Words of Mine; An Introduction


I love the sound of words; of letters strung together. Words are like little puzzles and when put together correctly they can invoke pictures of images yet unseen. I see my thoughts like a perfect sequence of still photographs and I find those visions entertaining. The stories I gather from cobwebbed corners, or the vivid thoughts that float lazily through my mind, or the rapid fire ideas all force me to write them down before they evaporate; I can't help but think others might just find them as interesting as I do. Perhaps the little stories you read will make your day a little brighter.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Imogen's Feather Part III


“So, are you going to tell me now?”  Imogen sat in the passenger seat of Detective Ryan’s car.
Ryan’s eyes flicked over to Imogen.
“There aren’t too many explanations; either your grandmother had a twin or she wasn’t your grandmother,” he said.
“What?”  Imogen asked.
“The DNA test?  Came back with certain markers matching right?  So it has to be a certain percentage to come back conclusive.  And it did.  If your grandmother was an identical twin then that could be why the test indicates that Florence is your grandmother, their DNA is the same,” explained Ryan.
Imogen let out a slow breath.  What the hell was going on?  Why didn’t her grandmother tell her anything?  Why did she have to die before she could answer these questions?
“Florence Delgard was identified by the director of a retirement home.  I’m going to talk with the staff and I’m bringing you along to see if you can get her belongings, being a relative and such.”
“Florence Delgard,” she said as she watched the trees go by, as if to acquaint herself with the old woman.

Jim greeted them at the door and led them to his office.
“I’ve got some things to go over before you start your inquires, Detective Ryan,” he said as he rounded his desk and swept his arm across the two chairs, indicating they should sit.
“I have Florence’s will here.  In the event of her death, her belongings are to go to her daughter – the woman in the pictures I believe – and if we can’t find her, they are to go to an Imogen Hyde,” here he looked up to meet eyes with a surprised Imogen.
“I take it that’s you?”
Imogen nodded.  This took Ryan by surprise too and again he sent off a silent prayer.  He might just solve this one after all.
“I need to see some I.D. before I let you into her room,” said Jim.
Imogen pulled her wallet from her purse and showed him that in fact she was indeed Imogen Hyde.
“Okay, Detective Ryan, I imagine you’ll wan to inspect her room too?”
Ryan nodded and Jim led them the way.

It was a small room, with a bed, a dresser, a closet and a cabinet that had framed pictures next to a turntable.  The bed was neatly made with a crocheted blanket on top.  Imogen couldn’t help but think how clich├ęd this room was, almost staged.  Did all women who lived in nursing homes have crocheted blankets on their beds? 
Imogen picked up the picture that was next to the record player.  It was a photograph of Florence with a woman that took Imogen’s breath away.  The woman looked so much like Imogen herself that for a second she thought maybe this was a photo of she and her grandmother.  But it wasn’t, the woman in the photograph was older than Imogen and her hair was darker. The eyes though, and the mouth and even the way she stood; clearly they were related.
Without saying anything she handed the framed picture to Ryan.  He looked at it closely and then looked back at Imogen.
“Who’s this then?” he asked.
Imogen shrugged.  “My aunt?” 
“Wouldn’t be your mother?” asked Ryan.
“She died when I was a few months old.  My grandparents were the only parents I remember,” she said.  “This photo is too recent for it to be my mom.”
Imogen tentatively opened a drawer.  Clothes.  Another one revealed more clothes.  A third one was socks and Ryan stopped her from closing it.
“People hide things in their sock drawers,” he said.
She pushed aside some stockings and wool socks and sure enough found an envelope, bigger than a letter but smaller than a manila.
Ryan smiled when she held it up.  She opened it so he could see too.  Inside were more photographs; of Florence with the same woman and an unknown man, and of a young Florence with a young Gladys, Imogen’s grandmother.
“Holy shit,” Imogen couldn’t help but say.  With a ray of hope she turned the photo around, sometimes people wrote on the back right? She thought. 
Lucky for her, Florence did. 
‘Me and Gladys, 1983,’ it read. 
Imogen turned the other photograph around, the one with Florence and the woman and the man.
‘Me, Jennifer and Gregorio, 2000,’ read the back of this one.
Imogen let out a sigh.  Her mother’s name had been Nancy, and even so, like the photograph in the frame on the cabinet, this picture was taken too recently for it to have been her mother anyway.
“I’m going to go talk to some of the staff, you okay in here?” asked Ryan.  He was itching to see what else this room was hiding but he figured Imogen would find whatever was significant.  It was like having a deputy.  That Imogen needed to be here on her own for a while and maybe get to know this relative she never knew in life, well, that was a bonus.  For once he got to do something nice for someone else.
Imogen nodded but Ryan could tell she wasn’t paying attention to him.  He left her and headed down the hall where Jim had pointed out the nurse’s station.
There were a few nurses there, two female and one male, hanging around the desk, waiting for him.
“Hi, I’m Detective Ryan, did Jim tell you I needed a few words?” he asked.
“Hi, I’m Brenda, this is Caitlin and Marcus, and yes, Director Marcert warned us you’d be showing up,” she said with a smile.
“I won’t take up too much of your time.  Is there anything that stands out right away when you think of Florence?” he asked of the small group.  Each one paused in thought.
“She was spunky, I mean, loved telling a dirty joke,” said Brenda, the unofficial mouthpiece of the group.
“She always hit on us male nurses,” said Marcus but with a smile.  “She was kind of crass but honestly?  Kind of refreshing,” he added.
“Did she ever talk about her family?” asked Ryan.
“Only when she drank too much,” said Caitlin.  Brenda threw her a warning look.  Caitlin looked like she was about to back peddle but Ryan cut her off.
“Was that often?”
Caitlin looked at Brenda for help.
“Look, um, the residents aren’t supposed to have alcohol here,” started Brenda, looking sheepish.  “But some of them, well, they lose their spark and if maybe a little gin lifts their spirits…” she trailed off.
Ryan smiled.  “The day they took whiskey away from my grandfather was the day he died.  Don’t worry, I won’t say anything to Jim.”
The nurses looked relieved and smiled.
“So, did she drink much?” he asked.
Caitlin shook her head.  “Because of the, err, rules, she didn’t.  But there was one night when I went in and she was crying.  A record was playing and I thought it had taken her to the past so I sat with her and held her hand until she’d calmed down.  She didn’t say much and what she did say didn’t make a whole lot of sense but I definitely understood she was talking about her past.”
“What sort of things did she say?”
Caitlin squinted and looked down, thinking hard.
“Something about how a new name makes a new life?  Ummm, and something about mistakes that lead you to die alone.”
“Was she senile?” asked Ryan.
“No, but when she was, um, tipsy, she would say that her name wasn’t Florence,” said Brenda
“So was it a surprise when she went missing?” asked Ryan.
“Actually, it was.  We have a large wall that keeps our residents in and the gate you drove through?  It gets closed at night.  I don’t know how she could have gotten out,” said Marcus.
“She loved sitting outside on the benches but sometimes she’d walk the perimeter of the wall.  Maybe she found a hole or something and got out?” said Brenda helpfully.
“I think I’ll go take a look, any of you have time to show me where she’d walk?” asked Ryan.
“I will, they have to get back to work,” said Brenda.
Ryan thanked Caitlin and Marcus and then followed Brenda out to the grounds.
Imogen had moved on to the closet.  It reminded her of her grandmother’s trunk because of all the old clothes.  Imogen grew increasingly sad.  Not just for the loss of her grandmother, but also for this woman who died alone.  This woman who was related to her, this woman she’d never known.  In the back was a coat that was an exact match to one her grandmother had.  Imogen took it off the hanger and put it on.  It even kind of smelled like the one her grandmother had.  The rich fox fur felt soft on her cheek and she stood there sniffing and rubbing her face for a few minutes.  Putting her arms down, her hands naturally gravitated to the pockets.  In the right hand pocket was a seam that wasn’t there in the left.  Maybe a mended rip, thought Imogen.  She took off the coat and looked on the inside; another seam that wasn’t supposed to be there.  She felt around and realized there was something, something thin, between the lining and the fur.
Imogen moved to the bed and set the coat down.  She looked around for something that could help her rip the seam open.  She remembered nail care set she had in her purse.   She took out the clippers and carefully tried to clip the lining.  After three tries there was a small enough hole that she could put her finger and thumb into and with that she was able to rip a bigger hole.  Finally it was big enough to work the piece of paper out of the coat.
It was a letter.  It was a letter written in a beautiful looping script that Imogen immediately recognized to be her grandmother’s.  Imogen drank it in, actually gulped the words with her eyes.
Dear Francine,
I don’t know if they’ll let you read this.  I don’t know if it will ever get to you.  Strange, isn’t it?  How life unfolds; lately I am tortured by the question of fate.  Would this have happened if my daughter hadn’t married that man?  Would she have married him if I hadn’t so adamantly loathed him?  I could go crazy thinking this way and now with the baby in my arms, my grandbaby, I know I have to stay strong and not break under the weight of these questions.
I will never be able to repay what you are doing for me, for Nancy and for her baby.  The thought that I may never see you again fills me with such sorrow that my tears soak baby’s blanket.  That we started life at the same moment, that we shared all of life until now, oh sister!  I’m so sorry it has come to this.
Please remember how much you mean to me and please never forget me.
All my love,
Gladys

Imogen read and re read the letter.  What the Hell?  Francine?  Wasn’t her name Florence?  And Nancy, that was Imogen’s mother.  Why couldn’t Flo-Francine and Gladys see each other again?
Imogen sat on the bed, coat on her lap and letter in her hand.  Images of what could have happened ran through her head like movies and she was startled to the point of exclaiming “Oh!” when Ryan said her name.
Smiling, he apologized.  “I’ve been standing here for a minute or so, thought maybe you didn’t hear me knock,” he said.
Imogen looked down at the letter, then back at him.
“They were sisters, you were right.  And, and something happened.  I think with my mom and dad?”  Imogen offered Ryan the letter.  But Ryan didn’t take it.  He had his own surprise.
“Florence, or rather, Francine, had a little secret hiding spot out in the gardens.”  He said this as he handed her a tin box, an old lunch box.
Imogen set the letter down beside her and opened it.  There were photographs and papers in neat bundles.
“I read some of them.  It seems your father was, unsavory,” said Ryan.
Imogen looked up at him.  “My dad?”
“He was, believe it or not, part of the cartel.  The drug runners that go through here to get to the city,” said Ryan.
“Is that how he died?  Running drugs?”
Ryan shook his head.
“He’s still alive.  At least, he was when she, Florence who was really Francine, moved here,” explained Ryan.
Imogen frowned.  “Why didn’t he ever contact me, or why didn’t she?  I mean, why didn’t we have a relationship with Flor - I mean – Francine?”
Ryan pointed to the box that was in Imogen’s hand.
“Francine has been writing letters to you since the day she left your life.  I only read a couple and you’ll want to read the rest.  From what I gather, Francine left her life to take care of your mother, who couldn’t get out from under your father.  Your grandmother, Gladys, was to raise you.  That was the deal.  They tried to make contact once, your mother and Francine but the cartel made good on their threat.  That was in 2002 or something?” he said.
“My grandparents were run off the road in the fall of 2002.”  Imogen couldn’t believe what thoughts were forming in her head.  Did her father kill her grandparents?
“So maybe that’s why your mother or Francine never contacted you?”
“My mother might still be alive.”  It wasn’t a question.
“I’m sure you’ll learn more as you read these.  I have to get back to the station and follow up on these names and write a report.”  He looked regretful that he had to take Imogen away from this room.
“Okay.  Okay, so, but, I can take this box and letter right?” said Imogen.
“I’ll have to go through it, but not before you read them all.”

Imogen sat in the passenger’s seat as they drove away from the nursing home.  In her lap sat the coat and box and in her head the stories of her family’s past began to gel.  Today would be going through the letters, but tomorrow she could come back, maybe even with Anders, and she could collect her great-aunt’s belongings.
Imogen and Ryan sat in silence.  He was relieved that there was an end in sight; that he would very likely be able to figure out how Francine ended up in the river.  Most likely it was the cartel.  Maybe she tried to contact Imogen.  He was relieved but also sorry for Imogen.  A family she lost long ago she was losing all over again.  But perhaps it was better to know the truth.  Ryan was never sure.  He’d seen the truth cut up hearts as much as lies did.  But Imogen sat without sadness on her face, more of curiosity.  He glanced at her as she opened the tin box and began to read the letters.  In this case, the truth seemed best.
The End

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Imogen's Feather Part II


They sat in front of an old television, whiskey in hand.  The channel was the local news and they were trying to glean more on the Jane Doe.  The hat sat on the coffee table, almost taunting them with puzzlement.
“And now to Greenhaven County where the body of an elderly woman washed to shore,” said the anchorwoman.
Imogen stopped listen to whatever Anders was saying and slapped his leg so he’d stop talking.
“A fishermen’s hook caught on to her dress, apparently prying her loose from the trunk of a tree that hid her.  She was dressed in a black dress, an old dress, authorities are saying from the 1930s or so, and a hat with feathers that matches the same time period,”
“Barbara,” said the anchorman, “The authorities have a sketch, is that right?”
“Yes Don, here is a sketch of the woman and if anyone has…”
“That’s my grandmother!” screeched Imogen, jumping up to her feet. 
“I don’t understand.  That’s Gram, how could she be, I mean, we buried her twelve years ago.”  Imogen sat back down.  She was giddy and worried and sad and confused.
Anders finished off his whiskey in a final gulp.
“Well, you gotta go to the police.  I mean, we know it’s not your grandmother but did she have a sister or a cousin that looked like her?”
“Not that I know of and I’d know wouldn’t I?”
“I don’t know, would you?  You grew up with them,” said Anders.
“I guess I have to go to the station now.”  Again Imogen got up, but this time slower.
“Coffee first, you shouldn’t smell like whiskey entering a police station.”
“You’ll make some lucky man a good wife someday,” said Imogen smiling.

An hour after the news report Imogen found herself speaking with a detective.  It wasn’t much like the movies and television shows; for one, the station was a lot dingier.  Not dirty but very used and bland, with the low partitions creating half cubicles around uniform desks that housed pen jars and telephones.
Detective Ryan was a nice but tired man.  He was guardedly hopeful when told someone had information about his Jane Doe.  Only to be disappointed because the young woman before him had more questions then answers.
“So she is not your grandmother?”
“No, but she looks exactly, I mean, according to the sketch, exactly like her!  And, she had a hat just like the one the dead woman has, um, had.”  Imogen dug into her bag and pulled out her grandmother’s hat and set it on Detective Ryan’s desk.
He let out a low whistle and gingerly picked it up.
“This is just the same.”
“I know.  That’s what I’m telling you.  But we buried my grandmother years ago.”
“Forgive me for being crass, but are you sure it was she you buried?”
Imogen looked at him incredulously.  “You think someone stole her body? Or she faked her death?”
The Detective shrugged his shoulders.  “Sounds crazy, I know, but I’ve seen crazy and this wouldn’t touch the tip of the crazy iceberg.  How would you feel about going down and looking at this woman?”
Imogen hesitated.  Twelve years ago she came home to a policeman knocking on her door.  It was the worst day of her life; standing on the porch, listening to him explain the car crash, hearing his rote condolences which were heartbreaking because she could see that he was really sorry and didn’t know how to express himself except through these empty words.  Now here she was again, speaking with a policeman again and potentially loosing her grandmother again.
Detective Ryan sat patiently and watched Imogen take in what he was asking.
“Look, it is highly improbable that it is your grandmother but now that the question has been brought up, we have to cancel it out.  There might be something you recognize that could help us find who she really is.”

Imogen stood in a room mostly filled with stainless steel.  Her attention was not on her surroundings however, but on the body covered with a sheet that occupied one of the autopsy tables.  She waited for the coroner to gently pull back the sheet himself.
Feelings do not come one at a time; they don’t wait their turn.  Imogen’s feelings rushed forward like a tidal wave; fear it would be her grandmother, revulsion to the bloated face, confusion about the situation, relief it wasn’t her grandmother and sadness for the woman on the table.  The water distorted face was her grandmothers, which made her heart jump, but then there was a giant freckle on the woman’s left ear and Imogen knew certainly it was not her grandmother.
“No.  That’s not her.”
“Mind if I ask you a few more questions?  Upstairs, of course?” He was already leading her away from the autopsy table where the coroner was covering the old woman’s face again.

The coffee wasn’t as bad as one would think, thought Imogen. The warm cup felt good between her hands as she sat down again at Detective Ryan’s desk.
            “So that wasn’t your grandmother.  That’s a good thing,” he said he smiled at her.  Imogen nodded.
            “Did she have sisters?  Cousins?” he asked.
Imogen shook her head.  “No.  I grew up with Gram and Gramps and they never mentioned her having a sister,” she replied.
            “Is your grandfather still alive?” asked Detective Ryan.
            “They both died in the same car accident, twelve years ago.”
            “I’m sorry to hear it,” said Detective Ryan.
            “It was, well, for me, it was loosing my world.  I didn’t know my parents.  They were my parents.”
            “Did anything strange happen afterwards? Old family members contact you?”
            Imogen sipped as she thought.  “It was so long ago and honestly it’s fuzzy.  I remember sadness, lots of people offering help but nothing about relatives getting in touch with me.”
            “How would you feel about giving us a DNA sample?” he asked.
DNA is a curious thing.  Deemed by some as the ultimate proof, it can tell quite a bit about a person or to whom they are related.  What surprised Detective Ryan wasn’t so much that the old woman from the river was related to Imogen, but how closely she was related to her.  According to the tests, this old woman was most likely her grandmother.  Except Imogen was sure that wasn’t her grandmother.   
The telephone on Detective Ryan’s desk rang, pulling him out of his reverie.
“Detective Ryan,” he said.
“This is Jim Marcert, the director of Golden Years, a nursing home an hour or so away from you.  We filed a missing persons report on a resident a couple of days ago.  I got a call from our local police telling me you have an unidentified elderly woman?”
Sometimes, thought Detective Ryan, just sometimes the job goes right.
“Yes, we do.  Does she match the description of your missing resident?” asked Detective Ryan.
“Yes sir, she does.  Listen, I can leave here in half an hour, does that work for you?”
“Perfect.  See you then.”  He hung up the phone and smiled.  Every once in a long while, a person got a break.  It looked like today it was Detective Ryan’s turn to get one.

“Oh man,” said Jim Marcert.  He quickly looked away.  The coroner put the sheet back over the woman’s face and Detective Ryan looked at him expectantly.
Jim looked back at the body, now covered.
“Yeah, that’s her.  The staff will be sorry, she was a favorite,” said Jim.
“May we continue this upstairs?” asked Detective Ryan as he motioned with his arm.
Jim nodded and followed the detective back up to his desk.  Sitting down he began giving Ryan the details.
“Her name is – was – Florence Delgard.  She came to us five years ago when a neighbor convinced her she couldn’t take care of herself anymore.  She wasn’t happy about it but settled in okay.  Was always super nice to the staff, kept herself clean…”
“Did she ever have visitors?” asked Ryan.
Jim thought about it for a moment.  “I don’t think so.  I’ll have to ask the staff.”
“Did she ever try to run away?”
Jim shook his head definitively.  “No never.”
“And what about family?  Who was paying for her to be there?”
“A daughter?  I think?  There are pictures of Florence when she was younger, with a young woman that I always assumed was her daughter.  The payments, well, I’ll have to check on that.”
“I’d like to come up and speak with your staff, say tomorrow?  I might have a relative of hers with me,” said Ryan.
“Yeah, sure, no problem.”
“Thanks for driving all this way,” said Ryan as he handed Jim a card with his number on it.
“I’m just glad we found her, even if she is dead, at least we know.  That’s the worst isn’t it?  Not knowing?”
Ryan nodded his head wearily.  It was the worst and unfortunately it happened too often.  So many families were out there, not knowing.  The What Ifs piled high the dark corners of their minds.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Imogen's Feather Part I


Inspired by a river, a feather and the mystery genre
 as suggested by Nicole Alfaro.
It was early morning when only the birds were awake, that Imogen once again wandered the shores of the river.  She liked the dawn and the colors the sun made against the clouds.  Imogen liked to find glass smoothed by the water’s rough play against the rocky sand, or odds and ends that invariably found its way to shore. 
Imogen had grown up a short distance away and could never bring herself to move away from the river.  It was a place she went first with her grandmother, where they would sit and sketch the life that thrived around the water.  Next she would go with her grandfather, who taught her how to fish.  Now, grown up and living on her own, she would come here before her shifts at hospital.  Maybe to remember what it was she helped people fight to live for.
Imogen wore high, rubber boots in case she found something worth wading into the water for.  On this morning she saw something that triggered a memory.  It was a memory from long ago when she was a little girl living with her grandparents.  Imogen rubbed her eyes and looked closer.  It was floating on the surface but at least a yard away.  Careful to find firm footing, she reached out and grabbed it.  The object was a feather; a now limp and sad feather but in it’s hay day had been upright and bright blue. 
Imogen breathed in sharply and thought hard for a moment.  Was it?  Could it be?  Her grandmother had kept a trunk in the attic of all of her clothes from when she was young.  Imogen loved to go up there and carefully take each piece out.  She would spend hours looking, inspecting and trying on the items; these pieces of clothing that PETA would cringe at. Sighing, Imogen knew it was about time for work and begrudgingly, with the feather in hand, trudged to her car.

“Nurse!  Nurse!”
Imogen pulled the curtain aside.  “Yes?” she asked.
“I asked for another blanket an hour ago, don't you remember?  An hour ago I told you I was freezing and while that hour may have passed by quickly for you, for me, I have spent it shivering,” said the patient.
“I’m so sorry Mrs. Gerring.  I’ll do my very best to make you comfortable,” said Imogen. 
You old bitch, Imogen thought.  Most days she did not mind being bossed around but today she had that feather on her mind.  Her patients were wearing down her patience, as it were, and she tried hard to care about every little thing, which didn’t seem to amount to much in her esteem at all.
“Hey Immy, can you take lunch now?”  Anders had a way about him that could always make Imogen smile.  Anders was the only one who could ever call her Immy.
“Yeah, I just need to get an extra blanket.  Meet you in the caf?” she responded.
“I’ll walk with you,” he said and fell into step.
They went from the closet where extra blankets were kept and then back to Mrs. Garring’s room.  When she was all tucked in and happy as a clam, they took off for the cafeteria.
“You seem distracted.  Hard morning?” Anders asked as he scooped up a box of cereal.
“Strange.  I’ve been waiting to tell you,” said Imogen as she chose yogurt over a pastry.  These fucking deals we make with ourselves, she thought.
“Oh yeah?”  Anders picked up a whole milk and Imogen woefully wondered if he wouldn’t have chosen low fat had he been a woman.  He also helped himself to a cinnamon roll and Imogen tried not to snarl.
“Yeah.  Really strange, I found this feather?  That is exactly like one from an old hat that used to be my grandmother’s,” she said.  Imogen gave the cafeteria lady exact change and put a dollar in the tip jar and waited for Anders.
“Like, obviously man made feather or from the wild?”  He joined her and they found an empty table.
“It was a real feather but dyed an unnatural blue.  Or at least, I think so,” said Imogen.
“What happened to the hat when your grandma died?” asked Anders.
“Nothing.  I mean; I still have it.  Or, I thought I did.  It should be in the trunk it’s lived in for sixty years at the bottom of the closet in my spare bedroom.”
“I guess you have to check,” said Anders, taking a bite of cereal.  “See if its still there.”
“No shit?  What do you think I’m gonna do first thing I get home?” asked Imogen, eyeing his pastry.
“Unearth the trunk from one of the most packed closets I’ve ever encountered and see if it’s still there,” said Anders.
“Yep,” said Imogen, trying to feel satisfied from her yogurt and apple.
“Want me to come over?” asked Anders.
“If you want,” said Imogen, trying not to sound over eager.
“I’ll bring a sixer.  Oh, and I got this for you,” he said as he pushed the cinnamon roll her way.
“Damn you!” but Imogen was smiling when she said this.  Life without pleasure was not living, after all.

 “Turn on the radio!” Anders said, barging through the kitchen door.
“What?” but Imogen went to the radio on the counter and turned it on.
Anders had already put the beer and snacks down and pushed Imogen out of the way to change the station.  He turned it to the local station.
“…Says local authorities.  If anyone has any information on this Jane Doe there is a line they can call…” the disembodied voice was interrupted by another voice, “They can also go onto the website right Brett?”
“Yes John, and that’s www…” Anders turned the radio down.
“What is this about?” asked Imogen.
“There was a dead body found at the river, like, close to where you were,” said Anders. 
That was surprising news because nothing like that happened regularly, not in their smallish town.
“Really?”
“Yep, and get this; she was wearing a hat with feathers.”
Imogen didn’t respond but instead tore down the hall to her spare bedroom.  Anders followed.  She opened the closet and moved boxes about until she unearthed the trunk.  Anders helped her pull it out into the room.  He sat on the bed as she carefully but also impatiently emptied the trunk.  There, under some stoles, was the hat.  Imogen held it up.  Anders shrugged. 
“I guess it wasn’t yours, which would have been strange anyways,” he said.
“But this feather,” she pulled it out of her pocket, “Is exactly like these ones.”
Holding the feather she found up to the feathers on the hat, Anders saw she was right.  Same feather.
“So, it was a popular hat?”
“I guess so,” but Imogen didn’t sound convinced.  Without putting anything back in the trunk she stood with the hat.
“This might call for something a little stronger than beer,” she said.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Siberian Guests Part 3

Lizzy stepped to where Ginger stood and looked inside. Indeed, the inside was lined with metal. “Well?” said Ginger as she motioned. “Fuck. I don’t know.” “I’m going this way, come with me or not but I’m tired of walking underground and this might take us to the surface,” said Ginger. She stepped in and Lizzy followed. There was no way in Hell she’d wander around by herself. There were no buttons on the inside, just four metal walls. As soon as they both stepped in the elevator, the doors closed and it began to move up. Lizzy and Ginger clung on to each other. The elevator stopped and the door slid open. Gingerly they stepped off the elevator and into another alcove. This one however, did not have corridors branching off of it, but rather, three doors; normal doors with handles. Actually one was a push through door, the kind found in hospitals. “Okay, so where to?” asked Ginger. They each picked a door and tried the handles. Lizzy’s door was locked but Ginger’s was open. Inside looked like an operating room, bit lights, a table/chair type thing in the middle and steel cabinets lining the walls. “Creepy,” said Ginger. She shut the door. She was a little rattled but also thought maybe if they were in a hospital they were safe after all. Lizzy didn’t say anything but headed toward the hospital like door. She gently pushed it open and took a step in and stared. “What?” asked Ginger. Lizzy didn’t say anything but kept staring. “What is it?” Ginger was getting impatient and worried at the same time. She nudged Lizzy further into the room so she so could get a good look. And then she stopped and stared. Lining the walls were tall, cylindrical incubators and some of them were occupied. Without totally wanting to, the women, clinging to one another, began to walk the room, staring at what filled the incubators. It wasn’t a choice, the staring. It was out of sheer fear and complete amazement at what they saw that kept the women moving. The first few incubators had humanoid figures but with key differences, instead of noses they had two holes, small ones. Their eyes were large and their fingers tapered making them look delicate. The skin color was hard to tell, the color of the thick glass gave off a greenish hue but the skin looked to be a mocha color and it looked like it’d be soft to the touch. The next few incubators had half human and half whatever creature the others were. The eyes weren’t as big, but the fingers were tapered and there was body hair. Lizzy and Ginger hadn’t registered that the first few didn’t have body hair until they saw these half-breeds. The next two incubators made them stop in their tracks and register honest-to-fucking-God fear. In the last two incubators was the couple they’d hung out with the night before. “Holy shit!” Lizzy might have peed her pants slightly. “Oh-my-god-oh-my-god-oh-my-god!” said Ginger as yanked Lizzy away. They ran across the room and through the double doors and back to the elevator. Standing just a foot away they watch with bated breath as the doors open. But they didn’t step inside. His big eyes seemed to have a twinkle as he smiled and said, “Hello ladies, welcome to the Siberian Oasis Resort. You aren’t leaving yet are you?”
The End

Siberian Guests Part 2

“No.” “I have one over here,” said Ginger as she gently tugged on Lizzy. Lizzy let go of Ginger’s hand and found the wall. “Which was should we go?” “This way, the way we are facing,” said Ginger. “Why?” “I don’t know, cuz you asked me?” “Okay.” The women started walking, slowly and with an arm out. Ginger was in front and would sort of kick her foot out to see there was anything in the way or a dead end. “Then didn’t we call the number the guy at the after party gave us?” asked Ginger “Yes, and then he said to meet him on the other side of the resort, then he’d take us to the aliens” said Lizzy. “Did we walk?” asked Ginger. “No, we stole one of the golf carts,” said Lizzy. “Jesus. I don’t remember any of this.” “Then you also don’t remember talking about what the alien’s genitals look like,” said Lizzy. “Nope. I guess it would depend on if the aliens were humanoid or not,” said Ginger. “Which is exactly what you said last night,” said Lizzy. “Good to know I can think clearly even when black out shitfaced,” said Ginger. “Okay, so I remember stealing the golf cart and driving across the Siberian Oasis Resort, but that is it. I don’t remember if we willingly got into a car, if we were drugged or we both passed out…” “I just remember talking about going to see aliens with that guy from the bar. No, I mean after party, wait, I feel like I saw him at both places. Is that right or am I starting to feel hung over?” said Ginger. It was true; the adrenaline of finding themselves tied up and underground was wearing off and as they trudged on in the dark, the drugs and alcohol from the night before began to take a toll. “God! Where are we?” asked Lizzy to Ginger, to the wall they clung to, to the path they walked along and maybe even to God himself. They had no idea how long they’d been walking but they did know that their bodies ached, and the shoes they’d worn the night before, the shoes that made them hot and sexy, were the very worst for grappling a pitch-black underground road. Ginger finally broke down and took off her shoes. Whatever bug life might crawl over her toes would make her cringe and squirm, but it was better than walking around in three-inch heels. Lizzy held out a little longer but then she too had enough and took to carrying her sling backs. “What I wouldn’t give for my phone right now,” said Ginger. “I doubt you’d get reception,” replied Lizzy. “Duh, no, I meant for a light,” said Ginger. As if by magic, the total darkness became light. Not bright, but after hours of complete darkness even the dim lights took the ladies by surprise. “What the fuck?” said Lizzy as she rubbed her eyes. The light almost stung it’d been so long. “How the? I just said, uh, I wanted my phone for the light…” and again like magic, the lights went off. “Nonononono! I want light,” said Ginger and the lights came back on. “Light,” said Lizzy. The lights went out. “Light,” said both of them and the lights went back on. After a minute of rejoicing and rubbing their eyes and getting used to the lights, they inspected their surroundings. They were in a tunnel like hallway made of hard packed earth. Above was a network of metal that maybe supported the floor above. There were pipes, big and small, also running up towards the ceiling of this passage. The hallway was narrow but they could walk side by side and it wasn’t tall, but easily twice as tall as the ladies. The dim lights, which Ginger and Lizzy were now adjusted to, were embedded in the walls of the hallway, one every few yards. The ground was also packed dirt. “Where the hell are we?” asked Ginger. “And how did we not say the word lig…” Ginger covered Lizzy’s mouth before she could finish. “In case they don’t turn on again. Or if someone is watching us and playing cruel jokes,’ she explained. “If someone is watching us then we are fucked no matter what,” retorted Lizzy. They kept walking and soon they came to an alcove. There were two other corridors leading out of the alcove and a door. The corridors were pitch black but as Ginger passed by the first one she said “Light” and it lit up the same way the one they came from did. This corridor seemed to go on endlessly and didn’t give either woman a good feeling. The continued on to the second corridor and Ginger again said, “Light” and again it lit up. This one only went a little ways before it turned left. “I would rather go this way,” said Ginger. “Lets check out that door looking thing first,” said Lizzy. As they approached the door they saw that there wasn’t a handle of any kind, nor were there any buttons or plaques or anything to indicate what this door was or where it led. Lizzy moved forward to touch the door and as soon as she stepped about a foot closer, it began to open. She jumped back to where Ginger was and it began to close. “So. Do we go through the door? Do we go down the hallway?” asked Lizzy. “Open the door again,” said Ginger. “You do it,” said Lizzy. There’s a time for screwing, for loving and for self-preservation. Lizzy felt this was time for the latter. Ginger went up and stayed while the door opened. She turned around to see Lizzy covering her face and peeking through her fingers. “You freaking whanny-pants. Its an elevator,” said Ginger.

Siberian Guests Part 1

 Inspired by Siberia, underground roads and science fiction 
as suggested by Angela de Almeida
They found themselves underground. Way underground, so underground the dirt was moist and reeked of decomposed life. This was not the romantic getaway they’d envisioned. No. They were supposed to be on the surface of the earth, under the sun at the Siberian Oasis Resort where they were promised expansive pools, luxurious massages and drinks with umbrellas in them. They were supposed to be having primal sex, like the kind that makes your toes curl. Instead they were tied, it was pitch black and they were underground. Ginger looked at Lizzy, or where she thought Lizzy was, and frowned. “You had to, you just had to.” Ginger’s voice was low but carried and Lizzy winced. “Fuck you,” Lizzy said. “Fuck you.” “You were just as excited as I was.” “Jesus. How could we fall for aliens? I mean, motherfucking aliens?” Ginger wanted to cry and laugh. Lizzy wiggled her fingers. There was a little give in her rope but not enough to get her hand through, even if she was a bad as and broke it first. Which she was not and neither was Ginger. “Are we, can we reach each other?” asked Lizzy. Ginger scooted towards Lizzy’s voice. There wasn’t anything in the way. She kept scooting. “Keep talking, I don’t know where you are.” “ABCDEFGHIJ…ouch,” said Lizzy. Ginger had reached Lizzy and had accidentally kicked her with her tied together feet. “Sorry. Lets go back to back and see if we can’t untie each other,” said Ginger. “If we hadn’t gotten drugged and kidnapped I’d kind of be turned on right now,” said Lizzy. “If we ever get out, we can roll play this shit. But right now turn around so we can try to untie us,” replied Ginger. They scooted and wiggled until they were back to back. After a few seconds of bickering, they finally found a position where their hands could touch, but not where they could untie each other. “Damn it,” said Ginger. “Maybe I could untie your feet,” said Lizzy. “Okay,” said Ginger. It took a moment for Ginger to turn around and get her feet into position. The issue did not seem to be with how tight the knot was but rather how the hands had been tied, one crossed over the other so they couldn’t work together. “I have another idea,” said Ginger. “Let me work the knot with my teeth.” “We are so going to roll play this later,” said Lizzy. She felt strange that all of this was turning her on. They got drugged and kidnapped for god’s sake! What the Hell did this say about her moral compass? “If we get out of here alive, I’m going to fuck you and then kill you. Maybe at the same time,” said Ginger. She wiggled around in a circle and then rolled on to her stomach, which is kind of tricky when ones hands are tied and one was not a circus acrobat. She face planted and swore. “You okay?” asked Lizzy. “No.” Like a snake, or a lizard without front arms, she raised herself up with her stomach and back muscles. It hurt. Turning back onto her back, she scooted so that her mouth was right under Lizzy’s hands and then raised herself by doing a sort of sit up. She could use her arms as a brace. “Okay, can you lean back…not that far! Okay, better,” instructed Ginger. Tentatively she reached out with her teeth and got a hold of the rope. Luckily it wasn’t very thick and it was coarse so she could find an easy grip. Pulling here and pulling there, she felt like she was making progress but her elbows, which were digging into the ground, were beginning to hurt. Ginger had to take a brake. As she lay there, aching, Lizzy began to work the rope and found them significantly looser. “Hey, it’s working!” Hoisting herself up again, Ginger attacked the rope with renewed enthusiasm. After what seemed like ages, Ginger had to take another break and again Lizzy took to working the rope. “You did it! I can do the rest,” said Lizzy, the excitement in her voice giving Ginger hope. Ginger scooted away from Lizzy and heaved herself to a sitting position. She waited patiently until Lizzy had untied herself, including her feet. “Okay, where are you?” asked Lizzy as she crawled around with one hand out. “Here,” replied Ginger. Lizzy reached her and began untying her hands. “The things I could do to you right now,” said Lizzy. “What is the last thing you remember?” asked Ginger. She hoped that would get Lizzy out of the gutter she seemed to always live in. “Uh, okay, we were at the bar with that nice couple in the main restaurant at the resort. No. Was it the dance club they had going on by the pool?” started Lizzy as she worked the knots on Ginger’s feet. “It was after the dance club, at the after party, right? That group of spring breakers with the drugs.” Ginger stood up and stretched. Stretching never felt so good, maybe she would take up yoga. “Right, after party, and we were hanging out with that couple…” said Lizzy “Yeah but then they left remember? Kind of abruptly and then there was the guy…” interrupted Ginger. “He had to be in on it. He’s the one who told us about the aliens, wasn’t he?” said Lizzy. “Do you feel any walls?” Ginger changed the subject. They were both standing now and holding hands. Lizzy reached out and slowly swung her arm around.