Good morning and Happy Hump Day ! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.
Unable to stop himself from falling asleep after a full meal, Char awakens to find himself inside Tyrone's tent. He leaves the tent to find Tyrone cooking breakfast over a fire. See what's happening in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!An Unholy Alliance #5 (2.2)
“Morning, Char! Feeling better? Come sit down by the fire. I’m making us some breakfast. I’ll be done here in just a second.”
Again with the familiarity? I didn’t know whether I was mad about that or just irritated because he talked so damn much. Being on my own, I wasn’t used to early morning conversations. But I bit my tongue rather than let him know he’d managed to annoy me. Oh well, I wouldn’t have to endure him for much longer, now that I had shaken off my torpor of the night before. Couldn’t hurt to eat a little something before I took my leave, could it? Although there was the nagging question of what to do with the reason for my somnolence. Half of me thought I should bury him and call it a day, and the other half said let Tyrone deal with any fallout. But common sense prevailed. This man could potentially identify me, if questioned by the authorities. As chatty as he was, I had no reason to think he wouldn’t spill the beans with just the slightest encouragement. And grin while doing it.
Didn’t matter if I’d never admitted to him what I was, and had no intention of doing so. Suspicion was in and of itself bad enough. The last thing the Families wanted was to draw attention to their existence. Even if I wasn’t currently with my family, I couldn’t just go against years of ingrained privacy.
Since there was no seating of any type in evidence, I grudgingly settled cross-legged onto the ground on the other side of the fire, barely managing not to roll my eyes as I put a healthy distance between us. I took another sniff, still trying to place the scent. Beef? Pork? I couldn’t tell. Still waking up, I guess. A quick glance into the skillet told me he’d added sliced potatoes, or maybe some kind of root vegetable. Who did he think he was, the backwoods Julia Child? Not that I considered this gourmet by any means. Still, it was here and it was free.
“Okay,” I finally responded. If he was hoping for a lengthier reply, he didn’t show it. Nothing seemed to faze him, not even my surly side.
Critically examining the contents of the skillet, he seemed satisfied with what he saw, took the pan off the heat and set it carefully on the ground beside him. Then he picked up a large serving spoon and a gray plastic plate and filled the dish with half the contents of the pan, before adding a plastic knife and fork and offering it to me. “Here you go! Bon appétit!”
Leaning toward him, I took the plate from him and managed a fairly sincere thank you, sitting back while he served himself. The aroma was definitely interesting. Seasoned, even. So he wasn’t a complete hillbilly, although first impressions are often correct. And we were in the middle of the Ozark Mountains.
I know, a strange place to find a vampire, but that was neither here nor there at the moment.
I was surprised to find that what I had assumed to be cheap plastic utensils turned out to be flatware possessed of a sturdier tensile strength. Perhaps he’d purchased this at an army surplus store. Or maybe Survivalists had their own online store where one could amass all sorts of interesting paraphernalia specifically designed for those who anticipated having to live off the land someday. Well, why not? The Families had their own website. Sanguisfamila.com. Literally means blood families. But don’t bother to look it up. The site requires a password in order to gain access.
Whoever said vampires couldn’t keep step with the changing times? Welcome to the twenty-first century. The six families maintain contact with one another through the site, as well as with texts and emails. Rather mandatory in order to survive in a world in which we would be hunted down and killed should we make our presence known. Hence the major reason for secrecy.
The meat was tender, I had to give it that much. The knife slid through it rather handily. I forked a small piece and brought it apprehensively to my lips then took it in.
Pork. I think. I couldn’t place all of the spices, but whatever they were they worked well.
“I usually add a little gravy, but I ran out of flour. Next time,” he said cheerily.
“No problem,” I said. Not that I intended there to be a next time. Although a touch of gravy would be nice. Maybe even with a little wine.
What was I thinking? I shook off the idea and kept eating.
“I found some wild parsnips,” he continued. “They kinda remind me of sweet potatoes, don’t you think?”
Frankly, I didn’t care. I grunted something noncommittal. He never acted in the least offended.
“Gravy would be good on those too, I think. Or a little butter. I sometimes get butter but it doesn’t last long without refrigeration. Hard to do in a tent.” He sounded rather apologetic, as if he’d done something wrong.
“Doesn’t matter.” I waved my fork in the air in punctuation. Why I felt the need to ease his guilt, I couldn’t say. Maybe because I could feel the minutes until my departure ticking away. Metaphorically speaking, not actually.
I finished everything on my plate and almost wished there was more. Never mind. I had things to do, places to be. Beginning with corpse disposal.
I decided to take a look at last night’s meal so I could better decide what to do. I glided to the car and opened the back seat, but it was empty.
What the hell?
Had Tyrone, for whatever misguided albeit well-meaning reason, buried the guy for me? He seemed the type to do something like that.
Or… a more sinister thought occurred to me.
No… that couldn’t be… I mean, could it?
My stomach gave a little lurch.
to be continued
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