Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Wednesday Briefs: An Unholy Alliance #12 (3.5)

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. 

Charlemagne is less than pleased when Tyrone shows up at the library where he is trying to research his family. How and why? 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.

An Unholy Alliance #12 (3.5)

The last thing I wanted to do was create a scene. Not there and then. Later? Well, I wouldn’t guarantee anything about what might occur, given the opportunity.

Shelving my irritation, at least for the moment, I gave him a withering look. “Why are you here and how the hell did you find me?” I knew I hadn’t given him any clue as to where I was going when I’d received the text from Casey. I mean, why would I have? I hadn’t even said good-bye, or any variation thereof.

“Pure dumb luck,” he chuckled. “And a little bit of deductive reasoning.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I caught him eyeing my tea a bit too suspiciously for my taste, so I protectively moved it closer to me, just in case he had designs on it. Let him ask Casey for a cup and see how far that got him. Although they were nice, and might just give him one, not knowing how annoying he truly was.

“What kind of tea is that?” He was glancing more openly at my cup now. I shot him a baffled look at the way he’d not-so-subtly changed the subject. Like I’d forget what I’d asked.

“What difference does that make?” I countered. “And you didn’t answer my question. How did dumb luck, which I suspect is something you’re more than passing familiar with, and a bit of deductive reasoning lead you here, of all places?”

Again he ignored me. “You should probably drink green tea. It’s rich in antioxidants. Do you know what those are?”

“Do I look stupid?” I snapped.

He shook his head. “No, of course not. I just don’t like to assume anything. Then you know that antioxidants, like those found in green tea, help to improve blood circulation. Considering your condition, I assume you need all the help you can get in that area.”

“It’s not a condition,” I blurted out without thinking through my words. And now I’d just admitted to being what I am… and didn’t I feel stupid. I felt my temper begin to flare. How was he able to manipulate me so easily? I found him…that is, Tyrone was… damn the man, he was very… infuriating.

I was beginning to lose my words, and that I would not countenance.

“I don’t need lessons in biology from someone like you! I’ve studied at more universities than you can even imagine. What have you done? Graduated from tech school?” Now who was making assumptions? I couldn’t believe I’d let myself be goaded into engaging in a battle of wits with this… this… person. To what end? I could leave here at any time and never see him again. And yet I didn’t.

I told myself that was because this was my library, not his. If anyone was going to leave, it would be him. But if I were to be completely honest with myself, that wasn’t the truth. Whether I was willing to admit it then or not.

“Sorry,” he chuckled again. His hand seemed to snake toward me, as if he intended to pat my arm, perhaps in some manner calculated to soothe the savage breast. I jerked back, maintaining a respectable distance between us. That should let him know I didn’t want to be touched. Not that I owed him an explanation, I just wanted things to be clear between us.

“I guess it’s the biologist in me,” he explained. “I love talking about it. Well, you may have noticed I just enjoy talking…”

Isn’t that the truth?

“…and most of the people I talk to don’t have a science background, so I kind of take that into account and I end up explaining things more often than not. I certainly didn’t intend to insult you, I promise. I have no doubt you know many things, probably a lot more than I do. I mean, you’ve been studying for a lot longer than I have, so it’s only natural. Plus you sound very well educated, if you don’t mind my saying so. I can hear it in your voice. You have a very nice voice, by the way.”

I couldn’t decide if I was more flattered or insulted, or some combination of the two. And this conversation was drifting farther and farther afield.

As if he could read my mind (something I was beginning to wonder about, I admit), he finally answered my question. “I heard it on the police scanner. The BOLO.”

The what? What language was he speaking? And what did he hear?

“You know. Be on the lookout.” He must have noticed the blank look in my eyes and forged ahead. “The car. The Chrysler I spotted in the parking lot. The timing was too perfect. I mean you take off, the car gets stolen, here it is and here you are…” He made a hand gesture and his face wore a you see what I mean expression.

“The blind luck came in that I just happened to be coming this way. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have seen it and figured out it might be you. I wasn’t positive, but I was fairly sure. And of course, as you can clearly see, I was right.”

I couldn’t tell if he looked more complacent or smarmy or just plain pleased with himself. A desire to leave was growing within me, but I couldn’t. At least not until I finished looking through the books Casey had found. The papers I could keep, they were just print-outs she’d made for me. But not the books. I couldn’t check them out, not being an actual patron, not even a resident of the area.

“Damn!” Tyrone whistled under his breath.

What now?

I glanced up sharply to find what appeared to be a policeman heading our way with undoubtedly foul intent.

What had Tyrone just brought upon me?

 to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers!

Cia Nordwell







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