Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 15


Poll results are inconclusive, with one vote each for continuing and discontinuing the Wizards. So I’m keeping them for now. In this week’s episode, our heroes are recovering from the Others’ severe attack.

Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 15

“They did hurt her,” Pierre said. “They tried to kill her.”

“Oh, you poor girl!” Mrs. Bullfinch exclaimed. “Well, at least you’re not alone in the world since you found – ” she stopped suddenly, looking up at Runyon and Sylvia. “Oops, I mean …”

“It’s OK,” Pierre said. “They know, too.”

The kettle came to a boil, and Sylvia went back to the kitchen, returning with a tray full of tea things. “I see Sarah works fast,” she said. “You now have a fully stocked kitchen.”

“You let a woman in your life …” Pierre said, kissing me on the cheek.

“Well, I couldn’t very well live on fine wine and diet soda,” I said. The shivering was beginning to go away. Outside, the storm was easing up, and the sky was just beginning to lighten ever so slightly as dawn approached. Sylvia poured the tea and passed the cups around. I took a sip; it was Earl Grey, with its extra flowery aroma that added to its warming effect.

Mrs. Bullfinch was clearly warming up, too. “I just don’t know what I’m going to do now,” she said. “That building was all I had, and I’d let the insurance lapse – I just couldn’t afford it. I should have raised the rent, but I didn’t want to force out all those poor kids who could barely pay what I was charging. Ha. Some landlord I am. Now they’re all homeless anyway.”

The doorbell rang again, and again Runyon answered it, letting in two police officers in rain gear. “What happened here?” one of them asked, seeing Pierre and me huddled and wet under blankets together on the sofa.

“The storm blew the bedroom window in,” Pierre said. “It’s been rather a tough night.”

“Mind if we take a look?” the officer asked. “Since we don’t think the fire was accidental, maybe the broken window wasn’t either.”

“Go ahead,” Pierre said.

The officers went into the bedroom to survey the damage, and then they returned to the living room. “Well, that window was definitely broken from outside,” the officer said. “But I couldn’t tell what did it. I didn’t find any sort of object that might have been thrown at it. Maybe it was just the storm.” The officer turned toward me while Runyon brought chairs from the dining room for the cops to sit on. “Meanwhile, we need to ask you a few questions, since it looks like the fire started in your apartment.”

“My former apartment, you mean,” I said. “I moved in here two days ago.”

“I see,” the officer said, looking at Pierre. “I guess I can guess why. But it is odd that – well – you have a reputation that doesn’t involve any serious relationships …”

“We’re in love,” Pierre said, kissing my cheek. “Things change.” It was better not to let outsiders, even cops, know the true nature of things – neither about the wizards nor about what the relationship really was between Pierre and me.

The other cop spoke up. “Talk about being struck by thunder,” he said. “The ladies are going to be disappointed to hear you’re not on the market anymore.”

“Still, it’s a coincidence,” the first cop said. “For the first time in recent memory, you get into a serious relationship, and two days after she moves in, her apartment burns down. It’s almost like she knew it was going to happen.”

“I suppose it looks especially bad that Mrs. Bullfinch helped her to move out,” Pierre said. “But Mrs. B just told us she didn’t have insurance, so she wouldn’t have any motive to torch the building.”

“Mrs. Bullfinch did tell us that she’d seen some suspicious people around the place,” the cop said. “But she says she didn’t get a good look at them. Did you see them, or might you know who they could be?”

“I’m afraid I don’t, really,” I said. “I’ve had some bad feelings, like premonitions, that something’s out there, but I haven’t actually seen anybody.”

“Do you know of anybody who might want to hurt either one of you?” the cop asked.

“I can’t think of anybody,” I said.

“I always made sure not to do anything with women who might have husbands or boyfriends,” Pierre said. “I wouldn’t want to get into trouble that way. And as far as I know, I never had any obsessed fans either – they all knew up front that all I was after was a no-commitment fling.”

“Still,” the cop said, “maybe there was one who would get upset to know you were getting serious about someone else. Someone you thought was okay about having just a fling, but who secretly fancied she’d get more.”

“Honestly, I don’t think there was anyone like that,” Pierre said.

“You’re divorced,” the cop said. “How are things with your ex-wife?”

“She disappeared with my daughter from my first marriage twenty years ago,” Pierre said. “I haven’t seen her since, and neither has anybody else, including the private detective I hired to find her.”

“We’ll have to look into that,” the cop said. “Maybe she’s come back to haunt you.”

I realized that the cop was speaking figuratively, but if he only knew! Since my supposed mother had been killed several years ago, the only way she could come back would be as a ghost. “I doubt she would be behind this,” Pierre said. “But if you can find out anything about her whereabouts after all these years, more power to you.”

“Well, thank you for your time,” the cop said, as both officers stood to leave. “You will, of course, let us know if you think of anything else we should know?”

“Of course,” Pierre said.

After the door was shut behind the cops, Mrs. Bullfinch broke down. “Oh, this is so awful. I just don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“Now, Mrs. B,” I said, “you know we’ll help you in any way we can. It was my fault that those – those people torched your building. Pierre and I owe it to you to make good.”

“I have an idea,” Runyon said. “You’ll be helping us, and we’ll be helping you. Obviously, Sarah’s not safe here even with the protections we had put in. We have to get her to a much safer place, and right away, and as secretly as possible. What kind of car do you have?”

“It’s a minivan. It’s old, but it still runs fine.”

“Perfect. Pierre’s convertible won’t hold all of us, and my truck is way too obvious. We need to take a drive up the coast. Do you have your keys?”

“Yes, here they are.” Mrs. Bullfinch handed them over.

“Great. I’ll go get the van while you soggy ones clean up and get dressed.”


Blogger Iris Blue said...

The voting system for Wizards doesn't work. It always ends up with the Bigger boat. That's probably why there aren't many votes.

Thu Jan 19, 03:07:00 PM MST  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Actually, it does work. But it's tricky, since there are two polls there, and there isn't a space between them. People who don't look closely end up voting in the wrong poll.

There was originally a space between them, but that space was occupied by a link that apparently piggybacked on the HTML code for the poll, linking to a site whose content was much too sexually oriented for this blog. When I deleted the link, I lost the space, but I don't know enough HTML to put the space back in.

What I'm probably going to do is drop the poll about the bigger boat, so the Wizards poll will stand alone. I just haven't gotten around to that yet.

Thu Jan 19, 11:49:00 PM MST  
Blogger Pat said...

Yeah, no need to have a poll on a bigger boat, since they're sort of like stray kittens or puppies ... the boat will know when it's time to follow one of us home.

Fri Jan 20, 01:20:00 PM MST  

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