Blogophilia 26.10 Fallon Part 2
I know. i still haven;t been blogging well. My cousins got married. I finally saw Spiderman: Homecoming. Dad went to ER and has a UTI but he did get rid of the catheter, so there’s that. Got the deck repaired and are ready to start painting. Also found alight fixture for the dining room so as soon as we get it taken out of the house its in we can get back to work on the dining room. Oh, and I finally got some yard work done. I’m finally feeling back to myself after all that rash mess and getting a little bit of energy back. Yay!
In the meantime, it’s time for Blogophilia, the fun blog group where martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blogs. This week’s prompts are:
I was hoping to end Fallon this week, but he keeps going. Ugh. We left it with him, Fletcher, Belle, and Griselda in California working on a complaint between covens who claim that they were each there first,
After a shower, Fallon hid in the bathroom to be alone. He leaned back against the tiled wall, eyes closed. He concentrated on each coven in turn, imagining the way they looked, and searching for scenes of unpacking or of claiming a house. He saw a short scene of the second coven unwrapping glassware, and the leader of the third drinking from a mortal in the middle of the living room, but there was nothing in either to give a definitive date. All he’d learned was that the second coven had a well-stocked kitchen, and that the third had taken the house from pre-existing mortals, meaning that unless they’d filed a change of ownership, chances were their property records would be useless.
With a grunt of displeasure, he dressed, then reported to Griselda. He expected reprimand, but she took it in stride with a breezy, “try again tomorrow. It’s late now,” before she headed down the stairs to the basement and bedtime.
And he did try again, and again. Belle and Fletcher copied property records but, as he suspected, no one had bothered to transfer ownership except coven number two. They’d gone to the trouble to purchase the house legally, so they were the only ones with a provable date: March 1984.
“That’s more than a year ago,” Griselda said finally. “If all four had been here that long, I we’d have heard about it before now. They can stay. The others can move.”
The pronouncement included their hosts. When she delivered it the following evening, it was met with howls of rage.
“We’ve been here since 1982!” the leader shouted.
Griselda glanced at Fallon, but all he had for her was a shrug. He’d seen clips of their past; of them hunting, sometimes in a field, sometimes near the local beach. He’d seen them sitting in the living room, doing laundry, even repainting one of the bedrooms, but he had no idea when any of the events took place. It wasn’t as if people stood in front of calendars all the time. And older fashions were no use. His sister still thought it was 1955, after all.
“That’s my official ruling,” she barked back. “If you don’t like it I can remove your head and be done with it.”
The leader grumbled, but didn’t reply.
“We’ll deliver the verdict to the other covens, then head back to Iowa. Griselda snapped her fingers and the guards scurried for their luggage. When they rejoined her, she led them to the door, stopping to toss back to the angry coven, “The Guild appreciates your cooperation.”
Fallon could almost feel the knife the coven wanted to stick in their backs.
The news was greeted just as furiously at the other two covens. When the vampires had calmed down at the third, the leader said, “I understand this is your final ruling, but is it really final? Can’t we work something out.” He rubbed his fingers together, indicating a monetary transaction. “Name your price.”
Griselda snickered. “I’ll take whatever you have to offer, but the judgement stands.” She helped herself to an open box of cassette tapes, tossing out her rejects as she added, “You have one week to leave, or Executioners will be back, and we won’t be friendly this time.”
Not that we’ve been really friendly this time, Fallon thought.
The winning coven was, of course, delighted. Though there was still no proof they’d really been first, Fallon had to give them credit for being the only ones to create a paper trail. The funny thing was that in eighty years, the same paper trail that saved them now could get them into trouble. After all, the land deed department would get suspicious if someone who was over one hundred still owned the same house.
Let the future worry about that.
Fallon was happy to board the plane and head home. He watched Griselda trying out her new cassette tapes, and wondered if that was really the way to do things. He understood that fear was necessary – the only way to make a super human creature cooperate was to make them believe they were weaker than you – but straight up theft?
They shouldn’t have tried to bribe her, I guess.
Once back at the citadel, he stopped in the office to file his paperwork. Fletcher was right behind him, an identical sheath of paper in his hands.
“I don’t understand the point of all this.” Fletcher waved his papers.
Noris snatched them from him with a glare. “Talk to Eileifr. He’s the one who loves keeping record of everything. It didn’t used to be like this. It started with a short write up and now look at this!” He waved the papers emphatically. “It’s useless busywork!”
Fallon agreed, but he didn’t want dragged into anything, so he just murmured and hurried out the door, Fletcher on his heels.
The other guard checked his watch. “We have a couple of hours ‘til the morning comes. Do you want to go get a drink?”
After feeding on wild animals for a week, a quiet draught of spiced blood from a civilized glass sounded great. “Let me change first. I hate walking around in this thing when I’m off duty. Everyone sees the uniform and thinks I’m available to work.”
Fletcher laughed, but followed him back to his apartment. He knocked on the door, waiting for Lara to answer. When she didn’t he called, “Hey! I’m home! Let me in!”
“She can’t still be mad,” he muttered as he fished out his key.
“Mad about what?” Fletcher asked.
“Oh, we got in a fight over this new guy she’s been seeing. Warren. He’s bad news. Anyway, I mentioned the last fiasco and she blew up.” He unlocked the door and stepped inside the quiet living room. “Lara?”
Fletcher followed him inside. “I missed the last fiasco. You’ll have to fill me in.”
Fallon motioned him to silence. If Lara overheard him talking about it… “Lara?” He moved through the silent rooms to the open bathroom. The light was off and everything seemed in order. From there he moved to her bedroom. The bed was neatly made, but there was an air of desertion, as if something was missing.
The note on the pillow confirmed it.
You’re my brother, and I love you, but I need some space. Warren has invited me-
“Warren!” Fallon shouted, and quickly turned back to the note.
“-has invited me to go with him to Florida for a while. I’m not saying I’m in love with him, but I’m willing to see what happens. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’ll write when we get settled. Take care and stay safe.
Fletcher leaned in the doorway. “What is it?”
Fallon shoved the note at him, then ran to her closet, her dresser, her bookcase. Everything was empty. He dashed past his fellow guard, back to the bathroom. Sure, it was tidy, but gone were the fancy soaps, the makeup basket, and the electric hair curlers. In the front room, the record stand had been cleaned out. Even the record player was gone. Lara had packed up everything she owned and run away with Warren and his leather jacket.
Fallon closed his eyes and concentrated on his sister; on her leaving. He saw her packing records in an old green suitcase, saw her folding clothes, humming to herself. Then he saw a flashy sports car. Warren grinned, his dark hair slicked back, and his leather jacket shiny under the yellow street lights. A flash of brick building behind him said that they’d made it somewhere else, though he couldn’t see where.
Uniform forgotten, he started for the door. “I need to go look for her!”
Fletcher hurried to grab his arm. “Who knows how long she’s been gone. She said she’d write. It would be smarter to check your mail first.”
“I don’t think she made it to Florida yet. I didn’t see any palm trees.”
Fletcher’s confusion melted into understanding. “You don’t know what you saw. All of Florida isn’t peppered in palm trees, any more than all of California is. Besides, she is an adult.”
Fallon pulled loose. “You say that because you weren’t involved in her last mess. That was a guy named Norbert, though he’d started going by Stone. Do you know what happened?”
“No.” Fletcher rolled his eyes and stepped back.
“She went with him to New York. Big city, lots of glamour. They lived in a mansion with crystal chandeliers and velvet wallpaper. It was perfect until the human police stormed the place to bust up his ‘human sex trafficking ring’, which, by the way, he was running. Hell, he pimped girls out from their house! Of course, he slaughtered the police, and the girls, then took off, leaving Lara behind for the Executioners to pin everything on. Do you have any idea how hard it was to get her out of all the charges? As far as I know they still haven’t found him.”
Fletcher shoved his hands in his pockets. “All right. That was pretty bad.”
“And before that! Before that she was with Mitchell. He didn’t have a human trafficking ring, instead he was smuggling vampires in and out of the country; wanted vampires. He got caught with a fugitive and the executioners took off his head. Before him, there was Jack. Jack, at least, didn’t break the law, but he had a lover in every city, and when Lara confronted him all he had to say was goodbye. No apologies, nothing. Couldn’t admit he’d treated her terribly. And before that was-”
“I get it,” Fletcher interrupted. “I get it. She goes for bad buys.”
“Bad guys is an understatement, but yes. Her taste is terrible and I know this one is going to drag her into some kind of mess, too, maybe a mess she won’t come back from. I need to find her!”
As Fallon darted out the door, Fletcher shouted after him, “Just check the mail first, huh?”
Though it was probably useless, he took the advice. Waiting for him was a stack of mail that included the letter he’d written Lara in California – “She doesn’t even know if I made it there!” – and a pink envelope with no return address.
He ripped it open and found a note on pink stationary that said:
We made it! We’re getting settled in with his coven. They seem nice. The house is a little small but it’s only half an hour to the beach. There’s no basement, but they have a room where we sleep that’s safe. Once I’m used to everything, I’ll send you the address and maybe you can visit when you get vacation days.
He closed his eyes and concentrated on his sister and a new coven. He saw her and red haired woman eyeing one another distrustfully while a male watched from the doorway, arms crossed. They seemed anything but nice.
He flipped the envelope over. The postmark said Pensacola. His first instinct was to run out the door, but Fletcher was right. It wouldn’t do any good. What would he do? Just drive all over the city looking for her? No. He needed to use his head. The Guild had records of all known dens and their addresses. He knew the city, and that she was half an hour from the beach. Surely there couldn’t be too many dens that matched that description? The trouble was getting access to The Guild’s records.
He stuffed the letter in his pocket and headed back to the office. Noris was in the middle of shutting out the lights as he hurried inside.
“I already filed your report,” the guard said. “If you need to add something you’ll have to file an amendment.”
“No, no,” Fallon said quickly. “I wondered if I could access the den registry? For Florida?”
Noris narrowed his eyes. “Your assignment was for California.”
“I know. This is unrelated.” He saw the shutters go down behind Noris’ eyes and cursed silently.
“Then I’m sorry, but unless it’s related to an assignment there’s nothing I can do without an Executioner’s order. It’s closing time, anyway.”
“Couldn’t you just-”
“No!” Noris snapped. “I already worked a double shift. I’m done. If you want access, come back tomorrow with an Executioner. Good night.” Fallon didn’t move and Noris said emphatically, “I said, good night.”
Reluctantly, Fallon retreated. He contemplated waiting until Noris had locked up and trying to bribe him, but he’d seen how bribery worked for the coven in California. He might not have a box of cassette tapes, but who knew what Noris would take instead.
A glance at his watch said maybe an hour until sunrise. It wasn’t long enough to even get out of the state, let alone to Florida. He’d have to drive because there was no way The Guild would let him take a plane for a personal matter like this. If he remembered, Florida was a two day trip in winter, and three in summer, when nights were shorter. Luckily it was nearly December, so he thought he could do it in two if he left first thing tomorrow.
And when I get there I’m going to kill her.
The next evening, Fallon packed a bag, then headed to the guard’s office to put in for his vacation days. Noris was absent, replaced by a sour faced vampiress who stamped his papers approved with a scathing look.
He dashed out and nearly ran into Fletcher.
“You’re still here,” the guard said cheerfully.
“You were right. She’s already in Florida. They joined Warren’s coven. Lara says they’re nice, but if what I saw is anything to go by they aren’t.”
Fletcher frowned. “What makes you say that?”
“I don’t know. They just seemed unfriendly.” He explained the scene he’d witnessed, then broke off. “Anyway, I’m headed to Pensacola. She said they’re ear the beach, so it shouldn’t take more than a couple of days to find her.”
“Good luck!” Fletcher called after him as he scurried to the guest office.
He had to wait in line behind a couple checking out of their motel-style rooms. All guest services were handled there; from getting rooms to renting cars, which was what he needed to do. Lara had wanted to buy one, but he’d always put it off because they didn’t need to go anywhere. Everything was right there in the citadel, from shopping centers to food. Plus, they’d have to pay to store a vehicle in one of the garages. There was no point in paying for something they’d almost never use.
Except now it would be handy.
The vampiress behind the desk was polite, but firm. “I’m sorry, but we don’t have any rental vehicles available at this time.”
“None? Not even a pickup truck?”
“There are never any pickup trucks,” she said with a note of irritation. “And I just told you that we don’t have any.”
He refrained from arguing to slump back to the guard’s office. Maye there was an assignment going that way he could hook into.
The vampiress was no less sour than on his earlier visit. “If you’re required, you will be sent for. You certainly can’t request assignments based on location! Besides, you just put in for vacation. I’m not going to cancel it.”
There was no point in trying to talk to her; the office was staffed by lesser guards, who took their lower status with a dose of bitterness. As if it was a greater guard’s fault that they hadn’t risen through the ranks yet. The trouble was there were only so many spots open everywhere, and an immortal population didn’t die off.
Unless there’s a damn good war.
He ran into Fletcher in the corridor again. Like some kind of ghost who keeps hanging around.
“Thought you already had vacation?” Fletcher asked.
“I do. I was trying to take it back. There’s no more rental cars.”
Fletcher patted his shoulder. “They might get another returned tonight or tomorrow. Besides, are you sure you need one? Does your sister really need rescued? The scene you witnessed was out of context. Maybe they were unfriendly because they had no warning she was coming. There are a million explanations.”
“I know. I just have a bad feeling about it, and my hunches are usually right. I’ll see you later.”
With no other options, Fallon headed to the common areas of the citadel in search of someone headed to Florida. Maybe he could get lucky and hitch a ride. An hour later he had nothing to show for his efforts except some dirty looks and good luck wishes.
He slumped back on a bench and tried to figure out what to do next. Maybe he could hitchhike? Surely some mortal would pick him up eventually? And then…and then he could always take their car, leave their drained body in the trunk. Dinner and a vehicle in one.
It seemed like the best idea, so he headed back to his apartment. He paired down his luggage to a backpack, and was shutting everything off and unplugging things when a knock came on the door. He barely opened it before Fletcher pushed inside, exclaiming, “You were right!”
Fallon blinked a few times. “About what?”
“Warren. Or his coven to be exact.” Fletcher waved a xeroxed paper. “You said they’re in Pensacola, near the beach, right?”
“She said they were half an hour from it.”
“And there’s at least two males and a red haired female? If it’s the same one, the Executioners have been sent to investigate them five times in the last ten years.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised. What were they sent for?”
“Missing persons complaints. Vampiresses leave their current covens with a ‘nice looking vampire’, move to Florida, write a letter or two, and then disappear. When coven members start checking up, the Florida coven claims the women left, but no one ever sees them again.”
Fallon snatched the paper form his hands and read over the synopsis of incidents. “How did you get this?”
Fletcher shrugged. “I told Grace I needed to locate a coven for an assignment. Did you find a ride?”
Fallon folded the paper, address and all, and stuffed it in his jean’s pocket. “No. I’m going to try hitchhiking. I don’t know what that coven is up to, or why, but I need to get down there!”
“I might have a solution,” Fletcher said reluctantly. “I don’t own a car, but Belle does. I could probably talk her into driving us.”
“Us?” Fallon asked, one hand on the door.
“The records indicate there are five of them, not counting the last vampiress who disappeared. You need all the help you can get.”
Fallon hated to say it, but Fletcher was right.
To be continued.
- bunches of fun 2. banana 3. chiquita 4. Bluth’s frozen bananas. 5. minions love these. 6. Even if they aren’t wearing their pajamas. (the bananas that is). 7. monkey’s love them too. 8. Though it’s a lot of peels to slip on. 9. almost a fruit salad. 10. or a sundae. 11.where’s the pineapple? 12. I’m finally ahead of Jonathan. 13. I think he slacked off one week so that he can use it as proof he is not cheating with voo doo. 14. I still find him suspicious. 15. a bunch 16. plantain 17. bunch of fruit 18. yellow 19. this is harder than last week 20. peel and eat.