Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #9 (3.2)

 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. 

Having bid a less than fond farewell to Tyrone, Charlemagne has more important business to take care of. Something that involves a local library and its librarian. See what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

As an added bonus, if you are enjoying this tale, and getting to know Charlemagne, I have a surprise! He's been interviewed by a friend of mine, and the first part of that interview is on her blog now!  Check it out here!

An Unholy Alliance #9 (3.2)

Having spent time in rural Missouri, I couldn’t help but notice that some of the residents collected vehicles the way other people collected guns… and some of them did both. And these people had a propensity to park their various forms of transportation right in their yards. You know—that chic car lot look.

But the upside of that was that I sometimes got lucky and I found the keys to my chosen vehicle either dangling from the ignition or chilling inside the sun visor. Made stealing a ride a lot easier. Sure, I could have hotwired one if I really wanted to—one advantage to being born before cars were even a thing. But why go to so much trouble when these nice people made it so easy not to?

So I spotted this dark blue 1980-something LeBaron, sitting among its mismatched brethren, in a field just outside an old, ramshackle farmhouse, and I thought why not. A quick listen of the interior revealed no one currently in residence, not a single heartbeat could I hear, so I went for it. Gliding closer, I scanned the car for obvious flaws, such as flat tires or hanging wires. I didn’t care if the damn thing ran forever, just long enough to get me where I wanted to go. I’d ditch it after that and find another when the time came. Same thing I’d been doing for years. Well, since the invention of the automobile. Before that, it was horses.

Two minutes later, I was on my way, windows down and music turned up, having found an inoffensive rock station whose DJ remained blessedly silent between songs other than occasional witticisms, which I handily ignored. Twenty minutes after that, I pulled into the library parking lot and left my ride beneath one of the huge shade trees.

Despite the fact I’d been coming to this town—and more specifically the library—for a while, I still received occasional dirty looks from some of the residents. How could I mistake those glares for anything other than what they were—racism rearing its ugly head? These were mostly older people who seemed to have forgotten the Civil War was over and which side won, but also the occasional wannabe skinhead who, if he had an actual clue, would be more terrified of what I really was than by his own misconceptions of me based solely on the color of my skin. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised at receiving such a reception. Not everyone was raised in a multicultural household such as I was.

Of course, most people weren’t brought up by a narcissistic female vampire who, when given the opportunity to add to her Family, with the sanction and blessing of the Council, chose to do so by stealing young children and raising them to her specifications before completing the final step of turning them into vampires. But I digress.

 I ignored lowlifes such as these the best I could, part of maintaining a low-key profile. But there have been a few (not so much here as in other places) who found out, to their detriment, what many years of practice in an assortment of self-defense arts, combined with a blood-induced physical high, can lead to.

The Mason Springs library was, without a doubt, the most comfortable library I’d ever seen, and that’s saying a lot, since I tended to haunt libraries wherever I went, even before I embarked upon my current research project. What can I say? I love books. Without a doubt, the state of this library was entirely due to Casey. Apparently, as she explained it to me, when she was hired, the powers-that-be gave her carte blanche to do as she liked. And I’m here to tell you the result was pretty amazing.

Casey once told me they’d scoured garage sales and Goodwills  throughout Greene County, searching for the perfect furniture to decorate the library. Comfy chairs with soft cushions, large, supportive pillows for those who preferred the floor, and even a couple of futons, all for the benefit of the patrons. They’d set up a cozy corner for the children, where the young ones could read, work puzzles, or listen to stories as they chose.

One section of the library was dedicated to journalism in the form of magazines and newspapers of potential interest to the community. Some of these were of the sensational tabloid variety, true, but there were also more serious publications, such as Science and Smithsonian. The Mason Springs Book Club held monthly meetings there, as did a local group who played Dungeons & Dragons, dressed to the nines. A very eclectic range of interests indeed. Especially for a small town in the middle of the Ozarks.

Casey also knew a great deal about genealogy, and had studied local history extensively. Which was how I happened upon her, and how we began to work together a couple of years ago. My having recently been, shall we say, ousted from the family, had also given me more time to pursue my particular line of inquiries, far from prying eyes. So, a win-win situation all the way around.

Casey had a knack for finding out things, an ability which I truly admired and respected. Articles, books, and people… she found them all. Granted, outside of myself, I knew Casey would never locate anyone who’d actually been alive at the time of the Civil War (and of course she knew nothing about my having been there), but there were people still living who could trace their roots to that time period and either knew stories or possessed family records. All very invaluable to me in my search for my own roots. The people I’d actually come from, as opposed to the ones I grew up with.

I was hoping that was the kind of information she would give me today. I shivered slightly with anticipation as I entered the library.

 to be continued

Now go see what the other Briefers are up to!

Cia Nordwell

J Ray Lamb




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