk my head up sharply. What did my father just do?
“I would be most pleased, thank you.” Shaughnessy slaps his hat against his leg before returning it to his head. “Well, I’ll be riding back to my group and apprise them of the current situation. They’re not very far. We’ll join you before nightfall. Just keep your eyes open and you should be all right. This seems a good place to stop for the night. Have you weapons?”
“We don’t need weapons!” I fairly snarl.
Shaughnessy’s face turns somber. “These are troubling times, my friend. I wish that were not so, but it is. I’d lend you one of mine, but I have a feeling you’d be refusing my offer, now wouldn’t you?”
I make no response and he doesn’t wait for one.
“I’ll hurry back, in that case. I’ll make sure that you all stay safe, that I promise.” He gives me one final look before mounting his horse and galloping back the way he came.
“Godspeed,” Vati wishes him. My words are unprintable.
Here it comes. The lecture. He is going to remonstrate with me for my bad manners, and there is a part of me that knows I deserve to be chastised, whether I am ready to admit to it or not.
He reaches for my hand and squeezes it between his. I reluctantly raise my eyes to his face; it would be disrespectful to do otherwise.
“Please try not to worry so much. I know you miss Vittorio. I know you are worried about him. But he is a very brave man, and very intelligent. Have faith in him, and have faith in God that he shall reunite you very soon.”
These are not the words I had expected to hear. Feeling suddenly drained, I lean against him and he folds his arms about me, while I sob into his bosom.
“When did you get to be so smart?” I murmur. He holds me tight as I continue to cry.
to be continued
Now, go see what the other Briefers are up to!